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Archive for February, 2009

Obama provides recipe for pothole relief

The people who live on bumpy Charles Hill Road in Orinda have something to cheer about because of President Barack Obama’s economic stimulus package.

Orinda – which ranks lowest among Bay Area cities for local road conditions – plans to spend some of its job stimulus money to fix the narrow, winding road where drivers regularly steer around potholes and big cracks.

The condition of Charles Hill Road is not an isolated problem. Cities and counties throughout California are struggling to hold roads together as voters resist tax and fee hikes, and road maintenance funds heavily dependent on sales tax decline as people drive less and buy less. 

“Our street has gone from being really bad, to downright dangerous,” Nancy Katz, a Charles Hill Road resident, wrote in an email. “From huge and deep potholes that wreck your car, to the fact that we all now try to work around them (so we don’t further wreck our cars) so we drive around them, which has many of us driving in the middle of the street.” Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Friday, February 20th, 2009
Under: BART, Buses, driving, fuel, Funding, Safety | 3 Comments »

BART hopes to ride stimulus bill to the Oakland Airport

BART’s plan for a rail link to the Oakland International Airport may get back on track with money from the federal job stimulus bill.

Back in November last year, I reported that the plan for a 3.2-mile-long elevated tramway hit a dead end for lack of funding. BART needed private partners to share in project costs, but failed to attract any allies amid deteriorating economic conditions and sharp declines in airline passengers.

Now President Barack Obama’s economic stimulus bill may come to the rescue of the proposed rail link between BART’s Coliseum station and the airport. BART now pegs the project cost at $529 million, a higher cost than earlier estimates because of inflation. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Friday, February 13th, 2009
Under: AC Transit, BART, Buses, Caltrain, global warming, rail | 3 Comments »

Less service, higher fees bedevil public transit

Many public transit riders are getting a raw deal these days: less service and higher fares. The Bay Area isn’t immune from the trend, either.

Boards for both County Connection bus system in Contra Costa County and the Wheels bus system in the Livermore Amador Valley area have voted to boost their basic fare from $1.75 to $2, starting in late March. Both agencies also are reducing service. 

The AC Transit board also will consider adopting the two-buck bus fare when it meets 5 p.m. Feb. 25 at AC Transit headquarters, 1600 Franklin Ave., Oakland. Some critics are steamed, saying the fare hike is coming much too soon after AC Transit voters decided last November to boost their parcel tax from $48 to $96 a year to avoid fare increases and service cuts.  Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Monday, February 9th, 2009
Under: AC Transit, BART, Buses, Fare systems, rail | 3 Comments »

Lost Rat On BART

Geez Louise, we’re only into February and already it’s been a horrendously awful year for BART. Right off the bat, a BART police officer shoots an unarmed man, captured live on video by passengers and viewed worldwide; then, on Tuesday, two BART trains collide, injuring 11 people. Could it get much worse? Well, yes, actually.

Turns out that Nutmeg, a hapless rat traveling on BART with an apparently distracted mom, was left on the train Jan. 31.

You ask, “DOES THIS MEAN THERE IS A LIVE RAT RUNNING LOOSE ON BART??????” and the answer is, not necessarily. According to the sign posted by the distraught mom visible above, Nutmeg was in a blue and brown striped carrier.

Exactly what happened after that, we don’t know, except that the mom’s 9-year-old son has been crying since Saturday. But then, as the woman who posted this image on TwinkleShots put it, “Hello? You left a rat on a BART seat? This seems unlikely to end well.”

(Image: TwinkleShots.)


Posted on Thursday, February 5th, 2009
Under: BART, light rail, Misc. Transportation, rail | No Comments »