Valley Link………Not Ready for Prime Time

On September 24, 2020 the Alameda County Transportation Commission (ACTC) diverted $400,000,000 in Alameda County sales tax funds to the hasty, politically-inspired, Valley Link Project (VLP.)

During and before the meeting BATWG strongly urged that the proposed Valley Link Line which mostly duplicates the existing ACE line be treated with caution. For the following reasons it is much too early to be allocating $400 million in Alameda County funds to a commuter rail line benefitting primarily San Joaquin County:

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MTC Begins Final Phase for Plan Bay Area 2050

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) released its draft Bay Area 2050 Plan on July 8, 2020. Following that milestone, public review and comment over the summer led to modifi­cations and additions that are now being incorporated. These modifications escalated the Plan’s price tag by $668 billion, demon­strating the challenge of building support among the 100 government entities around the Bay. The final Plan Bay Area 2050 is expected to be adopted by the fall of 2021.

The Plan anticipates that the nine-county Bay Area will add 2.5 million new residents and 1.33 million new jobs between 2020 and 2050. The Plan envisions that by 2050 the Bay Area will be affordable, connected, diverse, healthy and vibrant. These aspirations are expressed through thirty-five strategies defined as policies or bundles of investments, clustered under eleven categories:

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VTA’s Santa Clara Street Subway Goes Off the Rails

The estimated price of building the 4.8 mile BART extension through San Jose has increased again. It’s now up to $6.86 billion and rising. This all started because of downtown demands that the entire subway be built with no construction impact on Santa Clara Street. This short-sighted demand apparently stemmed from the misguided belief that constructing the two downtown stations using the standard cut-and-cover methods used all over the world for station construction would bring Santa Clara Street to a halt for the entire 4 to 6 year construction period. This is not true. As shown in the section below, at no time would the street be entirely closed. Here’s how it’s normally done.  First, one half the street is excavated and decked over, after which the traffic is shifted to the decked half while the other half of the street is similarly excavated and decked. This phase of the project can be completed in a relatively short amount of time. Once the wooden decking is in place and traffic again flowing, the major below-grade construction work begins. At the end of the job the permanent new roadway is reconstructed, again in a relatively short amount of time and again while keeping at least half the street operating at all times.

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DTX:  A Planner’s Playground

For several years, the California High Speed Rail Authority and Caltrain have been working on a Joint Operating and Maintenance Plan (JOMP.)

Thanks to the 6 years of unnecessary DTX delay and uncertainty caused by the Lee Administration, the SF Department of City Planning and the SFCounty Transportation Authority, the DTX Caltrain Extension probably didn’t get the JOMP attention it deserved.  Still, much of the work already accomplished by Caltrain and the HSRA should also apply to the Extension.

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