Weekly Roundup: Holiday schedules, Music and Carnaval

By Will Reisman, @WillReisman

Transit Changes Coming for Memorial Day: Memorial Day is on Monday, May 25, and as a result, local transportation agencies will be offering modified schedules for the holiday. Caltrain will run its Sunday schedule for the holiday, as will SamTrans. BART will also run a Sunday schedule, meaning later start times for trains and less overall service. AC Transit and SF Muni will also run reduced schedules as part of their Sunday service plans for Memorial Day. The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority will operate its holiday schedule, as will Golden Gate Transit and Ferry, meaning there will be no commute buses or ferries operating that day.

Enjoy Music in the East Bay This Weekend: The Eastlake Music Festival, a free music and cultural arts event in Oakland, returns for the second straight year on Saturday. The gathering, which will take place on the shores of Lake Merritt, is a non-profit event completely staffed by volunteers and featuring scores of local musicians. The all-ages event begins at noon on Saturday and will run into the evening. Located in the heart of Oakland, Lake Merritt is a short walk from BART’s Lake Merritt Station and is accessible by numerous AC Transit bus lines.

Carnaval 2014Carnaval to Take Over San Francisco’s Mission District This Weekend: Carnaval, the two-day extravaganza of music, dancing and food celebrating Spanish-speaking and Latin American culture, will take place in San Francisco for the 37th straight year on Saturday and Sunday. Featuring spectacularly-choreographed dances numbers, the theme for this year’s Carnaval will be Agua Sacrada—“Sacred Water,” a recognition of the powerful and essential role that water plays in our lives, and one that takes on particular significance as California continues to battle a lengthy drought. San Francisco’s Carnaval—one of the biggest in the Western Hemisphere—will take place in the streets of the city’s Mission District, and will be capped off by the Grand Parade at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday. Sheila E. a Bay Area musician who has drummed for artists like Prince, Marvin Gaye and Ringo Starr, will act as the Grand Marshall for the parade.

Weekly Roundup: Additional rail cars are now in service

By Tasha Bartholomew, @tashbart

Maker Faire celebrates 10-year anniversary: The 10thannual Maker Faire, The Greatest Show & Tell on Earth, is taking over the San Mateo County Event Center this weekend, Saturday, May 16, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sunday, May 17, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Attendees will be able to check out the latest DIY drones, participate in hands-on activities, and build and play with robots. SamTrans Routes ECR, 292 and 295 can easily take faire goers the event center. For more information about this event, visit www.makerfaire.com.

Take Caltrain to Bay to Breakers: On Sunday, May 17, Caltrain will operate four special trains to get runners to and from the annual Bay to Breakers race. Starting Wednesday, Caltrain will sell One-way tickets and Day passes at station ticket machines with a special “Bay to Breakers” button on the screen. The starting line is about 1.4 miles from the San Francisco Caltrain Station at Fourth and King streets. Participants can walk to the starting line or take the Muni T-Third light rail. Alcohol is prohibited on the special trains.

“New” rail cars added today: On Monday, May 11, Caltrain added an extra car to all Bombardier train sets currently in operation. The sixth car provides an additional 150 seats and increases standing room during the peak-hour commute. Caltrain purchased 16 used rail cars earlier this year in response to the growth in demand on the railroad and significant overcrowding on many of its peak hour trains. The six-car trains are assigned to the most popular trains in Caltrain’s peak period, but will operate during other times of the day as well. Caltrain put four of the 16 cars into service, following some maintenance and minor repair and conversion work. The other 12 cars require more extensive repair work and will be rolled into service as they are ready. Additional work includes converting a number of the new cars to accommodate onboard bicycle storage. When the conversion project is complete, Caltrain will add a third bike car to Bombardier train sets bringing the total number of bike spaces available on those sets to 72. The agency hopes to begin bringing those additional bike cars online within the next year.

Weekly Roundup: SamTrans Art Takes a Bus Ride winners announced Wednesday

By Tasha Bartholomew, @tashbart

Art contest winners announced this week: This Wednesday, May 6, winners of the 12th annual Art Takes a Bus Ride Contest will be announced at the SamTrans Board of Directors meeting at 2 p.m. SamTrans, in partnership with the San Mateo County Office of Education, gives 1st to 6th graders a chance to have their artwork displayed on the side of a SamTrans bus for an entire year. The student art also will be displayed on ad cards inside SamTrans buses, and will be showcased during a special reception at the Peninsula Museum of Art in Burlingame this Saturday, May 9, at 1 p.m. Art Takes a Bus Ride engages students in their community and keeps art in the classroom. This year’s contest theme is “The Future of SamTrans and the winning entries were selected by a panel of judges from the San Mateo County Arts Commission.

Take Caltrain to see New Kids On the Block, TLC & Nelly: You can bring your kid as cover while you “chaperone” this classic 90s stadium show Friday night at SAP Center in San Jose featuring New Kids On the Block, TLC and hip hop artist Nelly.  The legendary boy band booked a second show at SAP after last weekend’s show sold out. You can take Caltrain from San Francisco or anywhere on the Peninsula to San Jose Diridon Station, just steps away from SAP Center and what should prove to be pure 90s euphoria.

TA Announces Upcoming Call for Highway Projects: The San Mateo County Transportation Authority is announcing an upcoming Call for Projects for the Measure A Highway Program. The goal of the program is to fund highway and roadway projects that reduce congestion and improve safety on commute corridors. Up to $125 million may be made available to fund projects that best meet the highway selection and evaluation criteria contained in the Measure A Strategic Plan 2014-2019. An application workshop for the TA Highway Program will be held Monday, May 11, at 10 a.m. inside the second floor auditorium of the San Mateo County Transit District headquarters, located at 1250 San Carlos Ave., in San Carlos. For more information on the workshop and to RSVP, please click here.

Weekly Roundup: SPUR looking to create transitable cities

By Will Reisman, @WillReisman 

Take Caltrain to Life Orchestra in Mountain View: The 16th annual Life Orchestra, presented by the Silicon Valley Alliance Church, will take place this Sunday at the Mountain View Center for Performing Arts. The orchestra will perform a combination of symphonic works by classical and contemporary composers, featuring modern sacred songs, jazz, and Chinese compositions. The orchestra, comprised of local young musicians, will take the stage at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday. Located in downtown Mountain View, the performing arts center is a short walk from the Mountain View Caltrain Station. Caltrain’s weekend schedule offers hourly service to the station. 

SPUR looks at creating “transitable” cities: Establishing a seamless public transportation network throughout the Bay Area has been a longtime goal of SPUR, a local think-tank. On Thursday, the organization will host a lunchtime forum at its San Jose offices to discuss ways of making cities in the region more “transitable.” Taking place at 12:30 p.m., the meeting will feature Cathleen Sullivan, a consultant with Nelson/Nygaard, a national transportation planning firm. SPUR’s office is located next to several Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority light-rail lines and is a few blocks away from the San Jose Diridon Caltrain Station

City Lab story details the funding challenges facing mass transit: Even though public transportation systems receive just 20 percent of the nation’s Highway Tax funds, there are two separate bills circulating in Congress that would phase out that relatively meager allocation. Although the bills are unlikely to be enacted, they highlight the federal funding challenges that public transportation agencies must contend with. Earlier this month, the American Public Transportation Association staged rallies across the country as part of Stand up For Transportation Day, an advocacy effort aimed at urging leaders in Washington to provide long term and sustainable funding solutions for transit agencies. City Lab, an online website affiliated with The Atlantic, posted a story last week about the state of federal transit funding, and how each agency must vie for a small piece of the funding pie.