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    Bus Users Stand in Middle of Parking Lot

    Here's a good article on how bus users must wait in the middle of the parking lot instead of being able to catch the bus at the door of the mall. We all know this is done to reduce the number of "undesirables" who use public transit. I've seen the same treatment in Simon malls are over NJ and it's horrible! During the winter, you freeze waiting outside by the shelter and in the summer, it's an oven waiting for the bus.

    I was at a mall the other day where the bus shelter was located in dark corner of the the parking lot! Quite dangerous if you ask me. Another mall where I live has no bus shelter at all with everyone standing out in the elements.

    One thing is certain, I will never go to a mall without a bicycle.


    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Malls pull out all the stops
    Sunday, July 15, 2007
    Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

    You wouldn't want to be a worker with a wheelchair, or shopper in her eighties, when taking a bus to Ross Park Mall.

    You wouldn't want to be the bus driver either. Andy Casciato, driver of the 12A "North Hills Shopper,'' took an earful of complaints when he pulled up at the new stop more than 150 yards from the mall's entrance that first Monday in the rain, and he's still hearing about it.

    The stop was shifted well away from stores at Century III Mall about the same time, and South Hills Village Mall distanced itself from its transit customers more than a year ago. All three malls are owned by the Simon Property Group, but mall managers say the decisions to move the bus stops to outer edges of the parking lots were made independently.

    The Simon group got good press recently for "green initiatives'' like cutting its electricity usage, and a spokesman for Sustainable Pittsburgh said the discouragement of transit ridership is out of step with that trend. For those riding the buses to work or to shop, though, the change is much more personal than any big-picture concepts such as global warming or gasoline imports.

    "It's downright scary when you are there at night by yourself and the stores are all closed,'' Betty Muschar, a worker at Sears at Ross Park Mall, wrote in an e-mail about the stop that stands across the parking lot and on the other side of the perimeter roadway. "One Sunday, I was at the bus stop for an hour and 10 minutes by myself. I just cried.''

    Lisa Earl, mall manager, said the bus stop was moved because of "negative feedback from customers and retailers having to navigate through large groups of people'' when buses stopped near the mall entrance. There was also a problem with trash and buses damaging the asphalt, she said.

    Asphalt damage is the reason Century III Mall in West Mifflin moved its stop 300 to 400 feet across the parking lot, Gina Mercorelli, mall manager, said. Heavy bus usage had pushed asphalt up a foot, she said. "It's more than a divot.''

    South Hills Village moved its stop last year, but the mall manager was unavailable for comment.

    Whatever the reasons, Hazel Wasielewski, 80, of the East Allegheny neighborhood of the North Side, has cut back on shopping at Ross Park since she has been forced to take the long walk. She'd heard the change had something to do with undesirables, but said, "undesirables also have cars.'' She hoped the stop moved back before winter.

    A young worker who came off the 12A in a wheelchair didn't want her name used but talked as she wheeled toward the mall. I hadn't noticed the route was a bit uphill until I watched her.

    "Snow -- I'm not sure how I'm going to deal with that,'' she said, "even though I'm kind of strong. It's going to be a pain.''

    The Port Authority would like to see the stops moved back, but it has no leverage. The new routes at Century III require turnarounds and add time and expense, authority spokesman Bob Grove said.

    On a beautiful day, the long walk doesn't much matter for most people. More than a dozen other riders were on the 12A with me when I boarded Downtown about 11:30 a.m. Thursday, and handfuls of people got off and on before we arrived at the mall. Some were shoppers, some workers, and all seemed reasonably fit. The walks were good for most.

    But winter will get here soon enough, and that walk will keep some folks away and be a hardship for those with no other choice. Court Gould, executive director of Sustainable Pittsburgh, thinks the way malls treat transit riders is an indicator of overall customer service.

    "We should bring them to the front door,'' Mr. Gould said, "because they're doing us all a favor.'' Some of those bus riders might not have other choices, but we can be sure they're not taking any of the prime parking spaces.

    If this had a big effect on the malls' bottom lines, it wouldn't have happened, but I doubt strongly that most shoppers care whether they have to walk past people waiting for a bus. People have waited for buses outside malls since there have been malls. I expect, too, that most wouldn't want to force an elderly woman or wheelchair user to travel 150 yards in bad weather if they knew that was happening.

    The door at Ross Park says "Simon Malls/More Choices.'' How about a more imaginative choice than banishment to the far side of the asphalt sea?

    First published on July 14, 2007 at 11:25 pm

    http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07196/801562-155.stm

  2. #2
    Ya never know 'til ya try littledog's Avatar
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    Economic segregation is alive and well in the dying Podunk industrial town where I live as well. I imagine it is the same way everywhere.

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    Senior Member maddyfish's Avatar
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    Um. Maybe they are blocking the door? Or smoking? I hate coming out of a smoke free building into a huge group of people smoking. Or maybe it is private property and if they don't want a large group of people standing around at the entrance to the mall it is their buisness? Let the free market figure it out. If these people don't like it, they won't shop there, profits will go down. If the store workers who ride the bus don't like it, they'll change jobs. If profits go down, or workers are hard to find, then the bus stop will be moved back.
    Not too much to say here

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    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Same thing at the malls in this part of the country. BTW AFAIK they took all the bus shelters out around here to keep the homeless from using them. They have these funky plastic benches with dividers between the seats to keep you from laying down on them too.

    Aaron
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    Pedaled too far. Artkansas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maddyfish View Post
    Um. Maybe they are blocking the door? Or smoking? I hate coming out of a smoke free building into a huge group of people smoking. Or maybe it is private property and if they don't want a large group of people standing around at the entrance to the mall it is their buisness? Let the free market figure it out. If these people don't like it, they won't shop there, profits will go down. If the store workers who ride the bus don't like it, they'll change jobs. If profits go down, or workers are hard to find, then the bus stop will be moved back.
    Thanks for the excellent humor. I needed some this morning.
    "He who serves all, best serves himself" Jack London

    Quote Originally Posted by Bjforrestal View Post
    I don't care if you are on a unicycle, as long as you're not using a motor to get places you get props from me. We're here to support each other. Share ideas, and motivate one another to actually keep doing it.

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    Senior Member maddyfish's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Artkansas View Post
    Thanks for the excellent humor. I needed some this morning.
    I see nothing funny. What is the problem with having the bus empty/load out in the parking lot? People park there, and walk into the mall. Why should bus riders be dropped off and picked up right at the door? Everbody else has to walk out into the parking lot/bike rack.
    Not too much to say here

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve View Post
    Last time I took a bus to the mall, the bus stop was at only one of several entrances so car drivers who didn't want to rub shoulders with the underclass could park near one of the other entrances. Class segregation would only be a problem at malls with a single entrance. The bus stop could be placed near a low class outlet store and far from the Neiman Marcus or whatever higher class tenant the mall can attract. They could have a credit checkpoint to keep low income people from that upper class section of the mall. But I don't think this
    is in the best interests of the stores. The way I understand it is they want to get people on the financial edge, not over the edge. They make money from late fees and universal default. That is why the bankruptcy laws were changed recently to keep people in that late fee-high interest rate regime for as long as possible.

    As far as asphalt damage, around here the bus stops have special hard pan steel reinforced concrete at the stops when the road itself is asphalt.

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    Senior Member maddyfish's Avatar
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    You guys are the discriminatory ones! Who says just the 'lower class' rides the bus? Keep your judgementalism to yourselves.
    Not too much to say here

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    Quote Originally Posted by maddyfish View Post
    I see nothing funny. What is the problem with having the bus empty/load out in the parking lot? People park there, and walk into the mall. Why should bus riders be dropped off and picked up right at the door? Everbody else has to walk out into the parking lot/bike rack.
    A person in a wheelchair or with a walker who has a car has reserved parking by the entrance, typically less than 100 feet of walking. A person in a wheelchair or with a walker who takes the bus... doesn't. They now have a substantially longer walk than someone with the same kind of disability who is richer. For me, a move like this isn't a problem. For them, it's a serious problem. And in cities that get heavy snow, it is common for businesses to deliberately block off bus shelters with snow barriers. When blocking off the shelter blocks off access to the business, they don't do it, because it hurts them just as much as the transit users (or more).

    No, the average bus user isn't disabled. But the law in the US requires equal access to mass transit facilities, and this is *not* equal access.

    As a teenager, I thought the equal access requirement was stupid. It was "obviously" a waste of money on "improvements" no one would ever use. In the years since then, I've lost track of how many times I've used things like ADA mandated handrails, door buttons, and ramps to make life easier when my hands are full, I feel sick, or my hip is acting up. I was wrong as a teen. Even if everyone is ablebodied, the ADA accessibility rules change many situations from annoying or difficult to easy... and not everyone is ablebodied.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Torrilin View Post
    A person in a wheelchair or with a walker who has a car has reserved parking by the entrance, typically less than 100 feet of walking. A person in a wheelchair or with a walker who takes the bus... doesn't. They now have a substantially longer walk than someone with the same kind of disability who is richer. For me, a move like this isn't a problem. For them, it's a serious problem. And in cities that get heavy snow, it is common for businesses to deliberately block off bus shelters with snow barriers. When blocking off the shelter blocks off access to the business, they don't do it, because it hurts them just as much as the transit users (or more).

    No, the average bus user isn't disabled. But the law in the US requires equal access to mass transit facilities, and this is *not* equal access.

    As a teenager, I thought the equal access requirement was stupid. It was "obviously" a waste of money on "improvements" no one would ever use. In the years since then, I've lost track of how many times I've used things like ADA mandated handrails, door buttons, and ramps to make life easier when my hands are full, I feel sick, or my hip is acting up. I was wrong as a teen. Even if everyone is ablebodied, the ADA accessibility rules change many situations from annoying or difficult to easy... and not everyone is ablebodied.
    Good points. Also, if buses carry many people as they do around here, having the very high occupancy vehicles discharge closest to the stores minimizes the total amount of walking before the customer makes a purchase when you measure over all customers. Not every car can park close but every bus can discharge close.

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    Ya never know 'til ya try littledog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maddyfish View Post
    You guys are the discriminatory ones! Who says just the 'lower class' rides the bus? Keep your judgementalism to yourselves.
    In my city it was the hotels ,chain restaurant and big box stores that tried to block a bus transfer station and added bus routes. And the mall made people walk across a 4 lane highway to even get to the parking lot. The reason: undesirables and low income people must not have access. A city alderman was saying this on camera. Fortunately now there is temporary service to the mall after 35 years of the city trying to get bus access. People can't afford to own cars on minimum wages but they still need the job. Or they go on some kind of government assistance. Like the owners of the mall did when they opened. Only then it is called business incentives.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post
    Same thing at the malls in this part of the country. BTW AFAIK they took all the bus shelters out around here to keep the homeless from using them. They have these funky plastic benches with dividers between the seats to keep you from laying down on them too.

    Aaron
    It's just incredible how uncomfortable, dirty and in poor condition bus shelters are in general at malls. Whenever I visit a mall in the burbs (using train & bike), I'll look at the bus shelter to see the misery. To say the attitude is depressing would be an understatement.

    During the winter, it's freezing out there and really limits the number of time transit users can visit the mall. These shelters offer very little protection against the elements if they even have them. The malls themselves could care less if the transit users don't come because they consider the bus shelter a problem.

    Malls in general have the bus companies stop service early even though the stores stay opens late in particular the theater.

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    Quote Originally Posted by littledog View Post
    Economic segregation is alive and well in the dying Podunk industrial town where I live as well. I imagine it is the same way everywhere.
    Agreed.

    I don't understand why more people don't bicycle to these malls. Taking the bus to the mall, (as I did last month) you feel the segregation waiting at that bus stop. The bicycle gives you the same power as the motorist. The ability to come and go without being dependant on a bus schedule is called freedom.

    I was asking a guy at the bus stop last weekend, why not ride an inexpensive bicyle like me? He told me it was too dangerous. It's hopeless.

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    Senior Member grayloon's Avatar
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    Buses go to malls? I've seen stops out on the freeway access roads, not anywhere at the mall they can get on/off the bus. Malls don't want heavy buses on the parking lots most of the time. In many areas, malls are dying these days. People want to drive up to and park close to the door. Big strip centers are coming on strong.

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    Pedaled too far. Artkansas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maddyfish View Post
    I see nothing funny. What is the problem with having the bus empty/load out in the parking lot? People park there, and walk into the mall. Why should bus riders be dropped off and picked up right at the door? Everbody else has to walk out into the parking lot/bike rack.
    To me? What's funny is that this is a situation is automatically a problem for the ficticious "free market". To me it really sounds like a good example of bad civic planning. If the mall was on the bus lines when it was built, (quite likely), the mall and the city should have worked together to ensure that there was a good location for loading and unloading people taking mass transit. It's in the malls interest, in the city's and in the peoples. Buses don't have to load right in front of the main entrances nor do they have to load way out in the boonies. And its only a proper consideration to provide bus riders with safe and at least minimal protection from the elements.

    It's obvious that you and I are on opposing ends of the political spectrum.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bjforrestal View Post
    I don't care if you are on a unicycle, as long as you're not using a motor to get places you get props from me. We're here to support each other. Share ideas, and motivate one another to actually keep doing it.

  16. #16
    Dubito ergo sum. patc's Avatar
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    Wow, this makes me feel so lucky! Most of our malls are well served by transit - several malls are directly attached to transit stations, and brag about it!

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    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve View Post
    Agreed.

    I don't understand why more people don't bicycle to these malls. Taking the bus to the mall, (as I did last month) you feel the segregation waiting at that bus stop. The bicycle gives you the same power as the motorist. The ability to come and go without being dependant on a bus schedule is called freedom.

    I was asking a guy at the bus stop last weekend, why not ride an inexpensive bicyle like me? He told me it was too dangerous. It's hopeless.
    I am currently working in the Charleston, SC area. I stay in North Charleston. The motel I use is located in the center of a typical big box retail area. Everything you could ever want (except a grocery store ) is with in a 2 mile radius, even apartments and subdivisions. Of the single mall, 5 strip malls and probably over 100 stores there are NO bicycle parking facilities. The ONLY place at the mall to lock up would be to the benches that are placed at a couple of the entrances, or possibly a roof canopy support pole. The lights in the parking lot cannot be used, they have massive concrete bases that go 5 feet up before you get to the pole, and IIRC there is a city ordinance against locking up to a sign post (ie; handicap, or stop sign) The buses down here do have bike racks but they are usually full. There is one guy that locks his lower end Schwinn to a tree behind the bus stop at the edge of the mall, I have seen that bike for over 4 months in the same location.

    Aaron
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    Bike parking is a requirement in Madison. It's a regulation that (like the ADA) shouldn't *need* to be there, but it is easy for a business owner to forget that other people are not like them. In areas where city planning is weak and businesses can get plans almost rubber stamped, this can cause real problems.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve
    I don't understand why more people don't bicycle to these malls. Taking the bus to the mall, (as I did last month) you feel the segregation waiting at that bus stop. The bicycle gives you the same power as the motorist. The ability to come and go without being dependant on a bus schedule is called freedom.
    Sounds like the roads around your malls are better designed than around here. West Towne Mall is a contributing factor to a really *dire* sequence of intersections. East Towne Mall is if anything worse - probably 4-5 miles worth of poorly designed intersections on the main street running past the mall. I can and do bike to West Towne, but the last 1/4 mile is a real mess and I tend to end up walking. Once I'm through the last 1/4 mile, parking my bike is easy. I should try biking to East Towne at some point (it should in theory be the more accessible mall for me) but the area is so badly designed that I keep putting it off.

    The remaining "malls" are all strip malls and are unspeakably inconvenient in winter. No bus stops, piles of snow block sight lines, parking lots iced over... It's not very accessible or comfortable for me, and someone in a wheelchair or walker would find it impossible. If I'm going to walk in an open air mall in winter, I'd rather go downtown and hit State St. State St is *less* impossible, but it's still not a place any sane person would want to be in winter (you do get door to door bus service, but that's *it*).

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    this type of stuff is self regulating. Mall type stores are going out of business or scaling back left and right.

    footlocker
    lane bryant
    gap
    Macy's
    sharper image
    disney store
    Ann Taylor
    Zales

    All of those are mall type stores that are either going bankrupt or scaling way back.

    Now of course, it probably has more to do with the current economic conditions and bad management decisions.....however you can't rule out ease of access to the malls. If you limit one sector of the populace by making it very difficult to even get to the mall, you are going to lose sales.

    Personally, I think the mall as a shopping experience is a dinosaur, and completely consumer unfriendly. Eventually it will wither and die away replaced by something else.

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    Senior Member Rex G's Avatar
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    In the Houston area, I have never seen buses entering mall parking lots, and there are some huge mall parking lots around here. With few exceptions, the mall itself is quite far from the streets.
    Have Colt, will travel...

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    Quote Originally Posted by bizzz111 View Post
    this type of stuff is self regulating. Mall type stores are going out of business or scaling back left and right.
    \snip

    All of those are mall type stores that are either going bankrupt or scaling way back.

    Now of course, it probably has more to do with the current economic conditions and bad management decisions.....however you can't rule out ease of access to the malls. If you limit one sector of the populace by making it very difficult to even get to the mall, you are going to lose sales.

    Personally, I think the mall as a shopping experience is a dinosaur, and completely consumer unfriendly. Eventually it will wither and die away replaced by something else.
    I agree. Malls are dying, they will be replaced with Walmart, Interweb shopping, and high end shopping districts (like this one near me http://www.eastontowncenter.com/ ).

    I once lived in a city where the local Mall was also the major transfer point for the bus system. They had the transfer station set up in the back, it was a glorified signpost with a bus stop sign and below that the word transfer. I think they added a bench at some point but I forget. I find it quite convenient, there was an ATM machine in the mall and I could run errands or pick up a prescription at the Drug store there on my way home without any problems at all. But if Mall owners aren't enlightened enough to realize this source of customers then their business will die the death it deserves.

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    If a bus stop is on your private property, I wonder if you as the owner have to be concerned about lawsuits arising from accidents, crime, and bus-related handicapped access or discrimination issues.

    I don't know the answer to that, but I'd imagine it crosses the minds of the shopping mall owner's attorneys.

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    Quote Originally Posted by maddyfish View Post
    You guys are the discriminatory ones! Who says just the 'lower class' rides the bus? Keep your judgementalism to yourselves.
    I ride the bus occasionally, the most recent being approximately a week ago, from downtown to my home. One would have to either be blind, profoundly ignorant, in denial, or mentally deficient, to arrive at any conclusion other than that the bus population is predominantly poorer, working class or unemployed. This is especially the case in the USA. This is less so in more enlightened places like Europe, but it is still noticeable.

    If people congregating near the entrance to the mall is the problem, then I see no reason why they couldn't have set-down near the entrance and pick-up further away. If bus shelters could be improved (and they have to be) and carry useful and accurate information about bus times, then people would probably choose to wait inside the mall, rather than at the entrance.

    Edit: In fact the bus times should be displayed in a convenient and comfortable location inside the mall!

    It must have been a slow news day.
    Last edited by HoustonB; 06-26-08 at 05:28 PM.
    LOL The End is Nigh (for 80% of middle class North Americans) - I sneer in their general direction.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Platy View Post
    If a bus stop is on your private property, I wonder if you as the owner have to be concerned about lawsuits arising from accidents, crime, and bus-related handicapped access or discrimination issues.

    I don't know the answer to that, but I'd imagine it crosses the minds of the shopping mall owner's attorneys.
    Possibly...but what I find interesting is that they can allow the police to patrol and issue tickets on said private property, therefore rendering it public? Unfortunately property rights/usage in the US are seriously skewed by the tort laws.

    Aaron
    Webshots is bailing out, if you find any of my posts with corrupt picture files and want to see them corrected please let me know. :(

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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Torrilin View Post
    Sounds like the roads around your malls are better designed than around here. West Towne Mall is a contributing factor to a really *dire* sequence of intersections. East Towne Mall is if anything worse - probably 4-5 miles worth of poorly designed intersections on the main street running past the mall. I can and do bike to West Towne, but the last 1/4 mile is a real mess and I tend to end up walking. Once I'm through the last 1/4 mile, parking my bike is easy. I should try biking to East Towne at some point (it should in theory be the more accessible mall for me) but the area is so badly designed that I keep putting it off.

    The remaining "malls" are all strip malls and are unspeakably inconvenient in winter. No bus stops, piles of snow block sight lines, parking lots iced over... It's not very accessible or comfortable for me, and someone in a wheelchair or walker would find it impossible. If I'm going to walk in an open air mall in winter, I'd rather go downtown and hit State St. State St is *less* impossible, but it's still not a place any sane person would want to be in winter (you do get door to door bus service, but that's *it*).
    There are bike lanes out toward East Towne. But I haven't tried biking it. There is no way I am biking out there with the kids. The bus stops out side one of the entrances and there is even a shelter there. So couple times a year we take the bus.

    I like State Street, even in winter. I'm not a winter biker though, I take the bus there in winter. And keep in mind that it is not nearly as bad most winters as it was this past winter. Last winter was insane.

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