Enter the Contest: Stop the OAC Creatively!

27 Aug

Disclosure: I am working on a part time, short term basis for TransForm on the Oakland Airport Connector campaign. However, the thoughts expressed in my posts on this subject are my own and should not be construed to be those of TransForm.

The more and more I write about, think about, and advocate against the Oakland Airport Connector (OAC), the more and more absurd it seems. And as I talk to people about it, it’s clear that I’m not the only one that feels that way.

But after a while, pulling your hair out and banging your head against the wall in an effort to figure out how anybody could support the OAC isn’t very productive. So TransForm and the coalition for a better connector has launched a contest to inspire creative criticism of this half-billion dollar bling-frastructure project and raise critical media attention as we go into the final phase to stop the proposed project and support a common sense solution this fall.

So let your creative juices and pent up frustration flow and send your entries to StopTheOAC@gmail.com by September 12th for the chance to win cash prizes:

  1. Best Image or Multimedia – $250 Prize
  2. Best Haiku – $100 Prize

For many more details on the contest and the top ten most ridiculous reasons to support this project, visit OaklandAirportConnector.com/Contest.

But first, let me explain one more reason this project makes no sense – it’s even less seamless than we had originally thought!

If you’ve ridden the AirBART bus, you know it’s a pretty simple connection to make. You 1) Walk down the escalator  and 2) Exit the station to wait for and board the bus. Now, the way BART’s been hyping the OAC, you might have presumed that it would be even more seamless. Wrong! Check out the trip from the Colisueum BART station to the OAC:


And this doesn’t even take into account the trip down another escalator and across a parking lot and lanes of traffic once you reach the airport!

I look forward to seeing your haiku, image, and multimedia entries that put a creative spin on why we must stop the OAC. Check out the first few entries at OaklandAirportConnector.com/Contest for more inspiration.

(And if you haven’t yet signed the petition to stop the OAC, please sign it now! We’ve passed 400 signatures and are aiming for 500.)

Previous posts on the Oakland Airport Connector:

7 Responses to “Enter the Contest: Stop the OAC Creatively!”

  1. Phil August 27, 2009 at 7:44 am #

    I would argue that AirBART is far from seamless – if you’re new to AirBART, all you have as a guide for what to do is a few small paper signs taped to the wall of the Coliseum station. Plus, you need to buy a separate ticket (or have $3 in cash) for AirBART.. far from seamless.

    It’s even worse if you’re coming from the airport because there’s no ticket machine nor change machine nearby.

    Anyways, I agree, the OAC doesn’t seem to help at all. Though the procedure for a rider might be a bit more intuitive (real turnstiles and a dedicated walkway make it easier to understand), the payment system and the walk is not an improvement.

    • Becks August 27, 2009 at 8:47 am #

      I completely agree that the AirBART is not as seamless as it could be – but the OAC is even less seamless! A bus rapid transit system could solve all the problems you mention about AirBART at a 10th of the cost of the OAC.

  2. Max Allstadt August 27, 2009 at 9:15 am #

    I think that the case against the OAC needs to be about waste more than inconvenience.

    A lot of rail connections require some walking. Perhaps though, you might compare this connector to the one at JFK in new york, which everybody hates.

    By the way, what does the layout look like at the airport end of the connector? I thought that was the real joke. Do they have turnstiles at that end too? One thing that happens in NYC is that you get on their connector at the airport end thinking it’s free, and at the end, they make you pay 5 bucks to leave.

    • Becks August 27, 2009 at 9:21 am #

      Max – I agree completely that it is more about waste than inconvenience, but BART is arguing that the OAC would be more convenient than the AirBART and I think it’s worth pointing out just how false that is.

      My understanding is that there will not be turnstiles at the airport – you just pay at the Coliseum stations. That means that if they ever do build an intermediate station (which is very unlikely), riders would have to pay the full fare to get to the intermediate station. I’ll include a diagram of the airport station in a future post.

  3. Eric Fischer August 27, 2009 at 9:32 am #

    I agree this benefit of this project is probably not worth the cost of building it, but half the length of a football field is not a long walk. That is 180 feet, and the length of a BART platform is 700 feet. You are probably walking further from your train to the stairs than the length of that connector bridge.

    • Becks August 27, 2009 at 10:45 am #

      Maybe I’m too in the thick of things, but when you’ve seen BART staff present again and again to the BART board, MTC, ACTIA, and the Port talking about how seamless and convenient the OAC is, this diagram shows that they’re not telling the whole story.

      In fact, many elected officials I’ve met with have been under the impression (after talking to BART staff) that riders would step out of the BART train and then step directly into another train (kind of like transferring from a Pittsburgh train to a Richmond train).

  4. Jame Ervin August 27, 2009 at 10:50 pm #

    I’ll admit I bought the original project hook, line, and sinker, and voted at the ballot. But the current OAC is ridiculous. As I discussed with my transit only friends, there are no longer intermediate stops. Back when this was proposed there wasn’t a big reason to stop on Hegenberger. Today we have a busy and popular shopping center. How many public transit riders might want to stop at Walmart?

    Second, this is an extraordinarily expensive project. To go 3 measly miles. With no stops. Seriously. $500M for 3 miles. Sorry not a good use of funds. $500M could go a long way towards improving transit in a meaningful way.

    Third. I drive. I hate driving to the airport. In order to avoid driving to the airport and paying for parking I take BART. I actively try to avoid AIRBART whenever possible and fly out of SFO. If it will take 10 minutes to go to the OAC, why bother. Seriously, drag your luggage up the escalator. Walk to the OAC terminal…… sorry, I’ll keep avoiding OAK and head to SFO. (I have other friends with similar opinions.) And if the former potential riders avoid the OAC, then where is the ridership?

    So if the OAC will actually be more annoying and more expensive to take than AirBART, blows past the shopping centers and amenities en route, what’s the point. And that is why this is a stupid project.

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