Bay Area Transportation Working Group

via email from the Bay Area Transportation Working Group

Caltrain Extension (DTX) Side-tracked Again

Instead of moving the project forward, the Region backpedals. The recently-formed “Executive Steering Committee” is comprised of staff representatives from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), Transbay Joint Powers Authority, SF County Transportation Authority, SF Mayor’s Office, Peninsula Joint Powers Authority (Caltrain) and the California High Speed Rail Authority. They and their consultants have returned to reviewing such long-settled matters as the routing of the Caltrain extension, an ill-conceived and unneeded Pennsylvania Avenue subway, the number of tracks leading into the Salesforce Transit Center (already studied and resolved twice) and the possible interface in the distant future between the Salesforce terminal and a second sub-aqueous rail tube, if one is ever built.
All this for a project approved by all relevant local, regional, State and federal agencies and jurisdictions over 12 years ago that received its State and federal environmental clearance in 2009…(more)

The Dream of Seamless Transit: AB 629

There is a new paper out on “Seamless Transit” (previously called Integrated Transit). Replete with attractive professional graphics, the paper outlines in glowing terms all the things that are generally regarded as necessary to get lots more people to ride trains and buses. Click here to read the paper.

Unscrambling Politically-Inspired Entanglements

The Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority has developed a creative and forward-looking plan that would cut over 20 minutes off the time it now takes a Capitol Corridor train to travel between Oakland Jack London Square and San Jose’s Diridon Station. See https://www.southbayconnect.com

The Capitol Corridor system affords a comfortable and reliable way of getting from Auburn via Sacramento, Davis, Martinez, Richmond, Oakland and Newark all the way into Silicon Valley. However, Capitol Corridor trains are currently detoured from the main Coast Starlight route through eastern Hayward and Union City and then along 5 miles of east-west track to rejoin the main line in Newark and for the remainder of the trip to Silicon Valley. Since the East Hayward/Union City route closely parallels BART the detour never did make much sense. And now, with BART being extended through downtown San Jose and all the way to the Diridon Station, it makes even less sense…(more)

SFMTA: From One Hole Right into Another

SFMTA has finally realized that trying to push 43 short Muni Metro trains an hour through the subway is…and always has been…absurdly unworkable. So now it’s decided to cut back to a more reasonable 20 to 25 trains an hour. Fully automated coupling of the K’s to the M’s at St. Francis Circle and of the J’s to the N’s at the Duboce Portal would achieve this objective by allowing for fewer but longer J/N K/M, N and shuttle trains to operate in the subway.

However for unaccountable reasons never explained, the SFMTA hierarchy continues to regard automated coupling as an unacceptably terrifying complication. As things stand, to avoid the need for coupling trains together, the MTA is planning to require all its downtown-bound M-Line riders to henceforth to get off and transfer to the K Line at West Portal and all its downtown-bound J-Line riders to henceforth get off and transfer to a Market Street subway train at Church and Market. In other words, to avoid the coupling, MTA is prepared to permanently deny at least a third of its Muni Metro riders direct downtown service.

Plans, Plans and More Plans

At the present time there are a number of regional plans ongoing in the Bay Area. Currently it takes years to get through the planning/environmental clearance process to project design, construction and start-up, consistent with available short-term, mid-term and long-term funding. There is an overriding need to streamline this process, in part by:

  • Integrating the plans, at least to the extent of eliminating unnecessary duplication and overlap
  • Taking a good honest look at each potentially viable alternative, while at the same time decisively and expeditiously discarding the ones that are clearly impractical
  • Setting and following definitive schedules, right from the start
  • In the name of accuracy and realism, insisting that cost estimates, schedules and budgets be prepared and monitored by experienced professionals

BATWG will have more to say on how the Region would benefit from expedited and more effective capital improvement programming and execution in subsequent issues of the  newsletter.

 

Golden Gate Bridge District Receives $30.2M Grant from CARES Act

By Bay City News : nbcbayarea – excerpt

The funding will support the district’s transit and ferry services during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act included a $30.2 million grant for the Golden Gate Bridge, Transportation District, the U.S. Department of Transportation said Friday.

The funding will support the district’s transit and ferry services during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. The grant is part of roughly $25 billion in CARES Act grants allocated to public transit agencies across the country.

“This historic $25 billion in grant funding will ensure our nation’s public transportation systems can continue to provide services to the millions of Americans who continue to depend on them,” Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said…(more)

30 million dollars to support a few months work of ferry service that is running limited service? “Until further notice, Golden Gate Ferry will operate reduced weekday services and NO weekend services.” There is not much traffic on the bridge these days. How much does it cost to operate this service each month?

Proposed Regional Transportation Sales Tax for the November 2020 Election

Details on the Sales taxes we are already paying as of:
SALES TAX LIST – Bay Area Trans Taxes 10 19 19

Watch for Future Community Meetings discussing further sales tax increases:
SFCTA: Potential Regional Transportation Measure Community Meeting: https://www.sfcta.org/events/potential-regional-transportation-measure-san-francisco-forum

 

Cars still hold No. 1 spot for getting around in SF — and it’s getting worse

By Phil Matier : sfchronicle – excerpt

Despite millions of dollars spent on new bike lanes and other transit improvements, people still favor cars when it comes to commuting in and around San Francisco, a new report by the city’s Municipal Transportation Agency concludes.

“We can change the roads, but human behavior hasn’t changed since William Shakespeare started writing about it,” quipped SFMTA board member Art Torres.

And people like cars, whether it’s their own or a hire…

Commuting by bike, which surged by 140 percent between 2005 and 2015, has dropped in recent years… (more)

It is very heard to force people to do things they don’t want to do. Is changing public behavior the proper role for public servants in Democratic society?

Mobility report shows bike trips on the decline in SF

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

San Franciscans may be spurning two-wheeled trips.

Nearly 20,000 fewer daily bicycle trips were taken in 2017 compared to 2016, data revealed Monday by The City’s newest “Mobility Trends” report shows.

The dwindling bike numbers look even worse when compared to The City’s record-setting year for bike trips, 2015, which reached a height of 126,000 average bicycle trips per day.

By 2016 those average daily trips dropped to 115,000, then down to 95,000 by 2017…

While solo bike trips in The City continue to fall, more people are hopping into cars and causing record-level traffic congestion, according to the mobility report. Muni ridership remains relatively stable…(more)

Valencia bike shop claims their business in on decline. We suggest a talk with the merchants on Valencia and other bike-friendly streets to see which industries are thriving and which are wilting under the combined weight of bike lanes and TNCs.

 

 

Self-Driving Vehicles Are Going to Make Traffic Even More Miserable, Says New Study

By Taylor Donovan Barnett : interestingengineering – excerpt

Whether you like it or not, self-driving cars will be hitting the road in full-force in the coming years. Thanks to new technology developed by companies like Tesla and even Uber, autonomous vehicles will become a staple of modern culture, with nearly 10 million self-driving cars expected to hit the road by 2020.

Yet, not all is well across the autonomous landscape. Like any new technology, there have literally been speed bumps in the world of self-driving cars. From accidents to malfunctioning AI, self-driving vehicles are still very much in their infancy.

However, new research in the world of autonomous vehicles has uncovered another potential issue down the line, parking. Anyone living in a metropolitan area will tell you that parking is always a long-winded adventure. According to a new study, autonomous vehicles could create a problematic parking issue…

The Autonomous Vehicle Parking Problem

Professor Millard breaks down his concerns further in his published paper, “The Autonomous Vehicle problem.” In his paper, he estimates that just the presence of the relatively small amount of 2,000 self-driving vehicles in the San Francisco area will slow traffic to less than 2 miles per hour(more)

Want to work on a job that is threatened by this new tech future plan? Do not want to live in the slow lane? Maybe take this up with your state public utility regulation agency, your state reps and your local government officials now. Insist on a pubic conversation about this new technology.

Los Angeles Is Now Offering Car Rides to Metro Stations

By Aarian Marshall : wired – excerpt

Public transit agencies are not known for their flashy, up-to-date technology. In many cities, you’re lucky if your diesel bus shows up on time. But this week, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority is trying something new.

Starting today, riders who live near three Metro stations will be able to download an app, tap a few times, and have a car show up at their door—or at least within a few blocks—and take them to that station. The service, provided by ride-hail company Via, will cost riders with the system’s TAP cards $1.75, though it will be free for those who already use Metro’s low-income subsidy programs. Riders will share their car trips with between two and five others, but the agency says they shouldn’t have to wait longer than 10 minutes for a pick-up.

If LA has its way, the one-year experiment with on-demand service will solve the devious first-mile, last-mile problem, connecting those who live just a touch too far away from stations to get there. The idea is to make it easier for a whole new group of people to use mass transit. “We’ve created an additional layer of public transportation,” says Chris Snyder, Via’s head of global expansion. “It’s complementary.”… (more)

This sounds like a jitney service similar to the one San Francisco just nixed. This also looks like a last gasp effort to an “anything but” solution that is picking winners among the corporate choices, but, I suppose any service can offer a cheap alternative, including neighbors with their own cars. Hope it works for the public who needs it.

Los Angeles Congestion Pricing Study

By Howard Wong : savemuni – excerpt

For San Francisco, I’ve had qualms about a regressive congestion tax that disproportionately harms low-income drivers.  Los Angeles is studying a congestion pricing plan that could fund free public transit—which better competes against surging ride-sharing.  In the not-too-distant future, free public transit could move towards automated micro-buses that adopt on-demand ride-share technology.  Free, frequent, 24/7 public transit would be equitable and democratic…

RELATED: A Possible congestion pricing plan for Los Angeles takes a step forward

ARCHITECT’S NEWSPAPER:  Metro officials claim that congestion pricing could bring in enough new funding to lower base transit fares or even make the entire system free to ride. It’s possible that with the right congestion pricing plan, Metro could make transit more affordable and useful as it makes driving more expensive and difficult in tandem… (more)

 

Engineers Approve Repair Plan For Transbay Terminal Cracked Beams

Authorities with the Transbay Transit center in San Francisco have approval from an independent expert review panel on their plan of a repair of those cracked beams that forced the center’s closure last year, but the reopening date is still uncertain.

The repair plan, presented last month to the governing board of the authority, involves bolting new steel plates to the top and bottom of the cracked beams.

Christine Falvey, spokeswoman for the Transbay authority, said steel is now on order to complete the repair of the cracks, which NBC Bay Area’s investigative unit reported were caused when crews cut holes into the four inch thick steel in the steel base of the beams… (more)

Steel plates to reinforce cracked beams under Transit Center repair plan

By Laura Waxmann : sfexaminer – excerpt

Plans have been approved to repair fractured beams at the temporarily shuttered Salesforce Transit Center by reinforcing them with steel plates, Transbay Joint Powers Authority officials said Friday.

The repair plans were reviewed and approved last month by a peer review panel of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, which is also developing recommendations guiding additional inspections at the center prior. No date has been set for the center to reopen… (more)

 

After transbay fare hike, it can be cheaper to drive than ride AC Transit

By Rachel Swan : sfchronicle – excerpt

The cost to take an AC Transit bus across the Bay Bridge jumped to $5.50 Tuesday, which means that at some times of day, bus passengers will pay more than people who drive.

It’s the first of three increases over five years, intended to pay for service improvements and capital costs at the Transbay Transit Center, which has been closed since September. Fares shot up by a dollar Tuesday and will rise by 50 cents next year, and another 50 cents in 2022, bringing the price then to $6.50… (more)

It is one step forward and another back for commuters on AC Transit.