Friday, December 13, 2013

Democrats cry again Road Fund Deficiency-- another (Calif) Democrat effort to ripoff motorists for HSR funding

Can you believe this "new" Democrat Politician, this new Senator Jim Beall and comrades, Assemblyman Rich Gordon, Senator Jerry Hill et al effort to suck even more monies fraudulently out of us motorists to fund their urban density transit, especially High Speed Rail, and deadly, motorist road congesting, deadly, outdated Caltrain, while continuing to actually leave our roads in bad shape--for another dip in motorist-funded financial troughs later?  Democrats cannot, nor will not, "solve" our road deficiencies, lest they dry up their funding sources for their wasteful, unnecessary, ever-larger, special-interest (read: campaign-contributor cronies) merry-go round.
Motorist-voters need to get back to dedicating motorist-derived monies (Taxes, Fees, Fines, charges,j surcharges, penalties) back only to the road users who generated them and therefore should benefit from them. 
Currently, motorist-derived revenues are more than ample to go around now,but Democrat Politicians like Beall, Hill, Yeager, Cortese, Liccardo, Kalra (yech!), Tissier, SFer Democrats, divert huge monies to low-efficient transit dangerous Caltrain-HSR placeholder, road diets that reduce automobility to coerce motorists "out of their cars" by restricting lanes to CAUSE congestion, reduce miles we travel, or, charge more to use the roads we paid, and are paying for, via new toll lanes, toll roads (SR152, I-15, I-405, and 800 miles of SF Bay Area one-freewauys. 
Senator Beall is being two-faced. He wants the monies to reduce our automobility (Democrat politicians hate independent people's mobility--w/o govt control) VMT. See his current bill SB628 that passed the legislature, but is being held now "pending the governors plan to implement cap and trade funding" diversion of motorist fees and gas taxes to C&T via Beall's Infratructure Financing Authority to launder the funds for, you guessed it: High Speed Rail's $7 Billion current funding deficit (to grow later) leverage from other, Private (read Public Private PartnershipToll Road-generated motorists funding).  Indeed, in April 2013, these and other Democrat Politicians who run the SF area Metropolitan Transportation Commission serving in their dual role as Bay Area Toll Authority that controls all Bay Area Highways and Bridges, voted that Bay AreaToll Revenues will go into this newly Democrat State Legislature created Infrastructure Financing Authority. 
Beall's support to eliminate State Routes 130, SR 82--to reduce automobile lanes (and formulated gas tax monies to SJ) for bus only lanes and road diets is another testimony to this now-arrogant, vindictive, in-office-too-long powerful politician "caring" chameleon (seniors and foster kid cover). This man is the once, but no longer, road advocate. Now, I suppose to stay in office, he has sold out to high-density developers and construction union supporters and motorist-human subordinating Sierra Club, who back HSR at all cost--to their benefit by sucking more money from motorist-voters by opposiing new/better roads in actuality. Beall has opposed SR152 for decades (despite family there) being converted to a divided, safe highway, toll-free. SR152 is designated to be a toll road, since at least 2006, to support HSR, literally by $billions of surplus toll monies. Same with SR85, no widening for the congestion/accident relief--except as a toll lane to screw motorist$ more--congestion priced--no limit--thanks to legislation this Dem, like all others in the Bay Area. Worse yet, no support for direct SR130 to I-5 Patterson to relieve I580/I680 congestion for Amazan, Kohl and other warehouses, Tracy et al and commuters. And, Beall also opposed BART to SJ to keep Caltrain as the 30-yr HSR placeholder, as announced essentially by Jerry Brown and Rod Diridon Sr on air interviews last year, 2012. We voted for SB83 $10 Vehicle fee and where is much of the money going? To Road Diets as part of Obama's Sustainable Livable Communities method to coerce motorists from their cars (Ray Lahood, March 2010 National Press Club speech), SmartGrowth (not), and One Bay Area.purposes, Palo Alto, Sunnyvale, San Jose, road diets etc.
No malice intended, but Beall cannot be trusted now. Free speech, The "road" monies he wants NOW are directly or via displacement, a desperate attempt to generate more motorist funds for HSR (as a result of the recent HSR court decision) by an unflinching, Now anti-highway (was for SR85 and half-aborted SR87 to SR237), HSR-backer, Democrat Politician who is union-backed (see Vote Smart) and thus a body-snatched "Stepford Wife" robot, like all the one-party Democrat monopolists who rule the Bay Area. They deny us real road and mass transportation on our highways and BART that should run continuously around the whole SFBay, circular, bidirectional, replacing the outdated, deadly, traffic-congesting Caltrain.
Politicians should pass laws that once again revert road and motorist generated monies to go only to roads...roads that serve not only automobiles, but also trucks, motorcycles, paratransit, transit buses, utility vehicles of private and public entities, emergency vehicles, etc. 
LOL! Not possible by these anti-motorist, special-interest Democrat Stepford-Wife politician robots, of course. 

Friday, December 6, 2013

Start Planning now for the 15 -20 year effort for BART Around The Bay, to save lives and provde efficient arterial Bay Area Rail Transit

More advocacy for BART Around The Bay  as posted on the Menlo Park Atherton Patch December 05 2013.
We all in the Bay Area really need to start soon planning-to-build  15 year process to replace Caltrain with BART around the whole bay, one-seat, no, or few, transfers, elevated, trench or tunnel as each city decides with BART (like Fremont did under Lake Elizabeth). BART is already electrified with frequent, safer service to Millbrae and is planned to Santa Clara University station. That leaves only 21 miles to go to finally close the B.A.R.T. goal--while significantly increasing BART capacity in time for its new cars.  Yes, expensive, but how much are all these lives worth?

Since I started the Caltrain trackway death count, by the BANG/SJMN reports, as of 1/1/2013 201 dead, about 12-16 per year. Totally predictable now, especially with the really deadly Express Trains (appropriately named Mini-Bullet Caltrains).  That means another 180-300 predictable dead in the next 15-20 years, about half likely (too easy) suicides that torment Caltrain employees, emergency workers, witnesses, families, friends, and, cause hours of delays and lousy train reliability.  BART is already built, electrified, grade-separated (by law) and frequent for the 15 miles from Millbrae to SF--and connects seamlessly to East Bay and soon South Bay cities, educational institutions, shopping centers, airports, etc, so why electrify and grade-separate that same 15 miles, when the monies ought to be used to plan and built extending BART to reduce the remaining 21 miles that have few grade-separations and are not electrified--and congest over 100,000 cars per day, bicyclists and pedestrians.

Each Caltrain track death should remind us of this opportunity to tie the Bay Area together with one two track, efficient, dual directional, high-capacity arterial rail system that reduces these horrible deaths, delays and survivor trauma while improving transit capacity and usage integration into and with our Peninsula cities' future growth plans that neither roads nor Caltrain can absorb.

The recent Cal (UCB)Bears and Stanford Cardinals game points out how much more effective and efficient BART would be if it extended around the Bay.  Travelers from around the Bay (even to Orinda, Lafayette, Pittsburg, Dublin) to the Big Game would have only to board at the station nearest their route in the Bay Area (and further out, Central Valley, Sacramento, points East and North, and in the future, South and elsewhere on the Peninsula) have an easy BART ride without the congestion on the roads, or, by the current Caltrain street intersections' congestion.
After the game, freeway accidents occurred on both I-80 Berkeley as well as US 101 Palo Alto causing even more congestion.  BART's reach around the Bay would alleviate that.

To get over Caltrain, we need to overcome/enlighten Gov Jerry Brown (JB), Sierra Club, and the rail 'foamer" (most all Democrat) politicians that Caltrain's standard track width is not sufficient to continue or morph the track into HSR track, as JB recently acknowledged was Caltrain's 30-year long goal since his previous term.  So many deaths, for so long, only for political purposes, and not to innovate to more modern, proven, safer, ecofriendly rail transit of BART which is so available to extend, if we only focus on it.  Also, the Dumbarton Caltrain Rail is no longer needed over the Don Edwards Wildlife Refuge, since BART Around The Bay (my blog, too) touches all the same cities. That $1Billion can be used for closing the 21 mile BART gap, too, rather than create another at-grade deadly, congesting Caltrain branch.  Spread the word to others about this 'no-brainer' safer solution. Thanks.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Restore lower SF Bay Estuary & Don Edwards Wildlife Refuge to its pre-1910 natural state!

This note is intended for agencies and organizations who are concerned enough to help improve further the lower San Francisco Bay's water quality and beautiful natural environment with better long-range planning, implementation, advocacy while improving Bay Area transit mobility and air quality, specifically, today, aimed toward the bienniel San Francisco Estuary Conference Members, Regional Water Quality Control Board(s), Bay Conservation District, ABAG and MTC/BATA members.

To wit:

  Just  a quick note to ask the SF Bay Estuary conference members, this meeting or next, and/or the Implementation Committee to please consider supporting a push to finish BART around the SF Bay with a component relating to elimination of the old 1910 Dumbarton Rail Bridge pylons since they will no longer be necessary when BART achieves its ultimate and original goal of circling the Bay.   BART currently is planned to go through San Jose to the Santa Clara University station. BART already exists from SF to Millbrae.  That leaves only 21 miles to close the ultimate BART Around The Bay gap that will increase BART's capacity for two-way access around the Bay, to all the major universities, airport and train stations, many shopping and TOD centers.   With BART completing the 21 miles, no further need exists for the old Dumbarton Rail bridge $1Billion reconstruction/recreation across the Don Edwards Wildlife Refuge, since BART will serve the same communities, Union City, Redwood City, Menlo Park/Palo Alto. thus the 1910 era pylons can be removed, restoring the DEWR to its pre-1910 natural state, and avoiding implementation of a diesel-electric train air and brake pollution across the refuge. .  The $1 Billion programmed to Dumbarton Rail project could be applied to Regional Measure 2's other major, proven  one-seat (no transfer) candidate electrified, grade-separated, safer project: BART is one of them. Indded, Santa Clara County's VTA has noted possible planning to extend BART up the Peninsula to the end of its jurisdiction at Palo Alto/Stanford University/Stanford Shopping Center at the Menlo Park/San Mateo County line, thus leaving only the distance from Menlo Park to Millbrae to consider for a study etc and so eliminating the need for any Dumbarton Rail regressive reconstruction over the DEWR.

I am seeking water quality agency support/sponsorship to begin the discussion to do the above at ABAG, MTC/BATA, Regional Water Quality Board and other public and private stakeholders who have a vision for this approximately 15 year project.

Currently, MTC and Peninsula cities are not looking at this, rather continuing the old 198x-1990s Dumbarton Rail notion.  Will members of the group help raise this awareness?

My interest is to plan to replace the once-successful, but now outdated, at capacity, at grade, and very deadly Caltrain (kills 12-16 each year for decades on its tracks) with BART, and not add another leg across the Bay and refuge of this outdated system--because an effective heavy rail train system exists: BART.  Caltrain, because of its express trains (same max speed as BART ~ 75 mph) run at grade through the heart of Peninsula Cities, whereas BART must be grade separated and is already electrified and parallel 15 miles from SF to Millbrae, so only 21 miles remains to upgrade the Peninsula Corridor rail and truly relieve Peninsula highway traffic, as BART has done in its existing corridors.  I am will aware of many obstacles and East Bay needs, but Santa Clara and San Mateo county residents have both approved, and are paying taxes for BART, but key cities in the 21 mile gap have no direct access now. Imagine the future, at least with respect to replacing the planned Dumbarton Rail reconstruction with a more efficient BART Around the Bay that will serve more riders and protect the lower Bay, restore it to it natural state, not seen since only 15 years or so, if we can get public agencies to start focusing on this Bay Estuary improvement opportunity.  Note that Dumbarton Rail (DR) project is stand alone, though planned to be under the current Caltrain administration.  My suggestion here is to sever DR from Caltrain by redirecting resources to bring BART closer to closing the 21 mile gap, while providing more frequent, farther reach, and better service to entice transit mobility.

Omar Chatty

Friday, October 18, 2013

Posted on the Palo Alto Patch, "Speak Out" board, Friday, 10-18-13:

on Saturday 10/19/13 Caltrain will hold a nice 150 yr celebration of its trackway at the Merrill St station area from 9:00am to 3:00pm, per the MP Almanac/PA Weekly.  Caltrain has served its purpose well from inception in the very rural, pre automobile, pre-light bulb, pre-telephone, pre-paved road era, but now the Peninsula is burgeoning with growth, especially high density housing (Transit Oriented Development) such as the apartments near where the latest Caltrain street-level fatality occurred, the 13th this year, 42nd since 1/1/2011, 201st since 1/1/95...5 of those died in Palo Alto in the last year, and this is the 4th in Menlo Park in the last 2 years.  The Caltrain carnage must stop. Who's child will be next? The MP and Palo Alto city councils and state legislators (Gordon, Hill) and federal rep's (Eshoo, Speier) have done nothing.  Caltrain has tried to reduce fatalitites, but more growth will induce more deaths, suicide or accident. Caltrain is simply out of date. Electrification will not help. Grade crossings have not stopped fatalities at other corridor sites. I have urged the local MP, PA, MV, Sunnyvale city councils to please start investigating bringing BART south (after the strike ends!) because BART must be elevated or below street level at intersections (as each city determines the design with BART). BART has fewer suicides, is safter, cleaner, quieter, electrified, and has a greater reach around the bay to reduce inbound auto commute congestion--but will save lives.  No effort has been made by the (sorry to say) all-Democrat elected officials because, as Jerry Brown (and Rod Diridon Sr tax-funded rail and HSR advocate) admitted in media last year, that they have been "working to bring High Speed Rail to California for 30 years". This is exactly coincident to when the passenger train up the Peninsula was taken over from SP by California then the Caltrain Board. The Gordon/Eshoo/Speier/Hill "Blended Solution" for two -tracks (which is very dangerous for 4 train types to all operate on together won't be allowed ultimately, only 4-tracks are safe). So, although this ought not be political, the fact is that Caltrain is blocking BART discussions to come down the Peninsula to greatly reduce these deaths, because HSR and Caltrain can share the same (very dangerous) track width. BART's are wider and only for passenger travel.  That is the background.  The key here is that 12-16 people are killed by Caltrain, especially the 75mph Express Mini-bullet (tragically named) trains. More trains will mean more deaths on this outdated system. It will take 15-20 (160-240 more deaths) years to bring BART down the last 21 miles from Millbrae, past Hillsdale, to Stanford then to BART's planned station at Santa Clara University.  So far, Caltrain, as the HSR placeholder in the Peninsula, has superceded my pleading to PA and MP and other councils, all Democrat controlled, do to this Democrat and Sierra Club backing of Caltrain HSR. Human, child, stray pets, of so many deaths simply don't rate against the Dermocrat HSR agenda.  Will you, your child, or someone you know, be next to die on these long-since outdated urban Caltrain tracks. Please attend Saturday's event (politiely) to urge a study to close the gap to bring far safer, cleaner, non-traffic congesting BART down the Peninsula the rest of the way to make BART Around The Bay loop a safe and better reality for us. Whose child will be next? We have to put a stop to this carnage/slaughter/dismemberment of people who happen to be on the tracks when monster, million-pound, "unstoppable", inflexible Catrains roar through at street-level, endangering anyone nearby. 

Monday, October 14, 2013

The (Monday, 10/14/13 latest Caltrain death/slaughter/dismemberment on its tracks of the 16 year old Menlo Park boy north of the Menlo Park Encinal station is the 25th since 1/1/2012, the 13th this year, and 201th since 1/1/1995 which is when I started my Caltrain death count. 

In a tragic irony, on Saturday, 10/19/2013, Caltrain and the Peninsula's nearly all elected Democrat public officials and other representatives will celebrate Caltrain's 150th year at Menlo Park's 1100 Merrill Street Shelter from 9:00am to 3:00pm. Indeed, what more does this irony demonstrate that this Caltrain is now dangerously out of place.  The Peninsula is no longer the very rural area of 1863, nor the suburbia of the 20th century, but now an increasingly urban-densifying region of annual multi-million square foot vertical growth (SmartGrowth, Sustainable Communities, Agenda 21-One Bay Area Plan) increasingly congested area where a surface-level train has become simply too dangerous, congesting, polluting, noisy, and scary to operate in our midst at street-level.These increasing number of Caltrain deaths are inevitable!  Deaths of children, temporarily despondent adults, accidental track crossings, and even stray pets and wildlife that happen on the tracks at the wrong moment.

 A few years ago, a SJMercury News reporter surveyed US train accidents, and, as I recall Caltrain was near the top in number.  With the increasing density of Transit Oriented Developments (TOD) along the corridor, such as the apartments near the latest fatality (no sure if the dead boy lived there or not), deaths will certainly continue, and likely increase.  Will you, someone you love or care about, be the next victim?

So many have died, yet despite my pleas to Palo Alto, Menlo Park, and other city councils in the Caltrain corridor to please work to initiate a study to bring grade-separated, electrified, non-congesting BART down the last 21 miles of the Peninsula to join its future planned station at Santa Clara University.  Imagine the safer regional connectivity--without transfers, to shopping centers, SF, SJ, sports stadiums, our major Bay Area universities and train and air travel destinations...safer!

Caltrain is outdated and ought to be replaced with the far safer, greater reach around the Bay, more frequent service that causes zero parallel and cross traffic congestion (read GHG), is already electrified and must be grade separated by law.  What will it take for the monolithic, Democrat monopoly of elected horizontal and vertical officials from city council level, county, region, state and federal government offices to finally start to plan to replace Caltrain with BART?!!  Every year, 12-20 people die on its tracks, about 40-50% may be suicides, but far fewer die on BART's tracks despite its larger reach. How many more must die before one of these 'caring' Democrats do something to start to plan to extend and fund the last 21 miles of BART to its current planned terminus in Santa Clara at SCU. BART around the Bay (my advocacy blogsite name, too) to over the next 15 years or so (another 160 or so will die on Caltrain tracks during this period, or more if it takes longer to extend BART south from Millbrae). Indeed, all counties are now paying taxes for BART. It is time to close the Bay Area BART gap.

Question to our SF Bay Area all-Democrat politicians:  How many more must die before you act to stop this massacre by this  outdated, dangerous, congesting, polluting, out-of-place train in the midst of our ever-increasing urbanity????  Where is Senator Jerry Hill, or the mayors of Menlo Park, San Bruno, Palo Alto, where most deaths have occurred recently, or Assemblymen Kevin Mullin or Richard Gordon, or Congresspersons Eshoo or Speier (for whom Caltrain locomotive #925 has her name emblazoned on it) to terminate this train track carnage, improvetranist and road mobility, one-seat transit rail reach around the Bay (two way) to educational, shopping, airport and rail destinations, while reducing pollution, congestion, noise, increase frequency and hours of service, and, save precious transit $$ long term?  Where are these caring Democrats?  Why does Jerry Hill make such a grandstand about the 8 who died in the San Bruno pipeline blast, the 5 who died in the horrific limousine fire, but yet refuses to do anything to move to better safer rail transport on BART in the Peninsula/ Why?  Simply because, as a good Democrat who depends on typical Democrat funding and support (high-density developers, labor unions, and the Sierra Club) all of whom support HSR, he must support the Democrat "Caltrain/HSR" cause over the lives of his constituents. Tragic, just tragic and sad.

Please, how many more must die by Caltrain before this train is removed from our danger, at the earliest, in 15 - 20 years?

Friday, September 27, 2013

Please, please, please have the BART Long Term Metro Study (Bay Area Rapid Transit -- Hello!)  scope include studying the cost/benefit and huge capacity increase that would come if BART closes the 21 mile Peninsula gap between Millbrae and the future terminus at Santa Clara/University.  
Caltrain is at capacity and has proven 55,000 riders per day, with more Peninsula Corridor density in planning Only BART can address such high-density Smart Growth/Sustainable Communities Strategy vertical growth sprawl.
A key option to keep costs down, benefits up,  is to replace the dangerous, deadly (11 dead this year, 23 since last year's start, and 199 since 1/1/1995) Peninsula Caltrain at-grade "kill train." BART has all the features of proposed Caltrain improvements, with electrified, grade-separated, savings by having only one Bay Area heavy rail administration, reduced Caltrain SF SoMa footprint and TBT docks for BART, no longer Caltrain, and, by being around the Bay (as per Perata's suggestion, 09-26-13), gain more transit efficiency for taxpayers and riders.

Enabled two-way BART Around the Bay greatly improves BART capacity and alternative routing of BART cars for incident recovery/avoidance.   BART can share most Peninsula rail corridor ROW with HSR/Freight trains separate tracks (of course), with some, but limited need for more ROW acquisition/eminent domain, or, as part of the Peninsula Grand Blvd (El Camino Real) project corridor study, above or below ground level.

The Long Term BART Metro Study must consider the full loop of BART Around The Bay to save tax dollars in the long-term, increase TOD use, reduce congestion (Caltrain delays 100,000 cars each day--at least), reduce GHG and brake particulates, and increase pedestrian, cyclist and cross-traffic safety.  The SF Bay Area needs one-seat heavy rail 24-hr high capacity, modern, electrified, grade-separated, safe rail, like many major US and EU cities.  That means BART. After all, now even Santa Clara and San Mateo County residents are paying sales taxes for BART--but those in the 21 mile gap from Millbrae and Santa Clara are not getting their moneys worth!

Plan to Build BART Around The Bay, Now!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Stanford Dance and community Arts leader, Susan Cashion, whose death at Palo Alto, California's Charleston Rd crossing is the third death by Caltrain this year at theCharleston Rd crossing.  Whether by all-to-easy suicide for those, hopefully temporarily depressed, or by accident, is yet another sorrowful death in the too-long history of the surface level, 1863 trackage that is outmoded and outdated, but serves, sorry to say, as the 30 year placeholder for High Speed Rail up the Peninsula. Both Gov Jerry Brown and local politician, long-time HSR train leader, Rod Diridon Sr, admitted on the air, KCBS "Meet the Press" and KBAY Sunday 6:00am show that they have been working to bring High Speed Rail "for 30 years"  Despite my pleas over the past two years to Palo Alto, Menlo, and Mountain View city councils, Caltrain and Santa Clara County VTA and other politicians and groups to beg, plead, urge these govt orgs to at least start the 15 year or so process to bring the far safer BART (yes, still some suicides, but far fewer), electrified and grade-separated, non-congesting, non-polluting, high-capacity, efficient trains, down the last 28 miles from Millbrae, through Burlingame, San Mateo (Bay Meadows Devel), Hillsdale Shopping Ctr, Stanford+ Palo Alto etc to join with BART's planned station in SCU. This final Bay Area loop closure will save lives and tie all these Bay Area universities, shooping districts, sports venues and our communities together far safer.  Yet, not one of the Democrat-controlled bodies or Democrat members in the Democrat monopoly of elected officials has dared to look to bring BART down (despite the thousands of jobs and access it will bring) and virtually eliminate such sad events and losses to the community as Susan's and so many others, from a Pay Pal executive, to a County employee caught on the tracks between cars, to even Democrat-activist visitors from Indiana, unfamiliar with the deadly Caltrain tracks, who panicked during the 30 seconds it took for the train to hit and kill her from when the first gate movement and flashing lights started.  The truly sad reason for keeping this train, and blocking BART coming down is because every Democrat, backed by the labor unions and misguided Sierra Club (offshoot "Friends of Caltrain") with its now-big business/high Density developer and High Density Builder focus, want to use the same-width Caltrain tracks (BART's are different) irrespective of the financial, community, or killings (both human and astray animals on its tracks) horrible impacts.

Politics and Democrat campaign support payoffs are more important than the safety of those who cross the tracks to local politicians, San Jose and Peninsula city councils, and state (Gordon, Hill--worst of the worst!), Beall, Yee, Simitian, etc) and federal legislators (Speier, Eshoo, Honda, Lofgren). Susan's death is the 9th this year 2013, the 21st since 1/1/2012, 197th since 1995, yet no one cares enough to overcome this stupidity with the better, safer BART alternative to plug into for whoe intra-regional transit benefit. Please help stop these tragedies by writing your local legislators, newspaper letters and Online Comments and Patch. I with others plan to be at the next regular Palo Alto City Council Public Comment on Monday, 9/9/13, 7:00pm to ask, plead, again (probably to no avail without lots of help from local residents) to stop this tragic, politically-inspired, payoff that keeps Caltrain for future HSR on its deadly tracks. .

My sympathies for her loved ones and those that knew and benefited from Susan's wonderful life.  Perhaps this tragedy will be a catalyst for change from this deadly 75mph Caltrain that races through our streets and neighborhoods at ground level. In the 15 years or so of aggressive planning and fund search, another 160 persons, at least, can be anticipated to die on the Caltrain Killtrain tracks, at the current years' death rates by accidents (60%) and suicides (40%).  So much suffering, only for political cause, Democrats HSR desire. Tragic, just tragic insensitivity.  How many more must die?

I will post this on my BARTAroundThe Bay blogspot. Omar

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

More on why BART must replace Caltrain...August 29, 2013 Sixth Palo Alto death in 1 year. Ms Cashion, Charleston

The Caltrain (Killtrain) / HSR monies that were approved this week by Governor Jerry Brown in Senate Bill 557 authored by the S.F. Peninsula's Supreme Hypocrite State Senator Jerry Hill's, should instead have gone to extend BART through Burlingame and into north San Mateo, as another step to the new Bay Meadows housing and other Corridor TODs, the expanding Bohanan Hillsdale Shopping Center, and Stanford University/Palo Alto enroute to its complete S.F. Bay Area loop closure at the future Santa Clara University (SCU) station.
The Headline-a-week, Grandstander-Par Excellance Jerry Hill (and to a lesser degree, other Caltrain/HSR union labor supported Democrats) are quick to submit legislation to prevent future limousine (5 dead) deaths and San Bruno (8 dead) deaths, and, even expresses concern for the suicides of 18 San Quentin Death Row murderer's. Yet, Hill has been not only served on, but also presided over, as Chair, the Caltrain killer train board of directors for years.  Hill, Congresswoman Speier (a Congresswoman who has built her whole public career on sympathies that she leverages at election time from the deaths around her: her former Congressman boss, Leo Ryan in Jonestown, her first husband, a surgeon killed on El Camino by an uninsured motorist, gun deaths legislation, and, with incredible chutzpah, in the latest election year, 2012, Speier announced that she had her fetus, a baby-to-be, killed in her womb by abortion that she, a busy Congresswoman, had to have performed "for her health."
Caltrain locomotive #925 is emblazoned with her name for her years-long support--and callous disregard for the human lives Caltrain has taken over the years. 
Tragic all the way around. 

Indeed, the Democrat/union monopolistic lock on SF Bay Area politics, Hill, Speier, Mullin, Gordon, Eshoo, Beall,  Tisser, etc. fight for the killer Caltrain, now a formal placeholder for HSR and Corridor high-density and higher property taxes, while over 200 people have been killed by this train over most of these politicians' political career's that started in the early 1990's. The Democrats consistent callous disregard for human life in this Caltrain+HSR corridor, defines political hypocrisy at its worst, creating the HSR Altar of Death on its standard gauge tracks.  BART tracks have a different width than Caltrain/HSR, thus, BART is safer because of the unique BART Bay Area closed circuit high-capacity, grade-separated, electrified, intra-regional trackage.  
The Senate Bill 557 $600M are only for Caltrain EU-like electrification, not grade separations, thus 100,000 motorists and even more people (passengers, bicyclists, and pedestrians) continue to be delayed each day as each of the many Caltrains pass at-grade intersections, adding thousands of hours delay and adding tons of Caltrain congestion-generated pollutants into the atmosphere that we breath.  

We can be sure that Caltrain cost overruns will occur as with most train capital projects. In the future, the planned San Jose Downtown "Grand Central" Station is already planned for BART, like the SF TBT, thus saving more millions by removing the need for separate station platform and amenities for the outdated surface-level Caltrain commuter train killer. The $600M and more, should be spent to extend BART south into and past Burlingame into north San Mateo, and, from the south into downtown San Jose enroute to the joint terminus SCU station.  

After all, both San Mateo and Santa Clara County have sales taxes, the latter more than one tax, to fund BART now!
Unlike Pittsburgh or Philadelphia or New Jersey or most of Southern California, Caltrain commuter-type surface trains don't belong here any longer. Because BART around the Bay is a very realistic, safer, grade-separated, congestion-free, single-seat (fewer transfers) and more feature-rich alternative that serves many SF Bay Area residents already, completing it as the Bay Area backbone, heavy rail, high capacity closed loop railway passenger system requires only a relatively short distance remaining to be built.

With the known planning of millions of more square footage and higher density development near and adjacent to the Peninsula (now-Caltrain) Corridor each year, only BART's two-way Bay Area loop operation can meet the upcoming demand. The Peninsula's US 101 is simply too congested. US101 has reached width capacity in most communities. Major right-of way (ROW) expansion to handle this urban (Smart Growth/Sustainable Living Strategy/Agenda 21/OBAP) densification into local communities by eminent domain will  likely result in significant disruption and protest.   
History clearly demonstrates that more human (and animal) deaths will occur proportionally over time on Caltrain tracks rather than BART, if human deaths are a matter of concern at all to Caltrain+HSR bigot-advocates, such as the human-subordinating, high density development organizations like the Sierra Club, TransForm, SPUR, etc. (despite their misguided, well-intentioned efforts).

In discussing the Peninsula Corridor with a retired Caltrain engineer, many domestic and wildlife animals are slaughtered on these tracks by Caltrains as well. He estimates that the Caltrains that he has operated over the years have run over an estimated 60 dogs, other animals, and carillon-eating wildlife during his career when they, too, could not get out of the way of his fast moving surface-level Caltrain. Where are the animal activists?

Too, note that BART Around The Bay (BAB) eliminates the need to rebuild the Dumbarton Rail bridge and, better yet, enable the removal of the old, decaying former rail bridge piers that have stood since 1910 in the midst of the South Bay's Don Edwards Wildlife Refuge. Then, the Refuge can be fully restored back to its pre-1910 natural purity since BAB will serve the same communities this additional surface-level Dumbarton Caltrain Rail system would have served, but with no human or animal deaths nor new congestion along the planned route from the East Bay to Redwood City. 
So, how much are human lives worth, particularly those by accident or those suffering a temporary depression that would not have resulted in suicide had the Killtrain been more difficult to access where Caltrain crosses at grade level at 50-75 mph, such as Charleston, Menlo Park, Sunnyvale, Burlingame, San Mateo streets?

Note that many deaths, suicide and accidents don't occur at intersections, but easy-to-access, street-level, walk-on, at-grade Caltrain tracks.  
Recall, that despite "the way we've already done it", i.e. Caltrain, in this supposedly Innovative Bay Area, BART would be one-seat around the Bay as Transit Mobility must accomplish to compete with the two automobile one-seat freeway loops that exist around the Bay.
I believe that the investment in BART while seemingly more expensive short-term, has huge savings and benefits long-term (all the above, plus one set of administration, equipment, and maintenance requirements), single-design capital costs, especially if the Caltrans ROW can be used. The ROW is already govt-owned. human life takings, reduced cars on the roads, reduced pollution, fewer GHG, better air quality, and better SF Bay Area Transit Mobility to handle growth with BART facilities' already huge SF Bay Area reach and proven ridership that serves so many Bay Area constituencies noted above. 

Friday, August 30, 2013

Why is BART inherently better than an electrified and grade-separated Caltrain?

The above question was made In a Reply to my SF KCBS online Comment (08-29-13) about the latest female pedestrian death-by-Caltrain at Charleston Rd in Palo Alto, Ca, the third this year here, by KCBS reader, Matt Laroche  

My Reply to Matt about why BART Around the Bay makes more sense is, as follows:

-One seat (no or few transfers) to get to most Bay Area near-track venues. 
-More difficult for suicide prone/depressed people to access tracks, since more of BART tracks are above or below ground level. Caltrain grade crossings are generally short and the track is easier to access, e.g. fewer suicides per rider/per station, per track mileage,etc
-Frees up precious SF land that a no-Caltrain (sob, sob for Caltrain aficionados) solution affords by consolidating upper Peninsula trackage onto BART for SF Mayor Lee's desired construction in high-value SoMa area.
--Eliminates over $2Billion in scarce (currently unfunded) transit $ by no longer require tunnel to TransBay Terminal(TBT), nor one way docks or turnarounds that Peninsula-only Caltrain requires....BART is already planned in the TBT with turnarounds...and can use the now-planned Caltrain docks/stations for the increased volume--with standard BART equipment. 
--Avoids the costs of a whole duplicate unique, boutique, Caltrain Peninsula train system, with its unique stations, capital needs, maintenance equipment, parts, and specially trained workers and administrative staff (admin staff eliminated!), by standardizing around BART as a holistic intra-regional core mass transit rail system, much as freeways serve cars in the road system.  
--The approximate $8 Billion to close the last 28 mile gap, based on the current cost to extend BART into SJ, including intracity higher cost elements.  Federal funds for rail gap closures are far easier to attain than new heavy rail starts. 
--Safer, not just for suicides, but when/if HSR comes up, because BART requires a different track width, its closed circuit, closed loop single track width prohibits sharing track with the statutory nightly freight trains, the 2 speeds of Caltrain Local and Express (75mph), and the higher speed HSR, i.e., three train operations and entities running 4 different train sets on the same train tracks, especially the 2-track only sections is a prescription for real disaster.  BART likely heavy passenger utilization is thus not in that deadly mix, per the recent HSR and Express train accidents that have occurred in Europe and China and other Asia countries, despite rail safety equipment (positive train control (PCT)) and procedures.   
Give it some quiet-time thought for a while. Think about BART capability as a future backbone rail bay area transit efficiency project politicians need to start to study asap given the 15 year effort to make this one-seat transit solution to connect so many bay area venues while automatically adding huge two-way bay area circular capacity to the one, safe regional rail system that all counties are now paying taxes to support, indeed, both trains. 
-Only BART's intra-regional single-seat transit mobility offering, covering the South Bay and Peninsula where Caltrain exclusively runs now, will make a very real difference in reducing and mitigating expected SF Bay Area automobile, truck, motorcycle, etc congestion on our roads -- make freeway and intercity roads that much safer.  Recall that famed Pulitzer Prized New York author, commentator, lecturer was killed in a car accident en route from Stanford University back to UC Berkeley, in part, I am convinced, because no efficient, single seat rail transit system capability existed, as exists in New York, Boston, Washington, and other cities around the world. The SF Bay Area deserves an effective and efficient, interconnected, single inter-regional, grade-separated, non-congestion-causing, safer, electrified (already is!!!!) backbone heavy rail system as BART has demonstrated works for us already.  
-BART will be getting new cars by the time Caltrain can be replaced for use on a future SJ to SF trackage. 
-BART has many miles of parallel pedestrian and bicycle trails.  With BART right-of-way, a safe, non-street 60 mile bikeway and trail can be built adjacent to it to connect to SF and SJ's expanding bike routes as well as with many intersecting trails that reach to the Bay, the Ocean, and City trails. Caltrain cannot do that because it is only on the Peninsula, but also these heavy trains, including future electric Caltrains (if that wasteful spending continues) raise too much dirt and dust onto any adjacent trail--as each Caltrain passes (one can see this today), unlike BART, for example, South San Francisco or El Cerrito's BART/Bicycle/Pedestrian proven configuration. Thus, BART supports Sustainable Living and Smart Growth Walkable Communities strategy (and access this funding). 

[end, for now]

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Today's death at Caltrain Palo Alto, California's Charleston Road Caltrain Commuter train tracks of an elderly pedestrian has some people commenting on the web that the victims are "stupid".  This is callous.  It clearly indicates that such comment authors have little personal experience nor feelings about the causes and impacts of such deaths by (Democrat monopoly) government-run and subsidized outdated surface trainsets in our midst. I ask the writers to please not be so insensitive, if they can help it.

I go to some of these Caltrain death scenes afterwards to politely "picket" to raise awareness of the need to replace this inherently dangerous, unhealthy, (GHG and brake particulate) and 100k cars of daily cross-traffic polluting, noise-making, congesting, HSR placeholder trains on the 1863 vintage street-level trackway--when the Peninsula was absolutely rural.  Relatives and friends of Caltrain's deceased victims--and some related to at-risk potential victims come up to me to express the reality of this deadly, outdated trains on them.  Caltrain deaths are not a matter of being "stupid". Far more.  

Caltrain just spent another of our $1M to re-time signals at this and other intersections "for safety". Grossly Insensitive Peninsula Democrat elected officials, many of who served on the Caltrain governing board during their careers, simply cannot bring themselves to review this dangerous train in our midst that has killed so many and will continue to until it is replaced. The worse of the worst is the hypocrite, San Bruno PG&E Blast Headline-a-week GrandStander Par Excellence, State Senator Jerry Hill, who refuses to do anything, but authorize more $$ to perpetuate this Caltrain killer train monster rather than move to consider safer BART down the Peninsula.  This week Hypocrite Hill's bill to solidify electrification of Caltrain's/HSR-funded ($600Million+) outdatedness went to Gov Jerry Brown, a rail zealot at any cost. This is like "perfuming the pig" or developing a new horse-buttock attachment for a horse drawn buggy to catch its fecal outflow to make streets cleaner and "safer".  The latest $1M "safety" improvement did is lengthen cross traffic and parallel road (Alma) idle wait times and GHG exhaust from delayed vehicles--but nothing to stop this carnage. Indeed, this is the third death here at Charleston in the past year, the 9th this year on the Caltrain trackage, and the 197th since 1995 when my count started.  
Not one of the Democrat politicians who "care" so much has ever lifted even a pinky to investigate bringing safer BART down the Peninsula to the current planned, and safer, terminus at Santa Clara University, despite the sales taxes we pay now for BART.  

Note: BART has suicides, but far fewer and far far fewer deadly accidents than this incredibly dangerous 75mph Caltrain "mini-bullet train" that kills so many on its trackage so fast, in addition to the regular, slower "local" Caltrain runs. BART's top speed is about the same as Caltrain's Express trains--but separated from people! 

It is time now to start planning to replace Caltrain with BART, the last 28 miles from Millbrae south to SCU/SJ in this innovative "Silicon Valley" and stop these stopgap ineffective "safety" improvements. Caltrain has to go away and replace it with the (not perfect, but better) BART Around the Bay (my blog name, too), electric, street-separated, quieter, safer, and mutually beneficial "one-seat" (no transfer) high capacity rail solution around our Bay--true, intraregional mass transit from/to the Peninsula, East Bay, South Bay (soon) and all those sports, education, business/downtowns, shopping centers et al --without a car. Democrat voters have the upper hand to elect responsible new politicians who truly care about our safety, transit capacity effectiveness and modernization to serve us and our growth. 

Friday, June 14, 2013

Considerations for Future BART...BART Around The Bay.

Recall that BART was originally planned and legislated to be around the Bay.

The following Comment was submitted to the Future BART page on Friday, 06-14-13:

BART's Future Plans to consider the long-range ultimate, back to the future, BART Around The Bay as originally envisioned must be resurrected due to the humongous benefit this Complete BART solution provides for bay area transit users and BART's cost-effective efficiency.

Accomplish this wise BART expansion at relatively low cost by replacing Caltrain in the Peninsula Corridor, 15 miles of which from Millbrae to SF has not even upgraded Caltrain to the standard and basic BART grade-separation, electrification, and frequency configuration that BART has.

Investing in Caltrain in the Peninsula, and its Dumbarton Rail resurrection in the Don Edwards Wildlife Refuge as yet another intra-regional rail line is a huge WASTE of taxpayer transit subsidy dollars, dollars that can be better used to optimize BART around the whole Bay.
Note: HSR can fund its own needs in or near the Caltrain corridor just as BART can up the Peninsula.

That is, either directly in the Peninsula Corridor or adjacent to it, like the Millbrae, new San Bruno segment.  Building three heavy rail systems in the Peninsula is a waste of precious transit dollars on the most expensive type of transit system to both build and operate.  Really, only one heavy rail system is needed north of San Jose --that is, BART.  HSR can stop at SJ--where Plan Bay Area documents that future growth will occur.
Please see my other blog posts here in: BART AROUND THE BAY for more detail of the advantages of studying closing the last 28 mile BART gap from Millbrae to the planned SJ/Santa Clara terminus, especially rather than more diluting rail investment in the suboptimal Caltrain.

BART efficiency and redundancy in a Complete BART one-seat two-way travel around the bay that could send trains in the opposite direction to bypass one track or tube problem area failure elsewhere,  or a future Bay Bridge failure (earthquake), provides a united single backbone arterial high capacity rail system, BART, satisfies the essential transit riders' need for one-seat reliability, cost efficiency, and emergency capabilities--rather than throwing another $5 Billion+ into the wasteful, deadly, disjointed, Caltrain on the Peninsula. This $5 Billion spending of precious transit dollars for Caltrain would wastefully duplicate and delay BART service and investments already, but would be better spent on this original and ever more pressing need for Complete BART around the SF Bay.

Note, too, that Santa Clara County and San Mateo have both voted to sales tax themselves specifically for BART purposes. Santa Clara County residents are paying .375% in two ballot measures that passed, the latest in 2008 by about 67% approval in Palo Alto and Mountain View despite neither community being on a Future BART plan, BART Around The Bay -- yet!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

CA HSR Contract issued to TPZP, with serious issues. Better to spend taxes and jobs on key CA road alternatives

This comment was posted to the Orange County Register website report of today's award of the first major contract for CA HSR in the Central Valley to Tutor-Perini-Zachary-Parsons consortium for the stretch from Madera to Bakersfield, CA.

Typical HSR issues in that so many if not most WW HSR projects involve bribery or other corruption. Google HSR and Bribes and Corruption.  Seems like nothing new with Calif's HSR, from the pre-selection of SR152 route alignment, secret link with making it (and other CA"Trade corridors" routes) into Toll roads to help fund HSR operating cost (ala Paris-Lyon France HSR). A review of the now-ruled unconstitutional and illegal Nov 2008 Ballot Measure 1A( 3rd Appellate Court Case C060441, 1/28/11) campaign contributors is the who's who of rail project beneficiaries, including member companies of the TPZP consortium and other CA HSRA contracts.. A 2002 SJ Mercury News discusses Rod Diridon Sr's HSR shenanigans while on the Board (now USHSRAssoc Chair and Tax-gigolo funded "Mineta Transportation Institute Exec Director platform).  All the ballot numbers were wrong/fraudulent.  Even if this is built, the ballot "guarantees" nor intra-venously union-funded Democrats (and a few Repubs--Swearingen) in charge of, or pushing, this blue sky project have any civil or criminal penalty risk at all. Snake Oil at the expense of the taxpayer and govt. integrity.  A trip from SF to LA may take 6 hours or whatever, and no one goes to jail. The project is built on fraud.   Nevertheless, a recent SF Examiner article revealed the long history of Tutor-Perini cost overruns on many of their projects, with Mr Tutor making the same claims for "quality.  Overruns will happen here as well--with no repercussions, just as Parsons Brinkerhoff (a 2008 campaign contributor, like Parsons et al) already got a contract $96 million addition in May 2013.   What a waste of tax monies and union labor when they could be so much better for regional transit and highway improvements in:
Southern California  (Metrolink, Coaster, Red Line, I-5, SRs 14, 18, 58, 74, 76, 79, 90,138, US395),
Northern California (BART around the Bay, SR152-no tolls, SRs 20, 36, 37 (urgent!), 65, 84, 102, 130,  148, 238 etc) and
Central Valley (I-5 to 6 or 8 lanes from SR99-South to SR99-North or SR138 Grapevine, SRs 43, 46, 48, 58  65(Urgent) (from SR99 to Porterville), 140, 148, 65 (Roseville), 102, I-80,  etc).

Until the Calif Republican Party can update its brand and platform to serve the public, especially the motoring public/voters, including opposing any more toll roads/lanes (to fund HSR, especially), buying out all existing Toll Roads for all to use, then the CA Democrats can and will get away with all this!  Mr. Tweed, Democrat, might have been quite pleased with CA HSR.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Today's BART TransBay Tube delays cries out to restart planning to bring BART Around The Bay...up the Peninsula ... the last 28 miles from coming future end at Santa Clara University to current Millbrae station.  Imagine the HUGE benefits of the "one-seat" (no transfers) BART to any major Bay Area venue, employment centers. BART is safer, more frequent, no cross-traffic congestion, electrified already (it is Stupid to electrify 15 miles of the deadly Caltrain parallel to BART's existing track north of Millbrae into The City and TBTerminal. Save $$$, too and eliminate Dumbarton Rail & its supports in the Don Edwards Wildlife Refuge (more on my BARTAROUNDTHEBAY blogspot.).  This a.m.'s TBTube problems would have been mitigated by BART travel south (Richmond->Fremont->future SJ/SC-then up the last 28 miles to Millbrae) for the bidirectional, redundant BART flow capability. One intra-regional arterial rail system that balances backbone heavy transit needs with green electric BART.

Today's issues with the BART Tube accident, which required 300 feet+ of BART third rail repair, as well as with other BART maintenance and incident recovery needs provide another set of key reasons for the urgency of having BART Around The Bay.
This reason is in addition to greatly reducing the 1 to 1.5 consistent and predictable Caltrain track deaths by accidents and easy suicides each month that severely delay Peninsula commuters that my blog has addressed, but Bay Area Democrats could not care less.  Democrat Bay Area monopoly and its dogma has so far prevented replacing Caltrain with the logical inter-regional reach and efficiencies and environmental benefits of One Bay Area BART!

Rail funding is easier to obtain to close a major regional rail gap (over time), than a New Start or Rail Extension.  BART is fundable at the current cost per mile, of about $200M/per mile through suburban environs, and, depending on each city agreement with BART, up to $400M per mile through the most dense urban downtown passages (Burlingame, San Mateo, Menlo Park, and possibly Palo Alto (to save the Palo Alto tree University-Alma area).  

Certainly if the funds allocated to the HSR waste and fraudulent project can be redirected from the outdated Caltrain Killtrain, then the monies can certainly provide real, urban, backbone intraregional rail mass transit redundancy for not only the current 500,000+ daily riders on BART, but the more than 50,000 Caltrain riders induced by the unified BART gap closure around the Bay, especially with new BART cars et al.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Another Caltrain Death 5-15-13

Wedensday, May 15, 2013, yet another death on Caltrain's Peninsula tracks, the second in one month, the eighth this year, 36 since 1/1/2011, and 196th since I started my count, courtesy of excellent reporting by the Bay Area News Group's San Jose Mercury News and Peninsula Daily News.

This death, in San Bruno, was a totally unnecessary accident on the outdated, Express Caltrain's dangerous street-level tracks, that run parallel to BART tracks are far superior in efficiency, Bay Area reach, safety, run more frequently at similar top speed (up to 79 mph) and are already grade-separated, and electrified with Positive Train Control enhancements--all of which Bay Area Democrats and their Spend, Spend, Spend union puppeteers want to spend tax monies on Caltrain trackage to duplicate--even though BART already covers the first 15 miles from San Francisco to Millbrae!  What is wrong with this picture?!

BART only needs to extend 28 miles south from Millbrae to Santa Clara University while San Jose/Santa Clara and Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority ("VTA") continue their work to reach Santa Clara University from the South and East Bay.  

I suppose San Francisco Bay Area Politicians that comprise an inflexible, arrogant, un-innovative, Democrat monopoly of majority elected public officials that reach from almost all city councils, county bodies, then up through regional decision-making bodies, including all state and federal legislative officials are simply unable to break away from their special-intere$t, campaign funders of high-density developers, contractors, consultants and the human-subordinating Sierra Club, masking itself locally as self-proclaimed "Friends of Caltrain" human life-taking advocates.

Sadly for those who may either take their own life in a moment of despondency, mental illness, or simply by accident of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, Caltrain is now primarily and simply the "Blended Solution" placeholder for High Speed Rail, killing at least one person each month. This "placeholder" strategy is derived by 2012 on-air interviews of both Governor Jerry Brown and South Bay, CaHSR Chairman "Emeritus" (as he arrogantly labels himself), now US HSR Association Chairman, where they each stated that they have been working to get HSR into California for "30 years."  Caltrain was revived with taxpayer funds from Souther Pacific 30 years ago. No coincidence.   Pity for so many who have died on Caltrain tracks during this time and yet not one "Caring" Democrat has stepped forward to articulate the need to move beyond the Caltrain "Killtrain" during that time to the  reasonable and more appropriate, safter, integrated, electrified, more frequent, lower-profile, sleeker, less obtrusive BART trains...around the Bay.
Note: Gov. Jerry Brown was interviewed by Bob Schiefer on a 2012 Sunday's  Face The Nation.  Rod Diridon Sr. was interviewed separately on a KBAY radio's 6:00am Sunday show in 2012.

Indeed, worse yet that not even one of the Peninsula, San Francisco, nor San Jose Democrats has stepped forward to restart talks with BART to initiate and fund the study to get the final gap closure, replacing the Caltrain "Killtrain", with a load balancing, one-seat (no transfer) two-way around the Bay BART loop.  The Democrats are clearly bought and paid for by their few $pecial interest constituencies (what else is new for Democrats?).

Neither State Senator Jerry Hill nor Congresswoman Jackie Speier have taken up the cause to initiate a study to replace the Caltrain "Killtrain" with BART, despite their often run before news cameras and other media to proclaim their latest headline-grabbing proposals.  About the Caltrain's ongoing deaths, monthly and over the years, including the years when they both were on the Caltrain governing board, and each of whom served as its Chairperson. Where are these righteous elected officials when it comes to the obvious, regular deaths and dismemberments under Caltrain locomotive wheels and rails? Hello?
Where are other, mostly Democrat, regional opinion leaders?

Hill jumps before cameras to stand up for the (only) 8 who died in the San Bruno pipeline explosion, 1 who died in a Party Bus accident, and the 5 who died in the San Mateo Bridge Limousine fire.   Speier jumps before cameras to fight rightly for finance reform, military rape and assault rectitude, gun-control, and, runs on the platform of deaths around and in her each year, harking back to the Democrat-schmoozing George Jones, Jonestown Guyana, cultish, mass killings and killing of her late boss Congressman Leo Ryan up to 2012's election-year announcement of her past abortion.

In some of the safer Peninsula communities, such as Palo Alto, San Bruno, Burlingame, etc, one can suspect the likelhood that, on average, each year more people die by Caltrain than by illegal gun use.

What will it take to stop the Caltrain carnage of 12-16 people per year, especially when BART is so readily available, frees up Caltrain station land in SF and south, and improves regional and Peninsula rail arterial traffic, congestion relief, safery, and trainsit efficiency?  How many more must die before the $5Billion now being sought to upgrade the redundant, deadly Caltrain, can instead be redirected to close the final BART gap Around The Bay?

Hello?  Does anyone care enough to look forward to more modern rail transit and save lives as well?

Friday, May 10, 2013

05-10-2013 More on the tragic latest Caltrain death between Burlingame and San Carlos, adjacent to Burlingame High School, SF Bay Area.

Please, please, start a study to replace this Caltrain "Killtrain" with BART--one, unifying, one-seat ride" major, already electrified, already grade-separated, single, balanced and SAFER two-way rail system around the SF bay.  This is the sixth death this year 194th since 1995, 34th since 1/1/2011. How many more must die before the public, and voters, and current Caltrain riders who suffer these frequent unplanned delays to work/home, entertainment venues, pressure Peninsula (all Democrat) to start the 10-yr process to replace the Caltrain Killtrain with BART...that's another 160 deaths until BART can extend south to the new San Mateo Event Center & TOD housing, Hillsdale Shopping Center, Stanford University, then to the planned future BART station at Santa Clara University--One efficient, frequent, cleaner, safer rail system to serve all more reliably and fewer deaths (and fewer suicides). Quick-to-Grandstand Senator Jerry Hill and Congresswoman Speier are intransigent and don't care about these deaths--I've tried. Replacing Caltrain will also save transit $$#$, provide better service to future TransBay Terminal, can work adjacent to High Speed Rail into the TBT, and free up scarce SF SoMa land for better uses as Mayor Lee desires.  More, on my BARTAroundTheBay Blog to advocate to get rid of Caltrain for one Bay Area arterial rail system like so many major cities around the world have now.  It is time for the illustrious SF Bay Area to join world-class rail transit connectivity.
05-10-2013, Another, the sixth this year, Caltrain (Killtrain) death down the deadly tracks from the last in Burlingame, near San Carlos.  How many more must die before the Peninsula politicians, all part of the Labor Union captive Democrat Party machine, will take action to the most logical, reasonable, safe, pro-transit solution, that is, to extend safer, already electrified and grade-separated BART from its current Millbrae (near SFO extension) 28 miles down to the San Mateo Event Center, Hillsdale Shopping Center, and heart of Silicon Valley's coming future BART station at Santa Clara University?

Following is my News station Comment posts...Let's end this madness by pressuring Assemblyman Mullin, Senator Hill, and Congresswoman Speier to fund a study to replace Caltrain with BART the last 28 miles, and free up the SF SoMa land and Peninsula stations for higher and better land use, no longer for redundant parallel rail tracks that waste transit funds.

"The Sixth Caltrain death this year already, today, 05-10-2013, next to Burlingame High School.... It is time to start the work to replace this deadly, outdated Caltrain Killtrain with BART--and finish BART Around The Bay (my blog name, too).  How can we tolerate this continuing, and never-to-end Caltrain deaths in our advanced society, especially by the particularly fatal Express trains (except those that are delayed for hours after each slaughter).  State Senator Jerry Hill and Congresswoman Speier, both of whom are quick to grandstand on fewer deaths by guns, limo's or pipeline explosions, refuse to take action to save Peninsula lives by starting a study to close the last 28 mile gap of electrified, grade-separated BART Around The Bay, to the future Santa Clara Univ. BART station from Millbrae.  Both of these politicians served on the Caltrain Board as members and chairs.  They cannot change and must be voted out if they continue to run and hide with every Caltrain Killtrain death.  These cannot continue, HSR or not!  At this point, Caltrain is only a deadly, dangerous, disjointed SJ<->SF  placeholder for HSR (High Speed Rail). HSR and BART can get along together instead. 
Kill Caltrain, sell the land, and finish BART around the Bay in the Peninsula by closing the final gap. Save lives, Save time, save congestion and pollution, and throw out the unresponsive politicians, Hill and Speier"

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

As posted on SF Bay Area Peninsula Patches, Online, etc:
Another Caltrain death today, Monday, April 15, 2012 ...another month, yet not one "caring" Democrat politician cares enough to seek the obvious, safer, electrified, grade-separated, more frequent and regionally integrated (SF, Berkeley, soon San Jose/Santa Clara) no-brainer 'heavy rail" solution--BART.  Both Jerry Hill and Jackie Speier, the latter who has her name emblazoned on Caltrain Locomotive 925, have been in office--and even chaired the Caltrain Board in their day as local elected officials,  so long that over 200 people have been slaughtered, dismembered by this 5-=75 mph, outdated dangerous train in the increasingly densified Peninsula. What is wrong with this picture?  How can Peninsula (mostly "caring" Democrat) residents  hold "deadly gun" buybacks when, I think, in most Peninsula cities, Caltrain consistently kills 1 to 1.5 people per month on  its track--over the past 20 years--killing more than illegal gun use!  Is it just a matter of positive Caltrain (Administration and Sierra Club/"Friends of Caltrain") propaganda that continues this govt.-run euthanasia train (for suiciders). Yes, BART has suicides, too, but the ratio by miles of track, riders, stations, as well as nominally are far fewer. What can be done to start a 10+-year effort to phase out Caltrain with BART (with (adjacent or stacked), or without, HSR)...and with a 51 mile bike path alongside.   I don't understand Peninsula residents' lack of action to reduce  deaths of their "Village" neighbors! How many more must die?

Today's death on Caltrain's Burlingame tracks (the next city below the current BART terminus in Millbrae/SFO along the Peninsula rail corridor), is the 5th this year, the 33rd since 1/1/2011 and 193rd since 1/1/1995.

It is irresponsible and negligent to allow this million pound train to literally speed and hurtle through Peninsula downtowns and cross-streets inches away from pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists.  Electrifying and "modernizing" this train just for HSR to share its tracks is wrong, dead wrong.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

As a result of the ongoing and latest death and accidents on the long-since outdated, dangerous urban,  Caltrains racingup the Peninsula only a few feet from people, kids, stray pets, wildlife et al, this Comment was posted on the Palo Alto Patch today:

"Caltrain is outdated, dangerous at-grade, and a disjointed rail system in the region that ought to be phased out to be replaced by BART over the next 10 time for 2022, BART's 50th birthday, perhaps. When BART circles the Bay to compete effectively with "cars" in a one-seat transit solution to get to Bay Area major Universities, downtowns, Sports and event venues, airports and interregional transit hubs, and the burgeoning literally millions of square footage of NEW construction in the Peninsula that sucks motorists over from the East Bay with no transfer-less high capacity, safe, redundant transit option, such as motorists have with I80-I680-I280 and I80 I880-US101 1-seat loops around the Bay. 
Electrified, grade-separated, fast, sleek, BART is planned to S.C. University now...leaving only 28 miles to study, fund, build to close the BARTAROUNDTHEBAY (my blog) (BAB) gap over time. The ~$5Billion planned to perfume the Caltrain pig needs to be redirected to BART BAB.
Ironically, some Peninsula cities suffer more Caltrain deaths than illegal gun use deaths each year, in fact, 190 dead by Caltrain since 1/1/1995, 30 since 1/1/2011, 12 last year, and 1 already this year, per Bay News sources. 

Why is this Caltrain urban slaughter, including easy suicides, tolerated with this incredibly dangerous outdated train literally in our midst? Is it because we, in Silicon Valley, the land of "Creative Destruction" and Innovation have "always done it (Caltrain passenger rail) this way" ... since the 1863 trackway was first laid in the then very rural area, now increasingly densely populated and urbanized Let's fight for BAB (with or w/o HSR) by encouraging BART Around The Bay with legislators, environmental groups and those concerned about the safety of this children, especially those who are toddlers today, but will become suicide-susceptible teenagers.  Note: for environmentalists and Save The Bay interests,  The Dumbarton Rail (DR) across the SF Bay will no longer be needed.  BART Around The Bay (BAB) will serve the same communities as DR--more safely (for wildlife and humans) than a surface commuter rail setup, and, the DR rail pylons in the Don Edwards Wildlife Refuge of lower S.F. Bay can finally be removed, restoring that part of the Bay to its natural state--as it was before 1910 when the original DR bridge was built!

Let's get real trainsit moving around the Bay, as called for by recent Joint Venture Silicon Valley Index that noted that 17 Bay Area Transit agencies need to be is one that is a "win-win", but we need leadership that can overcome special interest (read: current Democrat machine monopolistic hegemony of thought) that benefit from the deadly, inefficient, "always done it this way" behavior. 

Saturday, March 2, 2013

According to the S.F. Bay Area News Group (BANG) reporting of the Caltrain Spokesperson, Another Palo Alto, CA pedestrian death by the at-grade commuter Caltrain Killtrain occurred on February 8, 2012 evening at the deadly Meadow road crossing. This is the first of 2013's 12-16 likely deaths on this outdated dangerous train amid an increasingly dense and busy (SmartGrowth/Sustainable, not-so-Livable) Peninsula.

Last year, 5 died in Palo Alto and two more near its border including a likely Palo Altoan's suicide-by-train in Menlo Park, CA.

Indeed, there is no doubt in my mind that in most Peninsula cities, again Democrat-controlled mostly, Caltrain kills more than illegal gun use each year.

The successful Gun Buybacks in some of the Peninsula Caltrain communities ought to nurture the notion to start a "Caltrain Buyback" program with the same logic-to save lives.  I suggest that Caltrain is so much more dangerous speeding through these communities that illegal gun use -- Caltrain passes just inches from people and cross-traffic as it has done since it was built in 1863 when the area was very rural.

Almost all S.F. Bay area cites are controlled by "caring" Democrats (horizontal political control) and all vertical elected legislative bodies above city councils to California's Governor and US President, and all regional bodies are controlled by "caring" Democrats, not a one has started to plan to retire this deadly commuter Caltrain and extend the Peninsula Rail Corridor instead to the nearby rational, grade-separated, much safer, more frequent, already electrified, high-capacity, low-profile heavy rail, no-cross or parallel traffic congestion creating rail system -BART for a whole SF Bay Area integrated, one-seat solution.

Note: Caltrain South of San Jose can easily and more cheaply be replaced by a Santa Cruz-type of Express Coach service from Gilroy and Morgan Hill to the Downtown San Jose Train Station @ Cahill Street.

What will it take to stop this long-term, ongoing carnage on the tracks of this outdated Caltrain?
How many more must die on the Caltrain's Peninsula tracks due to this Democrat-based ignorance at best, or, negligence, at worst?