Monday, May 30, 2011

The Subtlest Of Actions

I regret not tackling this earlier.

So, I looked on the Service Alerts today- it's Memorial Day- to see what to look forward to should I take the bus today. That, and I'm a geek and feel a need to know. I noticed that just down the street, line 19 would not be running to Lincoln Memorial due to the possibility of excessive traffic.

Now that on it own seems like an inconvenience, but take a second and think about it. What a flimsy, flimsy excuse that is to cancel service to the Memorial Cemetery.

The Memorial Cemetery.

On Memorial DAY.

Did TriMet even think about this? What they just did is prevent anyone with low income and no car from going to the cemetery.

You could say that "Oh, the bus just got cancelled. You can walk." No, really, you can't. You can't walk from the MAX station and the temporary end of line 19, both at 92nd and Flavel, up the 1+ mile to 112th and Mt. Scott Blvd. Not only is it over a mile, it's entirely uphill and sidewalk is spotty. Trust me, I live in that area. It's actually a bit closer to walk from 112th and Foster on lines 10/71, but not much better. It's on a hill and sidewalk's equally as spotty.

It should also be brought up that traffic should not be a damned excuse to prevent access to relatives of fallen veterans from accessing the memorial on Memorial Day. I'm pretty sure that relatives of veterans aren't guaranteed to be wealthy or to have a car- there's no guarantee for a new car with every application. There are a number, I'm sure, of veterans or their families, friends or associates who take or rely on the bus. That's just common knowledge. I don't care if it's 10 people or 100 people, you shouldn't be preventing this right from people who have sacrificed so much. It's a slap to the face!

And it's not like there's nothing you can do. If traffic's a problem you have options, that you should consider for next year.

1) Run a shuttle. This is often done in the case of a drastic situation where a reroute is necessary, whether short term or long term, i.e. a weekend MAX closing or the closing of the Marine Drive bridge. Keep the line 19 routing as you have it from where and run a shuttle along the busy parts between Lincoln Memorial and Flavel Street MAX station. That way it's only the shuttle with a screw schedule and line 19 gets off without any late schedules. And really, a shuttle with some unreliability is better than no access at all. If you can do it for MAX, you can do it for Veterans who ride the bus.

2) Reroute. If you were to suck it up and route line 19 to the cemetery, there's more than one way to skin a cat. Or in this case, more than one route to take. Maybe 112th is less busy than Flavel, and you could use that to wrap around to the route in some way. Better yet, there's a back thoroughway along Knapp/105th between 105th/Mt. Scott and just past I-205 and Flavel/Mt. Scott Blvd. It's a straight thoroughfare for the most part- no intersections, no sidewalk, no surrounding houses or buildings between the start and the merge to 105th ave. It's a wide, usable street that you could at the very least utilize for that one day. That easily cuts off half the routing. Heck, you may, just may be able to make a deal with the Memorial Cemetery to borrow one of their roads- probably if you're just going to do a small shuttle. But there are many ways you could do it in routing as well.

Bottom line, this shouldn't have happened. This little reroute takes away so much. Traffic shouldn't be a reason to cut off something so important and necessary, especially since those who are visiting the cemetery have already probably suffered, one way or another, through a loss to get there. And now we won't even let them get there? It's maddening!

Overall, though, this planning and rerouting may not be necessary. I passed Flavel/Mt. Scott twice today. I saw next to no traffic- not at 1:30pm, not at 4:30pm.


Monday, May 9, 2011

You Cannot Take This From Us

*Warning-for those of you who are offended, this blog entry does consist of a 16 year old using some language that would be found in a PG13 movie. I assure you that if felt any weaker about this the language would be gone.*

I'm reading about the bus pass debacle and taking them away from teens. The idea. Pisses. Me. Off.

You see, as teens, we are an undermined society. We are ignored often, and when people consider us, it's when they want to bitch about us or verbally crucify the whole generation as a whole. You often hear stories about how teens screwed up royally (I love how people bitch less about Charlie Sheen getting prostitutes, screwing his family up, doing drugs and drinking and being in total madness and denial about it than they do about so and so teen personality getting pregnant by accident.) We are categorized entirely as a generation who doesn't give a tenpenny fuck about tomorrow, their family or others; just getting drunk, high and pregnant. Guys are douchebags and girls are whores. It may not be that 'out there' blatant as that but media is pretty much subtly doing that with shows on The CW where 20 somethings play slutty teens partying. And if I see one more commercial where the teenager does nothing but smart off behind a phone, I'm going to break my TV with an axe. I'm sorry if this offends you, but this is me being perfectly frank about it.

Apart from that, no one cares. You'll see in the news about how a teen drove his parents' car into the lake right next to the house (read as-entirely a family situation) blasted out to half the nation as, if I were a conspiracy theorist, propaganda on how useless and scourge teens are, but you don't oft hear anything about teens doing good. Pretty much every teen I know is tons different than what people assume of us. In my community center, there's just such a tightknit community of intelligent, funny, caring people. And it's not a Portland thing; over the internet I've met some of the most incredible people I've ever seen; remarkable, talented artists and people who will treat you like they've known you all their life. It's just stunning.

And I'd like to state, first, that the Youth Pass program was never suggested by a council of lawmakers or politicians. The only reason it even started is because of the Multnomah Youth Commission, a group of teenagers who care about the city and work on a commission with a direct line of advisor to the mayor. I met them once repping for the Mt. Scott Teen Force, and my friend Daniel is a member of the group.

They're the ones who put all the hard work into the campaign. They didn't stop at the limited version (Jefferson and Franklin only or people who had limited income or lived basically next door to school), they got the commissions and board with actual power to approve it and they, to quote PPS transportation director Andy Liebengurth, "Really Spearheaded the whole thing." You see, politicians don't really know what it's like to travel across town on the bus every day and have to pay for it, and most of the time not have any other option because they can't drive, or to have to pay for it every day. But the teens did. And they spoke up. And by God, people listened.

And now, it seems, the adults who didn't really know as much, caught on. And now they're going to try to put a stop to it.

The person who's considering ending the Portland Public School Youth Pass program is State Rep. Tobais Reed... who lives in BEAVERTON. He states that it needs to be "More important than days of school." Dude. Without this, a crapton of people won't be GETTING to school. Did you think of that? I know things are nicer in Beaverton, but spend a few days in Creston or Lents and say with a straight face that people don't 'need' this. Or, maybe, try taking the bus.

Katherine Westmoreland of the MYC says it best- "I think it’d be taken a lot more seriously if it was 13,000 voters that were going to have free bus passes taken away." Precisely. The people trying to take this away from us aren't going to hear us because when they put it to vote- guess what? Teens don't get to vote. We don't have a choice. That brings the question- why can't we vote? Because all hell would break loose if we let those goddamned weed-smoking drunk uncaring texting Bieber-loving teens out on the polls and gave them an ounce of control on the nation? By your theory, if we don't care as the general teen public... open the polls! The supposed few that care would have a miniscule voice and the worthless ones wouldn't bother cos they're too busy watching "Friday." But, hey, we care. Let us have a voice, or at listen to the quiet one we have now.

It all comes down to getting people to HEAR us and UNDERSTAND us. And I don't even get a free bus pass; I'm homeschooled. It's hard for us to pay for a bus pass. With our financial situation, my family can't afford it and I take my $60 dollar monthly OPAL check and pay for the $26 dollar bus pass. Add in a $25 dollar phone bill and I get a grand total of $9 bucks to spend throughout the month. Which is pretty much emergency funds, so, yeah, I got zilch. I've almost finished my schooling so there's no getting one now. I think there may be some financial solutions on the horizon but until then, yeah, I got nothing.

And that's going to be the case for teens in the city if we take this away; just another huge gape in either their wallets or their parents. For low-income people, it's just not going to work. People aren't as eager to take them away from businesses, so why from schools?

If you truly care, you will not take this from us. Especially when we got no choice in the matter.

The Best Bus Rides in the City

Hey, all! I thought this would be a good place to announce a leisurely project.

I've ridden a good 75% percent of the bus lines in the city. Since I did photography awhile back, I went all over the place on all sorts of lines. But I wanted to review what the best bus rides in the city are, and in order to do that, I need to ride them all.

There's a small list of bus lines I haven't tackled, so over the summer, I'm going to tackle them as best I can and photoblog it as well, if all goes well. When I've ridden them all, then I'm going to re-ride the best ones and report on those as well. Sort of a big, unique project, that's a lot less stress than the activism (don't get me wrong, that's rewarding too, but this will be a return to my more carefree roots.)

So here's a list of bus lines I've never ridden or haven't ridden much of.

16-Front Avenue/St. Johns (This is gonna be a hell of a doozy, because the bridge on Marine shut down. Therefore, I'll have to tackle this on the 16 itself and the Marine Drive shuttle.)



30-Estacada ( wanna catch the express- boy that's gonna be a complicated trip but from what I hear well worth it)

38-Boones Ferry Road

45-Garden Home (I've actually ridden all of this except the Tigard portion)

46-North Hillsboro


50-Cedar Mill

65-Marquam Hill/Barbur

84-Kelso/Boring (...yeah... good luck with that one)

89-Tanasbourne (Upper Portion)

92-South Beaverton Express



So, yeah, that's the complete phase one list... this is gonna be pretty hard. But worth it! I can claim my title now! XD

Give any thoughts and ideas if so wished!