Monday, June 15, 2015

And so it begins

I drafted the following post 11 months ago, but it never felt quite right. It wasn't until I attended a performance in September 2014, The Green Line, 11 Miles of Hopes Dreams, and Fears,  that I understood why. This really summed it up:

"Like physical therapy that follows surgery, what happens next is important."

For the previous nine years, I thought that June 14, 2014, Green Line Opening Day, was the finish line. It wasn't. That's pretty much what I've been thinking about for the last 365 days.

So, here it is - almost as good as time travel - my unpublished post from a year ago. Happy one year anniversary, Green Line!


In the final month leading up to the opening of the Green Line, I was fortunate to do two test rides for work: one with legislators to talk about transit funding, and another with City of Saint Paul policy makers (my people). I also participated in an adorable employee preview where we got a ride, a tour of the new OMF, ate sandwiches, and took turns honking the horn in the train cab (no supervision!)

Me, driving. No biggie.

In the weeks before the opening, I read approximately 10,000 articles touting and dispelling the Green Line, and was equipped with a METRO Green Line lanyard and tshirt. 

Team Raymond, prior to the hurricane.

Saturday morning, June 14th, was memorable and miserable. What started as a cool, cloudy morning devolved into total chaos as parties and passengers were drenched with storms and driving wind shortly after trains started running. I worked at Raymond Station as a platform ambassador, a bit in shock as we focused our energy on things turning into flying debris, and watched our neighborhood launch party get shut down tent by tent. 

Soaked and disheartened, I grabbed a food truck lunch while chatting with people who had made their way from the Depot, still dry and in good spirits. They seemed joyful, and I felt beat down.

I ran into these guys.

So Sunday was do-over day. I worked in the morning, talking to a lot of friendly and excited passengers on Westgate platform. Dads had dragged their (grown) kids out to ride the train for Father's Day, and (little) kids were squealing and smiling at the sight of the train approaching. The sun came out. After work, the hubby and I went to a Green Line party, featuring green food and green mojitos. I saw a friend on the crowded train and he gave me a high five. Yes. This was how it was supposed to be. 

But I have to admit - I haven't written about opening day because it wasn't what I had pictured for 8 years living on University. It was a little traumatic. And I was pretty disappointed, up until I saw these. In the stress and disappointment of my own experience, I missed the bigger picture. I could look through those photos a hundred times - familiar faces popping up throughout. 

In some ways, opening weekend was a good summary of this whole crazy process. Expect the unexpected. Survive. Thrive. All's well that ends well. My commute the last couple of weeks has been so strangely normal that soon we'll forget life before LRT. And so it begins.


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