Thursday, December 18, 2008

Walkin' in a winter wonderland...In Seattle!

Well, after a teaser snowfall over the weekend, we got the real deal today. When I got up to go to my dad's office, I looked out and the decision was made, no way would I drive! Yes, I confess, I was going to drive. Trying to get to meetings and drum up clients around town has put me back in the car more than I want to be.

Anyway, one flake of snow and Seattle goes into panic mode, and the drivers, well, let's just say I saw enough today to really confirm I made the right decision! What I saw today:
  • mid-90's vintage BMW with all four wheels locked up sliding, kind of sideways, kind of straight into an intersection.
  • SUVs, pickups and all variety of passenger cars sliding around corners
  • folks driving on icing streets as if they were bone-dry pavement in the middle of summer
  • many cars with engines near redline and wheels spinning, but not really going anywhere

One other thing I saw, and experienced, that had me scratching my head some was the number of articulated buses that Metro Transit was running in this weather. For those of you who don't know what an articulated bus is, it's kind of like two buses joined together with an accordion-like section. The thing is, the drive wheels are, like in any other bus, the rear wheels, only on the second portion of the bus. In essence, the trailer is pushing the cab!

Now, I know these increase carrying capacity. This is a good thing when people are opting not to drive. However, in the ice, they do tend to jackknife a bit. The one I was to catch to my dad's office did so (before arriving at the stop I was to board it), and my dad also saw several of them jackknife when he was dropping my mom off at work. Perhaps Metro should consider parking the articulated buses in this weather and decreasing the frequency of some routes to spread the buses out to account for the decreased passenger capacity.

Oh, when we really embrace a real mass transit solution regionally that includes something other than buses being run throughout the area, not just a few other options?