Multimodal Monday: Sounder to the fair

Heading to the train

Let me begin this post by telling you how much I love the Sounder train. It is delightful. Truth be told, I enjoy the train a heck of a lot more than I enjoy the Puyallup Fair. Last year, Sounder was easily the best part of the entire fair adventure, and the fact that Sound Transit was running a fair shuttle again this year is a good part of the reason we decided …

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Rebelling by bus

As I think I might have mentioned, we need a revolution in how we get around in this country, and we need it yesterday. Instead of doing something about it, our elected officials, including those who claim to understand the urgency, are doubling down on car infrastructure, ensuring that our children and grandchildren will continue to face limited, dangerous, unhealthy, and toxic transportation choices far into the future.

While we hold our collective breath waiting for the people in power to do the right thing (and also, because the air is polluted!), we ordinary, everyday folks have the ability …

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Westbound 27 stop, Yesler & 3rd, 8:15 AM

Moments after the kids and I step off the bus (on our way to the Water Taxi for a summer adventure), a 50-ish Latino man approaches and hands me a business card for his wife’s hair shop, which has recently opened somewhere nearby.

“My wife is black,” he explains, “so she’s specializes in black hair. Braids, barber services…” He stops to look at us more closely, then hesitates. “Also Middle Eastern hair. Erm. All kinds of hair.”

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On families and fares

Last November, our Chicklet turned six—and entered the world of fare-paying riders. As with many aspects of taking transit with children, this transition has presented some logistical challenges.

In an ideal world, Bus Nerd and I would be able to pay for Chicklet with our own ORCA cards.* Unfortunately, that is not an option. Not surprisingly, it isn’t possible to load two passes onto one card. And, though each of us has both a pass and a supplementary “e-purse”** loaded on our cards, it’s not possible to use the pass for the adult fare and the e-purse for the …

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Summer of parks

Discovery Park
One of the key reasons our family has been able to make the car-free life work is that we stay local. By that I mean, the places we go regularly—school, work, church, grocery store, doctor, library, community center—are a walk or short bus ride away. (If we had to deal with long commutes, transfers, and crosstown kid-schlepping on a regular basis, I would have long since lost my mind.) But the fact that we keep our lives local does not mean that we never …

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How to pass the time at a bus stop, part VII

Draw in the dirt.

Waiting for the 8

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Car-free “vacation”: Yakima

This summer, I was invited to a statewide public transportation conference in Yakima, hosted, oddly enough, by WSDOT. Since my participation was limited to one panel discussion, and since the Bus Fam almost never has an occasion to visit the south-central part of our state, I decided to bring the entire crew along for a mini vacation.

I learned from Ryan, the facilitator of my panel, that there is an airporter from Seattle to Yakima—incidentally, run by

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Multimodal Monday: Link, then lake

Waiting for the train

One of my close girlfriends lives in Renton. Not Renton as in, near the Renton Transit Center. Not even the Renton Highlands. No, this friend lives deep in Renton–miles from the nearest bus stop, a long way even from a sidewalk.

Every once in a while, I take a Zipcar to visit her at home, but usually, we meet somewhere–either for dinner near RTC or downtown, or with our kids at a bus accessible park, library, or similar.

For our …

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Eastbound 3, 4:30 PM (or, Learning to love sardines)

As a veteran bus rider, I have had to deal with my share of unpleasant travel experiences. Like most sane people, I dislike bad bus rides. But—and I preface this comment by acknowledging that I have a rather unconventional world view—for me, it is often the “unpleasant” bus experiences that reinforce everything I love about the bus.

Case in point: Our Friday afternoon trip home from summer camp at Seattle Center. The kids and I decided that we could not endure one more stop-and-go, 45-minute ride on the 8 (the beautiful* thing about Seattle buses is …

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Eastbound 27 stop, Yesler & 3rd, noon

A young black woman with a beautiful, medium length, natural hairstyle exits a building near the stop and walks to it. Two middle-aged white men exit shortly after her and pause to chat on their way down the hill. Seconds into the conversation, one of them says, “[Rachel], your hair is the talk of the office.”

She smiles uncomfortably. “Really? Hopefully, my performance is as well.”

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