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Today’s Headlines

  • SFMTA Will Bring Back the Shuttle in the Tunnel (SFExaminer)
  • More on SFMTA Pulling Out Safe Hit Posts (SFist)
  • Car Carnage Getting Worse Despite Tech Advances (KQED)
  • BART Delayed Early This Morning (KRON4)
  • Free Car Storage in Marina Except for the Destitute (SFExaminer)
  • More on Cooling Rental Market (MercNews)
  • More Housing Supply Coming–Eventually (Curbed)
  • Bike Share Discounts for Low Income Riders (EastBayTimes)
  • Secretary Foxx Talks About Transportation Future (Curbed)
  • New Park Developments for Alameda (MercNews)
  • Who Will Repair San Carlos Sidewalks? (DailyJournal)
  • Commentary: Contrary View on Contra Costa Measure X (SFChron)

Get state headlines at Streetsblog CA
Get national headlines at Streetsblog USA


Time to Fix Oakland’s Streets: Vote Yes on KK


Potholes like this one might be inconvenient or uncomfortable for a car driver, but they can cause a cyclist to crash, and are unacceptable. Image: Wikimedia Commons

Oakland voters, as with voters throughout the Bay Area and the nation, will have quite a slew of decisions to make on November 8.

KK is one of the easiest.

Measure KK is a $600 million general obligation bond to invest in Oakland infrastructure and affordable housing. As the Yes on KK campaign writes, it “…will improve quality of life citywide by re-paving streets, rebuilding cracked and deteriorating sidewalks, and improving bicycle and pedestrian safety. It will also repair and improve parks, libraries, and public safety facilities.”

Or, to quote our friends at Bike East Bay: Read more…

Streetsblog USA
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When People Aren’t Afraid to Walk in the Street With Cars

Pacific Avenue in downtown Santa Cruz wasn't design to be a shared space where pedestrians have priority, but Richard Masoner says that's how it functions on weekends. Photo: Cyclelicious

Pacific Avenue in downtown Santa Cruz wasn’t designed to be a “shared space” where pedestrians have priority, but Richard Masoner says that’s how it functions on weekends. Photo: Cyclelicious

“Shared spaces” are streets where driving is allowed but walking and biking take priority. They are designed without curbs, signage, and other typical markers that separate cars from people on foot. The design cues are subtler. Everyone mixes together in the same space, and drivers travel slowly enough that they can make eye contact with pedestrians.

Can you have an “accidental” shared space — a street with curbs where people are still comfortable walking in the road? Richard Masoner at Network blog Cyclelicious says Pacific Avenue in downtown Santa Cruz functions as a shared space on weekends even though it wasn’t planned as one:

Most of those driving — even tourists with out-of-state license plates — take care to watch for people meandering into the street from arbitrary locations.

This kind of slow traffic naturally improves safety for people on bikes. I’ve talked to people who strongly dislike riding with traffic, but feel perfectly fine biking through downtown.

Read more…

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Today’s Headlines

  • N-Judah Shuttle Working (SFBay)
  • More on Subway Survey (SFGate, Curbed)
  • Transit Improvements for San Bruno Ave (SFBay)
  • SFMTA Fast at Keeping Streets Dangerous (Hoodline)
  • SFMTA and How to Name a Station (SFExaminer)
  • Warm Springs BART Station May Open After Election (SFChron)
  • Brooklyn Basin Shoreline Project Details (Socketsite)
  • Transportation at Issue for Proposed Menlo Park School (DailyJournal)
  • San Rafael Quiet Zone for SMART Train (MarinIJ)
  • State Proposition 53 Could Hurt Rail Modernization Plans (EastBayTimes)
  • Commentary: Vote Yes on C1 (SFChron)

Get state headlines at Streetsblog CA
Get national headlines at Streetsblog USA


Subway Metadata Master Plan

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A "heat map" of where San Franciscans want to see subways. Image: ConnectSF

A “heat map” of where San Franciscans want to see subways. Image: ConnectSF

Yesterday afternoon the Land Use and Transportation Committee of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors heard a presentation from transportation officials on efforts to design a “Subway Master Plan,” a long-range blueprint for a subway network for San Francisco.

From a release on the meeting from Supervisor Scott Wiener’s office:

Today at the Land Use and Transportation Committee, City transportation agencies delivered a presentation on their work to create a Subway Master Plan. Supervisor Scott Wiener called for the development of the Subway Master Plan last year, and authored an ordinance requiring the policy be developed. At the hearing, the Municipal Transportation Agency (MTA) and the San Francisco County Transportation Authority (SFCTA) presented the initial findings – which they have called the Subway Vision — that they have been developing over the last year.

Streetsblog readers will recall that in August the SFMTA and other agencies launched a web page that invited people to draw subway lines and stations where they would most like to see them. The computers then combined the “over 2,600 unique submissions that ranged from a single line to a comprehensive system,” explained Sarah Jones, SFMTA’s Planning Director. “The most consistently drawn lines were in prior plans we reviewed, but also saw some other areas being opened up.”
Read more…

Streetsblog USA
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Private Toll Road Backed By $430 Million in Federal Funds Goes Bust

From the beginning, there were plenty of reasons to suspect that Texas 130 — a private toll road between San Antonio and Austin — was a bad idea.

For one thing, the state of Texas looked into extending the highway in 2006 and concluded it wouldn’t generate nearly enough toll revenue to pay for construction.

Nevertheless, when two private firms, Cintra and Zachary Corp., decided to take the project on in 2008, the state of Texas and federal officials were happy to help. Cintra and Zachary put together a deal to build the $1.35 billion freeway. They lined up $430 million in federally-backed TIFIA loans, and promised to share toll revenues with the state of Texas and pay $25 million upfront.

Today, four years after the road opened, it is bankrupt. Katherine Blunt at the San Antonio Express-News has done some Pulitzer-worthy reporting about Texas 130 and the questions raised by similar toll road projects. Here are a few of the highlights of her report:

Read more…

Streetsblog USA
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You Don’t Have to Trash BRT to Make the Case for Light Rail, and Vice Versa

In cities considering a light rail project, it’s common for transit opponents to suddenly cast themselves as big believers in bus rapid transit. They don’t really want to build BRT, they just want to derail the transit expansion. The light rail advocates then have to make their case not only on the merits of the project, but also in relation to the strawman BRT project.

That’s the position supporters of Seattle’s big transit expansion ballot measure, ST3, find themselves in right now. Taking on the faux pro-BRT crowd in a recent post, Anton Babadjanov at Seattle Transit Blog argues that building a BRT equivalent of the proposed light rail lines wouldn’t be that simple or cheap:

How do we get this? We can’t simply reallocate a general purpose lane for this. This is a political non-starter. While it is relatively cheap to implement, no car commuter wants to lengthen their commute so that “somebody else” can have a better transit or carpool trip. People have never supported this en masse.

The only option we have is to build the new right-of-way — either widen the freeway or build the lanes in a separate structure using viaducts and tunnels as appropriate.

Babadjanov concludes that building BRT with new rights-of-way could save 20 percent compared to light rail, but its capacity would be lower. It’s a reasonable argument for the specific situation Seattle transit advocates are in right now. But I’ve seen the post’s headline — “BRT Is Not Cheaper Than Light Rail” — shared online as though it applies in every situation, which is just not true.

Read more…

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Today’s Headlines

Get state headlines at Streetsblog CA
Get national headlines at Streetsblog USA


Public Gets a Look at BART’s Future

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Rain didn't stop hundreds of BART customers from coming to MacArthur Station to see the new train car. Photo: Streetsblog

Rain didn’t stop hundreds of BART customers from coming to MacArthur Station to see the new train car. Photo: Streetsblog

Yesterday afternoon, some 1,600 people braved the rain to check out BART’s new rolling stock at an open-house at MacArthur Station in Oakland. BART is doing a total of four open houses. The first one was Saturday, in Pleasant Hill/Contra Costa Centre Station. From the BART web page:

The Fleet of the Future is closer than ever to becoming a reality for BART riders. Your chance to get an up close look at a test train for the new fleet is coming. BART will hold a series of FREE open house events in October. The Open House events will occur on a station platform at these dates and locations:

  • Saturday, October 15th at Pleasant Hill/Contra Costa Centre Station 11 am- 4 pm
  • Sunday, October 16th at MacArthur Station 11 am – 4 pm
  • Saturday, October 29th at Dublin/Pleasanton Station 11 am – 4 pm
  • Sunday, October 30th at El Cerrito del Norte Station 11 am – 4 pm

The new train cars will expand the BART fleet and provide much-needed crowd relief.  The goal is to order a total of 1,081 cars, which would increase the number of seats in the BART fleet by 49 percent.

Read more…

Streetsblog USA
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Transit Vote 2016: Seattle’s Huge, Imperfect Transit Expansion

We continue our overview of what’s at stake in the big transit ballot initiatives this November with a look at Seattle. The first installment of this series examined Indianapolis.

The transit expansion plan on the ballot in Seattle this November is a big one.

Seattle's "ST3" plan would add 62 miles of grade-separated light rail. Map: SoundTransit3

Seattle’s “ST3” plan would add 62 miles of grade-separated light rail. Map: SoundTransit3

Known as ST3, the proposal calls for a 62-mile expansion of grade-separated light rail extending across three counties, including about four miles that will run underground in central Seattle. Also included: bus rapid transit routes along two highway corridors, and $20 million to plan transit-oriented development.

The total package comes to $54 billion, which will be paid for by a mix of property taxes, sales taxes, and excise taxes. And it will take more than 20 years to complete.

Sound Transit estimates that under this plan, ridership will nearly double by 2040 to 800,000 daily trips, and that 361 million miles of driving will be averted each year [PDF].

There are some downsides to the plan, which has drawn criticism for devoting too much to park-and-ride transit in car-centric areas. While expanding the transit network could create new walkable communities across the region, different suburbs have shown varying levels of commitment to transit-oriented development.

ST3 calls for spending $661 million on parking at suburban stations, which works out to $80,000 per space. And much of the suburban light rail will run along highway rights-of-way, which is a bad fit for walkable development.

Read more…