Thursday, September 30, 2010

View from the Train

Okay, I’ll write about this. Even though I wish that I had visited them more frequently recently, but seeing as that’s probably not going to happen, I will just do it.
            The LRT stations. Particularly the ones in downtown. There’s something unique about each one of them, and I have an opinion about the types of people that get on at rush hour at each one of them, and it will only take me a little while to summarize what that is, as the thoughts have been buzzing around in my head for a few weeks about this subject.  It just goes to show I should never let these things fester in my mind, or it will just turn out with me writing about the ornarily. Starting with the one I have the worst opinion of and moving to the one I have the best opinion of.
            Government Plaza Station.  I can’t even stand to look at these people as the train pulls up to the station.  It seems like they work in somewhat high-profile jobs because they are still slightly in the middle of downtown, and that’s the impression they want to give off, as a group. But if you look at each one individually, they are all very much menial interns, receptionists, low-level government clerics or what-have-you.  And it occurs to you that the reason they are riding the train is because they are the lowest in their offices.  Lawyers or judges or anyone who is making over 50,000 a year in that area is probably making six figures and can afford to take their Rolls or Jaguar in to work and park it in a reserved space.  Those taking the train are just poseurs. And maybe that’s being too harsh, because as individuals they might not be posing, but as a group they sure are, just by the unfortunate place on the line they get on.
            Target Field Station is almost pointless to even include in this piece, because it’s almost out of downtown they way it is.  There’s really no reason to ever go there unless you’re going to a Twins game or have to catch the Northstar (which nobody rides anyway).  I don’t know if enough people get on at that station during the course of a whole day for that to qualify as a contingency. Moving on…
            The people I can tolerate the next best are those who get on at the DTE/Metrodome station.  There is no posing there, because those people understand that they don’t have that great of a job.  They never mistakenly give off an air of success, but rather just-getting-by.  It’s fine and I respect that.  It’s just that I wouldn’t want to have to work at a DTE/M job myself.  I just thought of something- A friend of mine works at the United Way, which is a less-than-glamorous, non-profit-type job, but even he never takes the light rail to work.  As far as I know, he’s usually driving. It’s just not worth being associated with those people.
            I really dug that I got off and on at Warehouse District/Hennepin Ave. Station. It’s definitely the least pretentious of the stations, just because the whole area attracts and involves just a wide variety of jobs, occupations and personalities.  There are bars that people have to open around the time others are leaving work, the Twins game to get ready for, hipsters who live in the area and normal, business, four-year degree Joe Schmoes who work at area offices.  It’s the perfect place for someone trying to become more down-to-earth.  It’s also just a well designed station, depicting scenes from the history of the District, and giving plenty of seating and easy flow of traffic.
            The station that’s the place to be, though is Nicollet Mall Station.  If you have a job that pays you well enough to work at the NMS, you’re doing pretty well for yourself.  Sure you’ll get the occasional kid who was just hanging out way down the Mall and is waiting to bum a free ride home, while lighting up a cigarette he barely looks old enough to have bought himself.  But for the most part these are people with very important places to be and destinations to arrive at.  I say destinations because a large chunk of the people are not commuting.  They’re going out of town on business.  To the airport.  They of course are taking the train, because it’s easier, but they may not always commute by LRT to work. And they could be forgiven for doing so, despite having well-paying jobs, just because it is so deep into downtown you don’t want to deal with the horrible downtown rush hour traffic. But even if they don’t commute by train all the time, they sure as shooting have a GoTo card that’s fully paid (I just realized I’m in the red on mine [I didn’t know you could do that!]).
            Next time I’ll talk about why the 46th Street Station is far and away the best transportation hub in the Cities (suck it, MSP Int’l!).