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Red Highways (Book Review)

If China’s first urban planners had persevered, Peter Hessler’s road trip from east of Beijing to the Gobi Desert would have taken place on top of the Great Wall instead of alongside it. Never mind that the Great Wall is actually many walls and that it extends for more than 5,000 miles. Thinking big was both the curse and the blessing of 20th-century China, and that hasn’t changed in the 21st.

Study Calls for Skinnier Roads, More Room for Other Travel on El Camino Real

Imagine an El Camino Real with roomier sidewalks, narrower traffic lanes and more space for bicyclists, pedestrians and buses. A new report on the future of state Highway 82 from Daly City to San Jose sees just that vision for the pivotal 42-mile stretch, which is known as The Alameda in San Jose. But because of challenges posed by crammed corridors, funding shortages and differences among cities, it will likely take years for travelers to notice any upgrades.

Muni Fail

Federal scrutiny could threaten funding for the Central Subway boondoggle.  A recent letter from a top Obama administration transportation official obtained bySF Weekly suggests to critics that the ground-breaking ceremony may have been premature.

U.S. May Set Rule Requiring Brake Override System on Cars

The Obama administration is considering requiring all automobiles to contain a brake override system intended to prevent sudden acceleration episodes like those that have led to the recall of millions of Toyotas, the Transportation secretary, Ray LaHood, said Tuesday....The brake override system, already a feature on many automobiles sold worldwide, is meant to deactivate the accel

Digital Billboards, Diversions Drivers Can’t Escape

Safety advocates who worry about the dangers of distracted driving have a new concern beyond cellphones and gadget-laden dashboards: digital roadside billboards. These high-tech billboards marry the glow of Times Square with the immediacy of the Internet. Images change every six to eight seconds, so advertisers can flash timely messages — like the latest headlines, coffee deals at dawn, a cheeseburger at lunchtime or even the song playing on a radio station at that moment.

Muni Plans for Full Transition to TransLink Smart Card

While AC Transit, BART, Caltrain, Golden Gate Transit and transbay ferries already accept Translink, in the coming years, nearly every Bay Area transit agency is expected to adopt the payment cards. That means TransLink could soon be more than just a curious novelty to most Muni riders, especially if the MTA Board votes tomorrow on a plan to transition all Muni fare media to the green plastic smart card within the next year or so, starting with the "premium" Adult "A" monthly Fast Pass this June.

A Muni Rescue Plan (Editorial)

It might be possible to balance Muni's budget without major service cuts or wage concessions from the operators union, but it would not be pain free. A menu of deficit-reduction options has been put on the table by San Francisco Planning & Urban Research (SPUR), a group that has been at the forefront of pushing for improvements to the city's transit system.

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