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Archive for August, 2006

Amtrak, Corridor apologize to Isabel

Photo from on the train.jpg

Amtrak may not serve Wooster, Ohio, but Isabel Francis now has a chance to ride the rails – perhaps out of Cleveland – with the compliments and the apology of the national rail system.

After being booted from Amtrak’s Capitol Corridor in Berkeley and failing to obtain satisfaction from Amtrak, Isabel and her father, David Francis, finally turned to Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Thursday, August 31st, 2006
Under: Capitol Corridor (Amtrak), Funding, rail, Safety | 6 Comments »

a light in the wilderness

The High Falls (1855) by Thomas Almond Ayres, from, photographed by Michael Dixon, Yosemite National Park 

1855 Thomas Ayres Yosemite drawing.jpg

I got another call from Ken Gosting, henceforth known here as the Voice of Yosemite, about the latest news from Mariposa County.

What, you may ask, does this have to do with commuting in the Bay Area?

The conceit here is that Mariposa County has, by accident of geology, become more like the Bay Area.
It all goes back to Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Tuesday, August 29th, 2006
Under: Bicycling, Caltrans, Environment, Funding, Safety | No Comments »

not exactly railroaded

CC outweighs.bmpOn Friday I related the lamentations of David Francis of Wooster, Ohio and how his 15-year-old daughter, lacking ID, was rather brusquely ejected from a Capitol Corridor train by an Amtrak conductor.

This could only have been a sign from on high that I need to pay more attention to the downside of transit as I zealously attempt to keep my car parked and redeem my Commuter Checks.

But a call from Priscilla Kalugdan, the Corridor’s marketing manager, also reminded me that Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Monday, August 28th, 2006
Under: Capitol Corridor (Amtrak), Security, Transit vs. driving | 6 Comments »

down and out in Berkeley

Cap Corridor in Berkeley.jpg

Photo from 

Funny that just as I’m about to write a story about the Capitol Corridor’s triumph over our limited railway network, nearly doubling its service to San Jose and adding more trips to Sacramento, I get a call from someone who’s less than pleased with the service.

In the corridor’s defense, he’s not a regular rider, but this one-time experience was a doozy.

David Francis of Wooster, Ohio, was visiting his mom in Oakland in July when he agreed to send his 15-year-old daughter to see Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Friday, August 25th, 2006
Under: Capitol Corridor (Amtrak), Security | 11 Comments »

Labor Day, a time for sharing?

City Car Share.jpgOk. It’s late. I missed my regular train on account of a poorly synchronized tavern clock, and had to take the late train. I’m tired and a Bay Bridge story I’ve been working on for weeks deprived me of the chance to write about how a $2.9 million security grant for BART might be spent.

So that leaves me with car sharing.

I received an e-mail recently from City CarShare inviting me to blog about their by-the-hour, keyless and paperless car rental service is a great way to avoid the hassles of the Labor Day weekend Bay Bridge lower deck closureWhile they can be expected to promote their product no matter what, I believe they’ve got a valid Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Wednesday, August 23rd, 2006
Under: BART, Bay Bridge, car sharing, Transit vs. driving | 1 Comment »

geology in the fast lane

Photo of Mt. Saint Helens from

MSH80_st_helens_eruption_plume_07-22-80_med.jpgKen Gosting is a Yosemite institution. From his home in Midpines, he monitors major events in the park, such as the rockslide blocking one of the park’s three ways in, and transmits the news to media outlets in the Bay Area with remarkable reliability.

Call me parochial, but while it is sometimes interesting to hear how hard it is to get to the park, it’s not something the Bay Area transportation grid couldn’t  Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Friday, August 18th, 2006
Under: Safety | No Comments »

one ear to the rail

Photo from 

coastal tracks.jpg

Speaking of rail service, I was surprised to see some discussion down the coast about not simply saving the pathetic Coast Starlight Amtrak route from LA to Seattle, but add to it.

According to this account, communities along the line between the Bay Area and LA would like to see a daytime route named Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Thursday, August 17th, 2006
Under: Caltrain, high-speed rail, rail, transit equity | No Comments »

more rail, less railing

working on the railroad.jpgI was heartened to learn recently that one of CC’s avid readers and de-facto editors doesn’t commute any farther than his den each day. Talk about the sound of one hand clapping. Telecommuting is the Nirvana (spiritually, not musically) of the transportation universe. Highway maintenance, subway crime, bus service subsidies — all these problems would go away if everybody would just Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Tuesday, August 15th, 2006
Under: BART, Capitol Corridor (Amtrak), Funding, rail, Transit vs. driving | 1 Comment »

the big squeeze at the airport

Staff photo by Nick Lammers


This is not a stock tip column, but you should know that I really wanted to buy Google when it was first offered. Disclaimer proffered, this week I’m recommending Johnson and Johnson.

TSA lady taking toiletries at OAK - Nick Lammers - STAFF.jpg

You should also know that last week, while this blog was getting stale, I was camping in Crater Lake National Park, with no cell signal, no radio and nary a newspaper in sight. It was glorious.

So I’m hoping to be forgiven for returning to Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Monday, August 14th, 2006
Under: Security | No Comments »

dude, where’s my Flexcar?

flexcar resized.jpg

Being a commuter student, I never had to worry about not having a car. No, parking was my big problem, and it dogged me until I got a coveted sticker to the lot behind the dining hall where the student newspaper kept its offices.

But Flexcar, one of the area’s three car-sharing services, is going to solve that problem for students at U.C. Berkeley later this month. They’re going to become the first car-sharing service to offer membership to drivers under 21.

What a noble gesture. It’s like, well, giving credit cards to students. I had one of those when Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Friday, August 4th, 2006
Under: car sharing | No Comments »