Monday, April 23, 2007

VTA roundup

VTA has announced the reopening of the Santa Clara light rail station:

Monday, April 30 continues to be the target date for reopening the northbound light rail platforms on First Street at Santa Clara Street (five weeks early!). Temporary bus stops on First Street will also relocate at that time. Under the new configuration, some buses will stop alongside the light rail platforms, while others will use a stop north of Santa Clara Street, adjacent to the VTA Customer Service Center.

A date for the projected reopening of the Second Street platforms has not yet been identified but service there should resume during the second half of May. In both cases, the reopening of the platforms signals beneficial use, rather than completion of construction. Some work will continue in June, although the construction fencing will be gone and the size of work crews greatly reduced.

While the early reopening of the light rail station is good news, despite the fact that there will only be one way service for a few weeks, keeping the bus stops north of Santa Clara Street after the opening isn't. During the closure, most of the bus stops were relocated north of Santa Clara Street with the exception of the stop for 66, 68, 304 & 305, largely of the fact that 68 does not operate north of Santa Clara Street. The businesses nearby wanted to get rid of the bus stops at the light rail stations because they have historically attracted the homeless and thugs. Nonetheless, transit riders (seniors and disabled in particular) will be screwed as transfers between buses and light rail will require crossing a busy street.

Meanwhile, the overall Caltrain ridership has gone up (and the agency has received a national award for that) with the lone exception of the Gilroy-San Jose segment. In 2000, with four roundtrips a day, the Gilroy trains were at standing-room only. Today, after the VTA sponsored widening of Highway 101, the trains are lightly used:

Apparently Muni is not the only agency that bunch its buses. Without arrival information display, waiting for a bus on Santa Clara Street can be a frustrating experience. No bus shows up for 20 minutes or so, and suddenly two buses arrive at once:

(Taken from a 22 articulated bus, another 22 bus appeared in front)

(There's another 522 behind this 522. It is visible between the tree and the traffic light pole. The 522 appeared in front just loaded up a wheelchair passenger and afterwards passed the next few stops without picking up passengers)

The urban planning students at San Jose State is hosting another event to waste everyone's time on the BART extension:

How will the Alum Rock BART station affect the surrounding neighborhood? Join CommUniverCity San Jose and partners in the 2nd of 3 engaging workshops to have your voice heard!

* Design of the Town Square
* Arrangement of Streets, Trails, and Open Spaces
* BART Entrances, Bus Facilities, and Parking Design
* Redevelopment of Areas Surrounding the Future BART Station

DATE: Saturday, April 28, 2007
TIME: 9:00am - 2:00pm
LOCATION: Portugese Community Center, 1115 E. Santa Clara Street, San Jose (on VTA bus lines 22, 64, and 522 Rapid)

Although community participation is essential for good urban planning, by hosting a workshop on a severely underfunded BART extension, the students are instead giving a false hope for the people in the community.


Jason S said...

Yes, I am not in favor of relocating those bus stops north of Santa Clara Street too.. So apparently, it now means that transferring between buses and/or light rail, we have to make a quick dash across the street? Well, if they do decide on this, I think VTA should still keep that 66,68 bus stop north of San Fernando AND add the rest 23,82,85,180... so now there will be two!

I also think that no matter what, relocating the bus stops wouldn't matter to the bums and thugs... Instead, they'll just "hang out" at the retrofitted Santa Clara station. I don't know whats so special about 1st/2nd/Santa Clara, but it seems like even with a heavy police presence, those kinds of people are like part of the street furniture.

Nick said...

I can't stand the bunching on the 522. I love the 522, but I wish VTA would run it consistently, b/c right now its pretty sloppy.

Anonymous said...

It is difficult to run the 522 smoothly, only because once the drivers leave either Eastridge or Palo Alto, they continue in service. Many schedules will get behind in their schedule due to construction along the route, or numerous wheelchair boarding/deboarding.