Tuesday, April 15, 2008

South Bay transit round-up

VTA Commitee Update

This Thursday, the Administration and Finance Commitee will decide whether to forward the "Board restructuring" proposal to the VTA Board. The restructuring proposal is merely a reshuffling of membership, and does nothing to address the flawed decision making process and conflict of interests between its role as a transit operator and as a congestion management agency (highway builders).

The Committee will also discuss the "Sunshine Laws" proposal suggested by the VTA Riders' Union. Specifically, the Riders' Union is requesting VTA to post upcoming board meetings inside VTA's vehicles as well as to tape closed sessions of board meetings and then release those to the public when the need for secrecy no longer exists. The VTA staff responds that posting public meetings onboard buses and light rail could violate the contract with its advertising agency. In regards to taping closed sessions, VTA argues against it because it may lead to information being leaked to the public prematurely if tapes are not being handled properly by the VTA staff.

Also on the meeting agenda is the approval of the sublease of the depot building at Palo Alto Caltrain to a cafe operator. The cafe operator will have free rent for the first six months to establish the business. The building has been vacant for the last few years. Part of the motivation to find a business to occupy that building is to make the restrooms there available to the public. Currently the only public restroom in the area is the "French toilet" between the bus transit center and the Red Cross.

Light Rail update

Even though the station has reopened, the work is not complete at Children's Discovery Museum station.

Is toppling trash bins a part of the demolition work at Curtner station?

Although the light rail trains don't stop at the closed stations, they're required to slow down to 15 mph while passing through the station. Signs have been installed to direct operators when to slow down and when to speed up.

The stop for the bus bridge at Ohlone/Chynoweth is on the same side of the station as the southbound platform.


Anonymous said...

Please explain your logic behind you concerns about VTA being both a transit agency and a CMA. Seperating the two will not solve the problem of misguided priorities such as the BART extension, which the surviving transit agency will pursue.

accountablevta said...

First of all, there's lack of check and balance between those who has the money and who wants the money. The old 1996 Measure A/B provided a degree of balance since the Board of Supervisors controls the money.

Secondly, separating the agency allows more and better participation by the politians themselves. May be some cities can be represented in the CMA or on the transit agency, if not both.

Third, there's legal restriction of membership on any agency that takes a role as CMA. Agency without a role as a CMA could appoint directors that are not currently serving on a city council or the county board.