Here’s what one Road Warrior reader has to say about the Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s new long-range plan for road, bridge and mass transit construction in the Bay Area. Read the details in our March 22 post.

Dear Linda,

I had read another article on this topic in another newspaper and I have lots of trouble with these groups on long range forecasts.

Too often there are a bunch of consultants doing their forecasts and over time the population of California stops growing and sometimes contracts due to the economy. This 25 year forecast may miss the mark big time yet the planning is for the worst case scenario.

So this new forecast is all about centralizing government in the Bay Area including Sonoma County and telling people and government how to live and act. The MTC has control over the budgets and is very San Francisco focused because it is a high density city with a good public transportation system. But the reality is that the Bay Area is suburban and rural and the infrastructure is built up.

I used to live in San Jose for many years and despite BART coming to San Jose (north San Jose and downtown is up in the air for decades after that), it will not change how people live, work and have fun and shop. So trying to impose this San Francisco mentality on the rest of the Bay Area will fail and our government leaders locally must resist it.

Although I was not living in Sonoma County when SMART was voted in, I saw similar issues with BART to San Jose at the same time. And then both have suffered on the financial front with BART to San Jose getting lucky with the federal government sending a check for $760 million to pay for the Fremont to North San Jose line (still needs to reach downtown San Jose and the city of Santa Clara). Neither transit lines will change the way people live in the area are to be installed and with SMART until they figure out a way to build out the entire system quickly after Phase One, the system will be a failure. Plus there needs to be a way to feed SMART locally at each station with public buses taking people to and from the station and enough parking.

MTC will use the money issue and you will see a backlash towards their San Francisco bias on forcing changing. The high tech sector is always changing and people live in one area and work in another. That is why public transportation is not successful whether in Santa Clara, San Mateo and Alameda Counties. Ditto in Sonoma County with our diverse economy in a suburban-rural existence.

Sometimes these consultants are self-serving in there ways to justify their jobs and existence. Thanks.

Andrew Smith
Santa Rosa


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  1. Mark

    Hmm. Teabag much?

    The tell here is the paranoia. The MTC is “centralizing government in the Bay Area including Sonoma County and telling people and government how to live and act”? Sorry, no. MTC has been with us for a very long time, mostly spends money on road-building, and no, hate to disappoint you, has nothing to do with Agenda 21.

    Radical anti-government paranoids hate mass transit because they don’t like government doing anything except cops, prisons and the military (except, of course, the ones who want government to “keep its hands off their Medicare”. Yet they think government road building is terrific, because cars & oil Good. Or something.

    Surely, this comment was too obtuse to have deserved the virtual ink.

    March 26th, 2013 8:18 am

  2. Thomas

    Andrew, in your fourth paragraph, you say that you used to live in San Jose and that despite Bart, it will not change how people live, work, etc. and that local gov should resist public transportation, etc. This is obviously just your opinion, and you offer absolutely no supporting facts, other than the fact that you used to live in San Jose. Andrew, this is why consultants are hired. To offer facts, not personal beliefs and opinions, for our local and regional officials to make decisions. Because those decisions may not reflect your own, doesn’t mean they don’t know what they are doing, but rather that your opinion is in the minority.

    March 26th, 2013 8:32 am

  3. kyle

    “Sometimes these consultants are self-serving in there ways to justify their jobs and existence. ”

    Damn straight. Just ask Farhad Mansourian.

    This whole thing is a boondoggle.

    March 26th, 2013 8:38 am

  4. sonomaborn

    the entire system is disconnected

    maybe if the line connected everywhere people might take it

    but not until then…

    SMART=Biggest Financial Disaster In North Bay Ever

    I am an accountant for a living, look at the numbers now…wow

    March 26th, 2013 8:42 am

  5. Chris Payton


    Citizens Alliance for Property Rights (CAPR), SF Bay Chapter is the voice of property owners and taxpayers in the Bay Area. We are the only Bay Area organization dedicated to giving private, taxpaying citizens a voice in the policies being developed which could drastically affect their lifestyles and the value of their assets. Organizations pushing for social equity and wealth redistribution have a seat at the table in the bureaucracy, while the hard working citizens who are paying the bills do not. SFBay CAPR seeks to remedy that situation

    March 26th, 2013 8:49 am

  6. Sam

    this sounds like paranoid Agenda 21 thinking to me

    March 26th, 2013 9:07 am

  7. Marko

    At least there is one person with common seance left living in the bay area.
    So few left…

    March 26th, 2013 9:29 am

  8. Samuel Coble

    No offense, but Mr. Smith’s above letter is so vague and painfully opinion-filled that I simply must respond.

    True, there are lots of problems with Bay Area mass transit, especially in these suburban areas like San Jose and also like Sonoma County, but to say the whole thing will fail without presenting any hard FACTS is pretty ridiculous.

    That said, I would like to suggest that every person who so dislikes the idea of the train be required to take Golden Gate Transit from Santa Rosa to San Francisco during their normal commute to experience first-hand the joys of not-driving, the irritation at sharing a bus with strangers, the inefficiency of their routes here in the semi-rural area…and on and on. So yes, I’ll concede that it is harder to plan public transit in more spread out areas like ours, but that does not mean that incremental change is worse than NO change.

    March 26th, 2013 9:38 am

  9. Skippy

    Public Transit generally serves those who are paid by it far better than those who pay for it.
    The NYC subway system was built with private investment. Real people risked their $$ to try to make more.
    When Bay Area bus/train fetishists are willing to do that, rather than pick my pocket to subsidize their fantasy, then have at it.
    Till then, I’ll keep my car and my schedule, thank you.

    March 26th, 2013 10:49 am

  10. Juvenal

    Funny to bring up BART. It’s a huge success, and driving-life without it would be a nightmare.

    March 26th, 2013 11:47 am

  11. Dan Drummond Sr

    The price of fuel determines how people live, work and have fun and shop. Let’s see what happens when gas gets to $5 a gallon.

    March 26th, 2013 12:34 pm

  12. Patrick

    Want to know how inefficient BART is? Just try and drive anywhere in the East Bay when the Transbay tube is shutdown. Be sure to pack a meal.

    March 26th, 2013 1:23 pm

  13. Chris from Santa Rosa

    Shorter Andrew Smith: “Mass transit in the Bay Area won’t work because mass transit in the Bay Area won’t work.”

    The alternative is to build more lanes on all our major roads and highways and to build more infrastructure for fueling and storing (gas stations and parking) all the extra motor vehicles that we will require in the absence of a comprehensive mass transit system. Motor vehicles are incredible infrastructure hogs. Is Mr. Smith aware of that?

    March 26th, 2013 2:50 pm

  14. Billy

    SMART is more about joining the “One Bay Area” model.
    It really does not need to “work” as a transit system.
    In the next 20 years Sonoma County will look and feel
    much differently. Housing will be concentrated in transit villages and the population will be mostly Hispanic.
    We are reducing our dependency cross county travel
    (roads and cars) in exchange for a more urban enviroment
    If you do not care for that than you will likely move again.

    March 26th, 2013 3:28 pm

  15. Cara

    Wow, looks like something written by the nutjob Congressional member from Minnesota or an Onion article.
    Next letter going to be about the oppressive stop signs government puts at intersections?

    March 26th, 2013 3:28 pm

  16. John Murphy

    Cara – the nutjobs love stopsigns because that allows them to bitch about cyclists running stop signs.

    March 26th, 2013 5:00 pm

  17. Chris from Santa Rosa

    I missed this on the first read-through of the comments:

    “one person with common seance”

    Sheer poetic, unintentional humor. Which is always the best kind.

    March 26th, 2013 6:30 pm

  18. Kathy

    I really don’t understand why you’ve given this person so much space to write what is clearly just his opinion with no facts to back it up. And a headline that treats his opinions as fact.
    Does anyone who writes to you get their letter posted like this? Very odd.

    March 26th, 2013 9:10 pm

  19. Kate

    I love how some people refuse to look beyond the nose on their face. The One Bay Area Plan WILL eventually drastically impact how each one of us lives our life. If you don’t mind being required to live and work where the bureaucrats decide you should live and work, it will work out well for you. For the rest of us who are informed, this is not paranoid thinking, it is reality. And it has to be stopped.

    March 27th, 2013 6:59 am

  20. Patrick

    Please point out where in the MTA plan it dictates you must live in a specific location.

    Also, you all do realize it only takes a small shift in trips from SOV to mass transit it to improve the commute times for drivers right? If I had to drive into the City or around the Bay Area every day I would be cheering on new mass transit constantly out of my own self-interest.

    March 27th, 2013 11:30 am

  21. John Murphy

    Kate – are you worried they will shut down your tin foil hat shop?

    March 27th, 2013 12:29 pm

  22. Dave

    I don’t understand this comment. I read a lot of really dense reports on all sorts of complicated things, and I consider myself pretty good at reading comprehension. My test scores always say I am. But I don’t understand a single point in this opinion.

    I have no problem with people having different opinions than me, but this may be the the most vague set of paragraphs I’ve ever read. I don’t know what the ‘San Francisco mentality’ means, since it isn’t mentioned here. I don’t know what ‘centralizing the government’ means, also not mentioned here. There seem to be a lot of conclusions from evidence and arguments that were left out. This could be a really well thought out post, but I don’t know since the well thought out parts were left unsaid.

    This seems like the type of article that readers are meant to project their own fears onto, so that a wide range of people will assume they agree with it without any specificity. Or evidence to back up points.

    I was thinking about pointing out how effective market trend research can be, and how a focus on high density areas is logical, and how more people using mass transit – even if it isn’t appropriate for everyone – is a good strategy and a proven one. But I don’t know what I’m arguing against, so I won’t,

    Please provide an update, or make it a policy to not post anything anyone sends in like it’s news just because they have good grammar.

    March 29th, 2013 3:47 pm

  23. stephen

    I 100% agree with Andrew Smith on this. Public transit for a small county like Sonoma is so difficult.

    All of Sonoma County has 50% of the population of just San Francisco.

    April 9th, 2013 5:17 pm

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