Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Connecting to Meetings via Local Trails

Even though today began with gloomy weather, it cleared up just in time for me to take a 10-mile roundtrip bike ride to the Valley Transportation Authority’s headquarters for a lunch briefing on tomorrow’s Caltrain Joint Powers Board meeting.

Biking to VTA’s headquarters in north San Jose from the County Government Center near downtown was a pleasant ride. Rather than riding through traffic, I followed the Guadalupe River Trail part of the way. The trail gave me a quieter, more relaxing ride, as well as beautiful scenery and puffy white and gray clouds to enjoy along the way.

I then took Airport Parkway to Brokaw and headed up First Street to VTA’s headquarters.

I arrived early enough to meet with Scott Haywood, VTA’s policy manager. In addition to being on Caltrain’s board, I am also a member of VTA’s governing board, and my meeting with Scott gave me a chance to chat about the latest bus and light rail fee reduction proposals.

At the lunch briefing, we discussed Caltrain’s $3.7 million deficit. The good news is that this estimate is lower than the original $5.6 million shortfall projected in February. We heard data and recommendations from Caltrain staff today, and tomorrow we hope to work together to begin brainstorming ways to reduce the deficit.

While on the San Jose City Council, I was the city’s representative on the Caltrain board. Now my appointment is because I serve on the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, and it is my seventh year on the board.

Even though I logged a lot of miles in the bike lanes and on the trails today, I haven’t had my fill of bicycling. Tomorrow I plan to take my bike on the train to the Caltrain board meeting in San Carlos.