Part of the Bay Area News Group

Archive for August, 2009

Tweet that bridge open, please

Twitter users will get the news quickly this Labor Day weekend about the closing and reopening of the Bay Bridge.

Go to to the Caltrans Web site – – for tips on getting tweets about progress on the construction project triggering the need to close the bridge for four days.

We all know the bridge will close 8 p.m. Thursday. The big question is: Will it reopen by 5 a.m Tuesday as planned? Will it reopen earlier, as is possible? Or will it reopen later, an unlikely but possible outcome that would cause traffic chaos on freeways after the long holiday ends.   Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Monday, August 31st, 2009
Under: 511, Bay Bridge, Bridges, driving, Freeways, Misc. Transportation | No Comments »

BART cops: Bad. Metrolink: Good?

Well, the Meyers Nave report (PDF) on the Jan. 1 BART police shooting of unarmed passenger Oscar Grant was released this week, and it’s well-written, clear and thoroughly critical.

The Queen has heard that the transit police on Metrolink in Los Angeles have never shot a passenger to death (admittedly, this is setting the bar rather low) and aren’t paid as much as BART police. It’s interesting to hear about transit police in other cities as a way of evaluating where BART police stand.

Photo of Coliseum BART station at night by Flickr user jdnx under Creative Commons license

Posted on Thursday, August 20th, 2009
Under: Misc. Transportation | No Comments »

Can a strike be averted? BART talks to resume at 1 p.m.

Negotiations between BART and its second biggest union will resume at 1 p.m today in an effort to avert a planned strike Monday morning, Jesse Hunt, president of the Amalgamated Transit Union announced this morning.

This will be the first face to face negotiations since the union for station agents and train operators announced Thursday that they plan a strike in response to the BART board’s decision to unilaterally impose a contract on the union. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Saturday, August 15th, 2009
Under: BART, rail | No Comments »

High noon nearing on BART labor conflict

The risk of a BART strike is on the verge of increasing significantly later today.

The BART board appears poised to impose contract conditions on a union for train operators and station agents later today after the employee group’s leaders late Wednesday night rejected what BART management called its last and final offer. Leaders of the union have threatened to strike if their pay and work rules were imposed on them, and two other BART unions have said they would respect the picket lines even though they have ratified BART’s contract offer.

The BART board will take up the contract issue in a special meeting 11 a.m. today on the third floor of the Kaiser Center 20th Street Mall, 344 20th St., Oakland. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Thursday, August 13th, 2009
Under: BART, Misc. Transportation, rail | No Comments »

Want a piece of the $420 million pie?

Caldecott Tunnel by Flickr user Tom LemosCaltrans is preparing to open bids Sept. 11 to expand the Caldecott Tunnel, the huge connector between the freeways and cultures of Contra Costa and Alameda counties.

Caltrans reported this week that it has pushed the original bid opening date from this Tuesday, Aug. 11, to Sept. 11. The agency now is scheduled in mid-November to award the contract to add a new two-lane bore just north of the existing three bores on Highway 24 between Orinda and Oakland. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Saturday, August 8th, 2009
Under: Caltrans, driving, Freeways | No Comments »

One BART union voting on contract now


BART’s largest union, SEIU Local 21, is in the process of voting on a contract agreed upon by management and union negotiators. Word on the street is that they’re likely to pass it.

The real cliffhanger, the Queen hears, is whether or not the the Amalgamated Transit Workers Union, which represents station agents and train operators, will vote in favor of its proposed contract. That vote will be taken between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. Monday.

(Photo: Jheylin on flickr.)

Posted on Friday, August 7th, 2009
Under: Misc. Transportation | No Comments »

BART contract nearing vote by unions

A strike threat hanging over BART like a dark cloud for weeks has lifted mostly with a tentative contract settlement reached Friday. But the deal needs to clear an important hurdle: ratification by three different employee unions in separate votes.

If that doesn’t happen, then riders may need to dust off those contingency plans for commuting. As Yoga Berra said, “It ain’t over til it’s over.”  Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Tuesday, August 4th, 2009
Under: BART, rail | No Comments »

Rolling along the Benicia Bridge with new lane, more space

Commuters who drive the Benicia/Martinez Bridge from Solano to Contra Costa County now have some extra room for their drive: a fourth southbound lane and wider road shoulders.

Those entering the bridge from Interstate 780 also have a second merging lane to avoid traffic backup.

The new features, finished over the weekend, were in place for the the commute today as Caltrans wraps up a $43.5 renovation of the old Benicia Bridge. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Monday, August 3rd, 2009
Under: Bicycling, Bridges, Caltrans, connectivity, driving, walking | No Comments »

Hell freezes over: BART rolls out TransLink card

BART started testing TransLink today for a few select passengers. Not only did BART tell us this on its official Web site, those Web-literate folks at the transit agency re-tweeted Twitterer jonk’s post celebrating his first use of his TransLink card on BART.

(TransLink is a proposed universal smart fare card that would work on all forms of Bay Area transit. So far, San Francisco’s Muni and AC Transit are using it, but after some 17 years of effort, BART still hasn’t fully implemented it.)

Okay, so much for the frivolity, now let’s get real: “Select BART EZ Rider cardholders” are testing the system, according to BART. What’s going to happen next? Will BART say TransLink failed the test? Or that TransLink passed but there’s no money to implement it?

(Photo: meraser on flickr.)



Posted on Monday, August 3rd, 2009
Under: Misc. Transportation | No Comments »

Tell BART what you think of proposed police oversight plan

Okley dokley, transit geeks, BART passengers, community activists and all Bay Area residents – here’s your chance to weigh in on the new citizen oversight plan for BART police. As we all know, the community called for independent scrutiny of BART police when unarmed passenger Oscar Grant III was shot to death on the platform by a then-BART police officer Jan. 1.

There’s a copy of the draft BART Citizen Oversight Model at, under the Board of Directors July 30 special board meeting agenda.

If you e-mail your thoughts to, it looks pretty dang likely that the board of directors will read your note and might indeed incorporate your suggestions. Why? Because the board Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Monday, August 3rd, 2009
Under: Misc. Transportation | No Comments »