Page 4
March-April 2002
dition, the seven-night-a-week scenario
would have prolonged construction, cost
more, posed more safety risks to workers and
riders, and caused much more disruption to
neighbors living adjacent to the Caltrain line.
We successfully demanded that
Caltrain make provisions for regular substi-
tute bus service, in view of the unpredict-
able, up-to-30-minute train delays riders ex-
perienced during the 1999-2001 Ponderosa
Project. During that period, single-tracking
on weekends was the norm.
An express bus is now planned to run
with stops in San Jose, Palo Alto, Hillsdale,
San Francisco/4th & King, and possibly, the
Transbay Terminal at 1st & Mission. In ad-
dition, there will be special bus service for
Giants games. The service will be operated
using SamTrans buses at first. Then after
the kinks are worked out, Caltrain plans to
contract out the service to private operators
to free up bus capacity for football games
starting in August. The weekend shutdown
is planned to commence this May.
Caltrain is working out the final de-
tails and will be releasing them to the public
some time in March. Caltrain staff have con-
tinued to bring important decisions to the
Caltrain CAC in a timely fashion. We encour-
age you to approach the CAC with your
ideas and concerns. The dates and location
of CAC meetings are listed on the back page.
We're excited also that the Caltrain
board in recent months has appointed some
new, highly competent members of the pub-
lic to the CAC. Relationships that we have
built up over time with key decisionmakers
are reaping dividends. Also we are pleased
that Caltrain has honored our request,
strongly conveyed to SamTrans/Caltrain
CEO Mike Scanlon early in his tenure, to give
the CAC a greater voice in Caltrain decisions.
On Proposition 42...
Concerning funding, BayRail Alliance
recommends a "Yes" vote on Prop. 42 on
March 5, but with some caveats. Along with
our friends at the Surface Transportation
Policy Project, we'd like for California Senate
Bill 1262 (Torlakson) to pass as well. SB 1262
would correct some of the problems of Prop.
42, by requiring distribution of State Trans-
portation Improvement Plan (STIP, generally
used for roads and highways) monies to be
tied with smart land use incentives. Unfor-
tunately, Torlakson reportedly won't push
his bill through until after the March elec-
tion. The bill would apply to STIP monies
whether or not Prop. 42 passes. We're not
entirely happy with Prop. 42, but there is a
clear need for more transit funding. Even if
Prop. 42 passes, the state projects a short-
fall of billions of dollars for transportation
projects during the next 30 years.
On the Santa Clara County Measure B
Caltrain Program...
As of this writing it's too early to know
for sure yet, but it seems that our efforts to
influence Santa Clara County's Caltrain plan
are making headway. I'd like to thank the
many volunteers who attended the meetings,
wrote email, and helped to pass out flyers
alerting riders, especially Roger and Joan
Holland, David Coale, Irvin Dawid, Patrick
Moore, Andy Chow and Francis Wong. We'll
find out in March if the VTA produces a plan
that emphasizes pedestrian access and safety
at stations, especially at California Avenue
and Santa Clara stations, and prioritizes fix-
ing stations so that Caltrain will be able to
run faster and more frequently.
On Helping BayRail...
We can always use some more organi-
zational help with a variety of tasks. In par-
ticular, we invite individuals with member-
ship development or fundraising expertise
to contact us about helping to grow the or-
ganization. We welcome your ideas on these
matters, as well as help with distributing and
mailing our newsletters.
Your contributions of money and time
help us to be in the right place at the right
time. This greatly increases our effectiveness
and chances of success. If you're interested
in volunteering, please contact me by phon-
ing (408) 732-8712 or by email at
On the Topic
, from page 1]
From the Executive Director
BayRail: Safety 1st at Caltrain Stations
, from page 1]
Coyote Valley station, to be located between
Blossom Hill and Morgan Hill stations, is
postponed for the next few years because
Cisco also has postponed its office devel-
opment in the area.
Due to BayRail's effort, about 30
Caltrain riders showed up to voice their opin-
ions at the meeting in Mountain View. Mar-
garet Okuzumi, BayRail's Executive Director,
said that the revised plan between Palo Alto
and San Jose still did not give priority to
safety-related station improvements, such as
outside boarding platforms and pedestrian
underpasses at California Avenue and Santa
Clara. These stations currently present a
safety hazard due to the narrow central plat-
forms between the tracks. Unsafe stations
also impact train service, especially the
planned Baby Bullet service, because these
stations only allow one train to pass through
the station at a time.
BayRail's concern is magnified by the
economic recession. Last year between June
and September, the sales tax revenue in the
county plunged more than 20% from the same
period in 2000. As the result of the unex-
pected decline, the remaining Measure A/B
projects that have yet to start construction
will have to be reviewed and reprioritized due
to lower funding levels. So far, other than
the parking garage at the Sunnyvale station
and transit center in Gilroy, most of the
Caltrain-related Measure A/B projects are in
the design stage. "Our top priority is to en-
sure that those funds go to making trains
faster and more frequent, and making sta-
tions safer and more pedestrian friendly--not
to other so-called Caltrain improvements,"
Okuzumi said.
In 1999 BayRail Alliance, under its
former name Peninsula Rail 2000, launched a
grassroots effort to revise the previous VTA
Measure A/B plan for Caltrain. At the time,
VTA recommended giving top priority to the
parking garage at Sunnyvale station, con-
sidered by transit advocates to be cost-inef-
fective and unsafe for pedestrians and bicy-
clists. VTA had also planned to fund two
new trains every year until the expiration of
the tax in 2006. This was well below the prom-
ise by the Measure A/B campaign in 1996 to
increase service to 86 daily trains.
After an unsuccessful attempt to per-
suade the VTA board to provide funding for
more trains sooner, Peninsula Rail 2000 and
concerned Caltrain riders appealed to the
Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors.
As a result, in 2000 and 2001, a total of 12
trains were added. However, these efforts
did not succeed in prioritizing other much
needed Caltrain improvements over the
Sunnyvale parking garage.
After the current round of public meet-
ings, VTA plans to submit the revised
Caltrain improvement plan to VTA's Board
of Directors, and then to the Board of Super-
visors for approval in April.