transportation | KALW

transportation

Riding the 1 bus: An unguided tour to East Oakland

Nov 22, 2012
photo by Julie Caine

One way to get to know a new place is to ride public transportation – especially the bus. It’s like taking an unguided tour – a tour in which there’s often as much to see inside as there is out the windows.

The most popular buses in Oakland are the 1 and the 1R. The 1, which is the local route, makes 105 stops in three different East Bay cities. It’s a trip that takes four hours from start to finish.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/v63/

Oakland Unified School District has the largest enrollment of any district in Alameda County, with 136 schools and over 46,000 students. Within OUSD, about 25 percent are charter schools and this number keeps growing.

Arise High School, a charter, is inside the Fruitvale Transit Village in Oakland. The plaza looks hip and newly built. There’s a bank, senior center and a dentist’s office – not the typical setting for a high school with over 200 students. G. Reyes, one of the school’s co-principals, says Arise created a unique approach to learning.

The Unity Council has deep roots in Oakland’s Fruitvale neighborhood. Founded in 1964, the center has expanded into a national model for community development, spearheading the creation of the Fruitvale Transit Village and growing to work with about 12,000 low- to moderate-income clients per year.

KALW’s Holly Kernan asked Gilda Gonzalez, CEO of the Unity Council, to talk about the organization’s history.

Alameda County's Measure B1 still up in the air

Nov 7, 2012

There’s one race still up for grabs in the Bay Area: Measure B1, Alameda county’s proposed new transit tax. 

How do we know the rules of the road?

Sep 18, 2012

A big part of life in the Bay Area is how we get around. We drive and complain about parking; take MUNI and complain about delays; bike and risk car collisions (and complain), and of course, we walk. Even that’s not always safe – at least 10 pedestrians have died in the city so far this year. The vast majority of people are hit by motor vehicles: cars, trucks, buses. But sometimes those conflicts are between pedestrians and bicyclists.

“I advise you when crossing the street to always look left and right,” John Alex Lowell tells me.

When Lowell crosses a San Francisco street, he doesn’t just look both ways. He looks left, then right, then left again, then over his shoulder, to make sure no one’s coming from behind him making a turn. He’s also keeping tabs on the countdown of the walk sign.

“Only if it’s a double digit, or at least an 8, should you start walking, and not have it become 1 and you’re right there in the middle of the intersection,” Lowell advises.

Market Street gets a facelift

Sep 10, 2012

Around 250,000 people use Market Street every day— and in every way. They take the bus, ride BART, walk to work, shop... even live.

In 2016, Market Street, between Octavia and the Embarcadero, will be torn up and repaved. So city planners figure it’s the perfect time to reshape and re-imagine San Francisco’s main drag.

San Francisco’s transportation director Ed Reiskin says it’s a good opportunity for the city to do more than pour concrete.

Hear Here: Meet Archie Johnson

Aug 23, 2012

Driving a bus can be a stressful, thankless job – just ask AC Transit driver Robert Hawkins, who told us in this recent Crosscurrents story: “It's like a switch turns on in your head because you know that you're getting ready to deal with a bunch of mess. Or the potential for a bunch of mess out here.”

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If you want know the price of gas around the United States, there’s a map online that breaks it down for you. The states with the cheapest gas are green, and the states with the most expensive are red. It’s probably the only map where California is one of the reddest states in the country.

In Downtown San Francisco on Market Street, subtly hidden next to the glitzy Westfield Shopping center, 10 floors above the newly painted green bike lanes, are the offices are the San Francisco Bike Coalition. It’s big and lofty-feeling; there’s a wall filled with hooks for bikes. This is the brain trust of the city’s bike movement. The person in charge is SFBC’s executive director, Leah Shahum. And she has a vision:

Bullet train back on track

Jul 25, 2012

The bullet train may be back on track. Earlier this month the state legislature narrowly approved $8 billion dollars in bond money to start construction of the high-speed rail system connecting Los Angeles to the Bay Area. Governor Jerry Brown signed off at ceremonies in LA and San Francisco.

The project is now expected to cost close to $69 billion dollars to complete. The bulk of the money the legislature just approved will go to start building a 130-mile stretch of track in the Central Valley; about a quarter will go to local transportation projects in LA and San Francisco.

High-speed rail gets the green light

Jul 18, 2012

Governor Jerry Brown gave high-speed rail the official green light today, signing legislation authorizing $8 billion in initial funding for the controversial $68 billion project.

Signing ceremonies in San Francisco and Los Angeles emphasized the political importance of the $1.9 billion allocated for improving existing commuter rail systems in these cities, the eventual “bookends” of the rail network that would connect northern and southern California.

In the past six weeks, five people have died on Caltrain tracks, hit by trains that could not stop in time to avoid them. Every year, an average of 12 people die on Caltrain tracks, and most are suicides. This is a small percentage of suicide deaths each year – only about one percent of suicides in the U.S. are by train.

Caltrain has built 10-foot fences along much of the route, commissioned studies about location and prevention, put up signs with suicide hotline numbers along its tracks, and partnered with mental health agencies. But it is a tragic problem that persists.

Bicyclist pleads not guilty

Jun 20, 2012
Photo courtesy of Flickr user Dominik Morbitzer

Chris Bucchere, the bicyclist charged in the death of 71-year-old pedestrian Sutchi Hui, pled not guilty today to charges of felony vehicular manslaughter.

All kinds of ways to get around the Bay

Jun 5, 2012
Photo by Flickr user Salim Virji

For some people, the daily commute will get a little easier this week. Monday morning, a new ferry service between the Oakland, Alameda, and South San Francisco opened. In San Francisco, regular service resumed on the MUNI’s N Judah and J Church lines, after ten days of repair work at some of the city’s busiest transit junctions. Statewide, however, things aren’t so bright. A new poll shows that voters are losing faith in plans for a high-speed rail system in California.

May Day brings unions and Occupy together

May 3, 2012

Tuesday’s May Day protests marked the re-emergence of the Occupy movement with coordinated protests around the Bay Area. But May Day—known around the world as International Workers Day—is traditionally a day when union members mobilize around labor issues. In San Francisco, those are ongoing.

Decoding the mysteries of Bay Area traffic

Apr 25, 2012

If you added up all of the time that all of us spend stuck in Bay Area traffic, it would average out to about 40 million hours a year. It doesn’t take much to slow down traffic – accidents and construction and weather conditions all have an impact. And, there’s more than cars in the road.

Last year, a truck full of chickens overturned on 80 near Fairfield. And then there was the herd of cattle that wandered through the toll plaza on the Benicia Bridge. Not to mention all the falling ladders – that’s one of the most common pieces of debris.

A few weeks ago, we aired a story about San Francisco students' access to public transportation. The piece discussed possible legislation that would provide free Muni passes to local youth. Here are some responses that came through the Crosscurrents voicemail line.

Courtesy of Thomas Hawk/Creative Commons

In a conference room at the BART police headquarters in downtown Oakland, a DVD plays a scenario. The screen shows a woman, and she’s really angry. She’s just been locked out of her house after finding out her husband is cheating on her.

“Goddamn it, this is my house, let me in bitch, are you cheating on me?” the woman yells “I hate you! Why are you doing this to me?”

Her aggression grows, quickly turning violent. She kicks one officer, and he falls to the ground. An officer in the DVD tells the woman to drop the shovel, but the woman continues to yell.

If you’ve lived in San Francisco long enough, you might have noticed that there are fewer yellow school buses crisscrossing the city. State budget cuts have forced the school district to cut its bus services to 98 percent of high school students. Only five middle schools still get busing. Even elementary schools have been losing service. And deeper cuts are promised for next year.

Getting the trains to the station

Mar 15, 2012

California’s high-speed rail project has taken a beating over the past couple of months. The price tag for building the super fast train is now expected to be almost $100 billion, more than twice what voters approved in 2008. The High-Speed Rail Authority, which is designing and planning the project, has to convince voters – and an increasingly skeptical Legislature – that funding high-speed rail is feasible.

CNN may buy Mashable for $200 million. Mashable covers and aggregates news on social media and the Internet at large. Last August CNN bought Zite, a news app for the iPad...

Pointing the way to better transit

Feb 29, 2012
Lisa Ratner

It’s Hattam Moktor’s second day in San Francisco. He arrived from Egypt yesterday and spent today seeing the sights in the city. Now he’s standing in front of an empty station agent’s booth at the Embarcadero BART station trying to get back to his brother’s East Bay apartment.

“I want to ask someone how to get there, so I came here, but there is no one to ask. So I found you! So I will ask you how to get there. Walnut Creek?” Moktor laughs.

Moktor pulls a crumpled BART map out of his back pocket, and we look at it together. What he needs is a Pittsburg-Bay Point train.

This year is BART’s 40th birthday. While some people swear that 40 is the new 30, when it comes to subway systems, 40 is just plain over-the-hill. About two-thirds of BART cars have been running the rails since the system opened, in 1972.

Paul Oversier is in charge of operations at BART. He says that because BART trains run long distances and at higher speeds than other subway systems, it gives the system a dubious distinction. “We have the oldest cars, and we run them the hardest,” he says.

USDOT

On a stop in Fresno today, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood pushed for high-speed rail in the state.

“High-speed rail in California is about helping to get the California economy moving again, to get unemployment down, to put friends and neighbors to work,” said LaHood. “And implementing high-speed rail in California will do that.”

The section of the rail line between Fresno and Bakersfield, where construction is set to begin later this year, is the only segment of the estimated $100 billion project with secured funding.

Take BART to rural California

Feb 8, 2012
Photo courtesy of Lisa Hamilton.

If you’ve ridden on BART lately, you might have seen a photograph of a blue and white beach umbrella standing at the edge of a green farmer’s field. The caption reads, “Those are potatoes.” Or one with a girl in a cowboy hat standing upright in her horse’s saddle, swinging a lasso over her head. The caption: “She’s Also Pretty Good At Volleyball.” Or one with a boy wearing a green 4H tie, proudly holding a goat to his side. “Jesús and Lightning,”

The photos are visions of rural California, pasted on the walls one of the state’s most iconic urban structures.

courtesy Caifornia High-Speed Rail Authority

California State Senator Doug LaMalfa (R-Richvale) introduced legislation today that would put high-speed rail back on the ballot come November.

In a statement, LaMalfa said that "voters have been misled about the true costs of High-Speed Rail from the start. The costs have tripled since 2008 and every objective observer has said this project is too expensive and is unlikely to be completed.”

California Governor Jerry Brown in 2010 (photo by Steve Rhodes via Flickr)

In his State of the State address today, Governor Jerry Brown didn’t give an inch on the state’s embattled high-speed rail plan.  Likening the project to the launching of BART, the Panama Canal, and the Suez Canal, Brown said: “Those who believe California is in decline will naturally shrink back from such a strenuous undertaking,” he said. “I understand that feeling, but I don’t share it.”

 

The U.S. Supreme Court turned down a Napa County resident’s challenge to a state law that imposes a 10-year ban on gun ownership for anyone convicted of a violent misdemeanor. The resident claimed the law violated his constitutional right to possess a firearm…

Photo by Shani Aviram

One of the expenses truckers face is paying to upgrade their rigs to meet new environmental emissions regulations for diesel engines. California has the strictest gasoline emissions regulations in the country. If you own a car in this state, then you’ve been through the ritual of the smog check. Until very recently, diesel engines on freight trucks – big rigs that haul almost everything we buy in and out of ports and across the country – haven’t been under the same rules. Now, that’s starting to change.

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