PR2000 In the News
Peninsula Rail 2000 has received a lot of press coverage in recent
weeks. The controversy surrounding the VTA Caltrain Measure A/B plan
was covered on the KNTV Channel 11, 6 o’clock news on multiple days.
PR2000 members Jim Stallman and Andy Chow were shown on the 11
o’clock news passing out flyers.
Editorials by the Palo Alto Daily News and San Jose Mercury News
supported PR2000 in advocating the increase to 86 trains. Unfortunately, at
least one key element of VTA’s ineffectual plan for Measure A/B Caltrain
expenditures remains intact. This is explained below.
Margaret Okuzumi was the featured guest on PAX TV’s (KKPX) public
affairs program on Jan. 22, focusing on possible East Bay-South Bay rail
connections. Last November, she and Vaughn Wolffe of Rail Passengers
Association of California were guest speakers on KBAY radio.
San Mateo County Transportation Authority
San Mateo County is developing a new county-wide transportation
plan in case SCA3, a pending bill in the California legislature, should pass.
SCA3 would allow voters a one-time opportunity to approve or renew 20-
year county sales taxes for transportation (for transit, highway and road
projects) with a majority, rather than two-thirds vote required for passage-
-as long as a transportation plan is ready by May. In anticipation, many
counties are rushing to put plans together, which seems unlikely to result in
Several Peninsula Rail 2000 members attended the San Mateo County
Transportation Authority (SMCTA) workshop in January to review the first
draft of the Measure A extension plan. Immediately apparent was the
heavy emphasis on funding Caltrain grade separations as well as the miniscule
allotment for bicycle projects, and several other troublesome proposals and
wordings. PR2000 members stated that track-elevating grade-separation
projects are often designed solely for the convenience of motorists. A poor
design may not improve train performance or convenience, may make sta-
tions less pedestrian-friendly, and spread train noise over a wider residen-
tial area due to lack of buffering from ground-level commercial buildings.
Influenced by public comments made by these PR2000 members, the SMCTA
board suggested some significant changes. Naomi Patridge suggested
increasing funding for bikes from less than 1% to at least 1%. Most signifi-
cantly, County Supervisor Rich Gordon proposed that grade-separation
projects be categorized in a separate category from either transit or road
projects. The immediate effect of this was to significantly increase funding
for Caltrain, since Caltrain would still get the same percentage of funds but
would no longer have to fund grade separations from its share.
With the upcoming departure of indefatigable transportation and cy-
cling activist Scott Mace to the East Bay, there will be a serious void of
people watchdogging transportation plans in San Mateo County. If you live
in San Mateo County and would like to know how to get started in following
transportation issues, please give Margaret a call at (408) 732-8712.
San Mateo County Transportation Plan Online
The 115-page Countywide Transportation Plan (CTP) is now available on
the World Wide Web. The address is:
Questions can be asked of Mark Duino at 650-363-1855, who presented it at
the November meeting of the Congestion Management Advisory Committee.
Of seven transit alternatives presented, three discuss extending BART
down the Peninsula to San Jose, even replacing Caltrain. The costs of doing
that, however, are acknowledged to be prohibitive. There is also a heavy
emphasis on providing ferry transit in all proposals. Many environmental groups
have opposed some ferry plans due to potential impacts on the San Francisco
Bay, and many transit groups such as PR2000 believe that directing ferry monies
toward improving Caltrain and bus service would get more cars off the road.
If you are a Santa Clara County resident, please use the
contact list on page 7 to contact your VTA representative.
Please let them know that you think improved, electrified
Caltrain service is important.
Peninsula Rail 2000 has long held the view that electrification
of the Caltrain line should be a top priority along with necessary
track repair and track reconfiguration for faster, smoother, and
more frequent trains. If electrification of Caltrain were made
the top priority of these monies, in 2-4 years we could run 96
trains/week (trains every five minutes in the peak and every
half hour in the off-peak), improving service and generating
revenue for needed station improvements. It would also save
VTA money by providing diesel trains for additional ACE service
and Warm Springs Corridor train service.
take a stronger stance against wasting train money on projects that do little
to benefit riders.”
On Feb. 3, the VTA board amended the 1996 Measure A Caltrain
Plan to include a goal of increasing Caltrain service levels between San
Jose and San Francisco to 86-weekday trains by no later than 2006, and
committed to working with the Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board
(PCJPB) in good faith to achieve this goal.
The Sunnyvale station project seems to have emerged intact for
now. The County Supervisors feel that they decide general
policy, not the merits of individual projects. Even with a project
as bad as this one it seems the buck stops with the appointed
VTA Board and the City of Sunnyvale. However, we may have
some legal recourse under federal ADA laws.
Thanks and congratulations to all of you who wrote, phoned,
and faxed the supervisors, or attended the Board of Supervisors
meeting on January 25. Until VTA comes up with a concrete
plan for increasing the train service as directed, we need to
keep an eye on this issue and continue the flow of letters to the
VTA Board, the County Supervisors, and Caltrain.
Santa Clara County Caltrain Measure A/B Update
The rider-unfriendly Sunnyvale station plan is going forward, but
not unchallenged. If you as a rider would like well-designed
stations without excessively long pedestrian detours, barriers to
people with disabilities, poor bicycle accommodations or forced
pedestrian confrontation with automobiles, please join our
campaign. The Sunnyvale project will set a precedent for future
station projects all along the Caltrain line.
This is for everyone who is tired of seeing millions in public tax
monies become monuments to the treatment of transit riders as
second-class citizens. This is about basic dignity of experience in
going to and from the station. To join this campaign, send email to
Subscribe to the Caltrain-Bikes Email List!
To subscribe, send an email to
email@example.com with the following text in
the body of your message: