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    Why is the MTA we not aggressively funding transit only lanes across the region? AC transit transbay riders are terribly served by the Bay Bridge and the approaching freeways to the bridge in Emeryville? I wonder why this isn’t already built? Seems like it would be a gamechanger for increasing capacity.



    VTA consistently uses transit funds to play politics, with little regard to actually serving riders + taking people out of cars. This is typical santa clara county transit boondoggle, solving a problem for no one but drivers.



    Tesla’s autopilot is not autonomous. I was referring more to Google’s self-driving cars.



    Converting existing lanes to HOV rather than building them is more cost-effective and produces better results.
    A per-mile driving charge would also fund more transit, and promote its use.


    Thoughtful Skeptic

    It is not completely orthogonal as AVs could make shared vehicles more attractive as one could basically order the closest available car to the own location. This is the only major advantage I see for AVs from a city planning perspective.

    Cities are constantly changing. They are no thing which is once designed and then fixed for eternity. They usually are not being designed as a whole to start with but rather a clustered mix of countless plans and masterplans or various levels of capitalist and chaotic organization principles.

    The nature of the mobility backbone is a major factor in how cities develop however. Individual motorized traffic, no matter if AVs or traditional cars, lead to the suburban and edge city layout. Those layouts have of course many disadvantages and are fairly hostile to humans outside from the isolated pedestrian and building isles. Many cities are trying to get away from that layout again and strengthen pedestrian friendly multifunctional dense districts. Those are incompatible with car optimized city layouts, autonomous or not.



    The cars “value” can plummet, whatever, but cars made in the last decades last 2-300,000 miles, and the average age of car ownership in 2012 was 11.1 years, and has increased. Those who choose to finance may have payments for the first 3-4 year portion. Obviously, you are not familiar with being an automobile owner.


    Jym Dyer

    @David Rosnow – You are describing the Jevons Paradox, and you are absolutely right.

    Consider Braess’s Paradox as well. Supposedly “smarter” vehicles will increase the number of informed decisions that can be made, but ultimately what this leads to is a greater number of conflicts, which slows everything down.


    Jym Dyer

    @JustJake – Your family notwithstanding, car ownership average 2-3 years. There is an economic pull towards that figure, since a car’s value — which deprecates immediately — really plummets after that.



    BS. Financing is a choice, with occasional financial benefits. My immediate family 100% owns all its cars. And your supposition about financing applies to houses equally. So the banks own all houses? Jeez guy, come back to earth, you might ‘feel better’.


    Jym Dyer

    @hailfromsf – How do we know? Tesla clearly had their “first fatality in X,000,000 miles” press release cued up and ready to go in case of an autonomous car fatality, and released a number based on their proprietary data that we have no ability to verify.

    That fatality being the sole data point, there are no conclusions to draw from it, but the context is that FARS reports 1.08 fatalities per 100,000,000 non-autonomous car miles (in 2014, the latest available figure), which turns out to be only slightly worse.


    Jym Dyer

    @JustJake – Very few people OWN their cars. Most cars are OWNed by banks. We just use “ownership” wording to make people feel better, and to affirm ideology based on these feelings. But in real live actual reality, there’s not a lot of difference between a bank owning cars or some other concern leasing cars.


    Jym Dyer

    @Alicia – That’s rich (no pun intended). After all, he seems to think that “takings” is taught in high school civics, whereas his reading of it comes from Sagebrush Rebellion-style welfare ranchers like Cliven Bundy.


    Jym Dyer

    @Alicia – Don’t sell yourself short, you’re paying much more than your share!

    AAHSTO’s standard estimate of damage to road surfaces is a function of the fourth power of axle weight, and a function of velocity. Given the masses involved here, the average car does 160,000x as much damage as your bike. Not only are you handily paying your own way, you’re picking up much of the tab for the damage done by motorists.

    Motorists pay gas tax, fees, and tolls, but these don’t even cover half of what state and federal highways cost, and pay for none of the other roads and streets. (Nor do they pay for the health and environmental costs they inflict.) Those using any other alternative pay the shortfall disproportionately. Since bicycling has the least impact, it subsidizes motoring more than any other mode does.


    Mary Cunningham

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    Karl Rowley

    I’m voting no on this. VTA needs to re-think their purpose.



    Some stops don’t even have a pole! Just some paint!



    Why would you build a bus route that’s not even anywhere close to a single walkable destination? Freeways are built in the middle of nowhere for a reason; public transit is not.


    Joe Brant

    VTA doesn’t need any capital improvements to start running more buses in the existing HOV lanes. It needs very little to convert them to express lanes. I want to believe that they can improve transit on this corridor, but 1. the surrounding land use makes it very difficult and 2. they haven’t considered cheaper solutions before leaping to add another lane. For what it’s worth, the neighboring cities have been opposed to widening 85 so I’m interested to see how this will play out.


    Andy Chow

    In California, there’s no such thing as transit only lanes on freeways these days. The famous El Monte busway in Los Angeles have been opened to carpools and are now toll lanes.

    VTA has wanted to add toll lanes on 85 for a long time, making it into a 10-12 lane freeways commonly found in Orange County. VTA has no transit plan presented for the corridor and the funding is only sufficient to add freeway lanes (no BRT facilities, no tracks). To greenwash themselves and to get votes, they declared this “transit” lanes.

    VTA may be right because this new lanes would be used by transit, such as the existing line 102, but there’s nothing that would prevent VTA from letting carpools and toll drivers from using the lanes in the future.

    VTA has a history to downgrade and cancel projects to suit what planners want, contrary to what was presented in the ballot measure. For example, transit on Santa Clara/Alum Rock was promised as light rail in 2000 Measure A, but now they’re building bus only lanes. They are up to their old tricks again. Rather than presenting a complete package, they just have to sell the toll lanes as individual elements over the course of many years, claiming voter mandate while expecting voters to have forgotten what it promised.



    If they could find a way to connect this directly to Mountain View Caltrain station, they might be onto something.



    Exactly. With the right development, I can see it becoming an investment that starts to show some semblance of a purpose in a decade or two. But consider VTA’s own rendering at the top of the article. A giant multi-level bus stop with an elevator, a few escalators, huge platform space. What does it serve in VTA’s own wildest imagination? A long annoying overpass connected to a two story office building surrounded by parking.

    All that infrastructure would go to serve at best a few hundred riders a day within walking distance of that stop. Maybe you get a few more with bikeshare or a corporate shuttle that runs a couple times a day, but it’s still pretty bleak. Meanwhile, thousands of SF commuters ride bus routes like the 38 where the primary infrastructure at their stop is a metal pole and a little sign.



    Nevermind Rich. Your argumentative and insulting contentiousness means very little. Maybe you should take up a way more fun hobby like restoring a classic automobile. Some day I’m gonna do a Ford Model A.



    Overbuilt stations with plenty of parking no doubt. Sprawl, strip malls and suburban office parks just make effective transit planning even more difficult. VTA should just give up.

    Last year, the WMATA opened up the Silver Line (finally!) to Tysons Corner, an increasingly massive development in NoVA that had been isolated from the greater DC region by poor initial planning and inadequate transit options for the past 40 years. Three Metro stations now connect the commercial/residential hub whereas in the past most people clogged area roads to get to and from Tysons. It’s not a perfect solution (traffic in NoVA continues to be horrific), but smart transit investment can improve a bad situation. Sadly, I really don’t think the South Bay is on board when it comes to pairing smart growth with transit.



    “Both options would provide frequent transit service – but along a
    highway on the county’s urban fringe with few high-density job or
    population centers within walking distance.”

    Welcome to the South Bay. The VTA has a difficult enough time attracting riders with its current ineffective system, so shelling out billions to add insult to injury is the expected solution from the agency.



    $1.2 billion to build a bus route? That offers none of the flexibility of buses, involves big overbuilt stations, and requires people to traverse big long overpasses to get to the median? Surely there’s another option.



    DiCaprio isn’t a stereotype but he is a hypocrite, flying around the world in his private jet claiming that we should reduce emissions. An easy target perhaps but not an invalid one.

    The A350 doesn’t have “twice the capacity” but it is larger. But that misses the point. Both the A-380 and the B- 747 carry more souls, as does the B-777 and the A-330, but use more fuel per passenger-mile. The 350 and 787 are more green-friendly, if you will.

    Air travel is growing massively in Asia so it really doesn’t matter if you and I decide to take a bus 5,000 miles. That genie is out of the bottle and, frankly, your rather precious pining about it has zero effect. People want to travel.

    But if you really want to engage a “war on planes” then you should at least support HSR



    Using DiCaprio as a stereotype environmentalist is taken from the rightwing playbook as is your opinion of activists as ideologues. The impression your writing gives is that of an intolerant hothead Talk Radio fanatic, making it difficult to believe you’re actually a democrat.

    The Boeing 787 has important advantages over the Airbus 350 to consider, particularly passenger capacity. The 350 has more than twice the capacity, assuming the demand for ‘excessive’ air travel should be met. The 787 meets a lesser demand that could be considered a ‘necessary’ amount to maintain when the full costs of air travel inevitably increases air fare tickets.

    This discussion is about the high-speed rail project. While I’m not a fan of 200mph systems, the US should have more reliable passenger-rail service as a ‘fundamental’ travel mode, particularly because of how they affect station area economies. 200mph systems bypass smaller communities which then do not gain the economic benefit. Moreover, the system planned is based on the notion that travel SF-to-LA should be as convenient as say LA-to-SD.

    Air travel is a luxury and a sign of cowardice. We’re so sick of the schitzophrenic communities that chaotic traffic creates, we resort to distant vacations (no less overrun with traffic) rather than vacation closer to home.


    Richard Gadsden

    One of the ways we’ve been speeding things up has been sacking Balfour Beatty! Carillion have replaced them and accelerated a number of projects.



    I never said we should do nothing about global warming. What I said is that your idea of somehow limiting how much people can fly is not a viable or practical solution.

    There are other things we can do. Check out the specs of the new Boeing 787 and Airbus 350 aircraft – they are 25% more fuel efficient than older planes.

    Or Leonardo DiCaprio could stop attending global warming conventions in his private jet



    Even your attempt to be conciliatory is rudely contrarian, Rich. And you’re certainly not ‘acting’ on behalf of the majority who rightly believe global warming leads to disastrous climate change that must be addressed; nor on behalf of those who, like me believe that actions taken would lead to better lives and livelihoods with – believe it or not – a lower cost of living. Just stop leading with your smart ass side and you may thereby conduct meaningful discussions.



    And you sound like a lobbyist for rail/transit, who is lacking in objectivity, context and any semblance of respect for viewpoints that don’t coincide with your agenda. You are dismissed..



    Judging by your prolific posting activity across dozens of websites, I’d say you have the tiara for trolling, at least on the west coast.



    Wait, so seeking to limit how many miles Americans can fly is like the zoning rules for constructing nuclear reactors?



    He’s a trolltivist



    stop telling me to build a nuclear weapon at home, you nazi!



    I wasn’t being contrarian. I was telling you that your putative idea of somehow limiting how much Americans fly was neither “thoughtful” nor practical.

    And I am not an “activist”. In fact, I’m the opposite, as I find activists to typically be extremists. I think that the democratic process should reflect what the silent majority of voters want, and not what some “activist” seeks to foist into the majority for an ideological reason.



    How does that work exactly? What segment could be self-supporting financially except maybe, if we’re lucky, the entire SF-LA corridor? It’s hard to believe a short initial Central Valley segment would be self-supporting.



    All of that is according to TRANSDEF, meaning it should have a pretty big asterisk next to it. Caltrain and others clearly think they can, so we will find out, won’t we?



    I gave RichLL enough thoughtful reply to consider, but he chose to be contrarian, as did you, chazz, which puts you in the same category of activist as him; you protest what you believe we should NOT do, but have no idea what we should do instead, nor how to present solutions you believe possible.



    Not gonna happen. Electrification will require $713 million from high-speed rail however, “bond funding for local projects
    in the north and south, which swayed many to vote to fund HSR, cannot be released for construction. These projects, known as the Bookends, include such projects as Caltrain electrification and grade separations in Southern California. Despite the Legislature having appropriated bond funding for them, they do not qualify for construction funding. To get the funding, they have to be part of a fully funded and environmentally cleared segment that will result in infrastructure that is HSR-ready and whose operations are self supporting financially. The Bookends can’t pass these tests.”



    Stop consolidation for Muni is intended to reduce trip times for transit riders. People may complain, but that’s ultimately a balancing act between accessibility and convenience and an efficient system, realizing that consolidation puts an added burden on those who have more difficulty getting to/from stops.

    Eliminating tech bus stops serves a few purposes: addressing sometimes-reasonable resident complaints about large buses on their neighborhood streets; preventing hazards (the middle of Market St near Safeway, where one bus used to stop, is a particularly poor place for a double-decker bus full of people to unload); and most significantly, waging a proxy war that is really about housing. The last one is what a lot of this is: people hope that, by making the buses more inconvenient, workers who already put up with the significant inconvenience of a long commute will be frustrated enough to move further south to places where there’s even more NIMBYism and less housing available. Or, at a minimum, that they’ll be less pressure on rents away from the tech bus stops. This theory ignores the reality that tech workers can and do drive if they want/need to.

    People have spent decades trying to get “choice” riders to use transit instead of driving alone (I’m not really a fan of the choice/captive distinction, but that’s another point). Now a large group of them are actually doing it, and the city’s response is to make it as hard as possible for them? Genius.


    david vartanoff

    So when Muni “consolidates” stops inconveniencing riders, residents complain but when tech buses are forced to eliminate stops that’s okay??? Last I looked these tech employees pay taxes, pay rent, do business at local venues, how are they less legit SF residents?

    Eliminating tech shuttles on Church is silly given that via the Red (paint) carpets it is a transit preferred street.



    Sometimes the most dangerous people are those with “passion” who genuinely believe that they know better than the average person.

    Democracy doesn’t sit well with them.



    Parking will become more valuable in the future and should remain. Save what’s left in SF!



    And you sound like a commissar straight out of the Soviet Union, supreme in his knowledge of what’s best for the common man.



    I feel sure you are correct. However if the voters had been that upset with that decision, then they could have voted out any politicians who had any kind of hand in making that decision or appointed those who did.

    Of course, it most countries it would never happen anyway that the voters would decide on a chunk of transport planning. Their elected government would make that decision for them anyway.

    I support giving the voters what they want, but the idea that we vote on every new piece of infrastructure seems excessive.



    Autonomous vehicles have a lot to do with shared vehicles. Most current versions of shared vehicles (carsharing) require you to walk to a designated lot, pickup and dropoff at the same location, park in a limited number of spaces, etc… Shared vehicles are far more useful when they can come to you and go to someone else on their own, and they’re more useful when they can autonomously create carpools or on-demand bus routes.

    Cities can still be re-designed by removing parking and replacing it with more beneficial uses. San Francisco doesn’t have a lot of surface lots left in the core, but there are still some that could be re-purposed. More street parking can become space for bikes, pedestrians, and loading/unloading.



    The voters never got the chance to weigh in on the Dumbarton link. To my knowledge, it was never up for a vote.



    “More on Tech Workers Driving Solo After Tech Shuttle Stop Reduction”

    Well that went about as well as expected. Nice Job Breaking It, Hero


    Cali Curmudgeon

    The freight railroad industry actually *is* thriving, but your point is well taken. Long-haul trucking should be discouraged as freight railroading is much more efficient, and there is more than enough short haul trucking to do anyway.