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Archive for the 'Retrofitting' Category

How to make the S-curve safe on the Bay Bridge

The Bay Bridge has had nearly an accident a day on the new S-curve that opened after Labor Day modifications of the span. There was another crash there Friday even though Caltrans added new safety measures on the curve during the recent six-day closure of the bridge.

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Posted on Saturday, November 7th, 2009
Under: Bay Bridge, Caltrans, driving, Retrofitting, Safety | 2 Comments »

A chance to chime in before bridge tolls are raised

Bay Area bridge operators have scheduled three public hearings on a proposed toll increase on seven state bridges. While bridge operators appear determined to raise tolls, they have many details to figure out.

Members of the Bay Area Toll Authority are wrestling with how to revamp tolls to do two new things: collecting tolls from car pools during rush hour periods on all seven bridges, and structuring Bay Bridge tolls so drivers pay more during peak periods, and less during in off-peak times.

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Posted on Tuesday, October 27th, 2009
Under: Bay Bridge, Bridges, Caltrans, driving, Retrofitting, tolls | No Comments »

Will the toll on bridge drivers be too big a toll?

People who take car pools across seven Bay Area bridges may be in for an unpleasant change next year: the end of free rides for car pools during rush-hour periods. And on the Bay Bridge, regular drivers not in car pools also may in for a shock: higher tolls during peak commute periods than at other times.

Proposed options to make those major changes in July were unveiled Monday by the Bay Area Toll Authority, which plans to hold hearings in November. I’m betting both changes are going to come under fire from some angry drivers. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Wednesday, October 14th, 2009
Under: BART, Bay Bridge, Bridges, Carpooling, driving, Environment, Freeways, global warming, Retrofitting, tolls, Transit vs. driving | 1 Comment »

Toll shock: Will Bay Area bridge tolls go up?

Bay Area bridge operators disclosed a year ago they were considering raising tolls on seven state-owned bridges by $1 – up to $5 per car. On Wednesday morning, a toll authority committee will get down to the details of when and how to do it.

The Bay Area Toll Authority Overnight Committee meets at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday at the MetroCenter, 101 Eighth Street, Oakland to consider a report on options for a toll increase.

One sticky issue is whether to start making car pools pay tolls to cross the Bay Bridge during peak commute hours. The free ride may be over.

Toll Authority administrators say they need a toll increase to pay for a seismic retrofit on the Dumbarton and Antioch bridges, to cover reduced revenues from fewer drivers crossing the bridges, and to absorb the higher cost of credit to pay for bridge operations and retrofits.

Antioch and Dumbarton bridges – the newest of the seven state bridges – initially got a clean bill of health after the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989. But now Caltrans has concluded the two bridges need to be made stronger.

The toll increase would apply to the Bay Bridge, Dumbarton, Antioch, Richmond-San Rafael, Benicia-Martinez, Carquinez and San Mateo.

State legislation adding the Dumbarton and Antioch bridges to the State Toll Bridge Seismic Retrofit Program was signed into law Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger over the weekend. The bill, authored by Assemblyman Tom Torlakson, D-Antioch, makes it easier for the Toll Authority to upgrade the two bridges to withstand earthquakes, toll authority staffers said.   

         

Posted on Tuesday, October 13th, 2009
Under: Bay Bridge, Caltrans, Carpooling, driving, Retrofitting, tolls | No Comments »

Should the free ride end for car pools on Bay Area bridges?

Car pooling has worked so well on Bay Area bridges that bridge operators are considering ending the free rides for car pool users during weekday rush hours.

I can hear the rumble of protest brewing among car pool users: “Hey government, we took car pools like you asked, so why penalize us by ending the free ride?” Isn’t that like water districts raising water rates in a drought to offset the loss of revenue from customers using less water? some people might ask.

The issue is likely to reverberate through the halls of the Bay Area Toll Authority - a regional toll collection agency – in the next year as the authority’s board and managers discuss how to pay for $950 million in proposed seismic retrofits for the Antioch and Dumbarton bridges. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Wednesday, December 17th, 2008
Under: BART, Bay Bridge, Bridges, Carpooling, casual carpools, driving, Freeways, Golden Gate Bridge, Retrofitting, Safety, tolls | 19 Comments »

Does Bay Area need to strengthen two more bridges?

When Bay Area bridge need to be made stronger to withstand big earthquakes, drivers usually end up paying higher bridge tolls to cover the big bills.

So brace for a new study due out today to advise whether whether the Dumbarton and Antioch bridges need expensive seismic upgrades.

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Posted on Wednesday, December 17th, 2008
Under: Bridges, Caltrans, driving, Retrofitting, tolls | No Comments »

the warm, fuzzy politics of bike-to-work

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My Bike-to-Work Day started out really well this year, at least on a personal level.

Last year, I was a total fraud, driving the Honda Civic with the bike shoved in the back so I could use it as a prop to blend in. It’s not easy to get from Point A to B to C in the space of two hours and still report on this thing when you have to pedal a good distance.

But this morning I got off the train at Emeryville at 7:15 a.m., did some reporting at the Civic Center, and managed to get to Oakland City Hall quick enough to spend some quality time with the city’s most notable cyclists.

And a funny thing happened on my way to shrink my carbon footprint.

The traditional bike-to-work story is somewhat fluffy, but Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Thursday, May 15th, 2008
Under: Bay Bridge, Bicycling, Bridges, Caltrans, Capitol Corridor (Amtrak), driving, global warming, Retrofitting, Transit vs. driving | 5 Comments »

violence pays off for Bay Bridge

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I can’t bear to see the Golden Gate Bridge steal all the attention, what with Tibet backers unfurling banners in preparation for the Olympic Torch sputtering through town Wednesday, from the really exciting news about the Bay Bridge.

I heard today that on Friday there will be a ribbon-cutting on the West Approach in San Francisco. I already wrote about how the project would be finished seven months early. But my initial report said middle of this month, and now it looks like it’s going to be Saturday, April 12.

Like the conquest of Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Monday, April 7th, 2008
Under: Bay Bridge, Bridges, Caltrans, driving, Freeways, Retrofitting, Safety | 2 Comments »

burning bridges at Caltrans

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Normally, when Caltrans talks about safety, I’m inclined to take what they say at face value. But when they start messing with my compagni di biciclette, I have to wonder.

Thus it was this week when I heard that Caltrans District 4 Director Bijan Sartipi explained to the Metropolitan Transportation Commission that a bike lane across the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge was, in a word, impossibile.

Why?

It’s too dangerous. Cars might run into the moveable concrete barrier separating the bikes and pedestrians from traffic lanes and they might bounce back into the other traffic lane, creating worse accidents.

I can see that. As a matter of fact, this morning on my way down I-80 in Albany, I not only put my anti-lock brakes to the test when traffic suddenly went Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Friday, February 15th, 2008
Under: Bay Bridge, Bicycling, Bridges, Caltrans, driving, Environment, Freeways, Funding, Retrofitting, Safety, tolls | 6 Comments »

2007 was a gas, gas gas … or was it?


Today I accosted several of my colleagues and asked them if they’d miss 2007.

The answer was pretty much “no” all around, with the most convincing story coming from a person who’d bought a house with a sub-prime mortgage.

In the area of transportation, especially in the Bay Area, I’d have to say 2007 was a very Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Monday, December 31st, 2007
Under: BART, Bay Bridge, Buses, driving, Environment, ferries, Freeway collapse, Freeways, fuel, Retrofitting, Safety, Transit vs. driving | 11 Comments »