In April of 2003, I made a choice to sell my car and use the bus as my primary form of transportation. (To find out why, read my first Real Change column.)
In these first three “car-free” years, I have come to the following conclusions:
1. Seattle has one of the best bus systems in the country.
Though there is certainly room for improvement, having ridden the bus in many other cities (including Houston, Detroit, San Francisco, Boston, and Aspen), I can honestly say that King County Metro leads the pack.
2. It is possible (if not always convenient) to live here without a car.
Of course, it is not possible for everyone (delivery drivers, for example), but for most who are willing to make a few small changes to the way they live–and one big change to the way they think–it is a viable option. And now that Seattle has a car-sharing program (for those dog food/fertilizer/Costco runs) there is almost no risk to try it.
3) Future development of our city should focus on accommodating public transportation–not cars.
Part of the reason people are so shocked when I tell them I don’t have a car is because the cities and neighborhoods in our region were not constructed with the car-free individual in mind. From now on, they need to be. We must grow more efficiently and create an infrastructure that accommodates walking and riding–that is, unless we’d rather see more cars on the road.
4) Seattle really, really needs rapid transit.
Buses are good–certainly far better than the alternative of everyone driving alone–but let’s face it: They’re only part of the solution. A truly successful system integrates buses with a mode of transportation that is both nonpolluting and independent of traffic.
If you ride the bus in this region, want to ride the bus in this region, or just want to know what it’s like to ride the bus in this region, this blog is for you. You will find resources and information about our current bus system (for example how to get started, get around, or find the best solution to a transportation problem).
If you are interested in the future of public transportation or the future of this (beautiful but rapidly changing) city, this blog is for you. You will find information about current and upcoming transit projects, regular analyses of the gaps in service, and information about development projects that will influence the viability of a long-term transit solution.
Finally, if you are interested in your fellow citizens, this blog is definitely for you. You will find regular stories about all of the brilliant, insane, angry, kind, confused, beautiful people I encounter and observe every day.
If you’ve gotten this far, I hope it is because you are at least somewhat interested in coming back. I hope you will do so often.