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Archive for April, 2006

two teams. one ugly bridge.

So we may never find closure over the $1.43 billion self-anchored suspension span of the rebuilt Bay Bridge, especially while we’re still paying tolls and waiting decades for the thing to be built, hopefully before the Big One strikes. But being new to the area, I must share my own bit of Zen over the bridge design. I was on my evening BART ride when I noticed two posters advertising BART as a way to get to baseball games and FSN as a way to watch them at home. One, seen here with the help of my amateur mobile phone photography, shows Barry Bonds in heroic follow-through in front of the Golden Gate Bridge and the Transamerica Tower
s SF poster.jpg
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Posted on Thursday, April 27th, 2006
Under: Bay Bridge, Misc. Transportation, Retrofitting | 1 Comment »


Here’s the response to Arnold Corbett’s posting below, from Metropolitan Transportation Commission spokesman Randy Rentschler:

The design issue, along with alignment, rail on the bridge, bike lanes, replacement vs. retrofit, and much else has been discussed at length for nearly 15 years.

We cannot rewind this movie back to 1989 and start over and at this point, all credible analysis confirms that changing directions on big projects is a recipe for more trouble. For toll payers, the fact is that we will have a $4 toll come Jan. 2007 and what the bridge looks like at this point will not change that.

We need closure and to move on.

And I would have to add that 17 years after the Loma Prieta Earthquake showed the bridge needed fixing or replacement, it does seem a little late to be changing gears. But I’m new here, and I like to hear what the natives have to say about the major transportation issues.

Thanks to Arnold and Randy for hashing this out one more time.

Posted on Tuesday, April 25th, 2006
Under: Bay Bridge, Misc. Transportation, Retrofitting | No Comments »

money under the bridge

It’s been said many times, but reader Arnold Corbett felt moved to say it again when he read today’s story about the prospect of finally building the $1.43 billion eastern Bay Bridge “signature span,” to wit:

why do we need such a fancy bridge?? Why not continue the span like the rest of the span?? Large ships use the San Francisco side for passage. only smaller boats use the oakland side. Are we spending $ that we don’t have? Could the extra millions of $ be spent on other more important things like BART to San Jose? The daily traffic from 80, 580, and 880 that lead to the toll gates is ridiculous. Hours of gas are being consumed and the vehicles are getting nowhere.

We worry about the inefficiency of our cars poluting the air. It’s the cars idling for hours at a time that are destroying our air. Most of the cars are very efficient. Its the SUV’s and Hummers that produce the dirt.

Our government better get real and start doing what’s right for the people and quit filling their pockets with our money.

think about it

I’ve asked one of my new Metropolitan Transportation Commission friends to comment on this lamentation, and when he responds, I’ll post that, too.

Posted on Tuesday, April 25th, 2006
Under: Bay Bridge, Retrofitting | No Comments »

mobile loaves and fishes

There is nothing so sweet in this chaotic autopolis we suffer through as a home-grown solution to a seemingly intractable problem.

Most of the time, we need cash (and I will be just as quick to argue this). We need thousands for studies, millions for new buses and billions for a new bridge.

But the Bay Area is home to one of the thriftiest transportation solutions known to Western Civilization, if you don’t include walking.
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Posted on Monday, April 24th, 2006
Under: Carpooling, casual carpools | No Comments »

another railway statistic

The death of 13-year-old Fatih Kuc in Burlingame Tuesday should remind us all of how deadly it is to treat railroad tracks the same way we treat a quiet neighborhood street.

I might argue, having crossed my local freight line only yesterday, there there’s a correlation between speed of the train and fatalities.

After all, a freight train lumbering along at 30 mph is easier to get out of the way of, not to mention a lot noisier than a streamlined commuter train going close to 80 mph.

Don’t you dare say that to Warren Flatau, spokesman for the Federal Railroad Administration in Washington, D.C. He all but scolded me on the phone today for thinking such a thing, explaining that both the slow-moving freight and the 80-mph Caltrain will leave you just as dead.
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Posted on Thursday, April 20th, 2006
Under: Misc. Transportation | 1 Comment »

history in the making

I’ve always been slightly peeved by the fact that the History Channel has obsessed over certain subjects to the detriment of providing programming about a wide range of historical topics. First it was World War II, and lately it’s been engineering. I’d rather tune in to tales of the Selucids or the roots of American Progressivism.

Tonight’s “Modern Marvels” documentary on the Bay Bridge updates the story of the Bay Area’s public works albatross with the 2005 chapter of Caltrans’ seemingly endless quest for a contract for the signature self-anchored suspension span.
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Posted on Wednesday, April 19th, 2006
Under: Bay Bridge, Retrofitting | No Comments »