Route 40 might be one of the more interesting and diverse routes.
It travels from Northgate Mall, (1st Suburban Mall in America) to Downtown Seattle.
I can’t talk about route 40 without mentioning Paul Allen.
Paul Allen might be best known for being a cofounder of Microsoft. Here in Seattle he is loved for keeping the Seahawks in town, saving them from moving to another city by an owner who was only interested in the profit. Paul made sure the Seahawks were Seattle’s team by being the perfect owner: Deep pockets and forward thinking enough where he truly believed the Seahawks home was in the hearts of the 12th man.
A new stadium was built, state of the art, a practice facility was built, state of the art.
He enacted a business plan to attract players that included that they would be treated well. He as much as any of the players won our Superbowl and there by securing Seattle’s Sea Hawk worship.
Paul Allen didn’t stop there, he invested in South Lake Union, he saw an opportunity for growth and development for our high-tech industry made a deal with Amazon and buildings that would house people and offices were built. Amazon being what they are, were not interested in just business as usual, as much as they have changed retail, they are also changing the way business is done. When you go into what I call the Amazon Jungle, you walk about 20 years into the future of how we will do office work. Spaces there are less about cubicles and more about being able to move person to person. You’re not alone, your dog goes with you. In the Jungle, there are dog parks, dog cafes, where people meet and exchange info or relax. Fast food is being redefined as healthy food and is being served up quickly, vegetables and fruit is passed out for free off food carts to walk by’s. Workers are dressed in Jeans and comfortable shoes, tee shirts and button downs. Facial hair, people who are trimmed well, and those that are not. It seems to be all about come as you are.
Starting at Northgate Mall I head south and west over to North Seattle Community College where I drop a few students and teachers, pick up commuters and continue west. I cross Aurora, stop, pick up a few more commuters and some street people, head towards Ballard. First is our Crown Hill district Dicks Drive Inn will be on my left, ( another Seattle Landmark, the burgers are not to be missed) a couple of grocery stores, restaurants, ma and pa businesses mixed with apartments and condos.
Taking a right onto 85th, I’m driving in a neighborhood with a mixture of homes from different era’s. Arts and Crafts, Modern, International, NW contemporary, mostly a higher income neighborhood. Here I’m picking up older commuters or students.
As I head South on 24th towards Ballard, I pick up groups of people and start to see the dogs who come with their mates to work for Amazon. I like to be introduced to these dogs and claim the dog’s way of paying fare is to say hi to me…. Some lick my hand, some like to be petted. Gigi a toy poodle kisses me on my cheek. A young man with a Borzoi has no interest in me or anyone else and enters my bus as his partner pays human fare. A squiggly mutt is happy to see everyone, and this is the best day enters and wines as people reach down to say hi to him, his mom says good morning as she giggles at her dog.
In Ballard on Market street a few more commuters then I head south towards downtown Freemont, I pick up more people, a few leave who work at google, or facebook, or leave to enjoy shopping, or a walk by the Ballard Locks.
I go over the Freemont Bridge and hope that it doesn’t stop traffic, raise and let a ship pass. I head south past lake Union, past marinas, restaurants, high end Condos with fantastic views of Lake Union. (Lake Unions Gasworks park is where Seattle has its 4th of July fireworks). When I reach South Lake Union my bus is often at standing room capacity. I start dropping people off in the Amazon Jungle at dog parks and cafes, office buildings and workspaces. Seattle’s diversity is on display here, its progressive acceptance of all that is human, people from all parts of the world, gays, lesbians, transgenders, black, white, brown, all cultures and back grounds come here to do business. Most are younger than 40, they have their computers, tablets and smart phones. They are dressed casually and behave professionally and are personable. Their Dogs wag tails and are part of this parade.
I tell people that to come here is to see what business would be like 20 or 30 years from now. I hope the world truly does follow this path, and I believe Paul Allen is as proud of this accomplishment as any of his.
I drive up to 3rd ave and drive south, by then its just a few people, a couple of commuters and street folk, they go where they need to go, then the bus is mine while I lay over at one our bases.