Everything on today's menu is low fat and high fiber. Consume as much as you want: Should bicyclists have access to all BART trains? That's what BART directors are pondering as a one-week all-access experiment unfolds. The simplest solution -- relegating bikers to the last car -- is not that simple. That's the way things were years ago, Director Joel Keller said, and bicyclists -- many of them females -- felt isolated at the end of a train, especially late at night, and easy prey for predators.
Finding a balance that satisfies bicyclists without inconveniencing other riders is the board's goal, but the solution is elusive. In many European communities, this balancing act is averted by providing free bikes at every station, which riders can use and return when they reboard the train.
Jonathan Escobar from Oakland gets ready to board his train to South San Francisco with his bicycle during the commute hour at the Fruitvale BART station in Oakland, Calif. , on Monday, March 18, 2013. Escobar usually takes the train with his bike at the end of the high commute time, between 8:30 and 9:00, so the bike restrictions do not impact him very much. BART is conducting a Bike Pilot this week, March 18 -22 where bikes will be allowed on all trains at all time: however, during commute hours (7:00 to 9:00 am and 4:30 to 6:30 pm) bicyclists are asked to not board the first three cars of any trains. (Laura A. Oda/Staff) (Laura A. Oda)
Said Keller: "If we did that here, regrettably, the bikes would disappear." The last two times the public was asked, it said it was opposed to funding high-speed rail in California. First in a Field poll and then in a Los Angeles Times poll last June, a majority of voters said they would vote against the $9 billion bond issue passed in 2008 if they had it to do over again.
The California High-Speed Rail Authority obviously couldn't care less. It voted Monday to issue bonds worth up to $8.6 billion. Board members, who believe themselves more enlightened than the rest of us, have identified a serious transportation problem looming in the 21st century, and they've decided to solve it with jazzed-up 19th century technology paid for with money they don't have. Even in the face of a state Supreme Court decision clearing the way for Walmart to expand its 134,000-square-foot Antioch store on Lone Tree Way, opponents keep lamenting the detrimental impact of the huge retailer getting huger.
Maybe I'm missing something, but what's to fear? That a bigger Walmart will encroach on the hulking footprint of the next-door Staples superstore? That it will overshadow the enormous Lowe's a couple of blocks down the road? This stretch of Lone Tree Way isn't exactly a forested glen. It's the Yellow Brick Road of retailers. Great news in Concord, where the city and 150 workers represented by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 856 arrived at a contract settlement that eliminates furlough days and signals the return to higher pay scales.
The pay hikes will cost the city $1.15 million over the two-year life of the contract, so the financial climate in Concord must be looking up. Maybe one of these days the city will be so well-heeled it can afford to turn the water back on in the fountains at City Hall and Todos Santos Plaza. New restaurants open all the time, but few introduce themselves with the flair for exploitation of Tokyo Playground, a sushi bar in Dublin. A news release says: "The restaurant's concept enchants patrons with Japanese schoolgirl-clad waitresses, flat screen TVs and Asian fusion..."
Judging by photos on the restaurant's website -- young ladies in short pleated skirts and halter tops with bare midriffs -- Japanese schools must have the same dress code as Hooters.
More from the release: "The waitresses are trained with a deep knowledge of Japanese cuisine and to use suggestive innuendos with customers to encourage a dynamic atmosphere."
Excuse me, Miss, I'd like a California roll with a small serving of spicy innuendo.
Contact Tom Barnidge at firstname.lastname@example.org.