Glissette Rides Public Transit: Part 3 – Let’s Talk About Levy Park

Photo: Levy Park

This story is part of a week-long series challenging a native Houstonian to use public transit in everyday scenarios. Read parts one and two.

I work at a desk without any sort of direct sunlight. The most sun I get in a given day, besides my lunch break outside when the weather is nice, is on the drive home from work.

But I had had a stressful day. I didn’t want to go workout and exercise my stress away because I had a knee injury (this is what I get for trying to be healthy…), and I figured laying outside and reading a trashy YA novel was the best way to relieve the tension.

I’d heard all the fuss about Levy Park, a new development that’d opened to a lot of praise. I was excited to check it out until I remembered this article while I was figuring out my route an hour before I left. In summary: “The most successful public spaces are those given the appropriate level of visibility and physical connection, whether by foot, rail, bus or car, from any direction. Yet in the case of Levy Park, both are missing.”

Uh oh. 

I was going straight from work and only needed to take one bus to get there: my old friend, the 84. The 84 would then drop me off at the corner of Richmond and Buffalo Speedway and then I’d have to cross the street and walk 10 minutes to the park. Usually, the walking wouldn’t deter me. But my knee was killing me and I was trying to find the route that would get me there the fastest without a long walk.

That wasn’t going to happen.

To get dropped off closer on another bus, I’d have to add about 20 minutes to my trip, according to Google Maps. Google Maps had been pretty reliable and I preferred it to Metro’s own Trip Planner app, which tended I found to be a bit slow and wonky with arrival times.

I contemplated my options. I’d walk.

My bus ride was pleasantly comfortable (good ol’ 84), with droves of 9-to-5ers making their way in and out of the passengers that were on the bus for the long haul. One thing I didn’t think about was the hoards of people getting out of work at the same time that I’d come to my final stop. I hobbled off the bus, said an out of breath thank you to the bus driver — being injured is hard and perhaps harder on transit — and hobbled across the street just as the countdown timer hurried me out of the road.

The park itself was a little hard to find, even though I consider myself very direction-oriented.

By the time I made it, it had been 40 solid minutes since I left work: 20 to walk and find the park and 20 on the bus.

I don’t regret my decision. The park was lovely, although I do wish more than one bus had stops nearby, especially given the amount of public programming this park has. Since switching to Metro for my daily trips, I’d seen many bus riders that used walkers or mobile scooters to get around. It might not be as possible for them to walk as far as I did to get to the park.

I spotted the closest bench and sat down, opening my purse and digging out the book I’d procrastinated reading for weeks. I took a deep breath, looked up and let my face soak in the Vitamin D.

Photo courtesy of Levy Park.

Read the next installment of this series here

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Glissette Santana

Glissette Santana is the web and social media editor for the Kinder Institute for Urban Research.

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