Urbification: Taking the sub out of Calif. suburbs

Walking. Bicycling. Alternatives to Driving Everywhere. Social justice. Alternatives to suburban boredom and waste. And the infrastructure and technology needed to get there.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Message to John Doerr: Reign in Carl Guardino

At this week's mega-expensive TED conference in Monterey, uber-venture capitalist John Doerr is getting all choked up about environmental issues. "I don't think we're going to make it," he says, all verklempt in front an audience including his 15-year-old daughter.

John, we've never met, though we have many mutual acquaintences. But let me give you some advice, from one father-of-a-daughter to another: The most important thing you could do for the environment is to reign in Carl Guardino, now a commissioner on the California Transportation Commission, where it looks like he intends to ram through the incredibly cost-inefficient and wasteful BART to San Jose extension. According to some talk I heard at a recent meeting, Carl intends to come lecture the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) in a month or two, no doubt to get the rest of the Bay Area to help foot the bill for this boondoggle. Nothing hurts the environment, however, like a terribly wasteful public transit extension. It sucks up all available dollars that could be spent, say, preserving local bus service, upgrading Amtrak service to San Jose, or adding regional bus service, any of which would add far more new riders per dollar than BART to San Jose ever could.

The financial train wreck that is the BART-SFO extension is all the evidence you'll need, John, that Carl's extension needs to be scaled back. And you're just the guy who can ask him to do it.