Monthly Archives: January 2007

MLK Day recap

8 AM: Hot chocolate and Stevie Wonder’s “Happy Birthday Dr. King” on repeat.

Noon: 8 (that bus that just happens to run on Martin Luther King Junior Way), southbound, to Franklin for the march.

LPK at the march
Laura “Piece” Kelley was one of the many amazing people in the crowd.

2 PM: 8, northbound, to Seattle Center for the CD Forum‘s staged reading of Dr. King’s 1964 Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech.

3:15 PM: Monorail to Westlake, for the first time in at least 15 years. (It sure seemed a lot cooler back in the day.)

3:45 PM: 27 home.

6 PM: 27 back downtown for birfday dinner.

9:40 PM: 14 (plus a short walk) home.

10:30 PM: CAKE!

* * * * * * * *

MLK Day march, 07
The power of one

Martin Luther King, Jr., on the Montgomery Bus Boycott

From Stride Toward Freedom:

During the rush hours the sidewalks were crowded with laborers and domestic workers, many of them well past middle age, trudging patiently to their jobs and home again, sometimes as much as twelve miles. They knew why they walked, and the knowledge was evident in the way they carried themselves. And as I watched them I knew that there is nothing more majestic than the determined courage of individuals willing to suffer and sacrifice for their courage and dignity.

Respect to those who came before, including (and especially) Dr. King himself. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to celebrate his birthday (and mine) by raising my voice in support of peace and justice.

Bus Chick’s kind of place

Last night, I hopped on the 17 and headed to Ballard, a neighborhood I have visited more frequently in the past six months than in the previous six years. This time, it was to model a ball gown (seriously) at the Ballard Art Walk. (Modeling is not my strong suit–or, to be honest, my idea of a good time–but I have a friend in fashion school, and she had an assignment. But I digress.) Embarrassing pseudo-runway experiences aside, I’m developing quite a fondness for the place.

And what’s not to love? Though it’s not especially easy to get to from where I live, Ballard is served by lots of buses. It’s also pretty walkable (by Seattle standards, anyway), which probably explains why there are fun events like art walks. After yesterday’s, Bus Nerd and I headed to the (very rider-friendly) stop at Ballard &; Market, checked the schedules of the three buses (17, 18, 44) we could take to a transfer point home, and then headed to an Indian restaurant for dinner. We finished right in time for the 17, so we didn’t get to take advantage of any of the many benches and shelters at the stop. We did, however, witness an instance of bus (stop) luh. (Sometimes, even when it’s 30 degrees outside, you hate to see that bus comin’.) If I hadn’t been carrying a shopping bag full of makeup, shoes, and hair appliances, I would have snapped a picture. But, again, I digress.

Ballard is the home of Sustainable Ballard, an organization working to make the neighborhood the first carbon-neutral community in the country. And though they haven’t quite made it yet, lots and lots of Ballardites (Ballardians?) are pledging to drive less. My pledge: to hang out in this bus-chick-friendly part of our fair city (not wearing a ball gown) even more often in 2007.

I know I said I didn’t like writing about the weather

But if this ain’t a blatant example of carism

Carism in winter

Whycome they put dirt down for the cars but not for the pedestrians? A girl could mess up her fly winter coat (not to mention her tailbone) just tryna get on the 27.

Seriously, though, what’s the deal, here?

Carism in winter, part II

Yesler is a major street. Did the city drop the ball, or is it the responsibility of residences and businesses to clear their own sections of the sidewalk?

Speaking of passionate sports arguments…

Westbound 4, noon-ish:

A Seahawk hater and a Seahawk fan are arguing about the team’s chances against Chicago. The hater, who believes the Seahawks cheated their way to victory last Saturday (according to him, Romo’s bobble was the result of special teams players greasing the ball), claims they will lose badly. The fan is convinced of victory. In fact, he is so sure that the Hawks will make it all the way to Miami that he plans to wear “Crip blue” in their honor for the entire playoffs.

Says the Seahawk hater: “I guess you’ll be wearing it until Sunday, then, ’cause that’s the day those Seaturkeys are going down.”

Missing the bus

Since last Wednesday, I haven’t gotten out much. Aside from the trip to the Seahawks game (which I agreed to attend after a fair bit of cajoling) and a few other necessary excursions, I’ve been home, avoiding work, social engagements, and most errands.

Today, I can’t think of a single place I’d like to go, but as I watch the 48s and 27s and 8s and 4s pass by my living room window, I wish I was on one of them. I want to sit near strangers–the stranger, the better, in fact. I want to be distracted from the book I’ve been trying to read since November by folks talking to each other, or on their phones, or to themselves. I want to roll my eyes at that guy who opens three windows and then and yells at the driver to turn up the heat. I want to be surrounded by crying babies, exchanged phone numbers, stupid jokes, inconveniently placed grocery bags, passionate sports arguments, and ambitious knitting projects. I want to be offered an expired transfer for 50 cents, a pair of hand warmers for three dollars, a Rolex watch for twenty-five. I want to be the one who tells the newbie rider where to catch the bus to Southcenter.

All of my routes are running today, despite the snow. I think it’s about time to take a ride.

Carrots and sticks, part III

Let’s get the stick out of the way first. From our friend Mr. Singer:


Guess those muscle cars Detroit is so fond of haven’t been doing the trick.

And now, the good stuff:

From a recent American Public Transportation Association study:

• Public transportation usage reduces U.S. gasoline consumption by 1.4 billion gallons each year – or the equivalent of 108 million cars filling up, almost 300,000 each day. These savings result from the efficiency of carrying multiple passengers in each vehicle; the reduction in traffic congestion from fewer automobiles on the roads; and the varied sources of energy for public transportation.

• Households that are likely to use public transportation on a given day save over $6,200 every year, compared to a household with no access to public transportation service. These households have two workers, one car and are within three-quarters of a mile of public transportation.

For those of you who aren’t ready to go cold turkey: This study proves you don’t have to give up driving altogether to make a difference–to the world and your own bank account.

For the details, check out APTA’s full report.

Recent transit news of note

In Seattle:

• 2006 was a year of record ridership for Metro. The current estimate: 103.2 million passenger boardings. I’m guessing Bus Nerd and I account for about 10% of those. Kidding! (sort of)

The article also explains how Metro counts riders:

The most precise method of counting ridership involves the use of Automated Passenger Counters (APC) that are on about 15 percent of Metro buses at any given time. Most of these are floor mats that rest on the steps inside each door of the bus, and count the number of times people board and deboard. The APC-equipped coaches are rotated throughout Metro’s system, so that each route and each individual trip on that route is counted several times a year.

I always thought it was that beep you hear when you pay. (The bus driver presses a some kind of button that makes the same beep when folks show a pass.)

• Sound Transit’s board has released initial recommendations for the East Link route. They’ve identified several possible alternatives for stations and maintenance facilities, which will be included in the “conceptual engineering” phase of planning. Look for a draft environmental impact statement sometime in 2008.

Flexcar has a new pricing model. One of the coolest changes: Every vehicle will now have a “day rate,” a flat rental fee for any 24-hour period (midnight to midnight). I don’t think the details are on the website yet, but the changes (which, they’re calling Flexcar 2.0) take effect on February 1st.


• The Allegheny County Port Authority announced drastic cuts to transit service in the Pittsburgh metro area:

Authority staff has recommended eliminating 124 of 213 weekday bus routes starting June 24, thereby reducing the daily hours of service by 25 percent, to address an estimated $75 million to $80 million budget deficit for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

Similar cuts are in store for weekends and holidays, although no service changes are planned for the authority’s nationally recognized ACCESS paratransit system serving people with special needs.
Did I mention they’re also increasing fares?

Riders in Pittsburgh are understandably dismayed.

• Richard Bernstein, a Detroit lawyer who sued the city over inoperable wheelchair lifts, was recently featured on CNN. Viewers of Anderson Cooper’s “Keeping Them Honest” segment selected him as a top watchdog. Said Bernstein, “”It’s something I will never forget. I guess the voters realized that public transportation is vital for people’s lives and independence.”