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.

BART Offers San Francisco Super Bowl City Commuting Tips

sbclocal – excerpt

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Getting to and from downtown San Francisco during Super Bowl week may become a challenge and Bay Area Rapid Transit says riders will need to take into account some changes.

While Super Bowl 50 will be played at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara on February 7, main activity during Super Bowl week will be at the foot of Market Street in San Francisco.

The Super Bowl City fan village at Justin Herman Plaza is located just above the Embarcadero Center Station. BART says it will close the Embarcadero station entrance/exit to Market Street at Spear Street from January 30 through February 7, except during the hours of 6:45 a.m. to 9:45 a.m.

ALSO READ: Getting Around For Super Bowl 50

BART says the other five entrances to Embarcadero Station would remain open during business hours during Super Bowl City.

Montgomery and Powell stations are also expected to be busy as it will be the stop for attendees to the NFL Experience at Moscone Center, a few blocks from Montgomery St.

The agency says it anticipates the highest ridership on BART will be Saturday, January 30; and Wednesday, February 3 through Saturday, February 6.

BART plans to add additional cars to trains during non-commute periods, especially on lines that serve San Francisco and Oakland airports. Monday, February 8 is expected to be especially busy on lines serving the airports.

Tips for BART Travelers

BART recommends buying round trip tickets when possible. BART staffers may also set up tables to augment ticket sales at six stations: Fremont, Dublin/Pleasanton, Millbrae, El Cerrito del Norte, Pittsburg/Bay Point and San Francisco International Airport Station.
Use a Clipper Card to avoid lines at the ticket machine. For the Super Bowl, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission is offering limited edition collectible Clipper Cards with images of the Super Bowl 50 logo, Levi’s Stadium and the San Francisco skyline.
Plan for limited parking. Unless riders have a monthly parking permit, BART strongly encourages riders to avoid driving themselves to BART station as lots are expected to be busier than usual. Consider mass transit, carpooling, bicycling or having someone drop you off.
More information on Super Bowl week commuting can be found at bart.gov and 511.org… (more)

Federal transit bill falls short, may impact SF transit projects

Bay Area traffic getting worse before sunrise

by Vince Cestone : KRON – (video)

SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — More and more Bay Area commuters are hitting the road long before sunrise.

The early birds are looking for something far more precious than worms. The traffic nightmare is already developing, while most of the Bay Area is sleeping.

“The number of people on the move between 4 and 5 o’clock is up and up strongly,” Metropolitan Transit Commission spokesman John Goodwin said…

There are far fewer surface parking lots in San Francisco,” Goodwin said. “These folks may be racing to get to work, so they can find a place to park.”

And it’s not just the transbay bridges that are getting crowded. The MTC reports that the Benicia, Antioch and Carquinez bridges are also seeing more traffic before 5 a.m… (more)

Thanks to the Bay Area Transit Authorities, MTC and ABAG, now locked in a fierce power battle and blaming game, SF that has created the mess. How is it done? Their first job (in this minds) is to get you out of your cars. How is that working? Maybe their methods are flawed. In SF fhey support more housing next to already full BART stops, standing room only during peak hours) and cut back or refuse to increase parking capacity near outlying BART stops.

One other important factor in the increase in numbers of commuters is  that SF employees have been forced to move out of the city and now must  commute in to work, while the new arrivals do not work in the city and  are commuting out to work. This is exactly what the planners claimed
they would fix by building high-density stack and pack housing next to  public transit. That is why we need a new plan as the folks in the Mission District are requesting with Prop I

Well, just about any transit project is eligible to apply for Federal funds.

(Quick clarification – the Bay Area gets a lot of “formula” funds for transit.  How they are used are up to MTC and the transit agencies, but, in general, these are all spoken for – if they were transferred for other purposes, such as a major capital project, then that means a whole lot of over-the-hill buses would not be replaced at the ends of their useful life, a lot of rail lines will not be given required maintenance, etc.  In addition to the transit programs – of which 49 USC 5307 is by far the largest – there are also three highway “flexible” funds, with CMAQ and STP being the vast majority.  These can be used for transit, again, pretty much at the option of MTC, but, given the extreme underfunding of Bay Area road maintenance, unlikely to occur.  What we are probably talking about is the Federal discretionary capital grant program for transit, which is mainly 49 USC 5309 “new starts.”)

Since the Obama administration has pretty much changed the rules so that factors like ridership, etc., aren’t really part of the evaluation process any more, so, if the Bay Area made this a high priority, it would likely have a chance.  However, there is only so much money to go around nationally, and there is a limit to how much money any region is going to get, and there is an unlimited amount of other requests for this funding, so the real question is, how far up to the top of the list this will be.

The other interesting factor is that it is getting real questionable how much money for transit programs there is going to be.  With the Republicans controlling both houses, and the D’s not really into the program, there hasn’t been a new transportation authorization bill for quite a while, just short-term extensions and, right now, it is difficult to see how there will be a long-term extension any time soon.  Without that, not a whole lot of money for any new projects.  Not saying impossible, am saying makes it more difficult.

OK, let’s step back and take a wild turn.  Let’s say that the objective is to create a transit system that will carry the most people, get it done the quickest, and do it at the lowest cost to taxpayers.  Not really the way things are done, of course, particularly in the Bay Area, but, just as a thing to think about.  OK, going down that road, the way to go is to run long-haul commuter buses on an I-580 HOT lane from the Central Valley to the existing BART end station.  Such lines can be started within two years (the biggest time-taker is getting the buses delivered, now that the roadway is getting close to completion), there are just about no costs for the right-of-way, and this is the type of transit service that has the highest farebox recovery ratio – over 90% is not at all uncommon, although I’m not going to make that kind of prediction without a lot of study.

This would have also been the right way to go before BART went over the hill to the Tri-Valley.  Of course, it was never even considered as an option.

– TR, Transit specialist

This pretty much back up what many of us have been saying for some time. The SFMTA and other municipal transit authorities are not in the transportation business, they are in the construction business. They are also in the empire building business. The more the construct the bigger the public debt to the industry grows since the maintenance and operations costs escalate accordingly. This is why many people are saying NO MORE MONEY for the bottomless pit that claim, “if we build it they will come.”

To the desert valley where there is no water?

Oakland Sticks to Backward Thinking

By  : eastbayexpress – excerpt

Oakland’s elected officials have long viewed themselves as progressive and forward-thinking. But when it comes to creating transit-friendly neighborhoods, building affordable housing, and protecting the environment, it’s becoming increasingly clear that the city’s leaders are way behind the curve.

As Express senior writer Sam Levin explained in a recent series of in-depth articles, Oakland is still stuck in the 20th century when it comes to transportation and the city’s longstanding love affair with the automobile. Oakland has almost no money for affordable housing, and the city should be doing all it can to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but instead, it’s still mandating that developers promote car culture, requiring them to spend huge amounts of money on constructing large parking garages — that often end up sitting partially empty — right next to BART stations… (more)

If there are empty parking garages near BART stations, where are they? There are probably a lot of people who would like to know. The author should post that information.

Report: Report: California’s drivers are the nation’s most stressed

By Gary Richards : contracostatimes – excerpt

California’s improved economy has brought commutes to an unprecedented slowdown from one end of the state to the other, making drivers here the most stressed out in the nation.

A nationwide report released late Tuesday found that motorists in California’s congested population centers spend nearly two work weeks a year stuck in creep-and-crawl traffic — nearly double the national average.

According to the Texas A&M Transportation Institute and a West Coast traffic organization called Inrix, which surveyed traffic on 471 urban streets and highways across the country, an estimated $160 billion is lost annually in wasted fuel, lost income and lost time across the country while motorists cling to a steering wheel instead of a computer mouse.

The worst area is Washington, D.C., at 82 hours of lost time, but the top 10 is a roadmap from Northern California to Southern California: Los Angeles comes in No. 2 with 80 hours of delays, followed by San Francisco-Oakland with 78, New York at 74 and the San Jose area at 67. Riverside rounds out the top 10 at 59. Compare that to the national average of a measly 42 hours.

The California numbers have jumped five hours since 2010 and are expected to steadily creep higher over the next several years.

A number of solutions are in the works to ease some of the gridlock and encourage solo commuters to carpool or take public transit to work: Later this year BART will open a new line to the Santa Clara County border, a “Smart Highway” project on Interstate 80 from Richmond to the Bay Bridge will offer route alternatives, and the Interstate 880 carpool lane will be extended south of Oakland. Double carpool lanes are planned for Highways 85 and 101, and Interstate 580 in the Tri-Valley will get those plus express lanes… (more)

The three pronged approach sounds like what got us where we are. The only new idea is to stagger the work hours. At the rate we are robotizing jobs there won’t be many left soon anyway. All we will do is sit at home and wait for delivery. Stop removing traffic lanes and eliminating parking and you can clean up the traffic much faster. In fact, just replace all the lanes you removed and all the parking you took out and we would be much better off.

You can start spending the money on maintaining the fleet of municipal vehicles you have and quit hiring managers to clog things up. Fire the entire complete streets crew that is moving mature trees from the side of the street on Van Ness to the middle of the street, and putting in a BRT in the middle of the street. That little project is designed to make a lot of wealthy contractors more wealthy and cost the taxpayer billions of dollars while clogging the major North South state highway that connect s the Federal Freeways through San Francisco for years. Nothing they are planning will relieve the traffic.

BART plans to shut down Transbay Tube to replace aging tracks

by Sergio Quintana : abc7news – excerpt

Every day, about 400,000 commuters shuttle through the Transbay Tube on BART trains, but later this summer that critical link between San Francisco and Oakland will close down for a couple of weekends.

Service through the Transbay Tube has only shut down a few times in its entire lifespan: once because of a fire in the tube, after the Loma Prieta Earthquake, and a few times due to transit worker strikes. This upcoming shutdown will to be replace rails that have been in service since the tube opened back in 1974.

For two weekends, traffic heading through the BART Transbay Tube will come to a halt. So transit agencies around the Bay Area are starting to prepare.

“I think in a nutshell, there’s no good time to shut down BART service in the Transbay Tube, but they picked the least bad times,” John Goodwin from the Metro Transportation Commission said… (more)

Bay Area Public Transportation

By Thuy Vu and Scott Shafer : kqed – excerpt – (video clip)

Getting around the Bay Area can be difficult. Traffic is a mess and public transportation isn’t always easy. KQED NEWSROOM’s Scott Shafer and Thuy Vu talk to the leaders of BART, Caltrain, Muni and VTA about what is and isn’t working with the Bay Area’s biggest transit systems.

Guests:
• Grace Crunican, general manager of BART
• Ed Reiskin, director of transportation of San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency
• Jim Hartnett, general manager of San Mateo County Transit District
• Michael Hursh, chief operating officer of Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority… (more)

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