Spriiing Breaaak with Jack!

Okay, now that I’ve cooled down from yesterday, here are some of our more fun adventures:

Then we went to Suzzalo Library to look around. We came across the World’s Biggest Book!

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It’s pretty big, but it’s not that big. I bet someone could do bigger…

At any rate it’s the biggest now, & that means we had a great backdrop for another big thing: NASA’s #GlobalSelfie.

ImageOur entry:

(Hope you appreciate your part in the #GlobalSelfie, Bikery!)

Then we hit the B-G Trail. I saw sharply dressed on a Brompton guy again. He works close by (I just saw him yesterday!)

So I started keeping track of B-G Style: 

  • Rubber boots ‘n shorts biker
  • Day-glo colors guy
  • Music stand strapped to bike lady (one of those big Manhattan ones!) – I will say, she was very careful about it!
Actually, I need to get pictures of these people. It was really great, though.
Except that I hadn’t brought my bike!
So Jack scootered, & I ran to catch up… for 5 miles! I need to get this kid comfortable on his bike – we’ll be unstoppable!
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But not quite yet. We stopped by the little Rascal! A tiny tug along the B-G we’ve visited for years, Rascal has sadly been covered now for many long months. It’s boatin’ season and we just know Rascal is itchin’ to go for a dip!
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I wanna ride this duck:
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17% Metro Bus Cuts — with Plenty of Blame To Go Around!

I just got home to the news that Proposition 1 is going down in defeat.

“Great job, Seattle!” some say derisively, but this is a King County issue, affecting King County Metro.

And caused by the state legislature, which affects transit all over the place. Pierce Transit & Community Transit have already made drastic cuts. We’ve talked about more people driving with these cuts, but I think it deserves examining.

ImageDo we really want to cut Sunday service everywhere? As someone who doesn’t own a car, I can see how this hits the poor disproportionally. Do we really want not just more cars, but more cheap cars on the road, when people can’t take a bus to work? Do we want those crap cars to be uninsured?

This mess is blamed on Metro, when Tim Eyman’s initiatives took away the necessary funding for Metro. Then, in Olympia, Rodney Tom’s crazy caucus cocked up all hopes for State Transportation Funding. Now Tom’s bowing out, and there’s a chance to break the logjam.

But will it be too late? Will people move? Will people drive, and not go back? Will it have adverse effects on the economy? Those ‘No on Prop 1’ folks “sending a message” to Metro are assuming that this will force Metro to make personnel cuts to make up the losses. I’m assuming they’re sending this message comfortably from their cars, because I’ve seen a lot of those folks on their phones lately. Meanwhile, I’ve been spending time on the bus. On packed buses. In heavy traffic.

It doesn’t take a genius to see that traffic is bad, and that we could use more transit.

But if someone’s only looking at the bumper in front of them, they might not notice the bus getting on the express lane.

What I’m saying is that good transportation planning takes some foresight. Like many dumb decisions, putting Metro on the ropes seems like a good idea. But those optimistically voting No are in for a rude awakening. Metro has already cut, and already released their plan. It’s going to be brutal.

17% Metro Bus Cuts are happening. I’ve been telling you this. I’ve been handing out fliers and talking to strangers.

“Your sticker makes me wish I’d voted”, I was told today. Aw, goddamn it. C’mon! It was ONE BUBBLE.

I’ve also heard everything. I was riding Pierce Transit buses when I first heard the cuts were going to happen. I was using it to drop off my son. Those cuts affect me personally, directly, and I was worried. But people scoffed: “They’ll never let this happen in Seattle” I was told. But I had my doubts. I went to transportation planning open houses and asked questions. I pin-holed a SoundTransit official, but they weren’t worried. (ST is funded differently anyway – hope you’re in for this learning experience!) Metro tried to work it out…

I don’t have to tell you how this ends. Olympia didn’t budge. They refuse to pass a Transportation Package.

More blame: The local news media – I’m lookin’ at you Seattle Times – trashed Proposition 1. They didn’t mention that 40% of the funds go to fix our roads. At that transportation open house I learned that we are hopelessly behind on road repairs. We just add to the list at this point. But the state legislature won’t dare spend any money fixing it. We want to fix it. They won’t even allow us to raise the money to fix it.

So where are we at? I’ve managed to scratch the surface of a rats-nest of problems which have been delved into more accurately elsewhere, but which we still haven’t made any ground on.

Well, we need to get angry. We need to replace Rodney Tom, and more importantly his completely ineffectual and crippling approach to government. Then we need to find a way to sustainably fund our transportation.

Hey, Sustainable! After all, today was Earth Day!

Oh, wait: For Earth Day, King County pledged to take vehicles off the road!*

*(just the high capacity ones, tho)

That’s just great

Transportation needs to be an option, and buses are an important aspect of that. Taking them away may prove to be a serious problem. We can’t all live next to the Light Rail (especially at this rate of construction), and buses are highly flexible.

The fight to Save Metro ain’t over, and I predict I’m not done ranting about it.

Luv ya, but remember to Vote, damnit!

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Screw the Seattle Freeze™ or: Making Friends on the Light Rail

I didn’t ride at all today (okay, I rode home after midnite last nite, but I haven’t been on the bike since I last slept). Nonetheless, I’m calling today a win. I’ll tell ya why…

Jack went to Spokane for Easter, and is on spriiing breaaak! – so I left to go meet up at the Tukwila Int’l Blvd Light Rail station. I usually go down to Tacoma to pick him up and bring him back, so it’s nice when we can meet closer. If they’d gotten back before rush hour, I’d’ve headed to Auburn to take the Sounder… but then I would have had a very different day.

I took the 66 downtown. The closest bus to my new place, the 66 is an express and is faster than the 70s when they aren’t using the express lanes. On the way, I saw a guy deploy his Brompton folder bike, & take off. I was jealous to not be doing the same, but it is cool to witness other people’s awe over those things.

On the bus, I did some reading. As I was trying to remember the closest stop to get off, I noticed the guy across from me had a neat pin. “Nice bike pin,” I say, and we start talking. We’re both on the bus as it had threatened to rain (but then of course hadn’t yet). I consider jumping off to get over to the tunnel, but we’ve just introduced each other and Kelly (that’s his name) is talking, so I stay until the next stop. I say goodbye, and he asks where the Light Rail is. “That’s where I’m going,” I say. “I’ll take you.”

We talk as we wait, and it turns out Kelly’s recently changed jobs to the U-District (where I live), and he lives south of Columbia City. The train arrives, and it’s packed. We end up sitting in different seats, and I write for most of the trip. After people get off at Beacon Hill, I look around and we strike back up a conversation. I’m heading to Tukwila to pick up my son, I say. “That’s where I’m going,” he says.

We talk about our interests, the neighborhood, and gentrification. I’d like to write about that, so I give him my card… and get his info. This is the most important aspect: you don’t want to be waiting for someone else to get back to you! Best to get their info up front. Which I totally did! Screw the ole Seattle Freeze™ – I made a friend on the Light Rail!

Plus he’s looking to move closer to work to eliminate the pesky commute. Now, I love matching up needs, and I happen to know some friends with rooms for rent. I’m on it. And we’re here. We say goodbye once again, and he’s off to help a friend move. “The friends that help you move are the friends you have for life” says Kelly. Darn right!

Jack and his step-dad are grabbing a quick burger across the street, so I walk over to meet them. We take our time to catch up, and head back to catch the train. We see one coming from below, but the train is waaay up there and I’m not in a rush. It’s a good thing, too – as I whip out my timer, and the train’s only at the stop for 30 seconds. Besides, I turn around on the escalator… and there’s Kelly!

Now that’s pretty cool. Also cool is a guy with a Bike Friday foldy bike, though he breezes past to the far end of the platform. Not cool is an out-of-service train, which still stops and announces its out-of-service-ness. How rude! Anyways, another train comes quickly, and Kelly says goodbye, heading up to the first car. We jump on the near one, & I’m a bit disappointed that he left us for the one with the foldy bike… I’d have liked to talk to that guy, too!

It’s fun to ride with Jack, though. He’s such a great kid, he wants to stop at the library, but it is getting late. We ride backwards, enjoying the scenery. It’s really fun, and there’s a lot to see. We ride to the last stop, and when we finally jump off… there’s the foldy bike guy! I get into a brief foldy bike comparison convo until his elevator ding!s its arrival.

It feels strange to be on a bus after all this wonderful rail. (In a few short years we can take it all the way home!) Luckily, we have the über-cheerful “Welcome Aboard!” Driver. I’ve had him a few times, and his posi attitude is super infectious. The bus fills with the usual combo of students and the borderline crazy. (“On the spectrum” may be more appropriate). At any rate, there’s much talking amongst friends, and a pug being passed around with profligate licking of faces (by the pug you strange readers, you).

Über-Cheerful Driver kicks it into high gear, shouting out a far-more inclusive list of stops than the automated voice could ever handle, & doing it with humor and aplomb. Finally, we’re at our stop, and I tell him I voted because of drivers like him.

HAVE I MENTIONED TO VOTE FOR BUSES?
VOTE YES ON PROP 1! TODAYS THE LAST DAY!

Anyway, we walk home, discovering the new ped path around the University tunnel station construction. This is a great find! I’d assumed it was blocked off entirely. Some things are much better handled on foot. Now I know, and can take advantage when riding.

So, no riding today, but I connected with the bicycling community. Plus, I traveled realllly far – and got a lot done – in rush hour traffic. Without a car. I’ll stand by that win.

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30 Days Of Biking is Off!

I pledged to participate in 30 Days of Biking, which I believe is pretty self-explanatory.

My 30 days started on March 31st. Image
I set out to meet my good friend Alex in Ballard, before my weekly Monday volunteer shift at the Bikery.

Alex showed me his brainchild, Barterlabs.com

You should check it out, it’s a brilliant free-trade marketplace for barter. & by free-trade, I mean it’s absolutely free!

Next I rode across the Ballard Bridge & along the Elliot Bay Trail through Myrtle Edwards Park. This is probably one of the most picturesque routes you could take whilst biking in Seattle. Some ride it daily – sounds like a great way to commute!

Riding daily is what 30 Days is all about.

I found that, even not having a car, I’d often take the bus because I was running late. A challenge is just what I need to really get out there & take advantage of riding.

In the Ballard to Bikery route shown here, it was actually 25 minutes faster to ride my bike.

This is on account of rush hour & the necessary transfer, but when you consider that I had time to stop & eat my dinner, and I got to see this:

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…I think it was well worth my while!

Despite stopping, I made it to The Bikery on time to help a few people and prepare for my Wednesday workshop:

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Come on by! It’ll be at the Douglass-Truth Library at 3pm.

I took a long time to finish up my preparation shenanigans, & I realized it was well after 10 on March 31st.

Now, I have a problem with procrastination, but today I managed to sign up on the last day of the Obamacare open enrollment! Yay, me!

I mention this because everyone should have health care, but also because I always mean to apply to the Awesome Foundation grant, & generally only remember around their monthly deadline which is on the last day of the month. Image

I stuck around late, taking a photo for my app & sending it off right before midnite!

What’s my grant, you ask?

Oh, just a bicycle superhero making the city safe for riders and regular citizens.

I’ll even save a car driver in peril, if deemed necessary.

Expect more on this soon!

The upshot of all this is that I rode home after midnite – or on April 1st!

 

Daily miles: 18.6m
Daily travel time: 2h

Lots to be done tomorrow!
❤ F

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My First 911 Call

I’ve been meaning to start blogging. This isn’t really what I had in mind, but so it goes.

Here’s what happened tonight. Just the facts: Image
March 29, I’m awakened by screaming outside the window.
12:45am I call 911 (this is as soon as I’m cognizant enough to tell that something is wrong.)

“There’s a woman screaming outside in a car,” I say. & I give the location, the cross streets to my friend’s house in South Seattle that I’m staying at. 

I’m trying to look out the window to get a description, while attempting not to be seen… 

Did I mention I’m in the room right next to the street, with my son somehow still sleeping right next to me? No? Sorry, there are a lot of factors buzzing in my head right now. 

I remember the cross streets, as I realize this is the first time I’ve ever called 911.

I give a quick description of the vehicle, when suddenly the car moves. I hurry to follow it from the kitchen window on the other side of the house. 

The 911 dispatcher is very calm.
“What’s he wearing?” He’s shirtless, I say.
I just don’t have that much info to give.

“Can you tell the race of the man?” she asks…
“…uh… brown?” I manage, the car now disappearing into the night. 

“Would you like to leave your name, or remain anonymous?”
“…I… don’t know.” I really don’t, but they have my number, so… 

I’m now an anonymous 911 caller. Image
I shouldn’t have to be.
I shouldn’t have to feel worried about calling the police.
No one should. 

9 minutes later, a police cruiser rolls past. 

Although the car is now long gone, the experience lingers.
I’m concerned for the woman.
I’m nervous being next to the window.
I’m worried about him coming back.
I don’t want anything to happen to my son. 

I’m also aware of the fact that I likely just got an innocent brown couple pulled over in South Seattle.
It’s less important than the above list, but it’s still weighing on my heart. 

…It’s almost two hours later now, & I’m still awake. I had to record the experience and my feelings.
Violence sucks. It affects many more indirectly. 

I should’ve called 911 before now.
My neighbors in Bremerton, a young married (& pregnant) couple, used to fight.
The husband would drink, & I remember it getting bad.
I used to live right next door to the Police Patrol Station.
There was no good reason not to call in that situation. 

I’ve also been in a car pulled over by the cops.
(Okay, a few times – but this one is relevant)

It was the year 2000 & I was out with friends.
We had just raided a large street-side donation pile for a plush chicken that sang the “chicken dance”.
(We’re perfectly sober, btw — though filled with youthful exuberance.)
We were driving home to Greenwood in my friend’s dented Pontiac, whooping it up & holding the chicken out the window.

…when we realize the cops are behind us.
We turn onto 85th. They turn.
We turn onto 3rd. They turn. 

We turn, a block from home… They turn & pull us over.
Instantly, four more cop cars are there.
License, registration…
“Would you mind getting out of the car?”
“No problem… or, actually…”
My friend’s car had just been t-boned & the driver’s door wouldn’t open…
He leaps out the window, Dukes of Hazzard-style…

…after a long while they finally let us go.
Turns out there was a shooting at the “All-American” (or whatever) Dance Club, which we’d driven right past (as it’s right on the way home).
The shooter was in a new model-year Pontiac.
We were in a late-70s Pontiac.
“Don’t worry, it wasn’t about the chicken,” says the officer. 

Now, that went pretty well.
But we were white… 

It’s more than possible the cops used this as an excuse to pull over anyone brown in a same-model car of pretty much any year. 

Violence needs to stop. 
Violence against women needs to stop. 
Waking me up with some dumb shit needs to stop. 
And shit with the Cops. 

Needs to Stop.

I love y’all. Nite!

 

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