http://mv-voice.com/print/story/print/2013/11/15/letters-to-the-editor


Mountain View Voice

Opinion - November 15, 2013

Letters to the editor

Just say no to VTA bus lanes

Councilwoman Abe-Koga, in her Nov. 8 guest opinion piece sought to address concerns about converting car lanes to bus lanes on El Camino. She neglected some critical information.

In April 2012, Kevin Connoly, VTA's transportation planning manager, spoke at a Los Altos council meeting. He claimed that travel time from Santa Clara to Mountain View would be reduced by only one minute if the plan is implemented. Sound unrealistic? It is.

When pressed, Connoly admitted that losing one lane would reduce capacity by 950 cars/hour. He admitted that the VTA assumes those cars, frustrated by traffic jams, would take a different route, say Foothill or Central Expressway. That would have a major impact on those already-crowded corridors — and on residential streets.

"Road diets" have unintended consequences. When Palo Alto narrowed Arastradero Road, a main artery to Highway 280, traffic volume rose in three areas of the Barron Park neighborhood. The traffic count at Maybell and Pena rose significantly from 2,700 vehicles to 3,348 daily since the changes.

That is a 24 percent increase on just one of the neighborhood streets that frustrated drivers — and bicyclists — are using to avoid congestion on Arastradero.

To see the what the road diet did to this quiet residential area, check out the videos at http://tinyurl.com/kg8o7t and http://tinyurl.com/lobjh2z

Constricting a main artery forces cars through residential streets. Like water, traffic will flow around barriers to find the path of least resistance, and it might be your neighborhood. Just say no to this misguided plan.

Milk Pail fan has seen change before

I have lived in Mountain View since 1962 and have seen so much change. I remember when there was a large oak tree where the Dairy Belle is and few buildings existed. Later the Menu Tree and Liberty House moved in and out.

I go to the Milk Pail weekly and wish it could be saved. I suppose it will go the way of Linda's Drive Inn and become a picture on the library wall. The young couple that recently opened the Japanese restaurant on upper Castro Street are losing their life savings because a huge apartment complex is planned there.

Has Bus Rapid Transit option been decided?

One way to make a decision is to start with a blank slate and establish a protocol to ensure that data is gathered on all alternatives without prejudice, and the decision process is objective and fair. On the other hand, one can start with a conclusion and develop an argument to support that conclusion.

Margaret Aba-Koga, a member of the Valley Transportation Agency board, has been an ardent supporter of the dedicated lanes (convert two lanes to bus only) solution. Margaret has made up her mind and doesn't want to be bothered with the facts. How many other VTA board members have already made up their minds?

VTA is talking with the homeless who call the route Hotel 22, teenagers who take the bus to school and Starbucks, and retired persons who take the bus. VTA is not talking to the merchants along El Camino Real who depend on people driving to their businesses. VTA is not talking to those of us who drive along El Camino Real to highways 237 or 85 to get to our jobs because the VTA service is so poor. VTA is not interested in us because we don't take the bus. We are the silent majority

You don't have to wait until 2014 to hear the results of the study, as I will let you know now. The study document will be very impressive with many pages filled with dialogue, charts and graphs. The important part is the conclusions: First, the dedicated bus lanes (convert two lanes to bus only) will be designated as the optimum solution in that it will improve reliability, reduce travel times, increase amenities, improve safety and access for bus riders, accommodate the demand that future high density projects (another of Margaret's pet projects) will bring by making non-auto travel more appealing. Second, the alternative of making no improvements (don't fix what isn't broken) will be designated as the worst of the solutions, in that it will not improve bus service (won't hurt those of us who drive). The other five alternatives will be discussed in length with the conclusion that while they all have benefits, they are not as effective as the dedicated bus lanes alternative.

CHAC has been here since '73

Mountain View residents should be proud that a valuable force for good still exists within our community, the non-profit Community Health Awareness Council (usually known as CHAC).

They have been here since 1973, and on Sept. 20 they moved into expanded space on West El Camino across from Clarke's, thanks to the generosity of the Malek Family of Mountain View. We attended the grand-reopening and were quite impressed with the much-improved facilities and the talented, compassionate people on their staff.

For those who don't know, CHAC provides counseling, support and education for individuals and families. This includes no-cost counseling at local K-12 schools in the school districts of Mountain View, Sunnyvale and Los Altos. They help people who are in need, often in desperate need.

They are so well-respected within the educational community, we feel that they deserve a shout-out from the Voice and people throughout our area. CHAC is a huge force in our diverse and often financially challenged communities.

Don and Gretchen McPhail Hope Street

Comments

Posted by Eugene B., a resident of another community
on Nov 17, 2013 at 1:20 pm

On the online page, the first three "letters to the editor" give no credit to the authors.

To address the "been decided" Bus Rapid Transit issue, did you know that County voters approved having these lanes as part of a transit package sales tax measure back in 2000?

Web Link

"Improve Bus Service in Major Corridors"
For VTA line 22 (Palo Alto to Eastridge Center)...provide bus queue jumping lanes at intersections to permit buses quick access along these corridors.

The whole thing then was criticized for being rushed to the ballot via the County Supes (Liz Kniss amongst them) with little to no public input. It was one of the reasons I voted NO on it when I was living in Sunnyvale back in 2000. I am curious to where those against BRT were in November 2000 as this was approved by ~70% of the County voters.

Also, did you know VTA built the 237-880 interchange?

Web Link

Also curious as to who you have contacted at VTA regarding poor transit
service in the Mountain View area (besides Abe-Koga).

From reading all these comments, it sounds like some of Abe-Koga's real managers (residents) need to join me at the next VTA Board of Directors meeting. There you can address these issues to all twelve
Board members. these issues to all twelve members.