Archive for November, 2009

Metro&Snow_mapEveryone remembers the headache last winter’s snow storm provided commuters—especially bus riders. From 1.5 hour waits at the bus stop to jam packed coaches, transit agencies around the region seemed to be caught off guard by the uninvited blizzard and the effect it had on bus service. But this year we’ve learned that King County Metro is helping riders get prepared before the snowfall as well as informing commuters on what to do during a storm. Here is Metro’s “know before you go” snow checklist:

Before snow season—make sure to sign-up or bookmark these NEW tools to get timely updates:

  • Sign-up to get Metro Transit Alerts by e-mail: www.kingcounty.gov/metro/signup
    Metro will send alerts about changes to service for bus routes you select.
  • Visit the Metro Online Alerts Center: www.kingcounty.gov/metro/alerts
    Learn about changes to bus service because of snow or other disruptions. The “Snow & Ice” section has a new map showing where buses have been rerouted because of snow, a list of all rerouted buses and links to descriptions of snow routes. The map also has seven areas that will be color-coded to show how bus routes are operating (see example of map to the right). When online, look at the color of areas where you want to travel:

Green = Buses are operating on regular routes in that area.

Yellow = Some buses are on their planned snow routes. By clicking on a yellow area you can find out which buses have been rerouted. Another click will get you detailed information about your selected route.

Red = All buses in that area are on planned snow routes and some routes may be cancelled. By clicking on a red area you can learn which routes are cancelled and find links to more information about snow routes.

Blue = Metro has declared a snow emergency and has activated its Emergency Service Network (see more info below) of about 70 core routes, 8 of which would still travel through the Bellevue Transit Center.

  • Save Metro’s Customer Information Office number: (206) 553-3000
    Metro’s customer information specialists will answer your questions about transit service. Interpreters are available. If you call during bad weather, wait times may be longer than usual, so consider using Metro Online and Metro Transit Alerts to get information faster—and free up phone lines for people without Web access.

When it snows:

  • Before you travel, check weather reports and find out from Metro if your bus has been rerouted.
    To find the snow route for your bus, follow these steps: Go to Metro Online; Find “Get a Timetable” and enter your bus route number; Click on the “Route Map” button; The map will show the regular route and a dashed line for the snow route.
  • Expect delays.
    Dress for the weather and prepare to wait longer at your bus stop. Travel times may be slower than normal.
  • Know other bus routes or stops that would work for you if your regular service is delayed or rerouted.
    You may find more bus service on cleared arterials, at major transit hubs, and at park-and-ride lots.
  • Keep in mind that Metro has limited ability to provide “real-time” bus information during severe weather.
    If buses are rerouted, Metro Online’s Tracker cannot provide precise information about bus locations or arrival and departure times. The online Trip Planner and timetables do not provide information about delayed or rerouted buses.
  • If an extremely severe snowstorm occurs, Metro may activate its planned Emergency Service Network.
    Metro’s regular network of more than 220 bus routes would be completely replaced with an emergency service network of about 70 routes designed to be reliable in the worst weather. Only 8 of these buses would come through the Bellevue Transit Center. Metro would maintain this core service as long as roads are passable for buses. The Emergency Service Network would provide bus service on major roads and connecting service in some neighborhoods. Some areas would have no bus service because of their location or terrain. If Metro must activate the Emergency Service Network, they will notify customers the day before it goes into effect through Metro Online and Metro Transit Alerts.

-Jordan

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009 10:32 AM | by admin | Add a Comment

541531_87667919Climate change. Everyone’s talking about it. But what are we doing about? An article from The Christian Science Monitor about this topic recently caught our eye. It states that “discussion of climate change has been high on domestic and international agendas, but the sad truth is that little has been done to fight it”. So how do we kick our butts in gear to reduce our country’s carbon footprint? Is a recession the only proven condition to get people off the road, subsequently cutting emissions? According to the article’s author, Robert Dujarric, the climate debate must be refocused. The environmental arguments empower some to make change, but not the masses. Instead, Dujarric says to appeal to patriotism. What? American patriotism = lower carbon emissions? Here’s his argument:

Given the location of the world’s petroleum reserves, when Americans pull out their credit cards at the gas pump, they indirectly fund the economies of countries like Iran, Venezuela, Libya, Sudan, and not to mention Al Qaeda (whose financial backers include many who are in the fossil fuels business). Even if the oil sold in the US comes from Alaska, Texas or allies like Norway, American demand drives up the price of the commodity, thereby pumping huge flows of dollars into the treasuries of its enemies. If Americans start thinking about their dependence on oil as equivalent to providing assistance to our enemies, more citizens would be open to looking for and practicing alternatives.

Dujarric doesn’t believe we should throw out the environmental arguments altogether. He instead believes supporting them with a new patriotic message might do the trick to cutting down our oil consumption. What motivates and inspires you to decrease your carbon footprint? Is it saving endangered species and improving air quality or is it protecting US borders? Let us know your thoughts about the climate change debate by submitting a comment below. Also, be sure to calculate your own carbon footprint on our carbon emissions calculator. You may be surprised at what you find!

-Jordan

Wednesday, November 4th, 2009 4:32 PM | by admin | Add a Comment

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