BART

BART and Caltrain, On-Track and Ready to Roll

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August 17  |  Transportation  |   Carl Guardino

Here’s food for thought . . . BART and Caltrain, on-track and ready to roll.

This week, Governor Brown’s Secretary of Transportation, Brian Kelley, announced the 14 transportation improvements that are recipients of the highly competitive “Cap-and-Trade” funds.

Two of the top priorities from around the state are $20 million to help complete the planned electrification of Caltrain, and $20 million for Segment 2 of our BART extension to downtown San Jose and Santa Clara.

Like peanut butter and chocolate, BART and Caltrain are two great systems that are even better together.

And they will, when voters approve the VTA’s Traffic Relief and Road Repair measure on the November 8 ballot. The second segment of our BART extension will bring the popular line from Berryessa in north San Jose to Alum Rock, downtown San Jose near San Jose State University, the Diridon Station at SAP Center, and on to Santa Clara, immediately across from Santa Clara University.

Both the Diridon Station and the Santa Clara Station will link BART with Caltrain, which will start to be electrified by 2020. Yes, our 60 year dream of Rapid Rail around the Bay is within reach.

The Governor’s decision to invest Cap-and-Trade funds for our BART extension underscores the State’s long-term commitment to Segment two. As Transportation Secretary Kelley wrote when announcing the funds, the state plans for a long-term, multi-year funding commitment to bring BART to downtown San Jose and on to Santa Clara.

BART and Caltrain. Some things simply go better together. And when it comes to easing our crippling commutes, we are one election away from making this dream a reality.

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Downtown San Jose, Spur to Action

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March 19  |  Uncategorized  |   Carl Guardino

Here’s food for thought . . . When it comes to strengthening downtown San Jose, it is time we are spurred to action.

And thanks to a recent report by the civic group appropriately named SPUR, we have renewed reasons to focus on the future of downtown San Jose.

As the report shows, the key is to get more people into downtown San Jose to fill it with vibrancy and life. Downtown streets are packed episodically – for the Jazz Festival, our Silicon Valley Turkey Trot or Sharks games, for example – but on a day-to-day basis it still lacks the density of other downtowns, including regional neighbors like Oakland and San Francisco:

  • With roughly 36,000 jobs, downtown San Jose has less than half the employment of downtown Oakland – with more than 80,000 jobs – and less than one-eighth that of downtown San Francisco – with more than 300,000 jobs.
  • Downtown San Jose is home to less than 14,000 residents, just over half the number in downtown Oakland – with 23,000 residents – and about one-fourth of the residents in downtown San Francisco – with nearly 56,000 residents.

So what should we do about it?

  • First, focus on high-quality urban design and dense development of all kinds in downtown. This will not only result in a more connected, attractive place, it also encourages walking, biking and transit.
  • Second, maximize regional transit investments by holding sites adjacent to BART and Caltrain stations for job-generating uses. This is the best way to ensure high transit ridership and allow for the vibrancy and density downtown San Jose needs without causing gridlock.
  • Third, downtown San Jose is already the cultural, entertainment and creative urban center of the South Bay. Build on this strength by making it easier to start creative businesses and activate the streets and other public spaces.

Reports are great. Eliciting action is even better. Let’s use this report to spur action. Let’s build a downtown worthy of Silicon Valley.

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Priorities for 2014: BART Extension – Phase II

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January 22  |  Transportation  |   Carl Guardino

Here’s food for thought . . . Let’s never forget BART’s great start.

For the past 15 years, the Silicon Valley Leadership Group has championed bringing BART to Silicon Valley, including successful ballot measures in 2000 and 2008, along with advocacy to secure $2 billion in state and federal matching funds.

These efforts have led to the construction of the first 10 miles of the 16-mile BART extension, which is running nearly $100 million under-budget and a full year ahead of schedule. Service will begin in the summer of 2017.

While we monitor the progress on the first 10 miles, we cannot lose sight of the final six miles. Here’s why:

  • The first 10 miles takes BART from Warm Springs in Fremont to Milpitas and Berryessa in North San Jose, linking with Light Rail.
  • The final six miles adds four more stations: In Alum Rock, Downtown San Jose, Diridon Station/SAP Center and Santa Clara.
  • All 16 miles will serve roughly 90,000 daily passenger trips, removing 16,000 tons of greenhouse gasses from our atmosphere each year.
  • All 16 miles leads to 108,000 new jobs and 27,000 new homes within a half-mile of the six new BART stations, easing congestion on our roads and highways.

Yes, BART is off to a great start – but let’s never forget to finish what we start. That’s why phase II of the BART extension, the final six miles, remains a top priority of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group.

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BART Extension On-Track: New State Funds

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August 16  |  Transportation  |   Carl Guardino

A million here, a million there, and pretty soon you are talking about real money.

These famous words by a former member of Congress underscore the importance of the funding needed for transportation improvements throughout our region.

This was driven home to me again last week in San Diego, when my colleagues and I who serve on the California Transportation Commission approved an additional $40 million in state funds to build our BART extension to Silicon Valley. Over the past five years, we have allocated nearly $760 million in state funds for this vital link between Fremont and San Jose. The final allocation of $39 million is scheduled for delivery in August 2014.

Equally important, construction is under way, with the BART extension running nearly $100 million under budget and 18 months ahead of schedule. Kudos to the VTA for its stewardship of our tax dollars. Indeed, our BART extension is on-track.

The important partnership between local voters who have taxed themselves and state and federal funds, is making the dream of BART to Silicon Valley a reality.

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