Monthly Archives: November 2010

More snow talk

My latest for Grist: “Driving a car doesn’t mean being in control”:

It’s during the times we are not able to drive that it becomes clear just how little “control” a car-dependent life provides. Driving a mile or more to buy a gallon of milk or a box of Band-Aids may not seem especially remarkable until your alternator dies. Or gas prices rise above $4 per gallon. Or the roads are covered in a foot of snow.

Read the rest…

America’s best buses

Good announced the winners of the Best Bus Ride contest. (Actually, they announced them a week ago but neglected to inform me, one of the actual judges. As my brother Jeremy would say: Hated it!)

“Judges’ Selection: Green Line Rapid Transit Kansas City, Missouri

Best Bus Ride - judges' selection

Image: Arthur Cherry










The Judges Selection Photo will be featured in the next issue of GOOD magazine and will receive a monthly unlimited ride transit pass on your system, a year subscription to GOOD magazine, and a Transportation Alternatives’ “Room to Breathe” poster.

People’s Choice: The #29 in Chicago, Illinois

Best Bus Ride - people's choice

Image: Alex Burchard















Our People’s Choice winner will receive a Contested Streets documentary, a Not For Tourists Guidebook, and a one-year subscription to Transportation Alternatives’ Reclaim Magazine.”

The Midwest represented, despite the fact that the majority of the finalists were from the West Coast. (Three of the 15 were from Seattle, in fact.) My pick (also from the Midwest) didn’t win, but these two were high on my list.

Can’t wait to do this again next year.

snOMG, pedestrian edition

One of the things I appreciate about living in the city is that I’m never far from basic necessities. So, times like now (when even buses are down for the count), I can still walk to the grocery store, the pharmacy, the library, and et cetera. At least, theoretically I can.


Slippery sidewalks in Seattle

Slippery sidewalks are bad for bus riders

Don’t even get me started on the hills.

Several of my readers have asked me to remind Seattle folk that property owners are responsible for clearing the sidewalks in front of their homes and businesses. (In case you care, the requirement is spelled out in section 15.48.010 of the Seattle Municipal Code.) I happen to think this is impractical for several reasons*, not the least of which is the fact that (if we are to judge by the condition of the sidewalks) no one seems to know this.

But, in the absence of any concerted campaign by the city to inform citizens of this rule, we pedestrians must take matters into our own hands.

Psst! You have to shovel your own sidewalk. Pass it on!

*Who’s in charge of the bus stops? The sidewalks in front of parks? The stretches of sidewalk with no adjacent homes or businesses? Those folks aren’t doing any shoveling!

Transportation round-up

  • The Best Bus Ride finalists have been selected. (I’ve already completed my official judging duties, which I thoroughly enjoyed.) You can vote for the people’s choice winner here. Voting ends Saturday, 11/20.  
  • now has video profiles of local undrivers. Love. I’ve just added Merlin Rainwater and Betty Holman to my list of sheroes.
  • Got ideas about how to improve transit in Seattle? SDOT wants to hear them. The city is in the process of updating its Transit Master Plan* and needs lots of feedback from citizens. (FYI, this citizen is a member of the TMP advisory committee. I’m certainly looking forward to providing my feedback.)
  • Community Transit hopes to prevent further service cuts with its new “Buy local for transit” program.
  • A real-time ridesharing pilot will start on the 520 corridor in January. If you’re interested in participating, sign up here.
  • The DOT has released a series of powerful videos to discourage distracted driving.


*This is not to be confused with the Seattle Planning Commission’s Seattle Transit Communities report, which I unfortunately haven’t read yet.

City kids are good for the planet

In my latest Grist column, I present a different take on “green” parenting.

Kids playing at the Seattle Center's International Fountain (courtesy of: CEOs for Cities)

Most environmentally aware parents would say that we’d like to keep the planet in good shape for our kids. We’d like them to have clean air to breathe, healthy sources of food and water, and the good fortune to coexist with a variety of species of plants and animals. We’d also probably prefer that they not be drowned by rising sea levels before they reach retirement. This is somewhat (OK, a lot) ironic, since many of the environmental ills that threaten our children’s futures have been exacerbated by our attempts to keep them safe in the here and now.

Read the rest

A chip off the *old* block (or, Karma)

Back when I was a young BCiT, I made my grandma mad by (unintentionally) announcing her age to a full 55. At six, I couldn’t understand why she didn’t want people to know how old she was. Even now, I find all the shame and secrecy surrounding the number of years a person has been on the planet to be somewhat difficult to understand.

Folks, I’m no spring chicken. Unlike my father, I can’t claim to predate I-5*, but I am old enough to have a (somewhat fuzzy) memory of the Sonics only national championship. (Sorry, didn’t mean to start down that path again.) I’ve tended to view my advancing age as a good thing, since—for one thing—it’s advancing. (I’ll take being alive plus one over the alternative any day.) It also means I’ve lived enough years to have learned a thing or two—and that I’m inching ever closer to that Metro senior discount. I digress.

Last Friday, on an afternoon 3 ride home from visiting some friends on Queen Anne, little Chicklet passed the time (and entertained her neighbors) by making up a song about us.

The lyrics went something like this: “Mommy’s 38, 38, 38; Mommy’s 38—and Rosa’s 3!”

Eh. Hmmm.

Sorry, Grandma.


*I do, however, hope to outlive it.