31 Jul 2010, 11:25pm
Commuting Parking Passenger rail Railroads Transit Travel
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Comments Off on Passenger rail in Asutin and San Antonio

Passenger rail in Asutin and San Antonio

Larry Walsh and the Austin MetroRail

Larry Walsh and the Austin MetroRail

My friend, Larry Walsh, and I finally found the time last Tuesday, July 27, to make a visit to Austin‚Äôs new commuter rail line, Capital MetroRail.¬† This is what is hoped to be the first thirty miles of a city wide system.¬† This first section runs from the city center at 4th and Trinity to Leander, a commuter colony way to the north of Austin itself. more »

15 Apr 2010, 9:39pm
Parking Roads Safety Transit:
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Comments Off on Five things to know before heading to Fiesta events

Five things to know before heading to Fiesta events

Soggy skies put a damper on the start of the year’s biggest party, with officials cancelling¬†tonight’s¬†Fiesta kickoff¬†at Alamo Plaza and¬†moving the opener¬†to¬†Market Square tomorrow.¬†Hope you didn’t head out to Alamo Plaza.¬†

2010-Fiesta-poster

No worries about the revelry cranking up. It will. But before joining the fun, here are some things to check on:

PARKING: Even¬†tested downtown drivers¬†can lose a little¬†focus when Fiesta fills up parking lots and kicks up¬†parking fees.¬†The Express-News has a decent map of parking lots, but alas, doesn’t include fees. MAP

EXPRESS BUSES: Avoid parking altogether by hopping on special Fiesta express buses. VIA set up an event page with details, which includes reroutes of regular services due to street closures. FIESTA BUSES

DRINKING: If you drink, have a drinking and NOT driving plan.¬†The easiest thing to do is assign¬†a designated driver. In a pinch,¬†Yellow Cab will provide up to 700 free rides for certain events, thanks to a state grant. Of course, you can always fork out your own $25 for a cab, and it’ll be a lot¬†cheaper than a¬†$17,000 DWI fine. CALL 222-2222

TRAFFIC: Make it easy on yourself. Just a few minutes checking TransGuide’s site for¬†wrecks and slowdowns can save you an hour on the highway.¬†TRANSGUIDE

WEATHER: Nuff said on that. FORECAST

Now go have a great time. And be safe. 

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Pay-and-display could be coming downtown

Pay-and-display station in San Francisco

Pay-and-display station in San Francisco

The San Antonio City Council this Thursday will consider whether to approve a plan to replace most downtown parking meters with so-called “pay-and-display” systems.¬† (UPDATE: Council approved the plan¬†during its 3/4/10 meeting.)¬† These systems, which originated in Europe and have become popular in US cities over the past decade, consist of a payment¬†machine (“pay station”)¬†located on each block, such as the one pictured to the right.¬† After parking your vehicle, you locate the nearest pay station, pay for the time you want to park, get a receipt from the machine, then return to your vehicle and place the receipt on your dashboard.¬† The drawback to this system, of course, is that you have to walk to the machine (which typically is located mid-block), pay, then return to your vehicle¬†to put the receipt on the dashboard.¬† The benefits, however,¬†are that the machines accept credit/debit cards and dollar bills, so no more having to scrounge for loose change.¬† Also, motorists can move their vehicle if desired without having to “feed” another meter.¬† The City is the biggest benefactor in the form of reduced maintenance costs and collection overhead for thousands of parking meters;¬†remote maintenance of the machines via wireless connections;¬†and enhanced revenue, likely the result of more people opting to pay since they can use credit cards and bills.¬† Also, unlike with parking meters where¬†any¬†remaining time is inherently donated to the next person who parks in the space,¬†leftover time under pay-and-display systems¬†is essentially forfeited to the City.¬† Studies generally show that parking violations are reduced under pay-and-display systems, so the City would lose some revenue from parking tickets, but can, as a result, reallocate those enforcement resources to other areas.

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