Monthly Archives: January 2009

January Golden Transfer

Golden TransferThis month’s Golden Transfer* goes to Laila B., a Wedgewood resident and fellow TAC member who managed to complete her entire library passport by bus. That’s right–Laila, accompanied by her two-year old grandson, Leo, took Metro to all 27 of the public libraries in Seattle. They did it in time for the January 2nd deadline, though was touch and go near the end. Says Laila:

On the Friday 2 January deadline day I still had three libraries left to visit (snow caused delay) — all quite a distance away from where I live in North Seattle: South Park, Beacon Hill, and New Holly. But four hours and eight bus rides (65,49,60,60,36,106,510,73) later we had made it back home for Leo’s nap and had turned in the completed form at the Central Library downtown.

Now if that ain’t deserving of an award, I don’t know what is. Apparently, the folks at SPL agreed with me; Laila was one of the winners in the prize drawing. She didn’t win lunch with the city librarian (this library lover’s fantasy prize), but she did get a goodie bag. (Correction, 2/4: Turns out, she did win a date with Susan Hildreth; all four drawing winners get to meet her.)

Like me, Laila was impressed by the passport program’s support of bus travel.

[I] had wanted to mention at the drawing interview that I’d visited all the libraries via Metro, but they went on to the next person before I had a chance to do so. I did, however, mention to the couple who started the project, Marsha Donaldson and Bill Ferris, on the special Libraries for All day back in October, how pleased I was that Metro routes were included in the description and addresses all the libraries.

(Marsha and Bill: Thank you!)

Unfortunately, Chicklet and I were not as successful at completing our passports as Laila and Leo. We petered out just shy of the halfway point**–in part because of weather setbacks, but mostly because I got sidetracked by other obligations. The good news is, the program hasn’t ended. There won’t be any more prize drawings, but, according to Laila, anyone who turns in a completed passport will get a signed certificate.*** How does she know this? She volunteers at the Central Library one afternoon a week.

Laila, Leo, and George
Laila, Leo, and Leo’s riding partner, George

Thanks, Laila, for your support of the bus and the library, but also for giving your grandson a heck of an experience in Fall ’08/Winter ’09. Here’s hoping some of it sticks with him.

*Yes, I know it’s been a few months since I’ve awarded a GT. Sue me.

**13 libraries: Central (27), Ballard (27 + 17), Capitol Hill (8), Columbia (48), Douglass-Truth (no bus necessary), Green Lake (48), Greenwood (48), Sally Goldmark (short walk + 3), Montlake (48—-Anyone picking up on a theme?), Northgate (27 + 41), Queen Anne (27 + 2), Rainier Beach (48), and West Seattle (27 + 55)

*** And you know how we library geeks love certificates. Chicklet can put hers next to the one she got for completing the summer reading program last July.

And again: Respect to those who came before

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

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.

(Source: Stride Toward Freedom)

I’ve posted this quote before, but I keep coming back to it because it moves me, and because it is applicable to so many challenges we face today.

Happy birthday, Dr. King.

Proposed south end service changes

Remember all that feedback we provided to Metro and ST last fall? (In case you don’t: It was regarding light-rail/BRT-driven bus service changes in southeast Seattle and southwest King County.) It’s time for round two. The agencies have published their proposed service changes, and they want to know what you think.

Highlights of the proposals now under review include:

Routes 7 and 34 – Decrease some of the express service during peak periods that duplicate Link service, spread those express trips out more evenly, and increase evening service on the Route 7;
Route 9 Express – Add more peak and midday service and extend the route to the Rainier Beach Link Station;
Route 36 – Extend all trips to end at Othello Link station;
Routes 42 and 42 Express – Replace these routes with Link service, and extend Route 8 along Martin Luther King Jr. Way. Route 8 will have more frequent peak-period service.
Route 48 – Shorten to end at Mount Baker Link Station with more weekday evening bus service for the area.*
New Route 50 – Provide east-west service between southeast Seattle and West Seattle via the SODO district;**

Route 107 – Modify routing and improve frequency of service;
Route 126, Route 140 & new Route 156 – Eliminate Route 126 and replace it with more service on Route 140 and the new route 156 between Tukwila/Southcenter and SeaTac via McMicken Heights;
Route 154 – Revise to operate between Tukwila Sounder train station and Federal Center South.
Tukwila International Boulevard Link Station & SeaTac/Airport Link Station – Revise routes 128, 129 (new), 140, 170, and 180 to provide more connections between local communities and these two transit stations. This includes replacing Route 170 with new Route 129 in north SeaTac;
Pacific Highway South – Eliminate routes 174 and 191, and replace between Federal Way and Tukwila International Boulevard Link Station with service from the RapidRide A Line and the new Route 124, connecting Seattle and Tukwila; and
Interstate 5 South – Revise service on routes 179, 194, ST Express 574 and ST Express 577 to reduce duplication between the bus routes and to provide connections to Link light rail.

You can attend one of many open houses or provide feedback via phone or e-mail. (See the press release for details.) All feedback is due by February 6.

* I’m not sure how I feel about this. I see many transfers to the 7 in my future.
** Hmmm. Velly intellesting … I think I could like this route.

Northbound 48, 10:45 AM

Two young women in their late teens/early twenties are talking relationships in the back of the bus.

YW 1: “He’s always asking for presents. He’s like, ‘Buy me this; buy me that.’ I would have bought him that ugly-a** Star Wars poster, but I didn’t want to have to look at it for the rest of my life.”

The eternal question (or, Bus Chick vs. game theory)

From the NYT’s Year in Ideas (via Dave):

You arrive at the bus stop to catch the ride to work, but the bus isn’t there. Your destination isn’t very far, so you think, Hmm, maybe I should just walk. But then you might find yourself halfway between stops when the bus whips past, which would be deeply annoying. What to do? Should you walk or should you wait?

Apparently, a few bus nerds from Harvard and Cal Tech were determined to find an answer to this question.

[They] drew up the problem as a classic game-theory dilemma, began crunching the numbers [or they could have just texted MyBus] and, three pages later, had their answer:

You should probably wait — and whatever you do, don’t second-guess yourself.

Buses [other than the 48], after all, are usually punctual and move much faster than you.

Read the rest …

That figures. When presented with this dilemma, I almost always choose to walk.

27 + 55 = Mom

Today, we visited the church where my mother’s ashes are buried. I visit frequently throughout the year, but it’s always hardest on the anniversary of her passing. She’s missed a lot in the two years she’s been gone.

In honor of a woman with no equal, who could pull off leather pants with an apron and heeled mules at a Mariners game, a Real Change column from 2007:

On Jan. 3, after a four-and-a-half year battle with breast cancer, my mother, Caroline Dunne Saulter, died. She was 61 years old.

Caroline never approved of my choice to live without a car. She blamed herself, for allowing me to ride the bus at such an early age; my father, for showing me how; my husband, for providing my first example of car-freedom; and me, for being my stubborn, willful (and impractical) self. She wanted me to live a mainstream middle-class life, to stay indefinitely when I visited (instead of until the last bus left her neighborhood), to be protected from the elements, and to be inside (either a building or a vehicle) after dark. Despite my unwavering commitment to my choice, she hoped that one day I would grow up, get over it, and just buy a hybrid already.

The irony of this is that it was, in large part, my mother’s example that gave me the courage to step outside the mainstream and choose a life that reflected my values.

Caroline’s commitment to her own ideals began at an early age. Despite her head-turning beauty and easy popularity, she chose not to accept the bigoted views of her peers in the suburban Ohio town where she attended high school and almost always found herself on the “wrong” side of lunch-table arguments. When she was 16, she took a bus by herself from Cleveland to Washington, D.C., to participate in the March on Washington. She remembered the experience as one of the most moving of her life.

In 1966, she left college, joined Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA), and moved to Oregon to help improve conditions for Russian and Mexican migrant workers. It was there that she met my father, a Seattle native and brilliant University of Oregon architecture student who also happened to be Black. They married — at a time when many states still had anti-miscegenation laws — and finished school together.

When Caroline was 28 and most of her girlfriends were shopping preschools, she and my father joined the Peace Corps and moved (along with my older sister, Carey, and me) to Morocco for two years. After we returned, she continued to give her time to the causes she cared about while raising her (eventually four) children.

When she was 57, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She battled the disease with grace and courage — continuing to participate in life to the extent she was able and, in the process, inspiring countless other cancer patients.

So it is not despite, but because of Caroline that I have chosen to live according to my beliefs. Though her life was cut short, she managed to leave the world in better shape than she found it. How could I, presented with her example, not attempt to do the same?

I wish Chicklet could have met her.