Monthly Archives: October 2009

One way to keep kids safe in traffic

From The New York Times (via: Bus Nerd):

HUANGPING, China — All the students at Luolang Elementary School, a yellow-and-orange concrete structure off a winding mountain road in southern China, know the key rules: Do not run in the halls. Take your seat before the bell rings. Raise your hand to ask a question.

And oh, yes: Salute every passing car on your way to and from school.
Education officials promoted the saluting edict to reduce traffic accidents and teach children courtesy.

Good thing they don’t have that law here. Given the traffic in our neighborhood, poor Chicklet would never make it to school.

The wisdom of bus ladies

When I was pregnant with Chicklet, folks I met on buses and at stops regularly inquired about the gender of my bus-bundle-to-be. Some of them (almost always middle-aged to older women) were sure they already knew. “It’s a girl,” they announced confidently, almost to a woman. “I can tell because of the way you’re carrying/how tired you look/the curl in your hair.” (OK, they didn’t mention my hair, but I’m pretty sure my fingernails came up a time or two.) Back then, I knew they were right (since I’d chosen to find out Chicklet’s gender) and was duly impressed by their powers. How do they do that?*

Nerd and I have chosen not to find out the gender of Bus Baby #2, and, for some reason, I haven’t been getting as many (really, any) bus-based gender predictions. Or, at least, I hadn’t. Last Friday, as Chicklet and I were waiting to board the 8**, we moved aside to let a middle-aged bus lady off. She took one look at us and exclaimed, “Oh wow! A baby boy!” I was confused at first, since Chicket is a girl (though she was wearing a raincoat with a hood) and not really a baby anymore, until the woman put her hand on my belly and gave it a vigorous rub. “How wonderful,” she said. “Now you’ll have one of each.”

And so, it seems, it is settled. The power of the bus lady cannot be denied.

Guess this’ll narrow down our name options.

*I need to know, since, in the not-too-distant future, I will be a middle-aged bus lady.
**Have I mentioned how much I love that the 8 runs every day now? Sunday afternoon cravings for greasy fries (and tartar!) from Dick’s can finally be indulged.

Art and the politics of transportation

If you’re going to be anywhere near SoCal between now and December 11th, go see LA artist Diane Meyer’s provocative new photography exhibit, Without a Car in the World (100 Car-less Angelinos Tell Stories of Living in Los Angeles).

Car-free artist Melba Thorne (photo by Diane Meyer, via Green LA Girl)

Here’s an excerpt from Green LA Girl’s review:

Without a Car pairs photo portraits of 100 L.A.-area residents (including me!) with brief quotes from their interviews about car-free living. Far from a simple hurrah for automobile-free living, the exhibit features interviews both from those who are proud of their car-free lifestyles to others who sound deeply unhappy about a car-less-ness that’s been imposed on them, whether due to financial concerns, disability, or other reasons.

In fact, the juxtapositions of these points of view are what makes Without a Car especially poignant. One Angeleno talks about how taking public transportation’s so much easier and convenient than people think it is. Another expounds on the difficulties of getting around by bus — how long it takes, how unreliable the system seems.


What the exhibit makes clear is that going car-free’s an extremely individual experience — and that race and class play heavily into how pleasant that experience is going to be.

This looks (and sounds) absolutely amazing. If you’re able check this out, hit me up (or comment), and let me know what you think.

And one more…

This one’s for transit-geek types:

Transit Applications and Data Workshop

What: A workshop for developers who make (or want to make) software applications using Metro’s data.

Do you develop applications using transit data, or are you interested in doing so? Come to a free workshop hosted by King County Metro Transit and tell us how we can partner with you to make it easier. The event will include a panel discussion, an opportunity for participants to demonstrate their applications, a breakout session for exploring specific topics such as data feeds, real-time information, and upcoming updates in Metro technology.

When: Thursday, October 22nd, 4 PM – 7 PM
Where: King Street Center
How much: Free! (Registration is required.)

This is goodness. I am glad to see Metro taking advantage of our significant local brain resources. Partnering, educating, and providing easier access to data will only benefit the agency (and all of us).

P.S. – Bus Nerd (my favorite local brain resource) is planning to attend. :)