There is a certain happiness sighted when your bus comes along. It is of course a small specialized form of happiness and will never be a great thing.

-Richard Brautigan, The Old Bus

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Old habits, new priorities

The 82 bus pulled to a stop at the 65th Street station five minutes early at 9:18 today, just in time to catch the train downtown.

Since catching that train put me 15 minutes ahead of schedule, I got off at 29th Street and walked down R Street toward the 23rd Street station. I wanted to check on the progress of the residential complex being built on R Street next to the tracks.

A Feb. 27, 2006, Bob Shallit column in The Bee described the "Alchemy at R Street" project as a "Pedestrian-friendly project with 'pop' planned on R Street corridor." Shallit's column explained that the complex that stretches along the light rail line from 27th to 26th streets will include "15 town-house and work/live rental units along with a ground-floor cafe in one building, and eight detached for-sale homes, ranging from 900 to 1,200 square feet."

As I walked and sipped the coffee I had prepared before I left home, I was thinking about the front page article I read in this morning's Sacramento Bee. The headline announced, "Rising gas prices spark grumbles but little change in driving." The story's lead example was a guy who commutes from Gold River to Tracy.

There's nothing much short of high-speed rail that might make a commute from Gold River to Tracy a transit experience. And high-speed rail is about as likely as changing the habits of a guy who is willing to devote that much of his day to his solo ride to work.

But what if you could get more people to see the benefits of downsizing and moving closer to work? You're not going to raise four kids in a 1,200 square-foot home with a single-car garage. But what about a young couple or an empty-nest pair? From the front of the Alchemy at R Street complex you can see the Safeway store tower in the distance at 19th and R streets. The complex is two blocks from the 29th Street light rail station and its multiple bus line connections.

The whole R Street corridor is turning into a transitarian's dream.

I've got three, maybe four years before I'm an empty-nester. Perhaps by then I will have convinced the wife to become a transitarian. Maybe I could trade becoming a vegetarian for her abandoning her fixation with large swaths of suburban lawn.

No comments: