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Archive for the 'ferries' Category

spare the hair day

sunday-demolition-by-dean-coppola-contra-costa-times.jpgWhile free public transportation offered on Spare the Air days was an experiment in social engineering with mixed results (10 percent jump in ridership, but disappointing smog prevention for the high cost), this afternoon we are about to see a much more compelling combination of carrot and stick getting cars off the roads.

It’s the sort of scenario that transit advocates dream of: Make it more painful to drive and less painful to ride BART, buses and ferries. No free parking downtown for commuters, variable Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Monday, April 30th, 2007
Under: BART, Buses, driving, Environment, ferries, Freeway collapse, Freeways, Funding, parking, rail, Safety, Smart Lanes, tolls, Transit vs. driving | 2 Comments »

checking for suicide bombers on BART


Call me a cynic, but I tend to believe those dire neocon predictions that when we leave Iraq, “they” will follow us. Perhaps that’s because we Americans proved so willing to step into the role once held by the infidel Soviets in Afghanistan. When seeking martyrdom, why waste your life on a second-rate superpower when you can be fighting No. 1?

After living in the Holy Land for three years, I came to appreciate magnetometer wands and bag checks. When I entered a public place such as a mall or a restaurant, I’d be apprehensive if no one was there to wand me and ask, “Any weapons?”

Returning to California in 2005, I couldn’t help thinking how vulnerable this country was to the most basic of terror attacks: Guy gets on a bus, strapped with C-4 explosives, nuts and bolts for maximum killing Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Tuesday, April 3rd, 2007
Under: BART, Buses, ferries, Funding, rail, Security, technology | No Comments »

10 things I learned in a year by the Bay

arriving-at-platform.jpgOn March 20, 2006, I arrived in Oakland to set myself up as an expert on Bay Area transportation. I’m still working on that, but I’ve learned a few things since then.

The first lesson, after living and working in the wilds of Central Maryland, remote Long Island and Southern California, was learning just what Bay Area commuters had to complain about.

I mean, this place has a mass transit system like no other west of the Mississippi, freeways that don’t back up at midnight and commuter trains that run after 7 p.m. Not to mention, its denizens make their homes in tight valleys that make perfect little transportation corridors, like, you know, the Livermore Valley.

Ok, so I had a lot to learn about Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Tuesday, March 20th, 2007
Under: 511, AC Transit, BART, Bay Bridge, Buses, Caltrain, Capitol Corridor (Amtrak), Carpooling, connectivity, driving, Environment, Fare systems, ferries, Freeways, Funding, parking, rail, Retrofitting, Safety, tolls, transit equity, Transit vs. driving | 1 Comment »

a mile (or 20) in your shoes


In this business, one does a lot of writing and pontificating on things one has never seen or felt. Take the Bay Bridge — please. When I want to go to the City by the Bay, I nearly always take BART. You avoid having to park and you avoid that bridge.

Yet the week I started this job, I was compelled to write about the bridge I had crossed maybe twice in my entire life. In fact, I did the story about opening the low bid of $1.43 billion for the self-anchored suspension span in Sacramento, where you can cross the most impressive bridge in 30 seconds.

This week I managed to come down from my ivory tower and experience some of the things I’ve written about but never truly understood.

To begin with, on Thursday I had to attend a meeting about planned Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Friday, March 9th, 2007
Under: BART, Bay Bridge, Bicycling, Caltrans, Capitol Corridor (Amtrak), Carpooling, driving, Environment, ferries, Freeways, Funding | 17 Comments »

one card to rule them all*

mt-translink.bmpThe new TransLink cards are here!

Much like Steve Martin’s refrain from “The Jerk,” this event is somewhat anticlimactic.

To quote Tommy, who announced this in a comment on my last TransLink entry,

Woohoo! My wife is a Cal student so it’s basically useless for her as she gets free AC Transit rides anyway. I probably won’t load mine up until BART, Muni, and Caltrain come online so I can do the Albany to Mountain View commute without having to fiddle with three different fare systems.

What? BART isn’t part of a Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Tuesday, February 6th, 2007
Under: AC Transit, BART, Buses, Caltrain, connectivity, Fare systems, ferries, rail, technology | 12 Comments »

when tolls were expensive and life was cheap

bay-bridge-1935-suspension-tower-construction1.jpgPolitical reporter Josh Richman, who reported the Supreme Court’s glorious decision that I no longer have to stay up nights worrying that the blog might erupt into a defamatory flame-fest, apologized that he had been hoarding several slabs of paper on the Bay Bridge.

Exhibit A was a California Research Bureau Timeline of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge Seismic Retrofit: Milestones in Decision-Making, Financing and Construction, commissioned by state Assembly Joint Legislative Audit Committee Chairwoman Wilma Chan, D-Oakland.

The first thing that struck Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Tuesday, November 21st, 2006
Under: Bay Bridge, ferries, Funding | 9 Comments »

it takes a transit village

256_transitvillage.jpgIn spite of my Capitol Corridor train stopping, it seemed, between every station to let other trains pass, I managed to attend most of a background discussion this morning on transit villages at the Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s well-furnished offices at Lake Merritt.

Of course, the regional trasnsportation planners have an abbreviation: TODs, for transit-oriented development.

These marvels of social engineering are the best weapon America seems to have against sprawl, with the anticipated side benefit of reducing congestion and smog.

The idea is simple: Build a densely packed mix of homes, shops and buisinesses around a  Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Friday, November 17th, 2006
Under: BART, ferries, Planning | 2 Comments »

don’t blow it out the tailpipe just yet

car exhaust bnw.jpgIt’s official: Spare the Fare Days were a colossal waste of money.

That’s what it would seem from some of the recent reviews of the $13.6 million program to provide the Bay Area with free transit on smoggy weather days.

Photo from

Judging from one account, buying up old cars would be a far more cost-effective way to fight smog. More effective, that is, than jamming  Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Monday, July 31st, 2006
Under: Environment, ferries, Funding, Transit vs. driving | 4 Comments »

Spare the Water Days

s4ferry - Nick Lammers.jpg

Photo by Nick Lammers – STAFF

Perhaps two of the lessons to be learned from free transit on Spare the Air Days are that ferry service is too expensive and that it could really take off if it was expanded, as prominent Bay Area business leaders would like to see.

That should lend some heft to the ferry proposals contained in the nascent regional transportation plan approved Thursday by the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission.

The plan would cost  Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Friday, July 21st, 2006
Under: ferries, Funding | 5 Comments »