This blog hosted a meetup Tuesday night and it was great to see some of our readers come out to say hello. Our guest speaker for the evening was Michael Taylor-Judd, perhaps the only person running for city council who is a regular reader and commenter!

Adam took a great panorama shot of the audience. It feels like you’re there, man.

Thanks to the Diller Room for hosting us free of charge. What did everyone think of the venue?

20 Replies to “STB Meetup Featured Michael Taylor-Judd”

  1. A little loud at first and hard to talk, but at some point they turned down/off the music and it was better. Obviously a bit crowded, but this could get better if we weren’t sharing the space (I started chatting with one group when I first showed up, but eventually they asked how I knew Andy. “Oh. I think the transit group is over there.”) But there was easy access to the bar and it’s in a great location.

  2. Was great to chat with everyone; sorry I had to leave early. Loved the Diller Room. I thought their staff were fantastic and the food/drinks good.

    1. That’s actually a good point. I get the early career demographic in this blog – it is a blog afterall, and the meetup was downtown in a bar. But why the mostly male thing? It seems (from observation) transit ridership is roughly 50/50 or even slightly weighted toward women (though only 30% of bike riders here are women).

      1. Wait, are you telling me you guys aren’t all nubile young women? Damn this internet and its trickery.

      2. I certainly wish we had more women there. I’m actually thinking of organizing a meetup featuring women in the transportation field. I think that would be really exciting and I have some connection that I’m sure would love to help.

        In general civil engineering is heavily slanted towards men. 20-30 years ago women probably made up 5% of the engineering professions now women might make up 20-30%% of young engineers. It certainly is changing a lot but there still is a large imbalance. That combined with the fact that it is a blog, which has a techy base (iphone etc came up multiple times) and you get those results.

      3. There were at least two women there.

        Mechanical engineering has a similar ratio. The lack of women in math-based fields probably contributes to the wage gap. 9 of the 13 highest paid degrees (I assume excluding post-grad work) have the word “engineering” in them.

      4. That said, you certainly don’t have to be an engineer to be interested in transit. Actually, the two have little to do with each other until you get into the details of construction.

      5. Interesting that the first reaction to Ryan’s comment was about gender and not race. ‘Cause personally (as a white, middle-class male) the whiteness of the group in that photo struck me more than its maleness. And insofar as race is probably generally a better indicator of the socio-economical status of a group, the lack of racial diversity at the meetup (and at the few other transit wonk-oriented events I’ve attended, e.g. some Great City brown-bags) is considerably more troubling than the lack of women. At least, it’s troubling from the perspective of someone who would like to see social justice considered a priority in public transit planning.

        That said, I don’t think that the race or gender of its readers (to say nothing of the race/gender of transit wonks at large) is something STB can—or should—be expected to fix by itself. Nonetheless, it might be interesting to anonymously poll readers on demographic issues like race, income, gender, etc, and get a real idea of what sort of people read—and don’t read—the blog. Readers could then discuss ways of bringing under-represented folks into the discussion, both on this blog and in the world at large.

      6. Andreas: As one of the women there, I noticed both the gender and race, uh, near uniformity, but I tend to agree STB can’t “fix” it (other than by encouragement – just acknowledging the fact is helpful I think). The meeting’s demographics was really just a reflection of a general societal one: women (I can’t speak for racial minorities) tend to “sit out” from political and business power (either by not looking / getting leadership roles or not standing put and talking directly with leaders). There are probably myriad reasons why. Given the time of the meeting, I imagine any women with children just couldn’t go (and likely won’t ever). A STB survey might actually ask this as well as the other demo questions.

      7. [Andreas] The group was mostly representative of Seattle’s makeup. Seattle is 70% white and 13% asian.

      8. Sorry, that obviously should have been “Seattle’s racial makeup”. Seattle has more women than men.

      9. RachelL has a good point on kids. I’m sure there are many parents that would have loved to make the meetup, but their kids are more important to them than a bunch of young white guys drinking.

  3. I am a woman of color, but I am likely not to go to a meetup because I am not sure that when it comes to transportation my needs are the same as the “wonks”.

    When I see entries with the title “HMP HCT” with no definition in the post, I skip the post and move on. I assume that the meetup conversations yield a crowd who cares more about the jargon and science than “I would love to eat more fresh veggies, but since the 39 only runs every half hour, so I don’t stop at McPherson’s on the way home to pick some up”.

    I think the science of transportation is important. I believe there need to be wonks who are studying these things in great detail because I certainly don’t have the patience to do it.

    But as a low-income woman of color with teenagers, I am not sure that my needs around transportation are the same as those who would attend a meetup. So I stay away.

    1. I think STB was just a platform to bring people together. I recall debating smartphone platforms, hiring practices of local businesses, telecommuting, driving in the snow, stupid things bus riders do among dozens of other topics.

    2. If there’s one thing a bunch of middle class white guys can agree on, it’s that we really can’t agree on much. (Politics, sports, transit corridors, car tabs, etc.) So having another viewpoint isn’t going to ruffle any feathers, it will be welcomed. Besides, it’s a blog, not a secret clubhouse.

      And you make a good point already- some of the acronyms are a bit murky to me as well. This site could use a wiki or even just a dictionary! :D

    3. Actually your POV would have been very welcome. While sometimes the topics discussed get quite wonky among some of the people at the meetup the dynamic depends a lot on those having the conversation.

      Believe it or not the real-world needs of people who really use transit as their only or primary form of transport do get discussed. If anything the real-world impacts and the politics of transit are often more important than the technical details.

      I know the jargon can be confusing, but if you don’t understand something feel free to ask what people are talking about. For example TMP is the City of Seattle’s Transit Master Plan. It is a document the city updates every few years that informs city policy as it relates to transit. This includes everything from street improvements to help transit to what corridors the city will fund extra service in. HCT stands for High Capacity Transit. It includes all forms of rail from in-traffic streetcars, to light-rail, to rapid transit systems like the NYC subway. It also includes something known as BRT which stands for Bus Rapid Transit. Unfortunately BRT is a rather vague term which sometimes means normal bus service with a fancy paint job to services like the Orange Line in LA or Curitiba, Brazil.

Comments are closed.