Back in May 2007, when the car wouldn't start and I decided to make better use of my time than waiting around for AAA to show up, I never would have imagined that over a year and a 1/2 later, I'd be without a car -- on purpose. Yes, I often ask myself, "Why am I doing this completely insane and very time-consuming experiment??" The truth is that I'm having a whole lot of fun while doing it.
As 2008 comes to a close, it's time for me to jump on the year-end reflection bus... below are a few things TQL noted in 2008.
1. The CDTA Trip Planner seemed nifty when it was first introduced. On closer examination, I noticed it was rather clunky and didn't provide clear information on the shuttle stops.
2. The CDTA monthly pass (called the Swiper) could be a lot more consumer-friendly by (i) changing the valid dates to be good 30 days from the first day of use, rather than based on the calendar month, and (ii) offering refunds for lost or stolen cards. Both of these are standard over at the MTA.
3. My good friend took me grocery shopping at the Slingerlands Chopper. We noticed some major disparities in customer service between the city and the 'burbs. I've since traveled back there a few times via bus. The best thing about letting CDTA take me to the Slingerlands Price Chopper is that I don't have to get confused by the obtuse signage of the Slingerlands roundabouts.
4. I experienced the overcrowded Route 5 corridor first-hand one Sunday night when I was late picking my daughter up from a friend's house.
5. In the final days of my relationship with CDTA's Trip Planner, I noted that CDTA didn't program the Trip Planner with the holiday schedule over Memorial Day. I was thrilled to start something new with Google Transit which seemed to make my life easier. When Labor Day rolled around, I ran another test of inter-office communication, which yielded different results than the Memorial Day experiment.
6. I dreamt of light rail, contemplated car sharing, and kvetched about CDTA's circular reasoning (which they occasionally dismantle, but not consistently).
7. I'm not nearly as productive a blogger as I could be, and I've been happy to share info with the fab folks at AOA -- including CDTA's new jingle and the innovative partnership between the Affordable Housing Partnership and CDTA that my friend "Lucy" tipped me off about.
8. I highlighted a few bus adventures and encounters. Some fun. Some not so fun. I contemplated neighborhood planning and learned a bit of Albany's trolley history from my friends, Nancy and Gregg.
9. Gun violence surged in the city. The death of a 10-year old girl sixteen blocks from my home in May and the killing of a college student two blocks from home in October spoke volumes to me about how Albany's neighborhoods have been neglected.
10. I worked with a bunch of great people to fight CDTA's fare hike. The fun all started when I called my friend Roger November 30 to discuss taking action against the hike. I dragged an anti-automobile boy to the public hearing on December 4 (with the plan to get some Crisan gelato after the hearing no matter how cold it was outside), and we met a few people who were ready to work to Stop the Hike. Unfortunately, the board passed the revised fare increase without considering that they could have real options not far ahead if they would only push for them (yes, the 7th Avenue subway line needs help-- but Capital Region residents and visitors deserve affordable mass transit too!) ... still, I look forward to working with Ray Melleady and the CDTA crew in the future.
As for my thoughts for 2009 - check out what I told my friends at All Over Albany.
Happy New Year.
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