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How We Roll Minneapolis Northstar

How We Roll: Mike Conlon

Posted by Laura Baenen | Thursday, February 28, 2019 3:11:00 PM

Mike Conlon

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!

Mike Conlon, Director of Rail and Bus Safety

How do you get to work?

I drive from my home in Lino Lakes to the Fridley Park & Ride, where I get on the Northstar Commuter Rail Line. Fifteen minutes later I’m at Target Field and take a short walk to Heywood.

What do you enjoy most about your commute?

Skipping the traffic between Minneapolis and Fridley. When construction started on Interstate 94 in 2017, the alternate roads became completely jammed. Construction in Minneapolis also meant there were too many users – automobiles, pedestrians, cyclists – for the available space. 

Under those conditions, it became clear that it would be easier and take less time to take Northstar. It’s a smoother commute both ways with few surprises. Going home, I traded the stress of fighting the traffic for fighting to stay awake, so I didn’t miss my stop. I’ll take that trade. 

Why is it important to you to ride transit?

It’s important for three reasons: pain, preference and perspective.

There was nothing altruistic in my decision to make transit a part of my daily commute. I did it because the pain of continuing to drive outweighed the pain of the change. 

But I also ride transit because I like it. It suits me. In every city I visit, whether it’s for business or pleasure, I use transit. I’ve taught safety classes for the Federal Transit Administration in 20 major U.S. cities and used the transit in each of those cities. I insisted on seeing and using the maglev (a magnetically propelled train) in Shanghai, China, as well as the local and high-speed rail there, and in Beijing, Xian and Hong Kong. I look forward to using the local and high-speed rail in Italy soon.

There is also something serendipitous about my local transit trips. If you pay attention, you can see some real kindness being practiced. When I ride Route 18 sometimes, I see folks make a spot for someone who may not be as able to get around, and it doesn’t matter how crowded the bus is. It just happens. Ten people launch into action, some finding another spot for themselves and others lifting the seat to make room. I am grateful for having noticed. 

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