There are several local and state transit issues that Californians will vote on this November, and each of them have been generating a lot of discussion in the blogosphere.
With the vote on Measure KK in Berkeley just a couple weeks away, it seems like everyone’s talking about Bus Rapid Transit (BRT). V Smoothe wrote two must read posts over the past week, making strong arguments for BRT. First, she explained that the main advantage of BRT is not speed, it’s reliability. Today, she followed up by debunking the myth that the proposed BRT line is redundant to BART. Raymond at Oakland Space Academy is open to the idea of BRT but is a bit more skeptical than most of Oakland’s bloggers.
Shockingly, the Berkeley Daily Planet distorted what happened at Jane Brunner’s recent BRT meeting in North Oakland. I attended the meeting and wrote here that the overwhelming sentiment of the Oakland community was in support of BRT. Yet Jesse Douglas Allen-Taylor claimed that Oaklanders at the meeting were as divided as Berkeley is on the issue (which couldn’t be much further for the truth). Luckily, in the same issue, dto510’s excellent opinion piece on BRT was published, along with a letter to the editor from me contesting Allen-Taylor’s claims about the meeting.
BRT is not all that’s at stake for transit on this November’s ballot. Prop 1A would authorize the sale of bonds to finance a high speed rail system from Los Angeles to San Francisco. While I agree with V Smoothe’s assessment early this year that the Altamont alignment of the rail line would have been much more favorable for the line as a whole and for Oakland in particular, I think this project is still worthwhile under the chosen Pacheco alignment. Robert’s been following this initiative closely for months now over at his California High Speed Rail Blog, making several convincing arguments about why we need high speed rail now. I especially appreciated his recent post explaining that the high speed rail project will provide needed economic stimulus to our state, much like bridges and dams did during the Great Depression.
Though at first thought it might not seem relevant to Oaklanders, Santa Clara County will be voting on Measure B, which would increase the county’s sales tax rate to fund the extension of BART to San Jose. Eric at Transbay Blog has embarked on an in-depth series of posts dedicated to explaining the history of this project and to making a clear argument about why BART to San Jose is a bad idea for the Bay Area’s regional transit system. 295bus agrees, arguing that the local transit agency’s obsession with the BART extension has gotten in the way of other opportunities to improve transit in the county.
And while we’ve all been distracted by the presidential race and the at-large city council race, there’s another important race happening in Oakland. At-large AC Transit Director Chris Peeples is being challenged by Joyce Roy, an Oakland resident who has staked her campaign on complaining about Van Hool buses and opposing BRT (PDF). Needless to say, I’m voting for Peeples, and Jeff Hobson from the Transportation and Land Use Coalition is too.