Most bus routes in Denver are north-south or east-west. When I moved into my new house in southeast Denver in 2004, I was fortunate to find the 46L, a diagonal route that basically ran from my house to downtown Denver and back. I could get on a block from my house and get off fifty feet from the door to my office building.
Effective today, 46L has been discontinued. The new southeast Denver light rail system makes my beloved route obsolete in RTD’s eyes. They’re probably right, but still, I’ll miss ‘er. My commute time was nearly the same whether I drove downtown or took the bus and that’s if I paid for parking. If I parked for free circa 12th & Pearl, driving took longer.
The 46L would wind around the neighborhood out here so to save time in the morning I drove over to South Cherry and parked my car on the street — where somebody vandalized my side-view mirrors, I won’t miss that part. What I will miss is the time I could spend reading on the bus before and after work and the people-watching opportunities that only public transport can provide.
Light rail is not a great option for me because I would have to drive to the Colorado Blvd light rail station (not that far, but further than South Cherry). Light rail would then take me downtown and drop me on the 16th Street Mall, quite a distance from my office at 13th and Sherman. In short, the new system would add at least 30 minutes to my commute each way. The 46L has spoiled me.
I was already leaning toward driving into work after my retransplant. As much as I enjoy riding the bus (and I really do), taking public transport means mixing with the public and that is something immunosuppressed people should generally avoid. This applies doubly for light rail and the 16th Street Mall shuttles because they are more crowded. I’m in favor of light rail and a big fan of public transport in general, and I’ll give the new system a whirl, but I suspect I’ll usually be driving into work. I’ll miss you 46L! We had some good times.