Chris Morgan 
Member since Sep 3, 2009


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Recent Comments

Re: “AC Transit's Duplication of Service

I commute by BART so I don't have a dog in this but my understanding is that transit riders get most annoyed by spending their time by waiting for the bus, followed by walking to the bus, followed by being on the bus. If you cut Transbay to do some kind of express to BART you probably will lose people who will perceive walking to the BART platform and waiting for BART as worse than sitting in Bay Bridge traffic. Incidentally, the resulting fare for both systems would be a lot higher, too, so why not explore charging Transbay people close to BARTs (I think) ~60% farebox recovery ratio?

It also follows from that, in my opinion, that AC Transit should take some kind of two-tiered approach that keeps to 15 minute gaps between each time a bus arrives during the heaviest commute hours and acquiesce to 1 hour gaps at other times and weekends. This is because once you get to more than 15 minutes you have lost all of the casual users and the remaining people will be willing to plan their day around AC Transit's schedule. Any gaps of 30 minutes should be cut back to save money (if it does in fact save money).

Posted by Chris M. on 05/20/2010 at 6:07 AM

Re: “Reforming Oakland's Cabaret Laws

Kudos to Nadel and Kaplan for doing something about this issue. I've lived downtown for more than 10 years and have never felt as optimistic as I do now for our city's potential to sustain a vibrant but reasonably safe nightlife environment.

My thoughts:
* I'd lean towards the simplest and lightest regulations for smaller venues like Awaken Cafe's planned community space
* Staggering closing times for big venues is a good idea.
* Like it or not the police need to have a say in this because, based on what I've seen in prior years, one or two shootings and this will all collapse in a month.
* I'd recommend expanding parking zone on Broadway, charging a time-variable price for street parking within two blocks of Broadway to guarantee a couple of open spaces on each block and use the proceeds to pay for police overtime or coordinated security.

Other things that doesn't have any control over that matter here:
* Last call at 2am is set by the state's Alcohol Control Board, I think, rather than being part of state law. This is archaic and should be managed at the local level. As much as I like to think that people should be just having a good time, alcohol matters to people's decisions and local control of timing of last call would help the city to stagger the discharge of patrons at the end of the evening.
* Marijuana policy. We seem to be moving towards formal legalization. Given that downtown Oakland already has a cluster of marijuana-driven businesses, this could create a pretty mellow cafe ("coffehouse") nightlife as a counterpoint to raucous alcohol and Red Bull-fueled activities. We should think about how the regulations would affect that.
* BART not running 24hrs/day. The real "last call" for many people who want to save money and be safe is 12:30. Any way to get BART to suspend their maintenance work for Friday and Saturday nights would probably help Oakland's nightlife environment.

Posted by Chris M. on 01/18/2010 at 6:36 AM

Re: “A Solution to Parking in Oakland?

I agree with many of the comments above. Shoup argues that:
* Almost everyone wins when we price for 85% occupancy: Drivers find spaces, air quality improves from less driving around the block, residents' guests show up on time, businesses get more visitors (and their employees don't park in front all day), transit riders and drivers aren't held up by desperate parking maneuvers.
* A parking space is a public resource and when we don't properly price for it we end up effectively subsidizing people who don't use their cars very often. Make 'em pay and they switch to Zipcar or City CarShare. Meanwhile the people who actually use their cars are more likely to be able to get their errands done.
* Taking time restrictions off, pricing for availability, keeping most of the proceeds in the neighborhood should eliminate most parking tickets while generating probably more money (depending on the price of tickets) and would get rid of most of the political acrimony over tickets. My opinion is that it should be hard to break the law.

The new Lake Chalet is an example. Popular new restaurant in residential neighborhood next to a well-used park gets more cars than the neighborhood can handle because the city effectively does not restrict parking on the street. Yes, the valet option is there for $5 but I argue that if the city priced to 85% occupancy, many of the valet customers would simply park on the street and generate $s for the neighborhood. The current system is designed to make customers grouchy because they had to park two blocks away after driving around the block a couple of times, make neighbors angry because they feel entitled to a free spot near home and all drivers anxious that the city is going to give them a ticket. As he says in the article, the people who don't want to pay will not come back--but they will be replaced with more frequent visitors who will pay.

Why not make sure parking is available for a price and use the proceeds to make sure the new grass the city installed doesn't die because of budget cutbacks or why not use some of the money to plant some trees in the areas nearby where hard surfaces prevail?

It's not a perfect system but in the context of so much transit nearby it gets as close as we can to balancing competing priorities and letting people make trade offs appropriate to their own lives.

Posted by Chris Morgan on 09/03/2009 at 6:15 AM

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