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    Cargo Way has sensors embedded in the ground that work pretty well–basically looks like one of the in-ground parking detectors that were installed around town: a 3-inch diameter epoxy/rubber filled hole.

    “Work well” here means the bike signal shows up at the next opportunity and I am not hanging around waiting for 3 cycles of the light as I get my bike positioned correctly. “Works well” also means I KNOW I will have a red bike-light on every approach to the intersection (and the shitty chain-link fence divider blocks auto-bike visibility in both directions (unless someone’s stolen that section of chainlink again)).



    I’m dubious about this, myself, especially since I used to ride Cargo Way as part of a morning exercise loop both before and after the bikeway was put in. But maybe I’m not clear on the details for Polk.

    So if I’m a cyclist, I approach the intersection in the bikelane. What I fear will happen next: 90% of the time the special bikelane light is going to be red. It’s red when crossing traffic has right of way, but it’s also red whenever the north/southbound auto traffic has right of way. The only time I’m going to have a right of way to continue without stopping is when there was a cyclist ahead of me to set off the separate signal. Or, since I am comfortable with riding in traffic, I’ll move into the main traffic lane and ride through on the ‘regular’ green.

    End result: we install “beg buttons” in the street for cyclists which will have the effect of slowing down cyclists that follow the traffic signals and create another “we gave cyclists their own signal but they still ride through it” People Behaving Badly segment opportunity.

    Granted, the “beg button” detector on Cargo Way works surprisingly well (especially since you can see where it’s embedded right now) to trigger the special light cycle to start when the next opportunity comes along.


    Jym Dyer

    • This weekend I saw the SFPD pulling motorists over into this very spot to issue tickets, presumably for not making the turn off of Market. They were ticketing cars westbound, too, pulling them over into the “protected” bike lanes as well.

    They were still at it this morning, in the middle of heavy bike commute hours. I saw Sgt. Ernst himself at work. Expect the counts to be low today.



    Yes but an up to 30 minute wait time results in people choosing to drive.


    Andy Chow

    This new line could help change that since there will be a lot more direct transfers from more areas in Downtown San Jose.



    If the goal is to consolidate airport users to the Diridon connection that might be OK, but then the frequency from Diridon should be higher.



    Also, for people who work at the airport and whose commute includes a transfer – VTA may be underestimating the time-sensitivity of workers, including lower-income workers. Metro San Jose include Santa Clara has the highest car ownership rate in the country – 94%. 94% of households includes a lot of lower-income people who commute by car because transit is too slow to be practical.


    Andy Chow

    The OAC is charged accordingly $6 one way. A budget alternative is to go on the street level and take AC Transit paralleling the OAC.

    Even with BART to SFO you will see some backpackers taking the SamTrans 292 to Downtown SF.



    Like I said, favoritism all around.



    We need a time machine to go back in time so you can point this out to Steve Hemenger re: OAC





    Andy Chow

    at Santa Clara station…



    There was an article in the Chronicle over the weekend about how SFFD and SFPD completely botched what was an open-and-shut case against the drunk firefighter that hit the motorcyclist. Incompetence and favoritism all around.



    Caltrain currently has about 1/2 hour service during peak




    You raise some very good points. Budget-minded travelers will usually plan more time for making ground connections using the most inexpensive carrier. Business travelers for whom time is at a premium will take taxis, shuttles or rental cars.


    Andy Chow

    I am not sure whether simply having less frequent service would make an airport route useless. Caltrain currently has about 1/2 hour service during peak and hourly midday and weekend service at Santa Clara, so in theory 1/2 to 3/4 of the line 10 trips already not timed with Caltrain so they could be considered just as “useless.”

    Airport service isn’t all about the time sensitive passengers. Airports are also a major employment hub. Unlike most other job sites, airport employees have different shifts throughout the day.

    The advantage of the proposed route is that it would connect with far more bus routes in downtown San Jose along with direct service from downtown hotels and the convention center. I think a more direct service (despite reduced frequency) is enough to offset more frequent service which requires a transfer at a less convenient location, which adds another level of uncertainty and additional travel time.

    This line should’ve existed years ago considering the distance between the airport and downtown.

    Time sensitive passengers have a lot of options including taxis and shuttles to/from the airport. Simply having more frequent fixed route service may still not be enough to attract them away from other modes. Transit doesn’t and shouldn’t compete for just any passengers.


    Thomas Rogers

    I happened to walk by last Wednesday, and saw that they have now put down a surface dappled with protruding stones (see pic). Seems like it’ll “help” with discouraging people to sleep here, but obviously it won’t do anything for the people who’ve already lost their lives, or help fix the bigger issues with homelessness.



    I agree that we should improve transit to major employment centers, but I’d rather prioritize our very limited $ on funding transit to areas that (1) are not just employment centers for a single corporation and (2) would serve a mix of blue and white collar jobs. While EPA is of course a working-class community, as I said above, I’d need to be convinced that this line would be useful for many EPA residents.



    “subsidize Facebook’s decision to headquarter in an anachronistic suburban office park”

    Facebook isn’t the one paying for the consequences of that decision — people impacted by the increased congestion in the area are. Building transit to where the people go is the whole point — arguing that we shouldn’t build transit to large employment centers because it’s somehow a “public subsidy” is nonsense.



    The problem with bus vs rail is that without a dedicated lane, the bus gets stuck in the same traffic as solo drivers. We’ve seen in Santa Clara county that dedicating a lane to transit on a corridor with congestion gets a lot of political opposition – even if the benefits would outweigh the drawbacks. Unless you have dedicated right of way, transit mode share will stay low because bus in traffic will also be slow.



    The increase in service at Silicon Valley stations applies NB as well as SB.



    “The corridor” doesn’t really mean that much here, given that the bridge is 1) ancient and decrepit, and 2) part of it already burned down. They would have to rebuild everything from scratch.

    This would be great BRT corridor. I’m not a huge fan of BRT, but it would be a cheap and very effective way to get people to these office campuses. The railfans can wait around 20 years for a new Dumbarton bridge. Even if you created some new agency and funding, this is an expensive and probably unnecessary piece of infrastructure.


    Amanda Clark

    Don’t say that on CAHSRBLOG!


    Andy Chow

    I don’t think this is a good strategy. Compared to other regions, having a single mode transit agency hasn’t help foster integration between transit modes. What we need are multimodal agencies.

    San Mateo and Santa Clara counties are multimodal agencies, even though they only operate local transit in house and pay other agencies to run regional service.

    What the Dumbarton Corridor needs is a JPA that covers rail planning and governs the existing bus service. That way planning is integrated modally. The JPA should have a dedicated staff to pursue funding and political support. The project is in life-support now because cities like Fremont don’t think the corridor needs rail (even though they got whatever they wanted on BART), but has not proposed any serious alternatives (something non-specific like signal priority for buses don’t count).

    If a partial extension is to be pursued, there’s needs to be a tight bus rail integration to make the system work.



    Forget Gilroy. The NB platforms at Sunnyvale, Palo Alto, Hillsdale, San Mateo, are full in the AM. The SB-NB AM commute is still at a 60/40 mode share.



    Yeah, that’s true enough



    Either way, the challenge is getting those two counties to ever agree to an additional sales tax. There’s nothing multimillionaires love more than whining about taxes.



    The vehicle congestion on Willow Road and University Avenue is horrendous, and rail service is one of the few improvements that can make a tangible difference. The rail is there, it’s not a massive spend on new infrastructure, it already exists. Getting this segment up and running can create more interest in rebuilding the connection across the bay. As far as who it would serve, I see this as both/and instead of either/or.



    BART technology isn’t the right choice for the corridor, which is already compatible with existing Caltrain equipment.

    A way to solve Caltrain’s funding problem (which is really just a political problem) would be to merge BART and Caltrain and put them both under the same management. Extend the BART sales tax to San Mateo and Santa Clara counties, and retire the existing county level funding agreements used to fund Caltrain and BART to SFO and BART to San Jose. BART and Caltrain should be working together rather than against each other.



    Splitting the service pattern into two achieves several positive outcomes:

    1) It allows you to increase frequency on the SF to Silicon Valley commute pattern without having to increase frequency at the minor stations in San Mateo county, allowing you to provide frequent service where most needed. The proposal has trains to/from Silicon Valley every 15 mins, and trains to/from minor stations in San Mateo county every 30 mins. (Major stations in San Mateo county – Millbrae, Hillsdale, Redwood City – get trains every ~10 mins.)

    2) It speeds up the travel time from SF to Silicon Valley by skipping all the minor stations in San Mateo county. Right now if you’re going from SF to Silicon Valley you either have to hope there’s a Baby Bullet that matches your travel time and stops at your destination station, or spend far too much time on a Limited or Local train that stops at a bunch of minor stations.

    3) It simplifies the service pattern, which is good for everyone.

    So this proposal improves things dramatically for SF to Silicon Valley travel, including travel between SF and San Jose. It does not provide any service to Gilroy, but as noted below, ridership to/from Gilroy is negligible, and it’s hard to justify sending trains down there when SF – SJ is standing room only. Morgan Hill and Gilroy would be better served by extending Capitol Corridor or ACE to serve those stations rather than Caltrain.



    No one (statistically speaking) commutes from Gilroy on Caltrain.



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    Given CalTrain’s constant funding problems, I don’t really see how adding additional lines makes any sense at all. This really ought to go to a transit agency that has some level of guaranteed funding, like BART.



    Now you have trains that are needed in San Jose or Gilroy to bring the majority of commuters who commute into SF, sitting on a track in Menlo



    How else would you call someone Bob? :)



    “FFP was told that there aren’t enough US studies of them”

    That’s BS. Bikeway intersection markings have already been approved both federally and by the state:

    And they are referenced in the NACTO guide the SF endorsed:

    They’ve already been used in many locations all around the Bay Area, including in SF.



    Video or microwave detection would work better as it can distinguish between bikes and cars, and it could be oriented further down the block to detect bikes and give them a green light by the time they reach the intersection.



    Take a look at Clem Tillier’s proposal for running Caltrain as two service patterns, a ‘San Mateo local’ and ‘Silicon Valley express’, which I think makes a lot of sense:

    Now, imagine the ‘San Mateo local’ continues onto Willow Rd station and terminates there rather than at Redwood City. Easy peasy.



    You raise an interesting point about Muni buses. It seems unclear to me why we’re compromising the design of Polk St. to accommodate 40-foot buses when we’re already building a major transit corridor one block over. Is it perhaps worth considering relocating the 19-Polk and shrinking lanes on Polk to scale down the street, lowering speeds and bringing things to a more human scale? You’d also eliminate all the problems that occur trying to fit bus stops into the design along with protected bike lanes.

    And if people complain about reduced bus service, the answer is that we’re providing much better transit on Van Ness soon enough. Besides, after the Polk St. redesign is completed and lanes are removed from Van Ness, traffic will inevitably be so horrendous that nobody will tolerate sitting on the 19-Polk anyway.



    Generally good news in here, working to create more.
    Here’s a postscript to SFSB’s post on 26 Feb. ‘SFMTA Cuts Block of Polk Bike Lane Fought By Visionless Mayor’s Optometrist:’
    A recent visit to Hiura & Hiura Optometry elicited their defense of the ‘just one letter’ written 2 years ago and a false denial that they continued to spearhead opposition to any change to their block of Polk Street. The younger Hiura was reminded that public money and safety are being jeopardized by ignoring reams of data documenting how cycling infrastructure benefits everyone. He was asked why the City should be coerced into changing their plan based on nothing more than his hunch that it *might* temporarily affect business. His reply to the query was, ‘The City can do whatever it wants.’ We’ll take that as a request to go back to ‘the City’s’ final plan for a raised cycleway northbound from McAllister to California, not ending at Pine. Polk was never just about a street, and this sure isn’t just about one block.



    Folks for Polk asked for Intersection Crossing Markings (Through-intersection Striping) for the cycle paths, along with many other painted indicators as are implemented in *many* other towns. ICMs do help all road-users know where they belong in intersections and cycleway ICMs are an added visual buffer to protect people in crosswalks.

    FFP was told that there aren’t enough US studies of them and that there are none in SF but there are (photo), including a rather sketchy one at the foot of Polk St. Most of the markings in SF are like that one, single dashed lines which can be easily overlooked; we prefer more vivid, robust double dashed lines as are done elsewhere, especially until our ‘culture’ changes.



    Folks for Polk asked for Intersection Crossing Markings (Through-intersection Striping) along with many other painted indicators as are implemented in *many* other towns. ICMs do help all road-users know where they belong in intersections and are an added visual buffer for people in crosswalks.

    We were told that there aren’t enough US studies of them and that they haven’t been used in SF but there are, including at the foot of Polk St. However, the markings here are generally easily overlooked single dashed lines; we prefer more vivid and robust double dashed lines as are done elsewhere, especially until our ‘culture’ changes.



    Indeed. How about requesting underground bike sensors (photo)? Plenty of cyclists run red bike lights and *many* drivers on Polk swing into right turns from the left lane and am not convinced the signals will stop that – at least not for a while. Creating a green wave is more critical for cyclists on the uphill (northbound) but timing one is tricky – but certainly not impossible – due to the uneven lengths of the blocks and the need to prioritize transit on several cross streets.
    As to Dutch intersections, the Polk PM’s response was, ‘The culture isn’t ready yet.’ Which translates to, ‘That’s begging for litigation.’ But no harm in asking for them again.



    How? MorOnline outreach ;-)



    Bobby G. cruises and runs over people around the Upper Haight. Meso (@MesozoicPolk) haunts Polk Gulch, trampling on still extant, more evolved species.


    Thomas Rogers

    Bob Gunderson is a parody account?!?


    Ziggy Tomcich

    Because when drivers are stuck at red lights, some will try to make a right turn on red even theres a sign saying not to. How many cyclists were killed on Market & Octavia by vehicles making illegal right turns? How exactly will Polycystic ovary syndrome help with delivery trucks parked in bike lanes? That’s the first thing that came up when i Googled PCOs!


    Leon Foonman

    We think that all the trolls, with the name “lee” should have to submit to a troll-o-meter evaluation before commenting here.


    Leon Foonman

    Too bad she didn’t score a direct hit, eh?



    Disclaimer: Mesozoic Polk is Bob Gunderson’s long-lost cousin (aka a parody account).