Supposing the first two sentences of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address had read like this?

“Four score and seven _________ our
______________forth____________ on ____________,
a new _________ in
Liberty, and dedicated to the
____________that all
_______________. Now we are
________ in a great _______,
____________that nation, or any
nation_________, can long endure.”

With such gaps, the Gettysburg Address would never have become one of the most enduring and beloved axioms in human history. The damage done to the Gettysburg Address by the above omissions is analogous to the damage done by the decades-old gaps in the Bay Area’s network of trains and buses. There is no better way to illustrate the dismal effect on travelers and public mobility of these gaps than to simply list them: Continue reading

BART-to-San Jose Extension….More of the Same?

Bay Area transportation infrastructure projects tend to cost much more than expected (and in some cases more than necessary) and invariably take much longer than expected to complete. It appears that the Phase II BART subway proposed for San Jose may be no exception.

Map.pngThe following critique responds to the presentation made to the BART & VTA Partnership “Special Committee meeting at BART’s Oakland Headquarters on May 31, 2019. Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority’s (VTA) is proceeding with its 16 mile long, two-phased extension of BART from the current Warms Springs terminal all the way through San Jose to a future terminal station in Santa Clara. Phase I, covering the first 10 miles of the project will be constructed mostly on viaduct and include the Milpitas and Berryessa Stations. Phase II will proceed from Berryessa for six miles in mostly subway and include the Alum Rock, Downtown San Jose, Diridon and Santa Clara stations. Phase II is where things really get expensive. According to the EIR, the total cost of Phase II is projected to be $4.7 billion. It is anticipated that five of the six miles of this phase will be tunneled 65 feet below street grade (equivalent to the height of a six story building) and that diameter of the hole needed for the entire 5 miles is 55 feet 10 inches. This raises several questions: Continue reading

Regional Watchdog

In the Bay Area local and regional transportation and land use policies evolve continuously. These policies and their impact upon the region often discussed in public meetings convened by public agencies. Sometimes these meetings are adequately publicized and sometimes they aren’t. Certain public agencies are notorious for releasing only the rosiest of outcomes for public consumption.

In video-recording as many of the important public meetings as possible, Ken Bukowski is devoted to making certain the public is given an opportunity to see what’s actually going on. To accomplish this Mr. Bukowski spends many hours a week carrying his recording equipment across the region to capture important meetings and events. Continue reading

Open Letter to the BART Board Members: No Increase on Fares

Honorable Members of the BART Board of Directors
300 Lakeside Drive
Oakland CA 94612

Dear Members of the BART Board:

The Bay Area Transportation Working Group calls upon the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District Board of Directors to not increase fares for the upcoming fiscal year.

As a coalition of transportation experts with decades of collective experience working on large projects and with transit operators, including virtually all the major operators in the Bay Area, we are well aware that BART is facing numerous challenges and is in the constant position of all transit operators of not having sufficient funds to do everything that everyone would have to have done; however, a fare increase would be highly inappropriate at this time for the following reasons: Continue reading

Press Release: MTC is Uniquely Unqualified to Take on Housing!

HousingHow and why did the commutes get so long? How did the Bay Area become the first or second most congested region in the country? Was this because of a regional problem or a local problem or both? What accounts for the repeated “disconnects” between the regional results of expensive studies laboriously vetted and discussed and what actually gets financed and built? Why did more than $100 billion in state, federal and Bridge toll funds pass through the Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s (MTC’s) hands over the last half century and yet do so little to either reduce congestion or strengthen the Region’s public transit systems? Was the current transportation malaise inevitable? Could it have been avoided? What steps can be taken to make things better? Does it make sense to place the Region’s future housing and transportation under a single super-agency controlled by MTC? Continue reading