Tag Archives: undriving

Transportation round-up

  • The Best Bus Ride finalists have been selected. (I’ve already completed my official judging duties, which I thoroughly enjoyed.) You can vote for the people’s choice winner here. Voting ends Saturday, 11/20.  
  • Undriving.org now has video profiles of local undrivers. Love. I’ve just added Merlin Rainwater and Betty Holman to my list of sheroes.
  • Got ideas about how to improve transit in Seattle? SDOT wants to hear them. The city is in the process of updating its Transit Master Plan* and needs lots of feedback from citizens. (FYI, this citizen is a member of the TMP advisory committee. I’m certainly looking forward to providing my feedback.)
  • Community Transit hopes to prevent further service cuts with its new “Buy local for transit” program.
  • A real-time ridesharing pilot will start on the 520 corridor in January. If you’re interested in participating, sign up here.
  • The DOT has released a series of powerful videos to discourage distracted driving.


*This is not to be confused with the Seattle Planning Commission’s Seattle Transit Communities report, which I unfortunately haven’t read yet.

March news of note

One Bus Away, the user-friendly version of MyBus, won “Best Use of Technology in the Government, Nonprofit, or Educational Sector” at the Washington Technology Institute Association awards earlier this month.

A fancy tech award is nice and all, but OBA also receives all kinds of love on the streets. If I had a nickel for every time I saw someone using it on a mobile device or hyping it up to a friend… Case in point: My friend (and fellow bus mom) Lily, who started using the app recently, gushed about it during our get-together a couple of weeks ago. “It’s changed my life!” she told me–and she meant it. Now if that ain’t a ringing endorsement…

• And speaking of gushing… Most of you know that I’m a big fan of Undriving Ballard and their fun undriver licensing program. If UB hasn’t made it to your neighborhood yet (or if you missed them when they did) I have some good news: You can now apply for an undriver license online. Love.

Another successful bus engagement went down last week. Bus luh is alive and well, folks.

• If you’re interested in Detroit’s discussions about revamping its transportation infrastructure, you might enjoy this Free Press editorial. (via: Bus Nerd, of course)

Carfree Sundays, part II (or, Now this is more like it)

The sun did, indeed, shine on Columbia City today.

No cars allowed (except police cars, that is)

For a few minutes after I passed the barricade, I stayed on the sidewalk (30+ years of conditioning are hard to overcome)–until I realized I didn’t have to. What an exhilarating feeling to step off the curb and stroll down the middle of the street!

Columbia City Bakery's sign
Carfree Columbia City

Hoops, hopscotch, and hula hoopin’:

Street b-ball
Street hopscotch
Hula hoopin' en masse

Dancin’ in the street:

Dancin' in the street

Props to the excellent DJs, who quadrupled (at least) my enjoyment.

A bicycle-powered blender:

A carbon-free smoothie

A streetwalk cafe:

Nerd and Chicklet eat in the street

Folks clamoring (as usual) for undriver licenses:

Undriver licensing

Except these two, that is:

Driving on carfree Sunday

Street art:

Street art in Columbia City
Street art in Columbia City
Street art in Columbia City
Streets are for people


Still riding…

I’m waiting patiently for Bus Baby to make an appearance (hey, I thought I signed up for 40 weeks–not 41), frightening my fellow passengers, who, it seems, are desperately hoping my water doesn’t break while we’re sharing a seat.

There are several items I failed to report while I was busy attempting to will myself into labor, but I only have the energy to tell you about two of them.

First, the not-so-good news:

Flexcar members will be paying the rental car tax. From a recent Flexcar newsletter:

As you may know, Flexcar has been working with the Department of Revenue to address the application of the State and County rental-car tax to Flexcar members. While we made important progress in educating the Department of Revenue on why car-sharing is different from traditional car rental, we were unable to reach a definitive resolution. The Department determined that it could not exempt car-sharing from the rental-car tax without legislative authority.

Consequently, the Department of Revenue has informed us that we must now begin to collect the rental-car tax effective November 1, 2007. As a result, you will see those taxes reflected in our invoices beginning with any November Flexcar charges. For trips using Flexcars in King County (Seattle, Bellevue, or Kirkland), the rental-car tax will be 9.7%. Use of Flexcar vehicles in Vancouver, WA, will be subject to a rental-car tax of 5.9%.

Guess it’s time to get that “legislative authority.” There’s already a petition circulating.

Now, to cheer us up:

Sustainable Ballard received 436 October “undriving” pledges at their Undriver Licensing booth last month. Here are some of my favorites:

1. Not drive to any destination adjacent to or in downtown Seattle.
2. No driving on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
3. Never drive to the grocery – even if it’s in the middle of the night. [Apparently, this person is familiar with Bus Chick’s Diet Plan.]
4. Walk kids to school, walk to work – back home. Get gear for rain to be prepared!
5. Not replace our 2nd car.
6. Not drive daughter to school, have her take bus.
7. Skateboard to Sunny’s Teriyaki.
8. Not drive at all except for one Flexcar trip on one day. Use bus + foot.
9. Commute 5 days a week by bus or bike. Bike or carpool to church and church meetings.
10. Bus to my volunteer job. Walk to shopping. Get my bike back in riding condition.
11. Ride my bike to school (Ballard to Capitol Hill) one time a week for full quarter.
12. Walk at least 3 days a week rather than driving to the pool.
13. Sell my car! Ride the bus, bike or walk to work.
14. Help my neighbor drive less by organizing a car-share. Bike to work.
15. Walk to Ballard Market + walk/bus for weekend nights out.
16. Not drive to Tacoma or Everett but take the Sounder
17. Use the bus to take my daughter to school at least three times per week.
18. Combine by errands into one trip and make more of my trips on my bike.
19. Prepare to sell our second car – carpool – and look into a bike buggy for errands.
20. Reduce in-person meetings for the organizations I work with, meeting by phone, email, etc.
21. Take the bus to: Seatac Airport, Benaroya Hall. Bike to work more. Get my winter lights installed!
22. Bike to work every day. Do local errands (<1 mile) with bike or by foot. Take public transportation to airport/downtown.
23. Run the dogs at the local parks once a week instead of driving to a farther away park.
24. Ride my bike to the library + grocery store on weekends.
25. Only drive if I am heading out of the city.
26. Carpool or ride the bus to all events throughout the month.
27. Never to use my car in the center of the Ballard neighborhood – always to walk around the neighborhood.
28. Walk or bike to school every day, organize “walk to school” month + help create walking school buses to Adams Elementary.
29. Walk 2x per week instead of drive to coffee. And bus 2x per week to kids’ activities.
30. Not drive on weekend.
31. Drive only when moving furniture, and in all other cases bike or use public transit.
32. Talk to others about the steps we’ve taken to reduce driving.
33. Speak to 6 people about the benefits of not owning an automobile.
34. Drive less and to talk my wife into driving less.
35. Encourage my yoga students to bike, bus or walk to class.

Anyone got an undriving pledge for November? I’ve got 10 Metro “ride free” passes for the person who posts the most inspirational pledge (read: the one I like best).

September Golden Transfer

Golden Transfer This month’s Golden Transfer goes to Sustainable Ballard, a four-year old organization that promotes sustainable practices within its community, with the goal of making Ballard the “first US town [not to nitpick, but I thought it was a neighborhood] to become energy independent.”

As I mentioned in Friday’s post, this weekend SB hosted its annual sustainability festival in Ballard Commons Park. This year, they added something new: a fun, clever (and, I’m hoping, effective) program to get Ballardites (Ballardians?) out of their cars: Undriving Ballard. The program encouraged participants to commit to changing their transportation habits (read: drive less) for the month of October. In return, they received: support and information, free Metro bus tickets, an “Udrivers License,” and, as I mentioned Friday, the admiration of all the good-looking people at the fest.

Undriver licensing booth at Sustainable Ballard
Me, signing up for an undriver license (big coat is obscuring Bus Baby)
Unfortunately, I had to crop the bottom of this very cool sign, due to an item Bus Nerd was carrying that kept obscuring the camera lense.
Undrivers having fun at the fest
Fulvio and Julia, SB volunteers and committed undrivers

Here are Bus Nerd’s and my undriver licenses, which we plan to show the next time we hit up a club or concert:

Note that I was far too dignified to take advantage of the props they had available for pictures. Bus Nerd? Not so much.

Undriving Ballard was a hit. I was impressed by the idea and the implementation, and I wasn’t the only one. There was a line at the Undriver Licensing booth all afternoon on Saturday.

So, thanks Sustainable Ballard, for motivating more folks to try alternatives to driving, and, especially, for demonstrating your concern for the earth by taking action in your community.

Another bus-chick-friendly weekend event (or, First Ballard, then the world!)

Sustainable Ballard’s annual festival is happening this weekend at Ballard Commons Park (17, 18, 44). It’s all about celebrating sustainability and educating folks about how to “live more lightly on the earth.” Last year, I gave a short talk at the festival’s transportation tent about my experience living without a car. This year, SB’s making car-free advocacy a major focus of the festival, with “Undriving Ballard: A place for people to explore alternatives to car travel, and get inspired to make an Undriving Pledge.”

I’m going to be there, sharing some of my knowledge and learning from others…maybe you?

P.S. – If you “undrive” to the festival, you’ll receive, in addition to the admiration of all the good-looking people attending, two free bus tickets from our friends at Metro.