Tag Archives: transportation

Between Seattle and Port Townsend on Transit, Scooter and Bike

Introduction Jack and I own a car that hardly ever leaves the garage.  I get around Port Townsend on my bike and Jack on his scooter, Segway or tadpole trike.  Every summer, we cruise up the Inside Passage on our sailboat, with bike and scooter on board for shore visits. For trips to our favorite cities – Seattle, Vancouver, Portland and Victoria – we go multi modal. Busses, ferries, and light rail all link up to get us where we need to go. We can enjoy the scenery, read, work or relax.  We end up in the thick of the city, without needing to find parking and without spewing CO2.

We’re documenting our itineraries so others can enjoy the ride.  Since there are a lot of people in Vancouver, Portland, Seattle and Vancouver who use bikes and wheelchairs, we want to show them how they can visit Port Townsend without a car.

Seattle to Port Townsend in a Nutshell

Traveling to Port Townsend from Seattle? Go multi modal! Busses, ferries, and light rail all link up to get you into the heart of our town without a car. Come by wheelchair or on foot.

ORCA – One Regional Card for All   Let’s start our trip in Seattle, where a number of public transit offering have appeared in the last two decades.  King County Metro brings together an enormous  bus network that connects with Link light rail,  the Seattle Streetcar, and Sounder trains.

360px-orca_card_logo-svgThanks to ORCA cards, riders no longer have to fumble with bills and coins to come up with the right fare.  On busses, trains and the ferry, the ORCA card works like cash or a pass, automatically tracking your fares and transfers. Fare can be added at machines  in transit centers, at participating retailers, or online after you register your card and get a login.

There are several ways to get an ORCA card. You can buy one at a ticket vending machine, from a participating retailer or online.  If you want a youth card (ages 6-18) or a senior card (65+),  however, you have to purchase it by mail or in person and show proof of age.

360px-orca_cardSeniors and people with disabilities are eligible for the reduced regional fare permit (RRFP).  If you have a disability, ORCA RRFP cards are only available at customer service centers as you must show proof of disability and have your photo taken.  Eligibility criteria are outlined here.  ORCA Cards for seniors and people with disabilities never need to be renewed.

To use your ORCA card, you “tap to ride.”  ORCA card readers are located at the entry to buses, on the right side of ferry turnstiles and near the elevators that go up or down to Link rail platforms.  You lay your card against the ORCA logo with the stylized killer whale until you hear a beep or see a green light and your fare on the screen.  The amount of remaining fare also appears.  All card readers work the same way.  If you try to swipe or insert the card, it won’t work as this one-minute video shows.

Since rides on Link Light rail are based on distance traveled, you need to tap your card at both the station where you board and the station where you get off.  Fare enforecement officials frequently board trains, so be sure you tap to ride before you get on.  And to avoid running up a very large fare, tap again at your destination.

Navigating around Seattle  Moving around Seattle through traffic, up and down hills and over bridges takes planning.  Here are some maps and tools to help you plan your trip.

Bike maps for Seattle are on the Department of Transportation website.  Here’s the edition of the same map that works on a mobile phone.  , You can also download the map in pdf here. To request a free copy of the map sent by mail order it online here or call the Cascade Bicycle Club at (206) 522-3222. Commute Seattle has additional resources for cyclists including an interactive bike map that shows bike parking and other cycling amenities.

If you’re moving on a scooter or in a wheelchair here are some more tools.   Start with
King County Transit Accessible Services.  Note that Metro offers Transit Instruction to individuals with  cognitive, emotional, and physical Disabilities, students with Individualized Educational Plans, and all senior citizens.
Also useful is Wheelchair Travels’ Seattle Wheelchair Accessible Guide and Wheelchair Jimmy’s reviews of accessible attractions and hotels.

Do you want to know about the latest transits apps for Seattle and the region.  King County Metro has reviews of 14 free apps and download info for 10 mobile phone apps at its App Center.

scooter-space

Space for wheelchairs and scooters is mid-car next to fold-up seats.

Riding Link Light Rail  Link light rail currently serves 16 stations along a north south route from the airport at SeaTac to the University of Washington.

When a train pulls up all door open to permit boarding.  If you’re using a wheelchair or scooter, you should board first. Cars are roll on roll off; no ramp needs to be activated.

You may enter any door, although spaces for wheelchairs, scooters and strollers tend to be near the middle of each car. If people are seated in the reserved area, ask them to kindly move from the bank of three fold-up seats. Trains have no straps to secure wheelchairs so be sure your breaks are on and hold on to the bar attached to the underside of the folded up seats.

bikespace

Bikes hang in nooks near ends of car.

If you’re board with your bike, you’ll find nooks to hang bicycles near the ends of the car.  Link trains  also serve the airport, and luggage is accommodated in the bicycle space on a first come, first served basis.

If you cannot safely hang your bike,  stand with it near one of the doors, taking care to move out of the way when other riders exit.  There should be no more than four bicycles per car.

Single-seat, two-wheeled, standard-size bikes, including electric bikes, are permitted. Tandems, family bikes and oversized and cargo bikes are not. If you have a folding bicycle stow it near your seat

During rush hour consider leaving your bike on the racks at the station.

Taking Metro Buses  To load your bike on a Metro bus, alert the driver before stepping off the curb and be sure the driver acknowledges your desire to load. Remove any accessories or panniers that might fall off enroute. Squeeze the rack handle upwards to release the folded bike rack. Note that the label on each rack shows the direction of the front wheel.  Lift your bike and fit wheels into the slots. If the outside slot is vacant, load your bike there.  To secure your bike, push in the black knob at the end of the support arm. Pull the support arm all the way out and over the top of the front wheel releasing it as close as possible to the bicycle’s frame.

bike_loading2

Signal the driver before loading and securing your bike in outermost slots on rack.

If you’re moving from light rail to bus in the Seattle Transit Tunnel be mindful of several other instructions.

  • Wait with your bike at the bus bay sign.  If your bus is second in line, signal the driver of the second bus after the first bus leaves, then walk to the bus to load your bike. The second bus in line does not have to stop again at the head of the bay. If your bus is third in line, wait at the bus bay sign and alert the operator as the bus approaches.
  • Load your bike only after the bus driver has stopped the bus, opened the door and acknowledged your desire to load.
  • Be aware that most curbs are 14 inches and do not lose your balance stepping down. Also be careful to not hit your head on bus mirrors.
  • After unloading your bike, step up on the curb and let the driver know all is clear.

Getting to the Ferry Terminal on the Waterfront  If you’re on Link Light Rail, get off at Pioneer Square and  If you’re on a bus on 2nd, 3rd, or 4th Avenues overlooking Puget Sound, get off near Marion Street.   Whether walking, rolling and biking to the terminal, the slope on which downtown Seattle meets its waterfront and current construction there can make this a difficult connection

screen-shot-2017-01-03-at-10-02-14-am

From bus or light rail, the Marion Street Walkway is the safest way to the Ferry Terminal.

To avoid steep hills, Alaskan Way traffic and waterfront construction use the Marion St Pedestrian Bridge and Walkway.  It takes you directly from 1st Avenue to the Ferry Terminal.

Cyclists and wheelers heading toward the ferry from Pike Place Market may want to take the elevator down to the waterfront near the Seattle Aquarium, cross Western Avenue and Alaskan Way and take the sidewalk to the Bainbridge Ferry Terminal.

Sailings with the best connections for Port Townsend.  Ferry sailings from Seattle at 6:10am, 9:35am, 3:00pm, 3:45pm and 5:30pm have the best connections for Port Townsend.   Connector schedules for Kitsap and Jefferson transit are in this downloadable leaflet. (See schedules effectve Dec 5, 2016)

Fares for cyclists, wheelers and walk-on passengers are round trip; no fares are collected on the Bainbridge-Seattle return. Current fares are here.

Boarding the Ferry by bicycle.  If you’re walking your bike on the Marion Street Walkway, turn left just before the terminal building, take the elevator down to street level, continue a half block south, and join the right hand lane where cars enter the terminal area.  Stay in the lane to the right of the toll booths. Swipe your ORCA card on the card reader on your right opposite the toll booth. If you don’t have a card, purchase a ticket at the booth.  Note the $1.00 bicycle surcharge.

Bikes line up next to motorcycles between lines of cars at the Seattle Ferry Terminal. Cyclists are first on and first off the ferry, making bike commuting especially efficient in terms of time.  When the attendant gives the call, ride onto the ferry and go straight to the front of the ferry on either the lower or upper car level.  Park your bike against one of the railings. There’s no need to lock it when you got up to the passenger deck to join other passengers for the view.

cyclists-board

Cyclists line up  between cars and motorcycles on street level below the terminal building.

About five minutes before the ferry arrives in Bainbridge, there’s an announcements asking passengers to return to cars and bicycles.  Be ready to ride off as soon as the ferry docks.

cyclist-prepare-off

Preparing to disembark, cyclists gather at the front and on the side ramps.

Ferry boarding for passengers, including wheelchair users.  Enter the Coleman Dock Ferry Terminal and look for the Bainbridge ferry on the right.  The one one the left goes to Bremerton. Around the central ticket booth are restaurants, shops, restrooms, and seating.  Windows allow you to enjoy the view and see arriving passengers disembark.

ferryturnstyles

Use ticket or ORCA card to board ferry.  Note wide turnstyle for wheelchairs at right.

Take Kitsap Transit Bus #90 to Poulsbo. The Kitsap Transit bus by is right outside of the Bainbridge Island Ferry Terminal.  Wheelchair and scooters riders exit directly from the passenger deck. You can either go through the terminal waiting room or stay on the sidewalk that leads to the busses. Cyclists ride can right into the bus bay or walk bikes along sidewalk.

Find Bus #90 for Poulsbo. The signs on newer buses flash both Poulsbo and Jeff Transit.

Before boarding, signal your intentions to the driver. At the appropriate time, the driver will lower the bus, so the ramp can be deployed and bikes can be loaded more easily. It’s necessary to move out of the way when the ramp is deployed.

Load your bike like this:  First, lower the rack by squeezing the handle. Next, lift the bike and place the wheels into the slot. Then lift the hook over the front wheel and board the bus.   On arrival repeat the process in reverse. Lower the hook, lift your bike out, and squeeze the handle to return the rack into the upright position.  Before making these moves communicate with the driver and try to move out of the way of the busy fairly quickly.

KPT – Bike Rack v3 from Kitsap Transit on Vimeo.

Pay your fare by tapping your ORCA card on the cardreader to the left of the entry or insert exact change in the box on the right. Normally you’ll get a transfer as proof of payment.  Let the driver know you’re going to Port Townsend so they can tell the Jefferson Transit driver to wait.

Catch Jefferson Transit Bus #7 to Port Townsend.  Jefferson Transit’s bus #7 for Port Townsend pulls up to transit center platform right where you got off the the #90 or #33 from Poulsbo. There are a couple of bus shelters plus a porta potty that is not wheelchair accessible.  There is a Mexican restaurant about 200 feet behind the transit center.

UPDATE: As of January 2017, the new North Viking Transit Center has replaced the former stop on the side of the road.  The new location does not have a restroom or a portapotty. 

UPDATE:  Following rider pushback, Kitsap Transit placed a wheelchair accessible porta potty at the North Viking Transit Center.  See Transit’s Missing Link: The Public Toilet.

Like Kitsap Transit buses,  Jefferson Transit buses are equipped with wheelchair ramps and bike rack with similar instructions for loading.  What is doesn’t have is an ORCA card reader. It’s old style: you put the correct fare into the fare box.  That’s $2 because this bus crosses a county line. Should you not have change, it’s likely you’ll just be asked to pay up  later.

Once this bus crosses the Hood Canal floating bridge to Jefferson County, it serves a number of rural communities. At night and before dawn drivers may ask cyclists to bring bikes into the bus, rather than place them on the rack. This permits them to more easily see riders who wait along the route and use flashlights to signal their desire to board.

Should you be traveling with a group of cyclists, drivers may accommodate up to five bikes inside the bus. Since this assumes space is available, it’s best to check with Jefferson Transit ahead of time. You can reach Customer Service at (360)385-4777 ext 1  or post requests for information online here.

mg_3863

Jefferson Transit’s Bus #7 takes you to Haines Place Park and Ride in Port Townsend

Do not get off bus #7 at the Four Corners Park and Ride, unless someone is meeting you or the driver announces a bus change.  Bus #7 goes into Port Townsend, stopping at the Haines Place Park and Ride on Sims Way.   There are currently no restrooms at the Place Park and Ride; instead riders are asked to use the facilities at the nearby Safeway and McDonalds.

From Haines Place Park and Ride, a shuttle bus and Fort Worden bus #2 serve other parts of Port Townsend. There are also buses to  Brinnon, Quilcene, Port Hadlock, Chimacum and Sequim. Calallam Transit connections serve Port Angeles, Forks and other areas around the Olympic National Park .

Best bet on weekends: The Dungness Line  If you’re headed from Seattle to Port Townsend on a Saturday, be aware that there’s a single ferry-Kitsap-Jefferson Transit connection that takes you to Port Townsend. (Note that there are two connecting itineraries in the opposite direction). Neither Jefferson nor Kitsap Transit operate on Sundays.

The Dungeness Line, operated by Olympic Bus lines, offers two trips between Seattle and the Olympic Peninsula every day of the week. Buses depart SeaTac airport at 12:45pm and 6:40pm delivering travelers in Port Townsend at 4:05 and 10:00pm. (Eastbound buses leave Port Townsend at 6:25am and 1:30pm)

dungenesslinelift

Dungeness Line busses have lifts between the wheelchair seating area and the passenger door.

An independent agent of Greyhound, the Dungeness Line boasts comfortable service complete with complementary locally made chocolate chip cookies, bottled water, Wi-Fi, and a front seat ride on the Washington State Ferry between Edmonds and Kingston.

Since the Dungeness Line transports patients between communities on the Olympic Peninsula and Harborview Medical Center, buses are equipped with state of the art wheelchair lifts.  When Port Townsend passengers transfer at Discovery Bay, the two buses stop well off the road opposite each other. When lifts are deployed, passengers roll directly from one bus to the other.

Each bus has two bicycle racks in front. The boxed bicycles of air passengers and small folding bikes are accommodated in the rear luggage compartment. There’s a $5 bike charge.

The fare from SeaTac is $49 and from Harborview Medical Center $39. Most passengers  book online. Passengers with wheelchairs and bikes should also call 1-800-457-4492 to confirm there is space.  It’s also possible to simply show up at one of the mandatory stops on a seat available basis.

Advertisements

Byrne, Bloomberg, Moses and Videos from Chinatown

Location as Destiny? What is it about certain cities and places that fosters specific attitudes? .. To what extent does the infrastructure of cities shape the lives, work, and sensibilities of their inhabitants? Quite significantly, I suspect, writes David Byrne in his new Bicycle Diaries.  All this talk about bike lanes, ugly buildings, and density of population isn’t just about those things, it’s about what kinds of people those places turn us into… Do creative, social, and civic attitudes change depending on where we live? Yes, I think so. Check the excerpt for musings on what may account for developments in Hong Kong. After missing Byrne at the talking bike heads book shindig to  last week at the Baghdad, it was good to catch him being interviewed this morning by Jacki Lyden on Weekend Edition.

Making Parking Cool. Bike lane building Michael Bloomberg reaches out to the frustrated motorist trying to find a parking place.   In his opinion piece in the Daily News this week, the New York Mayor challenges app developers to make parking and parking revenue collection more efficient.   How would you like to use your mobile device to see a map of available parking spaces in your neighborhood – and also use it to pay your meter? Or how about getting a text message as your meter is about to expire, so you can get back to your car before getting a ticket?

Dead Freeway Reference Work Sarah Mirk’s discussion of  never built Portland area got the attention of a lot of folks, including us.  Now the Mercury journalist has located the study of Portland that Robert Moses did 66 years ago with all of its now very quaint-looking hand drawn map and gentle watercolors of what might have been.  Writing from the other Portland, blogger Christian McNeil provides a nice review .

Chinatown Past and Future. New talking pictures this week!   Brought to you by the Portland Development Commission and staring, among others, our own Stephen Ying, is Portland’s Old Town/Chinatown.   And Ivy Lin,  the energetic chronicler of the neighborhood and creator of Pig Roast and Fish Tank, Ivy Lin has issued an invitation to her next premiere. Coming Together Home, the story of the Chinese interred (not interned, as the sub title suggests) at Lone Fir Cemetary screens at 7 pm October 11, 2009 at Someday Lounge.   See you there.

What would Chavez have done?

“Scold everybody for wasting so much time,” says son Paul Chevez referring to Portland’s unresolved two-year street-naming saga.   The interview appears in a long-over due piece  by Gosia Wozniacka in The Oregonian.   Chavez was a national leader of a broad movement unbounded by ethnic lines, who only later in life emerged as a Chicano/Latino/Hispanic role model.   (Note poignant 1968 photo of Chavez with a soon-to-be-assassinated RFK at the conclusion of a hunger strike which refocussed the Farmworkers on the path of nonviolence.)  

Jump to this weekend in Chavez’ old stomping grounds.   California’s gay rights activists have taken their  “Meet in the Middle for Equality” to California’s Central Valley.   Chavez’ core constituents and their descendants are seriously discussing  Proposition 8 and the implications for “liberty and justice for all.”  

It was former Mayoral City Council candidate Ed Garren who drew my attention to the Oregonian piece, adding this:

Decades before it was popular or politically expedient to embrace the GLBTQ community, Cesar came to EVERY large rally or gathering when we were fighting for our rights in California.
When our backs were against the wall in the first LaRouche HIV quarantine initiative (Prop. 64) and we needed lots of campaign literature printed inexpensively, it was the Farmworkers Press in Tehapachi CA that printed them for us AT COST and with a “union bug.”   
The man was as close to a saint as any human being who has lived in my lifetime.  I’m just sorry more people don’t know that.
Decades before it was popular or politically expedient to embrace the GLBTQ community, Cesar came to EVERY large rally or gathering when we were fighting for our rights in California.

When our backs were against the wall in the first LaRouche HIV quarantine initiative (Prop. 64) and we needed lots of campaign literature printed inexpensively, it was the Farmworkers Press in Tehapachi CA that printed them for us AT COST and with a “union bug.”   

The man was as close to a saint as any human being who has lived in my lifetime.  I’m just sorry more people don’t know that.

Okay, Portland, time to come together on this one.  Here in the City that Talks, two-years is not too long.  It’s just that the conversation has been diced and shredded into the pettiest of viewpoints, turf battles and whining about entitlements.  Time to take a serious look at Hugo Chavez as the great American leader.  

Talk is okay.   Sure, it would be nice if a local university hosted a national colloquium on Chavez.  Or if Gust VanSant made made a Milk-powerful documentary.  But we know enough.  We need to find an appropriate way for Portlanders to say thank you.  ( See Ed’s case – third comment following article – for renaming Division Street and possibly have the name run straight from the food-loving city to the farmlands of East Multnomah County. )  And we need to do it sooner rather than later.

Weekend extras

Does Guam lead restroom availability in the US?:    In this fairly comprehensive interview with Guan talk show host Travis Coffman, David King discusses restroom availability in the US and the work of the American Restroom Association.   Guam appears to be a hot bed of public restroom awareness.  Coffman also interviews Guam Parks chief Joe Duenas on toilet upgrades to meet the discriminating standards of Japanese tourists and Ray Gibson and Monty McDowell of Advance Management Inc whose public restroom cleaners will also provide tourist information.   The Guam press recently reported on the installation of the island’s 250th waterless urinal and the owner of a restaurant who offers free use of restrooms because it’s tourist friendly and good for business.

Recycling Plastic Bottles into Bikes.  Check out these stunning photos of the prize-winning work by a bunch of kids at Appalachain State.  Check out their progress from their first scrappy video to the portfolio of their new firm, 2one2 Design.  These guys rock!

Sotomayor on eminent domain.  Conservatives still reeling from a 2005 Supreme Courts  ruling in favor of eminent domain will have some hard questions for nominee Sonia Sotomayor.  Elana Schor’s well documented wonky piece appears both in Streetblog  and Greater Greater Washington

A sociolinguistic look at reports of car and motorcycle mishaps.    Have you noticed that reports of car accidents often refer to the car, rather than the driver, as the actor?   As for reports of motorcycle accidents, they usually refer the driver, rather than the vehicle.    Says blogger David Alpert,  No news story ever began saying, “A person was killed yesterday when he collided with a bullet moving at high speed in the opposite direction.” Yet that’s exactly how news stories about traffic “accidents” often begin.  For cars, that is.

Portland’s Daybreak co-housing seeks members  Shared balcony walkways, kids’ playroom, communal dining room, commercial kitchen.  The multi-generational Daybreak community  is looking for members . Visit st 2525 North Killingsworth St, Portland, on Saturday, June 6 from 1–4PM. 

 Book Review:  Streetblog reviews Jeff Mapes’ Pedaling Revolution: How Cyclists are Changing American Cities.  

Tank Art:  Another reason besides gay marriage to go to Iowa.  


 

The Daybreak development is actively seeking members and will hold a public tour at the Daybreak site, at 2525 North Killingsworth Street, on Saturday, June 6 from 1–4PM. Other socials and tours will be held throughout the summer including on-site tours on July 5 and August 2.

Final Comments on LEED-ND: Can you really promote walkable communities and remain silent on public restroom availability?

Final Comments on LEED-ND: Can you really promote walkable communities while remaining silent on public restroom availability? 
The process of developing the LEED-Neighborhood Development rating system is now coming to a close with a final call for comments by June 14, 2009.  
This joint venture of the Congress for the New Urbanism, the US Green Building Council, and the Natural Resources Defense Council is a powerful and practical tool for environmental sustainability. Where LEED looks at buildings, LEED-ND http://www.nrdc.org/cities/smartgrowth/leed.asp considers how they are integrated into  compact, mixed-use neighborhoods and walkable, transit-oriented communities.  
Buildings generate more than a third of greenhouse gases and other environmental impacts.    However, people moving themselves and goods among buildings are responsible for another third.  LEED-ND is a comprehensive set of guidelines – with a rating system rating system the offers points for alternatives to sprawl and rewards points for development that reduces the need to drive.  
But has LEED-ND looked at what else needs to be done to get people out of their cars and onto their feet and public transit? 
Portland public restroom advocacy organization PHLUSH http://phlush.org/demonstrates how public restrooms are a vital part of mixed-use neighborhoods.   http://phlush.org/?page_id=696
People are comfortable strolling in downtown when there are public facilities.
Public restrooms get people out of cars and onto their feet, bicycles and mass transit.  Commuters need restrooms along their route.  
Public restrooms promote fitness by allowing people to exercise in open space and in so doing provide natural surveillance. 
Public restrooms contribute to public health. Involuntary urinary retention is detrimental to physical health.  Mental health suffers when people want to be out with their families and friends but restrooms are not available.
Public restrooms serve the “restroom challenged”, http://www.americanrestroom.org/pr/who.htm  people with both normal conditions – pregnancy, young age, old age etc – and a range of medical conditions, many of which are invisible.
Fundamental to historical urban development was recognition of the need of all human beings to urinate and defecate.  In fact, a hallmark of a great city was its ability to deal with this reality.  
Could it simply be that old-fashioned reluctance to consider these basic, albeit unappealing, circumstances of human existence have blinded the world most talented planners and environmentalists?  
Or is it me who is missing something?   

The process of developing the LEED-Neighborhood Development rating system is now coming to a close with a final call for comments by June 14, 2009.  

threelogos_0This joint venture of the Congress for the New Urbanism, the US Green Building Council, and the Natural Resources Defense Council is a powerful and practical tool for environmental sustainability. Where LEED looks at buildings, LEED-ND  considers how they are integrated into  compact, mixed-use neighborhoods and walkable, transit-oriented communities.  

Buildings generate more than a third of greenhouse gases and other environmental impacts.    However, people moving themselves and goods among buildings are responsible for another third.  The latest draft of LEED-ND is a comprehensive set of guidelines, with a rating system rating system the offers points for alternatives to sprawl and development that activates open spaces and reduces the need to drive. But has LEED-ND looked at what else needs to be done to get people out of their cars?

Portland public restroom advocacy organization PHLUSH demonstrates how public restrooms are a vital part of mixed-use neighborhoods.   People are comfortable strolling in downtown when there are public facilities.

  • Public restrooms get people out of cars and onto their feet, bicycles and mass transit.  Commuters want restrooms along their routes.  
  • Public restrooms promote fitness by allowing people to exercise in open space and in so doing provide natural surveillance. 
  • Public restrooms contribute to public health. Involuntary urinary retention is detrimental to physical health.  Mental health suffers when people cannot be out with their families and friends because restrooms are not available.
  • Public restrooms also serve the “restroom challenged”,  people with both normal conditions – pregnancy, young age, old age etc – and a range of medical conditions, many of which are invisible.

Fundamental to historical urban development was recognition of the need of all human beings to urinate and defecate.  In fact, a hallmark of a great city was its ability to deal with this reality.  

Could it be that old-fashioned reluctance to consider these basic, albeit unappealing, circumstances of human existence have blinded some of the world’s most talented, architects,  planners and environmentalists?  

Or is it me who is missing something?

Pictures from the other Portland tell the story.

MaineThe Portland Press Herald and the Maine Sunday Telegram look back at a wonderful historic street of mixed-income housing.    In the 1960s, Franklin Street was destroyed to make way for an arterial that, it was hoped, would bring traffic to revitalize downtown.    

Here is the painfully sad  but well-told story of the automobile’s assault on the social infrastructure of a neighborhood of Portland, Maine.   Especially heart wrenching is the then-and-now slide show.   More hopeful is the newspaper’s ongoing coverage of the efforts of planners and citizens to remediate some of the damage.

“Idaho Stop” illustrated

For over 25 years, Idaho bicyclists have have been able to treat stop signs as yield signs.  Portlander Spencer Boomhower has put together a cool little animation entitled “Bicycles, Rolling Stops, and the Idaho Stop” that illustrates exactly how the Idaho Stop works and why it’s a great idea in many urban environments.

WalkScore.com misses more than restrooms

WalkScore logoIt’s almost a knee jerk New Urbanist tenet that  walkability and livability go together.   We’ve noted that Old Town Chinatown has an extremely highWalkScore and Loaded Orygun points out that of the top 138 urban neighborhoods rated for walkability, six are in central Portland.

But here’s where WalkScore fails.  First, it primarily measures walkability in terms of proximity to shopping and services proximity.  And public restrooms are not among those services!  Second, WalkScore pays no attention to public transit, street width and block length, street design, safety from crime and crashes, pedestrian-friendly community design, topography, freeways and bodies of water, and weather.