Sunday, January 06, 2013

BUS STORY # 322 (San Mateo 140)

San Mateo 140/141 by busboy4
San Mateo 140/141, a photo by busboy4 on Flickr.

I’ve been working out near the end of the northbound 140 (not 141) San Mateo route for the past week, in “Santa Fe South” as I sometimes call this area of town.

Fact is, until this week, this area was actually less familiar to me than Santa Fe itself.

The area looks like new development in the high desert, only instead of houses, there are widely-spaced, big, one or two-story boxes of industrial spaces and cube farms, and some offices.

The view is something.

Directly east, the Sandias rise straight up out of the ground. To the west, the “five sisters” -- ancient volcanic cones -- are seen through a web of electric cables. North are mesas and the Jemez Mountains. And over all is that enormous dome of New Mexico sky.

This is where Balloon Fiesta Park is, and I think the view here of the morning launches must be spectacular. I think a lot of work must have trouble making deadline that particular week.

Then I think of the traffic.

Since ABQ RIDE stopped providing park and ride services, my wife and I have driven many an early morning to the Balloon Fiesta. I think about driving to work out here that week, and I think maybe it would be better to take vacation then.

Or else the bus.

But the 140 must surely have to deal with the same traffic. There aren’t any dedicated bus lanes -- unless the city creates them during that week. And I cannot imagine the city doing anything that might obstruct the automobile traffic in this area, during this event.

It is highly unlikely I will be coming this way to work come the next Balloon Fiesta. For now, the morning work traffic is heavy, but moves along. It doesn’t really lighten up until we cross Alameda (after the longest red light in the world).

The bus turns right where San Mateo ends. It makes a box down along I-25 past the University of Phoenix before finding it’s way back to Jefferson, then Osuna, which turns into San Mateo on the east side of the I-25 underpass.

It continues straight down south, down past the southern terminus of San Mateo at Gibson, and on into the grounds of the VA hospital.

It is a long route. The schedule says 90 minutes. It takes me an hour to get from the intersection of Lomas to the north end of the line.

Not surprisingly, the ridership empties out along Jefferson. There are few of us left when we are heading for the north end of San Mateo.

We are a silent lot, both coming and going. Only once this week have I heard conversation -- a passionate discussion of why the four undefeated college teams left in the NCAA Division I this week should or should not be ranked they way they are.

I’ve gotten a lot of reading done.

It’s at the bus stop waiting to go home that I have had conversations here and garnered a couple of small stories.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

sounds like slim pickin's for bus stories, but I'm sure you will continue to find some.
loved the "cube farms"

9:51 AM  
Blogger Busboy said...

“Slim pickin’s” might mean I’m not paying enough attention. Or it might mean other people’s stories are a lot more interesting than mine -- in this case, my story about me discovering the 140. I’ll try paying more attention.

I can’t take credit for “cube farms.” A cursory google failed to identify the person who first coined the term, but I did learn the concept came from an office designer named Robert Propst. He called his design “Action Office II.” More significantly, this was in 1967, which means the cube farm was one of the lasting contributions to American culture from the ‘60s. Made me smile.

3:30 AM  

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