Tag Archives: Eastside

Bus Chick plays suburban mom

Last Sunday, the bus fam made a rare weekend trip to the Eastside (48+545+221) to attend a birthday party at–ahem!–Chuck E. Cheese. The place didn’t seem to impress Chicklet much, but then again, she’d already taken three exciting rides (with big wheels and spinning seats and ringing bells!) before we even arrived.

Yesterday, Chicklet and I made another trip to the Eastside (27+550)–for our second-ever visit to Babies R Us. The store itself was a bit frightening (Have I mentioned that I don’t care for shopping?), but the excursion was delightful. The entire trip took three hours, which included about 45 minutes in the store. The rest of the time was spent traveling/waiting, certainly longer than it would have taken to drive (sans traffic) to and from Bellevue, but–by my calculations–we didn’t lose any time. During our trip, Chicklet lunched, napped, and “read” (with the help of Mommy) her latest favorite books. I enjoyed several short, brisk walks in the sunshine (no need to set aside special time to exercise) and quality time with my kid. Had we been home, we wouldn’t have spent the afternoon much differently.

And I challenge any SUV mom to top the big vehicle we used to carry home our purchases.

You know you’re a bus chick if… (part II)

A bus chick
You have a date with your husband at a holiday party in Bellevue, one which requires a fancy dress and high, high heels, and even though the temperature is below freezing and it’s expected to snow, you pass on Zipcar or calling a cab in favor of the warm, weather-ready 550.

You know you’re too much of a bus chick if…

After the party, when the temperature has dropped and the snow has begun in earnest, and you’re in a hurry to make it to your warm house to kiss your little chicklet, you are stuck waiting downtown on sore feet (for the 4, no less) for 15+ minutes.


Some updates to the original list:

• You have “stop sense”: On your regular routes, you know when to pull the bell to get off, even if foggy windows, darkness, or distance from the window prevent you from seeing outside. And speaking of bells…

• When riding in a car, you reflexively reach for an imaginary bell when you begin to near your destination.

April Golden Transfer

Golden TransferThis month’s Golden Transfer goes to my good friend Char (yes, the same Char who hipped me to the life-size pictures at Greenfest and to the height-adjustable heels) and her husband John, an Eastside couple committed to reducing their car use.

In 2006, Char and John moved from two vehicles to one. They didn’t need cars to commute, and they usually spent their weekends together, so it made sense to share. Even when the car was available, Char would ride the bus “just because”–to head downtown or even to visit friends. (She’s visited me on the bus more than once.)

Earlier this month, Char and John decided to take their car-lite lifestyle to the next level. They turned in the vehicle they were leasing and committed to living without a car for eight weeks. At the end of the trial period, they will decide whether to remain car-free indefinitely or purchase a used car with cash. (Guess which outcome I’m hoping for?)

Char and John, heading downtown on the 545

Car-free life on the Eastside has its challenges (to make errands easier, they’re considering using a grocery delivery service and buying a bike), but, like car-free life anywhere, it also has many benefits. Char gives these reasons for dumping her two tons of extra baggage:

For me it’s a combination of motivators:
1. Minimize my carbon footprint
2. Decrease demand for fossil fuels
3. Save more money and simplify my lifestyle
4. Increase my overall physical fitness level
5. Enjoy the social benefits of riding public transportation

I couldn’t have said it better.

Thank you, Char and John, for your efforts. Even if you decide to return to car ownership, you will do so with a clearer understanding of your choice, and (I hope) a few lasting behavior changes. In the meantime, I’ll see you on the bus!

Transportation safety, part IV

Near the Kirkland Transit Center, those crosswalk flags we’re experimenting with:

Crosswalk flags in Kirkland

They’re supposed to make pedestrians more visible at dangerous intersections. I’m all for measures that make walking safer (especially since, according to this article, 55 Seattle pedestrians were hit by cars last month), but this one seems a bit impractical. Do people seriously not steal those things?

Along NE 40th Street in Redmond, all the bus stops have two buttons:

Bus stop on 40th

The one on the left controls a light, for people waiting in the dark. (I would have said, “for people waiting at night,”except it’s January in Western Washington, and dark is any time of day.) The one on the right controls a bus signal (like those at Montlake and Evergreen Point), so the bus driver knows to stop.

Two lights

Perhaps one of those would have prevented our mishap on Monday.

A perfect bus storm

This is how my fiance, Adam, referred to his commute yesterday. His first morning bus, a route that runs every 10-15 minutes, was 30 minutes late (the result of a rare combination of frequent lift use and an abundance of school children). Of course, this meant that he missed his transfer at Montlake–a few times–and was later than he wanted to be to work.

He left his office in Redmond at 8:10 (yeah, tell me about it), but thanks to last night’s 520 closure, his 8:17 bus didn’t arrive until well after 9:00. The rerouted bus got him downtown at an off time (when none of his preferred buses was expected), so he took one that dropped him off almost half a mile from his house and walked the rest of the way.

He finally arrived home at 10:35, at which time he me called to say, “I’ve got something good for your blog.”

So he did.