Another Departure

The day started out with a coffee and the sunrise throwing spindles of light out across the eastern horizon, through the houses. As always, as bright as it is all the houses on Phinney Ridge just look like silhouettes of dark shapes. Hiding their true array of colors that one sees clearly during a sunset.

I boarded King County Metro bus 17 toward downtown Ballard. I had one stop I’d need to make at my office before heading downtown to connect with the train. After departing, retrieving the items from the office, I boarded a downtown bound 40 route bus.

As I transferred to the LINK in downtown, I started chatting using Slack. A few business questions had popped up about the previous week’s interviews and questions. The connectivity however was spotty, but eventually the signal came through and the conversation continued. The nice thing about queue based communication like email, chat, and related things is that even though I have a message, I can respond as it is efficient to do so. It makes things dramatically easier than being interrupted by a brash phone call that would have required I step aside or even off of the train to even have the conversation. I’m thankful for a team also, that knows when and how to communicate, and works remote first. It makes us better, stronger, and more efficient than onsite teams that routinely just waste time plodding through verbal communications that should be quick, queued messages, or onsite meetings that don’t start and resolve as quickly as they should because “everybody’s here so…”. Onsite office culture is just kind of an efficient morass of communications.

For example, I’m on my way to the airport. Using Slack to communicate and working on some code at the same time. I’m queueing it so that I can finish these segments of code, an algorithm or refactoring at a time, then shifting back to the message queue to answer. It’s an extremely effective use of time, considering if I drove, I couldn’t get any of this done or effectively communicate since I wouldn’t be able to pull up an answer from documents while driving. This is the type of bike and transit lifestyle that only these options allow. I suppose one could do this in a Lyft or Taxi, if one is in that big of a hurry and has managed their time according to that narrow option, and price of course is no concern.

While moving along MLK Boulevard we pull through Othello. I see a sign for Armenian, Vietnamese, Mandarin, and Thai. An interesting mix of options. We roll onward, smoothly, and pass by cars stopped in traffic congestion. Toward the intersection two fire trucks, an ambulance, and some police have the section minimized while the work on getting cars past while handling the emergency, whatever it may have been, further up the street. Onward down the street and then the final strop of this section, the Rainier Beach Station. Seems an odd name to me, considering there isn’t any obvious beach or beach like area around the station. Of course, knowing the map I know it’s toward and over on Lake Washington.

Then we depart this neighborhood and urban area to cross the interstate, pass through an urban area, and on to Tukwilla Station. Basically a parking lot somewhat adjacent to the airport itself. Then, next stop is the airpot of SEATAC.

Another departure awaits.

Sounder Bike n’ Back to Ballard

This next week I’m going to line up a little bike and train adventure. The first segment I’m going to bike down from Ballard to King Street Station. I’ll then board at King Street Station on the 1702 Sounder at 4:33pm. The train then arrives at 5:00pm. From there I’ll then detrain at Edmonds and get some grub before departing.

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I’ll then leave sometime just before 6pm after finishing up eats and then onward to the ~20 kilometer ride back to Ballard.

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Now I just need to figure out what day would be good for this ride.

A Video in Video Trip to Golden Gardens

After moving to Ballard the first time in 2017, I decided I would take a ride down to Golden Gardens Park and use a couple of my GoPro Cameras to capture the ride. Here’s the video in video shot put together with some music.

If you’re curious, I mention the three GoPros, but I’ll elaborate on a few of the other tools I used post-ride. The editing software I used is Screenflow 7, however I’ll admit some future videos plus additional segments I’ll be putting together with Adobe Premier Pro in addition to Screenflow 7. All of this done on the latest MacOS running on one of the latest Mac Book Pro Laptops. If you’ve got any suggestions, questions, or otherwise, let me know in the comments and I’ll answer ASAP. Cheers, and happy trips!

Deadpool 2 Transit Adventure

Here I am en route out to check out Deadpool 2, or more specifically DP2 cuz… well, yeah. My trip consists of the 40, then the 550, then the 241 out to Factoria (don’t ask, free tickets and Deadpool make a long strange transit adventure totally worth it!). Needless to say, a lot of transfers and plenty of time to get some writing done!

I walked from home to the bus stop, and noticed almost immediately it looks like the 75th & 24th street crossing is going to get some improvements. The crossing really needs some love and care, as 24th is kind of a car sewer of motorists speeding at 75th threatening the lives of pedestrians and other auto users.

The 40 rode along it’s routinely torturously bumpy route. Almost throwing the phone from my hands several times as I attempted to read. Nothing new though, as Westlake & Leary both have some pretty wretched pavement and respectively evil pot holes! As we neared the intersection of Mercer we could see – as is always the case – the cluster fuck that is Mercer. The design on that street literally limits the movement of the greatest number of people in favor of the least number of people moving. In other words it expedites the few coming on and off the interstate while the pedestrians, cyclists, and transit users. The non-Mercer street traffic number many times greater then the motorists funneling on and off the interstates via Mercer, and by proxy of this priority hinder the movement of local north south traffic.

Flip over to the specific bus issue, which has a partial fix in place. The 40 has a very small singular block slip lane in plane now but often can’t even get to it. The causes are numerous, from excess traffic in the turn lane, to people blocking the slip lane that turn around it for the general purpose lane, and other miscenllaneous idiocy.

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Basically the traffic usually backs up along Westlake in the turn lane, and what we ought to do – especially since there is almost zero direct south bound traffic in the straight general purpose travel lanes, add the first left hand turn lane as a “bus only” turn lane and stripe it back about 400 ft. Limit the right turning and south bound traffic to only the right most lane. The traffic isn’t so much that being down to one lane would even cause a problem. But by creating the second left hand turn lane for the bus it’d enable the 40 route buses to not clump and to more easily move through and not delay their thousands of daily riders!

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With that fixed, I kid you not it would knock of 4-12 minutes per trip during rush hour for the 40 route buses! A major improvement, and it would keep the buses out of the general purpose lane blocking up the single occupant vehicle drivers! Gasp, win for everybody!

The Sound Transit 550 Express

The next bus is the 550. The gooe ole’ 550, departing from the tunnel out over Interstate 90 and up through Bellevue. Albeit I’d get off at the southern park & ride in the Bellevue and board the 241 south bound to the theater. If that doesn’t work out on frequency at rush hour however I’ll just snag a lyft – maybe – considering rush hour maybe it’s just faster to walk! LOL ok, probably not walking but just saying. It’s a soup of car fumes over there at this hour.

The 550 overall just works seamlessly. The only way it’ll get better is when it becomes the LINK in ~3 years or so. Then it’ll be light rail and it’ll be faster, smoother, and generally all around more reliable and just better. In between that time, I suppose next year sometime the 550 will get pushed to the surface, or even just Pioneer Square are only which is gonna make it a serious pain in the ass until the LINK is in place. I’m still not real confident how well that will or won’t work shoveling all those riders onto the existing tunnel LINK from the south end like that. It might, or it might fail spectacularly.

Speaking of LINK

As we exited the Mercer Island Park & Ride one could see the LINK paved segments in the median under construction. It looks like things are moving forward well and as always I’ve got my fingers crossed that it’ll be done early or at least on time! With just a few minutes of departing Mercer we pulled into the Bellevue Park & Ride south of downtown Bellevue. Here one is at the foot of the giant supports for the coming light rail. It is rather impressive even without the tracks or guideway attached!

With that, I’d arrived to see my 249 just pass. I dread anyone trying to catch these infrequent east side buses without the ability to just hail a Lyft or something. At this point I didn’t have 15 or 30 minutes to wait for the next one so I surrendered to getting a Lyft. Fortunately it’s only a 5 minute drive from there. I did also learn, that Factoria has a totally poorly designed very *suburban* road design. It’s horrible. So few people moved, so few cars actually getting anywhere, but of course everything just looks congested. For instance, the movie, with 169 guests watching it let’s out and the roads are congested clear around to every corner of the parking lot as everyone tries to leave.

169 people is vastly less than one light rail train. It’s only 3 or 4 60 foot buses. Better yet, if the area was zoned appropriately and had reasonable biking infrastructure that’s 169 bikes that could literally leave the area at 10x the speed (based on a bike speed of about 20 mph) But instead Factoria has this soup of four wheel pollution makers puttering around at speeds averaging about 2 measly miles per hour trying to exit the parking lot to get to one of the streets light segments to try to get out of the parking lot.

It’ll be nice when the light rail is actually built up all over the place and we can get some of this trash fire zoning fixed and actually put things by transportation instead off centered around giant wasteful, rain water collecting, encroaching parking lots.

But I digress, the movie was great! Definitely go see Deadpool 2! Happy travels!

The Seattle Head Tax #WTF?

Holy shit y’all. So Seattle just passed the head tax. This is all fine and dandy and whatever, but between Sawant acting the bully and claiming Amazon was being a bully here’s my number one concern at this point.

Here I sort of agree with Sawant, but also very much with the reality of what just happened I’m concerned with what the hell the city is going to be held accountable to. They effectively just voted a big chunk of money into their coffers but I have seen very few things about where, when, or how they intend to build housing. I’m not even on to the topic of the travesty of housing that was built for people in St Louis, New Orleans, or hundreds of other locations throughout America. Heaven forbid we talk about the horrid conditions the Government(s) of America screwed minorities and others over with in building the housing. Is Seattle prepared to build housing through public means? How do we ensure fairness of this and actually ensure that people keep moving upwards from that system out of the future public housing to ensure people don’t get stuck at the bottom?

Does Seattle really even have a plan beyond, get more money and spend it somewhere? There’s been little on that matter and it’s very concerning. I want people to have a place to live, and to go, and to move up in the world – not just a slight displacement from campers and campsites to trash dump of poorly maintained public housing! Which honestly, is about what every public housing setup has become over time throughout the US (besides a racist cesspool to funnel minorities). I’m honestly not sure Seattle is prepared or ready for this, I hope and wish us well on the matter, but this I bet is going to get tricky and real soon, real dicey.

In addition, when we take the hit and companies start to skirt their ways out of this, when does that get remedied, and if the housing actually does get built one of these days how to do we ensure that sidewalks, trails, and public spaces stay clear then? Do we allow ourselves to enforce some law or rule around that?

Anyway, if you have more links, information, or other details, please leave a comment with info.