Tag Archives: bus stops

If the shoe doesn’t fit…

My bus sightings seem to come in clusters. Back in the spring of 2008, it was animals. Next, musicians. Spring, 2010 is apparently all about footwear–minus the feet.

Bus stop shoes
Mary Janes at 3rd & Cherry (via Bus Nerd)
Bus stop shoes
Flip flops at 31st S & S Lane
Oxfords at 23rd & Aloha (Are those Stacey Adams?)

Back before I knew that leaving one’s shoes at the bus stop was a common occurrence (which could possibly explain another somewhat common Seattle phenomenon), I thought this was caption worthy. Now I don’t need a caption–just an explanation. What gives?

A world away, yet close to home

Sorry for the lack of posts of late. Bus Nerd and I spent the early part of this week in Selma, Alabama, visiting some of his relatives. On the long journey to Selma, we stopped in Montgomery, a city made famous by one very historic bus ride. (Yes, I will take any opportunity to mention my shero.)

While I’m on the subject…

My new favorite bus stop:

Rosa Parks bus stop
Rosa Parks bus stop
“The way we live now will affect the state of the world in the future.” -Rosa Parks
Rosa Parks bus stop
“This world has taught me that we must do what is right.”
Rosa Parks bus stop
Rosa Parks bus stop

If you’re interested in checking it out for yourself, it’s the northbound 7/39/48 stop on the east side of Rainier, just north of Alaska.

…and my favorite bus poem:

Rosa Parks Dream


Rosa Parks Dream

Young man one color,
elder woman yet another

which is which no fuss
All one on the packed bus

His seat offered, happily declined
-she sits all day…..but still….how kind!

Unnoticed words about Rosa printed above
Off the bus I wept, in joy and love

Thank you again Rosa

– Markus Wells

I would love this poem even if it wasn’t about Mrs. Parks. In just a few words, the author manages to capture what I love so much about the ride:

“Which is which no fuss/All one on the packed bus.”


New sign designs!

Metro is testing prototypes of a new bus-sign design. They’re on display in front of King Street Center for about another week. (After that they’ll be at Third & Union, at the Benaroya stop.) I went to check them out yesterday.

Here’s the prototype for a sign at a major stop:

Major stop prototype
Major stop prototype

And here’s the prototype for the smaller stops:

Minor stop prototype

Note that the numbers are bigger and now read left-to-right instead of top-to-bottom. They are also removable, which makes the signs easier and cheaper to update.

As you can see, the route destination is now listed under the route number. This is a helpful addition, but I wonder how Metro will handle routes that don’t always terminate at the same location. Some examples: 48 Rainier Beach vs. 48 Columbia City; 3 Madrona vs. 3 First Hill. Will the route be listed twice? Will there be two destinations listed under the number? (I’m not even going to touch those routes that change numbers halfway through the ride.) Then again, I suppose that’s not as much an issue with the signs as with the route numbering, and that’s a post for another time.

Another cool (but possibly problematic) addition: The stop numbers are now printed on the signs. This is a good thing for those of us who’ve tried calling Metro’s automated service to find out when a route is scheduled to be at a particular stop, only to be prompted to enter a stop number, which is not available anywhere at the stop. Unfortunately, the stop numbers used by this system are not the same as the stop IDs used by Tracker and MyBus. I predict a whole lot of confused riders. But again, this is a problem that’s bigger than the signs.

I love (without reservations) the rail, airport, and ferry icons and the addition of Metro’s rider information number and Web address. Adding these is a good step toward making the system more usable and predictable, and making it easier for newbies to find their way around.

I must close with the disclaimer sign that was posted next to the prototypes.


This is only a test, folks, so don’t start expecting to see these at your local stop anytime soon.

Of course, the testing phase is a good time for feedback. You like?

For better or worse, part III

For better: The 48, where everybody knows your name

On Friday, Chicklet and I traveled to the Eastside (48 + 545) to meet Bus Nerd for lunch. My parental leave is quickly dwindling, and we’re trying to get in all the family bonding time we can. I digress.

The 48 ride was one of those cool trips where it feels like you know everyone on the bus. We ran into my friend Paulette, whom I met several years ago (through Bus Nerd) on the 3. Actually, I originally met Paulette many years earlier, when I was still a child, because, as we discovered upon our second meeting on the 3, she knew my dad. Again, I digress.

Paulette is a teacher and a student, and she was on her way to the UW to make copies of some old bound issues of Labor’s Heritage, to do research for a class about education for revolution, or the revolution of education, or some equally cool subject.

I didn’t catch all of the details about her class because in the middle of our conversation, Sarah B, a woman I went to high school with, sat down next to us. Sarah was also on her way to the U, no doubt to work on her dissertation, so she can go ahead and knock out that PhD in environmental anthropology.

We all got to talking–about the sunny weather, the origins of Chicklet’s name, and Paulette’s blog (about local eating) for the Splendid Table.

I got so caught up in conversation that Chicklet and I missed our stop and had to backtrack a couple of blocks (in the sunshine!) to Montlake Freeway Station to catch our transfer.

For worse: Freeway station interrogation

Just as Chicklet and I had settled in on the bench to await the trusty 545, a rather odd man (there were no obvious outward signs of his oddness, but I have very sensitive insanedar, honed from a lifetime of bus riding) sat down next to us.

Odd Man: “Have you seen the 265?”
Bus Chick: “I’ve only been here a few minutes, but I haven’t seen it.”
OM: “But what time is it supposed to get here?”
BC, gesturing toward the enormous sign to our left: “Schedule’s right there.”
OM: “Yeah, but it doesn’t have the 265 on it.”

Having no more help to offer the man, I turned back to Chicklet.

OM: “Is that your only child?”
BC: “Yep.”

And then, with absolutely no transition, he followed with one of my favorite questions:

“Are you half black?”

Of course I could have (possibly should have) shut him down at that point, but I’m a curious person (though apparently not as curious as some), and I wanted to see where his questions were leading.

BC: “Yes, I am.”

He continued to ask (How many siblings do you have? Are your parents still married?) and I continued to answer, until he started asking too many questions about my mother’s death, and I decided I’d had enough.

BC: “These questions are a bit personal, wouldn’t you say?”
OM: “Oh yeah. I bet I’m the only one who’s asked you this stuff, huh?”

Not by a long shot, buddy. Not by a long shot.

Finally, the 255, arrived, (not the bus he’d asked about but apparently the one he decided to take) and he got up. As he waited in line to board, he turned to me one last time.

“Say, is your husband black or white?”

Speaking of adopted stops…

Recently, Metro removed the trash can from Good Shepherd’s adopted stop without even attempting to contact the church’s members. (I found out when I showed up for garbage duty a few weeks ago.) Now, I know why. Sometime between my attempted garbage duty and today, a shelter was added to that stop. Bus stops with shelters can’t be adopted (and, apparently, can be “un-adopted” retroactively) because they have large, free-standing trash cans that are emptied by Metro. The addition of the shelter is, of course, a good thing, but what’s with the covert operation? A little communication would have been much appreciated.

And oh yeah: Can we get a bench in there?

A new shelter at Good Shepherd's former adopted stop