Hella Bus Blog
Your place for all things Buslandia!
- Two tickets to Capitol Hill Block Party
- Tickets to Northwest Film Forum
- Stranger and Bus shirts
- And the Alex Miller award for discovering which candidate HAS A SECRET FOOT
Check out this TED talk on power, politics, and the courage to stand up for the public good from dapper gentleman and founder of our friends to the south Jefferson Smith:
At the riots in Vancouver following their Game 7 loss in the Stanley Cup finals:
Peep the rest of, perhaps the most spectacular photo album in Canadian history here. Seriously, you won't regret it. Police are reporting several instances of officers suffering "human bites," solidarity riots in Montreal, and over 100 arrests. Also, judging by these photos, this wasn't "a small group of hooligans" like the Vancouver Police Chief claimed, but a broad base of (probably intoxicated) devastated sports fans, pyromaniacs, and romantics (see above). Check out the beautiful, hilarious, terrifying, and a little bit heartbreaking photo album here.
It's a three way street, and it's blowing my mind (helmet tip to the Seattle Bike Blog)
Just as Avatar added a new dimension to cinema, bicyclists are adding a new dimension to street use. Previously, the distinction between cars and pedestrians, roads and sidewalks, crosswalk users and people who have to stop for crosswalk users was pretty well-defined. Even if not perfectly practiced, the rules were generally understood.
Now that all of us cyclists are on the road, though, it's a brave new world. Much like the mythical griffin that is part-eagle, part-lion, we exist in a gray area somewhere in between a car and a pedestrian. We travel in the street, and yet are as vulnerable to collisions with cars as pedestrians. When riding in the street, we generally ride in the right shoulder, but take the car-lane when we need to, and sometimes we even ride on the sidewalk. We stop at stop lights (mostly), but treat stop signs like they're yield signs.
As a society, we're clearly in the middle of a sometimes messy, and sometimes heated process of figuring out what the norms of the road are for our increasingly three-way streets chock full of bicyclists.
Publicola recently linked to an insightful Portland Tribune article arguing that bicyclists should be legally allowed to treat stop signs as yield signs. And, as the 'Cola points out, Idaho already allows this. Mad love for Idaho, but who would have thought they'd be leading the way? It's a brave new world indeed.
Some forward-thinking locales--mostly in Europe, as far as I can tell--are even removing traffic signals--the thinking being that in the absence of traffic signals, road users are forced to pay more attention to each other, and be more considerate.
My take on all of this? I'm not sure if I'm ready to remove all the stop lights just yet. But, after years of cycling, I've developed some opinions on what the norms of bicyclist road-use should be. It's totally cool to treat stop signs as yield signs, but be very careful. And, please, don't run red lights--you just look like a dick if you do that. I generally ride to the right, but I will take a car-traffic lane anytime I even vaguely think I need to for safety. And I never, ever ride on the sidewalk, except when I'm absolutely forced to in instances such as crossing the Fremont Bridge. At stop lights, rather than ride all the way to the front of the line of cars, I'll generally take the car-lane because I'm scared of a right-turning car slamming into me.
And in general, the more separation between cars, bicyclists and pedestrians the better. Mad love for bike lanes, the Burke-Gilman and the soon-to-exist Broadway cycle track, which the city is developing in conjunction with the soon-to-exist Pioneer Square to Broadway streetcar line.
I'm actually ridiculously excited for the cycle-track. Check out the plans for Broadway's new look:
Thanks to Capitol Hill Seattle for the image.
Remember Welcome Wagon?
Attendees from last month already helped to organize our wicked fun Council Kick-Off with the Stranger, joined us at Sasquatch, and helped hundreds of young Washingtonians pledge to vote. And it only gets bigger and better from here.
Well guess what, it's happening again! Welcome Wagon is the absolute best way for new folks to meet the Bus and see what it is we do, and for Bus stalwarts to usher in another exciting year of good parties and good politics. Come join us this month for more food, drinks, foosball, and opportunities for driving the Bus into a better Washington. It kicks off at 6pm and wraps up (or moves elsewhere, as the case may be) around 7:30. Everyone is invited! Please RSVP to nicole [at] washingtonbus [dot] org!
Bus HQ 1100 E. Union St. Suite 1E
To the humans of Washington,
The Washington Bus presents to you: A great evening, a landmark event, and your golden ticket to a new era of political leadership in Washington state. Of course, we are referring to the 2011 Summer Fellows Inauguration! You're Invited! Seriously! RSVP right now to mallory [at] washingtonbus [dot] org!
The Inauguration will kick off at 6pm in Nord Alley. Exquisite food will be provided by Pai's Food Truck. Delectable drinks will also be available (including alcoholic beverages for those of the 21+ variety). We also look forward to the presence of such stunning elected officials as: Rep. Eric Pettigrew (!), Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon (!), Seattle City Councilpeople Tom Rasmussen, Richard Conlin, and Sally Bagshaw (!!!), Commissioner John Creighton (!), and King County Executive Dow Constantine (!)!
It isn't everyday that you get to take part in launching a fleet of precocious young activists into public life while chowing down on delicious Thai-Hawaiian cuisine and rubbing shoulders with tremendous elected officials simultaneously. Or if it is, I want your life. Everyone is welcome, so please RSVP to mallory [at] washingtonbus [dot] org today! Keep looped in on any updates on the Facebook event page here!
Did Elkfest, Spokane's annual block party, take place a week and a half ago and we are only uploading the pictures now, OR, did the magnitude of its awesomeness warp the fabric of space-time hurling us 10 days into the future making today the first available opportunity to post photos? I submit that the answer can be found below:
Alayna, the fearless director of Nextup Spokane, leading the charge.
Button making in full force
All things good in the world right here.
Votebot in its natural environment
The Bus and a local hoodlum. Just kidding, that guy's probably awesome.
Buttons: Bringing people joy since time immemorial.
The best art gallery in a semi we've ever seen. Hands down.
Just a small sample of hundreds of Pledge to Vote cards. Also, the ceremonial lollipop marks the beginning of the lesser known Elf fest, where candied treats abound.
The ruptured fabric of space-time. Inside, Elkfest continues to this day.
I knew it! Big ups to the organizers of Elkfest, Nextup Spokane for making moves (You should hang out with them), and all those awesome pledge to voters!
Last night, alongside The Stranger, we formally kicked off the Seattle City Council elections - Bus style. That is to say, informally. There were drinks, merriment, city council candidates in bright reflector vests, and a packed Havana full of good people celebrating the beginning of a rather important, and enjoyable (if we have anything to say about it, and we do), election season. Video = inbound in the next couple weeks. Lots o' pictures below!
Who can spot the candidates?
Folks meeting Sandy Cioffi
No sleeves required
Incumbent Tom Rasmussen fielding questions.
The time of their lives.
Dan, meet Dian. Dian, this is awesome Dan.
So many mirrors in that place.
Sally Clark, the only female under 50 in elected office in Seattle, holding it down.
Which hand, BURGESS??
People identified their priority issues.
It's a party folks, come on in!
Early exit polls
What an excellent, slightly blurry night!
Thanks to Havana, the Stranger, the candidates, and most of all, you lovely people who came out and grilled them! We'll see you all again soon.
About a week ago, I was in Baton Rouge, Louisiana—home to a very flooded Mississippi River, po’boys, boiled crayfish, the Louisiana State University Tigers (they actually have a real tiger. In a cage by the stadium. Someone call PETA). And also home to seemingly hundreds of take-out daiquiri shops (the take-out part is unofficial but widely practiced).
The only problem with this seeming-paradise? No sidewalks. And really, what am I supposed to do with a take-out daiquiri shop (awesome) if I have to drive to get there (not awesome)?
All of this brings up a question--aside from having to drive to the daiquiri stand, why is it such a problem that Baton Rouge doesn’t have sidewalks? Other than easy daiquiri access, why do cities even have sidewalks in the first place? How do we benefit from them (aside from the obvious benefit of pedestrians not getting run over)?
Let’s consult sidewalk guru and Dansportation intellectual crush Jane Jacobs.
According to Jane, sidewalks—and the vibrant pedestrian life they allow—keep our cities safe.
“This is something everyone already knows: a well used city street is apt to be a safe street. A deserted city street is apt to be unsafe.” (page 44 in this book, which I highly recommend).
Makes sense, right? No one’s going to rob you on a crowded street—it’s a different story if no one else is around, though. This is why I, and I’m willing to bet most of you, feel a lot safer walking down any given street at noon than at 3am. Think about it—city streets aren’t safe because of laws, or police. Those things are great, but police aren’t around all the time. Rather, you feel safe walking down the street because we, as a society, have agreed on certain norms, and in a successful urban environment, we enforce those norms through the sheer presence of lots of people on the street—the more “eyes on the street” the better.
Sidewalks are also the basic building blocks of a neighborhood community (and the Bus is all about community). They are the most ubiquitous and yet the most overlooked public space in the city. They provide a site for the many miniscule contacts that add up to form a neighborhood. Once again, the lovely Mrs. Jacobs—
“Most of [sidewalk interaction] is ostensibly trivial, but the sum is not trivial at all. The sum of such contact at a local level…is a feeling for the public identity of people, a web of public respect and trust, a resource in time of personal or neighborhood need” (page 73).
To put it another way, which is actually very applicable to our beloved civic-engagement promoting Bus— “lowly, unpurposeful and random as they may appear, sidewalk contacts are the small change from which a city’s wealth of public life may grow” (95).
And, crucially, these interactions (usually with strangers) cannot happen without sidewalks. In the absence of sidewalks, where these interactions take place? A coffee shop? Maybe, but if you're in a coffee shop as often as you're on the sidewalk, you have a serious caffeine problem, my friend. In your house? Not so much. Talk to strangers on the sidewalk? Yes. Invite them in? Probably not.
Basically, sidewalks allow contact with people we wouldn't have a space to interact with otherwise. And contacts between people on sidewalks are the building blocks of communities.
So, how's Seattle doing at providing sidewalks for its communities?
Grey is good, but purple areas have been unfortunately overlooked by the city. "The map accounts for whether there is a sidewalk on a road or not and whether there is a physical buffer such as a parked car or a tree. It also accounts for the volume and speed of traffic on the road" Love, SDOT
Long and short: there's definitely room for improvement. According to SDOT, Seattle has 4,000 paved lane-miles of roads, but only 2,256 miles of sidewalks. If you live fairly central in Seattle, things are probably pretty good for you. But if you live in South Park, Georgetown, parts of the Rainier Valley, or far North Seattle, things aren’t so hot.
And that's why Dansportation heartily supports the Bridging the Gap Levy. The levy passed in 2006 and provides $365 million over nine years to, among other things, build 117 blocks of new sidewalks, repair another 144 blocks of sidewalks and restripe 5,000 sidewalks.
2015 is coming up fast though. What will the next version of Bridging the Gap look like? Can we get more sidewalks? Who's with me?
We've been saying it. We will continue to say it. And now we have validation: Washington State freaking rules.
For once it's not just the good food, eye-melting scenery and spookily attractive people that have earned the Evergreen State these honors. Rather, official Bus homies Rock the Vote just released their Voting System Scorecard, and it turns out that America's Washington ranks first (1st!) out of all fifty one states of America (we'll tell you about the "secret state" sometime soon).
This is grand news. It means that Washington is literally the best place in the country to be a voter. If you're a young person (and we suspect you are), that means you have the best access to voter registration, civics education and general voting prep, and access to the voting process.
Needless to say, we're super excited to be at the top of the pile, and we're glad that there are champions of voter access in and around Washington State government.
But with that said, it's clear that we still have a long way to go - we're in the lead overall, but there are a number of areas for improvement. We're an example for many states to emulate, but we will not and should not ever rest on our laurels. Rather, take a look at what some of our favorite state (cough Colorado cough Oregon cough Montana) have got going on, and start thinking about where we should be going.
Rock over Spokane. Rock on, Tacoma. Washington uber alles.
It's happening! Tomorrow! The Bus, the Stranger, free drinks, and prizes! Come meet the 2011 Seattle City Council Candidates Thursday eve with the chance to win the likes of:
See you there!
Sequels: America's favorite past-time.
Just as we could scarcely comprehend the labyrinthine arc of the Fast and Furious franchise in a measly four films (until Fast 5, and its five year old screenwriter, finally brought the series' nebulous moral coda to startling clarity), so too the 2011 class of Summer Fellows require another installment to even begin to, at the very least, tell you who they all are.
That means, yes, more Summer Fellows! You've already met the stellar crew from our first installment, herein lies an equally stellar (and more numerous) cadre of brilliant young folks that will be plying the democracy trade with the Bus. Woo!
I'm 22 years old from Spokane, WA and I just graduated from Willamette University with a major in Politics and minor in Spanish. I love politics good music, traveling, art projects, board games (especially the Settlers of Catan), crossword puzzles, the outdoors, and fun times with good people.
I am a small town girl who is extremely infatuated with classical music. I may naturally appear shy, but I am easy to get along with and fun!
Come meet them at the epic Summer Fellows Inauguration on June, 20th (we've
spread heard rumors of pyrotechnics, fiddling, and an all-night screening of the hit television series Cheers)*:
*or none of those things. Except Cheers. That's confirmed.
Here in Seattle, we share a great deal with our Portlandian neighbors to the south. Eco-friendliness, indie music scenes, politically-minded mass transportation vehicles - both our cities have a lot to be proud of.
But there's one thing I always want to stick in my pocket and take home with me every time I visit Portland. It's this:
It's safe to say my pockets are a little slimy.
Both of these delicious food-stuffs, from Potato Champion and Sweet Pea's Brulee respectively, are the work of Portland food trucks. While Seattle has some pretty fantastic food trucks of its own (notably the incredibly tasty Pai's), they can be hard to find en masse. In Portland, you can't turn around without stepping in food pods.
However, Seattle, your pod wait may be over. Every Saturday night, at the corner of Harvard and Pike, there is now a fantastic pod of trucks waiting for you from 9:00pm to 3:00am. The balsamic fries and ice-cream-cookie sandwich I devoured there last weekend were fantastic, so I encourage everyone to get in on the action. Drool-proof your keyboard, then check out your options here.
Every now and again - amidst all the online noise - you find a website that makes you fall in love with Al Gore and his tubular progeny (to mix bad internet jokes) all over again. Thus, I submit to you: the National Film Board of Canada.
I'm tempted to gush about at least seven different things that I particularly enjoy about their website, but in the words of Lil Wayne, "what's the world without enigma?" (also: "swagga down pat, call my s*** Patricia). In the spirit of Weezy, I'll direct you posthaste to my most favorite discovery thus far - BlaBla.
I'm downright giddy about this interactive filmmaking project that "explores the fundamentals of human communication." I don't know about that, but I do know that clicking on a mole-ish bobblehead has never been more satisfying - and curiously poetic. Something about the blend of sound, visuals, and the unique relationship between the viewer and the film feels even a little profound.