Q I don't know whether to laugh or cry at the answer BART gave the person who asked why some BART cars are so cold in the morning. BART said the cars take a while to warm up. Really? Why, then, at 5 a.m. are some cars already stifling hot, while others are ice-cold? And why is it that you can sit on a cold BART car from Dublin to San Francisco and it never warms up -- in fact blows cold air out the ducts all the way?
The fact is those heaters simply do not work. BART would do better to quit pretending everything is fine and just admit they can't maintain their cars properly. The same goes for the cooling in summer. Most of it does not work and we sweat all the way home in the afternoon.
A We have an update since our last discussion. BART now says relief is coming to some trains, as it has recently budgeted extra money toward renovating older heating and air conditioning units. Plus, the new trains on order will have better air circulation.
Until then, BART officials ask riders to notify train operators by using the courtesy phones in each train and they will be sure to send a technician to check the unit out.
Q Can you tell me what the new structure that looks like a large swimming pool is at the southeast corner of Highway 84 (Isabel Avenue) and Stanley Boulevard in Livermore?
A It's a large stormwater filtration basin that is 45 feet wide, 100 feet long and 15 feet deep. Its purpose is to clean the oil, brake dust, tire rubber, and other pollutants that typically collect on roads and wash off during rainstorms, before the runoff enters the creek system and ultimately the bay.
Q Gary, the VTA proposal to reduce El Camino Real from three to two lanes between Santa Clara and Mountain View and reserve the third lane for buses is a smog creator and economy killer. Who will love this project?
Those who ride buses on El Camino -- a small percentage of our population. Retired people who do not need to use El Camino during rush hour. Those who live and work in Mountain View and don't have to use El Camino to get to work.
Who will hate this project?
Those of us who need to use El Camino to get to our jobs in Milpitas, Fremont, Cupertino, Campbell, etc.
Have you ever driven along El Camino at rush hour? Now picture one-third of the capacity removed. Imagine sitting in a crawling line of cars, your car emitting more smog.
A You lay out many of the criticisms of the most controversial of several proposals the Valley Transportation Authority is considering for running express buses along The Alameda and El Camino from HP Pavilion in San Jose to the Palo Alto Transit Center. One proposal is to reserve a lane of traffic each way for buses only from Santa Clara to Mountain View. The VTA is beginning the environmental review process with four public meetings.
Two of them are on Thursday from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. and 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Santa Clara City Council chamber, 1500 Warburton Ave.
The other meetings are Feb. 28 from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. and 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the Mountain View City Council chamber, 500 Castro Street.
Comments can also be emailed to email@example.com or mailed to VTA Environmental Programs and Resources Management, Attn: Christina Jaworski, 3331 N. First St., Building B-2, San Jose, CA 95134.
You can also get details at www.vta.org/brt. Comments will be accepted through March 8.
Q The I-280 southbound commute has become much worse for north of the 280/85 interchange. Why? One big reason is the students from Foothill College are not metered when they enter the highway at El Monte Avenue. So how about metering this ramp?
A Caltrans has plans to install meters at some point, but no money has been approved for work.