Monthly Archives: April 2011

Streetfilms on a big screen

I’ve been meaning to tell you about this great Streetfilms series ever since they launched it way back in February.

Moving Beyond the Automobile is a ten part video series which explores solutions to the problem of automobile dependency. It’s a visual handbook that will help guide policy makers, advocacy organizations, teachers, students, and others into a world that values pedestrian plazas over parking lots and train tracks over highways. Cars were then, and this is now. Welcome to the future.

Now, I have a really good reason: Mr. Streetfilms, Clarence Eckerson, is in town, and he wants to watch it with you. Check it.

An Evening with Clarence Eckerson
What: A “special showing of a select lineup of shorts [which] will include a first time public showing of films from [Streetfilms’] new 10-part series, Moving Beyond the Automobile, and will feature commentary and a post-film Q&A with filmmaker Clarence Eckerson Jr.”
Where: REI Seattle (222 Yale Street)
When: Friday, April 29th, 7 PM
How much: $7 (Members of sponsor orgs get a discount on advance ticket purchases.)

I’m going (absolutely would not miss it). Hope to see you there.

Southbound 48, 2:45 PM

Two high-school age girls are chatting in the seat facing the back door. The conversation is lighthearted, until one of the girls casually checks the ingredients of the “juice” concoction she is drinking.

Girl 1, staring at the bottle: “Skim milk? What’s skim milk?”

Girl 2: I don’t know. “Maybe it’s like soy milk. I can drink soy milk.”

They discuss for a few minutes but neither seems to know for sure. Girl 1 starts to become agitated. Both start looking around for someone to ask and finally tap a boy about their age, who is listening to his headphones.

Girl 2: “Excuse me, do you know what ‘skim milk’ is?”

The boy looks at them blankly. Since I’ve been eavesdropping (per usual), I butt in.

“It’s milk without fat in it.”

Girl 1: “Does it come from a cow?”

I confirm.

Girl 2, giggling: “You’re going to Hell.”

I <3 transit

This week, it’s time for us transit types to engage in a different kind of bus luh. (Though of course, it’s really fine for us never to engage in the standard kind.) APTA’s trying to show Congress that there’s public support for public transportation.

Transit Lovers Unite
“I <3 Transit” engages public transit riders via mobile text campaign Washington, DC –The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) and its more than 1,500 members are launching “I <3 Transit”(I heart transit), a mobile text campaign, to engage riders across the country and demonstrate the importance of public transportation to individuals, communities and the nation. The campaign, which starts this week, allows participants to show their support for increased public transit funding by simply texting “transit” to 86677. Each year 10.2 billion trips are taken on the nation’s public transportation systems. Riders depend on their local transit provider for freedom, mobility and access. By texting “transit” to 86677 public transit riders and enthusiasts alike can stand together in support of public transportation. This simple action helps spread the message that Americans want public transportation as a travel option in their daily lives.

If you can’t figure out how to do the symbols on your phone, just text “transit.”

Do it!

Bus Chick’s heavyweight

Not too many years ago, the bus I took most often was the 48, also known as “Forty-late,” “Dr. 48” and “the Tiger Woods* of the system.” I rode it south to Judkins Park (NAAM), Columbia City (dentist/homegirl), and Rainier Beach (friend visits), north to 23rd & Union (church, beauty shop), Montlake (545 transfer), the U District (pseudo-intellectual/artistic coffee joints, various readings and events), and Green Lake (Friday play dates).

They don’t call it Metro’s heavyweight for nothin’.

Of course, a few things have changed since then. The two biggest: the 48 stopped running south of Mount Baker Transit Center when Link opened, and I stopped commuting to the Eastside. A few other minor (but relevant) changes: my beautician moved to a shop near 15th & John, and we changed health insurance providers.

And then there’s the fact that the route I’ve had a crush on for years, the amazing 8, (finally!) started running on evenings and weekends in my neighborhood. I am not exaggerating when I say that this seemingly minor service addition has changed my life.

These days, 7 out of 10 of my bus trips are on the 8. Unlike the 48, it still goes all the way to Rainier Beach, so I can take it for southbound trips (and avoid the inconvenient transfer to Link at Mount Baker Transit Center). I also take it to Madison Valley for various errands (mostly kiddie resale shopping and home and garden stuff); to Miller Community Center for toddler playtime; to 15th & John for doctor visits, haircuts, trips to the framer, and a few of my favored (as in, “August Wilson drank here”) coffee shops; to Broadway(ish) & John for Dick’s fixes, Elliott Bay Book Co., Value Village, and Cal Anderson Park. We take it to Seattle Center for visits to PSC, PNB, the Children’s Museum, Children’s Theater, The Rep, etc., etc, etc.

And I’m not finished.

We recently hired a part-time babysitter who I’m absolutely thrilled about—and not just because her help will mean I can actually complete work during normal business hours. She’s a talented musician and performer/generally cool person who also happens to be a bus chick (coincidence? I think not!). Guess which route she’ll be riding for her rendezvous with Chicklet and Busling? Uh huh.

If it weren’t for somewhat spotty performance–it’s common for one bus to be several minutes early (!) and the next to be 15 minutes late–I’d be in love.

Now all I need is a good nickname.


* These days, the nickname has slightly different connotations, but I think it still applies.

Inspiration for introverts

Speaking of following rabbits: a bus bunny on the 10

I’m not much of a game player*—mostly because I tend to spend down time** reading or running my mouth—but I of course could not resist telling you about this bus (and train!) game: Follow the Rabbit. (via: Jessica)

As we embrace mobile technology, we are becoming more isolated from each other. The bus/Max/streetcar ride*** once provided an opportunity to meet others, exchange information, and expand our understanding of life. As we plug in, we tune others out. Let’s reverse the trend via a new interactive transit game!

The premise of the game is simple: You get points for transit-based interaction (or behaviors that support it), such as sharing a newspaper or magazine, initiating a conversation, or moving over to let someone else sit down. (You can find the entire, 15-item list here.) The more social behaviors you exhibit, the more points you get.

Of course, I probably wouldn’t do very well at FtR, since I’ve put a bike on the bus exactly twice (well, four times if you count my trip home with the adorable folding bike I won in 2007), and since I’m fairly certain I’ll never, ever (everevereverever) participate in a bus-wide song. I can’t say I even appreciate the concept.

Come to think of it: Many of the behaviors in the game (asking a fellow rider what inspires him, for example, or playing an instrument en route) could be considered antisocial.

But now I’m just being critical.

I love that human interaction—and specifically, human interaction on transit—is the inspiration for this game. Though I probably won’t be playing (I prefer my bus interactions to flow a bit more organically–and plus, it would just provide Bus Nerd with another venue for victory), I’ll definitely welcome offers to sit down (or share a magazine, or whatever) from all of you who do. Cool idea, Albert.

*Exceptions include (in alphabetical order): Spades, Taboo, and Trivial Pursuit
**That is, I did. I no longer have down time.
***Yes, it’s from Portland. Isn’t everything?