My family is a lower Wallingford family. A few weeks ago, we packed ourselves into the car to go to Green Lake Library, a favorite of ours. Driving there was awful. It was a sunny day and everyone else decided to go to Green Lake too. We saw a bicyclist who’d clearly just been hit. He was okay but shaken. We decided Green Lake probably wouldn’t be a great place to go via bicycle with our kids.
Driving around looking for parking was crazy. As soon as I headed down a street, someone else in a car would start down the same street on the opposite side. With cars parked on either side, there was only room for one car at a time. This repeated several times as I and the other drivers struggled to squeeze into a driveway or, even worse, reverse down the street. Parking at the new PCC wasn’t much better. I wasn’t able to find anything except on the bottom floor and even then it was difficult maneuvering into the space. After finally getting to Green Lake the kids and I were cranky and stressed.
So I pledged: never again!
Last weekend I took out the new Metro bus maps. At 40th NE and Stone there’s a stop for the #26 and #62. Both go to Green Lake. We didn’t wait long. The #62 came first. After a pleasant journey, we got off at NE Ravenna Blvd near the Circa Green Lake building, which houses Turnpike Pizza among other businesses. On the way home we waited again at the Circa building. It didn’t take more than 10 minutes for the #26 to come.
My kids love riding on the bus. Kids car seats are super uncomfortable. The five-point harness really wedges them in tight especially in the legs. My youngest is in a rear-facing seat so there really isn’t much she can see. Contrast that experience to taking the bus with Mommy and Daddy and sitting right next to them. The bus is a clear winner. They get to people watch and do some occasional snuggling too.
A lot of the current bus system seems to be focused on commuters. This is not a bad thing; however, the city’s population is increasing at a crazy pace. I’m finding weekend traffic to be every bit as annoying as weekday traffic. Even if I don’t take the bus on the weekend regularly, I like knowing it’s there if I need it. When the option exists, it encourages people to let go of the alternative. We won’t stop our current behavior unless there is a reason to. My nightmare at Green Lake a few weeks ago was definitely that.
Update: I just wanted to clarify that the stop to get off at Greenlake is NE Ravenna Blvd. The stop at Greenlake to get back to Wallingford is on the backside of the Circa building.