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Posts Tagged ‘public transit’

I have done it – traversed the Oregon Coast by public bus (almost) – coming out to the coast in Crescent City, CA and stopping in Astoria, OR today, though i may continue north through Washington – yes by public bus. I have done sections before, but never have gone from end to end, and this time i did it in reverse, taking my time, camping out on the way.

Most of the coast is linked by county transit systems, as Greyhound stopped running out here years ago. There is one 24 mile gap between Florence and Yachats, and i have heard murmurs of a connection coming one day. I love this mode of travel, for here the riders often talk to each other on the bus, and you get a view of the coastal communities you would not otherwise. It is not fast – most systems run 5 or 6 days a week, with sunday service non-existent, and there are only a few buses each day. I like to camp which is an inexpensive option with the hiker-biker sites in the Oregon State Parks. Although most buses make flag stops along the way, i often carry my pack several miles. The transit system can also be handy for anyone walking the Oregon Coast Trail, or cycling the oregon coast bike route  (most buses have 2 bike racks)

These are the transit systems i used going from south to north

To Crescent City (or Brookings, OR)

SouthWest Point from Klamath Falls (OR) Amtrak,  Medford(greyhound, ashland) or Grants Pass (Greyhound) – passing through towns on the way. I got off in Hiouchi, by Jedidiah State Park (redwoods) to camp for a night.

Crescent City to Smith River (for connection north)
– Redwood Coast Transit
also connects from Arcata (Greyhound, Amtrak bus) and highway 199

Smith River to Brookings to Coos Bay
Curry Public Transit runs up the coast as far as North Bend, stopping in the communities of Port Orford, Gold Beach, Bandon, and Coos Bay, and allows for flag stops on the 101. I took several days to make this trip, stopping off at State Parks enroute .

Coos Bay – out to Charleston (side trip)

Coos Transit   travels around the towns of Coos Bay and North Bend and out to Charleston, where Cape Arago is only a few mile walk

Coos Bay to Florence

Porter Stage Lines will take you to Florence (also to Reedsport) and inland to Eugene (Greyhound, Amtrak) and Bend and beyond

Florence

There is no bus service from Florence north to Yachats (about 26 miles). I must admit, i hitched this stretch this time from the north end of town, though i walked it southbound a few years ago, over a few days. Rhody Express will take you to the north end of town. The Oregon Coast trail, takes you both along the beach and the road. There are several campgrounds, both state and forest service along the way.

Yachats to Lincoln City (and Otis to connect north)

Lincoln County Transit  serves the many communities along this section of the coast, with buses from Yachats to Newport, Newport to Lincoln City (and to otis for northbound connections), and to Toledo inland. There are also local services in Newport and Lincoln City. With many towns, a variety of trails and landscapes, and four state parks with hiker biker sites, traveling this section of the coast is a breeze. At Newport – you can go inland to Corvallis and beyond on the Valley Retriever

From Otis through Tillamook to Cannon Beach

Tillamook Transit connects through to cannon beach, with service into Portland as well. The system has several bus lines that will take you to Pacific City, Oceanside and Netarts, Garibaldi and Rockaway Beach, and up to manzanita and-Cannon Beach, with connections made in Tillamook. In addition to the state and forest service parks, Tillamook county offers several county campgrounds with hiker-biker sites.

From Cannon Beach to Astoria

Clatsop County transit – Ride the Bus – has a direct bus line that will take you from Cannon Beach to Astoria, stopping in Seaside and other communities. At time of writing, this transit system had experienced major cuts (from almost hourly service to a few times a day etc)  but hopes to rebuild.

Beyond Astoria

once in Astoria (or seaside, cannon beach( you may go back to Portland  on NorthWest Point or continue North to Washington via Pacific Transit  to Aberdeen and from there up the Olympic Peninsula to the tip and around – or take the ferry to Victoria BC and north, or inland to Olympia and from there to Seattle and beyond, the inland side of the Peninsula.

Along the route you will meet many people and see places in a new way. the journey is not quick, but life is a journey and not a destination.

Update 2015

I once again spent the summer travelling the coast by bus – the system has greatly improved. with the North by Northwest (OXO) system linking the various transit systems and offering 3 day ($25) and 7 day ($30) passes that include a return between valley and coast and unlimited coastal travel. http://www.nworegontransit.org

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10/27 – salt lake city

I am not a car. I am a human being. This i want to yell. I yearn for a place that is geared towards people rather than cars. I yearn for a place that is built on a human scale. At times i wonder if cars have become a species that is taking over, like in many a sci-fi film for it seems that in America the landscape is geared towards them. What i am writing is nothing new, not even to me, but i can ignore this feeling no more. I have wandered north america, and the usa for too long, and the landscape makes me sad. all too often it hurts to walk, the body is fine, but the soul screams out and feels overwhelmed. there is no where i want to go. I am a person in a land built for cars.

I feel this more intensely here, in a city designed for the car, but it is something that has haunted me for many a year – in so many places around the continent. Why not just learn to drive again and somehow buy a car – you ask. Perhaps i could, and i am just being stubborn and refusing to accept the society we have created. Maybe i am, but i feel that something has been lost, something that must be reclaimed – somehow. But how?

At times i have been yearning for Central America or Mexico – the lands where i was last winter, the lands where public transit and public space looms large. A place where you could almost always find some sort of transportation – from a deluxe bus that puts greyhound to shame, to a chicken bus – the school buses of my youth, to the back of a truck, where in the cities buses, collectivos (communal taxis) and in guatemala tuk-tuk (three wheeled motorized taxis) could take you anywhere. Though it is not just the transportation, it is that despite the crazy traffic, many places are still built to human scale (though the big cities are the sprawls of the car). They are designed for walking though the sidewalks are narrow and uneven and suddenly disappear, and the cars zoom through and do not stop and park anywhere. The Cars are part of the equation, but they are not it. People still walk as a means to get around, and for fun. A pedestrian is not an anomaly. Still, the danger looms, making it less safe to walk around.

I am in a city where in many areas it hurts to walk. the neighborhood where i stay is older, one of the first, and is built to a human scale with narrower streets with sidewalks separated by a median of grass and trees, but once i leave i am faced with the wide boulevards full of cars. And even in this area you see few people on the street, and i think that is it.

Public transit in this city is fairly good, with buses passing in many areas every 15 minutes to half an hour. The trax light rail train runs more often and the system is being expanded, as is the front runner train to link the communities to the south. But once you get off, there is little around. The trax to the south is built upon old railway tracks, and stops at park’n’rides with little else around; buses run to and fro but it is a wasteland to the eyes.

In town the blocks are long and the streets are wide – sidewalks exist separated from the street, but few walk along – only those like myself, the poor, the young, the homeless, and the occasional other person. While walking is possible on the main streets, you are overwhelmed by the cars – they are not to human scale. you must push a button to work the pedestrian crossing light (yes it exists) and if you come as the street light changes, you must wait an entire round. The effort is made but you become overwhelmed, and feel visible and exposed as a pedestrian.

The problem is lack of the public sphere – few people walk here and the only ones in parks are the homeless or barely housed so it seems. Yes people are busy and days are getting short, but lunch breaks, and after work – at home alone or with a few others in private space in front of the tv.

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