A newspaper article in the Daily stated that the Charleston-Arastradero project aims to reduce congestion and promote the use of alternatives forms of transit. I'm all for public transit but my question is HOW? VTA buses run infrequently and the crosstown shuttle is overpacked to the extent that it endangers students.
Everyday, students at Gunn take their chances to guess which of two stops the shuttle will reach first. Those walking to the Miranda stop jaywalk through an intersection then walk against traffic in a bike lane (no sidewalks) with cars and UPS vans speeding by at 35. Rainy days cause puddles, forcing many to walk onto roadways. If the shuttle reaches Miranda first, those waiting at the second stop in front of Gunn will jaywalk (in one entire group) across all four lanes of Arastradero whether or not the light is red or green. Motorists honk and wave hand gestures at the twenty or so students running across the roadway.
When the doors open, the mass of students shove on trying to get any remaining seats or just to keep themselves from getting left behind. If they are lucky, the driver will allow them to get on despite being over the legal capacity. Full of up to 40 students, each with backpacks, textbooks, and instruments, the shuttle continues down Arastradero. It passes Terman Middle School, where the driver will sometimes stop to let a few middle schoolers on. Usually, however, a group of 5-10 will be left behind waiting for the next shuttle (40 minutes).
The Crosstown shuttle is so packed that students in the front have to get off in order to let others in the back disembark at stops. It is also so crowded that the driver cannot see to his/her left because the view is blocked by students in front of the doorway. At stopsigns and intersections, the driver asks these students to tell him/her when there isn't a car coming.
If the city or council really wanted to encourage commuters to use alternative forms of transit, another shuttle is desperately needed. Biking may be an option for some but a 5-mile roundtrip discourages me and carrying a brass instrument on a bicycle isn't exactly easy. The current situation aboard the shuttle also endangers the safety of students.
This is my last and final year at Gunn, and after four years here nothing has changed with the crosstown shuttle. I live right next to a shuttle stop, but the benefits of driving a car outweigh the benefits of running across four lanes of traffic or being packed into an overcrowded shuttle. Adding another shuttle during peak times would promote the use of alternative transportation and solve safety issues.
For years the city council has done nothing about the Crosstown shuttle. Is it going to take a fatal traffic collision and a sacrifice of student lives to get the city or council to do something pragmatic???