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Archive for the 'Caltrans' Category

FasTrak rat race


It almost seems anticlimactic, but on Monday another grand experiment in behavioral science will commence on the San Mateo-Hayward Bridge.

The subjects of this experiment, we commuters, will be forced to wait in long lines to pay $4 cash tolls because the toll plaza will have two fewer cash lanes.

At the same time, the other rats in this maze — those with FasTrak electronic toll tags — will get to blow Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Friday, July 6th, 2007
Under: Caltrans, driving, Freeways, Funding, tolls | 7 Comments »

what will they say about us in 2057?


On the occasion of the recent 50th anniversary of the creation of the BART bureaucracy, I noted the prescience of members of the commission that decided the Bay Area really needed a rapid transit system. They said that new freeways, which Los Angeles had pinned its hopes on, could not solve traffic congestion by themselves.

Now BART is contemplating its next 50 years with the knowledge that those guys in 1957 were Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Friday, June 22nd, 2007
Under: AC Transit, BART, Bay Bridge, Buses, Caltrans, Carpooling, driving, Freeways, Smart Lanes, tolls, Transit vs. driving | 3 Comments »

infrastructure: a good investment one way …

Last fall our elected leaders, almost to a person, told us that the $43 billion in infrastructure bonds on the November ballot were a good investment in transportation, flood control and educational facilities that had been neglected for decades.

Now Bill Lockyer, elected state treasurer in the same election, wants to convince Californians that infrastructure is also a good investment.

No, there’s no echo in here.

Lockyer announced today that his folks are launching a Web site to make it easier for the average taxpayer with a bit of money to Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Thursday, June 7th, 2007
Under: Caltrans, Carpooling, Funding | 1 Comment »

Big Brother is my co-pilot


The news out of Washington today is that our very own Caltrans, Metropolitan Transportation Commission and University of California, Berkeley, researchers are joining forces to monitor the movements of all vehicles in the United States.

That’s one way of looking at it.

The government has Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Thursday, May 31st, 2007
Under: 511, Caltrans, driving, Freeways, Funding, maps, Security, technology | 1 Comment »

end of the maze craze

maze-ironworkers-photo-3-by-thinh-vo.jpgIt was 5:50 p.m. when I got the call from my source, whom I’ll identify only as General “I shall return” MacArthur.

“Unofficially — not for publication — I recommend that you be at the Bay Bridge Toll Plaza no later than 7:45.”

With a new sense of urgency, something not engendered by mere deadlines and editors hoping beyond hope to spend time with their families,  I finished my story about how, after a gasoline tanker conflagration April 29 claimed

Photo of Christie Constructors ironworkers by Thinh Vo.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Thursday, May 24th, 2007
Under: Bay Bridge, Caltrans, driving, Freeway collapse, Freeways, high-speed rail, Safety, tolls | 1 Comment »

falling for Caltrans

smoke-jumper.jpgPerhaps demonstrating how fast the melted MacArthur Maze — opening tomorrow— got rebuilt, Caltrans director Will Kempton will reach speeds of 125 mph when he jumps out of an Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Thursday, May 24th, 2007
Under: Caltrans, Freeway collapse, Safety | No Comments »

a maze again, but no longer amazing


When the MacArthur Maze opens up again on Friday, as Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger promised, it will be one of those grin-and-grab ribbon-cutting events that political strategists live for.

But as a news story, the Great Maze Disaster has turned into the Medium Traffic Concern.

That says a lot about the response to the gasoline tanker fire that make such great video footage as it worked steel girders holding up the I-580 ramp like a glassblowing demonstration gone wrong.

Traffic mayhem Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Monday, May 21st, 2007
Under: Caltrans, driving, Freeway collapse, Freeways, Funding, Misc. Transportation, Safety | No Comments »

trash talk

caltrans-litter-blitz-8-may-07.jpgThis week I ran into two bothersome aspects of journalism that I’m not sure people outside of the business can truly appreciate.

One is the staged press event calling attention to something everyone already knows about and could very rarely meet the commonly accepted definition of “news.”

Such was Tuesday morning’s “launch,” a word that evokes a space shot or maybe a missile exchange, of Caltrans‘ “aggressive statewide effort against litter.”

In spite of my chauvinistic Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Saturday, May 12th, 2007
Under: Caltrans, driving, Environment, Freeway collapse, Freeways, Safety | 1 Comment »

betting on a quick fix for Maze

ramp-closed-see-newspaper.jpgI have to say my jaw dropped a bit when I heard the low bid for replacing the I-580 ramp for the MacArthur Maze: $867,075.

For a few more thousand, you could Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Monday, May 7th, 2007
Under: Caltrans, driving, Freeway collapse, Freeways, Funding, Safety | No Comments »

Caltrans’ finest hour?


You gotta hand it to Caltrans, assuming nothing collapses this week, for getting the I-880 connector back up in a week.

I mean, it looked pretty bad after 4/29, all blackened and pockmarked, with a huge chunk of concrete safety barrier missing from the side where the gasoline tanker truck hit (explain to me again how he survived?).

Now it’s up and running, and this morning at 10 a.m., Caltrans will be live on the Web opening bids for reconstructing the melted I-580 connector ramp at

There’s a chance, I suppose, that Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Monday, May 7th, 2007
Under: Caltrans, driving, Freeway collapse, Freeways, Funding | 4 Comments »