Pole Dancing


Yes, of course they practice. But I’d never noticed that one of the practice points was right there in the middle of it all. I’d just got off the Blue line train, using a different route on my way to USC for a change, and about to jump onto my bike.

In other public transport news, I remain disappointed in the USC “Air Quality Management District’s (AQMD) Commuter Transportation Survey” that they insist we complete. Why am I disappointed? I think it is a good thing, overall, but there’s a potentially big flaw, depending upon what they are planning on using the data for. There’s no way to indicate on the form that there are mixed methods of using transport to commute. So I have to choose either bus or train or bike or walk. Not some mixture of them, which is more representative. In fact, given the fact that the system has patchy coverage in lots of places, I bet that most people (other than car drivers of course) don’t use one form alone. I mention this every year on the form (but not this year as I’ve gotten fed up), but still no change. I got around it a bit in the section where you document a sample week by choosing bus for one day, train for another, bike, for another, and so forth. But I should not have to do this, and also the earlier section of the form remains misleading.



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8 Responses to Pole Dancing

  1. Jude says:

    That is a cool photo. I always feel that way about census forms–should I deny all my ethnicities just because I look white? What about that Huron many greats-grandmother? What about my Cherokee great-grandmother? I’ve been advocating in my community to improve a particular trail, and what I’ve discovered is that it isn’t a community concern because most adults DO NOT WALK. As soon as they can, they drive from place to place, so they have no idea how bad the trails are that their children use, and as soon as the children can drive, they start driving too, and on it goes.

  2. Supernova says:

    I’ve had similar complaints about the transportation surveys conducted frequently at my university. There’s no way to explain that my preferred mode of transportation may differ according to time of year (I don’t bike when it’s snowing) or even by day of week (in quarters when my husband and I teach on the same day, we often carpool). I suppose processing such multifaceted data would be a lot more difficult, and they’re being pressured for quick results. Still frustrating.

  3. Lasse says:

    It’s hard to tell from the picture, but is it North or South poles?

  4. Clifford says:

    Ha Ha! Excellent….


  5. Is there a contact person for the survey (you know, a name for “if you have trouble completing this survey” or “if you have further questions, please contact”)? I’d get in touch with them and point out that not only is it frustrating for you as a customer not to be able to accurately respond, but it also has major policy implications. If a significant number of people use, say, a combination of bike and train, then the trains need to be equipped to deal with people’s bikes.

    I often end up having to do this with surveys at my university, most recently with a transport survey, because they had a number of options (car, bus, walking, etc), but not option for a wheelchair, or even a generic “other” option. It matters because wheelchair users have different infrastructural needs from, say, people who cycle to uni — we need ramps and dropped curbs and stuff like that (and cyclists again often have different needs from car drivers — they need bike racks etc), and the only way to know how many people need them or what buildings we need them for is to find out how many people use wheelchairs and which buildings they’re based in.

    So don’t be afraid to complain a little more vociferously. If you just put it on the form, it’ll be noted in the “other comments” section which tend to get read, but not with major analysis, but if you email people and stress why it’s important, etc, there’s a chance they’ll change the survey for the next time.


  6. Clifford says:

    You’re quite right, of course. But it does get discouraging, so one loses energy…


  7. Ele Munjeli says:

    @ Jude
    The census ethnicity thing is one of my pet peeves since I don’t know my father or his family. In some cases you can ‘refuse to disclose’ but I think it’s pretty smarmy and they ought to have something like ‘I don’t care’ or ‘I don’t know, but it really only comes up with the small minds anyway’.

    Regarding the transport survey, I don’t think it would be any harder to crunch the data with multiple answers provided there’s a question about how many trips a week.

  8. As much as I also find it difficult to fill in my ethnicity, I disagree that it’s pointless. Of course individuals are entitled to care or not care about their own racial/ethnic self-identifications, but society should care very much about who does and doesn’t have access to particular public services. It’s very well documented that some ethnic groups have disproportionately less access to certain public services, and live in disproportionate poverty. My school district was de facto racially segregated, for example. It’s important to know where and why that’s happening, so that it can addressed.

    So to say that only small-minded people care is, I think, to slightly miss the point of census forms and similar. There are good anti-racist reasons to care. And in my experience, the people who don’t care about race tend to be (although not exclusively) the people who can afford not to.