Filed under: Birmingham Alabama, Birmingham, AL, Blogging, Bus Rapid Transit, Catalyst, city stages, Civic Engagement, Erik Jambor, Halloween 2006, other cities, parades, people, Sidewalk, The X at 100.5, The Year in Review
November began with a first look at a new rapid transit bus that could be used for the metropolitan area. We took a quick look back at a local Halloween tradition downtown along 2nd Avenue North.
We recognized the changing face of banking as names were replaced in the Birmingham skyline. I made three trips to New York in one year for the first time since my second year of college in Savannah; one of those trips let me see Homewood High enjoy the spotlight in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade.
For most of the month, I took a break due to the loss of my grandmother. If nothing else, it reminded me to enjoy life in all of its forms whenever you can.
Recognition and advice/opinion for projects
The end of the month led to the rest of the city finally recognizing the existence of the Bham Wiki, a chance to hear from those interested in the future of City Stages, whether it be through the comments section of this post, or through the comments collected from our attendance at the City Stages/Catalyst town hall meeting about what else could be done to aid the struggling festival.
The Radio Carousel begins
The end of the month also led to the beginning of what we’ve been calling “The Radio Carousel” in Birmingham, Alabama. It began simply enough with the loss of The X at 100.5. It continued well into the first part of December, but not before another significant event hit the cultural scene, the sudden resignation of Sidewalk’s founding director Erik Jambor.
We really weren’t sure how the year would end… we’re still not with hours to spare.
We’ll see you later today.
The Year in Review: January and a little December ‘05 too
The Year in Review: February 2006
The Year in Review: March 2006
The Year in Review: April 2006
The Year in Review: May 2006
The Year in Review: June 2006
The Year in Review: July 2006
The Year in Review: August 2006
The Year in Review: September 2006
The Year in Review: October 2006
Filed under: Birmingham Alabama, Birmingham, AL, Bus Rapid Transit, Mass Transit, NABI, Traffic, transit, Transportation, urban issues
Truth be told, I almost started this post with a lie. I almost said that I hadn’t ridden on a bus for more than two years. Not counting a ride on the bus that connects the commuter train in Baltimore with Thurgood Marshall BWI last November, my last transit bus ride was in August 2005 while home in New York. Much of the subway stations in lower Manhattan are still not accessible years after 9/11, so construction during weekends mean that surface routes are used to get from point A to point B. In my case, point B was the Staten Island Ferry. Having grown up with one of the nation’s larger bus systems, I am aware of many of the complaints that are logged against using buses. Birmingham residents would not have any of those complaints available to them if they choose to go with a bus designed and built in-state. They’d also be assisting with the economy while providing a taste of what 21st century transit could be like.
The Birmingham News ran this story on the appearance of the bus this morning.
Hybrid-fuel bus attracts attention, The Birmingham News, November 3, 2006
I was able to take part in the second demonstration route traveled by the NABI BRT60. The fact that it runs on rubber tires is the only major similarity to many conventional buses. For those that do the morning commute in cities like Chicago and New York, the amenities would resemble their subways and els more than their buses. One of the most notable differences is the existence of doors on both sides of the bus, allowing for them to run in dedicated lanes and allowing for passengers to get off the bus safely whether on a one-way or two-way street (never interacting with traffic). The bus is also much longer than a normal bus; 60 feet instead of 40. Bucket seats with LED displays overhead that could be used to inform passengers of traveling distances and next stops. Passengers would pay before getting on the bus, again operating more like commuter trains than buses. The rubber floors, low to the ground, and available WiFi access would provide creature comforts that are not even currently available on most systems. The best way to express all of this is to show it, thanks to Curtis.
Yesterday we provided links in the post to examples of other systems that are in existence, even if only in an experimental phase, around the country and the world. It’s definitely something to consider in addition to some of the other alternatives being examined. Based on comments printed in the News’ article and comments overheard during my ride on the bus yesterday, I’d say that the first impression is one that may finally change some people’s negative views of riding the bus. Transportation is key to the history of this city. We should embrace it as part of our strategy to renew it.
It would not be a Friday without mentioning a couple of things happening this weekend. My quest to take part in the Vulcan Run will come up quite short. At this point, I’m setting an extremely slow target date of the Cooper River Bridge Run in April in Charleston, SC. It was the first race I ever ran, so it would be appropriate for it to be the first one I do getting back in the swing of things. I’m still planning on braving the temps tomorrow morning as there are a few people I know that plan to run the race. Check out the website to learn some more about it.
Two other events that should be an interesting part of the weekend are the first annual Moss Rock Festival and Cosmos Pizza‘s 10th Anniversary celebration, both taking place Saturday. There’s also a chance that people may actually see a certain blogger play kickball on Sunday afternoon, though we’ll have to wait and see.
Enjoy the day.