The Saturday before last, I attended Vancouver's first Transit Camp, the following sessions I spent the most time at:
- Ask the Gurus, attended by Stephen Rees and others, where we discussed what we liked about transit systems around the world (emphasis on places we've visited or lived) and how they might apply to Vancouver.
- Transit connecting neighbourhoods, attended by the Safe Route Tsawwassen. I transcribed the flyer Carol Vignale handed out at Rebecca's photo of said flyer. Carol's group, along with a Tsawwassen Band elder, are promoting alternate transportation methods in Tsawwassen and the Delta area, such as bike valets at public events and making 56 Street a boulevard and town centre. Carol mentioned something about being between permanent full-time jobs and I wish I blurted out what I thought, which was "how do can we make what you're doing now your permanent full-time job?" She and her initiative are mentioned in The Delta Optimist with regards to cycling routes. No notes on the wiki, but there's a link to video (50 minutes in, apparently).
- Route numbers and nomenclature, which was easily the most esoteric session at the unconference. That's not a complaint as far as I'm concerned: I participate in finding multiples of 37 on buses and elsewhere. Numerology is highly unscientific to me, but I do appreciate the ability of assigning meaning to otherwise meaningless icons and interacting a little more with the built environment.
- Art and creativity in Transit, attended by the authors of True Loves, a great graphic novel about a young vintage clothing store owner who finds the boy of her dreams in Vancouver, with cameos by the mountains and the SeaBus. We talked about ways we can stay "productive" and "creative" during the hour in which transit riders like me usually use to zone out. I'll watch the video of the Cycling session.
- Social media and games for transit. I regret choosing that over the Advocacy session because the latter would have been a little more practical for me and would have been more of a learning experience. There aren't much notes about the Advocacy session on the wiki, at least not yet.
Lessons for the Next Transit Camp Vancouver
- Workspace is an amazing venue for this kind of thing. I nominate it for the next time we have Transit Camp!
- The unconference possibly lasted one session too many for most brains. That said, we could only find that out the hard way. Next time I imagine it will end closer to 3:30 than 4:30.
- Lunch went well. Not too short, not too long, and everybody except those that first arrived as lunch was ending got something to eat.
- Unconferences still need loud people to wrangle everybody to go to the next session. Roland and Dave stepped up and filled that role admirably.
- There was no keynote at Transit Camp as scheduled on the wiki. Maybe we didn't need to schedule one? People didn't seem to mind that there was no Important Speaker to get the attendees warmed up.
Lessons For Me (for the Next Unconference)
- Don't chicken out next time and instead go with your gut instinct and hold a session. My idea was to discuss the Vancouver Transit Group on Flickr and to take suggestions on how I could improve my administration of the group. I have extensive notes on that, enough for a separate post.
- Business cards! Or, Moo cards. I handed out exactly zero to people I wanted to talk to again.
- Don't sign up to be the wiki gardener or Skype backchannel inviter. Put the computer down, take a notepad and only take brief notes as reminders to look up stuff later. It's about participating and letting others document the event well, which they'll do.
- Wear a cute t-shirt. That was one thing I did right, so this is just a reminder to do exactly the same thing next time. I wore the awesome subway map of the heart t-shirt Karen got me for Christmas, and it was a hit.
There are links to other blog posts on the front page of the wiki and I'm also keeping track in the announcement I made in the Vancouver Transit Flickr group. Next time I'll announce it here a little earlier. I know there were people who read this blog who might have been able to attend if they knew about it a few more days beforehand.