Sneak Peak of Some Upcoming Transit Sleuth TV

Currently I’m in Los Angeles sleuthing about. This is a mere 5% of the video I’ve collected so far, a little transit, a few bikes, some trains, a bit of Los Angeles, a sausage and more. Know where the sausage place is, because it was great, totally worth a visit when you’re in LA! So here’s a short sneak peek of upcoming Transit Sleuth TV footage… enjoy! Remember, episode 3 is coming out this Monday at 7:30am.

Streetcar Mobile Music Festival, Sleuthing News & Updates, Plus a Sneak Peak of Next Episode of Transit Sleuth TV

TheĀ Streetcar Mobile Music Festival,Ā or more simply theĀ #SMMF, was great. (There’s a video sneak peak below, keep reading!!)

I’m currently working on getting the footage put together of the three bands I was able to see. It’ll be on an upcoming episode of Transit Sleuth TV in the coming weeks. Why did I only see 3 bands? It’s all about the logistics of how the festival works, it’s really pretty cool. Albeit it does leave you missing some of the bands.

How the Logistics of Music Work at SMMF

This years festival has a loading and unloading stop where all the bands stage ready to get on and off the streetcars. At the same time an audience builds up at the stop for switching to the streetcars as one arrives with a previously playing band and a new streetcar arrives to embark the next band. Check out this map below for an idea of how it works.

The starting point is also the ending point. A band boards with all their gear at the starting point, which this year was at the eastern stop just over the Broadway Bridge. The stop isĀ N Weidler & Ross (id: 13607). That is is used for quick mobile phone update of when the next streetcar is arriving. At the festival you could see a lot of phones being used to record the bands and see when the next arrivals were coming over the bridge.

Once the band boarded they would play a set while the streetcar travelled south toward OMSI. This year the last stop at OMSI wasn’t taken however, because of construction for the pending connection to the new bridge. Because of this the streetcar was turning at the section of the route tagged turnaround below. Once the streetcar turned the second half of the set would be played while we traveled back north to the N Weidler & Ross stop. There the band, and much of the audience, would disembark and wait a few minutes for the next streetcar to arrive and start the jamming over again with a new loop trip.

Click for full size image of map.

Bands

For more information on the bands check out the Streetcar Mobile Music Festival Site and there is a bands section. Here’s a video sneak preview of the band Thanks that’ll be in the upcoming episode of Transit Sleuth TV.

Bicycle Brown Bag, The BBB!

In the coming week on October 17th another Bicycle Brown Bag with Adonia Lugo is coming up. Adonia will be talking about “Recognizing, Supporting and Celebrating Diversity in Bicycle Culture“. From the Bicycle Brown Bag site:

Yes, L.A. has a head start on Portland in the realm of diverse bicycle culture. But a tour of St. Johns or East Portland will reveal the variety of people riding bikes here. As we work to encourage everyone who wants to use a bike for transportation to do so are we missing the ā€œ Invisible Ridersā€ ?
Adonia Lugo will draw on her experiences at Ciudad de Luces (now Multicultural Communities for Mobility) and CicLAvia, as well as her academic work, to address this topic.

A cultural anthropologist and activist, Dr. Lugo blogs at urbanadonia.com about her carfree adventures as a Chicana woman and the belief our cities can be socially just and ecologically sustainable. In Los Angeles, she co-founded CicLAvia and City of Lights/ Ciudad de Luces (now Multicultural Communities for Mobility).

It’d be great to meet and see others, so ping me via Twitter @transitsleuth and let me know you’re coming. I’ll be sure to say hello!

Happy hygge, cheers!

A West Side Re-Exploration of Orenco Station & Neighborhood

Paul Peterson @emptefilms & I @transitsleuth went out to Hillsboro to check out how Orenco Neighborhood (town?) has developed. You can read more about Orenco Station via the Wikipedia Page. As described on the wiki page, “is a neighborhood of the city of Hillsboro, Oregon, United States. The planned urban town center was designed as a pedestrian-friendly, high-density community built in conjunction with TriMetā€™s Westside light rail. It was built on land formerly owned by the Oregon Nursery Company, land home around the turn of the 20th century to Orenco, a company town. During the Great Depression, the company went out of business, and much of the nursery land became vacant until re-development began in 1997. Orenco Station is near the intersection of NW 231st/NW 229th Avenues and Cornell Road, centered on the Orenco Station MAX stop.

There’s also a basic web presence atĀ http://www.orencostation.net/Ā that provides some current commercial information about the neighborhood.

The stop that anchors the entire neighborhood is simply named the Orenco / Northwest 231st Avenue Stop. The station has a park-and-ride lot with 180 free parking spaces (for 24 hours at a time) and bus connection to line 47-Baseline/Evergreen. The station also includes bike lockers and bike racks. A block north is the site of the Hillsboro Farmer’s Market’s seasonal Sunday marketplace and the core of the Orenco Neighborhood.

Keep reading and subscribe to the blog (RSS) or the video channel, an upcoming episode of Transit Sleuth TV will have more about Orenco and the development there.

Tactical Urbanism, 18-Wheeler Drives into Streetcar…

Recently I was curious about one of the streetcarĀ disappearancesĀ  To put it more simply, why did it say “technical problem” on the reader board with no known streetcar arriving or operating. Streetcars and electrical motors that power the streetcars are some of the most reliable, capable, powerful and long lasting components that humanity has ever put in a motorized vehicle. So why had the street had “technical problems” again? It seemed this happens on a somewhat frequent basis, contrary to the fact that the streetcars (and most electrical rail vehicles) are some of the most reliable vehicles on earth!

I passed this thought back of my mind. I was on my bike, it didn’t matter to me or prevent me from doing the things I needed to do at that very moment. So I continued onward, unobstructed. Then a few nights later I stumbled across this blog entry by Hart Noecker “Veloprovo: Flower Petals and Parklet Fun ā€“ Round One” (read his blog entry, as it contains a lot of great info that pertains to the rest of my blog entry). I then find this video and pictures of why the streetcar was out of service!

…and the pictures…

18-Wheeler smashed into Streetcar

18-Wheeler smashed into Streetcar

Smashed up Streetcar

Smashed up Streetcar

…and keep this in mind. This is EXACTLY why I took this photo a few mornings ago and labeled as I did. Some might have thought, “oh you’re such a jokester…” but no, seriously. The majority of incidents in Portland over the last decade have been almost entirely related to trucks killing cyclists. Sure there is the errant car, but considering trucking is a small percentage of traffic (7-15% depending on day, hour, etc) but contribute to about 50-80% of fatalities for the year… Ā that’s pretty messed up.

Murder Wheels of 18-Wheeler

Murder Wheels of 18-Wheeler

I wrote this “murder wheels” somewhat tongue in cheek. But in reality, more than a few people have been crushed by large trucks in Portland. The fact Ā is that in the last decade pedestrians, drivers, cyclists, children & others have all been killed by these big trucks – and often because of this very inability they have to NOT be able toĀ maneuverĀ  Many of these trucks do NOT even need to come downtown. Many of them are NOT actually even delivering something to downtown. They’re risking everybody’s lives. Entire cities, vastly bigger and more active than Portland exist that do NOT allow these trucks. Instead the focus in those cities is on people and what people actually want and need. What we don’t need is these massive trucks traversing downtown.

In this case above that Hart captured, how much damage is that? I’d bet it is somewhere between 10-25k dollars of repair damage to the individual streetcar, the truck also didn’t make its delivery, is probably a $1000 loss, it stopped traffic which could have caused somewhere between 5-20k in delay costs, and the riders that couldn’t travel, probably several thousand in revenue for the streetcar and even more in loss effort and revenue for local businesses. Overall, it was easily a quarter of a million dollars when one thinks of the holistic problem thatĀ occurredĀ because someone couldn’t handle their truck.

How much has to come out of the city budget now? What would have happened if someone was on a bike when that driver screwed up like they did and smashed into the streetcar? I’ll tell you what would have happend. Your son, or daughter, mother or father, grandpa or grandma, whomever was on that bike would be dead. D. E. A. D. Horrible enough for you yet? Well, I got to feeling a little bit better by watching the exasperated andĀ exuberantĀ Jason Roberts. He actually helped to fix a part of Dallas. Yup, that’s right. A city that is known for being wretched on so many levels, unlivable in many place and downright inhumane by most civilized nation’s standards. But he helped to start bringing livability back into a neighborhood.

The simple fact is, we shouldn’t be putting up with things like massive trucks charging around downtown. We can live better, safer and healthier without this nonsense. If Robert can do it in Dallas, Texas we can sure as hell fix this issue in Portland! As Robert says, SHOW UP!!! Per Hart’s blog entry, come help with tactical urban parklets! Until next time, I’m off to sleuth up some more history, more ideas & plan the next move towards better living.

Cheers,

Transit Sleuth

After the Pacific Surfliner – Adventures in Los Angeles via Metro Gold Line

A short summary…

After a trip to Santa Barbara for a business meeting I headed back to Los Angeles on the 1:50pm departure of the Pacific Surfliner from Goleta, California. While waiting the Coast Starlight tore by at 79mph, which was pretty cool.

After the trip back to Los Angeles, upon arriving at Los Angeles Union Station I started walking from there to my hotel I’m staying at. However at the cross roads of 1st & Alameda I decided to cross back to the Metro Gold Line Little Tokyo Arts District Station and ride north to Pasadena. I traversed the ramp and swiped my transit Tap Card.

Once upon the Gold Line I actually went the wrong way first, but simply took a walk around and then boarded the next train going the right direction. Here’s a montage video of the trip to Pasadena.

…that’s it for now.