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Archive for November, 2008

Beverage Institute: Down With Sobriety Checkpoints!

Law enforcement agencies should forego sobriety checkpoints this holiday season, according to the American Beverage Institute – not that the group has an axe to grind or anything, of course.

Instead, law enforcement should employ “roving patrols,” the Institute said in a press release yesterday. Nice of them to tell the police how to do their job. Roving patrols make it more likely that hard-core drunks will get caught, the institute said, because it’s easy for them to avoid the checkpoints, whose locations are obvious.

Uhm … well, maybe. What do you think?

(Photo: Seriously Photographic on Flickr.)

Posted on Wednesday, November 26th, 2008
Under: Misc. Transportation | 3 Comments »

How to Thwart Bike Theft at BART

Riding your bike to BART: Good. Getting your bike stolen: Not so good. Unfortunately, as more folks put the pedal to the metal to get to the BART station, more bicycles are getting stolen, my fellow blogger Denis Cuff reported in this paper. Intrepid (or even cowardly) commuters, if you ride your bike to BART, how do you protect it? Will a U-lock do the job? Should BART be doing more to prevent thefts?

(Photo: laffyk on flickr.)


Posted on Friday, November 21st, 2008
Under: Misc. Transportation | No Comments »

Behind the Scenes at BART Central

A big hello to readers from the Queen of the Road, whose commuter advice column runs in this paper on Wednesday and Sunday! I’m looking forward to working with transportation writer Denis Cuff on this blog.

I recently had the pleasure of visiting BART Central in downtown Oakland. The two-story-high, darkened room, with its vivid red, green, and blue schematics of the BART electrical system and stations on the walls, is the closet thing to “Star Wars” the Queen has ever experienced. You, too, can visit BART central via this BART video.

The Queen took advantage of the opportunity to ask BART personnel some of the questions her readers have often posed.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Wednesday, November 19th, 2008
Under: BART, Misc. Transportation | 11 Comments »

Name that brand! How do you color AC Transit’s bus rapid transit?

AC Transit bus by Flickr user allaboutgeorge under Creative Commons licenseThe AC Transit Board this evening will consider taking another step forward with their plan for bus rapid transit in parts of Oakland, Berkeley, and San Leandro.

Although an environmental impact report on the project is not yet finished, AC Transit managers recommend the board put out a request for proposal for between $175,000 and $250,000 in contract work to develop a brand identity — including a name, logo, decals, and color scheme for buses — for the project and its vehicles, stations and bus stops.

AC needs a “brand” in order to quality for federal “small starts” grants for the bus rapid transit project, according to a report by AC managers.

The meeting begins at 5 p.m in the second floor meeting room of AC Transit headquarters, 1600 Franklin St., Oakland. AC Transit managers also will provide a briefing on the status of the bus rapid transit plan and schedule.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Wednesday, November 19th, 2008
Under: AC Transit, Buses, parking | 2 Comments »

Public transit woes: voters give, state takes away

Last week’s election elated California public transit advocates when voters said yes to most transit-related ballot measures — even a $9.95 billion down payment on the first bullet train in America.

But after the election party, a hangover is plaguing many transit advocates as they fret about threatened service cutbacks triggered by the sagging economy and continuing state diversions of gas tax money away from transit.
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Friday, November 14th, 2008
Under: Misc. Transportation | 3 Comments »

Return of the Capricious Commuter

Welcome to the return of Capricious Commuter blog, our online glimpse into transportation news and commentary.

Erik Nelson wrote the blog for the Bay Area News Group with great perception and humor until leaving the company earlier this year to join his wife, a radio reporter in Afghanistan. Now it’s time to put the blog back on the road.

I — Denis Cuff, a mild-mannered but hard working transportation reporter — will partner with our Queen of the Road columnist — to post Capricious Commuter reports online regularly on transportation.

The Queen writes a twice-weekly commuter advice column for the Contra Costa Times. That means you might read posts by either or both of us on the blog.

Hey, it’s a big area: cars, buses, trains, airlines, bicycles, walking – which affects how we get around and where we live. We hope to hear your comments, tips and suggestions about transportation. 

Check out the Capricious Commuter at

You can reach the Queen of the Road at You can reach Denis Cuff at 925-943-8267 or

Posted on Friday, November 14th, 2008
Under: Misc. Transportation | No Comments »