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Posts Tagged ‘VTA’

At its March 6 meeting, the VTA Board received the Supplemental EIR for the Vasona LRT extension. This $175 million project will add one or two new stations, and expand the Winchester station.

Now you are probably thinking that with Silicon Valley’s massive housing shortage, the VTA would be planning to use these stations for TOD, right?

Sadly, no. Here is the new Winchester Station-and-Park-and-Ride lot:

winchester

 

And here is the new Vasona Junction Station-and-Park-and-Ride lot:

vasona

 

And here is the Phase-2 (optional) Hacienda Station-and-Park-and-Ride:

hacienda

By the year 2035, the extension is projected to generate 729 new daily transit trips. How awesome is that!

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Moffett Park Clusterfuck

This is Moffett Park station — a stupendous example of  VTA incompetence. This photo below is of Moffett Park Dr, the main street running past the station.

Note the total lack of sidewalks, or bike lanes of that matter. And the special touch of making transit riders climb over a railing, just to reach the platform:

Moffett Park Station

See that parking garage in the distance? Here is a closer look:

Moffett Parking Garage

Believe it or not, this 1217-space parking garage was built as part of a Sunnyvale “Green Building” Initiative. Another fine example of promoting transit-oriented development in Silicon Valley!

moffett_overhead

Moffett Park station, by the way, is one of the least used VTA LRT stations. I can’t imagine why that is?

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As the name suggests, “Capitol Expressway” is the most unlikely street to blow $60 million (!) on pedestrian and streetscape improvements. Or for that matter, building a $310 million light rail line:

San Jose, Calif. – On Friday, October 5th, the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) will celebrate the completion of pedestrian safety and access improvements along Capitol Expressway and future VTA rapid transit and light rail corridor. The Capitol Expressway Transit Improvement Project will ultimately transform Capitol Expressway into a multi-modal boulevard offering rapid transit, light rail transit, and safe pathways with connections to the regional transit system. Phase 1 of improvements includes new sidewalks, enhanced and additional street lighting, and a landscaping buffer between the sidewalk and roadway. A ribbon-cutting event is scheduled for 1 p.m. at Beshoff MotorCars – Mercedes-Benz, 3000 E. Capitol Expressway in San Jose.

“The long awaited transformation of East San Jose has begun and I could not be happier for our community,” said Santa Clara County Supervisor Dave Cortese. “These fundamental improvements have made this corridor much safer for pedestrians and bicyclists, especially children who are walking and riding to many of the local attractions in the Evergreen area.”

This Press Release is insane. No parent is going to allow their children to walk or ride a bike on this monstrosity, no matter how much landscaping gets added:

Oh, and what exactly are the pedestrian improvements?

Upgraded street lighting for automobiles; and newly installed pedestrian lights to better illuminate bus stops and pathways. Fencing has also been added along the corridor to discourage people from jaywalking.

As you can see from the photo above, it is obvious why jaywalking is a problem.

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VTA Parking Glut

Turns out there is a silver lining to VTA’s dismal light-rail ridership. The agency has a glut in parking spaces at its park-and-ride stations:

(Click the chart to enlarge.)

For transit-oriented-development, it doesn’t get much easier than this. Unlike BART, there is no need for expensive parking-replacement garages because there is no parking demand (or any other riders for that matter). The only challenge is dealing with the stations located inside a freeway median, but that is not an insurmountable problem.

And while the VTA study identifies the problem, it falls short on solutions. It proposes two parking scenarios for year-2035 planning purposes. The first option would actually increase parking supply, based on ludicrous ridership projections. The second option, which was clearly preferred by the consultants, would decrease parking slightly (no more than 15%), while still maintaining a healthy surplus of 3,000 parking spaces.

Surely they can do better than that.

 

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Costly BRT

Here is the cost breakdown of the proposed BRT network in Santa Clara County:

As you can see from the chart, this is fake BRT because there is only a small bit of dedicated bus lanes. But even that small bit is going to cost a huge amount: 1/4 billion dollars for a just 4.87 miles of dedicated bus lanes. One main reason for the cost blowout is an unwillingness to reduce any parking or automobile capacity — meaning the road gets widened in numerous places.

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Father of VTA Podrail

He will do for podcars what he’s done for light-rail and high-speed rail:

Rod Diridon, Sr., chair emeritus of the California High-Speed Rail Authority, will give a presentation at the Podcar City Berlin 2012 conference September 19-20. Mr. Diridon will address inter-connectivity between high-speed rail (HSR) and automated guideway transit (AGT), popularly known as “podcars.”

“Core redistribution around HSR stations – as well as airports – must include AGT which connects to the metropolitan mass transit systems and to nearby businesses, universities, lodging, and other trip generators,” said Mr. Diridon. “Electrically powered AGT should be considered for every major rail station around the world to promote the use of mass transit as a system.”

Rod Diridon is an accidental expert on podcar systems. With its near empty cars, his VTA light-rail is nearly the functional equivalent of a podcar system.

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Running the Gauntlet

The VTA has produced their revised Technical Guidelines for bike facilities. It is supposed to promote “best practices” for bike facilities in Santa Clara County.

The document is all well and good — if the year were 1999. For a year 2012 publication, it looks rather dated. Perhaps they just dusted off the 1999 version?

For example, here is the recommended design for accommodating bicycles through an expressway interchange with a merging/auxiliary lane:

Does that look like a fun place to ride a bike? Now compare to how the Dutch might design this:

If you look carefully at the signal head, you will see that cars wanting to enter the ramp have a red arrow, while the cycle path has a green “bike” light. Much safer and less confusing — for all road users.

Even better: that right-turn arrow for automobiles can serve as a ramp metering signal so as to moderate the flow of traffic onto the freeway. All over the Bay Area, the MTC has been installing ramp metering signals. Problem is, they are being installed in the wrong location.

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