tampabay.com

Getting there

By LORRIE LYKINS
Published July 27, 2005


JUDY COLE, 56

THE STARTING LINE: Crescent Lake Park, just north of downtown St. Petersburg.

THE FINISH LINE: The in-house law library of the Hillsborough County Attorney's Office in downtown Tampa.

THE RIDE: A black, 2001 Toyota Corolla with 52,000 miles on it.

GAS MILEAGE: Not sure, but it costs $22 to fill the tank.

THE ROUTE: North on Fifth Street N to 22nd Avenue N, onto Interstate 275, north to Tampa. Off at the Scott Street exit to Pierce Street, then to the County Center garage.

Do you ever vary your route?

I listen to WUSF-FM 89.7 and if (I hear) there is a problem on northbound I-275, I take Fourth Street to 83rd Avenue to the Gandy Bridge.

How long is your commute?

Twenty-two miles by I-275; 20 miles by Fourth Street, 83rd Avenue and Gandy.

How long does it take?

Normally, 25 to 35 minutes.

Latest you can leave and still be on time?

Conservatively, 8 a.m.

What time do you normally get home after work?

It varies. I like to do all my errands after work to free up the weekends. But the evening commute has never been a problem, whether I do my errands in Tampa or St. Pete.

Do you ever carpool?

No.

How long have you been commuting?

Since November 2003, right before the price of gas skyrocketed.

Did you plan for a commute or did it just turn out that way?

It was a deliberate choice about tradeoffs. For years I've wanted to live on Crescent Lake, but my children were in good public schools in South Tampa. When they grew up and moved out, I realized my dream. But I love my job in Tampa. So I commute.

How do you occupy the drive time?

NPR's Morning Edition or All Things Considered or books on tape - I'm a librarian.

What do you like about the commute?

The 83rd Avenue shortcut between Fourth Street N and the Gandy Bridge. It's a minor part of the commute, but the scenery is enough to relax me for the day.

What do you dislike?

Being bullied by SUVs.

Any daily rituals related to your commute?

Only NPR.

Is there anything that you do on the road that seems to annoy other drivers?

I hope not.

What do other drivers do that drive you crazy?

Two things that might seem mutually exclusive: SUVs bully compacts, while large American sedans drive too slowly. In both cases I think it's because the drivers are self-absorbed. Why can't all drivers follow the golden rule?

Oddest thing you've seen while commuting?

There's a sign on a building I pass everyday on I-275 in Tampa between Lois and Dale Mabry. The sign reads "Goodbye Cruel World." I can't imagine what that's all about.