I’ve been at my new job for almost two weeks now. Things are going well – it’s always fun to work with smart people on new technology projects, and I’ve been very blessed throughout my career to be in that situation often.
But as always, getting to and from work is its own adventure. I still live out in the Fairwood area and this new job is downtown near the Convention Center. My last job was also a tough commute – to downtown Bellevue – but my early work schedule (6am-3pm) allowed me to avoid the traffic (mostly). For this job, I have little interest in getting into work that early – most people aren’t in by 9 – but I had a plan.
First of all, I do get reimbursed for monthly travel expenses, but not enough to cover the monthly rates at nearby garages. So my plan was to put a chunk of money on my Orca card every month and take the bus to and from the South Renton Park & Ride, but also drive in on days when having my car at the end of the day was necessary (like if I needed to go to DL and hang with Darryl and Carl – which might happen tomorrow night). I calculated out how many days a month I’d be able to drive in, pay for daily parking, and still get reimbursed. It was more than enough, about 7-8 times.
The plan was set. The first Monday rolls around and I arrive at the South Renton Park & Ride at about 8:20am. The whole damn lot was full. Not good. So I drive to the light rail station in Tukwila and get one of the last parking spots in the spillover lot at around 8:40am. I ride the light rail in.
So even after that, I’m still thinking I can get in via light rail every day. The ride from my house to the Tukwila light rail stop is a little longer. But I really like being able to read a book or work on my laptop while I commute. So Tuesday morning, I arrive at the light rail station at about 8:35am. No luck. Every spot is taken. I stewed in my car for a few minutes, checked traffic conditions on my phone, and decided to just drive in. I realized at that point that I had two options: either become more of an early bird, or just cough up the few extra bucks a month it would cost me for a monthly parking pass. I chose the latter.
As much as I enjoy being able to ride into work, I just had little interest in having to worry about whether or not there’d be a parking spot at a transit point every day. Car commutes are stressful, but I do like to know with certainty how I’m getting to Point B when I walk out the door. It was a bit of a rude awakening that my transit options weren’t as convenient as I’d hoped they be.