3 Things I Love About My Morning Commute

1. The Wave-Hello Guy. If you walk to BART on 16th Street around 8:30 a.m., you’re likely to pass him. He’s always smiling wide and waving hello to everyone who crosses his path. I assume he is going to Creativity Explored, but really I have no idea. He’s a white guy, probably in his late thirties, balding with a black backpack. He gets really happy if you say hello and wave back. It’s a great feeling. Today when I waved back, he gestured for a high five, and I gave him one. Maybe it was silly, but I couldn’t help smiling as I walked on.

2. The silence. I love being surrounded by people who are all in the same quiet state. There’s a sense of togetherness and peace. (Yoga might be getting to me). But really, as long as it’s not crazy-crowded like getting on a train at Church and Market, it’s nice to sit among strangers and just be quiet for little bit before the bustling of the day starts. It’s a moment of pause. Some people read, others think and daydream, and some even dose off — which to me is also a sign of feeling safe in your surroundings.

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Arm cast = disabled?

Some of our most popular stories center on the issue of being disabled — whether you’re blind, pregnant, or elderly — and how the rest of us iPod-wearing, briefcase-toting zombie commuters could stand to … stand on a crowded BART or Muni bus.

In some cases, being oblivious to a pregnant lady will get you tripped on a bus. In other cases, being this guy on a crowded BART train will get certain pregnant contributors to this website to shame you and your seat-hogging ass.

In still other cases, some people don’t need seats, but will insist that they do.

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Transit News Digest 2.12.09

From The Atlantic‘s Politics blog, Marc Ambinder has a breakdown of stimulus spending numbers, including $8.4 billion for pubtran and $9.3 for rail. Nice work, senators and representatives.

TPM’s Elana Schor has some blind love for Joe Biden, whom she credits for re-jacking up the final pubtran amount in the stimulus bill that’s inching its way toward the desk of President Obama (that still sounds sweet on the ears).

Closer to home, Streetsblog sums up Wednesday’s MTC meeting, during which a preliminary allocation of stimulus transportation funds was sketched out. SFMTA’s portion of the pie looks pretty darn good to us.

Greg Dewar offers a quick hit on a story about the makers of those spiffy Muni Metro cars.

And the crack team at ABC7 has a report, from today, of a group of protesters who’ve taken over a BART board meeting. Things is ugly over there.

Please let us know what we missed …

Transit News Digest 2.11.09

Rescue Muni discusses an SFMTA proposal to change the way things are done on Hayes Street. Seems like a “too little, too late” solution to this one-way street lover. Our own Tara will be back tomorrow with a Muni Diaries take on the proposal.

ABC 7 has more on one of the peds struck by Muni on Sunday. Turns out the victim was a former Oakland Tribune reporter.

Apparently some aren’t happy that only Johannes Mehserle is being charged in the death of Oscar Grant, and they’re calling for a wider prosecution net to be cast.

BeyondChron looks at how federal stimulus dollars may (or may not) reach Muni. Now is a good time to be in the know, you guys. And in other at least semi-economic news, The Examiner‘s Brent Begin has a story about how Muni is getting the shaft on the vehicles it uses to get to its own emergencies (and these days, there’s plenty of those to go around).

On the lighter side of things (something Muni Diaries believes we can’t get enough of these troubling days), N-Judah Chronicle’s Greg relays a pretty funny story on the N of yesteryear.

Happy riding. Talk to us!

Transit News Digest 2.9.09

Not that Muni Diaries would ever dissuade anyone from using buses and trains in the city, but this report from the Chronicle‘s Rachel Gordon, of how several perhaps-more-vital city agencies are pilfering SFMTA, doesn’t paint a pretty picture for our beloved/maligned Muni. Greg at N-Judah Chronicles shares his take, in no uncertain terms, on the goings on over at McAllister and Van Ness.

This whole “economy” thing is bad, folks. We wouldn’t bemoan riding a bike or walking. Just, er, look both ways if you do, as there were two cases of a Muni train not hearing the thunderous sound of an approaching pedestrian and striking them as recently as yesterday. The Examiner reports the other incident, in which a ped got smacked at Fifth and Market. Apparently one of these two incidents involved life-threatening injuries, though it’s unclear which. Yikes.

Speaking of, and this comes to us a little late, the MTA board last week approved “$1.8 million to settle a dozen claims involving collisions with cars, a slip and fall, and doors shutting on a passenger.” Maybe after this weekend, that tally will inch up a bit.

Late Friday, ex-BART officer Johannes Mehserle was released on bail, to celebratory cheers all around, I’m sure. The Examiner has thrown its pennies in the pot (though not quite $0.02, we’d estimate), with an editorial on how truly stinky BART’s “investigation” and subsequent decision to farm that work out is.

If you’ve got something burning in your loins that you feel our readers should know of, please, let it out. The story, we mean. Call us, call us, any, anytime …

Transit News Digest 2.6.09 (Update)

Update: More bad news for BART, as a train apparently struck an object on the tracks in the Transbay Tube and had to be evacuated. BART is claiming no injuries, but we’ll wait for this one to shake out a little.

Original post: SFGate brings us an update on the BART train collision from earier in the week. Apparently, human error was more than just partially to blame. And the Examiner’s John Upton brings us news of that other BART tragedy of late, as some of Oscar Grant’s fellow passengers are filing a $1.5 million claim against the agency.

BeyondChron informs us of the star-studded (or is it dudded?) National Biodiesel Board Conference, taking place in the city this week at Moscone. This is perhaps only marginally transit-related, as BC points out that S.F. is home to one of the largest fleets of public biodiesel vehicles, including many of Muni’s coaches.

TPM’s Elana Schor looks into competing schemes to bring real stimulus to public-transit projects nationwide.

Got more transit news? Muni stories of your own? As always, let us know!

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