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!

Don’t be this guy. Ever.

It’s really too bad that BART nixed its whole “Who’s the biggest asshole on BART” contest, or whatever it was, because this guy could be a contender.

He was on a super-crowded SFO Airport-bound train, not only hogging both halves of the disabled seat but pretending to be asleep so nobody could oust him. How do I know he was pretending? He did finally relinquish half the seat when a woman asked him to, and she didn’t have to wake him up to get the job done.

Seriously, people. If you sit down in one of these seats, and you are not disabled, elderly, pregnant, etc., it is not yours to keep. It’s your responsibility to keep an eye out for the folks who DO need these seats, and to make sure you give it up if someone needier boards the train. In fact, it’s against the law NOT to.

Looks like I’m not the only one peeved about this.

— Beth W.

Transit-News Digest 2.3.09

Bad news on BART tonight, as two trains collide beneath downtown Oakland. Reports of minor injuries and 15-minute delays systemwide.

The agency today announces that a third-party vendor will provide wifi on its entire system, a welcome addition. Now, if wifi weren’t such an iPhone-battery-killer. And in other press-release news, the agency announces ways in which it aims to deal with budget cuts.

Meanwhile, KPIX reports on the latest from the Oscar Grant hearings, in which a BART cop’s lawyer claims his client was provoked shortly before another officer shot and killed Grant.

Greg from N-Judah Chronicles does his civic duty by announcing an open invitation from Assemblymember Tom Ammiano to drop by and discuss budget matters at Ammiano’s downtown SF office.

On the stimulus front, now that the bill is in the more-esteemed chamber of Congress, surely it’s about to become more intelligent where mass transit is concerned, right? Wrong.

Ahead of today’s vote on an amendment prescribing transit-infrastructure spending in the bill, TPM’s Elana Schor analyzes what the bill would and wouldn’t do. Shortly after the amendment’s defeat, Schor comes back with a few nay-saying senators‘ forked-tongue responses, including a Democrat who voted “No.”

And finally, because we need a little humor as it appears that No We Can’t, we thought we’d throw this gem from Jason Linkins at Huffington Post. Apparently, our war-criminal ex-secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, had a little trouble boarding a bus in Washington, D.C. Join the crowd, Rummy.

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