Regional Watchdog

In the Bay Area local and regional transportation and land use policies evolve continuously. These policies and their impact upon the region are usually 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 scenarios for public consumption.

By video-recording as many of these important public meetings as possible, videographer Ken Bukowski has devoted himself 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

The SFMTA and What to Do About It: Excerpts from Letter sent to Marc Salomon

Excerpts from Letter sent to Marc Salomon on May 9, 2019

Subject: The SFMTA and What to Do About It

Dear Marc,

Your article in today’s Examiner about the SFMTA’s change of leadership was most welcome because the questions you raised demonstrate that the usual response to agency dysfunction; namely, replacing the top guy, and sometimes adding money, isn’t enough. For over two years the Transportation Alliance of San Francisco (TAOSF) and BATWG have been pointing out that:

a.) the Director of the SFMTA was spread too thin, partly but not entirely because of his tendency to give too much priority to peripheral issues rather than to the main objective of optimizing San Francisco’s collective means of travel, easing congestion and effectively managing SFMTA contracts, Continue reading

SB50 is Fatally Flawed

Updated Excerpts from BATWG Letter sent to the BART Board on May 8 2019:

Unfortunately, no matter how many times the mantra is repeated, there are no credible metrics to support the notion that building housing near a rail or bus stop would materially affect either traffic flow or transit ridership.

To those who claim otherwise, ask them for backup statistics. Ask them how many of today’s Bay Area commute trips are transit trips (actually about 15%). Ask about the 75% of trips that are NOT commute trips, much less transit commute trips. Ask how many of the thousands of families slated to crowd into transit-oriented housing are expected to give up their automobiles. Ask for statistics showing how many non-commuters taking their kids to preschool or to a distant soccer match, or buying groceries, or running errands, or rushing a sick relative to a hospital, or heading to the gym or the hair stylist, etc., are expected to spend the 3 to 5 hours and make the 4 to 10 transfers required to make these trips by train and bus. Continue reading