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Fwd: El Camino for All Meeting Notes and Doodle for next meeting focused on Sunnyvale and Mountain View

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  • Megan Fluke
    Hey folks, please see attached notes from Kenneth Rosales from a meeting about Bus Rapid Transit on El Camino that happened a few weeks ago. There is a follow
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 31, 2011
    Hey folks, please see attached notes from Kenneth Rosales from a meeting about Bus Rapid Transit on El Camino that happened a few weeks ago.  There is a follow up meeting that (I believe) is still being scheduled for this or next week.  If folks are interested, please fill out this doodle ASAP- http://doodle.com/gaxsw7zi2r5kqzwq.  

    ---------- Forwarded message ----------
    From: Chris Lepe <clepe@...>
    Date: Fri, Aug 19, 2011 at 5:05 PM
    Subject: El Camino for All Meeting Notes and Doodle for next meeting focused on Sunnyvale and Mountain View
    To: Chris Lepe <clepe@...>, Ellie Casson <ecasson@...>

    Dear El Camino for All Coalition meeting participants,
    Thank you for your participation in this week's corridor-wide meeting. Also, thanks to Ellie for facilitating and VTA staff for the thorough presentation and discussion. Please see below for the meeting notes and next steps.
    1. Please review the notes and let us know if we missed anything by Friday, August 26th. Within the notes, if you see any next steps/action items that you'd like to help out with, please let me & Ellie know ASAP. Also, I've attached the short PPT of examples of BRT in the US that was mentioned at this week's meeting for you to skim through.
    2. If you didn't get a chance to provide feedback or pose a question to VTA, or if you have additional feedback or questions, please send me your comments/questions so that I can compile them and send to VTA for their reference by Friday, August 26th.
    3. One of the big take-aways from this week's meeting was that we need to expand the diversity of groups/associations involved in this effort. I just sent out the google doc of my El Camino corridor organizational contacts, including schools and churches. Please take a look at the document and add any other organizations/stakeholders that you feel would be good to reach out to. Also, let me and Ellie know if you would like to help reach out to any particular organizations, associations, or institutions.
    4. Another big takeaway is that we need to focus our efforts over the next few months on Sunnyvale and Mountain View, which haven't yet chosen to pursue a multimodal, transit/bike/ped first layout for El Camino Real. If you would like to attend our next El Camino For All Coalition meeting focused on Sunnyvale and Mountain View, please fill out the following doodle poll to let us know what dates and times work for you. Also, if you know anyone who lives or works in Sunnyvale that may be interested, please extend the invitation. The link to the poll is: http://doodle.com/gaxsw7zi2r5kqzwq. Please fill out the poll by Wednesday, August 24th at the latest.
    5. Finally, we need to build support for more state resources for projects like the El Camino BRT. Sign our petition at: http://investintransit.org/.
    Looking forward to continuing to work together to build support for a sustainable and vibrant El Camino corridor!

    NOTES – El Camino for All Coalition meeting – 8/15/11

    ·        City level updates

    o   San Jose:

    §  San Jose Envison 2040 GP EIR closed

    §  Planned development along the Alameda not located where BRT stops are planned -  VTA and City need to better coordinate. For example, lots of high density at 880 but not at Naglee and the Alameda.

    §  Streets were closed down this weekend for San Jose Jazz Fest and the City did not collapse!

    §  Continued progress on A Beautiful Way Plan for the Alameda

    §  San Carlos/Stevens Creek BRT will begin planning soon and El Camino can be a model for San Carlos corridor. The area around San Carlos needs revitalization and BRT could be the springboard for this.

    §  Bellarmine students worked to support Caltrain Service at College Park and urged elected officials not to cut Caltrain service. A petition was submitted to Caltrain. Service to College Park was continued as a result of the student’s advocacy. A good example of what working together can accomplish!

    o   Mountain View: Aaron met with new City Manager and told him about MVCSP and other groups working in MV. It’s always good for local staff and officials to know about us.

    o   Palo Alto: Balked at the growth projections for their city that was released by ABAG as part of Plan Bay Area.

    o   Other cities: no updates beyond what was reported at our last meeting.

    ·        VTA El Camino BRT presentation

    o   Growth projections for SCC: 40% inc. in population, 50% inc. in jobs.

    o   BRT “light” service will begin on El Camino in 2014 which will basically be new BRT vehicles. The actual BRT built out project is expected to be completed in 2016.

    o   Timeline for decision on exclusive lanes pushed back until the new year. VTA doesn’t want to rush cities into a decision – they’re not ready yet – need more info and more time to check in with community.

    o   BRT vehicles will diesel-electric hybrid and riders will be able to use electronic payment systems (Clipper)

    o   Boarding for the disabled:  VTA will not have technically “level” boarding (it will be more than a 3 inch gap). There will a ramp that comes out and chairs can roll in.

    o   VTA willing to preserve and actually increase the number of left turns along the corridor.

    o   All of El Camino is 110 feet wide. Santa Clara is narrowing their median to 10 feet in order to incorporate bike lanes, bus lanes, and on-street parking.

    o   Santa Clara is currently the leader in advocating for a multimodal design for the BRT project- it’s in their GP! Sunnyvale and Mountain View remain undecided on exclusive bus lanes. Mountain View’s City Council is leaning towards a mixed flow alignment which would preserve the status quo.

    o   Dedicated lanes:

    §  Dedicated lanes are not planned for Downtown Jose. Downtown is not congested enough to justify a dedicated lane. If speeds fall below that 30% goal then they will reconsider that and maybe add a dedicated lane.

    §  VTA is not proposing exclusive lanes in Palo Alto because of operational issues (short distance in PA for BRT lanes and then would have to transition to mixed flow). VTA mentioned that they would consider placing exclusive bus lanes in PA if the line were to terminate in Menlo Park.

    o   Painted buffer for bike lanes possible – we should inquire more about this and make sure to communicate this option to the public – very exciting possibility!

    o   VTA’s ridership models: do incorporate demographic trends and other factors such as gas prices, parking, etc. Models are based on an assumption of 10 minute frequencies for 18 hours a day, every day, although VTA also has a model that considers 5 minute peak hour frequencies as well.

    o   Comments & Questions to VTA

    §  El Camino Real Mode Share slide is a really hard to understand.

    §  What are the bike/ped mode share changes under various scenarios?

    ·        VTA still does not have bike/ped projections – working on it.

    §  Can we make the bike lanes level with the sidewalk as in Europe?

    ·        Driveways are an issue. There are examples of protected bike lanes in the US. We are behind on this. Capitol Expy - there will be a separated pedestrian/bike “sidewalk” installed within the next year

    §  Are you capturing objections from each city? Are you customizing your presentation for each city? Mountain View City Council was initially unreceptive to exclusive bus lanes but liked the idea of bike lanes integrated on El Camino. It’s important to convey that there are several alternatives to El Camino for auto traffic.

    §  Concern about cut-through traffic on smaller streets. Can’t signage and other strategies be used to avoid cut through traffic on neighborhood streets? Is it possible to create a map to show alternative corridors? VTA should highlight other major corridors where cars could go if they are avoiding El Camino Real, rather than show cars being diverted onto local streets.

    ·        VTA: If a city came to us with traffic calming solutions VTA would be open to talking to them. Funding for traffic calming and other mitigations to cut-through traffic on local roads may be explored as mitigations through environmental review.

    §  VTA should put up examples of successful BRT on their website. Highlight top cities with over 1 million people that have successful BRT – including projected cars taken off the road and number or riders and actual #’s.

    §  Work on messaging re. taking cars off the road – people don’t like the idea of being forced out of their cars. Ex. “Increased mobility for all”.

    §  What’s the decrease in car traffic as a result of BRT and exclusive lanes? Emphasize decrease in car traffic once people have the option of taking the much faster bus. VTA should offer a parallel measurement that shows ridership projections if it bus travel times become quicker in their presentation. Provide a speed measurement in comparison to current service that people can related to such as 1.5x as fast as current service.

    §  A 3 inch bump should be used to separate BRT lanes from other auto lanes.

    §  Highlight VMT and GHG reduction benefits of the project, as well as decreased transportation costs for individuals (ex. cost per mile traveled).

    §  Question re. HOV lane instead of BRT only lane

    ·        VTA – operationally it would not work and would be a safety issue.

    §  BRT express buses that skip stops – could that be integrated?

    ·        VTA – good idea!

    §  VTA should provide videos on their website and public meetings to jazz people up about BRT and exclusive lanes.

    §  We should have local advocates to talk about the project rather than just VTA. VTA should provide us with information “ammunition” to advocate for a sound project.

    §  VTA should convey the importance of regionalism and working together for the interest of the region (not just local interests) - convey expected population increase, demographic change, and the need for affordable alternatives as gas prices rise (and oil runs out).

    §  VTA: studying the peak capacity of the system at 5 minute frequencies at which point the system would need to be converted to rail.

    §  Partner with merchants to highlight the benefits to business of BRT.

    o   Will current feeder lines be running more frequently?

    §  Stations were selected based on the health of the feeder lanes. So far no analysis has been done on increasing feeder lanes but that may come later.

    o   Is VTA studying connecting with Personal Rapid Transit (PRT)?

    §  No

    ·        BRT next steps and advocacy

    o   VTA to place PDF of PPT presentation on the Valley Rapid site.

    o   Next meeting in three weeks to focus on corridor-wide advocacy efforts with a focus on Mountain View and Sunnyvale. Chris to send out a doodle poll.

    §  Identify key decision makers along the corridor and their positions (as well as the things they care about – their issues). Local folks to reach out to their reps.

    o   Media – Anyone want to take the lead on any of these next steps?

    §  Produce a draft Op-Ed to be submitted to the Mercury News after Gary Richard’s report on BRT.

    §  Produce Op-Ed’s for individual city newspapers, particularly Sunnyvale and Mountain View

    §  VTA to connect Gary Richards to TransForm and GBA

    §  We should also have spokesmen for each city along the corridor, particularly Sunnyvale and Mountain View – anyone interested in volunteering?

    §  Produce media list and pitch a story on El Camino BRT to local media such as the Metro.

    o   Expand network of those involved including schools and businesses. Chris to send out google doc for people to add groups/organizations/stakeholders to reach out to.

    o   Send notes to the group. If anyone has any additional comments or questions, please send Chris or Ellie your thoughts/comments by August 26th so we can compile them into one document and send to VTA.

    o   Help VTA get turnout for open-house meetings scheduled next month? See ValleyRapid.org for meeting locations and other information. Is anyone interested in attending or helping spread the word about these public meetings?

    §  Mountain View at 3:30 pm & 6:00 pm on Sep 22

    §  Sunnyvale at 3:30 pm & 6:00 pm on Sep 27

    §  Santa Clara at 3:30 pm & 6:00 pm on Oct 18

    §  Palo Alto at 3:30 pm & 6:00 pm on Oct 20

    o   Participate in the VTA/TransForm October 22nd El Camino BRT tour? Anyone interested in going on the tour or participating in some way?

    o   Other: Finalize outreach materials: BRT multimodal petition, visuals, talking points, frequently asked questions, top ten reasons why exclusive lanes are a good idea on El Camino, flyer, online letter campaign. Chris to produce Draft versions of these documents. Please let Chris know if you’re interested in helping to draft or edit any of these materials.

    Make your community and commute better by taking action now on our website.

    Chris Lepe, Community Planner, Silicon Valley
    48 South 7th Street, Suite #103, San Jose, CA 95112
    (408) 406-8074

    Megan  Fluke
    Grassroots Organizer
    Sierra Club, Loma Prieta Chapter

    3921 E. Bayshore Road
    Palo Alto, CA 94303
    (650) 390 9604

    Do you think your city could be greener?  Join your local Cool Cities Team, a motivated group of residents in your neighborhood who are working together to make your city a more sustainable place.  Contact me if you'd like more information.
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