The following is written by Anthony Wilder Puzzuoli, a Grand Rapids citizen and Rapid rider.
Hi, I’m Anthony Wilder Puzzuoli. In the last few years, my wife and I have done a lot of traveling around the United States. While it’s always fun to visit the major attractions, I’ve found myself more drawn the mundane places. The places where people live their daily lives. The streets they walk down to work, the restaurants they stop at for lunch, and the shops where they buy their groceries. I like to imagine what it would be like to really live there.
Even when we return home to Grand Rapids, I enjoy visiting neighborhoods and walking down streets I’m not familiar with, exploring the city that we live in with fresh eyes and getting a feel for the different neighborhoods. Sometimes it’s easy to stay within our Heritage Hill neighborhood and hang out in our favorite nearby places. For me, it helps build a sense of community and connection to a place but, it’s important to get outside that bubble. There is so much more to our city to explore!
While I’ve lived in Grand Rapids for 15 years, I haven’t really utilized the bus system. I’ve taken the Route 50 out to Grand Valley State University a few times, and I used to take the bus to work in the mornings when it was cold and then bike home in the warmer afternoons. That was it. I realized that there was an entire system of transportation I had never explored in my own city! Routes I’d never been on. Ways to see the city I’d never experienced.
So, I made it a goal for 2017 to ride every route of the Rapid, at least once. I wanted to be able to understand our transit system and to use it effectively. I thought it would make me a better citizen, and enable me to see our city from a different perspective. I also thought it would be a fun way to see different neighborhoods and businesses I’m not as familiar with! I work at Local First, a non-profit organization here in town. Through my work there I came into contact with some representatives at the Rapid and they asked me to write a little bit about my experiences. I hope you enjoy it, and if you see me on the bus, please feel free to say hello!