Saturday, July 18, 2009

One lousy afternoon

Your knowledge of a situation changes the situation instantly. By becoming aware, you alter the outcome of the situation - "Dr. Quantum's Little Book of Big Ideas" by Fred Alan Wolf, Ph.D.

So, Debi went out to volunteer to help clean up an area of Magnuson Park with EarthCorps, and I stayed home to relax and get some things done online. We had planned to head down to ride the train to Tukwila after she got back and I looked online for some interesting restaurants before I headed out on my bike for a ride.

Search came up with zilch. And it was a bit depressing to find out that the Lewis & Clark movie theater that I had grown up going to was closed, at least from what I could find online. Hopefully, someone will come up with some interesting non-fast-junk-food places around that station. And hopefully soon.

So I went out on my bike. I headed down 125th Ave, with a plan to bike down to Magnuson and around to the U-District and then back home. That didn't work. I don't go down 125th very often, and the road was in bad enough shape that my rear tire popped thanks to the cracks in the road. This was down the hill, and I realized that I had forgotten my bus pass. So I walked my bike back up the hill to home, got my pass and my debit card, and then walked it up Roosevelt to Revolution Cycles to get my tire replaced. I'll try that run again tomorrow morning.

Debi got home around 2:45, and when she was rested and ready, we set off to the rail station. This meant that we needed to catch the 41 at 115th and 5th, and the schedule said that it was supposed to be there at 3:58 and the next one at 4:11. We didn't make it to the 3:58, but we did see a bus go by at about 4:03 as we were walking towards the stop. So we waited for the next one. And waited.

At 4:35, a 41 bus finally got to our stop. We got to the Transit Center, and the line was very long to get on, and there was a wheelchair. It wouldn't have been a problem if a little'un and a little bigger'un weren't crying and screaming in the seats next to us. Survivable, but I was getting hungry.

We finally got downtown around 5, after going through hella-traffic thanks to a car stuck in the middle of the southbound lanes. Getting hungrier.

We figured it would be easy enough to get on the train at Westlake, make the run to Tukwila and back again, and stop at our favorite place in Pioneer Square on the way home. So we headed into Westlake Mall to get to the tunnel. Wrong move. They had blockaded the entrance so people couldn't just come into their celebration from anywhere willy-nilly. We, along with a LOT of other people, were told to go back up to 4th Avenue to the entrance by Abercrombie & Fitch. So we went up, and found that it was actually the Main entrance in the Macy's building that was the real entrance to the circus. And I do mean circus.

A clown playing a saw with a violin bow? A Starbucks delivery for order #63 on a tall unicycle? Amateur attempts at crowd control? The guys doing tricks weren't bad, but if you're going to have people line up to get on a ride, do like Disney and SeaTac does, and create a snake so that we always think the line is moving.

We finally got to the train at 5:45, rather ravenous for some food. So we asked, and were delighted to find out that we could get off the train in Pioneer Square so we could go eat. But, how long would the trains be running tonight? Don't know, not sure, ask him/her, check upstairs. On our way out we got an "I don't know, maybe 7:30 or 8" a few more times from the people with yellow shirts who were the "Event Staff". Whatever, by that point we were too hungry to care much.

Dinner was great, btw. As usual at the New Orleans.

After dinner, we found a station entrance blocked, and was pointed up the James hill to another one. This was about 6:45, and we were told that just before we got there they had all been told that the system would stop running at 8pm, with no guarantee that we would be able to get back on the train but that there were shuttle buses running between the stops just in case.

We quit. Headed to the closest 41 stop. For another bus ride, another wheelchair (blessings be upon them), and finally got home around 7:45.

Four hours for dinner downtown, and a thrilling evening around the people of Seattle on a Saturday night.

I think we'll go shopping in the morning and stay home. I think it might be a bit less chaotic starting Monday when the circus leaves down.


LuckyCharm said...

Which circus? I don't keep tabs since I don't live in Seattle. Hopefully not Ringling Bros.!


LuckyCharm said...

Posting again to subscribe to this blog post....

Mark Early said...

Rode the Link Light Rail from Westlake station downtown out to Tukwila and back with friends just to document the newest Seattle mass transit experiment. (full disclosure - I was as Seattle Monorail supporter/volunteer for many years)

All three of us were somewhat astonished at the "light" ridership (7pm - 8pm) for Sound Transits Light Rail. Took lots of photos and a few short movies; 4 stations had NO boardings...nah-dah...zilch, I have the movies documenting this sad situation. Heading north back to Seattle the Tukwila station had 7 people board, 4 with luggage (have a movie of that too). Northbound, riders didn't really start to appear until the International District Station.

I know it wasn't peak rush-hour, but 7pm on a weekday SHOULD have a modest number of riders. For 1/3 of the ride that evening I would estimate our car had less than a dozen riders onboard, not sure about the car behind us, however few people boarded or left either of the two cars at about half the stations.

I guess ST is counting on the "fake" ridership from SeaTac Airport employees who will be forced to take the Link for one stop to get from the north SeaTac employee parking lot to work at SeaTac even though their current employee shuttle buses directly from the same parking lot to SeaTac Airport are much faster considering total ride+waiting time. This is the way ST will "juice the stats" in the parlance of THE WIRE tv show. Thousands of future boardings will be misleading "fake" SeaTac Employee commutes, forced on the employees just to satisfy ST ridership goals and justify the Port of Seattle investment in the SeaTac Airport light rail station.

-- Mark-in-Seattle