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Original post made
on Apr 8, 2014
BRT is a 20th Century answer to a 21st Century problem. BMW, Audi, General Motors, Google, and others are developing Driverless Cars. They will be commercially available within 10 years and the standard within 20 years.
Driverless cars have the potential of increasing traffic throughput by as much as 500%. Lanes on many freeways and streets will be excess and will be converted to bike and walking lanes.
The VTA headquarters will become a museum with BRT buses on display.
The BRT buses in the museum will be blackened, burned on the street by drivers who discovered that they lost one lane in each direction on El Camino Real because VTA stole the lane from them through Mountain View.
(VTA won't steal the lane in Palo Alto because the residents there won't stand for it)
"bus rapid transit" has nothing to do with rapid, nor transit. This is a pure power and money grab by the VTA. VTA is a mess now, and has been for sometime. And now they want to turn El Camino into their own little fiefdom and they want us to pay for it!
Why does it takes 2hrs to go from downtown to shoreline park? Because VTA cannot do the most basic function of their mission and that is to schedule bus routes in a reasonable manner.
This organization must be put to rest, not empowered to ruin the future.
BRT is a giant boondoggle, fostered primarily by VTA unions.
VTA is a third world service.
Here is Silicon Valley, we should have high tech buses, routes, etc. We may have wifi on the buses, but they are not user friendly.
Here in Palo Alto, I can go and walk to my nearest bus stop and immediately get confused. There is no way of understanding the routes, there is no way of knowing how long the wait is and when you get off the bus, say at Stanford Shopping Center, there is no way of knowing where to get the bus for the return trip.
We need to have some high tech information. We should be able to look at the bus stop, or at least our phone, to find out where the bus is and how long it will be before it arrives. Why can't we see on our phones in real time where the bus we are waiting for is? Why can't we find out if the bus has been delayed by traffic or an accident? Where is the technology? We need to be able to pay with our phones and we need to be able to connect with Caltrain and other transportation without paying additional fare. If the total trip is less than 5 miles but needs 3 different modes of public transport, why are we paying more than a trip of 20 miles on one mode? Why are buses not delivering passengers to Caltrain and then waiting for passengers to come off the train before moving on? Why does it take more than one bus to get to Foothill College when so many of Foothill students live in Palo Alto? Why is Foothill served so poorly from north Santa Clara County. Why do so many students find that they can't get on the Foothill buses at 8.00 am because they are full?
Why are the buses not an attractive option for high school and college students?
Why can't we have some high tech transportation in the heart of techie Silicon Valley?
Seems like VTA is going to cram the dedicated BRT "option" down Mountain View (and neighboring cities) throats...one way or another.
Read thru the VTA project history page and you will see that...
"In 2010, VTA approached the six cities along the El Camino Real corridorPalo Alto, Los Altos, Mountain View, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara and San Joseto discuss a potential BRT project on El Camino Real/The Alameda. Over the next two years, VTA met with city staff and Councils to get a sense for each city's concerns, existing plans and how they felt about BRT on El Camino Real. The culmination of this process was a request by VTA that cities take an official action on which street configuration for BRT they preferred: dedicated lanes or mixed flow. This was an important decision for shaping the project as VTA anticipates that Caltrans will be unlikely to approve a project with a street configuration that an adjacent city does not want.
As a starting point for this exercise, VTA identified a project concept that was dubbed the "Optimal Project"optimal in the sense that it provided the best balance of transit improvement and cost-effectiveness for VTA. In the Optimal Project concept, two lanes (one lane in each direction, adjacent to the median) would be converted into dedicated BRT lanes between Showers Drive in Mountain View and Lafayette Street in Santa Claraa total of 10.3 miles of dedicated lanes. ... "
"Sunnyvale voted 4 to 3 against continuing study of the dedicated lane configuration in their city, instead preferring mixed flow.
The Mountain View and Los Altos Councils never officially took council actions, though a straw poll in Mountain View indicated a 5 to 2 preference for mixed flow. Based on comments from Los Altos' Council it was clear that the preference was for mixed flow.
Though the Optimal Project concept proposed a mixed flow configuration in Palo Alto, the City Council requested that VTA analyze what would happen to traffic if dedicated BRT lanes were installed in Palo Alto. Ultimately, Palo Alto's Council preferred a mixed flow configuration. ... "
"In the fall of 2012, VTA staff reported the city actions and preferences to its Board of Directors and recommended that the Revised Project concept be included as an alternative in the environmental analysis. VTA's Board of Directors acknowledged the cities' input but cited the difference in transit benefit and operating cost between the Revised Project and Optimal Project concepts and directed VTA staff not to discard the Optimal Project concept. Instead, the Board of Directors instructed VTA staff to study both the Revised Project (which has since been renamed "Short Dedicated Lane") and Optimal Project (which has since been renamed "Long Dedicated Lane") concepts as alternatives in the environmental analysis."
Please hit the link for to read the entire text "El Camino Real BRT Project History"
@PA Resident -- "We need to have some high tech information. We should be able to look at the bus stop, or at least our phone, to find out where the bus is and how long it will be before it arrives. Why can't we see on our phones in real time where the bus we are waiting for is?"
This capability exists. Check out the VTA website: Web Link
I've used it, both by calling 511 using the bus stop number on the signs at the stops, and using the TransLoc app for Android to see light rail location in real-time. Both features are pretty new and neither is perfect yet, but they're getting pretty close to what you're asking about.
Apparently there are a bunch of apps that provide real-time info on VTA now, for both iOS and Android: Web Link
"Why can't we find out if the bus has been delayed by traffic or an accident?"
You can subscribe to email alerts that will notify you when the light rail is stopped (e.g., due to an accident), there's a major re-route of the bus, etc. Again, check the VTA website.
Thank you for this information OMV. Shame the VTA don't advertise this on their bus stops. Do they use Twitter to tweet info on various routes also? This may be a more useful way to get the information across.
I think a better idea than taking lanes on El Camino for buses would be to convert the Cal Train Tracks from Palo Alto - San Jose to bus only, could be 2 bus lanes in each direction. The buses would have no car traffic or stop signs and could go as far as they want on the old train right of way and then take slower existing streets to deliver the riders close to where they want to go or be picked up. Dozens of bus lines could use the new Super Express Bus right of way entering and leaving this new car free right of way at many points and going short or long distances. At end of the a through bus line going over the same route as the ole Cal Train and stopping in Palo Alto the riders would get off and get on the shorter Cal Train to to points north.
Money for a study of this idea would be better spent then on the Going No Where idea of taking lanes from El Camino for buses that more or less duplicate Cal Train service.
So... VTA is incapable of operating public transit efficiently enough to coax drivers from their cars. Having failed that mission, their next attempt is to make traffic impassible for everyone except their buses. And under our present leadership, Mountain View will roll out the welcome mat against all objections.
Rod Diridon just might be the "father of modern transportation". Actually, that would be "Godfather".
Q: why does light rail have tinted windows?
A: so nobody realizes how empty the cars are.
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