Monday, January 26, 2009

I Will Write Anna Eshoo Today

Time is running out if you want to tell your congressperson to fight to get transit operating funds (present in original draft, since dropped in the usual wheeling and dealing) back into the economic stimulus package.

If you have forgotten who represents you, go to http://www.house.gov and type in your zipcode (you may need your +4 extension, but if so but they link to a USPS page that will look that up for you based on your street address.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Driving Sux

It was raining, and I had a meeting I didn't want to show up wet for, so I decided to drive to the station.

I figured that if I can get down there in 15 mins by bike, I should be able to drive it in 15 mins, too, right? But I didnt' consider:

  • Having to slow down for road construction, instead of scooting by with a wave onthe shoulder.
  • Having to wait for a green light to turn right because some bozo got in the turn lane and decided to go straight.
  • Having to wait through two cycles to turn left, because traffic was backed up to far to get into the left turn lane.
  • Having to find a parking place.
  • Paying for parking.
  • Realizing that the parking ticket machine is not next to the sign saying "pay for parking".

I made the train but the last point was the last straw, and all I could do was watch it stop and get going again.

I can't believe people put up with this crap every day.

Next time I'm packing a change of clothes and I'm just going to get wet riding my bike and not mind.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Santa Clara Station Improvements Funded

The VTA is kicking down some $$ to pay for improvements to Santa Clara station.

This will provide separate outside platforms for NB and SB trains, and a tunnel to connect them, so that passengers will no longer have to cross active tracks to reach NB trains.

This should allow ACE and Capitol Corridor trains to make stops at Santa Clara, which they current pass by.

This project was long held up by the belief that it could be rolled into the construction of the Santa Clara BART station, but fortunately enough reality seems to have set in to get this small project rolling now, rather than waiting another decade or two.

Ideally, the new tunnel could provide a way to get between the station and the area to the NE of the tracks, which currently can only be done by taking a roundabout, mile-or-so-long walk to use an overpass, or trespassing (which CalTrain strenuously insists you should never do, but not to the extent of putting up a fence).

If they provided access to that side, the VTA's #10 Airport Shuttle bus could loop over there instead of at the front of the station, and probably save about 10 minutes each way, too.

Here's a Google Maps Satellite view of the area, if you're curious.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Commuting Again

Parental leave is all used up, and I'm back on the job.

I jumped back on the saddle and got back into the train/bike commute on the first day... and it started to rain.

It was a chilly morning in Mountain View but the Cafe Maison guys were out as usual.

I noticed CalTrain has a new schedule--printed in black and white only--budgets must be tight!

The SF Bike Coalition Bikes-on-Board campaign had distributed flyers on trains pointing out the economic advantages of bike/train commuting--pointing out that the subsidy for a commuter taking a bike on CalTrain, and theoretically taking up the equivalent of two seats, is still lower than what it costs to subsidize station parking places, or commuter shuttle busses from station to workplace. Cool!

Meanwhile, my employer, Microsoft, has started offering CalTrain Go Passes to all Bay Area employees--I now have a shiny "GO" sticker on my ID card that lets me ride anywhere, anytime. Awesome!

And just so you know, my new son Nathan is showing an interest in trains, large and small.