Musings on Route 7

We recently moved to North Minneapolis from Detroit, Michigan (via a one-year stint in Northeast Minneapolis), and as a result, I am now a semi-regular rider of Route 7 for my daily commute. Compared with the 10 in Northeast, it’s a bit of a sleepy route, with only a 30-minute headway, and rarely is every seat full. It’s definitely not the rowdy, standing-room-only ride that my husband has on the 5 every morning.

Transit was not a particularly viable transportation option in Detroit, so even though I’m a transportation professional by trade, there are some things about riding the bus that aren’t really evident until you do it.

Things I’ve noticed recently on the 7:

  • The woman who stopped her car in the middle of Plymouth Avenue when she saw me running to catch the bus on Monday. The wave she gave me to cross in front of her had the urgency of someone who understood what it’s like to miss the bus because you’re on the wrong side of the road.
  • The morning bus driver whom I had pegged as crabby, a few days later taking great care to get a woman and her child in a stroller situated in the front of the bus — only to scold her a few minutes later for talking on the phone.
  • The toddler who waved good-bye to everyone while being pulled backwards in a stroller down the aisle on his way off the bus. And everyone who waved back.
  • The guy with the giant beard, fedora and fur coat who gets on halfway through my ride (if I’m responsible enough to catch the 8:05).
  • The direct correlation between the liquor store opening at 8 a.m. and the number of people loitering around my stop making conversation and getting on neither bus while I wait for the 8:35 a.m. bus.
  • The evening driver who pulled up behind a car parked at a bus stop, honking and flashing lights enthusiastically, and then picking up no one. The stop was empty. “I’m sort of anal about that. You need to be able to read to get a driver’s license, and there’s no parking at bus stops.”

The thing I like about the bus is the human element — witnessing the patterns in other peoples lives, interacting with them, seeing them interact with one another. You don’t get that in a car (and only a little on a bike).

Hannah Pritchard

About Hannah Pritchard

Hannah Pritchard is a pedestrian and bicycle engineer at MnDOT. Bicycle commuter, bassoonist, and cat enthusiast, Hannah has been part of the board since 2016.