Catching Up

It’s been a long time since I’ve blogged–most of our girl’s life, in fact. That life has been eventful for all of us, which is why blogging is one of many things that have fallen by the wayside.

Unfortunately a lot of our green habits have fallen by the wayside as well. We still have grand plans for solar, but no time line. So what have we been able to maintain?

We have low-water major appliances, and low-flow (but high aerating) faucets.
We use Seventh Generation Free and Clear laundry detergent.
Our main cleaning products are Mrs. Meyers, Seventh Generation, and Honest Company, with a little bit of Method Home.
I still shop at our local farmers’ market, although often the only thing I buy is eggs. (Berries are in season, though, so I’ll be getting some of those tomorrow as well.)

Sadly, neither of us commutes by bus anymore. Our schedules have required some drastic changes over the past couple of years, which means that we’re driving to work–and even more than that, we’re driving separately. Hopefully we’ll be able to change that to some degree once this school year starts–but we won’t know for sure until we’re there.

So what would I like to change? Transportation isn’t going to change in the immediate future, but one thing we could do is buy less. I think my two main green goals for the rest of the year are to buy less, and to cut down on food waste. We’re doing better there than we used to, but we can pay more attention and shop more consciously.

Let’s see what happens.

Pike Place Farmers Market Express, July 16

Photo by Seattle City Council. Public Domain.

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Commuter Express Congestion

I hope that LADOT realizes that they don’t just need new buses. They need more buses. And, by extension, more drivers. Yesterday there were 16 people standing the entire way from the Encino Park and Ride (and most of those got on a few stops before that point) to the first stop in Westwood. That’s a long time to stand, especially when there aren’t good places to hold on. (Seriously, LADOT officials, try holding onto an overhead bar for an hour in stop-and-go traffic. Not good for the wrists or elbows or my carpal tunnel. And what about the people who can’t reach the bar?

Five Years of Public Transit

Commuter Express Neoplan

For the past five years, I’ve commuted primarily by public transit. I had a brief flirtation with multimodalism (I used to bike to the bus stop on the home end of my commute), but that ended when the need to take our daughter to day care began.

When we lived in our apartment, I took Big Blue Bus to work. When we moved, we started taking Metro. I took the Orange Line to the 761, and John biked to the bus. But both of us found it really onerous–me, because my commute involved a lot of backtracking, and therefore took two hours in the evening, and John because he usually had to wait for at least 30 minutes to find a bus with an open spot on the bike rack.

Then we discovered LADOT Commuter Express, which picked us up and dropped us off just as conveniently as Metro, but on a much more direct route (and with better odds of bike space). So for nearly three years, we’ve used that as our primary mode of commute transit.

Yes, there are days that we drive–but they’re decidedly in the minority. I rode the bus until my last day at work before maternity leave, and started up with my first day back.

So, what are my thoughts on five years of riding the bus?

Well, I feel good about how I commute. I am delighted that I can get to work without being the one behind the wheel. I love having a chunk of time every day to read. I’m happy that I only have to pay for a tank of gas about once every 10 days. And I’m thrilled to be using our cars much less than many Angelenos do.

I’m also really looking forward to those new buses that LADOT is supposed to be rolling out this winter. Trust me, a 22-year-old bus is old.

Photo by LA Wad, via Flickr.

Guilty on All Charges

Christopher Thomas Thompson, the Brentwood doctor accused of deliberately causing a car crash involving–and resulting in serious injury for–two cyclists on July 4, 2008, has been found guilty on all charges. Day-by-day coverage of testimony can be found at Velonews.

Moral of the story? Don’t be a vicious idiot with no sense of irony.

Move It!

Illuminate LA has a great post titled “Why Non-Cyclists Should Care About the LA Bike Plan.” I have another reason.

Annoyed by traffic? Don’t like all those other cars in your way? Then support cycling. It means fewer cars between yours and your destination.

I’m joking. Except I’m kind of not. Because plenty of people are never going to give up their cars. But wouldn’t it benefit them if others did, at least some of the time?