Transportation Nation

The $82,000 parking spot

Jun 20, 2013

In some parts of the country, $80,000 will buy you a house. In San Francisco, that same money gets you one parking spot.

That’s right – the San Francisco Chronicle reported last week that realtor Sean Sullivan sold a single parking space in the city’s South Beach neighborhood for $82,000.

Bike sharing is coming to San Francisco and Silicon Valley this August. It’s being launched on a small scale at first – just 750 bikes in the whole system. So the big question is: where should the bikes go?

Bay Area traffic rises with the economy

Jun 6, 2013

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.

At a public meeting on May 23, the BART Board of Directors decided that two five-day pilots weren’t enough to make a permanent decision about whether to allow bikes on trains during peak hours. Instead, they decided to create another pilot -- this one five months long -- review the results, and make a permanent decision in November.

California High-Speed Rail challenge will move forward

May 24, 2013

The first stage of construction on California’s high-speed rail is set to begin this summer, but the legal challenges aren’t going away anytime soon. Last week, a judge ruled that a lawsuit filed by Central Valley residents of Kings County to block construction will move forward as planned.

The California High-Speed Rail Authority had been trying to get the Kings County lawsuit lumped together with a separate “validation” lawsuit, where anyone opposed to the project can sue the Authority in one giant case.

Most drivers who kill pedestrians in the Bay Area are never charged, even when they are found to be at fault, an analysis by the Center for Investigative Reporting reveals. And the drivers who are charged face light punishments at best.

After several pilot projects testing bike access on Bay Area BART trains, BART officials recommended that bikes be allowed on trains at all hours and in all stations. This would be a big change from the current rules, where riders can’t bring bikes on trains or into the cramped 12th and 19th Street stations during peak commute hours.

California officials say they have a plan to stabilize bolts that failed earlier this year on the eastern span of the Bay Bridge.

AC Transit cancels fare hike, considers a decrease

May 1, 2013

Typically transit agencies raise prices as time goes by, not lower them. But AC Transit, the bus system that services Alameda and Contra Costa County in the East Bay Area, has canceled its fare increase scheduled for July – and it might even get cheaper to ride the bus. 

The bids are in to build San Francisco’s Central Subway project – and the price tag will be over $100 million more than the city expected.

The Central Subway will be a 1.7-mile tunnel under the heart of the city for Muni’s T-Third light rail line. The subway will finally provide a connection from the up-and-coming South of Market neighborhood to densely populated Chinatown.

California's high-speed rail gets first contractor

Apr 19, 2013

The first construction phase for California’s high-speed rail plan to link San Francisco and Los Angeles in under three hours has a builder. And the bid came in $200 million under expectations. 

The California High Speed Rail Authority has chosen the Tutor Perini/Zachry/Parsons joint venture as the winning bid for initial construction on the first 28-mile segment of the the line in California’s Central Valley between Madera and Fresno.

"Today is a significant milestone," Authority CEO Jeff Morales said in a statement. 

BART and unions begin contract negotiations

Apr 7, 2013

BART contracts for its union workers – who make up almost 90 percent of BART’s over 3,000 employees – are set to expire on June 30th. That’s sent BART and union leaders to the negotiating table. Both sides are hoping to avoid the bitter and contentious fight that happened during the last contract negotiations in the summer of 2009.

Anti-Islam ads return to Muni

Mar 13, 2013

Many San Franciscans were shocked by anti-Islam advertisements that appeared on ten Muni buses Monday. The ads show inflammatory quotes by Islamic fundamentalists accompanied by a picture of the speaker, an anonymous terrorist, and in one case, a victim. One shows a picture of Osama Bin Laden next to the quote: “The first thing that we are calling you is to Islam,” alongside an image of the burning World Trade Center.

Julie Caine

California has the worst track record in improving its highways, while spending twice the national average per mile.

BART fares and parking fees set to rise

Mar 7, 2013

Public transportation costs are set to rise in the Bay Area, a region with some of the most congested freeways and longest commute distances in the country. Last week, BART directors came together and voted to pass increases for ride fares and parking fees. These increases are designed to be small and incremental and to rise with inflation. The first fare hike will happen on January 1, 2014 and will raise prices by 5.2 percent. That means the average ride will go from $3.59 to $3.78. Further fare increases will be implemented every two years until 2020.

The average travel time to work in the United States is 25.4 minutes, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Move around the map or enter your town or zip code to find commute times for your area. 

Starting this month, some kids in San Francisco can ride the bus for free. The new program, called Free Muni for Youth, aims to make life a little easier for the city’s low- and moderate-income families. The city estimates that 40,000 young people qualify for the program.

Parking a car-share vehicle in San Francisco is about to get easier. At least, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors hopes so. Last week, the Board passed an ordinance to allow residential developers to add more parking spots to their new apartment buildings – if those spots are dedicated for car-share programs.

The ordinance, which was proposed by Supervisor Scott Wiener, passed through the Board of Supervisors unanimously. But not everyone thinks it’s a good idea– and the main opponent is a little surprising.

When he came into office last year, San Francisco mayor Ed Lee said fixing Muni wasn’t a priority for him. But in his 2013 State of the City address, Mayor Lee devoted almost ten minutes of his speech to the often-reviled public transit system.

A big part of life in the Bay Area is how we get around. We drive and complain about parking; take MUNI and complain about delays; bike and risk car collisions (and complain), and of course, we walk. Even that’s not always safe – at least 10 pedestrians have died in the city so far this year. The vast majority of people are hit by motor vehicles: cars, trucks, buses. But sometimes those conflicts are between pedestrians and bicyclists.

Around 250,000 people use Market Street every day— and in every way. They take the bus, ride BART, walk to work, shop... even live.

In 2016, Market Street, between Octavia and the Embarcadero, will be torn up and repaved. So city planners figure it’s the perfect time to reshape and re-imagine San Francisco’s main drag.

San Francisco’s transportation director Ed Reiskin says it’s a good opportunity for the city to do more than pour concrete.

(Not seeing an audio player above? Trying reloading this page in your browser.)

If you want know the price of gas around the United States, there’s a map online that breaks it down for you. The states with the cheapest gas are green, and the states with the most expensive are red. It’s probably the only map where California is one of the reddest states in the country.

The bullet train may be back on track. Earlier this month the state legislature narrowly approved $8 billion dollars in bond money to start construction of the high-speed rail system connecting Los Angeles to the Bay Area. Governor Jerry Brown signed off at ceremonies in LA and San Francisco.

The project is now expected to cost close to $69 billion dollars to complete. The bulk of the money the legislature just approved will go to start building a 130-mile stretch of track in the Central Valley; about a quarter will go to local transportation projects in LA and San Francisco.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Dominik Morbitzer

Chris Bucchere, the bicyclist charged in the death of 71-year-old pedestrian Sutchi Hui, pled not guilty today to charges of felony vehicular manslaughter.

Pages