Streetfilms Q&A: Carla Saulter

SF:  Tell us about your Bus Chick column.

CSI’ve been writing about what I call “transit culture” for almost six years. There are lots of people writing—probably a lot better than I could—about transit policy and urban planning. I sometimes touch on those subjects, but I’m much more interested in what’s happening on the ground: who's riding, why, and how. My blog is more about the “public” than it is about transportation.

SF: We profiled your family in a 2009 Streetfilm and every time we've screened it, it really reverberated with folks. Have you gotten the same feedback?

CS: I've received a fair amount of attention from the film, not so much because my blog or what I said on camera, but because of my daughter - believe it or not, for reasons other than her extreme cuteness. A lot of people are truly shocked by the fact that I'm raising a child (these days, two) without a car. In some ways, this is understandabale, since most Americans believe that cars are essential for good, middle-class parenting. On the other hand, I ride the bus with parents and children every day. Among my fellow passengers, "busing with babies" is decidedly unremarkable.

SF: If you could make everyone in Seattle watch one Streetfilm, what would you choose?

CS: I think the entire Moving Beyond the Autombobile series should be required viewing for everyone on Earth. There are many more entertaining and inspirational Streetfilms, but the MBA series is a clear, comprehensive introduction to a lot of the concepts that the livable streets movement is based on.

If I had to pick one film for Seattlelites, it would be the one about Bogota's BRT system. In the first place, it shows that a city without huge capital resources can build a usable, accessible and efficient transit system. It also shows that it doesn't take decades of debate to get stuff done. (Seattle types, you feel me?) Plus, the bus command center is cool."