Last Meetings For the “Next Network”

vta staff member presentation at Santa Clara City Council Feb. 7.

VTA staff member presentation at Santa Clara City Council Feb. 7.

The week of February 12 will be of note in parts of San Jose and Gilroy.  The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) will hold the last three (3) public meetings for its “Next Network” transit service restructuring proposal on Feburary 13, 15 and 16.  The meetings start at 6pm and last about two (2) hours.  VTA has published additional information on your input regarding the “Next Network” so far.

Not only do we have talking points and site information for these three meetings the week of February 12, we also have additional news that has come up.  More information follows…

The Last Three VTA “Next Network” Meeting Sites

Here are the dates and locations for the last three VTA public meetings for its “Next Network” proposal:

  • East San Jose – Monday, February 13 at the Dr. Roberto Cruz Alum Rock Branch Library, 3090 Alum Rock Ave. (corner of S. White Rd), San Jose. The Library is a short walk from the 25, 45 and 71 bus lines.
  • Gilroy – Wednesday, February 15 at the Gilroy Library, 350 W. 6th Street, Gilroy. Take VTA’s 19 bus line, which stops near the Library.
  • South San Jose – Thursday, February 16 at the Southside Community & Senior Center, 5585 Cottle Rd. (corner of Poughkeepsie Rd.), San Jose. VTA’s 27 bus line is a short walk from the Senior Center.

All of these public meetings start at 6:00pm.  Based on those who attended prior meetings, these meetings last no more than two (2) hours.

Meeting Talking Points You Can Use

These were all discussed on our email list over the last few days regarding the VTA’s “Next Network” service restructuring proposal.

Good Things

  • free VTA bus transfers
  • new 523 rapid down Stevens Creek blvd
  • Light rail from Mountain View running every 15 min. all day, linking to Great Mall and Milpitas BART.
  • evolution of DASH (Downtown San Jose Area SHuttle) to the 500 connecting San Jose Diridon Station, San Jose State campus and the new Berryessa BART station
  • having timed connections between BART @ Berryessa and the 500/523 rapid bus lines increased 522 rapid bus service
    return of the 20 bus between Mountain View and Milpitas. History of the VTA’s former 20 bus line.
  • having the 60 bus run from Milpitas BART to Metro/Airport stop, SJ Airport, Santa Clara Caltrain and Campbell
  • having the 21 bus link the Palo Alto and Santa Clara transit centers via Middlefield Rd.
  • increased service frequencies in downtown and eastern San Jose.

Things We Didn’t Like

  • eliminating the 13, 63, 65 and 328 bus lines south of Almaden light rail station. Candidate for VTA’s dynamic “FLEX” service pilot program tested in N. San Jose last year.
  • no mention of timed transfers between infrequent bus lines and rapid bus lines like the 500,
    522 and 523 west of San Jose
  • more missed opportunities for the 522: no stop at ECR/Grant Road for access to Town & Country and Stanford Stadium. Also, no stop for ECR/Escuela for linking to the 52 to Foothill College.
  • Loss of 89 bus between California Ave. Caltrain and the Palo Alto VA Hospital. Line also serves the Stanford Research Park area and companies like VMWare.
  • At Lakewood Village in Sunnyvale, service will be cut off for high school children to Lockheed, and thus service to Sunnyvale Library and City Hall, affecting the 55 & 55X bus lines.
  • missed opportunities in South County: no bus service to South County destinations such as Gilroy Gardens. FLEX candidate for the South County area?

Future Ideas and Other Questions

  • Sunnyvale and Santa Clara are working on a plan to bring in a lot of housing around Lawrence Caltrain station. This new transit-oriented community should have local transit service. It may be that the timeline for this development is such that it would be accommodated in a future round of VTA service adjustments.
  • How will VTA attract new transit riders under the “Next Network” bus and light rail restructuring proposal?  No plans of this are mentioned at all.

Other “Next Network” News

Students successfully lobbied the Board of Trustees of the Foothill-DeAnza College District to recommend that VTA restore a bus route linking Foothill and DeAnza Colleges in Los Altos and Cupertino, respectively.

On February 1, the Saratoga City Council hosted a presentation by VTA re: their “Next Network” service restructuring proposal. View video of that presentation here:

The presentation starts at 16:00 into the video.  One of our newest members, Jim Stallman, comes up at 51:45 of the video. He talks about the need for the only bus line linking Saratoga to Caltrain (the 53). He also expressed concern on the proposed elimination of limited stop buses serving Lawrence and San Tomas expressways (328 & 330), as traffic gridlock increases on them The Saratoga City Council voted to send a letter to VTA asking to keep the 53 bus line. The 53 bus line links the West Valley College area to Caltrain in Sunnyvale. A BIG thank you to Mr. Stallman for speaking up in Saratoga on the 1st.

I personally went to the Santa Clara City Council meeting, where VTA made a similar presentation. Audio of that presentation – and my responses to it – can be heard below.

As part of my testimony, I also invited Councilmember Teresa O’Neill (who’s on the VTA Board) to come to our next group meeting on February 28 in San Jose.

Conclusion and Follow Up

We’ll be working on a formal letter to send to VTA regarding their “Next Network” proposal.  Look for that letter to be posted here next week.

Eugene Bradley
Founder, Silicon Valley Transit Users