BATWG: The Bay Area Transportation Working Group (BATWG) is an all volunteer organization established in 2012 to keep up with and respond to important Bay Area transportation issues and events. Our primary objective is to find ways of easing regional traffic congestion by improving the reliability and appeal of Bay Area passenger rail and bus systems. BATWG is dedicated to working with like-minded groups to bring about these needed changes.
Security versus Privacy on Transit
November 12, 2018
At a time when Bay Area traffic congestion has become the 2nd or 3rd worst in the entire country it is disturbing to find transit ridership dropping. In order to reverse this destructive trend a greater effort must be made to identify, reduce and ultimately eliminate the factors that are causing people to turn away from transit-riding at a time when more transit riding is needed. These factors include slow speeds, unreliability, wait times, gaps in service, lack of comprehensiveness and the sometimes bad behavior of people at bus stops, in stations and on transit vehicles. In this article we will deal with the behavior problems that scare off or otherwise deter many would-be transit riders. Click here to continue reading.
DTX Continues to be Stalled by Politics
October 17, 2018
The extension of Caltrain into downtown San Francisco is currently derailed.
Nineteen years have passed since the passage of SF Prop H. On November 9, 1999, 69.3% of the voters defined the downtown extension of Caltrain (DTX) as San Francisco’s No. One transportation priority. The first Federal grant allocated to help build the Transbay Transit Center/Downtown Extension Project arrived two decades ago. In 2010 the Obama Administration approved an additional $400 million to pay for the construction of the huge 70-foot deep passenger train station beneath Transbay Transit Center (now called Salesforce Transit Center) at First and Mission Streets. The State of California kicked in by transferring 13 acres of State-owned land in downtown San Francisco to the City, which helped greatly to build the Center and brought about the construction of 19 separate high rise buildings in its immediate vicinity.
These positive results notwithstanding, the longer the extension of Caltrain is delayed, the more the project will come to be regarded as a betrayal of the public trust, an improper use of State and Federal transportation grants and a waste of money.
To learn more about the current status of the project read more here.
An Open Letter to SFMTA Director
October 11, 2018
Thanks for attending and joining in at the September 29th Transportation Forum. Your participation was clearly appreciated. The outline below was what BATWG had expected to present at the Forum. The proposals reflect some of what’s needed to strengthen the SFMTA and improve the City’s response to its overall transportation problem. We hope they are of use:
A. The SFMTA Board
Granting the MTA immunity from day-to-day political influence (through SF Prop E adopted in 1999 and SF Prop A adopted in 2007) was probably a good idea. However 4-year terms for appointed local officials is too long. The elected Mayor and Supervisors should be able to intercede when necessary every two years. The terms of the MTA’s appointive Board members should be reduced from 4 years to 2. Being an MTA Board member is a difficult and demanding job. All seven members of the MTA Board must therefore be strong and committed individuals. Click here to read more.
A Letter to MTC Commissioners and ABAG Executive Board Members
October 6, 2018
To MTC Commissioners and ABAG Executive Board members:
An important and difficult decision is before you; namely, the selection of the next MTC Executive Director. The Region is currently afflicted with chronic gridlock and a badly disconnected patchwork of trains, buses and boats. To ensure that the best possible candidates are identified and screened for the job, BATWG strongly recommends that this important selection be pursuant to a through and professional national search conducted by objective individuals highly experienced in the field. The process should also be informed by input from the MTC Board, ABAG, the local jurisdictions, the transit agencies and other stakeholders.
In an effort to inform the selection process we cite the successful tenure of Paul C. Watt, MTC’s first Executive Director. Here are some of the qualities that helped Mr. Watt to introduce and successfully promote the concept of regionalism to the Greater Bay Area. Click here to continue reading.
Bay Area Rail – Status Report
July 9, 2018
By the late 1960’s the Bay Area’s interurban passenger rail systems were mostly gone. Since then travelers, encouraged by the State State of California’s long standing practice of widening and expanding its freeways to temporarily ward off gridlock, have turned increasingly to automobiles to get around: to the point where things got completely out of hand. Caltrans’ myopic struggle to build its way out of traffic congestion failed. Read the full report here.