Tuesday, October 14, 2008

More adventures in the bus tunnel, and in the rain

Yesterday evening, on my bike/bus commute home on the King County Metro #150, I dismounted at University Street station, as I'd hoped to do last week. Unlike the Westlake station, this was as easy as could be, with the station laid out intelligibly and stairways available for guys like me who didn't want to wait for an elevator. The upper stairway was long, but not too long for a bicyclist in decent shape and accustomed to carrying a bike up stairs, even a heavier steel bike like mine.

I biked north the rest of the way through downtown until I reached the bus stop at Dexter & Denny, where I stopped to see when a connecting bus might come by. It was a bit after 6:00 PM, and I'd missed that bus by less than a minute. Then the sky opened up, and everyone scuttled into the bus shelter, including me with my bike. At first there was room enough for everyone, but when it filled up and a man with an umbrella came near, I moved outside the shelter with my bike to give him space. A bigger bus shelter here would be nice.

Once the bus came a few minutes later, a second bicyclist joined me aboard it, thereby filling up the rack. We passed at least one more bicyclist waiting at a stop, who probably would've liked to come aboard, too.

I dismounted the bike a half-mile from home and rode it the rest of the way. It was still raining hard enough that I got soaked, but I was back at it again today, which was thankfully dry, if not exactly warm.

Meanwhile, yesterday the AP wire carried a story about Personal Rapid Transit and its prospects in the United States, which appear quite good as next year's PRT opening at London's Heathrow Airport nears, with several vendors ramping up plans and/or construction for additional systems behind them, and at least a dozen more cities anxious to build them. CNN picked up that AP story, as did the Chicago Tribune, Philadelphia Inquirer, our own Seattle Post-Intelligencer, along with several other major-market news outlets. This may be the most widely distributed PRT story of the past decade, but this is not surprise considering the great coverage PRT got last month from the New York Times and Los Angeles Times, and, of course, much more to come.

The vastly greater capacity of PRT to carry bikes would've been nice, too, as well as the short wait time for a vehicle -- less than a minute in most cases.

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