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‘Next rainy season it’s going to be much better’: BART fixes wheel problem that caused delays

Andrew Guzman was late for work nearly every other day last winter. During the monthslong deluge that soaked the Bay Area, his train to the downtown Berkeley BART station was often delayed. Frustrated, he clocked in late to work shift after shift.

The biggest problem last winter was that wet weather led to wheel spots or wheel flats, which can occur during braking and force a car out of service. Though wheel spots occurred more frequently on the newer Fleet of the Future cars, the root cause of last season’s problems wasn’t the cars themselves, but the complexity of BART’s control system, Allison said. BART has corrected the control system errors which caused wheel spots. 

However, BART‘s project to replace the 50-year-old, unpredictable control system software is still a decade off. BART and its riders are depending on the transit system’s short-term fixes to avoid another chaotic season. Riders need reliable service just as BART, after years of declining ridership and revenue, needs to keep those riders scanning their clipper cards this winter.

How will winter’s wet weather affect fire season in the East Bay?

Record rainfall last winter mitigated California’s severe drought and brought a slow start to fire season. But the wet weather hasn’t reduced the threat.  The heavy downpours that bombarded the Bay Area and the relatively cool weather that followed kept vegetation from drying out in the spring and early summer. But as the summer wears on, that vegetation will become fuel for fires, said Ranyee Chiang, director of the Meteorology and Measurement Division at Bay Area Air Quality Management District. …

With pandemic waning, some rent protections for Richmond tenants are going away

Last month marked the end of the application period for the COVID-19 Rent Relief Program in California, pushing tenants who struggle to pay rent back into the path of eviction.  The program, which closed after a year on March 31, has helped 2,428 Richmond households so far, providing $11,507 in assistance, on average. That amount is slightly above the average amount distributed across the state, which has processed more than 286,000 applications.  A bill that passed on the same day…

‘I feel like the city is on a good trajectory’: Richmond’s new city manager

Four months after firing its city manager, Richmond City Council on Tuesday hired Shasa Curl, who has held various jobs at City Hall,  to fill the position. Curl’s base salary is $295,000,  $40,000 higher than what Laura Snideman was earning when the council fired her in December, two years into her three-year contract, according to the employment agreement.  Curl has served as the interim city manager since Nov. 23. Since 2011, she has held various other roles in the city…