Transportation

Why are BART announcements so hard to understand?

Nov 8, 2017
Andy Bosselman / KALW

When you ride BART, there’s usually a moment where you look up from your phone and wonder, "Where am I?" That’s when announcements are supposed to help.

Joe Parks / cropped and resized

One KALW listener wanted to know why there are no sound walls along either Highway 24 or Highway 980.

Eli Wirtschafter

AC Transit is building a faster, more reliable bus line on International Boulevard in East Oakland. But some locals are worried that the project will be one more thing forcing them out of the city.

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.

Eli Wirtschafter / KALW

As American cities recover from floods, hurricanes and violent political demonstrations, we take a look at one of San Francisco’s more unusual tools for disaster response.

Eli Wirtschafter

It’s a sunny Friday afternoon. Three guys riding bicycles meet on a corner in downtown San Francisco, where they disguise themselves as city employees. Sort of.

Your Call: Regulating ride-hailing

Jun 15, 2017
Used under CC by Noel Tock www.noeltock.com / Flickr

  

We’re following up on our conversation about regulating the ride-hailing industry.

Your Call: Taxi, Uber, and Lyft drivers discuss regulations

Jun 8, 2017
Used under CC by Aaron Parecki / Wikimedia Commons

  

We’ll have a conversation with ride-hailing drivers, from taxis to Uber about how the industry ought to be regulated.

Eli Wirtschafter

Listen to Google’s Sergey Brin, or Uber’s Travis Kalanick, and you might think we’ll wake up tomorrow in a world where no one needs to drive. But we’re not there yet.

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 does the Bay Area have the worst roads in the country?

May 11, 2017
Eli Wirtschafter

Cat Spediacci takes me on a neighborhood tour of crumbling roads. We’re in Richmond, where she’s lived most of her life. Her Volkswagen rumbles over washboard pavement.

“The road is just completely rotten the way it looks,” says Spediacci. “If I had a tire that looked like this, I would replace it. If I had a fruit that looked like this, I wouldn't eat it.”

East Bay bike bridge opens seven days a week

May 2, 2017
Courtesy Bike East Bay

Starting today, the bike path on the East Span of the Bay Bridge is finally open seven days a week. It's the last milestone for a construction project that began eight years ago.

Driving apps like Waze are creating new traffic problems

Mar 23, 2017
Eli Wirtschafter

After a long day teaching at Ohlone College in Fremont, Rose-Margaret Itua often spends 40 minutes just waiting to get on the highway. It’s only a mile – a straight shot down Mission Boulevard to 680. But in the four years Itua has been teaching at the college, this short stretch has become maddeningly slow.

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.

Audrey Dilling

 

This is Part 2 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.   

Kole Upton’s family has been farming in the Central Valley since 1946.

Audrey Dilling

 

This is Part 1 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.   

California’s high-speed rail system is the biggest infrastructure project in the state. In 2008, voters approved funding for the bullet train that would get passengers from San Francisco to Los Angeles in under three hours. 

California High-Speed Rail Authority

 

This is Part of 3 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.   

High-speed rail construction is happening right now in the Central Valley, even though the project doesn’t have all the money it needs.

 

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.”

  

City Visions host Ethan Elkind talked to Dan Richard, Chair of the California High-Speed Rail Authority, about where things stand with the big infrastructure project that Californians have been squabbling over since approving it in 2008.  

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.

Vallejo hopes to plug into the electric car market

Aug 16, 2016
Max Pringle

 

 

 

If you’re a former Navy town that’s been navigating rough economic seas since your base closed 20 years ago, a high-tech electric car assembly plant may just be the thing you’re looking for to turn your fortunes around.

 

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.

 

Angela Johnston

 

In 2018, Bay Area commuters will be able to go a little bit farther on BART. The transit agency is building a 10-mile extension from the Pittsburgh station, to Antioch.

Eli Wirtschafter

In February, 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.

Eli Wirtschafter

 

The VTA Flex pilot program ended on July 1. VTA's Chief Technology Officer Gary Miskell says they are examining other ways to deploy on-demand transit. When we reported on Flex, the challenges in providing such transit were already visible. 

Moises Olmedo, a software engineer, used to leave 50 minutes to get to work by public transit. He would walk or bike to the light rail station, wait for the train, ride for 20 minutes, and then walk the rest of the way to his job at Cisco. All this despite living just three miles away.

"Google Self-Driving Car" by Flickr user smoothgroover. Used under CC BY-SA 2.0 / Cropped and resized

When people are actually comfortable enough to take an automated car out for a spin, who exactly is in charge? And, if you get into an accident, who’s held responsible?

 

Audiograph's Sound of the Week: The BART operator

May 5, 2016
Eli Wirtschafter

All week long, we've been playing this sound, and asking you to guess what exactly it is and where exactly in the Bay Area we recorded it.

Super Bowl Impact: How will the big game affect your commute?

Jan 27, 2016
Courtesy of SFMTA / Resized and Cropped

Although the Super Bowl game is taking place in Santa Clara, the majority of pre-game celebrations will take place in busy downtown San Francisco and along the Embarcadero.

Audrey Dilling

 

 

When it’s finished, the Transbay Terminal will be a hub for 11 public transit systems – from Muni to AC Transit to California High Speed Rail – connecting people from all around the state. It’s being touted as the future “Grand Central of the West”. But right now, it’s a big hole in the ground – one that people have to travel around, rather than through.

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