Friday, October 31, 2008

Bikes


Bikes
Originally uploaded by parapluiesdoux
So...I was wrong.
Those crazy New Yorkers hang their bikes, too! (Alternatively, the Baltimoreans are from New York, but how much speculation can one girl handle?)

I know it's not "worth" marveling over but it brought me much joy on the way to brunch.

Weekly News, Early Edition

AIG's collapse will likely hurt transit, forcing cuts across several cities (Streetsblog).

Canada

Toronto doesn't want your bike on the sidewalk (The WashCycle). I agree, hypocritically. I'm actually afraid of riding with cars (I'm so slow, I can't compete with 60/mph) and have yet to be in an area with a bikelane. The WashCycle writes that it's the first time that the bikelane is a means to get off the sidewalk, but I was under the impression that bikelanes were built so bikes would be safer among the cars.

Chicago

Rapists nabbed with transit card (Tribune, via CTA Tattler). Is this a little Big Brother? Otherwise I think it's really cool.

Chicagoans are mad as hell and they're simply not going to take it (CTA Tattler). I say this because I wasn't there, but I am kind of enjoying how people are turning up for meetings across the country (even if it's not in high numbers) and raising their voices. I hope more people are writing letters, too.

China

China is pouring money into transit to help the economic crisis (Reuters). That's more than we'll get out of McCain and his baloney plans.

DC

Protesters outside Metro stations dissent bag check, ask riders to do the same (Get There). I saw this on the news as I left for work and jumped around the kitchen, giddy that other people are not only pissed but are doing something. The news was at Dupont Circle, where I have an activist flyer shoved in my face any day of the week, but that's not the point.

DC Transit Examiner:

AIG's collapse could cripple Metro

Should Metro be censored?

Solution for Metro's spring-loaded handles

Metro makes brilliant, kind of lame moves

Maryland

Dirt bikers taunting, harassing, and driving Baltimore residents crazy (Baltimore Sun). OH MY GOD THIS IS INSANE. It really hurts that the bikers RAMMED THEIR BIKES INTO A CAR and the police "couldn't do anything." I know I sound like Crazy White Girl when I say this, but it leaves me very concerned that other acts committed on the bike, which are clearly NOT OKAY will go by the wayside. What, you were stabbed, kidnapped, mugged, by a biker? Well, it's a small vehicle and we're just an undermanned and underpaid police force, YOU'RE ON YOUR OWN, INJURED AND HYSTERICAL LADY. This is ganglike activity, DO SOMETHING. Okay, the article is about the efforts to GET SOMETHING DONE but I'm still REALLY irritated.

My people are making fake permits (Examiner). Guys, seriously, you're going to have to get more high tech than that if you expect to get away with this.

New York

John Liu wants parking to be a more civilized experience (Streetsblog). HAHAHAHAHAHA YOU'RE FUNNY.

Cops accused of sodomizing a man in a Brooklyn subway (Gothamist). This is horrible.

MTA's bureuacracy (New York Times).

More on timeliness (Metro). I rode this weekend and I didn't think it was so bad...but my expectations are pretty low these days.

Parking in the Bronx is harder than before (New York Times). So is that the trade for bringing a show to its geographic location? Was anyone in Baltimore affected by The Wire? (Really asking, I don't know.)

Bus depot needs upgrades...and it's not even finished yet (NY Daily News). ARGH.

Zombie buses in the Bronx (NY Daily News).

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

We Are All Screwed

What an expletive. Via DCist, Metro Transit Police Chief Michael Taborn responded to questions yesterday and is apparently ready to seriously eff with you, peacefully yet dumb dissenting citizen:

Washington, D.C.: I am opposed to these searches and plan on refusing any Metro officer's request to go through my bags. Because I'll be allowed to refuse search and turn around without being detained, I will simply enter the Metro through another escalator or elevator. How do you plan on addressing this loophole?

Michael Taborn: You may choose not to be searched and leave the station with your bags or other items. We do have a plan to address suspicious behavior.

Metro’s friendly, “You can say no!” passive aggressive behavior feels like the beginnings of Big Brother. It’s obviously going to be a bad idea to say no. (But I think that I might when I’m inevitably approached because of my camera or overnight bags.)

DCist has also pointed the way to a guide that will help reluctant riders. In short, use common sense: don’t return to the same entrance (I recommend not returning to the station at all and walking to another if possible, or taking the bus), don’t behave with belligerence, remain polite and calm yet firm when you say you will not consent, be sure to get names and badge numbers if there is a violation of your rights, and don’t run. Don’t get stupid.

Don’t forget to let WMATA know how you feel about this ridiculous plan. Keep it civil—you want WMATA to listen to you.

D.C. Transportation Examiner: Should Metro ads be censored? I vote no

D.C. Transportation Examiner: Should Metro ads be censored? I vote no

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Monday, October 27, 2008

D.C. Transportation Examiner: Metro makes brilliant, kind of lame moves

D.C. Transportation Examiner: Metro makes brilliant, kind of lame moves

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Gothamist reports that the NYC subway is 140 today! Happy birthday!
(I had the pleasure of riding the train this weekend. Thoughts about its infrastructure to come.)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Weekly News, Early Edition

I'm going out of town this weekend, and quite frankly, just feel like posting early. :)

YOUR WEEKLY TRANSIT NEWS

Americans and mass transit (Salon). Bigger discussion next week, feel free to weigh in now.

California

Drivers in Southern California can vote without exiting their cars (Yahoo! News). Do they get an I VOTED sticker? Because that's very important to me.

Canada

Montreal's Bixi (Streetsblog)

Chicago

Stop riding in the dark (General Carlessness). DC RESIDENTS CAN GET A FREE BIKE LIGHT NEXT TUESDAY AND THURSDAY.

Blue Line work, Brown line problems, questions answered, the Shell Game (so glad I don't have to deal with that; be sure to read the post Kevin links to where he shuts them down! CTA Tattler)

OH. MY. GOD. ARE. YOU. KIDDING. ME?! (General Carlessness)

DC

DC Transit Examiner:

New buses start Monday (also info about the bike light program)

A free ride

WMATA to exterminate paper transfers

VRE on the way to increasing fares

also, new comment policy (identical to the one here, which is DON'T BE A JERK)

Six year old is voting for Obama for his position on transit (Greater Greater Washington).

Riders Advisory Council is seeking new members (WMATA Press Release).

Maryland

Parking issues in Baltimore (City Paper). Whenever I drive to Baltimore I ended up really stressed out because I. CAN'T. PARK. ANYWHERE. I drove to Baltimore last weekend and COULD. NOT. PARK. ANYWHERE. At some point I cried out, "I WISH I COULD TAKE THE BUS." Uh, what, Katherine? You hated waiting for that damn bus.

Donna Edwards likes the purple line (Gazette, by way of GGW). Now I'll have to stop disliking her.

New York

There's some drama over the rehab of the 4th Ave. stop in Park Slope (Gothamist).

Inside Atlantic Ave. subway tunnel (Gothamist).

Greenway Link bikepath is open (Streetsblog)!

Reclaim Magazine's article about pedestrian safety (Streetsblog). A great point is made here about the crane incidents: people (and cyclists) are hit far more frequently but it doesn't seem to be the same concern as worrying about objects falling out of the sky (remember the panic when the glass fell)? I think both are important. (Don't worry, I'm a little afraid of cranes.)

MTA is testing new bus ads (Gothamist). This is cool but also creepy if the ads change from Dunkin Donuts in the nice neighborhood to WE CASH YOUR CHECKS in the less nice ones.

Fares my rise (The New York Times)

Two officers were shot in a Queens station by a man "illegually using" a student card (NY Daily News). The officers were not in uniform. If someone's going to break the rules, they're going to break the rules, I guess, but last week my friend and I were discussing the obviousness of undercover police. I was talking about the one time my card didn't work so I hopped the gate, but "only because there wasn't anybody there, not even an attendant." So uh, dude, find another rule to break somewhere else? Obviously shooting a cop is up there with They're Doing Their Jobs Stop Screwing Around.

16 people were arrested for ties to "organized crime," which Gothamist suspects may involve the Chinatown buses (Gothamist, obvs).

New York will install displays to alert riders to trains by listing the location of the car (NY1). PLUS it will let you know if it's in service or not. Almost nothing is as depressing as your train coming and finding out that it's NOT PICKING YOU UP.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

D.C. Transportation Examiner: A free ride

D.C. Transportation Examiner: A free ride

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D.C. Transportation Examiner: WMATA to exterminate paper transfers

D.C. Transportation Examiner: WMATA to exterminate paper transfers

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Head Meets Desk

This makes me so mad I can't even see straight (via Yglesias, emphasis mine):
Representative Michele Bachmann (R-Minnesota) says it has not escaped Democrats what the cost of gasoline and loss of jobs are doing to the country.

"This is their agenda," Bachmann states bluntly. "I know it is hard to believe, it's hard to fathom -- but this is 'mission accomplished' for them," she asserts. "They want Americans to take transit and move to the inner cities. They want Americans to move to the urban core, live in tenements, [and] take light rail to their government jobs. That's their vision for America."

Bachmann predicts gasoline will rise above $5 a gallon if Barack Obama is elected president.


Okay, you're right. It is my dream to live in a city. It's my dream to take transit to my job so I won't sit in traffic, get rear ended by someone applying make up or shaving in the driver's seat. I dream of living in a neighborhood where I can walk to the grocery store, a convenience store open all night. I dream that the neighborhood dive bar will be a few blocks away, so will my pharmacy, and my bank. I want to dream that my doctor will be nearby too but I think I'd be lucky to find my doctor only a few train stops away. I also want to live somewhere where it is pedestrian and bicycle friendly. I dream of a neighborhood where I can ride my bike and fill my basket with library books. Where I can cross the crosswalk without worrying about DYING, and I think it would be nice that everyone would feel safe. I call that dangerously optimistic and idealistic. But I wouldn't call it socialism, and I wouldn't consider it devious. I think it's unfair that it's "normal" to commute more than an hour from one's home to work where I live.

It's crazy to me how two weeks ago Michelle Bachmann was an irritant but is now at the top of my shit list. Minnesota, I'm depending on you to get rid of her. If you want me to move to Minneapolis (rivaling for places against Chicago, Brighton Beach, and San Francisco for cities I daydream about moving to), YOU WILL DO WHAT IT TAKES TO GET HER OUT OF OFFICE, THANK YOU.

(You may want to note that she's joined by Newt Gingrich. I think that should say enough.)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Weekly News

The weekly news post is a little light this week. I've been busy and I guess the transit news outside of DC has captured my attention less than usual. Don't forget, you can sign up for e-mail notifications or RSS my examiner.com blog, and, as always, I have more to say than just transit stuff. Check out this week's Shameless Reader on Winsome Icarus [Blog] for more!

Chicago

CTA has partnered with I-GO (via CTA Tattler). It is my person opinion that DC's partnership with similar companies is the worst IDEA EVER. I'll expand later.

DC

Sentencing began for the Metro supervisor who stole a boatload of money.

DC Transit Examiner (there's a lot, just go!)

Maryland

MTA is cutting routes. I'm furious.

Carjacking last week near a light rail station. It's really important to me that people can ride through the city without worrying that they will hit the line of fire [figuratively, not just gun violence].

New York

New York subways are going to post ads in subway tunnels now too (via Gothamist). Some of the tunnels for DC's Metro have moving advertisements. They're cool but it makes me kind of queasy.

Friday, October 17, 2008

no no no no

From Get There, Dr. Gridlock reports serious cuts in MTA services (pdf). Commuter buses and routes will be affected first from several cuts and MTA also proposes eliminating holiday service:
In addition to these service reductions, MTA proposes, effective Veterans Day, to:
-- Eliminate all holiday service (Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Presidents' Day, Columbus Day, Veterans Day and the day after Thanksgiving).
-- Eliminate all service on the day after Christmas.
-- Operate holiday service rather than full service on Christmas Eve and the day after New Year's Day.
These changes are proposed for MARC, too. The changes will start January 12, 2009.
Unfortunately most people work on holidays. Columbus Day, President's Day, and Martin Luther King Day are days most people work. Every MLK Day I caught the bus I was grateful the bus was still running.

The majority of MTA's riders in Baltimore are not people who have federal holidays off; they are the people who keep the world turning while the 9-to-5 federal employees get to sleep in and most of them depend on bus service to get around.

Almost as asinine is the proposal that January 2nd will operate on holiday hours. Everyone gets back to the pre-holiday routine on the 2nd. Schools start their new semesters and everything resumes as the way it had before. You really want to run limited service on a day because it's near a holiday? Really?

MARC will also terminate evening service on the Penn line, several integral services on the Brunswick line (which is integral in getting Fredericktonians to and from DC), and the ten-trip ticket.

MARC is a service necessary for Maryland commuters to get to and from DC. It was the most efficient way for me to get to Montgomery and Frederick Counties when I lived in Baltimore.

MTA will hold public hearings (pdf). If you can't attend a hearing I urge you e-mail MTA (commuterbus@mtamaryland.com/marc@mtamaryland.com) or send letters to:
Glenn Litsinger
MTA Office of Customer Information
6 St. Paul Street
Baltimore MD 21202

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Down for the Count

I have a ridiculously long post on Examiner.com pitting John McCain against Barack Obama in the public transit ring.

I had a horrible morning, much of it commuting-based. Unfortunately for you, dear reader, it won't be funny until tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Average Wait Time Alarming

(x-posted from Examiner.com)

Good morning!

How was your morning commute? And how about yesterday's drive home? Still recovering? Then take a deep breath before reading Get There's report that DC drivers spend 60 hours a year in traffic.

TheWashington Post column reports that in the time spent waiting a motorist could have driven to San Francisco, dipping south first to Atlanta before heading north through Kansas City and Spokane, Washington before reaching California. The trip amounts to 60 hours and 3,929 miles. A straight shot from the Disctrict to San Fransisco would amount 42 hours and 2,816 miles, making the data significantly more alarming. Yikes.

Los Angeles, New York City and Chicago also spend an inordinate amount of time waiting to move forward. Like DC, all cities are fortunate that the headaches can be alleviated by taking transit. (Okay, Los Angeles is battling more transit problems than the rest as it attempts to make its transit system more efficient.)

There's almost nothing to hold Washingtonians back from transit, except cases where WMATA can't reach the destination. Metro is working on expanding underground cell phone service, manuvering its lines to accomodate for heavy volume (no matter how silly it may seem) and waiting for the weekend to conduct its maintenance (which is more good than I can say for Chicago's CTA service program). Of course, commuter buses and Metrobus are liable to sit in traffic too, and Metro is plagued with its own delays, but the time waiting buys you opportunities you can't get behind the wheel. Buses on the highway are given the additional perk of using the HOV lanes provided motorists let the behemoths merge. And though the prices for these transit opportunities have risen over time, you're still likely to save money on gas and possibly the cost of parking forced by your place of employment.

Of course these perks are old news to regular riders, who would probably prefer to see less people shoved inside the Metro car Monday morning. Sorry, fellow riders.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Weekly News

Chicago


A TEENAGE GIRL was shot on a bus after a man brushed against another passenger (via CTA Tattler). The men argued on the bus and the shooter exited before shooting outside. This is assinine. I should be dead by now, I'm incredibly clumsy.


CTA gets properties in divorce. Wait, what?


CTA Tattler compares year-to-year violence. Kevin also covers the crime experience of his readers. I had my macbook out two days a row on the train and now I'm totally paranoid. But I think I have good reason. I'd freak out if this happened to me on the Metro. Look (emphasis mine):


No one came to my aid. After the event, the suspect was trapped on the train as it proceeded to Laramie. I ran through the train car in vain looking for the call button to alert the driver to not open the doors at the next stop, but could not find one.



The reason I could not find the call button--it was not one individual trying to steal my bag, but two individuals working in a team--one grabbed my bag while the other stood in front of the call button so no one could find it.


My worst nightmares are the ones where I'm running around looking for something that does not exist.


Fare increase, nooooo! (CTA Tattler dissects here.) ...Notice that CTA has a monthly pass. WMATA, when will we get our monthly passes?


CTA Tattler looks at the budget.


DC


Possible suicide on Friday.


DC Transit Examiner:


"Monday parking ire plus preparing for the week"


"Calculating the commute" (here too)


"WMATA finds energy supplier for hybrid fleet"


"Spring loaded handles cause nothing but strain"


"Does Metro Meet Your Needs?"


Maryland


There was a shooting near the Cherry Hill Light Rail stop in Baltimore Thursday morning; the victim was though to be armed and selling drugs, she was shot by police. But it turns out that she wasn't armed. Light Rail riders had to duck under police tape to exit the station and continue to their destinations.


Bus hauling competition!


New York


Trains are slow. Uh, I already knew that. I saw it on Seinfeld. And the Tweets! My God, I feel for my friends who are late for work. There is a substantial increase of delayed trains. It sucks to transit in NYC with its uncertain future and certain rate hike (again).


Weird marketing for subway boxers. Ew. Also ew: calorie campaign continues underground. Can you leave the guilt above ground? I want to enjoy my latte on the commute, thanks.


"#1 Subway Fan" arrested. I kind of love that someone is obsessed with the subway.


Cops making Queensboro bridge dangerous by parking their CARS IN THE BIKE PATH. A man died on a bridge last week, this is assinine people! I guess I'd jump off and walk it, but most cyclists (especially in New York) are faster than I am, and I'm thinkin they uh, can't do that like I would [in theory]. The worst part is that Gothamist notes a cyclist who almost hit a squad car and was told the cars were there for SAFETY.


NJ Turnpike tolls are rising. Lame!


 

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Asleep on the Metro


Asleep on the Metro
Originally uploaded by parapluiesdoux

I Dream of Baskets


Yet the fantasy continues! I think about it when I hear a child use a bike bell (a common occurrence this weekend) or see a bike locked to the side of a building or tied to a tree…or prompted by nothing.


I harbor dreams of a bike basket the same way I harbor dreams of owning a dog or my own business, or living life without the crushing anxiety of loans.


I dream of metal baskets that fold. I dream of milk crates that are secured with bungy cords, and I dream of pretty plastic-coating metal baskets wired to my handlebars.


I dream of contents too: a glass bottle of milk (which is my favorite kind of milk, this isn’t all romanticism), books held together by a belt (romanticism; the real world uses a rubber band that snaps when I hit a branch in the road), my camera wrapped around the basket with a Gorilla Pod. Sometimes there are flowers.


If my dreams were practical—and they obviously aren’t—I would have been dreaming of a waterproof removable folding basket.


That’s okay. Somebody did, and she posted it on Instructables. The basket requires waterproof material (if looks like a big blue Ikea bad), scissors, string, buttons, tape, and a folding basket. It looks better than it sounds.


Thanks Kiki, I have new dreams for my book-holding, milk in a glass bottle-protecting bike basket.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Calculating the Commute

How much money do you save by taking transit every morning? When you calculate the Metro delays, late buses and packed cars is it worth it compared to stop-and-go traffic? Commuting calculators have the solution; enter the price of gas, the distance, how many days you work, and your mileage to see the difference. (You can of course, do the math yourself.)

I filled the application on CommuterPage.com hypothetically; I assumed that I drove five days a week (I’m also in a carpool, so I might drive two or three days a week), and I calculated the more expensive version of my transit commute instead of the friendlier Metro ride to RideOn bus, which totals $8.80. I valiantly fought the urge to add some sort of fee for potential parking tickets.

Even with my amazing gas mileage (it’s a little over $40 to fill) I’m surprised to find out that I’d save $121.75 a month. It makes me want to reconsider my carpool, considering that my monthly payments are $199. (Note: the calculator will list your “monthly” cost. It looks like the figures are your weekly cost. When I added the fees individually the money saved was still the same.)

I find numerous incentives in riding transit already: I’m one less car in congested traffic, lessening the commuting pain for others; I’m making less of a damaging impact on the environment; I have the opportunity to read, write, or craft, things I can’t do behind the wheel; public transit provides unique experiences in people watching. I’m also used to relying on transit. Owning a car is new to me and in addition to a lifelong obsession with DC transit, I needed MTA’s services in college to get to my job in Baltimore.

How much did I save in the incredibly stressful and generally unreliable commute I used in college? $42.00 with the estimation that the trip cost $3.50 a day; at the time I was on a discounted rate using a student pass so I may have saved more than $50. It’s not a car payment, but $42 in college would have covered pricey art supplies. As it was, I couldn’t afford to get around anyway, but the anxiety I face when I remember the MTA mishaps is quelled knowing that if I had chosen the method was saving me more than I anticipated.

So how much would you save? Most buses are $1.25 per ride if you use your SmartTrip card and Metro fees vary by station. Baltimore readers, your one-way ride is $1.60 and an all day pass is $3.50. (A weekly pass is $16.50.) Gas in the district is around $3.70 but the pumps near my house have been at a steady $3.59 for more than a week now. If the rates are killing you, try gasfinder.com to find the lowest price in your area.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Monday, October 6, 2008

Weekly News

Chicago

CTA Tattler has a hilarious story about riding the train before the ballgame. It wouldn't have been as funny if I had been waiting. (I'm a Cubs fan.) There's a post it note in that post you gotta see, too.

Hey! CTA, I found a camera on your train and turned it in, hoping to jumpstart some good karma that would bring me my wallet back. Did you ever find the camera's owner? It was nice point and shoot.

Redesign Union Staion! Deadline is October 15.

DC

As announced Tuesday, you can now find me writing for Examiner.com (link). Those posts will be in the DC section of the weekly news posts. This week those posts were:

Monday parking ire plus preparing for the week

Metro to get funding!

DMV Fiscal Year Sees Changes

Army moves it jobs to most frugal option: away from Metro

Missed transit opportunity

(It will be okay because we totally know what we're doing, the Army says.)

The Washington Post has a quiz asking readers to identify Metro stations by its artwork. Metro will install a new piece next year at Farragut North.

The U.S. Senate backed federal funding for Metro! Because John McCain doesn't want to see my happy, he voted against it.

Via Greater Greater Washington, police are wasting time ticketing cyclists. The District has better uses for its police force, and putting the focus ticketing bikes is super lame. (I'm not saying it's okay to go the wrong way...) And a great post about Wisconsin cyclists. Please read it; I should report this too but I'm burned out from this head cold.

GGW has the schedule for Purple Line meetings. Go.

We might get a Brown line?

Maryland

There's a battle over a partial underground subway ("Light rail" but the extension is part of the subway and LIGHT RAIL. DOESN'T. GO. UNDER. GROUND. so, whatever). In short, you either want it or you don't, and if you don't, you want a Light Rail extension, which, depending on which block you live on, you do or you don't support. For example, if you're in one part of Fell's Point, you don't want your faux WASP-like streets to be tarnisted by an above ground rail. Yet around the corner you yell, "YEAH BRING IT ON," because of non-driving Baltimoreans like me. (Though I drive now. But that's not the point, is it?) I digress: GBC wants an above ground rail and hates the bus. Yeaaaah.

If you drove to Phelpstival you were out of luck for parking. Maybe you found something on TU's campus and stood outside of Bateman's with the nutsos from Fred Phelp's church? I heard on the radio that they had a sign that said GOD HATES MICHAEL PHELPS. I find this especially befuddling as he is a white heterosexual male, which is Their Thing. So...uh, following their qualifications, I'm stumped. I think GOD HATES FRED PHELPS but I forgot to reply to God's e-mail over the weekend and he won't confirm or deny for me. Maybe if I Digg his last blog post He'll let me know.

You were totally screwed for Fell's Point Festival, too. I parked in a deck that said it had FREE PARKING on Weekeneds and had to pay to get out. They stood in front of the sign and said, "NO IT SAYS THREE DOLLARS RIGHT HERE." ARGH. I guess I need to write BBB, but it feels petty. (BUT THEY WERE SNEAKY! ARGH, THE INNER CONFLICT.)

New York

MTA says it will cost $100 million to clean stations. Gulp.

Bike parking!

Gothamist reports that steps have been taken to cease disability abuse. Did I mention I know a guy who knows a guy who did this? And is still trying?

There is on-going drama about cars in Prospect Park.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Striking the Transit Gendered Ire

In angst unrelated from last night, I am frustrated. Again, it is with the art world (the comparison post is still coming, by the way).

Men On Maps, in Bronx's Haven Arts Gallery, closes soon. I think the premise is really neat as a map lover and transit devotee.

The exhibit presents "unique aesthetic responses of over 40 male artists when presented with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s map of the New York Cities subway system as a base upon which to create." WHY WEREN'T ANY WOMEN HANDED ANY MAPS?

Because the gallery already did an all-female show. Really. I'm serious, that's their reason:
appreciate your concern about the apparent exclusionary nature of "Men on Maps" at Haven.
The show was conceived two years ago to balance an exhibition shown at Haven Arts at our previous location, called "13 Women on 13 Walls." In that show, we invited 13 women curators to curate one wall in our old gallery. Since that show excluded men, this show excluded women. These were highly unusual shows, we certainly welcome everyone's participation in all the rest of what we do.

Best wishes,

Carol Zakaluk
Director of Non-profit Exhibitions

Zakaluk points out that these shows are not typical. But I think the gimmick of 13 Women on 13 Walls is just as dumb. But I also opposed Boys Against Girls teams in high school and in soccer scrimmages, and my dissent was never popular. I think separating anything by gender is a ridiculous and archaic pratice, even in art. Haven is not the first gallery to do this. It will not be the last. But it's otherwise great exhibit is mired knowing that if I were a working artist in New York I'd have been left out. Despite a large catalogue of work about maps and personal exploration.

Haven Arts, lover of Great Titles (see below) probably doesn't agree about segregating by gender, not because they've done it twice now, but because both titles have a great ring to them. Also, you know, it's a good idea to build a show around a really great title. From founder Barry Kostrinksy:

"Men on maps" had a good sound. I hope to run "Ms on maps" one day. The 2 shows would offer a small research ground for the different approaches men and woman may have to the topic.

That was the gallery's first response, actually. Their first explanation was a half-assed, we came up with this title and thought we might build something around it instead of taking a great concept from the idea and brainstorming a better, more creative, title.

I've curated shows, and as a group, devising the title was the most difficult process. Trying to satisfy a group of 20+ twenty-somethings on a title that isn't lame is almost impossible. I think my favorite shows had the worst names, actually. And I recognize that having a great title will help bring people in the gallery. I know, I know. But really? This is actually about alliteration? People, get the dictionary and start looking up M.

I also think the promise to "one day" have a Ms. on Maps is patronizing. You know, one day, when I got nothing else to do and I've wrestled up enough women to participate. It's so hard to find good help. (And if it's all about M then why not bring the Men and Ms. together?) I promised to "one day" print a zine about transit stories. It's been almost two years (because "one day" I'd start the blog and it took a year to sit down and sign up for blogger) and I've only committed to liking a handful of stories.

The attitude continues from there though, that men and women are inherently different about their approaches to the project. Wouldn't want different viewpoints in an gallery now would we?! This prehistoric idealism is counterprodcutive to the central focus of art. One of the greatest lectures I heard during my education was that "No one has taken a photograph of a flower like you have. And no one has taken a photograph of a flower like I have."

I let some of my stubborn ideologies go after recognizing that the reason I create art is because I think I have a different perspective than anybody else. It's also the reason I write. And it's the reason we look at art, to see what someone else's interpretation is. But Haven wants its single-minded estrogen and testostrone separated.

And if that's how they want it, I invite them to carry on without my work, without my friends' work. Because we'll find someone else a little more open. I want someone who sees my work, not my tits.

(As an aside, if Kostrinsky's website worked, I could say conclusively that his paintings are amazing. They do look beautiful. I just don't agree with his decision making.)

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Not Only Does John McCain Hate My Demographics, He Hates Transit!

I'm not totally comfortable going all on out Examiner.com yet. But I do NOT have a problem here.

You have to read this article. McCain was one of 24 people to oppose federal funding for Metro. Metro has never been funded yet DC has the second largest transit system and is drowning in its deficit. Meto supports the city but overwhelmingly its riders during rush hour are federal employees. Some of its riders, I'd venture many of its riders, are the senators voting. But that doesn't matter to McCain:
Joe Biden is one of the Senate’s top rail champions. By contrast, Arizona during the McCain Era has been a poster child of bad planning and transportation policy featuring a number of cities growing rapidly in the worst possible ways, resulting in huge ecological footprints and now a total real estate collapse. But beyond that, McCain has actually distinguished himself from the average conservative Republican in his fanatical opposition to high-quality rail.
Emphasis mine. Thank you, Matthew Yglesias.

I think I know why, and I'll say this without eloquence. First, obviously, and perhaps least importantly, McCain has no grasp on economics. My understanding, which while expanding rapidly is just above rudimentary*, is better than McCain's. Our economy sucks and it's been failing for a very long time. So yes, of course his local economy tanked. Second, and more important, is that the lower class depends heavily on transit.

Hispanic communities are far more pedestrian-based than the sprawling suburban lifestyle of Americans. To get through the sprawl, which is dominant in Arizona, they need buses. They need rails. People without money (like me!) don't have cars.

John McCain owns a fleet of vehicles. And more than one plane. And seven houses. In several real estate markets, even though he has failed the markets of his own state. He sees the non-white people at the bus stop and he does not believe in helping them through transit, because he does not believe in supporting them as president. (He wants to remove their already inadequate healthcare, raise their taxes, and make their lives--and mine!--more difficult; additionally, his colleagues want to sterilize the lower class and he has yet to say, wait, no, that's wrong!)


*That's my way of saying that if you see me, please, please, do not ask me to tell you "what I think" or "what I know" about the market.

I am trying to do freelance work and watch the debates. It is killing me.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

iNap = youZZZZZ

Lifehacker reports that iTunes’ store includes the Moop.Me application iNap, a program that lets you sleep on transit with the promise of waking up when you reach a pre-nap set destination. You program the address, name the location (“WORK” seems the most appropriate), choose the “alert radius” (anywhere from one block* to 100 miles), and the awakening methods (“Bells” seems okay but I wonder if you can choose a song? Let’s get jolted out of our seat with some black metal!). Presumably 100 miles would aid your transit nap if you were on a bullet train.

iNap uses Google Maps and the GPS in iPhone to determine the proximity between the device and location.

Since getting the iPod Touch I haven’t actually purchased any apps. Instead I’ve gone for Twitterific (ruining the Internet 140 characters at a time!), AIM, and Flashlight. (Don’t look at me that way. Flashlight has many options but its blank WHITE screen is far more illuminating than the Home screen!) iNap is $1, which seems like a low price for the convenience of a worry free snooze. I’m not sure I could ever get some real sleep on transit—I’m incapable of letting my guard down if I’m traveling with my ID and farecard, nevermind my cellphone, ipod, wallet, keys—…but even the commuter bus snooze is fraught with paranoia. I’d like to see my fellow riders use it so I don’t have to wake them up anymore.

Gizmodo reports that the program works on your phone when it’s in iPod Mode

Okay, maybe .01 miles isn’t a block in your town. And what’s up with that, anyway? I was in a College Park neighborhood and “one block” was half a mile! That’s weak, College Park, and you know it. We should all agree that .01 miles is 100 meters, OKAY?