The folks at Streetfilms have (yet again) done something cool: They’ve asked livable streets advocates from across the country and world to select their favorite Streetfilms of 2009. If you’re looking for some quality vacation entertainment, you can find the entire list, including my pick (hint: candy paint ain’t just for cars), here.
This was an actual gift to me from my friend Christina:
I have no idea where she got it (her husband gave it to Bus Nerd to give to me, so I haven’t seen her to ask), but I’ll find out and report back ASAP.
If you’re going to be anywhere near SoCal between now and December 11th, go see LA artist Diane Meyer’s provocative new photography exhibit, Without a Car in the World (100 Car-less Angelinos Tell Stories of Living in Los Angeles).
Here’s an excerpt from Green LA Girl’s review:
Without a Car pairs photo portraits of 100 L.A.-area residents (including me!) with brief quotes from their interviews about car-free living. Far from a simple hurrah for automobile-free living, the exhibit features interviews both from those who are proud of their car-free lifestyles to others who sound deeply unhappy about a car-less-ness that’s been imposed on them, whether due to financial concerns, disability, or other reasons.
In fact, the juxtapositions of these points of view are what makes Without a Car especially poignant. One Angeleno talks about how taking public transportation’s so much easier and convenient than people think it is. Another expounds on the difficulties of getting around by bus — how long it takes, how unreliable the system seems.
What the exhibit makes clear is that going car-free’s an extremely individual experience — and that race and class play heavily into how pleasant that experience is going to be.
This looks (and sounds) absolutely amazing. If you’re able check this out, hit me up (or comment), and let me know what you think.
Starting Sunday, the Elliott Bay Water Taxi (of September Golden Transfer fame) will be back in business. Service is free all day, and there will be a party (with refreshments, folks) at Seacrest Park.
From Metro’s site:
You are invited to the Water Taxi Kick Off event on Sunday, April 29th at Seacrest Park from Noon to 2:00 p.m. Enjoy entertainment at Seacrest Park in West Seattle, balloons and face-painting for the kids, free posters, refreshments and more! Service is FREE ALL DAY during the celebration event, so bring the family and friends!
I am so there. And since my dad lives across the street from Seacrest Park (and has never been one to turn down free food), I’m guessing I can talk him into going, too.
A few weeks ago, my employer sponsored Bus to Work Day at Overlake Transit Center. It was a fun Friday distraction, with representation from transit agencies and commute specialists, free food (including chocolate-chip cupcakes!), and a prize drawing. I entered the drawing and then promptly forgot about it–that is, until Wednesday, when I found out that I’d won a brand new, shiny, red folding bicycle.
One of the (many) reasons I rarely ride a bike is because there is no outdoor bike storage where I live. (The hand-me-down mountain bike that Bus Nerd hooked me up with is currently languishing in his office, awaiting a dusting off in time for Bike to Work Day. But I digress.) A folding bike is a perfect solution because I can store it inside–in a closet, or even under the bed.
The bike I won is a Dahon. I don’t know much about bike manufacturers, but so far, I like what I’ve seen on the company’s website:
Dahon was founded with the singular purpose of convincing more people to use environmentally-sustainable forms of transport. To accomplish this goal, we’ve focused on creating innovative but reasonably-priced folding bicycles.
Dahon is committed to creating green mobility solutions for people who live active, environmentally friendly lifestyles.
I also love the design. It’s compact and fairly simple to open and close.
Of course, I don’t know how it rides yet, having only tried for a couple of minutes in front of my office on Thursday afternoon, and I’m not sure how well it will work for multi-modal scenarios. When I tried to take it home from work (in its folded state) on Thursday, the 545 driver told me I couldn’t bring it on the bus. I didn’t have time to unfold it, and I wasn’t convinced that, given its small wheels, it would fit on the regular bike rack. Lord knows I wasn’t trying to experiment on a bus full of impatient commuters. He finally allowed me to store it under one of the lifting seats in the front. At Montlake, I was nervous getting on the 48, but that driver let me on without a word.
I’ve seen folded bikes on the bus before, but I don’t know what the official rule is, or even if there is one. Until I know for sure (or at least until I’ve had a chance to see if mine will fit on regular bike rack), I’ll keep it in the coat closet and use it for the trips I’ve been wanting a bike for: regular errands that are too far to walk in a reasonable amount of time but are inconvenient by bus. Oh yeah–and trips to Cupcake Royale.
1. Free money!
And, no, I’m not talking about the thousands of dollars you’ll save on transportation. Check it:
SPOKANE, Wash. — A mysterious woman hopped aboard buses, greeted passengers with “Merry Christmas” and handed each an envelope containing a card and a $50 bill before stepping off and repeating the process on another bus.
Thanks Chris (and everyone) for sending the story.
2. Unexpected winter views of Tahoma
Drivers have to watch the road; riders get to watch the mountain.
On the same day the Secretary of Transportation announced federal approval of the light rail extension to UW (another step on the way to federal funding), I was officially introduced to Car #2, the first of the Link rail cars to arrive in Seattle. (Car #1 was initially sent to New Mexico for speed testing and will be arriving shortly.)
Richard Eacker, an electrical engineer on the project (and, incidentally, a faithful 255 rider), was kind enough to show me around the brand new maintenance building where it’s being stored.
Richard with Car #2:
Me with Car # 2 (and the edge of Richard’s finger):
I was diggin’ the hard hat and safety goggles.
The auxiliary equipment is on top of the cars, so maintenance is performed from platforms.
Richard also gave me a tour of the construction progress.
This is an erection truss, a ridiculously huge contraption that connects the trackway:
I’m sorry I didn’t take notes on how exactly this thing works, but I’m hoping a transit nerd (possibly Richard) will comment and explain in more detail. (Google the term at your own risk.)
Here’s the Tukwila station:
I never get over the hugeness of this project–both in terms of the amount of energy and brainpower required to make it a reality, and in terms the impact it will have on the future of transportation in our region.
Of course, it won’t have an impact unless we actually use it. Who wants to fight me to be first in line?
For those of you who complained about visibility from inside wrapped buses: I just got off a wrapped 4 (Hawaiian Airlines–right on time) with completely clear windows. From the inside, it was just like any other bus. Metro: More of these, please!
Yesterday, I saw this at the stop on Pike & 3rd:
Since you probably can’t see for yourself, thanks to my sorry picture (hey–the bus was coming) and the PI’s file-size limits (compression is not a blogger’s friend), it’s a map of the Ride-Free zone. It shows which buses go down all of the major downtown streets, and there are arrows that indicate which direction each street runs.