Transportation

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.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/81016120@N05/

San Francisco paints itself as a green city, a city of walkers and bicyclists, a transportation friendly city. But some say San Francisco has taken its pro-pedestrian stance too far.

A group called the Restore Transportation Balance Coalition wants to take back the roads. That’s the goal of Proposition L, a declaration of policy to make the city’s parking meters, garages and traffic laws more car-friendly. But at what cost?

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

Oct 16, 2014

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

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.

At about 1:30am, after a night out with friends, Kyle Nichols-Schmolze is waiting for the AC Transit 800 bus near Market and Van Ness in San Francisco’s Civic Center.

Photo by Casey Miner

You might think BART stations would be quiet at 2am. The platforms are empty, no trains rushing through. But they’re not quiet. In fact, the noise is deafening.

Flickr user Eugene Kim

The latest news of possible problems on the new Bay Bridge? Steel rods anchoring the 6.5 billion dollar span have shifted and might threaten its stability in the case of an earthquake.

This is just the most recent in a laundry list of problems on the bridge. In recent months, Caltrans has come under fire for faulty welds, failed rods, and leaky decks. Jaxon Van Derbeken, an award-winning reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle, has reported extensively on the Bay Bridge. He sat down with KALW’s Ben Trefny.

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.

Citizens solve bike theft crimes with social media

May 29, 2014

This story originally aired on April 18, 2013.

If someone steals your bike, it can feel pretty hopeless. That’s because it is. In 2012, 585 bikes were reported stolen in San Francisco – that doesn’t include the many more thefts that weren’t reported. In Oakland, the police department doesn’t even keep track – they just don’t have the resources. And the bikes that are recovered usually don’t make it back to their owners, because the police don’t have enough information.  

The Long Walk

May 20, 2014
Molly Samuel

This past Saturday, KALW contributor Molly Samuel set off on what she calls the "Long Walk." It's a tradition she started three years ago, when she and 12 friends walked the entire waterfront of San Francisco – 23 miles. It took them 11 hours, and gave them all a new perspective on their city.

Julie Caine sat down with Molly to hear about what she saw and heard. 

It’s not your imagination. Bay commutes are getting longer and longer.

Checking out of Hotel 22

Apr 9, 2014
Isabel Angell

While I was reporting “Finding a home on Hotel 22” about the way some homeless use Line 22 in Santa Clara County as a shelter, I looked up the bus line on Yelp. I found a bunch of reviews, mostly from regular riders of the bus. 

People said pretty typical things, like “love those fast aggressive male drivers” and “bus drivers please lower the bus so I can get my bike on the rack easier.”

But the one that caught my eye was from Helen Garcia. She wrote:

Courtesy of San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library

Nearly 80 years ago the Bay Bridge was described in a live broadcast on NBC Radio as “the largest, longest, and greatest completed highway bridge in the world.”

Isabel Angell

East Bay bus agency AC Transit doesn’t have the ridership or wide-reaching reputation of BART or San Francisco’s Muni. But about 100,000 people take an AC Transit bus every day-- and those riders are disproportionately lower-income, elderly, and less likely to own a car.

Over the past few years, the AC Transit has seen deep service cuts and major fare increases. At two dollars and ten cents, it’s the Bay Area’s most expensive most expensive local bus ride.

Isabel Angell

The success of Bay Area Bike Share depends on one place: downtown San Francisco. Back in August, the program. made a well-calculated gamble and stuck half the bikes in an area covering downtown, the Financial District, and South of Market. Basically, if bike share doesn’t work there, it won’t work in the Bay Area.

In California, once your feet leave the ground and hit the pedals of your bike, you’re under the same rules of the road as cars and trucks. But, the thing about riding a bike is that, unlike driving a car, you don’t need a license. There is no test. Once your parents take off the training wheels and let go of the back of your bike,  you’re pretty much on your own. 

I report on transportation for KALW, but I hardly ever ride my bike. I decided to take an urban bike riding class to learn everything you need to know about riding your bike in the Bay Area.

Isabel Angell

Over half of Bay Area residents support a ban on transit strikes, bucking the region’s pro-union reputation, reveals a new Field Poll. The rest of the state is split, but more Californians still believe public transit workers should have the right to strike.

AC Transit board to vote on new fare structure

Dec 11, 2013

AC Transit’s Board of Directors will vote on a new fare structure today that would raise some fares. Local advocates are protesting the increase, saying it disproportionately affects lower-income riders and other vulnerable groups.  

The new fare structure --which would go into effect this summer-- would get rid of transfers in favor of day passes and raising the price for youth and senior monthly passes from $20 to $23. Meanwhile, the adult monthly pass would drop in price from $80 to $75.

Experts raise concern about Bay Bridge rods

Dec 9, 2013
Isabel Angell

Two Bay Area engineers have released a scathing report about the official analysis of the broken rods on the Bay Bridge, Charles Piller of the Sacramento Bee reports.

The Toll Bridge Program Oversight Committee conducted the analysis after 32 key seismic rods broke on the new eastern span of the Bay Bridge back in March.

Unions sue BART over contract dispute

Dec 4, 2013
Isabel Angell

BART’s biggest unions, SEIU 1021 and ATU 1555, are suing the BART Board of Directors and the district’s management over what BART is calling a “clerical mistake” in their new contract. The unions say management is trying to backtrack.

Golden Gate Bridge Tolls Could Hit $8

Nov 15, 2013
Isabel Angell

According to projections, within five years, a drive across the Golden Gate Bridge could cost as much as $8. Officials say it's a necessary trade-off, as tolls help subsidize the area's ferry and bus service.

The board for the Golden Gate Highway and Transportation District is meeting this Friday to discuss the toll increase, which they say is necessary to offset a $142 million budget shortfall over the next five years.

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.

Isabel Angell

Talks between Bay Area bus agency AC Transit and the union that represents its drivers and dispatchers are continuing after California governor Jerry Brown stopped halted a strike last week with a 60-day cooling-off period. ATU Local 192 had been threatening a strike that would shut down bus lines across the East Bay from Richmond to Fremont.

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