Commute: “To travel as a commuter or to make substitution or exchange”, are two definitions of the word commute. I choose to look to the second definition as to what I personally believe to be true.
I moved here from Phoenix, AZ less than a year ago, and if you know anything about Phoenix, you have to DRIVE everywhere. Let me be the first to tell you that it was awful. When I first moved here I was so used to driving, that I did in fact drive everywhere, that is until I learned what TriMet could really do for me. So here is my story:
I have since ditched my car, it sits in my covered parking space, and it is collecting cobwebs as we speak. I have not driven my car since April, and I don’t plan on driving it any longer.
I live in Beaverton and currently work for Nike at the WHQ. I live about a mile from work and I walk everyday to and from, rain or shine. (A little rain never hurt anyone right?) It amazes me the amount of people who live so close to Nike that could walk, or bike, or even take the MAX, and yet they choose to drive. Nike does have shuttle service from the Beaverton Creek MAX stop to the campus here, so why should you drive everyday? And I hear them all complain about not being able to find parking. Who would’ve thought? Actually it irritates me a little that they DO choose to drive! But this is about my commute, not my irritation with drivers and cars.
As far as any other places I need to go I always utilize TriMet. I do many after work activities in which I will take public transportation, and I could care less if it takes me an hour and half. For example I play rugby for the Portland Avalanche, and we practice at Delta Park. So two days a week I go from Nike in Beaverton to the Delta Park MAX stop. My commute is around an hour, plus another 15-20 minutes walk to the space where we practice. I love this commute because it totally prepares me mentally for the game. I also co-chair for Human Rights Campaign and I normally have two meetings a month and one event to attend a month. All of these meetings and events take place all over the Portland Metro area, and guess how I get there? You got it, Bus, MAX, or Streetcar.
I get a lot of flack for taking MAX, or bus, but to me it is my alone time you know? I am so busy and always on the go, that, rather than be irritated and raising my blood pressure my driving, I take public transportation and relax. I love to read and listen to music, and I would normally not have time to do these activities if it weren’t for TriMet. Portland’s public transportation system is amazing, and I feel I am a better person for using it.