Tag Archives: San Fran

Speaking of San Francisco transit blogs (and newbie bus confusion)…

Brenna from That Baby is Cold visited Seattle during a West Coast road trip earlier this month. An excerpt from her trip report:

To be honest, I found the transit a little confusing. I had a rude bus driver that didn’t tell me that you pay getting on sometimes, and getting off other times based on where you get on. My husband had figured that out, but neglected to tell me and I instantly became the annoying lady with the loud kids that’s holding up the bus line.

And nobody wants to be that lady…

Miss(es) Manners for transit types

The SF Muni ladies, who’ve been doing their part to reduce bus fouls in the Bay since ’08, have compiled some of their most popular (or perhaps I should say, most necessary) bus and train behavior recommendations into a book: Muni Manners: An Etiquette Guide for the Mass Transit Savvy. The blurb:

Picking up where Miss Manners leaves off, Muni Manners brings a modern spin to transit etiquette and covers a range of infractions affecting riders – everything from personal space to personal hygiene.

Talk about a required ride read!

The Muni Manners book is self-published and not available at the library (they really should stock some at those cool library vending machine thingies at the BART stations in Contra Costa County), but it might be worth the investment to purchase a few copies. You can keep one for your personal transit geek reference library and carry the others in your bus chick bag–to hand out to the frequent foulers you encounter on your rides.

Speaking of kids…

1) Another car-free parent, Jeremy Adam Smith in San Francisco, shares his reasons for riding (and walking) with his son (via: Carfree with Kids):

You can buy eco-products from here to the end of time; you can recycle and reuse everything you can; you can even buy a hybrid. But most scientists and engineers agree: The single best thing you can do for the Earth, the greatest positive change you can make, is to give up owning a private vehicle altogether.

Many people will see this as a terrible sacrifice — and in some places, it is almost impossible. But after fifteen years without a car — five of them as a parent — I don’t think we’ve sacrificed a thing. And in fact, our carfree family has gained a lot…

Jeremy goes on to list many of the same benefits that my family–and the (few) other car-free families we know–have experienced: quality time; contact with community; improved health; resourcefulness; and a real, on-the-ground knowledge of one’s city that simply cannot be duplicated from the isolated bubble of a car.

Can I get an “amen!”?

2) Some fun gifts for Chicklet and Bus-Baby-to-Be from my cousins-in-law, Erin and Eli, in NYC:

Transit Museum SWAG
Cute SWAG from the New York Transit Museum

Transit Museum SWG
The important parts of a subway car, or, as Chicklet calls it, “a light rail”
Transit Museum SWAG
“Chew, chew, chew!”

So far, my gratitude is overcoming my envy (I wanna go to the Transit Museum!), but the emotions are pretty much neck and neck.

Thanks, guys!

More on transit etiquette

Today, some self-described “SF Muni Ladies” hipped me to their new blog, Muni Manners: An etiquette guide for the transit savvy.

As loyal riders of San Francisco public transit (for longer than we’d like to admit), we’ve seen our commutes change with the rise of ipods and the fall of public decorum. Picking up where Miss Manners leaves off, this new kind of etiquette guide modernizes what our moms taught us in grade school about riding the Uncle Gus.

Love it! So far, there are only seven “etiquette rules,” but these ladies are on to something. Some recent Muni Lady admonishments:

Etiquette Rule # 7: Keep Your Eyes Open
You Snooze, We Lose

Etiquette Rule # 6: Use Nasal Discretion
Getting Picky

Etiquette Rule #5: Pick Up After Yourself
Every litter bit counts

Perhaps the next step is to enlist some Yokohama-style etiquette police to enforce these.

Muni ladies, I appreciated your rule about boarding the train (or bus, in our case), “Always let exiting passengers leave the train before you board.” The thing is: This is a standard rule of most major transit agencies; most folks just choose not to follow it. A more difficult, etiquette-related question (one I receive a lot and don’t really know the answer to): What’s the protocol for who boards first after everyone has exited? Is it based on who arrived at the station first? Elderly and less-able-bodied first? Some combination of the two?

Any insight would be much appreciated.

Keep up the good work!

And speaking of cool bus blogs…

Here’s one by a bus mom in San Francisco: That Baby is Cold.

This blog is dedicated to all the little old ladies at the various bus stops who tell me (daily) that my baby is cold. It doesn’t matter how many layers she has on, apparently she always “looks cold”. Don’t worry Granny, my baby is fine, you’re just old.

No disrespect to all the OG bus chicks (and OG moms) out there, but I can relate. People (and not just bus riders) love to give advice about what babies should be wearing, eating, playing with, and riding in. Sometimes the (unsolicited) advice is useful, but mostly, I just ignore it; Chicklet and I are pretty good at figuring out what she needs.

A recent adventure for the SF bus mom and her chicklet:

She’s So Hot, She’s Cold.

22 Outbound/ going home: A couple of weeks back we had some record setting hot days here in SF. We had a weekend of mid-high 90’s. Everyone was in shorts, flip flops, and the like. If we had been in Texas, I would have let the little one hang out in her diaper and nothing else. However there’s still a breeze here, so she was fine in one layer. I reveled in the heat. Finally, no one will tell me my baby is cold! She had on pants and short sleeve shirt, and a cute, white sunhat. As we were stepping on the bus, a 150 year old lady tapped my shoulder, “Doesn’t that baby have a jacket?” I looked at her, stunned. “Yes, ” I stammered, “But I didn’t want to melt her”. The lady laughed and said, “It might cool off later.”

Of course, we west coasters who have forgotten to take jackets to BBQs and summer concerts know that the “cooling off” thing is real, but still. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to go find my little one’s sun hat. Happy 80-something Friday!

Still another bus based union

This one in San Francisco:

[Christina Wu and Chris Little] got to know each other four years ago waiting for and riding the 31AX-Balboa express bus to their jobs in downtown San Francisco. Today, they will be getting married in a Muni-themed ceremony.


[Wu] and Little used to catch the morning bus at the same Richmond District corner at 25th Avenue and Balboa Street, and after a couple of months of noticing each other, he struck up a conversation before the express arrived.

“Muni wasn’t my Match.com – at least not by design,” said Little, 39, who works in Internet advertising sales. “But if I drove, I probably wouldn’t have met Christina.”

(Source: SFGate)

Thanks for the link, John.

Still more reasons to get on the bus

1) On September 21st, city residents across the country returned parking spaces to the people. From parkingday.org:

Conceived by REBAR, a San Francisco-based art collective, PARK(ing) Day is a one-day, global event centered in San Francisco where artists, activists, and citizens collaborate to temporarily transform parking spots into “PARK(ing)” spaces: temporary public parks.

StreetFilms posted a couple of videos:

Park(ing) Day, NYC
Park(ing) Day, San Fran

2) Sprawl counteracts fuel efficiency gains. From the Detroit Free Press:

An expected 59% increase in the number of miles Americans drive between 2005 and 2030 will outpace any reduction in greenhouse gases from better fuel efficiency of cars and trucks, said a report issued Thursday.

If there is any hope of reducing carbon dioxide emissions, a key component of greenhouse gases, the nation needs to slow sprawl and build more compact housing, such as lofts atop commercial buildings in downtowns and taller buildings on less land, the report said. It was compiled by the Urban Land Institute and issued by the Michigan Environmental Council.

Smart Growth America has the full report.

And on a related note…

3) A new study by the APTA finds that:

…when compared to other household actions that limit carbon dioxide (CO2,), taking public transportation can be more than ten times greater in reducing this harmful greenhouse gas.


The research points out that due to increases in vehicle miles traveled, the problem of pollution from vehicle emissions is accelerating. Greenhouse gas emissions from mobile sources have grown 27 percent from 1990 to 2004. Autos and light duty trucks represent about 61 percent of the total mobile source of greenhouse gas emissions. The report says single occupancy drivers switching their work commute to public transportation is one of the more effective ways to reduce the nation’s vehicle miles traveled while reducing harmful carbon dioxide.

Speaking of work commutes…

Tomorrow I’m going to try out the Connector. It doesn’t stop anywhere that’s convenient for me (and plus, I’m happy with my current bus commute), but I want to see what it’s all about. I’ll report back.

If Seattle got cheaper, the planet might get cooler

Yesterday, BeyondChron had an interesting piece about the connection between climate change and affordable housing. Some excerpts:

Despite the media focusing largely on climate change strategies like ethanol and composting, combating sprawl appears to be one of the efforts offering the most bang for the buck. For starters, cars produce almost a third of the carbon emitted in America. Allowing people to live close to their jobs, grocery stores, parks and schools means dramatically shortened commute times and significantly reduced carbon emissions.

In addition, increasing density means taking advantage of public infrastructure already in place. Rather than extending sewer, water, road and electric [and transit!] systems farther and farther away from the city center, using the already existing systems increases their efficiency and reduces the need for more resources to expand them.


As demand increases for urban housing, costs go up, often dramatically in many places in recent years. While cities may have won the battle in bringing people in, they’ve also succeeded in forcing people out. Low-income and working-class people in cities like San Francisco, Seattle, Boston and New York keep moving farther and farther away from their jobs, making sprawl worse, not better.

This article is right on time. Growth management must include a strong focus on in-city, affordable housing. Without it, we’ll never create a transit- (or, for that matter, people-) friendly region.