We don’t have much time left to fix transportation

Environmentalist Ed Mainland of Novato, CA speaks out: Controversy has swirled around Marin’s Measure AA. Many proponents of Measure AA seem oblivious to TAM’s dismal track record and substantive arguments pro and con around TAM’s funding plan. Proponents point to the plan’s funding of transit, EVs, and Safe Routes to Schools. Others call the plan conventional, status quo, wedded to car culture, and lacking in real understanding of what is at stake. Several things Marinites may wish to keep in mind: 1. A local climate activist recently compared TAM’s plan to Los Angeles’ plan and found TAM’s, by comparison, to…

Continue reading

Travel expectations different in Europe

After attending Innotrans, the international rail exposition in Berlin, I’ve been visiting with a colleague in a smaller German city. The plethora of transit choices is amazing. There is an extensive subway system. The tram network runs in the subway, using the stations there and then exiting to run on surface streets, often in medians reserved for transit. The even more extensive bus system has signal preemption, giving buses priority at difficult intersections. Germany is famous in transit circles for its S-bahns. Over a hundred years ago, it was recognized that trains needed to be separated from street traffic. Far-sighted…

Continue reading

SF Transit Riders Union tells SFMTA “Do your job!”

In a superb opinion piece, Rachel Hyden, Executive Director of the SF Transit Riders, documents the political cowardice of San Francisco’s Municipal Transportation Agency in implementing the City’s longstanding Transit First policy. She forcefully argues that Transit First is critical to making the City more livable, by speeding up transit and making it an attractive mode of travel for large numbers of residents. Transit professionals and transit advocates know what’s needed to improve transit. What’s missing is the political will to make policy decisions on behalf of the greater good, when objections are raised by those that insist on driving.…

Continue reading

Marin’s Measure AA

The Transportation Authority of Marin (TAM) has placed Measure AA, a 0.5 % sales tax for transportation on the November ballot. The measure would replace the existing Measure A that voters approved in 2004. Measure AA would run for 30 years before the voters would be asked to approve a subsequent measure. Marin is facing a transportation crisis: traffic congestion keeps getting worse while greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles keep getting higher. TRANSDEF opposes Measure AA because the measure doesn’t even acknowledge there is a crisis. Instead, the measure offers a Business as Usual collection of the programs and projects of the…

Continue reading

Falling Transit Ridership–Why?

A significant study by SCAG suggests that falling transit ridership is the result of displacement of transit-using lower-income groups to exurbs with poor transit service. Easy credit has made it possible to own a vehicle, thereby both increasing VMT and lowering transit ridership. An excellent discussion by Ethan Elkind is here.

Continue reading

Post-election counting widens RM3 margin

The votes counted after Election day have swung more in support of Regional Measure 3. Recent reports from all counties other than Sonoma (shown in yellow) have updated their election night results. The margin of victory has widened to 10 points. This margin came entirely from Santa Clara and San Franciso Counties, neither of which uses bridges much.

Continue reading

The problems endemic in Bay Area transportation

Posted on our website is a large body of work that speaks to the problems endemic in the world of transportation: 1. The politicization of the distribution of funding. Public agencies are heavily influenced by self-interested entities that do not care about the effectiveness of projects for the larger public. Even though MTC spends massive amounts of money, it is so poorly spent (think the Bay Bridge East Span) that the public gets relatively little benefit out of it. The process most definitely does not function to maximize public benefits. Cost-effectiveness is not even among MTC’s top10 considerations. The ability…

Continue reading

Election night results for RM3

With 100% of precincts reporting, Regional Measure 3 won by a margin of 7 points: 53.66% to 46.34%. The most striking number, other than the much lower-than-predicted margin of victory, is that Santa Clara and San Francisco Counties together provided 130% of the winning vote margin. Without those two counties, the measure to impose higher bridge tolls would have failed. The fact that these two counties have low levels of bridge use suggests that serious constitutional violations have occurred. We are investigating remedies.

Continue reading

RM3’s claim of reduced traffic is misleading

Was the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) lying to the public when it wrote the ballot language for Regional Measure 3? The measure’s principal claim is that it will “reduce auto and truck traffic.” A leading opponent of Regional Measure 3, TRANSDEF, with deep familiarity with MTC’s planning documents, knew that MTC’s Regional Transportation Plan for 2040 projected a 44% increase in hours of congestion delay and a 21% increase in driving. These figures suggest that claims of traffic reduction were knowingly false. TRANSDEF filed a Public Records Act request on May 9, 2018 asking for: Any studies or analysis demonstrating…

Continue reading

KRON4 reports on RM3

KRON4’s report on Regional Measure 3 featured dueling appearances by the Bay Area Council’s John Grubb and TRANSDEF.org’s David Schonbrunn. Schonbrunn asserted: This will do nothing whatsoever for congestion. What it will do is move politically-favored projects along. The Bay Area Council attempted to erase the politicized legislative origin of the measure: The Bay Area Council points say this is no pork barrel project but one designed by both regional and local traffic engineers with the goal of reducing congestion. Grubb, of course, claimed the measure would improve traffic. We’ll see if voters are taken in by the hype…

Continue reading