Chicklet, Busling, and I are waiting for a slightly late 27/17 to visit my brother in Ballard.
Chicklet: “I wish the bus would do certain things.”
Bus Chick: “What things?”
Chicklet: “Take us to Uncle Jeremy’s house right now.”
Northbound 17, 11:30 AM (en route)
Somewhere on Dexter, we get a great view of Busling’s favorite building out our window.
Busling, hollering: “Hello, Space Needle! Helloooo Space Needle!”
Eventually, another building blocks his view.
Busling: “I don’t want to say goodbye.”
I’ve neglected my bus glossary for a minute (OK, three years–last entry was May, 2008) and have really been meaning to return some focus to transit terminology. Fortunately, my Saturday 17 ride (home from celebrating my brother’s birthday) provided some much-needed inspiration.
The gentleman sitting directly behind me used one of my favorite transit terms, “bus legs,” in a conversation with his seat mate*. I wasn’t able to hear the context, given the general noise level on the bus (and the fact that I was trying to accommodate competing story requests from my tiny travel companions), but I’m guessing it was related to the heavy traffic and somewhat erratic driving. (What is it about the 17 and erratic driving?)
“Bus legs” is a term I use often but have never bothered to formally define. So, for those who don’t know:
Bus legs, n: The ability to effectively balance oneself while standing or walking on a moving bus, no matter how unpredictable the traffic or inexperienced the driver. Ex. I’ve got bus legs, so I don’t need to hold on.
I guess that’s one way to ride the wave.
* Speaking of transit terminology, there’s got to be a better way to describe the person you sit next to on a bus or train.
There was lots of shakeup talk on the buses today: rider-to-rider chatter, cell phone conversations, bus-wide discussions, and endless questions for drivers.
I have to say, as much as I loathe change (and as much as I will surely miss hopping the 48 for all my southbound needs), the New Bus Order actually seems to be working in my favor. Some examples of the goodness:
• The 8 now runs in my neighborhood on weekends. Folks, I have been dreaming of this day for most of my car-free life (six-and-a-half years and counting), and I cannot believe it’s actually happened. Capitol Hill (specifically, the north end of 15th Ave) will be seeing at lot more of me on Saturday afternoons.
• The 27 now connects with the 17 instead of the 25. I love this for several reasons, the most important of which is that my brother Jeremy recently moved to Ballard, and Metro now provides what amounts to a door-to-door ride from my place to his. (Much beloved) brother aside, I have a lot more reasons to go to Ballard than I do to go to Laurelhurst.* And honestly, the connection just seems to make more sense. While the 27/17 combo eliminates an already necessary transfer between the Central District and Ballard, the 27/25 combo is slower and less direct than the two-bus options (48+75 and 48+30) between the CD and Laurelhurst.**
• Now that the 14 stops at Mount Baker Station, I have four ways to connect with Link: 27 to DSTT, 4 to DSTT, 48 to Mount Baker Station, and 14 to Mount Baker Station. I don’t go to the airport all that often, but when I do, I’ll have more control of when I come and go.
I’m sure I’ll discover more things to like (and not) as I ride more.
Your turn. How have Metro’s latest changes affected you?
* No offense to all my former school buddies who lived there back in the day–I do miss our excursions to the Mr. Peepers-era U Village–or to the very alt-commute friendly Children’s Hospital.
** Really, though, there’s no fast way to get from where I live to Laurelhurst, despite the fact that it’s not all that far.
Tonight, my friend Coby is performing at Conor Byrne in Ballard. (He’s opening for Ali Marcus, who’s celebrating the release of her most recent CD.) Coby’s show starts at 8, and the first song in his set is going to be about–I’ll give you moment to take a guess–the bus!
And he was already my favorite rock star–OK, except for Prince.
Last night, I hopped on the 17 and headed to Ballard, a neighborhood I have visited more frequently in the past six months than in the previous six years. This time, it was to model a ball gown (seriously) at the Ballard Art Walk. (Modeling is not my strong suit–or, to be honest, my idea of a good time–but I have a friend in fashion school, and she had an assignment. But I digress.) Embarrassing pseudo-runway experiences aside, I’m developing quite a fondness for the place.
And what’s not to love? Though it’s not especially easy to get to from where I live, Ballard is served by lots of buses. It’s also pretty walkable (by Seattle standards, anyway), which probably explains why there are fun events like art walks. After yesterday’s, Bus Nerd and I headed to the (very rider-friendly) stop at Ballard &; Market, checked the schedules of the three buses (17, 18, 44) we could take to a transfer point home, and then headed to an Indian restaurant for dinner. We finished right in time for the 17, so we didn’t get to take advantage of any of the many benches and shelters at the stop. We did, however, witness an instance of bus (stop) luh. (Sometimes, even when it’s 30 degrees outside, you hate to see that bus comin’.) If I hadn’t been carrying a shopping bag full of makeup, shoes, and hair appliances, I would have snapped a picture. But, again, I digress.
Ballard is the home of Sustainable Ballard, an organization working to make the neighborhood the first carbon-neutral community in the country. And though they haven’t quite made it yet, lots and lots of Ballardites (Ballardians?) are pledging to drive less. My pledge: to hang out in this bus-chick-friendly part of our fair city (not wearing a ball gown) even more often in 2007.