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.
California Senate Bill 1 was signed by Governor Jerry Brown on April 28, 2017. State Prop 6 would have rescinded SB 1 but it was defeated by the voters of California on November 6, 2018. So SB1 will continue to raise $0.12 a gallon in additional gas taxes. It is estimated that by 2020 this new funding source will be raising $5.1 billion a year in new State revenues, 2/3rd of which is already earmarked for roadway projects.
Given this large new source of funding now would be a good time to take a close look at how Caltrans spends its roadway money. One way of assessing Caltrans efficiency relative to that of other states is to compare its administration and engineering costs (soft costs) to construction costs. The table below shows California’s soft costs as a percentage of construction costs in comparison with those of other large and populous states:
The below letter, which was hand-delivered to the SF Board of Supervisors on September 4, 2018, outlines the damage to San Francisco that would be caused by relocating Caltrain’s 4th and King rail yard to some distant location and/or by delaying the extension of Caltrain into the new SF Terminal. Please feel free to contact any of us if there are questions or a need for discussion.
It is our understanding that the S.F. Board of Supervisors will shortly be called upon to approve the Department of City Planning’s Rail Alignment Benefit (RAB) Report. As you evaluate it, please consider the following:
The RAB planners have been planning the full build-out of Mission Bay for over four years. They have used up their $1.7 million budget and are now looking for add-on work. Most of the RAB proposals, first revealed by the Chronicle’s Matier and Ross on May 18, 2015 and first publicly presented by RAB on February 23, 2016, have since been quietly dropped. Two remain:
With excerpts from Joe Eskenazi’s August 7, 2018 Article in Mission Local
“Muni (i.e. the SFMTA) is finding creative new ways to blow up the system. Documents obtained by Mission Local reveal that shunting buses off their runs to serve as shuttles during the Twin Peaks tunnel closure has resulted in service cuts of up to 33 percent on San Francisco’s most crowded lines. In the age of social media, riding on public transit isn’t what brings us together anymore in San Francisco. Rather, it’s complaining about riding on public transit that unites us.”
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.