.Letter to the Editor: Our Right of Way

Re: “Nothing to Nowhere” (GT, 12/23)

In the transit debate comparing rail transit with BRT, one rarely hears how much better rail is for the passengers. I rode the bus to UCSC nearly every day for 30 years. Nobody loves the bus. They pitch, yaw and roll. Rail transit is a nice ride. That’s an empirical fact. Our public right-of-way deserves the best option for passengers, let’s remember that. 

Linda Rosewood | Santa Cruz

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  1. Oh, Linda… You leave out the most important facts. Rail is the most expensive option. BRT would be the least expensive, more flexible, more reliable, less construction time , less invasive , more user-friendly in connecting with first mile/last mile transportation. Also, it does not need a new tax to support like the rail would. It can use Measure D funds now. There is much more support for the BRT than for any type of rail.

  2. Rail provides a smoother and more energy efficient ride, important especially over longer distances. That we already have a permitted railway should help Commissioners accept rail as the Locally Preferred Alternative next month. However, we should never look at rail as a competitor to Metro. Rather, rail will become integrated with Metro service and could bring new ridership and revenue to the bus network.

    Commissioners will take note, I hope, that the cost profiles in the TCAA are for traditional transit systems and there are more affordable rail vehicle and system options that can be identified in the next phase: development of a business plan and environmental study.

    I urge every Commissioner to realize that a Yes vote to accept Light Rail as the Locally Preferred Alternative is not a commitment to implement a costly plan; it’s a promise to honor the public process, follow the data, and take the necessary next steps to make an informed decision about how best to use the Transit Corridor for public benefit.

    This is not only consistent with voter-approved Measure D funding, it’s supported by Caltrans funding and it’s the right thing to do.

  3. Interesting point. The submitter states they rode the bus to UCSC. How exactly does the writer expect transit passengers to get to UCSC by train? The tracks are over 2 miles from the main campus. Then when you look at where the stops are supposed to be placed for this “rail” , there are very few places along the corridor where people actually live, especially for South County. Check the zoning map for Watsonville. Again, the 19th century freight spur line is miles from residential areas. Most people would have to back track to where the rail station would be. As miserable as the writer makes it out to be, buses can go where people want and need to go, trains in Santa Cruz do not. Our money would be much better spent on Bus on Shoulder that will actually carry more passengers and get them to where they want to go faster than a train can. Buses are not restricted to only 8 vehicles running at any one time and would cost the community far less. Let’s really make the right choice for mass-transit passengers and not the choice preferred by big business and developers looking for a huge county contract. Simply put, Metro is a more cost effective method to move people.

  4. I hope someone reads this. Before we spend money on building a rail system, we should invest in our bus system. If we can’t get people to use the bus – why should we think they will ride the train? The bus system is already in place. Let’s invest in it and make it work the way it does in cities all around the nation and the world. It would be way less money, faster to accomplish and beneficial to way more people. We could add more busses, more routes, a fleet of mini vans as connectors and more express busses (for example direct from Felton to downtown). The bus system as it exists has so much room for improvement. With past budget cuts it has lost busses and routes and it takes so long to get anywhere it is not really working except for the lucky few that live on one of the few routes that are well maintained. If we really invested 100% into public transportation to get cars off the roads, improving the existing bus system would be the 1st place to start.

    • Thank you! The Metro Bus system was Stellar about 30 years ago. FORT never mentions that the BRT will have level boarding , alternative fuel source, room for storing bicycles, has more flexibility, and is projected to have higher ridership and more and later time schedules then any rail proposed. It would also follow the branch line and Beyond and would serve a high percentage of Target population. All this and being cheaper and faster to build creates a slam dunk of a decision.

  5. Rail isn’t going to be expensive in the case of Santa Cruz County. Tig-Ms will be self-propelled, using electric batteries such as in a Tesla. The rail road tracks will need an upgrade, at a fraction of the cost of building a bus only lane on the freeway. Greenway is lying when it claims the cost of a light rail system will be $1.3 billion. It will be less than a quarter of that. In fact, the figures of a Tig-M operation were presented to the last SCCRTC meeting!
    Another thing is that Greenway is a political action committee that has tens of millions of dollars behind it. Many Koenig did not win without spending millions of dollars, to to get elected to a supervisor’s seat! Panetta probably didn’t spend as much for his Congressional seat! So, if you were sick and tired of all those Manu signs, be prepared for Greenway to take advantage of the Citizens United decision and spend plenty of bucks for their anti-passenger rail position. Bud Colligan has the dough to spend, and he will spend it to get his NIMBY way! We who are pro-rail need to fight it and be ready to donate as much as we can to stop Greenway’s greed!

  6. The Tig-M proposal to the SCCRTC is by far the least expensive plan for light rail. It is nowhere near the $1.3 billion that Greenway claims. Tig-Ms will not need overhead wires or a third rail, only an upgrade of the tracks to class 2, which is a fraction of the cost of adding a bus-only lane to the freeway, which will cost well over $500 million. Tig-Ms will be quiet, as they will be like an electric car, self-propelled using batteries, and those batteries can be recharged using solar power that can be stored. Tig-Ms are the latest technology in light rail systems, and Santa Cruz could be a leader in implementing them in a private/public partnership, as outlined in the latest SCCRTC meeting.


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