Isabel Angell

Isabel Angell

Throughout film history, the Golden Gate Bridge has been leveled in earthquakes, ripped apart by apes, melted, and even bitten in half by a mega-shark.

But how would the iconic span fare in more realistic disaster scenarios? We're going to take a close look at three very real situations – overcrowding, a tsunami, and an earthquake – and find out if those disasters could bring down the Golden Gate Bridge.

Hassan Astaneh is a professor of structural engineering and bridge engineering at UC Berkeley.

Isabel Angell

The freedom of speech is a pillar of our democratic process...it’s supposed to welcome all voices. But what happens those voices sow hate, or threaten to hijack the political process? That’s what the Richmond City Council is grappling with right now.

The council has a deep ideological divide. On one side, there’s the more established, moderate business faction. And on the other, members of the newer Richmond Progressive Alliance, or RPA.

Isabel Angell

Part of getting older means you can’t get around like you used to. Maybe you can’t drive a car anymore, or hike up those big San Francisco hills to catch the bus.

Isabel Angell

Throughout film history, the Golden Gate Bridge has been leveled in earthquakes, ripped apart by apes, melted, and even bitten in half by a mega-shark.

But how would the iconic span fare in more realistic disaster scenarios? We're going to take a close look at three very real situations – overcrowding, a tsunami, and an earthquake – and find out if those disasters could bring down the Golden Gate Bridge.

Hassan Astaneh is a professor of structural engineering and bridge engineering at UC Berkeley.

Anna Kolhede

In the South of Market neighborhood of San Francisco, at 1038 Howard Street, sits the United Playaz headquarters. United Playaz is an homegrown organization that’s trying to make the SoMa neighborhood a safer place. It was founded by Rudy Corpuz Jr., but he wasn’t always an anti-violence activist.

“I got tired of going in and out of jail. I got tired of waking up at people’s houses that were dope houses. I got tired of being on the streets where I didn’t know where I was going to be at, you know what I mean, the next day because I was living foul.”

Isabel Angell

It’s a sunny, windy afternoon in Richmond, and Adam Boisvert is out in a garden.

“Right now we are in the heart of the Richmond High school garden, this is half of the growing space that we have,” he says.

The garden is about half as big as one of the tennis courts that butt up against one side. Along its other sides, it’s surrounded by portable classrooms, a blacktop, and the back of the football field bleachers. Inside a chain-link fence there are colorfully painted beds full of plants like kale, chard, squash, basil, and strawberries. There are also fruit trees, a composting system, and even a rabbit hutch.

Isabel Angell

Four people have been killed by cars on Van Ness Avenue in 2014 – more than half of the pedestrian deaths in San Francisco this year.

One ran into traffic after an argument. Another was a hit and run. One didn’t appear to use a crosswalk. Stories like that seem to support the idea that pedestrians are often to blame. But in San Francisco, motorists are at fault in almost two-thirds of pedestrian collisions.

Nicole Schneider is the director of the pedestrian advocacy group Walk San Francisco.

 

Rent control has been a way for cities to regulate their housing prices and evictions since World War One, in the wake of a big housing shortage in New York. But that doesn’t mean it’s common. In fact, only a handful of cities in the United States have rent control, like New York City, Los Angeles, a few cities in the Bay Area and San Francisco.

Isabel Angell

African Americans are leaving San Francisco at an alarming rate. They make up just six percent of the population, down from over 13 percent in 1970 and have a higher unemployment rate than whites and other minorities.

photo by Isabel Angell


The old eastern span of the Bay Bridge stands empty. Its job is done. Now it’s time for it to come down, and the man overseeing the demolition is Bill Howe, senior engineer with Caltrans.

The Bay Area is one of the most congested places in the whole country ­– behind Los Angeles and Honolulu. Over the next 30 years, another two million people are expected to move here. So, how are we are all going to fit?

Julie Caine

California has the worst track record in improving its highways, while spending twice the national average per mile.

Starting this month, some kids in San Francisco can ride the bus for free. The new program, called Free Muni for Youth, aims to make life a little easier for the city’s low- and moderate-income families. The city estimates that 40,000 young people qualify for the program.

Parking a car-share vehicle in San Francisco is about to get easier. At least, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors hopes so. Last week, the Board passed an ordinance to allow residential developers to add more parking spots to their new apartment buildings – if those spots are dedicated for car-share programs.

The ordinance, which was proposed by Supervisor Scott Wiener, passed through the Board of Supervisors unanimously. But not everyone thinks it’s a good idea– and the main opponent is a little surprising.

Seven months ago, things were going great for Kevin Weston. He was with the woman of his dreams, he had a baby daughter and a teenage stepdaughter, and he was about to start a prestigious journalism fellowship at Stanford University. But then he got sick. He was diagnosed with a raging infection and acute leukemia, a cancer of the blood. Lateefah Simon, Kevin’s wife, recounts what came next.

When he came into office last year, San Francisco mayor Ed Lee said fixing Muni wasn’t a priority for him. But in his 2013 State of the City address, Mayor Lee devoted almost ten minutes of his speech to the often-reviled public transit system.

Under CC license from Flickr user Yang and Yun

Human employees take a financial toll

Toll-takers on the Golden Gate Bridge are on their way out – human toll-takers, that is. Today marks the first day of a testing period for a new all-electronic toll collection system. In sixty days – if all goes according to plan – motorists crossing into San Francisco will have to use an automated payment system, or they will receive a bill by mail after the bridge authority takes a photo of their license plate.

Spokesperson Mary Currie says the change is mostly about the budget.

The spectacularly lit Mormon Temple in the Oakland Hills has been a fixture in the East Bay skyline for over almost fifty years. As part of our place profiles series, KALW's Isabel Angell decided to see what the temple looked like up close.

Back in December, we ran a story about Uber, the app that matches users to the closest town car or taxicab. Uber gets its money by charging its own rates, which can cost much more than a typical meter.

Listener Mark Gruberg called in to let us know that we missed something: that regular cabs are using apps, without the extra cost.

Hailing a taxi in San Francisco can be nearly impossible if you’re not downtown. Calling ahead isn’t a guarantee either – often, the cab is late and sometimes it never comes.

Gas prices in California are always a big problem. And this year, the average price per gallon is set to hit four dollars – the highest average ever. It seems like there’s nothing the average driver can do to lower their fuel costs – except, maybe, change what grade of gasoline they buy. Most people, though, have no idea what that means for their car.

A choice at the pump

Under CC license from Flickr user fimoculous

A city usually famous for its crime is now becoming known for its progressive politics. In Richmond, one of the local city measures that got national attention was the so-called soda tax, which would have taxed sodas at one penny per ounce.