Striving for Good Bus and Rail Connections

On February 9, 2018 the San Jose Mercury ran a story about the reasons people keep driving, even on traffic-clogged roadways, and why more travelers don’t use public transit. A survey sponsored by the Silicon Valley Leadership Group and the Mercury provided an answer to this question.  It showed that for most of those taking the survey the Number One reason for not using public transit was that it “doesn’t get me to where I want to go”.

Public and private transit will never be able to take everyone where they want to go all of the time.  But things can get better. For one thing the many unnecessary gaps between transit services that routinely discourage use of the Region’s vast network of rail and bus lines can and should be eliminated. Continue reading

The Truth about HOT Lanes

HotLanesHigh Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes are for buses and carpools. When operated  effectively and with proper enforcement, they work well.   HOT lanes are something else again. HOT lanes allow freeway users of means to pay substantial fees to speed past the rest of us inching along in the adjacent “mixed flow” lanes. While some might regard this as acceptable, here’s the problem.  MTC’s billion dollar ongoing HOT lane program is doing far more than just converting HOV lanes to HOT  lanes.  It is also closing the gaps between HOV sections by adding 300 lane miles of new asphalt so as to create a continuous system of HOT lanes throughout the nine MTC Bay Area Counties.  Continue reading

The Case for Congestion Pricing

CongestionPricing-DoesItReallyHaveToComeToThis?Excerpted from Streetsblog LA January 16, 2019: “At today’s meeting of L.A. Metro’s Congestion, Highway and Roads Committee, UCLA professor Michael Manville made a convincing case for implementing congestion pricing”

Excerpted from the Los Angeles Times January 22, 2019: “For years, Southern California lawmakers have tried to steer clear of decisions that make driving more expensive or miserable, afraid of angering one of their largest groups of constituents.

“But now, transportation officials say, congestion has grown so bad in Los Angeles County that politicians have no choice but to contemplate charging motorists more to drive — a strategy that has stirred controversy but helped cities in other parts of the world tame their own traffic. The [LA] Metropolitan Transportation Authority is pushing to study how what’s commonly referred to as congestion pricing could work in L.A….”  Continue reading

BATWG Letter to Solano County Board of Supervisors

Solano County Board of Supervisors
675 Texas Street, Suite 6500
Fairfield, CA 94533

Solano County MTC nominee #1: Mayor Harry Price, City of Fairfield
Solano County MTC nominee #2: Mayor Bob Sampayan, City of Vallejo
Solano County MTC nominee #3: Supervisor James Spering, Solano County

Subject: February 5, 2019 Board of Supervisors’ MTC Appointment (Agenda Item No. 15)

Dear Supervisors and MTC nominees:

Bay Area Transportation Working Group (BATWG) is an all-volunteer organization formed in 2012 to keep up with and respond to ongoing Bay Area transportation issues and events. Our primary objective is to find ways of easing regional traffic congestion by improving the reliability and general appeal of the Region’s passenger rail and bus systems.

SolanoThe Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) is a powerful body that controls billions of dollars of transportation funds and shapes housing policy in the nine-county Bay Area. All 450,000 Solano County residents have a stake in MTC’s decisions. The Board of Supervisors’ appointment to MTC for the next four-year term (2019-23) is therefore very important.

BATWG therefore requests that the three MTC nominees provide brief written answers to the following questions concerning MTC. BATWG also requests that the answers to these and other relevant questions be discussed in detail at your February 5th meeting:

Continue reading

Report No. 2 from the Southeast Bay

Here is how things look to a young BATWG activist:

reportfromse2I believe to get bay area residents out of their cars, we need good public transit, a network of safe bicycle/e-scooter trails and more safety for pedestrians.

I think good public transit is a must, but the bay area has a unique challenge because it was built out with low density developments. Frequent service for mass transit needs high density developments for both housing and office space so that ridership can be high enough to make the dense network of stations and routes that run frequently economically viable. We don’t have that and there is also little support for high density developments … and that is where bikes and e-scooters etc. … come in. In essence, e-scooters and bikes turn low density developments into places with higher “effective density” since they increase a person’s non-automotive range. Continue reading