Tuesday, July 3, 2012
As of December 31, 2012, there were 12 Caltrain Killtrain deaths by accident or suicide, and many injuries resulting in hospitalization. Since 1/1/2011, 28 Caltrain Killtrain deaths occurred. Since 1995, 188 Caltrain Killtrain human kills.
Does anyone in Bay Area and especially Peninsula leadership roles care? How about for an alternative?
How many more must die before Caltrain is finally replaced by BART Around The Bay (BAB), up the last 28 miles in the Peninsula from BART's currently planned terminus at Santa Clara University?
According to Caltrain, Bay Area news services from Bay Area News Group, Redwood City (and other) Patches, KGO, KCBS, KLIV, and others, Thursday, June 21, 2012 around 5pm a wheelchair bound male was hit and killed by the Caltrain in San Mateo--again. I've labeled this outdated, noisy, dangerous, deficit-laden train, for more accuracy in my view, as the Peninsula "Killtrain".
According to the news sources this is the 10th death by Caltrain this year. There have been others hit and injured, but without news followup to know their current status.
This death is the 26th since Jan. 2011 and 186th since 1/1/ 1995. I don't know the Caltrain killings on this outdated, outmoded train, especially the appropriately named (Baby) Bullet Express Trains that fly through stations at 50+mph within inches of people on the train loading pads. How many more must die before this train is phased out and replaced by the ONE Bay Area modern, high-capacity, electrified, clean, quieter, One Seat, budget surplus -- BART? How long? What will it take to replace the politicians, most all part of the Democrat "Body Snatched" Bay Area monopoly of stultified, arrogant, complacent politicians who cannot see or understand the huge benefits of BART, not Caltrain, not HSR who only serve their narrow special interests, but cost us dearly.
Accidents norh of BART Millbrae are so unnecessary because Caltrain is just a waste of scarce transit money that is duplicative of the more expansive, electrified, safer BART in the same 15 mile corridor. Officials and politicians just need to start a study of the final 28 mile BART gap from Millbrae down to Santa Clara where planning is underway to extend it. Caltrain can be replaced, station by station by BART over the next few years to both save our tax dollars while connecting the whole Bay Area with the "one seat" BART solution around the Bay. BART moves more people with a budget surplus, single administration and operations, cleaner, more frequently, and quieter--and freeing up the track ROW for a 60 mile SJ-SF safe, interconnected pedestrian/bike trail adjacent to BART (and a single Freight track again)--while providing thousands of jobs for the next 10-15 years!. HSR can stop in SJ, if not stopped entirely. In addition, when BART has problems with the TransBay tube, BART can simply run longer, more frequent trains south--around the Bay to SF easily enough--when BART is around the Bay and replaces Caltrain. This would have helped last week, when BART equipment was damaged in the TOD Senior Housing construction fire adjacent to the tracks.
This would also save about $2Bil in Transbay terminal costs since BART will already go through it and no Caltrain will exist any longer.
For south of Millbrae, such as Burlingame, San Mateo, Menlo Park, Palo Alto, Mountain View, Sunnyvale, all of which have suffered fatal accidents in the past year (and before, of course: 186 dead since 1995, 26 dead since 1/1/12, and as Casandra reports, 10 this year already) extending BART to join the whole Bay Area is fundable ~$8Bil, half from the 4 "improvements" (only a "faster horse", per Jobs/Ford quotes) to Caltrain (SF Extension, Dumbarton Rail Bridge $ diversion to BART--return the SoBay/Don Edwards Wildlife Refuge to its pre-DR Bridge 1910 natural state, Electrification, Grade Crossings), and the other half from diverted HSR and other Calif bonds, 2006 1B, 2008 1A, Regional Measure 1. Recall that in the past few years, both San Mateo and Santa Clara voters have voted to tax themselves for better transit--including BART. The decades ago votes against BART are history only opponents choose to raise this non-issue. Lives and our quality of life are at stake. It is time to focus on THE Bay Area modern transit backbone, safe, clean, rail solution--and free-up/sell resources including the SOMA Caltrain station and ROW to better uses that fit SOMA's revitalization, from Warriors to Giants venues to offices (jobs), homes, and shopping (tax income).
Politicians like Jerry Hill (well over 200 dead since he has been in public office), Anna Eshoo, Jackie Speier (who built her public ethos on so many deaths around and in her career--and has a Caltrain Locomotive emblazoned with her name, appropriately enough), Rich Gordon, etc.
Omar. A BARTaroundtheBay supporter.
Source: SF Examiner, SF Mayor Ed Lee Op-Ed about Innovation (late 2012):
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 an ancillary 4-5 jobs will be created as well, and will unite the Bay Area major travel, sports 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.
BART around the Bay (BAB) will reduce or stop the Caltrain Killtrain(including suicide) deaths, that is, 188 slaughtered since 1995, 28 since 1/1/2011, 12 in 2012 on the track right-of-way.
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 (BAB) synergy
BART is electrified, safer, quieter, and more frequent than Caltrain. BAB will return its trackway's surrounding area back to neighborhood calmness.
BAB enables the removal of the Dumbarton Rail Bridge pylons, erected in 1910) so the South Bay's Don Edwards Wildlife Refuge and wetlands can be restored back to the pre-1910 bay waters condition along with the salt flat reclamation. None of us are old enough to have known that viewshed condition.
Importantly, BART Around the Bay enables BART system redundancy for its passengers to have access from two directions for emergencies or shutdowns, shopping or other purpose or convenience.
BART betters transit finances and allows for a 51-mile exclusive, safe Trail & Bikeway between SJ to SF while seamlessly interconnecting this new Peninsula BART trail with many other East-West trails adjacent to the whole BAB trailways.
Finally, BART replacing Caltrain is fundable by the current $4B+ from the 4 Caltrain multi-Billion$ projects, redirecting or blending HSR funds with BART Around The Bay (BAB) to close the 28 mile Milbrae-SCU gap, and facilitates the sale of the Caltrain station land and excess passenger rail trackage for better, adjoining use by the respective Peninsula SF-SJ cities according to their General Plans. Excess Caltrain land can be used to support the fantastic South Of Market SF projects and planned growth, Warriors, AT&T Park, and expected Mixed Use Mission Bay, Bayview densification projects.
HSR helps none of this growth to the extent that BART Around the Bay would. HSR alone may only bleed Cities, unions, and so many related social needs (as we see from Spain's extensive, but debt and ultimate unemployment impacts of its HSR).
BART doesn't hurt economic growth. BART is proven to spur short and long term growth. BART Around the Bay is good, worthwhile, cost-effective, economically generating Innovation.
Bay Area business policy groups like the Bay Area Council, Silicon Valley Leadership Group, and Joint Venture Silicon Valley, labor unions, environmental, and other influencer groups ought to get on board to bring BART Around the Bay (BAB), replace the outdated, dangerous, congesting, polluting Caltrain (Suicide, Train?) with the synergistic magic that BAB will bring, and do so a target date of BART's 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-
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 support 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?