Transportation Nation

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. 

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

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.

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.

BART permanently lifts rush hour bike ban

Oct 29, 2013
Isabel Angell

The Bay Area's transit agency voted unanimously last week to lift the long-standing ban on bikes aboard trains during rush hour. After the five-month pilot program ends on December 1st, bikes will be permanently allowed on all BART trains, at all times. 

Previously, riders couldn’t bring bikes onto most trains during peak commute hours. There’s still some restrictions: bicyclists aren’t supposed to board crowded trains, and bikes are never allowed in the first car, or the first three cars during rush hour.

BART strike is over, tentative agreement reached

Oct 22, 2013

The BART strike is over and trains are running again after a four-day work stoppage. Unions, management, and local politicians announced a tentative agreement late Monday night.

After more than six months of negotiations and two strikes that infuriated workers, BART and its unions have a deal.

John Arantes, BART chapter president of SEIU 1021, said the strike was not about money.

http://sveneberlein.com/

 

Private shuttles have been using Muni stops in San Francisco for a while. But they’ve mostly been smaller buses, for hospitals and universities. In the past few years though, bigger charter buses for tech companies like Google and Genentech have also started to use Muni stops.

In total, the private shuttles regularly use more than 200 Muni stops around the city. San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) spokesperson Kristen Holland says the tech buses’ rising popularity has started to cause Muni delays.

Isabel Angell

With a potential BART strike still looming, union workers from Bay Area bus agency AC Transit are gearing up for possible strike on Thursday. ATU Local 192 gave their 72-hour notice on Monday, while the agency has asked Governor Jerry Brown for a 60-day cooling-off period to prevent a strike from disrupting about 100,000 riders around the East Bay.

BART update: still no strike, still no deal

Oct 15, 2013
Isabel Angell

BART trains will continue to run on Tuesday across the Bay Area, but there’s still no deal in the six-month-long labor contract negotiations. For the third time in less than a week, BART’s unions have put off a strike to stay at the bargaining table. 

An hour after the strike deadline passed early Tuesday around 1 AM, federal mediator George Cohen told reporters the two sides were making progress.

BART strike delayed, management gives "final offer"

Oct 14, 2013
Isabel Angell

BART’s biggest unions called off a strike late Sunday night, but stressed they are ready to strike on Tuesday if no deal is reached. BART management gave what it called its “last and best” offer on Sunday afternoon. 

BART’s unions had previously stepped down from a strike that would have started Friday. But this time, BART said they were done negotiating.

Breaking the media gag order, BART’s General Manager Grace Crunican said the final offer gives the unions a 12 percent raise.

J. Stephen Conn via Flickr

A majority of Californians don’t want the state’s controversial high-speed rail line, says a recent poll forUSC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times. But at the same time, over two thirds of the voters surveyed said they think the project would create jobs and help the state’s economy. And 61% said a high-speed rail line would help reduce traffic at airports and on the highways. 

Spiros Vathis / Flickr

California regulators gave the go-ahead to ride-share apps last week, making it the first state in the nation to legalize peer-to-peer services connecting riders to drivers who use their own cars.

That's an about-face from a year ago, when the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) was handing out cease-and-desist letters to companies like Lyft, Sidecar, and Uber.

Isabel Angell

The story of the new Bay Bridge really begins in 1989, with the Loma Prieta earthquake. A lot of things collapsed -- including a section of the bridge’s eastern span. California officials realized they needed to do something drastic to protect during the next inevitable quake.

“They talked about renovating the existing bridge and that was going to cost in the hundreds of millions of dollars,” says William Ibbs.

Isabel Angell

The new eastern span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge opened last night, about five hours ahead of schedule. That is, if you don't count the extra decade it took to get the bridge built.

California Department of Transportation director Malcolm Dougherty announced the early opening to cheers at the official bridge opening ceremony. 

Isabel Angell

At 8 p.m. last night, the last car drove across the original eastern span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. If everything goes according to schedule, the new, blinding white span will open to the public on Tuesday morning at 5 a.m. Pacific Time. 

The closure gives construction crews time to finally connect the freeway and island approaches to the new bridge. With the Bay Area’s busiest bridge closed, hundreds of thousands of commuters will be looking for a different way across the Bay.

SF Bay Area Bike Share launches Thursday

Aug 28, 2013

Bay Area Bike Share will launch its pilot program on Thursday. The $7,000,000 program, which is run by the regional Bay Area Air Quality Management District and city transit agencies, will roll out 700 bikes at 70 kiosks in heavily trafficked commuter areas of San Francisco, San Jose, and three other Peninsula cities.


The first thing you should know about ironworkers is that they don’t make things out of iron, like horseshoes. They’re builders. Ironworkers from Local 377 built the Golden Gate Bridge, the Transamerica Tower, and the Bank of America skyscraper right here in San Francisco. Today, the union’s biggest and most eye-catching project is the new Bay Bridge’s signature suspension span – the huge white tower and cables that reach over five hundred feet into the sky. The second thing you should know is that they’re pretty ballsy.

Isabel Angell

The new eastern span of the Bay Bridge will open the day after Labor Day. After postponing the opening indefinitely in July, the bridge’s oversight committee voted to restore the original date at a meeting on Thursday. The cracked bolts in the new bridge are apparently better than the totally unsafe old bridge, which wouldn't survive a minor earthquake.

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?

SFPD starts Twitter account to combat bike theft

Jul 31, 2013

The San Francisco Police Department estimated in a report this year that over 4,000 bicycles were stolen in the city in 2012. Police recovered 864 of those, but only got 142 back to their owners. So one enterprising officer, Matt Friedman, started a Twitter account devoted to bike theft, @SFPDBikeTheft, to help close that gap.

The account, which went live last Friday, puts out stolen bike alerts, pictures of bikes the SFPD has recovered, and tips to prevent getting a bike stolen in the first place.

A "quick fix" might open Bay Bridge by Labor Day

Jul 22, 2013

After all that, the Bay Bridge could open on Labor Day after all. That’s if a new solution – being called the “quick fix”– is approved to temporarily stabilize the structure’s broken bolts.

Bay Bridge Labor Day opening delayed

Jul 8, 2013

The Bay Bridge opening has been delayed until at least December, the Toll Bridge Program Oversight Committee announced Monday. The brand-new eastern span of the bridge, which connects Oakland to San Francisco, was supposed to open this Labor Day. Back in March, bolts that hold together a key seismic structure snapped, throwing the opening date into question.

Transit officials said they needed to investigate why the bolts broke and develop a solution to ensure the bridge is seismically sound.

Ride-sharing apps soar during BART strike

Jul 5, 2013

The BART strike left hundreds of thousands of Bay Area commuters scrambling for a way to work, but some companies found an upside:  ride-sharing apps like Avego and Sidecar all experienced huge bumps in ridership during the strike.

Sidecar, an app that lets people request a ride from the nearest driver, said it gave 40 percent more rides than than the previous Monday, and had twice as many people sign up for the app than usual. The company also had double the usual number of people applying to be drivers, and had been offering more trainings to accommodate them.

BARTocalypse? For this reporter, not so much.

Jul 1, 2013

While BARTocalpyse was causing major trouble over in Oakland, the commuters at the El Cerrito del Norte BART station at the Richmond border seemed calm. That’s where I was this morning, trying to get to Potrero Hill in San Francisco.

Del Norte is one of the four stations in the East Bay where BART is providing a free roundtrip shuttle to Oakland and SF, and several main AC Transit lines run right by it. That might have helped congestion at the nearby casual carpool line, where there were about 20 cars waiting for riders to walk up.

BART unions prepare for strike authorization vote

Jun 25, 2013

With no solution in sight to a wage impasse, labor unions representing the Bay Area's commuter rail system are voting Tuesday whether to authorize a strike.

BART and the labor unions have been deadlocked for months. The current contract is set to expire at midnight on Sunday.

Alta Bicycle Share, the organization that runs some of the most successful bike share programs in the US, might be underpaying its workers at its Washington, D.C. Capital Bikeshare. The Department of Labor opened an investigation into the company after Capital Bikeshare employees complained.

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