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San Francisco's City Hall Impedes Caltrain Extension

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Footage From the 2015 Pro DTX Press Conference

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Under the Lee Administration transportation in San Francisco is heading toward a cliff. For starters City Hall is neglecting, if not actively undermining, the downtown extension of Caltrain (DTX), a project that would connect Caltrain to 6 Muni rail lines, 4 BART lines and over 40 bus lines at one spacious location in the middle of San Francisco's 340,000 person employment center. 

In November 1999 the SF voters recognized the value of DTX by approving Prop H by 69.3%.  Prop H specifically calls for Caltrain to be extended to the new Transbay Transit Center (TTC) at First and Mission Streets.  In November 2003 the SF voters approved Prop K by 75%, which provided $270 million for the extension.  In June 2010 the SF Voters approved Prop G, calling for high-speed trains to also terminate at the TTC.  This measure was approved by an overwhelming 83.8%.  Yet it appears that the public policy implicit in these three Propositions was lost on City Hall. Learn more here


MTC Updates

MTC's Hostile Takeover of ABAG - Update MTC, the Region's transportation planning agency,  is now well along in its campaign to take over ABAG, the Region's land use planning agency. This, despite the fact that MTC has long failed to carry out its regional transportation planning responsibilities in an effective manner. For more information, click here.


It's time for a New Approach at MTC Traffic congestion in the Bay Area has been getting steadily worse for 35 years. BATWG has prepared a special report with recommendations about ways to restructure MTC into an organization that can improve regional transportation much more efficiently. Read more here.


BATWG's Position on MTC Summarized in San Jose Mercury News

http://www.mercurynews.com/opinion/ci_29092784/gerald-cauthen-mtc-isnt-giving-transportation-attention-it


Other  Transportation Issues and Developments

California Rail News Publishes Article by BATWG Member Jerry Cauthen discusses DTX extension here.


Oakland streets already worst and getting worse (East Bay Times My Word) Read the recent opinion piece by Jerry Cauthen published in the East Bay Times here.


DTX Coalition Blasts City Hall's Rail Yards Study On Tuesday, February 23, 2016, San Franciscans received their first look at City Hall's heretofore secret RailYards Alternatives/I280 Boulevard Study (RAB).  The Department of City Planning's RAB announcement was eight months late in coming and yet contained no engineering analysis, no traffic congestion figures and no cost estimates.   On the contrary it was limited to the same set of fanciful Mission Bay rearrangements that were floated by the Lee Administration early last year. Read more.


Reforming the Hi-Tech Shuttle Bus Operations
When Caltrain is finally extended into downtown San Francisco, it will attract enough new Caltrain riders to take tens of thousands of automobiles off the highways and city streets. Even so, there will still be a need for beefed up bus services including a contingent of privately-operated buses. However, an ever-growing number of these over-sized vehicles are crowding and congesting San Francisco's neighborhoods and interfering with San Francisco's Muni bus operations. We had previously suggested that there be satellite transfer points between the big long-distance buses operating on the highways and Muni buses ready to convey them along city streets. It now appears that this proposal may not be practical. BATWG continues to urge San Francisco's government, the County of San Mateo and MTC to take whatever steps are necessary to minimize the damage caused by privately-operated buses, including in particular the consistent and vigorous enforcement of all safety and other shuttle bus regulations.


​​Improving AC Transit's Overall Bus Operation: Since 2000 AC Transit's ridership has declined substantially and remains under 200,000 riders a day (about a fourth of Muni's ridership) when it should be attracting at least 325,000 riders a day.   Is this possible?  Yes, but it will take some changes at AC.  Some of the routes are fine; others are unnecessarily meandering and hard to use.  AC's maps are notoriously hard to read and AC's PR program leaves a lot to be desired.  For one thing,  instead of focusing on how its buses are fueled, AC Transit should be helping its riders and would-be riders to use its system efficiently and it should be singing the praises of its "Next Bus" ap, which makes taking the bus a lot easier. Read more.


Bay Area traffic gridlock is the third worst in the Nation, topped only by Los Angeles and Honolulu.  Was this dismal situation inevitable? 
No....it resulted from decades of bad local and regional transportation decisions.  Can things improve?  We think so, but it will take time and a whole new way of addressing regional transportation problems.  For ten important steps that BATWG thinks should be taken to clean up the mess, Read here.

Pro-DTX Press Conference Makes the Point! On June 24, 2015 the pro-DTX Coalition held a press conference at San Francisco's City Hall.  The purpose of the event was to stress the importance of getting Caltrain extended into downtown San Francisco without further delay.  The following  organizations participated:


  • Bay Area Transportation Working Group
  • Coalition of San Francisco Neighborhoods (comprised of 46 San Francisco Neighborhood Organizations)
  • Sierra Club (with 6,000 San Francisco members)
  • Livable City
  • Friends of Caltrain
  • San Francisco Tomorrow
  • RailPAC (Rail Passengers Association of California)
  • TRAC (Train Riders Association of California)
  • Transit Riders Union
  • Bay Rail Alliance
  • SaveMuni
  • Mission Bay Alliance


Read more articles.