Tag Archives: safety

On buses and boundaries

Earlier this month, I wrote a short piece for Seattle’s Child about how Bus Nerd and I teach our kids to interact with strangers. Here’s a taste.

[We] don’t discourage our kids from talking to “strangers.” Like most parents, we have taught them never to go with a person they don’t know. But we also encourage and model safe and positive interactions, including making eye contact and greeting people, engaging in conversation, and helping those who need it.

We teach our kids how to recognize signs that someone is not safe to interact with: erratic behavior, inappropriate or aggressive language, invading personal space. And we empower them to decide what sort of interactions they’re comfortable with.

I certainly don’t have a magic bullet to protect my children (or anyone’s) from danger and violence. But the thing is, the more we isolate our kids and hide them away from the people they share the world with, the more disconnected and dangerous our communities become. We end up with fewer neighborhood friendships (and thus, more strangers), fewer “eyes on the street,” and lots more people in cars. And, as the number one killer of American children, cars are a significant threat to the safety of our communities.

Here’s to saying hi!

Upcoming events for transit types

Feet First Neighborhood Walking Ambassador Training
What: A “free training for community members to learn how to lead walks in their neighborhood.”

Neighborhood Walking Ambassadors lead inspiring walks around their community, connecting neighbors in a unique way with their surroundings. More people walking means more eyes on the street, which creates safer and healthier places for all of us to live, play and work.>

When: Saturday, October 29, 10:30 am -12:00 pm
Where: Rainier Beach Library, 9125 Rainier Avenue South
I love walking (more than busing, in fact), my neighborhood, and Feet First. Wish I could be there. If you can, send an email to this address to register.

That’s it for October–that I know of, anyway. Next month, there are many opportunities for citizens to provide input about transportation issues.

Road Safety Summits (City of Seattle)

The Summit[s], convened by Councilmembers and the Mayor, will be a series of three meetings and a Town Hall where agencies, community members, partners and other leaders will convene to discuss the best ways to improve safety and responsibility on our streets.

The summit at City Hall has come and gone, but here’s the information about the other two:

Tuesday, November 15th, 6 PM
Northgate Community Center, 10510 5th Ave NE

Monday, November 21st
Southwest Community Center, 2801 SW Thistle St

Transit Master Plan open houses

SDOT will be hosting 5 open houses this fall to share information about the TMP Draft Summary Report and to get feedback from the community. Please join us to learn about the draft plan and share your thoughts.

Here’s the information about the remaining events:

Tuesday, November 15, 6 PM
Ballard High School, 1418 NW 65th St

November 17, 6 PM
New Holly Gathering Hall, 7054 32nd Ave S

Public meetings about service changes (King County Metro)

When Metro launches the new RapidRide C and D lines in September 2012, we will be changing existing bus service to improve the transit system and provide more connections to jobs, schools, and other destinations in Seattle, Shoreline, Burien, Tukwila, SeaTac, and Des Moines. Now is the time for community members to review Metro’s ideas and share their own.

In November, we will be sharing proposed changes to bus service and listening to public comments. We invite you to participate in this process by attending a meeting or information table and completing our online survey. The proposed changes are posted at www.kingcounty.gov/metro/haveasay.

There are some big changes in the works, so make sure you visit the site to see how your travels will be affected. Oh, and show up at one of these events.

Wednesday, Nov. 2 – Central Library, 1000 Fourth Ave., 12:00-2:00 p.m.
Thursday, Nov. 3 – Adams Elementary School, 6110 28th Ave. NW, 7:00-9:00 p.m.
Monday, Nov. 7 – Catharine Blaine Elementary, 2550 34th Ave. W, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Wednesday, Nov. 9 – Chief Sealth High School, 2600 SW Thistle St., 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Monday, Nov. 14 – Greenwood Senior Center, 525 N 85th St., 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Tuesday, Nov. 15 – South Park Neighborhood Center, 8201 10th Ave. S, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Thursday, Nov. 17 – Madison Middle School, 3429 45th Ave. SW, 6:30-8:30 p.m.

Are suburbs safer for kids?

Not necessarily. From my latest for Grist:

Cities have a bad reputation with parents, for a lot of reasons. One of the biggest: crime. Ask the average suburban parents why they’ve chosen to raise their family far away from the urban core, and chances are good the topic will come up early in the conversation. Cities might be enriching and green and beneficial for kids in all kinds of ways. But what most parents want to know is, are they safe?

Last week, I chatted with Lenore Skenazy, author of Free Range Kids, about this very topic. You remember Lenore. She’s the mom who was crucified by the national media back in 2008, after she let her nine-year old son ride the subway alone and then wrote about it for The New York Sun. A self-described “worrier mom,” Skenazy encourages parents — no matter where they live — to move beyond fears and focus on facts.

[…]

So I ask you: Where is the woman who wrote an entire book about risks to children (and knows a thing or two about safety) choosing to raise her own family? Yes folks, a city. Actually, the city: Manhattan.

Read the rest…

Transportation safety, part V

I know I’m late, but I feel compelled to weigh in on the bus safety issue everyone’s been buzzing about for the last couple of days. According to this Seattlepi.com article, “incidents” (which can range from theft to disruptive behavior to actual fights between passengers) reported by Metro drivers have doubled in the last ten years and have risen faster than ridership.

Despite the article’s rather provocative introduction, its basic conclusion is that KC Metro buses are extremely safe. There were fewer than five incidents per million rides in 2008, and less than half of those involved violence. Believe me, driving a car is a lot more likely to result in an injury (or, for that matter, a death) than riding the bus. I digress.

Just for fun, here’s the list* of routes with the most driver-reported incidents:

174 (ahem): 60
7: 52
358 (a-hem!): 34
106: 21
36: 18
120: 16
150: 15
14: 15
18: 11
2: 11

I’ve ridden all of these routes–a few of them I ride regularly–and yes, they have more than their fair share of trife. But for what it’s worth, I’ve never felt unsafe on a bus in Seattle.** Annoyed? Frequently. Bothered? Sometimes. Harassed? On occasion. Unsafe? Not even on the 174.

* I’m surprised there weren’t more trolleys on the list (3 and 4 are conspicuously absent). No disrespect, but those things are slow as all get-out, usually crowded, and hot in the summer.

** OK, except for that time on the 2 when I was in 4th grade.