Roadshow: Workplace shuttle riders ('not the elite') address gripes

Q Note to Sue Hennesey: Google and Apple (and Netflix) employees who ride their company shuttles are NOT the “elite,” as you called them. The elite drive Bentleys and Rolls-Royces to work. They do NOT ride shuttles.

Why in the world do you print such asinine comments? Frankly, the prejudice and class-warfare attitude in the Bay Area really frosts me. And now we have protesters blocking shuttles in San Francisco and throwing objects at them and breaking windows. When did it become a crime in this country to have a steady job and work hard?

I’m a shuttle rider. Deal with it.

Paul Brown

Fremont

A Many Silicon Valley companies pay for charter buses to carry employees to the South Bay from all over the Bay Area. Some use BART stations as a pickup place. BART is reviewing whether that practice should continue.

Q Employer shuttle buses picking up at BART stations complement BART trains. Those using them have come in on BART trains. Although as a BART director I was the key to keeping BART parking free for many years, I find that the present system reduces the abuse Sue cited. Motorists to BART stations pay beyond the fare gates for parking. The lots do NOT provide free parking for employer shuttles.

Robert Allen

BART director 1974-1988

A And …

Q I take exception with the person who complained about the private shuttles at BART stations. These shuttles are primarily used by BART users traveling to that station. Non-BART users are discouraged from using these shuttles because they cannot park at BART stations. Paying for parking at BART requires entry through the fare gates.

In light of what’s happening in San Francisco and references to the Apple and Google “elite,” this sounds like sour grapes from someone who wishes they worked at Apple or Google.

Ron Scheinhaus

San Jose

A The charter shuttles can carry up to 70 passengers each. That’s 70 fewer cars on the freeway.

Q For many years our garbage and recyclables in San Jose have been picked up by a truck that placed the material into two separate compartments. But recently one truck has begun picking up the garbage and sometime later a different truck picks up recyclables.

This new arrangement results in twice the traffic, with approximately twice the exhaust pollution, approximately twice the amount of fuel expended, and the services of two drivers with their salaries and benefits.

Could you please explain to me the benefits, if any, to the city of San Jose?

Charles Schmidt

San Jose

A Sure, and I think you’ll like the answer. A few weeks ago Green Team, one of San Jose’s garbage and recycling haulers, switched from old biodiesel trucks to new compressed natural gas (CNG) trucks.

Now, instead of one biodiesel truck that collects both garbage and recycling materials, there are two CNG trucks. But they can carry twice as much garbage and recycled materials and actually make fewer trips to a landfill or recycling facility.

This reduces the number of miles traveled, and burning natural gas reduces emissions. The new trucks are also quieter than the old ones.

Green Team serves about 48,000 single-family homes in western and central San Jose and multifamily residential units along Moorpark, Monterey Highway, and Capitol Expressway. Residents should leave both carts out until 6 p.m. for pickup.

Q Are there plans to widen Highway 12 between Highway 160 and Interstate 5? I drive that route regularly, and it seems to be a major truck route and is in bad shape and can be very slow traveling at times. … Are there plans to put a center divider on Highway 12 between Highway 160 and I-5? This heavily traveled route continues to be a two-lane road with no protective center wall. It reminds me of how Highway 37 used to be prior to adding the divider there.

Scott Wheeler and Carrie Francis

A “Dangerous” doesn’t begin to describe this Delta road, where there have been more than 70 deaths since 2000. That’s twice as many as have occurred on Highway 17 through the Santa Cruz Mountains.

There are no widening plans because of the nature of the Delta soils and waterways. The peat and clay layers under the road limit where pavement can be installed.

Caltrans has plans to install a concrete median at Bouldin Island but not anywhere else on Highway 12 from I-5 to 160. However, more median rumble strips will be installed this summer between Tower Park Marina and the Mokelumne River Bridge on the San Joaquin/Sacramento County line until a new concrete median barrier can be installed as part of the Bouldin Island upgrade.

Rumble strips have proved effective in reducing the number of head-on collisions on other dangerous two-lane roads, including Vasco Road, Highway 1 around Moss Landing and Highway 25 west of Hollister.

Construction at Bouldin Island is about to begin. The $47 million job will replace the existing road between the bridges and have five-foot inside shoulders and eight-foot outside shoulders with rumble strips.

Q Reading your item concerning the bridges in Philadelphia reminded me of what Herb Caen said about the Bay Bridge when it went to one-way tolls. Someone asked him how to remember which way you have to pay. He said something like, “Who would want to pay to go to Oakland?”

Ron Garcia

Hayward

A Ouch!

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