Bay Area HOT Lanes:  Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing

HOT lanes sound good.  But here’s the rest of the story:  The Interstate Highway System was launched by President Eisenhower in 1956.  For a while the emphasis on auto travel worked, but it wasn’t long before the freeway backups and the urban traffic impacts began to cause problems. By the early 1960’s some city dwellers, San Franciscans for instance, were strongly resisting attempts to jam brutal elevated freeways through their sensitive urban districts. By the early 1970’s it was widely recognized that expanded freeways always brought more traffic that eventually caused harried freeway users to end up with the same freeway backup misery as before and conditions in the cities at the ends of the freeways to get even worse than before.

With each passing decade the damage caused by freeway expansion in regions like the Bay Region became more obvious and the objections more strident.  As a result, by the 1990’s it became vogue in the halls of Caltrans and MTC to avoid the term “expansion” and instead use euphemisms like “bottleneck removal”, “safety improvements”and “HOT lanes”.  For over a half a century Caltrans stoically refused to acknowledge that bottlenecks could be relocated but never eliminated. Nor would the highway expanders admit that “safety improvements” that increase roadway use inevitably create increased safety traffic hazards elsewhere.  And of course it is NEVER admitted by either MTC or Caltrans that MTC’s HOT lane program will inevitably further increase the overall carrying capacity of the affected freeways, and therefore induce even more freeway traffic.

Conclusion:  The 21st Century HOT lanes of the Bay Area, are nothing more than a continuation of the freeway-building “culture” begun in Washington DC in 1956. The question is:  When will the Bay Area wake up and say “ENUF”?!

Bay Area Transportation:  From Problem to Crisis

The Bay Region is growing, both in employment and population.  Its cities are getting more congested.  Bay Area freeways, despite their immense size (8 and even 10 lanes compared to the 4-lane roadways of places like Tokyo, Osaka and much of Europe) are increasingly stacked up and backed up.

website freeway backups

Is this what we want?  Do Americans love their cars more than other people do?  Of course not.  But unfortunately since the end of World War II, American metropolitan areas have been organized to encourage auto travel and discourage other, more efficient means of travel.

Can anything be done about this?  Yes, it’s been done elsewhere and it can be done here as well.  Read More Here


Stepping up to the Plate on Gridlock

Watch this short Video; it’s worth it. 

Stockholm Transportation Director Jonas Eliasson has some advice for New York politicians worried about diving into congestion pricing: “Just do it.”   

Getting it Right in the Southeast Bay

Excerpts from BATWG’s August 31, 2017 letter to the San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission:

“…BATWG has long advocated a major upgrade to the ACE service between Stockton and San Jose.  For this reason we support the SJRRC’s decision to examine ways of accomplishing this objective.     

“However, in our view, the ACE Forward DEIR fails to adequately address this vital issue, as evidenced by the following five comments   Read More Here 


Click here for BATWG’s 2017 Program