Monday, August 27th, 2007 at 8:59 pm in Misc. Transportation.
My favorite transportation spokesperson of the week award goes to Mary Currie, who represents, and I mean that in the fondest if not slightly gang-style sense of the word, this area’s premiere landmark.
Yes, while transportation entities throughout the area — Caltrans in particular — have been avoiding my favorite recommended response to Friday’s three-day closure of the Bay Bridge, she has brazenly included it on her list.
Recommendation No. 1:
Avoid Traffic Delays in the Highway 101 Corridor in Marin County by taking public transit, leaving town early and coming back when the Bay Bridge is reopened, or staying home.
See that last bit? “Staying home.” That’s what I’d be doing if I didn’t have to write about it. As it is, I’m going to bring my bike in case I have to park my car on the side of gridlocked I-80 (Caltrans does not recommend doing this, nor do I).
Anyway, Bart Ney, who wins the transportation spokesperson of the month award for taking the full brunt of this tsunami with panache, can’t recommend staying home because it’s Caltrans’ job to move people, not impede their movement.
I can understand why Currie might buck this philosophy because her bridge, after all, is a major alternative for those who unwisely choose to drive this weekend.
As I’ve pointed out before, her toll booth people got royally abused during last Labor Day weekend’s partial closure by people who had to wait in traffic, even though this wasn’t their bridge closure and there are only so many lanes across that lovely sunset-orange span.
So do Mary Currie and the Golden Gate toll operators a favor this weekend. Stay home.
What makes the Golden Gate so special, besides being open this weekend, is that it’s operated and maintained by its own authority, which also runs bus and ferry services in the North Bay. The Bay Area’s other seven toll bridges are owned by Caltrans and managed by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, or rather its parallel entity, the Bay Area Toll Authority.
If you can’t stay home, ride one of the bulked-up ferry services, such as Currie’s own Golden Gate Ferry, along with its Route 42 bus service from the El Cerrito Del Norte and Richmond BART stations to the Larkspur ferry terminal.
The beauty of that line is that if it looks like you can’t get on BART, you can hop a bus to Larkspur and maybe get to San Francisco that way. If you’re in Larkspur and you can’t find a rope on the side of the ferry to cling to, you can take the bus and take your chances with BART.
If you can’t stay home, can’t use transit and must drive somewhere other than away from the Bay Bridge, may Heaven or the Burning Man or whatever you derive strength from protect you.
Photo courtesy of U.S. Department of Energy Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Program.