The past couple of weeks I’ve been trying out a different bus route home — the 14, which runs from Blake Transit Center to Pioneer High by what is probably the most circuitous and esoteric route imaginable. Unlike most AATA buses, the 14 doesn’t run directly through the center of town (State, Packard, Main, etc.). Instead it goes up Fourth, down Huron to the University of Michigan Hospital complex, where it makes a circuit through the parking lot next to the main hospital building, the Taubman Health Center, and then heads back the way it came and turns onto Observatory. It then turns left on Geddes and heads at least a half mile out, making a surprising right onto Arlington (surprising because it’s hard to imagine the well-heeled homewoners along this road allowing a bus route on their thoroughfare without a huge fight).
After a leisurely crawl through this district of tree-fronted manses, the bus turns and heads across Stadium, circles around some of the Arbor Village and Ann Arbor Woods apartment complexes on Medford and Manchester, and turns back onto Stadium near Tappan Middle School, where it travels until hitting Pioneer High. All told, it’s about a 20-minute trip from Blake Transit Center to Stadium and Packard, but it’s worth the extra time.
There are never very many people on the bus — I don’t usually see more than a half dozen in all on any one night, though one night this week the bus I rode had almost all of its seats filled — and you get to see parts of town that you can’t get a look at when you’re driving or walking, not to mention the somewhat felicitous weirdness of being able to gawk at the ostentatious plots of land in the stretch along Arlington, most of which, even with the carefully tended and impossibly huge expanses of grass (these aren’t yards, they’re football fields) and the occasional open garage, never look as if anyone lives on them (I wonder idly when the houses on them were built and how much they would list for if they were put on the market). An elderly couple got off the bus in the Arlington neighborhood one night last week, but otherwise I’ve seen only one or two people ever disembark there.