I was delighted to see that our very own news organization did a story on construction workers commuting from places like Fresno (weekly) and Chico (daily) into San Francisco to help build One Rincon Hill and other monuments to the divide between Bay Area haves and have-much-less-than-it-costs-to-live-heres.
“There’s no one north of Santa Rosa,” said the new father, who keeps a picture of his 7-month-old daughter on the inside of his hard hat. Saenz owns a house outside Healdsburg, 70 miles Read the rest of this entry »
As I drove around collecting pie, wine and flowers to bring to someone else’s Thanksgiving dinner, I happened to cross over Interstate 80 and witness the endless stream of humanity stuck in stop-and-go holiday traffic.
It reminded me that I’d chanced upon a news release from Metro Networks, a traffic reporting company, on the top 10 worst holiday traffic nightmares.
Believe it or not, it actually elicited warm fuzzies as it conjured up some ghosts-of-Christmases-past spent on more than one of the freeways on the list.
Like eggnog or jelly donuts, it seems that holiday traffic jams have become such traditions that the thought of them can actually elicit joy.
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 »
When I got invited to share my wisdom about Bay Area transportation this morning on KQED radio’s “Forum” program, I though maybe I’d hear from listeners about my aligning San Francisco with the Bush Administration.
The outrage, I imagined, at the thought that the epicenter of all things progressive could be the running dog for U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary Peters’ crusade to make drivers pay through the nose for causing congestion. I mean, really.
But no, no one wanted to pillory me for such a suggestion, not even Steve Heminger, executive director of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, who told me Tuesday that not everything happens because of politics.
What if high-speed rail went through the Altamont Pass a teeny bit, and then stopped?
Sounds silly at first blush, but you have to bear with me here.
I heard about this at Wednesday’s Metropolitan Transportation Commission meeting, when a speaker critical of the area’s first comprehensive regional rail plan noted that Scott Haggerty, an Alameda County Supervisor who represents the county on the commission, had his own high-speed rail plan.
One could say, and one would be very sensible to do so, that the time for proposing new bullet train routes has passed. The California High-Speed Rail Authority is in the throes of an environmental impact process pitting the 100-percent Altamont Pass option against the Pacheco Pass options. The routes have been debated for years, the authority is getting a fifth of what it asked for in the state budget and a lack of resolve at this point might be akin to being the lame wildebeest as the lions are closing in.
I hate making commitments. Never mind that I’ve been married for 19 years and four months, I just don’t like to say yes to something and then find out that something else is more pressing and disappoint someone.
Still, I found myself exiting the Montgomery St. BART/Muni station this afternoon, doing the “talk to the hand” gesture to someone who was trying to hand me a leaflet of some sort. I felt slightly guilty, having once handed out leaflets myself back when I was a starving student.
I had committed to sit on a panel discussing transportation in California. That I would be invited to share my opinion about something I know very little about was sure to be an ego boost, so I jumped at the chance. Accepting the $175 stipend (to cover one’s expenses… BART fare, $5, parking, $6, lost speaking engagement fees, $164… hmm… that works out perfectly) was regrettably 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 »