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About this blog: I am a native of Alameda County, grew up in Pleasanton and currently live in the house I grew up in that is more than 100 years old. I spent 39 years in the daily newspaper business and wrote a column for more than 25 years in add...  (More)

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Dreaming marketers and drive times

Uploaded: Jun 21, 2016
It’s no secret that the tech industry in the Bay Area has driven the robust economic gains over the last six years.
The return of new construction, both office and residential, also has figured in job growth that has hit around 500,000 since 2010. Residential construction was almost non-existent from 2010-2012, but since has expanded significantly as homebuilders strive to meet the pent-up demand. They are falling way short.
The job recovery and explosive growth has not been accompanied by significant new housing at all. In that same period of time, the Bay Area has added about 50,000 units. That doesn’t even keep pace with formation of new households.
As a result, both housing prices and rental rates have skyrocketed. Rentals are incredibly expensive in San Francisco and the shortage there has spilled demand over into Oakland where rents also have soared. A number of communities are considering rent control ordinances that seem well-intentioned, but further distort the market and result in minimal investment in new properties.
In real estate, the law of supply and demand applies.
So, it’s no surprise that outlying areas are aggressively marketing themselves to Bay Area residents. The communities over the Altamont Pass ranging from Patterson south on I-5 (an hour in non-commute traffic from Pleasanton) to relatively nearby Mountain House and Tracy (easy 30-minute drives without the commute traffic) out to Lathrop and Manteca (an easy hour). They banded together in a special real estate section in the East Bay Times two Sundays ago.
And last Friday’s edition brought an advertisement from a townhouse development in Davis (last I checked a map, Davis was about 15 miles from Sacramento). The ad touted 45-minute commute times to the North Bay (maybe) and the East Bay (really?).
Again, dream on marketers.
Interstate 80 is jammed with commuters from Solano County heading into the inner Bay Area already and ranks as one of the most jammed freeways on weekday mornings. Of course, I-580 from Tracy is worse. The 30-mile drive easily becomes an hour on weekday mornings and that is without an accident further slowing traffic.
Local Journalism.
What is it worth to you?


Posted by Michael Austin, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows,
on Jun 21, 2016 at 6:56 pm

Michael Austin is a registered user.

Drive times generally are unknown when one plots his next destination in northern California. Google and other on line sites provide an estimate based on current conditions. How they gather current conditions is a mystery.

What is unknown, at any given moment, are the erratic reckless drivers zipping along at 85 miles an hour making multiple lane changes. Passing on the right and on the left sides of vehicles in front of them, cutting off the vehicle in front of them, slamming on their brakes in front of that vehicle in front of them. Then there are the cell phone users, while they are driving.

Also, there are drunk drivers or under the influence of something drivers, out there, at all hours of the day or night. If we could just find a remedy for what it is that causes human's to dilute and alter their brain functions, than get behind the steering wheel of a motor vehicle hell bent to kill someone.

There just is not enough highway patrol officers to cover the freeways in northern California. On two occasions while on the I-580 and the I-80, I have called 911 to report a drunk or DUI driver on the freeway. Each of those two times, the highway patrol was able to intercept those drivers and arrest them, before they killed an innocent someone.

I have hands free phone system and programmed for 911, and local law enforcement. I can speak a command and make the appropriate call. The highway patrol calls back immediately. They ask my location, my type of vehicle, the type of vehicle the suspect is driving. They remain on the phone with me, as they drive to the area, all the time talking with me as I proceed and identify changes in location. As they come up from behind me, I direct them to the suspect vehicle. They move in behind it, follow it for a time, until they can visual the erratic driving, than light him up and pull him over.

The highway patrol needs help, we can all pitch in, call and report DUI and other type of reckless driving on the freeways.

Posted by SHale, a resident of San Ramon,
on Jun 21, 2016 at 8:35 pm

SHale is a registered user.

In a perfect world we all have a less than 15 minute commute. I had a sub 10 minute commute for over 35yrs, then moved over here from Peninsula. Now it's 60+ minutes, but I'm pretty sure my small carbon footprint is hardly dented considering what my commute was and for how long. :)
Houses (and great schools) are here (and by here I refer to Dougherty Valley) and jobs elsewhere. We so don't live in a perfect world.

Posted by DKHSK, a resident of Bridle Creek,
on Jun 22, 2016 at 8:34 am

DKHSK is a registered user.

I'd venture a guess - and its just a guess - that many commute time accidents are caused by slower, not higher, speed drivers.

I cannot remember the amount of times I had to navigate around slower, indecisive drivers who seem to not know how to make a lane change, or merge onto/off the freeway.

In terms of traffic, the bay area (and particularly here in the tri-valley) is a basket case. The lane expansion on 580 has been a complete bust. I avoid driving on it any time after 3pm on weekdays. Forget about south 680 during morning commute; simply awful and the road conditions are terrible.

San Diego is doing something right. Hwy 15, which goes through the East county, has improved remarkably since they added additional lanes and made those flexible with movable barriers. Much less traffic unless the odd car crash occurs.

Fixing traffic IS possible. But having smart political leadership to be able to get things done seems to be in short supply, specifically here in Bay Area.

I wonder what the difference is in political leadership between the two areas...?

Posted by Michael Austin, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows,
on Jun 22, 2016 at 5:25 pm

Michael Austin is a registered user.

Eight most common cause of traffic accidents:

1. Distracted driving.
2. Speeding.
3. Drunk driving.
4. Reckless driving.
5. Rain.
6. Running red lights.
7. Running stop signs.
8. Teenage drivers.

Posted by DKHSK, a resident of Bridle Creek,
on Jun 22, 2016 at 8:41 pm

DKHSK is a registered user.

Ok Michael, so speeding is exactly ONE cause out of the top 8.

Thanks for the info, good to know.

Posted by no user name, a resident of Downtown,
on Jun 24, 2016 at 9:25 am

no user name is a registered user.

@Michael, I do the same thing. Very satisfying to report a presumed drunk driver on the bridge then see the CHP vehicle waiting on the shoulder for the idiot to drive off the other end. I have reported everything from road hazards to broken chains on a tow leaving a trail of sparks flying to the reckless drivers. Had a guy try to force me into the guard rail once. I was able to provide a license number and description of the driver. When the CHP got to me, I had pulled over, they already had an address and a local cop at the driver's home. They took me along to identify him and arrested him on the spot.

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