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Archive for November, 2006

video vérité sur le Corridor Capitole

capitol-corridor-at-emeryvillesmall.jpgI was not about to be made into an example. That is, after all, what I make of myself on a more-or-less regular basis on this blog. Still, it was flattering to think that the public transit agency I choose to take to work each day would choose me as a representative of the average commuter.

It seems so long ago now, but it was only yesterday afternoon that Jim Allison, who does PR for BART called me to explain that he was working on a video in honor of Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Tuesday, November 28th, 2006
Under: Capitol Corridor (Amtrak), Transit vs. driving | 3 Comments »

the bitterness of the long-distance commuter


Janmarie recently posted a comment that got me started on such a rant that it threatened to overwhelm the comments of my Nov. 1 post.

It’s about fares. Not flat fares, but fairer fares for commuters who use public transit on a regular basis. Janmarie, like the Capricious Commuter, is sort of biased here. We both commute from the Central Valley, and as such, lack standing to tell Bay Area residents how they should be structuring their transit fares.

Janmarie’s beef:

I feel BART should give “true” commuters a BREAK. You can’t Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Monday, November 27th, 2006
Under: AC Transit, BART, Buses, Fare systems, rail, transit equity, Transit vs. driving | 17 Comments »

when tolls were expensive and life was cheap

bay-bridge-1935-suspension-tower-construction1.jpgPolitical reporter Josh Richman, who reported the Supreme Court’s glorious decision that I no longer have to stay up nights worrying that the blog might erupt into a defamatory flame-fest, apologized that he had been hoarding several slabs of paper on the Bay Bridge.

Exhibit A was a California Research Bureau Timeline of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge Seismic Retrofit: Milestones in Decision-Making, Financing and Construction, commissioned by state Assembly Joint Legislative Audit Committee Chairwoman Wilma Chan, D-Oakland.

The first thing that struck Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Tuesday, November 21st, 2006
Under: Bay Bridge, ferries, Funding | 9 Comments »

how do you spell congestion relief?


The bright side of the rush to collect a chunk of the $20 billion Proposition 1B transportation bond passed Nov. 7 is that there’s no shortage of projects going begging.

The first deadline, for the $4.5 billion Corridor Mobilty piece of the bond measure, is the end of this month for Bay Area congestion management agencies to complete their Christmas lists. Alameda County’s CMA, for one, already has a Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Monday, November 20th, 2006
Under: Freeways, Funding, Transit vs. driving | 1 Comment »

it takes a transit village

256_transitvillage.jpgIn spite of my Capitol Corridor train stopping, it seemed, between every station to let other trains pass, I managed to attend most of a background discussion this morning on transit villages at the Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s well-furnished offices at Lake Merritt.

Of course, the regional trasnsportation planners have an abbreviation: TODs, for transit-oriented development.

These marvels of social engineering are the best weapon America seems to have against sprawl, with the anticipated side benefit of reducing congestion and smog.

The idea is simple: Build a densely packed mix of homes, shops and buisinesses around a  Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Friday, November 17th, 2006
Under: BART, ferries, Planning | 2 Comments »

fistful of bridge bonds


Call me slow, but I just today got around to reading the press release from the Bay Area Toll Authority about the $1 toll increase at the area’s seven state-operated bridges, not including the Golden Gate.

It doesn’t happen until Jan. 1, so I figured I’d wait to do a story until we got a little closer to the blessed event.

I could talk about why the toll is going up to $4, but that would take time and I’m taking the early train home today (ha! no toll!). In a nutshell, it’s to pay for a very photogenic new eastern span of the Bay Bridge. Not the concrete slab they’re Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Wednesday, November 15th, 2006
Under: Bay Bridge, tolls | 2 Comments »

valedictorian electorate


Having been a cynic since I cast my first presidential ballot for John Anderson, I didn’t expect much from voters on Tuesday.

Luckily, the voters of California are a lot smarter than I was.

I’m not talking about the whole Democrat vs. Republican thing. There are thousands of blogs for that.

What surprised me was that voters didn’t simply go negative or positive, as they seemed to last Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Friday, November 10th, 2006
Under: AC Transit, Funding | 4 Comments »

Lies, damn lies and slate mailers


I freely admit the redundancy of what I write here, but I don’t think this can be said often enough: Those election slates arriving in your mailbox are some of the most deceptive campaign advertising there is.

Hard to believe that any implement of political prevarication could make that claim, but these pieces of San Fernando Valley-style fantasy literature are so misleading they are routinely disavowed by the very candidates they advertise.

What’s this got to do with transportation? In this case, I was delighted Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Monday, November 6th, 2006
Under: AC Transit, Funding, Misc. Transportation | 2 Comments »

the ballad of might-be-EZ Rider

EZ Rider at the gate.JPGTerry in Hayward was wondering why I haven’t blogged about EZ Rider, BART‘s new smart card fare system it’s testing out on volunteers. I guess I was expecting a card to magically arrive (and perhaps one is materializing now), but Terry reminded me that I need to find how it’s really working.

When I arrived in the Bay Area, it took me not quite 10 minutes to sign up for FasTrak to pay the tolls that I blessedly avoid most days. It was truly “EZ” and now I carry around the transponder in my backpack in case I have to carshare.

I know it’s just a pilot, but didn’t it occur to BART to offer Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Wednesday, November 1st, 2006
Under: BART, Fare systems, tolls | 18 Comments »