Category: transportation

Airport parking status

In the United States, we’re beginning a long holiday weekend of travel to celebrate a national Day of Thanksgiving. This means travel to visit friends and family as we join together to feast and watch American football.

People trying to park at San Francisco International Airport last night were queued to I-380 on Highway 101. The radio traffic reporters told us the best option for southbound traffic was a crazy detour involving I-280 and a u-turn at Millbrae Avenue.

They completely failed to mention the option that seems to make the most sense to me: Millbrae BART to SFO, which is located just off of Millbrae Avenue. They have a monstrous 5 story parking garage with 2900 spaces where they charge $2 per day for up to 30 days for airport parking. The BART ticket is $4.05 for travel between Millbrae and SFO each way. BART dumps you off directly outside of the International Terminal from where you can ride the AirTrain around the airport to whatever terminal you need. When traffic into the airport turns our major freeways into a parking lot, taking BART to SFO seems like a no brainer, so go figure.

I’ve biked from SFO exactly once, when I came to the area for a house hunting trip after accepting a job in the area. The details have likely changed since a decade ago, so I’ll refer you to Lady Fleur’s more recent experience with biking to SFO.

I bike past San Jose International Airport (SJC) to and from the office each day. Airport traffic in SJC isn’t so bad, but the economy parking lot at the north end of the airport was full last night.

You can park your car at a few area hotels and catch an airport shuttle (for a fee). For weekend trips, you can park for up to 72 hours at a VTA Park and Ride lot for free, catch light rail to the Metro light rail station on 1st Street (a $2 ride), and from there catch the free #10 VTA airport flyer. In just a minute I’ll leave the office and take video of this route just to show how easy it is.

Finally, it’s pretty easy to bike to SJC too. The airport website kind of pooh poohs the idea of walking or biking to the airport, but if you have a single piece of small luggage it’s fairly easy to get to the terminal on foot and on bike via the Guadalupe River Trail.

The man behind SJ Rides will help me with video on that this afternoon. Hopefully I’ll have this up by this evening. Perhaps it’s a little late for your travels this year, but maybe it will help for your Christmas vacation plans.

Have a happy Thanksgiving.

Thank you to Matt for details on BART parking at Millbrae

VTA: Models over estimate parking demand for transit

VTA Capital Expressway Lightrail extension overview map

I’m reviewing the environment impact review documents for the VTA Capital Expressway Light Rail Project in San Jose, CA.

VTA plans to transform the Capital Expressway traffic sewer into what they call a multi-modal boulevard offering bus rapid transit (BRT), light rail transit, and safe connections to the regional transit system. The images below show Capital Expressway near Story Road as it currently is, and how it might look after the Capital Expressway light rail extension project is complete.


VTA Capital Expressway Light Rail extension project before & after


Don’t try this at home, kids

File this under Stupid Bike Tricks.

Surveillance video at a railroad crossing near Waterbeach, England shows a woman on a bike blasting past the barriers at an active railroad and stopping her bike in the nick of time as a train zooms by inches from her front wheel. She seems to take stock of her life immediately afterwards.

I’ve seen people pull the same stunt on the Caltrain right-of-way here in the San Francisco Bay Area. One time an engineer even got out of the cab, grabbed a conductor and ran into the passenger area to confront the guy who ran across the front of a moving train as the train approached Castro Street station in Mountain View. The engineer was screaming mad and demanded that the conductor write a ticket to the guy and kick him off of the train.

What are the operational costs of freeways?

People have long drawn attention to the mismatch between “user fees” — i.e. the Federal and state gas excises — versus the construction and maintenance expenses of our national system of highways and bridges. Has anybody analyzed the operational costs of public roads?

Beach traffic

In yesterday’s discussion about the purpose of empty buses, I mentioned that I’d someday like to shoot photos of empty Bay Area freeways, airports and publicly operated parking garages during off-peak hours as examples of government overspending.

Somebody responded that “comparing empty (or nearly empty) buses with empty freeways or parking lots is not at exact comparison: Highways and parking lots ‘just sit there’, while the bus has a driver collecting a paycheck and fuel that is being consumed.