Notes From 8/4/2011 VTA Board Meeting3 min. read

I was at yesterday evening’s Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) Board of Directors meeting in San Jose. Some highlights are below.

Negotiations with labor unions VTA uses (SEIU and AFSCME) are still ongoing, with a final decision deferred to the September 1 Board meeting. This was after the VTA Board of Directors was sequestered in closed session for just over 1 hour, after the official 5:30pm Board meeting start.]

During Public Presentation, I requested what it would take to get 60 ft. articulated buses (used on the 22 and 522 Rapid) on the 23 bus line during rush hour periods. More on what YOU can do to make it happen will be provided in a separate blog post.

VTA’s Citizens Advisory Committee Chair Charlotte B. Powers did a presentation on an “around the bay” tour the Committee took on transit only. Using only Clipper cards as fare media, they took VTA’s 180 express bus from the Great Mall in Milpitas to the Fremont BART station. From there, they rode BART to the Embarcadero in San Francisco, transferring to a MUNI streetcar (the N perhaps?) to the Caltrain station at 4th & King. Afterward, they took Caltrain to Mountain View, transferring to VTA light rail for the trip back to Milpitas (after another transfer at Tasman). Ms. Powers noted that they had to run from the Caltrain platform to the VTA light rail platform in Mountain View to avoid missing the light rail connection.

A citizen testified to the VTA Board thanking them for fixing the bus/rail connections at Civic Center light rail station.

During VTA General Manager Michael Burns’ report, he noted that there’s a total of 134,000 average daily riders aboard VTA buses and light rail in June. He also noted that VTA is partnering with DeAnza College by providing Eco Passes for the 26,000 students, providing an additional $234,000 in revenue.

VTA Board Chair Margaret Abe-Koga of Milpitas raved about the recent BART Seat Lab in Milpitas. She seemed to enjoy the proposed seats for the new cars BART is in the process of purchasing in the next decade. I thanked the VTA Board on having a BART seat lab in Santa Clara County – more on that later.

Finally, VTA had a presentation on the recent visit by US Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis to a VTA bus garage to promote “green jobs.” Specifically, Hilda observed the “Joint Workforce Investment” program for hiring and training employees to maintain the new hybrid buses VTA just purchased.

During the final portion of the meeting, Omar Chaddy of Palo Alto testified why VTA was spending Santa Clara County money in Alameda County to help construct BART. VTA General Manager Burns stated that VTA had legal permission to do so, and would provide documentation per Mr. Chaddy’s request. Mr. Chaddy also questioned why Santa Clara County motorists were being charged again on High-Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes they already pay for, in regards to the Hwy 237/I-880 carpool lane interchange project.

The VTA Board meeting ended at around 8:30pm.

Eugene Bradley
Fouder, Silicon Valley Transit Users