Neighborhood Association (SNA) wants a PRT feeder from their
neighborhood in northern Milpitas to the Great Mall Transit Center
(LRT, buses and future BART) at the South end 3.5 miles
away. PRT is a new technology, so it makes sense to start
small. A simple PRT "ferry" using a minimal system of
two stations and a loop connecting them could be constructed and used
to safely "ferry" people over the railroad tracks.
People get on at one station and ride safely to the other station.
The Milpitas PRT "ferry" over the railroad tracks will connect Curtis
Avenue with Yosemite Drive at the north end of the Great Mall.
The blue dots indicate the general location of the two stations.
The green dot shows the LRT station above Main Street.
crossing = $300,000, but railroad rules prohibit new at-grade crossings
Benefits of $3M PRT crossing
estimates of pedestrian over crossing (POC) = $2,000,000
2000 VTA esimate =
$3,000,000; first conversations with Solectron (owns property east of
feasibility study estimate = $5,500,000 (location offset southward by
1/3 to 1/2 mile)
Three City documents call for a pedestrian/cyclist crossing at that location
(Bicycle Master Plan, Trails Master Plan, and Midtown Area Plan).
Such a demonstration system, costing less than the currently proposed
steel-and-concrete pedestrian bridge, will allow us to check out
PRT technology before we decide about expanding the system to
Because PRT is scalable, i.e. it works as a small or large system, we can grow
the system over time as need and opportunity arise. For example:
- extend from the Yosemite/Curtis crossing to the LRT station ($5M)
- extend from the LRT station to the Library on Main Street ($30M)
- create a loop connection library, LRT station, Yosemite/Park Victoria, City Hall ($40M)
- add loops to connect Sunnyhills ($100M)
Advantages of being the first City to implement PRT
If we're first, the Milpitas PRT will become both a regional and a national tourist
attraction bringing fame, acclaim, and extra tax dollars.
Remember, the City gets a full 6% of every 8.25% sales tax dollar
spent in our RDA (Re-Development Area).
By being first, we will pay less; outside funding from groups
interested in our "experimental project" will help reduce
our portion of construction costs from the standard 20% to only 10%
-- or even less. (It could be argued that Milpitas shouldn't
pay anything because we're taking the "risk" of being first.)
Being first will also put us in the lead for heavily subsidized funding of extensions
to the Library, Sunnyhills, and perhaps the BART station in Fremont. The first public PRT project will be a regional and
national tourist draw, injecting more interest into extending the project.
Problems of PRT crossing
Solectron's resistance to a POC crossing
Solectron owns a 1/3-mile long stretch of land east of the RR tracks. They
object to a standard steel-and-concrete POC on four grounds:
The use of PRT technology for the crossing would resolve all four concerns.
If Solectron resists PRT technology, then other legal approaches may be employed to gain permission.
- on-site security (they don't want strangers on their property)
- parking disruption (they're concerned about placement of supporting pillars interfering with parking and traffic flow)
- mischief from above (people throwing things onto their property)
- esthetics (a world-class company needs to project a clean, modern image).
supervision of the tiny starter system - how to keep it from being vandalized?
motion-sensing and tracking video recorder system will cut down
vandalism a lot. Proper industrial design will eliminate
another big portion. Finally, the fact that PRT is fun and
humanizing will reduce the number of people that want to damage it.
Maintenance (O&M) costs. Who pays? Who does
"ferry" would be a beta site for some PRT company, it's
arguable that the company should absorb all O&M costs for the
first 10 years. This provides invaluable feedback for the
company and acknowledges our contribution by being first.
Beyond that time, O&M is so inexpensive that it's possiblea
nominal fee (say $0.25 per crossing) would cover it. Any
required subsidies should come from the beneficiaries: LRT, Great
Mall, users, and BART. As part of an expanded system, O&M
would be covered by the system.
transportation equity for cyclists, the poor, and the environment
- responsibility for the larger good; Milpitas has the resources and opportunity
effective government (people want safe and reliable transportation)
A first step
for any public works project is writing an Environmental Impact
Report (EIR) which, for this "ferry" project, will cost
about $50,000. SNA will apply for grant funding from
foundations and other sources. Many may find this project
attractive because PRT addresses environmental issues, social equity
and transportation issues, and also provides a model that can be
repeated in most cities of our nation.
You can help.
In addition to foundation funding, SNA is inviting $5 pledges from
people who are willing to back this "ferry" with $5 of
their own money. After the first $45,000 in grant funding is
secured, we'll return to those who pledged $5 to collect. Your
pledge will demonstrate the public support which makes the grant
funding part even easier. If you'd like to participate in this
experiment in democracy, contact Rob Means at 408-262-0420 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also print the pledge form at www.electric-bikes.com/prt/prt-survey-2.html
Individual - pledge $5 toward EIR.
- Organizations - pledge $100 toward EIR (e.g. either or both BTAC and City Council)
What do you need to know before
supporting a PRT "ferry" in Milpitas?
from Yosemite Drive where it curves South to become Gibraltar
Drive. Gibraltar Court enters from the right. The yellow
circle highlights the connection to Curtis Avenue.
For additional site photos, go to www.electric-bikes.com/prt/prt-eir.html
Find the draft of a funding proposal at www.electric-bikes.com/prt/prt-grant.html