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    Jeffrey Baker

    Haha as if there is any upper bound to a Muni trip. I once spent over 90 minutes going from Montgomery to Embarcadero.



    … and then there’s the whole bicycle capacity issue.

    For the extra cars being bought from LA, any plans to make some of these a third bicycle car?

    For the new electrified cars, does anybody know what Caltrain’s plans are for bicycle capacity? More or less? I hope more. Are they considering different ways to rack the bikes so you don’t have to play this whole game trying to get them in order (though it is pretty compact this way)?



    Agreed, but my understanding was that they literally can’t fit any more trains on the right-of-way during rush hour. There are only limited spots with double tracks allowing faster trains to pass slower ones, so adding more trains starts messing all that timing up. But maybe I’m wrong …

    Regardless, they can certainly add more trains during the shoulder periods since the system isn’t at capacity then.



    I second MrEricSir’s call for increased Caltrain frequency.

    It makes little sense to indefinitely punish Peninsula commuters with jam-packed trains (and roads and highways) by holding Caltrain to a 6 train/direction/hour limit in a deal with an increasingly troubled agency whose trains won’t show up here for at least a decade or more.



    They are stuck with a max of 6 trains per direction per hour (currently they’re at 5tph) per the deal with High Speed Rail. But the latest High Speed Rail business plan shows 2.5 million riders per year travelling a super-express from SF-SJ. So Caltrain could conceivably negotiate for that capacity earlier.



    People on MUNI stand the whole trip consisting of up to 40 minutes.



    What Caltrain needs is more frequent service, not larger trains.



    The average baby bullet ride is 28 miles, which is a long ride to stand. But average doesn’t tell the whole story – what % of people ride 5-10 miles, and would be ok standing?



    No? Even with electric trains? That’s disappointing. Though really, would like to see total grade separation at that speed.



    Caltrain says that track improvements will be needed to go faster than today’s max 79mph. Those improvements aren’t part of the initial electrification project, and aren’t planned or funded yet.



    I don’t really understand why Caltrain still needs 10 minutes headway per train, when I have seen other mass transit systems (like in Beijing) do 2 minute between arrivals on two tracks.

    Honestly it doesn’t sound like Caltrain really has any idea how to increase capacity — they should really be pushing for four rails along the entire system. With the projected ridership increases, by the time HSR starts running they won’t even have any extra capacity for a “blended system.” Caltrain really needs to start raising their standards and looking for dedicated funding ASAP.


    Thomas Rogers

    Despite the obvious crowding, I’ve remained amazed about: 1) how many passengers still spread out with their bags/jackets/etc. on adjacent seats, and 2) how many other passengers are still too timid to ask them to move their stuff. That opens up seating for me, since I don’t mind butting in, but it’s still weird. That amount of seating is marginal, admittedly- the overall points of this article still hold.

    I hate to even suggest it, but I wonder if some areas of some cars should be converted to allow more standing area? I’m not sure if that would work on the Nippon Sharyo gallery cars (since the upper levels don’t allow standing beneath them), but it could add “capacity” on the Bombardier cars. Also, are higher fares at the peak times worth considering in the interim as a way to move some passengers to the shoulder trains with more capacity (and possibly help fund capital improvements like new cars)? Not sure how that would work with monthly/Go passes, or what unintended effects it would have, but it is worth thinking through.


    Matt Laroche

    As far as I know, Caltrain isn’t planning on running at 110, even with CBOSS (the new signaling system).





    murphstahoe – wrong again.
    One streetcar is 75 ft long.The revised transit bulbs are at least 100 ft long and are widened by 14 ft to the tracks. Vehicle drivers will not be able to squeeze between a streetcar and parked vehicles and endanger passengers boarding/exiting.
    Drivers will have to line up in single file behind a streetcar.



    Hear hear!



    And use those tolls to fund DTX and Muni to Daly City BART!



    Thanks for the article Andrew.

    Couple of points on the bike lane:

    1. Bike lane is curbside for Caltrans approval, as it acts as a shoulder (a required element per Highway Design Manual). Presence and width of shoulders is usually flexible to a degree, but outside lane will likely need it for approval.
    2. It is not logical to put it next to a two-way, shared use pathway (where bicyclists are already allowed). The protection that bicyclists do indeed deserve is already there.
    3. While not serving the “interested but concerned”, the bike lane would be attractive to many cyclists that already use the corridor or similar on-street facilities. Have your cake and eat it too I say!

    The concept needs much more study, including more thought on transit operations and interactions (along with LOS or VMT) since SamTrans is pursuing BRT-like improvements, so it’s a great time to throw out other ideas and concerns if you have them.



    What I’ve learned from the fare inspections is: DO NOT LET GO OF YOUR CARD. If your Clipper has to be scanned, have them do it with it in your hand. First Fare inspector had a malfunctioned scanner so he went on board the bus with my card, but did not permit me to board, to have his colleague scan it. Yeah… that went well when the bus took off.



    And toll from the South!

    We’ve already got the North and East covered.


    Jeffrey Baker

    Now that we know pricing works for parking (as if it weren’t already obvious that it would work) can we please for the love of Pete have market pricing for bridge tolls? It’s very simple: raise the price of peak hour bridge crossing until the metering lights are off.



    The point is that you take everything personally and provide examples of yourself doing everything you critique.



    and your point is? That my opinionated points of view are not a starting points for discussion? Personally I take great offense when someone responds to criticism with the response “if you don’t like it leave town”. Personally I don’t see much original discussion here, just folks who have adopted a point of view, and don’t seem to appreciate there is almost always two sides to an issue. So again, not sure what your point is?



    “the ENTIRE concept of democracy is the intelligent debate of issues”

    “the citizens should be free of the yoke of the burden of government”
    “a clear pillar of wisdom”
    “pig headed and unjust”
    “Clearly you are a much finer human being then I am”
    “accept whatever BS the wonderful city government throws your way”
    “Just look around genius”
    “same old knee jerk BS”
    “money is just flushed down the drain”



    So I see. Everyone that disagrees with you (a clear pillar of wisdom) or takes issue with the way the government acts towards its citizens should just pack up and leave? That is your answer to issues worthy of debate and discussion? I actually like living in SF and will continue to do so, and I also plan to raise my voice in protest to things that I find pig headed and unjust. Clearly you are a much finer human being then I am, with an evolved sense of civic pride and service. Me I’m just a regular guy who calls things the way I see them.

    But quite frankly, I don’t think the problem is me, after all the ENTIRE concept of democracy is the intelligent debate of issues, I think the problem is with people like you, who don’t really seem to question much, but accept whatever BS the wonderful city government throws your way. Just look around genius, and you think the city is doing great, or that our politicians are leaders worthy of our respect and loyalty? Give me a break San Francisco is a bloody mess, and politicians here give lip service to doing good, but almost every single one of them has their eyes on higher office and getting beyond this provincial berg. Don’t you get it? They talk as if they care about issues, when in fact what they care about is getting elected and staying in office until they can work their way up the “largesse ladder”. To stay in office they just have to play to the same old knee jerk BS, that has passed itself of as “progressive politics” for years. What do we have to show for it? A town where the poor and middle class are getting squeezed out, a town where police and firefighter leaders make more money then similar jobs in much bigger cities like LA. Where union bus repair guys walk away with lifetime 150K a year pensions, where home ownership is a lower percentage then ANY city in all of the US, and where money is just flushed down the drain. For example they recently wanted to name SF Airport Harvey Milk Airport, and ill conceived idea from the get go. So when it was clear there was no public support they decided to name a terminal after Milk. So what is the first thing they do? Form a 75K “steering committee” to research which terminal to name after Milk. That’s a lot of damn quarters isn’t it? So no I”m not leaving, and I feel no shame in having a different opinion then you and stating them with passion. Unlike many folks here I am certainly willing to change my opinion when given facts to convince me, I see no real facts here just political talking points.



    Cheryl Brinkman is just my favorite.



    Highways 101 and 280 weren’t built all at once. They were built in discontiguous stretches over several years as funding became available. The same goes for bike lanes.



    If Atherton has no money, then how was the road built in the first place. If the original road was funded city by city, I would assume it would just stop at the Atherton city limit for lack of funds. I assume it was not funded originally like that, so neither should its improvements be.



    Imposing new taxes require a 2/3 majority vote. Good luck with that!


    Jamie Scott

    Good article. Outstanding question I have after reading this. What is the current level of bike funding, what is the proposed bike funding if the ballot initiative doesn’t pass, and what is the bike funding if the ballot initiative does pass? Also, curious how much NYC’s spent on bike lanes since 2007.


    Eva Markiewicz

    Just found this article with a very compelling quote:

    If you’re riding down a busy city street on your bike, you’re as much as 90% more likely to get hit by a car than if you’re in a protected bike lane–a lane that actually has a curb or some other physical barrier rather than just a simple white stripe.

    Its a great article, and links to these resources:


    Eva Markiewicz

    I agree with one of the previous comments – the planters and bike lanes should be switched to provide bikers with the safety they need. In fact, I’ve heard that in many top bikeabiltiy cities – they put organize the street like this: bike, pedestrian, trees, car lane 1, car lane opposite, trees, pedestrian, bike.



    Great point. Caltrans is officially responsible for El Camino (it’s officially state highway 82), so it seems like this road is perfectly amenable to having a unified approach to pedestrian and bicycle safety since one body technically is in charge of the whole thing.



    I’m all for adding bike lanes to El Camino in Atherton. However, can’t all the cities along the route coordinate to build bike lanes at the same time? I believe that Sunnyvale is also adding bike lanes to El Camino. Having bike lanes in only some cities is very confusing and dangerous. What are bicyclists supposed to do when they get to the city line? Are they all of a sudden stuck in highway traffic?

    I would love to have a direct and easy to remember bicycle route from San Jose to San Francisco. Cars can just take Hwy 101 or I-280. I bet none of you could tell me a detailed, reasonably direct bicycle route from San Jose to San Francisco.



    The closing point was good though – the bike lane on the right hand side should be next to the sidewalk.



    Wow, how *ever* could we possibly come up with a solution for this type of terrible first-world problem?! Rich residents but a poor government?!

    Atherton is all housing, so with prop 13 they’re basically fucked.



    Also, Atherton doesn’t do development so there are grants they don’t qualify for. But, the routes through Atherton also serve Redwood City, North Fair Oaks, and Menlo Park, which do qualify for grants and have residents who’d rather bike and walk safely.



    “Although many Atherton residents are very wealthy, the town government itself isn’t, and it lacks sufficient city planning and engineering staff to analyze and apply for the many competitive grants that could fund recommended safety improvements.”

    Wow, how *ever* could we possibly come up with a solution for this type of terrible first-world problem?! Rich residents but a poor government?! Hmmmm …. I don’t know, how about raising taxes a tiny bit to raise some money for these worthy causes? Because better pedestrian and cyclists infrastructure is desperately needed here. I agree with Adina’s points in the article that Atherton is like a black hole when riding a bike through this area (and Redwood City and Menlo Park aren’t much better).

    Looking at the plan for El Camino, I’m confused: why not put the 4-foot bike lane on the *other* side of the planters and adjacent to the two-way shared trail to actually give cyclists the safety they deserve? It seems so easy to do this ….



    Start at 15:50 minute mark if you want to skip to the transportation section he talks about. 17:40 minute mark is specifically about the Sunday meter hint, hint I reference above



    You can find it here –

    It’s the Mayor Ed Lee: What’s Next for SF program

    You have to read between the lines on this when he talks about Sunday meters (which is a small part of the discussion) but this was my take from it.



    Actually, based on the city’s own numbers, only 3.5% of trips are done by bicycle and the city spends less than 0.5% of the SFMTA budget on ‘improvements’ to bicycling infrastructure. By some measures, SFMTA spends more on paper and office supplies then then do on bicycle infrastructure.

    But, because such a small percentage of people ride bicycles regularly in the city, licensing cyclists, which, I venture to guess you haven’t figured out how to administer in the first place, won’t raise anything more than symbolic revenue. In fact, it could end up costing more to administer than the amount of revenue it brings in. Then you have to ask yourself – what’s the point?

    Also, last I checked, while there is a parking crunch for cars in commercial districts, that’s not the problem with bicycle parking….



    Well fortunately for you those other cities are needing population a lot more than SF and SF is getting by just fine with Sunday metering. If you have such problems with SF city government in general, maybe it’s time to try living in the other 99.5% of other cities.

    I have no problem paying to park when I drive. I always know where I am going to park and make sure I have the money for it. What I don’t like is not being able to find parking and that’s why I appreciate the increased turnover from the meters or I park in a garage.



    Great idea, we can start that program as soon as cars pay for damage caused by air pollution, collisions, and parking.



    All I know is that 99.5% of ALL cities seem to be able to do fine without sunday parking, and SF seemed to be doing just great without it for all these years. In every neighborhood where there are businesses there are also residences. For every store there are probably 20 or 30 apartments. Hey you want to support sunday parking that is fine with me, the only thing I ask is if you don’t have a car then perhaps you don’t quite get it. If you do have a car and don’t mind getting reamed by the city, you are entitled to that. But I am certainly entitled to have my opinion about a city that seems to have no limits on their ability to spend and waste money, and therefore are always strained to find new ways to get revenue, rather then fix the underlying problems of government largesse.



    Then here is a great idea. Since our bicycles use our roads and side walks, and cause accidents and have even known to kill people, why not regulate and charge fees to the bike riders? I say we license all bikes in SF, that the parking the city provides currently for free on sidewalks should be metered. That should raise a good chunk of change and seems equitable to me. So why is that you wouldn’t support this idea? Perhaps you ride a bike, and have been getting off scott free all these years? Seems like a “perk” to me.



    Paying to store private property is not a tax, especially in areas like commercial districts in which the businesses rely on turnover. This is why meters were first used, to create turnover in high demand areas, and as previously mentioned the chamber of commerce supports Sunday metering for this reason. Sunday is no longer a “day of rest” in the United States, unlike other countries where the majority of businesses are closed on Sunday, businesses are open in the US 7 days a week. We have a parking policy that reflects this.

    If you don’t want to pay the city for parking, you can park in a private garage, or maybe you’d insist that they should provide their services for free?



    You are comparing apples and oranges. I’m not complaining about stopping at red lights on sunday. The things you are referring to are all services that you get something in return. Paying to park on a public street is not a service it is a tax. Just like one accepts the fact you don’t get mail on Sunday, its not that it wouldn’t be useful it represents a “day of rest”. Same with Sunday parking, simply a “day of rest” that was taken away.



    It’s actually become cheaper to go to whole foods, or Safeway, then it is to buy fish or veggies in the Mission on Sunday.



    We pay sales taxes seven days a week. And why Sunday and not Saturday? And why should parking be free and not MUNI? Your argument about ‘getting gov’mint off my back’ has no rational basis if you notice all the other inconsistencies in your argument.

    Sounds like you’re just upset that a perk you’ve enjoyed for years, if not decades is now gone and you’re upset about it. If you were focused on making MUNI free on Sundays as well as parking, then maybe you’d have a better argument. But instead, this is all about you, isn’t it.



    That’s a great idea. I especially don’t pay for muni on sundays, or any tolls. And don’t get me started on water and the sewer system, I’ll never use those on the sunday. Get these pipes out of my house! No visits to the library and don’t come to me about an emergency, because 9-11 is off limits as well.