Tag Archives: Link

Multimodal Monday: Link, then lake

Waiting for the trainOne of my close girlfriends lives in Renton. Not Renton as in, near the Renton Transit Center. Not even the Renton Highlands. No, this friend lives deep in Renton–miles from the nearest bus stop, a long way even from a sidewalk.

Every once in a while, I take a Zipcar to visit her at home, but usually, we meet somewhere–either for dinner near RTC or downtown, or with our kids at a bus accessible park, library, or similar.

For our most recent get together, we agreed to meet at Coulon Park, because she had somewhere to be in Renton right after our visit; the kids and I had the whole day free; and when the weather is good, I am always (always) down for a transit adventure. Especially when the adventure includes a train.

On the big day, we got up early to pack a picnic lunch, swim suits, towels, and a few toys, then headed out the door at 8:30 for a long-ish walk to our first bus: the 48. We took the 48 to Mount Baker Transit Center, where we transferred to Link. (Just for today, I’ll refrain from complaining about how horrible that transfer is.) We rode the train all the way to Seatac–easily the best part of the adventure–then transferred again to the 560. Our stop in Renton was less than a half mile from Coulon, and we arrived at the entrance about an hour and twenty minutes after walking out our front door–a few minutes early for our 10 AM meeting time.

Yes, 80 minutes is a long time to travel from Seattle to Renton (twice the amount of time it would have taken to drive with average traffic), but we really did enjoy the trip. Our waits were short, our rides were smooth and air conditioned, and we had plenty of interesting scenery–inside and outside of the vehicles–to entertain us on the way. When we go on transit adventures, we think of our travel time as part of the fun.

The rest of our Coulon adventure was even better than the ride. The kids played on the playground and the beach for hours while I caught up with my girl. After she and her daughters had to leave, we played for at least an hour more. And after everyone had thoroughly exhausted themselves, we made the long trek home. Chicklet insisted on the exact same itinerary, so we could have one more chance to ride the train.

Perfect adventure. Perfect day.


On a Wednesday morning walk to Chicklet’s preschool, she requests to be carried. Per usual, I decline.

“You don’t need to be carried, you’re a…”

Chicklet, who has apparently changed her tune since our recent discussion of the topic, anticipates my response and cuts me off.

“I’m not a bus chick!” hollers my little Link-obsessed darling. “I’m a train chick.”

Here’s hoping.

And for the record, I was going to say, “big girl.”

For better or worse, Link edition

Chicklet, Busling, and I took a recent Link excursion to the Beacon Hill Library. We went to attend an event, but I was mostly just looking for an excuse to get the BH stamp on my library passport (and yes, I’m still working on that).

I ride the train very infrequently, but every time I do, I wish I had the opportunity to do so more often. The reasons aren’t particularly unique, but I’m going to share them nonetheless.

– I don’t need a schedule. Trains are frequent and (unlike buses) don’t often experience delays. I love just showing up at the station knowing I won’t be waiting more than a few minutes.
– It’s easy to board with kids. Stroller or no, bus stairs are no fun with little ones.
– Trains are fast and cool. (I’m not the only one who thinks so. Chicklet is an absolute train fanatic. I need to introduce her to the STB guys.)

Pretty train

Of course, nothing’s perfect

Many months after my initial rides, I still think the payment process is confusing and puts too much burden on the rider. Infrequent riders (especially distracted or busy infrequent riders like me) aren’t going to remember that they have to swipe before and after they ride–especially when the card swiping machines aren’t anywhere near the train. We forgot to pre-swipe at Pioneer Square Station and missed the train schlepping back up the escalator to do so. We also forgot to post-swipe on our way out of Beacon Hill Station and made the machine mad by double-swiping upon our return. I’m still not exactly sure how much I was charged.

If you’re going to penalize folks for not paying, the process should be idiot proof.

Ah, well. I suppose I’ll get the hang of it with a little more practice. Here’s hoping I won’t have to wait long for another opportunity.

Catching up (a little)

While I’ve been focused on learning to fold an umbrella stroller with a baby on my chest, a bag on my shoulder, and a two-year old in my grasp (more on that in a future post), the transit world has continued to turn–sometimes around unpleasant corners.

I haven’t been able to bring myself to watch the video of the tunnel beating, but I’ve been paying attention to the discussion. It feels very close to home and very threatening, both because the victim turned out to be the cousin of a family friend, and because it happened on the heels of the assault I recently witnessed on the 4. I’ve never felt that the tunnel was particularly safe,* but that was mostly because of the stairwells and other areas where it would be easy to corner someone. I certainly didn’t think that a major assault could happen on the platform, in front of several witnesses.** Then again, that’s what I said last month.

On a happier note, Clarence from Streetfilms paid a visit to our fair city earlier this month. He came to check out Link and has posted some cool videos from his trip (including one of him biking with Mayor MCGinn) on the Streetfilms site.

More catching up to come.

UPDATE, 3/4: The Link video’s up.

* For me, stops and stations have always felt much less safe than buses–for a variety of reasons.

In this case, they were witnesses who were paid to prevent such an assault from happening–or so we thought. Now, of course, there’s an outcry about the quality of tunnel security and transit security in general. (We’ll see what happens with the new contractor.) Lord knows I want buses to be safe (and how!) but as far as I know, no one’s offering up additional sources of funding.

At least it wasn’t that cold

I missed all the “No Pants” festivities on Sunday. I meant to attend–and finally ride down to the airport station–but my very bestest friend came home (from Aspen, Colorado, land of free buses) for a surprise visit, and we had so much fun hanging out, I forgot.

Of course, there was plenty of coverage of all this half-nakedness, so you guys don’t need my take, but I do find it interesting that Seattle never participated in this long-standing annual event until we had a train. I guess riding the bus bottomless doesn’t have the same cachet?

Busing without a shirt, on the other hand, is apparently all good.

Transportation in the news

• There’s a new, nationwide portal for transit applications. MyBus and OneBusAway are already in there. (Source: Mission-Sustainable)

• Transit riders and privacy groups are raising concerns about the way Orca collects and stores users’ travel data. They’re chatting about it over at STB.

• Link’s Seatac station is up and running. I missed the big ribbon-cutting (hey, it was at 8-something on Saturday morning!), and I’m not headed out of town anytime soon, but I’ll probably ride down there for the heck of it in a day or two. Anyone already been?