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    BARTs EIR did not take into account Caltrain reducing the Millbrae to 4th time in half. Why switch and take a tour of Colma? MUNI may suck but not 30 minutes suck. Plus the rise of the bicycle for last mile downtown. The Millbrae station was a mistake in hindsight. It actually *generates* car trips as the top floor is long term airport parking!

    Caltrain runs directly down a major commute corridor that has completely bogged down and is served by corporate shuttles for all sorts of last mile connecting. VTA mountain view is not near dense residential, has no bus connection from residential to MV, parking is full with Caltrain commuters, and unless your job is next to light rail there is no way to get to work.



    “Quite simply, I think it would be unpopular.”

    Indeed, but throw it onto the pile of just about all issues that the livability city movement is trying to push. Anything we do to try to reclaim the madness cars have created on our streets will be unpopular, so this idea is no different.


    Andy Chow

    Yet Caltrain has operated essentially under the same schedule (while added a few peak trains, cut some midday trains, and added some station stops) for the last 9 years. If the Baby Bullet is attracting ridership, it still takes a while to double the ridership number.

    The same could be said for the BART-SFO extension, which has doubled its ridership during the last 10 years or so. However, it is still below the ridership estimated in the EIR. Millbrae was supposed to way more riders than SFO and more than a station in Downtown Oakland. Now Millbrae is below SFO and has been so ever since it opened. BART was expecting massive transfer from BART to Caltrain, but more riders continue to stay on Caltrain to SF than switching to BART.

    Calling VTA’s projection optimistic for light rail and BART is generous.



    No, it has nothing to do with Altamont. HSR out of a Transbay Tube would follow the BART route to Martinez, pretty much.



    BART technology is horrible in its exotic uniqueness — if we could go back in time, we’d replace it all with standard gauge. :-(



    Yeah. Is it possible for SF to move quickly to change this, and get an agreement with the developer to put a subway station in the basement? If not… why not?



    If the subway was to be extended to Fishermans Wharf, the best choice is one of the subway-to-surface options due to the substantial cost savings in exchange for minor travel time increases. For extending west, the best choice is to branch off just after North Beach, tunnel under Russian Hill, surface in the center of Lombard somewhere west of Van Ness, and use the center two lanes of Lombard as a dedicated LRV ROW out to the Presidio. Lombard could use a ped/transit friendly rebuild, and using any other street would require running LRVs in mixed traffic (slow) or continuing the line as a full subway (expensive).

    Just my two cents. I realize that branching the line at North Beach means dividing frequency, but the plan is already to run two service patterns – a full line out to Sunnydale, and a short line to Dogpatch. One of those two lines could run to Fishermans Wharf, and the other to the Presidio.

    And yes, building two-car subway stations was very short sighted.



    It’s been too long. Let’s get on with it.



    But an 18-unit housing and retail development was already planned for the lot, and the owner has no plans to give up the site for a subway station. Even if he did, the SFMTA doesn’t have a plan in place to justify buying the lot, said agency chief Ed Reiskin. The most likely option remaining for a station would require digging into the street — which, well, is why the lot was even leased in the first place.

    Okay, so what would it cost to buy the basement level at that lot, and/or to dig around it to Columbus Ave. in order to create space for a North Beach station?

    It’s such a shame that we dug a tunnel all the way to North Beach without building a subway station there. Frankly, North Beach deserves a subway stop and everyone involved is squandering an enormous opportunity.



    Unlikely that such an intensive capital investment would be made for such a small number of residents a short distance away. There are plans to add bike and ped lanes to the west span of the Bay Bridge and water taxis have been discussed.



    Caltrain improved their service….



    Quite simply, I think it would be unpopular. People would prefer to have an additional two long-term spaces and a blocked street. Especially on some residential streets, many of which have–let’s face it–far more road space than they need for the amount of traffic they get. In those cases, double parking is seen as basically harmless.


    Andy Chow

    VTA is expecting to more than double the ridership on Light Rail by 2020… in 5 years, without system extension (but would have connection to BART). Caltrain took 10 years to double its ridership without system extension and that is considered pretty aggressive.



    This only works if trucks USE the yellow zones–unlike the mail trucks at end of day on 23rd Street near So. Van Ness


    Andy Chow

    BART has now somewhat “grown up” these days when it is having different rail technologies in the system. So a BART train could mean a diesel train, light rail, FRA compliant trains, or even BRT. This is something that large rail transit agencies have been doing for decades.

    One of the advantage of BART technology crossing the Bay is the strong East Bay coverage. A advantage of standard gauge technology is the strong SF/West Bay coverage. It is difficult to build a new BART line in SF as supposed to a new Muni or an upgraded Muni because of the limited available corridor and complexity to tie into the existing system. It is difficult to build new standard gauge line in the East Bay because of lack of available corridors.



    Enforcement’s very important, no doubt, and will be incredibly welcome if/when it comes. However, let’s not forget the equally (if not more) important role infrastructure plays.

    When streets allow cars capacious rights-of-way whose only countermeasure is paint, too many people will obey the temptation. This is not unique to SF. Double-parking bike lanes beget….double-parking. Wherever they occur, make no mistake. Even in Amsterdam:


    Andy Chow

    I don’t know if the 2nd tube based in HSR technology will be much better. Right now there’s no Caltrain (or SEPTA, NJ Transit, LIRR) equivalent in the East Bay to connect the dots with. Capitol Corridor operates on UP owned tracks which UP is notorious for its anti-passenger rail attitude. Even if you take away the UP factor, the freight rail corridor serves the Port of Oakland so the opportunity is limited, and the exist rail alignment to Sacramento is slow due to curves and such.

    Constructing a new rail network would add cost significantly, and may have problems due to limited amount of right of ways available.



    how about also Cc:



    There appears to be no excuse for the lack of a parking protected bike lane along Townsend Street adjacent to the Caltrain right-of-way (on the southeast side of the street between 7th and 4th). As you point out, such a project is a low cost, simple improvement that greatly enhances safety for all (including eliminating conflict between transit riders, Muni buses, and bicyclists by getting the bus stop out of the bike lane). This ain’t a splashy project and shouldn’t require much in the way of planning, design, review, funding, etc. and the following officials can arrange for this job to be done:,,,



    You are asking SFMTA to create parking spaces in order to give up $1 million in parking ticket revenue from delivery vehicles?

    SFMTA doesn’t really have any motivation to change city parking structure in order to reduce tickets, that would result in laying off employees paid to issue citations who generate revenue.



    Just like with “hands-free” mobile phone use while driving… it appears as if there’s no enforcement of the law so the law is widely ignored.



    Email Jane Kim and get her to do a ride along. Seriously.



    Yep, I’ve been riding down Townsend almost daily for 7 years and can safely say that I have not *once* seen any cab, private car, or bus get a ticket even though they (especially cabs) make crazy-dangerous U-turns constantly, block the bike lane, double-park, etc. Some even have the gall to honk at cyclists for trying to go around them as they block the lanes, make U-turns, and aggressively and suddenly pull out of their queue. And in that time, I have seen several stings by SFPD on cyclists rolling the stop sign at the T-intersection with 5th St. That is a glaring example of the utter bias of SFPD against cyclist and hence their complete inability to judge what is actually creating danger on the streets. It’s so frustrating and demoralizing to see such an incredible misuse of limited assets as well as the discouragement of the form of transit the City *says* it wants to promote.

    Another thing I cannot understand is: why don’t they put the bike lane, at least on the northbound side of Townsend, on the *other* side of the parked cars between 8th and 5th? This is the perfect place to try this because there is a ridiculous amount of space yet so much danger for cyclists. And it would involve the small costs of just paint and moving some of the meters and signs.


    Nicasio Nakamine

    I pass by the Caltrain station twice a day and it is by far the most chaotic part of my ride. The nighmare-taxi lineup is just a small taste of the insane mix of vehicles driving in every direction directly in front of the station. I can’t decide if the Megabus, the Amtrak bus, or the Jitney takes the crown of insanity here. Maybe the Mission Bay shuttles…

    In the evenening, I have to watch out for people casting themselves into traffic in a desparate attempt to catch the next train. Also: the guy picking up bike share bikes in the height of rush-hour, riding two bikes at a time across all four lanes of traffic. It is a perfect storm of anarchy!





    The DPT actually went out occasionally to ticket the Taxis who were in the queue for the taxi stand at Caltrain and lined up so far that they ended up blocking the bike lane.

    Ironically – this almost ended my life. I moved into the primary lane to go around a long line of taxi cabs, and a taxi driver that noticed the DPT officer writing a ticket to the taxi in the front of the line decided to make a getaway – not noticing that I was in his getaway path.

    And referencing the original article – the extended enforcement blitz on that particular location definitely had an impact. What really annoyed me about the whole thing was the open, utter disdain for the cyclists held by the cabbies lining up in the bike lane.


    Upright Biker

    I’ll believe ‘er when I sees ‘er!

    You’re absolutely right, and all we need now is this “unforgiving enforcement.”

    Anyone taking bets on this?



    I’ve been saying this for a while, but there’s an easy solution: every block has 2-6 spaces per side (more or less depending on if it’s zoned commercial or not) reserved for loading. I think it’s amazing that we don’t realize this is a solution and we just take it as a given that the entirely of both sides of the streets need to be completely filled with cars (yet another externalized cost of driving). These spaces would be present even on every purely residential blocks and would be used for UPS/FedEx deliveries, cabs, and just normal private motorists. It’s unacceptable that we assume that motorists need to take up even *more* street space for double-parking.



    Agreed, loading, pick up, and delivery need to be accommodated, however, I think the attitudes around double parking are so relaxed that often when there is an accessible, out of the flow of traffic, and even legal place to park people will still sometimes double park. This is especially true of business vehicles like delivery or taxi, and with the proliferation of Lyft, Uber, etc. I’ve seen drivers picking up or dropping off passengers park in the middle of a crosswalk when they could at the very least pull ahead 10 feet to only block the road. I know it’s anecdotal, but I think these new kinds of taxis need to figure out how to instruct their drivers to pick up and drop off customers in a way that doesn’t impact our streets too much.

    Personally I think it is better for someone to block a driveway temporarily than double park, but the only time I seem to use a car to do a large drop off is when doing a donation run, and I’m always willing to walk it the distance necessary from a legal parking spot rather than block the street/driveway (but that’s just me I guess).


    Andy Chow

    The original BART system was built basically all at once, but it was during an era when NASA was sending men to the moon. Nowadays NASA doesn’t even have their own spacecraft to send people to space and have to pay the Russians to do that (which was unimaginable during the Cold War). The public’s attitude toward government spending and public works projects has changed.

    The BART system was indeed opened in segments. It was because the Transbay Tube was not ready for revenue service, but was constructed. Before the Tube opened, trains have to deadhead through the Tube. There was no rail yard on the west side of the Bay for another 20 years or so therefore it was impossible to run trains strictly on the west side without the Tube.

    Since the likelihood of a BART yard of any significant size in SF is very low, it would be advantageous for a new line in SF to have a tie on to the existing line so that it can access to and from the yard without crossing the Bay.



    If they’re serious about enforcing double parking, the city needs to make sure that spaces are available to use for loading and unloading.

    Where I live, it’s common that every single parking space is occupied. If I need to load a couple hundred pounds of stuff, or to deliver a package, what am I supposed to do? If there isn’t reasonable answer to this question, then no amount of enforcement will stick, because things need to be loaded. See this article:

    In some areas, it might be enough if people get the message to park across driveways over parking in the street. Both illegal, of course, but I think that parking in the street is currently seen as the less-risky option, so that’s what people do.

    Where there aren’t suitable driveways, however, the city is going to have to take action to ensure that there are available spaces. This could mean creating more white zones, or it could mean SFPark-like demand management (or installing meters where there are currently none). Right now, policy is focused on maximizing the number of long-term parking spots, and that’s something that will have to change if they want to make a difference. Disability placard reform will also help.



    We focus a lot on cars in the street, but let’s be reasonable with all of this, and let’s not forget sidewalks in the mix. I dont care if you’re parked in your driveway and are blocking a couple inches, or even a foot of the sidewalk (given a standard 6 ft sidewalk), but dont impede the flow of traffic, including pedestrians! [And by the way, it's on the verge of blight when nearly every house along your block has a car parked in the driveway... Not to mention those who feel like parallel parking in front of their houses after paving over their front yard... DONT DO IT! It's illegal!]



    I was biking outbound on Market at 5th St tonight around 6 pm, and northbound cars managed to block both lanes of Market for a whole light cycle.



    Even better–each and every one of those hipster bipedalist foot-goers should just get a car. Or two! Why not liberate yourself, finally stop worrying about safety and enjoy the crosswalks by car like the mayor does?

    Finally, Balance RESTORED!


    Bob Gunderson

    If pedestrians just walked in constant panic and fear at every intersection and crossing on all the streets of SF we wouldn’t have a safety problem.



    For the last 4 years, just about every morning and afternoon work day I ride along on Townsend from 8th St. to 2nd Street. And there has never been a time on that route when I have not encountered at least one car, taxi, or delivery truck double parking in the bike lanes or blocking the intersections at 3rd Street and 4th Street. What is especially ironic, is that under the I-280 ramp that touches down at 5th St., there is a depot for DPT parking control vehicles. Yet I have *never* seen one of them drive the 1 block to the Caltrain station and give out tickets to the taxis and others interfering with the safe passage of pedestrians and bicyclists.

    I find it especially galling as a cyclists that so much emphasis is placed on our ‘bad behavior’ for rolling stop signs or jumping red lights, and yet these common and dangerous behaviors of double parking and blocking crosswalks is somehow enshrined as some kind of “motorist right” I simply won’t believe that anything has changed until I see DPT officers from the depot handing out tickets to the queue of taxis that routinely block the bike lane along the Caltrain station in the morning.


    Andy Chow

    I think from a business perspective businesses generally offer discounts to their best customers, and that their best customers tend to pay fast, pay on-time, willing to consume more, and don’t underpay, which also tend to favor customers with higher income. Low income folks generally are targets for predatory lending businesses with very high interest rates.

    If you look at the Greyhound bus fares (Greyhound is used by a lot of low income folks), fares are much lower when purchased online in advance rather than paying at the terminal with cash for the same trip. The rationale is probably the same like other businesses as well as airlines. They don’t even mind offering very low fares online since some customers may not even show up and paid for the ride anyway.

    Amtrak on the other hand doesn’t offer that type of discounts and fares are very similar whether the tickets are bought in advance or at the station for the same class of service, unless the trip is heavily impacted (like around the holidays).

    Mass transit on the other hand has a social role in trying to lift up the less fortunate population. While from operational and business perspective Clipper usage is advantageous, it is also a barrier for low income folks from getting the best fare.



    Get ‘er done.

    It won’t take too much time of unforgiving enforcement to change the public more towards double parking. That’s the real issue – people just don’t care if they double park. For a while it will be “they are really strict about this” but with effort it can change to “what kind of a**h**e double parks?”


    Andy Chow

    El Camino is quite narrow in certain segments like in Burlingame, Downtown Redwood City, and Downtown Menlo Park. The segment in Burlingame is even narrower than The Alameda in San Jose, which VTA is NOT proposing to build dedicated bus lanes in all BRT alternatives.

    I am reluctant to assume that any bus lane is good or that somehow BRT must have most of the features of rail including level boarding. The Peninsula has Caltrain and BART so the role for buses should be mostly for local transit. While I think there’s an opportunity for limited stop bus service on El Camino I don’t think the Peninsula is ready for dedicated bus lanes. However features like queue jump lanes can be very useful.



    Sorry, I placed this wrong. It is in reply to coolbabybookworm.
    Interesting. I hadn’t even considered the free muni for youth program. I have only seen fare inspectors board my bus once, and the results were surprising: all the people I assumed were avoiding paying had paid, and the well dressed woman had not! Same once on a German subway: a middle aged woman who looked the soul of legal compliance was riding “schwartz” as they say.


    Bob Gunderson

    His qualifications and logic doesn’t scare me!



    I think it’s the increased fare inspectors and maybe free Muni for youth contributing as well. I’ve only been checked on Muni once in the last year, but I see fare inspectors almost daily while riding my bike around the city.



    The graph on fare evasion shows an ongoing trend toward proper payment, a trend not affected positively or negatively by the onset of all door boarding. I am glad the all door boarding appears not to be interrupting that trend, but I would like to know what has caused a lesser percentage of riders evading fares. Is it that some fare avoiders were unemployed? Was the local economy already that much better in 2010 than 2009? Has enforcement really changed all that much, and is that affecting behavior? Or are greater numbers of people with sufficient incomes riding Muni than before? Ideas from frequent riders? It would be good to know the causes, so that we can pursue even further what works.



    Sweet. It’s not so much that he has tears of sadness, but that he resembles the original speaker of that quote.



    Bobby has delivered! You get special recognition too – lucky.



    Is it possible to build a second bridge from SF to treasure island for bikes, BART, and Muni?


    Amanda Clark

    What you are proposing is only possible if Altamont HSR is built. Which will probably not be any time soon (and I’m not even touching on the BART capacity issues).



    That is ridiculous. BART is the right technology and not only do we need more capacity across the bridge but there needs to be better coverage within SF. This accomplishes both and should be a top priority.



    Can we halt the momentum of this “essential second BART trans-bay tube” before it gets any more traction? There’s definitely the smell of spin in the air, and it seems to be emanating from BART HQ.

    It makes more sense to build a second trans-bay tube for high-speed
    rail. This system could serve the far-reaching BART depots
    (Concord/Pittsburg) and the towns along 80 (Fairfield/Vacaville/Davis/Sacto)
    which would take passenger pressure off BART and the highways, and bring thousands of units of cheaper housing stock into the SF/Silicon Valley commute shed.

    BART construction requires all custom built components, all
    super-expensive, and BART is much the same as it was 50 years ago when it was first built. Computer controls and fare collection systems have been updated, but it’s no faster or more efficient than it was in 1970, and still doesn’t have 24/7 service.

    HSR uses off-the-shelf tracks and rolling stock. It would be much more economical to construct a new HSR network, even if it requires taller tunnels.

    It also makes more sense to designate lanes on the Bay Bridge to Express buses, or even BRT, 24/7. With this improvement, the bridge could approach the people-moving capacity it had before the Key System tracks were removed in the late 1950s. And way cheaper than building another BART tube.

    After the BART line to San Jose is finished, BART should be considered done, finished, complete, and nostalgic.


    Nicasio Nakamine

    On my morning commute, I see people tag before exiting the train all the time. The N Judah is often crazy-packed until Montgomery station, so my assumption is that it was too difficult to tag in when they boarded, and are tagging before exiting since enforcement is most likely to be at the top of the stairs in the station.

    Nobody is paying twice – if you tag a second time, it just shows “transfer” and doesn’t charge you.