Feet First Neighborhood Walking Ambassador Training
What: A “free training for community members to learn how to lead walks in their neighborhood.”
Neighborhood Walking Ambassadors lead inspiring walks around their community, connecting neighbors in a unique way with their surroundings. More people walking means more eyes on the street, which creates safer and healthier places for all of us to live, play and work.>
When: Saturday, October 29, 10:30 am -12:00 pm
Where: Rainier Beach Library, 9125 Rainier Avenue South
I love walking (more than busing, in fact), my neighborhood, and Feet First. Wish I could be there. If you can, send an email to this address to register.
That’s it for October–that I know of, anyway. Next month, there are many opportunities for citizens to provide input about transportation issues.
Road Safety Summits (City of Seattle)
The Summit[s], convened by Councilmembers and the Mayor, will be a series of three meetings and a Town Hall where agencies, community members, partners and other leaders will convene to discuss the best ways to improve safety and responsibility on our streets.
The summit at City Hall has come and gone, but here’s the information about the other two:
Tuesday, November 15th, 6 PM
Northgate Community Center, 10510 5th Ave NE
Monday, November 21st
Southwest Community Center, 2801 SW Thistle St
SDOT will be hosting 5 open houses this fall to share information about the TMP Draft Summary Report and to get feedback from the community. Please join us to learn about the draft plan and share your thoughts.
Here’s the information about the remaining events:
Tuesday, November 15, 6 PM
Ballard High School, 1418 NW 65th St
November 17, 6 PM
New Holly Gathering Hall, 7054 32nd Ave S
Public meetings about service changes (King County Metro)
When Metro launches the new RapidRide C and D lines in September 2012, we will be changing existing bus service to improve the transit system and provide more connections to jobs, schools, and other destinations in Seattle, Shoreline, Burien, Tukwila, SeaTac, and Des Moines. Now is the time for community members to review Metro’s ideas and share their own.
In November, we will be sharing proposed changes to bus service and listening to public comments. We invite you to participate in this process by attending a meeting or information table and completing our online survey. The proposed changes are posted at www.kingcounty.gov/metro/haveasay.
There are some big changes in the works, so make sure you visit the site to see how your travels will be affected. Oh, and show up at one of these events.
Wednesday, Nov. 2 – Central Library, 1000 Fourth Ave., 12:00-2:00 p.m.
Thursday, Nov. 3 – Adams Elementary School, 6110 28th Ave. NW, 7:00-9:00 p.m.
Monday, Nov. 7 – Catharine Blaine Elementary, 2550 34th Ave. W, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Wednesday, Nov. 9 – Chief Sealth High School, 2600 SW Thistle St., 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Monday, Nov. 14 – Greenwood Senior Center, 525 N 85th St., 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Tuesday, Nov. 15 – South Park Neighborhood Center, 8201 10th Ave. S, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Thursday, Nov. 17 – Madison Middle School, 3429 45th Ave. SW, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
You get a cool (useful!) thank-you gift at an event, and you seriously consider not accepting it, because you’ve already exceeded your stuff-carrying capacity, and it’s too much trouble to schlep it home.
The idea of starting a Transit Riders Union grew out of the fight against bus service cuts earlier this year. King County Metro’s main source of revenue – sales tax – has taken a sharp dive since the recession began, and by spring 2011 Metro was facing the prospect of 17% cuts. Dozens of bus routes were slated to be eliminated. Some effective propaganda by Metro, combined with the organizing efforts of a wide variety of community groups, helped to raise a huge public outcry. Thousands of people attended public hearings and signed petitions, demanding that this vital public service be preserved.
This is not just Seattle and King County’s problem. Cities and counties across the nation are in the middle of similar battles, and to make matters worse, federal funding for public transportation is in danger of being cut too. And of course, it’s not just our bus service that is in danger.
This is why we have decided to found a Transit Riders Union. We, the people who depend on public transit, need a permanent organization to make sure that our voices are heard, an organization that gives us the power to shape the course of events. We are dedicated to building such an organization: a union of, by, and for the poor and working people who depend on public transit. We believe that every human being has a right to safe, affordable, reliable, and accessible public transit. We will continue to fight to preserve our bus system – and not only that, we will fight for better public transit. (To learn more about what the Transit Riders Union is about, read our principles.)
I recommend reading the entire post. There are some thoughtful, committed people involved with this organization, and I am looking forward to being involved.
This will teach me to choose a home based on its proximity to bus stops.*
I’m more than a little irritated that Metro posted this notice in August and then never even responded to the feedback they requested–mine or anyone else’s.
I get all the stuff about stop consolidation and blah, blah, blah, and I will even admit to being a bit of a NaMBS (as in, “Not at my bus stop!”) about this. But there are legitimate reasons (other than the fact that I really need it) that this stop–and the one across the street from it–shouldn’t be closed.** If Metro doesn’t consider the reasons legitimate, they should explain why.
*I should have gone with my instinct and moved near a Link station. Call me crazy, but I wanted to stay in my neighborhood.
**And hey, if they’re looking for stops to close, there are two stops less than a block apart slightly further north.
Today after church, at a southbound 48 stop, I spotted one of my bus parenting heroes, a man I’ve never actually met. Back in ’08, when Chicklet was but a wee lass, I saw him playing Connect Four with his kid at a northbound 48 stop (in the shelter that advocates for what Bus Nerd refers to as “the right to safe trife“). Having already begun my bus reading adventures with young Chicklet, I was inspired by the concept of bonding in transit–and by the way the two of them interacted. Also, I love Connect Four.
But I digress.
Today, Bus Dad Extraordinaire had two children with him (the boy he’d been playing with that day, and a little girl, who was probably around two). By the time I realized who he was (and started elbowing Bus Nerd like I’d just spotted a celebrity), I heard the boy say something about Crazy Eights. There was no doubting BDE’s identity after that.
On the ride, the three of them sat near enough to the four of us for me to keep my eyes (and ears) on them. And you know I did. By the time we were getting off, the boy was shuffling.
Update, 10/11: Kathi from Ballard just emailed to tell me that she knows BDE. Even crazier? So do I! Her description of him made me realize that I have met him–at a transportation event, of course. (Yes, I realize it is beyond odd that I remembered seeing him at a bus stop three years ago but not meeting him in person much more recently. I blame it the short-term memory loss related to sleep deprivation.) Back when we met, he mentioned that he lived not far from me, and later, we emailed about getting our families together for dinner. It didn’t happen, but now, of course, I have to follow up.
How much do I love my bus community?
Recently, it occurred to me that, at 20 months (or, “one an’ a haff,” as he says), Busling is long overdue for some baby bus nerd walk training. After all, Chicklet was months younger when I started forci—er, encouraging—her to walk on our outings, and it’s paid off. These days, she can hoof it a mile and a half (two, even) at my pace without blinking an eye.
I’ve been putting off walk training Busling, in part because he’s the baby (they grow up fast enough as it is!), but mostly because I simply do not have enough hands. I stubbornly cling to my beloved baby pack, despite the fact that Busling has been too big for it for going on eight months, because it leaves one of my hands free for luxuries like, say, carrying an umbrella. (The other one, of course, is hanging on to Chicklet.) And, there really aren’t any good alternatives.
I can’t wear Busling on my back because I’m just not skilled enough at the on-and-off maneuvers, and sitting can be a challenge with a person right behind you. Plus, he pulls my hair.
As I’ve mentioned before, strollers and buses don’t mix. That brings us to option three: traveling with two walkers. You don’t have to think about this option long before you start seeing the challenges. Ever tried holding two hands and, well, anything else? For that matter, ever tried holding a toddler’s hand for longer than 30 seconds at a stretch?
Well folks, I have.
Since last Thursday, we’ve been experimenting with Busling on foot–with the baby pack stuffed into the bus bag, just in case. So far, he’s done great. (The kid is a trooper, like his big sis.) Not surprisingly, he travels at an excruciatingly slow pace, but he hasn’t complained or asked to be picked up, not even on steep hills.
I couldn’t be prouder of my baby boy, but I already know it’s going to be a long fall and winter. I still have no solution for rain, shopping bags, or tired legs, and I can only fall back on the pack for so long before my back gives out. (If I’m still strapping the kid on on our walks to elementary school, please, call someone.) We’ve entered the bus parenting “awkward stage” I’ve been dreading since B was born, and I don’t foresee it ending until he is close to Chicklet’s current age (four in less than a month!).
My friend Stephanie, who also happens to be the founder of one of the most amazing arts organizations ever to exist in Seattle, recently hipped to a cool new website called Earthbongo. Earthbongo (yes, that’s the name) provides a place for people to “start and join projects that make the world better.”
Projects range from changing your habits at the dry cleaner to interviewing a family elder, and participants live all over the world. And yes, if you haven’t guessed it already, I started a project of my own.
If you have kids and want to drive less, join me!