RT to add electronic message signs

Creative Commons License photo credit: freya.gefn

Regional Transit announced via their “Next Stop News” brochure that they have begun installing electronic billboards at “key light rail stations.”

Initially, scheduled train arrival times will be displayed on the signs, as well as service disruption information and other RT news. Real-time train arrival times will be displayed starting in spring 2011 using GPS to track the movements of RT vehicles.

This is a pretty nice addition to the light rail commute. If the trains could only serve more people it would make up for the thrice annual cuts to bus service. Continue reading “RT to add electronic message signs”

RT service changes: Tahoe Park getting the shaft

neighborhood rideIn the upcoming September service changes for RT, my beloved Tahoe Park apparently drew the shortest straw and will be hit with 2 cuts out of 11 total changes.

  • 37 – Tahoe Park – 21st Avenue – Weekdays – Eliminate; Route 8 provides alternative service.
  • 83 – 14th Avenue – Weekdays – Decrease service frequency from 30 minutes to 60 minutes.

I’m not really sure how Route 8 can provide alternate service to Tahoe Park as their routes (8, 37) don’t intersect.

Continue reading “RT service changes: Tahoe Park getting the shaft”

Public transit budget grab was illegal, court says

this poster should have
been illegal too

News & Review’s Cosmo Garvin blogs about Regional Transit’s EPIC WIN last week when the California 3rd District Court of Appeals ruled (in the case SHAW et al. v. THE PEOPLE ex rel. CHIANG, as Controller, etc., et al.) that a portion of the money taken from Public Transportation Account in the last 3 budget years must be repaid. Garvin points out that there is obviously no money in the state’s wallet to pay out, so it remains to be seen what will happen.

What should happen, to borrow a phrase, is the political heads of Gov. Schwarzenegger and many other elected officials on a platter. What would happen to a businessperson who shifted money around in order to pay his company’s bills and did something illegal?

Silver lining on RT’s 2009 rate increase

If you’re an RT user I’m sure you know that fares are going up in 2009. An extra two bits for a single fare, and actually also an extra quarter for a transfer, up to 50 cents. So a basic ticket plus transfer is $2.75, almost double the same type of fare on SF Muni, I’m discouraged to learn. However I suppose you could pretend that all of SF would be within the “Central City zone” for Sac RT, in which case a comparable fee will only be $1.60. But that takes some pretending.

However, the silver lining is that RT riders will not experience any service cuts when 2009 comes. In fact, according to the latest “Next Stop News” the only service changes will actually be additional service on several lines.

I like RT’s General Manager Mike Wiley’s moxie; the press release about 2009 fare increases quotes Wiley: “RT could not absorb an $18.3 million raid by the state of California without asking our riders to pay more…”

What do you think though, RT riders? Increased costs or service cuts? Are you going to be happy to pay more knowing that at least for the time being you won’t have to deal with changes to your route?

Railyards project receives cash

As reported by the Biz Journal, the city has received an additional $17.9 million in funds tied to the almost $24 billion transportation and infrastructure money approved by us voters in 2006. Construction on the railyards is supposed to begin next year.

The money approved in prop 1B is for “creating infrastructure and affordable housing near transit.” Somewhat ironically, $18 million is exactly the amount Regional Transit expects to lose when the budget is passed. (although by the time the budget is passed we’ll all be tooling around in jet-packs.) Perhaps some of that money can be redirected toward transit near which to build more affordable housing?

Maybe this will attract Brangelina

A bevy of local organizations is convening a “Sanframento” conference to discuss issues that concern the blurry econotransport* line between our conveniently located and charming town with the bay area.

No joke.

Along with UC Davis, this Thursday’s event will is being spearheaded by regional planning agencies and transportation authorities.

Note to sac-eats: Be sure to clear your schedule so you can weigh in with your SMEP! scheme. (As a former employee of a regional planning agency, I can say with great authority that yours would not be the most out-there idea presented in such a forum.)

*my own hybrid word of “economy” and “transportation”

Morning conversation

Actual conversation I had this morning while waiting for a bus by the Downtown Plaza:

SCENE: Downtown plaza. COOLDMZ, casually dressed and devestatingly handsome, is approached by normal seeming early 20s YOUNG MAN.

YOUNG MAN: (Looking at the cloudless sky) Beautiful day.
COOLDMZ: Yeah… Bit chilly, but nice. It’s going to be in the 60s today.
YOUNG MAN: Yeah, it’s nice. (Beat.) So, what do you think of this North American Union they’re gonna do?
COOLDMZ: The what now?
Continue reading “Morning conversation”

More traffic problems for I-5 corridor in ’08

One of my favorite Bee columns, Back-Seat Driver, reports today on CalTrans’ new plan to shut down lanes and onramps on I-5 in downtown.

Beginning in February or March and lasting through October, Caltrans will close one or two freeway lanes in each direction from Richards Boulevard on the north to the I-5 junction with Highway 50 on the south.

That will leave three lanes open in each direction, Dinger said.

Key ramps, such as the commuter-heavy I and A street connections also will be closed at points during the year

Apparently there are drainage problems there and it leaks, and therefore flood danger in the long run. But holy smokes, that does not sound like a fun 2008 for commuters or people flying on airplanes. Bizjak says this is the busiest strectch of I-5 north of Los Angeles. (Yay Sacramento!) I’m sure RT and the city have some ideas to alleviate the problem though… Continue reading “More traffic problems for I-5 corridor in ’08”