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March 2014 Archives

Is This the Most Dangerous Intersection in the Bay Area?

If you've ever had to contend with the beastly intersection at the West end of Berkeley's Gilman Street, you know just how harrowing it can be. First, there are eight lanes of traffic leading to and from Interstate 80. Then, you have four different frontage roads. Right nearby, there's the Bay Trail for cyclists and pedestrians, who are also forced to navigate this intersection along with the many, many cars on the road. The situation leads to drivers taking risks they shouldn't be taking, resulting in accidents that could have been prevented. All told, this could very well be the most dangerous intersection for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians in the Bay Area.

Government Announces $1.2 Billion Settlement with Toyota

General Motors has recently been making headlines for a scandal in which the company recalled more than one million vehicles. But GM isn't the only automaker on the hot seat these days. Last week, the U.S. government announced a $1.2 billion settlement with Toyota, in addition to filing a criminal charge against the company for intentionally misleading consumers regarding safety issues in Toyota and Lexus vehicles. According to the Justice Department, this is the largest government penalty ever to be exacted against an automaker.

Caltrain's 'Near Miss' Isn't Deterring Anybody

Last week, SFGate's blog reposted a video from Caltrain of a 'near miss' in which a pedestrian narrowly escapes being hit by a Bullet train. The blog post says that Caltrain is making a 'safety push' by promoting this video, ostensibly as a deterrent, in hopes that people who see it will be less likely to cross the train tracks. The video, taken on Feb. 18, originally appeared in this blog post from Caltrain. It is accompanied by safety tips such as "Never go around the gates!" and "Look, listen, live!"

Marin General Hospital Needs to Take Nurses' Concerns Seriously

Last week, ten Marin General Hospital nurses voiced concerns about patient care to the Marin Healthcare District board, which oversees the hospital. The nurses, who, according to the Marin IJ, have been struggling to be heard over the course of the past year, said they fear hospital administrators are paying too much attention to the financial bottom line and not directing enough resources toward patient care and safety. A petition signed by 90 MGH nurses demands that the hospital respond to their complaints.

303 Deaths Now Linked to GM Car Recall

When General Motors recalled 1.6 million vehicles a few weeks ago, the company said they knew of only 12 deaths directly related to the product defects in question. Well, this may not come as much of a surprise, but it appears this was a conservative estimate. And that's putting it mildly.

How Will Apple's CarPlay Affect Distracted Driving?

On Monday, Apple announced that its new in-car operating system will debut this year in new vehicles by Ferrari, Mercedes Benz and Volvo. The system, called CarPlay, essentially functions as a dashboard iPhone, allowing drivers to respond to texts, make phone calls, play music, navigate and more, all with an Apple interface similar to that of the iPhone.

Another Pedestrian Killed on Van Ness in S.F.

Earlier this week, I wrote about 'Vision Zero,' San Francisco's admirable goal to reduce pedestrian fatalities to zero over the course of the next ten years. The initiative couldn't come at a better time. This past year had the highest pedestrian death toll (21) since 2007. And just last night, a tragic hit-and-run on Van Ness and Pacific resulted in the city's third fatality of 2014.

Texting While Driving Illegal, But Navigating Okay

Our smartphones can be a valuable tool, especially when trying to navigate unfamiliar roads. I often find myself wondering how I got anywhere before the advent of GPS. But as of late, drivers in California have been getting tickets for so much as glancing at their phones while driving. This includes drivers using their phones for navigation.

What Would You Do With $110 Million for Transportation Improvements?

A recent article in the Marin IJ reveals that a reported total of $110 million has just become available for a variety of transportation improvement projects in Marin. Proposed projects include $40 million for extending SMART train service all the way to the Larkspur ferry terminal and improving bike accessibility in Greenbrae. An additional $70 million is being considered for a project that would add another lane to the Richmond-San Rafael bridge.

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