Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Berkeley red light camera warning phase begins

Those new digital cameras going in all over Berkeley are being turned on this Friday, May 27. For the first 30 days, the city will send out warning letters. After that, red-light runners can expect to receive minimum $331 penalties in the mail.

These cameras are not perfect, and it'll be interesting to see how long it takes for the first court challenge to occur -- either on the accuracy of the cameras, or (especially in Berkeley) on privacy grounds (this is a town where putting RFID chips in library books has ignited a firestorm). There are also lots of email spammers out there offering to sell folks something to put over their motor vehicle's license plates to thwart cameras from getting a clear image of the plate.

Is public safety worth it? I think so. It might also keep intersections clearer and thus facilitate the movement of buses around town. We'll see.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

BART moves toward daily parking charges in the East Bay

A welcome development: BART will hold a public hearing Thursday on implementing daily parking charges in some or all of its East Bay stations. Too bad it took a fiscal crisis.

More details here.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

BART plans fare increase, may add more parking charges

Yesterday BART posted a preliminary budget for 2006. The budget proposes an expected 3.7% fare increase. The current proposal does not include any new charges to park at BART parking lots, but at a public hearing on April 28, the BART board will consider adding such charges at six unnamed stations. The preliminary budget states: "New Paid Parking Programs under consideration include: Single Day Reserved and Reserved Parking Area Expansion/Daily Paid Parking at six stations/West Bay Long Term/Airport Parking."

BART staff is projecting the system will run a deficit of $30.4 million in Fiscal Year 2006. Currently, to close that gap, staff is proposing eliminating 115 positions, half of which are currently vacant. No reduction in train frequency is proposed except perhaps in the West Bay "depending upon the outcome of discussions with SamTrans," but train lengths may be shortened according to BART load factor policies.

In addition to the public hearing April 28, BART will discuss the budget during its administrative committee meeting on April 14. It will consider approving revenue enhancements, such as parking charges, on May 12. Finally, on June 9, the board will adopt the final budget.

More information available at http://www.bart.gov/news/press/news20050401b.asp. The preliminary budget document is downloadable as a PDF at the bottom of this page.