SMART: Where We Go From Here

(updated May 9, 2020)

Last month BATWG wrote an article about the North Bay voter’s decisive rejection of the Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit District’s (SMART’s) proposal to extend its sales tax for an additional 30 years through 2059. At the time we did not foresee the worldwide economic ravages of the Coronavirus pandemic nor its devastating effects on public transportation. The Coronavirus pandemic has upended every transit system in the USA.

Like other transit providers, SMART must undertake rapid policy and operations changes to meet the new conditions. Unfortunately, as dis­cuss­ed last month and below, SMART’s financial and rail operating circumstances were already much more in disarray than those of other Bay Area transit providers. Even before COVID there was already an overwhelming need for the District to put its financial house in order.

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Tackling our Housing and Transportation Problems in a Practical Manner

BATWG Strongly Opposes SB 50 and CASA.  Stoked by people and groups like Developer Michael Covarrubia, the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, Steve Heminger, SPUR, and the Bay Council, the Californa State Legislators are rushing ahead with thirteen separate bills, all intended to address Bay Area and other housing shortages. If the current mad scramble persists it will plunge the Bay Area and other parts of California into chaos.   SB50 is unreasonable, unfair and impractical. It is unreasonable and unfair to weaken local zoning controls and then, in the case of the Bay Area, to tap into the fund-raising powers of its 101 cities.  It is unreasonable to permit powerful regional agencies, bent on picking up the pace of housing construction by whatever means necessary, to tear apart the fabric and framework of stable residential areas.  It is impractical to disregard price when locating new housing.  In the San Francisco Bay Area, SB50 and the CASA Compact  are based firmly on the following false assumptions: Continue reading

Bay Area Rail – Background

OldRailBy 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.

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Getting Rid of Transportation Czar

Here is an article from East Bay Times editor  Dan Borenstein about the pending retirement of long time MTC Director Steve Heminger.  In it Mr. Borenstein provides an extraordinarily clear and comprehensive rendition of why MTC so badly needs a carefully-selected new Director.  We  simply couldn’t have said it any better than Mr. Borenstein did.

https://files.acrobat.com/a/preview/0624bc7b-d3b4-45b1-a311-4c59e7d4d8cf