Thursday, July 16, 2009

Romance, seen from our living room windows, an unusual sight on NW 22nd

Yep, it's a TriMet bus, the 15 to be exact, as you can tell from the sign atop its windshield--Belmont/23rd means it's the bus that goes from NW 23rd across the river to SE Belmont.
Back story. We heard a news story on KGW Channel 8, explaining that from at least 7 p.m. on until we knew not when NW 23rd would be closed between Hoyt and Irving for a street event centered around Escape from New York Pizza.

Hence we soon began to hear the distinctive, memory-inducing squwish, whoosh, sound signaling the release of brakes and the diesel-infused acceleration of a 12-ton bus heading north, first right outside the living room windows above NW 22nd. Then we heard the deceleration of the southbound bus, the squeak of the engaging brakes, followed by the beep-beep-beep of the kneeling bus. Kneeling? At the corner of NW 22nd and NW Everett? I quickly looked down from our 4th floor window and saw an older woman walking west, away from the stopped bus. Yep, the driver had pushed the button that makes the door-side of the bus lower itself a few inches which makes for an easier exit--or entrance--for older persons, disabled persons. Oh, and there's a ramp that folds out and sits itself onto the sidewalk for wheelchairs, scooters, walkers, and those wire baskets you can fill up with groceries, etc.

So, why in the world you're wondering would I get a photo of one of the buses that went south over the next few hours? Why would I be so excited about having buses outside our windows? Believe me, Mama was wondering about it, especially as we kept hearing the squeak, the squwish, the whoosh, and the acceleration and deceleration. She said more than once, "I'm glad we don't have this outside every day."

Here's what excited me, the fact that changing from one street to another parallel one causes not a single ripple in the functioning of TriMet. I didn't go out on NW 23rd to look, but I can just about guarantee that TriMet had signs and/or employees at the regular bus stops on NW 23rd, telling folks to go east one block to board their bus.

It's so Portland to be able to adapt to changing circumstances like this, like when the bridges have to lift for river traffic, like the upcoming Providence Bridge Pedal when folks can choose to ride their bikes on 11 bridges that cross the Willamette in Portland because lanes will be closed to vehicle traffic--you could ride across fewer bridges or walk across two of them, I could go on and on.

These changes are not your run-of-the-mill construction-induced changes. Don't get me wrong, those are here just like everywhere else. But to me these so-Portland-changes brim with romance and make me fall even more for this city I've now called home for three years.


Don and Krise said...

Sometimes it's the simplest of things that please us. Good for you. I'm glad that Portland feels so much like home to you. You made the right move.

gogouci said...

Wow, you live off NW 22nd. 23rd used to be home to my favorite food and drink establishments...way back when I worked on 6th & Washington. Hey, a nice little change of pace is cause for excitement. Have a great weekend.

Jim K said...

I like that you embrace change. I hate it when someone moves my cheese.