Bay Area Transportation Working Group (BATWG)
BATWG is a 501 c3 Non-Profit Corporation organized by a group of experienced transportation professionals and activists in 2012. Mostly volunteers, we are dedicated to working with like-minded groups to improve the reliability and appeal of the Bay Area's passenger rail and bus systems and to significantly ease regional traffic congestion. To learn more about BATWG, please go to
BATWG meetings normally occur on the third Thursday of the month from 10 a.m. to noon. To receive an Agenda please send a note to Dues are $40 a year, with discounts for seniors and students. To pay dues or otherwise contribute, go to the BATWG website and click on the donate button, or mail a check to BATWG, P.O. Box 590 888, San Francisco, CA 94159.
BATWG Newsletter
Issue No. 30, December 2020
O’Rourke Punctures SFMTA’s Subway Balloon
December 2020
Here is “Citizen/Taxpayer” Michel O’Rourke’s refreshing and painfully accurate response to SFMTA Director Maguire’s uninformed opinion about the Central Subway, as quoted in the SF Chronicle on November 15, 2020:
In an apology for yet another delay of the benighted Central Subway, Mr. Tom Maguire, MUNI director of ‘Sustainable Streets’ gave us the following bromide:
“It is frustrating…” “We made the decision to build the Central Subway long before COVID, and it was the right project, bringing subway service to Chinatown and the most congested part of the city. And it’s still the right project.”
We felt compelled to inform Mr. Maguire that not all of the citizenry share his point of view. As follows:
Greetings Mr. Maguire
Right project? No, Mr. Maguire. I am sorry to disabuse you of fantasy, but is not the right project, it’s the wrong project. Always has been.
Continue reading →​
Union City Politicians Determined to Let a Highway Scar Their City
December 2020
This letter was sent to ACTC Chair Pauline Cutter on November 16, 2020. It was written by Mr. Flavio Poehlmann, a frustrated resident of Union City and also a very productive BATWG member.
Dear ACTC Commissioners:
Union City Harkins Back to 1958
The East West Connector (EWC) project (now called the nicer-sounding “Quarry Lakes Parkway”) has a long history dating back to 1958. This project never did catch on, at Caltrans or anywhere else and makes less sense now than ever, except to Union City’s local pols. As of a few months ago the capital cost of project had rocketed to $362 million including $74 million in City-owned land being donated as a site for the highway.
Despite the fact that highway building in urbanized areas has been essentially out of favor for a half a century, Union City’s government is determined to raze a historic 1888 landmark and obliterate the site of an attractive extension of the Quarry Lakes Recreational Area along Alameda Creek so it can run its 2-mile highway right to the front door of Union City’s much-heralded “transit-oriented” housing development north of the BART station.
Valley Link Project – Still in its Infancy
December 2020
On September 9, 2020 the Tri-Valley, San Joaquin Valley Regional Rail Authority (TVSJVRRA) was presented an update on the Valley Link (VL) project by its staff and consultants. The presentation outlined the following major changes: changes in alignment, revised section boundaries, revised station locations, revised station lengths, revised ridership, revised train length and revised cost estimates. Other uncertainties, including the method of train propulsion, remain. Nonetheless two weeks later, presumably driven to position VL for early federal stimulus funding, the Alameda County Transportation Commission (ACTC) approved the diversion of $400 million in Alameda County sales taxes to the project. BATWG opposed the ACTC’s action, arguing that earmarking of capital funding for the plan as presented was premature and that critical information was lacking.
Numerous outstanding questions that are critical to potential success or failure of the VL project remain unanswered. Chief among them:
Pro-Active Responses to COVID-19 (Elsewhere) December 2020
The impact that COVID-19 has had on transit and rail service differs widely depending on where in the world you choose to look. Certainly in the United States and Europe transit ridership is down by 70 to 90% but in Asia, after brief but complete shutdowns, it’s near normal. This is largely due to the different approaches used to treat the pandemic. Asian countries like China, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Korea and Taiwan were able to use a very affective test/trace/isolate approach developed from their experience with previous pandemics like SARS, Bird Flu, H1N1 and Ebola. The Western World, but for a few exceptions (Denmark, Germany, Norway), lacked adequate testing, which is not mandatory and has allowed COVID-19 to spread to such a point that tracing is now both more onerous and less useful.
Even now test results of PCR tests still take days to be returned while not covering the whole population.
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