Bay Area Traffic Gridlock is Third Worst in the Nation

Bay Area traffic gridlock is the third worst in the Nation, topped only by Los Angeles and Honolulu. Was this dismal situation inevitable?

No….it resulted from decades of bad local and regional transportation decisions. Can things improve? We think so, but it will take time and a whole new way of addressing regional transportation problems.  Read BATWG’s 10 important steps that should be taken to clean up the mess.

Bay Area Express Lanes – a Step Backward

We are told that Express Lanes will let us neatly bypass congestion.  It you think that sounds too good to be true, you’d be right. HOT lanes (now euphemistically called “Express Lanes”) sound good.  But here’s the rest of the story:  The Interstate Highway System was launched by President Eisenhower in 1956.  For a while the emphasis on auto travel worked, but it wasn’t long before the freeway backups and the urban traffic impacts began to cause problems. By the early 1960’s some city dwellers, San Franciscans for instance, were strongly resisting attempts to jam brutal elevated freeways through their sensitive urban districts. By the early 1970’s it was widely recognized that expanded freeways always brought more traffic that eventually caused harried freeway users to end up with the same freeway backup misery as before and the  traffic congestion in the cities at the ends of the freeways to be even worse than before. Continue reading

San Francisco Transit Hub Headed Toward Gridlock

The intersection of Van Ness and Market is so well served by public transit that it is known as the “Hub”, short for “Transit Hub”. What SF City Hall is now planning for the Hub would transform it into a congested mess.

website VN and Mkt

The City Planning Department estimates that almost 1,700 additional parking spaces could be constructed in the immediate vicinity of Van Ness and Market. If so, developers would derive profits both from their prime transit-oriented locations and the parking. Continue reading

Bay Area Transportation:  From Problem to Crisis

The Bay Region is growing, both in employment and population. Its cities are getting more congested. Bay Area freeways, despite their immense size (8 and even 10 lanes compared to the 4-lane roadways of places like Tokyo, Osaka and much of Europe) are increasingly stacked up and backed up.

website freeway backups

Is this what we want? Do Americans love their cars more than other people do?  Of course not.  But unfortunately since the end of World War II, American metropolitan areas have been organized to encourage auto travel and discourage other, more efficient means of travel.

Can anything be done about this? Yes, it’s been done elsewhere and it can be done here as well.