Portland Leads Again

Again, Portland takes the lead with coordination with Google Maps. They’re now offering real time arrival information via the maps service itself!

Impressive, I hope to see this in other cities soon!

UPDATE #1: They’re also slowly starting to restore service. ¬†Of course, the locals bitch on as always (see 1st comment), even though this is an improvement in service.

UPDATE #2: Ok, so a couple of my long time readers got all riled up as if me stating Portland is making some progress is a jab at Seattle. I understand there is an unspoken tit for tat going on between these cities, but I wanted to add that Portland is doing the above, but Seattle also is getting things done:  For instance, SDOT has started a massive repavement effort on Dexter.  Check out these links for this awesome transit + bike improvement effort (which of course auto drivers will benefit form also, and hopefully kill less people in other cars, bikes, or pedestrians).  Cheers!

Seattle is making progress, it just isn’t always in regards to transit buses or light rail. ¬†This blog happens to primarily be about those things. ¬†However maybe I’ll start including more about bikes and pedestrian movement.
Thanks for reading, and you guys stop thinking I’m trying to put Portland on any bigger of a pedestal¬†than it is already on. ¬†o_O

ALT.NET Day #2 Transit

The second day heading to the conference I rode nothing but transit. I did this for a couple reasons:

  • I wanted to leave a little later and wouldn’t have wanted anyone waiting up for me just so I could be lazy and get a ride.
  • Second, I wanted to get a little coding and blog writing done on my way out. On the bus that’s easy (relatively – I still have my bus ride quality complaint).
  • Model On The Bus

    Model On The Bus

    Third, there are super models on the bus sometimes *.

  • Fourth, as the transit sleuth that I am, I kind of wanted to see how the trip would be since there are a number of required transfers to get out as far as the DigiPen Building/Campus is.

Today’s Trip

I started out with the intent to board the #44, transfer to the #542 in the University District area. Then upon arrival in Redmond transfer to the #930, which I suppose is a short hop “Dart” bus. I’m not really sure how these buses work out on the outer regions of the Seattle area, so thought it would be a great learning experience.

However, the minute I was walking around the corner the the Market and Ballard Street Stop, the #44 came rolling by. It stopped, for a longer time than I would usually suspect. Almost like it was teasing me. I almost started running, but I generally won’t do that. The #44 drove off and I was perplexed. Would I make the next #44, should I take the express into town and transfer to something else? Time for some good ole’ Google Maps routing.

I opened up my Android Phone and got the logistics figured out. My new trip had turned into a strange morass of almost completely different buses. Then I realized two things that struck me as funny. The first was that the re-route had me boarding the #17 Express to downtown and transferring to the #256. But then the remainder of the trip was actually on the same two buses; the #542 and #930. Google Maps had actually found a route that leaves, literally 2 minutes later, that got me caught back up with the #542 – hilarious! I’m not sure why it didn’t suggest this trip anyway.

When I switched to the #542 at Yarrow Point/92nd Ave I had a few observations.

  • Interstate Stops suck. They don’t contribute to community, comfortable trips, and in general they’re dehumanizing. The string of faceless traffic just streams by screaming loudly. A conversation is next to impossible to have. It degrades one to peep in different cars attempting to communicate – which is technically impossible in 99.99% of cases. We’re damned to nothing more than apes, meat sandwiches sitting among the greatest dehumanizing creation the world has ever seen – Interstates (or also known as Superhighways, Autobahns, Autostransa, and by other names). These roads were not designed to have people standing in, around, above, or anywhere near them. Absolutely horrible places.
  • The stop times for the #542 are “Arriving at X” and “Departing at Y”. This however isn’t true. The bus arrives and leaves immediately after embarking or debarking passengers. The idea that there is a layover of some sort is ridiculous. My next task is to determine if this is a Google construct or a King Metro construct of information that’s misleading. Considering the difficult to use information that comes from Metro, I’d hedge my bets there, but I’m not ruling out Google for doing something silly.
Anyway, I finally transferred to the #542 and made it out to Redmond. It wasn’t really clear where the #930 stops so I decided to just walk the rest of the way. It took 45 minutes to get out to Redmond, then 45 minutes to walk from the transit center out to the DigiPen Campus Building. Fortunately it wasn’t raining so the walk was nice, but it was a bit long. It’s unfortunate that the connectivity basically ends in that area, but that’s what society gets when it goes auto-centric and not people focused.
Well, off to another day of brain crunching.

Ok, some people might not have seen the ads all over Seattle on the buses, so let me explain. There was an ad with reasons to take transit, one of the reasons was “see/meet a super model”. Now, you may not meet a super model, but there are many beautiful women that ride the bus. Be sure to do them all a favor and not be creepy and hit on em’. That’s not cool.