We Need Investment in Our Transportation Infrastructure: Our Bay Depends On It.
We all know that the Bay Area is an incomparable place to live. There are world-class cities, rich history and culture, a thriving economy, and ample recreational opportunities, featuring majestic expanses of nearby open space. At the heart of it all is our region’s greatest natural treasure: San Francisco Bay.
Unfortunately, we all also know that Bay Area traffic is incomparable. If you’ve spent any time traveling at rush hour, whether on the roads or public transit, you know the frustration this causes firsthand.
Between 2010 and 2040, our population is expected to grow 30 percent. This growth has outpaced the expansion and upgrading of our transportation infrastructure, putting enormous strain on the entire system. It is also a major driver of our region’s skyrocketing housing costs that are forcing many residents to move farther away from their jobs and take on longer commutes.
This time lapse video shows a map of central Bay Area traffic throughout the course of a typical weekday, illustrating the gridlock that drivers face on virtually every major freeway. And the congestion isn’t limited to the morning or evening commutes. In fact, the “evening” commute begins at 2:30 p.m. By 5 p.m., there is a sea of red surrounding the Bay that doesn’t clear up fully until well past 9 p.m.
This map of course doesn’t show ridership on buses or BART, which get extremely crowded and inaccessible at pressure points during the day, leading to delays and increasingly frequent breakdowns.
All of this causes serious negative impacts on the quality of our air and the health of our Bay. When people spend more time in traffic, they emit more greenhouse gases that pollute our air and contribute to global warming, and more toxic airborne particulates that wind up in Baywater. They also leave behind more trash and PCBs on our roadways to contaminate stormwater runoff that flows into the Bay.
As our over-stressed public transit systems become less reliable and accessible, and the region continues to grow, more and more commuters take to their cars, exacerbating these problems.
Our transportation infrastructure throughout the region needs significant expansion and upgrades to accommodate growth and relieve congestion. Fortunately, we have a chance to make real progress this November.
There are three key ballot measures that will make particularly critical improvements to our transportation system, helping to reduce road congestion and encouraging expanded use of public transit: BART District Measure RR, AC Transit District Measure C1, and Santa Clara County Measure B.
Real benefits for the Bay from these ballot measures will include: fewer cars on the road, less particulate matter to pollute our air and water, and less trash and toxins on our roadways to wash into the Bay with every storm.
As our region continues to grow in the coming years, we have a responsibility to protect the health of the Bay – and the health of all Bay Area residents – as much as possible. Improving our transportation infrastructure is one of the most effective ways we can do that, so let’s vote Bay Smart on Tuesday, Nov. 8.
Paid for by Save The Bay.