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Novato Complains to Caltrans about Floral 'Billboard'

Novato has sent a letter of complaint to Caltrans about an 1,800-square-foot flower arrangement sponsored by Toyota that some consider an illegal billboard along Highway 101. City Manager Michael Frank said he wrote a letter opposing the flower bed installed last month by Greenroad Media, a Southern California company that plans to lease the space and others around the state to advertisers.

Downtown, Vasco Road Stations Urged for Livermore BART

The proposed BART extension to Livermore should include an underground downtown site and a station along Vasco Road, the city Planning Commission decided Tuesday night. he seven-member panel voted unanimously to support the city staff's recommendation, which calls for a subway station along Portola Avenue and a second ground-level station near the existing Altamont Commuter Express portal and national laboratories, rather than any elevated structures along Interstate 580.

Court Ruling Points up Bay Area's Housing Challenge (Opinion)

The housing cap in Pleasanton is just one of the more egregious examples of policies that have resulted in a large and growing imbalance between the number of jobs created in the Bay Area and the number of homes built for the new employees...This problem has been especially bad on the Peninsula, which as part of Silicon Valley has created an enormous number of jobs but has provided far less than its fair share of homes.

Why Caltrain is an Orphan

When President Barack Obama finishes reforming the nation's health care system, he might want to rectify the zany and volatile way that transit operates in the Bay Area. Exhibit No. 1 is last week's announcement that the Peninsula commuter rail line, Caltrain, is going broke — short $30 million of its $97 million yearly budget. Its managers say they might cut night, midday and weekend service, including popular trains to San Francisco Giants games.

Caltrain or Not, High-Speed Rail Chugs Ahead

With or without Caltrain, the California High-Speed Rail Authority still plans to run its bullet trains between San Jose and San Francisco, state planners said Monday. Rail authority Deputy Director Jeff Barker said although there are plenty of benefits to sharing the corridor with Caltrain, the state can still build its high-speed railroad should Caltrain shut down or drastically cut its operations, as officials warned last week....For two years, Caltrain and the rail authority planned to share electrified tracks from San Francisco to San Jose, likely with two new tracks accommodating the

Costs of Driving Shift Up for 2010

It's official: Your driving costs are going up. The average cost of owning and operating a sedan in the USA rose 4.8% this year to 56.6 cents per mile, or $8,487 per year, a study out today by auto club AAA finds. Rising gas prices are primarily responsible for the increased costs and also are lowering the resale or trade-in value of cars that don't get good gas mileage.

Boosting Property Values Near BRT

Many transit advocates agree that bus rapid transit (BRT) can provide high-quality, efficient transportation at a fraction of the cost of rail. However, a common concern about BRT is that routes are not as permanent as tracks – in theory, they could be moved if land use patterns change – so BRT has a limited ability to attract transit-oriented development. But recent research shows that BRT can spur development around its lines and stations.

Self-Driving Cars Could See Like Humans

Rather than relying on expensive and error-prone technologies like radar or the Global Positioning System, the new method for robotic car steering is modeled on how real people actually see the road right in front of them...When it comes to driving, "Humans do everything with vision . . . [we] are really, really good and we're a lot smarter and more efficient than computers," said Wesley Snyder, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at North Carolina State University (NCSU) and co-author of a new paper describing the ongoing research. 

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