Journal Entry

Journal Entry April 24th 2011

My personal goal is to slow down my life, enjoy the journey.  I really don’t think of myself as green or a crusader against the use of carbon, especially as it pertains to how I get to and from during my day.  Still, I have decided that I want to reduce how much I drive and find forms of transport that let me see my world, smell it, and touch it as I move through it.  I wanted to change my 10 mile commute from Kirkland where I live to my job in Bellevue, as well as how I get around on the weekend.    I started to take the bus to work April 1st.  I now drive the 1.5 miles to the local Park-and-Ride and take the bus to the Bellevue Transit center.  My plan is that as the weather warms to ride my bike to the transit center and then put it on the rack on the bus and take it to work so I can use it over the noon hour.  The distance from the transit center to work is just four additional blocks.  I have to admit right up-front I never thought this was going to work with any level of success.  I get to work just before or right after 5 in the morning so I did not imagine that I could get any accommodation that would fit my schedule.  I was so totally wrong.  The facilities manager for my building was enthusiastic in helping me find both a locker room and shower in a building they manage that is just two blocks away.  They also made the bike rack in our building available at any hour that I wanted to use it.  I found the on-line information sources to be amazing. The underlying assumption of these tools is that transportation requires a combination of bus, bike, light rail, van pools, etc., to get you to your end destination.  I started my research with Rideshare Online and then found more in depth trip planning tools for the bus routes that accommodated my time line at Seattle Metro Trip Planner.  The Washington State Department of Transportation commuter options page also provided a wealth of information about bus across Washington state as well as train, ferry, biking, Rideshare, etc. options.  More importantly the online resources helped weave these together to give a very workable set of options.  I also found that each community is trying to pull this information together as well.  The city of Bellevue does an admirable job in this respect.  I didn’t pursue van and carpool sharing options because I didn’t need them, but the Rideshare Online site will explain how they work and anyone can find ride matches if this needs to be part of your plan.  My plan includes riding my bike as the weather continues to improve or use the bus-bike option when that is not possible because of weather.  The safest bike routes are available online at Seattle Metropolitan Bike Routes Map for anyone who is pursing that option.  I spent some time looking at Zipcar as an alternative.  You can find their information at Zipcar.  The result is that I reduced my mileage for my car to 73 miles two weeks ago and this week I will ended up putting about 40 miles on my car.   With just four weeks of experience I am starting to conclude that this has not impacted the time I arrive at or leave work.  I am very seriously considering reducing the number of cars I maintain and insure from two to one.  After less than 30 days in this new system I now think twice about making any trip that is designed to accomplish one task.  Today I actually walked to the store and met neighbors on the way that live within a block that I had not talked to in more than a year.  I have more energy so I regularly climb the stairs to the sixth floor in my building and don’t use the elevator.  I do plan a lot more carefully when I leave the house making sure that I have rain gear in my bag, gloves, an umbrella, or anything else that I might need to be comfortable.  I know that the first rule in hiking on Mountaineer trips is to be prepared; life is fun if you dress appropriately.  The rule is that if you are cold, wet, or just uncomfortable that it can be four very long hours back to the car.

I am actually seeing spring for maybe the first time this year.  When I was standing at the bus stop waiting one of the regulars pointed out the clearness of the view we had of the moon that morning; all six of us spent the next ten or fifteen minutes until the bus arrived watching the clouds dance around the edge of the moon as they constantly changed how they where framing it…I think I met my first recognizable path bender that morning.

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