Mapping a Fully Transit-Connected Bay Area

Brian Stokle's map envisions how the Bay Area region could possibly be connected by future transit projects -- some planned, some only envisioned -- including high-speed rail, BART extensions, and BRT lines. Image via ##http://www.theatlanticcities.com/design/2012/03/fantasy-transit-map-san-francisco/1548/##The Atlantic Cities##

Imagine the freedom of being able to hop on a nearby train or bus to reach virtually any place in the Bay Area (and beyond) on an integrated network of reliable transit.

That’s the vision cartographer Brian Stokle sought to lay out in a map featured in the latest issue of SPUR‘s monthly magazine, The Urbanist. In a recent article in The Atlantic Cities, Urbanist editor Allison Arieff says that the map, along with another map of existing regional transit that Stokle created, “have generated a lot of conversation (and some controversy) — which is exactly what they were meant to do”:

The majority of the projects, routes, and modes shown in Stokle’s proposed “Future” map (or some might argue, “Utopian”) reflect current Bay Area planning. However in some cases, the mode or route has been changed. In other instances, some new routes have been suggested. For example, BART to Livermore and Dumbarton Rail are two projects that are not included in this map. Instead, access to Livermore from BART is provided by bus rapid transit, and the Dumbarton corridor is served by rapid bus service. New projects that are not currently part of planning, or are in their early phases include projects like the Oakland Emeryville streetcar down Broadway, Capitol Corridor crossing at Vallejo, and 101 Rapid in the Peninsula.

Some ideas are old, some more novel. In San Francisco, the controversial Central Subway (now under construction) is shown extending all the way to Lombard and Van Ness to meet the coming BRT line, which is also extended to connect the Transbay Terminal to Marin County via the Golden Gate Bridge (where a BART line was fought off in the 60’s).

What would it take to bring a comprehensive vision like this into reality, and which projects could be feasibly built? Regional planners are currently figuring that out as they develop the Bay Area’s 25-year Sustainable Communities Strategy and Regional Transportation Plan. Next month, staff from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, the Bay Area’s transportation financing agency, will present a list of the transit projects they determine to be the most beneficial and cost-effective to build in the coming years. Stay tuned to Streetsblog for more on that.

In the meantime, check out Stokle’s map of the existing regional transit network — one of SPUR’s ideas for saving transit — after the break.

Stokle's regional map of existing transit systems. Image via ##http://www.theatlanticcities.com/design/2012/03/fantasy-transit-map-san-francisco/1548/##The Atlantic Cities##

For some more wonky urban planning treats, head over to Stokle’s blog Urban Life Signs to check out his other creations, like illustrations of Valencia Street’s various incarnations over the past 129 years.

  • FDW

    I don’t really like it, it’s too messy, and it doesn’t really acknowledge the existence of frequent service corridors consistently

  • mikesonn

    I’m not a fan either and the details of it aren’t that exciting.

    But when compared against our current reality, it does look nice. But my pie-in-the-sky dream for better Bay Area Transit it is not.

  • jonobate

    Nope. It tries to do too much, mixes too many different types of services, and ends up looking too messy and topographically distorted.

    SF Cityscape does a much better map of Bay Area rail transit: 
    http://www.sfcityscape.com/maps/bay_area_transit/bay_rail.pdf

    And of SF major lines: http://www.sfcityscape.com/maps/bay_area_transit/SF_main_lines.pdf

  • I’m much more a fan of Complutense’s old map of rail in the Bay Area. He has more, including a fantasy map of what he’d like to see going forward, here.  This map is rather too messy and, honestly, not terribly legible.

  • Another complaint: the list of services and the key are both incomplete.  Marin’s 29R (which also should have some directional arrows to show its route – does it hit San Rafael or Larkspur first?) isn’t listed, and the difference between the pink regional rail and the gray regional rail isn’t specified.

  • mikesonn

    I took it as the gray regional rail is already existing where the pink is future. But one shouldn’t have to guess when looking at a map.

  • @mikesonn:disqus I thought the same thing at first, but both line colors appear in the key, so there should be some differentiation between the two.

  • PRE

    I’m sorry, but none of these are maps.  They are schematics, and are confusing and frankly very ugly.  I fail to understand why people (and transit organizations) like these things, but I think they are almost worse than nothing at all.  What does this really tell you when it puts the future Chinatown station of the Central Subway in what I guess is Cow Hollow?  Hey – life is not a circuit board.

  • keenplanner

    The “rhinoceros in the corner” in this conversation is how much money could be saved and how much better the systems co-ordination could be if all these regional systems were governed by one transportation agency. 
    Every few years someone funds a study that points this out in 56-point screaming red sans-serif type, but it’s quickly given the “thanks for sharing” treatment and swept under the carpet of politics and patronage. 

    Since ped-transit-first San Francisco can’t even figure out that traffic signals that turn green for buses (like L.A.!) will facilitate transit movement, I’m not holding my breath.

  • cheeseportation

    There are several problems with “A Possible Future” map, most notably no analysis indicating these are the most important markets to serve by transit in the future. For example, Central Subway to Fort Mason? not without some massive upzoning, please! There is no Geneva-Harney BRT called out on this map, even though its a key transportation improvement in Candlestick/Hunters Point Shipyards Transportation Plan. Also 30th Street BART station, with a cost of $500 million is totally not cost effective (although would take it any day over BART extensions to the exurbs). As for the 2nd tube depicted, it seems to me that if there were to be a second tube, all existing Dublin/Pleasanton and Fremont trains should be routed through it. This would create operational efficiencies.

  • Can’t wait to visit!

  • sugarntasty

    Bureaucracy is aware funding is essential whom,Caltran,CALSTA,CATC and dept of Transportation federal aware. Horrible road conditiosn gentrified California recommend expansion 8 or 6 tunnels to “East Bay” 6 bridges reduce traffic possiblity 2nd bridge crossing Marin county. Wealth not impossible ballots we go 2017 San Franciso eager to approve REITS,LLC,SIICs and SIIS
    Ed Lee is timid. Approved needed funding expanding MUNI metro for entire city,
    equivalent to London,Osaka,Singapore and Malmo cities excellent transit care.

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