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    Robert T. Munger

    Why can’t the narcissistic display their status via the type of robotic car they summon? Besides, convenience, cost and comfort will carry the day over status, once you are a passenger in a MaaS situation anyway. Most of us don;t assign much status to the airline we fly.


    Frank Kotter

    Yes, I agree that they do. Under a user based revenue system, they would as well. The price of the good or service would include the cost of transportation. See how simple this is?


    Robert T. Munger

    Excellent ideas.



    Sure, but then that is no longer car-free. And of course there also needs to be access for emergency vehicles, deliveries, cabs etc. Car-free streets are a myth and, where they happen, it’s typically on retail streets where few people live or need vehicular access.

    The idea that large areas of SF will ever be car-free is delusional



    Alicia, did you miss civics classes at high school. A government cannot pass a law or otherwise take your property (or the right to access or use that property) without compensating you



    Bikes pay no additional costs on top of the costs we all pay



    Non drivers get a lot of benefit from roads and vehicles, and so should contribute to costs



    They came for freedom from oppression from the church, from monarchs and from oppressive interventionist governments



    CalTrain cannot really be called a transport network or system because those words imply multiple routes that are inter-connected. That’s true for BART but not true for any other local rail service.

    And it’s a little mischievous to say that BART runs three types of trains, since two of those are very limited extensions. The reality is that BART is the most extensive, popular and well-funded local transit network, which is why towns not on BART wants to be on BART rather than some alternative



    I suspect that it is precisely because CalTrain is “trying hard to fit as many people in the trains” that there might be a demand to be able to pay extra for some peace and space.


    Frank Kotter

    Sorry, I don’t buy it. Yes costs will be shifted away from general taxation to those using the system. On aggregate, there generally* will be neither an increase, nor decrease in cost. There would be a shift in cost from the general population to those most using the system. Yes, some things would get more expensive which are currently reliant on the subsidies. Other things, like sales and property taxes which are currently going to support these subsidies, would go down.

    *considering that driving is a somewhat price sensitive activity, the overall stress on the system would be lowered, creating greater efficiency and savings for all



    However, it’s virtually certain that your lifestyle, whether you ever drive a car or not, simply would not be possible without involvement of lots and lots of cars and trucks being driven. If these ‘subsidies’ you speak of were eliminated, costs for many aspects of maintaining your driverless existence will increase substantially. Even if that’s ok with you, it results in order-of-magnitude shifts in the economy with ramifications too large to fathom.



    Stopping a speeding electric train: Atherton mulls move to halt Caltrain contracts

    Officials in this wealthy Bay Area enclave will decide by early next week if they’ll seek a restraining order to stop Caltrain from going ahead with $1.25 billion in contracts for bringing electric train service to the Peninsula.


    Frank Kotter

    Pay for your car, freeloader.


    Frank Kotter

    My position is this and is supported by lots of facts: in America, drivers of automobiles are costing the society (only in direct costs associated to the building and maintenance of roads, not all the other costs of their use like pollution, injury and death, policing, social degradation, loss of taxable property, etc.) twice what they are paying through taxes and fees. This is a massive subsidy. Many of the transportation issues we face are directly caused by this subsidy. There is an inherent reward given for driving. And the more you drive, the more you are subsidized.

    The issue of EV is relevant and can be addressed this way: EV’s are currently paying nearly nothing of transportation funding (outside of tabs and tolls where applicable) as they do not use gasoline which is taxed at 0.708 cents in CA. Therefore the current tax and fee structure, in addition to being wholly inadequate to fairly fund our transportation systems, is flawed as it does not take this into account. A usage fee system needs to be implemented to correct this oversight.

    I have nothing wrong with cars at all. They serve a vital function in our society. However, to say that driving a car is somehow an activity that should be heavily subsidized is fully unfair and counterproductive, in my opinion.

    Again, no one is coming for your car, you can keep it. I’m just a little tired paying for half of it.


    Frank Kotter

    Got a car, you simpleton



    Please clarify your position as it applies to subsidies of automobiles using oil-based fuels, as opposed to EV not using gas/diesel. I suspect that you posit against all cars, even if they were 100% solar powered. A position against roads and parking, vs a position against carbon fuels needs to be distinguished. Those who wish to eliminate public roads and related infrastructure are simply too extreme, too idealistic and too naive. This nation requires these components, and the notion of exclusive bike/Ped/transit communities would result in defacto islands, who would in turn be subsidized by others.



    get a car, hippie


    Frank Kotter

    For every dollar in taxes and fees you spend on your car, the govt. is paying two for your privilege to drive. It is a subsidy, and it is massive. Because I am driving very, very, little and park on private, taxed property, I am receiving much less. I want us all to pay our fair share and I would like to stop paying for your car use. A car can not exist without expressways, dirty air, packed residential streets and massive numbers traffic casualties – pedestrians and cyclists can.

    No one is coming for your car, Rich. I am doing my best to stop your freeloading though. What exactly do you see as being the problem of paying for what you are using?


    Frank Kotter

    Shall I explain the meaning of ‘guest editorial’ to you?


    Frank Kotter

    I think in some cases a subsidization for certain government services is very justified. However, when this happens it should be done to make the society a healthier, safer, more prosperous place. To have drivers pay less than half of the services they are using does not accomplish this and actually works against it. Also, with a subsidy, we need to pay particular attention to efficiency. The bang for the buck to the automobile driver is dismal.

    When you receive a subsidy, you are loath to let it go. I get that and assume you would not like to pay the true cost for gasoline or tabs like is done in Europe. However, you have to accept that this has serious consequences for our society.



    Oh bless you. I often wonder what the freeways will look like once there’s AVs. My view is that things won’t really change. There will still be bumper to bumper traffic. OK there will be AVs out there but they aren’t the salvation people are making these out to be. There will still be bumper to bumper traffic. There isn’t enough room! Plus cars rolling around empty. I could see your views that there would be lobbies for car room on the roads.

    Personally I get around pretty good on two-wheels and the subway system. I don’t see things changing for quite some time.



    SMART did that by pretty much screwing everything else up. Also doesn’t hurt to be able to work on tracks unfettered by actual running trains.



    Ah, so you’ve never taken CalTrain I take it.



    Because BART has not demonstrated the management ability to run an Arby’s let alone another transit system?



    Now that BART operates three types of trains (BART, eBART, and the Oakland cable car thing) why not hand over CalTrain to them? At least then there would be a chance that timed transfers could conceivably happen — the two agencies haven’t managed to coordinate that on their own as separate entities. Also it’s less confusing for tourists and newcomers.



    There is literally (meant in the literal sense) no way that Caltrain will be electrified by 2020. None whatsoever. Zero. They’ve spent hundreds of millions on the positive train control system and are no closer to a solution than when they started. This is on a single line railroad with very limited usage. Somehow SMART has set up train control for $50M and will be ready to go when that service starts towards the end of the year, but the Caltrain folks just can’t seem to make it work. Electrification in four years is an impossibility.


    Clem Tillier

    Better 15 years too late than never! And the Stadler KISS is a great train, the Model S of the rails. The option is for 102 cars in addition to the 96 in the base contract.


    Jeffrey Baker

    Hopefully it will be _exactly_ like this S-Bahn, with 10-minute frequency and total grade separation.



    Yeah, I don’t see caltrain adding first and second class seating, especially when they’re trying hard to fit as many people in the trains. On regards to bicycles, I believe it will look similar to the amount of bicycles caltrain can carry today. There was a major debate regarding Caltrain adding more space for bicycles but Caltrain was reluctant since bikes take up space that could otherwise be used to seat people. Additionally, Caltrain said that there would be a more robust BikeSharing system and they would add more bike storage at their stations


    bob tobb

    I’m particularly interested in what this is going to look like for bicycle ridership on Caltrain. If these trains are laid-out similarly to the Swiss S-Bahns, there’s little room for bicycles. Then again, those trains also have first- and second-class seating, and that seems pretty unlikely for Caltrain, so who knows?


    Donovan Lacy

    Not to mention that many cyclists also own a car, and because they often use their bicycle more than their car, they are actually paying more per mile driven in fees and taxes than those who own a car and only drive a car.


    Donovan Lacy

    I believe that Frank’s response was refuting the commonly held belief by many automobile drivers that they are paying for the roads and therefore cyclists should not be on them. As you pointed out, many things that our society has deemed beneficial are subsidized, including our roads.

    The question that those who support alternative transportation alternatives are asking is continuing to subsidize roads at the current level the most effective usage of our tax dollars.



    Stadler is also building the trains for the eBart extension. I am excited to ride these trains in 2020. I feel like they will resemble the Aeroexpress Russian trains since they were already designed with high doors.


    Donovan Lacy


    There are many places in France that have urban roads that have usage limited to residents coming to and from their residences with no street parking. The city utilizes automated bollards.


    David Rosnow

    Good to have critical thought about AVs. Without policy intervention they will add to congestion because they lower the cost of driving. Today the driver has to pay attention, with AVs you don’t, you get that time back. Also no cost for parking etc. Basic economics says that when you lower the cost people demand more of something so that could mean more AVs miles and thus congestion.

    The answer is not to cripple AVs but to have policies that help to reduce congestion in all vehicles. Specifically congestion pricing, which monitors the number of cars on the road and sets a price/toll for road use if above a certain threshold. These tolls will gradually encourage larger, shared vehicles and better use the vehicles and the roads.

    We should be putting these policies in place now so that we are ready for AVs when they are available.

    Additionally we could have policies that promote sharing AVs, for example, additional fees for single occupancy in an AVs – so that shared use i.e. LyftLine or UberPool style sharing are promoted.



    It’s almost as if you’re reading a political advocacy blog.



    My ancestors came over to avoid using public transportation?

    Didn’t know that. I thought they came over for jobs.



    Bikes pay nothing

    It’s called property taxes.



    I’ll be sure to let them know the next time the garbage truck parks in front of my driveway.


    Thomas Rogers

    On the 4th item (, the Planning Department is recommending approval, but the Planning Commission doesn’t act until this afternoon. I’d recommend phrasing that like Socketsite did (“…Development Slated for Approval”), since the PC could continue or even deny it, still.



    Er, through vehicle taxes and fees I am paying far more than those who don’t have a car.

    Bikes pay nothing and buses in SF don’t even recapture 25% of their costs



    Point being that our ancestors came here from Europe to escape the authoritarian ideological excess that you are now espousing



    I know that I have more control under the current system than you want me to have, and that is sufficient



    And no ability to refute the substance of my comment either



    For once you have a point, People are conflating driverless cars (which are still private) with some utopian idea that all cars will be shared



    I have no problem with cities crammed with cats.



    Your claim that various cities in Europe have somehow substantially banned the use of private vehicles was false.

    Now, had you given Zermatt as an example, you’d have a point. But the cities you cites are crammed with cars



    If the government stops access to your home then they have taken something from you, and must compensate you.



    Yes, the article “outlined all the negative effects of the use of automobile” and none of the benefits.

    AKA bias.