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transportation

Flikr User Thomas Hawk / used under CC BY-NC 2.0

BART riders are on edge after a spate of killings on the system, including the brutal stabbing of 18-year-old Nia Wilson. In the wake of the violence, the transit agency announced plans for a $28 million dollar security package. That proposal includes a ban on panhandling, a fierce crackdown on fare evasion, and a ramped up surveillance system.

Eli Wirtschafter / KALW News

The Transbay Transit Center in downtown San Francisco finally opens this weekend.

It was supposed to be the “Grand Central Station of the West,” connecting buses, BART, Caltrain, and high-speed rail. But so far, it’s a $2.1 billion bus stop with a green roof.

It’s not just you. That morning commute is getting longer and longer. As the local economy picks up steam, more and more people are getting in their cars, riding BART, and hopping on their bikes to get to work. This means everyone is spending more time on the road and is doing it less comfortably.

Eli Wirtschafter / KALW News

The new Transbay Transit Center opens next month in San Francisco. It’s meant to connect buses from the East Bay with MUNI, Caltrain, and High-Speed Rail. The only problem? The tunnel connecting Caltrain to the transit center hasn’t been built yet. The tunnel will be less than miles long, but building it will cost $4 billion dollars, on top of the $2.2 billion already spent on the transit center.

Hey Area: Why doesn't BART go to Marin?

Jul 17, 2018
Wikimedia user Utilizer, used under CC BY-SA 4.0 / resized and cropped

KALW listener Lori from El Cerrito wrote in to ask why BART doesn’t go to Marin.

Tobias Kleinlercher / Wikipedia, used under CC BY-SA 3.0 / cropped

San Francisco’s Bush and Pine Streets efficiently get drivers from Point A to B. Or as some like to say, “From Bush to the Bay, Pine to the Pacific.” KALW listener Steve Greenberg wanted to know when these two streets became one-way. But more importantly, why?

Eli Wirtschafter

Last December, James Smith’s car was towed as a consequence of unpaid parking violations. Smith was homeless, and the car was his only shelter. Now, Smith filing suit against San Francisco, arguing that towing for debt-collection is unconstitutional.

Eli Wirtschafter

 

Oakland resident Shaniesa Williams wrote to Hey Area — KALW’s community-journalism project — to ask why there are so few traffic signals on International Boulevard.

Tewy / Wikimedia Commons

 

California’s Proposition 69 is concerned with fuel taxes and transportation.

Last year California’s state legislature voted to raise the gas tax, the diesel tax, and vehicle registration fees.

The bill they passed said that all $52 billion of revenue would go to transportation projects — like road repair and public transit.

Joshua Wirtschafter

In late March, little electric scooters started popping up all over San Francisco. So far the scooter companies have been operating without any kind of permit, but that could change soon.

Wikimedia user Dllu, used under CC-BY)z

Eight years ago, there was no such thing as Uber or Lyft. Taxis were around, but they only made around one percent of all vehicle trips in San Francisco. Fast forward to now, and ride hailing companies make up around 15 percent of all trips that start and end within the city — an estimated 170,000 rides per day.

Eli Wirtschafter

San Francisco has helped lead a nationwide trend of using the space by the curb for things besides parking — such as restaurant seating, extra sidewalk space, and bike-share stations. You can see all that happening at once on a single narrow, crowded street: Valencia, in the Mission. The curb space there is precious. But could you put a price tag on it?

Eli Wirtschafter

What if a bicyclist could turn a traffic light from red to green — just by having the right app in their pocket? Or what if a driverless car could take you to the hospital?

DonMcCullough / Flickr / Creative Commons

 

It’s 7:45 AM and I’m in the car with Albany resident Steve Shea. We’re headed from the East Bay to his office in Novato.

 

“Yeah I’ve been commuting to this job ten years now,” he says, his hands on the wheel, eyes fixed on traffic ahead.

 

Eli Wirtschafter

Zipcar. Ford GoBikes. Scoot. Shared vehicles are multiplying like rabbits in the Bay Area. Just this month, a company called JUMP rolled its electric bikes onto San Francisco streets.

Eli Wirtschafter

In February of 2016, new express lanes opened on Interstate 580 near Pleasanton. These express lanes are just like carpool lanes – in most ways. They’re free for buses, motorcycles, and cars with more than one rider. But in an express lane a single driver can get in too, for a price.

Tess Dixon / Flickr/Creative Commons

 

The tolls for driving on Bay Area bridges could go up by three dollars in the coming years. On Wednesday the Bay Area Toll Authority approved the increase, meaning it will go before Bay Area voters in June.

Julie Caine

This story originally aired in November of 2011. 

The Bay Area’s first real freeway was the 880. Completed in 1957, it connects the Port of Oakland with San Jose. Today it’s a major trucking route, and the most direct way to get to the Oakland Airport, or to a Raiders game.

Scorched cars and free bus rides in fire's aftermath

Oct 19, 2017
Ninna Gaensler-Debs

The North Bay fires — on top of claiming lives, homes, and businesses — also claimed vehicles. Crosscurrents host Hana Baba talked with KALW's transportation reporter Eli Wirtschafter about next steps for people who lost their cars in the wildfires.

Putting the art back in BART

Jun 6, 2017
Reis Thebault

Travelers at the Orinda BART station are in a hurry. They don’t seem to notice the abstract, multicolored, geometric shapes on each wall. 

Why do so many Bay Area highways have similar names? We've got Interstate 280, 580, 680 and 880 — what gives? That's the question that listener Jennifer Paulus submitted to Hey Area, KALW's collaborative reporting project. Click the player above for the answer. 

@PickerCPUC

The Environmental Protection Agency is one of the hardest-hit agencies in President Trump's preliminary budget. The blueprint slashes the EPA's budget by nearly one third.

What does Trump mean for transportation in the Bay Area?

Feb 23, 2017
Eli Wirtschafter

President Trump has promised to rebuild America’s transportation network. He’s also signed an executive order saying he’ll take away funding from sanctuary cities -- places like San Francisco and Oakland that don’t fully cooperate with federal immigration authorities.

Audrey Dilling

 

California’s high-speed rail system is the biggest infrastructure project in the state. This documentary is a deep dive into the project. We check in on what’s happening right now, what challenges the project faces, and who will be impacted by it.

Eli Wirtschafter

 

This is Part 4 of a four-part series about high-speed rail in California. Part 1: First Stop, Fresno. Part 2: Corn nuts and the bullet train. Part 3: Will the train be affordable?. Part 4: San Jose to San Francisco — easier said than done. Listen to the whole show: Inside High-Speed Rail.   

Rod Diridon Sr. says his favorite song is “Ol’ Man River.”

The song is “about persevering against great odds, when the deck was stacked against you,” says the former Santa Clara County supervisor. “And wanting to be like that old man river that just keeps rolling along.”

"2569" by flikr user Jeremy Brooks used under CC license. Resized and cropped.

 

There’s been a 45 percent increase in mental health-related calls to BART police since 2011. When officers don’t know what to do, they call Armando Sandoval.

Measure RR: BART asks voters to fund a major rebuild

Nov 1, 2016
Eli Wirtschafter

 

Supporters of Measure RR like to say that BART is as old as Pong – the classic arcade game involving two rectangles playing tennis with a square.

“In 1972, Atari’s Pong was the state-of-the-art video game,” says BART director Robert Raburn. Nowadays, “you don't find an Atari Pong machine anywhere on the street.”

Jeremy Dalmas

 

Harbir Batth isn’t having a good day. Not many fares.

 

“It's been terrible,” he tells me.

 

Then finally, some hope appears: a doorman for the Parc 55 Hotel in Union Square hails the cab over. They hop in and we’re headed to North Beach.

 

Will free buses help kids get to school?

Oct 12, 2016

 

Nidya Baez is an assistant principal at Fremont High School in Oakland. She used to bring extra cash to school, in case a student asked for bus money.

“I would hear, ‘Can I get a dollar to get on the bus?’” remembers Baez.

Hey Area: Will BART damage my hearing?

Sep 22, 2016
Eli Wirtschafter

 

Every morning, Michael Mackin gets on BART with two bags. There’s a satchel where he keeps all his work stuff, and a backpack where he carries Cooper and Jetta, his two adorable papillions.

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