North by Northwest View 17: A Rider’s Suboptimum Experience on Sounder North…

A Sounder North Train Pulls Into Mukilteo Station... In Kodachrome

My photo: A Sounder North Train Pulls Into Mukilteo Station… In Kodachrome


I’ve decided to divided this write-up into three sections: The trip home, the Sound Transit response, suggested rider experience improvements and concluding thoughts.  With that, here goes.

The Trip Home

Recently, I was in Mukilteo combining a fact-finding mission with business travel and got to as part of that fact-finding mission interview Mukilteo Mayor Jennifer Gregerson.  As part of that fact-finding mission, I took Sounder North to Mukilteo Station from Everett Station and then erred doing the same going back.  However, I did get this nice photo of almost 70 cars in the Mukilteo Station parking lot:

Mukilteo Station at 4:23 PM, 8 May 2015

Problem is, I was a bit early to the first 4:47 PM train but had to wait until (according to my camera) 5:18 PM for my train to Everett – a full 31 minutes late.  I also had to relieve me behind the bush as there was no public restroom – an act degrading to my dignity and possibly to Mukilteo residents’ dignity as well.  Between me with a simple LG 500G Tracfone and a lady crossing the train tracks with a smartphone we were unable to check the Sound Transit website because our phones would be unable to handle the Sound Transit website – too much data or something.

          [For those on e-mail subscription like I, I’ve decided to insert a jump point here so if you want to read the rest of the story – just click the header.  Or if you’re at the full size page read on.]

Continue reading “North by Northwest View 17: A Rider’s Suboptimum Experience on Sounder North…”

North by Northwest 44: Manspreading (& a Programming Note)

Manspreading.  It’s a loaded term and possibly anti-male, but it’s not what Marshawn Lynch does after a touchdown.

It’s this:

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This was Skagit Transit Route 90X at oh 5:30 last night – guys taking up the aisle, many folks taking up two seats making the bus so crowded that I – a self-identified bookworm – didn’t have a light to read under as I sat all the way in the back.  All the way.  Taking an iPod picture in a way to preserve riders’ anonymity (for now).

It’s also those two guys to port/left below:


Thank you, Kelley Rae O’Donnell of New York City (the gentlelady standing above) for raising the issue and getting among other media outlets, the New York Times to pay attention.  I recently reached out to the Broadway actress and asked her what started her transit activism.  Here goes:

I take the subway sometimes 14 times in one day. Various auditions and gigs. And when twitter quickly became popular and a place where companies and people started to care about what was said about them on twitter, I started taking photos and posting them when one person would take up more than one seat and not let an elderly, disabled or pregnant person sit. Because I would see it happen on pretty much every crowded train ride. And I was hoping others would start to speak up about it too and maybe the MTA and city of New York would listen. I’ve done it regarding #showtime and #nailclipping too!

It seems MTA has listened via social media as Ms. O’Donnell wasn’t reached out to directly.  According to the New York Times, the MTA has started a new campaign specifically to protect the public space called public transit with logistic details in the Washington Free Beacon.  A campaign that’s inspired other transit agencies such as Sound TransitCommunity Transit of Snohomish CountySan Francisco’s BART, and Chicago (for starters) with even Canadians talking about the issue.  For Ms. O’Donnell, “It’s really fantastic. And I hope it raises awareness.  It’s been nice to hear from people from all over the world about how it’s an issue in so many places. And I love how so many people recognize it’s a small part of bigger issues. We’ve been fighting over land and space forever as humans.

“What a difference it would make if we all were more considerate of each other on public transportation. I’d like to see that ripple effect!”

I couldn’t agree more.  I know Seattle Transit Blog Page One has covered this issue, but I feel we at STB need to raise the issue of the transit rider experience from time-to-time instead of just the transit net.  In the past, I’ve called on folks literally to Please Photograph Transit and wrote last October, “Ultimately transit photography can be a non-confrontational way to advocate for transit.”  Remember, as Ms. O’Donnell put it, “Riding the subway is part of my everyday all day. So it’s been easy to spot and confront space hogs since I’m always on a train. And sadly, there’s almost always at least one person that’s being inconsiderate of others on every trip I take.”

Maybe it’s fruitless considering how months after the issue of the $11.852 million Chuckanut Park & Ride lacking a public bathroom has resulted in inconsiderate inaction.  Or maybe we can at least further the conversation to get occasional win-win results – I’m not expecting Runway Girl Network levels of detail & impact like with the aviation passenger experience, but at least a conversation and some action.

 As far as Ms. O’Donnell, one day she’ll come out to Seattle and check out our transit net.  I can’t wait to say “thank you” to her face and shake her hand.

A Programming Note: I will be shortly writing about the Sound Transit Board presentation about Sounder North – have politely requested the presentation & the video be online.  I also hope to soon give an Island Transit update – counting on some materials.  Oh and a small surprise maybe this weekend… the good kind.