Tuesday, May 27, 2014


Dear stupid Provo pedestrian:

Apparently you have noticed, as I have, that UDOT put in some medians on State Street recently.  I haven't inspected them at close quarters, but they appear to be less than a foot wide and rounded on top.

Allow me to educate you a little bit about the purpose of these medians.  They are meant to keep cars out of the middle lane except for right where they are supposed to turn.  Most people don't like them.  But the data has shown that they keep people from getting in quite as many accidents.

They are not, in fact, meant for standing on.

Which is why, when you stood on one the other day, you were tipping over and flailing your arms for balance.  All while three lanes of traffic whizzed by on either side of you.

This is stupid.  Especially when the nearest crosswalk is only about fifty feet away.

I will never understand this.  It takes less time to walk to a crosswalk and wait for the light to change than it does for people to dart across multiple lanes of unsympathetic traffic, then stand on the median for an extended space of time until the unsympathetic traffic clears, which is usually when the light changes anyway.  Especially when that median is small and almost impossible to stand upon.

It won't kill you to do it my way.  It came close to killing you to do it yours.  The next time you think, think about that.


Monday, May 26, 2014


In keeping with the rather loosely enforced tradition of sometimes sharing musical selections on holidays or other days of remembrance, I offer you this afternoon a video of an excellent recording of "Flanders Fields" by John McCrae, as set by Paul Aitken, performed by the Quintessential Vocal Ensemble.

The one phrase in this setting that has always haunted me (besides "We are the dead," which haunts everyone) is


This phrase haunted me when my high school choir sang this piece, and it haunts me now as I spread peanut butter upon wheat crackers and sit typing at my computer in absolute peace (commutergirl and Baby are napping), my biggest annoyance being that someone occasionally walks past my window talking loudly--do these dead think that most of what I care about is even remotely important? I'd like to think that I've made a good impact on the world, even in my small sphere; I have a good job that I genuinely enjoy that I believe helps make my community better; recently, at least, the list of people I have offended is somewhat shorter than the list of people I have helped. But I often get awfully caught up in a lot of very silly stuff. Which, I suppose, is why it is good to remember.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014


After having observed this phenomenon for several change days in a row, I decided it was time to document it.

If I walk briskly, I can be in place just before the Blue Line comes and calmly get on.

Okay, so now I usually see the Blue Line leaving right as we're pulling in, but no matter: I can still calmly wait for the Red Line.

Is it just me, or does it seem like the Red Line is getting here sooner every day?

Okay, this is getting a little ridiculous.


Thursday, May 15, 2014

822TH POST: THE 822

The 822 was the one that started it all.  If by "it all," you mean, of course, this whole weird obsession with transit that even I don't quite understand.  The 822 was the first UTA bus route I ever rode.  Of course it was a bit different back then.

Mind you, the map hasn't changed that much--there was the extension to the southern end of Payson, the one to UVU, the one all the way to Santaquin, and of course the death of the BYU bus stop.  As I already went into detail about in the last post (and that was supposed to be the short version . . .) the 820 and 822 used to go to BYU all day, but now the 820 doesn't exist and the 822 only runs to BYU and UVU during rush hour, while the 821 runs to the Provo FrontRunner Station all day.

One nice thing about the current system, even if you're trying to get to BYU in the middle of the day (just kidding; probably nobody wants to do that anymore) is that the bus goes all the way to Payson at least once per hour on weekdays.  Back in the day the schedule from Payson used to be


and from BYU


it was a little nuts (though still faster than the pioneers went).  Of course it wasn't that bad if you could also catch the 820, but for those of us living on the edge getting around during the day was a bit touch-and-go.  And, of course, it would be nice if the 821 ran more than once every two hours on Saturdays.  But I beat a dead horse.

I haven't taken the 822 either, as it would be even more impractical for me to take the 822 than the 821.  But from what I've heard (I haven't severed all ties with BYU) it's pretty full during the hours it does run.  Who knew that south-countyers would be some of BYU's most devoted riders?

My sentiments are that currently, with the extreme diminution of BYU's ridership, the 822 is probably enough.  But maybe someday when BYU becomes a thing again we could have both buses running all day in glorious offset-synchrony, or perhaps meeting from two different origins at a handsomely appointed transfer point somewhere in Spanish Fork, then diverging to Provo Station and BYU.  At least, I probably won't ride a bus called "822" again until something like that happens.

Not because I have a moral objection to the current service.  Just because I have a regular job now.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

821TH POST: THE 821

There's actually not that much to tell about the 821: it's the first route in this series that was created in December 2012 when FrontRunner South happened (the 809, alas, proved short-lived), so it doesn't have as much history as the others.  Which is not to say that this corridor doesn't have a lot of transit history, and not for me personally.  But I've decided to save that discussion for number 822.  For sentimental reasons.

Suffice it to say for this evening that the 821 was born out of the long-standing conflict between BYU and not-BYU.  The BYU crowd was the biggest source of ridership on the 820 and 822, but sending them to BYU meant that BYU was the only transfer point to other Provo routes, which was inconvenient for everybody not-BYU and made BYU uncomfortable because of the presence of less-than-celestial people waiting to transfer near (or even inside--the horror!) the Wilkinson Center.  The scales were decisively tipped in favor of South Provo when BYU did this to transit

and the Provo FrontRunner station opened.  The 821 took over the all-day duties of transporting people out of southern Utah County, while the 822 now runs direct to BYU and UVU during rush hour (there was trip each way in the middle of the day for a while, but I wasn't really surprised to see it go).

The only routing change there has been to the 821 so far is that instead of going down 1400 North in Springville to the freeway it now goes down 1860 South and through East Bay (I wouldn't venture that ridership to East Bay is spectacular, but it's probably more than on 1400 North in Springville) and past the Provo Towne Centre (where ridership has never exactly been spectacular, either, but hey, FrontRunner! Maybe?)

Have I ridden it?  Actually, no.  The only days I have time to visit my parents are Saturdays, and the 821 comes once every 2 hours on Saturdays (though now that FrontRunner comes every hour instead of every hour-and-a-half on Saturdays it at least lines up with every other train instead of maybe two trains all day); I would do it, but practical wives and eager grandparents are not interested in our waiting at the Provo platform for an hour then catching the bus for 40 minutes just to get there.  So, no.  But I have some idea of what it's probably like, since I used to catch the 822 on Saturdays and it wasn't exactly the BYU crowd.

I have high hopes that the 821 will someday come once an hour on Saturdays, though this will probably not mean that I will start riding it, since it's still a 40-minute bus ride.  But maybe someday I'll just take it from the FrontRunner station to the mall (a 3-minute ride . . .).

That still counts as having ridden it, you guys.

Thursday, May 8, 2014


Dear stupid Provo driver:

There are several ways to get through the gate at our apartment complex.  The gate automatically opens if you approach it from the inside.  You can dial your phone number from outside and open the gate with your phone.  You can rent a clicker from the office (because $50 is worth avoiding the inconvenience of . . . calling yourself on the phone?).  Or you can use your pool key to get in the pedestrian gate (though I might be the only one here, management included, who knows about that).  Or you can try what you were doing the other night.

Maybe if you just keep revving your engine all night, the gate will open.

Let me know how that goes for you.


Monday, May 5, 2014


A few days later, I was walking home from the bus stop like I do.  A couple was walking toward me down the sidewalk.  As we got closer, it became clear that the gentleman was going to address me; I steeled myself for the inevitable interpersonal interaction that would ensue.  He did indeed address me with what is, technically, a question; but he intoned it like a statement:


And I thought, does he say that to everybody, or do I just look really Mormon?