Archive for the ‘East Bay’ Category

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.

Public pleads with CalTrans: Don’t rush repairs again

The Bay Bridge could be open as early as Thursday evening “if everything goes perfectly” with repairs to the troublesome spot on the cantilever span, CalTrans told KRON Channel 4 today. “If something happens during the testing” and they have to adjust the repairs, it could take days longer.

Meanwhile, a UC Berkeley engineering expert was being quoted in news reports saying the design of the first fix — which was done while crews were cleaning up from the mammoth Labor Day re-route — was “not correct” and left the span vulnerable to complete collapse in the event of an earthquake. It was nothing more than a Band-Aid, he said.

An Associated Press article quoted a driver as saying the accident yesterday had caused her to lose “so much confidence in the experts, the millions of dollars that are being spent to reconstruct and build a new bridge,” referring to the decade-long project that will eventually replace the entire cantilever section with a suspension bridge.

The failure was probably caused by continuous heavy winds this week, CalTrans said. Wind continued gusty today while a new repair was being worked on. Asked to describe what the new design was like, a CalTrans spokesman said, “Think of a big belt around a piece of wood.”

Somehow that image doesn’t comfort me.

BREAKING: Bay Bridge closed again after repair fails

The Bay Bridge was closed around 7 pm this evening after the emergency repair accomplished over the Labor Day weekend broke apart, raining heavy steel pieces and cables down on westbound traffic.

California Highway Patrol officers are still working, two hours after the incident, to clear heavy traffic from the bridge, after which it will be closed in both directions indefinitely. Monitor the Twitter account @baybridgeinfo for information.

Westbound Bay Bridge closed by big rig rollover

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Update: All westbound lanes reopened a little after 8 pm tonight.

A Safeway truck flipped around 2:30 this afternoon after encountering the new S-curve on the Bay Bridge, leading to these pictures: a parking lot on the westbound incline, and a completely empty stretch of roadway after the site of the crash, just before the Yerba Buena Island tunnel.

Click the pix for more webcam images, of get the story and video on the KPIX website. More on the KGO TV website, including the obvious:

The driver, who suffered a bruised leg, was driving 55 mph in the 40 mph zone and did not know the speed limit had been changed. He said he had not driven over the bridge since before Labor Day and was taken by surprise by the S-curve.

Loma Prieta 20th anniversary: an introduction

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The Bay Area is about to get a major dose of 20th anniversary coverage of the Loma Prieta earthquake of Oct. 17, 1989, which killed 63 people and injured over 3000.

If you weren’t here, the SFGate website is revving up coverage, and this 10-minute video is a good place to start. In the meantime, here’s a short glossary of terms you’ll hear thrown around for the next week:

Loma Prieta
A 3786-foot peak in the Santa Cruz Mountains (Google map) between Morgan Hill and Santa Cruz which gave its name to the earthquake, the epicenter of which was nearby.
1989 World Series (“Battle of the Bay”)
The baseball championship series between the American League-winning Oakland A’s and the National League-winning San Francisco Giants, Game 3 of which was about to get underway when the earthquake hit. The World Series ensured that the Goodyear blimp and other national TV infrastructure was on scene to cover the earthquake.
Cypress Structure
An elevated double-deck freeway structure, built in the late 1950s, which collapsed during the quake (picture above); part of Interstate 880 through West Oakland. Site of the most deaths from the earthquake.
Marina District
A San Francisco neighborhood built on bay fill soil which liquified during the quake, leading to building collapses, a gas leak, and the worst fire caused by the quake.

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.

Bay Bridge Closure: stop the panic


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Yesterday afternoon, you’d think all roads were going to be closed the way people were sheer panicking at the thought of the”clusterf**k”. I don’t know these folks, all I know is they live in SF and work in the East Bay, and the thought of public transit for one day, before a major vacation, has them freaking out. I think our reliance on the car, in the Bay Area, for commuting, is too great.

That cluck you hear

The urban chicken renaissance — an impressive phrase that just means that city people have begun in larger numbers to keep backyard chickens again — has come to Oakland foodies, according to an LA Times article about the Temescal District’s Pizzaiolo restaurant (map).

SFGate was on this trend in February. And in fact, if you search for “backyard chicken coops” in Google News, you’ll get dozens of articles from cities across the country. They’re doing it everywhere.

Like most trends, however, it probably started in the Mission District. A friend of mine on Shotwell has been keeping chickens — almost secretly at first, but now more openly as it becomes more widely accepted — for three years.

Biking to Work: Day 3

Little snapshot of life blogpost here. I’m commuting to the East Bay, via bike, from North Beach.

Day 1: Notice the sign on Embarcadero turnstile, “no bikes during commuter hours, 7-9AM” (It’s 10AM). Started this long discussion on FriendFeed. I’m sweaty and exhausted at work, and it’s worst going home- where every staircase is uphill (a quirk of going from an underground station to an overground one).

Day 2: Instead of biking up Embarcadero- which is wind tunnel every which hour or way or day- tack up the streets on the East side of Telegraph Hill. Less wind, a little more distance. I run into an old friend on BART, and I realize the social aspect of public transit cannot be overrated.

Day 3: It all goes by in a blur. It’s faster and becoming rote. I’m not as tired, it’s easier, and I start noticing the signs of approaching fall- ripening fruit on trees, the earlier darkness, and realize it’s great to be outside so much, each day, but still be able to get everything done work-wise and after-work-wise.

Back into the car Monday for the BART strike.

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