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About this blog: I am a native of Alameda County, grew up in Pleasanton and currently live in the house I grew up in that is more than 100 years old. I spent 39 years in the daily newspaper business and wrote a column for more than 25 years in add...  (More)

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New thrust for regional transportation solutions

Uploaded: Jul 25, 2019
For decades, public transportation systems in the Bay Area have been balkanized with little thought given to connectivity for riders.

Cities, for instance in the Livermore Valley, set up their own systems (Wheels) because getting the attention of AC Transit was nearly impossible. Can you imagine the giant system working with Pleasanton school district officials to add service to Amador Valley High this summer and fall while its main parking lot is under construction with solar panels? The nimble local system met the short-term need.

So, after smaller systems proliferated, there's been an increased focus on connecting the various systems. BART extensions to Dublin-Pleasanton, the San Francisco Airport and now toward San Jose are part of that overall plan.

In addition, the nimble Livermore Amador Valley Transit Authority now is spearheading the Valley Link connection between San Joaquin County and the Dublin-Pleasanton terminal BART station after BART's board reneged on its decades-long commitment to bring the system to Livermore.

Fortunately, Valley Link may be the better alternative and far cheaper. It delivered the feasibility plan and preliminary financing plan in mid-June, well before the July 1 deadline.

Now we find out that three influential Bay Area nonprofits have been working together for more than two years to craft an updated version of the regional transportation system. The Mercury News reported that the Bay Area Council, the Silicon Valley Leadership Group and SPUR, the regional planning think-tank, are putting together a $100 billion plan.

The consortium has not released details, but it's likely to include a second Transbay Tube for BART, extending Caltrain into the Salesforce transit center in downtown San Francisco, high-occupancy vehicle toll lanes on most if not all Bay Area freeways and expanding ferry service.

There's also no details on how the $100 billion would be raised over several decades. A favorite tactic has been raising the sales tax or increasing bridge fares to pay for improvements. Voters in most Bay Area counties have raised sales taxes (it's an additional 1 cent in Alameda County), but that money is spoken for and the plan needs new additional money. It could also be higher property or business taxes through the nine counties.

Voters in both Los Angeles and Seattle, areas that face terrible congestion just like the Bay Area, approved major funding packages in 2016 to start addressing the problem. Congestion in the Bay Area, coming out of the recession, grew 80% between 2010-16. Transportation issues go hand-in-hand with strong, full-employment economies and chronic housing shortages.

Stay tuned.
What is it worth to you?


Posted by DKHSK, a resident of Bridle Creek,
on Jul 25, 2019 at 5:03 pm

DKHSK is a registered user.

See a freeway? Put BART running down the middle and make spurs on all expressways. If spurs can't be made, then run bus lines. It can work without having to make all the transit authorities compete for transportation $.

With real growth heading East, North and South of the Bay, you need rail - and lots of it - to make any real impact.

Posted by sjd, a resident of Livermore,
on Jul 25, 2019 at 5:42 pm

Disagree with all-freeway-running train lines. They're not a nice experience and they make for poor places - just seas of parking.

But besides that point, yes, I agree rail is necessary generally. I'm happy ValleyLink is coming along and looking pretty cost effective to boot.

I like LAVTA too. I work with them a lot. But sometimes they can be a bit blind by focusing inward. Specifically, their data shows most people transfer bus-to-bus, so they prioritize those transfers over working BART transfers. But of course that's the case - if the transfers to BART are bad, they're used less often!

Why does the last westbound bus arrive at BART 5 minutes AFTER the last BART train leaves, for example?!

Same thing with this new bus from Dublin to San Ramon on weekends. Starting August 11, Contra Costa will run this bus. But...

Eastbound 335 bus arrives at :35
BART leaves :00, :20, :40. This is the only okay one.
Wheels 10R leaves :32, :02.
Wheels 30R leaves :12 in AM, :44 in PM
Stockton 150 leaves :20 in AM, :30 in PM

Westbound 335 bus departs :48
BART arrives :11, :31, :51
10R arrives at BART :48, :18
30R arrives at :11 AM, :44 PM
150 arrives :02, :30, :17

I wouldn't exactly call these connections!!!

Local responsiveness is good. Local insular agencies holding back better regional transit is bad.

Posted by Michael Austin, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows,
on Jul 25, 2019 at 8:20 pm

No matter the type of rail system and where it is located, the ridership fares will not support it and it's infrastructure. What will support it?

Posted by James Michael, a resident of Val Vista,
on Jul 26, 2019 at 10:09 am

James Michael is a registered user.

Taxes and more taxes and more hidden taxes...that's the source of funding as it always is. Is it any wonder that home sales have hit record levels? Those who know...they go.

Posted by Robert S. Allen, a resident of Livermore,
on Jul 26, 2019 at 6:31 pm

Robert S. Allen is a registered user.

A state legislative deadline (AB758) gave the BART Board too little time to challenge the very costly EIR for BART to Isabel. (Two unnecessary items - yard, shop, and cars - totaled $656 million.) Funding reverted to Valley Link when BART diretors rebelled at the cost.

Valley Link rail to San Joaquin County will serve Livermore about like eBART serves Antioch in Contra Costa County - very well, and at far less cost than either eBART or BART to Livermore.

Posted by Robert S. Allen, a resident of Livermore,
on Jul 26, 2019 at 6:34 pm

Robert S. Allen is a registered user.

$658 million.

Posted by Robert S. Allen, a resident of Livermore,
on Jul 26, 2019 at 6:37 pm

Robert S. Allen is a registered user.

Deadline for public comment on Valley Link is July 30.

Posted by DKHSK, a resident of Bridle Creek,
on Jul 28, 2019 at 8:19 am

DKHSK is a registered user.

They ran BART to Brentwood - BRENTWOOD!

Livermore is home to more tech - and frankly more people - in a busier corridor and they CANNOT MAKE IT HAPPEN TO SAVE THEIR LIVES!

Wake up!

BART needs to go down all freeways and yes, parking lots have to be built, but so what? I'm not saying that ALL Expressways need to have a station, but there are those that absolutely need to have stations built. For instance, would there really need to be another station in Pleasanton/Dublin to accommodate a line running North/South on 680? Ok, perhaps one on Sunol, but that is the edge of town, there's already traffic noise there so BART would not add to that. And traffic on Sunol? Ever try getting on the freeway during commute time right now?

Going North, make a station in San Ramon at either Acosta or Bolinger Canyon, then one in Danville before finally linking with Concord and beyond.

Going South, make a station in Sunol before heading up the grade and then stops/spurs at Mission/South Mission; Auto Mall; Jacklin; Calveras and eventually linking up on Montegue and going points West.

This is very hard and anyone who commutes know this would SIGNIFICANTLY reduce traffic.

Forget about all the busses and carpool lanes that competing agencies try to push out. Bart above/below ground is the way to go.

Posted by DKHSK, a resident of Bridle Creek,
on Jul 28, 2019 at 8:20 am

DKHSK is a registered user.

This *isn't* very hard...

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Jul 28, 2019 at 1:08 pm

Senator Kamala Harris:

Web Link

Tim...I don't know what else to do with the above story. Is there a way to present this story to Pleasanto Weekly Online readers?

Thank You.

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Jul 28, 2019 at 1:13 pm

Above post is the incorrect story. This is the story re: Sen. Harris and the incident reported by Joey Piscitelli or Martinez, CA.

Web Link

The children of America have a right to be protected when they have been sexually abused. The rape of children by Catholic clergy or any clergy is simply NOT ACCEPTABLE.

Posted by Spectator, a resident of Livermore,
on Jul 28, 2019 at 1:49 pm

Self Driving cars will take over in a few years - no one will take BART because it will be faster and cheaper to Uber around. BART is a San Francisco on a train, filled with homeless, needles, feces and urine.

Posted by Barry, a resident of Alisal Elementary School,
on Jul 28, 2019 at 6:00 pm

Barry is a registered user.

First, Contra Costa County refused to pay into the BART system decades ago, so a I680 system ain't happening pass the Alameda line at Alcosta.
We need another freeway out of the Bay Area to take pressure off I580 now that the Port of Oakland and central valley commuters rely on it all the time. This is addition to the trans bay tube and system extensions noted.
It is ridiculous to think people will drive, take the link, then BART. TOO MANY CONNECTIONS. And Uber has exponentially increased San Francisco gridlock!!! These drivers commuter into the City from far away places to solely to drive around like a taxi. They are not ride share and there is no limit on the number of vehicles like taxi. I say regulate so call ride share and traffic will be reduced as well.

Posted by been there, a resident of Del Prado,
on Jul 29, 2019 at 9:57 am

This started out as a good discussion of the transportation options but devolved when people started posting irrelevant weblinks. Please stay on topic and if you are posting a link , please include the title of that link so the reader can decide whether or not to click. I clicked on 4 of these and several of them had to do with molestation and priests. and one was on how to pay a traffic fine.
OK, it's a blog but for the sanity factor, could people PLEASE stay on topic?
This happens often when the posters are ranking on whatever their own topic is.
Just make responsible, thoughtful posts and the readership will engage.
If not; we're outa here.

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