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RE: [SPAM:#] Be nice to peds  Larry Chinn
 Jul 19, 2003 08:33 PDT 

I completely, yet respectfully, disagree that creating the Homer
Undercross and improving California Ave one are not high priorities
worthy of funding.

First off, the fact that Homer is unnecessary because it's within easy
walking distance of University and Embarcadero is faulty argument.
Many people are healthy and fit enough to make the detour but won't
because of time and convenience. Similarly, drivers are inundating
the local press over some traffic calming in a residential
neighborhood that causes them to drive maybe a half a dozen blocks
out of the way. People could walk this supposed easy distance to
University or Embarcadero just like they can drive the handful of
blocks to appropriate collector street or artery but they won't. For
perspective imagine the uproar if we decided to get rid of Central
Expressway/Alma Street. I've always wondered why such a road exists
because it's so redundant parallelling a huge multi-lane street El
Camino Real and several freeways. Why not close the Embarcadero
Undercrossing to cars because the Oregon and University ones are so

As for your estimate of users, they are way, way off. I've heard
counts that something like 10,000 pedestrians use University Avenue
every weekday. Granted, California is less and Homer perhaps more so
but thousands of pedestrians are going to be using these facilities
every day. You could argue that the ped/bike counts at University
and Embarcadero will drop once Homer is built but they probably will
increase. As with cars, if you build it, they will come. The city
staff, bicycle advocates, and neighborhood activists have all chosen
and worked hard promoting the Homer Undercross for many years because
it will create a significant connection between some major
destinations and improve liveability.

The California Undercross is not ADA compliant and must be rebuilt not
just to improve safety but to accomodate people with disabilities.

Costs should never be used as an argument against pedestrian and/or
bicycle facilities because they are so miniscule compared to what we
spend accomodating and subsidize private automobiles.

Larry Chinn                 o__     (650) 327-9636
Bikestation Palo Alto   _,>/`_ (650) 328-0323 fax
95 University Avenue (*) \ (*) www.bikestation.org
Palo Alto, CA 94301-232         palo-@bikestation.org

----Original Message-----
From:      Daniel Connelly <djco-@ieee.org>
To:          sv-@topica.com
Subject:      RE: [svbc] [SPAM:#] Be nice to peds
Reply-To:      djco-@ieee.org
Date:     Saturday, July 19, 2003 6:52 AM

John D. Carpenter wrote:

 Another reason for getting that undercrossing to much wider European
standards that they have at most rail stations.

 Why does the richest nation or California (equivalent to the 12th
largest nation in the World economically) have to be so stingy on
these things?

Consider Homer Ave. It costs around $5.6M. Suppose the cost of
capital is 5% per year, plus a depreciation of 2% per year.
Then it costs $390k per year. Suppose 200 people use it per day.
I think this is an overestimate.
This is around $2k per user per year -- around $8 per user per day.
And the alternative isn't not getting across the tracks -- there's two
options within easy walking distance.

Would you pay $8 to use Homer, if University and Embarcadero were
free? I think if you charged such a toll, there'd be no takers.

These things are expensive. Forget "stingy". There's always
competing causes for tax dollars. Widening the California Ave
crossing hardly seems like a top priority.

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