Monthly Archives: June 2011

Bus chick preparedness, part IV (or, How to survive a birthday party at the lake)

Back in April, the Bus Fam attended the Healthy Kids Day extravaganza at Meredith Matthews YMCA. Among the SWAG we took home was this handy little “ouch pouch” from Group Health.

Ouch Pouch

It’s hard to tell from the photo, but it’s about the size and weight of a package of Kool Aid. Of course you know where it ended up.

A couple of weeks later, a family friend gave Chicklet and Busling a basket of Easter treats. It was a huge basket with tons of candy and fun, plastic toys—in other words, something we would never have bought for them ourselves. They were thrilled.

The best part from my perspective (given that the basket contained no chocolate), was this adorable little set of sand toys.

Bus-friendly beach set

It’s got everything kids like to play with at the beach—bucket, shovel, rake, sifter, sea-themed molds—but it takes up only slightly more space than a kid’s cup.

Which brings me to last Friday, the occasion of our little friend Miles’s first birthday party. Since the celebration was being held at Madrona Park on a sunny day, we wanted to be ready for beach fun. We traveled to the party (on the 2) with only the bus bag and one small additional bag, which contained: food to share, a gift (books, of course), the tiny beach set, towels, sun hats, and sun screen. We also carried an additional package (books again) for the first half of our journey. (We stopped at the post office on the way to mail a belated Father’s Day present to Busling’s Godfather.)

I digress.

During the festivities, both Chicklet and Busling managed to take some pretty good spills. (They’re learning the hard way that running and sandals don’t mix.) Fortunately for them, their mama knows how to pack a bag.








Alki, here we come!

Saving service

At a press conference yesterday, KC Exec Dow Constantine asked the County Council to approve a temporary $20 vehicle licensing fee (officially called a congestion reduction charge) to maintain service at current levels.

The recession-driven decline in the sales-tax revenues that support public transit leaves the Metropolitan King County Council with two choices – ensure interim funding to continue service at current levels, or face the reality of cutting 17 percent of bus service.

To meet that challenge, King County Executive Dow Constantine today sent the Council a proposed ordinance to enact the one tool recently authorized by the state Legislature for King County: a temporary $20 Congestion Reduction Charge on vehicle licenses for each of the next two years.

Or, there’s Option 2.

Should the fee not be enacted, the Executive also transmitted legislation for the Council to shrink Metro service by 600,000 hours of annual bus service over the next two years, or 17 percent of the entire system – the rough equivalent of eliminating all rush hour bus service for commuters, or all weekend service in King County. The ordinance covers just the first round of service cuts – a 100,000-hour reduction to begin next February.

Metro recently launched a new site that explains proposal in detail (check this FAQ for the quick and dirty), including the cuts that would likely happen if the charge is not enacted.  

I was unable to attend the press conference, but not for lack of passion about the subject. The cuts Metro is considering are serious and will affect the quality of life of every resident of the county, not just those who ride the bus. I intend to lobby the council and do whatever else I can to make sure this happens.

If you want to send a message to the council (either all nine members or your local representative), start here.

Homage to a brilliant bus nerd

I recently passed this Jacob Lawrence tribute shelter on Jefferson, somewhere between 18th and 21st.

Jacob Lawrence bus stop

I can’t believe I never noticed it before!

Thanks to my dad, I’ve known and appreciated Lawrence’s work since childhood. (Pops was both an admirer of Mr. Lawrence’s paintings and an acquaintance of the artist.) What I didn’t know until I read this HistoryLink essay is that both Lawrence and his wife, Gwendolyn Knight, were bus people.

In 1971, Jacob Lawrence accepted a teaching position at the University of Washington’s School of Art. … As part of the move and their effort to become part of the community, they bought a house that was near both the University and a bus stop.

For apartment dwellers who had never owned a car or a freestanding home, all of this was an adventure. They walked or took the bus nearly everywhere they went.

The evidence is mounting, folks. There’s definitely a connection between transportation and inspiration.