By Will Reisman, @WillReisman
Wild, Crazy Weather, AKA #HellaStorm:
The “Storm of the Century” arrived in the Bay Area last week, and while it didn’t cause mass destruction, it did force school closures (poor kids), road detours, power outages and plenty of disruptions to the regional transit network. All told, more than eight inches of rain was recorded in some parts of the Bay Area, good news for the drought-stricken state, but bad news for the region’s drainage system, which was not prepared to handle the deluge. To put last weekend’s storm into perspective—San Jose received 6.35 inches of rain all last year. With reports of flooding occurring all over the region, SamTrans did its part to help out some stricken citizens. On Thursday night and Friday afternoon, SamTrans helped evacuate 22 Belmont residents whose homes were flooded. Rains are expected to continue through the early part of this week.
BART, AC Transit Debut Late-Night Service:
Late-night party-goers hoping to squeeze out last drink and off-peak workers – who may not be thrilled to be riding home with the post-party crowd but are surely excited to have new transit options – received a bit of a lifeline last weekend, when BART and AC Transit debuted their late-night service. AC Transit, with funding from BART, kicked off its 822 Line, a late-night specialty that operates between the 24th Street BART Station in San Francisco’s Mission District and points in the East Bay. The line begins operating at 12:56 a.m. from San Francisco and runs every 30 minutes, an upgrade from the service previously offered by AC Transit. The East Bay-based bus carrier also extended service on Cross-Bay line and added trips to other lines serving late-night travelers.
Holiday Season Ramps up in the Bay Area:
Shoppers in the East Bay got a little assist from the City of Oakland, which instituted the third straight weekend of free parking at metered spots. The free parking includes city-owned lots and lasts for the stated duration at each meter (e.g. 30 minutes, one hour, two hours), and will last until the end of the year.
On the other side of the Bay, even the animals are getting into the holiday spirit, thanks to the San Francisco Zoo. The institution’s Zoo Lights exhibit welcome evening visitors with an array of sparkling light designs and festive decorations. The Zoo Lights event made its debut last weekend, and will run again from Dec. 19 -23 and Dec. 26 – 30. All visitors after 5 p.m. on those days will be treated to a completely new Zoo experience.