December 26th, 2010

Home again, home again

We went to Albany for a short visit with R.'s extended family. It was very, very nice. The kids were fantastically well-behaved on the ride over and back (thank you, DVD player in the van), and in general (wow, it makes a difference bringing the trampoline and iPads). I forgot to bring the headphones for T., which was stupid; they were what let him stay in the room with the family and its attendant noise. I won't forget again. :l It was okay, tho; we got some quiet time in the basement with him.

The food was excellent, as always.

We left last night, rather than this morning, and while R. is convinced we wouldn't have had trouble either way, _I'm_ happier looking out my own window at snow than looking out a van window at snow.

Many thanks to R.'s sister A. for hosting. She always does a great job and this was no exception. She got the house decorated and a tree up and food on the table for for two days in a row with very little notice and working right through Christmas Eve.

Because I blogged about the Christmas sweater, and she noticed that, too, it looks like there will be some competition for sweater-of-the-season next year. Should be entertaining. ;-)

Paratransit arrives! Actually, arrived a few months ago

http://www.wickedlocal.com/boxborough/features/x1651493070/New-dial-a-ride-van-service-in-Acton-draws-a-mix-of-riders

Very exciting!

ETA: Okay, to be clear: paratransit in the US sense of van service on-call for the elderly and/or disabled has been around in town for a while. Paratransit in the sense of public transit by car or van for the general population on an appointment basis is what has started up. This is considered a "soft" option to encourage people to depend on cars less, and from a policy perspective, I view this class of changes as a really good thing to try in suburbs which do not have enough density to justify a scheduled bus service (yet). It's nice that the article has this quote:

"It may sound slow, but Brooks said the need for the service in town is clear compared to other services she’s overseen.

“In my experience it really takes a year to build up any kind of ridership,” she said. “This is actually building very quickly.”

I'm particularly excited because early this year, when I was collecting signatures, I spoke to one of the candidates for a position here in town. I asked if this kind of service had ever been discussed in town, and he said it was in progress. I've been watching for news since, and saw a MinuteVan van by the side of the road eastbound on 2 a while back, but hadn't seen any articles.

ETAYA: Clearly, I have not been looking in the right places.

www.acton-ma.gov/DocumentView.aspx?DID=917

This is mostly describing the rail shuttle from a parking lot further away to the train station. One of our shopping criteria for this house was walking/bicycling distance to the train station, because we knew the lot(s) filled up very, very, very early in the morning, so if we wanted to take the train, we needed to not have to drive to the train station and park. People drive into town from other towns to catch the train at this point, because it is (currently) the last stop before the drop in service and the last stop that is double tracked. It's nice to know that options are being increased, altho one of course hates to see local streets backed up with commuters from out of town coming in to catch the train.