Giant acorn barnacle. You’re a mini volcano perched on a rock island, smooth and cold against my cupped palm, where life lines converge. You’re a tiny white colossus on on a dark grey forlorn landscape.
It’s thanks to this diminutive stone that you made your way in my pocket to the windowsill at the top of the stairs. Your part of my irregular routine. I love feeling the saw-edged ridges of your slopes. And contemplating how your four jig-sawed plates of armor close your caldera.
While exploring at low low tide, I’ve gotten to know your kin. Why is it that your communities face outward across the water? Storms sneak up behind the tidal rise and you get buffeted. You have to hold on for dear life! Your tenacity, your stick-to-it-tiveness against the onslaught of wind battered waves inspires me. You’re one with your rock.
Yes, I once tried to dislodge a single barnacle from the great acorn colony on the back of a three-foot high rock on my beach. Impossible, of course. That’s why I feel so lucky to have found you, my outlier friend, and your private islet.
I haven’t seen you in action. Water’s too cold for me. But I have an underwater video of you acorn giants. It’s quite pornographic! A whole bunch of you all-gender individuals fucking one another! Shocking and wonder-filling to discover that your penises are thirteen times the altitude of your volcanos! The longest – proportionally – of any animal in God’s boundless creation. Wow!
Kitsap Transit’s sparkling new North Viking Transit Center fails to serve their regular customer who is on a short “bladder leash”. Unless they are able to “hold it” for nearly two hours, riders transiting between the Bainbridge Island ferry terminal and Port Townsend are out of luck. This is a classic illustration of how the public toilet is so often the missing link in the success of a transit system.
UPDATEThanks to rider pushback, Kitsap Transit placed a portapotty at the new North Viking Transit Center on March 9, 2017. While making it possible for many more passengers to use the service, this does not excuse the lack of provision of a proper public restroom in the first place.
Why has this suddenly become an issue? In late 2016, Kitsap Transit opened a large Park and Ride facility in the middle of nowhere. This replaced a more modest bus platform where the passengers transferred between Kitsap Bus 90 and Jefferson Transit’s #7. It was served by a simple portapotty used by both drivers and passengers alike. Moreover, it was near restaurants and shops where riders could shelter in the event of a major transit disruption.
No expense has been spared on the new North Viking Transit Center. Except on the restroom that is. A sweeping pavilion accommodates four full size buses at once. It’s surrounded by a huge parking lot equipped with numerous spaces with outlets for electrical vehicles. An ample number of spaces serve disabled drivers, including those who need additional room to exit their vehicles. (See photos at end of post.)
The pavilion is festooned with attractive welcome banners in four languages and large easy-to-read digital clocks. Current transit schedules are posted. Architects clearly paid attention to CPTED (Crime Prevention through Environmental Design); there are clean sightlines and windowed walls. While there are no corners where an unsuspecting customer can be trapped, there is likewise no shelter from winter winds.
Fruit trees have been planted around the property to symbolize the “commitment to being part of the solid roots that Kitsap Transit has within the community that we serve now and for years to come.” Expensive, solar powered Big Belly trash compactors manage the solid waste that riders generate but there is no provision for human waste or for human dignity.
According to Kitsap Transit Customer Service specialist Trudy Stacy, “The decision not to have public restrooms available at our new North Viking Transit Center and Park & Ride was one made by our Board of Directors. It costs so much in staff and labor to properly maintain and keep them safe and secure, that they opted not to do that at this facility.” She added however, that the decision was being reconsidered.
Now is the time to let Kitsap Transit know the discomfort and humiliation that their lack of a restroom causes regular commuters, to say nothing of the visitors-without-cars that Port Townsend would like to attract.
It’s also important to get the support of Jefferson Transit’s board as it’s their early morning commuters to Seattle that suffer the most. Jefferson Transit is now a better ally because they have finally put a porty potty at Haines Park and Ride. The preferred option would be a separate entrance in their customer service building, but the porta potty is a start.
Here’s what we can do:
Speak out to Kitsap Transit. Go on line here and express your dismay at the lack of a restroom or simply send Ms Stacy an email or ring her at 360-475-0824. Emphasize the the discomfort and anger riders feel as they wait in the cold and watch drivers walk away for breaks in the warmth and comfort of the restoom-equipped Kitsap Transit headquarters
To support local transportation goals and the Jefferson County climate action plan, get the City of Port Townsend, the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce, Fort Worden PDA, the Historical Society, the Marine Science Center, and all of the festivals organizers to tell prospective visitors the options for getting to PT by public means.
Bring attention to the car-centric directions on websites of these local players, make the case for change and provide the necessary information so they can make information available.
Ask Enjoy PT to target the growing audiences in Seattle, Victoria, Portland and Vancouver that do not own cars or prefer not to drive them. Invite them to use transit and other means and tell them how.
Think in terms of increasing demand first and letting supply follow.
A rare Internet stream of mails from those who love you found us in the wilderness. You were in pain, surrounded by Ginger and Jimi and Elisabeth. Broad calm horizons surrounded me as we motored, sometimes sailed, south from Alaska. I balanced my pain at your pain with gratitude to you for all the joy and encouragement and self confidence you brought into my life.
I spent several days just leaning against mast, letting the recollections become more vivid. Hilarious storytelling with Laurie, sitting on the floor, getting through the cold Marrakesh winter. The color of the wildflowers on Jebel Yagour: our mules delivered us to the top, we made fresh, clean grass beds in the stone sheep-herders huts. Your unwavering vision: Watching your business grow so amazingly was inspiring. The postcard of you striding out in that orange jacket was on the wall above my desk. Our reunions always restored me, especially when Mom and Dad got old and I had just a bit of time to stop in the city and see you. I bet I’m not the only one trying to adopt your creative-positive-can-do attitude. But moving ahead without you will be tough.
“By the rivers of Babylon, we sat down and wept, remembering thee.” When news that you’d finished your passage came, I was still at sea. The calm beautiful waters were my handkerchief, an ever-changing textile. You would have loved the hues and textures! The billowy chiffons, the far out prints, the easy pleats, the sparkles and sequins. Here are a few of my favorites. From our passage, from your passage.
This for for Marion. Today wouldn’t have happened without Marion, DASH and the new beach chair. (Update: For the complete story of how this beach chair and also a beach walker came to our community, please see the comments below by Anne McEnery, Jefferson County Public Health Development Disabilities Coordinator and Marion Huxtable of DASH.)
Jack spent this afternoon on the beach in front of our house, a crescent that sweeps from Point Hudson to the lighthouse out on Point Wilson. It was his first time in the eleven years that we’ve been in Port Townsend either as moorage tenants or homeowners.
Not only was the weather perfect, today was the Canoe Journey. We sat atop the dune and watched the ceremonial arrival of crews from from Canadian First Nations and tribes from the outer coast and throughout the Salish Sea. As each canoe approached the shore, elders of the tribe who were sitting under a tent would request permission to come ashore from the Jamestown S’Kallalam. After drumming, song, and prayers in the native languages, crews carried their canoes onto the beach, with help from Port Townsend folks.
We’d picked up the beach chair at the Cablehouse Beach Canteen at the head of the pier. Signed a waver, left drivers’ licence and credit card, although there is no cost.
We started our walk on the stretch of beach between the light house and the pier. The chair is surprisingly easy to push, although I got help pushing up the dune. Since there are drift logs high on the dunes, it’s a good idea to make sure the path you’ve chosen is not blocked by a log. It’s easy enough to find a suitable path and important to stay on paths and not damage the dune grass.
The easiest stretch of beach to move on is just east of the pier. Hard packed sand is smooth and yet leads to interesting low tide wildlife.
About halfway down, the beach turns rocky so it’s nice to move to the long, low-tide spit. It’s fairly easy to push the chair over the seaweed-covered stones. We looked for a narrower band of them and stopped to turn over stones and see what was under them.
Once on the spit, it’s easy going again. As we got toward Point Hudson awe cross to the path on shore. Here we got into some difficulty because the tide was now coming in. We headed for the green patches, but here they are not seaweed-covered rock but eelgrass. Eel grass grows fast in the summer and it’s hard to estimate how much of it is floating on the surface. We got into deeper water and probably did some damage to this important salmon habitat. But as happened all along the walk, some folks helped us get to shore.
After dropping Jack off near home and bringing his scooter, I walked the chair back down the beach. This took a while as I was repeatedly stopped by beach walkers with questions! A woman from Sequim who’d never imagined a beach chair, came up open-mouth in amazement. She’d noticed people moving with difficulty along Dungeness Spit. Two paddlers from the Jamestown S’Kallam tribe took photos of the chair to Facebook so they can start a campaign to get a chair for their elders.
So hats off to Marion and her colleagues at DASH. The folks at the Fort Worden Canteen are displaying the chair and a fat-wheeled walker right at the front door. I offered to give the chair a shower before returning it but they said they’s take care of it. The sign out procedure is fine, though I see no reason to leave both drivers’ license and credit card. The form, moreover, should not ask borrowers to write down credit card number.
What I’d really like to see is DASH take some credit and use the beach chair to do some education. A clear plastic pocket could be attached to the back of the seat. Information about project partners, availability and instructions for use could be prominently displayed there. Small handouts of some kind could be included for those who want to tell others or who are interested in getting chairs for their communities. And why not give chair users a chance to make a donation?
This post is for Richard, who has introduced me to more interesting people and initiatives than anybody I know. He absorbs good ideas and passes them on.
Last week Jack and I traveled from Prince Rupert on the British Columbia Mainland just south of the Alaskan border to our house in Port Townsend. It’s a pleasant trip which with good planning and an air ticket can be done in a single day by public transportation. It starts with a Prince Rupert walk to free shuttle to free ferry after which bus shuttles onto flat island with airport to flight to Vancouver and 20 minutes to walk to nearby gate and catch another tiny plane to Victoria, a small convient airport with BC transit service to the Inside Harbour from where there’s the Coho Ferry to Port Angeles and then a Calallam County transit bus to Sequim before the home stretch – the Jefferson County Transit bus #8 to Port Townsend.
Our very last connection meant a two hour layover in Sequim, which surprised and delighted us. Here are some pictures.
We can do better. Sequim should inspire us to action.
Old Town Chinatown’s Public Hygiene Lets Us Stay Human (PHLUSH) was a co-convener of this special session at World Water Week in Stockholm. Surprising to see a little group included among the likes of IWA, UNICEF, EAWAG and SEI. Could it be that there are precious few grassroots citizens’ groups working on sanitation issues? Come to think of it, are there any others that really started from the bottom up?
Yesterday marked the conclusion of World Water Week in Stockholm, during which 2,600 global water experts met for over 100 sessions to discuss the issues was water and sanitation around the globe. “We face an unmitigated disaster. Jaipur, India is out of water. What’s going to happen to places like that?” said Paul Reiter, executive director of the International Water Association (IWA), at the closing ceremony in Stockholm this morning. “We’re ad … Read More
Thanks to Dan Davis who blogs at Vintage Portland, we know how glorious public toilet facilities used to be. And this is the women’s room at a time when most public restrooms served only men.
Going downstairs from yesterday's restroom entrance would have taken you to this amazing underground "comfort station." The women's room provided an attendant, tile mosaics, steam heating, and marble stall dividers. The restrooms were "restored to original" during the transit mall construction in the 1970s but vandalism forced permanent closure shortly thereafter. (University of Oregon Libraries) … Read More
Dan Davis has a couple of great posts this week on the historic underground comfort station near Pioneer Courthouse. Dan does his homework, turning over stones and single handedly making Portland more fascinating than anyone expected.
I “like”d this post and now I find I may be able to reblog it. Lazy blogger’s road to happiness! Let’s see if it works.
Early 20th Century Portland provided a pair of underground restrooms at SW 6th and Yamhill that were almost elegant, especially by today's standards. This women's room entrance looks west, with the Portland Hotel in the background and the Pioneer Courthouse to our immediate right. A matching men's room is just around the corner on 6th. In fact these entrances, and restrooms below, still stand. Long closed, you can peek through the door cracks and … Read More
Imagine an ordinary plastic recycling bin with a hinged lid and wheels of the type seen curbside and on sidewalks throughout the US. Fit into the side is a wide mouth funnel which functions as urinal. A tube extends to a compartment underneath the usual bin which converts the urine into high quality natural fertilizer.
Considering the challenge of dealing with public urination in US cities, the Recycling Bin Urinal merits serious consideration. First, it presents an opportunity to decriminalize public urination when people simply cannot find an available toilet. Granted, a recycling bin meets neither the standards of dignity nor the privacy criteria expected of a public toilet. But in areas of cities where homeless people gather at night for their safety, these emergency urinals are likely to be welcomed.
Even when public toilets are available within a reasonable distance, homeless men and women are understandably reluctant to go to them if it means packing up their belongings and or leaving them behind. The bins can be discretely rolled to a nearby alcove at night. Women can use the facility to dump urine collected in a drugstore urinal or directly with the assistance of any of a number of inexpensive cardboard or plastic funnels available on the market.
Environment activists and advocates for the rights of homeless people might do well to think out of the box and embrace this idea. Decriminalize urination, collect trash and recycle urine using the same small footprint receptacle? Maybe this is a place to start.