Tag Archives: 4

Carfree Sundays, part III

The third and final carfree Sunday took place in my original neighborhood of West Seattle, so I didn’t mind the two-bus ride (4 + 56) to the festivities. (Then again, what’s two short rides compared to an unobstructed view of the Sound and the Olympics? I digress.)

West Seattle’s event was fun, but not as fun as Columbia City’s. (Thanks to the weather, Capitol Hill wasn’t even in the running.) Some reasons why:

• It wasn’t really car free. The far east lane of the street, which was separated from the activity with cones, remained open to all traffic. It wasn’t nearly as freeing or novel to play in the street with a line of vehicles inching by a few feet away.
• There wasn’t a concentrated point of activity. The street was closed (well, sort of–see above) from Seacrest Park on Harbor Ave all the way to the mini Statue of Liberty near the end of Alki Ave. Most of the activity was happening near the south end, so folks who jumped in farther north were likely disappointed.
• There was no music. This made a huge difference in the atmosphere and (my) general enjoyment.
• The majority of attendees were riding bikes. Don’t get me wrong: I have nothing but love for my bike nerd brothers and sisters, and I certainly don’t begrudge them the chance to take advantage of a chance to ride–free of worry–in the street. As a pedestrian, though, I was somewhat ill at ease. It felt more like I was walking in the bike lane than attending a street festival.

Of course, all those issues are minor and can be worked out on future carfree days. On to the photos:

Carfree Sundays poster
“If Seattleites drive every vehicle 2,000 miles less a year (about 20 miles a week), we can meet our current climate pollution reduction goals.”
Open street
Street skateboarding
Street hula

I didn’t see the Undriving folks from Sustainable Ballard this time. (Maybe they decided one trip to West Seattle was enough for this year.) The “Yes on Prop 1” folks were out in force, though.

Mass Transit Now!

Despite the concerns of its manager, business at Duke’s didn’t appear to suffer:

A crowded patio at Duke's

The best thing about the West Seattle carfree Sunday was, of course, the view. There’s something about the combination of water, mountains, and sunshine that inspires romance.

Carfree Sunday street art
Carfree Sunday street art
Bus luh
Waiting for the Water Taxi shuttle: bus (stop) luh

Me? I’m having a romance with my city. I’m proud of our first attempts at carfree days and looking forward to more next summer (or sooner!).

A weekend bus adventure

Last week, my Gail came to town to meet her new granddaughter. On Saturday morning before she returned home, the four of us (Bus Nerd, Bus Chicklet, my Gail, and me) headed to Hi Spot for brunch. Bus Nerd and I have taken the bus to Hi Spot at least a zillion times (4 + 3, 48 + 3, or short walk + 3) since we’ve been married. Unfortunately, Saturday was the first time we’d done it with an infant. Dealing with the baby in the sling, the diaper bag, and my Gail’s bus newbie status distracted Bus Nerd, and he somehow managed to drop his wallet on the 4. He realized it soon after we got off, but not soon enough to catch up to the bus.

I know from experience that losing something on the bus means waiting until the end of the day for it to be turned in to lost and found (assuming it gets turned in at all), and then waiting until the lost and found office is open to claim it. Losing a wallet is a bit more urgent than losing and umbrella or pair of gloves (my specialty), and I knew that Bus Nerd wouldn’t be able to enjoy brunch if he had to wait until Monday to find out if his wallet had been returned. So, being the resourceful bus chick I am, I suggested that he catch a cab and intercept the 4 while the wallet was still on it.

While my Gail, Chicklet, and I caught the 3 to the restaurant, Bus Nerd did just that. He called Metro from the cab, and a helpful rider information specialist kept him up to date on the 4’s progress (for once, the route’s excruciatingly slow pace was a benefit) while the cab driver gave chase. He caught up with the bus on Virginia. The driver remembered him and immediately handed him the wallet, which had been turned in by another passenger. Nothing was missing.

Wallet back in pocket, Bus Nerd took the cab to the restaurant where my Gail, Chicklet, and I were waiting, and we all enjoyed a stress-free meal. Props to the rider information specialist, the Good Samaritan passenger, and the cab and bus drivers, for making the end of this story a happy one.

An update

As promised, the rest of the story of Bus Chicklet’s arrival:

Many of you assumed from my last post that I rode the bus to the hospital while in labor. Alas! I wasn’t that heroic. The little chicklet had overstayed her welcome–enough past my due date that I had to be induced. So, on Halloween night, Bus Nerd and I rode the bus to the hospital as we had for all of my previous doctor’s appointments, sans contractions or ruptured membranes. The only difference was that we were carrying bags and feeling excited to meet our daughter.

On the day after she was born, we took our little one home on the 4. (It’s not the ideal route for an introduction to Seattle’s bus system, but at least we can be confident she’ll be ready for anything on future rides.) She rode in a car seat (you can’t take a child home from the hospital without one), but she’s enjoyed subsequent rides (on the 3, 4, and 48) in a nice, cozy sling. Of course, other than visits to the pediatrician’s office (which is a two-minute walk from our house and doesn’t require a bus ride), we haven’t taken her out much. Still, we’ve already managed to have a bus adventure. More on that tomorrow.

Relaxing after a grueling ride on the 4

27 + 60 = a bus baby

Bus Baby has arrived!


First name: Rosa, after Original Bus Chick
Middle name: Caroline, after my mom
Nickname: Bus Chicklet (thanks to the reader who suggested it last spring)
Birth date: 11/1/07
Birth time: 7:33 AM
Weight: 8 pounds, 7 ounces

I am new

We had planned a cab to the hospital, which is only a couple of miles from our house, and had also enlisted family and friends as backup transporters; however, because we had more warning than most people (more on that later), we managed to ride the bus to (27 + 60) and from (a short walk + 4) Miss Rosa’s delivery.

As you can imagine, Bus Nerd and I are a bit preoccupied (and tired!) right now, but I promise to share the whole story very soon.

Eastbound 4, 3:10 PM

Two middle-aged men, who are apparently acquaintances, are making conversation in the back of the bus. One of them takes a drink from a bottle of pop.

Middle-aged man #1: This tastes just like that orange ice cream we used to have back in the day–you know, with the cream in the middle? [Pause] “Want some?”

MAM #2: “No thanks, man.”

MAM #1: “Come on–have a taste! I don’t have any germs. Got a little cancer, but no germs.”

A third man, 10-15 years younger, gets on and joins the conversation. As the bus passes the new city hall, he gestures toward the building.

Young man: “I heard they have a misdemeanor jail up there.

MAM #1 (shrugging): “Jail’s jail.”

YM, gesturing toward the county jail: “I’d rather be in a misdemeanor jail than in there. I was in there for three weeks for a DV… My cellie had killed two people. I was like, ‘I don’t belong in this joint. We were just arguing!'”

Eastbound 4, 8:40 PM

On a particularly hot, slow and funky ride (on the 4, folks, this is saying something), a particularly funky passenger gets off at Harborview. As soon as the doors close, another passenger, red-faced and indignant, addresses his fellow riders in the front section.

Indignant passenger: “I don’t like stinky riders.”

Man across from IP: “Maybe he was doing dialysis. You know, the kidney has something to do with that gland that makes people…”

IP: “I don’t care what–I don’t like stinky riders. Most of the time, I get off just to get away from them.”

Friend of man across from IP (who happens to be sitting right next to a certain, sensitive-nosed, pregnant bus chick): “I’m with you. I worked a full day and don’t smell that bad.”

Eastbound 4, 10:45 PM

A twentysomething woman and her kindergarten-age daughter follow a twentysomething man onto the bus. They sit in the forward-facing seats across from his, daughter near the window, mother near the aisle, facing the object of her pursuit.

Twentysomething woman, speaking loudly enough for everyone on the bus to hear: “I just don’t understand it. Guys are always trying to talk to me. Pretty much everyone wants to be with me, and I turn them down just to see the looks on their faces. Now I’m giving you the opportunity, and you don’t want it.”

The twentysomething man sits silently, looking somewhat embarrassed. The woman continues.

TSW: “I told my cousin you turned me down, and she was like, ‘Now that’s a first.’ For real, though, all kinds of dudes want to be with me. Basketball players have tried to holler, rappers try to get at me…”

She continues in this vein for several more minutes, until the man mumbles something unintelligible.

TSW: “What? Why can’t you tell me?” She gestures toward her daughter, who has witnessed the entire scene. “Is it her?”

Eastbound 4, 10:40 PM

A young woman, to a male friend: “I got two new diagnoses, on top of the three I already have: OCD and agoraphobia.”

Male friend: “Really? But you seem so normal.”

Young woman: “That’s the problem; most crazies do.”

Eastbound 4, 3:45 PM (or, “We do more before 9 AM…”)

Back of the bus: A group of teenage boys is antagonizing a fortysomething man dressed in work clothes and boots.

Boys’ ringleader: “Man, I make more in an hour than you probably make in a whole day.”

Fortysomething man: “I make 54 bucks an hour.”

BR: “Seriously? What do you do?”

FM: “Electrician. Journeyman.”

Random boy: “You work every day?”

FM: “Seven days a week.”

BR, calculating: “Dang–you’re pulling in some serious cheese.”

The bus reaches fortysomething man’s stop, and he gets off.

BR, to his friends: “I’d stop hustling for a job that paid like that.”

Speaking of passionate sports arguments…

Westbound 4, noon-ish:

A Seahawk hater and a Seahawk fan are arguing about the team’s chances against Chicago. The hater, who believes the Seahawks cheated their way to victory last Saturday (according to him, Romo’s bobble was the result of special teams players greasing the ball), claims they will lose badly. The fan is convinced of victory. In fact, he is so sure that the Hawks will make it all the way to Miami that he plans to wear “Crip blue” in their honor for the entire playoffs.

Says the Seahawk hater: “I guess you’ll be wearing it until Sunday, then, ’cause that’s the day those Seaturkeys are going down.”