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1 From: Bob Kenyon [mailto: ] Sent: Monday, February 08, :20 AM To: City Clerk Subject: Please prioritize Caltrain and a complete transit network Thank you for prioritizing bringing BART to San Jose and improving the bicycle and pedestrian network as priorities for the upcoming transportation tax. I have been working at a job in Palo Alto and using Caltrain to get there from Downtown San Jose has been the easiest and most pleasant way to get to work. After not having ridden it for a few years, it is now packed to the gunwales, and certainly seems to be run on a shoestring budget. Bob Kenyon

2 From: Edward Saum [mailto: ] Sent: Monday, February 08, :38 AM To: City Clerk Subject: Santa Clara County Transportation Tax Priorities Thank you for prioritizing bringing BART to San Jose and improving the bicycle and pedestrian network as priorities for the upcoming transportation tax. Edward Saum San Jose San Jose, CA 95126

3 From: Edward Ruder [mailto: ] Sent: Monday, February 08, :25 AM To: City Clerk Subject: Please prioritize Caltrain and a complete transit network Thank you for prioritizing bringing BART to San Jose and improving the bicycle and pedestrian network as priorities for the upcoming transportation tax. Edward Ruder San Jose, CA 95126

4 From: Peter Perez-Hernandez [mailto: Sent: Monday, February 08, :24 AM To: City Clerk Subject: Please prioritize Caltrain and a complete transit network com] Thank you for prioritizing bringing BART to San Jose and improving the bicycle and pedestrian network as priorities for the upcoming transportation tax. Peter Perez-Hernandez San Jose, CA 95136

5 From: Sybil Vasche [mailto: com] Sent: Monday, February 08, :01 AM To: City Clerk Subject: Please prioritize Caltrain and a complete transit network Thank you for prioritizing bringing BART to San Jose and improving the bicycle and pedestrian network as priorities for the upcoming transportation tax. Sybil Vasche San Jose, CA 95126

6 City of San Jose priorities for transportation tax investments Dear Mayor, City Council members, and staff, Thank you for considering expenditure priorities for the upcoming transportation tax. The proposed expenditure plan described in the staff report strongly supports some of the key priorities for San Jose, including bringing BART to Downtown/Diridon, funding the repair of local streets and roads, which are essential for all users, including people driving, using bus transit, walking, and bicycling; and closing key gaps in the bicycle and pedestrian network. However, the priorities quantified in the proposed expenditure plan in the staff report would not be near enough to achieve the city s transportation goal in the General Plan of reducing the share of trips in 1 single occupant cars from 80 percent to 40 percent by Mode shift is essential to achieving the city s goals for job growth, and for housing growth to accommodate a growing population and mitigate the housing affordability crisis. Solo driving is the least space efficient travel mode; San Jose won t be able to accommodate the desired growth if the same share of people drive as today. Reducing vehicle miles travelled will also help the city, region, and state reduce greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change. Achieving the city s mode share goals will require a broader investments in the transit system, including Caltrain, and bus network improvements. The staff report advises the City Council to wait until the next stage of evaluation of project submissions through the Envision process before making specific recommendations on additional project categories. If so, it is essential now for Council to clearly express the priorities that will enable the City to achieve its goals, including: Caltrain capacity and frequency improvements to support mode shift goals Bus network improvements to grow ridership and support transit dependent residents Affordability policies for those who need In addition, the priorities quantified for freeway interchange capacity increases, and unquantified for expressway capacity improvements, should be reviewed again in the context of city, regional, and state policies, including the latest updates to the California Environmental Quality Act. Limit spending on projects that will attract more drivers, shift bottlenecks elsewhere, relieve congestion only momentarily if at all, and increase GHG emissions /bold new vision san jose

7 Add flexibility to fund mitigation of increased vehicle miles travelled as required by the latest CEQA rules The Mayor s memo addresses the essential need for bus service improvements. It is described in terms of providing service for transit dependent users, which is critically important. However, it omits the goals of increasing ridership and supporting San Jose s growth goals which depend on mode shift. The Mayor has supported these goals in the past, and they should continue to be supported. In addition, the Mayor s memo suggest $0 for Caltrain investments. San Jose will not be able to achieve its growth goals for Downtown/Diridon without Caltrain increased capacity, so it will make sense to allocate some of the additional transit funding for Caltrain capacity, with support for greater fare equity to enable broader ridership. Caltrain improvements Enabling Caltrain to keep up with ridership growth is essential to meet the city s goals for growth in the Downtown/Diridon area. The Diridon Station Area Plan envisions approximately 10,000 BART passengers, 10,000 Caltrain passengers, and 12,000 High Speed Rail passengers by The Caltrain capacity and grade separation projects are essential to supporting the Caltrain and HSR ridership.

8 Caltrain electrification will help, but the additional capacity will almost instantly fill without additional additional investment in longer trains and longer platforms to carry more passengers. Caltrain grade separations are essential to enabling doubling the service frequency of Caltrain and High Speed Rail over the lifetime of the ballot measure. Grade separations aren t just convenient for communities outside of San Jose, they are needed to provide frequent and reliable service for people using Diridon station. Bus & first/last mile improvements Achieving the city s mode share goals will also require robust investments in the bus network, providing frequent service and faster speeds to increase ridership. Bus ridership has declined by 30% over the last 15 years, as bus service was reduced by 15% and speed has declined by 10%, according to TransForm. According to high level VTA estimates, improving frequency of major routes to 15 minutes would bring back ridership by 10%, and improving frequency to every 10 minutes would increase ridership by 40%. Bus service is essential for the city s seniors and disabled residents who do not drive, and very low income residents who can t afford car ownership; it is also important for the residents moving to densifying areas who own fewer cars and drive less. 2 2 Source: Diridon Station Area Plan

9 Regions around the globe with high performing, well used transit systems have backbone rail and rapid bus routes with a strong network of feeder and local buses and connector shuttles serving neighborhoods and destinations. This year, VTA s TRIP initiative has the goal of analyzing and re engineering bus service to serve more riders. VTA is starting to pilot innovative services using technology to effectively serve first and last mile connections. Fast moving technologies will create more opportunities over the life of the tax. Therefore, the City should strongly prioritize bus and first/last mile network investments, and express quantitative preferences utilizing the Envision analysis. Affordability policies and programs Affordability policies that help the elderly, disabled, and transit dependent; and enable the working poor use transit instead of driving. In a recent survey of 200 South Bay commuters conducted by Friends of Caltrain and Working Partnerships USA, higher income commuters were more likely to be receiving transit benefits and subsidies than lower income commuters. Programs such as VTA EcoPass and Caltrain GoPass, which are targeted for large employers, currently provide more benefits to higher income workers rather than lower income workers. The City s priorities should including funding affordability programs to make transit affordable for those who need. Freeways and expressways mitigate and reduce increased driving Extensive research shows that expanding vehicle capacity on major roadways can facilitate automobile travel, leading to more vehicle miles travelled, rapidly losing any congestion benefits, and increasing greenhouse gas emissions and pollution. Major roadway projects which are likely to lead to increased vehicle miles travelled include grade separated interchanges, and additional through lanes or auxiliary

10 lanes. For this reason, the California Environmental Quality Act is transforming the way that major 3 roadway projects are evaluated. The main criterion will be the roadway projects tendency to increase vehicle miles travelled. If major roadway projects increase VMT (and most will, as documented in the new guidelines), they will be considered to have a significant environmental impact. This impact can be mitigated with transit, transportation demand management, tolling, and intelligent traffic systems. However, until now, the planning, and funding processes which cover major roadway projects are disconnected or loosely connected with the processes that fund, plan, and deliver the projects that mitigate the impact of these projects. Going forward, CEQA will require these projects to mitigate their impacts, and therefore, it would be important to fund projects in a way that allows them to mitigate their impacts, and address the congestion problems without increases in vehicle miles traveled. The new rules are expected go into effect between 2017 and 2019, and therefore will affect projects through the lifetime of the ballot measure. Therefore, we urge the City to carefully review the results of the Envision evaluation and: Limit spending on projects that are projected to attract more drivers, shift bottlenecks elsewhere, relieve congestion momentarily if at all, and increase GHG emissions Add flexibility to the funding for roadway projects to enable them to mitigate increased vehicle miles travelled as required by the latest CEQA rules Friends of Caltrain Friends of Caltrain is a 501c3 nonprofit with over 5,000 participants on the Peninsula Corridor from San Francisco through San Jose and Gilroy, including over 500 participants in San Jose. We support sustainable transportation in the region including a financially stable modernized Caltrain service, integrated backbone rail service with Caltrain connected to BART at Diridon, and integrated networks for transit and active transportation, accessible to all. Thank you for your consideration, Adina Adina Levin Friends of Caltrain

11 From: Samantha Infeld [mailto: ] Sent: Tuesday, February 09, :12 AM To: City Clerk Subject: Please prioritize Caltrain and a complete transit network Thank you for prioritizing bringing BART to San Jose and improving the bicycle and pedestrian network as priorities for the upcoming transportation tax. Samantha Infeld San Jose, CA 95120

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