Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Portland as Pedestrians

Wonderful views of Portland walking
We bike, you know!! Did you also know that we use are legs and feet to get around too? This is why I drink the Seattle Neighborhood Greenways Cool Aid! I want safer streets for walking too. While biking works very well for us we like to walk. Our kids are good walkers and the older kid has friends who see walking and biking as way to get around the city. So, we have done well. I'm still waiting for teen bike rejection syndrome to set in.

Yum, doors taste good. 
So, what do we to do for fun? We went to Portland for a few days on vacation in December.
We choose our vacations at times when nobody thinks to travel, right after Chanukah. As the great walkers we walked to the Light Rail to catch the Amtrak train. Why didn't we take our bikes? Amtrak is not a position where cargo bikes are allowed on the train. Space doesn't allow longer/weird bikes. That's a battle for another time. My Edgerunner could fit in the bottom of a Bolt bus bus I tried busing to Portland already and it was not for me.

We arrived at the train station too early and with enough time to let the toddler loose all over the station waiting area. We even bought things from the vending machine, fancy. I chased him all over the place and he found the doors especially yummy. My kids experience the world by putting their mouths on stuff. It's so gross and it's hard to stop.

The toddler found the train travel the best experience ever. I have issues with motion sickness so I really wanted to minimize that. Luckily, nobody was seated behind us so he took a good nap. For our family, train travel requires 6 seats, hahah.

We hopped on the MAX train to our destination, Killingsworth Station. I know, why so north? For the second year in a row we decided to lodge at Caravan. You know, the tiny house hotel on NE Alberta. We walked from the station all the way, approximately 1.7 miles. Mr. Peyos and I were prepared with our backpack luggage but the tween decided on the rolling luggage which was so noisy for that whole walk. Here we come.. rumble rumble. After the whole experience she learned that she wants a backpack for her belongings. Rolling anything is annoying after all. Tweens don't believe anything until they realize how miserable it is. Whatever!

Here are some pictures where I decided we needed to break up the monotony of the rolling suitcase.
These are everywhere. I hate you.
I'm pretty sure they are semi translucent. It's not art, just pinche-way-finding

2 nights of tiny living: 
My luxurious view from the bottom bunk
I did not exactly anticipate the toddler deciding that the interior of the tiny house was one little jungle gym. The tween decided that the bunk bed was too uncivilized for her coolness and I was too scared to sleep in a loft with a child who is willing to climb anything. This left Mr. Peyos and all 6'4 of his body on the top bunk and me and Baby Peyos on the bottom bunk. It was not even fun managing him.

I plan to re-purpose my bike junk and make these.

The first night he slept sooner than later. The next morning we took a morning walk while waiting for Mr. Peyos to daven. He walked and walked but when we got near a bike shop, toddler tantrum! It was morning Community Cycling Center was setting up shop and my kid was screaming, "BIKE!!" This is what happens when biking is more fun than walking. That place is HUGE and awesome.

We sat in the cold in this parklet. 
We walked pretty far and Baby Peyos touched everything that was on the street. By the time we got back to the indoor jungle gym he proceeded to pick at the ladder. We discovered he was able to lift it off the resting spot. Evasive action! My family makes fun of all the stuff I carry around because, you never know. I happened to have two old inner tubes.

Stop making fun of my backpack junk! It worked to secure the ladder from being dismounted. We walked back to the LightRail and to our Powell's destination.

The older kid wanted a bagel which was disappointing. It's not even worth writing about the place. I'm sorry your hipster skinny jeans kept you from having any sense of humor, guy at bagel shop.

Oh oh oh, but the best part! A lady thought I was going to steal her purse. Was it because I was brown?  It rarely happens but this was one of those times that I though, "what just happened?". While Mr. Peyos was paying for our subquality bagels I was standing and reading the teudah, the kosher certificate. A woman was sitting at the eating counter with her purse at a chair right next to me. I must have scared her so badly she promptly removed her purse and held it for dear life. I said, "Lady, I have no interest in stealing your ugly purse". Mr. Peyos said he was never going there again. NEVER!

This was quickly remedied by the walk to Powell's. Of course we had to walk on Couch street. Did you know it is not pronounced like the word for a piece of furniture. Instead you have to channel your inner Charro and call it "Cooch" street. Coochie Coochie Coo.
Hey, we bought a book about trucks. 
Portland is so wonderful to walk around. It's so flat we laugh. My daughter ultimately regretted that I did not figure out bike rental so she REALLY REALLY wants to bike in a place that does not require she bike up 6-9% grade roads. I tried it on my own and hopefully we can do this trip with bikes. Mr. Peyos likes walking more than biking but after this last trip I think he realized travel is much better when we can plop Baby Peyos on a bike and let him do his thing. What's his thing? Throwing crackers off the bike.

Overall, we had a nice time walking. It was a very mild trip and not too much to report.

We did go and get beer. Actually, Mr. Peyos got the beer and we waited outside contemplating this bike. He bought so much beer we had to bring it home to Seattle. So much suffering. 

Here is our tiny house we stayed in this time. Hopefully Baby Peyos is mature enough to not try to jump off of every surface. This is the view from the loft. Living, dining, and overall great space for a toddler to jump from. NO.

I love staying here but after this trip I think we would need two of these just to be comfortable. 

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Rainier Ave: The best place to crash your car into buildings

Since I must nag forever I finally managed another bike ride: Riding on Rainier Ave Ride #3.
So normal, just another rainy ride
If you want to know where Rides 1 and 2 are CLICK HERE.

Rainier Valley N-S Greenway with special protected bike lane rides....GO..

We had special appearances by two SDOT representatives. One of them was Jim Curtin, ooohhh...special! (I do have to interrupt this and say that Cathy Tuttle at Seattle Neighborhood Greenways does a lot of smooth talking to convince anyone to bike on the caca routes with me. She's like magician.)

I've been looking at my own riding on Strava and here it is in full glory. The flat parts are Rainier Ave. In total the Greenway route is 6.1 miles from Rainer Beach. We have families who live there and Anna's tween had to ride from Rainier Beach to the starting point which for her takes about 45 minutes. My own tween takes an hour. We tried it once. So to get to the norther point of the Greenway would be maybe an hour ride just to get to separate bike infrastructure. If you still don't understand, I give up.

It took a lot of convincing to get my tween to ride this route AGAIN! We tried it and it wasn't successful. We have our low key routes and she knew that we were going to ride on Rainier Ave. So, we take our less stressful direct bike route from our house on to the sidewalks of Rainier Ave. It's a normal route the tween is trained on. The toddler loves fire trucks, police cars and sirens. So, we got a special treat. Police directing us away from this mess.

What are we looking at? Oh, part one of a 2 car collision and this one hit the not hi-viz building. Who's inside? Our friend Susan at the Rainier Valley Chamber of Commerce. Is this collision one or two of the day? I don't know but people, learn to drive. This intersection (Rainier and 42nd Ave) needs treatment. Susan would like a light. This is not the first time a driver has driven into her office. People are loco here. Even with the middle turn lane it's so hard for people to wait there and then turn or turn into it and then drive on. Waiting is so much of the issue.

Driver crashed into Rainier Chamber of Commerce just before Family Biking group stopped in for a visit. Susan Davis,...
Posted by Rainier Valley Greenways on Tuesday, January 5, 2016

We finally made it to our starting point. Rainier Community Center in Columbia City. In interest of instant torture we did part of the N-S Rainier Valley Greenway going south.We will be following that orange route. This means the first road is the 13% grade road. My tween had another tween so they can giggle at all the old folk trying to get up the easy hill, haha. Actually only one of the girls managed to bike up completely, Mine had to walk it but she only walked one road so that's okay.

Ready set ride. Okay, I made it up the hill first but then again I'm only on a cargo bike carrying a very heavy child, 3 days worth of food and water. I know, electric assist. Get one, stop resisting it.

With no assist who would win? STEVE from BikeWorks won! He even looked adorable because he smiled for the picture. How does he do it? It's like a parade of bikes going up that wacko hill.

Now I have no pictures of most of the route because something amazing happened. The tweens biked the route, reluctantly, but on the way back they biked ON Rainier Ave. With a lot of instruction and direction Anna, the other bike Mom, and I made a cushion of safety for them to ride. The girls biked north from S. Kenny to S. Hudson and then again for a short segment.

What does all this riding have to do with Rainier Ave, protected bike lanes and the greenway?

These demonstrations were meant to show SDOT the following

1. The Greenways route works well on some of the route but when we get to the "middle section" which is Hillman City-Columbia City it is so difficult. That 13% grade road meant some of those riders walked up the hill. If someone has to walk or is so out of breath they look like they might pass out it means it's not an "All Ages and Abilities" route. After that street the S. Angeline is not a piece of cake either.

See, if we let her ride on Broadway alone why not one on Rainier Ave?
2. It is possible to take the sections of the Greenway that won't be used by everyone and funnel that money into something better, like a protected bike lane for part of the route. Yes, I am saying merge the greenway and the protected bike lane. As you can see, we even let our kid use the Broadway one alone, wow.

Another day, another red light runner on Rainier Ave.
3. Rainier Ave is still dangerous. I think we got our example with the driver crashing a truck into the Chamber of Commerce building. Sure the road diet helped but drivers need to just slow down. I asked about red light cameras and I WANT red light cameras. This is a daily occurrence and YOU Rainier Ave. drivers did not disappoint because you showed SDOT your red light running and speeding, Thank you, Gracias, Tak!

I appreciate all the people who came on this bike ride with SDOT and represented their organizations
FamilyBike, BikeWorks, Cascade, Office of Kshama Sawant, Seattle Bicycle Advisory Board, Seattle Neighborhood Greenways, & Brock Howell who represented Brock.

These rides on are weekdays when working folks can't just drop everything and go for a bike ride. I also torture my own family with this. Mr. Peyos swears he wants to go down to SDOT and ask them to just put the bike lane so I will stop talking about it. Now I owe my tween LEGO. She wants Rey's cargo bike, I mean speeder and it's SOLD OUT. AWWWW!

This is not for just me, it's for everyone. We want to be safe and encourage more people to bike. It's really hard to get people on the bike band wagon if they are too scared or don't feel they can physically handle a tiny 13% grade road because that's easy? NO!

Ohh, and here is where Jim Curtin said I have total authorization to use my farting/lazer unicorn on offending vehicles. SUCCESS!

Kidding or not kidding?

Bike Escape: Fay Bainbridge Park 2019

I went camping without kids. How did I manage that? (insert shrug) One of the old time pedal parents went with me. Our schedules for this ...