The first thing I notice when I come to Kolkata from San Francisco is not the heat. Or the smog. But the noise. A survey a couple of years ago found that at 10 major crossings the horn count average per day was a whopping 107392 per day, that’s over 70 honks per minute. Cars and buses loudly flout No Horn signs around hospitals and schools.
Some drivers are honking because a pedestrian, or a cow is jaywalking, or another car is turning without a signal or just because.
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 traffic, San Jose jumped up in the list this year.
In 2010, it didn’t even make the top ten. Now, San Jose commuters can expect to waste 33 hours per year sitting in traffic, while San Francisco drivers waste an extra 50 hours each year in their cars.
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 Fremont man has started a campaign against red-light cameras, highlighting the fact that California has the most expensive red-light ticket in the nation at $480. The second highest fine in the U.S. is $250. Red-light camera opponents claim they are an underhanded regressive tax and are more about bringing in revenue than improving safety. According to city figures, one red-light camera in Oakland raked in $4.2 million in 2010, from about 9,200 tickets...