Friday, November 4, 2016

We need a little bus love....VOTE YES for Regional Transit 11/8

2W4W fans!
It has been SO very long. We know. We've missed you too!

Some of you may know this, but I started working at home (and for myself) about two years ago. That change took my commuting from Ferndale to downtown Detroit to....down the hall to my office. My bus usage dwindled to heading from Ferndale to Royal Oak for meetings maybe once or twice per month and for special events (that usually involved wine or vodka). The bus is definitely less of an adventure for 10 minute rides twice a month but life happens (and work is great - I'm grateful).

Last week, I was meeting a friend in Royal Oak for a little co-working - we both work from home so we make work dates to get ourselves out of the house AND out of yoga pants (ok, ok - full disclosure - 1 out of 2 isn't bad).

I decided to take the bus that day because why not? I had time -  and bus days were always my favorite commuting days. Bus love. And I get to leave the house! Let's do this!

My plan was to take the Woodward 460 into Royal Oak and arrive at 9:35am. The bus picked me up at 8 & Woodward at 9:35am....and it wasn't on the tracker for some reason. A little frustrating but you know - it's been awhile. Like with all commuting - things happen. My bus love was still intact.

We worked for a little bit and then it was time to roll home. I looked at the schedule online - it said a Woodward 460 was to arrive at 4th & Washington at 11:20am. The sign at the bus stop said 11:22am. I was there before 11:20am - so either way - I'm good. The tracker said the bus would be there at 11:32am. I mean - ok. But at least I know.

Then I blinked and the bus disappeared from the tracker like a shiny silver unicorn bus. Was it ever there?! Did I make that up!? All I could see now were the silver metallic adult onesies across the street at American Apparel. And I swear I only had tea during our co-working. Where the hell am I?!

Next scheduled bus - 12:03pm. Forty plus minutes of waiting. I tell myself - be patient. I wait - 12:03pm passes - nothing on the tracker. At all.

So I do the thing I had to do. That I didn't want to do. I called a Lyft. She was there in 6 minutes, as the app promised (and $7.50 later) - I was home.

My romantic feelings of the bus at this point are DONE. I own my own business - time is most definitely actual money. Time for other people is time at school, doctor's appointments, a job. We all understand those obligations - yes?

This whole experience shook me back to the reality that is our transit system. Yes - there have been improvements (I've heard super cool things about Reflex: I also know the people that have been working with the RTA have been working crazy hard on plans and improvements to schedules and how our systems can work better together and all sorts of good stuff. But there's only so much they can do without...resources.

What does that mean? MONEY.

Our region's people, environment & economic growth are worth the investment!
Let's get back to some serious bus love.

Please vote YES for Regional Transit on Nov. 8th. 

For more info on the RTA Master Plan and the proposal:

For more info on the Vote Yes initiative:

For info about where your polling place is and to view a sample ballot:

Monday, February 29, 2016

No SMART Way To Work

I got a new job a few months ago (which I was so very excited to get), so it was time to plan a new bike/bus route to work. Instead of heading southbound on Woodward to Detroit, I would go northbound to Bloomfield Hills. It seemed easy enough.

In preparation for my first day of work, I looked up the bus route. Unfortunately, I found out that Bloomfield Hills decided in 1995 that it would not participate in SMART’s regional bus system. What?! Strike one. (BTW – See a recent Detroit Free Press article from this past summer, which explains that Bloomfield Hills’ City Commission again voted 3-2 in opposition of participating in SMART. GRRRR!)
Okay. No problem. I took a deep breath and decided that I would take the bus to the last stop in Birmingham and bike or walk the rest of the way. Unfortunately, that wouldn’t work either. Bloomfield Hills doesn’t have any sidewalks on Woodward and I don’t feel comfortable biking on it, where the speed limit is 50mph! Strike two.
I don’t easily give up. There’s got to be a way, right?! I noticed a smaller subdivision next to my new office building so I thought I could take the bus to the last stop in Birmingham and then find some side streets that I could bike or walk on to get me to the office. It made sense but I quickly found that it wouldn’t work either unless some of the landowners allowed me to cut across their back yards. I just don’t see that as a possibility. Strike three.
So two things: 1) Bloomfield Hills – be part of the region and support the SMART bus system. Some people want to get to your community to visit, work, shop, or eat but they can’t because you’re keeping them out. 2) Make your community walkable and install some sidewalks on Woodward.
Luckily, the lease is up for our office space and we’ll most likely be moving to a community that participates in SMART. Only a few more months before I have a SMART way to get to work.