Archive for the ‘cars’ Category

CHP radar on Deadman’s Curve

CHP_carThose 40 m.p.h. speed limit signs recently installed on the Bay Bridge’s S-curve (aka Deadman’s Curve since the fatal semi truck plunge early this month) mean business.

How do I know? I was just nabbed by a CHP officer with a hand-held radar gun, standing next to her car at the end of the S-curve, at the point where the S-curve roadway rejoins the old roadway just before the tunnel.

So resist the temptation to accelerate when you get to the end of the S-curve, folks, unless you want to spend the rest of your trip across the Bay Bridge with a CHP car on your tail and everyone else laughing at you.

KTVU-TV story: CHP launches crackdown on speeders at S-curve

More than 40 crashes on S-curve of death, CHP says

Last night’s big rig plunge off the Bay Bridge, which happened at 3:30 a.m. when a semi with a load of pears hit the infamous S-curve too fast, was only the latest of more than forty accidents on the suddenly jinxed bridge, the CHP said, as reported by KTVU TV’s website.

The truck hit the curve at 50 m.p.h., which is the speed limit for much of the bridge, but not for the S-curve, a temporary detour installed over the Labor Day weekend as part of the decade-long Bay Bridge earthquake retrofit project. After a big rig crashed on the curve Oct. 14, spilling cargo across four lanes, CalTrans lowered the speed limit on the curve to 35 m.p.h. and installed new signs, but evidently they weren’t enough to draw the attention of a sleepy produce truck driver in the middle of the night.

The driver was killed when the truck went over the guardrail and plunged 200 feet to the ground on the shore of Yerba Buena Island.

Quoted in the SFGate.com story, a CalTrans spokesman blamed the driver, saying the crash was “another example of poor judgment.”

A reel of “raw video” on the KPIX website shows the impact scene before dawn, including a grotesque image of the driver’s severed forearm and hand.

Psych! Bridge reopens at 9:00 this morning

yes-were-openAfter announcing the Bay Bridge would not reopen in time for the morning commute, CalTrans announced about 8:20 this morning that the bridge would be reopening by 9:00 a.m. The reopening follows five and a half days of blame, angst, repair, testing and inspection after a previous emergency fix broke last week on Tuesday afternoon.

Don’t count on Monday morning bridge reopening

Safety engineers were still testing the most recent repairs to the Bay Bridge over the weekend, and the word mid-Sunday afternoon is: don’t count on the bridge being available for the Monday morning commute. Better plan alternatives. Update @ 5:20 pm: That’s confirmed, no Monday morning on the bridge.

Pictures show an eerily empty toll plaza, an eerily empty bridge, and stuffed BART trains. Meanwhile, a car thief blew through barricades in San Francisco and led police on a chase over the closed bridge, and most people in San Francisco today completely forgot there was any problem at all, since it’s a gorgeous, sunny, warm 1st of November.

Bridge still closed through Friday evening commute

bridge_closedEngineers were continuing to test the completed fix-to-the-repair on the suddenly dubious Bay Bridge today, and CalTrans announced at 10:00 a.m. today that the bridge would remain closed throughout the Friday evening commute. It could possibly open as early as late Friday evening. You can click the map at left for a current traffic map or go to 511.org.

You can text the word ALERT to 45227 (which is KCBS radio) and get a text message when the Bay Bridge reopens.

Update, 3:20 pm: The 511.org site now says the bridge will be closed “through Friday,” but “if” the bridge remains closed, BART will run hourly all-night service to the East Bay tonight and Saturday night. Here’s the all-night BART details. Note that only 14 stations will be in operation overnight.

BREAKING: Bay Bridge opens after all

opening_bridgeThe Bay Bridge opened this morning at 7:00 a.m. after emergency repairs to a cracked i-bar, despite earlier predictions by CalTrans that the fix would take until Wednesday morning. Live video feed of the new 300-foot section of the birdge.

“Everything went perfect” with the emergency repair job to the span, said Dam Himrick, president of bridge contractor C.C. Myers.

The illustration, from ktvu.com, shows Highway Patrol cars leading the first traffic across the bridge at sunrise this morning.

Big crack may cause bridge setback

bridge_crackA crack was discovered Saturday in one of the members holding up the cantilever section of the Bay Bridge — a section of the bridge not supposed to be worked on at all in this weekend’s massive bridge section switchout. Discovered during the detailed inspection that was carried out as part of the bridge shutdown, the flaw was serious enough to have closed the bridge on its own, CalTrans engineers said.

The unforeseen problem may delay the scheduled 5 a.m. reopening of the bridge to commuter traffic on Tuesday morning.

CalTrans said this morning it has no estimate for when the bridge may reopen.

You can follow the project’s Twitter account, baybridgeinfo, for updates.

SF left off Nissan’s list of cities for electric car pilot

2009-08-04-nissanleaf-thumbDespite SF Mayor Gavin Newsom’s pledge to make San Francisco electric vehicle-friendly, our greener-than-thou city is off the list of locales where Nissan will test-market its new electric Leaf model, seen at right.

Selected were Seattle, San Diego, Phoenix and Tucson, and the states of Oregon and Tennessee.

The project is being run by an Arizona company, eTec, which makes the chargers.

Just because it’s from Milan, do we have to take it?

Modern tram (real!) in Milan. Flickr photo by <A hREF="http://is.gd/sMMT">martin97</A>uk

I was literally startled when I saw this photo on a post on Streetsblog, a transit and urban planning-oriented site, showing a modern tram plying the streets of Milan, Italy. At first I thought it had to be photoshopped, but no, it’s real.

Streetsblog suggests using these monsters during commute times. I can’t imagine it helping. While you could load hundreds more passengers onto those long trains, what would happen to the streets crossing Market, given the sometimes short blocks between intersections? Imagine one of those things stretching back from Third St. all the way back to Second, completely blocking the Montgomery > New Montgomery intersection, which is one of only two ways to exit the Financial District during rush hour. Oy!

Ironically, San Francisco already has several streetcars from Milan — the orange “Peter Witt” jobs that still have Italian placards and warnings on the interior. Frankly they’re a lot of fun to ride. I’d save that long, modern tram for, maybe, the T line.

New Harrison St. offramp to open Monday

CalTrans will reopen a brand-new Harrison St. offramp from the Bay Bridge to the South Beach district at 5:00 a.m. Monday morning, three and a half years after the original exit closed in 2005. For drivers new to the area, the exit is a left exit off the bridge, half a mile before the left-hand Fifth St. exit.

The new ramp is another milestone in the multi-year project to earthquake-retrofit the bridge, the biggest piece of which will replace the eastern span (the part between Yerba Buena Island and Oakland) with a new suspension structure due to open, oh, seven or eight years from now.

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