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Transportation Nation

Majority of Bay Area Residents Support Transit Strike Ban

Friday, December 13, 2013

KALW

Over half of Bay Area residents support a ban on transit strikes, bucking the region’s pro-union reputation, reveals a new Field Poll. The rest of the state is split, but more Californians still believe public transit workers should have the right to strike.

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Transportation Nation

Experts Raise Concern About Bay Bridge Rods

Monday, December 09, 2013

KALW

Two Bay Area engineers have released a scathing report about the official analysis of the broken rods on the Bay Bridge, Charles Piller of the Sacramento Bee reports.

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Transportation Nation

Old San Francisco Bay Bridge is Coming Down, Without a Bang

Friday, November 15, 2013

KALW

The old eastern span of the Bay Bridge stands empty, its job done. Now it’s time for it to come down. And everyone wants to know: will the California Department of Transportation blow it up?

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Transportation Nation

Golden Gate Bridge Tolls Could Hit $8

Thursday, November 14, 2013

KALW

According to projections, within five years, a drive across the Golden Gate Bridge could cost as much as $8. Officials say it's a necessary trade-off, as tolls help subsidize the area's ferry and bus service.

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Transportation Nation

Talks Continue Between AC Transit, Union After Governor Brown Stops Strike with Cooling-Off Period

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

KALW

Following a recent one-two strike punch from BART workers, a labor dispute is also roiling AC Transit bus workers. But unlike train employees, the sticking point for bus workers involves healthcare, not wages. Now, bus workers and management have two months to reach a resolution.

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Transportation Nation

BART Permanently Lifts Rush Hour Bike Ban

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

KALW

The Bay Area's transit agency voted unanimously last week to lift the long-standing ban on bikes aboard trains during rush hour. After the five-month pilot program ends on December 1st, bikes will be permanently allowed on all BART trains, at all times. 

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Transportation Nation

BART, Unions Move Closer -- but Will a Deal Come Before Midnight?

Thursday, October 10, 2013

KALW

The Bay Area could see its second BART strike in three months on Friday if the transit agency doesn’t reach a deal with its unions by midnight tonight. The two sides are closer together than they were back in August, but conflicting statements from the unions and management could be a bad sign.

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Transportation Nation

BART Plans for Another Strike

Thursday, September 26, 2013

KALW

With the BART contract deadline just two weeks away, it seems increasingly possible a second transit strike will cripple the Bay Area. One big clue: BART has confirmed it is training some managers who used to be operators to potentially run limited train service in the event of a strike, which could come as early as October 11. 

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Transportation Nation

History: The Glory That Was the Original Bay Bridge

Friday, August 30, 2013

KALW

The new eastern span of the San Francisco Bay Bridge opens on Tuesday. It is so long overdue and mired in engineering mishaps that all public ceremonies marking the occasion have been postponed, if not outright canceled. That's a stark contrast to the mood when the original San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge opened on November 12, 1936.

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Transportation Nation

BART Workers on Strike

Monday, July 01, 2013

Bay Area Rapid Transit workers are now on strike after failing to reach a deal on contract negotiations.

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Transportation Nation

Bay Area Traffic Rises with Economy

Friday, June 07, 2013

KALW

The Bay Area has two of the top ten most congested cities in the country. No other state, let alone region, can claim that title. While San Francisco has always been a top contender for the worst car traffic, San Jose jumped up in the list this year.


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Transportation Nation

Bay Area Drivers Face Few Consequences in Pedestrian Deaths

Thursday, May 23, 2013

KALW

Most drivers who kill pedestrians in the Bay Area are never charged -- even when they are found to be at fault, according to analysis by the Center for Investigative Reporting. And the drivers who are charged face light punishments at best.

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Transportation Nation

Recovering Stolen Bikes with Social Media and Cycle Vigilantism

Monday, April 22, 2013

KALW

If someone steals your bike, it can feel pretty hopeless, and enraging. That’s because it is. But, angry cyclists are finding a community online that is willing to go to great lengths to help a fellow cyclist. Social media is creating the digital equivalent of the back of the milk carton but for bikes, with a few elaborate success stories. 

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Transportation Nation

Bike Sharing is Coming to San Francisco and Silicon Valley

Monday, March 25, 2013

A D.C. bike share station (photo by flickr user James D. Schwartz)

Bike share is rolling into the Bay Area this summer.

In August, Alta Bicycle Share will launch 700 bikes at 70 stations. Half the bikes will be in San Francisco; the rest will be distributed throughout Palo Alto, San Jose, Redwood City, and Mountain View. The project is being led by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (known as the Air District), along with the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency and other local transit agencies.

Related: Your Bike Goes Here: BART Welcoming Bikes on Trains All Week

Aaron Richardson, a spokesperson for the Air District, said Bay Area residents should expect to see the number of bikes increase quickly.

“We will be growing, this is the initial amount in the pilot,” he said. “We’re actively searching for more funding and sponsorships.” The pilot will cost $7 million. The Air District's website calls for an additional 250 bikes to roll out in the months following the program's launch.

Alta Bicycle Share already runs Boston’s Hubway, Washington DC’s Capital Bikeshare, and other programs in Chattanooga and Melbourne, Australia. The company also has the contract for New York's incipient program. Both Hubway and Capital Bikeshare have proven popular, with Capital Bikeshare logging over three million rides since it was launched in 2010.

Related: The Secret Routes of Silicon Valley Company Shuttles

Kristin Smith is the communications director for the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, which has been a big supporter of the the project. She said the Coalition was hoping for more bikes to jumpstart the program. She noted that Washington DC started a bike share program with moderate success in 2008, but when the city joined forces with Arlington County, VA in 2010 and dramatically increased the size of its fleet, Capital Bikeshare really took off.

“That’s a thing to think about,” she said, “not starting too small.” But “we are very excited about bike share. It works all over the world, and it will work in San Francisco.”

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Transportation Nation

Anger Over Chevron Refinery Fire in Bay Area

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Chevron refinery fire, 8/6/12 (photo by TheRealMichaelMoore via flickr)

The smoke from the Chevron refinery fire that started late Monday in Richmond, California has cleared -- but the controversy was still hot at a community meeting Tuesday night. Around 700 people attended the meeting in Richmond, where local government and health officials, as well as the refinery's general manager, faced frustration and anger.

Joan Davis from the Richmond Community Foundation began the meeting with a request: “Those of you who are feeling afraid, very quietly, stand. Those of you who are feeling angry, please stand, quietly.”

Almost everyone in the hall got to their feet.

They sat down again to hear from Nigel Hearne, the Chevron refinery's general manager. “I take personal and full responsibility for the incident that occurred last night. I'm really here to respect you, and to hear, listen about your concerns this evening," said Hearne.

Applause and boos were shouted, and a long line of people waiting to speak on a microphone formed down the center aisle. They talked about everything from illness and contamination from the fire, to racism and economic inequality in the community.

“I didn't get a phone call. I did not hear the sirens until 7 o’clock. You need to fix your system,” one community member said.

Another took the floor to say, “Them white people ain't thinking about y'all. Because why? A lot of y'all are black. So what? Let them die. They need to set up a clinic. They need to examine everybody out here. They need to find out the extent of the sickness of people in this community."

Yolanda Jones, a member of the community, expressed her concern about access to information. “I want to make sure that everybody in this room, including the people who could not get here, have access to fill out the form – not just on a computer, so that people who don't have a computer cannot fill it out. So people who don't have a house phone cannot know what to do,” she said.

Charles Hawthorne, who lives about ten miles from the refinery, left the meeting early in frustration. “Nothing's getting done,” he said. “People are shouting over each other, and they've turned it into their own political forum. To me, this was a big waste of time. They should have had more people to control the chaos."

An investigation into the causes of the fire is underway, headed by the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Chevron officials say they will cover expenses for health problems, property damage, and municipal costs associated with the fire.

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Transportation Nation

Bay Area Musical Bike Tour

Friday, April 20, 2012

(San Francisco -- Max Jacobs, KALW) I love my classic Nishiki road bike. I know, it’s kind of a Bay Area hipster cliché, but what can I say? I enjoy riding and I try to bike as much as I can – to work, for fun, whatever. So I was excited to hear about the new 10-day, 200-mile bike tour that the bands Rupa and the April Fishes and Shake Your Peace have planned.

But when I meet up with the musicians behind the fully bike-powered Bay Rising Tour, I have to say I'm  a little surprised. There are no sleek road bikes or spandex apparel – on first glance it doesn’t look like a veteran cycling crew at all. It does, however, look like a band: there are a lot of musical instruments. I spot two guitars, a ukulele, some type of drum, and…a cello! Today is a test run, starting from the Mission district going all the way across the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito. And it seems to be as much about learning how to load everything as it is about the actual ride.

Rupa Marya, the bandleader for the April Fishes, admits that there is a lot to learn about the actual packing process. She’s strapping her guitar onto her cargo bike for the first time. “I don’t want to be biking up a hill and losing my pedals, or instruments, or underwear for that matter, which is sitting precariously on top of my bike,” she says.

Although this tour is completely in the Bay Area, it’s still ten days on the road and they’ll average about 20 miles per day, hauling all their gear. Even as a decently experienced cyclist, this sounds ambitious to me – especially for a band that has never done this before.

“The last four years, we’ve been used to touring on buses and trains and planes and boats,” says Marya. “We’re used to getting on to something and being passive and then getting off and playing a show. And our shows are really physically exhausting and so now it’s gonna be more physically exhausting.”

That's because they're carrying everything – literally everything: an entire sound system, a drum set, percussion set ups, four guitars, a Cuban tres, a saxophone, a trumpet, a fiddle, and more. And it will all be transported on bike trailers, Xtra-cycle long bikes, and on riders’ backs. They’ve had to get creative with their packing.

If there's an expert here, it's Gabe Dominguez, lead singer of Shake Your Peace. “I used my Xtra-cycle long bike to haul a normal wheel-based bike, so like a normal street cruiser here today.” With Dominguez’ bike setup, the ride adds up to 11 people and 12 bikes. After all the equipment is loaded, we are ready to start.

On April 19, the bands will depart, in similar fashion from San Francisco. They'll be performing in some non-traditional places, including a Bike Party in San Jose, a Sustainable Living Center in Oakland, an Ohlone ceremony in Glen Cove (near Vallejo), and on their final and maybe their most ambitious day, “we’ll wake up in the morning and bike to San Quentin Prison and we’ll be playing for the inmates,” says Marya. But that’s not all. That same day, they’ll “get on a ferry and come back to San Francisco, hopefully on time, and bike to the Independent and play a show there,” says Marya. “And then we’ll take a really long hot bath, in a giant bathtub!”

Back on our test run, the most exhilarating point is reaching the Golden Gate Bridge. Most of the musicians are seeing it for the first time from a bike rather than a car. I ask Marya how it’s going. “It’s going rad! It’s so beautiful, we’re a little circus on wheels,” she yells.

As we roll past the tourists in Sausalito, it really does feel a bit like a circus. There’s nearly a dozen of us, sometimes spread out over a quarter mile of road, large and awkward instruments are strapped all over the bikes – we definitely turn some heads. But for Marya and her band, going outside their comfort zone is a big part of what they actually enjoy about touring.

“We did a tour along the U.S.-Mexico border that inspired a lot of music for me and the band,” recounts Marya. “I was like, ‘Hey guys, want to get in a van and go back and forth over the border and interview people and gather sound?’ ‘Hell yeah, let’s try that.’”

Earlier this year, the band traveled to Greece and played in a social center in Athens. Then they went to India to perform in the slums of Omnibad. So it’s really not a surprise that their latest endeavor would involve playing for kids, prisoners, and participating in a Native American ceremony all in the same week.

“All the different types of places you play and how you play – how you do it, how you roll – end up creating your ideas around art. And your life is integral to the art form, and the art form is not just the performance – it’s everything between the performances,” Marya explains.

When we roll into the docks at the ferry terminal in Sausalito, I realize that this tour is more than just testing the limits of what a band can do, or finding a more environmentally friendly way to travel. It's about how the uncertainty of the journey itself is part of the purpose. And as the April Fishes know, the only way to really learn that is to experience the ride.

The Bay Rising Tour kicks off on April 19 from the Mission District in San Francisco. For a complete listing of the tour dates, visit Rupa and the April Fishes official website.

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Transportation Nation

Should BART Run an Hour Later?

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Flickr photo by richardmasoner. http://www.flickr.com/photos/bike/2933642042/

(San Francisco, CA – KALW) BART closes just after midnight every night of the week -- including on weekends, when people like to stay out late. It’s been that way for 35 years.

This year, the BART board wants to change that – just a little bit. They’re thinking about extending service by one hour on Friday nights, and making up for it by starting trains an hour later on Saturdays. The last train would leave San Francisco just before 1:30am. The first one would start the next morning at 7.

It might seem like a small change, but it could have big consequences. Listen to the story over at KALW News.

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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: The Auto Industry Looks Into the Future; NJ Transit Studies Light Rail Over Bayonne Bridge, and Will BART Operate 24 Hours A Day?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

BART station (Jason Schlachet/Flickr)

New Jersey Transit is considering a future expansion of the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail over the Bayonne Bridge into Staten Island; a Port Authority spokesman said it's far too early to say whether it's a realistic proposition. (Jersey Journal) (More on the upcoming Bayonne Bridge work can be found here.)

Missouri approves new rules for speeding and red light cameras on state roads. The key phrase: "regulate," not "eliminate." (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

KALW takes a look at BART's new year resolutions--and previews what transportation changes will be coming in 2011 for the Bay Area.  Will BART operate 24 hours a day? Stay tuned...

Want to know what the auto industry will look like in five years? The Detroit Free Press reads the tea leaves at this week's Auto Show.

A state panel votes to replace Texas Transportation Commission with a single chief. "I see this as being an almost Cabinet-level-like appointment," says the panel's vice chair. (Dallas Morning News)

A New Jersey lawmaker has introduced a bill that would require bicycles to have license plates; bike advocates are not amused. So far, no one else has signed on to the bill. (NorthJersey.com)

Do London's bike superhighways boost cycling? Streetsblog says yes.

Top Transportation Nation stories that we're following: it snowed -- and New York City didn't grind to a halt. One weapon in the war against snow: GPS devices on snowplows.  Meanwhile, in Houston, a state vs. county battle is brewing over who will build the Grand Parkway -- a 180-mile ring around the city that will traverse seven counties. And: author Tony Hiss talks about his new book, In Motion: The Experience of Travel.

Follow Transportation Nation on Twitter.

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Transportation Nation

Clipper card woes: when schools and buses don't mix

Thursday, October 07, 2010

(http://www.flickr.com/photos/agentakit/4707248838/)

(San Francisco – Casey Miner, KALW News) If you use public transportation to get around the Bay Area, the Clipper card can seem like a pretty great thing: load it up with money and it will keep track of how much you've spent on any of the Bay's many transit agencies. You still might have to take three kinds of transit to get to work, but instead of hunting around in your pockets for change or riffling through all your receipts to find a transfer, you just tag your card and go. It’s supposed to simplify things, and for a lot of people it has. Eventually, transportation officials want the Clipper to be the main way that regular riders pay their fares. That means no more paper passes. You might not think that’s such a big deal – why waste the trees? But it’s not so easy for everyone to get around without them.  Hear why over at KALW News.

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Transportation Nation

Time is money in Bay Area HOT lanes

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

(San Francisco–Casey Miner, KALW News) How much do you value your time? That’s the question drivers will have to ask themselves if they hit heavy traffic on I-680 next week: do they want to wait it out, for free, or zip into an open lane that might cost $6 or more to use? Beginning next Monday, a 14-mile stretch of I-680 between Sunol and Milpitas will have a new traffic lane that accepts both carpools (which ride free) and single drivers (who will have to pay).

The I-680 project is a pilot for what officials say will someday be an 800-mile network of high-occupancy/toll lanes (HOT lanes) around the Bay. The lanes are new to this area, but they’ve been around for years in several cities around the country; the first such lanes opened in 1995 down in Orange County. Though there’s some regional variation to how they work, HOT lanes are based on the idea that placing a value on the ability to avoid congestion lightens the traffic load for everybody. Those who are willing to pay, do, but enough people don’t that traffic in the lane always moves freely.

The pay-to-play structure means that the lanes are often derided as “Lexus Lanes” that make things a little cushier for the wealthy while unfairly penalizing the poor. Unfortunately, there’s not much empirical research on whether this is true, and what studies there have been show conflicting results.

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