Summer of parks

Discovery Park
One of the key reasons our family has been able to make the car-free life work is that we stay local. By that I mean, the places we go regularly—school, work, church, grocery store, doctor, library, community center—are a walk or short bus ride away. (If we had to deal with long commutes, transfers, and crosstown kid-schlepping on a regular basis, I would have long since lost my mind.) But the fact that we keep our lives local does not mean that we never …

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How to pass the time at a bus stop, part VII

Draw in the dirt.

Waiting for the 8

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Car-free “vacation”: Yakima

This summer, I was invited to a statewide public transportation conference in Yakima, hosted, oddly enough, by WSDOT. Since my participation was limited to one panel discussion, and since the Bus Fam almost never has an occasion to visit the south-central part of our state, I decided to bring the entire crew along for a mini vacation.

I learned from Ryan, the facilitator of my panel, that there is an airporter from Seattle to Yakima—incidentally, run by the same company that operates the bus we took to Anacortes in 2007. Upon further investigation, I …

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Multimodal Monday: Link, then lake

Waiting for the train

One of my close girlfriends lives in Renton. Not Renton as in, near the Renton Transit Center. Not even the Renton Highlands. No, this friend lives deep in Renton–miles from the nearest bus stop, a long way even from a sidewalk.

Every once in a while, I take a Zipcar to visit her at home, but usually, we meet somewhere–either for dinner near RTC or downtown, or with our kids at a bus accessible park, library, or similar.

For our …

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Eastbound 3, 4:30 PM (or, Learning to love sardines)

As a veteran bus rider, I have had to deal with my share of unpleasant travel experiences. Like most sane people, I dislike bad bus rides. But—and I preface this comment by acknowledging that I have a rather unconventional world view—for me, it is often the “unpleasant” bus experiences that reinforce everything I love about the bus.

Case in point: Our Friday afternoon trip home from summer camp at Seattle Center. The kids and I decided that we could not endure one more stop-and-go, 45-minute ride on the 8 (the beautiful* thing about Seattle buses is …

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Eastbound 27 stop, Yesler & 3rd, noon

A young black woman with a beautiful, medium length, natural hairstyle exits a building near the stop and walks to it. Two middle-aged white men exit shortly after her and pause to chat on their way down the hill. Seconds into the conversation, one of them says, “[Rachel], your hair is the talk of the office.”

She smiles uncomfortably. “Really? Hopefully, my performance is as well.”

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On busing and bad language (or, the “s” word, according to Chicklet)

As I’ve mentioned on numerous occasions (here and here and here and here), my fellow bus riders are a creative bunch. One of the many areas through which they express their creative energy is cursing. If there were a world cursing competition, it would be held in the back of a bus. Or at a stop.

As I’ve also mentioned, the two mini bus riders with whom I travel most frequently are big talkers. And imitators.

I think you see where I’m going with this.

I am prepared to (and in fact regularly …

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Fully embracing the role

After 11 years without a car, I have made a purchase that will enhance my bus cred by an order of magnitude–at least. For bus chicks of a certain generation (OGs—OB’s?—like my grandma), it is the most basic tool for shopping, one you wouldn’t think of living without.

I, on the other hand, have made do with backpacks, stroller compartments, biweekly produce delivery, and a lot of schlepping. I have carried so many heavy bags over the years that I am certain to develop some kind of condition in the future.

I digress.

I passed this beauty on …

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Multimodal Monday: 180 miles

Here is my Chicklet, on the last Monday of the academic year, heading to school the way she has every day of her kindergarten career.

Chicklet walking to school

She and sweet B, who attends preschool on site at her elementary school, have walked (and sometimes run) in every kind of weather, a hilly half mile each way, without missing a single day–or ever being late. A half mile is nothing to my little people, but over an entire school year, those …

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Bus riders have sense

Stop sense, n: The ability to detect when one’s transit destination is approaching without looking out the window or at the digital display at the front of the vehicle; a subconscious awareness of the location of one’s transit stop.

Not to brag (ahem), but I have a highly developed stop sense. When I was nine, I would automatically wake up from bus naps about a block before it was time for me to ring the bell. These days, I can feel my stop approaching no matter where I’m looking or how many children I’m managing.

But yesterday, I started …

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