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    I hope they have those hidden outlet to charge your phone.



    That solution is a solution for people saying “screw this” and driving. Caltrain’s mission is – or at least should be – to maximize ridership. Caltrain has disproven your argument about scale as they have scaled from 24 per train to 72/80 per.

    Perhaps Caltrain should get rid of the seat robbing luggage racks and bathrooms? Those are nice conveniences. The bike racks drive ridership.



    If you’re going to claim that, at least get the numbers right. Each set of 4 bikes takes up the same space as a set of 4 seats.


    Richard Mlynarik

    I think there would be a lot of opposition to just adopting it on Caltrain

    Sure there was. It came from the staff and consultants who wanted their own UNIQUE IN THE WORLD (caps just for you) signalling system for their own little toonerville trolley.

    $150 million of pure pork is a lot of incentive to commit fraud.

    And guess what? You can get away with it every time! Score! USA USA USA!


    Richard Mlynarik

    The Valencia at Duboce micro-thingy is a pointless token and mess.

    Leaving aside the fact that it looks like the striping was done by a small child with hand-eye coordination difficulties, the short length, the abrupt kinked lane transitions, the confused “the meaning of it all” (what’s that bike stencil, complete with the little helmet element for extra safety, doing right where the “mixing zone” is about to start?), and the inadequate merging and buffering space for right-turning motor traffic means it no different and certainly no safer that before, just more of a mess of arbitrary lane markings.

    I ride ride this a couple times a day, and all I could think when I encountered it was that some contractor had screwed up when repairing some lane striping, not that this was a big Vision Zero city initiative.

    And as for the “turn left from the far right” bike boxes situated exactly in the path of right-turning traffic from the other street (McCoppin westbound in this case) … WTF? But the paint is green and stencil dude is wearing a helmet, so it’s all safe and good.


    Jym Dyer

    I was here when the Central Freeway was up, and traffic backed up then, as well. And yes, traffic is caused by its participants.


    Jym Dyer

    This is a thought process that you concocted, seemingly in order to have a straw doll to attack.



    If you just have a third track parallel to the others, incidents that involve ROW intrusion, including suicides, will still block all tracks in all likelihood.

    A third track would only provide some relief for mechanical breakdowns or other similar situations.

    Yet, modern railway systems don’t need “relief tracks” because mechanical breakdowns or failures that affect only one track without require a whole closure of the ROW are very rare.



    Yes, I do think that way. The solution for bicycle mobility is to have bike parking stands on stations, with plenty of spaces. Like bus bike racks, carrying bicycles on trains only work as far as only a limited number of people bring bikes to the vehicles.

    Moreover, it is not like riding a bicycle is some sort of disability that needs to be accommodated at expense of comfort for others. It is entirely a choice.



    Most of upper Market, from Castro to around Valencia, could handle parking protected bike lanes – with relatively little hassle or expense to install. Such an improvement would help to facilitate a great boost to biking and it’s unclear what’s preventing the MTA from acting. The MTA appears to have picked up the pace and implemented some good pedestrian, transit, and bicycle improvements. High speed streets (where sufficient roadway width exists), like upper Market, need parking protected bike lanes as soon as possible – to reduce the risk of injury/death and to further grow biking in SF.



    So you’re saying that it’s better a bicyclist be bumped than make a couple extra people stand instead of sit?



    Maybe they know that in 50 years, the second tube will be “the bay bridge”. $aving$!



    It’s rather unfortunate that MTA isn’t willing to have the eastbound TOLs start at Harrison. The current proposal has the lanes starting at Potrero.



    Looking at the first photo at the top of the article showing Market St, sure kind of looks like a misopportunity, seems like that photo makes it look like that they could of installed a parking protected bikeway on it, but oh well coming up short again. But don’t get me wrong it’s a better improvement than what it was before the change.



    And if you throw in the potential for Caltrain and HSR also crossing the Bay, then this project gets even more complicated.


    Jamison Wieser

    BART is studying a lot more than just the two potential routes through SF mentioned in the article.

    There’s a matter of where that’s going to connect into the existing system in the East Bay. It will be a more complicated project if it means adding a fourth bore to the Broadway Subway. It likely will require a new maintenance facility for the new trains, which adds more perquisites.



    Minor pedantic correction: Those are not “ladder-style” crosswalks, they are “continental-style”:



    The concept of BART was already around and well developed before they got rid of the streetcars on Geary. In fact, Streetcars were removed under the likely assumption at the time that a Grade-separated replacement was 10-15 years around the corner at the time.

    My understanding is that there is room for a Downtown alignment, including stations, but that it would have to be either very shallow (better for a Third/Geary alignment between Transbay and Japantown), or a very deep one (better for New Montgomery/Post in the same area). Either option would mean a station box South of Market St connecting to Montgomery St Station. Crossing the Central Subway at Stockton won’t be all that hard on Geary, but probably more complicated on Post, and either option will likely mean tearing up Union Square again. We can deal with the relative narrowness of Geary and Post by having the tunnels be in an under/over Shotgun pattern, rather than side by side (some of these concepts are things I’m lifting directly from the earlier proposals for the Central Subway).

    Now, the thing about up-densing is that the Richmond District is already dense by most standards, and the line would actually work out fine without much in the way of upzones (though I would still call for them).

    And getting to the prospect of ideal technology, Light Rail on Geary still has the same issues in terms of Yard Space and Grade Separation costs that Heavy Rail would. And frankly, BART’s current arrangement as a commuter subway is a tremendous waste of resources and potential, and any other Transbay alignment would likely disappoint compared to Geary. Geary BART would be a huge step towards having BART be more like the metro it really should be.


    Andy Chow

    If they had actually screaming for it they wouldn’t have removed the streetcar on Geary. They quickly accepted the concept of BART to Geary as an excuse to remove the streetcar for an auto only expressway.

    Most intra SF rail extension (except Caltrain DTX) can be fulfilled by Muni technology. If the price is right (probably still lower than BART), Muni can behave just like BART running underground.

    The two major problem with rail on Geary is lack of political support (which is partly shown by the willingness to up-dense the area around the stations, and how they react to projects like the BRT), and lack of good alignment and track connection in Downtown. I think the idea of BART running up 3rd and turn to Geary is going to be problematic given the Central Subway on 4th Street. There may be a feasible track alignment but without room for a station it isn’t going to work. This applies to both BART and Muni. I think the most feasible Geary alignment is to go up to Hayes Valley, have a stop near Van Ness, and then turn west to Geary.



    Because we really don’t absolutely need a second Tube right now. We can enhance signaling and order more spacious BART trains to squeeze more capacity out of what exists and we can also jack up Transbay Bus and Ferry service, making the former more reliable with dedicated lanes, and get as much in the way of new ridership as we would from the Second Tube itself without Geary BART or Caltrain/HSR.

    Geary on the other hand has been screaming out for actual Rapid Transit for the last 70 years now, and it’s cost and construction issues are ultimately small potatoes in the face of the incredible benefits this project will most certainly have. Geary first, then the Second Tube.


    Andy Chow

    Why would it be pointless? Geary and the 2nd tube serves two different travel markets. Either one can be done without the other.



    Without Geary, the Tube project itself is pointless IMO. A Geary Subway could potentially have a non-revenue connection to the Mainline between the Montgomery and Powell stations. (Or we could just suck it up and build the entire segment from Colma to the Transbay Terminal all at once) And Sunset Blvd is better than 19th Ave IMO for a North-South BART line on the West Side, due to a better potential walksheds and a less awkward crossing of the Park.


    Andy Chow

    As explained in the my blog post, the alignment to Geary cannot be phased, and there’s no tie in with the existing BART network (i.e. no yard access). The project would be too expensive.

    If we have laws like the People’s Republic of China and pays construction workers like they do in China, may be we can have a long single corridor going across the Bay, down Geary, and down 19th Avenue. But if we have to pick one, we should pick one that works right away without itself requiring further extension to work (but can be extended if money is there)



    I would support that as an interim solution, but not as a substitute for the Second Tube itself. (and you’ll probably end up spending in the 10 digits anyways)



    Instead of a second Transbay tube that costs billions and is 30-50 years off, why can’t we:

    1. Create bus-only lanes in both directions on the bridge?
    2. Extend said bus-only lanes to the on ramps and streets leading to/from the the bridge
    3. Implement London-style congestion pricing to fund BRT from SF to the East Bay and expanding BART service.
    4. Commit to getting this done in 2-3 years instead of 30-50?



    I have different priorities. This project could also enable a Caltrain/HSR extension to the East Bay, something that I would think to be a good idea. Thus, my ideal tube would resemble yours in the East Bay (with some alterations to the wye), but would touch down at the foot of Howard Street in San Francisco to serve the new Transbay Terminal directly. It would then cut west via either 3rd St or New Montgomery to go out Geary. (because Geary should be the single top priority with this project)


    Andy Chow

    But sometimes for these marquee projects to get to the EIR and engineering study stage, there needs to be funding identified. SFMTA can probably do a feasibility study, but before the concept going beyond that study, part of the funding needs to be secured (such as voter approval of new taxes).


    Mario Tanev

    Yet Geary BART was proposed 50 years ago and it’s still 50 years away. Zero studies means not serious at all. Once the first study is done (i.e. we’re willing to shed a few million $ for it), then perhaps we can take it a bit more seriously.


    Mario Tanev

    Impressive list of accomplishments. It seems that the SFMTA is finally getting some momentum.


    Andy Chow

    It is not unrealistic since the whole 3rd Street LRT corridor took 20+ years from concept to reality. This also applies to other BART projects in the past. Caltrain electrification and DTX still has a way to go since the concept was proposed and studies began in the early 1980s.


    Upright Biker

    How’s about that 2nd tube makes a quick stop at Treasure Island?

    All we’d have to do is move the island. Seems doable within that timeframe.



    There are also new treatments where 14th Street crosses Church and Market. Before, the 14th Street bike lane began only east of Market Street, but now it extends, via dashed lines and a green-backed sharrow, back to 14th Street at Church. There also appears to be a left turn box adjacent to the crosswalk on the east side of Market at 14th Street.


    Mario Tanev

    30 to 50 years off means it’s not a priority. HSR is a massive undertaking but there’s no “30 to 50 years” off. It gets started and funding is gradually obtained. There needs to be a conceptual design and an EIR happening now, with funds obtained over time.



    “Though a potential new tube may be ’30 to 50 years off,’ Ellen Smith, BART’s acting manager for strategic and policy planning, told The Examiner…” 30-50 years off, for something nearly everyone thinks is a good idea and for something we actually need now. I think Ellen Smith is smart for managing expectations, but a timeline like that for a project of this importance is pretty sad.


    Andy Chow

    I think the 2nd BART tube should connect with the existing line on Mission Street. Trains from the new tube turn north from SOMA and serve the 4 downtown stops. Some trains from the old tube turn to the new line south of Civic Center and return to the East Bay:



    Jamison Wieser

    That’s an interesting point, accommodating 40 extra trains might make reconfiguring the Muni Metro East yard to add a turn-back loop even more difficult.

    The Central Subway was designed to run trains as close to three minutes apart, with planned peak service every 4 minutes alternating between the shuttles and full-length T-line trains. Service as often as every 8 minutes is about what the other Metro lines top out at.


    Jamison Wieser

    Good question.

    My guess would be the increased costs are related to facilities and infrastructure expansion. When Third Street planning started a few decades ago and Muni was still running it’s original Boeing trains, they planned for up to 175 by 2025. If that’s the case I’m curious what’s going to be needed in facilities expansion, but if that isn’t the case I’m with you in wondering what gives?


    Chairman Meow

    It is unacceptable to make a passenger stand? That’s hilarious. Also sitting is overrated…


    Scott Mace

    Developers must be salivating over the land speculation that will accompany ramming BART through Alameda.



    You must really hate BART.



    Protesting for disruption rather than disability is definitely not a contributor to a cause.


    Ryan K

    It’s pretty backwards thinking to deliberately structure the system to say “Effects on drivers quality of life will be disregarded” and then turn around and blame drivers for getting frustrated.


    Ryan K

    “Driver caused traffic”? The traffic didn’t exist until they gutted the onramp and made it into the mess it is today. Let’s give credit where credit is due – to the people who pushed for the Octavia redesign.



    Doesn’t happen. I’ve been riding Caltrain every day with my bike for 8 years and have never seen the case where there were no seats available outside the bike car yet there were empty seats in the bike car. If the rest of the train has no empty seats, then that also means there are tons of cyclists and the bike car has no seats either.

    The problem is when there are empty seats throughout the train (it’s crowded but not at capacity) but non-bicyclists sit in the bike car. Either way, 2 seats get occupied, but in one case a bicyclist can’t sit near his bike and instead some clueless non-bicyclist gets to. It’s completely pointless and it affects nothing to just let the bicyclist sit in the bike car instead of another car.



    It has already been pointed out this is already standard practice in other transit systems world-wide. In emergencies passengers can exit off the platform. In many if not most emergencies the train wouldn’t have the luxury of stopping aligned with a platform anyway.



    Caltrain is apparently not modern.

    Aside from the cars driving onto the tracks and needing to be towed away (twice this week, it’s been happening with an alarmingly high frequency lately) – Caltrain has been suffering from breakdowns constantly.

    Then there is the ever popular “police action” where some cretin fare evades and the conductors can’t quite handle it.



    It is consider a dangerous practice to have trains that cannot be fully opened at some stations, requiring passengers to jump to cars ahead. This required advanced door protection systems and special evacuation plans within the train cars as well.



    BART central segment is fully segregated and not subject to FRA safety rules, at is uses a completely different paradigm based on automatic train protection and remote operational control. It is a different world, in terms of rail engineering.



    Modern railways don’t have lots of incidents, other than suicides. Grade-separation would eliminate most problems. It is coming within the context of the high speed rail project.



    I’m not a grammar Nazi, but when I read a post full of CAPITALIZED WORDS I feel like there is an angry demeaning adult treating me as if I were a energetic toddler incapable of paying attention do something really important unless screamed at.

    This being said, I’d not say there is a “mafia” of contractors or what else. US has a long tradition of developing its own standards and even unit of measurements. I’m familiar with the argument that there are off-the-shelf signaling systems like ERTMS (widely used in Europe), but I think there would be a lot of opposition to just adopting it on Caltrain. It is very easy for any low-level politician to pick up the label “European” and then smash the project for political propaganda purposes aiming next elections at some local office.

    This is not some hidden fact either. IT also applies to rolling stock, everybody that follows the industry a bit knows that passenger trains operating in US cost 2-3 times more because orders are low-number and customized to unique requirements of American regulations, than it would cost to order a similar train with similar service performance in continental Europe or Japan.