Friday, September 17, 2021

Time to start weighing in about Restructuring transit when EAST LINK opens. Spotlight on Route 8 /SLU

After today's cycle of medical appointment plus errands, RantWoman owes the world a post something like "Oh My God North Link is opening in just over two weeks and the pedestrian environment around the Brooklyn Ave. station is a mess." 

But instead of getting in a tizzy about immediate time horizons, RantWoman invites readers to begin weighing in on proposed bus route realignments when East Link opens in 2023.

For concise compilations of relevant survey and informational links and already lively commentary check out  Seattle Transit blog piece on launch of public engagement

Full disclosure 1: RantWoman has already been part of a neighborhood focus group particularly related to changes proposed for the Route 8, the one Seattle-only route impacted by Metro's initial proposal. Discussion in the focus group ran heavily toward sidewalks, sidewalk grade, sidewalk quality, Accessible pedestrian signals,  bad transit planner assumptions about what is walkable in the rain in the evening (with no mention of street lights.) There were also suggestions that Metro needs to consider where new housing in going in and to talk to SDOT about places that already have serious pedestrian unfavorability problems. RantWoman has more to say about all this but in a separate post.

Full disclosure 2: One but not the only reason RantWoman is not feeling warm and fuzzy about the proposed changes for the route 8: RantWoman likes being able to carry her groceries home from the nearest bus stop without having to do any street crossings. The change proposed to Route 8 seriously impinges on options for RantWoman and neighbors who do their grocery shopping on the Route 8 to do that. RantWoman promises to say more about groceries and new housing  and lots of neighborhoods that might like a one-seat bus ride to the Judkins Park East Link station. RantWoman promises to tackle that in another post.

Route 8, the bigger picture.

Route 8 currently goes from Lower Queen Anne up Denny though the edge of South Lake Union, up Denny to Broadway and Kaiser, out to MLK, with a jog to 23rd Ave S on Yesler and then on Jackson back to MLK and the Mount Baker Transit Center. The proposed change leaves it on 23rd Ave S instead of MLK all the way to Yesler. RantWoman and another panelist wondered why duplicate service on this segment already provided by the 48.

Today, while crawling home on the 8 along Denny in not quite pre-pandemic traffic RantWoman decided to take a wild guess: the 8 does not require any transfers from East link to get to South Lake Union. Getting to SLU on the train would require transferring to Link 1, travelling several stops through the downtown transit tunnel and either walking or transferring to a bus. RantWoman is a transit nerd and that does not sound like something even RantWoman would enjoy.

Truthfully though the 8 has its own problems: the ride to SLU from the Judkins Park station is long and clattery. It's above ground which RantWoman prefers over too much time in tunnels, but in the "before times" it often got way overcrowded during most afternoons. Even now with much of South lake Union still working remotely, the 8 can get pretty full all the way to Broadway.

Then a lightbulb went on: what about route 9. Currently the 9 runs along Rainier, stops at what will be the Rainier side of the Judkins Park station and then goes straight up Boren to Broadway, just a couple stops past where the 8 crosses Broadway. But what if, instead of stopping on Broadway, the 9 went down Denny, maybe circled over to the Seattle Cancer care Alliance and then either went all the way to Queen Ann or turned around somewhere in South Lake Union. 

Presto. A shorter less clattery one-seat ride between South lake Union and East Link. And MAYBE another option for easing traffic in South Lake Union.

RantWoman knows there would be a number of issues to address. RantWoman as noted previous is also aware this has no benefit for some other neighborhoods that might appreciate an easy connection to the East Link at Judkins Park. Stay tuned while RantWoman throws some spaghetti against a wall thinking about that.

Now, what say ye all?

Masked Not Masked

 RantWoman brain is full of Things Needing to be Said. RantWoman read BusChick's Everday Impossible and needs to add to the list. 

RantWoman is impressed by the description of the rider, her clothing, her presence, RantWoman is also attempting to untangle some assumptions about who is most likely to live on the end of the 27 route.

First, the assertion of personal standards (and judgmentalism?)

The woman described in the post commits two transit peccadillos: she pays no fare and she declines the driver's request to put on a mask.

RantWoman has complicated opinions about fare payment. 

RantMom, like RantWoman is white, college educated and mostly transit-dependent by choice. Well, there's that part about RantMom not wanting to figure out apps, but if RantMom can get life done on transit, she is happy. RantMom sometimes clucks about people who don't pay their fare. RantMom also has a hearing loss so she is not always aware of people's pleas about the topic. And the RantSisters are keeping our eye on the possibility that we might need to encourage changes in travel practices for a number of reasons. 

RantWoman once silently cheered on a Sunday morning ride to worship: two young presumably able-bodied African American youth got on carrying gigantic lattes and didn't have bus fare. The motherly African American bus driver gave them a good lecture about financial priorities and, as is the norm, let them ride. RantWoman expects a white driver should do the same thing to white youth in aparallel situation.

For herself, RantWoman gets WAY more out of the transit system than what she pays for a monthly bus pass.  This is true even in #pandemic times when RantWoman is travelling way fewer days than in the before times. RantWoman could in fact probably save money just using her ORCA wallet. Somehow though, this little bit of fiscal recklessness is both RantWomans's faith in plenty and part of the things RantWoman maintains just to keep her own act together.

RantWoman is familiar with the argument that financing transit primarily with sales taxes is extremely regressive so transit should just be free. RantWoman is not current about which "socialist hellholes" have both free transit and much less economic inequality than the US. RantWoman appreciates the existence of several different low-income and youth fares in Seattle. And RantWoman bloody well wants people with means not only to appreciate the value of transportation services but also to be invested in all the other planning and infrastructure decisions that, in an age of climate change and real estate bubbles help people live together well and compactly.

In short, RantWoman is not particularly distressed about this account of non-fare payment if only because it gives RantWoman another opportunity to state her own perspectives.

Now we come to mask-wearing. 

It's the law. It's also just a REALLY GOOD IDEA. And courteously doing  what a bus driver asks is also definitely preferable. Yes, and in this case at the end of a route when the bus is not crowded and social distancing is easy. So RantWoman thinks it was reasonable of the driver to ask, and also that this moment of mask non-compliance is WAY more tolerable  than some moments of driver fortitude RantWoman has observed. RantWoman also thinks precious moments of freedom like this are one reason keeping the ends of bus routes matters.

Then there's the E line and a driver one day trying to persuade a non-cooperative woman in a wheelchair both to wear a mask and to work at ways her wheelchair could be secured. Maybe the driver should have made her wait for the next bus because the bus was close to SRO and one of the wheelchair spots was already in use. The woman was large and one leg protruded more than for many wheelchair users. Articulating anything about how to judge turning radius was not going to be her thing. The driver worked for several minutes on loading her. The other wheelchair user got off at the next stop and positions got sorted out much better, but the whole situation left RantWoman thinking, among other things, that every driver on the system in times of #COVID deserves full medical coverage!

Thursday, September 16, 2021

On Concerns Of Trump Instability, Gen. Milley Built Shadow Authority Cla...

RantWoman is snapshotting a few news clips about revelations in a new book about the role of Joint Chiefs of Staff head Gen. Mark Milley in conversations with China and otherwise during the transition period before FORMER Pres. left office and Pres. Biden was inaugurated on Jan. 20. RantWoman is collecting these media clip snapshots because she imagines as many future undergraduates writing research papers about these moments in time as wrote about, say, the Cuban missile crisis. Yes, RantWoman is showing her age. Digest for yourself. 

And news digested by Stephen Colbert

Why the country needs to wash its brain out 20 years after 9/11

Item 2 today of three national security adjacent posts

RantWoman, WHY these three links in one post? 

Trae Crowder on Lauren Boebert

Lauren Boebert hadn't yet dropped out of high school on 9/11. RantWoman thinks she remembers seeing maybe a "Never forget" tweet or two about 9/11. RantWoman more noticed tweets dogging Pres. Biden over the unfolding of the withdrawal from Afghanistan that her hero former president set in motion. Still, every time someone, even another hillbilly dogs her for undeniable hilllbilly origins and lack of education, RantWoman wants to scream "Lifelong Learning!" RantWoman would not mind fewer occasions to want to do this.

Trump on GW Bush 9-11 address

There is something to be said, if one just is not going to be able to maintain appropriate decorum at a somber ceremony for just not geting oneself invited in the first place. Just keep golfing, Mr. FORMER President!

RantWoman on finding our better selves 20 years after 9/11 bombs accessibility badly but John Oliver is brilliant about Lukashenko

RantWoman is taking a break from the tidal wave of coronavirus #COVID hospitalizations and political chicanery crashing over the US to go, electronically to someplace where things look much worse.

RantWoman deeply esteems John Oliver for research capacity, for making eve n appalling political realities funny and for good pranks.

Watch the video first and see what the Belarus bear force is all about. Then enjoy RantWoman's Today in Unplanned Accessibility Testing.

 RantWoman was so inspired by John Oliver's evil genius marketing teddy bears in support of freedom of expression and civil rights in Belarus that RantWoman hopped on over to check out

As a public service to people who design websites such as this, PLEASE read the following and CLEAN UP YOUR  #A11Y #Accessibility ACTS.

As a public service to blind people who might want to contribute to efforts supporting liberal democatic values in Belarus: TAKE YOUR SCREEN READERS ELSEWHERE. RantWoman tried this both on her Android phone with Talkback and on a PC with JAWS.

On the PC the site wants RantWoman to accept cookies and then tells her there is a graphic. RantWoman accepted cookies. The accessibility picture did not improve.

Spoiler alert: RantWoman tried the site first on a PC. JAWS does not even find the image with the teddy bear and the "We're sorry we're sold out" text. Instead JAWS read RantWoman some random text about medical care in FL RantWoman is pretty sure John Oliver could weave text into the rest of the story: "FL, a state where the governor is in training to be Lukashenko" or some such thing but since the site provides RantWoman neither the promised teddy bears nor even an accessible way to send money to some worthy Support Democracy in Belarus effort, RantWoman is just going to have to go back to calamities closers to home also roiling her soul.

Monday, September 13, 2021

Puyallup in Pandemic times and grumpiness about vaccine hesitancy amony public servants

Ambassadors at the Puyallup Fair during the #pandemic

 First RantWoman offers a slightly edited version of an email she just sent upon learning that a certain statewide advocacy organization RantWoman is a proud member of will withdraw from its usual annual practice of staffing an informational booth at the Puyallup fair.

RantWoman writes:

Honestly, I know some of us are a lot more eager and willing to be out in large crowds than others. I haven't even checked to see whether King County Metro is running special buses to the fair this year

RantWoman interjects: DO NOT even think of venturing out to the fair unless you are fully vaccinated. RantWoman would like to say that but suffice it to say the rest of this screed is also needed.

Perhaps people who want to go and enjoy the fair might want to think about how to be .. ambassadors even if not at a booth.

--Be prepared for all the questions we deal with all the time about guide dogs and canes. Have strategies for dealing with the things that most drive you crazy, as well as how to have fun.

[NEVER pet a working service animal!]

[Grab the Blind Person and bless them is NEVER a thing]

[search this blog for etiquette to find more hot tips]

--Be ready to refer people to the website or the 800 number or the Facebook page

--Wear organizational or topical swag: T-shirts, hoodies, masks, jackets. See what conversations that opens up. 

--Download the WA Notify app to your phone I have no idea what it will do for the fair, but I think it's worth experimenting.

--Have fun, eat some fair food, and then report back  about your experiences. 

If you go BE SAFE. Wear masks except when eating. Repeat: WEAR MASKS. Be glad we live in a state where our governor takes a different view than ID or SD. the WA healthcare system is groaning as it is and we DO NOT want to wind up like ID.



Sure, you are free to run around risking personal COVID calamity if you want BUT

.. if you won't get vaxxed to help protect the pest of the public don't expect the public to pay your salary while you do.

As RantWoman was preparing to post the comments above, what should appear in RantWoman's inbox?

Seattle Times: dozens of public enloyees sue over vaccine mandates

See rant above. Enough said?

If not RantWoman will be happy to go off on the Twitter report she never fully followed up on about the Seattle police officer who was asked by 3 different nurses to put his mask on in the Harborview ER. Really, dude? Really?

Idaho? Did anyone mention Idaho?

Idaho's COVID Crisis becomes WA hospitals problem

Monday, September 6, 2021

Two articles for Labor Day and a rant about COVID vaccinations

Warning: the first two items are about why this country ALWAYS needs a strong labor movement. That also means the articles describe traumatizing events.

 Article about Frances Perkins. labor reform, social safety net

and a particularly dystopian set of new dangers from Carbon Sequestration

Gassing Astaria MS story from Huff Post

Now the rant about various WA labor unions objections to Gov. Inslee's and other localities' vaccination mandates: RantWoman wants to be sympathetic to unions' need to protect their bargaining power. RantWoman WANTS to be sympathetic. But RantWoman is NOT sympathetic AT ALL to Department of Health, Seattle Ciy Light, ferry system employees and other first responders becoming part of the unvaccinated COVID Case statistics. Plus if public officials are setting crappy examples, how on earth does anyone expect vaccine hesitant members of the public to get their shots. Huh?

Just wondering.

In the meantime thank you to everyone who was out working on labor day.