Transportation

Monday, May 19, 2014

Monday Must Reads: Violent Crime Plummets in Oakland; State Budget Analyst Says Brown Is Underestimating Revenue Surge

by Robert Gammon
Mon, May 19, 2014 at 9:50 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Violent crime has plummeted in Oakland this year, dropping significantly in every major category, including homicides and robberies, the Chron reports. Homicides are down 18 percent, and robberies have declined 38 percent. Shootings, meanwhile, are down 35 percent, and burglaries have dropped 11 percent. Oakland Police Chief Sean Whent credits the crime drops to the department’s Ceasefire violence prevention program, which targets street gangs, and to an increased emphasis on crime investigations. Decreasing crime also comes as good news for Mayor Jean Quan and her reelection campaign.

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Thursday, May 15, 2014

New Private Bus Service Offers Late Night Rides From San Francisco's Mission District to Uptown Oakland

by Sam Levin
Thu, May 15, 2014 at 12:45 PM

Starting next week, San Francisco and Oakland residents who want to stay out past the last BART train on Friday and Saturday nights will have a new way to get across the bay. A startup called Night School is officially launching its service on Friday, May 23 — offering off-duty school buses from midnight to 4 a.m. that will shuttle passengers between the Mission District in San Francisco and Uptown Oakland.

Here's how it works: Riders will pay monthly memberships for unlimited access to the weekend buses, which will stop at Valencia and 18th Street in San Francisco and Telegraph Avenue and 17th Street in Oakland. A mobile app shows members when the next bus is arriving with real-time tracking.

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Thursday, May 8, 2014

Thursday Must Reads: AC Transit Loses $15.3 Million Legal Case; Californians Back Oil Extraction Tax Proposal

by Robert Gammon
Thu, May 8, 2014 at 9:58 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. An Alameda County jury has ordered AC Transit to pay $15.3 million to a woman who suffered serious back injuries when a bus sped over a speed bump in 2011, the Trib$ reports. The verdict, the largest ever personal injury judgment against AC Transit, followed testimony that included a video showing the victim, Maria Francisco, 20, getting thrown into the air, her back slamming against the roof of the bus, and then the bus driver verbally berating Francisco and accusing her of faking her injuries. AC Transit officials also refused to admit liability. Francisco has subsequently had three surgeries on her back and her medical bills have topped $1 million.

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Friday, April 25, 2014

Friday Must Reads: Senate Rejects Smartphone Kill Switch Bill; BART-Oakland Airport Connector Proves Costly

by Robert Gammon
Fri, Apr 25, 2014 at 9:44 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. After heavy lobbying by the smartphone industry, the state Senate narrowly rejected legislation that would have required all cellphones to come equipped with kill switches that render the phone inoperable when stolen, the LA Times$ reports. Law enforcement officials had pushed hard for the kill switch legislation — as did Oakland political leaders — because smartphone theft has led to a robbery epidemic nationwide. But cellphone makers like Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Samsung oppose kill switches because stolen phones are a huge boon to the industry — victims must buy new phones when theirs are ripped off.

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Friday, April 18, 2014

Friday Must Reads: Cal-OSHA Fines BART for Worker Deaths During Strike; Obamacare Signups Top 8 Million Nationwide

by Robert Gammon
Fri, Apr 18, 2014 at 9:58 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Cal-OSHA slapped BART with a $210,000 fine — the largest such penalty in more than a year — for negligence leading to the deaths of two track workers during the 2013 strike, the CoCo Times$ reports. Cal-OSHA noted that a BART manager who was training another non-union employee to drive trains during the strike was seated in a passenger car and could not even see the track when the train struck and killed the two workers. Cal-OSHA also found that the track workers were not properly trained by the agency. In addition, Cal-OSHA found fault with a BART policy that placed the onus of safety on track workers. The transit agency rescinded the policy after the deadly crash.

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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Thursday Must Reads: Home Prices Skyrocket in the Bay Area; Oakland School Board Zeroes In On New Superintendent

by Robert Gammon
Thu, Apr 17, 2014 at 9:49 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Home prices soared throughout the Bay Area last month, jumping 29.2 percent in Alameda County compared to last year, the Mercury News$ reports. The median home sales price was $575,000 in Alameda County. Prices rose by 22.8 percent in Contra Costa County, with the median at $425,000. The huge price jumps were fueled by an extreme shortage of inventory. The number of home sales in March was the lowest in six years, as buyers engaged in feeding frenzies, outbidding each other for a small number of properties.

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Monday, April 14, 2014

Monday Must Reads: Bay Bridge Scandals Deepen; Quan Wrong About Dubai Prince and Coliseum City

by Robert Gammon
Mon, Apr 14, 2014 at 9:41 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. The new Bay Bridge is riddled with substandard welds that could crack from normal day-to-day use and Caltrans knew about the problem but decided to not fix it, the Chron reports, citing public records. The welds could shorten the expected lifetime of the $6.5 billion span and could fail during an earthquake. The bridge is supposed to be earthquake safe. In addition, the SacBee$ reports that steel cables on the bridge are showing signs of rust. Engineers say corrosion makes the strands and rods vulnerable to cracking.

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Monday, April 7, 2014

Monday Must Reads: Bike Share Program Headed to East Bay Next Year; San Francisco Ballot Measure Would Raise Minimum Wage to $15 an Hour

by Robert Gammon
Mon, Apr 7, 2014 at 9:49 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Bay Area Bike Share, which launched last August in San Francisco and the Peninsula, is headed for the East Bay next year, the Chron reports. The program will feature about 750 bikes — 400 in Oakland and 350 in Berkeley — that commuters will be able to share at about 60 stations. Currently, program participants pay $9 for a one-day pass, $22 for a three-day rental, or $88 for an annual membership. Riders can return their bikes to any station. Transportation officials hope to begin the East Bay program by May 2015.

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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Survey Says Telegraph Avenue Needs More Bike Lanes

by Julian Mark
Wed, Mar 26, 2014 at 10:35 AM

A recent survey conducted by the City of Oakland found that the Telegraph Avenue corridor — located between 20th Street and 57th Street — isn’t adequately configured for cyclists, pedestrians, and transit riders. The survey was conducted as part of the city’s Telegraph Avenue Complete Streets Project, an effort to redesign the Telegraph Avenue corridor into a more suitable area for all modes of travel.

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Friday, March 21, 2014

Friday Must Reads: Oakland to Pay Injured Bicyclist $3.25 Million; Young People Now Approve of Obamacare

by Robert Gammon
Fri, Mar 21, 2014 at 10:08 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. The Oakland City Council has agreed to pay $3.25 million to a bicyclist who was badly injured when she crashed on a pothole-laden road, the Trib$ and Chron report. The cyclist, Dulcey Bower, crashed on Mountain Boulevard between Ascot Drive and the Highway 13 onramp in 2011. Prior to the crash, the city had received numerous complaints about potholes on Mountain. The city says it has since fixed the area where Bower was hurt, although Oakland has a backlog of road repair jobs due to a lack of city funds. The $3.25 million payout was the second major one this week — the city, as the Express first reported this morning, also has agreed to pay $4.5 million to Iraq War veteran Scott Olsen, who was severely injured when Oakland police shot him with a beanbag round during an Occupy Oakland protest.

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