Archive for the ‘Transportation’ Category

Bike-to-work day

bike
Bike to work day is coming up again, Thursday, May 14. With over 50 energizer stations (listed here) set up around Santa Clara County, and lots of other bikes on the road keeping motorists aware of bikes, Bike-to-Work Day makes it easy and safe to ride your bike to work, even if you don’t have an established biking routine. And just getting a routine established might be enough to turn you into a regular bike commuter, so give it a try!

There’s also a raffle open to people who pledge to ride their bicycle for work or errands at least once in May, with prizes including bikes from Marin and Dahon, and gear from REI. And, of course, Team Bike Challenge continues, with teams Bone on Bone from Cisco Systems, Vander-Bikers from Vander-Bend Manufacturing, and Garden City Rollers featuring San Jose Councilmember Sam Liccardo leading the Santa Clara County standings.

Graphic: Steren/Openclipart.org

Team Bike Challenge

Photo: Len Gilbert

Photo: Len Gilbert

Bike to Work Day isn’t until May 14, but you can start early and make it last all month by joining Team Bike Challenge. Form a team with up to 4 friends, and sign up on the website. Then each day in May when you use your bike to get to work or run errands, go back to the website to log your ride and score points.

The idea is to create new bike commuters, so your team must have at least one “novice” rider, and novices, “weekend warriors” (recreational riders), and “big wheels” (executives and civic leaders) score extra points for each ride. At the end of the month, the teams with the most points win some small prizes; but the real prize is getting some cars off the road, and getting some new riders onto their bikes.

VTA to Text Alerts and Information

vta_logo

Soon VTA riders can sign up to receive a cell phone text message that will alert them to any unforeseen change in bus or light rail service.
Next Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2009 visit the VTA website and click “Sign Up for E-mail Updates” for new information and updates.
While on the VTA site I noticed the Adopt-a-Stop Program – visit the website
I saw an Adopt-a-Stop sign on Hamilton Ave. just east of Leigh Ave.

A week on the bus

On board a VTA bus. Photo by Takashi Matsumoto

On board a VTA bus. Photo by Takashi Matsumoto

My car was in the shop most of this week, so I got a chance to try out our local public transit system, and overall I was reasonably happy with the service, and impressed with improvements since the last time I rode on VTA.

Driving, I can get to work in 40 minutes, or 20 if I’m working odd hours and there’s no traffic. Riding VTA, it took me about an hour and 15 minutes to do the same trip. First I’d walk a few blocks (about 15 min.) to the bus stop. Then wait an average of 5 minutes for the bus to appear, then ride for 57 minutes, according to the official schedule. So that’s twice as long commuting each day, but I could read, or review my work day during the ride; something I can’t do when driving.

Furthermore, that’s a big improvement over the last time I rode the bus. A year or two ago, I thought I’d save the planet a little bit and ride the bus a couple of times a week. Going in normally worked out okay, but coming home was disastrous. One time my bus, which was scheduled 20 minutes apart, didn’t come for 45 minutes. Also, I’d have to transfer from the cross-town route 23 to the local route 17 (If I can remember) to get close to home. With the transfers and missing busses, it could take over two hours to get home.

Now, route 23 has been extended: instead of ending in downtown when going east, it continues out to Alum Rock, getting within walking distance of my house and saving me having to transfer. Also, route 23 now runs every 10 minutes at peak times, and at 20 minute intervals most other times, cutting time spent waiting at the bus stop.

I still wouldn’t look forward to doubling my commute time, but these changes over the last year or so have made the bus a viable option for me when I just can’t drive. Kudos to the VTA for these service improvements!

511 Freeway Assistance

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission which operates the 511 service has added a new feature “511 Freeway Aid” that allows drivers to use their wireless phones to summon non-emergency roadside assistance on any freeway in the nine-county region.

A motorist in a non-emergency situation (out of gas, flat tire or mechanical problems) can dial 5-1-1 on their wireless phone (you may be charged airtime by your wireless service provider). At the main menu, the caller says “Freeway Aid” and the voice-recognition system will transfer the call to the privately operated call center that now handles incoming calls from the roadside call boxes.

Freeway Service Patrol tow trucks, which provide their services free of charge, will be dispatched to respond to 511 Freeway Aid calls during peak periods on the Bay Area’s busiest routes. Towing companies that operate on rotations under contract with Caltrans and the CHP will be dispatched at other times and will charge motorists for their services. You may wish to inquirer if there will be a charge.

If you are on a toll bridge or in a tunnel, the information will be sent immediately to Caltrans and/or the CHP.

You will no longer have to hike to one of those roadside call boxes.

The MTC nine-county regions: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano, Sonoma.

“511 is a free phone and Web service that consolidates Bay Area transportation information into a one-stop resource. 511 provides up-to-the-minute information on traffic conditions, incidents and driving times, schedule, route and fare information for the Bay Area’s public transportation services, instant carpool and vanpool referrals, bicycling information and more. It’s available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.”

Airship Zeppelin an Invitation to Ride

“We’d like to invite you to personally experience a ride aboard the Zeppelin at our upcoming Media Day at Moffett Field on Oct. 27.”

Monday morning I had an invitation to ride in the Zeppelin. I had cleared my calendar, but Mother Nature had forgotten to clear her sky. I worried would the weather be a factor and delay, or worse, cancel the event? As I approached Moffett Field and saw the big 246 foot long helium gas filled airship moored out near Hangar One, I felt confident that the ride would take place.

I made my way to the NASA building and signed in. I was issued a flight ticket and told to be ready for a 9 AM take off. On the airfield I talked shop with reporters from The Mercury News, KNTV – Ch. 11, and The New York Times, etc. Twelve of us were asked to gather for a safety briefing and instruction. Boarding is done with much care. The crew takes this very seriously. Once aboard the gondola I was allowed to take any seat that I wished. As the 62,500 pound mast truck made ready, we got settled and buckled in. The good-to-know about sign on my window? Life Vest Under Your Seat.

At 9:05 AM we were up! During the smoothly quiet ride we were allowed to walk around in the cabin, to take pictures, and talk with other passengers. I had to ask the question? “If we all move to one side will the ship start to roll?” I was assured that it would stay steady.

In spite of the fog, I enjoyed the fantastic bird’s-eye view down at Moffett Field – the three hangars, the NASA Ames wind tunnels, hi tech campuses, salt ponds, and 101. The cool little bathroom even comes with a window view!

Think of floating over the South Bay, San Francisco, the East Bay, or Sonoma on a clear day… Ah!

Airship Ventures

More photos on Flickr

1-650-969-8100

Rock ‘N’ Roll 1/2 Marathon to shut down traffic

To the runners preparing for the Rock ‘N’ Roll Half-Marathon this Saturday, Oct. 5: Good luck!

To the motorists planning on driving through the city this weekend: Good luck! You will meet plenty of road closures, clogged freeway exits and a lot of athletic-type people running around. They get their exercise while you continue to pollute, which makes these traffic headaches even more guilt-inducing.

But never fear! Here’s a map to help you avoid running over those athletic-types with your SUV (click to enlarge, and notice I said AVOID):

And here’s more traffic information I got via the marathon’s Web site:

Freeway Information

No freeways will be closed on race day; however, expect delays on Highway 87 near downtown and Highway 880 near Bascom Avenue due to the close proximity of the race course to those roads.

Specific Access Routes
Fairmount Hotel / St. Joseph’s Basilica:

Due to close proximity to the finish line at Plaza de Cesar Chavez, allow extra time for alternate access and expect delays before the race starts (7- 8:00 am). Use the following access route during the race (8:00 am – 12 Noon): From San Carlos Street, use 1st and 2nd Street to connect with San Fernando Street. Hotel guests will be metered in/out on Market Street.

Hotel DeAnza
Please notify the hotel’s valet parking service on Saturday night if you will
be leaving between 7:00 and 10:00 am. The race organizers have arranged
for hotel parking on Notre Dame, between Santa Clara and Carlysle
Streets. From this parking area, you will be able to drive north on Notre
Dame, turn left on Julian Street, and access Highway 87/Guadalupe
Parkway. To access the San Jose airport, follow directions above to
Highway 87 north and follow signs to airport. Prior to the complete
reopening of Santa Clara Street/The Alameda at 12:30 pm, use Highway 87
to return to the Hotel De Anza before 10:00 am. From Highway 87, exit east
on Julian Street, turn right on North Almaden Blvd, left on Carlysle Street
and right onto Notre Dame Ave.

Cory Neighborhood
Residents between Newhall and Hedding, Monroe and Bascom, can use
Cherrystone Drive to exit this part of the route between 7:00-11:30 am.
Roiscrucian Neighborhood – YMCA, Calvary & Scientology Churches
Residents, YMCA patrons and church visitors can use Park Avenue for
inbound access and The Alameda for outbound access between 8:00 am
and 12 Noon.

For more assistance regarding road closures and alternate access routes, please
email SJCommunity@eliteracing.com. Please provide as much information as pos-
sible, including your starting and ending destinations, so that we can more readily
assist you.

Carfree Day this Monday

On Monday September 22, people from around the world get together to celebrate a day without cars. With gas prices at an all time high, Carfree Day is the perfect time to leave your car at home and get around your neighborhood and the region by foot, bike, bus, and train or by sharing the ride.

I did not find any events listed for San Jose nor did I find any information on the VTA site saying what a great day to take public transit. Carfree Day is not mentioned on the San Jose Green Vision site. People asleep at the wheel. You and I knew about World Carfree Day, right?

Fly eBay

the other side of eBay

San Jose-based eBay with an auction featuring flights.

Take a look at JetBlue on eBay

Who’da thought?

So cheap! Under $4!

So cheap! Under $4!


Two years ago, who ever would have thought gas below four bucks would seem cheap?

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