Transportation

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.

Wonderlane / flickr

 

On the November 17th edition of Your Call, we’ll discuss planning for a growing Bay Area. 

How Bay Area bike groups are putting more women on two wheels

Nov 10, 2015
Lezak Shallat

 

The number of urban cyclists has skyrocketed in the Bay Area in recent years. In San Francisco, ridership increased 96 percent from 2006 to 2013. But women make up just one-third of bike riders in the city.

Audiograph's Sound of the Week: Blessing of the Fleet

Oct 1, 2015

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.

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.

Jeremy Dalmas

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.

This auditory guessing game is part of Audiograph, a crowd-sourced collaborative radio project mapping the Bay Area’s sonic signature. Audiograph tells the story of where you live, and the people who live there with you. Every Thursday, we tell you the story behind our weekly mystery sound on Crosscurrents, and here in weekly blog posts.

Listen above for the full answer...

Under CC license from Flickr user Phil Dokas

 

A new report from the Dutch mapping company TomTom ranks San Francisco the second most congested city in the country; only Los Angeles is worse. And in times of gridlock, people often choose to take public transit, bike, or even walk in order to avoid driving. It’s the job of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) to make those alternatives as appealing as possible.

Tom Nolan is chairman of the SFMTA. Nolan has served on transportation boards throughout the Bay Area, including SamTrans and Caltrain. Now, as Muni's chair, he’s presiding over the board at a time of rapid change. Tom Nolan sat down with KALW’s Raja Shah to talk about the current state of public transit in San Francisco and where it might be heading.

Finding a home on Hotel 22

Feb 11, 2015
Isabel Angell

I’m on the Valley Transportation Authority’s Line 22 bus somewhere between East San Jose and Palo Alto. It’s 2:30 a.m., and it’s raining. I start a conversation with a man sitting down, and ask him if he’s heard the nickname for the bus.

“Yeah, well there's the Motel 22 or Hotel 22. That's the big one I've heard.”

I ask him what he calls the bus.

“I call it home.”

Here's what's happening in the Bay Area, curated by KALW news:

Richard Howard

This week, NPR lost a close member of the family. Tom Magliozzi, co-host of Car Talk, passed away at age 77 from complications of Alzheimer's Disease. On this week's special edition of Car Talk, Ray Magliozzi will honor his older brother with his own memories, and his favorite Tom moments from the show.  Saturday, November 8 at 9am on KALW.

Read Susan Stamberg's remembrance here.

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