Tag Archives: RTTF

2010: the bus year in review

Best ride of 2010: Easy: first ride with my sweet boy. (It didn’t hurt that it was on the 27.) More on the joys of busing with Busling in a few weeks, on his birthday.

Worst ride of 2010: Also easy: that terrible, terrible, morning-after-MLK-Day 4 ride. That one just might qualify as the worst bus ride of my life.

Driver of the year (really, every year): Smooth Jazz, of course.

Route of the year: ST550. Thanks to my role on the Regional Transit Task Force, I rode the 550 more times between March and October of this year than I did in all of my previous years buschickdom. I give the “7 of the Eastside” props for speed and frequency–even if it is always way too crowded.

And speaking of…

Most inspiring transit-related experience: My participation in the Regional Transit Task Force. It was amazing to see such a large group of people—with many different perspectives and priorities—come together to do what’s right for the citizens of this county. I’m proud to have been a part of it.

Most depressing transit-related experience: My participation in the Regional Transit Task Force. As we task force members were made painfully aware: Metro is going to experience deep cuts in the very near future. It was our job to find the fairest way to make the cuts, but “the best we could do under the circumstances” won’t mean much to the thousands of people who depend on transit to get around–or to the many who’d like to see this region provide some real alternatives to SOVs. Hard stuff.

On a happier note…

Best (personal) ride enhancements:
1) Bus info on the go. I resisted for many years, because I generally avoid buying “stuff” (especially electronic stuff) just because there’s something new to buy. (Folks, if you saw my laptop, you might feel inclined to pray for me.) But, I finally broke down and got a smart(ish) phone with a data plan. With two kids in tow, being able to use the internets to find out when the bus is coming (et cetera) is really, really useful.

2) Two-wheeled transportation. The bus is great for a lot of trips, but there are occasions–like when I have to get somewhere that’s too far to walk in a reasonable amount of time but not at all convenient by bus–when I wish I had some bike skills (and, in the absence of separated bike lanes, more courage). Earlier this week, after years of saying I should, I finally swallowed my fear, dusted off that Dahon I won three years ago, and rode to the tailor to take some pants in for repair.

The distance (about a 30-minute walk) was perfect for a trial trip. I stayed on back streets and hardly dealt with any cars, which made me wonder what, exactly, I had been so scared of. Plus, it was fun! I zoomed down hills (though I didn’t much enjoy struggling up them), and I didn’t have to wait (no disrespect to the bus) or (my peeve) rush. My goal for 2011 is to ride the bike (solo–not ready for the big leagues yet) for at least one trip per week. Come to think of it, maybe once every other week would be more realistic. Every month for sure. Hold me to it.

And now, I will return to my glass of Cristal(ino) and my Bus Nerd.

Happy 2011, everyone!

Upcoming events for transit types

The Culture of the Automobile and its Effect on Our Lives

What: An SDOT-sponsored talk by Catherine Lutz and Anne Lutz Fernandez, authors of the recently released Carjacked. Here’s a synopsis of the book:

Carjacked is an in-depth look at our obsession with cars. While the automobile’s contribution to global warming and the effects of volatile gas prices is widely known, the problems we face every day because of our cars are much more widespread and yet much less known — from the surprising $14,000 that the average family pays each year for the vehicles it owns, to the increase in rates of obesity and asthma to which cars contribute, to the 40,000 deaths and 2.5 million crash injuries each and every year.

Carjacked details the complex impact of the automobile on modern society and shows us how to develop a healthier, cheaper, and greener relationship with cars.

When: Friday, August 6th, 3 PM – 4:30 PM
Where: Bertha Knight Landes Room, City Hall: 600 5th Avenue
How much: Free!

I’m embarrassed to admit (especially given the reviews) that I’ve had this book on my nightstand for several months, and I’ve only managed to read the first few pages. (I received a publicity copy shortly after Busling was born, and it got lost in the new-baby shuffle.) It is my intention to read at least a few chapters before attending the talk. I’ll share my thoughts here after I finish it.


Off the Chainring Tour, Seattle Edition
What: A traveling bikestravaganza! Join Elly Blue and Joe Biel for an “evening of bike talk, bike zines, and short movies about transportation activism! We’ll share ideas and inspiration about bike stuff in Portland, in your town, and in other places. Our focus is on bikes but also the big picture: buses, trains, walking, freeways, cars, housing, affordability, what works and what doesn’t.”

When: Saturday, August 14th, 7 PM – 9 PM
Where: Ada’s Technical Books: 713 Broadway East
How much: $3 – $10, based on ability to pay

More good stuff from the alt transpo capital of the universe. If Nerd and I can sucker my dad and/or one of my brothers into babysitting, we’re there.


UPDATE, 8/4: Metro Employee Historic Vehicle Association (MEHVA) Snoqualmie tour
What: “A leisurely 4-hour scenic trip [on an old-school bus!] to the historic and charming small town of Snoqualmie where you can ride the train from the restored depot built in 1890, visit the scenic spectacular Snoqualmie Falls or have a picnic lunch.”
When: Sunday, August 15th, 11 AM
Where: Tour departs from 2nd Ave S. & S. Main
How much: $5 (Free for kids 5 and under)

We’ve got a lot going on in the next couple of weeks (more on that later), but I’d really like to make it to this. A train ride and the falls? Chicklet would be beside herself.


August Regional Transit Task Force meetings

What: The RTTF is a group of citizens and elected officials appointed by the County Executive and charged with “identify[ing] short-term and long-term objectives for transit service investment. [The task force] will formulate a service implementation policy based on those objectives” by September 2010.”

In other words, Metro is facing huge cuts, and the County is looking for input about the most fair, least disruptive way to make those cuts. They’re also looking for help developing strong implementation policies for future (fingers crossed) service additions.

When: Thursday, August 5th & Thursday, August 19th, 5:30 PM – 8:30 PM
Where: Mercer Island Community Center: 8236 SE 24th Street, Mercer Island (You can take the 550.)
How much: Free (unless you count your tax dollars)

I didn’t mention this task force when it was formed earlier this year, mostly because I’m a member (as one of three rider representatives), and I try to keep my community involvement separate from this blog. In this case I’m making an exception, because the recommendations of the group (if they’re adopted by the council) are going to affect bus riders in every corner of the county.

The task force meets twice a month (schedule here), and there is time for public comment at the end of every meeting. If you can’t attend, you can find meeting materials and notes on the RTTF website.

Rainier Valley Summer Streets
What: Rainier Valley’s version of the city’s Summer Streets series.

Come out and watch the Rainier Valley Heritage Parade then stay and play in the streets afterwards. The parade begins at 11 a.m. and lasts about an hour. After that, the streets open up for people to enjoy. Dine at local restaurants, make art, find out about urban gardening and learn how to fix your bike. Seattle Children’s is sponsoring a kid’s obstacle course and there will be skateboard demos with free helmet give-aways. There will also be cultural activities like learning how to write calligraphy and making star lanterns.

When: Saturday, August 21st, 11 AM – 3 PM
Where: Rainier Ave South, between South Brandon and South Alaska
How much: Free!

So going to this. Again.