I recently moved here from Wisconsin, and I am completely new to the city. I am an Americorp VISTA volunteer for the city. Our living allowance is quite modest, so it is important save money whatever ways possible. I have been learning the best ways to get around without a car since I don’t own one. My experiences so far have been pretty good.
During these last two weeks, I walked most places. I work right off of Poplar Avenue right outside of Midtown. Fortunately, my apartment complex is less than a ten minute walk away from work. I usually walk and listen to some music on my way there. (If you were wondering, Stevie Wonder’s Songs in the Key of Life and Pharrell’s Girl are on the playlist right now. Brand New featuring Justin Timberlake is my jam.) Also, I walk to Central library or to Overton Park since they are well within walking distance.
I have used the bus a decent amount but only for a couple of things. A lot of meetings that I have to go to are downtown around city hall. Most times, I take the 50 down Poplar Avenue. Usually, I am there within 25 minutes. The buses on this route are mostly on time and frequent enough so you don’t have to wait long. I did take the 53 one time to get to Aldi on Summer Ave to pick up a few groceries. The 53 was a little more difficult to plan trips around since it comes around a lot less than the 50. I don’t mind using or waiting for the bus since I have been doing it for years back in Wisconsin. I usually read, respond to emails or watch March Madness highlights. (I still can’t believe Aaron Harrison hit that three to knock the Badgers out of the tournament..) I find using the bus pretty nice since I hate driving and spending money on gas.
Most importantly, I have started to ride a bike. Riding here has been different than back in Wisconsin since Madison has so many dedicated lanes for cyclist. I do appreciate the progress this city is making to accommodate cyclists. While riding, I look for streets that have one or two lanes and low traffic flow. Mostly, I have been riding on streets like Central Avenue, and Southern Avenue. I haven’t had a chance to really ride all over yet, but it has been manageable so far.
Overall, things have gone pretty smooth so far. I try to walk most places if they are close and resort to the 50 route if I need to get downtown fast. I can’t say if the rest of transit system works as well, but I hope to test more of it as I explore the city. Also, I will be riding my bike a lot more in the upcoming weeks. The bus has been good so far, but I have always found it to be quicker and more beneficial to ride your bike.