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Archive for October, 2006

free parking in BART’s monopoly?

My lament about the shortage of parking at outlying BART stations caught the eye of reader Bob, who lays out a scheme for satisfying that demand:

Photo from

BART parking from www-berkeley-edu.jpgFor those purists who believe that only those who use All MASS TRANSIT ALL THE TIME … I say to you phooey! We must accommodate those who are not as pure of heart as you true believers, which means attention must be paid for those who commute to BART. The problem presents itself as to where those people can park when all the lots are Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Tuesday, October 31st, 2006
Under: BART, parking, Transit vs. driving | 3 Comments »

progress on BART begins at home

Dublin Pleasanton Transit Center map from

DP Transit Center.gif

Progress is measured in so many ways: Technological, political, ethical, financial and so on.

For the Bay Area Rapid Transit system, I’m thinking riders have progress narrowed down to two categories: The progress of the particular train they’re on, which is generally pretty reliable, and the progress toward serving new territory. There are other areas, such as fares, which seem to progress upward and the many aspects that are quite minor compared to, “Are we on time?” and “Is this thing going to arrive in Livermore in my lifetime?”

Chief among those secondary concerns, I’ll wager, is parking. There are a lot of people out in the ‘burbs who badly want more cheap, convenient parking so they can jump Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Friday, October 27th, 2006
Under: BART, parking, Planning, rail | 2 Comments »

Prop 90 and you

Photo of revenue men at still from

This week BART and AC Transit joined a long list of public agencies, business groups, environmental groups and unions that have gone on record opposing Proposition 90, which seems a really sensible idea to a lot of voters.

Why the disconnect? Don’t all those organizations represent those voters?

With the lumbering title of Government Acquisition, Regulation of Private Property, Initiatitve Constitutional Amendment, Prop 90’s backers say they’re just trying to protect your property from unreasonable government land grabs.

The Supreme Court last summer affirmed the ability of the city of New London, Conn., to take a bunch of Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Friday, October 27th, 2006
Under: BART, Environment, Freeways | No Comments »

it’s my way or the (hopelessly congested) highway

eb 580 - Kathleen Turley - staff.jpg

Government is evil.

There are people from all kinds of political persuasions who would agree with that. Berkeley-style liberals would point to our wars and restrictions on civil liberties. Tracy-style social conservatives might bring up legal abortions and public distribution of condoms and clean needles for addicts.

But both sides want goverment to do things they consider good. Some want to keep sex offenders under lock-and-key after they’ve served their sentences. Others want the government to provide universal healthcare.

But there are some who believe that nearly everything the government does is wrong, especially if it involves taxing people or forcing them to drive their SUVs slower than they care to.

Such folks are scheduled to descend on the Bay Area to highlight what they deem “local examples of wasteful state government spending.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Monday, October 23rd, 2006
Under: Capitol Corridor (Amtrak), driving, Freeways, Funding, rail | 7 Comments »

propositioning commuters

First, let me say that I’m just a dispassionate bearer of information. I would not think to endorse anything or anyone on the Nov. 7 ballot (you don’t have to wait if you’re an Alameda County voter).

But I am moved to bring up, perhaps even start a discussion, on some ballot measures that could be very important to people who ply the roads and rails of the Bay Area.

Prop 1A and 1B arewhich side are you on.jpg

big, and everyone should know about them.1A seeks to sew up some of the loopholes that allow the state government to raid transportation funding that comes from sales tax on fuel.

1B will borrow $20 billion for Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Thursday, October 19th, 2006
Under: Environment, Funding, Planning | No Comments »

ACE up our sleeve

ACE forum flier1.png

Having been around since March, I suppose one could argue that I should be up on the history of the Altamont Commuter Express.

But alas, my colleague, Rebecca, at the Tri-Valley Herald, has done such a good job of covering the Stockton-to-San Jose commuter rail service that I’ve been able to focus my attention elsewhere.

But she’s off to a more important assignment, and I have to get up-to-speed. Luckily, Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Wednesday, October 18th, 2006
Under: Altamont Commuter Express, connectivity, rail | 2 Comments »

how dense do we need to be for high-speed rail?

Map from The Ralph & Goldy Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies,

LA density 2000.jpg

Now, I can’t claim to have lived a lifetime in California or anything, but I think I’m as California-centric as the next person.

Earlier this week, I mentioned that a European Union official intimated that the population density of parts of Europe might be responsible for the success of high-speed rail there. You can get to the next city’s downtown just as fast, if not faster, than you could fly there and make your way from the airport.

One of the comments, from Transit Dependent, took issue with such thinking:

I saw your conclusion, about California not being terribly dense, as a poor excuse for our meandering Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Friday, October 13th, 2006
Under: high-speed rail | 13 Comments »

for whom the road tolls

Photo from

tilting high speed rail from rewin-nl.jpg

The Bay Area’s dean of tranportation politics, Norm Mineta, was the star attraction at the annual meeting of the American Public Transportation Association.

What he had to say was, basically, that our transportation can’t go on being strictly public. What we need to do is get more private investors to help build our transportation infrastructure, as well as sucker Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Thursday, October 12th, 2006
Under: BART, Freeways, high-speed rail, rail, tolls | 1 Comment »

keeping up with the Jeanses

 Artwork by John Mattos from

train_stylized-John Mattos from mtc site.jpgThis week the American Public Transportation Association is having its annual confab in San Jose, chosen, I suppose, because it is a city on the cusp of being viably connected to the rest of the Bay Area.

What I got out of it was some instant national relevance for BART’s latest ridership record.

To avoid spending an extra Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Tuesday, October 10th, 2006
Under: BART, Capitol Corridor (Amtrak), Freeways, Funding, high-speed rail, Planning, rail | 6 Comments »

is that an airport connector in your pocket?

Photo from 


As BART directors agonize over unions and competition from AC Transit and airport parking, e-mailer Jerry Schneider tells me he’s got just the aspirin for BART’s headache.Call it the little people mover, which has been dreamed up in many varieties, all of which sport the same main attributes.

One, they can operate on an elevated track, just like the more traditional airport-style, driverless people mover BART is contemplating.

Two, they’re allegedly cheap. And the best part is, three, they’re Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Wednesday, October 4th, 2006
Under: BART, rail, technology | 8 Comments »