King County Metro Bus #18

I have to admit, as my time draws to an end riding the #18 (and #17 pretty frequently) that I will miss my daily commute into and out of downtown Seattle from Ballard. However, my commute is drawing back to that of a commute I had years ago. My commute is again turning into an almost half mile walk. With streetcar, trolley bus, bus, BART, MAX, LINK, or other options as a way to get to and from. Throw on top of that a sprinkle of biking and I’m good. I’ll enjoy not sitting on the bus for 20 minutes anymore.

To think that Americans used to not travel but about 10-30 minutes walking to get to and from work. That we used to use almost no external energy outside of ourselves. We had stronger communities and knew our neighbors, all of them, not just two or three like in the suburbs. In the past Americans also often knew the politics of their town, and to some degree even their nation. Today, people rarely know what is going on in their own city, let alone at a state or Federal level. In various times throughout America’s History people took pride in building their city, the place they live, having a library and post office, and place to congregate in a park, an overlook of the city, or even just a clear cut place for a church or other place. Today, that also rarely exists, except in a few cities.

Seattle happens to be one of those places where the positive aspects of the past are not lost.

…so where am I going, what am I doing? I’ll be posting real soon about that, from a Transit Sleuth’s Perspective!  :)

What I Posit About Cars…

All I summise is this:
1. Cars are vastly more expensive than most US Citizens Realize & they pay for it.
2. Cars are one of the main costs to US Society, and one of the largest expenditures by Federal, State, and Local Governments for roadways, maintenance, and related costs.
3. Cars are one of the main societal elements that incur greater distances, push neighborhoods apart, and decrease the size of neighborhoods & by action community.

Our asses are leased out to China & other countries, and one of the main reasons is because of our dependence on the automobile and consumption lifestyle. If we learn to live and to experience life, grow communities closer and live healthier, we can get ourselves out of hock, otherwise Americans might as well get used to being owned by a foreign entity.

Think about that everytime you get in your car.

Here’s some costs and stats for ya too…

http://www.investopedia.com/articles/pf/08/cost-car-ownership.asp#axzz1kxVx8hDm

http://www.cleveland.com/datacentral/index.ssf/2010/06/annual_spending_on_gasoline_ne.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passenger_vehicles_in_the_United_States

Nothing Like a Commute from Olympia to Seattle, Washington

I boarded the train this morning at 10:30am with a scheduled arrival of 12:00. That, overall is not a bad commute compared to the nightmare of those that currently commute in from Olympia. Currently the various bus trip, which includes a transfer to either a second bus or to the Sounder, is a very long trip. I’m also not one to encourage long commutes, I think they are inherently bad for society and for the mental health of individuals attempting to make these trips.

However, if the trip must be made, which a lot of people do, the train should be a viable option. There is demand, there are tracks, and soon there will be an even shorter route that will take about an hour and 15 minutes instead of an hour and a half. The problem is that Sound Transit hasn’t mustered up the strength or money to extend as far as Olympia yet, and Amtrak Cascades (which would be a perfect candidate) can’t seem to organize their trains to run along this route.

But if I were to dream nice things for the commuters of Olympia that come into Seattle, here’s a viable (and net operationally profitable option!).

  1. Take one of the train sets, which there WILL BE SPARES soon based on the arrival of two new train sets that Oregon/Amtrak has purchased. Put this single train set on an Olympia to Bellingham route for an early morning commute. Leave Olympia at 6:50 or 7am for a 8:15 or 8:30 arrival in downtown King Street Station Seattle.
  2. Take that same train that arrives at 8:30 and add another train that goes to Bellingham – at least during the College School Year – and have it depart for Bellingham around 9:00am.
  3. Have that train turn in Bellingham for the southern trip back toward Seattle, departing at 3:30pm for Seattle, arriving and departing from Seattle at or around 5:30pm.
  4. Arrive back in Olympia at around 7:00pm.

This is just one thought. With two new train sets coming online, it is absurd to keep them unused. There are routes that will garner and build ridership. Not using them is an absolutely waste of taxpayer money. They’re paid for, the Cascades are easily operationally profitable (at least between Portland and Seattle) and could easily be used and become a net asset to the route.

In a later entry I might dream up another route that would be a good idea. One of the most obvious I may outline is a new schedule for Portland to Seattle. There are a ton of flyers in the morning (that leave PDX at around 5:00am) that would happily take the train instead of flying. I don’t want to wish Alask Airlines ill will, but environmentally, economically, and mentally it would be better to shift this short route to passenger rail travel instead of having people fly.

So what’s your thoughts? Any route ideas? Maybe Spokane, somewhere else, or even Bend?

Nothing Like Sexy Women on Classic Transit

A blog I read regularly, Transit Zac, just posted a great blog entry of antique transit that’s set for disposal that become the scene of a great photo shoot. I’ve seen a few other shoots over the years, as the old vehicles are great for that playful and coy look of a tom boy. So give Zac’s post a read, and be sure to check out the other shots on Bess’s Blog too as I’m sure you will.

Zee Bus

Zee Bus

Happy riding.