Last night I watched “The Amazing Mrs. Prichard,” a British television series about a grocery store manager who become prime minister of the UK because of that longing many of us have for our leaders to use common-sense governance.
As one might expect, much of the drama comes from home-grown logic colliding headlong with the complexities of how things work in the developed world.
In this episode, Mrs. Prichard is frustrated that a G-8 Summit (eight leaders of the world’s economic powers) has come up with nothing concrete to deal with global warming. So after insulting the U.S. president, she proposes her own stab at the problem: On every Wednesday, no one in Britian drives.
Just when it seemed the establishment was solidly behind the Pacheco Pass through largely undeveloped parts of Santa Clara County, along comes our new member of Congress to once again buck the conventional wisdom.
Now it’s not a major departure for one who represents long-suffering Tracy commuters who must slog daily down I-580 or endure the twists, turns and delays of the ACE commuter choo-choo.
What’s cooler than a bus, cheaper than most modern rail transit systems and a source of civic pride nearly everywhere it exists?
If you guessed light rail, you’d be just as wrong as I was. I always thought that light rail was a way to revive streetcars without the shame of having to say we were rebuilding systems we trashed in the middle of last century in favor of cars and buses.
After being called a traitor to bicycling earlier this week, I got to thinking: What we commuters need is a little comfort.
That’s partly why 70 percent of Bay Area commuters drive solo. It’s more comfortable to be enclosed in your own vehicle, to be able to choose the radio station, to chomp noisily on that breakfast burrito and to engage in ghastly personal grooming habits that even members of your nuclear family wouldn’t tolerate.
Not to belabor a single e-mail, but this bicyclist named John who heard me on KQED’s Forum program had a point:
Sure it’s `scary.’ The point, obviously, is to make it not scary. That’s why the other cities have things like colored bike lanes, protected Read the rest of this entry »
We journalists are fond of disseminating news, or information that is new or previously unknown.
But today I’m going to tell nearly every one of you something that we’ve known for some months now, on the theory that one or two of you will be backing out of your caves on Labor Day weekend with the intention of driving somewhere.
Just to get your attention, I’ll put it the way Caltrans does on its variable message signs on all routes leading into the Bay Area:
Some people like BART. Some people like AC Transit buses. Some people like buses to the exclusion of rail. Still others hate rail and believe that urban bus transit the only way to know one’s true humanity.
Then there’s the guy that AC Transit director Chris Peeples turned me onto, a Cal Poly prof by the name of Ralph E. Shaffer who writes op-ed pieces for papers down south.
I couldn’t find the one that Peeples sent me via e-mail, but I’m guessing it’s going to run soon in the Daily News of LA, because he makes a reference to a paper of that name.
Anyway, he talks about a renaissance of bus companies in California:
Encouraged by government subsidizes at the fare box, regional transportation districts have sprouted up in recent years. Dozens of cities, counties and special districts run buses. A careful examination of their schedules reveals that an intrepid bus rider could travel from the Mexican border to the Bay Area without Read the rest of this entry »
Through the good offices of conscientious colleagues, I received four copies of a news release reminding people that the fight over public transit, er, “transportation,” funding is still raging in Sacramento:
OAKLAND, CA, July 5, 2007: A group of 43 Alameda and Contra Costa county elected officials today sent a letter to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger urging him to restore $1.3 billion in transit funds in this year’s state budget. The letter includes strong objections to proposed public transit funding cuts that would adversely impact East Bay residents, regional air quality, and the local economy.
Or at least of those who advocate for the poor and the downtrodden and those who claim to know something about people who live in one neighborhood or another.
I can get away with saying this because I belong to the latter group. It was only Tuesday night that I put a snarky little “but” in one of my stories when referring to eBART as a project that would serve the Bay Area’s “urban core.”