It’s been quite a long day for us: Capital Metro staff and volunteers were at every station beginning about 5 a.m. this morning, and again this evening, to help MetroRail passengers ride the rails. My feet are kind of tired, but I gotta tell ya, even after working a 14-hour day, I feel pretty energized right now. I suspect my colleagues and friends are feeling similarly.
What does it for me is the sense of community I feel when I spend time at one of our stations. I’m partial to MLK, Jr. Station (my neighborhood station), but I think the feeling is the same for a lot of the stations.
I was at MLK, Jr. Station this afternoon, and the excitement and pride felt by those in the neighborhood over their stop on the rail line was downright palpable. Capital Metro is running the Red Line, but the stop at Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd and Alexander is MLK neighborhood’s stop. Let me introduce you to the neighbors.
Robert, Jr. and Lily live just south of the station. Lily’s lived in the neighborhood for 15 years, and they came down to the station “just to ride the train.” Lily says, “We’ve been waiting for three years–we see the trains all the time, and we just wanted to ride.” They rode to Downtown Station and back.
Joe is a character! He didn’t ride the train but tooled down the 2 miles from his house to the station on his bicycle to scope the scene. He watched the people coming and going, and reminisced about his long history living in East Austin. His cap read, “I’m retired. Don’t ask me to do a damn thing.”
Ashley may have been the most touching. First off, her dad is a StarTran bus operator for Capital Metro, with 20 years under his belt. Second, you can see her house from the MLK Station. She walked to the station to take her first train ride ever. She rode to Downtown Station and back, and when she got off the train, she hugged me. “That was the most amazing thing, and so fast. The traffic stops for us!”
🙂 Staff and volunteers will be at it again tomorrow–I hope to meet you. Come on out, and get to know your neighbors.