Monday, December 29, 2008

The year in transit (part one)

From my Examiner.com blog:

As the year ends to a close we naturally look back on what happened in the last 300-plus days. The transit world has had some shifts in fare and some shakes, and as each city struggles seemingly independent of one another, we all seem to face the same woes. Part one of the series looks at the transit world outside DC.

Listed in alphabetical order by city:

Chicago (CTA)

January saw a last minute save to Doomsday provided seniors rode for free; before then there was a lot of fear. Unfortunately, a smaller doomsday followed as CTA struggled through the crisis, and jobs were cut. Mid-November saw a fare hike, too. CTA “upgraded” its continuous riding signs in stations, which some questioned as it seemed directed at homeless people.

Baltimore (MTA)

Zachariah Hallback, Baltimore Algebra Project founder, was shot at a bus stop in January. (City Paper almost questioned the lack of outrage this month.) Hallback was widely regarded as an awesome youth. (I am firmly in this camp.)

Bus routes were changed in February and again in the fall, and MTA implemented some awesome things—promising new hybrid buses and conversion buses (disclosure: I wrote that BoB) plus adopting Google Transitbefore cutting MARC service and tossing out a piece of plywood at one of its meetings and calling it a wheelchair ramp. I was furious then, and now that I am intimately familiar with the confines of a wheelchair, frustrated.

Charm City's big story at year's end is the struggle to get the red line (MTA site, “a 14 mile, east-west transit corridor connecting the areas of Woodlawn, Edmondson Village, West Baltimore, downtown Baltimore, Inner Harbor East, Fells Point, Canton and the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center Campus.”

New York (MTA):

July's Critical Mass saw violence; the event is in the process of going to court/trial/an ending.

Transit was hit in the economic crisis; doom for Goldman Sachs effected West Side Rail Yard, the city considered tolling its bridges despite global disdain. The deficit eventually brought the $3 transit card (despite a hike in March), which begs the question: who can afford to ride now?

And finally, some homeless shelters have been asked to provide transportation.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

GENERAL REMINDER

There is still a ton (or so it feels) of material on my Examiner.com blog. It is DC-centric, but I am at least "working on" a end of the year post (yark) which will go here because darn if I can't let go of the $3 NYC MTA card.

Anyway, there's some sort of block between the automatic posting between the two blogs we enjoyed before, so take a gander, leave some nice comments if you feel inclined, and we'll see a END OF THE YEAR POST ....before 2k9. Maybe.

Also, if you are reading this because I put you on my private e-mail from Blogger list, remember to click the link to read the post, so you can see coding, graphics, video, and the full text. Thanks!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

It's Okay, I Can't Sleep Anyway

I like to go to bed before my parents do, because I've convinced myself that I sleep better that way. Before the accident I was going to bed before they did on weeknights. I would trudge to my bedroom around 10 p.m. with a glass of water (and sometimes, a glass of wine, tee hee) and watch episodes of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia or last week's Pushing Daisies and Dirty Sexy Money (my guilty pleasure*) before falling asleep.
And then, just like when I was little, I'd wake up as my parents came upstairs, flicked on their bedroom light, and then quietly shut the door, stopping the flood of golden light under my door and into my room. (As an irrelevant note, when I was little, I remember the gold light phenomenon from my crib, and getting irritated because EVERYONE IS AWAKE BUT ME NO FAIR.)
I've been failing on this effort to get into bed twenty feet from where my parents are and under the covers, asleep, before they go to bed. In fact, I have pretend-begged my mother to WAIT, JUST A SECOND, I NEED HELP GETTING TO BED. (A new phenomenon. I was okay the first week.)
Tonight she did, and I snuggled under the covers with my leg in the air and my arm balanced just so, but twenty minutes later I was wide awake...
....When my phone rang. Well, I thought, Like hell am I getting up and answering that drunk dial.

Another twenty minutes passed, and out of water, I resolved to write (uh, not this post specifically) until I was asleep, and checked my phone to find a number I did not recognize. And at first I thought, that area code is Southern! I bet it is Stupid Ex-Boyfriend (as in, the one who gave me a lecture on the day before my birthday on what it means to be a good friend, moments after bragging about his new girlfriend, and even if I was interested in someone new that day it was still really mean, Internet, and has been magically silent ever since, not even, "Sorry you were hit and probably almost killed by a car," so we see who is decent friend now).

It was Southern.
But it wasn't Stupid Ex-Boyfriend.
It was a "disconnected" line for a RAILROAD.
A LARGE FREIGHT, CLASS I RAILROAD.

I'm going to presume it was a fate-based wrong number.

This transit thing is out of hand!




*I've missed the last five episodes, no spoilers please!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Transit drama, yay!

Two posts on my Examiner blog (consider it an extension of this one!) about WMATA v. Google Transit.
Round One
Round Two

I really want Google Transit for DC.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Awesome!

Via Gothamist, the cop who "body slammed" a Critical Mass cyclist in New York City in July has been indicted. You may remember the cop had a shady history, was a rookie, and was well, a jerk.

CityRoom reports
:

It is believed that prosecutors were seeking felony charges of filing false records in connection with the police report that Officer Pogan filed after arresting Mr. Long. Officer Pogan, who was stripped of his gun and badge in July after the video emerged, also could be charged with a misdemeanor count of assault.

“My client denies any wrongdoing in this matter,” Mr. London said in an interview Monday afternoon. “I would have people withhold judgment until all the evidence comes out about the bicyclist’s actions prior to my client taking action.”
The claims that the cyclist did something is bogus. (He was arrested and charges were dropped in September.) You can view the video here and decide for yourself.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Man shot fleeing bus stop in Baltimore

Oh this is not good. From The Baltimore Sun, a man was shot in the leg waiting for a bus on North Avenue (emphasis mine):
A 59-year-old Coppin State University custodian was shot in the leg while standing at a North Avenue bus stop on his way home from work Friday night, authorities said. Baltimore police found John F. Sydnor lying in the 3200 block of W. North Ave. about 9:20 p.m., said Agent Donny Moses, a police spokesman. Sydnor was waiting for the bus "when the presence of a large group of juveniles made him nervous," Moses said. "He began to walk away and suddenly heard a bang and stinging sensation in his right leg." Moses said police have interviewed at least nine juveniles seen running from the area. Sydnor was in good condition at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center yesterday afternoon, Moses said.
Why would anyone do that? What fun is there in shooting a stranger? What did he do to the group but leave the area? The article doesn't say if he was alone at the stop before the group approached, but part of me feels like a dozen people could have continued waiting for their bus after the incident.

Is the transit violence on its return from last December?

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Marc will cost $25 for Inauguration

From The Baltimore Sun (emphasis mine):
The Maryland Transit Administration will begin selling tickets next Saturday for MARC trains to and from Washington on Inauguration Day. The reserved, round-trip tickets will be $25. Riders must choose specific trains for a round trip, traveling both ways Jan. 20, with no exchanges allowed. Children must have tickets. Riders can use cash to buy Penn Line and Camden Line tickets from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at Camden Station in Baltimore. Brunswick Line tickets can be bought for cash during the same hours at Monocacy Station in Frederick County. No credit or debit cards or checks will be accepted at those locations. Customers can buy tickets online with credit and debit cards starting Saturday at www.commuterdirect.com. There is a limit of 25 tickets per transaction, with a shipping charge of $6.50 per order. MARC trains will depart for Washington Jan. 20 from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. and will leave the capital from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. The Penn Line will not operate north of Baltimore's Penn Station. A schedule is at www.mtamaryland.com.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Subit Your Story to Smile, Hon!

This is really cool. From The Mobtown Shank's classifieds:
Through December 31, 2008, ESP – publisher of the award-winning SMILE, HON, YOU’RE IN BALTIMORE! series – is seeking your transit-themed stories, essays, poetry, photography and other artwork for an upcoming special focus issue of SMILE, HON. Potential topics/perspectives of interest include, but are not limited to: mass transit (including bus, MARC, light rail, subway, air travel, etc.); automobile (including commuting, taxis, etc.); bicycle (including city, rural, etc.); and pedestrian ventures. Articles (100 - 2,000 words) are preferably received via e-mail (wpt@eightstonepress.com) as attached Word documents. Image files should be at least 5” x 7”, 300+ dpi (.TIF, .JPG, or .PDF format). All contributors will receive a byline/artistic credit for their work as well as two (2) complimentary copies of the issue in which their work appears.
So they beat me to getting the printed version of The Perils of Public Transportation but that's okay.

You're going to submit something, right? Because I know I want to hear your story about the time you rode the light rail to see Helvetica and that guy downed a 40 and left the bottle on the seat. Or that time you hit a hole in the road on your bike, went flying into the air, and landed in a chicken crate. Or the time you walked to Pickles from Camden Yards and made five new best friends when you all agreed that Derek Jeter is just the worst man on the planet.

D.C. Transportation Examiner: Sliver Line demands more growth

D.C. Transportation Examiner: Sliver Line demands more growth

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Two Links

You've obviously noticed that I've fallen behind on the weekly news posts and the general transit chatter here. I've managed to hold on to regular posting for Examiner.com (whether or not the substance is there is yet to be determined) and Winsome Icarus [Blog] where I write mostly about the accident. And I'm really sorry! Because you're bored at work and need some transit-related fluff or ranting to fill your day.

I found two articles I really want to share.

First, Boston has debuted a seatless subway car. Seatless cars are supposed to maximize capacity and are probably easier to clean. I think seatless cars are a terrible idea. One, they're heavier than other cars. Two, I'm uneasy with packing in extra people into an already crowded car. Three, I'm worried the extra weight is bad for the train. Boston has probably studied this and found a way to make it work...which makes me uneasy again, because I do not want to see it in Baltimore, Chicago, or DC.
And finally, what about people who can't stand? What about old people, pregnant women (because we're obviously more concerned about those factions in society, helllooo), people who can't stand for a long time, people with bad knees, me in a few months? Way to go, Boston.

Jennifer at General Carlessness has a post listing bike options in other cities. Have I mentioned how much I like her blog? I like it a lot. She's been posting a lot more photos lately too, which has set my heart aflutter. Look, there's something in Chicago I recognize, wheee!