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A Healthy Reminder

Monday morning laughs and insight from Brené Brown on the power of vulnerability:

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This is what a council kick-off looks like

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!

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Who can spot the candidates?

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Folks meeting Sandy Cioffi

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Hello!

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No sleeves required

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Incumbent Tom Rasmussen fielding questions.

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The time of their lives.

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Dan, meet Dian. Dian, this is awesome Dan.

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So many mirrors in that place.

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Sally Clark, the only female under 50 in elected office in Seattle, holding it down.

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Which hand, BURGESS??

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People identified their priority issues.

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It's a party folks, come on in!

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Early exit polls

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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.


Dansportation: Sidewalks people, sidewalks.

Posted by dleigh1@gmail.com at Jun 09, 2011 12:30 PM |

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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).

Baton Rouge has no sidewalks

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)?

Baton Rouge PathAll 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?

Seattle Pedestrian Map

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're number one! We're number one! Room to improve!

Posted by Toby Crittenden at Jun 08, 2011 03:18 PM |

Number One Foam Finger

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.


Council Kick-Off Tomorrow! And There are Prizes!

Posted by Alex Miller at Jun 08, 2011 01:20 PM |

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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:

  • 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

See you there!


Meet Your 2011 Summer Fellows: Part 2

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!

Abigail Doerr

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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.

Alec Stannard
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My name is Alec. You may not recognize my name, but surely you are familiar with my reputation. The original Karate Kid, Braveheart, and the Indiana Jones Series were all based on my exploits. I spend most of my free time chopping wood and saving children from burning buildings. As a day job, I train with Chuck Norris.

Andreina Montes
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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!

Carlos Padilla
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I'm an opportunity taker where I do what's in my reach to help and serve the community. I plan to receive my law degree and become a lawyer to fight for the rights of under represented communities. I'm a leader, a friend, and a great dancer and choreographer for the Latino Dance Club.

Danielle Kim
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Three things I love: summer in Seattle, progressive thinking, and recycling.

David Weiland
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I am currently a student at the University of Washington, Seattle, studying Political Science and Education Policy in the hopes of being an advocate for a more educated and critical society. In the meantime, I enjoy exploring new parts of the city, playing guitar, and reading about what's happening across the world.

Dominique Guess
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Born and raised in Seattle and passionate about young people giving back to their communities.

Hannah Dean
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My name is Hannah Dean and I'm from Spokane, although I attend school on the east coast where I usually have to explain, "I'm from Washington, yes, as in the actual state of Washington." I got my start in political organizing by interning with Planned Parenthood Votes, and I spend my spare time scouring the internet for the cutest cat videos.

Leah Menzer
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Legend has it that 21-years ago baby Leah emerged from the desolate crater of Mt St. Helens. Forged from the magma and highest evergreens of beautiful Washington State, she was fattened on the bountiful salmon and berries of her native land and raised by bears and wolves and eagles.  Her current whereabouts are unknown, but sitings and rumors indicate that she may be fond of short stories, Publicola and Wait Wait Don't Tell Me.

Rosalie Wilmot
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I am approaching my senior year at the University of Denver which means the completion of my dual degrees in English Creative Writing and International studies. AND I am SO  excited to be in my home by the sea this summer where music and coffee will fuel my daily ventures.

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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)*:

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*or none of those things. Except Cheers. That's confirmed.


Omnomnom.

Posted by gennawatson@gmail.com at Jun 08, 2011 09:40 AM |

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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:

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Also,  this:

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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.

Enjoy!


Sasquatch Addendum

Posted by Alex Miller at Jun 07, 2011 03:20 PM |

Quick addendum to our graceful, balletic Sasquatch recap - see the Bus hanging with security at the Beach House show:


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A Good Website is Hard to Find (but here's one)

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.

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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.

Check it out, and let it be your entry point into the phantasmagoric NFB website at large.


HollyBus

Right next to Hugh Hef.

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Sasquatch Highlight Reel

Posted by gennawatson@gmail.com at Jun 02, 2011 11:07 AM |

You've already seen the pretty pictures of our epic journey to Sasquatch. But our trip wasn't all fun (meeting rad people) and games (getting hundred of pledges to vote). Sometimes, we had to attend concerts. Rough.

A few concert highlights of the weekend, in order of appearance:

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I'm not gonna lie - I'm a little obsessed with Robyn. But while she's great on CD, she's absolutely electric live. If the Bus hasn't already taught you that the dance-able can be political, let Robyn change your mind. She plays with gender in some highly entertaining ways, including wearing the West Point football jersey shown above, and pointedly eating a banana in the middle of her set. Awesome.

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Sometimes, artists that make zen, beautiful recorded music can't bring that same gorgeous intensity to a live show. For Beach House, this is absolutely not the case. Lead singer Victoria Legrand's haunting voice filled the whole venue. I basically spent this show lying in the grass near the top of the amphitheater with my eyes closed in a state of bliss.

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Modest Mouse closed out the main stage on Sunday night with a fantastic set heavy on their older (read: better) songs, perfect for long-time fans. Despite being exhausted from two long days of voter registration, I forgot all about my sore feet during this show and danced like a mad-woman for their entire set.


The Bus and the Stranger Present: Council Kick-Off!

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Care about Seattle? Interested in free drinks? Exhausted from trying to locate those elusive Seattle City Council Candidates?

Pow! (that's the feeling of a kick-off to the face!)

Next Thursday - June, 9th - we'll be hanging out at Havana with the Stranger and the whole mess of Seattle City Council Candidates vying to represent all you Seattle folks.  We'll have some conversation starting questions on hand, but feel free to bring your own as well.

We'll be keeping things informal, no dress code here.  Searsucker suit? wear it.  Jorts and a cowboy hat? totes fine.  The event is 21+, but expect the rest of our city council events to be all ages!


Dear Sasquatch Music Festival,

Thank you.

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The crew
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Day 1 - before we started regretting that 90% of our food was carrots
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It's go time.
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Sunshine, pledge to vote, happiness
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Hey, we like you.
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Hari and camping - never again.
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Everything that can be said about Sasquatch in one photo.
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fun
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Backstage as Das Racist kills it.  Standing next to Bob Boilen! (for all you NPR nerds out there).

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Robo-explosion
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So much Bus
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BUTTONS
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Good times
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*no caption necessary*
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Button town
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Voter registrations, neon hats - just a day in the Bus life.
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This did not end in disaster. Thanks Vera!
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Blurry, but yes - this is a man dressed as Sasquatch communing with a bunny (alternate caption: Dinner).
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TJ takes us home after a most excellent weekend.

Thanks to our wonderful volunteers and the good people of Sasquatch, WA for a superb time! Doesn't get much better than beautiful vistas, good tunes, and hundreds upon hundreds of Registrations and Pledge to Vote cards!


Welcome Wagon

Posted by Alex Miller at May 26, 2011 02:55 PM |

The logo for Welcome Wagon.

Once a month - embrace the unique opportunity to get on the Welcome Wagon, a dinner, a party and grand overview of the work that we do at the Bus and how you can get involved. Bus stalwart? come hang, we miss you.  Never been to an event, but curious? this is the event to see what all the buzz is about. The next Welcome Wagon is August, 16th.

The Welcome Wagon marks the birth of a new era of leadership at the Bus, namely, yours. This is the easiest way to see what the Bus has cooking for the next year, and your first chance to reserve a front seat in the movement driving a more inclusive, engaging, and downright enjoyable generation of politics. If you can't tell, we're a wee bit excited.

There are two things the Bus loves above all else:

1) You.

2) You driving the Bus. (we won’t expect you to do donuts in the parking lot *)

There will be a party. There will be prizes (ranging from shirts to the intangible flush of foosball victory). There will be a chance to take leadership at the Bus. There will be amazing and brilliant people. But most importantly, there will be YOU.

Put it on your calendar - like right now would work well for us.

Help us make sure we have plenty of food and drink: RSVP by sending a fun fact about yourself to nicole (at) washingtonbus (dot) org or call us at the office at 206-325-1889!

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CONVENIENT INFO BOX THING:
Welcome Wagon
Monthly - The next one is August, 16th
6-7:30 pm
Bus HQ: 1100 E Union St, Suite 1E, Seattle, WA

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To spell things out, at the Welcome Wagon any or all of this could be yours:

1) Food - yum.

2) Drinks - delectable.

3) Good company - party time, excellent.

4) Insanely sweet volunteer opportunities (perhaps at little old things like Bumbershoot, Capitol Hill Block Party, and Candidate Survivor) - kaboom.

5) Hands-on training and networking opportunities - get it.

6) Foosball tournament - merciless.

7) An evening dedicated to empowering a new generation of leaders in our state - yes and yes.

8) For some reason, I like it when these lists end up on even numbers - illogical.

We're going to do a Welcome Wagon every single month, because we meet good folks every single day. All you have to do is show up - the rest is all smooth-like.

If you are asking yourself what the Bus can do for you (and what you can do for the Bus, natch), then you are psyched for Welcome Wagon!

 

*although it could be arranged**

**It probably can't be arranged


Dansportation: Everything but the Tunnel

Posted by dleigh1@gmail.com at May 26, 2011 12:16 PM |

 

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HELLO people of the Bus-world, and also random internet passersby. I’m Dan. I’ll be your Hella Bus blogger writing about biking, bussing, transportation, and anything related to that bizness. Why? We all move ourselves around the area we live in every day. And how we do it is hella interesting and important.

First, a programming note: This interesting (also, mind-numbing), very-Seattle process is happening. This Hella Bus series will ignore it. There is enough noise already. And that’s my first and last word about the tunnel.

Fortunately, the tunnel isn’t the only thing happening in transportation. The city is putting roads on diets (no, not of the roadkill variety). Metro faces some possible major cuts in service and I'll be covering all the wrangling and ins and outs that entails. The governor just signed a vulnerable road users bill (yay!). And transit oriented developments around light rail stations are getting off the ground - or should I say UNDER IT (pow! This is the sort of rapier wit you can expect on a weekly basis).

I’m not a transportation expert—I have no fancy letters after my name, nor diplomas hanging on my wall. Rather, I am a user and observer of transportation. Cars are expensive, so, like a lot of young people, I commute by bike nearly everyday (Cap Hill to Wallingford—mad love to all the drivers on Eastlake who regularly refrain from hitting me). I also take the bus frequently. My favorite routes are the 14, the 49, and, of course, my OG bus route, the 72.

There will be posts digging into substantive issues soon. In the meantime, enjoy one of my favorite recent pieces on bicycling--Jim Behrle comparing NYC cyclists to glistening gazelles on The Awl.

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