Little enthusiasm for El Camino bus plan | News | Palo Alto Online |


Little enthusiasm for El Camino bus plan

Valley Transportation Authority's bus rapid transit plans meet with concern from local officials

A proposal to create dedicated bus lanes along El Camino Real is facing a new round of skepticism. On Wednesday, representatives from cities along the corridor urged transit officials to give more thought to alternatives to its bus rapid transit plan.

Committee members representing five cities, as well as Santa Clara County, met for the first time in two months on Aug. 26 to discuss the proposal from the Valley Transportation Authority (VTA). Committee members expressed confusion over where the VTA plans were going and whether their input was being considered.

County Supervisor Joe Simitian was one of several committee members who expressed hesitation over the bus rapid transit plan at the start of the meeting, held at VTA's headquarters in Santa Clara. Support from cities affected by the plan, he said, seemed "a long way shy of being a charge up the hill."

"I think you've got a clear message here that there's not support for a change of this significance," Simitian said in an interview following the meeting. "Look, I understand we've got models and projections, but I don't feel confident in relying on those to turn the world upside-down on El Camino Real."

To solve the daily jam of traffic on El Camino Real, VTA has promoted bus rapid transit (BRT), which would streamline bus service from Palo Alto to San Jose -- likely at the expense of other motorists. The plan calls for taking away two of El Camino's six lanes and restricting them to buses only, and constructing bus stops in the median.

Since the plan was first proposed years ago, Mountain View leaders have generally been skeptical, and city staff have questioned VTA's claims that dedicated bus lanes wouldn't worsen congestion on El Camino Real or side streets, for the most part.

Nevertheless, Mountain View became one of the only cities to come out in support the idea with a thin majority of the City Council voting in favor. The city of Santa Clara had taken a position to support the BRT concept, but that vote was way back in 2002, said Mayor Jaime Matthews. At a council meeting last week, Santa Clara council members had planned to take a new vote, but the discussion was tabled at the request of VTA officials, Matthews said.

Meanwhile, the city councils of Palo Alto and Sunnyvale voted to oppose the BRT plan, and Los Altos leaders opted against taking any stance on the issue.

But even the city firmly in VTA's corner gave -- at best -- conditional support for the plan at the meeting last week. Representing Mountain View, Councilman Lenny Siegel told the group that time was running out to consider alternatives. Siegel himself had voted against the BRT plan.

"I'm skeptical of the whole project," Siegel said. "I've never seen any coordination of the buses on El Camino -- that's what it'd take for me to get on the BRT plan."

Several municipal representatives urged VTA to continue analyzing alternatives or amending the BRT project to make it more palatable. Sunnyvale and Santa Clara representatives both preferred a mixed-flow configuration, which would modify El Camino Real's curbs to expedite bus loading and unloading.

Simitian urged transit officials to wait on any El Camino project until work is complete next year on bringing dedicated bus lanes to Capitol Expressway and Alum Rock Avenue in San Jose.

"If you've got a similar project underway in Santa Clara County, why on earth wouldn't you wait to see if it works?" Simitian said. "This isn't something where you can say 'oops' and do an about-face. You make a decision here, and it's irreversible."

Transit officials came to the defense of the BRT project in a roundabout fashion. As part of the agenda, VTA engineers delivered a report on the five-year history of how the plan came about. A second presentation that showed how development planned for the near future would add thousands more residents and commuters along El Camino Real. Following that, staff members reviewed four alternatives that were less ambitious than the BRT proposal.

Going through the list item by item, Senior Planner Steve Fisher explained how each alternative was fraught with its own set of challenges. There simply isn't space for a "have-it-all" option that added dedicated bus lanes without impacting regular traffic, he said.

Later this month, a third-party review of the BRT proposal should be complete and available for public review. VTA officials commissioned that review in response to complaints that they were downplaying the impact that dedicated bus lanes would have on regional traffic flow. The review team includes a mix of public and private experts in the transportation field.

For now, the BRT project is in a state of "suspended animation" but VTA would eventually look to get a recommendation on the project from the advisory group, said General Manager Nuria Fernandez. The project is scheduled to go before the VTA board of directors for a final decision by the end of the year.

"We're not kicking the can down the road. We need to get a sense from this group if we're going to move forward," she urged. "We need to know if this is a go, or a no-go."

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39 people like this
Posted by Joseph E. Davis
a resident of Woodside
on Sep 1, 2015 at 4:14 pm

This idea is so bad that even a few public servants have stirred awake from their slumber to notice.

Taking one entire lane of El Camino traffic out of three and dedicating it to buses is an absurd misallocation of resources.

46 people like this
Posted by More Eejits
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 1, 2015 at 4:55 pm

Whomever came up with this plan either never drove on El Camino, or had their head somewhere rude.

It is too impractical, too expensive, and will only worsen conditions.

Besides, VTA buses are so awful that people don't like to use them unless they have absolutely no other choice.

7 people like this
Posted by PatrickD
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 1, 2015 at 5:33 pm

In Barron Park the three biggest problems I can see on El Camino are that 1. it's difficult to cross as a pedestrian because it's too wide, 2. there is no safe way to bicycle through Palo Alto on El Camino, and no easy or direct way to frequent any of the shops, and 3. parallel parking on El Camino is like playing a game of chicken due to cars driving at high speeds.

Instead of BRT, I'd prefer to see lane size reduction of around 2 to 3 feet per lane and a buffered bicycle lane protected by parked cars. That would make crossing El Camino as a pedestrian far easier, and would make a nice direct way through town on bicycle (vs trying to ride down Alma or other routes). I'd also support removing two lanes (one in each direction) so that people could pull in to park, but that might be a little too bold for some people.

6 people like this
Posted by Trial
a resident of Los Altos
on Sep 1, 2015 at 7:15 pm

It's not difficult or expensive to temporarily block off one lane in each direction for a couple of weeks as a trial. Although I feel that we have already done that on a limited basis with numerous construction projects along El Camino and seen the results in spades: terrible traffic congestion.

26 people like this
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Sep 1, 2015 at 7:25 pm

There must be a labor union for bus drivers and bus manufacturers who have paid off someone. This is an absurd idea so there has to be some lobby that is applying the pressure here.

5 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Sep 1, 2015 at 7:32 pm

@PatrickD, for a direct bike-way through town, have you tried Park Blvd? Connecting path north to Homer undercrossing and downtown. Southbound can jog onto Wilkie and through to San Antonio mega-zone. I guess that route gets a little dicey crossing the California Ave to Oregon Expy mess. I'm on the Bryant side of the tracks so I don't use Park Blvd much.

15 people like this
Posted by anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 1, 2015 at 8:07 pm

So -- local city officials are "urging" "transit officials to give more thought to alternatives..." (from the article above)
NO - scrap this idiotic idea now!
I would state it much more strongly as a member of the public who has to live with this stuff.

14 people like this
Posted by Uh Oh
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 1, 2015 at 10:28 pm

Seems to me with all the housing and jobs that are being planned in our neighboring cities (MV, RWC, SM). Even if Palo Alto decides to stop ALL housing and ALL jobs here, the traffic is coming anyway. There will be commuters using El Camino and since you won't be able to build any more lanes they'll have to figure out SOMETHING to do with all the cars. So putting in a bus lane with a way to get from SJ to Palo Alto seems like a pretty good idea to me. Come up with a better solution PLEASE! Don't just complain about how bad the traffic's going to be -- it's going to get a lot worse if we don't plan some alternatives. Everyone seems to complain about the traffic as they sit solo in their cars. Help be part of a solution.

13 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 1, 2015 at 10:51 pm

This idea is putting the cart before the horse.

At present there isn't the volume of bus traffic to make this a good idea. Bus lanes work when there is an abundance of bus traffic on a certain road system. They work because there are local buses, long distance buses, commuter shuttles, tourist buses, airport buses, etc. all using the roads to take passengers quicker than they would travel by car. Bus lanes often go against traffic on one way streets, often have their own traffic light, often are able to make turns that cars cannot make, etc. They are designed for moving buses faster and more efficiently. If we had this type of volume of buses then perhaps it would make sense. At present we don't have the volume and until we do it won't make any sense.

Now how about improving our transportation (buses) so that we can get to airports quicker by bus than by car?

6 people like this
Posted by Little Old Native
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 1, 2015 at 11:36 pm

How about instead of spending another penny on staff and consultants' time for this loser of an idea (buses virtually none of them will ever use!) to instead ask the private sector for ideas. Look how Uber has revolutionized the scandalously inefficient taxi-medallion system. How about letting he autonomous car people program El Camino, Oregon Expressway, Embarcadero, and Alma to give any mass or multi- transit vehicles like carpools, busess, taxis, and yes, Uber, more green lights. Imagine.... being in a carpool or automomous vehicle and being able to trigger a green light faster than single occupancy vehicles!

14 people like this
Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 2, 2015 at 6:43 am

@ Patrick: anyway you look at it, ECR is dangerous. For vehicles, less or bikes. Use Bryant for north-south biking. Besides, ECR is a state highway and the lane widths are regulated as such.

4 people like this
Posted by Mike
a resident of University South
on Sep 2, 2015 at 8:40 am

Instead of dedicated bus lanes I like:

1.) Underground (light?) rail under El Camino, or
2.) Elevated monorail

17 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Sep 2, 2015 at 9:47 am

I'd like to see some hard figures on bus ridership. Most of the buses I see after 4:30 seem really empty when you can actually see through their blacked out and/or ad-covered windows.

1 person likes this
Posted by PatrickD
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 2, 2015 at 11:09 am

@musical: Yes, I use Park Blvd (and Bryant) every day to get to Midtown. Unfortunately there's no underpass from Margarita to Loma Verde so I have to do a 1 mile detour. Both Park and Bryant are great, except they don't give direct access to shops on El Camino.

@Crescent Park Dad: There's no reason we have to settle for status quo. Roads are for moving people, not just cars. If we can reduce the lane widths to accommodate other modes of transportation, and it has the added benefit encouraging drivers not to speed, why wouldn't we look at doing that? It's certainly a lot more palatable than carving out two lanes of ECR for BRT.

7 people like this
Posted by Neilson Buchanan
a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 2, 2015 at 11:12 am

We are avoiding the obvious questions. How many new housing units and office/commercial properties have to be build on the ECR corridor to make this bus system work? The numbers must be massive and will require years of continued economic success and private investment. What is the lag time? and there is no guarantee that each city will accept massive growth, rezoning, etc. VTA is simply advocating premature transportation solution in hopes of accelerating SOV pain so that political barriers to development are eliminated.

Someone other than VTA needs to engage in real systems planning. And include the other infrastructure issues such as new schools, parks and other quality of life issues associated with massive ECR and rail corridor office/housing growth. Clearly such systems analysis is not the American thing to do.

6 people like this
Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 2, 2015 at 11:14 am

@ Patrick - the issue is that ECR is a state highway --- it has lane width minimums because the road is rated for Tractor-Trailers (aka "semis"). I don't know about you - but I'm not comfortable with taking away lane width when it involves a semi lumbering down the road.

27 people like this
Posted by Horrified
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Sep 2, 2015 at 11:28 am

So if i understand it correctly -- the 20 or so bus passengers will majorly inconvenience thousands of car drivers, correct?

17 people like this
Posted by 38 year resident
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 2, 2015 at 11:33 am

My office is at the corner of El Camino and Park Blvd. There is a bus stop right in front of me. The buses are nearly always empty no matter what time of day it is. We live in a car culture and you cannot force people to take public transportation.

This whole idea is an attempt to force people to use the buses. Ain't gonna happen. When will these so called transportation experts figure this out?

Like this comment
Posted by Carol Gilbert
a resident of University South
on Sep 2, 2015 at 11:50 am

See first post. You said it, Joseph E. Davis as well as some of the others. This might be a fine idea for a brainstorming session where all ideas are listened to, but thereafter, in reality, it should be thrown out.

5 people like this
Posted by Eva
a resident of Ventura
on Sep 2, 2015 at 1:17 pm

I recently ran into some BRT proponents at Starbucks who were trying to convince businesses on El Camino to support the proposed plan. While in theory quick bus service "could" increase ridership, I questioned how BRT would benefit the commuters who are clogging ECR during rush hour. My husband commutes to Milpitas; and other Silicon Valley employees are commuting all over the area. I am challenged to think who actually commutes down ECR?

One of the proponents asked me if I would ever take the bus if I was going to Stanford Shopping Center. I replied if I was going to Stanford I would likely have packages that would make a bus very impractical. The same with grocery shopping. Not sure when I would ever take the bus even if it was high speed.

8 people like this
Posted by muttiallen
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Sep 2, 2015 at 1:18 pm

muttiallen is a registered user.

Anyone who thinks this is a good idea should have to drive through Menlo Park at noon or 5 pm. ECR is 4 lanes there, and it's a parking lot until you get far enough south to where it widens to 6 lanes.

1 person likes this
Posted by SteveU
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 2, 2015 at 1:41 pm

SteveU is a registered user.

Seattle has an elevated train that they can't use because of the ADA, which requires the ability to evacuate the train from anywhere.

Another case of All or nothing regulation. Right up there with ADA compliant restrooms at the top of ski lifts.
I am not against a serious TRY to comply in ALL cases, but when Alternate ways exist, it is absurd to block ones that would benefit the masses.

4 people like this
Posted by Jane
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Sep 2, 2015 at 1:51 pm

My problem with the buses running down the center lanes is that I understand the plan is for the elimination of all the current left turns that do not have a current traffic light, and possibly some of those as well. The center bus lanes on El Camino will be a barrier between north and south Palo Alto. And what will happen to the trees along the center median that Canopy spearheaded planting some years ago that are just now growing into maturity?

7 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 2, 2015 at 2:33 pm

From a purely practical point of view, if the buses are in the center lanes, how do people get on and off? Buses are designed to be at the right side of the street with doors that open to the sidewalk. This can't happen if the buses are in the center lanes. Do people get on and off into traffic? Or is VTA going to buy a fleet of buses from the UK where they have doors on the left?

13 people like this
Posted by Lyle Lanley
a resident of Menlo Park
on Sep 2, 2015 at 2:34 pm

Y'know, a town with money is like a mule with a spinning wheel. No one knows how he got it and danged if he knows how to use it!

1 person likes this
Posted by Why Not?
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 2, 2015 at 2:40 pm

Maybe there's a certain mystique of royalty to dedicating the center lanes to VTA. Nothing about the notion makes any practical sense.

However, rejiggering the right-lane usage could be beneficial. Let cars use them only for right turns onto streets and driveways, parallel parking, and emerging from driveways. Let the buses have what's left over on a minimum-interference basis.

13 people like this
Posted by Supply & Demand
a resident of Green Acres
on Sep 2, 2015 at 3:17 pm

This type of project is not new in other parts of the world. It proved to be very effective in promote transit ridership and cutting down on traffic congestion during peak hours. It also improve traffic safety after initial transition.

8 people like this
Posted by Jim
a resident of Community Center
on Sep 2, 2015 at 4:33 pm

Thank you Joe Simitian. Once again you see things in a practical way that helps our community. And to the Palo Alto City Council, I encourage you to remain opposed to the hijacking of 2 lanes on El Camino for this VTA boondoggle.

Bus runs are infrequent
Not many riders
No way to get to final destination point after being dumped off on El Camino

Even if this made a grain of sense, it should first be tested for a month by simply blocking the lanes off to all but buses. Then we could see the impact to traffic.

Secondly, show us real ridership info for this route. Number of riders per hour, percentage of bus filled, number of buses per hour etc.

We don't even have any idea how much buses are being slowed down by sharing the lane with cars.

I and many folks will never take any bus on El Camino until VTA has some final destination solutions like circular van routes to popular shopping areas, research and industrial parks etc.

Why doesn't VTA run express buses on 101 and use van shuttles for the final mile? They say they explored all options. But unfortunately, all the options they explored were on El Camino and none of them solves the final destination problem.

This is a fat bureaucracy coming up with new ways to get funding for more government jobs. Burden the taxpayers with more empty bus runs and charge them for it while gifting the motorist with hellish traffic tieups. This is not Van Ness st. in San Francisco. Buses there run back to back and carry huge numbers of people. But then SF is a small urban area an efficiently run system. This is NOT San Francisco.

11 people like this
Posted by Johnny
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 2, 2015 at 5:13 pm

I fully support this plan. Making bus commutes smoother will encourage people to use public transportation. Moreover, we should dedicate another lane to cyclists. El Camino is deadly for bikes. They have the right to use the roads safely! We should have bike-sharing stations all along El Camino. Paying to rent a bike is far cheaper than paying for gas.
This will greatly reduce single-occupant vehicles and my children will breathe in cleaner air! Palo Alto should be a shining example of replenishment. Let's work together to lead the fight against climate change.

Those who still drive their vehicles deserve to suffer through traffic jams, for they are selfish!

The cylists however must purchase a $50 permit which proves they carry the new refillable ceramic bottle. I fear plastic bottles littering our roads and ending up in the ocean where they may kill an innocent sea turtle.

Those caught with plastic bottles should be jailed for the night. It's time we get serious about global warming, folks. And saving sea critters.

I hope to implement a complete ban on plastic bottles by 2017. Those who work in the plastic industry are selfish. They'll just have to find new jobs that aren't equatable to being guards at concentration camps. Like those coal miners.

Anyone who disagrees with me is clearly ignorant and selfish. Scientists and studies have proven this.

Baby seals are much more important.

2 people like this
Posted by Big John
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Sep 2, 2015 at 5:29 pm

Johnny: adding to the intelligent discussion and not just here to vent and push buttons...because he's a well adjusted grownup.

8 people like this
Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 2, 2015 at 5:36 pm

This plan is so bad that the people responsible for it should be removed from their positions. Unfortunately, this is government--so those responsible will likely be promoted instead.

4 people like this
Posted by Robert
a resident of another community
on Sep 2, 2015 at 6:03 pm

I'm more curious as to who would think that Palo Altans would support this project, especially when they have such a strong ideological bent against any sort of bus based public transportation. I mean, how else do you explain the constant complaints about a lack of parking downtown when the majority of residents live within walking distance of the 22 ?and 522 busses?

7 people like this
Posted by Rose
a resident of Mayfield
on Sep 2, 2015 at 6:06 pm

Population on the Peninsula will only grow. It will NEVER diminish. That means car traffic can only grow UNLESS we do something different. If we had transit moving as fast as cars on the El Camino corridor, people would ride it. Can they imagine it now? Apparently not. But something has to change. We can't keep driving everywhere alone in our cars. It's time to get real and support fundamental changes. Bus Rapid Transit works in other cities and countries. It's time to be bold and embrace the new and scary. People in other cities ride transit all the time. WE CAN DO IT. Palo Alto City Council -- it's time to be brave and support change. MANY residents are in favor of BRT!!!

1 person likes this
Posted by stanhutchings
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 2, 2015 at 6:07 pm

stanhutchings is a registered user.

The best way to speed buses and cars on El Camino Real, and all other signal-light controlled roads, is to synchronize the lights to ensure a constant flow. This will require inter-city cooperation and County oversight. It makes sense to use what we have more efficiently rather than constricting the flow. If the bus lanes become reality, Bernoulli's law says if you must put more volume through a smaller pipe (2 lanes instead of 3), you must increase the speed - that would mean 1/3 faster, or a minimum 45+ mph, with lights synchronized to that speed. The frequent unsynchronized stop lights are really what slows everything down - instead of an average 35 mph, the actual average speed is more like 15 mph. Another improvement would be that instead of providing left turn lights every stoplight, require right-right-right except at major intersections. Bikes on such a thoroughfare would be a hazard to themselves and others, so good alternates must be developed and made into bike-safe, minimum-stop-sign routes with a lower (e.g. 15 mph) enforced speed limit for cars.

10 people like this
Posted by No way to the VTA
a resident of Mountain View
on Sep 2, 2015 at 6:55 pm

The push back on this is going to need to be finessed, firm & relentless, because the VTA is going to try to leverage every tool at it's disposal - local, state & federal (if possible) - in order to foist this dedicated lane BRT scheme down the El Camino Real corridor cities throats, regardless of those cities wishes.

You can send your comments & concerns in to Joe Simitian's office directly at Web Link

Attention: Kris Zanardi, Policy Aide - Environment & Transportation

Mr. Simitian and his staff are very responsive.

Your voice DOES in fact matter, so don't let anyone try and convince you differently.

12 people like this
Posted by Steve Ly
a resident of Los Altos
on Sep 2, 2015 at 7:26 pm

County Supervisor Joe Simitian said: "I think you've got a clear message here that there's not support for a change of this significance. Look, I understand we've got models and projections, but I don't feel confident in relying on those to turn the world upside-down on El Camino Real."

That's the biggest thing wrong with the proposal; despite all of the modeling it does not pass the sniff test. Removing existing traffic lanes and replacing them with dedicated bus lanes will increase vehicle emissions by increasing motor vehicle congestion and encouraging drivers to divert onto local side streets. Excessive traffic on local side streets will irritate residents who will pressure cities into erecting traffic barriers which will force the traffic back onto a 2-lane El Camino which will no longer be able to adequately handle it. Thus, if a lane is removed from El Camino, congestion will increase as cities take measures to discourage alternative routes.

VTA believes that people taking longer trips will use large roads, not neighborhood streets, or freeways like US101 or I-280. However, traffic congestion has become very bad in Santa Clara County in recent years and the major roads, expressways and freeways are now all congested. Adding more traffic to these roads will just make this congestion worse and increase emissions.

On its web page, VTA dismissed the sentiment that "the cities along the El Camino Real corridor voted down the project but VTA will not take no for an answer" as a myth while admitting that "some cities opposed a design option that included dedicated lanes, not the project in its entirety, which helped shape the scope of the environmental analysis currently underway." I would like to remind VTA staff that most members of the general public are not aware of the arcane procedures in environmental studies. Thus when a city opposes dedicated lanes and yet the concept returns shortly thereafter, it appears to a lay person that VTA is not taking "no" for an answer. Rightly or wrongly, this reinforces the "myth" that VTA will do whatever it wants on El Camino.

Simitian makes another good point about finishing the in-process BRT project in San Jose and seeing if it works. "If you've got a similar project underway in Santa Clara County, why on earth wouldn't you wait to see if it works?" Simitian said. "This isn't something where you can say 'oops' and do an about-face. You make a decision here, and it's irreversible."

There's yet another problem with having the express busses in dedicated lanes while the locals continue to stop at the curb. It's inconvenient to passengers who might be going a relatively short distance and just wants to take the first bus that shows up. They should be able to wait at one stop like you do now with the 22 and 522 at Castro in Mountain View.

6 people like this
Posted by Mike
a resident of University South
on Sep 2, 2015 at 8:17 pm

I live near downtown Palo Alto and take the 522 regularly. When I ride it, it is no less than half full. Usually it's at least 80% full.

I would like to see VTA ridership data. Anyone know where it can be found?

Note that I don't necessarily think bus only lanes on El Camino is a good idea.

Like this comment
Posted by PatrickD
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 2, 2015 at 8:24 pm

@Crescent Park Dad: You raise a good point. I actually didn't realize that trucks were an issue on ECR; is there a large volume of semis that use this route? I only seem to see them infrequently and during non-peak hours.

I'd love to hear (your/others) thoughts about how we can make ECR safer for all people, and not just leaving it as suburban blight.

7 people like this
Posted by Empty buses
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 2, 2015 at 9:23 pm

Corrupt politicians and unions. Throw the bums out.

4 people like this
Posted by Don
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Sep 3, 2015 at 9:27 am

"MANY residents are in favor of BRT!!!"

You sure wouldn't know it from reading the comments.

2 people like this
Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 3, 2015 at 11:28 am

Unfortunately I don't know the truck volume on ECR. But I do know it is the only north-south arterial (besides 101 and 280) that allows semis to drive from the south end of SCCo up into SF. I think Central Expressway allows trucks...but only south of PA until the termination at De La Cruz / SJ Airport.

6 people like this
Posted by El Camino Reality
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 3, 2015 at 11:45 am

"If we had transit moving as fast as cars on the El Camino corridor, people would ride it."

Yeah, and if everyone went without clothes there simply wouldn't be any more wars.

Seriously, folks, we already have tons of trains carrying people parallel to El Camino. What we don't got, but we need, is massive transit carrying people perpendicular to El Camino, where the destinations are.

That's not as imperial as empty bus lanes in the middle as a big road, but they'd be much more useful.

3 people like this
Posted by jim
a resident of Community Center
on Sep 4, 2015 at 11:01 am

An observation on this forum is that an argument against this VTA lane dedication is an argument against public transit. No - I believe strongly in good and effective public transit. But this proposal is neither.

I searched for bus ridership at VTA. Here is a link to what they call detailed statistics. One line for each year. Web Link

Before we support any more VTA plans that would most certainly increase traffic, I think VTA owes more than a single line of info for the year in a pdf file.

Where's the interactive stats graphs that we can break down by bus line, time of day etc. Basically, it's "trust us". We'll take 2 dedicated lanes and ridership will increase on El Camino with a corresponding decrease in car traffic.

El Camino is a very long corridor best served by Caltrain. Demonstrate to us with statistics of ridership how we can increase ridership. I agree with the previous post. We need more ways to get from El Camino to other destinations.

Like this comment
Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 4, 2015 at 3:17 pm

As the poster above suggests --- try and drive through Menlo Park on ECR during the morning or evening commute intervals. There's your answer about 2-lanes in each direction.

No bueno.

Like this comment
Posted by Gary
a resident of another community
on Sep 6, 2015 at 11:09 am

Get ready for the VTA's next trick. VTA operatives announced last April that they were commissioning an "independent review" of their traffic analyses and projections. VTA staff has now said there is a whole group of outside "experts" it found about to announce its findings. And the verdict from the VTA's hand picked "experts" is? Any guesses? Bus-only lanes (with one bus at most every 10 minutes) leave the lanes empty for miles between buses. Bus-only lanes are a waste of space that will make traveling by passenger vehicle on or even across El Camino so time-consuming that, to quote the objective of the bureaucrats and special interests involved, "WE WILL GET THEM OUT OF THEIR CARS" (at least on El Camino). And if you think these bus lanes on the left - with frequent-stop buses still on the right - will make room for bicycles, think again.

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