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08 June 2006

The New Landscape

While the A's ballpark future was not resolved coming out of Tuesday's primary, changes occurred that surely will affect future efforts by cities to attract the A's. At the end of the day, the lesson to be repeated ad nauseum was: Don't pin your hopes on an election.
  • As expected, Ron Dellums was elected mayor of Oakland with a majority, thereby avoiding a runoff. While he won't take office until January, don't be surprised to hear rumblings about his well-heeled supporters and associates working on big-ticket projects. Dellums has friends in both city and county government. What's not known is how nice Dellums will play with State Senator Don Perata's minions. Current mayor Jerry Brown always had an uneasy alliance of convenience with Perata that at times strained under both pols' visible agendas. That, and the reality of dealing with dirty, day-to-day business as a mayor in Oakland, will prove whether Dellums' vision for Oakland can translate into real action. As an outsider, I'd like to believe Dellums could really foster the city's growth, but he's going to have to make some very tough decisions about issues like police staffing and presence, affordable housing, big box retail, redevelopment of industrial areas, and the changing demographics of the city. In other words, I'm glad I don't have that job.
  • In San Jose, the ballpark effort was dealt an enormous blow with county voters' rejection of the overly broad Measure A. That's not to say that BART-to-San Jose would have been some great problem solver (the difference between opening day at a ballpark and the BART launch would have been several years), but it would have at least provided some relief along the 880 corridor. BART proponents now have to seriously think about either pulling back the cost of the $4.7 billion project or even scrapping it completely. There's talk of limiting BART to only Milpitas or Santa Clara, which could cut the extension's cost in half or more. However, that would limit the project's scope, reduce ridership projections, and force VTA to come up with a completely new justification for the extension. I'd be more optimistic about SJ's chances if the High Speed Rail initiative had any momentum behind it, but it's headed for a November election with scant support while competing with the governor's and legislature's other bond initiatives.
  • Fremont will be affected if BART-to-San Jose is either dropped or delayed. A note on the WSX extension page has the service starting to run in 2012 or 2013, which could be within a year or two of a ballpark opening. If the WSX extension doesn't happen and the ballpark does, there will be a real infrastructural issue for Fremont's government and citizens to consider. There is no direct, one-road route between the Pacific Commons site and Fremont BART, and the main arteries running in the area (Stevenson Blvd, Mowry Ave, Fremont Blvd, Paseo Padre Pkwy) could be severely impacted by increased bus traffic - that is, if fans choose to transfer between the BART station and Pacific Commons using a bus. For now, let's dismiss a rail or trolley-based option due to cost. How much will infrastructure such as transportation and increased police cost in the end? How big of a price is Fremont willing to pay to get on the map?
Think of how all of that comes into play in the A's ownership's decision making process. So many variables and dependencies make it difficult to valuate a potential site. The natural tendency is to move in the direction with the least resistance. That appears to be Fremont at this point, but as the Fremont plan gets fleshed out and citizens are better educated about the issues, it could become contentious. Then again, maybe not. No matter where I am (this week I'm overseas), expect comprehensive coverage here. And thanks to all of you who have written in with your support.

21 comments:

Georob said...

I've felt from day one that the Coliseum parking lot is where you do this. It's literally the only site next to the freeway and BART and your infrastructure is already in place.

Ron Dellums should get the A's, Raiders, and Warriors together to make this happen. A modified ballpark village could be built as part of it, the Home Base/Malibu property should be incorporated, and enitilements from other sites in the city could pay for whatever the ballpark village cannot.

Yeah, Al Davis would lose part of his tailgate parking. Well Al, do it on the upper deck of a parking structure and charge a premium for those spots. CA CHING, CA CHING!

This idea just HAS to be given a serious look. It's smart growth, environmentally sound, and is synergy in the best possible way. In short, it's VERY Bay Area.

peanut gallery said...

I agree Rob, and I expanded on my thoughts in another thread a couple of weeks ago. There is space to put another stadium there with a direct link to BART. And by buying out 3-4 businesses (instead of 80 or whatever it was) there would be plenty of room for replacement parking and a village. Seems to be the easiest, cheapest, most transit-friendly option. There is a lot of housing being developed on the far side of the BART station. As more of this creeps closer, a village at the Coliseum seems like a better fit than it might today.

Another idea: what if the BART parking lot (other side of the station from the stadium) were made into a garage like was done in Hayward? That could be the cheap lot, giving people on a budget a new lower-cost alternative and leaving more room in the Coliseum surface lot for premium-priced tailgaiting.

V Smoothe said...

The Oakland Mayor election still has not been decided. Dellums is only avoiding a run-off by 144 votes at the moment, and there are still about 10,000 ballots left to count. We might know by the end of the day, but more likely we won't have an answer until next week.

Anonymous said...

Don't be so quick to dismiss the BART extension. True it has been delayed, however, support for BART in the south bay is strong. Every poll indicates that. Support was not strong for a general tax measure that was politically "promised" to be spent partly towards BART. You cannot blame anyone for voting down a promise like that (politicians and their pet projects too often find a way to redirect funds). BART will come to the south bay. It's a matter of how long they put off doing it and how much it will ultimately cost. I agree that no BART in the near future (hand full of years) makes a ball park less likely southward. The argument that BART is right next to the current site is a good one too. The problem that those hoping for Oakland is the financing. The A's do not generate enough revenue to finance their own ballpark. No way does Oakland help finance it. No way does Fremont or San Jose help finance it in any serious way either. Infrastruc from any of them. A plan will need to be hatched to help Wolff generate revenue to pay for the Park. If Oakland comes up with that they are in business. If they don't they are out. If SJ or Fremont don't, they are out too. There is a city waiting outside the Bay Area that will pay the lion's share of the cost though. Those thinking the A's should just stay in Oakland better come to grips with this reality.

Georob said...

As much as I've felt that the Coliseum is the best site for relocation, I still also think that San Jose is the "city of last resort", meaning that MLB owners will insist that Lew Wolff look outside the Bay Area for opportunities before they cut a deal for San Jose.

Sacramento's been very quiet, and for good reason. As tempting as the market looks, it's still very small and seems to have its hands full with just the NBA. However, it's too tantalizingly close to the current A's fan base to be written off completely.

Should Lew Wolff completely run out of options in Alameda/Contra Costa, look for Sacramento to get at least one serious look; even if the A's still wind up in San Jose.

James said...

I still think Fremont is Plan A and I believe Wolff has been forging ahead with plans of his village there, with or without a BART extension. I think too many people are hung up on the public transportation issue. I think the two main reasons Wolff wants South Fremont is its proximity to San Jose and his ability to get a large plot of land with one fell swoop. The main reason Oakland is out because it's too close to San Francisco to get sufficient numbers of supporters coming to the games. I don't believe if that city suddenly finds a workable site that that's enough at this point. Aside from the problems we've seen so far, Wolff has probably been turned off by the lack of political support for such a project.

Fremont is the only place we've seen so far where Wolff can realistically get everything he wants. And he's willing to structure a deal where Fremont doesn't need to come to the table with tons of cash to make it work. The deal is win-win for Fremont, and the Fremont City Counsel knows it.

V Smoothe said...

Oakland Mayor update for you guys. Latest vote count (9600 ballots added) puts Dellums at 49.6%, 237 votes below the 50% needed to avoid a run off. There are still provisional ballots to be dealt with, so this isn't the final word.

Georob said...

This is starting to look like Florida in 2000. Where are the hanging chads?

accountablevta said...

The BART issue I think is overplayed. In Fremont, with a mile away from the proposed corridor, BART simply isn't an attractive option. For the San Jose site, light rail and Caltrain can bring more folks to the ballpark than BART would. Folks from South San Jose won't be taking BART to the San Jose ballpark.

By the way, one of the reasons that Measure A was place on the ballot is that BART is not as popular as some politicians believe. A specific tax for BART requires a 2/3 voter approval. A combined general tax (which Measure A was) requires a simple majority.

Time would be better spent on how to make the BART project less controversial, less costly, and more cost effective (by changing the rail technology or routing altogether) instead of placing another tax.

Anonymous said...

**By the way, one of the reasons that Measure A was place on the ballot is that BART is not as popular as some politicians believe. A specific tax for BART requires a 2/3 voter approval.**

I would respectfully disagree. Poll after poll has shown a majority agree with Bart to San Jose. Every vote, with the exception of the latest, has won. The 2000 vote had 71 percent of the vote. When is the last time a major city had a tax increase ballot measure for public transit garner 71 percent of the vote? Never mind 71 percent of the vote, 66 percent is a rare number when you are talking about a major city's tax increase ballot measure. Could measure A have received 66 percent this time around if it would have been a specific BART tax measure? I do not think so. It would have beaten 50 percent easy however. Voter apathy regrding BART is higher this time because of disillusionment (is that even a word?). Measure after measure and promise after promise over many years has layed down not a single track. I don't blame anyone for going "what the hell" in regards to how many tax increases and promises have been layed down though. The problem is the delay has done nothing but make the cost higher. BART makes sense to not only go to San Jose but loop the whole bay. Most people recognize this I think. It should have been done in the beginning, however, that is water under the bridge. There will always be those who don't want public transit built because they think the government is pushing an agenda of liberalism. The other side will always have those who say that money should be spent on services for the poor. Then there are those, all shortsighted in my opinion, who will not favor it because it does not go into their district. Add them up and you have enough anti BART people to make a 66 percent hurdle a perpetual high one. It will happen eventually though regardless. The longer we wait, the more money it will cost. The Bay will continue to grow. Every road built will fill up with cars including new ones and expanded existing ones. BART just simply makes sense for the future.

**The BART issue I think is overplayed. In Fremont, with a mile away from the proposed corridor, BART simply isn't an attractive option.**

You make a good point though a shuttle service to make up the last mile is not out of the question of acceptability.


**Time would be better spent on how to make the BART project less controversial, less costly, and more cost effective (by changing the rail technology or routing altogether) instead of placing another tax.**

I agree. If the money is simply not there without another voter passed measure, build it to the light rail in Milpitas now. This reportedly cuts the cost in half. The funds are there right now for this I believe. I do not think people will necessarily be turned off by switching trains (BART to Light Rail). Once the project reaches there, they could look at further money to complete it at some point in the future. If they don't build to Milpitas now, it is only going to get tougher to do and it is something that has to be done eventually. One thing I would add is if and when we get another "Boom" in the valley like the late 90's, they likely could get a measure through then. When that boom happens, if at all, is too much of a gamble.

(sorry this is off topic to the A's new ballpark)

James said...

Anonymous said: If the money is simply not there without another voter passed measure, build it to the light rail in Milpitas now. This reportedly cuts the cost in half. The funds are there right now for this I believe. I do not think people will necessarily be turned off by switching trains (BART to Light Rail). Once the project reaches there, they could look at further money to complete it at some point in the future. If they don't build to Milpitas now, it is only going to get tougher to do and it is something that has to be done eventually. One thing I would add is if and when we get another "Boom" in the valley like the late 90's, they likely could get a measure through then. When that boom happens, if at all, is too much of a gamble.

James replies: Whoa... stop right there, Buddy. For more than 40 years, residents of Alameda, Contra Costa, and San Francisco counties paid not only to build BART but to maintain it. Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties voted it down. Now you propose that those of us who pay for the system should make it so easy and inexpensive for Santa Clara county residents as to build it up to Santa Clara's front door so those residents can tax an already overcrowded system by filling up the trains before they get to Fremont? I think not! It's bad enough that Santa Clara County residents crowd Mowry Avenue now on their way to the Fremont BART station. You guys want BART? You gotta pay for it. The deal was, all along, that if Santa Clara county residents want BART, they have to pay for it... including reimbursing the inital counties for a portion of the original costs. If you guys would have voted for the system in the beginning, as you should have, it could have been done for pennies on the dollar by today's standards. For 30 years my father lived in Fremont and worked in Palo Alto, therefore, even though he was paying for BART, he couldn't use it to get to work. In fact, the double whammy for him was that he had to pay to cross the bottlenecked Dumbarton Bridge (many of those years was that dreadful drawbridge structure).

I agree that BART should loop the bay. That was the original plan, that's what made the most sense, and that's what would have helped aleviate our current freeway situation. But it was SC and SM residents who put a stop to that, and it is not fair that those of us who have paid for the system all along now give SC and SM residents more benefits than they already enjoy, for free, from the system. You want BART? You pay! period!

Anonymous said...

******James replies: Whoa... stop right there, Buddy. For more than 40 years, residents of Alameda, Contra Costa, and San Francisco counties paid not only to build BART but to maintain it. Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties voted it down. Now you propose that those of us who pay for the system should make it so easy and inexpensive for Santa Clara county residents as to build it up to Santa Clara's front door so those residents can tax an already overcrowded system by filling up the trains before they get to Fremont? I think not! It's bad enough that Santa Clara County residents crowd Mowry Avenue now on their way to the Fremont BART station. You guys want BART? You gotta pay for it. The deal was, all along, that if Santa Clara county residents want BART, they have to pay for it... including reimbursing the inital counties for a portion of the original costs. If you guys would have voted for the system in the beginning, as you should have, it could have been done for pennies on the dollar by today's standards. For 30 years my father lived in Fremont and worked in Palo Alto, therefore, even though he was paying for BART, he couldn't use it to get to work. In fact, the double whammy for him was that he had to pay to cross the bottlenecked Dumbarton Bridge (many of those years was that dreadful drawbridge structure).******

Hmmm, I don't think anywhere within my post did I mention specific funding sources. Santa Clara has the money to build to Milpitas right now from Federal funds, 2000 Measure A (and other measures) funds and funds from BART itself. Half of the leg to Milpitas would go through Alameda County. This is already part of BART. The extension would go through Warm Springs. This has been a long time half promise of BART (the WSX) and something I personally would appreciate. Why? Cause I am not among the "You guys who want BART" of Santa Clara County. I am among those who have been paying, as a 9 year resident of Warm Springs,for BART via my taxes. A resident who has had to hear BART talk of an extension with little in the way of actual construction (look at the BART map to see the dotted line to warm springs that has been there for years). The WSX, unfortunately, now is dependent on extension into SCC due to money. But that is missing the point, as SCC and San Mateo counties did during the intial BART idea, and you do now. The *it doesn't serve me so forget you* attitude. There is a general benefit to you, me and everyone for BART's style of mass transit. Further, SCC is not in the dark about their cost. SCC will be reponsible for their fair portion of maintenance costs for BART that comes into their county. This is one of those items you can read about in the SCC BART opponents arguments (that SCC does not have funds to maintain BART). As far as the "crowded" Mowry station goes, with all due respect, too bad. That would be the equivalent of them going, *you crowd your cars onto our roads filling them up so you suck*. It isn't an argument that flies at all. A busy BART station is a BART responsibility not riders wherever they come from. "make it easy and inexpensive" for SCC? There is nothing easy and inexpensive about what SCC is trying to do. SCC will pay a heavy toll for not doing BART in the first place. You, I and others of the BART counties will feel little pain, if at all, versus theirs. In regards to your father, it is true he paid for what he could not use for work. However, he probably did use the expressways of SCC. That was what they built instead of BART. Bad decision? I think so. But that is what they decided to do and undoubtedly some residents of the BART counties benefitted from their expressways. Your father makes his own choice, though, and it is a faulty argument. If he got a job in many places in the Bay Area, he would be unable to use BART in any convenient way. It's his choice to work at a location where it is not serviced by mass transit. Lastly, the "reimbursement" of "you" so does not fly! Reimburse me NOW for not having BART in my area. Reimburse pleasanton and Livermore for not having BART in their areas for years. Reimburse those wanting to travel to SF airport for not having BART service for years. Puhlease! SCC will pay their fair share and own way. If they don't? They will not have BART. It's that simple. Your "what about me" belief when it comes to BART is very misplaced and shortsighted.

****I agree that BART should loop the bay. That was the original plan, that's what made the most sense, and that's what would have helped aleviate our current freeway situation. But it was SC and SM residents who put a stop to that, and it is not fair that those of us who have paid for the system all along now give SC and SM residents more benefits than they already enjoy, for free, from the system. You want BART? You pay! period!****

This we can agree on. A loop is the way. The expense will be a stumbling block that will not see the loop for many decades though I believe it will ultimately happen. And again I agree that SCC and SMC made a big, shortsighted mistake. But the constant *we did this* and *we did that* and *others benefit at our expense* get s a great big WHATEVER. Anybody is free to ride BART. The more riders, the better the take, the more money to operate it hopefully better. And for any county that wants it? You pay. BART will help pay the costs but only to the degree that it provides BART something in return worthy of the cost. Connected the biggest city in the bay area is a benefit to BART in the long run. I think your misplaced anger at SCC for wanting it now versus originally clouds the obvious benefit to BART and the BART counties of San Jose being connected to the BART system.

accountablevta said...

The reality was that BART could not built around the bay based on the finances back in those days, before choosing a flawed technology and cost overruns. BayRail Alliance has provided a good history of BART in the South Bay: http://bayrailalliance.org/newsletter/2005/2005-2nov_sot.pdf

The problem is the issue should not be whether having BART or no BART, but having the most cost-effective regional rail in the most effective corridor. That opportunity is lost if BART is built.

The 2000 Measure A was a tax extension (with no increase in the tax rate) and not a tax increase. Many other counties in the Bay Area, including San Mateo and San Francisco, were able to have their sales tax extensions approved by greater than 71%.

San Mateo and San Francisco taxes do not include any BART extensions.

BART isn't the only thing that gets the votes. Nor it is something that voters are always willing to pay more taxes for.

Anonymous said...

****The 2000 Measure A was a tax extension (with no increase in the tax rate) and not a tax increase. Many other counties in the Bay Area, including San Mateo and San Francisco, were able to have their sales tax extensions approved by greater than 71%.****

"six years ago when voters by a 71 majority approved raising the sales tax by a half-cent for 30 years to pay for BART and a dozen other transit improvements." That was the article I read in the mercury news. I don't live in SCC, so I did not vote on the measure though. If what you say is correct and it was a tax extension versus a tax hike, I agree that certainly does take a bit of the shine off of the victory. However, connecting BART to San Jose was the point of contention for that election. It essentially was argued as an up or down vote for BART to San Jose. Polls showed residents wanted it then as they do now (though polls can be ocassionally wrong). I still don't think the argument can be made that SCC lacks a majority of BART to SJ proponents even with the latest loss of Measure A.

******The problem is the issue should not be whether having BART or no BART, but having the most cost-effective regional rail in the most effective corridor. That opportunity is lost if BART is built.******

I read the website you pasted. Reading the above in conjuncture with that website kind of puts the light on your point of view. You believe the HSR and Caltrain are a better expenditure of funds. I certainly agree that you have an argument to make there. I don't agree though. BART is the people mover of choice for people who live in the Bay Area. We cannot spend money on something the average person shys away from. Maybe it is unfair but I believe it true from all my experience with other BA residents. I know many who have ridden BART. Caltrain is the exception. Ultimately, it's getting people out of their cars and onto mass transit. And that's not to be anti people driving in their cars. That is a necessity of densely populated areas. Just about every road you build will fill up with cars and your back to the same gridlock. Maybe someone else can point out examples of that not being true. From what I've seen, you have X amount of years before a new road is just as full as the old road. An upswing in the economy seems to do it always. And you only have so many roads to be widened and added to.

*****BART isn't the only thing that gets the votes. Nor it is something that voters are always willing to pay more taxes for.******

I agree to a point. No voter has a bottmless pit of patience and propensity to affirm higher taxes. But a BART only resolution would get a clear majority (though 66% seems too high a target to me). Put a tax hike for Caltrain and HSR, I doubt you could get 40% on a good day. If rail is what you believe, you have a lot of educating of the public before they'll pay for it outside of general funds from state and local governements.

*****The reality was that BART could not built around the bay based on the finances back in those days, before choosing a flawed technology and cost overruns. BayRail Alliance has provided a good history of BART in the South Bay: http://bayrailalliance.org/newsletter/2005/2005-2nov_sot.pdf
******

I agree that finances made BART too large a project to loop the bay. That does not mean it didn't make sense today. BART is here whether they should have gone with a different technology or not. BART is the preferred mass transit ride in the BA for those needing to go outside what a bus ride will do. It goes right into the heart of SF, It goes to the airport (the riders are coming), It goes to the coliseum, among ohers. It simply is here to stay and be used by people at a high number. A)BA People will ride BART a lot more than Trains in the future (as the traffic swells and it will. Dense trafiic is as certain as death and taxes). B)Pay this much now or pay this much plus that much later. I don't see anything that will change A or B. If that is the case, the time was yesterday. But now the time is today just more expensive. Shall we wait and have have, now the time is tomorrow just even more expensive?

Anonymous said...

I haven't heard ANY recent updates on fremont progress (or lack thereof???) ... where are the talks with cisco? is there a link to the fremont ballpark site? thanks.

Georob said...

Rhamesis forewarned that this will be a long process, and now that we're into Summer, I suspect that a lot of decision makers are on vacation break.

From the beginning, I've said that Fremont needs to confront the transit issues head on before their critics do. And right now, I think they have to proceed as if a BART extension just doesn't happen.

BTW, this whole discussion about the history, funding, and "whoshouldpaywhatandwhy" of BART has been eye-opening, but a complete waste of time. Bottom line: If BART ever comes to Warm Springs, it'll be many years after a stadium opens, and you'll still need a way to get people from the trains to the park. Good Luck!

Oakland still has a chance to pull this out, and runoff or not; the new mayor doesn't take office until January. Still, one has to assume that it's Ron Dellums and the "Choose Or Lose" coalition need to get to work on him before the OAFC scares him off.

Anonymous said...

*****BTW, this whole discussion about the history, funding, and "whoshouldpaywhatandwhy" of BART has been eye-opening, but a complete waste of time. Bottom line: If BART ever comes to Warm Springs, it'll be many years after a stadium opens, and you'll still need a way to get people from the trains to the park. Good Luck!*****

You still need a way to get people from the trains to the stadium is valid. It is a question of will people accept the last mile done by a shuttle or not. Also, what is the cost of running the shuttle (the ever popular money subject).
Regrding WSX being complete "many" years" after a stadium. That is incorrect. The rail line, land and proposed station designs, I believe, have already been acquired or completed by BART. If SJ had either won this last Measure A vote or said lets just build to Milpitas for the time being, the WSX would likely be here a bit before a stadium (assuming a Stadium on the fast track would open for the 2010 season). But "many" years for WSX after a stadium? No. BART is actually in better shape than a Fremont stadium. BART just needs funding for SJ. The stadium needs funding as well as the negotiating, reports, designs etc etc. Likely in 2010 neither will be here in Warm Springs. By 2012 I would guess BART will be here. My gut tells me the stadium won't. Unfortunately, my gut says the stadium will be somehwere far from Oakland, SJ or Fremont.

peanut gallery said...

More rail to Fremont? Check out Mr. Roadshow's response to question number three regarding the Dumbarton rail bridge:
http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/
news/columnists/mr_roadshow/14823197.htm

"Contractors hired by Caltrain and San Mateo County Transportation Authority are now surveying and doing preliminary engineering work for the planned rehabilitation of the rail bridge and the eventual launch of commuter trains between the East Bay and the Peninsula. This was one of the projects that got a green light when voters approved a $1 toll hike two years ago. The $300 million project would provide 12 daily train trips, maybe by 2010."

Interesting timing, wouldn't you say? If they get this completed and work out the BART connection (a big "if"), Pac Commons will have several public transit options (CalTrain, ACE/Amtrak and BART).

Georob said...

"IFs" will not quell opposition to the Pacific Commons stadium for transportation reasons. Until contracts, right of ways, and timetables are set in stone(or paper), the Fremont proponents have to work on the assumption that they just won't have rail transit as an option.

We can assume that something MAY be in place eventually, but if Pacific Commons follows what's happened with every other new stadium, then they're likely to have their biggest crowds in the first few seasons as everyone will want to check out the A's new digs.

....and I doubt that BART, ACE, WSX, Caltrain, or Thomas the Tank Engine will be around to assist.

accountablevta said...

The 2000 tax in Santa Clara county is clearly a tax extension. Its proponents is saying it is not a tax increase and will "pay for operating costs of (everything) for decades without additional taxes."

The fact that the 2006 Measure A had to appear on the ballot means that the 2000 Measure A failed to meet one of its promises.

Price is a valid and important consideration. A lot of people may like BART, if it doesn't cost an arm and a leg for it.

I don't know whether BART can be considered a a "people mover of choice." Like all mass transit, location, speed, comfort, and price are all factors. While BART is playing an important role in connecting the East Bay and San Francisco, which only has one toll bridge as its competition. It is very naive to say that because of that fact all other rail options are inferior and does not deserve a fair evaluation.

People did not shy away when Caltrain implemented the Baby Bullet service, despite the fact that Caltrain has to compete with two free freeways plus local street, along with BART, going into San Francisco.

Rail exists outside of the Bay Area and they carry more people than BART. Would it be fair to say that BART is inferior than Washington Metro and that we should build a identical replica of the Washington Metro here?

If the brand identity and customer experience are the issues, we can do much more for less by merging the rail agencies into BART, call every train BART, and use a common fare system.

If the issue is to get people out of cars and into mass transit, then we should not ignore other mass transit possibilities that can carry more people at less cost, without new taxes.

Anonymous said...

*****The fact that the 2006 Measure A had to appear on the ballot means that the 2000 Measure A failed to Ameet one of its promises.

Price is a valid and important consideration. A lot of people may like BART, if it doesn't cost an arm and a leg for it.****

You are correct. The promise was not kept. I think this is why the last measure A had trouble (among other reasons). Price is important too. I don't think people, though a majority want BART, want to pay any price for it. I would point out, however, that price is not just initial cost. It's operating cost with the ever important ridership number and receipts total.

****I don't know whether BART can be considered a a "people mover of choice." Like all mass transit, location, speed, comfort, and price are all factors. While BART is playing an important role in connecting the East Bay and San Francisco, which only has one toll bridge as its competition. It is very naive to say that because of that fact all other rail options are inferior and does not deserve a fair evaluation.****

A)I never said other options should not get a fair evaluation. But BART does seem to be the preferred choice. This is nothing more than my personal experience which is to say I, and my guess would be most, know several people who have taken BART in the last year. I am hard pressed to find Caltrain riders.
B)I do not necessarily disagree with "trains" that are part of the BART system. As long as they run right to each station (no shuttle, too long of walks etc) and are part of the same fare system, I think it can be looked at.
C)I mentioned before in an another post so this is a bit of repetition. The mind set is what the trains battle. You may be right regarding Caltrain being the cheaper way to go. It's just that I think many people view a Train as going from point a to point e. They see BART system as a way to take you to point a to point b to point c to point d etc. Common wisom may or may not be right here. The way to go is what will get people around in such a way that people will want to use it in big enough numbers. My gut tells me BART has that appeal and CalTrain doesn't, fair or unfair as that may be.

****If the issue is to get people out of cars and into mass transit, then we should not ignore other mass transit possibilities that can carry more people at less cost, without new taxes.****

That is the issue save one added point. The issue is to get as many out of their cars and onto mass transit that is a good alternative. Mass transit that is limiting will not do enough for the future. If projections are correct, there will be alot more people here 20 years from now. A few new lanes here, a few new roads there and and a marginally, so-so convenient mass transit option will not do enough. You mention other areas mass transit. My guess is they have understood this a little bit better and planned better. SCC and others didn't 25 plus years ago. If they don't do it better this time? 25 years from now they will be right in the same quandry. At some point those people at that moment time will have to bite the bullet and pony up the dough to build this necessary infrastructure. And every year it is pushed back just makes the bullet that much more harder to bite.