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  • With the demolition of the old Bay Bridge eastern span already six months behind schedule, Caltrans plans to spend $12.8 million to beat the clock on a bird-nesting season that could tie up the takedown well into next year. At issue: 800 or so double-crested cormorants - a state-protected "species of special concern" - that have enjoyed migratory squatter rights on the bridge since they moved here from Alaska, Mexico and Nova Scotia in 1984...Caltrans has already spent $709,000 to build "condos" for the birds on the underside of the new span - 2 1/2-foot-wide, stainless-steel nesting platforms - but so far, there have been no takers.

    SF Chronicle
  • The cost of crossing the Golden Gate Bridge goes up by a buck Monday - with another $1 increase spread across the next four years. Tolls will rise to $6 from $5 for the vast majority of folks, who drive across the bridge and pay with FasTrak. But for those who pay by license plate, the toll will climb from $6 to $7.

    SF Chronicle
  • ...The next few months will be critical, as multiple lawsuits challenging the project’s fidelity to a 2008 voter-approved bond issue are resolved, and as the Legislature ponders Gov. Jerry Brown’s desperation-tinged proposal to use the state’s new “cap-and-trade” fees on carbon emissions...Finally, even with fees, there’s not enough money to build the $31 billion, 300-mile “initial operating segment” from Madera to the San Fernando Valley for which, the bond law says, complete financing must be shown. That may be the pithiest issue in the legal challenges. Counting all the bond money, all of the federal grant and all the carbon fees Brown seeks would still leave about a $15 billion gap for which CHSRA officials now have only fingers-crossed wishes.

    Sacramento Bee
  • Marin environmental leaders applauded the adoption this week by the Bay Area's air pollution board of a 10-point program with goals of reducing Bay Area greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent, developing a regional climate action strategy and creating rules cutting back energy use and pollution.

    Marin Independent Journal
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    Statistics, studies and comparisons don't really matter when it comes to traffic. The worst congestion is the stuff you're stuck in. That matter of perception may explain why some commuters are grumbling that the streets of San Francisco are growing more and more congested even though most factual indications show otherwise... Counterintuitive as it may seem, fewer cars are entering the city and they're finding clearer streets while they're here. "Local roadway speeds have crept up, actually," said Tilly Chang, executive director of the San Francisco County Transportation Authority, which oversees the city's transportation sales tax and serves as its official congestion management agency. "Even though it might not seem like it to some people."

    SF Chronicle
  •  A set of three new map animations from my colleagues at NYU's Stern Urbanization Project tracks the history behind these decades of geographic expansion. The visualizations show successive booms in the physical footprints of Paris since 1800, São Paulo since 1881, and L.A. since 1877. The team will release their full research, covering the history, future, and implications of urban expansion in 30 cities, at the World Urban Forum in Medellín, Colombia, later this week.

    Atlantic Cities
  • Which taxi alternative will dominate cities of the future may come down to who develops the best software. Right now, Lyft and Uber are two sides of the same ride-sharing coin: Lyft brands itself as a "sharing" experience, reminding its users that their driver is just an average Joe with time to drive you around for money. They’re essentially cab drivers, but they obey instructions from the cloud instead of a human dispatcher, and can work as they please. Uber focuses on the ride itself—the convenient and even luxurious experience of getting a car and driver exactly when you want them.

    Atlantic Cities
  • ... Prescribe-a-Bike, as it's being called, will allow doctors at Boston Medical Center to write low-income patients prescriptions for a one-year membership to Hubway, the city's bike-sharing system, for just $5. That’s $80 less than the usual charge for an annual subscription to the service. In order to qualify, you have to be a Boston resident over 16-years-old receiving some sort of public assistance or who has a household income no more than four times the poverty level. A free helmet is part of the deal.

    Atlantic Cities
  • zztransitcosts.jpg

    ...The reason local agencies seem to need so many fare increases is that they do a poor job keeping the price of taking a ride near the cost of providing it. Just how poor a job comes through in a new data-filled report from the U.S. Department of Transportation on the state of American transport.

    Atlantic Cities
  • ...SFpark, the city’s variable-rate parking program, is perhaps the most complete implementation of (Professor Donald) Shoup’s ideas to date...According to a study published last month in Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, the program has worked. San Francisco’s occupancy goals have been met, and “cruising” for parking — driving around and clogging up streets after you’ve already reached your destination — is down by 50 percent.

    Next City