Archive for the ‘transit’ Category

Middle of Nowhere

BART’s low-ridership Warm Springs outpost always had that middle-of-nowhere vibe. But seeing tumbleweeds blow by adds a whole new feeling of remoteness.

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So much for that Climate Emergency.

Last September, Mayor Sam Liccardo and the San Jose City Council adopted a Climate Emergency Declaration that was supposed to focus efforts to reduce the GHG emissions. It followed a similar declaration by Santa Clara County.  63% of San Jose carbon emissions are from automobiles, and yet

San Jose leaders want to squash an effort to divert transportation funding away from highways interchanges and expressway improvements and toward increasing public transit options.

The city council on Tuesday voted 7-2 to send a letter to the Valley Transportation Authority Board of Directors urging them against shifting any money from the funding priorities promised to Santa Clara County voters with the 2016 transportation sales tax, Measure B.

With only about one year into using the 30-year funding source, Mayor Sam Liccardo said that it was too soon to have this conversation. “It is fundamentally disempowering to community and democratic processes whenever we engage in that much outreach and that much engagement and then within a year of us being able to spend these dollars.”

It is amusing that San Jose leaders only now care about adhering to voter promises in the transportation tax measure. Voters were previously promised better Caltrain, LRT, and bus service, only to have that funding redirected elsewhere. It is also strange to say it is “too soon” to have a conversation about funding priorities when VTA has just made cuts to bus service.


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One of the new lines runs to inner Mongolia:

The 174km (108-mile) line has a maximum design speed of 350km per hour, and links up with a high-speed service to Lanzhou, in the northwestern province of Gansu. It stretches westward, connecting with other high-speed routes across Shanxi, Hebei and the eastern part of Inner Mongolia.

With the introduction of the services, the trip from Beijing to Hohhot, capital of Inner Mongolia, is expected to take two hours and nine minutes, a fraction of the nine and a quarter hours it takes now. The new service is expected to foster economic and social development between Inner Mongolia and the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region.



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Ok boomer

Man, if you thought your local city council had some nutcases…

This was from a 2017 meeting in Tampere, Finland. Incidentally, the Mayor presiding over the meeting went on to become Transport Minister, and will be the country’s next Prime Minister .

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MARTA orders new rolling stock

MARTA has ordered new rolling stock. Given its similarities to BART, it is interesting to compare to BART’s troubled railcar purchase. Whereas BART staff said open gangway trains were not feasible, Atlanta apparently has no problems with the technology:

MARTA’s board of directors have approved a $646 million agreement with Stadler Rail for the purchase of 254 new rail cars. The agreement also contains options for MARTA to order up to 100 additional rail cars.

The rail cars are scheduled to be delivered between 2023 and 2028, with the delivery of a pilot car in 2022.

The cars will feature an open gangway design with modernized electronic signage and public address system, more comfortable seating plus handholds and stanchions with better functionality, two wheelchair positions, charging stations, luggage space and enhanced video surveillance.



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God damn carmunists

mcpartland_0Last month, the BART Board had a presentation on parking fees. The agency currently has a cap of $3/day. This is not only less than market cost, but also less than the cost of round-trip bus fare. BART staff has been looking at updating the agency’s parking policy. But one BART Director, avowed carmunist John McPartland, is opposed:

“I disagree with market-based parking,” countered Director John McPartland. “I don’t work for BART, I work for the public, and I’m not in the business of gouging the public.”

“My goal would be giving it to them cost-neutral, whatever it costs to maintain it,” McPartland said.

It should be noted that the current policy is definitely not cost-neutral. BART’s systemwide farebox recovery is less than 60%. Much of that farebox shortfall is from the suburban park-and-ride stations. BART can either make up that loss by raising parking fees, or else replace parking with infill development. It should be noted that McParland opposes doing either.

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The BART-SJ extension includes a redundant station at Santa Clara, duplicating the existing Caltrain service. At last month’s VTA Board meeting, Director Bob Rennie asked staff the following:

Rennie: We’ve had a number of people come to our Board meeting and ask why are we spending the extra money to extend to Santa Clara? I’ve never seen a trade-off of other options. If we have not done a trade-off analysis, are we going to do a trade-off analysis? Can we do a wider station at Diridon instead?

VTA Staff (Dennis Radcliffe): Many of those things were considered, but generally we are not exploring any of those…The Santa Clara station provides parking that we’re not providing at the downtown station.

I know this is pointing out the obvious but….if VTA wants to provide more parking at that location they can build a new garage at the Santa Clara Caltrain station and have those riders board Caltrain. 


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