Monthly Archives: March 2006

Moving to the ‘burbs to reduce your cost of living?

Not so fast! It’s difficult for folks to afford to live in this region, suburbs or not, but Seattle is one of the few cities in the country where it is possible to get a location-efficient mortgage (LEM). If you buy in a community that provides strong alternative transportation options, the money you will save on commuting is counted as income, and you can qualify for a larger mortgage than you otherwise would have.

On a related note, I found this on Detroit’s Transportation Riders United Web site:

Common mortgage-lending practices make urban living artificially unaffordable. …

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It’s not that community college in Tacoma, but it does offer classes

Today, I met with Rachel from Transportation Choices Coalition (TCC, for the sake of my weary fingers) at Red Line on Capitol Hill. Seattle doesn’t have a red line, but we will if the folks at Rachel’s organization have anything to say about it. (OK, maybe not a red line: Check out this funny article about LA’s subway-color debate.)

As is my custom, I digress.

TCC is a nonprofit organization that advocates for true transportation choices–not just public transportation, but also better infrastructure for bikes and pedestrians–in Washington State. TCC works with legislators and government agencies to …

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Metro buses eat their veggies

King County recently announced plans to significantly increase the amount of biodiesel fuel used by Metro buses. Metro’s current biodiesel blend contains 5% biodiesel and 95% Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel. The goal is to increase the percentage of biodiesel to 20%, in support of the county’s intention to “cut pollution, reduce our dependence on foreign oil and encourage growth in the domestic clean-fuel industry.”

No word yet on a timeline, but your friendly neighborhood bus chick is on the case.

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Category: seattle stuff

Everything you ever wanted to know about Metro

If you’re interested in a good overview of the agency, check out this Wikipedia entry.

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Friday was a 234

This week was a week of obsession with numbers. I think it had something to do with the release of Prince’s 3121, which I am listening to as I type. I apologize to my neighbors for the liberties I have taken with the volume control on my computer speakers.

But I digress.

I have taken to keeping track of all the buses I ride in a day and (for reasons I cannot fully explain) adding up the numbers. I assign the final sum to the day–a sort of reverse numerology. A higher number usually means that it was a …

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Not that kind of transportation

My parents recently moved to a condo on Harbor Ave., the main drag between the West Seattle Bridge and Alki beach. Despite the fact that two buses–the 37 and the 53–stop mere steps from their door, it is nearly impossible for me to visit them.

Of the two routes, only the 37 goes downtown. Unfortunately, it runs to downtown only in the morning, from downtown only in the evening, and only eight times a day each way (twice a day each way on Saturday). The 53 goes to the Alaska Junction, which is a transfer point to buses that go …

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…and chocolate for energy

Back when I was considering going car-free, I feared that becoming a bus chick would also cause me to become a homebody. I knew I could get to work and to my regular haunts on the bus, but what about a party in Renton on Saturday night, or a reading at an obscure bookshop in Ballard? I worried that I would decide events like these were not worth the trouble and give up the active life I had grown used to.

I am happy to report that, three years into this experiment, my life is as active as ever. …

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American convenience, Bus-Chick style

Much as I love my life on the bus, errands can sometimes be a hassle. Take grocery shopping. I like to buy produce from local, organic farmers, and back when I had a car, I always did. These days, my success rate isn’t quite as high. Though my favorite co-op is less than a mile and a half from my house, I have to take two buses to get there, and sometimes (a lot of times) I decide it’s not worth the trouble. As a result, for the past few years, I have found myself either a) not eating …

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Taking the “community” out of community meeting

As promised, my trip report from tonight’s public meeting:

Let me start by saying that, though I would like to see the city reexamine its focus on a car-centric infrastructure, I certainly understand the need to maintain (and even upgrade) our roads and bridges. This is not a public transit nut’s rant about the amount of money spent on roads. This is an ordinary (well, not exactly ordinary) citizen’s rant about being blatantly manipulated by the people she has entrusted to run her city.

A couple of weeks ago, I received a flyer from SDOT in the mail. The …

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Sound off

If you have an opinion about Seattle’s transportation priorities (Is it possible that you don’t?), you are invited to attend any of a series of public discussions – hosted by the mayor, Councilmember Jan Drago, and the Seattle Department of Transportation–on the subject.

It appears that the discussions are going to focus on which highways to repair and upgrade, but I intend to attend the meeting at Garfield Community Center (tomorrow at 6:30) and raise my voice in support of a strong public transportation infrastructure. I hope to see some of you there.

If you don’t have …

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