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Local officials have little enthusiasm for El Camino bus plan

Original post made on Oct 9, 2015

A proposal to create dedicated bus lanes along El Camino Real is facing a new round of skepticism. On Wednesday, representatives from cities along the corridor urged transit officials to give more thought to alternatives to its bus rapid transit plan.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, September 4, 2015, 12:00 AM

Comments (34)

Posted by No new taxes for VTA
a resident of another community
on Oct 9, 2015 at 2:38 pm

Joe Simitian said it best, according to this excerpt from the story:

Simitian urged transit officials to wait on any El Camino project until work is complete next year on bringing dedicated bus lanes to Capitol Expressway and Alum Rock Avenue in San Jose.

"If you've got a similar project underway in Santa Clara County, why on earth wouldn't you wait to see if it works?" Simitian said. "This isn't something where you can say 'oops' and do an about-face. You make a decision here, and it's irreversible."

Posted by No new taxes for VTA
a resident of another community
on Oct 9, 2015 at 2:41 pm

On the other hand, the GM of VTA made an irresponsible and untrue assertion, quoting from the story. There is absolutely no imperative to commit to this project before the year is out. It's perfectly reasonable to set a goal for a decision at the end of 2017, after the BRT project currently being built has started operation. That's the only way to have a well informed decision.

See this portion of the story:

For now, the BRT project is in a state of "suspended animation" but VTA would eventually look to get a recommendation on the project from the advisory group, said General Manager Nuria Fernandez. The project is scheduled to go before the VTA board of directors for a final decision by the end of the year.

"We're not kicking the can down the road. We need to get a sense from this group if we're going to move forward," she urged. "We need to know if this is a go, or a no-go."

Posted by A CLEAR message
a resident of Bailey Park
on Oct 9, 2015 at 3:11 pm

"I think you've got a clear message here that there's not support for a change of this significance,"

-Joe Simitian

Posted by Vote No tax/bond for VTA
a resident of Bailey Park
on Oct 9, 2015 at 3:39 pm

Remember though, this is not over. VTA knows they only way they can get this pushed through is by deception. It's the only way any terrible idea can come about once the voters become aware of the issue. Expect more push as they fight for their bureaucratic lives. Keeps up the pressure, NO on BRT and NO taxes or bond money for VTA

Posted by Interesting
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Oct 9, 2015 at 4:33 pm

It's interesting to note that there appears to be a racial component in the support or opposition to BRT.

Palo Alto is the only city that overwhelmingly voted against having a bus lane go into their city.

San Jose is the city that is most supportive.

Now, here are some demographic data from the census:

% of Whites
Palo Alto: 64.2%
San Jose: 42.8%

Wow! Over 22% difference! And such a difference in this plan!

Of course, this does not prove a causal relationship between the data, but it certainly is interesting, isn't it?

Not that proof is convincing. VTA published a study that shows how little impact the project will be, yet it would give such great benefits to transit. It was mocked and their data model questioned. So, they had the data model verified by an independent panel. And apparently, it is a completely valid predictor of future traffic! According to the anti-bus coalition that sits here all day long and publish misinformation, it doesn't matter how much scientific proof is offered. They just don't want it! How childish!

I wonder why the unfair discrimination that is applied to transit funding and development hasn't been better reported on in this area. Other regions of the country have done so.


Posted by Another Thought
a resident of another community
on Oct 9, 2015 at 4:39 pm

Palo Alto is known as the home of Stanford University with a high proportion of residents who have college degrees and even graduate degrees too.

Maybe it's the added IQ that causes Palo Alto to be more astute as to its blind obeisance to the VTA staff proposals..... Also Palo Alto pays for its own local shuttle to serve its residents, unlike San Jose. Perhaps they see the improvement of local "last mile" transit as being the key to the future, rather than feeling they need to rely on San Jose to provide homes for added workers. For that matter, note how Palo Alto has limited corporate expansion unlike San Jose and most other cities. Their biggest employer is Stanford which has its own excellent commute impact reduction plan. Again, a need once addressed, does not need to be addressed over and over again.

Probably a better argument than saying it's racial which seems outlandish to the extreme.

Posted by Huh?
a resident of another community
on Oct 9, 2015 at 4:48 pm

"Their biggest employer is Stanford which has its own excellent commute impact reduction plan."

Only because the city has REQUIRED it of Stanford in order to expand. That is what is happening when google wants to expand beyond what is reasonable.

"Also Palo Alto pays for its own local shuttle to serve its residents, unlike San Jose."

Yes, it is good to live in a wealthy, predominantly white community, isn't it? Let's just let the rest of the county go #$#$# themselves, right?


Posted by Force VTA to complete BRT1
a resident of Bailey Park
on Oct 9, 2015 at 5:37 pm

Its time to call you all racists again. Hahaha. Just like clockwork.

Glad our message opposing BRT was heard clearly.
"I think you've got a clear message here that there's not support for a change of this significance,"

Now that this is clear, I do support finishing BRT1. Lets make VTA finish BRT1 and get the results. VTA should have nothing to fear other than the truth, but then they'll also have nowhere to hide from the truth.
FORCE VTA to complete BRT1! Let's see if they were right before they end up ruining the entire South Bay.

Posted by BRT 1
a resident of another community
on Oct 9, 2015 at 8:08 pm

Yes, lets be sure we complete BRT #1 from Eastridge to Diridon Station in downtown San Jose. It's now promised for 2017, but don't rule out another delay. VTA might be just diverting attention with all this talk about the 2nd BRT project before the first one is ready.

There are a lot of low income people suffering from this extreme delay in San Jose, because the road is all torn up on Alum Rock avenue and nothing is happening, and nothing has happened since July. They say they'll get the road fixed back up temporarily by December. What's making that take so long? First things first. This is what happens when you try to "help" the poor people of East San Jose with this incomplete plan.

Posted by My Opinion
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 10, 2015 at 12:26 am

The claims that the BRT project should be cancelled because it hurts "poor" people is disingenuous. I have not met a single BRT opponent that has shown any concern for community members below the middle-class income level. Well, except for the 16 year olds living in multi-million dollar houses that might be priced out of the restaurant jobs as the minimum wage rises. Even then, I think the real concern is not for the 16 year olds, as much as doing anything that can truly help the "poor".

There seems to be this notion that if a community does anything to help the "poor", then it only encourages others to be "poor". Some sort of mis-application of Darwinism--only the fit shall survive.

Personally, I moved to the Bay Area because of the reputation it has(had?) for being compassionate to all members of society and not focusing solely on building cities and infrastructure for the wealthy.

This is just my opinion, which may not be shared by some of the readers of this website. ( Hopefully, I won't be beaten up, as others have that have come forward to support the project.)

Posted by Non-Profit
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Oct 10, 2015 at 5:44 am

This area incubates and generates arguably more money than most as well as volunteers more time to help the underprivileged and otherwise struggling members of our community. It is because of that desire to protect the community as a whole and do what is best for the etire community that motivates my opposition to BRT. We see the MV resident bus users above urging no on BRT because it will negatively affect their ability to get around town by buss compared to current use. The plan is a loser. If not, we should see the benefits of BRT1. We are not, in fact BRT 1 has stalled in the same quagmire of VTA mis-management and false projections that everyone was expecting.

Finish BRT1 and we'll know how well BRT2 will work. Don't fear the facts and truth VTA! You're in the catbird's seat to prove all your doubters wrong. Why aren't you taking advantage of that? I think we all know why and the longer they hide from failed BRT1 the more obvious to everyone that BT2 is a real stinker if an idea for all in the community

Posted by BRT is good
a resident of another community
on Oct 11, 2015 at 1:30 am

I am so tired of hearing the argument that having a fast and efficient bus service up and down El Camino is not what bus users want. The project is supported by user surveys. You know, of people that actually use the bus. I question whether anyone that makes the argument that the slight reduction in the slow 22 service will greatly and negatively impact bus users actually uses the bus themselves. It is more likely people who sit on thier computers all do and fight projects or programs that helps anyone but the upper-middle class and beyond.

In a few years when the BRT is fully running, it will be amusing to see the arguments made then. I predict that during rush hour, the people that that refuse to use the bus will be upset at the heavy traffic and will blame BRT for it. Of course, there is heavy traffic today and BRT is not in existence, but that inconvenient truth will be brushed aside.

What takes 30 minutes by bus today will he brought down to 10 minutes after the project is complete. Of course, those numbers are conservative and there is every expectation of even better performance.

Posted by Make them fiinish BRT1
a resident of Bailey Park
on Oct 11, 2015 at 6:18 am

Lets see if VTA can even finish BRT 1 so we can see the ACTUAL results before we move on BRT2.
Don't be afraid of your own project VTA, finish BRT1! We'll then see how good your projections were for the future growth of ridership.
BRT1 will prove your projections right or wrong. Why are you afraid to finish it VTA? Seems obvious why, which is why there is little support for BRT2.

Posted by BRT speed
a resident of another community
on Oct 11, 2015 at 1:26 pm

I wonder if anyone even reads these posts. There are 2 bus routes along El Camino. One skips most of the stops, and is called Rapid 522, with no service very late at night. One makes every stop and runs 24 hours a day, called 22. BRT will replace just the 522 service.

If you travel between Palo Alto Train station at 8 in the morning, it takes 29 minutes on 22 currently, but only 22 minutes on the 522. Under the dedicated lane option, that gets shaved down to 21 minutes. Big deal.

Posted by @BRT Speed
a resident of another community
on Oct 11, 2015 at 3:26 pm

"If you travel between Palo Alto Train station at 8 in the morning..."

Your words make no sense...

Posted by bus rider's spouse
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Oct 11, 2015 at 4:35 pm

I think the "BTA speed" comparison might be Mountain View (Castro St.) to Palo Alto (Caltrain). That is a good local segment for someone to compare. It would make more sense to compare 9:00 start (or end) of that local segment trip. During a weekday, that is about the most congested time.

BTA 1 speed. Gee, another reseon to wait (IMO). There are projections, when VTA is finally over their construction mismanagement, on what the BRT 1 speed will be. One year after opening, there should be 6 months (120 communte days) of hard data to confirm. BTW, traffic engineer "projections" are not "scientific proof"!

Posted by Speed
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 11, 2015 at 10:45 pm

I don't think that it makes sense to assume bus travel time is what is in the schedule. During peak commute hours, there are so many automobiles on the road that make it impossible for the buses to keep a schedule. I think that is the best benefit of the bus lane. It would allow public transit to move quickly and on time regardless of the traffic nightmare caused by the cars.

Looking forward to this project getting fully approved and built. We've reached road capacity with no chance of expansion. (Unless we want to eminent domain property to add lanes to El Camino?) No better alternative available.

Posted by Watch BRT1
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Oct 12, 2015 at 10:05 am

BRT1 is the perfect test example to see if VTA's predictions might have a chance of coming true. So far only the predictions of those opposed have come out of watching BRT1. VTA better put all efforts into making the currently failing BRT1 project work well before they try to sell us on BRT2.

BRT1 has left the area in complete turmoil with VTA themselves admitting the negative impact on local businesses the opponents predicted. VTA admits they will compensate the businesses because of this, though no amount was guaranteed and it's going to have to come from taxpayer money anyway. This is a huge red flag. Opponents also comment on how VTA has historically been incapable of making a big project work, citing the nationally embarrassing
Light Rail failure. BRT1 was supposed to be the easy, low hanging fruit. 1st leg of BRT. They cannot even come3 close to making this small segment work as promised.

BRT1 is the window into the future of how BRT2 would likely turn out. So far it's a complete and utter failure filled with missed projections and an inability by VTA to pull off even the simple "low hanging fruit" projects.

Posted by No BRT
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Oct 12, 2015 at 11:33 am

I frankly don't care whether BRT1 works or not. This is a completely separate area with different commute patterns. We don't have an 87, a Tomas Expressway, etc. Our housing isn't as densely clustered as San Jose.

No on BRT.

Posted by Yes on BRT
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Oct 12, 2015 at 11:39 am

It's the right thing to do.

The person who keeps posting the same opposition over and over again is getting annoying.

Posted by No New VTA Tax
a resident of Bailey Park
on Oct 12, 2015 at 11:57 am

Actually, many many are posting here in opposition to BRT. In fact the story is about how little support BRT has.

If VTA cannot get it's act together on BRT1 when everyone is watch closely, it's a clear sign that wither the agency of the plan is deeply flawed. In either case, BRT2 should be forgotten about. I wish we would have had a smaller "Light Rail 1" that could have tipped us off as to the imminent failure of VTA's Light Rail. Hind sight is 20/20 and we can't go back in time

Luckily, we DO have BRT1 to watch and evaluate before we make any decisions on on BRT2. The change is permanent, waiting another year to fully evaluate BRT1 it is the rational and smart thing to do ONLY if you're interested in doing what is right. Of course, VTA needs to show they they are capable of AT LEAST finishing the smaller, easier BRT1 before we can decide. If they cannot make BRT1 work they will never be able to make BRT2 work.

Posted by BRT makes no sense for MV
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Oct 12, 2015 at 2:43 pm

I can't find any benefit to BRT for residents of MV. It won't address real traffic, other than mess it up worse than it already it. People are coming into MV from the freeways, not el camino. BRT seems to punish all in MV. No wonder so few are supporting it.

Posted by VTA had better think again
a resident of Monta Loma
on Oct 12, 2015 at 3:12 pm

If VTA shoves this through, they may not get the 67% they need for the upcoming tax measure. This proposal is causing widespread ill will towards VTA. If they persist, not only will I not vote for this measure, I'll work on a "no" vote from friends, family, and neighbors.

I agree with the person who posted, "I frankly don't care whether BRT1 works or not. This is a completely separate area with different commute patterns. We don't have an 87, a Tomas Expressway, etc. Our housing isn't as densely clustered as San Jose."

I'm all for BRT, in the form of shared lanes. I'm in favor better bus service, especially on local routes. But the lane-closure idea is misguided and destructive, and needs to be shut down, NOW.

Posted by No funds for VTA
a resident of Bailey Park
on Oct 12, 2015 at 5:53 pm

Many of us have been ready to fight BRT with my time, money and vote from the beginning. We just need the battle field. The voters said no initially by voting in candidates who did not support BRT. We all know how they were spat on by Rosenberg and Showalter after that.

Fighting BRT now means fighting against any VTA funding. It will always get a NO vote as long as this idiotic idea of BRT is still being discussed. Oh and their supervisors in the field will get a heart Bronx cheer when they drive around town in their new SUVs as well. Don't get cozy in MV VTA, you're not welcome here.

Posted by ellespeth
a resident of another community
on Oct 12, 2015 at 6:01 pm

ellespeth is a registered user.

Our local 'officials' have little enthusiasm for anything having to do with the residents - renters and homeowners - of Mountain View. They are allowing a homeless encampment to form at the end of my block - at the corner of Latham and Showers. We need local officials with a spine to make our laws and govern our city.

Sorry to spam Mountain View Voice with my dismay. However, our elected and wanna be elected spam us during every election.

Posted by Facts
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Oct 12, 2015 at 8:05 pm

Is this still being discussed? According to the anti-bus trolls on this site, most of Mountain View is against having a dedicated lane for shared transit along ECR. However, months later and STILL the online petition failed to even garner even ONE PERCENT of residents signatures!!!! Web Link

Only 691 online "signatures" were collected over FIVE MONTHS!

Now we can expect the usual lame excuses why very few signed it. The most simple and believable reason is that most residents are FOR the project.

Now, I'm sure we will have anecdotals about how their neighbors agree with the trolls opinion against the project. But, here is the reality. A cranky, ill-mannered anti-bus zealot stalks up and down the street screaming their hatred for the project and accosting any neighbor that failed to duck and cover. Of course the neighbor will nod their head in agreement! You just don't argue with crazy--not worth it.

Council voted its support for the project and many people I know in town seem to support it. That's the reality, despite what the anti-bus brigade want to happen.

Posted by ellespeth
a resident of another community
on Oct 12, 2015 at 8:19 pm

ellespeth is a registered user.


That's right. It's still being discussed because that's what techie corporations do. Attend meetings after daily meetings in order to earn a salary. Sorry. If you're elected to plan the landscape of Mountain View...I, for one, expect more for my property tax dollars. Let's get real about Mountain View. We need reliable mass transit. We need streets that aren't encampments for people who don't want to follow the rules of homeless shelters. We need elected officials with a spine - not a financial endorsement. We need officials who don't see Tuesday Council meetings as an excuse to stay up past midnight.

Posted by Exactly
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 12, 2015 at 8:29 pm

Ellespeth said it well. We need council members with a spine. Fortunately we do. They decided not to side with the primarily Caucasian-populated city of Palo Alto and instead made an informed decision. Spineless council members would have just taken the easy vote and avoided having to listen to the whining of a few NIMBY's.

Love Mountain View!

Posted by ellespeth
a resident of another community
on Oct 12, 2015 at 8:46 pm

ellespeth is a registered user.


Our elected officials are spineless and they were elected by special interest groups. So get over yourself in Old Mountain View.

Posted by @ellespeth
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 12, 2015 at 9:51 pm

So you live near the RV's? I pity them for having such a bad neighbor.

The area you are referring to is a COMMERCIAL ZONE. It is not residential. People can sleep in their RV's there.

Get over YOURSELF!

Posted by high school
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 12, 2015 at 11:09 pm

ellespeth, stay the course, you're gaining momentum and support.

@exactly...come back when you've graduated. Or can act like it

Posted by ellespeth
a resident of another community
on Oct 13, 2015 at 12:30 am

ellespeth is a registered user.

Thanks, Old Mountain View commenters. The new San Antonio development is commercial, too. No homeless encampments there. I'm off this board. Mountain View isn't worth it.

Posted by BRT1's failure is on display
a resident of Bailey Park
on Oct 13, 2015 at 6:39 am

VTA cannot complete even the simplest of the BRT legs, BRT1. They either cannot or will not finish it. Meanwhile the businesses are on the verge of going under. VTA's promises of BRT1 are now in the process of all being proven wrong and the critics predictions of a massive mess doing more harm than good are playing out for us all to see.
VTA cannot and will not be able to come through on any of the BRT promises. BRT1 will prove the BRT critics 100% correct. It's happening right now. Read all about it:
Web Link
Web Link
Web Link
Web Link

This was supposed to be the EASY part that would display the benefits of BRT to all. It's predicted failure and mismanagement will shine the light on VTA's ability to come up with ideas that work for the masses. They are afraid to complete ti because once complete, there is no hiding from their broken "Light rail" promises.

BRT is permanent. Until VTA drops this plan vote NO on any and all funding.
The voters have the power, it starts with voting NO on any additional taxes of bonds for VTA.
Use your power to fight BRT, vote NO on any new taxed or bonds for VTA.

Posted by Steve Ly
a resident of another community
on Oct 13, 2015 at 8:31 am

I know that the El Camino BRT issue is getting beaten to death, but I want to point out than this "center lane" proposal does not make sense from a transit rider's point of view. Many bus riders are taking medium-length trips on El Camino (or the Alameda/Santa Clara in SJ) and can use either the 22 or 522. They just take whatever one shows up first since waiting for the faster 522 does not make sense if you factor in the increased wait time. If you separate these routes by moving the 522 to the middle lane, you negate this convenience and open up a possible unsafe situation as people jaywalk between curbside and center-lane bus stops depending on which bus comes along first. If there's going to be a dedicated bus lane, it should be the curb lane so that all buses stop at the "express" stops and riders have the option of boarding the first bus that comes along.

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