Tag Archives: Bay Bridge

Monday Morning Distractions – 4th of July on the Bay

6 Jul

This Saturday, I was lucky enough to take a mini-cruise out on the bay for 4th of July. As we moved away from the Berkeley harbor and across the bay, I remembered one of the reasons Oakland is so great, and that’s because it’s part of the larger Bay Area. Sure, there’s plenty to do in Oakland. But if it’s not in Oakland, chances are it’s in one of the cities nearby, and looked at holistically, the Bay Area is easily one of the most beautiful places in the world.

Here’s some of what I saw.

Downtown Oakland from afar.

Downtown Oakland from afar.

The Oakland container cranes.

The Oakland container cranes.

It was really bizarre to see the new and old East spans of the bridge together, especially with the large gap in the new one.

It was really bizarre to see the new and old East spans of the bridge together, especially with the large gap in the new one.

The West span looked like its usual self though.

The West span looked like its usual self though.

I used to think the best way to see San Francisco was from Oakland, but now I know the best view is from the bay.

I used to think the best way to see San Francisco was from Oakland, but now I know the best view is from the bay.

People on the boat got really excited when we passed under the Golden Gate, and I must admit it was a stunning view.

People on the boat got really excited when we passed under the Golden Gate, and I must admit it was a stunning view.

The sky was filled with clouds, sunlight, and the moon.

The sky was filled with clouds, sunlight, and the moon.

At night, it became a bit difficult to take photos. You can see the movement of the boat reflected in the lights.

At night, it became a bit difficult to take photos. You can see the movement of the boat reflected in the lights.

We waited for a long time in the freezing cold for the fireworks to start. It reminded me a lot of waiting for the man to burn at Burning Man, boats gathered around like art cars, blasting music.

We waited for a long time in the freezing cold for the fireworks to start. It reminded me a lot of waiting for the man to burn at Burning Man, boats gathered around like art cars, blasting music.

But they were worth the wait.

But they were worth the wait.

Almost as Fun as Burning Man…

27 Aug

bart-tracks-2.jpg

I’m leaving tomorrow for Burning Man for a week so this will be my last post for a while, but if I wasn’t headed to Black Rock City, I know what I’d be doing this weekend – riding BART all night!

Over the past couple years, the Bay Bridge has been shut down a few times for construction during weekend nights. With the bridge shut down, BART is forced to run all night. Hourly, from 1 a.m. until the regular schedule starts up in the morning, BART runs in all directions at select stations.

Last time it ran all night, I organized a large group of East Bay and San Francisco friends to hang out in the West Bay for the night. A dozen of us rode BART to Oakland at 4:00 a.m. It was great.

That weekend, I read in the Chronicle that BART ridership DOUBLED over that weekend. Yes, keeping BART open all night doubled ridership. Sure, there’s the small factor of drivers not being able to use the bridge at all, but still.

All of this makes me wonder, if BART can stay open all night for a few weekends a year, why can’t it stay open all night every Friday and Saturday night? Or how about just running until 3 a.m. (well past bars and clubs closing) Thursday-Saturday?

I know, I know. BART’s full of excuses, the main one being that they need time for maintenance. Unlike New York’s subway system (and many others), BART doesn’t have extra tracks to reroute trains on so they need to shut down the whole system for maintenance. But it still seems that this maintenance could be done Sunday-Wednesday nights.

At least AC Transit has expanded it’s Night Owl all night service, but the truth is that people who don’t regularly ride the bus aren’t going to start in the middle of the night. I’ve gotten some pretty weird looks when I’ve suggested riding the bus at 2 a.m.

Think about the benefits of late-night BART service… decreased CO2 emissions, fewer drunk drivers on the roads, not having to leave SF at midnight… who knows, some West Bay residents might even decide to cross the bay to spend the night in Oakland.

Well, until BART wises up and starts running trains until more reasonable hours, we’ll just have to enjoy these random weekends of Bay Bridge closures. So if you’re not at Burning Man this weekend, go clubbing, bar hopping, or just go visit some friends in the West Bay without having to worry about an expensive cab ride or crashing on a couch. Ride BART all night all weekend long.