COTA Causes Creative Thinking

Statehouse Reflection #2

Originally uploaded by TimPerdue

I continue to take the COTA Challenge. I rode to and from work yesterday and am doing so today, plus the rest of the week. I’m finding that riding the bus in my situation has caused me to have to do some critical thinking and problem-solving.

For example, I share my car with my boyfriend, Grey. He usually works shorter days than me — he’s a waiter at Mad Mex in the South Campus Gateway. We also live at least a half mile from the nearest bus stop — with a walk that has no sidewalks and crossing a dangerous 4-lane, 45-MPH road. Soooo, we’ve developed this pattern: He takes me to the main bus stop and goes home to get ready to work. (4 miles total) When he goes to work, he drives to the bus stop and leaves the car in Giant Eagle parking lot. (2 miles) When he gets off work, he drives home and waits for time to pick me up OR he stops at the library and gets to the car and waits for me, depending on when he gets off work. (sometimes 2 miles) He takes me home from the bus stop (2 miles).

This works fine when he works day shift. Night shift has created a challenge, because my car has only one key and keyless remote. To get a second key will cost $35 (the key has a chip in it). Another keyless remote would cost about $50. We’re not getting a second key nor a remote at this time. So, how could we share the car if he goes to work and doesn’t get off until late? Our solution so far has been he takes me to work and goes home (13 miles), he drives to my work (6.5 miles) and I take him over to his workplace and go back to work (4 miles). I drive home after I get off work (6.5 miles) and then go get him when he’s done later that night (11 miles). That’s a whopping 41 miles!

I finally figured out a solution. It hopefully will work tonight. This morning, Grey took me to the bus stop (2 miles) and went home (2 miles). He drives to bus stop and parks, leaving the key only in the car, locking the doors using the automatic locks. I ride bus to stop, use the keyless remote to open the doors, retrieve the key, and take the car home (4 miles). I pick him up from work later that night (buses don’t run at that point) (11 miles).

One down side to this method is that using they key to open the doors of my car sets off a security alarm (short beeps of the horn) until the key is inserted in the ignition. This is a bother for Grey, but doesn’t affect me at all! hee hee I worried that some hidden security feature might prevent us from leaving the key in the car or separating it from the remote, but we ran a few highly scientific tests last night. (We ran the routine with the windows of the car rolled down in case alarms went off or it otherwise freaked out.) All seems well.

Leaving the key in the car may seem a little risky. However, this is why we park it in the very busy parking lot at the bus stop that is 2 miles away, rather than the one .5 miles away which is secluded and has almost no traffic. Crime is also low in the area where we leave the car. Finally, if someone breaks into the car and the key isn’t in there, they still have ways of starting it if they really want to (though I think starting it without the key with the chip causes it to eventually shut down). Either way, because the key does have a chip, it acts like some sort of lojack and would help us retrieve the car.

A side note on the “hidden benefits” of bus riding. I had a lovely conversation the other day while sitting on the low wall that surrounds the Statehouse. A woman and I struck up a conversation as we sat, facing east toward the older Huntington building. She pointed out that she loves to sit there every day just to admire the gorgeous ornate door on the building. It has beautiful brass carvings and is quite breathtaking. This image doesn’t quite do it justice, but I thank the photographer for having it on Flickr! There is much to see and appreciate in downtown Columbus!


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