Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Taking a Break

Not much to say here at the moment, since I'm:

  • Not commuting while I'm on leave.
  • Too happy to rant about anything!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Yes on Q (SMART), No on B (SJ BART)

These two projects make quite a contrast.

SMART is cost-effective, conventional rail technology, a project with a solid financial plan, and honest ridership projections. Perhaps too honest, since the upfront description of what the project can and can't do has given fodder to adversaries.

With SMART the north bay has a chance to channel their future growth into some something tolerable, and turn exurbia into something other than a nightmare of long-distance car commuting.

And besides this, their is the fact that SMART will enable my family to conveniently reach Snoopy's Home Ice in Santa Rose via transit.

The BART-to-SJ project is ridiculously expensive (a 16-mile subway through the suburbs, dug underneath an existing railway right-of-way?), claims laughably high ridership estimates, and is so fiscally reckless as to endanger every other transit project in the south bay. Yet it's popular with Silicon Valleyites who are wowed by technology but have no understanding or real interest in using public transit.

Vote this turkey down and force the VTA to get their financial house in order, and connect the South Bay to the East Bay with something that's affordable and will actually work.

After Some Consideration, Yes on 1A

Long-time readers will know that some issues with the CA HSR project--principally that it's being run by crooks and idiots, has chosen a poor route for political means, that money would be better invested in local transit, etc.

I am also concerned about the project's business plan that assumes at least $10bn of private investment to get the system built, and am afraid of this turning into another zombie project like BART-to-San Jose, something that never gets built but by being enshrined as the will of the voters keeps affordable and practical things from ever getting built (I'd have preferred a less ambitious plan that to make getting to LA by train time-competitive with driving, but was certain to actually happen).

But there are some crucial differences between the original Proposition 1 and the last-minute-revised 1A that make me a little more willing to give this a chance--particularly the provision that bond funds could be invested in improvements to useful segments of the line. The SJ-SF corridor is specifically mentioned.

So at the very least, if this passes, we can hope and lobby for electrification and grade separation of CalTrain, and extension to the Transbay Terminal, as an early benefit, even if bullet trains to SoCal are decades away.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Set Your Clocks--And Buy a Bike Light!

Time changes always catch me off guard--Friday I'm heading home in comfortable late afternoon, next Monday it's dark and I've neglected to bring any lights. Not this year!