Tri-Valley Chamber Alliance Supports Valley Link Rail Project

independentnews – excerpt

Weighing in as the Tri-Valley Chamber of Commerce Alliance, the Danville, Dublin, Livermore Valley, Pleasanton and San Ramon Chambers of Commerce officially announced support for Valley Link, a future rail line connecting the San Joaquin Valley with the Bay Area Regional Transit (BART) system at its end of the line Dublin/Pleasanton station in the Tri-Valley I-580 corridor. The TVCAA submitted a letter and made its announcement at the March 13 meeting of the board of directors overseeing the project… (more)

Chinese in America & Transcontinental Railroad

History on the 150th Anniversary of the The First Transcontinental Railroad – excerpt


– excerptThe First Transcontinental Railroad’s 150th Anniversary on May 10, 2019 will have layers of history and meaning, especially for Chinese-Americans whose family roots include builders of the railroad. The date will also mark a civil rights tribute—to successes in resetting the historical record and honoring pioneers of the not-so-distant past. At Promontory Point, Utah, on May 10, 1869, the driving of the Golden Spike marked the Transcontinental Railroad’s completion—but also a historical injustice. Left out of the historic ceremony were the 12,000 Chinese railroad workers, of whom over 400 had died during construction.

ASAMNEWS: Corky Lee stages “an act of photographic justice” for Asian Americans


Photographer Corky Lee has dedicated much of his life documenting the Asian American experience through photographs. The omission of Chinese from the official photo commemorating the completion of [the Transcontinental Railroad] was one of the motivating factors behind his passion for photography (photo by Corky Lee).

The Bay Area’s 11 biggest transportation projects

By Michael Cabanatuan : sfchronicle – excerpt

When will they be done?

As more people come to the Bay Area and the trips to and from work become longer, commuters frequently find themselves white-knuckling the steering wheel, jostling for space on a bus or train, or simply dreaming of better days. While the problem of overcrowding on public transit and highways is unlikely to be solved any time soon, here are 11 major transportation projects that should improve the daily commute… (more)

Los Angeles Rail: Ridership Decline Estimated at 42 Percent

By Wendell Cox : newgeography – excerpt

The Reason Foundation has just published an important review of transit in Los Angeles County, by transportation consultant Thomas A. Rubin and University of Southern California Professor James E. Moore II. A total of four reports have been released, under the title A Critical Review of Los Angeles Metro’s 28 by 2028 Plan. Links are provided at the end of this article. More reports are to follow.

Rubin, former Chief Financial Officer at the Southern California Rapid Transit District (SCRTD) and founder of the Deloitte transportation practice, and Professor Moore have published extensively on transportation issues, and in particular, on developments in Los Angeles.

Background on the Rail and Busway System

Four decades ago (1980), Los Angeles County embarked on a huge rail transit development program, when the Los Angeles County Transportation Commission (LACTC) adopted Proposition A, which was enacted by the voters and took effect after successfully defending a California state Supreme Court challenge (Note). As a board member of LACTC, I was pleased to have drafted and introduced the amendment that created the rail funding set aside in Proposition A, out of a belief that such a system would alleviate traffic congestion in Los Angeles. Experience has proven otherwise, as traffic delays per commuter have risen 60 percent since the early 1980s, according to the Texas A&M Transportation Institute Annual Mobility Report.

Financial Assessment

Rubin and Moore demonstrate that building the rail (and fixed busway) system has cost considerably more than anticipated while the revenue from the multiple sales taxes passed by voters has fallen short of projections. Nearly $20 billion (not inflation adjusted) was spent on construction through 2016…

Links to the four reports are below.

1. Introduction, Overview, and the Birth of Transit in Los Angeles
2. The Rise of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro)
3. Metro’s Transit Ridership Is Declining
4. Metro’s Long Range Plans Overpromise and Underdeliver

Note: LACTC and SCRTD merged in 1993, creating Metro (the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority).…(more)

Apple cuts 190 jobs in self-driving car division

By Rex Crum : mercurynews – excerpt

Is Apple giving up on the self-driving car market?

Maybe not entirely, but based on the fact that Apple is laying off 190 employees in its self-driving car operations in Santa Clara and Sunnyvale, there is at least an impression that the tech giant is scaling back whatever plans its has to put an Apple car on the road.

In a notice filed with the California Employment Development Department, Apple said that it will cut 190 jobs, effective April 16. The notice didn’t disclose in which areas Apple is shedding those jobs, but various reports said Apple officials confirmed the positions are in the company’s self-driving car operations, which have been code-named Project Titan…(more)

Maybe they already did the work they were hired to do. Replace themselves. That is what robots do. Kill jobs. The tech industry is full of job-killing engineers who are programming their replacements.

In ‘unprecedented’ partnership, Facebook-funded trains could one day cross the bay

By Erin Baldassari : mercury news – excerpt (includes map)

Details are far from finalized, but, the public got its insights into the project beginning last week

In an unprecedented partnership for the Bay Area, Facebook and a private investment firm are teaming up with a public transit agency to potentially deliver a dream commuters have held for decades: a new southern crossing to connect the East Bay and the Peninsula.

The proposed transit connection, which estimates indicate could cost nearly $2 billion to build, would use an existing — but now-defunct — freight corridor to whisk commuters past stop-and-go traffic on the Dumbarton Bridge that regularly leaves motorists slogging at speeds that average under 20 mph. The Cross Bay Transit Partners, a collaboration between Facebook and the Plenary Group, a private-investment firm specializing in infrastructure projects, began gathering input on the plan with public meetings late last week and two more events are planned for Thursday and Saturday…(more)

While we appreciate the plan to revamp the old bridge, the private/public partnerships have not worked well for the public. We are picking up too many of the pieces of failed regional transportation schemes that were designed by outside experts and consultants with little regard for the public needs, opinions, or input.

Corporate Shuttles Thrive in the Bay Area’s Traffic Jam

By Kristen V Brown : bloomberg – excerpt

Ride-sharing and Big Tech buses are picking up the slack for lackluster public transportation.

Each workday, software engineer Edoardo Conti rides Facebook Inc.’s shuttle bus from his San Francisco neighborhood to the company’s headquarters in Menlo Park. At an hour or more in crawling traffic, it’s a tedious ritual. But were it not for the shuttle, the carless Conti says he might not have taken a job at Facebook at all.

The Bay Area has a mishmash of lackluster public transit options, including trains that don’t service many of the places people live and work and buses that are slow and often overcrowded. So private options have emerged: ride-hailing services Uber and Lyft; scooter and bike rentals such as Bird, Lime, and Jump; and corporate shuttles from the likes of Facebook, Genentech, and Google that ferry workers to their campuses. A Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority study counted more than 100 shuttles operating in the area daily… (more)

This is not news to the people who have been warning about the corporate takeover of our streets who are aided and abetted by our government transportation authorities.

Lower Stockton Street to Reopen to Traffic and Transit

By Phillip Pierce : SFMTA – excerpt (includes graphic)

Starting on Friday, February 22, Stockton Street between Geary and Ellis will reopen to traffic after being closed due to construction on the Central Subway. This street segment runs essentially from Union Square to Market Street — directly above the new subway’s biggest station.

The reopened street allows the 8, 8AX, 8BX, and 91 OWL routes to return to their previous alignments on lower Stockton and 4th Street starting on Monday, February 25. This is great news for transit riders who will save about five minutes on their rides from Chinatown to SoMa and on to Visitacion Valley. Nearby merchants are likewise happy to see construction getting closer to being finished…

Union Square/Market Street Station Construction

Expected to be the busiest of the new stations and located in the heart of one of San Francisco’s key retail and hotel districts, the Union Square/Market Street Station also boasts some unique features. Its northern entrance is built directly into the southeast corner of Union Square while its southern end will connect directly to the existing Powell Street Station, allowing quick access to other Muni lines and BART. An underground walkway creates a passage between the entrances and down to the platform where customers can catch the train.

Rendering of of the Union Square/Market Street Station under Stockton Street.

Rendering of the Union Square/Market Street Station under Stockton Street… (more)

Transbay Terminal — yet another problem. Train space might be too small

By Phil Matier : sfchronicle – excerpt

The Transbay Transit Center may not have enough room in its underground rail station to handle Caltrain service.

San Francisco’s Transbay Transit Center may have a new problem on its hands — not enough room in its $700 million underground train station to handle the projected Caltrain rail service when, or if, it arrives.

“That’s what we are looking into now: what level of projected future service we will have and how much the station will accommodate,” said Caltrain spokesman Seamus Murphy.

At issue is the two-story-high, three-block-long train “box” that sits under the terminal. It was built as part of a plan to bring both Caltrain’s Peninsula rail service and California high-speed trains directly into the terminal via a 1.3-mile tunnel to the Caltrain station at Fourth and King streets…(more)

After high-speed rail demise: Downtown SF to Downtown LA trains?

By Standford M. Horn : sfexaminer – excerpt

The U. S. Census counted 10 million Californians in 1950.

Today the California Department of Finance says there are some 40 million of us.

In the years around 1950, Downtown San Francisco and Downtown Los Angeles were connected with a day- and night-long stream of storied, streamlined trains. The Morning Daylight, the Noon Daylight, the Starlight, the all-Pullman Lark, The Coasters, the San Francisco Passenger, and others sped up and down the 470-mile corridor carrying millions of Californians annually. The fastest trains took less than ten hours.
Today, with California 400 percent bigger, the two downtowns are connected with zero trains. And last week Governor Newsom pulled the plug on the high-speed rail project that would have linked them as often as every 15 minutes.

While five airlines provide almost hourly service between LAX and SFO, might there be a train market among those 40 million for people who are not in a hurry or who want to save a few bucks?…(more)

Unfortunately the low cost, fast and cheap plan is the last one the government will accept when they have tax dollars to burn. Only the most expensive bridge design is acceptable for our public transit authorities who are intent on make SF Bay a world class destination.

Until the voters who call SF Bay home cut off the tax spigot, the government will not do anything cheap. They just got a new round of tax dollars burning a hole in their buckets, and the solution is to offer inexperienced workers $40 an hour digging ditches and filling potholes because there is a skilled worker shortage and they are burning through our tax dollars and bridge tolls as fast as they can so they can go back to the voters and beg for more.