Articles by BATWG Members  




Below you will find articles and opinion pieces written by BATWG members.

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.

City Hall Impedes and Undermines DTX, SF’s Most Significant Transportation Improvement in 50 Years:

Under the Lee Administration transportation in San Francisco is heading toward a cliff. For starters City Hall is neglecting, if not actively impeding, 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

Pro-DTX Rally:  On June 24, 2015 a press conference was held on the steps of San Francisco's City Hall.  The purpose of the event was to stress the importance of getting Caltrain extended into downtown San Francisco without delay.  The following  organizations participated:

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

Read more here.

Discussion of California Passenger Rail: On June 24, 2015, Mr. Paul Dyson, President of Rail Passengers Association of California (Railpac), led a discussion in Room 106 Wurster Hall, U.C. Berkeley.  The meeting was attended by faculty members, environmental design students and local rail advocates. During the session Mr. Dyson shared his impressions of California's current passenger rail situation including in particular its high-speed rail program, and discussed the prospects of attracting additional transportation funding from Washington. The session, co-sponsored by RailPAC, SaveMuni and the Bay Area Transportation Working Group, evoked both challenging questions and a spirited discussion.

Through-routing Transbay Buses: As currently planned all of AC Transit's transbay buses are scheduled to terminate at San Francisco's new Transbay Transit Center. Why so limited a vision? Read more.

Speeding Up the Transbay Bus Service: As BART gets increasingly overcrowded, it becomes more obvious by the day that today's AC Transit's transbay bus operation will have to radically improve in order to attract enough riders to meet demand. AC's transbay buses should be carrying at least 4 times today's embarrassingly low ridership of 20,000 riders a day, as compared to BART's 250,000 riders a day. The fashionable "solution" of the moment is to focus on the short 6-mile Bay Bridge section of AC's transbay bus routes rather on the entire transbay operation. Contra-flow bus lines on the Bridge, we are told, would solve the problem. In fact, much more is needed! Read more.

The Mentality of the 1950's Survives in San Mateo County: According to the Peninsula Daily Journal (June 18, 2015), San Mateo County officials are responding to Highway 101 freeway congestion by adopting the time-honored Caltrans approach. Ever since its inception in 1958 Caltrans has responded to freeway congestion by expanding the freeway. And we all know how well that's worked. Yet it appears that at least some of San Mateo County's politicians would be satisfied with more of the same. Read more.

OAC An Early Report: The Oakland Airport Connector has now gotten into service and is reportedly popular with its handful of riders.  But the costs of the OAC to the tax payer are horrendous.  Read more here.

Bay Area traffic gridlock is the third worst in the Nation, topped only by Los Angeles and Honolulu.  Was this dismal situation inevitable? 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.

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.

The Boondoggles:  How did this Region manage to develop the third worst traffic congestion in the Nation?  For a compendium of its major transportation mistakes, Read here.