December 04

On the cover
Hidive Restaurant, It’s Only a Step Away
MTC Trip Planner Unfriendly to Alameda’s Ferries
MTC Honors Excellence in Motion at 26th Awards Ceremony
Community Calendar
No Flu Shot? Could be No Worries, Mate!
Cool Places to Shop on the Eastern Waterfront
Places to Shop for the Holidays
Bay Crossings Cuisine: Neptune’s
Let Your Light Shine on Angel Island
Vallejo Ferry Chief Fired, Resigned or What?
Help Save the Palace
Holidays at the Exploratorium
U.S. Coast Guard Honors BoatU.S. Emergency Beacon Rental Program
WTA Pages: Making Cents for Ferries
Libations: Christmas,
South American Style







MTC Honors Excellence in Motion at 26th Awards Ceremony

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) honored a group of programs, organizations, and
individuals from around the Bay Region on Wednesday, Sept. 22, at the Commission’s biennial awards ceremony. From a 21st century rail service modeled after Japan’s bullet trains to an empathic school bus driver, this year’s winners reflected the theme “Excellence in Motion.”

“Our hope is that the innovative ideas and techniques generated by this year’s winners will spark similar efforts around the region,” said MTC Executive Director Steve Heminger.

The Grand Award this year goes to Caltrain’s new Baby Bullet train service, which began in June 2004 and slashes Peninsula commute times by making only four stops between San Francisco and San Jose. The existing Caltrain rail corridor was upgraded to accommodate the new service during a two-year construction project that included making extensive station upgrades and laying bypass tracks allowing Baby Bullets to overtake local trains. In the first month of Baby Bullet service, Caltrain ridership increased by 3 percent over the previous year. Each of the new low-floor Baby Bullet cars can carry 130 to 142 passengers.

The Baby Bullet would not have been possible without the shepherding of State Senator Jackie Speier. Speier initially brainstormed with Caltrain staff on how to take advantage of the railroad’s infrastructure to combat congestion on U.S. 101 and Interstate 280. After the idea for an express train was hatched, Speier introduced a bill to finance the project with $127 million in state funds and propelled the Baby Bullet through Sacramento’s political thicket to make the train service a reality. More than 100 of Speier’s bills have been signed into law since she moved from the State Assembly to the upper house in 1999. This record of achievement has earned Speier the John F. Foran Legislative Award, which recognizes a legislator whose work has had a positive impact on transportation.

This year’s Doris W. Kahn Accessible Transportation Award went to Barbara Rhodes, a visually-impaired San Jose resident and member of MTC’s Elderly and Disabled Advisory Committee (EDAC). Rhodes is one of the region’s most outspoken and active advocates on behalf of accessibility for disabled and elderly travelers.

Caltrans District 4’s Local Assistance Chief, Rich Monroe, received the Greta Ericson Distinguished Service Award for career achievements in transportation. Monroe has given bureaucrats a good name by working his magic behind the scenes to expedite countless essential transportation improvements over the last 37 years.

The David Tannehill Special Employee Award went to both Sherrie Barnes, a special education bus operator for Durham School Services who brings courtesy, professionalism, and affection to her work, and to Annette Williams, the manager of Muni’s Accessible Service Program, for ensuring that Muni’s facilities, vehicles, and services meet the special needs of senior and disabled riders.

Awards of Merit were presented to the following winners:
AC Transit’s Rapid Bus and the East Bay SMART Corridor Program for employing cutting edge vehicles and technologies to improve mobility along key corridors in Contra Costa and Alameda counties.

BART and the East Bay Community Foundation for their Tiny Tickets Program, which encourages nonprofit organizations to collect BART tickets with low values and turn them into projects that improve the quality of life in the Bay Area.

Jim Bigelow, resident of Belmont, as a dedicated advocate for commuter rail service alongside the Dumbarton Bridge to help ease transbay bridge and highway congestion between the East Bay and the Peninsula/South Bay.

The nonprofit City CarShare for its growing network of shared vehicles that members pay for on a per-use basis. This fleet extends the reach of transit by providing vehicles to members of San Francisco and East Bay BART stations.

Robert Raburn, Oakland resident and executive director of the East Bay Bicycle Coalition, for his work to improve conditions for cyclists, and particularly his role in making public transit bike friendly.
The San Francisco Bay Trail Project for reaching the momentous halfway mark toward completion—over 250 of the eventual 500 miles of shoreline trail encircling San Francisco and San Pablo Bays are now finished.

The designers, architects, engineers, construction workers, and townspeople who contributed to the planning and building of the Alfred Zampa Memorial Bridge—the westbound span of the Carquinez Bridge that opened in late 2003.