Tuesday, July 3, 2012

San Francisco Examiner Op-Ed: Omar's Freemotorist Comments :

San Francisco's Mayor Ed Lee and others are correct about the need for innovation in the Bay Area. Innovation also applies to transportation as well as effective and optimized public budget spending and investment.  Mayor Lee and others need to take a hard look at HSR to support also extending BART Around The Bay (BAB), up the Peninsula using Federal and State funds.  This BART and Bay Area rail innovation starts with a study asap on the final 28 miles from the currently-planned BART South Bay station at Santa Clara University up the Peninsula to the existing, but underutilized BART station in Millbrae.

BAB will enable benefits of ten to 15 years of continuous construction jobs, about 2500 at least, up to additional 5 jobs for each high-paying, likely union craft, construction job that will be created as well. BART around the Bay will unite the Bay Area region's major travel, sports and other venues, downtown shopping areas, and universities while connecting San Francisco trip origination and destinations with SJ--and those cities in between on both sides of the Bay.

The above is consistent with the February 5, 2012, annual Joint Venture Silicon Valley Index outcome about improving regional.

BART around the Bay (BAB) will stop the Caltrain Killtrain deaths.  These include unfortunate, perhaps otherwise preventable suicides had early mental health intervention occurred, but it is too easy for despondent persons to simply step in front of an at street level 50 mph -75 mph racing only inches from unlimited jump off points.  As of December 31 2012, 188 persons have been slaughtered and violently but instantly dismembered on the tracks since 1995, 28 since 1/1/2011, 12 in 2012.  Others have surely died in hospital from injuries or had limb amputations or lifelong suffering from the at-grade Caltrain accidents' injuries.

BAB allow the TransBay Terminal to finish without the $2Bil gap projected currently to fund the outdated and disjointed Caltrain extension while enabling the rerouted SF Central Subway to station  there.  Replacing Caltrain with BART up the Peninsula as part of BAB, BART can expand its stations within the TransBay Terminal to handle ridership increases that result from the unified, single-ride, single-seat, single-ticket BART Around the Bay synergy.

BART is electrified, safer, quieter, more frequent, returns its surrounding area to neighborhood calmness, enables removal of the Dumbarton Rail pylons so the SoBay wetlands can restore to their natural 1910 state along with the salt flat reclamation, and most importantly, enables BART redundancy & SF access from two directions for emergencies or shutdowns (and shopping!). BART betters transit finances and allows for a 60-mile exclusive, safe Trail & bikeway between SJ to SF and interconnects with many East-West trails.  Finally, BART replacing Caltrain is fundable by the $4B from the 4 Caltrain multi-Billion$ projects, redirecting HSR funds to BART Around The Bay to close the 28 mile gap, and facilitates the sale of the Caltrain station and SF trackage for better city use so the land can be used to support the fantastic SOMa projects and growth, Warriors, AT&T Park, and even Mission Bay densification.   HSR helps none of this but bleeds Cities, unions, and so many social needs hurtfully...BART doesn't. BART is proven.  BART Around the Bay is good Innovation. Let's work on BAC and SVLG to bring BAB, replacing the outdated Caltrain Killtrain (Suicide Train?) with the magic of BAB by its 50th anniversary in 2022.

Note that in recent weeks, the TransBay Terminal or West Oakland station and other chokepoints have been intermittently not usable With BAB, BART can send its trains south via SJ and up the Peninsula to SF with minimal rider and no multi-transit, multi-transfer tumult or disruption, such as occurred on June 14 2012 and again over the past 2 weekends. 

BART Around the whole Bay (BAB) is compelling for the BART board to consider for real high-capacity transit via SF or SJ, that is, innovative public-transit. It is compelling for the opportunity to reclaim the SoBay Don Edwards Wildlife Refugefor nature and better Caltrain property use for SF growth and synergy.  Also, a complete BAB is a lasting POSITIVE legacy for all politicians, including Jerry Brown and Dan Richard and its supporters--in their lifetime!

HSR is a negative, losing legacy, like the now-failed, futuristic "SST" aka Concorde, Tupolev 144, because its cost and subsidies will drive this state into deep debt as HSR has done in Spain, Portugal, and Italy (the latter with huge 20,000 people protesting the latest extension), and not doing a darn thing for unemployment, except worsening it after construction completes. Spain = 25%!

Read more at the San Francisco Examiner: http://www.sfexaminer.com/opinion/op-eds/2012/06/innovation-key-city-s-transparency#disqus_thread#ixzz1zWkyBfFp

This is a Comment posted to SFStreetsblog.org website, 07/03/12, about the June 20, 2012 SPUR meeting to seek funds for the SF Peninsula's deadly Caltrain electrification and HSR as the sucker's bait for their support.


SPUR, Transform, and other Green groups should not consider electrifying the deadly, long-outdated, noisy, congestion-causing Caltrain, (congestion of the 100,000 cars and both of their sets of brake particulates and) air pollution, caused by million-pound behemoths that pass within inches of people at high-speed (appropriately-name "bullet" (express) trains, on these 1863 tracks is outragous Luddite behavior at worst. At best, it is simply 'perfuming the pig" or, as Henry Ford and Steve Jobs would say " If I asked my customers (read-Caltrain riders/supporters--at any cost) what they would have wanted, they would have said a faster horse".  The modern day Caltrain is an outdated, once-useful Killtrain. For suicide-likely persons, Caltrain Killtrain functionality is an efficient horizontal, fast, guillotine that causes enormous psychological trauma  for those nearby, train engineers, emergency staff and Caltrain employees who pick up the dismembered body parts. 186 dead since 1/1/1995, 26 dead since 1/1/ 2011; 10 dead in 2012 already. How many more must die?
BART has far few fatalities--of any cause and fits perfectly with other transit around the Bay.  We need BART to replace Caltrain, station by station, over the next 10 years, from its current planned end at Santa Clara up to existing Millbrae/SFO stations...a distance, or gap, of only 28 miles, yes, only 28 miles to start planning now, to finally wrap the whole Bay Area into one-seat regional high-capacity, fast, clean, quieter, much safer, grade separated, integrated rail modern transit system, enabling 3 other improvements: A 60 mile adjacent trail/bikeway (like BART ElCerrito or SoSF arrangement)with a single track Freight line,  no HSR (Stops in SJ--where Future growth will be most), Removal of the Dumbarton Rail pylons--restoring the SoBay waters to their natural state for the first time since they were built in 1910! since BART will serve both sides of  of the Bay, including for emergency or redundant needs (TransBay Tube/West Oakland) obstructions, and, sale of SF Caltrain Station properties to accelerate SOMa SF growth and free up the land, all the while reducing suicides, improving One Bay Area Backbone rail transit to events and increasing BART efficiency and farebox recovery and ridership benefits.  How could any Green rail organization, or Business, or TransForm be at all opposed to this dream come true opportunity for the SF Bay Area? Pass this one to Gillian and Randy, and BART's board. Let's discuss further. BAB-BART around the Bay, replacing Caltrain tracks is a no-brainer, just as BART replaced the tracks of other rail carriers over the years.  The Bay Area is for Innovation not Stagnation and replicating the past with new perfume or faster horses (locomotives). BART up the Peninsula is certainly fundable over the next 10-15 (of solid, well-paying construction jobs, too) through 2006 1B, 2008 1A (redirected HSR $), Regional Measure 2 (From Dumbarton Rail), and our blessed, powerful state and federal legislators, just as they did the absurd Central Subway funding gyrations.

When I discuss this with people, they immediately support BART up the Peninsula and thus automatically, BAB - Bart Around the Bay,  over Caltrain, won't your organization, too?