Omar Yacoubi 
Member since Mar 10, 2013


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Recent Comments

Re: “Oakland Proposes Eliminating Parking Requirements for New Downtown Housing Developments

Great! Maybe we can redevelop some of these empty parking lots into new apartments and condos with affordable units.

Posted by Omar Yacoubi on 10/19/2015 at 11:54 AM

Re: “Friday Must Reads: Prosecutors Charge Man in Murder of Oakland Mom; California Has Just One Year of Water Supplies

I don't understand why we allow any outdoor watering at all during a drought. Our political system is failing us.

4 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Omar Yacoubi on 03/13/2015 at 1:52 PM

Re: “Berkeley Merchants Say a Moved Bus Stop Has Been Bad for Business

Yikes! Parking was already hard to come by even with those 5 spaces. Eliminating the bus stop would be a good idea to bring some sanity back to that situation.

8 likes, 7 dislikes
Posted by Omar Yacoubi on 03/10/2015 at 9:53 PM

Re: “Little Mokka Takes on Big Starbucks

I don't get the Starbucks hate—if you have a better local business, God bless, and you'll be fine. Competition is not a bad thing. Ashby & Telegraph is pretty tame as far as busy intersections go, and it should have better transit service anyway. If traffic becomes a problem, then maybe we can finally get bus rapid transit (BRT) built out to Berkeley :) But I don't see the Starbucks attracting any more traffic than Whole Foods already does.

4 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Omar Yacoubi on 06/16/2014 at 2:54 PM

Re: “AC Transit Made Right Choice to Finally Buy Local

I appreicate that, Justin. The brand-new Gillig I rode on the NL transbay had a much rougher time on Grand Ave than the Van Hools I rode before. Ashby is a relatively smooth street by comparison; I'm not sure why you experienced a rough ride there.

A heavy frame helps absorb the bumps for sure, but the suspension matters more when the bumps are bigger. On that front the new Gilligs absolutely fail. They are loud and rattling when they are brand-new. The New Flyers I've ridden are much smoother by comparison. Hop across the bay and try the new hybrids Muni got. They are simply a joy to ride.

Interestingly, Gillig did not bid for that hybrid contract, even though Gillig makes a hybrid of its own. It makes me wonder if they knew they'd be getting a bunch of business from this side of the bay.

Not sure about heavier = safer … in an accident you're not wearing a seatbelt anyway, so it seems to be due to inertia you'd actually benefit from having less mass around you as long as the frame is strong. Federal regulations were recently reformed in this country so that our trains can start using the lighter frames found in Europe, where operational safety is emphasized over crash survivability.

I'm fine with buying local, as long as the company tries. My main beef with the Gillig contract is that the buses we got have a 30-year-old exterior. East Bay residents deserve a more innovative and enjoyable transit experience than what they got (the hydrogen-based Van Hools come to mind, as an example of what might have been). And with global warming on the horizon, paying zero attention to fuel efficiency in new purchases strikes me as foolhardy.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Omar Yacoubi on 06/13/2014 at 4:26 PM

Re: “The Express' New Commenting Policy

As long as Facebook commenting isn't used, I think it's weird to require a full first and last name. Last initial should really be enough. But I understand your rationale

5 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Omar Yacoubi on 06/12/2014 at 12:23 PM

Re: “AC Transit Made Right Choice to Finally Buy Local

@Joyce: DC does, in fact, use Van Hools on its regular Circulator routes, which are not just for tourists—the main business neighborhoods of the city are connected for locals to enjoy as well (the "regular" DC routes you mention are under the domain of WMATA, a regional transit agency, while the Circulator is purely local). Far from being slow, the routes are designed with limited stops to speed people through the city at speeds well above the regular local routes, helping to make up for the lack of Metro rail service between them (the rail system mainly serving commuters). Originally designed to bring tourists into the city from the National Mall, the system has since cut its Mall routes due to low ridership in favor of the routes that locals have made popular. The East Bay could learn a lesson from this kind of transit design (imagine a shuttle, for example, from Emeryville to Piedmont via Temescal and Lakeshore).

When I lived in DC I benefited from a route that went through Columbia Heights, my old neighborhood, and because of its regular service, I used it for grocery shopping. There was a space on board to place my bags, so it was very convenient. The "insanity" of putting the engine in the passenger compartment makes for a more pleasant ride, including the benefit of having a better view out the back window, as you mentioned. The added benefit is that the ride is less noisy as well.

From my perspective, compared to the Van Hools (and especially compared to New Flyers) the Gillig buses are a loss for everyone—for the environment because they are less fuel efficient, for the passengers because the ride is less smooth, and for AC Transit because such inferior vehicles will not attract people away from car usage (it encouraged me to purchase a car, actually). I love supporting local industry where possible, but it's clear that this contract was not won on pure merit, and quite frankly I think we'd all be better served if Gillig no longer made the type of bus AC Transit bought. Something to think about when it's time to replace these buckets of bolts in 2025.

1 like, 1 dislike
Posted by Omar Yacoubi on 06/11/2014 at 3:12 PM

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