Metro: I guess I could vote with my feet, or a bike or an Uber

MetroI wonder if a third day will be the charm?

Yesterday during my commute home an old guy was panhandling on the train. He asked for change, I said I didn’t have any. I had my headphones in and was listening to a podcast, so I didn’t clearly hear whatever it was he first mumbled. But as people began filing out he said quite clearly, “I’m gonna spit in your face.” Thankfully, he didn’t and he got off the train at Gallery Place. Today it was a gang of teenagers on a crowded train during rush hour. I’ll say about 10 or so African American teens got on at Gallery Place loudly packing into one end of the train. One of them decided to throw ice, someone complained, and then they decided to push through to the other end of the train. They insulted an African American senior citizen as they pushed through. Once on the other end, they caused some commotion that at few in their party decided to film. The commotion was enough to get a few commuters, including myself, to flee the train when it pulled into Mt. Vernon Square. I reported the incident to @WMATA and MyMTPD and got back the same sort of answer I normally get when I report things.

Well, maybe I should walk or get back to biking to work instead? But the problem hasn’t been my commute in. My commute in is more positive/neutral than negative. My commute back is mostly okay but then I have 15 minutes of unpleasantness that pops up from time to time. In the afternoon I’m more likely to encounter rowdy school-kids, drunks, panhandlers, crazy people, trash, and bad smells. My work pays for my commute but sometimes free doesn’t seem worth it.

Afternoons like this make me reconsider getting a bike and cutting back on metro. I know ridership is down for various reasons, reasons being people have other options to using public transit. There are days when I could telework, but I’m not as productive at home. I could also try doing 10 hour flex-time days to limit how many times I have to come in. I’m too cheap to use Uber-pool on a regular basis. I’m still a fair weather biker, and becoming more hard-core would help me lose weight.

Anyway, there are people who are undermining public transit by adding misery to it. If the people who add to WMATA’s bottom line stop using the system, and decide to stay home, carpool, Uber, bike, walk, or drive their own personal vehicle, it’s going to take longer to get back to good.

DCist Pending comment about CaBi usage

I’m only posting this because I see a comment I made on DCist about CaBi usage is pending, and I’m not 100% sure what I wrote that would warrant a flag. Maybe saying race and income doesn’t explain everything but around here (DC) it is used to explain everything. In the case of the Capital Bikeshare race and income aren’t the major reasons in light of other information.

Looking at this image

CaBi bikeshare usage map
Image of CaBi usage and income. Note whiter areas with little to no bike share usage

So there are rich white areas of DC way west of the park where there are 0 ride per hour yellow dots. The DCist story interprets this as Capital Bikeshare failed to be available to all users because there are so few rides in Wards 7 & 8.

There are more stations in “areas with higher shares of white residents, lower poverty rates, higher income, and higher college attainment,” according to the report. CaBi’s user survey, which it undertakes every two years, bears this out. The 2016 survey found that 80 percent of Capital Bikeshare users were white, with Asian and Hispanic/Latino riders both at 7 percent, and African-American riders at 4 percent.

Yes.

As one of the 4% African American CaBi users, I’ll say there are more stations because there is more demand in my now predominately white, formerly predominately black neighborhood. I know there is lots of demand because if the morning weather is nice I need to get my butt out of the house before 7:30 or else all the working bikes nearest me are gone.  And there is lots of demand for slots near where I work, because I will encounter a full dock and try to figure out where is the closest empty dock may be.

Also if you look back at the map, the cluster of yellow is in a highly dense area with lots of retail/ jobs. The yellow along Massachusetts and Wisconsin Avenues NW into the areas of Upper Caucasia also are in dense-ish areas with retail.  What do we know about Wards 7 & 8? Not enough retail. Not enough grocery stores. Also it lacks density of say Ward 1.

If memory serves me I think I wrote that I would prefer to see an overlay looking at age and retail rather than race.

The People of Metro are Telling Me Something

…and I think that something is that I’m old.

This is going to come across as complaining. But I’m not complaining. Not really. This is a behavior I know I need to encourage.

For the past two weeks, during my commute into work, people keep offering me their seats. I don’t think I look pregnant. I actually have lost 20 lbs since last year (cutting out sugar, eating less, etc), so that can’t be it. But I am getting old. I don’t dye my hair, and I stopped keeping track of my grey hairs after I turned 40. I probably doesn’t help that I don’t wear make-up and I guess my resting-b*tch-face is haggard hag face. That is the conclusion I’ve come to, people are offering their seat to the poor old woman, who apparently is me.

I typically stand close to the door because I just have to go a few stops and I like to work my core surfing the train. Also we have a rule in our house against sitting on the bed if we’ve sat on any public transit in those same clothes.

But back to people offering their seats. That’s sweet. I’ve had young black men, older non-black men, and women of various ethnicities signal and offer their seat on a crowded morning train. Every time, I’ve declined. However my lovely spouse suggested that I just once take someone up on their offer. I told him that I try to decline as nicely as possible and sometimes I remember to say that I appreciate the offer. But it’s 7 something AM in the morning, my brain isn’t 100% on and I don’t drink coffee.

So if you’ve offered me your seat, I just want to say, “Thank you very much. I really do appreciate the offer, but I only have a few stops to go. Thank you.”

Off Label Use of Scooters

This is just an observation.
Dad and kid on electric scooter.
People are using those electric scooter things to do things probably not intended by the scooter rental companies.

Transporting your kids– As you might be able to make out from the image above is a father and son about to cross 7th Street NW in Shaw via one of those Lime scooters. This is not the first person I’ve seen transporting another person on these scooters. I see people doubling up on these often. He’s not the only father I’ve seen transporting his kids. I saw, coming at me down the sidewalk, a father with a elementary aged son in the front. Then after they passed me, I noticed another kid holding on behind the father. So, three people.
Food Delivery via Scooter
Making food deliveries– So one day on my way to satisfy my poke/poki addiction. I noticed this guy, and you can’t really see it all that well but he’s got one of those food delivery box/bag backpack things I see bike delivery people use, but instead of a bike, he’s using a Lime scooter. I don’t know what’s the story with that, or if it makes any financial sense. Did I satisfy that poki desire? Sorta, I should have ordered on-line for pick up because when it’s crazy crowded and busy, you are bound to forget one thing in the bowl you meant to get.

I’m Seeing a Klansman in the Metro

I’ve tweeted it twice, but my brain is seeing a klansman when I’m standing at the platform at the Shaw Howard University metro station in the morning.It looks like a klansman

I know that it is just minerals seeping from the ground through the concrete. I also know it is a sign that WMATA needs to clean up these mineral deposits… WMATA needs to do a lot, maintenance is just one thing on a long list of things to get to ‘good’.

I have no idea if this is still under the sign to go to the HBCU (historically Black college and universities) Howard University (or the elevator), because I’m stuck at home watching a sick baby get better*. I did not get the opportunity to stand on the platform and stare at this mineral deposit and see what my brain, especially with the two dark spots making eyes, thinks of as a representation of a klansman. Someone else could see something else.

I find it interesting, more so about how my brain is working. I don’t think nature or concrete or the metro system is racist. As some point WMATA will clean this up, or the minerals will form some other shape, maybe the Stay Puff marshmallow man from the original Ghost Busters.

*Okay I’m not watching him right now because I went through the checklist (want a bottle? no? need a diaper change? no? running a fever? no, not at this moment, thank goodness. need to be cuddled? no? need a back massage? no? you’re still crying? f it I give up, you’re going to bed…) so he’s napping.

Did you park on P Street & get a ticket?

Blue, Red, Cream housesI’m just going to pass along ANC Bradley Thomas’ email, just in case you’re not on his list.

From: Thomas, Bradley Ashton (SMD 5E05)
Sent: Friday, September 1, 2017 11:10:24 AM
To: Thomas, Bradley Ashton (SMD 5E05)
Subject: Ticketed for Parking on the South Side of P Street near to Friendship-Armstrong School?

Good Morning All:

It has come to my attention that many cars have recently been ticketed for parking on the south side of the 100 block of P Street, NW.  I’m told that as many as ten cars were ticketed on Thursday morning for violating the new “No Parking School Days” restriction in the block.

Last Tuesday, I had a conference call with the District Department of Transportation (DDOT), which is the agency that installed the new no-parking signs on Sunday, August 13th.  On the call were administrators from Friendship-Armstrong Public Charter School and a representative from the Mayor’s office.  It came out in that discussion that the No Parking signs should not have been put in place as no one, not the school, not the Mayor’s office, not me speaking on behalf of the community, asked for them and that there was in fact no legitimate reason for them to be erected.  DDOT then agreed to remove the signs based on letters from the school administrators and me.  That removal should take place within two weeks or less.

Since the signs were unnecessarily placed and, as I indicated on the conference call, place an unreasonable burden on residents, I believe we have good cause to have any tickets issued for this violation vacated.  If you received such a ticket, please scan the ticket and e-mail it to me.  I can’t promise anything but I will put all of the tickets together and petition the Board of Traffic Adjudication or Mayor Bowser to waive or vacate them.  

If you don’t have the capacity to scan, you can make a copy of the ticket and get that to me.  Let me know if you need to do it that way and we can connect.  Also, I only have e-mail addresses for about 10 percent of the residents in our SMD so if you have neighbors who received tickets for this alleged violation and who might not receive this e-mail message, please have them get their tickets to me too. 

Thanks, and remember, we are having a short (one hour) Single Member District meeting next Saturday, 9:30 am, at Dunbar, so please come if you can.

Bradley A. Thomas
Commissioner-ANC5E05