Sat10252014

On The Road

Forum recommends 7 ways to reduce Bay Area traffic

Will 2015 be a good year?

The Bay Area's Regional Transportation Plan says to expect more cars, more miles and hours of driving, higher travel costs, increased congestion, deeper potholes, a declining role for public transit and continued air pollution hazards.

Is this future inevitable? A new report by the Bay Area Transportation Choices Forum says it's not, and makes seven recommendations to help the region meet key goals of environmental quality, economic development and social equity. The report, "Getting on the Right Track," was released at a symposium Nov. 22.

Central to the recommendations in the report is the need to be smarter about the how San Francisco Bay Area grows.

"We still reward sprawl development with taxpayer-subsidized roads and suburban rail extensions," said John Holtzclaw, chair of the Sierra Club's Transportation Committee. "Until we confront basic questions of land use and community design, automobile-dependency and associated congestion will only become more severe."

Being smarter about how we grow means rethinking past decisions and letting go of those that no longer make sense, according to the report.

John Woodbury, program director for the Transportation Choices Forum, puts it this way: "Many projects have been on the drawing board for 20 or more years and they've acquired a life of their own, whether or not they still make any sense. We should not simply support projects because of the time and money we've already spent. The real question is whether the expected benefits justify the remaining time and money necessary to complete the project."

The report also calls for making better use of our existing transportation system.

"Fifty years ago, the Bay Bridge - using bus, rails and cars - was unable to handle almost twice as many people as it does today. Now it is clogged with solo drivers," said Stuart Cohen, associate director of the Bay Area Transportation Choices Forum.

"In New York, a lane in the Lincoln Tunnel used to carry 2,500 people an hour in cars. It was converted to a rush hour, bus-only lane and now carries 32,000 per hour. We could solve congestion on the Bay Bridge for minimal cost with this type of change, assuming of course, that we don't tear down or downsize the Transbay Transit Terminal in San Francisco, as some are advocating."

Other recommendations in the report include adopting measurable performance goals, fixing what we have before building new infrastructures and changing the way we price transportation.

Implicit in the work of the Bay Area Transportation Choices Forum is the belief that change will occur when more of the general public gets involved in making the decisions.

"When you go to meetings where billions of transportation dollars are on the table for allocation, the people in the room are mostly insiders and consultant," Cohen said. "We won't see real change until these meetings are packed with people representing every segment of society. Our goal is to get more people to know when and where the meetings are being held and what choices we have for shaping a more sustainable Bay Area."

The Bay Area Transportation Choices Forum is a cooperative effort of community groups and regional governmental agencies and received initial funding from the Environmental Protection Agency and the Switzer Foundation.

The Simpkins family was looking to a buy a new car but didn't know where to start. In the past, they went from dealer to dealer to find a "bargain." They needed a new family car, and the wife wanted a van to do grocery shopping and play taxi for the kids and their friends.

Ten-year-old Jason said he could help by checking sites on the Internet. This was how he convinced his parents to buy the car he wanted.

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Infoseek welcomed him to "CarSmart," a widely accepted and easily recognized program on the web. It provides free dealer price quotes on the car you want with vehicle locators and dealer inventories. You can also visit the manufacturers home sites from this location.

This is where Jason found the meat of his search. He clicked on the manufacturer logos of cars from Audio to Volvo, including 24 other manufacturer sites.

Jason started with Ford at http://www.ford.com/us/. He checked the "Showroom Boulevard" and found information on Ford, Lincoln and Mercury automobiles. He clicked on Mercury, one of his dad's favorites.

Since his mom wanted a van, he clicked on the Villager model and a picture of the Villager came up on the screen. Underneath was a block to click that read "Great Offers."

He clicked the block, inserted his zip code number and the Mercury Lincoln Dealers Association home page welcomed him. Checking the Villager site, Jason checked on power, interior, ride and handling, safety and security, audio, paint and fast facts.

It was no problem to find local dealers from San Francisco to San Jose. Going back to the Villager page, Jason told his family there was a $2,000 cash back offer on the 1998 Villager. There was also 1 percent APR financing for 48 months and the offer was good until Jan. 5, 1998.

Going back to the zip code again, the Internet told Jason where local dealers were located. There was Sunnyvale Lincoln Mercury, Stanford Lincoln Mercury and Joe Kierly Lincoln Mercury Each location included directions to the showrooms.

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"Mercury, '98 Villager, minivan, 3 door, 4A van, base price $20,350, dealer invoice $18,444."

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"Plymouth, '98 Voyager, mini-van, grand dase 4D, 3A, van, base price $20,245, dealer cost $18,270."

After checking van specifications for both cars on the Internet, Jason's dad thought the Voyager was a better buy.

By Clyde Noel

The Simpkins family was looking to a buy a new car but didn't know where to start. In the past, they went from dealer to dealer to find a "bargain." They needed a new family car, and the wife wanted a van to do grocery shopping and play taxi for the kids and their friends.

Ten-year-old Jason said he could help by checking sites on the Internet. This was how he convinced his parents to buy the car he wanted.

The first place Jason went was http://www.infoseek.com He checked the "Buying a Car" block, and in the spotlight were topics like "Buying Below Dealer Retail," "Dealer's Invoice Costs" and "Buying Guides."

Infoseek welcomed him to "CarSmart," a widely accepted and easily recognized program on the web. It provides free dealer price quotes on the car you want with vehicle locators and dealer inventories. You can also visit the manufacturers home sites from this location.

This is where Jason found the meat of his search. He clicked on the manufacturer logos of cars from Audio to Volvo, including 24 other manufacturer sites.

Jason started with Ford at http://www.ford.com/us/. He checked the "Showroom Boulevard" and found information on Ford, Lincoln and Mercury automobiles. He clicked on Mercury, one of his dad's favorites.

Since his mom wanted a van, he clicked on the Villager model and a picture of the Villager came up on the screen. Underneath was a block to click that read "Great Offers."

He clicked the block, inserted his zip code number and the Mercury Lincoln Dealers Association home page welcomed him. Checking the Villager site, Jason checked on power, interior, ride and handling, safety and security, audio, paint and fast facts.

It was no problem to find local dealers from San Francisco to San Jose. Going back to the Villager page, Jason told his family there was a $2,000 cash back offer on the 1998 Villager. There was also 1 percent APR financing for 48 months and the offer was good until Jan. 5, 1998.

Going back to the zip code again, the Internet told Jason where local dealers were located. There was Sunnyvale Lincoln Mercury, Stanford Lincoln Mercury and Joe Kierly Lincoln Mercury Each location included directions to the showrooms.

Jason then clicked Isuzu, Audi, BMW, Chrisler, General Motors, Lexus, Mercedes and 25 other makes. The pattern of information was the same on each location as the Mercury.

Jason then went to htpp://www.Yahoo.com and clicked the Mercury site and received costs which read:

"Mercury, '98 Villager, minivan, 3 door, 4A van, base price $20,350, dealer invoice $18,444."

Jason then clicked on the Plymouth Voyager, which read:

"Plymouth, '98 Voyager, mini-van, grand dase 4D, 3A, van, base price $20,245, dealer cost $18,270."

After checking van specifications for both cars on the Internet, Jason's dad thought the Voyager was a better buy.

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