$100,000,000,000 to Fix Bay Area Transportation?

Matthew Lituchy, Chief Investment Officer of a major Bay Area development company, was recently asked how he felt about placing large commercial and residential projects adjacent to transit. Here are excerpts from his response as printed in the San Jose Mercury on July 7, 2019: “Traditional methods of commuting have gotten over-stressed. Our freeways are impossibly clogged with traffic. Commute durations are at all-time highs. People are looking to commute by alternative methods. Trains, light rail, Caltrain, bus, BART are the alternatives. Being in a place where you can easily move around the Bay Area, and both live and work close to these modes of transportation is important”.

Mr. Lituchy’s concerns are shared by millions of other Bay Area residents.

On May 30, 2019, at the Alameda County Transportation Commission retreat, a new plan to raise up to $100 billion to address the Bay Area’s ever worsening transportation condition was unveiled. The Plan, which has apparently been under discussion in private circles for some time, was presented and explained by Bay Council CEO John Grubb; Council Senior VP, Linda Lynn Litvak; Silicon Valley Leadership Group (SVLG) VP Jason Baker, and former Transform Executive Director Stuart Cohen.

Problem.pngSince the Plan is still in its earliest stages, the presentation was limited mostly to a description of the Region’s existing transportation problems and the Plan’s strategic, outreach and funding goals and objectives. As Mr. Baker of the SVLG put it, “…..we think the time is ripe to work for a world class, more integrated transit system that is faster, more reliable, more affordable and more equitable for the Bay Area”. 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 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

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