Silicon Valley bus drivers sleep in parking lots. They may have to make way for development

By Wendy Lee : sfchronicle – excerpt

Recreational vehicles line a parking lot at the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority Cerone bus yard in San Jose. The transit agency lets some employees with long commutes sleep overnight in the lot.

On weekdays, bus driver Adan Miranda hauls people across Silicon Valley. But his own roughly 100-mile commute home to a Sacramento suburb nearly killed him, so 15 years ago he decided to start sleeping in a San Jose parking lot four nights a week.

It’s a choice that’s becoming more common for people who want to work in the Bay Area but can’t afford a place to live. What’s unusual about Miranda’s situation is that his parking space is provided by his employer, the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority. For 20 years, the agency has doled out permits to sleep on its property to employees who have homes 50 miles away or farther.

Now the quirky perk may be coming to an end. Its elimination places an ironic underscore on the region’s housing crisis: The bus drivers’ temporary bedsits may have to make way for permanent development… (more)

 

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Sharks sue to slow BART San Jose extension in parking dispute

By Michael Cabanatuan : sfgate – excerpt

The San Jose Sharks, locked in an NHL playoff battle, unleashed a different kind of fight this week, filing a lawsuit to slow the BART extension to downtown San Jose until a dispute over parking can be resolved…

 

The suit comes a month after the VTA approved environmental studies for the BART extension through downtown San Jose to Santa Clara, and a week after BART agreed. Plans include a stop at Diridon Station, across Santa Clara Street from the arena, which hosts not only Sharks games but concerts and other events.

“We strongly support the BART project through downtown San Jose,” said Sharks President John Tortora in a statement. “However, we don’t think the current plan addresses several important issues for SAP Center, including a promise to ensure adequate parking in the Diridon area and a safe and accessible environment for our customers during construction.”… (more)

Muni changes course on millions in bond funds

By Jerrold Chin : sfbay – excerpt

Muni is shifting millions in bond funds away from delayed transit improvement projects and toward improvements of bus yards and other agency facilities… Bus barn in the Mission, photo by Zrants

Delays in spending a voter-approved 2014 bond measure on transportation infrastructure in San Francisco has prompted transit officials to reprogram some of the bond money into other projects that are ready to go and in need of funds.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency Board of Directors approved redirecting $26.2 million from the first bond issuance of the 2014 Transportation and Road Improvement General Obligation Bond from Muni transit improvements to Muni facility upgrades.

Along with the reprogramming of the bond money, directors also are requesting to a second issuance of $92.8 million from the Board of Supervisors…

The SFMTA will spend $21.1 million in upgrading its Burke Warehouse facility that will eventually house overhead wires and provide extra capacity storage for the transit agency.

Another $11 million will go towards the second phase of Islais Creek project. The project includes the construction of a 65,000 square foot motor coach maintenance and operations facility, according to the SFMTA.

Other projects the second bond issuance will fund toward the electrification of Caltrain ($20 million), the BART canopy project ($3 million), and a number of bike and pedestrian safety projects…(more)

 

Google acquires tech company behind BART Perks Program, quietly ends partnership

By : sfexaminer – excerpt

A pilot program meant to ease crowding on BART may face a stumbling block from an unlikely source: Google.

The search-engine giant recently acquired a core technology company, Urban Engines, that provided the backbone of the BART Perks Program — but well before the end of the program pilot Tuesday, Google quietly prepared Urban Engines to end its partnership with BART, according to public records obtained by the San Francisco Examiner.

In the communications obtained by a public records request, transit officials said the perks program successfully eased some crowding on BART trains during crushing commutes…

“Google has decided not to continue with commuter incentives programs,” wrote Dave Parker, a deployment engineer at Urban Engines, to BART Principal Planner Ryan Greene-Roesel and Jia Tong, staff at a Singapore-based transportation program, in November 2016… (more)

Person Rescued From Under BART Station At MacArthur Station

KCBS – excerpt (includes audio track link)

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Oakland firefighters Friday morning rescued a person from under a BART train at MacArthur Station, BART officials said…(more)

Typo or False news in the headline? We will give them the benefit of the doubt, but these kinds of errors do not help a press at this time when they are under scrutiny. This is the CBS radio station.

BART says it needs more money because weekend ridership is down

ktvu – excerpt – (includes video)

– BART officials say commute ridership is up but weekends, off-peak and short rides have slipped so much, it’s dragging the whole system’s numbers down.

Slipping ridership means less revenue and the possibility that fares could increase.

The news came as a shock to commuters, who say business on BART seems to be thriving.

“You can’t get on trains most of the time going home riding three stations upstream just to get a seat on the train,” said Dave Smart of Walnut Creek.

BART says it’s already $5 million in the red for the first half of the fiscal year and projecting a $15-25 million shortfall going forward.

One solution may be to raise base fares, an idea that doesn’t sit well with Hentemann. “That makes me a little upset because they’re cramming us into the BART trains; they’re taking seats away, we’re tired after working all day long we want to get home. We want to sit down and they want more money. Give us a break.”

Bevan Dufty sits on the BART board and represents District 9. He says the board does not want to hike fares, especially with the passage of November’s Measure RR… (more)

BART needs to listen to their clients and give them what the want, not try to sell them what BART thinks they need. Quit expanding and start maintaining what they have.

BART Removing Thousands Of Seats, Approves More Bike Parking

cbslocal – excerpt

OAKLAND (CBS SF) – More bikes and fewer seats on trains continue to be priorities for the BART board of directors, which voted Thursday to increase the number of bike parking spaces and to remove thousands of seats from hundreds of trains…

Based on the increased number of tickets that could be sold as a result of the project, BART officials estimate that the agency could pull in as much as $9.6 million per year.

The seat removal, anticipated to take anywhere from nine months to one year, is intended to ease overcrowding until BART can add additional cars to its fleet. That process is currently expected to deliver 230 new cars to BART by the end of 2018 and wrap up by 2023.

“This is the most cost effective, highest impact way we can increase capacity,” said Director Nick Josefowitz, who noted that the proposal is “somewhat controversial.”…

The sole dissenting vote, however, came from Director Joel Keller, who doubts the revenue generated by the project will be anywhere near the estimated amount.

“We’re not going to increase the fare box by $9.62 million by taking out a bunch of seats,” Keller said. “We’re not expanding the ability of the fleet to take on new riders… This proposal is intended to accommodate the existing ridership.”

Keller also voiced concerns that the project was based, in part, on a survey of several thousand passengers, 54 percent of whom said they liked the option the BART board approved Thursday.

“We’re inconveniencing a lot of the riders who never had the opportunity to weigh in on this to get brief relief for a year,” Keller said…(more)

*    Half the BART trains will have 7 seats removed.
*    One seat removed provides room for 3 more passengers.
*    The cost is paid for by a federal grant.
*    Cost will be $1 1/2 million.

Citizens help stop SFMTA’s proposed service cuts to 19 Polk bus

by Peter Warfield : sfbayview – excerpt

San Francisco citizen activists and others appear to have succeeded – at least for now – in helping persuade the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) Board not to approve the SFMTA staff’s plan to eliminate all three stops closest to the Main Library and Civic Center on the northbound 19 Polk bus line.

The SFMTA had planned to eliminate the stops as part of the agency’s Seventh and Eighth Street Safety Project, presented at the regular SFMTA Board meeting Nov. 15, 2016.

The board voted instead to approve all other elements of the plan. The plan includes installation of parking-protected bike-only lanes adjacent to the sidewalk, bus boarding islands instead of curb stops, and bus-only lanes along multiple blocks of Seventh and Eighth streets south of Market Street… (more)

 

 

State launches formal investigation into BART video starring Draymond Green

by By : eastbaytimes – excerpt

OAKLAND — A state agency on Wednesday launched an investigation into allegations that BART illegally used public funds to campaign for its $3.5 billion bond after it aired a video featuring Warriors’ star Draymond Green.

Fair Political Practices Commission spokesman Jay Wierenga said the agency would not pursue a similar complaint that state Sen. Steve Glazer, D-Orinda, filed in October. If the investigation, which typically takes six months to one year to complete, proves BART broke the law, the transit agency could face fines of up to $5,000 for each violation, Wierenga said…(more)

Claims against Illegal use of public funds to finance regional BART bond ballot initiative filed by Senator Glazer

The BART Saga Continues on Mission.

Good afternoon

The Mission Street saga just continues !!!!

In case you are unaware — beginning last evening, March 31 thru August 31, 2016, BART will be replacing the ventilation grates between 15th Street and 24th Street. If any of you were around during the building of BART, you may remember that six months at that time turned into three years or more  ….. anyway, for more explicit details about this new BART construction job, you may contact Ms. Molly Burke at BART – mburke@bart.gov or by phone at 1-510-464-6172 or the contractor Thompson Builders Corp., Mr. Dan Giordani, Project Manager – 1-415-342-9357 or 1-415-827-7352 ….. I hope that the MMA membership has been notified.

It is surely going to be interesting ….

Michael

Thanks for the heads up.