Over the years we’ve seen dozens of videos of crazy, and dangerous people refusing to obey police orders. I remember when I lived in Seattle, a man with a samurai sword stopped traffic for hours in downtown Seattle as dozens and dozens of law enforcement tried many ways to subdue him. Today, we hear more and more about people who want ‘death by cop’ and refuse to put down whatever weapon they have in hand, and ignore police instructions. I’d like to make package an existing product that cops can wear on their belt, or at least keep their vehicles, for these rare occasions. Super-sticky foam.
While it isn’t useful is situations where the threat has a gun (because they could still fire the weapon), it could be useful for pretty much all other weapons – knives, bats, swords, rocks… anything that can’t fire a projective with the squeeze of a finger. For all the non-gun-wielding nutjobs out there, they get a shot of super-sticky foam from a pepper-spray sized can that’s just enough to slow them down or stop them. Then, once it hardens, cops can move in and get control of the assailant.
What about getting this chemical in the bad guy’s eyes or mouth? Yeah, that’s a danger. But, so is a bullet. Just like with other weapons, cops would be trained on how to use this tool. And, should the nutcase get it in his eyes or mouth, he still has a better chance then the damage a bullet, or high-pressure water, or long-term affects of what pepper spray could do.
With the very sad demise of Seattle’s Waterfront Streetcar, and the extremely unlikely chance that it will ever come back, as the removal of the Alaskan Way Viaduct will cause waterfront condo prices to skyrocket, I have an alternate idea to bring a bit of Seattle’s railroad history back to the waterfront. This idea is part history, part touristy. Manually operated handcars along the remaining track along Alaskan Way.
Most people don’t know that Alaskan Way use to be the domain of the railroads – in fact, it use to be called “Railroad Avenue.” And other people don’t know that the Seattle Waterfront Streetcar use to run passengers along the entire length of the waterfront, from Pioneer Square to what is now the Olympic Sculpture Park.
So, why not develop a fun, unique attraction that the tens-of-thousands of cruise ship passengers each year would love, as well as regular Seattleites? Rather than using the powered streetcars, build several handcars, capable of carrying up to seven passengers (six paying customers and a ride operator), where four passengers take turns pumping the crank to move along the track.
The proposed route uses the existing streetcar rails, and is just over half a mile long from about Pier 63 (click for street view) to The Old Spaghetti Factory (click for street view). Hey, Disneyland does it with Davy Crockett’s Explorer Canoes! Walt Disney even had his own handcar for Disneyland.. That’s plenty long enough for people to enjoy a ride, see the Seattle waterfront in a fun way, and even get from one end to the other quicker than walking – heck, this could even be called “kinetic art”.
Google aerial view: https://goo.gl/maps/3BGRh34YR9k
I say there should be several handcars, because they could be ‘launched’ a few hundred feet apart, allowing more than eight passengers at a time to make their way along the waterfront. There could be up to four going at once, one right after another. When all four handcars get to the end of the line, all of the passengers disembark, and the next set of passenger get on, ready for their adventure.
Having a ride operator on board each car would insure that people don’t try breaking any land-speed handcar records, they make sure people on the ground don’t get run over, and they can help rotate the passengers along the way.
Yes, this would be monetized. Just like Disneyland, people would have to pay for the privilege of locomoting themselves. The ticket price goes to cover the cost of building the handcars, covering the cost of operating insurance, paying the employees, maintenance of the cars and some simple advertising – although word-of-mouth and getting listed on the cruise-ship port itinerary would likely mean very low advertising costs. Plus, if this was built and operated by the Northwest Railway Museum, this could be a way of reaching the community at a great distance from the actual museum (as well as bring in extra funds!)
What about storage of the handcars you say? I suppose they could be stored at the old Bell Street Streetcar Station, locked up and covered with heavy-duty canvas, to keep people from climbing on them during the operating season. Then during off-season, they would be light enough to pull up onto a rented flatbed truck and stored at the NRM.
So there you have it. Railroad history, non-profit fundraising, tourist attraction, Seattle.
Almost EVERYONE today carries a smartphone. Carnival should create an Android and iOS app that can connect to the ship’s WiFi but can only access the ship. This app can be a way for passengers to communicate with each other, look up show times and schedules, use maps of the ship, request or schedule services and even scan QR codes around the ship that would give them information about where they’re at or what they are seeing.
Carnival could also send messages and information to passengers, coordinate disembarking, and advertise up-sells for internet connectivity, discounts at certain on-board shops and offer specials to premium services when attendance is low.
This app could work on ALL Carnival Ships and could even be a tool for users before and after their trip. By installing the app weeks before, Carnival can communicate ideas, up-sell shore excursions or help people plan their Port visits ahead of time. And once they finish their vacation, the app could be a way to entice users back to Carnival for future trips by sending photos of ship upgrades or announcing new shows and acts.
I recently took Uber across a San Francisco bridge, which cost the driver $4 in cash. Cash that I don’t carry. Cash that I can’t add to a tip in the Uber app. I apologized to the driver (he wasn’t upset in the slightest and fully expected to pay the bridge toll.)
It surprised me that the Uber app doesn’t recognize that I went through a toll and automatically add it to my fare – especially considering that Uber charges my a ‘safe rider fee’ separately from the fare.
As we drove, I asked the driver more details about fees and found out that Uber is now charging drivers $60/mnth for an old iPhone (with service) that is used for connecting to the Uber servers for getting and tracking rides. I DO think Uber can/should charge for the device, as drivers apparently have the option of using their own phones instead (although I do not know all the details of that.) However, Uber is handing out ancient iPhone models, while at the same time adding thousands of Uber drivers each month, which would reduce their costs. So, this is yet another money-grab by Uber, but the cash-grab is from the drivers, rather than the riders.
In talking to other drivers, I’ve heard that Lyft only charges drivers 20% of each fare and (probably for a limited time), if a driver does 25 or more rides in a single day, they get 100% of the fares.
I’ll be re-thinking my commitment to using Uber and give Lyft a try.