Skip to main content

Rider's Almanac Blog

How We Roll

How We Roll: Clayton Watercott

Posted by Drew Kerr | Thursday, May 23, 2019 3:05:00 PM

Associate Planner Clayton Watercott boards the Northstar Commuter Rail Line at Target Field Station in Minneapolis.

Many Metro Transit employees are committed to sustainable transportation, riding the bus or train, biking or walking to work and other destinations across the region.

These “How We Roll” profiles illustrate how much we have in common with our customers when it comes to how we get around. See you out there!

Clayton Watercott, Associate Planner, Transit Oriented Development

How do you get to work?

I walk about a half-mile from my apartment to the Anoka Station, where I board the Northstar Commuter Rail Line. It’s normally about a half-hour ride to Target Field Station, then a short walk to the Heywood Office. I’ve tried driving before and, even with dry roads, it takes about twice the time it takes on the train.

What do you enjoy most about your commute?  

Taking the train gives me time to meet new people and chat with friends that also work in the downtown area and beyond. As someone who used to drive a lot for work, I appreciate the relaxed but consistent commute time. Regardless of the weather, the train provides a smoother, safer, and faster commute than driving ever could. 

In warmer weather, I also like to bring my bike along for part or all of the commute home. Bringing a bike on Northstar is convenient, and if the weather gets rough, I can always catch the next bus or train going north. Having those options makes the commute fun and changeable, never boring.

Why is it important to you to ride transit?

Transit is much better for the environment than driving alone. When I was a student at the University of Minnesota, I calculated and quantified the difference in energy usage between Northstar and a rather efficient compact car. Even if the train only runs half-full, it still beats the efficiency of a compact car by a huge margin. This makes transit one of the critical elements in combating climate change. Even in 2019, there is no more efficient mode of travel than steel wheels on steel rails.

Secondly, but equally important, I ride transit because it’s good for my physical and mental health. Rather than sequestering myself in a single occupancy vehicle in stressful traffic, I get a measure of peace from my walk to and from the train station each day. On the train, I can create relationships and have conversations that would never happen if I drove. In a world where hypertension is a leading cause of death, I think the connection between personal health and public transit use is under-appreciated. I feel fortunate to have accessible transit where I live and work.