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    Jeffrey Baker

    You’d need a new bridge or a fancy rail technology to do it. Caltrans intentionally built the new bridge without the necessary strength to support rail.


    Alison Liberatore




    Hey Jimbo,

    Would you consider removing parking for BRT – or is that totally out in your mind?

    Note the Troll bating….



    Speed cameras.



    You haven’t answered the question. Who pays the cost of construction for these new underground garages?

    Building underground garages is expensive – there’s a reason most parking structures go up rather than down. Parking fees cover the operating costs of garages, but not the construction costs. You could recoup the construction costs over (say) a 30-year period by increasing the cost of parking in these garages, but then the parking fees would likely be so high that the garages would be underutilized.

    The high construction cost and risk of underutilization means that it’s unlikely that a private company would take on the risk of building these things and being able to recoup their money over time. So if you wanted this to happen you’d need the city to put up the construction money. Even if the city was able to recover the money over time through user fees, there is no reason for the city to take on the debt required to fund such a scheme when there are much greater priorities.

    A simpler and better approach is to convert parking lanes to transit only lanes, and not replace the lost parking spaces. This has all the benefits of your suggestion (increasing the speed of transit etc) but none of the drawbacks noted above.



    A new rail line to the East Bay could be done cheaply and quickly by putting in on the upper deck of the Bay Bridge. The existing bridge deck option would likely cost just 2% of the cost of a new tube.



    Maybe someday we all will be wealthy enough to become motorists. It is only mooching off the public dole when poor people do it.



    The answer seems to be:

    “That public space is owned by and reserved for motorists, to store their vehicles. If the public wants to use it for any other purpose, they have to compensate the motorists by providing them with alternative arrangements, at no cost to them.”



    If you propose Option 3 = Sit on hands and do nothing for even longer than it takes to do a big dig and then make some sort of minor change, I’m sure you’ll see someone’s eyes light up.


    Andy Chow

    2nd Transbay Tube I think is complicated. If it is to be a BART tube, you will need a new subway line in SF Downtown. If it doesn’t go downtown then it won’t address the crowding and capacity limitation associated with downtown. SOMA doesn’t have that much demand for transbay transit, or otherwise extending AC Transit or commuter ferry would address the needs.

    Extending Caltrain from TBT to East Bay would address the downtown access issue, along with providing through transportation to SOMA and beyond, but there’s no Caltrain network to connect to in the East Bay. Making people transfer from BART to Caltrain to use the 2nd tube may not be effective in addressing the crowding issue.

    There’s Capitol Corridor in the East Bay, but the line is owned by Union Pacific. Their business is to run container trains, coal trains, and oil trains. It is in their interest to keep the public and passenger trains away from their tracks.



    The users of the garages should pay the actual costs of storage of their private property. The surface road public space should be put to the best use, often a dedicated transit lane would be a better public use than private property storage. Building underground roadways (subways) to preserve the subsidized privilege of private car parking in lanes on the surface roads would cost hundreds of Billions of unnecessary tax dollars.


    Andy Chow

    I don’t think require passengers to tag on and then off is practical unless there’s a very good reason to require it. Most bus and light rail lines charge a single fare. Most transit riders also do not travel cross region (like seniors taking a bus to the grocery stores, or kids taking a bus to go to school).

    A smarter system with line to line transfers and fare caps should be sufficient in regional borders (Daly City, Palo Alto for instance) where the fare can be kept at a reasonable level for short distance travels across transit agency boundaries.



    Option 1 = Give free use of public space to private people for private car storage, thereby costing hundreds of $Billions to dig space underground to put the transit road.

    Option 2 = Use the public surface road space for transit lanes, cost essentially free. Have the private people pay for underground parking.

    I don’t follow the logic why we choose option 1.


    Andy Chow

    I think terminal access is also a factor. Blue & Gold runs the Tiburon commuter service to the Ferry Building, whereas other non-commute lines serve Pier 41. Other tenants at the Ferry Buildings are Golden Gate Ferry and SF Bay Ferry. Although Blue & Gold is also a contractor operator for SF Bay Ferry, its service area is intended not to duplicate Golden Gate Ferry.



    The Marin IJ reports that the Blue & Gold fleet has asked Golden Gate Transit to take over commuter ferry service from Tib to SF:

    Sounds like B&G can operate the run just fine, but cannot afford the cap ex to update their aging boats. B&G will continue to operate their tourist routes.



    subways should definitely be built to free up the roads then we can utilize both the roads and the underground tunnel, increasing transit capacity. i would also support removing parking, and adding another 2 lanes for car travel, if we built hundreds of underground garages. but since that won’t happen, a subway is clearly best choice.



    While any department can learn from eachother, every region will have different needs and with the multiple roles that our fire departments must play, firetrucks are already quite compact for what is required of them. SF has the same predicament, with a complex urban environment such as ours, powerful trucks capable of carrying 500 gallons of water up our hills is a must not to mention all the other necessary pieces of equipment such as varying lengths of ladders, pumps, etc.



    The private automobiles can go in new underground garages (which they pay for).

    Who’s “they”? Who pays the cost of construction for these new underground garages?



    It should be right under you post. There is the downvote arrow, the upvote arrow, then Edit, Reply, and Share. However, now that I think about it, maybe if you haven’t created a Disqus account you can’t edit your posts ….



    Re: Scott Weiner’s paying for subway projects. It makes the most sense to use public space on public streets first. Instead of subsidized parking spaces for private automobiles, use the parking lane for transit. The private automobiles can go in new underground garages (which they pay for).



    I don’t see how I can edit my posts, where do I find it?



    Re: “Sharon Butler, 54, of Brentwood Killed By DUI Driver While Biking”

    Argh. So utterly devastating that this continues to happen; even when bicyclists follow all the rules and use the crappy infrastructure they have been given (actually, in this case, not even bicycle infrastructure but the shoulder:, they still get slaughtered. And then the CHP has this to say in response to the large number of deaths on Contra Costa roads:

    “We’ve had a lot of fatal collisions recently,” Fransen said. “Few have been speed related and a few have been DUI related, so it’s definitely a concern that we have. We definitely want to remind everybody to drive responsibly.”

    Oh, I see: we just need to remind everybody to drive responsibly and all is good?! That’s it? No changes to the infrastructure, laws, or punishment for motorists who break laws and kill/maim people? Just “remember to drive responsibly”? Wow, CHP: you’re really doing a great job out there? This is exactly the problem with our roads, that we act like deer caught in headlights when it comes to making our roads safer and all we come up with is, “Hey everybody: please drive safer.”



    Then it sounds like there’s a lot we could learn from their approach.



    Most other countries do not have the same requirements of what each truck must be able to carry to be capable of responding to the wide variety of calls received.



    There was (apparently) a BART suicide last night at 12th St/Oakland, which snarled the system.

    This morning Market is blocked by police at 10th; cop told me it was a suspicious package.



    They could also just get smaller trucks like they have in most other countries.


    Alison Liberatore

    I saw drivers doing illegal u-turns in the middle of the road in order to get out of the mess. I saw drivers pulling into the bike lane to try to get around the traffic. A friend of mine saw people driving in the empty middle lane. None of that seems like a safer situation. There has to be a better way to get drivers to slow down, rather then stopping them completely.



    You can’t arrest people for accidents now, can you?


    Jeffrey Baker

    In my experience unification does not necessarily lead to simplification. Study, for example, the fare structure of the ZVV in Zurich. Das ZVV-Ticket ist ein Ticket für alles, perhaps, but God help you if you want to know how much it costs. There are supplements and discounts galore.



    Our Fire Departments are often the biggest critics of livable streets initiatives because they are perceived as “slowing down” emergency vehicles. That’s because for years, they have been taught that faster response times to incidents means lives getting saved. However, one of the other ways to save lives is to prevent and minimize the injures in the first place.

    Over the years, fire prevention efforts for buildings, where they have enhanced building codes to use safer materials, created safer sprinkler systems, installed safer electrical systems and many many other changes has been used to make buildings far safer than they ever were in the past. This has greatly minimized the risk of building burning in the first place. Unfortunately, our fire departments appear blind to fact that another one of the biggest sources of emergency calls, motor vehicle crashes, could also be minimized if streets were designed to slow down traffic rather than speed it up.


    City Resident

    Freeways are for motorized traffic only. I’m afraid you’re a few decades late in your call for Masonic to be for cars only. By your logic, motorists are out of control.



    You can edit your post.



    I don’t understand how we got to the point where we think fire chiefs have any business commenting on what will or will not make roads safer. These people are nowhere close to being experts on the subject and are not at all trained in the latest developments in urban infrastructure, e.g. the growth of Complete Streets, and it’s downright dangerous that we’re allowing them to derail the process. Cities all over the world are able to get by with less than 6-lane roads without burning down and Menlo Park is no exception.

    Given how much of the time fire departments spend responding to traffic accidents, you would expect fire chiefs to be among the most passionate supporters of getting people out of cars and onto active transit. Yet, when you are addicted to the car, it’s amazing how skewed your perspective becomes such that you simply cannot envision an alternative even when it makes a city safer ….



    I avoid El Camino whenever I can when on my bike. But Menlo Park doesn’t make that easy, unless one has time for far more circuitous routes. Try getting to Safeway from anywhere east of El Camino.



    Would tearing down I-980 and replacing it with some sort of rail be politically feasible? It would remove the borders between West and Downtown Oakland and be a relatively cheap to build, high-density corridor for HSR or some standard-gauge line on the second Transbay Tube.

    Either way whenever that second Transbay Tube gets built, BART will probably get 2 tunnels because of its political clout, but it would be great if we could tell them to unfuck themselves and construct it with standard gauge. If we are going to ever get that “seamless experience” for transit riders that you speak of, it will be imperative for BART and Caltrain to work together more closely in terms of pricing, service structure, and timed transfers. If BART embraces that BART Metro concept that it’s been kicking around and begins to embrace operating some standard gauge rail like eBART and Caltrain fully electrifies and grade separates than you can see the vague outlines of the two agencies converging together a bit.



    “In my 35-year career”

    Time for this dinosaur to be tossed on the bone pile.



    Keeping the route dangerous is job security for EMTs



    Well said. Compare the unified leadership (not always great leadership, but at least its unified leadership) of TfL with the situation here in the Bay Area. The MTC, which is supposedly responsible for coordinating our dozens of transit agencies, can’t even manage its own contract with Cubic let alone facilitate transportation. Meanwhile, every agency has its own fare structure, transfer policy, branding, maps, express service, night service, etc…

    By way of illustration, compare two common scenarios. On a Muni bus, you can board through the front door, pay cash to the driver, and receive a transfer. Or you can tag your Clipper card when you get on the bus, but you shouldn’t tag it again when you get off. Meanwhile, transfer to Caltrain (and I’ll assume you’ve studied up online on the obscure $5 discount if you purchase adult monthly passes for Muni and Caltrain at the same time, discount not available if you want an “A” Muni pass instead of an “M” Muni pass, because reasons) and you’ll be cited and dragged into court in a neighboring county for the same behavior. If you do pay your fare, you’ll find that you need to both tag on and tag off, as Caltrain’s use of Clipper is different from Muni’s. Meanwhile, if you transfer again to VTA light rail, you’re only supposed to tag on once, no matter how many transfers you make within two hours, or you’ll be charged double, unlike Muni where you can tag your card as many times as you want and your transfer is automatically applied.

    Now keep in mind a visitor or new transit rider, who may not be so comfortable in English, is supposed to figure all this out. And the consequences for getting it wrong range from paying through the nose to criminal prosecution. Not very friendly.

    A sensible system would have a regional zone structure, with the resulting infighting between agencies over revenue handled by the MTC. Everybody tags on and tags off of every vehicle (as used many places in Europe) with color-coded signs and distinctive auditory cues as reminders. Daily and monthly capping is applied automatically, with a unified fare discount policy taken into account. Everybody would love it, except for the bureaucrats and transit agency administrators.



    Wouldn’t the cycleway actually improve access for emergency vehicles? It removes and/or relocates parking away from buildings. And if the ROW is wide enough, emergency vehicles could use the cycletrack to bypass traffic.


    Martin Atkins

    Subways and rail make a good backbone for a transit system, but what makes London work particularly well is the common oversight of *all* transit modes, helping them to function as a single cohesive system.

    This armchair urban planner wrote some thoughts on this a while ago:

    Lots of different possible configurations to be sure, but I think the key is unified planning, branding, fare structure and wayfinding devices, to bring together what we have and then fill in the gaps.



    Fire departments often get called in for traffic accidents. Perhaps he just wants a steady supply of work?



    Not ready to call anyone a ‘moron’, but these concerns have proven to be invalid in so many different urban and inner-suburban places, that I’m beginning to have less patience for the entertaining of this logic. Specifically, these trials are the only way to move forward with these types of transportation interventions, so while one may disagree, the trials are the mechanism with which to confirm or deny these un-researched opinions by concerned citizens.


    Mesozoic Polk

    Harold Schapelhouman sounds like a treasure. He should come to San Francisco — with his circuitous logical reasoning “skills”, he’ll fit right in.



    I cannot recommend the use of El Camino Real in Menlo Park to bicyclists because it is a fairly dangerous route

    He opposes making the street safer because it is currently dangerous? I’m afraid I don’t follow his reasoning. I suspect there may be no reasoning to speak of and these may be the words of a complete moron.


    Andy Chow

    “a forward-thinking, aggressive, can-do attitude — the same attitude that got us the interstate highway system…” We no longer have that attitude for big infrastructure projects because there tends to be plenty of causalities (urban renewal). San Francisco rightfully rejected more freeways within the city when money was available. If people didn’t speak up, Caltrans were ready to build freeways through the Marina and Golden Gate Park.

    Although BART is transit, BART in the East Bay was partly constructed along side with freeway construction/expansions. Grove Shafter Freeway in Oakland was built along with BART. Today, Highway 4 is being widened in Pittsburg/Antioch for eBART.

    The BART mistake is not because it thought big, but because it focused too much on hardware and believed that there’s a one-size-fits-all trains for different communities in the Bay Area. SF Downtown may justify a 10-car subway train, but can Napa justify that.

    We have plenty of rail, and eventually every region in the Bay Area will have rail, but that a huge part of that system will be standard gauge – incompatible with BART’s wide gauge system. If we focus on software (common rider experience) rather than hardware, our system will be as good if not better than what was originally visioned. World class cities have rail line that cannot interoperate but belong to the same system, providing seamless experience to transit riders.



    I wouldn’t say that they compete directly with MUNI because of the price difference. Transit advocates are right to give people choice. I take Muni, ride cabs or Uber or Lyft as the situation demands. Take away choice and people will opt for private cars.



    Well, I’ve seen hundreds of bicycles blowing stop signs on the wiggle.



    Was making it quieter intentional or a side effect? Either way,that is great since it is absolutely deafening.



    happy to see wiener push for real transportation solutions. I think the city should freeze the BRT projects on Van Ness and Geary and use the moeny towards creating a real subway system. in fact, the city should not spend a dime on any other transportation project and save it all for this



    Oops the next to last word should be *from* not to, sometimes mistakes happen