TRANSDEF’s first thoughts on the Megameasure

TRANSDEF had a complicated reaction to the announcement of the proposed Megameasure. (All quotes referred to are contained in that post.) Service considerations We like the focus on world-class transit, but don’t trust that the sponsors of the measure mean the same thing we do. They have no prior history of supporting the cost-effective transit we support. To our knowledge, they have only supported the expensive brands of transit: BART and high-speed rail. Because the fundamental transportation problem of the Bay Area is too many cars on the roads, a solution viable for the long term must facilitate car-free living. That means…

Continue reading

A Primer on the Megameasure

Rumors have been circulating for months that the Bay Area Council (BAC), the Silicon Valley Leadership Group (SVLG) and SPUR were quietly floating a proposal for a $50 – 100 billion dollar revenue measure, known colloquially as the Megameasure. The groups finally went public in early June, with extensive press coverage: Mega-measure: $100 billion traffic-busting tax plan for the Bay Area taking shape A multi-billion-dollar ‘mega measure’ to fix Bay Area traffic for good heading your way The groups held their first public briefing on their proposal at the Alameda County Transportation Commission’s workshop: Notable Highlights: At 2:26–But now, we…

Continue reading

New articles on Seattle

Politico has published a great account Has Seattle Found the Solution to Driving Alone to Work? Seattle voters made the decision to put their money into transit, on a big scale. It has paid off handsomely. Bay Area voters were cajoled instead to throw more money at highways. That will not turn out well. Streetsblog digs into solutions to the housing crisis with Seattle and Minneapolis: A Tale of Two Upzones.  As these articles make clear, Northern California is not a center for innovation in the fields of transportation and housing.

Continue reading

Amazing changes in San Diego

San Diego used to be the most reactionary of the State’s large transportation agencies. No longer! It’s amazing what losing a few environmental lawsuits can do. Now, the San Diego Association of Governments, SANDAG, is leading the State in responding to the climate change crisis. SANDAG’s new Executive Director, Hasan Ikhrata, made headlines when he announced that San Diego Can’t Hit State Climate Goals Without Major Transportation Changes. While TRANSDEF has been saying that for decades, it’s different when it comes from an agency head. State reports indicate that greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles are increasing, despite efforts to reduce them. This…

Continue reading

I just went carless

By Steve Heimoff When I told my old friend, David Schonbrunn, I was going carless, he asked if I would tell my story for TRANSDEF. So here it is. I’m 72 years old. I came of age during an era when having a car was practically a matter of patriotism. Of course you need a car! This is America! Every American has to have a car. How else can you get around? My father bought a new car every three years. As soon as I was able to afford one, I bought a car. too. Not having a car was—well,…

Continue reading

Here’s why MTC is a policy failure

By a convenient coincidence, The Chronicle published a chart entitled The Bay Area’s 11 biggest transportation projects that provides graphic proof of policy failure. A quick look at the list of projects is enough to show the absence of a coordinated strategy. What stands out instead is the prominence of extremely expensive yet low-public-benefit projects that are being pushed by powerful economic and political interests: Central Subway BART extension to San Jose Caltrain electrification An even bigger push from the Bay Area Council and others is promoting a project many times more expensive than anything that has ever been attempted…

Continue reading

New data: MTC still a policy failure

A updating of data of the chart on our Bay Area Basics page shows that MTC is continuing to fail at fostering any kind of change in Bay Area travel habits. As a result, the total amount of driving, VMT, has more than doubled since 1980. That’s why the roads keep feeling more crowded. They are! Note in particular the flat VMT per capita trace, indicating no change in the propensity to drive. This is the direct result of MTC’s failure to supply alternatives to driving. Despite spending many billions of dollars on BART extensions, total transit ridership actually dropped…

Continue reading

We Don’t Need More Infrastructure — We Need Congestion Pricing

Streetsblog covered the release of an important study by Brookings titled Local Transportation Policy and Economic Opportunity, which is far more exciting than its title would suggest. The study provided the basis for Streetsblog’s provocative title, We Don’t Need More Infrastructure — We Need Congestion Pricing: The U.S. does not need to build more highways — it needs to spend more on aging urban rail systems and use congestion pricing to ease gridlock in urban areas, a new report shows.   … “Claims about the dilapidation of U.S. transportation infrastructure should be regarded with a critical eye,” says Turner.  

Continue reading

San Diego Can’t Hit State Climate Goals Without Major Transportation Changes

The Voice of San Diego reported on a refreshing statement of the obvious as to the level of changes needed in the county’s transportation planning to meet State climate goals: The region simply can’t meet state requirements for thwarting climate change the way things are and the way they’re headed, Hasan Ikrhata, director of the San Diego Association of Governments, said at a Friday board meeting. Even if the region built the trolley lines and bus services leaders have been discussing, it would not change enough. Either state law would have to change, or regional leaders need to reimagine plans…

Continue reading

Holy Grail found in Minneapolis & Seattle

Streetsblog has produced another policy great: the article “Minneapolis and Seattle Have Achieved the Holy Grail for Sustainable Transportation” describes two cities that are reducing their Vehicle Miles Travelled (VMT). The following chart by Yonah Freemark illustrates how Seattle is increasing bus ridership while most cities are seeing losses in ridership. The Bay Area’s bus ridership is stagnant, reflecting the sector’s lack of prioritization by MTC. Perhaps most striking is that these two cities have enacted strategically-based investments in their transit network, leading to their effectiveness. MTC, on the other hand, is uninterested in regional strategy. Instead, it confines itself…

Continue reading