Longtime visitors to my website will remember that I once worked my ass off to land a job in the town where I live that was only an 8-minute bike ride from my house. That job moved to a neighboring city at the start of the pandemic, and has been the cause of much turmoil ever since.
I catch the intercity bus every morning at the dying County Fair Mall in Woodland, CA. It drops me off directly across the street from my office in Davis, CA.
The County Fair Mall is 1.6 kilometers from my house and lives at the intersection of two stroads and a busy freight railway.
The mall is located on the corner farthest from my house, which requires crossing both stroads to get to. The bus depot itself is located at the farthest point in the parking lot from this corner, from my house, and from the primary population center of my city. Once you make it through the intersection, you have to traverse the entire parking lot, which was built in the 1980s and has no accommodations for pedestrian traffic. The bus itself is a 20-minute walk from my doorstep that is fraught with peril.
My office sits at an intersection where two busy roads become stroads. Thankfully, I only need to cross one of them, but the safest place to do so is about 100 meters upstream from the bus stop, away from the busy stroad intersection, and away from where the parking lot entrance my office shares with the apartment complex next door and the parking lot entrance to the megachurch across the street intersect. Yes, even the most bicycle-friendly city in California suffers from American car-centric urban sprawl, which in this instance has condensed the maximum amount of potential peril into the shortest-possible distance.
I leave my door every morning at 6:55 a.m. and arrive at work between 8:05 and 8:15 a.m. My commute is roughly 70 minutes one way.
For the past six months, one of the stroads leading to the mall has been undergoing massive reconstruction which has necessitated the intersection becoming a four-way stop. This appears to aggravate many of the drivers that use it.
On my way home from the mall bus depot yesterday, I had four very close calls with vehicles. From what I could tell, only one of them was unintentional. This is four too many.
By driving to work, I only shift the safety compromises from the in-town walking portion of my commute to freeway and county road driving. Statistically, this is less safe. By driving, I also contribute to the dystopian, car-centric society that plagues modern humanity. I won’t do this. Public transit has to be the way. That or working closer to (or from) home.