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Officials are hard at work trying to alleviate the notorious traffic congestion in California. Across the state, drivers sit still in traffic while carpool lanes sit empty, underused by public transit and vehicles carrying multiple passengers. The solution for the Bay Area, as the Metropolitan Transportation Commission sees it, is to allow solo motorists to pay for using the carpool lanes.

The commission is working up a proposal that would start with a pilot project in 2010 or early 2011 on I-680 S over the Sunol Grade and in both directions on I-580 between Livermore and the I-680 interchange. To implement the project over the entire 12-highway system would require the approval of state lawmakers (who are currently considering such a bill for Sacramento), as well as an investment of an estimated $3.7 billion. That would be recuperated and then some in the long run, generating an estimated $6 billion over the course of 25 years, the balance of which would be reinvested into the transportation network. If implemented, drivers running late and motivated to pay the fee would be able to move into the carpool lane at designated spots and pay with in-car transponders. Although the fees have yet to be determined, they are estimated at between 20-60 cents per mile at the outset of the program, eventually ramping up to as much as $1 per mile by 2030. Similar systems in place in southern California got the nickname "Lexus Lanes" because of the perception that the rich would use them all the time, leaving those with less means stranded in traffic. However officials cite studies that indicate that the system would be used by a wide cross-section of the socio-economic populace.

:bounce::bounce:
 

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Similar systems in place in southern California got the nickname "Lexus Lanes" because of the perception that the rich would use them all the time, leaving those with less means stranded in traffic. However officials cite studies that indicate that the system would be used by a wide cross-section of the socio-economic populace.
Of course the system would be used by a wide cross-section of the socio-economic populace!!
These roads are ALL OVER the east coast and midwest. They're called toll roads!!

Nutty people in the Bay Area, I swear!!
Get out of your car and take BART!!!
 

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Of course the system would be used by a wide cross-section of the socio-economic populace!!
These roads are ALL OVER the east coast and midwest. They're called toll roads!!

Nutty people in the Bay Area, I swear!!
Get out of your car and take BART!!!
What we should do is just scrap the HOV lanes all together.

Bart is a good system, provided you work in the 1 square mile out of 50 in SF that it adequately services. Granted, that area holds a lot of jobs, but its nowhere near anything like NY's system, or even DC. There's a whole bunch of us who would take public transit, but don't have the time to wait on buses in traffic - which make up the vast majority of SF's transit system.
 

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What we should do is just scrap the HOV lanes all together.

Bart is a good system, provided you work in the 1 square mile out of 50 in SF that it adequately services. Granted, that area holds a lot of jobs, but its nowhere near anything like NY's system, or even DC. There's a whole bunch of us who would take public transit, but don't have the time to wait on buses in traffic - which make up the vast majority of SF's transit system.
Remember, BART is a regional system -- not a subway.
The problem is that East Bay and North Bay communities have FOUGHT BART for decades. "We don't want BART." Or in the North Bay's case, "We don't want 'City People' in our community.
Now these are the same communities that are whining about traffic and "Lexus Lanes" and "Bridge fee hikes." And there still a handful of communities screaming for BART as well.

These smaller communities need better mass transit. The City needs a friggin subway system that branches out beyond the Market Street Subway. But the do nothing Stupid-visors don't do squat about it. The Central Subway, while a great idea, isn't enough.

They're unwilling to spend the money it will take to build a subways system, but the desire to build a mass transit system is there. So they focus on buses and stupid BRT systems and idiotic plans to ban cars from Market Street.
 

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Remember, BART is a regional system -- not a subway.
The problem is that East Bay and North Bay communities have FOUGHT BART for decades. "We don't want BART." Or in the North Bay's case, "We don't want 'City People' in our community.
Now these are the same communities that are whining about traffic and "Lexus Lanes" and "Bridge fee hikes." And there still a handful of communities screaming for BART as well.

These smaller communities need better mass transit. The City needs a friggin subway system that branches out beyond the Market Street Subway. But the do nothing Stupid-visors don't do squat about it. The Central Subway, while a great idea, isn't enough.

They're unwilling to spend the money it will take to build a subways system, but the desire to build a mass transit system is there. So they focus on buses and stupid BRT systems and idiotic plans to ban cars from Market Street.
I can understand why Marin fought Bart. Its already the most expensive suburb in the Bay Area - if I was a Marin resident I'd vote against it too. One reason its expensive is it doesn't feel like you're in the city at all, something BART would slightly change. They are protecting their environment. The problem is its the people north of Marin that really would benefit. Maybe they could put the first stop 10 miles north of the GG, just outside Marin.

The problem with all of this though is SF, and CA are broke. That stupid housing proposition killed them, people who have lived here for a long time don't have to pay for the privilege. And even worse, many of the biggest buildings are owned by corporations that exist simply to own the building, then the corporation can be sold many times, without the property taxes adjusting.

BART needs billions, not millions, but billions just to maintain their system at its current state. How are they going to expand. SF's answer? Charge people to drive and forget building a subway. Make them use the buses.
 

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I can understand why Marin fought Bart. Its already the most expensive suburb in the Bay Area - if I was a Marin resident I'd vote against it too. One reason its expensive is it doesn't feel like you're in the city at all, something BART would slightly change. They are protecting their environment. The problem is its the people north of Marin that really would benefit. Maybe they could put the first stop 10 miles north of the GG, just outside Marin.
THey also voted against the SMART train 2 years ago. They bitch about traffic, yet they won't expand the freeways to support it. And they won't build a transit system. And they won't pay congestion toll fees on the bridge. It's a case of having your cake and eating it too.
Marin is a very expensive and in many areas a very exclusive community. Houses are in the 8-figure range easily. And they make houses in Beverly Hills look cheap.

The terminus of the original North Bay BART line was Santa Rosa. The current plan for BART is to build a bridge adjacent to the San Rafael Bridge and cross over to the North Bay from the East Bay (Richmond), instead of the Golden Gate, which structurally can't handle it.

BART needs billions, not millions, but billions just to maintain their system at its current state. How are they going to expand. SF's answer? Charge people to drive and forget building a subway. Make them use the buses.
Of course BART needs billions. It's an entirely custom system. It doesn't rely on off the shelf parts like 95% of the world's transit systems. That's the price of being the first in the country. It's "quirks" are because of its original plan to cross the GG Bridges, so trains are lower profile and have a wider guage track to give the trains more stability while crossing the windy Golden Gate -- which never happened anyways.
BART also cannot expand because it doesn't have enough trains to support it.

The SF Board of Stupid-visors haven't gotten it into their heads that a subway is the ONLY solution. Adding more buses? No. Reducing cars? No. Reducing parking garages? No. Make the City more accessible by using faster transit options. Newsom understands the need for a subway, but his plan just isn't grand enough. Central Subway needs to run to the Wharves and branch off through Geary in a subway (not in Light Rail mode as proposed). And it also needs to run to the SoMA/Rincon/Transbay Area -- especially with the new high rise condo neighborhood now rising. You're going to have another 25-50,000 people in a 7 block square area that all can't flood the Embarcadero Station.
Try driving through New Montgomery -- From the Pyramid to the Palace hotel at 4pm. That's a complete exercise in futility. You'll get to the Palace at 4:35pm. And that's only about 8 blocks.
 

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Of course the system would be used by a wide cross-section of the socio-economic populace!!
These roads are ALL OVER the east coast and midwest. They're called toll roads!!

Nutty people in the Bay Area, I swear!!
Get out of your car and take BART!!!
I have no idea what it is about the West coast -- of either Canada or the US -- that attracts so many nutty people. I recall Archie Bunker's line "God is waiting for the last freak to move to California and then he's going to cleave it off into the ocean." That after Meathead and Gloria moved to California.

I have a friend in LA that says we should use more solar panels up here. I tried to explain winter to them, including snow accumulation, but I guess the only white powder they comprehend in LA is the one you snort.
 

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THey also voted against the SMART train 2 years ago. They bitch about traffic, yet they won't expand the freeways to support it. And they won't build a transit system. And they won't pay congestion toll fees on the bridge. It's a case of having your cake and eating it too.
Marin is a very expensive and in many areas a very exclusive community. Houses are in the 8-figure range easily. And they make houses in Beverly Hills look cheap.
:
Isn't California the state that doesn't increase property tax with the rate of inflation? And isn't that an recipe for utter catastrophe?

So the strange machinations that California or any of the cities go through come as no surprise. It's a constant "have your cake and eat it too" scenario. And there's a lot of NIMBY going on in the SF area in particular. Some of the roadways have obviously been laid out because of NIMBY.

BTW, I fail to understand this aversion some cities have to buses.

When I used to regularly stay in the SF area I loved taking the BART whenever it was convenient. Getting from San Jose to SF via train/BART was always more optimal than attempting to drive during parts of the day that I'm sure you're more than familiar with :D.
 

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Isn't California the state that doesn't increase property tax with the rate of inflation? And isn't that an recipe for utter catastrophe?

So the strange machinations that California or any of the cities go through come as no surprise. It's a constant "have your cake and eat it too" scenario. And there's a lot of NIMBY going on in the SF area in particular. Some of the roadways have obviously been laid out because of NIMBY.

BTW, I fail to understand this aversion some cities have to buses.

When I used to regularly stay in the SF area I loved taking the BART whenever it was convenient. Getting from San Jose to SF via train/BART was always more optimal than attempting to drive during parts of the day that I'm sure you're more than familiar with :D.
Buses are poverty transportation, not public transportation. Its for people who can't afford cars. They sit in traffic just like cars, and make many more stops. So - you can get somewhere much faster in your own car without sitting next to someone else who you probably don't want to associate with.

Subways and trains running underground are much faster or at least equal to driving in most circumstances, while also being cheaper. That makes up for being crammed in with a bunch of people and expands it to people who can afford to drive, but value time or a nicer vacation a little more.

...

SF, and CA are in serious trouble financially. And there will be problems going forward. Lack of affordable suburbs with affordable transportation will ultimately hurt SF in the long run, or help it, depending on what you desire the City to be.
 

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Buses are poverty transportation, not public transportation. Its for people who can't afford cars. They sit in traffic just like cars, and make many more stops. So - you can get somewhere much faster in your own car without sitting next to someone else who you probably don't want to associate with.

Subways and trains running underground are much faster or at least equal to driving in most circumstances, while also being cheaper. That makes up for being crammed in with a bunch of people and expands it to people who can afford to drive, but value time or a nicer vacation a little more.

...

SF, and CA are in serious trouble financially. And there will be problems going forward. Lack of affordable suburbs with affordable transportation will ultimately hurt SF in the long run, or help it, depending on what you desire the City to be.
Wrong. I take the bus to work loads of times -- I primarily telecommute so it's only when I need to go into the office that I take a bus. And it's not for a lack of wheels, I have two cars. If I drive it'll take me 25 - 30 minutes on a good day. If I take the bus, 10 - 15 minutes, even on the worst of days. Total stops from my house in the west end to downtown: about 5.

Plus, I simply walk from the bus stop to work, about 5 minutes as opposed to going to the parking lot, parking, and then walking to work, an additional 10 - 15 minutes depending on which lot I have to park in.

So "poverty"? Hardly. In fact, many of the people I work with, all of whom are very well paid -- we're all in high tech -- take the bus. Plus, we can deduct the cost of the bus pass from our personal income tax, which you can't do with parking unless you're self employed. Add to that I get to read on the bus as it scoots down the Transitway, which is more relaxing that trying to figure out what the insufficiently caffeinated moron in front of me plans on doing next.

Here in Ottawa we'll be building a train system (finally). It will augment the bus system we currently have. It'll cost a few billion but with all the "green" initiatives of late I figure the Feds and Province will pay for the bulk of it. Ridership of public transit in Ottawa continues to increase to the point we're running out of buses!
 

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I think his point was that people in CA perceive public transportation as poverty transportation...
People in the US perceive public transportation as "poverty transportation."
You're too poor to afford a car... so you take the bus. You become Mr. and Mrs. Bus Pass.

That is unfortunately the attitude around the US. Most major cities and metro, you will get a lesser degree of it.

But that's just the way it is.
 

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Wrong. I take the bus to work loads of times -- I primarily telecommute so it's only when I need to go into the office that I take a bus. And it's not for a lack of wheels, I have two cars. If I drive it'll take me 25 - 30 minutes on a good day. If I take the bus, 10 - 15 minutes, even on the worst of days. Total stops from my house in the west end to downtown: about 5.
Your city is the exception then... Try taking a bus from downtown Los Angeles to Pasadena. It will take you over 2 hours, no joke. When I lived there, LA was rated worst public transportation system in the nation. There was an article describing the journalists trip from downtown LA to Pasadena, a distance of less than 8 miles, taking almost 3 hours because of the numerous stops, traffic jams, etc.

Light rail sucks in this regard too... If I drive to work, it takes me 40 minutes. If I take light rail to work (which I've been doing a lot lately), it takes me TWO HOURS. Only reason I subject myself to this is because I can work from the train on my laptop.

Personally I find it hard to believe that taking a bus would ever be faster than driving, considering the bus has to sit in traffic along with everyone else, plus makes more stops than your car will...
 

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Call them Cadillac lanes! :mad:
 

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Your city is the exception then... Try taking a bus from downtown Los Angeles to Pasadena. It will take you over 2 hours, no joke. When I lived there, LA was rated worst public transportation system in the nation. There was an article describing the journalists trip from downtown LA to Pasadena, a distance of less than 8 miles, taking almost 3 hours because of the numerous stops, traffic jams, etc.

Light rail sucks in this regard too... If I drive to work, it takes me 40 minutes. If I take light rail to work (which I've been doing a lot lately), it takes me TWO HOURS. Only reason I subject myself to this is because I can work from the train on my laptop.

Personally I find it hard to believe that taking a bus would ever be faster than driving, considering the bus has to sit in traffic along with everyone else, plus makes more stops than your car will...
Bingo. Maybe this Canadian city is an exception.

And no, mgescuro - I don't want that attitude to change about buses. I like it being perceived as poverty transportation. Because I want them to go away in favor of a fast system that actually saves people time and a system people actually want to use - thus reducing energy expenditures and lowering fuel costs.

Problems with buses:
1) Same traffic as cars + more stops than trains
2) Bad ride - constantly braking and accelerating, sometimes harshly
3) Small - can't escape a problem passenger
4) Lack of security - too small to justify guards
5) Inprecise schedules - they are at the mercy of traffic

Problems with subways:
1) Expensive - but paid for many times over given enough time.
2) Stations are not as close together as bus stops - learn to walk, lose weight.

All major cities ought to have subways and regional trains to suburbs, and we need high speed railway between cities. Yes, it would be an enormous investment - but it will pay for itself and make the US more competitive.

Here's why its so critical. As gas goes up, people try and move closer to cities, driving out the working poor, who can no longer afford housing nor the gas to drive from where the affordable housing is. Major cities run on the working poor. If they can't afford to get to work, we then have to pay them so much more that the city starts to choke on labor costs.
 

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Maybe Ottawa is an exception. Of course, if you live in one of the small bedroom communities on the outskirts you'll have to drive to a Park and Ride, but it's still not that bad. Dedicated rail from the far West, South, and East ends of Ottawa will make public transport even better.

Also, in Ottawa at least, buses have a dedicated Transitway -- it's a roadway system just for buses. Quite handy as the Transitway will get you to downtown in no time, at which point the buses take the bus-only lanes. It is fairly well thought out, I have to admit.

The poster who commented on LA, I have to agree. LA is a nightmare. It was designed for cars only and that means everyone will suffer long term. You simply cannot build enough roads to move people efficiently enough.

In the Bay Area things are built up fairly close together so there is no reason why a properly thought out and implemented public transit system would not work efficiently.

BTW, I know public transit in Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver, and Montreal also works well. When I've worked in Toronto and Montreal in years past taking the various public transit options always beat out taking a car, unless the place you were going to was in a bizarre location.

The biggest problem with most public transit is that it doesn't take you efficiently to places other than downtown usually. Subways and trains are the way to go. Hopefully one good thing to come out of all this green hysteria will be more subway and train systems/service in North America.

Also, in Ottawa at least, the bus system links up with our various festivals, too, allowing everyone to park at the Park and Rides and take the buses to the various festivals -- there seems to be one major one each week from May to November, as well as the big winter one in February. After the festival closes for the evening there are buses lined up to take folks back to those self-same Park and Rides. My family and I used it for Bluesfest this year and it was WAY better than hunting for parking.
 
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