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Tougher Penalties Proposed for Hands-free, Texting Violations

The cost of a ticket for these offenses would be among the toughest in the nation — going up to $455 for texting and $255 for using a hand-held phone, from approximately $145 — if a bill introduced Monday by state Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, becomes law...And the rules would now apply to bicyclists, who were not covered by the hands-free law that went into effect July 1, 2008.

Revised Berkeley Downtown Plan to go before City Council

Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates will submit a new plan for the downtown area at the Tuesday night City Council meeting after opponents threatened to put a previously approved plan to a vote of local residents on the June ballot. Bates' new plan calls for lower building heights, affordable housing provisions in some instances, green building requirements and local labor provisions.

Toll Increase Creates Casual Carpool Conundrum

On July 1, an economic shift may test this unregulated system and the reciprocity behind it. As part of a package of toll increases, Bay Area toll bridge officials have decided to do the unthinkable: They're ending the free ride....Does the driver, who will need to pay the toll through a FasTrak transponder, cough it up in full? Do the passengers - usually two - each pony up $1.25? Or is an even split - 83.33 cents per person - warranted?

High-speed Rail is Taking Californians for a Ride (Editorial)

As soon as California leaders began talking about a high-speed rail project, we booked a seat in the skeptics' car, which is reserved for anyone familiar with Amtrak's long and tortured history....Three months ago, the California High Speed Rail Authority estimated ridership from San Francisco to Los Angeles at 55 million a year. One month later, the estimate was reduced to 41 million, which, for all you mathematicians, represents a 25 percent change of heart. 

Workshop Set on Proposed Park by Bay Bridge

Bay Area park and transportation officials will host a public workshop from 5 to 9 p.m. Thursday night in Oakland about planning a new waterfront park near the base of the new east span of the Bay Bridge....A nine-agency group called the Gateway Park Working Group wants public help in developing a vision for the West Oakland park, which is expected to open after the new east span is finished in 2013. The recreation area will provide a scenic backdrop for the bridge, and a place for public access to the shoreline, the Bay Trail and a hiking and bicycling lane on the east span.

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