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Archive for July, 2009

BART talks near show down; strike risk grows

BART’s rancorous contract negotiations could produce the nuclear option – a management imposed contract that could spur a backlash and strike by workers.

It’s too early to say whether or when BART’s 335,000 daily train riders will lose their ride to work, but a showdown is approaching soon in talks that began April 1.  Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Wednesday, July 29th, 2009
Under: BART | 1 Comment »

Toll road bill moving along

A bill allowing the creation of an 800-mile network of carpool/toll lanes in the Bay Area has cleared its first stop in the California Senate.

Assembly Bill 744 by Assembly Majority Leader Alberto Torrico (D-Newark), passed today on a 6-1 vote of the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee, and will next go to the Senate Appropiations Committee. Last month, the bill cleared the Assembly on a 58-18 vote.

The bill is controversial, but it keeps moving along. Some motorists detest the idea of being required to pay a toll to get access to any lane on any public freeway. But the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, sponsor of the bill, says traffic congestion can be reduced if single-occupant vehicles are allowed to pay during rush hour for the right to use a lane otherwise limited to carpools. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Thursday, July 16th, 2009
Under: driving, Freeways, tolls | 3 Comments »

Shut up and drive


A recent study indicates that even hands-free cell phones are distracting to drivers. In fact, they’re almost as distracting as manual devices.

A new study in the National Safety Council’s Journal of Safety Research concludes there is little difference between the driving safety risk of hands-free versus handheld cell phones. Drivers distracted by cell phones cause an estimated 636,000 crashes, 330,000 injuries, 12,000 serious injuries and 2,600 deaths a year, the council estimates. So, don’t just hang up and drive. Shut up and drive.

(Photo from eyeliam in Creative Commons on flickr.)

Posted on Thursday, July 9th, 2009
Under: Misc. Transportation | No Comments »

Would you pay $10 to ease traffic congestion?

Traffic congestion is one of the most onerous elements of life in the Bay Area, many would likely agree. Would you be willing to pay $10 to spend less time fuming (literally) in traffic? A bill by Senator Loni Hancock (D-Oakland) that would allow local communities to raise money for programs easing traffic congestion passed the Assembly Local Government Committee July 8.

SB 205 would authorize county transportation planning agencies to put a local measure before voters that would impose a fee of up to $10 on each vehicle in that county to develop congestion-easing measures. Some examples: Coordinating signal lights, monitoring real-time traffic conditions to make rapid traffic light adjustments and providing drivers with traffic info on freeway message signs.

Would it be worth $10 to you?

(Photo: tronics, from Creative Commons on flickr.)

Posted on Thursday, July 9th, 2009
Under: Misc. Transportation | No Comments »

Traffic congestion eases but for how long?

A new report confirms that traffic congestion in America’s cities eased in 2007, disrupting a long trend of steadily worsening traffic.

It’s no surprise. High gas prices in the last half of 2007 discouraged some from driving as much. With the recession throwing more people out of work, we can expect the trend to continue for a while longer. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Wednesday, July 8th, 2009
Under: driving, Planning | No Comments »