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    If 5 trains leave SF at the start of rush hour, they will be out of trains for the next hour because none of the 5 trains leaving San Jose will have arrived and be ready to leave yet. So you need 6-7 trains available to run 5 per hour.



    It sounds like you’d be a great addition to our Transit Action Committee! Check out our meetings on Jan. 21 and Feb. 1!


    Jeffrey Baker

    Please elaborate. Caltrain only handles 5 trains per hour at peak. In what way is a 6-track terminal insufficient for handling that traffic?



    It would be better off running straight up underneath 7th Street, then turning right and going under Mission to the TTC.


    Robert Neff

    We need a group like this in the south bay.


    Doug Radtke

    I wish somebody had reached out to me for a comment instead of guessing my intent. Yes, this is the Doug Radtke who wrote the opposition argument to the ballot measure.

    Opposing Measure N had nothing to do with “keeping the tech class” out of San Bruno. It had everything to do with unfairly upzoning property that either almost solely belonged to the Welch Family Trust or Artichoke Joe’s and none of it to the single family homes a street away. Raising the height limits in a broader area would allow recourse of the existing property owners to sell out to a developer who wants to build high density.

    The opposition of Measure N was an opportunity to do primarily voter education instead of just resigning it to a rubberstamped “yes”. This had nothing to do with a blanket opposition to high density housing. It’s as important to understand the major players in Measure N – highly compensated political consultant Ed McGovern who hid in the shadows of the entire Measure N proceeding. His name and signature rests on the initial ballot proposal, yet he is not a San Bruno resident capable of signing a ballot measure – what gives?

    I even took the time to reach out to one of the original San Bruno councilmembers Gary Mondfrans who penned Ordinance 1284 for his opinion.

    I’ve since Measure N actually advocated for more upzoning in San Mateo County. I completely agree with the SMDJ position that most Peninsula cities are stuck in 1977, and I think I made it quite clear in subsequent letters to the editor what my position was – that of voter education.

    But anyway, I just wanted to throw that all out there in case somebody stumbles across this article.


    david vartanoff

    “three N-Judahs in a row, outbound,” Muni COULD dynamicly resequence outbound trains if they wanted to. First off 3 of 5 lines end at Balboa so the issue is one of posting the job as xround trips between EMB and Balboa no specific route. As to the Ns, a 2 car train is a 2 car train; the 2nd of those 3 could be sent to WP and back getting manyridershome faster. The bottom line is that since Munican’t control trafficsabotage, they could at least balancethe outbounds to relieve platform crowding. Say lethargy and lack of imagination. And unlike the silly double berthing fantasy, no need for regulatory approval.


    Ziggy Tomcich

    It’s important to realize that the current concept for DTX and the TTC rail can’t even meet existing Caltrain capacity, let alone any HSR. That’s the real reason no politician wants to touch this white elephant; DTX is flawed and it can’t work! Caltrain’s own plans only call for 1/3 of their scheduled trains to go into TTC, while the rest will still terminate at 4th/King. The reason is because there isn’t the train capacity in the DTX to even handle existing caltrain traffic. There are only 6 platforms fed by 3 mainline tracks without any loopback tracks. All the tracks are on the same level which immobilizes all the center platforms anytime the outer platforms are in active use. There’s no room for trains to pass each other as they depart or any sidings to park unused trains. And there are two hairpin turns that hit the design limit for trains, and will limit all trains to bicycle speeds traveling throughout the DTX. I don’t believe DTX can ever effectively work given these design limitations.


    Ziggy Tomcich

    The latest Caltrain plans is to only have 1/3 of the trains go into the TTC, while the remaining still terminate at 4th/king. The reason is because there isn’t the capacity in the DTX and TTC to handle the existing Caltrain schedule + HSR.


    Ziggy Tomcich

    It’s impossible for 6 platforms to provide for Caltrain service, CAHSR, and new connected East Bay service! Without any room for loop-back tracks, and only 3 tracks servicing 6 platforms, there’s not even enough room for Caltrain’s existing schedules; let alone any improved Caltrain headways or CAHSR. That’s why the current Caltrain plans only allow for 1/3 of all Caltrains to actually make it to the transbay terminal. The remaining 2/3rd will all still terminate at 4th street because there’s just not enough room for the DTX to handle any additional train traffic. That’s the reason why no politician wants to talk about DTX; the flawed concept is beyond capacity before it’s even build!



    ” It would be much more secure if CAHSR were on it’s way. And now at the
    regional level, do we study and fund the second transbay tube first, or
    do we build DTX. Really we should be doing both and a whole lot more
    to keep people moving.”

    I find it odd that somehow people are marking the DTX and second transbay tube as fait accompli, and CAHSR as dead in the water. They are laying tracks for CAHSR. The second transbay tube is not even a fertilized egg – I mark it in the same bag as the Dumbarton Rail – a mythical project that people somehow glommed onto because they read an article about it once. The only way we get the funding for a transbay tube will be an utter collapse of fossil fuel use, at which point retrofitting the bridge for trains would probably be cheaper.

    A useful example is SMART. The train is laying tracks. That’s a real project. When I talk to people from SF, all of a sudden that project will eventually get to San Francisco, and there is a soon to be finished grade separated bike expressway parallel to the tracks all the way from Larkspur to Cloverdale. When you talk to people in Healdsburg, the train is going to open pretty soon and will go to Cloverdale. But if you are nominally paying attention – the train is going from San Rafael to Santa Rosa, it will extend to Larkspur, it has a 50/50 chance of going to Windsor, the bike path is not separated and will be pretty disappointing, and it’s never going to Healdsburg let alone Cloverdale.

    On the other hand, I thought the Central Subway was going to disappear, so what do I know.



    I’m not against subways, but the ROI for the Central Subway was pretty paltry. It seems the more a person actually uses transit, the more they are puzzled by how that line would be very useful.



    No, point A (Transbay) is fixed. Point B (where the line connects to the existing track) is not fixed; the most recent reports suggest that SF Planning is considering a connection to the existing Caltrain line around 22nd St, with an alignment under Third St and new underground station in Mission Bay. If this was to happen, 4th & King would be abandoned and opened up for redevelopment. See the map in this article:

    Note that I’m not supporting or opposing such an a change in alignment, at this point – it’s too early to tell if this new alignment will be significantly better than the old one. But this is clearly why city hall is stalling on supporting the DTX, and it seems bizarre to me that this Streetsblog article failed to mention this.



    While there is good need for redundancy in transportation, this is not redundant, as each serve and promote one another. Additionally, I dont know that caltrain would be reconfigured to stop at both 4th/king and TTC.

    Regardless, Central Subway will provide a local north/south connection within San Francisco, while Caltrain will connect SF with the Peninsula and South Bay, and CAHSR to LA and the central Valley. Tunneling is expensive, but when the rail line is complete and connects to North Beach it will be used. (It’s almost like how people say in LA you have to drive, but have you noticed how fast LA Metro is expanding is light rail lines and how ridership projections are blown away? If anything they aren’t expanding fast enough)



    While it may seem a short distance, it’s all part of a plan that will increase ridership and connectivity. I’m a bit appalled the author would criticize central subway and local BRT projects. They all have their place, and will show their value as they are key LOCAL routes, but they need to be completed, much like TTC. You really cannot have one without the other. Local and regional projects really work in concert with each other.

    In any case, I think the largest dilemma outside of funding is that the mayor wants to consider rerouting DTX to mission bay and others have wanted to add an additional stop along the way. But also, the details of CAHSR has been muddled in lawsuits and political theater. It would be much more secure if CAHSR were on it’s way. And now at the regional level, do we study and fund the second transbay tube first, or do we build DTX. Really we should be doing both and a whole lot more to keep people moving.



    Actually… TBC is–like Grand Central–designed as a terminal, not a station. There’s a building planned to the east which will take up the (underground) space needed for run through tracks on that side.

    The chance of any trains arriving or leaving from the east is very low. It’s almost like someone thought of every method of fixing this thing and ensured it was blocked.


    Jarrett M

    The employment center of SF is and will remain the financial district, which the transbay terminal is right next to. Some jobs will trickle down to SOMA and Mission Bay, but the financial district is the city’s overwhelming jobs concentration, which will be the true ridership generator- not stadiums or sports arenas. It needs to be served by regional transit both from the East Bay and the Peninsula/South Bay and Caltrain is the Peninsula’s regional transit link as the round-about BART connection through Millbrae has proven slow and ineffective to connecting Peninsula riders with the Market Street transit spine. HSR would be a nice addition to the TBT, but if it never reaches the city, the Caltrain link to the region’s densest job cluster is a worthy investment in its own right.



    If SF never gets Caltrain and HSR extended to the Transbay Transit Center, the underground train box can always be used by BART when/if it adds a second transbay tube. That line could go from the second tube, to the Transit Center, connect with an existing station on Market, then head west under Geary. Imagine living in the Outer Richmond and being able to get to downtown/SoMa/the TTC in 10-15 minutes rather than the current 45-60 minutes on a bus.


    Mission Mom



    We can use $1B of the 2.5B to pay off the Mayor. That should get it done.


    Jeffrey Baker

    I know you’re not that naive. The T-Third opened 9 years ago and still does not have signal priority at 4th & King. In fact it has the polar opposite of signal priority: it is guaranteed to sit there at the light through at least one full cycle. 4th will never, ever be closed to cars. The T cars will sit there at the light waiting and waiting and waiting, after having waited and waited at Berry St, and having waited and waited and waited more at Channel st. Today it takes a typical T-Third car 5 minutes to go 3 tenths of a mile through that area. If you are advocating spending this money to cut 10 minutes off the trip from Palo Alto, you are dooming everyone who arrives to either a 30 minute walk, or a 10 minute Muni ride with unpredictable headway.



    Yes, stations can be huge, but those long walks through labelled passageways are always going to be preferable to getting lost up on the streets on an equally long walk.

    I know what you mean about the stairs and baggage though. Lugging bags full of video gear up and down stairs in Japanese subway stations had me start wondering if they have any disabled people over there.



    There are some extremely long walks at London tube stations between different lines. Sometimes even outside, as with Hammersmith.

    Often those walks involve stairs and it is no fun carrying heavy bags up and down them. Moreover some tube stations only have elevators, not escalators, which is a bottleneck.

    In SF we have much more opportunity to do things right, from scratch. Although anyone transferring between CalTrain, Muni and BART would never know.



    The city took a lot of criticism for the very expensive Central Subway project which, ironically, links these two areas anyway. Can the city not be forgiven for not wanting to double down on an even more expensive duplicate route?

    Moreover the center of gravity of downtown has been moving south for a few decades now. The existing CalTrain station used to be seen as being out of the way but, increasingly, it is at the center of things.

    Given that I doubt HSR will ever happen, I think the money could be batter spent elsewhere.


    Mountain Viewer

    Might take a while for the TBT to become the tourist attraction that Notre Dame is….What’s the Field of Dreams saying “build it and they will come”?



    Heh, I was just there a couple days ago. It’s not hard to read and follow the signs, even in a large station like Châtelet where there are 8 lines to choose between.



    I don’t know about this. The article proposes spending a very large amount of money to save X amount of time to get from 4th/King to the Transbay Terminal. The same amount of money spent on the line between San Jose and San Francisco would save more time on the entire journey from San Jose to the final destination in SF than the DTX would – 2.5 billion dollars would really pimp out Caltrain.

    Most passengers arriving at the TBT will still have some sort of last mile solution to deal with anyway. Cutting 10 minutes off of the Palo Alto to SF run is more valuable.

    As much as I like the idea of the train running down there, I don’t think it’s the best ROI. Take 2.5 billion dollars, close 4th Street to all auto traffic, make the Central Subway on that portion pre-empt all traffic and run at 40 MPH. Move the connection station to directly in front of the Caltrain terminal on 4th between King and Townsend.



    Truth. Somehow Paris survives without a train station under Notre Dame, and with lines that don’t actually connect through.



    Yes, because Chatelet station is such a joy.



    Good thing you are riding a bike instead of driving a car, if you are that clumsy



    Point A and point B are fixed, and train tracks can’t curve very much. Not much variability in alignment could be possible.


    Chris J.

    I do this and only need to touch the lock itself. Not sure where all your grease is coming from.


    Chris J.

    There are so many things more convenient about bicycling. For drivers, there is all the time lost looking for parking; the cost of parking; the time to walk to and from your parking destination; the stress of worrying about whether you will get a ticket and making sure your car isn’t broken in to; the time and costs if / when you do get your car broken in to, get a ticket, or get your car towed; and all the other expenses that go with owning, storing, insuring, and maintaining a car, etc.

    As for bicycling, it’s often an enjoyable experience; you’re active so you don’t need to set aside as much time to exercise; and for shorter distances, yes it’s faster. Also, FWIW, I always lock my seat to my rear wheel and separately lock my front wheel and helmet, and I don’t get “grease on my hands.” I’ve also never worn a “hi-vis” outfit. Yes, you need to lock / unlock and affix / unaffix bike lights, etc. But those are things you can do in a few minutes without thinking once you get the hang of it. Just like with cars you have to lock / unlock your car doors, close your windows, check your mirrors, get gas, parallel park, check your headlights, check the inside of your car for exposed belongings, keep your car washed, check that your wheels are turned and close enough to the curb, etc.



    If you lock the seat tube with the rear tire together like I do, you will get grease on your hand.



    My awareness of and fidelity to our traffic laws rather clearly exceeds your own, since you — in the same breath — accuse me of not knowing the rules of the road, then ham-handedly acknowledge that San Francisco’s prohibition on sidewalk bicycling is anomalous.

    Keep plugging away.



    The explanation for city hall’s reluctance to fund the DTX should be obvious – they don’t like it, and don’t want to build it as currently designed. SF Planning is working on an alternative design, and as soon as that planning work is completed, you can be sure that Ed Lee and the Board of Supervisors will start advocating for funding for the new alignment.


    Mountain Viewer

    Real Cities (London, Paris, etc..) built train stations …. where trains were already going not where they wished trains would be going…some day ….maybe.



    Real cities (London, Paris, etc.) don’t require people to exit stations and wander the streets to make their transfers. They have clearly labelled passageways connecting all the platforms underground.

    They’d better dig that corridor.





    They’ve talked about redeveloping the neighborhood around 4th & King … maybe they want to focus development efforts there. It’s still short-sighted though: Muni lines from there will have a fraction of the capacity of CAHSR and Caltrain.



    Spot-on about the disjointed planning, though in slight defense of the BART thing the Transbay Transit Center will only be a block from Embarcadero Station. In fact, there’s an underground pedestrian corridor planned to link Embarcadero to TTC:

    Of course, who knows when that will be built, but in the meantime with the short distance involved and SF’s moderate weather it likely won’t be too great a hardship for most people to walk that transfer above ground on sidewalks.



    The transit center makes me laugh. No BART station for the future transbay line. No bullet train yet, nowhere near until 2030. And only Caltrain, which will be diesel-electric, and not fully electrified, nor will the DTX tunneling be ready (or even start) for the transit center’s opening.
    Disjointed planning is comical. Now we get a giant phallic white elephant, with no transit. And she’s like “the city has no money”, yeah right. Just mentioning the 2nd Transbay tube had Mayor Lee yapping about a new SOMA station. Just admit you don’t care about Caltrain, it’s not a secret.

    It’s like when BART built the market street subway and Muni didn’t run in it for 8 years. Except much worse. This planning makes less sense, and there’s no light at the end of the tunnel. Why City Hall hates Caltrain so much is beyond me.


    Zachary Hanna

    “The policy imperative is to maximize throughput and capacity, i.e. move the greatest numbers of vehicles through the city, to enable people and goods to get where they are going in a timely way, consistent with an acceptable level of safety.. That is essentially an economic imperative.”

    See, you got 1 word wrong here. The policy SHOULD be:
    “The policy imperative is to maximize throughput and capacity, i.e. move the greatest numbers of <<>> through the city, to enable people and goods to get where they are going in a timely way, consistent with an acceptable level of safety.. That is essentially an economic imperative.”



    Why would you get grease on your hands on a bike, but not on a motor vehicle? Have I been doing it wrong all along? I thought I put grease on my bike chain, not on the handlebars. You know, like how I put oil in the engine of my car and not on the steering wheel.

    When I drive a car, I usually lock the door, just like I lock my bike.


    Jym Dyer

    @neutral_corner – Your comment indicates you don’t know the rules of the road, which allow kids* to bike on sidewalks. I trust you don’t operate any vehicle in bicycle on our streets, since you don’t know the law.

    * Most of the state, the nation, and the world also permits adults to bike on sidewalks, as well. San Francisco is an anomaly.



    Imagine how many cars we could park on that multi-block rooftop park!


    Jym Dyer

    I’m late to this party, but oh well.

    The California Vehicle Code allows “motor vehicles” to go onto the sidewalk to access a driveway, provided they do so safely. Since this point of the law uses the phrase “motor vehicles” rather than “vehicles” it does not apply to bicyclists. Most of California has no laws about bikes on the sidewalk, so this is usually pretty moot.

    Municipalities may write laws about bikes on the sidewalk, and for the most part they only ban them in commercial districts. Some have additionally written a version of the “motor vehicle” across the sidewalk to a driveway law to extend it to bicycles. San Francisco, on the other hand, just has a simple and sweeping ban on adult cyclists, and a 2008 simplification of the Traffic Code compounded this further, leading to various absurdities including a ban on crossing the sidewalk (safely) to ride on a driveway.

    The upshot of this? Two things:

    1) The city law’s about sidewalk-riding is arbitrary nonsense, not a moral absolute. (Riding safely and not harming others is the moral absolute.) At bare minimum, the Supes should fix the absurdity at driveways. I would also suggest something to make it legal for parents to accompany children.

    2) The California Assembly should change the wording of that law so that it applies to “vehicles” (and thus to bicycles), not “motor vehicles.”



    Driving a car is a convenience. Riding a bike just gets you there faster in dense urban environment but it’s not convenient. You have to deal with locking up your bike with grease on your hands, wear helmet, hi-vis outfit, worrying about drivers, etc. It’s not convenient, if anything, bicyclists work harder than drivers to get to their destinations.


    Bob Gunderson

    Ditch the Caltrain, then the buses and turn it into a mega parking garage.


    Darksoul SF

    Whats next “those people” going complaint to make people with different race low priority too?