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For those interns that commute to Warden/Entreprise via YRT or TTC, this post shall be very familiar.
To those of you ride TTC, I sympathize with your journey simply because of how crowded the buses are and how unreliable/infrequent they are on Warden Avenue (68B). Thankfully, I commute by the VIVA Green. It is definitely one of the recommended ways to get to the IBM Software lab if its availability and accessibility fits your schedule (runs during rush-hours only). It covers 10.5 kilometres in 22 minutes which is a pretty decent rate for a bus in Toronto traffic AND it is relatively on time.
Here are a few of the starting points that may seem familiar to you (TTC/YRT and Viva respectively).
The first thing on every intern’s mind when they come across this intersection for the first time, likely on Orientation day, is “How in the world do I get across?” This isn’t your average intersection because of the complication of the VIVA station on the side. All paths from this intersection lead to the one in the second photo (where VIVA users start off). There are plenty of quirks to this intersection.
To start off, if you get off a VIVA bus and see that the traffic on Warden is slowing down, likely because of a red light, it’s in your best interests to sprint the 40 yards to the ‘Request Crossing’ button, pull a long dive and hit it before the traffic off of Entreprise boulevard gets the green light. If successful, you’ll get the go ahead to cross. If you fail this mission, it’s going to be at least three more minutes of waiting on this mindlessly long trek. If you don’t press the button at all, you will wait for eternity. This intersection only allows crossings when requested. Likewise, it is common to see pedestrians waiting for over five minutes before they realize something is wrong!
The fact that you must cross Warden Avenue through the middle of the intersection presents even more confusion to first-time users. Regular commuters will realize that you can pull off a curved crossing and walk almost diagonally across to get to the appropriate side walk (I do not endorse this method or hold liability for any damages or injury that may be caused in doing so). Drivers are quite impatient and might run you over if you coax them!
Once you have reached this point, you have successfully crossed the intersection but the journey is hardly over. You get a peek at the Warden/Entreprise southbound bus stop and you get nightmares of how unpredictable this bus is in the evenings. The real meaning of randomness is given for the schedule of these buses so any agenda using TTC from here is in limbo for a few hours. That’s a worry for 8 hours later however. IBM peeks out at you over the trees on the left hand side but alas, there is no way man can fight through the underbrush to reach their destination directly. It is the civilized long path we must take.
Walking down the Warden stretch, be sure to look both ways and not be run over by a rampant Viva bus looking to get to the bus stop at all costs. You can spend your time envying the IBMers enjoying the use of the flyover as they pass by and the hot sun mercilessly sends its rays upon you. You can also wince every step as you are still recovering from all the running of last night’s intern soccer game (this might be just me).
The real dangers on this trek are the gas lines. YES. You read it right. Buried gas lines under the footpath. One wrong move buddy and you could be blown sky high. There are subtle signs and warnings around but I’m sure many of us are unaware!
As you round the corner of Warden, you are greeted with the Children’s Daycare coming up. The first possible rest stop in the case of bad weather and/or you have children to be cared for ( an unlikely case for the average intern). Let’s just say it’s a bad weather shelter. The road on this stretch is really where the sun can burn you. Hint: Don’t wear a dark-coloured shirt/sweater/hoodie/jacket if it’s really hot. You can actually feel it fry once you get to this point in the middle of the summer. Some photos below of sights along the way.
Photos end here since no cameras are allowed beyond this point but with super fast elevators in the building, there isn’t much to describe. Thank god for the Tim Hortons staff who remember our daily orders and save us having to repeat it everyday!
For those of you that listen to their iPod’s or keep themselves occupied on the trail, you probably have no idea as to what I am talking about right now. Enjoy the scenery and keep your eyes peeled for these dangers. They may pounce on you one day!
Tip: For the Viva/YRT users, it’s in your best interests to wait for a Viva going the other way (other than the Green) at the Town Centre/Highway 7 bus stop as the walk is a good 200 metres shorter. Unless you run to work everyday, this is definitely the favourable option. This is only effective if there is another Viva bus coming by within the next 5 minutes. You can also avoid the dangers of the path.
Having spoken about this long journey, wouldn’t it be convenient if IBM built a direct path to the lab from Warden/Entreprise? I think that would more than encourage IBMers to use public transit to get to the lab if the walking route was more convenient. It would definitely make a Smarter Planet! There’s a flyover already for IBMers that drive but no solution yet for IBMers that traverse the dangerous wilderness that we vehicle-less call a commute.
The current trek amounts to a total of 800 metres (13-minute walk). A direct path could halve that to 400 metres and have better scenery on the way. Perhaps an underground tunnel would fix the issue in the winter? Your thoughts? Comment here or on the post on the group.