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El Camino bus lanes win praise from public, concern from council

Original post made on Dec 18, 2014

After hearing from a dozen supporters on Tuesday night, the Mountain View City Council continued to lean against allowing dedicated bus lanes on El Camino Real.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, December 19, 2014, 12:00 AM

Comments (222)

7 people like this
Posted by Neil Shea
a resident of another community
on Dec 18, 2014 at 7:43 pm

"The issue seems to have divided older, more established residents — such as those on the City Council — against younger residents and employees who with different preferences and environmental concerns."

Listen to the younger folks - cars aren't always the answer. Only a few more minutes driving all of El Camino while cutting transit times in half? Bring it on!


34 people like this
Posted by pat
a resident of another community
on Dec 19, 2014 at 3:54 pm

Perhaps “younger folks” – and ALL folks – should learn to apply a bit of skepticism to promises made by government agencies.

One lane on El Camino handles 950 cars/hour. VTA is NOT assuming that those drivers will all jump on a bus.

If you actually read the VTA report, instead of just looking at the glossy charts, you will note that the VTA’s plan assumes those cars would divert to a different route, e.g., Foothill or Central, which are already at capacity.

As some council members noted, this would have a major impact on those already-crowded corridors and on residential streets, as frustrated drivers cut through neighborhoods.

The VTA report even includes a section on “diversion,” which indicates where traffic would back up in other parts of cities.

I hope the “younger folks” who do not have a driver’s license will enjoy riding the bus with a couple of kids and a week’s worth of groceries if they decide to start a family in the future.

Please take note that it’s not just the young who have environmental concerns. Many of us have been actively supporting environmental causes for a very long time.

Does anyone believe that cars idling in stalled traffic won’t generate more greenhouse gases? And if they’re not sitting on El Camino with their engines running, they’ll be driving through residential streets. Still plenty of exhaust fumes, plus the added danger to kids and pedestrians in their neighborhoods.

“Council member Ronit Bryant noted that San Mateo County decided against a similar system and questioned whether it was worth the increase in ridership of 4,000 riders a day over the 522 line. Friends of Caltrain leader Adina Levin said that the ridership increase was probably understated.”

Interesting that people who support one side or another always say it’s the opposition that overstates or understates the data.

“Council members questioned whether VTA had seriously considered projected development in Mountain View and future traffic.”

Excellent concern. See
Web Link

To get some real world experience of a 2-laned El Camino, just drive through Menlo Park, which has far fewer dense developments than Mt. View.


19 people like this
Posted by Pie in the Sky
a resident of another community
on Dec 20, 2014 at 12:31 am

The people who spoke to support the bus lanes didn't address the difference between a shared lane and a dedicated lane. It only makes sense to start with the shared lane before leaping forward further. Some of the saved funds can be used to improve the cross connection routes. Without these, the whole thing is a waste of time. It's like the building of a fancy new public building without considering funding the programs the occupy it, or maintaining he building. It's a palace that will lay empty basically not needed most of it. A phase solution is better which allows for transitional growth. if all the funds are blown on a dedicated bus lane, there will be no more money to improve cross routes. These cross routes are needed by Cal Train too which already has huge capacity and which is slated to grow a lot with electrification. VTA's not paying a penny for that.

Consider that a lot of the current load on CalTrain in MV is people from Cupertino who ride private buses up 85 to reach the MV station. Why are these needed to be private buses? Why doesn't VTA subsidize these routes 75% like it does the rest of their buses. No low wage workers can afford these private buses. It's a circle. The problem is uneven plans that don't address the whole issue over time...


10 people like this
Posted by Eric
a resident of Gemello
on Dec 21, 2014 at 2:31 pm

Margaret Abe-Koga is just trying to cover her political bu.. She is a longtime advocate of dedicated bus lanes.


6 people like this
Posted by @Pie
a resident of another community
on Dec 22, 2014 at 3:03 am

Shared lane vs dedicated lane. The shared lane is what we have now and is completely disrupting the public bus system. A dedicated lane will allow a public bus system to efficiently transfer people great distances along El Camino. It would also give the ability for emergency vehicles to get through. Win-Win.


11 people like this
Posted by George
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Dec 22, 2014 at 4:17 am

It appears that the purpose of dedicated bus lanes is two-fold: (1) clog traffic in the other lanes so that (2) some more persons will pay to ride a bus. In the process, emergency vehicles will need to get through so those vehicles could use the bus lanes some or all of the time. The underlying motive is to prop up a government agency (in this county: the VTA).. Do you know how many overpaid employees and consultants and contractors work for the VTA? Enough to post on every discussion page in the entire country.


6 people like this
Posted by Don't think it'll affect me at all
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Dec 23, 2014 at 6:52 am

I bet 30% of rush our traffic on ECR is from people trying to zip through as a short cut instead of waiting in backed up freeways. Cars spreading gridlock from the freeways to the surface streets, just as predicted 20 yrs ago.

Yes, I know your Mercedes/BMW/Audi/Same-mobile cost a lot of money, but you have purchased old technology in a changing environment. Warnings about traffic issues have been shouted since the dot com days and so far they have been correct.
Buying a fancy car these days is akin to buying a fancy dial-up modem or a "luxury" typewriter. If speed around town is your goal,use the right technology.
Freeways are for cars, no bikes or peds allowed. It is all what the driver has ever wanted and now they must live with their poor choice.
Enjoy :)


9 people like this
Posted by It'll only help me!
a resident of another community
on Dec 23, 2014 at 2:21 pm

I'm all in favor of any public policy that will reduce the livability and quality of life in Mountain View. I already sold my house there, and any of these bold 'Social Justice' remedies will only increase my new property value.


5 people like this
Posted by Youi seem so happy and well adjusted
a resident of Bailey Park
on Dec 23, 2014 at 2:30 pm

Wow, It'll only help me. Despite being absolutely confused about what influences your property value you manage to seem genuinely mean spirited towards others. Living the dream I guess, and being happy....OBVIOUSLY! (haha)
Merry Christmas I hope you see much misery to keep your heart happy.


28 people like this
Posted by concerned citizen
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Dec 24, 2014 at 12:14 am

@pat - You are right, the VTA report assumes that with 1/3 of the auto capacity of ECR removed for dedicated bus lanes, those cars would simply divert to other routes. The report includes the resulting projected impacts on other "diversion intersections" throughout MV.

Here is a link to the report: Web Link

The alternatives are listed on page 2. The alternatives that involve lane closure in Mountain View are designated 4B and 4C.

Here is the quote from the report regarding diversion:

(page 36) "As mentioned in the previous section, the implementation of BRT on El Camino Real increases transit ridership and decreases auto trips, but taking a lane away from automobiles to create the dedicated lane for the BRT causes some traffic diversion off El Camino Real onto surrounding roads. This potential diversion was determined by reducing the capacity of El Camino Real within the countywide travel model, and re-assigning vehicle trips."

The table on page 70 shows significant degrading of every one of the "diversion route intersections" that would have to absorb the diverted traffic. (Again, alternatives 4B and 4C are the scenarios that involve lane closure.)

The report does include a list of "mitigation" measures that could be taken to reduce the negative impact on "diversion route intersections", stating that (page 96) "In all cases the listed mitigation measure would eliminate or reduce the project impact to less-than-significant levels."

HOWEVER... if you look carefully at the list of MV intersections on page 97, most have a footnote (footnote 4), which is explained at the bottom of the next page: "4. It is assumed that the potential mitigation would require right-of-way and is therefore considered to be not feasible as part of this project."

So there would be NO mitigation. For those measures to be taken, some entity besides VTA (i.e., City of MV) would have to buy up right-of-way property around the various intersections, and put in additional lanes. This would be pretty much impossible.

VTA's own report is a powerful argument against dedicated lanes in MV.


11 people like this
Posted by intelligent citizen
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Dec 24, 2014 at 2:21 am

You are mis-interpreting the data regarding impact to intersections along diversion routes.

Here’s the document again: Web Link

The numbers in "Table 35: 2040 PM Diversion Route Intersection LOS Summary” on page 72 (or 77 of the Adobe PDF file) are interesting.

Let’s take the worst case scenario and look at the currently horrible intersection of Rengstorff and Central. The assumption is that drivers cut over away from El Camino to Central via Rengstorff, so there are some anticipated increased delays there. Let’s look at the numbers:

If we do what people on this forum wish: Do nothing... That is "Alternative 1” in the table. The expected delay for each car at that intersection would be: 151.9 seconds. Now, if we choose option 4b (dedicated lane through and past Mountain View/Rengstorff), then there would be an impact. That is forecasted to be 205.9 seconds. So, by doing nothing, it will take drivers during the evening commute about 2 1/2 minutes to get past that one intersection. If we do the dedicated lane, then instead of 2 1/2 minutes, it would be almost 3 1/2 minutes. So, this is the worst case noticed in this forecast and while 3 1/2 minutes is a long time, so is 2 1/2 minutes..and that we will get if we do nothing. The difference is that doing nothing also will get us no useful transportation alternative.

If you look through the tables at other intersections, you will find that many intersections are not impacted at all and that the ones that are impacted are really just incrementally worse than what we will get anyway. The real badness comes from just overall growth of automobile traffic on the roadways, which is indicated in “Alternative 1” (the do-nothing approach).

By the way, there is nothing in the document that states that if we cut lanes down by 1/3, then 1/3 of our automobile traffic on El Camino will all seek alternative roadways.

I think this is a case of “cognitive dissonance”. It’s great that you are reading the traffic analysis document, but only to find things that support your argument that the dedicated lane project would be a disaster. Even worse, your interpretation is very flawed. It’s important to take a neutral approach when evaluating the project documents. That’s why we are very fortunate to be a republic and not a direct democracy. We elect people that (hopefully) see the big picture, who in turn hires PROFESSIONALS to objectively evaluate the problems and recommend solutions.

This project should go through. The 5-7 minute delay for automobiles along the corridor is well worth the almost doubling in speed for the buses. Lots of alternatives were explored, but this one is the least impactful. If you have an idea that can reduce a 70 minute bus ride down to 40 minutes along the El Camino SJ -> PA corridor, please suggest it! If you can’t, then that is very telling.


6 people like this
Posted by Another CItizen
a resident of another community
on Dec 24, 2014 at 3:42 am

Do nothing? Impossible. Already Cal Train is going to be electrified and run larger trains more frequently. This will reduce car trips along Central Expressway and along El Camino Real, and also it will reduce Bus trips. They haven't taken that into account. This BRT dedicated lane crap is not needed.

Besides,with driverless cars operating on El Camino Real things will flow much more smoothly. It's the buses we should get rid of, and replace them with driverless cars which operate like vans and continuously travel up and down ECR on demand. This lane dedication reduces the flexibility to do this.


7 people like this
Posted by Then they asked for actual numbers
a resident of Bailey Park
on Dec 24, 2014 at 6:38 am

" This will reduce car trips along Central Expressway and along El Camino Real, and also it will reduce Bus trips."

A statement like that is either made up or comes with actual numbers to back it up.
Please state the percentage reduction, citing current numbers of car trips compared with the numbers of car trip electrification so we will know it is not the former.


7 people like this
Posted by Uhhhh....
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Dec 24, 2014 at 1:44 pm

Central is a pretty good road to drive on, but there are no businesses along it. El Camino is the road that buses should be on. Caltrain users have a difficult time transferring over to El Camino, so that is not realistic.

Having a transit system on El Camino that will not get tied up by all the one-person - one-car road hogs will only benefit the community.


9 people like this
Posted by Missing Information
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Dec 26, 2014 at 5:21 am

The comments above concerning the draft EIR do not explain how long regular traffic in lanes 1 and 2) will be delayed by reserving the third lane for buses. One supporter of the plan refers to a "5-7 minute delay" which makes no sense. Maybe 5-7 extra minutes per mile.


15 people like this
Posted by Why it won't work
a resident of Bailey Park
on Dec 26, 2014 at 10:45 am

"I can't wait for everyone else to use public transit so I can drive around more easily and without heavy traffic"

-Every Driver


5 people like this
Posted by @Missing Information
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Dec 26, 2014 at 2:04 pm

Actually, the incremental delay between San Jose and Palo Alto will be more in the 3-4 minute range...TOTAL! (not PER MILE) I can understand why it wouldn't seem to make sense. Take away 33% road capacity, shouldn't the commute time go up by at least 33%? Well, that's why we have traffic engineers do the forecasting. It is not a linear operation. The project just doesn't shut down a lane to auto traffic and that's all. Intersection signal changes, timing, etc..

Here's a more local example of the change:

"For a more typical example – to travel from downtown Palo Alto to the San Antonio area in Mountain View, without any bus service changes, driving will take ~10 minutes and the express bus will take 22 minutes in 2018. The mixed flow version saves only 1 minute in bus travel time. With the dedicated lane version, the bus will take 10 minutes and driving will take 11 minutes. So, at the cost of 1 minute in drive time, we get bus service that is time-competitive with driving!"


8 people like this
Posted by Missing information
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Dec 27, 2014 at 8:54 am

Where in the draft EIR does it explain how in the world shutting down one of the three lanes in each direction to personal vehicles would only cause a 10% reduction in traveling time for those vehicles? Cite some pages.


6 people like this
Posted by @Missing information
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Dec 27, 2014 at 9:52 am

It starts on page 41 of the Traffic Operations Analysis Report: Web Link.
Section 6.4 "Travel Times" is on point.

For example, Figure 23: 2018 AM Westbound Travel Times, Cahill Street to University Avenue will lay out Alternatives 1-4 and show the forecasted travel times for all three methods of transportation projected out to 2018:
Remember, Alternative 1 ("Alt1") stands for doing nothing. Just letting our current situation fester and get worse.

The do-nothing crowd on this forum would have the BRT take 72 minutes, while automobiles would do the same trip in 40 minutes. If Alternative 4C is taken, then the BRT trip drops down to 45 minutes! Yes, that's right folks, 72 to minutes all the way down to 45 minutes. And what would the cost be to automobiles? It would move the trip time from 40 minutes up to 43 minutes. So, in this commuting segment/time, the incremental cost to automobiles would be just 3 minutes, which is actually less than a 10% increase.

(Of course, those that are opposed to the project will not accept this projection. They will not accept any evidence that will shake their world view.)

It's interesting that so many of the armchair traffic analysts that are complaining about this project have not even read this report. They wax on how "experts" are always in the wrong, or say that the project "doesn't make sense". Can you imagine if we relied on our citizen's "gut instinct" for all of our decisions? We would still be living in caves. Forget traveling to the moon or building anything technological. It takes a higher order intelligence above animals to think outside of our experience and allow science to open new possibilities for us.


17 people like this
Posted by Acceptance
a resident of another community
on Dec 27, 2014 at 11:52 am

The $64 question relates to how ECR is used today for travel. How many people drive on ECR from MV to SJ? Most likely the answer is hardly any. Who cares what it wlll do to this mythical transit possibility. The real use of ECR is for relatively short trips. Basically, the plan is to eliminate most of those in favor of travelers willing to put up with considerable delay expressed as a fraction of their trip. IIf you are going from El Monte and Hawthorne to downtown Mountain View, say to the Madera Apartments, the travel distance is about 3 miles. The most straightforward option involves over 1/3 of the 3 mile trip being taken along El Camino Real, which is a 6 lane backbone used for many small local trips like this. The trip takes 9 or 10 minutes at present. When ECR gets busy it can take 15 minutes. Even the alternatives involve some use of ECR at present as to avoid ECR completely is not really possible and would lengthen the trip considerably, mainly because El Monte T's into ECR and there are few easily accessible nearby intersections on ECR.

In the new scenario, the extra 5 minutes delay on such a trip would be added much more of the time. There are hundreds of trips like this taken every day on every little section of ECR. In this case, avoiding travel on ECR as much as possible will increase traffic on streets like Calderon, View Street, Evelyn, and Shoreline Blvd. From all of the trips, the increase in traffic on the side streets will be considerable.

This has a DIRECT effect on city budgets as ECR is maintained by the STATE and the side streets are left to the cities.

You don't have to question the estimates in the EIR to dislike this change. The story is in the examples they are NOT presenting but which flow directly from the descriptions that they do.


6 people like this
Posted by @Acceptance
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Dec 27, 2014 at 1:45 pm

"The $64 question relates to how ECR is used today for travel. How many people drive on ECR from MV to SJ? Most likely the answer is hardly any. Who cares what it wlll do to this mythical transit possibility."

Actually, there are express buses that go along the whole line that are standing room only during rush hours. This shows there is more demand for this transit option than one might think. Not mythical at all. Of course, riders do not have to take the entire trip. Even people that use transit to travel just 1/3 the distance would get great benefits from this project.

"The real use of ECR is for relatively short trips. Basically, the plan is to eliminate most of those in favor of travelers willing to put up with considerable delay expressed as a fraction of their trip."

Interesting. If that were true, then there shouldn't be gridlock during commute times. The projected incremental delay is several minutes, depending on time of day and direction. That several minutes is spread out over the entire stretch of El Camino. So, if you are just taking short trips, you wouldn't experience the entire dreaded 3 minute increase. Does that make sense? Do you understand that?

" IIf [sic.] you are going from El Monte and Hawthorne to downtown Mountain View, say to the Madera Apartments, the travel distance is about 3 miles. The most straightforward option involves over 1/3 of the 3 mile trip being taken along El Camino Real, which is a 6 lane backbone used for many small local trips like this. The trip takes 9 or 10 minutes at present. When ECR gets busy it can take 15 minutes. Even the alternatives involve some use of ECR at present as to avoid ECR completely is not really possible and would lengthen the trip considerably, mainly because El Monte T's into ECR and there are few easily accessible nearby intersections on ECR."

It's interesting you point out that it could take 15 minutes when it is heavy traffic. That is exactly how long it would take to go by bicycle (conservative estimate). I think we'll see more bike use for these short trips. But anyway, this project may add a minute or two to the trip. Not sure if that should be considered a major inconvenience.

"In the new scenario, the extra 5 minutes delay on such a trip would be added much more of the time. There are hundreds of trips like this taken every day on every little section of ECR. In this case, avoiding travel on ECR as much as possible will increase traffic on streets like Calderon, View Street, Evelyn, and Shoreline Blvd. From all of the trips, the increase in traffic on the side streets will be considerable."

Sure! But remember, the real drivers for increasing traffic is the build-up of offices and housing. If we could freeze all development in a 25 mile radius, then perhaps this project could be deferred. Unfortunately, there has been a big build-up and I expect that will accelerate with the new City Council approving ultra-high density housing developments. If we do nothing, it's going to get much worse. That includes traffic on the side-streets. If we do this project, then driving will still be bad, but there will be an option that will be quite good.

"This has a DIRECT effect on city budgets as ECR is maintained by the STATE and the side streets are left to the cities."

Yes, El Camino is a state highway. Can you imagine if a city were to completely own a segment? Chaos! Perhaps Palo Alto would put up toll booths for non-residents, like they do at their beautiful Foothill Park. (actually, they don't charge toll--they just refuse admittance.)

Sure, we maintain the side streets, but the city gets a massive benefit from El Camino, which the city doesn't pay for. It contains most of MV's retail businesses, which brings in a lot of revenue.

"You don't have to question the estimates in the EIR to dislike this change. The story is in the examples they are NOT presenting but which flow directly from the descriptions that they do."

Um...yeah.... Ignore the data and look for red herrings and other phantom arguments.... That will go far. :)

So far, nobody has presented a cohesive argument against this project and more importantly nobody has presented an alternative that will solve the problem of rapid public transit on El Camino. That problem will get addressed the best way possible, so if you have a better solution, speak up!


8 people like this
Posted by @@Acceptance
a resident of another community
on Dec 27, 2014 at 5:06 pm

I'm all for adding more 522 buses (note, these are not Express buses but Rapid Service Buses) along ECR at times when they are needed. You don't need to do a lot of investment to make this addition. You can do it today. Logically, that should come first, before hardwiring lane to exclude cars. You're proving the point that more speed is not needed to entice people to use 522--just more buses!


6 people like this
Posted by Whoops!
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Dec 27, 2014 at 6:38 pm

"I'm all for adding more 522 buses (note, these are not Express buses but Rapid Service Buses) along ECR at times when they are needed. You don't need to do a lot of investment to make this addition. You can do it today. Logically, that should come first, before hardwiring lane to exclude cars. You're proving the point that more speed is not needed to entice people to use 522--just more buses!

Whoops! You forgot that the automobile congestion is making the bus commute more than twice what it needs to be. More buses are needed, sure, but they need a roadway that will take them quickly and efficiently. The whole transit network gets needs up when the travel times are grossly unpredictable. This project will solve that.


21 people like this
Posted by Greg David
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Dec 28, 2014 at 3:21 pm

Greg David is a registered user.

The headline for this article is misleading. It implies that the resident support BRT and the council does not. Fact is, nobody but a small vocal minority supports BRT. Just look at the dozens of comments here on town square against BRT Everytime the subject comes up. I'm glad to see the council is on the right track for once.


16 people like this
Posted by Right on
a resident of another community
on Dec 28, 2014 at 6:11 pm

Yes, the headline is misleading. It fails to correctly depict the non-representative nature of the sampling of residents asking the Council to take the opposite action. This is clearly hardly any of the total population. This proposed action discriminates against the desire for individual transport vehicles versus group ones. I can see why it doesn't point out that the speakers were a small minority and everyone knows that the majority support the council's resistance to sacrificing Mountain View utilization of EZR to serve the few people using VTA for long distance commutes. VTA fails to breakdown their numbers into short trips versus longer ones, and that's the rub. Most of their ridership currently is shorter trips, not ones which benefit from being sped up. With 30-40,000 residents leaving the city for work each day, and with 30-40,000 non residents commuting to work in Mountain View, we need to know how many of these trips currently service that movement. We need to know how many more would be served by what VTA proposes. I'll wager it's a tiny fraction in both cases.

Then there is the matter of this "speed up" contention. In reality, the effect will be different depending on where on ECR the trip takes place, and at what time. If a trip currently takes 5 minutes, is it really going to take only 2.5 minutes in the future imagined after this change? I think not, not in general, and not in many cases at all. For one thing, there is the issue of waiting for a bus to arrive. There's the issue of a bus being too crowded, and of standing versus sitting. The truth is, the VTA should be running more buses today if they want to argue that more are needed. Surely the current crowding dissuades some people for riding the bus, and surely this includes some people who would be satisfied with the current 10 minute time to transit the city along ECR.


6 people like this
Posted by Right Off
a resident of another community
on Dec 28, 2014 at 9:52 pm

I feel like there's a flock of hens sitting on the sideline clucking away: "Oh, that's impossible. No way a wagon can move without horses!"
"Never get a man to the moon, no sir!"
"Nobody will ever use Caltrain to commute."
"They took our jobs, derp!"

Sometimes it takes 1/2 hour to get from San Antonio down to Sunnyvale/MV border due to rush hour congestion. With a dedicated lane, it will be minutes. So, yes, bus ridership is going to go WAY UP as congestion increases due to the massive upswing in housing & offices.

VTA has a responsibility to the Southbay and Peninsula to help resolve congestion issues. This is the best alternative. Are there other alternatives that will allow the bus network to flourish like CalTrain? Maybe...let's hear them! Otherwise, I guess you can just keep clucking away...


9 people like this
Posted by LoveYourDNA
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Dec 29, 2014 at 3:39 pm

Again, the ONLY ones who win here are the ones who live and work on the El.


15 people like this
Posted by Flabbergasted
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Dec 30, 2014 at 11:08 am

I just don't understand how the dedicated bus lane is a good idea. El Camino is not nearly destination-oriented enough. Imagine taking the bus to one of Mountain View's main stops along that corridor-- San Antonio. The new center, especially including phase II, is in itself so entirely unwalkable that taking a bus there would be nonsensical.

If we want a dedicated bus lane, we need a regional architecture that supports it. And this is something we do not have!


12 people like this
Posted by wacky
a resident of another community
on Dec 30, 2014 at 4:57 pm

This idea is truly wacky. Look at all the current commute options for long travelers. ECR does not figure into them. Beef up the other options first. The 522 use is due to a lack of cross service N/S which affects CalTrain much more than 522. Fix the real problem. Electrify CalTrain, add seats, and provide N/S service. CakTrain will soak up much more demand than 522 can. Plus electric is more environmentally friendly and use of existing low friction rails reduces energy needs. How much a tribute to the VTA_fiefdom this plan is. It's a true joke on good wholistic transit planning.


6 people like this
Posted by Experts
a resident of another community
on Dec 30, 2014 at 11:16 pm

Glad we have such smart experts telling us how this project is bad. Not.

The entire network of buses is slowed down due to crowded roadways. I would love to be able to hop on a bus rather than fight traffic. Hope they get this project done soon!


5 people like this
Posted by rainbow38
a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on Dec 31, 2014 at 8:01 am

You should be sending your comments to ecrbrt@vta.org as soon as possible.


12 people like this
Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Dec 31, 2014 at 9:12 am

Thanks for the informed opinions in this discussion. I'm glad to see both sides are reading the EIR and commenting on the data and issues raised (and not raised) there. Although BRT has been shown to be an extremely effective mass-transit option in places like San Palo (Brasil), it comes at a very late time to this area. I tend to agree with those who cite the poor VTA study quality that misses the major impacts from diverted car traffic, and the lack of VTA participation (or cognizance) of the regional nature of multi-mode transport. Doubling the 522 busses (and frequency) will make much more inpact on total tavel-wait times (I think) than the dedicated lane (subtracting more than 90% of the existing passenger-carry ability of the VTA-only lane).
Think different- what about a HOV/toll lane that BRT could share? The technology already exists and is in use on local freeways. With transit bus activated green lights - it could also decrease bus travel times (and increase utilization). Toll? ($10/block for beamers with one occupant? :)
Thanks MV Council - for opposing this.


15 people like this
Posted by VSD
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Dec 31, 2014 at 3:17 pm

One of the previous posters ("concerned citizen") quoted the VTA report which clearly shows that the traffic mitigation measures ARE NOT FEASIBLE. This is the VTA itself telling you that the dedicated lanes will create a traffic conjesture that will reduce the livabilty of the city and turn El Camino into a parking lot.

We need to organize ourselves to stop the VTA from further impacting the livability of Mountain View!


4 people like this
Posted by Lena J.
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Dec 31, 2014 at 3:48 pm

I think the VTA did a fine job in presenting the proposal with all of it's variants. The community meetings were a great idea!

Many are very frustrated with the increasing traffic, so it is perfectly understandable when people get upset. From everything I read, the impacts are a drop in the bucket compared to the traffic caused by new home and business development projects. Without a good shared transportation solution, it's all going to go to a standstill, which is good for nobody.

I appreciate that the Council expressed concerns. That is what they are elected to do. Be concerned and advocate for the interests of the city. That's a far cry from "blocking" a project.

Most neighbors I've spoken to are supportive of the dedicated bus lane concept, so I expect this will get approved.


11 people like this
Posted by Cones
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Dec 31, 2014 at 5:54 pm

Wanting improved public transportation is not incompatible with rejecting this project. This is not an "if we build it, they will come" project. Even in their arguably biased projections, VTA shows ridership gains are expected to be minimal.

How many people drive on El Camino each day? 200,000? More? These people will not (OK, maybe 2,000-4,000 if we believe VTA) be switching to the bus.

THE BUS DOES NOT GO WHERE PEOPLE NEED TO GO! How difficult is that to understand?

The challenge is that the opposition needs a responsible and credible person to take the lead in organizing the disparate and disbelieving majority. If that person or group steps up, the numbers in opposition will be overwhelming.

PS - I don't see any politicians outwardly vocal in supporting this proposal. Presumably they recognize it would be a career-ender.


7 people like this
Posted by Lena J.
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Dec 31, 2014 at 7:40 pm

In analysis reports, it is quite common to take a conservative approach, which the VTA did, so if the numbers are not exciting to you, then that's why. Caltrain did the same thing with the Baby Bullet project and that is now frequently standing room only!

I think people forget that many people cannot drive. Not much money or physically incapable. They need a solution. More and more building on El Camino. Hi-tech, shopping and high density apartments. Lots of opportunities to live and work there. I don't see anybody here advocating public transit solutions. They only want roads for cars, which will still dominate El Camino.


11 people like this
Posted by DC
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jan 1, 2015 at 12:41 pm

Are these traffic studies done by the same folks who did the Levis stadium study. NO new road or parking improvement needed. That's because The cars don't move on the roads. 40 min to try to go to Mercado during the game. Roads were closed, fans were illegally parked in the mall, and yes fans were leaving early to avoid the "non traffic" problem. 5 min delays is just one light cycle for a car, I estimate 20 min delay when a lane is removed thats ~5 lights.


8 people like this
Posted by Transit Planners
a resident of another community
on Jan 1, 2015 at 1:36 pm

Rather than just doubling the 522 routes along El Camino Real, VTA should use those bus miles instead to provide service which loops through MV including along El Camino and feeds to the Cal Train station at Castro street. Same thing for Sunnyvale and Santa Clara. Then they should make the ride free for those with a Cal Train pass or ticket. At least that way Cal Train riders would be getting a bit more of a subsidy. These runs would be short anyway, and they would be of use for other local riders as well, who would pay the full 28% VTA farebox fee for their ride.

Then lets see how much that services the same riders who currently take 522.... I bet CalTrain can soak up a lot of the demand for longer travel along ECR, and do it more efficiently of energy use as well.

Note that this also serves those who wish to travel on up to Menlo Park or Redwood City or points further north. Good cross connecting routes need to be created sooner rather than later.

The idea that the only desired travel is along ECR is not currently true, and it is not likely to be true of future growth even for new construction on ECR. There are PLENTY of destinations not walkable from ECR, and not *ALL* the travelers are going to San Jose where VTA concentrates the majority of its bus miles providing good cross connection service to the 22 and 522 currently.

This plan is an homage to the power of San Jose at directing the spending of VTA transit dollars. It does NOT serve residents or commuters in Mountain View in general. It only serves those traveling to San Jose.


11 people like this
Posted by concerned citizen
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 1, 2015 at 2:23 pm

@DC - Re your question, "Are these traffic studies done by the same folks who did the Levis stadium study..."

Apparently yes, DKS Associates in both cases: Web Link

We've seen this sort of thing before in MV - "consultants" who provide studies geared to arrive at the conclusions desired by the party that commissioned the study. They don't have to be strictly untruthful. It's a question of selective assumptions and premises, and slanted presentation.


7 people like this
Posted by Much More Intelligent Citizen
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 1, 2015 at 5:51 pm

"Are these traffic studies done by the same folks who did the Levis stadium study. NO new road or parking improvement needed."

Of course they did arrange or 30,000 parking spots near the stadium AND they made changes to the roadway, so statements like the above are obviously false. Probably not a lie--that requires intention. Most likely just ignorance.

"Rather than just doubling the 522 routes along El Camino Real, VTA should use those bus miles instead to provide service which loops through MV including along El Camino and feeds to the Cal Train station at Castro street."

That will come, but right now the biggest bang for the buck is putting a reliable transit system exactly where the most density of businesses and apartments are, and that is El Camino. It is rapidly growing as the landowners are selling out to developers to build high density.

"There are PLENTY of destinations not walkable from ECR, and not *ALL* the travelers are going to San Jose where VTA concentrates the majority of its bus miles providing good cross connection service to the 22 and 522 currently."

Sure, there are plenty of destinations not walkable from Caltrain either, so let's get rid of train service??? I don't use highway 84 much, so let's get rid of that? What a stupid thing to say! El Camino is the longest road with the most services on it. Why shouldn't it have a reliable transit system? There's hundreds of thousands of people within walking distance of El Camino, so please THINK before you inundate us with your ignorance.

Oh, and you are complaining that there are more VTA "bus miles" in San Jose than Mountain View? Don't you know that San Jose is sprawling with a 1,000,000 people while Mountain View has only 75,000? This is why we have professionals making the decisions and doing the studies.

Cross-connecting bus services will happen where they are needed, but don't you think the highest priority ought to be given to the biggest problem? El Camino is highly trafficked and it is growing rapidly. Adding cross-connecting services is difficult because transit times along El Camino are so unreliable. Fix the reliability there and then build out the network.

It is simply not scalable to do nothing. BRT will provide a way for PEOPLE to get from one place to another regardless of all of the greedy one-person-one-minivan drivers clogging up the roads. You do remember who PEOPLE are?

The greed and self-centeredness of the anti public-transit comments in this forum is most shameful.


4 people like this
Posted by 2 birds one stone
a resident of another community
on Jan 1, 2015 at 6:15 pm

By VTA taking responsibility for providing service to connect El Camino to Cal Train, it solves 2 problems. It also feeds better to the routes it now has along ECR. You have to do that FIRST before you can judge which backbone will carry more riders once there is cross-connect service.

At the same time, there are energy and economic efficiencies in increasing use of the CalTrain backbone versus the VTA bus system on ECR. BRT makes sense mostly in cases where the existing route is at capacity or where there is no parallel train service. In this case we have neither of these conditions in effect. Cal Train has much reserve capacity and for long distance service it parallels ECR just like US 101 does. The problem is VTA doesn't honor the benefit of the mass transit train service provided by CalTrain.


9 people like this
Posted by CommonSense
a resident of another community
on Jan 5, 2015 at 10:23 am

This whole idea is INSANE! These VTA idiots are going to create a traffic nightmare on El Camino with excess traffic being pushed into Mtn View side streets. People aren't going to stop driving their cars!


7 people like this
Posted by Sense
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 5, 2015 at 10:57 am

People prefer cars because they tend to be much faster than buses. This will solve that problem by allowing buses to travel as fast as cars do today when there is no traffic. The best part is that during congested cinditions, the bus will be moving people much faster.

Bus usage gets cars off the road which will reduce congestion. People who are unable to drive will be able to travel. Oh, and shared transportation is much better for the environment.

So, this project makes PERFECT SENSE. It's only a greedy, selfish few that strongly object. Short-sightedness, ignorance and the list goes on....


6 people like this
Posted by Zoom Zoom
a resident of another community
on Jan 5, 2015 at 12:22 pm

Has the last poster ever ridden a bus? The further you ride, the more stops. In this case, VTA is championing the ECR route as a way to provide service from MV to San Jose. Let me see, will it be as fast as driving a car? Start off with getting to ECR and away from ECR to the destination. Probably typically 20 minutes walking vs 5 minutes driving in a car. Then there are the stops. From MV to San Jose, about 40 stops while 1000 other people enter the bus and exit it along the way. Oh yeah, sure, it's a viable speed up. It will certainly be only twice as long as driving a car. Oh, and the speed limit is 35 miles per hour and there are also traffic lights which won't ALWAYS be Green for these buses.


On the other hand, take CalTrain. For the same distance, only a dozen stops. Very rapid boarding and leaving by the passengers. Speeds of 60 miles per hour, and no stops except for the stations. You actually get there FASTER than you could drive in a car.

What's the same is the speed for walking to the station. What we need are more cross routes, and nothing else. Then ECR can be used for SHORT trips between cities where the speed up is not an issue really. CalTrain is a great resource and VTA should pull its head out of the ground instead of being a bunch of ostriches hiding from reality.


5 people like this
Posted by Caltrain user
a resident of another community
on Jan 5, 2015 at 1:01 pm

Caltrain works because it's progress is not blocked by massive amounts of automobiles. It is a dedicated "lane" for public/shared transit only--trains!
The project on El Camino would be the same concept.

Caltrain can take longer to get to San Francisco if you take local trains. Have you ever taken the 'baby bullet'? Just a few stops and it gets to the city in about the same time a car would IF THERE WERE NO TRAFFIC. During gridlock situations (rush hour or accidents), the train is much faster and far less stressful. That's what the El Camino project would give the community.

There is really no good alternative.


3 people like this
Posted by CalTrain User 2
a resident of another community
on Jan 5, 2015 at 2:03 pm

One other thing CalTrain has is the ability for one fast train to pass a slower more-stops (local) train at various points along the way. This means that they do run those baby bullet trains which are even faster. However, the LOCAL CalTrain routes are still faster than you can drive a car for the distance from MV to San Jose. Take note of that. Even now except at rush hours there is room for more trains to run on the existing tracks with diesel locomotives. They are adding cars to each running train route by buying surplus cars from the Los Angeles Metrolink. Hurray!

Also, CalTrain is only going to get better with electrification. They will be able to run more trains at closer spacing without being as slow in the start up from a station. There will be fewer grade level crossings.

The VTA really should build on CalTrain as a backbone, and they should front money for electrification to get it done sooner rather than later.


8 people like this
Posted by B Minkin
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jan 5, 2015 at 9:40 pm

The estimates that VTA gives are not believable on their face. The cars will still be there because drivers still wish to make the trip.

The quiet assumption that VTA makes is that some of the drivers might be scared enough of the terrible traffic on El Camino that they will take their cars to neighborhood streets, making them more dangerous and crowded. Sure, that might take some of the load off El Camino, but it is unlikely to work.

VTA has not been honest about the absurd prediction of a few minutes delay. They never published their model or the detailed inputs and output of simulations (only the highly-massaged summary). What's more, they have ignored the many requests to test their theory by blocking a lane of El Camino from car use, something asked of them in nearly every public hearing.

No, VTA's estimates are not to be trusted. "We are professionals and know better" is not reassuring when their own interests are at stake.


5 people like this
Posted by 21st century is here!
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 5, 2015 at 11:36 pm

The traffic analysis provided by the VTA is accurate and uses acceptable forecasting procedures. Data is captured through road sensors and traffic lights, so those numbers are legit.

Roads have been temporarily or permanently closed to traffic for decades and the effects are well understood. This is not a groundbreaking new technology or an expedition to Mars. Any objections to the project are not science-based, but rather emotional. If we relied on our "gut" to make decisions, we would still be living in caves.




It is important to note


10 people like this
Posted by 22nd century
a resident of another community
on Jan 6, 2015 at 1:29 am

The traffic analysis is using cherry picked bad times for the current situation and rosy projections for the success of the bus service in 2040. Not an apples to apples comparison.

Meanwhile, a real option to provide energy saving mass transit is to use Cal Train for service from San Francisco to Gilroy. There is much less energy needed to move rail cars on steel rails than there is to run rubber tires on asphalt. The truth is that the 2 services are in direct competition. There is a fixed amount of demand between San Francisco and Gilroy, and VTA's segment within Santa Clara County parallels the lightly used capacity of the Cal Train rails. It makes a WHALE of a lot of more sense to increase utilization of the Cal Train rails to the MAX before spending a fortune on a less efficient more expensive service along El Camino Real.


9 people like this
Posted by Cherry Picking
a resident of another community
on Jan 6, 2015 at 1:38 am

Not only are the forecast comparisons laden with cherry picked data, but they also ignore the idea that any potential speed-up of service along ECR still has to deal with the cross connection delays in travel, which will continue unabted by any dedication of a lane on ECR. In fact, it may well get WORSE if traffic is diverted to side streets to avoid ECR congestion caused by a lane closure.

Right now, commuters (and that is ALL VTA is really looking at) have the option to adjust their schedule to avoid what they consider to be delays. If you speed up the ECR portion of travel, they will be willing to accept longer delays on the cross connection, which they will certainly need to do. You'll end up back where you started. The overall capacity will not improve. At the peak time they'll spend longer getting to and from ECR in the VTA's future vision. You have to look at the realistic end points of the service user and not at this myth that more than a small minority don't need cross connecting travel.

In the end, the cross connecting travel is a throttle which the VTA model hasn't taken into account, which will effectively reduce the loading of the proposed bus service schedule. They won't be able to run as many buses as they expect to. They'll never get to the service level they project with this approach.

Far better to leave ECR along, and provide good cross connecting service to increase usability of CalTrain as well as 22 and 522 routes running in the current manner. Improving cross connect services alone can reduce the travel time for many commuters, and facilitating a switch to Cal Train from a car could actually reduce overall travel time. The VTA is biased.


9 people like this
Posted by Grow Up
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 6, 2015 at 3:06 am

"cross connecting bus service" can and will be improved, but that is a priority 2 issue. First priority is that we have a frickin HIGHWAY that is gridlocked. Even worse, it is scaling up rapidly with high density housing, retail and offices. The only way to scale is through shared transit solutions, which can only happen through dedicated lanes. Subway or trains are not practical along El Camino, so this is the only alternative.

The naysayers want people that live along El Camino to take a bus all the way to a caltrain station, board a train, get off and then bus back to El Camino. Absolutely ludicrous idea.

Most people in the community support this proposal. Time to grow up and accept that there is no viable alternative.


9 people like this
Posted by Jay
a resident of another community
on Jan 6, 2015 at 3:14 am

"grow up" is spot on. If I want to get from an apartment in San Jose to my job in PA, I am to take a bus to a train station (fighting gridlock), wait for the train, get off and board another train fighting gridlock???? Makes more sense just to make a straight run.


7 people like this
Posted by Hmm
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jan 6, 2015 at 3:34 pm

Why not build a train up on trestle like in NYC? That way both sides will have what they want.

Driving is so much easier than the bus system with or w/o dedicated lanes, because you are not on a time limit to catch the bus, you buy as much as you want and don't have to carry it home, you don't have to worry about catching someones sickness that takes the bus, or their bed bugs jumping on you. Lots of reasons to drive, that is why millions do it every day. We need to be more car friendly, rather than so against it.


5 people like this
Posted by Greg perry
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jan 6, 2015 at 8:29 pm

Remember past VTA estimates before giving any credence to the latest pile.

Remember Diridon's promises about light rail? Ride it some time and count the empty seats.

Remember Guardino's promises about BART? It was supposed to start running to Santa Clara four years ago. But the cost and sales tax estimates were so far off they still can't tell you when, or if, it will get past Berryessa.

There were "experts" behind those estimates, too. And none of them were even remotely accurate.


5 people like this
Posted by DC
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jan 6, 2015 at 10:58 pm

@ Much More Intelligent Citizen

So 30,000 parking spaces in the business parking lot and golf course was done by design? That was a last minute fix which now prevents workers and golfers from using the facilities near the stadium. That also prevent workers going to and exiting work on the weekends during game days. Traffic jams are now common at all hours during a game due to these road closures and failure to reopen roads just because it takes a large work force. Stop everything in SC but the game was the plan? Yes I still say poor design poor planning and a faulty study to build the stadium for some rich people.


4 people like this
Posted by Sad DC
a resident of another community
on Jan 7, 2015 at 12:29 am

DC... It's sad that you don't understand that the games are on Sunday. Not a lot of business commuters....

VTA got BART up there.

So far, no cogent arguments against the project. Looks like it will happen.


7 people like this
Posted by Cones
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Jan 7, 2015 at 10:46 am

Bravo to the City of Palo Alto for not only saying "no" to BRT, but actively challenging the plan and study! It would be nice to see Mountain View follow suit.

This link is to the draft letter VTA will receive from Palo Alto. The letter starts in "Appendix A":

Web Link


8 people like this
Posted by VTA Observer
a resident of another community
on Jan 7, 2015 at 12:33 pm

Hurray for Palo Alto! They refute the VTA's cooked up fake justification admirably. They allude to but do not specifically call out VTA's attempt to sacrifice service for shorter trips for the sake of unrealizable dramatic improvements to the travel time for very long trip takers. They point out how Palo Alto and nearby cities are being forced to implement their own shuttle programs by the lack of VTA funding comparable to what it does in San Jose. They should point out that such services will by themselves increase transit usability for both CalTrain and VTA with no other changes. The VTA should step up to make these cross connecting services available and also follow Palo Alto's suggestion of implementing zoned fares for travel on ECR. With better cross connecting service, Cal Train could take a LOT of travel off of 101. It's much more likely that long term travelers would make use of CalTrain than that they would avail themselves of this Rube Goldberg alternative of VTA's attempt to turn ECR into a transit backbone, displacing most local uses of the state highway. Historically ECR has been both a state highway AND a local travel backbone. VTA COMPLETELY IGNORES this.


3 people like this
Posted by Case in Point
a resident of another community
on Jan 7, 2015 at 1:06 pm

See Web Link

Menlo Park considers 750 cars per lane per hour at peak times to be congested. Where does VTA get this idea that they can shove 999 cars per hour through each lane? The VTA study is a mess.


5 people like this
Posted by Embarrassing
a resident of another community
on Jan 7, 2015 at 1:15 pm

Pslo Alto, Menlo Park and the elitist snobs on this site are shameful. San Jose is enormous compared to these "cities", so of course there is more investment in bus routes there. The core problem is that the wealthy peninsula cities want to limit the free travel of Hispanics. This was (and is) happening in the Deep South with the limitation of bus routes.

Of course we can expect this to be denied. People will appear to be offended by these words. We all know the truth though.


4 people like this
Posted by San Jose
a resident of another community
on Jan 7, 2015 at 2:42 pm

San Jose has only HALF the population of the county but it has way more than half of the bus and light rail service. The race of the commuters is irrelevant. San Jose has 440,000 jobs but 50% of these are filled by people living OUTSIDE the county. County-wide San Jose provides much less than half of the JOBS in the county. The San Jose commuters working in Palo Alto and Mountain View need to get to WORK not to the corner of Castro and El Camino. They need mass transit service from the south WITH cross connecting services to where their job is. Right now, THIS is why the majority DRIVE to work each day. The light rail is a joke insofar as speed is concerned. This was VTA planning at work. Light rail snakes all around downtown San Jose which slows the travel from south San Jose to points north of San Jose.

CalTrain is a viable option if the VTA would give the same subsidy to CalTrain riders as it gives to light rail riders, regardless of their race. But they still need cross connecting service in Palo Alto Mountain View and Sunnyvale in order to get to where they WORK. Speeding up ECR is not the answer.


5 people like this
Posted by People over Cars
a resident of another community
on Jan 7, 2015 at 4:34 pm

Caltrain primarily benefits wealthy hi-tech workers commuting between SF<-->a Silicon Valley. Take the train commute and see who is on board. Now take the bus and see who uses that.

We nees to improve transportation solutions for people across all economic levels. The focus has been for the Silicon Valley tech commuters. We need to build out options for others too.

Dedicated lane is the best solution. Congrats to VTA for having to courage to fight the greedy, selfish and short-sighted peninsula communities!


5 people like this
Posted by Logic over Lies
a resident of another community
on Jan 7, 2015 at 5:49 pm

Regardless of who are the CURRENT users of CalTrain, the point is that CalTrain is slated for expansion and can be expanded still further as needed. CalTrain clearly has more use by bicyclists than do the 22 and 522 routes on El Camino Real. Are these commuters younger? Yes. Do they save as much pollution as some older commuter choosing VTA. Yes--actually they save much more. You could argue that the subsidies to VTA but not to CalTrain are discriminatory against those with low income. Why should some worker living in Mountain View and working in in a low-wage job be forced to use VTA and then switch to SamTrans and take twice as long to travel the same distance, just to get the VTA subsidy. CalTrain covers a much longer corridor with many well established employers within walking and biking distance. A new office building in Mountain View outside of North Bayshore is pretty much equally accessible from CalTrain and ECR. CalTrain is a much more environmentally friendly option.

As for CalTrain's user community, there are plenty of non-tech workers and plenty of people traveling to San Jose from points south of San Francisco. Your stereotype is absurd. More logically you could opine that MOST of the workers being added to Mountain View will be young high tech workers, and that would be more true.


9 people like this
Posted by B Minkin
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jan 7, 2015 at 6:05 pm

Bravo to Palo Alto staff for an insightful and substantiated analysis of the problems that BRT will bring. Palo Alto's careful response is one of the reasons that VTA officials avoided Palo Alto in their original proposal.

While Mountain View might have been a pushover with the old members of Mountain View City Council, Palo Alto's citizen activism was one that VTA officials cited earlier this year for stopping the original proposal at San Antonio Road. When one member of the MV council asked VTA why the route stopped at San Antonio, the VTA presenter asked whether Mountain View would endorse if VTA were to include the Palo Alto span.

Will Mountain View city staff have the same analytical capacity as the PA city staff? I look forward to seeing as detailed an analysis, a step-by-step impact for the roads in Mountain View. It is hard to know whether they are up to that task until we see a critical evaluation.

Of all the postings on these VTA articles, no one has criticized or denied the importance of social impact. What remarks have challenged is the cost of achieving the benefit of a dedicated lane. If we are to get the benefit, what is the cost?

The BRT proposal mis-states the cost of traffic impact with quantitative justification that defies belief. Instead, what is rational? As Palo Alto has analyzed, even when some drivers avoid El Camino Real by racing through unprepared neighborhoods, El Camino will be slow due to congestion that BRT causes.


4 people like this
Posted by High Tech Worker
a resident of another community
on Jan 7, 2015 at 6:09 pm

I agree with Logic Over Lies.

Screw the poor. And the old. If we allow easy access to our community, then we will see more of them!

Let's continue to discriminate!

It makes much better sense to push all of our tax money to things that will only benefit the wealthy. This will encourage the poor to better themselves!


7 people like this
Posted by concerned citizen
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 7, 2015 at 11:25 pm

The suggestion from "Embarrassing" that "wealthy peninsula cities want to limit the free travel of Hispanics" is ridiculous. So ridiculous, in fact, that I have to wonder if it isn't just an attempt to degrade the discussion. Web Link) .

The social justice argument isn't too good either. I seriously doubt that bus ridership is disproportionately senior citizens or handicapped people, though common sense says there may be a higher proportion of lower-income riders. But common sense also tells me that the sheer numbers of senior, handicapped, and lower income people who drive (mostly out of necessity) is vastly larger than the number that ride the bus. If anyone has statistics to the contrary, please post them.

Thanks to "Cones" for posting the link to the City of Palo Alto's letter to VTA detailing problems with the dedicated lane proposal. Here it is again: Web Link. Read it!

Thanks to "rainbow38" for the email address for sending comments to VTA. Here it is again: ecrbrt@vta.org . VTA is seeking comments for about one more week. Please let them know what you think about closing lanes on El Camino. I'm fairly certain that most people who are aware of this proposal think it's a terrible idea.


6 people like this
Posted by BRT is Great
a resident of another community
on Jan 8, 2015 at 12:13 am

Obviously nobody here has read the PA letter throughly. They are asking that a BRT stop be placed at El Camino and Page Mill IN ADDITION to the one planned at California Ave. Why would they do this if Palo Alto wasn't supportive of the project?

Let's all write the county supervisors and join PA in their support. Don't let those like "High Tech worker" and "concerned citizen" publish misinformation simply to make the poor, elderly and handicapped life even harder.

The most embarrassing suggestion is to spend this money on so-called "cross connection" shuttles. Their idea is to have people that live and work alongside El Camino take a shuttle from El Camino to a train station. (This route will be gridlocked, since there will be no bus lanes on the shuttle routes.) Wait for the train and get off at some station down the line. (This could be 30 minutes or many hours if someone jumps on the tracks.) Then, wait for the shuttle to take them BACK to El Camino in completely congested traffic. So, your day will be spent sitting in traffic and having to board SIX different train/buses EVERY DAY!

Contrast that with walking over to the BRT, getting on and in 30 minutes be let off near your work. 45 minutes each way and without the stress of traffic or making connections. Also, knowing you are doing your part to control greenhouse gas emissions.


7 people like this
Posted by Cones
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Jan 8, 2015 at 11:17 am

@BRT is Great

You should read more carefully...that suggestion is for the "mixed flow" alternative.

The letter essentially scoffs at the notion of a dedicated lane. But, if you disagree with this interpretation, please feel free to write in support of the Palo Alto letter...


4 people like this
Posted by crazy
a resident of Shoreline West
on Jan 8, 2015 at 3:10 pm

El Camino already sucks to drive on. Wait until all the apartments that are being built are occupied. I never see anyone mention the fact that nobody that has a child in day care is ever going to ride a bus. You would never be able to get to them fast enough in case of a emergency and if you got to say Grant road on El Camino what are you going to do wait for some other bus to come along to get your child to El Camino hospital? I guess the council and developers figure the people in the apartments will never have children. Would not have a school to go to anyway. Kind of like how they only have to have one parking space for each apartment, because hey there is only going to be one person living in a 8,000 dollar a month apartment. Hmmmm.


3 people like this
Posted by Eugene B.
a resident of another community
on Jan 11, 2015 at 4:02 pm

One example of Bus Rapid Transit running along a major highway and thoroughfare(US 20) - Cleveland's "HealthLine" BRT along Euclid Avenue.
Web Link
Right-of-way is only 100 feet wide, and allows for dedicated bicycle lanes where space is available. This BRT line also operates in "mixed flow" traffic like the 22 and 522 Rapid has been for all of its history (dating back to 1974 for the 22):
Web Link


4 people like this
Posted by Cleveland
a resident of another community
on Jan 11, 2015 at 5:56 pm

Looks like this Cleveland experience proves the viability of only doing a 6.8 mile stretch of the current 22/522 service route. They also made the distinction of only closing a lane for 4 miles of their BRT route and using mixed flow for the remainder.

The idea of closing a lane for the 22/522 service is absurd. There are no parallel routes for most of the travel. You'll note that in San Jose they are not closing any lanes, but are instead widening the road to add the dedicated lane. SO this means the BRT expense in San Jose is much greater than in the proposed project through Mountain View. Par for the course. This county varies considerably but that's no excuse for the way VTA spends its money way out of proportion expanding service to San Jose at the expense of the North County.


4 people like this
Posted by BRT for the Valley
a resident of another community
on Jan 11, 2015 at 10:35 pm

The BRT project looks great! It drops a 70 minute bus ride from SJ to Palo Alto down to 35 minutes and it only costs automobiles up to a 5 minute delay. This project is a no-brainer and should be approved.

The thought that the same amount of money spent in a large city like San Jose should be spent on Mountain View is ludicrous. VTA supports the needs of all residents and not just the complaints from tiny wealthy cities that are trying to keep SJ people away.


11 people like this
Posted by No dedicated lanes in Palo Alto
a resident of another community
on Jan 13, 2015 at 8:25 am

Last night, Palo Alto City Council unanimously voted against dedicated lanes in Palo Alto.


5 people like this
Posted by Wahhhh
a resident of another community
on Jan 13, 2015 at 2:04 pm

"Without bus-only lanes, cars at El Camino and Page Mill would wait 94 seconds during the morning commute and 117 seconds in the evening commute in 2040. With dedicated lanes, these waits go up by 15 seconds and 27 seconds, respectively."

Oh No! Auto drivers will have to wait a whole 15 seconds longer!

What a bunch of NIMBY crybabies.


8 people like this
Posted by Trolls begone
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 13, 2015 at 3:31 pm

@Wahhhh - Back under the bridge, please. We are trying to have a serious discussion here.

PA City Council has the right idea. Would our MV Council please consider the same public commitment?


4 people like this
Posted by Abagail
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Jan 13, 2015 at 3:41 pm

Oh, wow! Massive improvement in bus service would really be so beneficial to the community. I hope that the Council supports the BRT project.

The reason Palo Alto is opposed is the loss of parking spots. That's right! They think it makes sense to park cars on a state highway! Sorry PA, but you should have ensured enough parking for your businesses. Can't come crying now....


6 people like this
Posted by BRT Stupid
a resident of another community
on Jan 14, 2015 at 12:53 pm

What's stupid is the rush. If they start this BRT project without dedicated lanes they can always switch to dedicated if it is justified. What I don't like is the idea of using the lane dedication as a tool to compensate for inferior service and still get some riders. Technology is advancing and cars are going to get 50 miles per gallon within 10 years, per manufacturer fleet by average. Some will get more and some will get less, but it will average 50. When cars all switch to electric power it will be a question of which is more efficient--buses or cars. The cars may well win. You can't make your decisions by old standards. The cars can become driverless or system-assisted too and so they may move more efficiently as well.

At the same time, CalTrain wants to add 80,000 riders per day ALONG THE SAME CORRIDOR. The analysis predicting traffic increase on ECR doesn't take that offloading into account. CalTrain when electrified will change the game. There's no need to jump to a decision in Mountain View when it is AT THE END of the 19 mile route. Get the kinks out of it first down in San Jose and hook in with the existing service on 82 up in Mountain View. The reason the supporters are rushing this thing is because it DOES NOT MAKE SENSE for the whole 19 mile route. Way down in Santa Clara and San Jose 82 snakes around and that's the primary place the dedicated lanes have the chance to work. That's all that should be started at this point. VTA just wants to get federal money and is cooking up this scheme to do do so. Meanwhile, this would provide greatly reduced transit connectivity for Mountain View. Stop the insane proposal.


3 people like this
Posted by San Jose
a resident of another community
on Jan 14, 2015 at 12:58 pm

Note that San Jose has half of its work force coming from outside the county. That's 200,000 people commuting into San Jose. They aren't going to come on BRT down ECR. No way no how. They are the target of the Bart expansion, as many live in Alameda County. Yet VTA's projections assume CA 82 BRT will provide many workers with commute options to get to jobs in San Jose. And they live in Mountain View? What kind of sense does that make? If Mountain View builds more housing it will reduce the commuters coming into the city. This long-range idea of trumped up high estimates of increased traffic on CA 82 is specious. So many things are changing that LONG TRAVEL like this 19 mile commuter special are very hart to plan 25 years in advance. It makes no sense for people to live 20 miles away from work anyway, and facilitating it is a bad idea.


7 people like this
Posted by BayAreaBill
a resident of Waverly Park
on Jan 14, 2015 at 4:02 pm

"Praise from the public"? What a stinking crock of swill. I don't know anyone who has to use El Camino who approves of reducing it from 3 auto lanes to two!!! What politically-challenged lib idiot wrote this article?


8 people like this
Posted by Scotty
a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on Jan 14, 2015 at 4:23 pm

This is ridiculous! Who do you know that uses the bus? Me and my friends all drive and we could care a rat's you-know-what for all the poor people and elderly that use those buses. So what if it takes them hours to go 14 miles? What else do they have to do?

Also, how dare they increase my drive by a few minutes. Sure, it doesn't sound like much, but 3 minutes x both ways * 365 days * 30 years = 2190 minutes or 36 hours / year!!! Think of all the gas that could be saved!

Much better if we get rid of that stupid tree median and sidewalks. Then we can put in another lane each way. Nobody I know uses sidewalks. We drive everywhere, even if it is across the street! That will help not only car traffic, but buses too.


9 people like this
Posted by Elderly?
a resident of another community
on Jan 14, 2015 at 8:48 pm

The 20,000 riders per day who use the ECR Bus routes are not that elderly. What's a crock is the effort to pump those numbers up through any means. What is suspicious is that of the 20,000 only 2,000 are "off-peak" riders. The off-peak riders almost exclusively use the 22 not the 522. Yes, the "off-peak" riders may be older and even homeless. But there are 18,000 riders riding at peak and mid-day times. Of these only 5700 are riding the so called Rapid route, the 522. 9,000 ride the vanilla 22. No one riding the vanilla 22 is going very far and they won't be helped much at all by any speed up. The so called speed-up effort is directed at the 5700 riding the 522. Otherwise they could just switch today from 22 to 522! These are neither poor nor elderly as a general characteristic. The thing you have to wonder is why spend all this money to attract more such riders, when you have Cal Train serving 110,000 daily riders along a parallel route.

It's got nothing to do with poor people or elderly. It's just not true that there is any argument to try to draw speed-up riders from CalTrain by speeding up the 522, and the 522 still won't be as fast as CalTrain even with BRT.


8 people like this
Posted by Transit
a resident of another community
on Jan 14, 2015 at 10:51 pm

What are you talking about????

So, all the hundreds of thousands of people that live near El Camino that have a destination near El Camino are expected to sit on a bus to a train station on streets that are gridlocked. Then, wait for the train, take it as close as possible to their destination. Find and board yet another bus in more gridlocked traffic to end up finally back at El Camino????

They just traveled three sides of a square!!!! Much more efficient simply to step onto a single bus and get to the destination at a PREDICTABLE time.

With your method, the person would have to board THREE different transit vehicles in each direction as opposed to one. Eaxh transfer would include additional time waiting for the vehicle + boarding time + buffer time. A simple 30 minute bus ride or 90 minutes of nail-biting frustration????

This is why we have an agency to plan transit for the region and do not rely on amateurs.


6 people like this
Posted by Transit
a resident of another community
on Jan 15, 2015 at 12:48 pm

The BRT route and CalTrain all connect directly from the CalTrain Station in Palo Alto to the CalTrain station in San Jose. There aren't 100's of thousands of riders of either. Look at downtown Mountain View. Realistically, the CalTrain station is walkable from ECR. Many people live in between the two so they are equal distances. But there are many people who live on the Bay side of CalTrain who are much further from where BRT will be. On the other hand, the population on the other side of ECR is not that great but it tends to be in lower density single family houses versus apartment buildings. They aren't going to be using BRT anyway for the most part.

Very few destinations and origins in San Jose are right along where BRT will run. This is just one route into that city and it is not particularly densely populated compared to the other areas. The vast majority of San Jose's population and jobs are far removed from where BRT will run.

No, you have also to take into account that future development is speculative, that the purpose of adding housing along El Camino Real is to serve those WORKING in Mountain View and ALMOST ALL of the jobs in Mountain View are in the North Bayshore and other office parks along the 101 Freeway. What is needed for the residents all over Mountain View is good transit service within the city.

This project just doesn't make sense. It's not the right way to invest in transit. The existing service along ECR is the best in the city. What logic does it make to address improving the best and leave the pitiful state for everywhere else alone?


6 people like this
Posted by People First
a resident of another community
on Jan 15, 2015 at 1:30 pm

It's clear that the people that hate this project do not care about the less fortunate in our society. I have no doubt that these fools spend very little time in the areas along the BRT route down towards SJ, so have absolutely no clue of what they are saying.

This project is a no-brainer. A few minutes extra for automobile drivers in exchange for 40+ minutes less bus drive along the route. That is all you need to know.

It's also a ridiculous statement to oppose this project because high-tech workers that live and/or work in Mountain View would not be directly serviced by it. Sorry, but there are hundreds of thousands of PEOPLE that live throughout the valley that have other lifestyles. Most of the funding has gone to service wealthy tech commuters, but what about everybody else? This project takes NOTHING away from those over-funded transit options, but starts to right an injustice.

I also like the analysis above from another commenter that shows how forcing people to take 4 extra bus and train rides/day is actually less efficient than simply addressing the public transit bottleneck along El Camino. Balanced investment in all transit modes is the answer.


5 people like this
Posted by AC
a resident of North Whisman
on Jan 16, 2015 at 8:33 am

Politician sales pitch:

What do you say to sell a project? Tell the people what they would like to hear 40 min faster and only 3 min delay for the rest. Well the people have seen thru the lies.

From the VTA bus schedule shows a Bus at
3 AM takes 1h 3 min SJ to PA
8 AM it is 1H 20 min

Where is the magical 40 min saved? in 2018?


Web Link


4 people like this
Posted by Flat
a resident of another community
on Jan 16, 2015 at 12:40 pm

The europeans thought the earth was flat and ships would fall off the edge of the world if they went too far.

Many right-wingers thought that sending people to the moon was impossible.
1/2 those same right-wingers still think the moon landing was faked.

Many people in the Bay Area thought that Caltain would never be crowded, much less standing room only!

BRT project would bring that peak 1 hr 20min you saw in the schedule down to about 40 minutes, thus saving 40 minutes. Of course congestion is increasing so the savings will likely be much more.


4 people like this
Posted by Faster
a resident of another community
on Jan 16, 2015 at 12:53 pm

It would take 20 minutes to cover that distance at 60 mph. With people getting on and off 50 times at 50 stops, 40 minutes is a heck of lot of luck. Not going to happen.


7 people like this
Posted by Old Codger
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 16, 2015 at 5:53 pm

El Camino is already only 2 lanes for cars through parts of Mountain View and Sunnyvale! With all the construction going the right hand lane is usually blocked off.

With a Dedicated Bus lane, you are only going to have ONE lane for cars. And it is not only construction. When new cars are delivered to Auto Row in Sunnyvale, you got it! One lane is blocked. Because those trucks can legally double park and block the right lane!

Want to do a feasibility study, with minimal costs? Just cone off 5 miles of the both middle lanes of El Camino for 5 days. See what happens then.

And no, you can't tell me that those drivers would be taking the bus, because everyone is telling me this is for the "Future, where all the apartments and Condos along El Camino are filled with people who don't own cars."


12 people like this
Posted by B Minkin
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jan 16, 2015 at 6:13 pm

As one of those who reject the incorrect statements in the VTA proposal, I find the intentional mis-characterizations of my motivations as mildly humorous, yet manipulative and distracting from the many problems in this proposal.

We have choices to make in our society. We can do many different things, but not every thing. Every time we make a choice, we may also be depriving ourselves of something else. Therefore, we should make careful choices based on accurate information, then choose the best thing to do based on the costs and benefits.

It is not possible to make an informed choice about this project because the information is flawed. The societal cost of forcing traffic to neighborhood streets is essential to recognize. So is the cost to cost of slowing other citizen drivers.

Based on what we can see, the dedicated lane project has enormous cost for insufficient benefit. Inaccurate information condemns the claims the proposal makes. Another project would be a better choice.


4 people like this
Posted by Steve
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jan 16, 2015 at 8:37 pm

The traffic study looks comprehensive. It's a sure sign of ignorance to ignore the data just because you disagree with the conclusion. I for one am not selfish or greedy enough to complain about a few extra minutes on the road to open up a rapid transit alternative.

Dedicated bus lanes will be a great addition to the valley!


4 people like this
Posted by Steve
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jan 16, 2015 at 8:37 pm

The traffic study looks comprehensive. It's a sure sign of ignorance to ignore the data just because you disagree with the conclusion. I for one am not selfish or greedy enough to complain about a few extra minutes on the road to open up a rapid transit alternative.

Dedicated bus lanes will be a great addition to the valley!


10 people like this
Posted by Traffic Study
a resident of another community
on Jan 17, 2015 at 4:58 pm

See the Palo Alto traffic engineers response to the VTA traffic study. It seems there are obvious false readings in the VTA data. In any event, the intepretation is far from comprehensive and it appears to have selected the most favorable of the inconsistent data to justify its conclusions. The current travel times are over estimated and the projected travel times are under estimated.

What else could you do to screw up more?

Most importantly VTA is proposing to invest precious dollars on the best-served of its routes while neglecting to add needed service in the north County areas. Look at all the non-VTA shuttles that are forced to be run in the north county. There are CalTrain funded shuttles, city of Mountain View shuttles funded by Google, city of Palo Alto shuttles, cooperative north Bayshore business shuttles and so forth. This is a sure sign of an inferior service plan by VTA to serve the North County.

Since the North County has population to merit better service, both daytime-only and resident, and since the North County tax base contributes way more than it should to VTA given the service provided, it's time to look at changes.

One desirable change would be to separate the transit authority for the north county away from VTA. That authority could choose to contribute to service along this corridor, but it could also use the dollars to operate better service in the area. The make up of the VTA board is unconstitutional. It denies representation to almost all of the cities in the county for give periods of a year or more, cyclically. This dis empowers voters everywhere but San Jose. This violates both the California and the U.S. constitution. The failure to have continual representation on the VTA board is why Palo Alto, Mountain View, Sunnyvale, Los Altos, Cupertino and Los Altos Hills are given the shaft by the plans. It's time to change things!


10 people like this
Posted by B Minkin
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jan 18, 2015 at 1:08 am

The Palo Alto response ratifies what many voices have been asserting for some time: the numbers that VTA has claimed are not plausible.

The BRT project would have benefits, but with the incorrect materials that VTA provided, there is no way to know the benefits and costs. All we know is that the the fanciful predictions make the proposal suspect.

VTA has ignored calls to test their assertions in a limited way. In more than one meeting, someone has proposed stimulating the closed lane by blocking entry to it with cones. This sensible test would alert many drivers to this proposal they have never heard about, and it would allow VTA to prove their claim of negligible change to driving speed. Let's see a test before deciding.


5 people like this
Posted by Intelligent Citizen
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 18, 2015 at 1:26 am

I'm very dismayed to see the arguments against this proposal. They clearly show a lack of understanding, education (or both) about regional government.

The VTA is primarily responsible for providing transportation in the Santa Clara area and it's board is made up of representatives of areas within that region. The board reports into the Santa Clara Board of Supervisors. It makes absolutely no sense to have a VTA board that has a single voting representative from each city. Why? Because why should Los Altos Hills, which is about 8,000 residents living in about 9 square miles have the same voting power as San Jose with their 1,000,000+ residents living in about 150 square miles???

Previous comments have complained that San Jose has more bus routes than Mountain View. Well, the same applies. That is why we have county-level projects that do not address problems at the city level, but rather deal with the population as a whole. I can't believe that we have citizens in this area that are completely ignorant of this fact. Perhaps some are educated or intelligent enough to know this and are simply attempting to mislead to back their argument?

It's funny that these same goofballs (I'm censoring myself here!) argue that the the data collected for the (very limited) study done by Palo Alto is somehow more valid than the study done by the VTA. Why is PA's data better than VTA's? Did PA study the whole problem from SJ to PA? No, they did not. At the very least, these armchair experts (goofballs) ought to give each study equal weight, yet they choose not to. Clinging on to anyone that will argue against the project.

It is ludicrous to block a project that will impact automobile drivers very little, yet give such a dramatic improvement to public transit across Santa Clara County. Again, much of this is probably lack of education/intelligence with some deliberate deception thrown in. Hopefully the Board of Supervisors will back the VTA board in getting this project through.


8 people like this
Posted by VTA Stinks
a resident of another community
on Jan 18, 2015 at 12:58 pm

The last poster is so wrong. VTA is a special state agency created by an act of the legislature. It does not report to the county supervisors. Quoting the VTA rider's union: "Currently, 5 of the 12 VTA Board members are from San Jose, and are selected by Mayor Ron Gonzales and the San Jose City Council. Other cities have their Board members rotate between cities every few years, with members appointed from their city councils. This is the opposite of how BART and AC Transit create their Board of Directors, which is thru direct election by voters. Board members on both of these transit agencies are represented by district - either by population or by ridership.

In other words, you cannot run for a seat on the VTA Board. In addition, you cannot vote for nor recall a VTA Board member. As a result, VTA's management is essentially accountable to NO ONE. "


5 people like this
Posted by Car impact
a resident of another community
on Jan 18, 2015 at 1:02 pm

This proposed BRT will impact cars as follows:

It will NOT take vehicles off streets because it is a wasteful ineffective approach. Therefore gridlock will worsen and everyone will suffer. Meanwhile there will be empty buses slogging along and already well served corridor, nearly empty in many segments at all hours of the day and night. Wonderful. Greenhouse gases will be increased as a result of all these useless buses which won't benefit a bit from the dedicated bus lane.

It's the wrong project at the wrong time.

If VTA's 12 directors were elected by the voters such travesties would be less likely to occur.


5 people like this
Posted by Facts
a resident of another community
on Jan 18, 2015 at 2:22 pm

I agree that those opposed to this project are selfish, uninformed or both.

"About the Board of Directors

VTA Board of Directors sets VTA policy. The Board has 18 members and ex-officio members, all of whom are elected officials appointed to serve on our Board by the jurisdictions they represent. Fifteen Directors are city council members and three are County Supervisors. Twelve Directors serve as voting members and there are six Directors who serve as alternates. The ex-officio members are non-voting members and are the three Santa Clara County representatives to the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC)."

Can you not read? They are elected. If you are unhappy about the selection of the directors, then it is your fault.

Congestion is going to increase if we do not do this project. The difference is that with this project will come a solid public transit option. The opponents want VTA to hand the cities money to fund little city shuttles. That doesn't address the county-wide routes.



6 people like this
Posted by @Unintelligent Citizen
a resident of another community
on Jan 18, 2015 at 6:11 pm

Consider the alternative of six North County cities splitting off from VTA to form their own transit district. Palo Alto, Los Altos Hills, Los Altos, Cupertino, Mountain View and Sunnyvale could all be represented all the time in this new transit district. None of this rotating non-voting status where the entire population of each city is not represented by a voting member for the majority if the time.

With the tax funds collected, these 6 cities could vastly improve transit service to the North County. We've got the money, we just have the San Jose political machine dominating how it is spent. This BRT proposal is just one example of that problem. There are many many more.

The North County Transit District could cooperate more closely with Sam Trans and Cal Train than VTA does. Cal Train is very important to the North County and it is not getting fair weighting in planning.

Even in Cupertino, there are private buses which provide service to reach the Mountain View Cal Train station. This is because of the abysmal VTA service which should already be addressing that need. Things could be much better.

The emphasis on the Bart expansion to San Jose was due to San Jose having 50% of its workforce commuting in from other counties, largely Alameda County. This does nothing for the Alameda County workers commuting to Menlo Park, Palo Alto or Mountain View. Now with Bart reaching San Jose and VTA service, the VTA is placing a huge priority on a multi-billion dollar boondoggle to extend Bart underground to San Jose downtown ENTIRELY WITHIN THE CITY OF San Jose. Why should north county taxes pay for this boondoggle? Carl Guarino came to a Palo Alto city council meeting and found out first hand how neglected was the planning by VTA for improvements to service for the north County. He had to abandon his quest to add yet another tax for VTA at this time. He's caused them to cobble together some trivial offerings they will possibly offer Palo Alto in the future, if and when they finally do add yet another quarter cent to the sales tax.


5 people like this
Posted by Sad citizen
a resident of another community
on Jan 18, 2015 at 7:57 pm

The "North County" cities are more than welcome to work on transportation systems for themselves. They can also get their own water source besides stealing water from Hetch-Hetchy. Or they can develop their own military to defend their cities, since it seems most tax money collected for the military is not being spent in Los Altos Hills or Palo Alto.

That is why we have governments at the city, county, state and federal. They can (and do) collaborate, but their focus is on their constituents.

The very sad argument against this project is that "bus service is abysmal." VTA proposes a project that will greatly improve bus service and greedy and stupid people try to block it.

You claim to like Caltrain, but the only reason that works is it has it's own "dedicated lane" -- the train tracks. Buses on El Camino don't work well, because they don't have their own dedicated lane. It's a no-brainer to give buses their own lane and have transit along El Camino become very efficient and fast.

The idea that VTA should leave bus service on El Camino slow and unpredictable and instead spend that money on buses to CalTrain shows a lack of understanding of how public transportation works. You need fast and efficient lines in a grid and spending all the investment to support a single vertical line of that grid (CalTrain) is ignoring the rest. El Camino has a lot of apartments and business on and nearby, so it's a great place to invest in transit. Your desire for VTA to instead spend money on special shuttles that could bring residents in Los Altos Hills from their 5 million dollar mansions down to shopping areas is ludicrous. There is such a greater need that will benefit way more people by fixing the El Camino bus route.


12 people like this
Posted by Cones
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Jan 18, 2015 at 8:57 pm

"greedy and stupid people try to block it"

A number of people supporting VTA on this blog have included statements like the one above. That's just beautiful.

Many opposed to this particular VTA plan support and value efforts to improve public transportation...they just see shutting down a lane on El Camino as an extremely poorly conceived plan that will lead to gridlock.

Not much more you can do to hurt the big picture of public transportation advancement than hurl insults at people who might be inclined to support that cause in other arenas.

PS - I also fully recognize the lane closure supporter(s) may just be 1-2 unique people.


10 people like this
Posted by Coneless
a resident of another community
on Jan 18, 2015 at 10:45 pm

It's comments like this one: "they just see shutting down a lane on El Camino as an extremely poorly conceived plan that will lead to gridlock." that shows that the one or two people opposing this project have not even read it.

It does not SHUT DOWN a lane on El Camino. Rather, it DEDICATES a lane to buses so that a fast and efficient transit system can be built along that corridor.

Also, the phrase, "...that will lead to gridlock." shows a lack of understanding that we experience gridlock TODAY. Not only that, but if we do nothing, the gridlock will drastically INCREASE!!!

The "best solution" would be to build a train system above the road so that the existing lanes full of automobiles causing gridlock, can continue to enjoy that dubious pleasure. Unfortunately, this project is not only much more expensive, but will impact the roadways anyway. (Need to have support pillars to go up.) Also, the cities would hate it.. Very ugly!

Funnily enough, if the cities are set on keeping the same number of lanes full of single-person-driving-huge-minivans are more than welcome to use eminent domain and widen El Camino through their area. Even if this project doesn't happen, they can still do that and slightly improve the congestion problem. Of course they won't, because the cities don't want to GIVE anything to improve the situation.

Many of us are solution-minded so you can insult us all you want, give vague and unsupported attacks against the traffic studies or continue to come up with no ideas to solve the El Camino public transit problem, but we will march on and do what needs to be done.


11 people like this
Posted by Utopian? Hmm...
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 19, 2015 at 10:14 am

"[BRT] does not SHUT DOWN a lane on El Camino."

Witness the Orwellian reasoning. REMOVING A LANE FOR AUTOMOBILES -- the only shutting-down mentioned in these comments! -- is described above as "not" shutting down a lane. And freedom is slavery, peace is war. See how readily people can actually "think" like that?

Widespread concerns about spillover traffic (cited even by VTA itself) among residents here, some of whom I've met (and who lack the luxury of living in "another community" where they can ignore this side effect) -- are dismissed offhand in comments. "Greedy and stupid;" "selfish, uninformed."

I agree with other posters: given the willful ignoring of reasoned arguments against this scheme -- dismissing and mischaracterizing them relentlessly, in ways that would never be tolerated in in-person discussion -- it's hard to know if that's coming from a few starry-eyed enthusiasts (maybe again from "other communities," like those speakers quoted at the Council meeting), or from one or two VTA shills posting under multiple names. It has happened before.


7 people like this
Posted by Eugene B.
a resident of another community
on Jan 19, 2015 at 12:25 pm

Some more facts need to be stated.

1) VTA is an "independent special district" - one of over 2,300 such districts in California. That means it's not under any particular city or Santa Clara County's Board of Supervisors.
Web Link
Changes in how it's governed and what cities in the COUNTY it serves have to go thru the California State Legislature, and obtain Gov. Brown's signature.
That "special district" status was made so by Santa Clara County voters in 1993, when transit district power was separated from the Supervisors to the 12-person Board of Directors you know today.
Web Link

2) Some people like me who are from "another community" do business
in Mountain View. I help contribute to the local economy as a consumer
when I go thru the city, the same as local residents do. As someone
who takes VTA's 22 and 522 Rapid to and from Mountain View, I experience
many of the effects of the overwhelming traffic on El Camino Real.
This causes the buses to be as much as 10 minutes late from having to
navigate the traffic. From my own observation, over 95% of that traffic
consists of private automobiles with just the driver. To put down
the viewpoints of this issue from people not in Mountain View is to
put down people like me who contribute money to the city's income, and
the incomes of small businesses I shop in Mountain View.

3) While at least the ridership numbers from VTA are questionable, where
are the alternatives from those who oppose this project? Besides the
(dire) need for improved north-south bus service in North County, how
would YOU resolve the growing auto gridlock - comprised mainly of solo
driving - on El Camino Real?
Web Link
Given how Santa Clara County is expected to add 412,000 by 2060 per the State of California, doing nothing is NOT an option. If anything, it will
ensure that El Camino Real and other streets become impassable due to
the resulting traffic gridlock.


5 people like this
Posted by VTA reorganize
a resident of another community
on Jan 19, 2015 at 1:19 pm

VTA gets most of its funding from taxes imposed on its members. If the 6 north County cities were not in the VTA district, then that tax revenue to VTA would cease. VTA doesn't just automatically get revenue from everyone int he county. It's by virtue of being encompassed in the boundaries that the revenue flows.

The north County cities are NOT getting the bang for the buck that they deserve. With similar taxes on just that area, and a better farebox plan, the citizens of the new district could very well provide better transit services for their area.

That's the whole point of segmenting VTA--to allow the different districts to better tailor their programs to their residents. You would see more local bus service and better coverage. Things like subsidizing BART for San Jose and subsidizing extra local bus routes for San Jose residents (per capita) would cease. We'd finally begin getting a true transit service for our area.


3 people like this
Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Jan 19, 2015 at 2:01 pm

Central Expressway could be improve to handle some of El Camino Real traffic. More overcrossings/undercrossings which at one time were but dropped because of the amount of taxes needed.

The growth of private or local transport is good but beaware of piecemeal managemend and inefficiency beyond belief.

Not every one can ride toe Google shuttle or shuttle that Stanford runs doesn't work for Whisman. You do need to cross city lines and having little different transit agencies will not solve the problem.


11 people like this
Posted by MVResident67
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jan 19, 2015 at 2:38 pm

Garrett: "Central Expressway could be improve to handle some of El Camino Real traffic. More overcrossings/undercrossings which at one time were but dropped because of the amount of taxes needed."

~~~~~~~~~~

Who foots the bill for any "improvements"...the mitigation required if VTA co-opts a lane each direction on ECR? The VTA draft EIR states that mitigation would be necessary, but suggests that it will have no hand in any aspect of the mitigation -- not the money (potentially 100's of millions of dollars) nor the actual design or implementation of any mitigation measures.

Don't forget CalTrain is going be making expansive changes when it electrifies it's trains as well as the addition of HSR... which will run along the current Cal Train land which is within feet of Central Expressway. There is no available land along the corridor, unless you are talking about seizing properties via eminent domain? Have you read the most recent documents regarding HSR and where/how to run the tracks...elevated, tranches, 1% grade, 2% grade? The last estimates I saw were $1.5 billion dollars, and iirc, Cal Train has submitted a report asserting that it is not bound by the California Environmental Quality Act. And that while the agency has gone thru the CEQA process it wants to "reserve the right" to claim the preemption of federal law if the report is challenged. -- Isn't that special?

Meanwhile, VTA is making a land grab, seeking one "dedicated lane" each direction of ECR for it's busses, while simultaneously glossing over the "significant and unavoidable" negative impact such a land grab would have on nearby residential streets as well as the two closest major arterial roads -- Central Expressway and Foothill Expressway.

I have no doubt that the sock puppets will respond soon enough, hurling the standard pejoratives of "greedy" and/or "stupid" people who may have reservations about the VTA dedicated lane BRT plan, and/or the accuracy and transparency of the draft EIR.

These insults speak volumes about the mindset of those posting them. Can't win with the facts, then try to shift the topic of the conversation away from the facts...by resorting to the juvenile insults.

Stay classy sock puppets.


4 people like this
Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Jan 19, 2015 at 3:09 pm

Been looking at it like this way. We need big transportatio and road infrastructure not little ones. Making longer turn lane or more plannin an top of planning.

Time, money and hours are wasted in traffic and soon extra charges will apply. How I know this I alrady do charge extra because the amount of time lost in traffic. 5 hours in a 9 hour day in which I am surround by solo drivers, trucks and buses going nowhere.


9 people like this
Posted by vDDK
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jan 19, 2015 at 4:45 pm

If we read through the comments, the title of the original article should be: "El Camino bus lanes are concern for the counsel, raise firm opposition from the public on the Mountain View Voice web site.



6 people like this
Posted by Utopian? Hmm...
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 19, 2015 at 5:07 pm

Eugene B., please read more carefully. "To put down the viewpoints of this issue from people not in Mountain View" is a mischaracterization.

I wrote that those opining from other towns have the luxury of immunity from the spillover of diverted car traffic into MV neighborhoods (predicted by VTA itself). That immunity is inherent in the situation, incontrovertible. It's easy to ignore consequences you don't have to bear yourself.


7 people like this
Posted by Ridiculous
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 19, 2015 at 5:21 pm

Unbelievable!

The so-called "opposition" to dedicated bus lanes is so off the mark, it is laughable.

"Based on what we can see, the dedicated lane project has enormous cost for insufficient benefit. "

--> This has been shown to be false. There is enormous benefit to moving people quickly and efficiently over El Camino highway with only a small cost to automobile traffic. So, it is great benefit for small cost.

"And freedom is slavery, peace is war."

--> Since the people opposed to this project do not have either the data or the truth on their side, they result to emotional statements like this. I'm sorry, but how dare you bring in a horrid topic like SLAVERY to support your point? Very shameful!

"That's the whole point of segmenting VTA--to allow the different districts to better tailor their programs to their residents."

--> Sure! Anytime government makes a decision you don't like, threaten to secede!!! Sorry, but we live in a community that is greater than your city. In this country, we have had states wanting to leave our union before. Is that really in anyones best interest??

"Stay classy sock puppets."

--> Great! Another insult from someone who cannot use rational arguments to support their point.

This is why the VTA is structured the way it is. It might be formed by the "State" on paper, but it's voting members are all within Santa Clara County. Professionals that are striving to build great transit solutions for the area.


13 people like this
Posted by MVResident67
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jan 19, 2015 at 6:21 pm

@Ridiculous

I (and others I know) are curious about something...what type of compensation will you be receiving in return for the intelligent and inspiring comments you have been posting here, re: VTA BRT Dedicated Lane Proposal?

I'll leave you and the puppets to your sandbox now.

Web Link


12 people like this
Posted by Utopian? Hmm...,
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 19, 2015 at 6:43 pm

See, here it is again. "Ridiculous" dismissing and misrepresenting reasoned critiques and concerns about BRT visible to any reader of this thread.

(Incidentally "freedom is slavery, peace is war" is a quote from a famous novel, which most people in the US have read by the time they finish high school, fictionalizing an extreme form of "utopian" social engineering extrapolated from what actually happened in one part of the world in the 1930s and 40s. The phrase quoted is from a government body in the novel -- the Ministry of Truth, whose business was the creation of lies.)


7 people like this
Posted by vDDK
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jan 19, 2015 at 8:44 pm

@Eugene B.
The VTA proposal is artificially creating gridlock on El Camino for car drivers, who will have to spill into the MtV neighborhoods in search for alternative routes. There is no alternative in place that is feasible (VTA states t itself).

As a resident of MtV living close to El Camino, I do not want to have traffic on my residential street (where kids play), or not being able to use El Camino for good part of the day.

As simple as that. "No" to the express bus lanes.


6 people like this
Posted by @vDDK
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 19, 2015 at 11:35 pm


"The VTA proposal is artificially creating gridlock on El Camino for car drivers, who will have to spill into the MtV neighborhoods in search for alternative routes. There is no alternative in place that is feasible (VTA states t itself).”

VTA is not creating gridlock. The gridlock comes pushing high density around roads without widening them. If the cities won’t allow widening, then the only alternative is to improve public transit. See all the old strip malls along El Camino? See how they are not being maintained? Well, the property owners are waiting for the large scale re-development projects to come in and buy them out. The result will be 100,000+ more people living and working along this road. Having an efficient way to move people along it is imperative and without building more roads, there is no choice.

"As a resident of MtV living close to El Camino, I do not want to have traffic on my residential street (where kids play), or not being able to use El Camino for good part of the day. “

What kind of educated parent would raise kids right next to a STATE HIGHWAY and expect their kids to be able to play in the street unsupervised? It’s a street!!! To say it shouldn’t have cars driving on it shows a lack of understanding of what a road is!!!

Within seven years, much of El Camino will be gridlocked most of the day with automobile traffic if nothing is done. That’s a fact. Blaming automobile traffic on public transit agencies and buses is ludicrous!!!


7 people like this
Posted by VTA PR
a resident of another community
on Jan 20, 2015 at 6:43 am

If dedicating lanes is so vital to the "whole" region, why is VTA PR so silent in Palo Alto (hardly any comments on palo alto online from the VTA serial poster(s) )?


7 people like this
Posted by Silly
a resident of another community
on Jan 20, 2015 at 12:25 pm

Yes, this "Ridiculous" person is a shill for the party line by VTA. Threatening to secede? What about just pointing out the fact that the transit interests between San Jose and the North County are considerably different? What about pointing out the unconstitutional way north county cities are denied voting representation through this absurd non-voting rotating status? That's not a threat.

The logic of this thing is crazy. Using the metric of just passengers on the route is crazy. What counts is passenger miles. Why doesn't VTA report AVERAGE passengers per mile along the entire 22/522 route hour by hour rather than the total? It's an effort to distract people from the fact that the changes REDUCE the number of people who will be traveling along El Camino. So many people in cars use ECR for 1 to 8 mile trips. The 900 cars per hour figure has to bee considered in light of that. This is a capacity of 5000 cars per hour on the whole route, with 7000-10000 people per hour in cars. So much more than the projections for BRT.


6 people like this
Posted by Jackie B
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jan 20, 2015 at 5:44 pm

There are quite a lot of us MV'ers that live near El Camino that would love top hop on a bus and get down to SJ or up to PA and not worry about the traffic. Right now, it's pretty impossible because you just don't know when the bus will get there. I'm not a "VTA shill" whatever that is, nor are any of my friends. Seems like people who improving public transit get attacked. What has this country come to?


8 people like this
Posted by MVResident67
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jan 20, 2015 at 7:35 pm

If the sock puppet fits... ;)


Merriam-Webster: Web Link

shill: (intransitive verb) "to talk about or describe someone or something in a favorable way because you are being paid to do it"



Wikipeda: Web Link

"A shill, also called a plant or a stooge, is a person who publicly helps a person or organization without disclosing that they have a close relationship with the person or organization."

~~~~~

"Shill can also be used pejoratively to describe a critic who appears either all-too-eager to heap glowing praise upon mediocre offerings, or who acts as an apologist for glaring flaws. In this sense, such a critic would be an indirect shill for the industry at large, because said critic's income is tied to the prosperity of the industry."

Internet:

"In online discussion media, satisfied consumers or "innocent" parties may express specific opinions in order to further the interests of an organization in which they have an interest, such as a commercial vendor or special interest group. In academia, this is called opinion spamming.[4] Web sites can also be set up for the same purpose. For example, an employee of a company that produces a specific product might praise the product anonymously in a discussion forum or group in order to generate interest in that product, service, or group. In addition, some shills use "sock puppetry", where they sign on as one user soliciting recommendations for a specific product or service. They then sign on as a different user pretending to be a satisfied customer of a specific company."


5 people like this
Posted by bike family
a resident of North Whisman
on Jan 20, 2015 at 8:45 pm

We would absolutely LOVE a rapid transit system along 82. It is an absolutely miserable drive and biking is dangerous. So many cool businesses popping up along it but so hard to get to.

When will this be ready?


3 people like this
Posted by @Jackie B
a resident of another community
on Jan 20, 2015 at 9:38 pm

Um, you can easily find out when the 522 bus will arrive at any point on ECR. Check out this web link. Web Link Select Eastbound Weekday for example, and voila, there you are. These buses run on time, but they are permitted to even run up to 5 minutes early, so allow for that. Not so complicated. Won't change a bit with BRT. BRT will still need to contend with traffic signals, even with the same light changer now used by the 522. The light change can never be perfect.

Meanwhile, I can't believe you don't check out CalTrain. Much better faster service. Check out the schedule here: Web Link

Regardless of what happens with BRT, Cal Train is set double service over the next 10 years. It's already starting, and the final speed up will be with electrification. Oh that the money spent on this crazy wasteful BRT project could instead be diverted to electrification for Cal Train. Cal Train is already much less carbon-emitting than the bus service, and with electrification, it will get even more so. So much less energy to drive a train of 1400 people at a time along steel rails, than to do little blips of 20 or 50 in individual self propelled buses. Also, it's easier to get your bike aboard CalTrain than it is to get it aboard 522, especially if you are a group of multiple riders.... as you claim to be.


4 people like this
Posted by Jackie B
a resident of Whisman Station
on Jan 20, 2015 at 10:24 pm

We've been following the CalTrain electrification project and have little confidence it will come to be. Also, the cost is enormous and is going up and up. 1.5 billion dollars at last count!

Web Link

I did a quick google on BRT and it is estimated at just 200 million or 80 percent less.

Anyway, when we are having fun on El Camino, we don't want to keep traversing all the way over to the train tracks and then back again. Why can't there be a rapid transit option right where people want to be?


3 people like this
Posted by @Jackie B
a resident of another community
on Jan 20, 2015 at 10:56 pm

Hmm, well CalTrain runs 77 miles. The BRT project is proposed to cover a minimum of 8 miles and the most they have every considered is about 18 miles. No wonder Cal Train work costs more!

Also consider that there is zero sanctioned place to park your bike to catch the 522 or 22 currently, and no plans for that in the new BRT set up that I can see. CalTrain on the other hand has lots of bicycle parking at every station. There are loads of business near the Cal Train line, and plenty of development. Downtown Palo Alto is right in there by Cal Train, and so is California Avenue. The San Antonio station is pretty close to the San Antonio Shopping Center and the new and existing office buildings in that locale. Loads of businesses in downtown Mountain View and Sunnyvale. Served really more closely by Cal Train than they are by ECR and possible maybe BRT.....

Also, a lot of funding for Cal Train electrification has already been secured from the HSR project, even with that project stopping the 125mph trains in San Jose. But Cal Train can get up to 80 mph itself. I have seen it. It's much more rapid than buses will ever be in BRT. Electrification will just improve things.


3 people like this
Posted by CalTrain
a resident of another community
on Jan 20, 2015 at 10:59 pm

And of course besides parking your bike, you can take it along on Cal Train. None of this hook it onto the front of the bus dangling over the roadway and possibly falling off, plus delayed the trip while the bike is hooked onto the front....


4 people like this
Posted by Bad data
a resident of another community
on Jan 20, 2015 at 11:58 pm

I don't know why we are discussing CalTrain electrification, but there is some misinformation being promulgated here:

CalTrain is 74 miles long, but this project will only electrify 51 miles. So, 1.5 billion dollars and it's not much more than 2/3 done.

Early estimates were set at 300 million and now it was boosted to 1.5 billion. When will it end? 3 billion? 5 billion?

Did you know that this project will only allow a peak capacity of 6 trains per hour vs 5? So, billions of dollars later and we get only ONE additional train/hr.

People that live and work near El Camino will have to fight rush hour traffic to get to the train station and then fight it all the way back to El Camino. How does that make any sense?

Ever been in a train when someone jumps on the tracks? Well, I have. Several times. We were stuck on the train for over TWO hours. Know what happens when someone jumps in front of a bus? Much faster. No need to slow or stop the entire line and getting people in and out of a bus can be done anywhere...not just at a special station.

Bikes on trains is not super great. Stations tend to be in rough areas and biking to and from them can be treacherous. Many times, there is no space in the bike car so I'm forced to back out and wait a long time for another train. Really messes my schedule up.

Trains have their place, but it is not an either/or choice with other transit modes like buses.


3 people like this
Posted by Nah
a resident of another community
on Jan 21, 2015 at 1:38 am

The Cal Train electrification EIR is based on the peak 6 trains per hour EACH WAY (but many more cars per train potentially). But this is not a limitation of the facilities that are created. This is a milestone for the EIR. Considering these trains have a capacity of 2000 or more passengers each, 6 trains per hour is a huge service bump. 24,000 passengers PER HOUR. Wow. Also, this is misleading. 6 trains per hour is how many pass any one station. But there are trains at the far end of the line passing a different station also. So it's potentially 35,000+ passengers per Hour at the peak. I do think that's enough for now. When ridership grows, another EIR can be undertaken to bump that up still further.


3 people like this
Posted by Good Point
a resident of another community
on Jan 21, 2015 at 1:41 am

With dedicated lanes for BRT, a suicide in the dedicated lane can be very disruptive to bus services. It will be just like what happens now with CalTrain only no fences. Much easier for suicide. Interesting. I doubt that they have considered that.


6 people like this
Posted by Yah
a resident of another community
on Jan 21, 2015 at 1:47 am

CalTrain electrification:
Today: 5 trains
After billions spent: 6 trains

The BRT project is far more cost effective. Very simple to scale up ridership by adding buses. Train will always be limited and subject to regular system-wide outages.


3 people like this
Posted by Train count
a resident of another community
on Jan 21, 2015 at 2:28 pm

Actually today there are 21 trains northbound and 21 trains southbound in the A.M. PM's see 25 trains northbound and 25 trains southbound.

There's only a single hour where there are 5 trains in that one hour. The average is obviously about 2 trains per hour in each direction.

Electrification is projected to double the ridership, even with only increase that one peak hour from 5 trains to 6 trains, and there is more capacity still to be added if needed.

Keep in mind that the trains today have like 1600 passengers on them at some times because seats aren't required. CalTrain has ordered more cars and another 300 people will be added to the capacity PER TRAIN even before electrification. With electrification, which cost also includes buying all new cars and locomotives, handling deferred maintenance built up over time, the capacity of each train will be like 2500 passengers seated and even more standing.

120,000 passengers per day is a lot of people. Adding more still can make sense, to maximize the benefit of the system.


6 people like this
Posted by Bad Data
a resident of another community
on Jan 21, 2015 at 3:02 pm

Counting the number of trains over many hours is not helpful to the transit user who needs to get moving.

Here is a direct quote from CalTrain's own project documents:

"The Peninsula Corridor Electrification Project will provide environmental
approval for operation of up to 6 Caltrain trains per peak hour per direction
(an increase from 5 currently) with operating speeds of up to 79 mph (same
as today). "

Web Link

"Electrification is projected to double the ridership". Doing this project will not magically allow them to double the number of trains over the course of the day. They could do that today, but choose not to due to economic concerns.

The worse part is that all of the housing and services are being built up along El Camino and not along the train tracks. (I used to live two blocks away from a rail station--so loud! Our apt would shake when the cargo train would come through.) Are people really expected to drive, shuttle or take the long hike from and to El Camino because the train is the only way to get N-S? Fortunately, that is exactly the problem BRT is designed to address. The tens of thousands (more really) that live, work and shop along El Camino could hop a bus, were it not for the gridlock created by the automobiles. One bus full of people could replace 50+ automobiles on the road. Huge benefit to all!

Spend the billions on electrifying CalTrain. The wealthy tech worker will think it's sexy, but don't forget about everybody else that won't be served by the trains.


6 people like this
Posted by VTA PR
a resident of another community
on Jan 21, 2015 at 4:33 pm

Maybe the VTA serial poster(s) could answer these questions from the SV Transit Users group?

Web Link


8 people like this
Posted by Noisy trains quiet buses
a resident of another community
on Jan 21, 2015 at 4:59 pm

There's another thread on Town Square that is complaining about the noise from the trains alarm bells: Web Link.

From the Electrify Caltrain shill, we have learned that the number of trains will double so this noise will double too. Warnings to all the smart growth residents who live near the train!

The BRT project will result in a lower noise level on El Camino. Something to think about...



3 people like this
Posted by Arithmetic
a resident of another community
on Jan 21, 2015 at 7:26 pm

Let's see. If you increase the capacity of each train from 1400 to 2500, and you want to double the overall ridership, how many more trains will you need to run? Double? Well you already get potentially 1.78 times as many riders on the full trains. Looks like maybe 20% more trains needed to do that.

Now these brand new electric engine cars, will those trains have the same noise creation as the 70 year old design cars with the diesel locomotives? Not hardly. Among other things, the electric engines will allow faster noise free acceleration and braking. More stations can be covered because the slow down and speed up tines surrounding a stop will be nearly eliminated.


8 people like this
Posted by Train reality
a resident of another community
on Jan 21, 2015 at 9:41 pm

You clearly do not ride caltrain or you would know how talking about the noise of the engine is actually a small part of the overall sound that disrupts local neighborhoods.

The electric trains still are steel-on-steel so all the screeches and rattling that are heard today will be around after this project. "Noise free braking"???? Hahahah...

The loud and annoying train bells that disrupt the peace and quiet will not disappear with electric trains. With increased number of trains, this will actually increase!

Contrast this with the efficient hybrid electric buses that would run along the BRT route. Rubber on asphalt is much quieter. Plus, the bus won't be ringing bells or honking horns whenever they go into a stop.

Don't get me wrong. Electrification of CalTrain is a good thing. Sure, it will be several billion dollars before its done. Sure, thousands of heritage trees will be taken down to make room for the electrical poles. Sure, this only benefits wealthy tech workers that commute from the city into the valley. Sure...oh...yeah... Seems this project has many more issues than VTA's BRT project. Oops!


7 people like this
Posted by VTA PR
a resident of another community
on Jan 21, 2015 at 9:49 pm

If the dedicated lanes are so great, maybe the VTA serial poster(s) should go ask the Palo Alto, Mountain View, Los Altos and SunnyVale city councils for a formal endorsement?


12 people like this
Posted by 1% PR
a resident of another community
on Jan 21, 2015 at 10:21 pm

Improving bus routes have been fought against all over the country and is a sickness we need to shake off. Sure, racial discrimmination is a big factor, but economic class is also significant. There are obviously many people on this thread that support BRT, but insidious comments like the above are a big red flag. Just days after MLK holiday too! Shame, shame, shame....


3 people like this
Posted by VTA Buses
a resident of another community
on Jan 22, 2015 at 12:52 pm

VTA is ahead of the rest of the country in services for the bottom 1%. VTA subsidizes 75% of the cost of each ride. No other transit system in the country has such low farebox recovery. VTA is doing its bit for the low income people. Now, if it could just provide some bus service to help make coverage better, rather than focusing on ONE ROUTE up and down El Camino. That's the real obstacle to usage of the existing service along that route. You just can't find cross connecting service with any degree of reliability. Sorry, this will help everyone at all economic levels. There's just no way to limit this improvement just to the low income. The proposed BRT changes actually don't focus on the bottom 1% either.


9 people like this
Posted by Misinformation update
a resident of another community
on Jan 22, 2015 at 3:02 pm

The campaign against rational thinking continues, so let's correct the latest fallacies:

"VTA subsidizes 75% of the cost of each ride. No other transit system in the country has such low farebox recovery."

That is just ridiculously and patently incorrect. There are many transit systems that are 100% subsidized! Local examples like Mountain View's new community shuttle or Stanford's long standing Marguerite bus line, but there are examples all over the country. 100% subsidized is higher than 75% subsidized.

"Now, if it could just provide some bus service to help make coverage better, rather than focusing on ONE ROUTE up and down El Camino."

Of course bus service coverage should be improved across the grid, but El Camino is the biggest bang for the buck right now. Lots of high density developments going up and given this is a state highway, it so much easier to do a large project.

"You just can't find cross connecting service with any degree of reliability."

Well, of course not! At peak hours, these city controlled streets are gridlocked with automobiles that almost universally contain just one single person. How can reliability be increased in gridlock? Dedicated bus lanes, perhaps, but as we see there are some selfish people that are scared at spending a few minutes extra on the road in their car. So, tell us how to get a "cross-connecting bus" for the wealthy transit users to get through that automobile-induced gridlock and we'll talk.

What some people seemed to have forgotten is that a big reason that buses are not as appealing as trains is their unpredictability. Without the appeal, ridership is down. With low ridership, comes reduced revenue and greater subsidy.

Dedicated transit lanes for buses will put themselves on an even footing with trains and light rail. Ridership will go up, revenue will rise and subsidies will drop. With increased revenues comes increased service. This is not brain surgery folks. Silicon Valley is full of bright, creative engineers and designers that understand that if the product is good, then consumers will buy.


5 people like this
Posted by Already voted
a resident of another community
on Jan 25, 2015 at 3:46 pm

There was a vote in 2000 which supported shared use lanes but with some "queue jumping" lanes ADDED at key intersections. That was never done! Sounds like a better plan.


7 people like this
Posted by Top 3
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 25, 2015 at 10:54 pm

The best three solutions I see are:

1. Widen El Camino by one lane in each direction.
Pros: Would provide relief from congestion.
Cons: High cost and politically difficult due to the taking of private property through eminent domain.

2. Build a subway system underneath the road.
Pros: High speed and won't impact automobile traffic.
Cons: Extremely expensive.
3. Dedicate a lane for buses.
Pros: Would drastically increase the efficiency and speed of public transit.
Cons: Would increase the travel time of automobiles a small amount. (5-7min over the entire SJ->Palo Alto route.)

After due consideration I believe that option 3 (Dedicated bus lane) is the obvious best choice.

(There are other options of course. The two most popular in this thread are "Do Nothing" and "Give our transit money to Caltrain". Neither of those address the rapidly growing transit problem along El Camino.)




7 people like this
Posted by concerned citizen
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 25, 2015 at 11:59 pm

@Top 3 - As you probably know quite well, there are other alternatives besides the two impossibilities and the "go for broke" dedicated lane alternative that you list. Please take a look at the VTA report - Web Link.

You won't have to look beyond page 2. VTA lists a number of alternatives, including mixed-flow and partial ("long" or "short") dedicated lanes, that stop short of Mountain View.

Most of the views expressed here are in opposition to alternatives 4B and 4C, which would clearly do far more harm than good, for reasons amply covered in the exchanges in this forum, and for reasons that can be seen in the VTA report itself.


10 people like this
Posted by Intelligent Citizen
a resident of another community
on Jan 26, 2015 at 12:08 am

What I notice is that most of the posts opposing the project seem to be coming from one or two serial posters who are attempting to give the perception that there is a broad base of opposition. It's hard to refute the reality that none of these so-called "concerned citizens" bothered to show up to the MV city council meeting and voice their concerns.

The meeting was well publicized and everybody I spoke to knew it was a discussion point in our city.


9 people like this
Posted by VTA Sewage Report
a resident of another community
on Jan 26, 2015 at 3:10 am

If a sewer line busted and up came a gurgling bubbling effluent, would you say that you could safely conclude that it didn't stink because no one went to city council and filled out a speaker card about it?

No, this turkey is pure B.S. The best option of all is what the voters approved in 2000. Rapid transit lines created by shared use of existing lanes plus selected additional runs of intermittent dedicated lanes where needed to speed up flow for the buses.

None of this "if you built it they will come" argument. There should already be more demand and there just isn't. If VTA wants to increase demand they need to provide better cross service for people to reach the El Camino Corridor, which they have no money for..... even with this plan. At the same time, providing such improved cross transit is going to increase demand for... you guessed it.... CalTrain.


6 people like this
Posted by BRT Dedicated Lane
a resident of another community
on Jan 26, 2015 at 8:38 am

I also believe that the dedicated lane is the best option. Yes, it would be great to build skytrains or subways to go across the El Camino Highway, but it is just simply not realistic.

The BRT project will bring 70 minute bus rides down to 35 minutes with only a FIVE MINUTE delay for automobile drivers that are traversing the ENTIRE ROUTE!

I just don't get the comments from selfish people that want to give companies like Google our VTA dollars so that they can use our public transit funds for their private purposes. That's what "improving cross service" is a codeword for. Also, I don't get this desire to hand money over to CalTrain. That agency is flush with money as they have figured out how to steal it from the HSR project! (Of course, when the lawyers get involved, then the region will have to pay the dollars back, which will come out of our pockets. )

If VTA doesn't improve transit up and down El Camino, then who will? It's exactly what VTA is there for. That is the absolute reality of the situation. Everything else is smoke and mirrors.


7 people like this
Posted by Cones
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Jan 26, 2015 at 11:22 am

The meeting the Voice did NOT report on was the meeting held by VTA in Mountain View Council Chambers. 90% of the speakers at the AM meeting (including a current MV Council member) spoke in opposition to the dedicated lanes (I'm sure minutes are available for confirmation). Since VTA is the body making the decision, it makes sense that's the meeting people would attend.

If the bus took only 10 minutes to get from SJ to PA, people still wouldn't take it...it DOES NOT TAKE PEOPLE WHERE THEY NEED TO GO!. Even VTA has projected only 4,000 new rides (2,000 unique riders if you count a person going in each direction). So a claim above about this benefiting hundreds of thousands is silly.

I encourage those opposed to dedicated lanes to each speak with those in your circles to ensure they're aware of this potential project.




3 people like this
Posted by Eugene B.
a resident of another community
on Jan 26, 2015 at 12:39 pm

Wow. It seems people on both sides of the BRT issue have much to learn
in terms of:

* how the BRT project was conceived in the first place
* how local and regional governments work
* how VTA is primarily funded

Please join me and my group this Thursday evening in San Jose to discuss these issues and how to make this BRT project and connecting bus service happen. Agenda is at the link below.

Web Link


8 people like this
Posted by Unhappy Caltrain user
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 29, 2015 at 6:16 pm

Ouch! One person hit on the tracks around 4:30pm and has completely tied the system up. People are stuck on their trains for hours and they cannot even disembark and hop on a taxi.

We really need to build up alternative N-S routes. Yay for BRT!
Let's transfer the Caltrain Electrification funds to enhance bus service. Someone jumps in front of a bus--no biggie. Doesn't shut down the entire transit network.


3 people like this
Posted by Dedlcated Lanes
a resident of another community
on Jan 30, 2015 at 12:49 am

Good reason not to have dedicated lanes for the BRT. CalTrain was only down for about an hour due to the accident, while the rerouted around the accident site for the investigation. Will BRT be capable of rerouting in this fashion? Uncertain. If CalTrain had been down longer, then they would have called out their own buses, but this wasn't needed because they interspersed along the Northbound tracks from San Antonio station in Mountain View through to Sunnyvale during the investigation.


3 people like this
Posted by Happy CalTrain Rider
a resident of another community
on Jan 30, 2015 at 1:11 am

Note that CalTrain gets one from San Jose to Palo Alto in TWENTY-TWO (22) MINUTES. Or you can go to Menlo Park in TWENTY-FIVE (25) MINUTES.
The current 522 line takes 69 minutes from Palo Alto and much longer to Menlo Park and points north because you have to transfer to Sam Trans. With BRT, the expected speed up is only a few minutes. Cal Train will still be a half hour faster to Palo Alto and going up to San Francisco will be way faster on Cal Train.


8 people like this
Posted by Very Unhappy Train User
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 30, 2015 at 9:58 am

Only down for one hour??? What are you smoking? My normal train gets in around 6pm, but last night it wasn't until 7:45pm!!!

You can even read the reality on Caltrain's twitter feed:

Caltrain @Caltrain_News:

269 is 90 min late at BUR
277 is 42 min late at SBR
273 is 103 min late at PAL
279 is 70 min late at SUN 381 is 70 min late at MVW #Caltrain

So, now we have documented proof that this anti-BRT serial poster is a LIAR. Anything they write is obviously FALSE and should be ignored.

Buses will be much better at handing this problem. It is absolutely not "uncertain". In fact, one of the biggest concerns CalTrain users have is that with the suicide barrier going up on the Golden Gate, the train tracks will be the next best opportunity.

Even CalTrain recommends other forms of transportation as superior:
"When there's a major incident on Caltrain, we recommend immediately checking alternate transit: @SamTrans_News @VTA @SFBART".


3 people like this
Posted by Tasteless
a resident of another community
on Jan 30, 2015 at 11:55 am

@Unhappy - these are very tasteless arguments


8 people like this
Posted by Makes no sense
a resident of another community
on Jan 30, 2015 at 12:27 pm

The anti-BRT serial poster wrote that for CalTrain: "San Jose to Palo Alto in TWENTY-TWO (22) MINUTES. Or you can go to Menlo Park in TWENTY-FIVE (25) MINUTES."

That is only at very limited times during rush hour on an express train. BRT express could run all day with very little cost investment.

And what happens if you live and work near El Camino? Then, you would need to add 1/2 hour to get over to CalTrain and then 1/2 hour to get back over to El Camino. So, the 22 minutes suddenly becomes 1 hour 22 minutes. The BRT alternative would be only 35 minutes and could be provided throughout the day!!!


8 people like this
Posted by Wealthy vs Not
a resident of another community
on Jan 30, 2015 at 12:44 pm

Another argument for BRT is that it is not only for the wealthy high-tech workers to use, but could be used by EVERYONE.

If I want to go from San Jose to Palo Alto (4 zones), the round trip fare is $14.50 and the monthly pass would be $179.00.

For those that travel by train, they see how the seats are full and standing room only, so CalTrain must be very successful revenue-wise. $179 * all those riders, plus people paying the $14.50 day for more occasional use.... Gotta be revenue neutral at least?

But, here is the dirty little secret. Companies can buy annual passes ("GoPass") for their employees at only $15/month EACH!!!! That's right. The "regular Joe" pays the same amount for a single day on CalTrain that these wealthy high-tech workers pay for an ENTIRE MONTH!

The inequity is EVEN WORSE. These annual passes do not have the same limits as the individual tickets or even the monthly passes. Those are limited to a number of zones. The annual pass for wealthy high-tech workers is UNLIMITED! Meaning, they have unlimited travel across all 6 zones 7 days/week! If a monthly pass user wants the same level of service, it would be $338/month!

So, let's review:

non-wealthy-non-tech-worker pays: $338/month for unlimited CalTrain access
wealthy-tech-worker pays: $15/month for unlimited CalTrain access

Disgusted yet? Wait, there's more!
Does the "regular joe" paying $338/month get a tax deduction for using public transit? NOPE!
Does the high-tech company get a tax deduction for paying for their employee's CalTrain pass? YUP!

So, that means that every tax dollar saved by these companies is less revenue to the state and federal government, which means less services for everybody. Hospitals, fire, police, parks, etc...

When one hears arguments against enhancing our bus services and instead piling that money into the train system, please look at the reality of the situation. Low-middle income folks do not benefit from this AT ALL. It is simply a money grab to benefit people that do not need the money!

I'm glad that we have VTA advocating for most of the Valley's residents and not just the greedy few. Can't wait for BRT to be launched!


7 people like this
Posted by MVResident67
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jan 30, 2015 at 2:32 pm

Very Unhappy Train User: snip..."So, now we have documented proof that this anti-BRT serial poster is a LIAR. Anything they write is obviously FALSE and should be ignored."

~~~~~

Makes no sense: snip..."The anti-BRT serial poster wrote that for CalTrain..."

~~~~~

Wealthy vs Not: snip..."I'm glad that we have VTA advocating for most of the Valley's residents and not just the greedy few."

~~~~


Well hello shills. You give yourseves away every time with comments referring to those who may have reservations about VTA's (dedicated lane option) BRT plan as "anti-BRT serial posters", "LIAR" and the oh so popular, "greedy" adjectives...well pejoratives, actually.

The sock-puppet shtick is getting old.


8 people like this
Posted by Dan
a resident of North Whisman
on Jan 30, 2015 at 3:04 pm

Just read the report. A few min impact not "a few minutes" for everyone.

Cross traffic impact is an intersection delay when a bus passes by with priority lights. This is not a "car" impact as each intersection has variables that effect traffic flow. Ex The report just states "Mathilda" traffic will be delayed 400 sec as the bus passes by. There is no mention of the ripple effect of 100's of cars stopping for 400 sec. That could add minutes on top of the 400 sec then 12 min later another bus passes by. There is no "total" traffic impact. It just states severe impact to high traffic flow/ intersections like Grant/ 237.

Bus rider gains of up to 40 min is based on the current bus times vs an Automotive trip. I guess that bus would not stop to pick up passengers.


10 people like this
Posted by Mv resident?
a resident of Shoreline West
on Jan 30, 2015 at 3:53 pm

Mvresident68 does nothing for this community. She just sits around, complains and berates anyone that is trying to improve things.

She is the shill for the status quou and ignorance. Any project she opposes is likely one that will improve Mountain View.


7 people like this
Posted by MVResident67
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jan 30, 2015 at 5:14 pm

Happy Friday, sock puppets!

Web Link


5 people like this
Posted by MVResident67
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jan 30, 2015 at 5:29 pm

CalTrain's 'Go Pass' program...

Web Link



Go Pass

The Caltrain Go Pass program allows companies, educational institutions and residential complexes (“Participants”) to purchase annual unlimited-ride passes for all eligible employees, residents or students (“Users”). A Go Pass sticker is affixed to an approved identification badge and the user presents it on the train as proof of payment.

The Go Pass is good for travel on Caltrain between all zones, seven days a week, for one low annual cost per user. The Go Pass is not available for purchase by individuals and does not cover parking at Caltrain stations or travel on other transit systems. The Go Pass is valid for a calendar year and expires on Dec. 31 each year.

Cost
The Go Pass program is open to Participants of any size. Participants pay an annual fee for every eligible User regardless of who will take advantage of the Go Pass benefit. All employees working more than 20 hours per week excluding contractors, consultants, interns and temporary employees are considered Users. Companies have the option to include employees working less than 20 hours per week, interns or both. Residential complex Users include all residents five years and older. If a participant is both business and residential, it may elect to include employees, residents or both. Educational Users include all students per selected group (i.e. graduate, undergraduate, full-time).

...more...

Web Link


5 people like this
Posted by CalTrain
a resident of another community
on Jan 30, 2015 at 6:40 pm

CalTrain runs over twice as far as BRT on El Camino is maximally proposed. BRT is 85% subsidized in cost. No wonder BRT draws longer travelers where the time considerable time savings makes up for the lack of government subsidy to the extent enjoyed by VTA operations.

VTA runs many nearly empty buses at various times. This hurts the environment needlessly. Sure, it's more convenient for the rare traveler who desires to take a trip on one of these empty buses, or just likes to sleep on them.

That guy citing twitter feeds cited 4 delays which average 75 minutes. 75 minutes is "about an hour" close enough for government work.


9 people like this
Posted by Caltrain reality
a resident of another community
on Jan 30, 2015 at 7:39 pm

Caltrain serves its purpose, but is no substitute for a networked bus service.

Caltrain is mostly empty outside commute times, but there is no efficient way to remove cars on demand. This means there is a massive gross inefficiency that is truly embarrassing.

A few cranky, ill-mannered people complain about bus service, but then try to block improvements. Very sad.


5 people like this
Posted by Cal Train Nights
a resident of another community
on Jan 31, 2015 at 2:46 am

There is a heck of a lot more ridership on the Cal Train lines running in the evening than there is on the 22 and 522 route along ECR.


7 people like this
Posted by Yes, but...
a resident of another community
on Jan 31, 2015 at 9:53 am

As was pointed out above...

*CalTrain has a much longer route than VTA bus routes.

* Most of the CalTrain riders at commute times only pay 15/month via the GoPass program. That is primarily limited to tech companies.

* it services only a narrow corridor. Most people live far away and comutting to and from the train is a long and arduous event in itself.

* CalTrain is fragile. A single person can delay people's comutes by many hours. Buses do not have any record of this fragility, despite what anyone says--where's the proof!?

Most people are supportive of the dedicated lane project. People objected to the baby bullet Caltrain project and look how beloved it is!


3 people like this
Posted by GoPass
a resident of another community
on Jan 31, 2015 at 1:19 pm

GoPass is a small subset of the CalTrain riders. It costs $180 per year, but the company has to pay for ALL its employees, not just those using CalTrain. More noise from the self apointed VTA shill.


9 people like this
Posted by @GoPass
a resident of another community
on Jan 31, 2015 at 3:15 pm

If even just one TENTH of a company's employees use their GoPass, it is still less than 40pct of what everybody else pays.

CalTrain collects the most subsidy dollars than ANY other form of transit in this area. They are pigs at the trough and it is galling to see the suggestions to transfer VTA dollars to them!

This is class warfare. The rich want to keep the poor away. Won't even talk about the racial inequity...that's another subject.


3 people like this
Posted by member
a resident of Gemello
on Jan 31, 2015 at 6:58 pm

So I think we all learned a lesson, we need to read the study ourselves and never trust a quote in an article.

"When I look at the chart and see the time difference from the different options, it's just very surprising," Lafleur said. "You can potentially go bla bla bla incorrect conclusion.

Lets hope the Cities and VTA understand what impact.


3 people like this
Posted by DC
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jan 31, 2015 at 7:27 pm

It sad that some people hear what they want to hear. Business do want to work sat and fri and some thimes sun when if they can. PS Games, concert and soccer events are already planned for fri sat and sun at Levis and at $ billions dollars there soon will be thur & wed activities to recover the costs of the stadium with poor planning.

@ Posted by Sad DC, a resident of another community
DC... It's sad that you don't understand that the games are on Sunday. Not a lot of business commuters....


8 people like this
Posted by Intelligent Citizen
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 31, 2015 at 11:31 pm

Definitely read the traffic analysis. It is a very compelling case for the dedicated lane.

The numbers in "Table 35: 2040 PM Diversion Route Intersection LOS Summary" on page 72 (or 77 of the Adobe PDF file) are especially interesting.

Let's take the worst case scenario and look at the currently horrible intersection of Rengstorff and Central. The assumption is that drivers cut over away from El Camino to Central via Rengstorff, so there are some anticipated increased delays there. Let's look at the numbers:

If we do what people on this forum wish: Do nothing... That is "Alternative 1" in the table. The expected delay for each car at that intersection would be: 151.9 seconds. Now, if we choose option 4b (dedicated lane through and past Mountain View/Rengstorff), then there would be an impact. That is forecasted to be 205.9 seconds. So, by doing nothing, it will take drivers during the evening commute about 2 1/2 minutes to get past that one intersection. If we do the dedicated lane, then instead of 2 1/2 minutes, it would be almost 3 1/2 minutes. So, this is the worst case noticed in this forecast and while 3 1/2 minutes is a long time, so is 2 1/2 minutes..and that we will get if we do nothing. The difference is that doing nothing also will get us no useful transportation alternative.

If you look through the tables at other intersections, you will find that many intersections are not impacted at all and that the ones that are impacted are really just incrementally worse than what we will get anyway. The real badness comes from just overall growth of automobile traffic on the roadways, which is indicated in "Alternative 1" (the do-nothing approach).

By the way, there is nothing in the document that states that if we cut lanes down by 1/3, then 1/3 of our automobile traffic on El Camino will all seek alternative roadways.

It's important to take a neutral approach when evaluating the project documents. That's why we are very fortunate to be a republic and not a direct democracy. We elect people that (hopefully) see the big picture, who in turn hires PROFESSIONALS to objectively evaluate the problems and recommend solutions.

This project should go through. The 5-7 minute delay for automobiles along the corridor is well worth the almost doubling in speed for the buses. Lots of alternatives were explored, but this one is the least impactful. If anyone has an idea that can reduce a 70 minute bus ride down to 40 minutes along the El Camino SJ -> PA corridor, please suggest it! If nobody does, then that is very telling.


4 people like this
Posted by VTA PR
a resident of another community
on Feb 1, 2015 at 7:01 am

@Intelligent Citizen (or whatever your name du jour might be).

"We elect people that (hopefully) see the big picture"

True ... and we elect them to make decisions.

I hope that the non-elected VTA will respect the decisions made by our locally elected representatives.


9 people like this
Posted by Faster buses
a resident of another community
on Feb 1, 2015 at 4:28 pm

I agree that cutting a 70 minute bus ride down to 40 minutes is well worth the modest investment. The automobile traffic impact is minimal despite the scare tactics from one or two anti-bus individuals.

In other parts of the country, this argument comes up frequently. The middle-upper-middle class Caucasians use their influence to direct the most subsidies to train services and leave the less expensive bus options out in the cold.

I don't think that the anti-bus people KNOW that they are racially discriminating, but it is happening nonetheless.


9 people like this
Posted by concerned citizen
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 1, 2015 at 11:42 pm

I’m not too keen on responding to trollery, but let’s look at the above post from the person posting as “Faster buses”:

“...cutting a 70 minute bus ride down to 40 minutes is well worth the modest investment.”

As you know, this discussion is not about a “modest investment” in bus service. It’s about the stupidity of closing lanes on ECR to auto traffic, intentionally worsening congestion, in the belief that this “social engineering” will force us all to ride the bus. It won’t, and it can’t, because buses do not serve enough destinations to make this practical for most people. There are not enough buses, and not enough bus routes.

“The automobile traffic impact is minimal...”

The VTA report that claims "minimal" impact is not impartial. It was geared to produce VTA’s desired results. Anyone who has kept track of recent MV apartment developments will be familiar with this sort of traffic “study”, slanted to support the viewpoint of the entity that commissioned it.

“...despite the scare tactics from one or two anti-bus individuals.”

Characterizing those of us who are opposed to dedicated lanes as “anti-bus” is a dishonest use of language. Improving public transit is essential to lessening congestion, but closing lanes on ECR would produce the opposite result.

And about the “one or two individuals” - I keep hoping that the Voice will enforce its Terms of Use (Web Link) and check IP addresses for the posts on this thread. Based on writing style, I’m pretty sure that a very large proportion of the pro-dedicated lane posts have come from one or two individuals, posting under multiple names. It’s an old and sleazy tactic to accuse the other side of the very activities that you are engaging in.

How about it, Voice editors? Shouldn’t we enforce respect for the rules?

“The middle-upper-middle class Caucasians use their influence to direct the most subsidies to train services and leave the less expensive bus options out in the cold.”

Racism? Really? That’s so ridiculous it doesn’t deserve a response. But OK, here you go:

If you want to advocate for lower train and bus fares, I won't disagree. But people of all races and all income levels drive automobiles. We will all suffer pretty much equally if ECR lanes are closed, because bus service up and down ECR, faster or not, cannot replace the function of autos for enough people to make the “dedicated lanes” idea work.


11 people like this
Posted by Caring Citizen
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 2, 2015 at 1:56 am

You might be a "concerned citizen", but you don't seem to want a public transit system to work along El Camino.

You wrote, "It's about the stupidity of closing lanes on ECR to auto traffic, intentionally worsening congestion..."

The problem is that your solution of DO NOTHING will result in a far worsening of congestion for everybody. As more and more high density developments (commercial, residential and retail) are built along El Camino and on areas where this HIGHWAY feeds into, the automobile traffic will continue to escalate. By dedicating a lane to public transit, it provides a fast way to move people. Think of it like the wondrous CalTrain program (where more than 50% of the cost is taxpayer subsidized!). Perhaps instead of running the train, we should pave it over and put another highway? Or where it parallels closely Central, expand those lanes?

The reason why we do not, is there is value in building up a network of transit options. Even CalTrain make the decision to put a "BRT" system in place, because the regular "local" and even "express" train were considered too slow by the riders.

Claiming that there is a conspiracy theory about the traffic study is ludicrous. If the traffic study agreed with your viewpoint, would you still disparage the data? Of course not.

I love your attack on the Voice. Since you unable to successfully argue against having an efficient bus system along El Camino, you claim that the Voice is not doing their jobs and want them to police IP addresses? Why don't you just stick to the issues? Very immature strategy.

Faster Buses person is completely correct in their comment on the influence of race in this issue. I don't know if VTA has been analyzed, but here is a comparison that brings together racial demographic data with subsidy:

Transit Subsidy %Caucasian
AC Transit: $2.78 20.6%
BART: $6.14 43.3%
CalTrain: $13.79 60%

So, AC Transit (bus) provides a very modest $2.78/rider subsidy with 20.6% Caucasian.
BART subsidizes to a level of $6.14 per rider with 43.3% Caucasian
and CalTrain has an enormous $13.79 per rider subsidy, with, you guessed it a whopping 60% Caucasian ridership.

So, when we see posters on this forum proudly supporting the transfer of even more VTA funds to CalTrain and to reduce VTA funding for buses, how can race NOT be a factor???

Source:
Web Link

That is why we have a county-wide transit district. They are responsible for getting PEOPLE from place-to-place efficiently. It is no in their mandate that this be exclusively for automobiles. That's where bundling people together in a single large vehicle (bus, train) is far more efficient than having a 50 single drivers in their giant SUV swaying back and forth in their lane while texting.

Why don't you cut out your name calling and actually suggest solutions to allow people to travel efficiently up and down El Camino. Let's say someone lives near the Alum Rock transit center and needs to get to by 8AM Castro Street for their minimum wage kitchen job. They cannot afford to own a car, nor certainly drive one every day. Under the BRT plan, it would take them about 25 minutes by bus and cost $170/month. With increasing traffic, it would take over two hours every single day (not including waiting for late buses due to unpredictable traffic). Please come up with a non-dedicated lane(BRT) solution that will get them from their home in Alum Rock to Castro St in less than 1/2 hour and for $170/month or less. If you can't, then please put a sock in it. Smarter people are talking here.


8 people like this
Posted by Race No Issue
a resident of another community
on Feb 2, 2015 at 6:27 pm

Some people will bring up a race issue no matter what the problem. Consider that VTA has annual revenues of $392 Million mostly subsidy. Only $37 Million comes from the farebox. That's basically a 90% subsidy and a whale of a lot of money, which they are trying to increase by getting federal and other funding for this BRT project.

Out of the VTA massive slush fund, $10 Million is used to fund Cal Train which is a highly effective backbone of service to Santa Clara County, no matter how you slice it.

Oh yeah, make this an argument that Cal Train doesn't even deserve that paltry subsidy because it has a higher fraction of white people riding it. What nonsense. It's much more applicable to note that Cal Train obtains 60% of the revenue used to operate its service out of farebox revenues. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

Honestly, if you are just looking for a way to burn money with little result just had it over to VTA. They don't use any discretion in their spending. They have unprofitable and ineffective light rail service of their own. It's much less cost effective than CalTrain. They are burning a bundle bringing BART to San Jose. Very much less effective than the subsidy to CalTrain.


6 people like this
Posted by Wrong figure
a resident of another community
on Feb 2, 2015 at 6:39 pm

Anyway, that $13.79 figure for CalTrain is flat out wrong. CalTrain average weekly ridership is 270,000 trips. That works out to 14 Million trips per year. With a subsidy of $33 Million that is $2.36 in subsidy per trip. Trips average 20 miles in length. Note that 20 miles is the ENTIRE LENGTH of the proposed BRT route. You really need to look at passenger miles when you speak about subsidies. Clearly the average trip length is much less on VTA and so too such be the subsidy, which it is not. The average trip on VTA costs $20, almost all to the taxpayers. That's how bloated they are. But they confuse and obfuscate the truth.


10 people like this
Posted by Subsidy reality
a resident of another community
on Feb 2, 2015 at 11:34 pm

"CalTrain average weekly ridership is 270,000 trips"

Only 270,000 for an ENTIRE WEEK??? Pathetic. VTA bus service provides over 100,000 rides each day! (and that is just Santa Clara County!)

Oh, wait. Here is what VTA bus service provides:

3783 bus stops
15 transit centers
30 Park and Rides
Paratransit for the handicapped (65000 rides/month) (Does CalTrain pick the handicapped up at their homes to bring them to the train? Nope!)

Relatively few live and work near a train station, while many, many more live near bus routes. People complain that buses are a lot slower than trains, and that is true, but airplanes are much faster than trains and nobody is suggesting to divest our funding from CalTrain and build up commuter planes between SJC and SFO. Why? Because even though once that mode of transportation has started, sure, it is faster. The problem is the amount of time it takes to get to the facility. Same problem with CalTrain--it is a single North-South line that people somehow have to get to. Work for a hi-tech company? Great! They will send out special shuttles to pick up their upper-middle class (and higher) employees. Work two minimum jobs in two separate cities? Sorry. No solution for you. There could be, if it were not for this class warfare thing going on.

The primary reason buses are slow is that they share the same roads as automobiles. Dedicated bus lanes on strategic roads like El Camino will bring speed and increase ridership. That is exactly the ridership surge CalTrain experienced when they added the baby bullet. Every reason to believe it will succeed here too.


5 people like this
Posted by Moron Not
a resident of another community
on Feb 3, 2015 at 12:54 pm

VTA transit has more than four times the budget or operating revenue than does CalTrain. The average trip on VTA is much lower than CalTrain's 20 miles. Not only that, but of course CalTrain operates across 3 counties and delivers service from Gilroy to San Francisco. Only about a third of CalTrain's operations is apportioned to Santa Clara County, so VTA has 12 times the cost of VTA operating within VTA territory.

Still, the CalTrain backbone is a superior place to provide increased service running up and down the El Camino Real route from Palo Alto to San Jose. One reason VTA's service is cheaper is that it (and Bart) don't provide conductors on board to monitor safety and behavior of the riders as does CalTrain. All 3 agencies have their own arrangements for police service for their riders but only CalTrain provides onboard conductors on every train at all hours of operations. One conductor monitors up to 5 train cars when they are lightly loaded, but this is a lot more attention than the VTA driver can give while engaged in operation of the vehicle.

Of course, the biggest advantage of Cal Train over VTA BRT is the reduced carbon footprint that is afforded by travel on rail versus asphalt on pavement. The loss to friction is considerable and that has to come from energy supplies. It makes a lot of sense to optimize this valuable resource of rail miles and offer expanded and extended service on it rather than playing games to make the ECR bus service into a pale shadow of what CalTrain has to offer in the way of fast efficient service between Palo Alto and San Jose.


8 people like this
Posted by Recap
a resident of another community
on Feb 3, 2015 at 1:12 pm

Let's see, compared to VTA, Cal Train offers: lower operating cost per trip (despite), longer average trip, faster travel, increased energy efficiency, lower subsidy from the public coffers. No wonder the bureaucrats at VTA are afraid of Cal Train and trying to copy their model with this BRT project. Too bad it requires such a huge federal and county subsidy in the way of construction and operating costs. It's a pig of a project and you can't put enough lipstick on it to pass it off as reasonable.


5 people like this
Posted by @Moron Not
a resident of another community
on Feb 3, 2015 at 9:13 pm

You say you are not a moron, but let's see if that is true. Please tell me how a person living near Eastridge mall can get to their minimum wage job at BMW of Mountain View by 9am on a weekday through public transit. From what I see, the current options are:

1. VTA Bus: 95 minutes

2. CalTrain:
a) Bus to San Jose Diridon Station: 54 minutes.
b) Transfer to Train to CalTrain MV: 17 minutes
c) Transfer to Bus to El Camino & Castro 5 minutes
d) Transfer to Bus to near BMW of Mountain View: 3 minutes
TOTAL Trip Time: 79 minutes + walking time + waiting time + traffic delays

So, with the current situation, the easiest is to walk over to the Eastridge Transit Center and board a bus and get off in Mountain View. It is a 95 minute bus ride, but does not require three transfers, all the waiting that comes with transferring and none of the risk, aside from the automobile caused gridlock.

If we go with "Moron Not"'s idea to use CalTrain, then we're talking about an hour long bus ride and then THREE transfers to train-->bus-->bus to get a theoretical 79 minute transit time. I'm not sure why "Moron Not" is named that, because this is a most moronic way to get around the county.

Now, with BRT dedicated lane, the rider will only have to board a train and within 30 minutes will be at their destination. That is far better than today with the currently bus option or "Moron Not"'s idea of foolishly utilizing CalTrain.

It's that simple. Getting people across the county quickly and efficiently. That's what the VTA BRT dedicated lane is all about.


4 people like this
Posted by Correction
a resident of another community
on Feb 3, 2015 at 9:37 pm

A couple typo's fixed from the previous posting:

Now, with BRT dedicated lane, the rider will only have to board a bus and within 30 minutes will be at their destination. That is far better than today with the current bus option or "Moron Not"'s idea of foolishly utilizing CalTrain.

It's that simple. Getting people across the county quickly and efficiently. That's what the VTA BRT dedicated lane is all about.


7 people like this
Posted by VTA PR
a resident of another community
on Feb 3, 2015 at 11:11 pm

@Correction (or whatever your name "de la minute" is)

Looking forward hearing you make your case to our local city councils.

Palo Alto didn't seem to bite recently, San Jose never allowed dedicated lanes to be considered on the Alameda.... but there are a few cities left that you could try to sway. Best of luck.




4 people like this
Posted by @VTA PR
a resident of another community
on Feb 4, 2015 at 12:43 am

VTA PR, you serial poster, anti-bus "person". Read the scenario of East Ridge --> Mountain View. Please tell us how someone can use public transit effectively. (Sorry, but 2+ hours each way is not effective.

Until you can answer that, your comments are pointless. Most of here on this forum are supportive of the dedicated lane BRT options and have laid out the reasons why and referred to supporting data. Since you and maybe one other serial poster can only disparage the VTA and the company that produced the traffic analysis, then please solve the above scenario. If you fail to offer a solution, then it is clear that the BRT/dedicated lane is the BEST option.


11 people like this
Posted by Insider Conversations
a resident of another community
on Feb 4, 2015 at 5:52 am

The absolute horrific traffic lockup that a designated bus lane would create will drown and overshadow any and all benefits seen by the comparatively scant few people on the bus.
If you ask the VTA and their hired msg board cronies, they'll tell you it would be even better to have all of ECR for the buses, but that day isn't here yet; they need to take the first small steps...lane by lane.


4 people like this
Posted by VTA Critic
a resident of another community
on Feb 4, 2015 at 2:10 pm

Hey to that guy posting as "@Moron Nut"

Your example is convoluted as Eastridge is hardly the home for many of the BMW workers, but there is a simple VTA solution.

1. VTA Express Bus 102 to ECR in Palo Alto 49 minutes
2. VTA Rapid Bus 522 to BMW Mountain View 15 minutes

Your idea that the service would take 30 minutes from Eastridge to BMW is absurd. The 522 bus now takes 80 minutes in that direction mornings, not 90 as you state. Going the opposite direction in the morning takes 70 minutes though. With all the stops and so forth, the dedicated lane might get it down to 50 minutes sometimes, but not always. It's a small factor of speedup that is anticipated, not a great amount, and it will always be variable and dependent on traffic conditions for the cross traffic at all those intersections, even if the VTA bus puts in a command to change the signal to green for itself. This change request is last minute and the delay after it is issued depends on the situation.


4 people like this
Posted by More on the Last
a resident of another community
on Feb 4, 2015 at 2:15 pm

Consider that this BRT for Eastridge to BMW is routing through the congested area of Downtown San Jose and Santa Clara and then all the cross traffic on ECR west of that. It's the same slowdown faced by light rail. Light rail has more than a dedicated lane. Light rail is still slow. So will too would be BRT even with a dedicated lane. The right approach is BRT with no dedicated lane and none of these expensive ticket kiosk islands which are outmoded by the Clipper Card. Let's not waste our transit dollars on ineffective 'improvements' that are just a money pit.


7 people like this
Posted by @VTA Critic
a resident of another community
on Feb 4, 2015 at 6:14 pm

@VTA Critic

Whoops! Your bus routing ideas are incorrect, if you actually remember that we are trying to get our worker to Mountain View BMW by 9am. The best possible route will take 1 hour and 42 minutes. Source: Web Link. That’s over 3 1/2 hours commuting each day! And that will depend on traffic, since automobile-induced gridlock is increasing daily.

The dedicated lane BRT project is expected to bring the route time down to 35 minutes across the entire route! So, 30 minutes to go part way there is not inconceivable. Also, when you say, “all the stops”, please do remember that with express trains, there are few stops. Regardless, with an increasingly gridlocked El Camino, EVERYTHING is slowing down anyway. Even at ONLY 50 minutes, it is still significantly better than what it is today and will be far better than the do-nothing scenario.

Regarding light rail. Yes, I agree that electrical train systems like that are inefficient.

Don’t forget that the #1 transportation option we invest in are roadways for automobiles. It is far greater than all over transportation modes combined. And, it is nearly 100% subsidized! Why should we invest even MORE taxpayer dollars in that money pit when there are other, better options available to build?

Kudos to you to actually taking on the challenge for the scenario I described. While your analysis was flawed, it was far better than the grumpy gus’s complaining about buses.


5 people like this
Posted by VTA PR
a resident of another community
on Feb 4, 2015 at 7:48 pm

@letratag (aka last commenter)

Here's your chance to shine. Sunnyvale will be selecting its preferred alternative on February 24.


7 people like this
Posted by VTA PR
a resident of another community
on Feb 25, 2015 at 7:06 am

Last night, Sunnyvale joined Palo Alto in rejecting dedicated BRT lanes on El Camino as their "locally preferred alternative".

Hard to imagine Mountain View not joining its neighbors....


5 people like this
Posted by VTA PR
a resident of another community
on Mar 11, 2015 at 3:52 pm

As of last night, Los Altos joined Palo Alto and Sunnyvale in opposing the dedicated lanes alternative.

Hard to imagine Mountain View not joining its neighbors....


6 people like this
Posted by Wow.
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Mar 11, 2015 at 4:11 pm

Shocking that Los Altos opposes having the non-wealthy commute from East San Jose into north county.

Oh, wait. No, it's not....


3 people like this
Posted by Wow Wow
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 11, 2015 at 4:15 pm

and Sunnyvale too.


3 people like this
Posted by MTN Resident
a resident of Monta Loma
on Mar 11, 2015 at 5:10 pm

While there may be some East SJ residents that take the bus to PA, I doubt there are many from PA, LA, MV and LAH that take the bus to east SJ. There are few benefits for residents except slower traffic on ECR. No wonder towns are opposing this silly idea of BRT


6 people like this
Posted by Yup
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Mar 11, 2015 at 5:45 pm

"There are few benefits for residents except slower traffic on ECR."

That's right. And there are few benefits to the billionaire CEOs living in our Valley to provide police or fire protection to anyone in SJ either. Or to us, for that matter. That's why we have different levels of government. This is a county-wide issue and should be addressed as such.

There is no dedicated lane today and traffic in this area is a mess. Want VTA to fix it? But wait, what benefit would it be for the residents of SJ to pay for improvements here that would soley benefit the soccer moms who insist on driving everywhere?

Take a look at the traffic study and learn. A seven minute delay for automobiles that would go END TO END SJ->PA. A very small price to pay for efficient and economic routes through the county.


4 people like this
Posted by Silly comparison
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Mar 11, 2015 at 11:39 pm

@ yup

"Take a look at the traffic study and learn. A seven minute delay for automobiles that would go END TO END SJ->PA. A very small price to pay for efficient and economic routes through the county."

A totally irrelevant comparison. No one would drive ECR from end to end as you state. Most bus passengers travel far fewer miles. The VTA proposal will not solve any traffic problems, on
Y make them worse. Their studies have not been vetted by independent analysis


4 people like this
Posted by VTA Peter Principle
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Mar 12, 2015 at 1:25 am

VTA is trying to do the best it can to get the ridership on the 22 and 522 bus to be less than 10% of available seats. The only way they can do that is to keep adding buses chugging along empty on the same route. if they would run the 22 route along a different path, making some loops away from the 522, then they would have the PROBLEM that they might get 25% occupancy on their buses. Can't have that. So figure some excuse to run more buses on 522. Oh, dedicate a lane. We need to run the buses every 10 minutes instead of every 15 minutes. We already run the 22 every 5 minutes, so we'll just keep that up too, along the same route. Brilliant way to waste money. Keep adding more and more buses to the one route that has any riders to speak of, and then we can finally get that route occupancy down to match the other routes.


5 people like this
Posted by More Ignorance
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 12, 2015 at 7:51 am

I wonder if the Los Altos council was swayed by the ignorant statements we read in this forum...

"No one would drive ECR from end to end as you state. Most bus passengers travel far fewer miles."

What is the basis for writing that "No one" would drive from end-to-end? Of course this is not true. Some actually do. But even if your ignorant statement is true, then what you are implying is that even car drivers will take shorter trips on this road. And then you go on to say that bus passengers will travel for fewer miles on this road too! So, it seems to be a valid comparison after all.

What you do not seem to understand is that since the 7 minute car delay is across the ENTIRE ECR route AND if you happen to be right that cars will only stay on the road for shorter distance, then they won't be impacted the whole 7 minutes! Let's say they stay on ECR for 1/4 the distance, then we're talking a minute or two delay.

"The VTA proposal will not solve any traffic problems, on Y make them worse."

What does "on Y" mean? How old are you? Finish school and come back to converse with adults.

"Their studies have not been vetted by independent analysis"

You made some bold statements above. Where is your "independent analysis"??? Sorry, but intelligent people ought to trust data-driven studies more than the gut instincts of greedy NIMBYs.


6 people like this
Posted by Anti-Bus = Anti-Person
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 12, 2015 at 8:09 am

This debate happens commonly throughout the US and it is important to note what the driving force behind the anti-bus argument is. Ohio, LA and New York City do not have a monopoly on discrimination. It's more subtle here, more invisible, but strong nonetheless.

There was a great article published which describes the problem in the US: Web Link

Here are some relevant quotes that are applicable to our local situation :

"Complaints tend to fall into general categories: funding transit used by wealthier whites, like light rails and trolleys, over buses, whose ridership tends to consist of people with lower incomes and minorities; funding roads without devoting money to types of transit used by those without cars; and transit that helps wealthier populations while having negative health or environmental effects on poor communities."

“...transit is often not available to those who need it most, and that new public transportation projects often serve those who own cars, at the expense of those who don’t.”

"In Oakland, California, a $484 million elevated “people mover” (which connects Bay Area Rapid Transit to the airport) lost federal funding because it was found to have a discriminatory impact; its construction led to the elimination of a bus route in the minority neighborhoods it bypasses.”

“There have been billions spent for massive highway reconstruction, and repeated and ongoing efforts to interfere with transit.”

"Cities may be designed for people without automobiles, but the suburbs have increasingly become the home of those without cars. The number of suburban poor increased by more than 60 percent between 2000 and 2012 according to the Brookings Institution, and public transportation systems have yet to catch up. For those without cars—according to 2013 U.S. Census data, 15.9 percent of blacks and 9.1 percent of Hispanics live in households without cars, compared to just 5 percent of whites—public transportation is not a convenience, but a necessity."

"When buses started running to a suburban mall near Dayton, Ohio, in January 2014, online commenters, writing in the Dayton Daily News, erupted in anger. They resented—sometimes in purely racist terms—that this new public transportation line would be bringing outsiders, largely blacks, to Beavercreek, a suburb that is about 89 percent white.”




6 people like this
Posted by Anti-Bus NOT
a resident of another community
on Mar 12, 2015 at 1:47 pm

In a county which has more of a component in its sales tax rate to support buses than it does to support the individual cities' own operation, we are not seeing a rabid anti-bus bias.

Common sense says there are plenty of buses on El Camino Real, and the problem is with the lack of buses elsewhere. Supporting a proposal to double the number of buses running on the SAME WELL SERVED CORRIDOR is not necessary to be pro-bus.

As for people driving the entire length of El Camino Real, this has got to be a fraction of 1% of all the car traffic headed in the direction of the route for that length of time. While it is a direct route, it is clearly not designed for driving the entire length. Even in the case of the bus service users, very, very few ride the entire length of the route, or even 90% of it. The VTA's own ridership numbers show people prefer the every-stop 22 service to the 522 service by a 2 to 1 margin. Anyone who takes the 22 service the whole length is just looking for a place to stay warm. The 522 service is the same price and gets there nearly twice as fast.


4 people like this
Posted by Sad
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Mar 12, 2015 at 2:16 pm

"Anyone who takes the 22 service the whole length is just looking for a place to stay warm. "

This is exactly the kind of comment that shows how accurate the Slate article posted earlier is about the discriminatory attitude by the anti-bus crowd.

It seems that the wealthy prefer shuttle service that moves them between their million dollar house and their high paying job. If they have to take a cheap form of public transit like s regular bus, they would be forced to be near people that do not look like them.

Disgusting.


3 people like this
Posted by Sadder
a resident of another community
on Mar 12, 2015 at 2:55 pm

Until we get rid of this stereotype that only poor people ride mass transit, we will be forever doomed to inefficient transit development and waste of natural resources.... It's just not so, and operating buses as homeless shelters is a case in point.


6 people like this
Posted by Silly Comparison
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Mar 12, 2015 at 7:24 pm

@ more ignorance

My source of information are VTA officials who admitted the scenario was an irrelevant comparison. No serious commuter would drive ECR from PA to East SJ because there are quicker ways to get there. One could go by freeway in less than half the time. The so called bus time savings are in fact hypothetical since VTA officials admit that most bus travelers travel only a few miles on ECR thus making even smaller time savings. Your claim of a valid comparison is just plain silly. Traveling two miles rather than 12 miles are not the same and will result in smaller time savings per bus passenger.

VTA officlals admit the studies have not been vetted by independent analysis. Only the process has been vetted.

Just because something is true, doesn't make it relevant. The hypothetical time savings over the entire route are an example of this. No where does VTA suggest that actual passengers will save this amount of time because they know almost all passengers don't travel that far. It's only the Kool-aid drinkers that think these kinds of facts are useful.


4 people like this
Posted by Even More ignorance
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Mar 12, 2015 at 10:28 pm

Ah, our serial anti-bus poster troll is back. Of course not every single bus user will save hours and hours each day traveling along El Camino. Nice red herring. Methodology in the study has been independently validated. If you think the data is fraudulent, why don't you report them to the authorities? Yet another red herring.

The fact is El Camino is gridlocked every single day. A dedicated lane will allow real live human beings to travel unimpeded along the corridor. The only alternative solution offered by the troll is to give the transit funds to build more bus routes to and from CalTrain. The dirty little secret that Mr. Troll is hiding is that those routes are and will be completely gridlocked too. Putting transit only lanes in these crossover routes would be impossible.

Best solution is to allow public transit to travel unimpeded by the ever increasing sutomobile traffic.


6 people like this
Posted by Silly Comparison
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Mar 13, 2015 at 6:50 am

Pure nonsense. I drive on ECR every day. It is only congested during Rush hour times. To suggest that a dedicated lane for a lousy bus service will solve the problems is silly. I made no offer of a solution as you suggested. Try to focus on my arguments. You failed to address and that's why you having a difficult time with this issue. Try not. Making emotive arguments and maybe you will be more successful on this blog . You comment about a red herring is silly. It points out that the suggested time savings are not all their cracked up to be.


4 people like this
Posted by Still ignorant
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Mar 13, 2015 at 12:30 pm

"To suggest that a dedicated lane for a lousy bus service will solve the problems is silly. "

Uhhhh... The reason that this bus service is "lousy" is that during rush hour the automobile-caused gridlock is slowing them way down. Cannot keep a schedule when this happens, which certainly is lousy.

A dedicated lane would allow the buses to run on time. Buses will move quickly and efficiently regardless of the gridlock created by car traffic.

Arguing that the "data has not been independently validated" or that this proposal is "silly" is so pathetically weak that it is clear there are more unseemly underlying motivations to write this. Sorry, but this is America and we take care of all of our people. Not just the wealthy. Decent bus service along the densely built El Camino corridor is required.


6 people like this
Posted by Ignorance Supreme
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Mar 13, 2015 at 1:08 pm

That fellow claiming the plan will speed up travelers taking small bus rides on ECR is way off base. Right now 2/3 of the travelers take the 22 bus versus the 522 bus. Things will not change at all for those on the 22 bus. It won't be in a potential dedicated lane.

Even those on the 522 generally are not taking very long trips, but their speed up will then be a fraction of that cited by VTA.

It's all very circular. What we need is better transit service in areas besides ECR, but in the north county, not just San Jose.


4 people like this
Posted by Improved Service
a resident of another community
on Mar 13, 2015 at 1:20 pm

Improved service will bring greater ridership. We have seen this happen in every mode of public transit.

Right now it takes hours each day to commute between SE and NE SC county. This lane will drop the time down in half. Thousands of more riders are projected to "come on board." It's a win-win all the way around.


4 people like this
Posted by Silly Comparison
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Mar 13, 2015 at 3:05 pm

Great comments on the silliness of BRT? The Kool-aid drinkers offer only excuses for pathetic bus service. Improved service will only bring a small change in ridership . The VTA is basing this on false assumptions that short term riders will increase and take the bus from PA to East SJ? This is pure nonsense when you can take the freeway and get their in 20 minutes. Why would anyone site on bus for 80 minutes unless you don't have a car. The Kook-aid drinkers see this as a wealth distribution issue, but people with high time values will not use bus service. Research has shown that bus service is an inferior good. More income leads to less demand.


5 people like this
Posted by Just Remember
a resident of another community
on Mar 14, 2015 at 3:38 am

The dedicate lane will serve the 522 line. The 22 line will be in the automobile lanes, the 2 of them. Currently 2/3 of the riders prefer the 522. What a mess. VTA has it's head "in the wrong place."


4 people like this
Posted by Remember but THINK
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Mar 14, 2015 at 10:19 am

Every year on El Camino Real, because of worsening traffic congestion, the buses slow down by an average of two minutes. That means today the buses are 30 minutes slower than they were in 2000.

Under bus rapid transit, a ride from San Jose to Palo Alto is expected to take 40 minutes. Right now, it’s a 90-minute ride.

“The bottom line with these buses is to make them fast, frequent and reliable,” says John Ristow, the senior planner on the project for the VTA. “In order to do that, we’ve got to actually find ways to allow them to move rapidly because they have to make stops and pick people up.”

The new low-floor buses would have more comfortable seating and Wi-Fi, and people of all abilities would be able to board quickly.


4 people like this
Posted by Opposition basis
a resident of another community
on Mar 14, 2015 at 10:24 am

The research showed that bus riders are predominantly working families, people of color, students and people from other underserved populations. VTA’s 2013 on-board survey found riders’ average household income was $38,000, says Lebron.

Yes, that's right class warfare and racial discrimination. Shame!


6 people like this
Posted by Peer Review
a resident of another community
on Mar 14, 2015 at 1:35 pm

VTA has recently said they will make efforts to get peer review of the planning which lead to this monstrosity of a proposal along ECR in the North county cities. Well, it's about time! You have to wonder why they didn't do this in the first place. In fact, the entire system with it's 85% taxpayer paid costs needs a peer review. This is a travesty of mass transit.

One thing--spending $200 Million of the current tax revenue on this BRT work for ECR is a complete waste of money. We are all on tap to pay for this work through the CURRENT sales taxes (about 1.25%) in our county which go to VTA exclusively. We really need to keep this in mind when VTA goes ahead with its plan to request us to OK upping that sales tax to 1.5% or 1.625%, increasing our total rate to back up above 9%. They just piddle their money away on silly redundant projects rather than on discovering real ways to offer services people will pay for as alternatives to private cars.


6 people like this
Posted by Uhhhh
a resident of another community
on Mar 14, 2015 at 2:02 pm

Wow. The ignorance being spouted here is astounding.

There is nothing "redundant" about the project.

Can people not read?

Quoting from above "Under bus rapid transit, a ride from San Jose to Palo Alto is expected to take 40 minutes. Right now, it's a 90-minute ride."

90 minutes is intolerable. 40 minutes is acceptable.

Supporters of BRT are reasoning, thinking human beings. The opposition have ulterior motives that cannot stand the light of day. At best, it's the pressure put forth by LOCAL business groups that want to keep parking on El Camino HIGHWAY. At worst, it's class warfare and racism as we have seen in other areas of the country.


8 people like this
Posted by Oh, Please
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 14, 2015 at 2:24 pm

"Uhhhh" - Your tone and writing style match several dozen other comments, posted under a large variety of different names. I'm not wrong about this. You are violating the Terms of Use.

Your accusations of racism are out to lunch. Auto users on ECR include all income brackets, all ages, and all races. All would suffer from the congestion this project would cause.

The VTA study is slanted. Reasons are detailed in many of the posts in this discussion.

Closing lanes on ECR is a terrible idea, period.


4 people like this
Posted by Sillty Comparison
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Mar 14, 2015 at 2:34 pm

"90 minutes is intolerable. 40 minutes is acceptable."

The whole story that congestion is the problem with slow bus service is bogus. AS VTA officials admit, most riders take the slower 22 bus. 40 minutes is also unacceptable for most people because they can get their in car in 25 minutes. Thats why most people do not take the bus. I work in SJ and live in MV. I can get there in a car, park and get in to my office in less than 20 minutes. Why would I bother taking a car. Most MV residents drive to SJ because it saves a lot of time and is more convenient than VTA. The BRT is a pipe dream and way too expensive for the limited amount of people it may help, That why cites in the north bay are voting to oppose BRT. It offers very little to its residents


4 people like this
Posted by @Oh Please
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 14, 2015 at 2:44 pm

"Oh Please" - Your tone and writing style match several dozen other comments, posted under a large variety of different names. I'm not wrong about this. You are violating the Terms of Use.

Your denial of racism is out to lunch. Bus users on ECR substantially make up lower income brackets, young and old ages, and non-Caucasian races. All would suffer from the transit slowdown caused by the rejection of the BRT project.

The VTA study is slanted toward neutrality and facts. Reasons are detailed in many of the posts in this discussion.

Keeping the status quo on ECR is a terrible idea, period.


7 people like this
Posted by Obfuscation
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Mar 14, 2015 at 3:29 pm

The project lying about estimates like the above 40 minute and 90 minute figures is a big part of the self-justification for an imaginary need. CURRENTLY they say a car trip takes 40 minutes, and they say they forecast a car trip to take 53 minutes in 2040 with no changes. At the same time, they expect us to believe that a BRT trip can be accomplished in 85 minutes, for this unreal travel start of Eastridge and destination of Cal Train in Palo Alto. (A negligible fraction of riders ride this whole route.)

They talk of having 50 stops along the route. The stop and start time alone, coupled with boarding including boarding for wheelchairs is going to make that trip take longer than 40 minutes. They expect to force many people to switch from the 22 route to the 522 route by decreasing service interval for the 22. ( If that's such a good idea, why not do it now?) With all these alleged riders, there will be many stops. 40 minutes will only happen those infrequent times when there are hardly any riders on a run.

At the same time, there are ideas in a plan voted on and approved by the taxpayers when the sales tax was increased for VTA back in 2000. They called for a lot less than $200 Million to be spent making queue jumping lanes at major interesections for use by ALL buses, 22 and 522. This is a better approach, but they have just dropped that. But it was voted on and used as the excuse to get all this extra money they now propose to fritter away on this excessive plan.


10 people like this
Posted by Not All or Nothing
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Mar 14, 2015 at 6:41 pm

The VTA could do half of their project, from Eastridge to Santa Clara. The performance of that section would then provide guidance relative to the service improvement and increased ridership. So few of the current passengers travel more than 5 miles that this 9 mile subset of the route should yield valuable data. What's the rush to corrupt ECR in the north county? Other projects in the north county should be considered on an equal footing, since north county lacks so much of the service per capita that the southern part of this route now has.


4 people like this
Posted by Lee
a resident of Gemello
on Mar 14, 2015 at 10:05 pm

Bus lane looks to be a very good idea. El Canino is so crowded in Sunnyvale mv and pa. Doing the project without them is pointless. I read el Camino is a state highway so don't see how cities can say no. They don't pay for the road.

Also I read the Feds are giving about a hundred million and won't do it just for SJ and santa clara. This has my vote!


8 people like this
Posted by True
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Mar 15, 2015 at 10:57 am

Ok, lemme get this straight.

We are going to build a ton of high density housing along ECR. Each of those dwellings IS going to come with one or more cars (no mater your fantasies to the contrary). Then we are going to reduce the traffic capacity of ECR by 1/3.

The premise being that it will magically make the buses run faster (I don't care) and encourage more people to ride them (fantasy).

The reality here is that VTA is a failed endeavor. It's leadership has created this boondoggle wherein YOU will pay to create your own traffic misery (because you aren't going to ride the bus either way) all in the name of propping up the dysfunctional money pit that is VTA.

Another commenter above pinpointed it. Those who support this are, on a level, imagining lots and lots of their neighbors parking their cars and taking the bus thus enabling THEM an easy-breezy commute in their car which they have no intention of parking. You aren't about to give up your car and guess what...neither is your neighbor. You'll both be sitting, stopped, on ECR and wondering why that freaking bus is empty....just like it was before you paid for that stupid bus only lane.


3 people like this
Posted by Robert
a resident of another community
on Mar 15, 2015 at 6:07 pm

@True

I'm curious what you're preference would be as El Camino gets built up? 3 lanes of standstill traffic during rush hour as opposed to 2, with no alternative to getting through it?


3 people like this
Posted by Not @True
a resident of another community
on Mar 16, 2015 at 11:32 am

El Camino getting built up does not mean we need more traffic on ECFR in MV headed to and from San Jose. We are seeing a profound demographic shift in the county where people are living closer to home. It's difficult to completely generalize, but certainly a larger fraction of these new residences will be inhabited by people working in the Googleplex than was the case 30 years ago, or today. Similarly, some of these new buildings are businesses and offices. The new office towers at San Antonio Center aren't actually on ECR, but they are near. Workers in these new buildings will be to a much lower extent residents of San Jose than would have been the case 30 years ago or would be the case today. They may live in downtown Mountain View. Yes, they could travel on ECR, or they could travel along Central Expressway on bus service along that corridor that hasn't even been created today. Electrified CalTrain is a much more likely choice for many of them, since stops at San Antonio station will be much more frequent than today. All of the stops at San Antonio also stop in downtown Mountain View. Perhaps we will even see the return of the stop at Rengstorff that was discontinued just a few years ago. Lots of new housing is going in along Rengstorff and we need to provide transit service to that as well.

All in all, it means that people will be traveling shorter distances to work on average, and service in shuttles or the equivalent running around town will see much more use than in the past.

So, it won't necessarily speed up their trip to be able to zip to SJ in only an hour. They're headed up Castro, Rengstorff, Shoreline or San Antonio. They only use ECR very briefly to make connections.


3 people like this
Posted by VTA PR
a resident of another community
on Apr 19, 2015 at 3:54 pm

After Palo Alto, Sunnyvale and Los Altos, it's Mountain View's turn to take a position on the alternatives at its next City Council (April 21)


4 people like this
Posted by Jay
a resident of Jackson Park
on Apr 19, 2015 at 7:50 pm

I am confident that our council will do the right thing and put their support behind the dedicated lane option. It's a great project that will dramatically improve bus service!


5 people like this
Posted by Not So Fast
a resident of another community
on Apr 20, 2015 at 12:42 am

Dedicating a lane is totally unneeded. The small section through Mountain View is the tail end of a proposed 19 mile dedicated lane system designed solely to give better service to residents of San Jose. VTA already favors that city with more of its route miles per capita than any other city in the county. What's needed is better service actually provided to Mountain View residents. The existing 522 service is unappreciated and unused. The 22 service won't be served in the dedicated bus lane. The service on the 22 will be made worse by the dedicated solution, along with all the car traffic.

To improve service to Mountain View, for now, stop the dedicated lane south of our border (and probably south of Sunnyvale as well). A hybrid solution can include a transition from a dedicated lane in San Jose and Santa Clara on to a shared lane in Sunnyvale and Mountain View. If ridership on the first 10 miles shows an improvement from the dedicated lane, ONLY THEN could it be truly evaluated for adding to Mountain View.

Meanwhile, VTA should put more resources into community shuttle services that truly benefit the residents and workers of Mountain View--not overkill service on just El Camino that mainly benefits those in San Jose riding all the long 19 miles north--a small small fraction of the current 522+22 ridership.


7 people like this
Posted by Blake
a resident of Bailey Park
on Apr 20, 2015 at 6:58 am

If MV does approve it, we will be an island because our bordering cities have already given a big ol' thumbs down. Its a horribly flawed idea and people are seeing that and deciding appropriately. Some have different opinions, but some always do, no mater what the issue.


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

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