Town Square

Post a New Topic

Plan for dedicated bus lanes on El Camino Real back on the table

Original post made on Nov 18, 2014

A controversial plan by Santa Clara County to create dedicated bus lanes on El Camino Real between Palo Alto and San Jose is back on the table, despite strong concerns from local officials that the project will only increase congestion on local streets.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, November 18, 2014, 10:01 AM

Comments (126)

Posted by Not Quite There
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 18, 2014 at 10:14 am

I'm all for public transit, but I'm just not seeing how this system can really get people out of cars. The Peninsula is currently too spread out-- how am I supposed to get from my house to the bus, and from the bus to my actual place of work? I happen to live 3 blocks from El Camino, and work about 1.5 miles off of it down Page Mill. That's about as close as one could hope to get, but still not close enough to get me out of my car.


Posted by MVResident67
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Nov 18, 2014 at 10:33 am

"On Monday night, the council learned that the more dramatic "dedicated-lane" proposal is once again being considered for nearly the entire El Camino stretch. Furthermore, because El Camino Real is a state road, cities may not have the power to prevent the shifting of two central El Camino Real lanes from bus to car use."

~~~~~~~~~~

And there you have it...

Sounds like the VTA is well into negotiations with Cal Trans (or whatever official state agency control El Camino Real) in order to find a way to force this dedicated bus lane upon every city on the proposed route, regardless of each individuals city's stance of the proposal.

The VTA is eventually going to get their way by hook or by crook.


Posted by Geek
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Nov 18, 2014 at 10:39 am

Geek is a registered user.

"14,588 in 2018". So, about 15K people (or 15K/2, 2 boardings for round trip) will benefit from this. How many people will experience even heavier traffic? I saw ~63K cars number: (Web Link Doesn't seem to be fair, does it?


Posted by PROTEST!
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 18, 2014 at 11:00 am

How GREAT would it be to have an organized protest of this plan, with people blocking the right lane of ECR in key spots from SJ to Palo Alto. That would be an epic visual and a very strong message. The ensuing temporary traffic snarl would also show everyone what daily life would be like with a closed lane(s)on ECR.


Posted by MVResident67
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Nov 18, 2014 at 11:23 am

How GREAT would it be to have an organized protest of this plan, with people blocking the right lane of ECR in key spots from SJ to Palo Alto. That would be an epic visual and a very strong message. The ensuing temporary traffic snarl would also show everyone what daily life would be like with a closed lane(s)on ECR.

~~~~~~~~~~

It's not simply losing a lane - the far left lane in each direction of travel of ECR - it's also what will happen with the signals on ECR. The BRT busses will given signal priority, and there will be numerous additional stoplights added to ECR...the last I heard was that there would be at least 6 additional signals added in Mountain View between 237 and Rengstorff, alone.


Posted by Bye Bye El Camino
a resident of another community
on Nov 18, 2014 at 11:55 am

I grew up in Los Altos and lived there most of my life but recently purchased a home in Willow Glen because prices are just too out of reach for most families.

I'm nostalgic for the past, but this area is growing and nothing will stop it. So I support smart improvements to transit.

This is not one of them. Everyone hates riding the bus, and no one rides it unless you have to. The increased benefits of additional bus riders is minuscule compared to the dramatic increase in time people will experience sitting in their cars on the El Camino Parking lot. More importantly, adding riders to a bus running down the El Camino from San Jose does not decrease vehicular traffic on the El Camino. At best it would slightly reduce traffic on 101, 280, or Central Expressway. What would be better is to greatly expand VTA light rail so that it goes to places that people need to get to and where they want to be. Light rail already reaches downtown Campbell and Mountain View. Connect it with Willow Glen (instead of skirting it), Saratoga, Los Altos, and downtown Palo Alto. As part of the eventual development of Coyote Valley, connect it with Morgan Hill and Gilroy.

My great grandfather used to ride the train from Saratoga to San Francisco (tracks ran along what is now Foothill Expressway). My uncle still has a copy of the station times showing that the commute to San Francisco from Saratoga by train was shorter then what it now takes to drive with all of the traffic on 280. Improving Light rail and train service could work and VTA rail lines don't have to compete with cars. Removing two lanes from an already overcrowded El Camino will simply turn the El Camino into a parking lot.

The rendering of what El Camino would look like with a dedicated traffic lane is so misleading that they make tragic comedy. To make it realistic the artist should have drawn the cars bumper to bumper.


Posted by Data?
a resident of another community
on Nov 18, 2014 at 1:00 pm

There seems to be some citizen claims that dedicating a lane to bus traffic will greatly slow down vehicular traffic on El Camino. Has there been any study done to prove this claim?


Posted by Some citizen claims?
a resident of Bailey Park
on Nov 18, 2014 at 2:14 pm

How about a reference link to one of these actual citizen claims before you claim the data is flawed. Which particular claim are you referring to?


Posted by Really DATA
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Nov 18, 2014 at 2:23 pm

I like you on Star Trek, but really DATA, anyone can figure what we happen when the VTA takes away the left-hand lane in each direction on El Camino. Unless most drivers avoid El Camino, it will be a parking lot in the other two lanes. But that is the aim. When there is no room for private passenger vehicles, drivers will be forced to make other plans and maybe some drivers will sometimes take a bus. The future of the VTA and its unions and pensions is thereby assured. And they will have politicians like Councilmember Abe-Koda to thank.


Posted by Gene Cavanaugh
a resident of Willowgate
on Nov 18, 2014 at 2:33 pm

I'm all for it. I have only to look to San Franscisco to see that it can work, and certainly it beats continuing to work toward the destruction of the environment due to clinging to autos.


Posted by William Hitchens
a resident of Waverly Park
on Nov 18, 2014 at 2:35 pm

Rush hour traffic on El Camino at Grant road already is a nightmare with three lanes of traffic at Grant and also at the 85 overpass. If Santa Clara County forces us to confine auto traffic to two lanes with a third dedicated bus lane, the result will be total gridlock a good portion of the day. Also, Fremont, Dana, Evelyn, and Central Expressway also will see greatly increased traffic. This plan is a non-starter. I don't know any commuters who would want to ride those buses. Also, taking away on-street parking for a bicycle lane on El Camino will damage merchants' revenues and force increased parking on nearby residential streets. Bicycles don't belong on El Camino. It is too dangerous.


Posted by Data?
a resident of another community
on Nov 18, 2014 at 2:37 pm

"...anyone can figure what we happen when the VTA takes away the left-hand lane in each direction on El Camino."

I'm sure the Europeans said the same thing about crossing the Atlantic Ocean: "...anyone can figure what we happen when the we sail too far west--we will fall off the edge of our flat world!"

Hopefully someone more intelligent will respond and we will read less from the flat-Earthers that post here...


Posted by what are they thinking?
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 18, 2014 at 2:42 pm

Closing lanes on ECR is, really, an unbelievably stupid idea.


Posted by No
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Nov 18, 2014 at 3:00 pm

What about "No" do these people not understand? I'd like to know how much $ VTA has continued to spend on this plan AFTER being told "no" by cities along the path. That's a waste of public funds. How much?

Further, what has VTA done to make improvements in north-south "connectors" so that more people might be inclined to take the El Camino bus. Heck, cities have resorted to adding their own shuttles since VTA is so ineffective.

VTA is trying to justify its own continued existence. I'd favor disbanding the organization, and starting fresh with a new group not entrenched in its internal ideas.


Posted by Glenn Meier
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Nov 18, 2014 at 3:01 pm

This is an insane idea. ECR already backs up from 237 to Calderon most of the day. It will push more traffic onto Central Expressway and Foothill Expressway, plus the side streets needed to get to the Expressways.

I live a mile from ECR, are then going to provide parking lots for my car at ECR so I can switch to a bus?

I don't plan to go to their meetings because it is obvious that they have already made up their minds and the meetings are just so they can say they have gotten input from the public.

I personally will never vote for any politician who votes for this.


Posted by resident
a resident of Waverly Park
on Nov 18, 2014 at 3:27 pm

"The buses would run people back and forth every 10 minutes and serve local "jobs, schools and entertainments," he said. The VTA projects that its average number of weekday boarding is expected to increase from 12,512 in 2013 to 14,588 in 2018 even without the project. With the mixed-flow option, the ridership would jump to 15,303, while the dedicated-lane option would boost ridership to 18,616. By 2040, the projected ridership for the two design option would jump to 22,228 and 30,336, respectively.

The current plan would cost about $233 million to implement and require an annual operating cost of $12.9 million. The mixed-flow alternative in the entire corridor would cost $91 million to build and would come with an annual operating cost of $21.6 million.

The county is estimating that having dedicated lanes would reduce the time it takes buses to travel from Palo Alto to San Jose from the current level of 85.2 minutes to 48 minutes. The time it takes to travel the 17-mile corridor by car is expected to go up from 40 minutes to 43.7 minutes."
=============

To "serve jobs, schools and entertainments" sounds odd. what about shopping and errands?

I wonder how they calculate these ridership projections? Why would more people use the bus in a designated lane than use the bus now? Because it would take *only* 48 minutes by bus instead of 85.2 minutes?

And taking away traffic lanes would result in an increase of just 3.7 minutes longer than it now takes to travel by car?

If you want more people to ride the bus, lower the fares. As long as public transportation costs more money than gasoline, people are going to drive. With more hybrid and electric vehicles, beating the cost of driving is even more of a challenge.

Can you explain more about the cost to implement and the cost to operate? Does operation costs mean the cost of running busses or what?

And if VTA wants to be taken seriously, they gotta put more than 3-5 cars on their renderings. Pack it with cars. Where's this big grassy lawn next to a sidewalk? And the huge palm trees down the center median I've only seen surrounding Disneyland, doesn't look like the peninsula to me.

Plus you have to include all these multi-story buildings that are going up along El Camino, the tall buildings and the traffic are conspicuously missing from the renderings.


Posted by Laura
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Nov 18, 2014 at 3:39 pm

Anybody who favors this doesn't drive down El Camino on a regular basis. It takes forever to drive ECR between Sunnyvale and Palo Alto any morning or afternoon/evening and they want to dedicate 1 of the 3 lanes for buses? This is a crazy plan that will benefit very few people. How can this not be put on the ballot for residents to be able to vote on it?!


Posted by Resident
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 18, 2014 at 3:50 pm

ECR is already a parking lot in the mornings, especially around Grant, Calderon and Castro in Mountain View. This would make car travel even harder. It would be wonderful to use public transit, in theory, but in practice, it's hard. I drive on ECR each morning to school, daycare, then to work, a route which would take hours extra using public transit, meaning I have to sacrifice either my job or my family life to do that - or I drive. If ECR is backed up due to fewer lanes, I'll just drive through the residential streets of OMV to avoid it wherever I can, as will many others.

I know this is financially and politically difficult, but imagine a subway which ran the length of ECR from, say, SF to south San Jose. That would actually help a lot! It would probably help more people than any sort of high speed rail connecting central valley cities.


Posted by Gene Cavanaugh
a resident of Willowgate
on Nov 18, 2014 at 4:06 pm

It's easy to just "dump" on a new idea without giving it any thought, but that leads to bad decisions. We have been blessed, in the past, with people who made good decisions (though some of their decisions were fiercely opposed, as here).

I did note, though, that people who talk about increased congestion (and arbitrarily refuse to even listen to arguments that it would not necessarily increase) never take into consideration the fact that people on a bus replace people in a car! It is not a case of keeping the same number of people driving, while adding people on the bus.

So, if the numbers for increased bus ridership are right, and if we look at the number of cars that would be replaced, it appears there is a chance the plan would lead to a decrease in congestion, as well as possibly leading to more bike and pedestrian friendliness.

The more I look at it, the better I like it. I think (from experience) that buses every ten minutes, assuming the task of getting to/from the bus is solved) make cars a less attractive alternative.

I will go to the meeting at the MV Library, and express my opinions, if asked.


Posted by tommygee54
a resident of Rex Manor
on Nov 18, 2014 at 4:28 pm

Hey folks, the dedicated bus lanes is going to happen, whether you like it or not. It is the sign of the future for El Camino Real.


Posted by Ted
a resident of North Whisman
on Nov 18, 2014 at 4:41 pm

The sign of America's future. It does not matter what the masses want. The elites decide. Same in Russia.


Posted by Steve
a resident of another community
on Nov 18, 2014 at 4:44 pm

It doesn't really matter whether it's a good idea or a stupid one. It also doesn't matter whether the large majority of Mountain View residents are opposed to it. If it appeals to city staff (maybe there is some grant money attached to it?), it's a done deal. VTA is already making noises to that effect, though they'll still put on sham 'community input' sessions as part of the dog and pony show.


Posted by Anne
a resident of Waverly Park
on Nov 18, 2014 at 4:49 pm

Notice the trick about leaving out Palo Alto for phase one. It is "divide and conquer." Once phase one is done, Palo Alto would be next. And who will stand with Palo Alto? No one. Palo Alto will stand alone against bus-only lanes from San Jose to South San Francisco.


Posted by Anne
a resident of Waverly Park
on Nov 18, 2014 at 4:49 pm

Notice the trick about leaving out Palo Alto for phase one. It is "divide and conquer." Once phase one is done, Palo Alto would be next. And who will stand with Palo Alto? No one. Palo Alto will stand alone against bus-only lanes from San Jose to South San Francisco.


Posted by Glenn Meier
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Nov 18, 2014 at 5:04 pm

I would bet that very few people that drive on ECR have both a start and stop point within walkable distance of ECR. They need their cars so who is going to get out of the car and get onto the bus?


Posted by Site of diminishing returns
a resident of another community
on Nov 18, 2014 at 5:44 pm

With all due respect for the comments from readers who do not work for the VTA, it appears that VTA propagandists have weighed in on this story and will continue their deceptive practices. As to the idea of blocking lanes to demonstrate the traffic jam coming, the VTA and CalTrans would call the police, and tickets and arrests would ensue.


Posted by Sparty
a resident of another community
on Nov 18, 2014 at 5:48 pm

Sparty is a registered user.

plenty of empty carpool lanes around here during rush hour on the freeway.

it's not to make traffic flow better, it's to punish people who won't carpool.


Posted by MVResident67
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Nov 18, 2014 at 6:07 pm

@Sparty:

"...it's not to make traffic flow better, it's to punish people who won't carpool."

~~~~~~~~~~

I'll go one step further and say that it's to punish people who drive vehicles, period. The long term goal, of course, is to make driving so unpleasant that people "choose" alternate modes of transportation -- all while fueling the politically driven beast that is the VTA.

Get BART connected down to San Jose and up thru the Peninsula and THEN you will have a rapid transit system in place that is actually worth the investment.


P.S. It wouldn't be surprising that if the VTA actually tries to bypass the each city's preferred BRT option and instead get Cal Trans to use it's authority as steward of ECR to force the lane reduction option on all cities...well, it wouldn't be surprising if powerful counter forces came into play in the form of legal action opposing this kind of rule by fiat and ignoring the wishes of the taxpayers. Think "high-speed rail" type legal entanglements. Yeah, things may get VERY political and VERy ugly with the VTA.


Posted by SRB
a resident of St. Francis Acres
on Nov 18, 2014 at 7:05 pm

The article on the Palo Alto weekly site has a few additional paragraphs:

Web Link

"The presentation did little to sway Palo Alto council members from their prior position. Councilman Greg Scharff expressed frustration about the fact that VTA staff didn't clearly spell out the different impacts of having dedicated lanes go to Embarcadero and having them stop at Showers. He also noted that it was his understanding, based on prior meetings and correspondence, that the VTA was giving "no serious consideration" to having dedicated bus lanes in Palo Alto. The inadequate information makes it difficult for the council to determine its next actions, which could include forming a committee and gearing up for a legal battle to oppose the county's drive to convert lanes.

Vice Mayor Liz Kniss, who served on the county's Board of Supervisors before rejoining the council in 2012, wondered what influence, if any, the city will have on the final decision, given El Camino's status as a state road. Ristow said the final project will be proposed by the VTA and would require approval from the state Department of Transportation (Caltrans).

"We are not the governing board," Kniss said. "Regardless of our comments, the decision will be made by Caltrans."

Palo Alto's planning staff plans to draft a letter stating the city's concerns about the project and bring it to the council for approval on Jan. 12, just before the deadline for commenting on the Environmental Impact Report (EIR). The deadline for comments on the EIR is Jan. 14."


Posted by Los Altan
a resident of another community
on Nov 18, 2014 at 9:03 pm

This proposal is so moronic that it doesn't even merit consideration. Nobody is going to ditch their car to ride the bus! All they are going to accomplish is creating a traffic nightmare on El Camino Real and pushing overflow traffic into side streets. Palo Alto, Los Altos, and Mountain View are going to be screwed!


Posted by Robert
a resident of another community
on Nov 18, 2014 at 9:12 pm

I'm sure that if any of these folks against bus lanes have any better ideas for preventing gridlock or providing mobility options when the area's population doubles the VTA would be all ears, but that would require actually planning for the future and getting their heads out of the sand when it comes to population growth.


Posted by try to imagine...
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 18, 2014 at 10:20 pm

Look at the second picture in this link to see how much more efficient it is to use roads for transit..

Web Link

Provide a fast, efficient, clean and attractive transit service and some people will opt to ride.

Maybe it's the WIFI, maybe it's driving time, maybe its not having to park or choosing to have a drink with dinner or the freedom of not having to ask Mom for a ride.
It does not have to be every trip but try hard enough and most people could find a scenario where it would make sense.
Add up these trips and subtract the cars that are taken off the road and soon it makes a difference.

Getting transit right is the cheapest and most promising way to address congestion.

Google bus has done it, Caltrain is doing it.
Imagine how much worse the congestion would be if those people drove too ?


Posted by Imagine
a resident of Gemello
on Nov 18, 2014 at 10:29 pm

Imagine. Wasn't that a John Lennon song? And look what happened to him. You can get on board or be run over. The VTA answers to no one. Next, they will start selling food on their buses and light rail cars: soylent green!


Posted by JKL
a resident of another community
on Nov 18, 2014 at 11:13 pm

Public transit or alternate forms of transportation originally were designed to complement existing types of transportation. The proposed planning and implementing of this type of transportation does not compliment, increase or provide additional ways of transportation it slows down movement and pulls away from the existing mix to favor its own mode it takes away capacity in favor of a limited use of the roadway. If you want to achieve more movement you design smoother and smarter flow of transportation at intersections and along roadways, adding additional roadways, under ground subways, over head transit, and design additional ways of transportation across the board. This transformation of EL Camino ( The Grand Boulevard initiative ) will add more strain on a restricted roadway, and increase pollution, green house gas emissions, lost productivity, increased energy use with a decrease in total movement over the redesigned areas. Now days the project that cost the most and delivers the least and has built in problems often gets the approval. Several projects in California mimic this approach


Posted by Sparty
a resident of another community
on Nov 18, 2014 at 11:29 pm

Sparty is a registered user.

Wait-I thought that from posts on other articles that everyone who works in existing Mt View buildings lives in Mt View. That's why we can't put in new office space. Because there would be tons of traffic unless we build housing for each new worker.

So what do we need express lanes for buses for? Wasn't it decided that no one ever works outside the city they live in?


Posted by MV Resident
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 19, 2014 at 12:35 am

@Sparty - Here is the Visioning for Mountain View’s Tomorrowland:

1. With the help of major developers, we will build piles and piles of housing for Google employees.

2. Everyone will ride bicycles and take public transit to all destinations.

3. To make sure that everyone rides bicycles, we will also make auto use as miserable as possible.

4. With everyone on the bus or on bicycles, we can build to the sky, and there will be no gridlock.

5. Each new renter will happily pay $3,500-$4,000 per month to rent a “luxury” apartment in beautiful Mountain View (you can see the mountains from the 4th floor and up) - Web Link

That’s $42,000-$48,000 per year, skimmed off the top of each renter’s $120,000/year salary (average for a Google software engineer).

6. Developers obtain a wonderful income stream, into the indefinite future.

It’s perfect!


Posted by newcomer
a resident of Monta Loma
on Nov 19, 2014 at 7:41 am

Wow, I think their plan is to make people as miserable as possible.

I wonder if the localities could practice civil disobedience? Just tell the county that they can paint the lanes whatever color they want, but the local police will not issue tickets to cars using those lanes.


Posted by rainbow38
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Nov 19, 2014 at 8:21 am

Most of the proposed "improvements" or "enhancements" create more problems than they're designed to solve.

Issues regarding dedicated lanes next to the medians:
1. Would require that the medians be widened significantly for the BRT stations and to meet the needs of people using wheelchairs, strollers and shopping carts;
2. May require the removal of greenery and trees which is not desirable;
3. Would probably require there be no parking on El Camino Real which would impact businesses that have little or no parking;
4. Traffic going by on both sides of the median would create a safety issue, especially for someone traveling with several children;
5. Since the doors to enter/exit buses are on the right side of the bus, it seems new buses with doors on the left side would be needed;
6. Making left hand turns may be problematic unless drivers can use the dedicated lane for turns;
7. Some cities will elect not to have dedicated lanes which will increase the number of lane changes needed to navigate El Camino Real and increase the risk of accidents.

More issues to consider:
The current gridlock on El Camino Real, especially at Rengstorff Ave., Castro St. and the Grant Rd./237 intersections, and at the entrances/exits of the 85 freeway,
The lack of streets parallel to El Camino Real, particularly on the west side of Mountain View,
The location of the north and south entries and exits for the 85 freeway,
The new law mandating a 3 foot distance between cars and bicycles,
The number of housing and business projects planned along El Camino Real, and
The location of El Camino Hospital and the Fire Station on Grant Rd.

If the aim is to improve traffic flow by increasing bus use and reducing car use, it's important to recognize that this isn't workable when:
People need to get to multiple locations at specific times or within a given amount of time,
People need to get to or live at locations that are not near the bus line,
People need their cars for use at work, and
The bus doesn't run on a schedule that's compatible with people's schedules.

Conclusion:
Based on all of the above, there should be NO reduction in the number of lanes, narrowing of lanes, bulb-outs for bus stops, or any other change that would increase the number of lane changes needed and further impede the flow of traffic, including emergency vehicles, on Mountain View's approximately four miles of El Camino Real.

El Camino is a main traffic artery that should not become an obstacle course.

BRT, if implemented, should operate only in mixed-flow lanes with enhanced bus stations.

NB: I recently used the bus on a Tuesday at 1 pm to travel 1 1/2 miles. The wait was more than 10 minutes and there were only six people on the bus. The evident lack of use would make implementation of the proposed BRT questionable at best.



Posted by Geek
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Nov 19, 2014 at 9:31 am

Geek is a registered user.

2 rainbow38
While I do not like the idea of dedicated bus line on El-Camino, no new buses with doors on the left side would be needed, please check the picture: Web Link


Posted by Unintended users
a resident of Bailey Park
on Nov 19, 2014 at 10:53 am

Regardless of stated use, these will be used as good wide bike lanes when not used by the bus.


Posted by Jarod
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 19, 2014 at 11:43 am

It will take 48 minutes to go 17 miles on the bus so the average speed is 21.25mph. The bus will run every 10 minutes so there will be 3.54 miles between bus's. Do we dedicate a lane to vehicles that come once every 10 minutes and are spaced 3.5 miles apart?


Posted by PhilC
a resident of St. Francis Acres
on Nov 19, 2014 at 11:51 am

Has anyone considered what Google is doing with their !Free! shuttle service? Their proposed routes connect El Camino Hospital on Grant Road with the Whisman district with points in-between, not yet approaching the North Bayshore development area.
Their approach to public transport seems the most promising, with free fares, providing service where VTA seems unwilling to go, in a cost-competitive manner. It can answer access concerns for those passengers on ECR to get to work and homes away from the core VTA routes.
Expand the possibilities by including alternate, if not futuristic, plans to our present mass transportation. Why not complement our current services with corporate projections for the benefit of all concerned?


Posted by Gene Cavanaugh
a resident of Willowgate
on Nov 19, 2014 at 12:20 pm

I think there is too much NIMBY in these discussions. I don't hear "I think we need to look at VTA plans for dedicated bus lines", I hear "they are all idiots".
It's too much like the response to automobiles (requiring that a man with a flag run in front of the auto to warn people the auto was coming), and similar things.
No one likes change. Offer people in some areas of the world an indoor toilet, or similar sanitary facilities, and rather than examine the proposal to see if it had merit, they would tend to give a knee-jerk "no!". That applies to the argument "I have always used a car, and I can't imagine changing!" A lack of imagination is not a reason to oppose a change.
I have examined the implications of dedicated bus lanes; and while I have reservations, like most people; I favor the proposal.


Posted by MVResident67
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Nov 19, 2014 at 12:44 pm

"I have always used a car, and I can't imagine changing!"

~~~~~~~~~~

It's one thing to CHOOSE to change one's preferred mode of transportation, and it's another thing completely to essentially be directed to use a mode of transportation that some entity is pushing people to use.

That's not choice.


Posted by Nimbiots Abound
a resident of Bailey Park
on Nov 19, 2014 at 1:27 pm

VTA are idiots for not telling us what the benefit to the majority will be. People are being NIMBY because they cannot fathom how this will benefit the majority so suspect some shenanigans are afoot.
They need to not be idiots at selling their ideas, idiotic or not.


Posted by Janet Lafleur
a resident of Rex Manor
on Nov 19, 2014 at 2:05 pm

Janet Lafleur is a registered user.

@Bye Bye El Camino "Everyone hates riding the bus, and no one rides it unless you have to"

If so few people like riding the bus then please explain to me how the buses on El Camino have ridership that approaches Caltrain levels. For every 1000 Caltrain riders there are 666 people riding VTA on El Camino from San Jose to Palo Alto.

I'm a daily Caltrain rider on that route who has occasionally taken the VTA 522/22 instead. The biggest difference is Caltrain is much much faster because it doesn't get caught behind car traffic or wait at stop lights. Dedicated-lane BRT would remove the significant time penalty of riding the bus with only a modest time increase for people who drive.

The second difference is frequency. For much of the day and almost all of the weekend, Caltrain runs hourly vs four times an hour on VTA. So even with slower buses, I'll ride VTA instead of waiting 45 minutes for Caltrain. And VTA runs 24 hours. With Caltrain you can't get to San Jose on the weekend before almost 10am or leave after 10:30pm (9:30 on Sunday!).

The last difference is the cost. That's not a big deal for me, but if I were working a $20/hour job you can bet I'd the difference between $10 Caltrain and $4 VTA roundtrip fare would factor into my decision. And the busboy at your favorite restaurant on University Avenue or clerk at your favorite store on El Camino probably makes less than $20/hour.

What we have with BRT is the opportunity to add more capacity for moving *people* up and down the spine of our valley as efficiently as possible. We simply don't have space for 90% of the population to drive a car for all their trips. We need to make this change now, before our population grows and we are truly gridlocked with fewer alternatives.


Posted by Bus tripin
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Nov 19, 2014 at 2:50 pm

The VTA counts as a trip every time someone steps onto a bus for any distance. The proposal is to reserve a lane for buses that will come along, at most, every ten minutes. At 30 miles per hour, that would be one bus every five miles. So, the bus-only lane would be unused almost all of the time. That would be quite a waste.


Posted by Glenn Meier
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Nov 19, 2014 at 3:18 pm

Will they guarantee that the estimated increased travel time for a car is less than 4 minutes? Of course they won't. Will they promise that they will discontinue the dedicated route if the estimates are off by 50%? Of course they won't. Who is left holding the bag on this? People for whom the bus just doesn't make sense.


Posted by Utopian? Hmm...
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 19, 2014 at 3:22 pm

Gene Cavanaugh: "It's easy to just "dump" on a new idea without giving it any thought;" "No one likes change."

Janet Lafleur: "What we have with BRT is the opportunity to add more capacity for moving *people* up and down the spine of our valley as efficiently as possible." "We need to make this change now, before our population grows and we are truly gridlocked with fewer alternatives."

Until you would-be social engineers move past looking selectively at just the aspects of a proposal that you like, while remaining stubbornly blind to its side effects, we'll continue to have disastrous social experiments, and you'll continue to call the fallout "unintended consequences," as if they weren't fully predictable. In the 19-teens, people of that mind-set pushed alcohol prohibition as morally superior. In the 1930s, they defended Joseph Stalin's euphemistic tyranny as a bold new (and "efficient") society -- waving away evidence of mass murders with rationalizations like "you can't break an omelet without breaking eggs" (someone else's eggs, natch).

Gene Cavanaugh, why do you presume that rejecting this scheme implies people haven't given it any thought, or just resist change? Janet Lefleur, your second sentence above is illogical (dedicated bus lanes entail physical changes to the road and can be done at ANY time, now or later -- while once completed, there would be no prospect of funds to undo them if the scheme showed severe "unintended consequences").

Both of you, like VTA itself, wave away the elephant in the room -- the OBVIOUS negative, which has many of us *thoughtfully* concerned, though we too want to add capacity "for moving *people*" along ECR. It's the casual removal of traffic lanes from ECR, and pretending this won't cause gross problems. Or that everyone else will stop using cars, because you personally are in a position to. Or at least, be forced out of their cars (in good social-engineering fashion -- echoes of the USSR) by the resulting gridlock. Once again, the eggs at risk are always someone else's.


Posted by Janet Lafleur
a resident of Rex Manor
on Nov 19, 2014 at 3:48 pm

Janet Lafleur is a registered user.

@Utopian? Hmm...
You want to talk about social engineering? Let's talk about the grandest social experiment of all: building cities where it's close to impossible to get around unless you spend thousands of dollars a year on an automobile. So if you can't afford to buy one or are unable to physically drive one, you're relegated to slow and/or infrequent transit and/or walking or biking on hostile roads filled with fast-moving cars. Lovely.

For the last 60 years we've favored traveling by automobile through public policies, from parking minimums to zoning which places homes far from workplaces and from retail. Our grandparents could walk to get a loaf of bread and walk or take a bus to get to work. Now, if you don't have a car, your options are far more limited.

There's a reason walkable neighborhoods are more expensive. There aren't that many of them, and that's because for the past 60 years we've assumed everyone would drive and built accordingly. Now there's no room to add more cars so we have to rethink how we're going to move around, and how we build neighborhoods.

Call it social engineering if you like, but realize that we've socially engineered ourselves into this mess and we can't keep doing the same old, same old and expect to get out of it.


Posted by More please
a resident of another community
on Nov 19, 2014 at 3:49 pm

Why don't we just widen ECR? Then we can fit even more cars and all of the clogged intersections will move along nicely.


Posted by Derp
a resident of another community
on Nov 19, 2014 at 3:51 pm

The USSR had automobiles also, so let's get rid of those? Got to love the die-hard "better red than dead" trolls who have nothing positive to contribute to society, yet find ways to leech an existence off the sweat of other, more educated citizenry.

Derp.


Posted by member name
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 19, 2014 at 5:22 pm

Anyone who has been on ECR in Menlo Park during the day - KNOWS this is the worst possible plan for El Camino.


Posted by Gene Cavanaugh
a resident of Willowgate
on Nov 19, 2014 at 5:30 pm

Janet, we seem to be seeing a lot of "I cannot impeach your logic, so I will
attack you personally".
I will say, short term the dedicated bus lines would cause greater auto congestion. You won't have people immediately deciding to take the bus because the service has improved.
Long term, the answer will tend to be different, because the density of people on a bus is greater (or can be) than the density of persons in a single-occupancy vehicle.
But in both cases, the result of dedicated bus lanes would be positive; either decreasing traffic, or more likely, reducing the impact of more and more people entering the area. I suppose everyone realizes that the population is expected to, and almost certainly will, increase?
For me, one dimension to consider is the constantly endangered air quality. We in California have done a marvelous job of controlling air pollution, but with more people moving in, air quality is a "moving target", and we need to address it. Mass transit of any sort is a way to do so.
Long term goal? Sure. But long term has a way of becoming now.
Again, though, attacking someone because you can't answer their argument is just a way of saying "I am wrong".


Posted by MVResident67
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Nov 19, 2014 at 6:29 pm

Snipped from the article...

"The county is estimating that having dedicated lanes would reduce the time it takes buses to travel from Palo Alto to San Jose from the current level of 85.2 minutes to 48 minutes. The time it takes to travel the 17-mile corridor by car is expected to go up from 40 minutes to 43.7 minutes."

~~~~~~~~~~

I am interested to know what time of day/night these travel time estimates were calculated? Are these averages that are based on trips made over a 24 hour time frame, or what?

Just for shiggles I decided to write my reset my trip odometer and start my stopwatch when I hit El Camino Real today traveling North from Castro Street up to Embarcadero Road. My trip Northbound was started at 11:10AM and I turned off El Camino Real at Embarcadero at 11:31AM traveling exactly 5.6 miles in 21 minutes, for an average speed of 16MPH. I did the same (reset my trip odometer and hit my stopwatch) when I made my return trip - from Embarcadero Road to Castro Street - and stopped my stopwatch as I crossed Castro. The return trip was started at 4:08PM and concluded at 4:32PM, traveling exactly 5.6 miles in 24 minutes, for an average speed of 14MPH. the traffic was heavier on my return trip, but I did not encounter any construction slow downs during either trip.

I drive ECR nearly every single day, and based upon my experience the traffic today was what I would call pretty average for ECR during those times of day (exclusive of construction related slow downs which are frequent lately) A week ago I made the same trip, departing from Castro Street at 8:25AM and turning off at Embarcadero at 9:00AM for an average speed of 9.6MPH. Over the last 6 months I have found that the 35 minute (9.6MPH average speed) to travel that 5.6 mile stretch of ECR at that time of day, to be about average.

So again, how did the VTA come up with the calculation that the 17 mile drive up/down El Camino Real is presently made in just 40 minutes? (40 minutes is the present calculation put forth in the above article.)

An honest assessment of travel time up/down ECR should be based upon the times when ECR is the most heavily utilized, say from 6AM to 10PM or thereabouts.


Posted by Gene Cavanaugh
a resident of Willowgate
on Nov 19, 2014 at 6:39 pm

Good data points. However, whether the estimates are right or not, or whether the
correct time of day was chosen, are less important to me than the fact (unargued,
so far as I know) that continued population and jobs growth will make <whatever>
much, much worse, as well as increasing pollution (which seems to be a fact from
my observations).

If dedicated bus lines will result in less commute traffic due to more people on
the buses, and less pollution, even if it is painful in the short term, I favor
them. I am aware that everyone cannot ride the bus, but if large numbers can, it
will be long term beneficial (but I agree, short term painful).


Posted by No
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Nov 19, 2014 at 6:53 pm

For perspective, here's another piece of data I'd like to see:

Using the exact same methodology as VTA uses to come up with 12,512 "weekday boarders", how many "weekday car travelers" are there? 500,000? 1,000,000? More?

Again, use the same counting methodology, which I assume means ALL passengers in a car, counting people both coming and going, and counting people no matter where (or how long) they travel on El Camino (between Palo Alto and San Jose).

These are the people who would be effected by reduction of a lane.


PS - With respect to air quality, how is air quality impacted by gridlocked traffic at a standstill?

PPS - If we had a great subway system, I'd love it. But the Bus doesn't go where people need to go. Making things more inconvenient for drivers doesn't change that fact.


Posted by MVResident67
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Nov 19, 2014 at 7:09 pm

@Gene Cavanaugh:

Honesty matters.

It is disingenuous (at best) and ultimately harmful to the VTA's credibility if the public perception is that the agency is not being forthright and honest in it's communications about this, or any project the agency is trying to win approval for.


Posted by MV Resident
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 19, 2014 at 7:11 pm

Reminder, from the article.

Two meetings on the topic are set for Thursday, Nov. 20, in the Mountain View City Council Chambers, 500 Castro Street. The first is from 8:30 a.m.-10:30 a.m. and the second is from 5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m.


Posted by One bus every 5 miles
a resident of Slater
on Nov 19, 2014 at 9:03 pm

One bus every 10 minutes (at peak) is one bus every 5 miles (traveling at 30mph). The rest of the time, the lanes would be empty. That is a waste of roadway. But it is consistent with the objective of forcing persons out of their private passenger vehicles and to become dependent on government run mass transit. Power, money and pensions for the VTA (and SamTrans) are thereby assured. The VTA is all about the VTA. Anyone surprised?


Posted by Steve
a resident of another community
on Nov 19, 2014 at 9:18 pm

Just for a grin... how many of the social engineers here actually drive ECR on a daily basis? It's all grand and glorious to champion such forward thinking concepts when the changes have no negative impact on you personally. Or perhaps they'll actually benefit you directly (I ride the bus! so scr*w those environmentally insensitive drivers!). Neither position is defensible in the larger context, and throwing derogatory terms like 'nimby' around is disgusting. This is just a plain stupid idea, politically motivated from VTA's inability to run a transit agency with anything resembling efficiency.

Since we can't coax drivers from their cars, then by god, we'll force them!


Posted by Robert
a resident of another community
on Nov 19, 2014 at 9:38 pm

Yes Steve, taking one lane on one road to keep the valley's busiest bus line out of ECRs inevetable gridlock is the same thing as forcing drivers from their cars. Perhaps the term NIMBY is overused, but I think the term "hyperbole" might apply here...


Posted by Desmond Brand
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 19, 2014 at 9:56 pm

While I agree with the principles behind this, it does strike me as quite a bold plan. The reactions here were surely anticipated.

To begin with the bus lane will be underutilized, but please consider that it's simple to increase the capacity of a dedicated bus lane - just increase the frequency of buses. Without buses, how else do we increase the capacity of ECR as the population grows? And the population is growing quickly: Web Link

Take a look at this picture to see how much the capacity of ECR will be boosted if more people use buses: Web Link


Posted by Utopian? Hmm...
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 19, 2014 at 10:02 pm

Janet Lafleur and (especially) Gene Cavanaugh: What's your problem here? I'm serious.

Manifestly -- painfully! -- fatal problems with the scheme you like are pointed out (SEVERAL TIMES) in comments here.

All you can do is, respectively, hold forth about other past planning ills (perfectly valid complaints, but what has it to do with the painfully obvious pitfalls of removing traffic lanes from El Camino???) and comment "we seem to be seeing a lot of "I cannot impeach your logic, so I will attack you personally." Anything but answer the objections. What's missing from your "logic" has been explicitly pointed out, so I have to assume you don't want to see.


Posted by Gene Cavanaugh
a resident of Willowgate
on Nov 19, 2014 at 10:08 pm

I've seen a lot of objections to the plan; but no real reasoned arguments. Of course, I noted that the claim was followed by an attack on the messengers. Tell you anything? I guess not.


Posted by Janet Lafleur
a resident of Rex Manor
on Nov 19, 2014 at 11:30 pm

@ Utopian? Hmm...
Let me be clear. I am not saying the VTA plans for El Camino are perfect or even clear at this point. I was responding to someone saying "no one rides the bus unless they have to" by saying people do (including me). Then I was defending the idea that converting car lanes to bus lanes was "social engineering" by saying our suburban, car-oriented city design is grand-scale social engineering.

My point is simply that continuing to prioritize people who drive solo vs take the bus is the misguided logic that got us into this mess and will never get us out of it.


Posted by One Bay Area Mess
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 20, 2014 at 8:31 am

What has created a traffic jams on El Camino and will make it worse in the regional plan to "stack and pack" offices and housing along and near existing transportation corridors. The master planners live in the otherwise off-limits hills and in other areas and countries. Toll roads everywhere will be next. And the government agencies will sell toll roads to foreign investors and regimes to raise money for higher salaries and pensions and other benefits. Then, when China's duly installed government raises the tolls, you can complain to the person responsible. Just look in the mirror.


Posted by Robert
a resident of another community
on Nov 20, 2014 at 10:02 am

@One Bay Area Mess

Yes, the wild success and growth of Google and other tech companies must be some kind authoritarian scheme, because God knows they didn't locate here by choice...


Posted by Gene Cavanaugh
a resident of Willowgate
on Nov 20, 2014 at 10:02 am

I think Janet LaFleur is a voice of reason. As she said, it is not a perfect plan, but (paraphrasing - sorry if I misrepresent what you meant, Janet) sticking to "same-old, same-old" isn't working - we need to try new things before the situation gets worse. Things will get worse before they get better, but they may get better with new ideas. The old ideas? No way!
And attacking the messenger while claiming you are not doing so isn't productive.


Posted by forgetting-the-fundamentals
a resident of another community
on Nov 20, 2014 at 10:15 am


Two much development -- too many offices concentrated in MV is
causing traffic mess in MV and neighboring towns...
On top of it adding buslanes can only exacerbate the problem.

Exercise moderation in what is being built and in what corridors
and how fast the development is happening. Wake up!!
Work with the builders and developers to gain their cooperation and
understanding of the future of MV and neighboring towns and the
tragic traffic gridlocks.

See the San Antonio phase 2 here: Web Link
(http //www.chambermv.org/pdf/phaseII-factsheet.pdf)

Traffic Mess is guaranteed once this phase-2 is completed.
Say goodbye to Mountain View's livability.
Here is your opportunity to speak up and stop the monstrosity and traffic nightmare!!!

Haven't verified if this meeting is happening today:
===========
>>Merlone Geier invites the Mountain View community to a reception and presentation
>>on the proposal for Phase II of the Village at San Antonio Center
>>Thursday, November 20, 2014
>>5:00 to 7:00 p.m.
>>Carmel the Village Apartments
>>545 San Antonio Road
>>4th Floor, Suite 402
>>(We suggest parking in the large lot between the new park and Ross/BevMo)
======================


Posted by Gene Cavanaugh
a resident of Willowgate
on Nov 20, 2014 at 10:48 am

There seems to be a misconception that we can dictate whatever we want, and the "house of cards" being built around us won't collapse. To keep what we have now requires the same care and "give and take" that got us here!
But, I am sure if the "my way or no way" people succeed in destroying our way of life, they will find someone else to blame!
Negotiate, people! Innovate! Compromise! "My way only" is not a solution! In fact, with population increase, it leads to disaster! What kind? Not clear, but undesirable.


Posted by LoveYourDNA
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 20, 2014 at 11:47 am

Hey City Council! Keep cramming more housing, businesses and traffic down our throats, why don't ya!!


Posted by Stop the building of new offices and houses
a resident of Monta Loma
on Nov 20, 2014 at 12:05 pm

One solution would be to Stop the building of new offices and houses. Then the traffic mess would stay the same. New building do not guarantee that the occupants will live here. The Builders won't tell you that, they are in it for the money.

Looks like our Social progressives, IE Liberal Commies are trying their best to force people out of their cars. It won't happen, people love their cars too much. The freedom of a car is incomparable to a lousy bus or train, that can harbor virus, ebola, flu, or even bed bugs. I'll stick to my personal vehicle.






Posted by Stop the building of new offices and houses
a resident of Monta Loma
on Nov 20, 2014 at 12:05 pm

One solution would be to Stop the building of new offices and houses. Then the traffic mess would stay the same. New building do not guarantee that the occupants will live here. The Builders won't tell you that, they are in it for the money.

Looks like our Social progressives, IE Liberal Commies are trying their best to force people out of their cars. It won't happen, people love their cars too much. The freedom of a car is incomparable to a lousy bus or train, that can harbor virus, ebola, flu, or even bed bugs. I'll stick to my personal vehicle.






Posted by Gene Cavanaugh
a resident of Willowgate
on Nov 20, 2014 at 12:46 pm

So, just stop everything? Life doesn't work that way. When all the businesses move away, and the area stagnates - well, it would work for some, but be draconian for most.
Also, no one is "forcing more traffic" down anyone's throat. People move in - more traffic!


Posted by what are they thinking?
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 20, 2014 at 3:19 pm

@Gene - In just a short post, you've managed to make several statements that are, let's say, highly questionable.

"So, just stop everything? Life doesn't work that way." - Of course we won't "stop everything". No one with any sense of reality would expect that we would "stop everything". That's a false characterization of the position that most us have regarding the subject of this article.

"When all the businesses move away, and the area stagnates..." - Are you saying that if we don't give VTA everything it wants, or give developers or industry everything they want, industry will bail on the South Bay? Sorry, that's just ridiculous.

"Also, no one is "forcing more traffic" down anyone's throat." - Another false characterization of the position of those who oppose giving up 2 ECR lanes. OF COURSE the cause of our traffic problem is not VTA, or you, or Janet. We are referring to the inevitable, totally foreseeable consequence of closing lanes to autos, which would be gridlock.

"People move in - more traffic!" - Exactly. I totally agree with you on this point. That's a powerful reason to junk the idea of closing lanes.



Posted by Sparty
a resident of another community
on Nov 20, 2014 at 4:28 pm

Sparty is a registered user.

Whats several thousand idling cars spewing CO2 if a few dozen more people take the bus?

Seems like a fair trade off.


Posted by InventoryOfIgnorance
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 20, 2014 at 5:29 pm

Inventory of Ignorance:

Thank goodness we don't function on a direct Democracy, but rather we use a representative form. Many of the comments on this thread are readily discarded or discounted by our elected leaders. I've inventoried a number of these "gems" and provided a brief response. Hope it is helpful...

“I happen to live 3 blocks from El Camino, and work about 1.5 miles off of it down Page Mill. That's about as close as one could hope to get, but still not close enough to get me out of my car.”

Wow. THREE BLOCKS from El Camino and you still feel the need to drive. Absolutely ridiculous. Are you more concerned with the 1.5 miles? Do you realize that is only 6 times around a school running track? If you can’t walk that far, then you have bigger problems. What is your BMI? Obesity is a big problem in the US and this is one of the key reasons why. Laziness.

"The increased benefits of additional bus riders is minuscule compared to the dramatic increase in time people will experience sitting in their cars on the El Camino Parking lot.”

What “dramatic increase” are you referring to? There is no evidence to show that a “dramatic increase” will occur by removing one lane. Traffic has been slowing down for years with the dedicated automobile lanes there and will continue to rise if nothing is done.
The “increased benefits” for the bus riders is immense. Their El Camino commute will be cut in half and connections will be much more reliable. That alone will increase ridership.

"More importantly, adding riders to a bus running down the El Camino from San Jose does not decrease vehicular traffic on the El Camino.”

Uh, and where is the evidence of that? When the vastly improved bus service, say 100 people leave their cars home and take the bus instead. There you go, 100 cars off the road.

"Unless most drivers avoid El Camino, it will be a parking lot in the other two lanes.”

Still no evidence of that. More importantly, it can be a parking lot today anyway. Providing a lane to allow buses and emergency vehicles an unimpeded route is a great benefit to the community.

"If Santa Clara County forces us to confine auto traffic to two lanes with a third dedicated bus lane, the result will be total gridlock a good portion of the day.”

A “good portion of the day”? Really? Where is the evidence of that? And what does “a good portion of the day” really mean anyway?

"Closing lanes on ECR is, really, an unbelievably stupid idea.”

Thank you for the thoughtful, educated and informative contribution!

"It will push more traffic onto Central Expressway and Foothill Expressway, plus the side streets needed to get to the Expressways. “

Oh no! You mean people that want to go long distances might be tempted to instead use a road called an “Expressway”??!!! That’s terrible! Cars should be able to drive El Camino from Alaska to Mexico at 55mph. It’s a highway, right?

"I live a mile from ECR, are then going to provide parking lots for my car at ECR so I can switch to a bus?”

Oh no! Walk a WHOLE MILE? Isn’t walking a whole mile the most difficult thing in the world? It’s a shame that bicycles are outlawed on VTA buses…oh wait, they’re not.

"I don't plan to go to their meetings because it is obvious that they have already made up their minds and the meetings are just so they can say they have gotten input from the public.”

Oh yes, THEY are the ones that have their minds already made up. They are probably being overly influenced by those ignorant traffic engineers that study this issue all day every day. Don’t you think as an Internet Troll, that you would be more highly qualified to provide input on this issue?

"I personally will never vote for any politician who votes for this.”

That’ll tell ‘em! Even better, why don’t you boycott the whole state of California and move away? Vote with your feet!

"If you want more people to ride the bus, lower the fares. As long as public transportation costs more money than gasoline, people are going to drive”

Great idea! Unfortunately, California is still Red-stated enough to resist subsidies for infrastructure.

"This is a crazy plan that will benefit very few people.”

Ah, yes… The experts are the crazy ones. And will it really benefit “very few people”? I think you mean, “This is a crazy plan that will only benefit people with lower economic status that cannot afford to operate a vehicle every day (or at all).

"This would make car travel even harder. It would be wonderful to use public transit, in theory, but in practice, it's hard.”

Public transit is difficult? Really? 40 minute express train from MV to downtown SF, because they have a dedicated rail where the legions of single driver/no passengers automobiles are not blocking. Upset the buses don’t come on time and take forever to get somewhere? Well, that’s why a dedicated lane is being proposed! Then, in practice, it’s easy!

"It does not matter what the masses want. The elites decide. Same in Russia.”

Yep—in Russia the elites decided to build roads for their automobiles, so you must be opposed to roads too.

"I would bet that very few people that drive on ECR have both a start and stop point within walkable distance of ECR”

Great contribution! Too bad your “bet” is useless. Maybe the traffic engineers know this subject area better? By the way, how few is "very few?"

"plenty of empty carpool lanes around here during rush hour on the freeway.”

Yes, the carpool lanes look empty, because all the drivers that are sharing their 9 person mini-vans with as few as ONE other person already made it home. Perhaps you can learn from this and make a commute friend?

"I'll go one step further and say that it's to punish people who drive vehicles, period.”

Oh, sure. Any data or proof behind this assertion? No? Great! Another valuable contribution.

"Nobody is going to ditch their car to ride the bus!”

Well, lots of people ditched their cars to ride a train. A lot of workers ditched their cars to ride a company bus. So, are you absolutely certain that not even a single person will elect to ride the bus more often if their SJ—>PA commute is cut from 85 minutes to 40+ minutes? Do you understand how silly your comment is?

"The VTA answers to no one. Next, they will start selling food on their buses and light rail cars: soylent green!”

Ah, so you are saying that if they get the dedicated lane, that they will cook people up and serve them on the buses? OK, another great contribution that really shows the intelligence of the “No” side.

"The proposed planning and implementing of this type of transportation does not compliment, increase or provide additional ways of transportation it slows down movement and pulls away from the existing mix to favor its own mode it takes away capacity in favor of a limited use of the roadway.”

Ah, an educated *sounding* comment. Let’s take this apart:
"does not compliment”: I think you mean “complement”. How is it not complementary? It does not completely replace, does it? When car drivers switch to the bus, it takes those cars out of traffic.

“does not increase additional ways of transportation”:

Well, I would say that a 85 minute bus commute from SJ —> PA is a non-starter for many people, so by reducing this to 45 minutes, wouldn’t this open up the bus to more people?

“slows down movement and pulls away from the existing mix”:

Yes, there is a slight decrease in the velocity of automobile traffic to give a dramatically better experience to bus riders. That is a good thing!

"If you want to achieve more movement you design smoother and smarter flow of transportation at intersections and along roadways, adding additional roadways, under ground subways, over head transit, and design additional ways of transportation across the board.”

Ah, to make El Camino less crowded, you want us to add additional lanes? Put in an underground subway or towers for a train to go over El Camino? Well, leaving aside the massive financial burden that these projects would create (and nobody is willing to pay for), are you willing to tear down buildings and reduce the size of parking lots along El Camino to give an extra lane? Do you understand that even putting in a subway would require a significant disruption to above ground activities? Likewise towers? Sorry, not happening.

"So what do we need express lanes for buses for? Wasn't it decided that no one ever works outside the city they live in?”

Actually, many people do work outside the city they live in. And within cities, it can be difficult to take buses due to the immense number of single driver/no passenger vehicles clogging the way for buses. Buses are not creating a congestion problem, automobiles are. Isn’t it reasonable to have the automobiles take the negative impact, if any?

"To make sure that everyone rides bicycles, we will also make auto use as miserable as possible.”

Automobile use is already miserable and is getting more miserable every day. We could do nothing and it will continue to get worse and worse. We can do something to make it better for buses and bikes, so faster, more efficient alternatives to automobiles will be realistic.

"Wow, I think their plan is to make people as miserable as possible.”

No, that is the Internet Troll’s job. Well done, sir!

"Would probably require there be no parking on El Camino Real which would impact businesses that have little or no parking;”

Yes, it would. So, you are against a dedicated lane on El Camino Highway for buses, but you are OK with a dedicated lane for businesses that failed to provide sufficient parking for their customers? A little inconsistent reasoning, no?

"Some cities will elect not to have dedicated lanes which will increase the number of lane changes needed to navigate El Camino Real and increase the risk of accidents.”

Well, now you’re thinking like a traffic engineer! Too bad you only think like this to shoot down an idea, rather than come up with a supposedly better solution. I smell a red herring!

"It will take 48 minutes to go 17 miles on the bus so the average speed is 21.25mph. The bus will run every 10 minutes so there will be 3.54 miles between bus's. Do we dedicate a lane to vehicles that come once every 10 minutes and are spaced 3.5 miles apart?”

Yes. Don’t forget there will be other shared transportation vehicles that would be able to access these lanes. And, did you forget about emergency vehicles? How would you like your grandmother’s ambulance to be stuck in gridlock to accommodate the lazy and greedy single-driver/no-passenger drivers?

“[Google’s] approach to public transport seems the most promising, with free fares, providing service where VTA seems unwilling to go, in a cost-competitive manner. It can answer access concerns for those passengers on ECR to get to work and homes away from the core VTA routes.”

Google’s approach is hardly scalable. Even google is only promising to fund buses in MV for a couple years and they are one of the largest, most profitable companies on the planet…for now.

"It's one thing to CHOOSE to change one's preferred mode of transportation, and it's another thing completely to essentially be directed to use a mode of transportation that some entity is pushing people to use.”

Well, they see that the lanes of traffic are full and there are lots of people that would use public transportation if it was not so inconvenient. This will make it more convenient. And remember, it’s not the buses fault that gridlock happens. It’s the greedy drivers that refuse to share a ride with their fellow citizen. Or get out of their cars to walk a bit. This will simply restore the service that buses have enjoyed in the past, when traffic wasn’t so bad.

"The proposal is to reserve a lane for buses that will come along, at most, every ten minutes.”

Plus other group transportation vehicles and emergency vehicles!

"Will they guarantee that the estimated increased travel time for a car is less than 4 minutes?”

No, but they will guarantee that an 85 minute commute time on a bus is a big obstacle to ridership. This will definitely address that problem.

"Or at least, be forced out of their cars (in good social-engineering fashion -- echoes of the USSR) by the resulting gridlock.”

Who is forcing drivers out of their cars? It’s not illegal to take a 9 passenger mini-van and drive a couple miles down El Camino to buy a bunch of booze, turn around and drive back, watch TV and get drunk. Don’t worry sir, this right has not been taken away from you!

"Anyone who has been on ECR in Menlo Park during the day - KNOWS this is the worst possible plan for El Camino.”

Hmm..odd.. I’ve been on ECR in Meno Park during the day and I think there are worse plans, so this statement is clearly not true.

"An honest assessment of travel time up/down ECR should be based upon the times when ECR is the most heavily utilized, say from 6AM to 10PM or thereabouts.”

Well, in that case, let’s examine a 3 car pile up at a major intersection at rush hour, and do all of our studies on that. That is when it is the most heavily utilized.

"If we had a great subway system, I'd love it. But the Bus doesn't go where people need to go. Making things more inconvenient for drivers doesn't change that fact.”

Really? Hundreds of people ride the bus every day. I guess they are lost. Thousands more would take it if it was more reliable.

"That is a waste of roadway. But it is consistent with the objective of forcing persons out of their private passenger vehicles and to become dependent on government run mass transit.”

Really? Is this what the space aliens whisper to you?

"Since we can't coax drivers from their cars, then by god, we'll force them!”

Since cars are causing the gridlock impacting mass transit along el camino and we cannot fix that for cars, isn't it reasonable to fix it for mass transit?


Posted by Gene Cavanaugh
a resident of Willowgate
on Nov 20, 2014 at 7:14 pm

Loved the (rather long, but generally excellent) post by "InventoryofIgnorance" -
hope I got that right.

All the points are very well taken, and I think, accurate. Personally, I feel after a brief period of worse traffic while people adjust to the new paradigm, in the long term the traffic may be worse (the population is growing!) but better, maybe much better, than it would be without the dedicated bus lanes.

I also think a greater reliance on bicycles with mass transit would solve a lot of problems, rather than just a discussion of "how far will I have to walk, and how long will it take?" I personally find mass transit REALLY works for me if I take my bike (though I did buy a more expensive, lighter bike when I realized how hard it was to get on and off Caltrains with it).
Well done! Maybe unnecessarily confrontive; there is too much heat in these discussions.


Posted by BRT Hater
a resident of The Crossings
on Nov 20, 2014 at 7:18 pm

Went to look at phase two of the MG project. Incredible planning and a beautiful project. It will be approved given the seven million in public benefits provided.

Two bad VTA is not listening to the public. They will force BRT on the residents no matter how bad the idea is. I saw the made up numbers and the time savings are illusionary on a MV to downtown SJ route . most people would take Caltrain or drive and jump on 85 -280 to get downtown in 20 minutes. Perhaps a freeway flyer bus would work and be competitive with alternatives. If you want a similar BRT experience, take light rail to downtown SJ. VTA busses are underutilized in this area for a reason. MV residents commute to SJ with very little traffic. I know , I have done it the past 10 years. I get to my office in under 20 minutes.


Posted by MVResident67
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Nov 20, 2014 at 8:47 pm


Not Quite There:

snipped...

"I happen to live 3 blocks from El Camino, and work about 1.5 miles off of it down Page Mill. That's about as close as one could hope to get, but still not close enough to get me out of my car."


Retort from InventoryOfIgnorance:

Wow. THREE BLOCKS from El Camino and you still feel the need to drive. Absolutely ridiculous. Are you more concerned with the 1.5 miles? Do you realize that is only 6 times around a school running track? If you can't walk that far, then you have bigger problems. What is your BMI? Obesity is a big problem in the US and this is one of the key reasons why. Laziness.

~~~~~~~~~~

Wow, what is your defect? Seriously. You presumptuous, condescending buffoon. It's a shame for me that you and I have to breathe the same air.

Pfffffft







Posted by SRB
a resident of St. Francis Acres
on Nov 20, 2014 at 8:54 pm

Why is the Mountain View City Council MIA on this topic? Palo Alto and SunnyVale seem to be much more involved with VTA and the decision making.


Posted by MVResident67
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Nov 20, 2014 at 9:11 pm

Not Quite There:

"And remember, it's not the buses fault that gridlock happens. It's the greedy drivers that refuse to share a ride with their fellow citizen. Or get out of their cars to walk a bit. This will simply restore the service that buses have enjoyed in the past, when traffic wasn't so bad."

~~~~~~~~~~

Why are drivers "greedy"? Plenty of drivers out there have more than one person in their car. Speaking of which, the VTA should count each individual in a car - not simply the number of cars - in the same manner it counts each passenger on a bus.

How do you know that me (or someone like me) doesn't shuttle someone who uses a wheelchair up and down ECR regularly?

There are plenty of people out there who would like nothing more than to be able walk unaided, or walk period, and for you to sit on your computer and call people lazy and infer obesity when you know NOTHING about those people is repugnant. Truly.

Count your blessings.

Web Link


Posted by Oh
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 20, 2014 at 10:23 pm

@MVResident67,
Oh, now you care about the handicapped? What about all the handicapped that cannot drive and rely on buses? Shouldn't they be able to go between San Jose and Palo Alto in less than 90 minutes with the current bus situation? They have no other choice. Are you unaware of the special buses to carry people that cannot drive themselves to also use these lanes?

Plenty of drivers have more than 1 person in their car? Really? Sparty says the HOV lanes are empty, so I guess you are wrong. Have you ever driven El Camino around commuting hours? Take a long look...most cars have just one person in the car. Unless by "plenty", you mean like 10%?

Your arguments are weak and you know it, because name calling is the last gasp of the ignorant and uneducated.


Posted by MVResident67
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Nov 20, 2014 at 10:33 pm



@"oh" (using multiple monikers?).

Whatever.

I'd say have a nice life, but that would be disingenuous...so I'll just bid you farewell.




Posted by Whatever?
a resident of another community
on Nov 21, 2014 at 12:20 am

We have the elderly, the handicapped and the economically disadvantaged that need efficient bus access to services along El Camino and this MV Resident person doesn't care. That is just so heartless. :(


Posted by Gene Cavanaugh
a resident of Willowgate
on Nov 21, 2014 at 8:51 am

We're neighbors, people! We all have opinions, how about adding civility? Of course, that applies to me, too. Looking back, there were times I came across as overly sarcastic or ???
Sorry! I will try to do better - you too?


Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Nov 21, 2014 at 11:51 am

Immediately, up through Sunneyvale - about to the 85 bridge - BRT seems to make sense and fit in with existing. But look where BRT is most successful - and highly efficient. San Palo, Brasil, the outskirts.
Once you pass that 85 bridge and start North at Grant Road/237 'the real estate/ roadwidth issues get very complicated! The VTA traffic planners? When have they solved this type of specific urban-high density problem? The VTA 'multi-mode transportation planners"? Do they really exist? That is a large part of the skepticism - even from those like me, that support agressive alternate-transportation public/private infrastructure.

Bus / HOV use restrictions? On a California State Public Highway (ECR - realm of the CalTrans) can a lane be restricted to different versions of HOV? Can Google busses (private carrier) be charged a usage/lane/toll? SF is now charging a 'public bus-stop fee' for the use of it's bus stops by Google buses - On the State Haighways/big streets in SF, can they still do that? A vehicle every 3.5 miles is not efficient [and will result in HUGE PUBLIC OUTCRY and political danger to BRT and other modes). How can force usage of BRT lane - day one - to a HOV every 1/2 mile? just sort-of-random ideas


Posted by forgetting-the-fundamentals
a resident of another community
on Nov 21, 2014 at 12:04 pm

We need an all-round well-considered solution to traffic congestion...
We need the goodwill and cooperation from the developers...
We need to put our heads together, think, and act before it is too late!

Two much development -- too many offices concentrated in MV is
causing traffic mess in MV and neighboring towns...
On top of it adding buslanes can only exacerbate the problem.

Exercise moderation in what is being built and in what corridors
and how fast the development is happening. Wake up!!
Work with the builders and developers to gain their cooperation and
understanding of the future of MV and neighboring towns and the
tragic traffic gridlocks.

See the San Antonio phase 2 here: Web Link
(http //www.chambermv.org/pdf/phaseII-factsheet.pdf)
Traffic Mess is guaranteed once this phase-2 is completed.
Say goodbye to Mountain View's livability!
Say welcome to MV the futuristic concrete jungle!!


Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Nov 21, 2014 at 12:23 pm

the office workers are walking - the bus is coming - the Sky is Falling! -
the office workers are coming - the bus is Not coming - the Sky is Falling! -
we need a sky-hook for those busses?


Posted by Jim Neal
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 21, 2014 at 1:25 pm

Jim Neal is a registered user.

What we don't need is another Boondoggle. BRT is merely the bus equivalent of HSR. I was one of the first people to speak out about the disaster that HSR would be because it was never properly funded and the proposition contained a lot of assumptions that made no sense.

BRT, instead of consisting of vehicles to transport people inexpensively and effectively, will instead be a vehicle to transfer funds in to VTA and CalTrans coffers.

I listened to their presentation last night at City Hall and I heard and saw nothing that convinced me that this will improve things for those of us that rely on public transportation in any way. I have taken public transportation almost exclusively for the last 3 years, and I have to say that the VTA is far worse than Caltrain, Muni, BART, and AC Transit.

From what I saw last night, their solution is to inconvenience 50,000 people starting next year to make things a little better for 4,000 people 4 years from now.



Jim Neal
Old Mountain View


Posted by No
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Nov 21, 2014 at 3:01 pm

50,000 does not even nearly approximate the number of people who are in cars on El Camino during each day (between Palo Alto and San Jose). I have no idea where VTA pulls that number. My hunch is the true number is at least 10x that number. (What do we think the car volume is just at the El Camino/Grant Rd. intersection each day?)

C'mon VTA - how did you get your number?

PS for Jim: I presume the 4,000 is people who board the bus, so if people take it in both directions, only 2,000 benefit.


Posted by Shut it down!
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 21, 2014 at 3:10 pm

From the angry comments in this discussion, it appears that VTA is proposing to shut down all the lanes to automobile traffic on El Camino.

Thank you for the warning!


Posted by Gene Cavanaugh
a resident of Willowgate
on Nov 21, 2014 at 3:21 pm

So, throw up a phony number (50,000 - 500,000) then follow with a phony number (4000) - and that proves something? Why not say 4000 drivers, and 50,000 bus riders? Makes just as much sense.
So, let's see;we compare 50,000 drivers (per year?) To 4000 bus riders (per day?). Okay, I'm beginning to see the problem - still have no idea if any of those numbers are real.
I will say, my phony numbers are as good as yours.


Posted by No
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Nov 21, 2014 at 3:46 pm

Gene

The numbers are from the report. Have you read it?


Posted by Personal inventory ?
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 21, 2014 at 3:59 pm

"Thank goodness we don't work on a direct democracy"-inventory of ignorance.
Yes, indeed. In fact, the farther removed our leaders are from the will of the people, the better off we'll all be. What were our founding fathers thinking? How could they have ever imagined that the common man would be capable of making his own decisions? We need a central core of government directing our every movement. Without those brilliant leaders, we should surely revert back to cavemen.


Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Nov 21, 2014 at 4:46 pm

Having good solid alternatives to the solo commuters or slog like buses.

A subway on ECR would be a good choice but seein how long it has taken for the following projects.

Central Subway, San Francisco.
Warm Springs BART extension.
Dublin BART extension.

Planning would take years with all the meetings so the public can oppose which will send the costs higher. Having people move further from all the jobs or the either.away around would result in the need to spend more per mie into more less density sprawl.


Posted by Gene Cavanaugh
a resident of Willowgate
on Nov 21, 2014 at 8:46 pm

So, the numbers are from a report that you reject, that is, "50,000 might be 500,000",
but if anyone questions the discussion, "the numbers are from the report".

Nice. We have our cake, and we eat it.

But, yes, I question the report. 4,000 bus riders? I don't see that in what little data is available. Caltrain is nearly 53,000 PER DAY. Perhaps the 4,000 is per day, but it seems quite low (and I ride the bus a lot). On cars, 50,000 per day? Maybe,
but then we are comparing a number I have REAL problems with to a number that might
be accurate.

Of course, the 53,000 per day for Caltrain is due to the baby bullets. Don't know
how to compare a comparable bus service (like in, baby bullet bus). I will say, if
we compare Caltrain without the baby bullets to Caltrain with the baby bullets,
there is a BIG difference. Do we know it won't happen with the "baby bullet buses"?

I suspect we have an apples and oranges situation, even if we accept the present
numbers - and I am not sure I do.

If we look at history with those numbers, though, and we have an explosion of riders
on the "baby bullet bus" as we did with the baby bullet trains, looks good for the
proposal for dedicated bus lanes.


Posted by OMV Resident
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 21, 2014 at 9:43 pm

@Jim Neal -
"BRT, instead of consisting of vehicles to transport people inexpensively and effectively, will instead be a vehicle to transfer funds in to VTA and CalTrans coffers.

I listened to their presentation last night at City Hall and I heard and saw nothing that convinced me that this will improve things for those of us that rely on public transportation in any way. I have taken public transportation almost exclusively for the last 3 years, and I have to say that the VTA is far worse than Caltrain, Muni, BART, and AC Transit."

Jim, despite your puffed-up claims about being one of the first to speak against HSR, you are by far the least objective opinion to be found about the merits of transit investments. During your campaign, hardly a week went by when you weren't shooting your mouth off on some message board about how you've had to take transit across the bay for 2+ years due some personal situation, but the experience was incessantly horrible and you couldn't wait to get back to driving and hoofing it around town because all the transit agencies were so incompetent and greedy. Despite being a regular user (and temporarily transit-dependent) I don't think I've ever seen you write a constructive note about how to improve transit, only to trash it.

Did the thought ever cross your mind that constantly trashing a public service, relied upon by many who can't afford to drive or are to young, old, or physically infirm, tends to dampen support for investing in it, and inflame knee-jerk reactions against it? Talk about biting the hand that feeds you - even if it's only a temporary meal.

I would have thought your embarrassingly poor showing in this month's election would have toned you down a bit, but I guess even that was giving you too much credit.


Posted by Sparty
a resident of another community
on Nov 22, 2014 at 7:21 am

Sparty is a registered user.

Well part of San Antonio has plans to be widened, so there's that...


Posted by Jim Neal
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 22, 2014 at 9:13 am

Jim Neal is a registered user.

You're right. I am not objective about transit "investments" because I do not see them as investments. An investment by my definition is when one voluntarily agrees to put one's capital into a project or business with an expectation of a higher return of capital. They way many people use the term 'investment" today, it means "I am going to force you to pay for something that I want because I think it's a good idea and you're to stupid to see it". Why can't we be allowed to vote on it?

If you've never seen me write anything on how to improve transit, then it's because you haven't been paying attention. I also spoke about it at almost every single forum. I have talked about the need to have much better bus service for all of Mountain View, not just El Camino Real. VTA could increase ridership by LOWERING fares and allowing the use of transfers. Why should I pay to ride the bus when I can get many places I need to go quicker and more inexpensively by taking a cab or Caltrain?

By the way, how is saying that BART, Muni, Caltrain and AC Transit are far better than the VTA "trashing public transportation"? The last time I checked, they were all public transportation agencies. My point has always been that I am not one of the hypocrites that tells people they need to get out of their cars, and then drives around everywhere. I also believe in freedom of choice, so I do not think that punishing people for making a choice to drive because they have to or because it allows them a more flexible lifestyle is good.

Many of the old and physically infirm people you talk about, have to have cars to get to where they need to go I know this to be true because I talked to many of them during the campaign.

Speaking of my campaign I'm very proud of what I accomplished. I set the tone for the entire election. I wrote about the need for a smart and balanced approach to housing and about looking at revisiting housing in the North Bayshore area, and two months later, we got Balanced Mountain View. I wrote about the need for Affordable Housing and 8 months later we got Mountain View Residents for Housing Diversity. I spoke for the last two years about the need to save the Milk Pail, and now, after the election, the Voice has been writing articles about plans to save it.

I knew that by turning down money and endorsements from special interests, it would make it very difficult for me to win, but it was far more important to me that my ideas won, and they did. That is the reason I intend to keep writing about my ideas. I admit, it takes a lot more courage than taking anonymous pot-shots at people and ascribing motivations to them that you know nothing about.

Jim Neal
Old Mountain View


Posted by Wendy
a resident of another community
on Nov 22, 2014 at 4:58 pm

Don't make our neighborhoods collateral damage to VTA's desire to improve operating efficiency. Though one can still scratch one's head to try to figure how 233 million is a worthy investment for a bus ride to no where! Get some north/south bus options to link with El Camino and give us a big picture proposal!


Posted by what are they thinking?
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 22, 2014 at 5:29 pm

102 posts so far on this topic. Even allowing for back-and-forth posts, that's quite a bit of participation. Opinion seems to be VERY strongly negative about the idea of closing lanes.

If this awful idea gets implemented, it will have to be done with a very heavy hand.

It's incredible that it has gotten this far.


Posted by Jeff
a resident of another community
on Nov 22, 2014 at 9:12 pm

I read the Inventory Of Ignorance that was posted above and it did a great job of accounting for all the "hell no" statements. Fearful complaints from ignorant people. Their concerns should be greatly discounted.


Posted by Consider the source
a resident of Gemello
on Nov 23, 2014 at 10:12 am

Dear Jeff, There is a different between being fearless and being foolish. Dedicated bus lanes will only work for VTA employees. I hope you are not emailing while driving a VTA bus. It is dangerous. You could crash into pedestrians and damage the bus! Damaging a bus could get you a 2-day suspension.


Posted by Gene Cavanaugh
a resident of Willowgate
on Nov 23, 2014 at 5:34 pm

Seems to me these comments should be arranged last in, first out. I am going to give up on trying to get down to the last entry. Too time consuming. A


Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Nov 24, 2014 at 1:33 pm

Read some stuff on BRT which is less is costlier then building a subway more flexible and cheaper to run.


Posted by Duke
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 24, 2014 at 6:21 pm

What part of 'NO' don't they understand?


Posted by MVResident
a resident of Monta Loma
on Nov 25, 2014 at 8:31 am

Why, oh why are we still talking about BUS systems? While public transit is necessary, let's learn from even outside the country where it has been built and implemented successfully a long time ago.

Extend the light along ECR, add it in for the Shoreline and San Antonio connectors for starters. It's supposed to be a network, not a patchwork.

Get of your rear council and county people!
Can you think beyond the next election or assignment?


Posted by Justin
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Nov 25, 2014 at 9:08 am

@MVResident
Because bus systems are much cheaper to build and operate than any alternative. Also less intrusive. Where do you think the space for more light rail would come from?


Posted by Keenplanner
a resident of another community
on Nov 25, 2014 at 12:09 pm

Rapid Bus lanes have proved an effective, fast, and popular form of transportation in most cities in the world where they have been constructed, even Los Angeles. They move more PEOPLE than cars in their designated lanes.
There is only one way to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions caused by cars and trucks in the Bay Area: reduce the amount of driving. The only ways to do this is to make transit faster and cheaper than driving Well, it's already cheaper if you factor in the costs of car ownership and car storage. To make transit faster it needs to not be stuck in traffic, and transforming lanes to bus lanes is a very cost-effective way of meeting this goal.
It's evident that most drivers on the peninsula are reluctant to take responsibility for reducing GHG emissions, just as they are unwilling to see their part in causing congestion (I'M stuck in traffic!)
So giving drivers what they think they want never works, just as adding lanes doesn't reduce congestion for more than about 10 minutes, and causes more congestion in the longer term.
To complicate things, so much of the peninsula has developed in car-centric sprawling patterns, with big shopping malls surrounded by land-wasting parking lots.
Consider Redwood City, or even the capitol of NIMBYism, Palo Alto. Both have thriving walkable downtown areas which highlight the success of downscaling the streetscape to ped-friendly scales, and providing transit.
Most of the drivers complaining here would rather walk in these communities than along El Camino (or "the El Camino". So consider what you want for your community, not just your commute, and remember when you drive, you're mucking up another person's neighborhood.


Posted by Eugene B.
a resident of another community
on Nov 25, 2014 at 10:52 pm

Lost in this whole story - and others like it: Why does VTA continue to pursue bus-only lanes on El Camino Real and even Stevens Creek Boulevard? Because County voters approved this project as part of Measure A back in November 2000.

From the ballot text of 2000 Measure A, courtesy of the Santa Clara County
Registrar of Voters:

Web Link

"Improve Bus Service In Major Bus Corridors

For VTA Line 22 (Palo Alto to Eastridge Center) and the Stevens Creek Boulevard Corridor, purchase new low floor articulated buses. Improve bus stops and major passenger transfer points and provide bus queue jumping lanes at intersections to permit buses quick access along the corridors."

All I've read so far is just based on fear and speculation, based on
lack of history and information.

A question worth asking: Why has VTA taken over a decade before deciding
to start planning for these rapid bus lanes?

(Disclaimer: I used to live in Sunnyvale until 2004. When in Santa Clara
County I take the 22 and 522 Rapid bus lines frequently. Back around
2000 the 522 Rapid used to be known as the 300 "Bonus Bus" that only ran
along El Camino Real during weekday rush hour periods.)


Posted by William Hitchens
a resident of Waverly Park
on Nov 26, 2014 at 2:55 pm

It's pretty clear that Santa Clara County is going to ram through this nightmare plan whether or not cities approve. They're seduced by the false siren song of "mass transit". Given such a possibility, I think it's time Mountain View consider damage control by studying (but not yet approving, the least destructive of the proposals). Mountain View should study the pros and cons of implementing Palo Alto's compromise plan that keeps three lanes of auto traffic, one of them a "mixed use curb lane". I strongly disapprove of a bicycle lane along El Camino unless there is a physical barrier between vehicles and bicycles. It'd be just too dangerous due to speed differences and the vulnerability of bikes.


Posted by DC
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Nov 26, 2014 at 7:51 pm

Unfortunately when you time lights for a one bus lane, you ruin the timing for all the cars that will be moving slower. A study for the massive grid lock should be reviewed. Who are these people traveling so far on El Camino? Few people stay on that road most use it for a few miles and head onto a parallel road.


Posted by William Hitchens
a resident of Waverly Park
on Nov 27, 2014 at 7:57 am

@DC: Good points. If you look at SCC's models, they assume that all of the traffic displaced by the dedicated bus lane will migrate to parallel roads, like Foothill, Fremont, Covington, Cuesta, Church/Latham, Dana, California, Evelyn, and Central Expressway. This will deteriorate quality of life in those neighborhoods, not to say traffic levels.

As for modeling, I suspect that they have written their models to give the answers they want and not what will happen in the real world. For example, just as with Light Rail, I'm sure that they're grossly inflating ridership levels. As for short trips on El Camino, I agree. My rule for El Camino is "Avoid it at all costs during high traffic periods." In Mountain View and Los Altos, I use Covington, Cuesta and Church/Latham streets as bypasses. In Sunnyvale, I use Iowa to get to Sunnyvale Road. It is only at Grant and 85 that things get intractable during peak traffic periods.

There's also a huge problem with a center lane bus lane. Riders taking and leaving those buses will cause huge problems with traffic delay at the traffic-lighted crosswalks necessary for them to get from and to the sidewalks. Pedestrians already cause significant delays crossing El Camino, and things will get far worse with Santa Clara's proposed layout.


Posted by (Still) Not Quite There
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 30, 2014 at 10:58 am

InventoryOfIgnorance, I am not obese, but I am pregnant. Technically I am underweight. My work days are long and not always predictable, and I'd rather spend my time feeding my family a healthy dinner rather than waiting for the bus.


Posted by DC
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Dec 5, 2014 at 5:42 pm

They must be trying out the lane closure now. Mtn View and Palo Alto have a complete lane closed for the new constructions of high rise buildings on El Cminio. Even at an off hour 2 PM the traffic on 2 lanes was poor. Can't imagine it at 6 PM and closed for miles not just one block.


Posted by DR
a resident of another community
on Dec 6, 2014 at 2:34 pm

The bus rapid transit idea is ahead of its time. In 10 years it might make more sense. Meanwhile the existing bus service could be expanded with more of the 522 routes that skip many of the stops to speed travel.

At the same time, the plan proposed does cause a problem with eliminating stops along El Camino that are available at present. In the name of trying to provide long distance service, they are eliminating local service. Just because there is not as much a proportion of the local usage as there once was does not mean that it is gone, or that the need has evaporated. The real fly in their ointment is this overlooking of service WITHIN the city of Mountain View along El Camino Real. Rushing this is an attempt to sweep this under the rug and not address it. The problem really is that they have only the one fare which will get you clear to San Jose. People would ride the bus just within Mountain View if the fare were zoned and cheaper for shorter rides. Absurd.


Posted by Uhhh
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Dec 6, 2014 at 5:25 pm

Dr... Since you don't live here, you likely don't know about the google-subsidized community bus that is starting up to provide frequent, local Mountain View service.

So far, there has not been a single rational or legitimate objection to the project.


Posted by DR
a resident of another community
on Dec 6, 2014 at 6:01 pm

@Uhhh. Just because I don't live in one of the pigeonhole names provided doesn't mean I don't live in the area. I'm aware there will be a Google community bus service. I am also aware there was supposed to be permission for non employees to ride the Google Intuit and other corporate shuttles to/from the North Bayshore area. I'm not sure if this community shuttle is supposed to replace that, but it doesn't seem to be so.

But that has nothing to do with reliable local transit along El Camino Real from the Palo Alto border to the Sunnyvale border. This community shuttle won't do that. It's more concerned with the orthogonal connections to El Camino Real, though it will run along ECR at parts of the various proposed loops. Not the same thing at all. In truth, the local loop service relies on providing some riders with connections to the 22 route to travel on up into other parts of ECR....


Posted by DR
a resident of another community
on Dec 6, 2014 at 6:12 pm

The Google Shuttle is similar in concept to this existing VTA resource, #34:

Web Link

In terms of providing service NOT along El Camino Real, another community bus operated by VTA largely in MV is:

Web Link

The 2nd one operates over a 12 hour period 6am to 6pm while the first is much more limited in hours of operation. One difference with the ECR 22 route is that that route operates 24 hours a day which is much appreciated by the homeless people who sleep on it at night. $2 is a cheap hotel room. Now it will be much more efficient with BRT for these sleepers.


Posted by Greedy
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Dec 7, 2014 at 12:52 am

It sounds like DR is another greedy, homeless-hating LA resident. Move away please!


Posted by Utopian? Hmm...
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Dec 7, 2014 at 3:24 pm

Abe-Koga managed last year, somehow, to write a whole Opinion piece on BRT, never facing the Great Elephant In The Room: consequences of lane closures on an El Camino already GRIDLOCKED throughout MV for part of the day Web Link . The less-altruistic elements of VTA's vested interest in advocating this whole scheme may be too much to expect a VTA board member to acknowledge, but not the fully predictable downsides (which come with any such major infrastructure change). Yet they sell it as utopian.

Now, as if trying to outdo even Abe-Koga, after dozens of critical comments here with specifics, "Uhhh" manages to claim that no reasonable objection appeared. ("Uhhh" might of course be connected to VTA, paid to advocate this scheme, unlike normal citizens).

But this is all True-Believer behavior: rather than take responsibility for negative side effects of what you propose, insist they don't exist. And war is peace, and freedom is slavery. (Where is Orwell when we need him?)


Posted by Gene Cavanaugh
a resident of Willowgate
on Dec 7, 2014 at 5:47 pm

With an apparent hiring spree in local companies, there is no question in my mind that the gridlock discussed will get MUCH worse, no matter what is done. If we eventually have really good mass transit, it can only help. Traffic gridlock will cause many drivers to reconsider driving.

Will this result in the solution we will need? I don't know - from what I am reading, the introduction of bullet trains by Caltrain helped enormously in preventing a really bad traffic situation in this area (the ridership is comparable to driving, if what I have been reading is correct). So electrifying Caltrain and putting in express buses might be a really good thing - though short term, it won't matter what is done, it will get worse due to all the people moving in, and the delay involved in trying to alleviate the problem.


Posted by Jeff
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Dec 7, 2014 at 7:43 pm

I read all the comments and it seems there is overwhelming support for the project. The few that don't want it, seem to offer reasons that are based on a lack of understanding of traffic infrastructure and transit.

I can't wait for this project! Speedy public transit is so wonderful to have.


Posted by SRB
a resident of St. Francis Acres
on Dec 9, 2014 at 10:17 am

When is the Mountain View City Council going to discuss this proposal and take a position?

Palo Alto seems to be leaning against the dedicated lanes; they'll either be heard by the VTA or at least be ready for legal recourse. SunnyVale seems more ambivalent but are vocal about asking for North/South bus improvements and are likely to get those in "exchange" for supporting the dedicated lanes.

By remaining silent, the City is giving VTA carte blanche without any advocacy for Mountain View.


Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Email:


Post a comment

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Stay informed.

Get the day's top headlines from Mountain View Online sent to your inbox in the Express newsletter.

New Austrian cuisine: Naschmarkt to replace Anatolian Kitchen in Palo Alto
By The Peninsula Foodist | 4 comments | 5,626 views

Please prioritize saving Palo Alto's emptying downtown
By Diana Diamond | 49 comments | 4,534 views

Can we build enough clean, affordable power on time?
By Sherry Listgarten | 17 comments | 3,678 views

“Attached.” by Amir Levine, MD, and Rachel S.F. Heller, MA
By Chandrama Anderson | 1 comment | 2,264 views

Holiday Hoopla in the City
By Laura Stec | 0 comments | 1,995 views