Monthly Archives: November 2009

About those targeted alerts…

When are we supposed to start getting them? Given all the drama on Yesler last night, I’m assuming that the 27 was affected, yet I didn’t receive a peep out of Metro about a reroute or delayed service.

What gives? Perhaps the route-specific alerts aren’t live yet? Or perhaps I should adjust my expectations?

Bus Chick is thankful for Metro

This year, we bus folks are hosting Thanksgiving at our place, so we won’t have the pleasure of riding anywhere on this rainy, November day. Still, in honor of the holiday, I’m posting some food-transporting photos from last year’s bus trip to my brother’s place. (As usual, the pics aren’t very good, but this time, we have an excuse: We were transporting a baby and food.)

Busing with food

Busing with food
Busing with food

Heading home (or, Can I fix you a plate?)

Busing with food
Busing with food

Alas! I haven’t spotted (or transported) any fried turkeys of late.

Happy day, everyone!

Bus fouls: an update

One I forgot to mentiontwice–back in ’06 (an egregious oversight for a Seattle-based bus chick):

Placing a wet umbrella on an empty adjacent seat. Hey, when’s the last time you enjoyed planting your behind in a huge puddle of cold water? For optimum bus citizenship, shake off your umbrella before entering the vehicle and then store it under your feet or in your bus chick bag* for the ride.

*I have lost many an umbrella by leaving them on the floor, so I now always put them back in my bag. My current bag has a mesh outer pouch that seems to be made expressly for this purpose, but if you don’t have one, you can carry a plastic bag or umbrella cover to avoid getting your other stuff wet.

Positioning for bus luh (or, How to increase your chances of finding romance on the ride)

Earlier in the week, Bus Nerd hipped me to this Slate piece about subway psychology. It didn’t turn out to be as interesting as it sounds, but it did contain one useful (and fascinating) tidbit: Apparently, parking yourself in the seat closest to the door* “offer[s] the best opportunities for falling in love with the proper stranger.”

Talk about a revelation! If only I’d known this back when Nerd was a “proper stranger,” it might not have taken us so long to meet.

Unfortunately, the article does not propose any theories about what seat choice has to do with bus mack success rate. Anyone got ideas?

*On the subway, anyway. No word as to whether this works on the bus.

P.S. – For those not familiar with bus luh: a definition.

Saving service, part II

Assuming its final budget passes next week, the King County Council will not–I repeat not–cut bus service in 2010. From yesterday’s PI:

The council’s soon-to-be-released budget plan will not cut Metro Transit bus service next year as first proposed to fill a projected $213 million revenue shortfall over the next two years, councilmembers announced.

Instead, the council says its final 2010 budget plan will sufficiently plug the gap by diverting money from the King County Ferry District and by adopting recommendations from an audit that found $44 million in potential savings through running more efficient bus routes and other changes. In addition, Metro will eliminate 43 staff positions unrelated to bus service and start selling full bus-wrap advertising.

This is goodness–well, maybe not goodness, but not nine percent across-the-board cuts, either.

Though I happen to love the Water Taxi, I’m all for putting the Ferry District expansion on hold while we figure out how to keep existing transit service afloat. (Sorry, couldn’t help myself.) I have a feeling that the audit “efficiencies” they’re proposing to implement will actually negatively affect on-time performance, but that’s just a hunch, and regardless, I’ll take ’em.*

I am very (very!) glad to see that bus wraps are back in the mix. When the Council banned them in 2006, Metro lost three quarters of a million dollars in painless** annual revenue. At roughly $100 bucks per service hour, that’s a lot of service to give up over a handful of complaints.*** And since the program capped the number of wrapped coaches at 25, it affected a very small percentage of riders on a given day.

Me? I’d ride a wrapped bus every day (shoot, for every ride) before I’d give up service. But I digress.

The no-service-cuts budget also includes a 50-cent fare increase over the next two years: the 25-cent increase planned for January and another in 2011. Eh–so it goes. Ideal transit scenarios aside, I guess we all have to be willing to pay our fair share.

Update, 11/23: Looks like the budget was unanimously approved today.

*That is, assuming they don’t involve adopting the proposal to replace trolleys with diesel/electric hybrids.
**A vendor managed the selling and installation for a cut of the profits.
***Less than one percent of all of KC Metro’s complaints that year

Speaking of kids…

1) Another car-free parent, Jeremy Adam Smith in San Francisco, shares his reasons for riding (and walking) with his son (via: Carfree with Kids):

You can buy eco-products from here to the end of time; you can recycle and reuse everything you can; you can even buy a hybrid. But most scientists and engineers agree: The single best thing you can do for the Earth, the greatest positive change you can make, is to give up owning a private vehicle altogether.

Many people will see this as a terrible sacrifice — and in some places, it is almost impossible. But after fifteen years without a car — five of them as a parent — I don’t think we’ve sacrificed a thing. And in fact, our carfree family has gained a lot…

Jeremy goes on to list many of the same benefits that my family–and the (few) other car-free families we know–have experienced: quality time; contact with community; improved health; resourcefulness; and a real, on-the-ground knowledge of one’s city that simply cannot be duplicated from the isolated bubble of a car.

Can I get an “amen!”?

2) Some fun gifts for Chicklet and Bus-Baby-to-Be from my cousins-in-law, Erin and Eli, in NYC:

Transit Museum SWAG
Cute SWAG from the New York Transit Museum

Transit Museum SWG
The important parts of a subway car, or, as Chicklet calls it, “a light rail”
Transit Museum SWAG
“Chew, chew, chew!”

So far, my gratitude is overcoming my envy (I wanna go to the Transit Museum!), but the emotions are pretty much neck and neck.

Thanks, guys!

Something in the air

The Sightline Institute has a new parenting series on its Daily Score blog. Rather than simply discussing personal parenting choices, the series, Sustainababy: Growing up Green, examines parenthood “through the lens of sustainability policy.” Not to discount the power of personal choices (“Be the change you want to see” is, after all, my personal motto), but I’m really glad to see this. Certainly, policy has a huge impact on children’s health–arguably much greater than the individual decisions parents make.

The first entry, “Breathing for Two,” discusses air quality and its effects on unborn babies.

Early in my pregnancy I developed a bloodhound’s sense of smell: even the faintest of odors overwhelmed me. It’s a common phenomenon during the first trimester of pregnancy, yet my new nasal superpower took me by surprise–and forced me into an unwelcome awareness of the pollution that surrounds all of us. Car and truck exhaust, to my unusually acute nose, was pure poison. It made me recoil, hold my breath, gag, choke. My new super-nose could detect the smell all over the place–waiting at the bus stop in my quiet Seattle neighborhood, wafting through 5th floor downtown office windows, even at the park and in my own backyard. I realized, perhaps for the first time, that the air I breathe really stinks.

It’s definitely worth it to read the entire post–and the others in the series. The folks at Sightline want feedback and ideas from parents (and interested nonparents) around the region, so check it out–and chime in.

Merry Christmas, Seattle

Link’s Airport Station will open on December 19th.

Passenger service at Sea Tac / Airport Station begins at 10 a.m. on Dec. 19th. Normal Link operating hours are from 5 a.m. to 1 a.m. Monday through Saturday and 6 a.m. to midnight on Sundays. Sea Tac / Airport Station connects to the airport garage via a pedestrian walkway. Airport passengers will follow a separated guideway through the garage to the main terminal. Luggage carts will be available at the station.

See you on the train!

48 + 75 = disappointment (or, One way to spend Veterans’ Day)

Still no swine flu shot for Chicklet. [Sigh.]

Pharmacy: 700 doses
Line outside pharmacy: 1,000+ people (probably closer to 2,000)

Line for H1N1 vaccine in Sand Point
Line for H1N1 vaccine in Sand Point

I’ve never seen a line so long–not even the time I waited for half a day to score New Year’s Eve Prince tickets. It was up to four blocks before the walk-in clinic even opened.

No more shots today

There’s supposedly another walk-in clinic tomorrow. It starts at 9:00. 5:48 (AM!!!) 75: Here we come!

27 + Link = Seahawks!

Despite the fact that my Sonics are long gone, Nerd and I were still able to witness a Detroit/Seattle matchup this weekend. I am, of course, happy the Hawks won (What about them Seeeeeahawks?!), though sad for my beloved that his team lost. Then again, given the mood of the Hawks fans in the first quarter (and Nerd’s prominently displayed Lions gear), it’s probably best that things turned out as they did. I digress.

Is it just me, or is Link’s Stadium Station not the best stop to use to get to Seahawks Stadium? Of course we loved having an excuse to ride Link, but, given the amount of walking (backtracking north, that is) we had to do, it would probably have made more sense for us to get off at the ID station–or just to have walked the entire way from Pioneer Square.

Regular Seahawk/Sounder Link riders, what say you?