Today I decided that wasting several hours downtown fighting my Metrolink fine to save $25 wasn’t going to be the best use of my time, particularly since my court date was scheduled for a day I either will teach or be out of town, so I paid my fine and court costs by mail like a man.
The moral of this whole story: make sure your monthly pass is in your wallet several times a day, even if that makes you look obsessive-compulsive to the rest of the universe.
After various and sundry experimentation, I have concluded that no matter what I do, it will take me about 12 minutes to get to my Metrolink train Tuesday and Thursday mornings when I have my classes:
- I can walk to the Richmond Heights station. This takes 10–12 minutes, depending on the signal phases along Brentwood Blvd.
- I can drive to the Brentwood station—this takes about 7 minutes, but it takes me 5 to get in the car, get out, and walk through the parking garage construction zone to the station.
- I can ride a bus (WashU Gold #1) along Brentwood to the Richmond Heights station. This takes less time, but to ensure I make the bus I have to leave the apartment 10–12 minutes before it would get to the station. And the bus only runs every 30 minutes, so unless I time things well I’ll get to the station faster if I walk.
The ideal solution to this dilemma, of course, would be if Metro had put a park-and-ride lot at Richmond Heights right next to I-170. Or if they’d stuck a station at Brentwood (or Clayton Rd) and I-170 or in Clayton Corporate Park.
I have also figured out that I can drive to the Forest Park station… but that doesn’t get me to work any sooner than the other options, and there’s the non-negligible risk of not finding parking when I get there.
So, the commute choice is basically driven by my level of laziness, how nasty the weather is, and whether or not I plan on doing any grocery shopping at Sam’s or Dierberg’s after work; if I do, then taking the car to Brentwood makes sense. But this also exposes me to the temptation of having dinner “out,” which makes the not walking worse.
It would figure that the one day that my monthly Metrolink pass wasn’t in my wallet (I’m 99.8% sure I left it in the pocket of the trousers I wore Tuesday, after I used it on the bus to save myself the uphill walk between the Grand station and Lindell) would be the day that I lucked into bumping into a fare inspector between CWE and Grand. I am now officially annoyed.
Now the only question is whether the time and hassle canceling class on my court date so I can go plead my case to a judge turns out to be worth avoiding the fine.
I’m now 2/3 of the way throgh my first day of classes; I have my American politics class in about 40 minutes. Except for overpaying for lunch, missing my Metrolink train by two minutes (which wouldn’t really be much of a problem, except for trying to catch SLU‘s infrequent twice-hourly shuttle along Grand), and ending up with a Cherry Coke at a vending machine, it’s been a pretty good day thus far.
Plus I get a real paycheck tomorrow for the first time in three months, which is a nice bonus.
For the morbidly curious, here’s my pathetic collection of Metrolink photos thus far. No jumpers, tunnel collapses, or broken train windows yet.
Today’s Post-Dispatch has almost all the information you need to know about the grand opening of Metrolink’s Cross-County Extension next Saturday.