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Jarrett Walker has good reason to be concerned about FRA rulemaking on crew size. This slide comes from a recent meeting of the FRA Railroad Safety Advisory Committee (RSAC):

rsac

From an FRA point of view, this new rule does not change anything. Commuter railroads in the US have historically used conductors and train attendants.

But it is a really inefficient use of labor. Industry best practice is to have just one crewmember (the driver). Ticket validation can best be handled throrugh random POP inspections. If this rule goes into effect, it will be another obstacle to modernizing passenger rail. DMU operations would be especially problematic. Imagine if the new Marin-Sonoma “SMART” service had to use two crewmembers. Sure they might apply for an FRA waiver, but why create more bureaucratic headaches?

At its March 6 meeting, the VTA Board received the Supplemental EIR for the Vasona LRT extension. This $175 million project will add one or two new stations, and expand the Winchester station.

Now you are probably thinking that with Silicon Valley’s massive housing shortage, the VTA would be planning to use these stations for TOD, right?

Sadly, no. Here is the new Winchester Station-and-Park-and-Ride lot:

winchester

 

And here is the new Vasona Junction Station-and-Park-and-Ride lot:

vasona

 

And here is the Phase-2 (optional) Hacienda Station-and-Park-and-Ride:

hacienda

By the year 2035, the extension is projected to generate 729 new daily transit trips. How awesome is that!

Stop her before she kills again!

The elderly woman who killed three people when she accidentally backed into a crowd of people leaving a Manatee County church will not be allowed to drive for at least one year.

In court on Wednesday morning, Doreen Landstra, 79, pleaded no contest. She had her driver’s license suspended for a year and was fined $1,000 and paid $106 in court fees. If Landstra wants to renew her license in a year, she will have to go to driving school and meet other Department of Motor Vehicle requirements.

The crash happened Feb. 2 in the Sugar Creek Country Club 55-and-over mobile home community off Belinda Circle and Clubhouse Drive in East Bradenton. Witnesses said Landstra appeared to think she put her large Chevrolet sport utility vehicle in “drive,” but instead she shifted into reverse and backed through the clubhouse parking lot, hitting seven people.

Wasn’t the first time either:

In 2011, the Brandenton Herald reported that Landstra once drove an SUV into the lobby of a McDonald’s in Michigan after she hit the gas instead of the brake.

In that case, she was required to retake her driver’s exam.

Data

Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS) is a database maintained by the California Highway Patrol. It contains extensive collision data from all over California, and is a powerful tool for transportation planners and bike/ped advocates.

The CHP is not very skilled at web design. Their web site is so primitive that I can almost picture a 1980′s-era IBM mainframe still being used in some back office to manage the database. Fortunately, the UC Berkeley SafeTREC researchers have geo-coded the data, and made it available through a nicely designed web page. The tool not only gives details on each collision, but will even bring up the Google Streetview image of the location!

For example, here is a map generated for the bike and ped collisions in Berkeley during the year 2011. There were 108 total:

berkeley_injury_map

 

If you are a transport planner, or bike/ped advocate, I think you will find this web tool to be invaluable.

 

 

The nerve of those Berkeley socialist hippies! Restricting automobile traffic in order to increase the value of private property:

Berkeley’s attitude towards automobiles has always been pretty plain if you’ve ever tried to drive there — bring ‘em if you want, but we ain’t making it easy. The city has closed off many of its side streets with barriers and huge potted plants, pushing up property values on those lucky streets at the stroke of a pen, while pushing traffic onto just a few clogged, noisy streets.

Oh, but it gets worse:

But Berkeley isn’t against making a buck off parked cars, and over the past year or so it has been looking for ways to charge more in busy areas.

Why? Because Berkeley hopes to change the behavior of drivers, who park longer in downtown spaces after 6 p.m., when they don’t have to pay. Calling those two extra hours “a high-demand time for many businesses,” Berkeley says it will be helping them by forcing shoppers to shop quickly, hustle back to their cars and make room for more shoppers to park and spend.

Something I will never understand is why business types think the law of supply-and-demand doesn’t apply to parking.

Things you did as a kid that your kids will never do” is the title of a posting to the SF-Moms blog today. Here is the main photo shown at the top:

sfmoms

And when I saw this, my first thought was this was going to be a nice story about how parents have become too paranoid about allowing kids to play with bikes out in the neighborhood.

Then I read the caption under the photo:

Ride a bike without a helmet tand do other dangerous things on your bike. Note: We’re glad kids are now wearing helmets. This is a good step forward.

Excuse me while I go slap my forehead…

The US once led the way in providing equal access to those with disabilities. But now the US is refusing to sign the UN Convention on Disabilities. In 2012, the Senate failed to ratify the treaty by 6 votes. Since then, right-wing opponents have succeeded in keeping the treaty from coming up for a vote again.

PBS also interviewed Micahel Farris. Farris is chairman of the “Home School Legal Defense Organization” and one of the leading opponents of the Treaty. He has previously said that the Treaty would give the UN custody over American kids who wear eyeglasses.

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