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    Andy Chow

    Look at the Caltrain ridership between Gilroy and San Jose. Back in 2011, 4 round trips carried 1555 riders. At that time some of those trains had standing passengers. Since Hwy 101 doubled its width in 2003 (which was partly funded by the county transportation sales tax), Caltrain lost 70% of the ridership. It had less than 350 riders in 2011 and now is less than 600. Between SF and SJ, Caltrain had over 34,000 riders in 2001 and now has over 60,000.

    Highway expansion simply undercuts transit ridership and takes away benefits of transit investments. VTA over the years paid UP to add tracks between San Jose and Gilroy so Caltrain could increase service (based on demand in 2001), but once the highway has widened, VTA couldn’t justify adding more trains so the extra train slots purchased from UP went completely unused.

    On the surface this may seem “balanced.” Basically at VTA what you have is two teams of planners (transit and highways) that work separately with independent goals. Highway planners wouldn’t consider transit as a solution to traffic, and transit planners wouldn’t consider roadway reconfiguration as a solution to increase speed, capacity, and reliability of transit. The outcome is highways get expanded without benefiting transit, and that more people switch from transit to driving as a result.

    Since 2000, lanes have added to highways that parallel Caltrain, light rail, and the BART corridors. Caltrain has done relatively well (except the Gilroy corridor noted above) mostly because of multi-county nature of service and areas like Palo Alto that do not want roadway expansions. Other than that, ridership has fallen in relative to population and employment increases.

    For me, a balanced plan is a the highway plan can somehow facilitate more transit, and close the transit gap between the rich and the poor by improving overall transit performance. But the reality is that there’s no such plan. What VTA plans for transit is a fragmented and tiered transit. The poor folks stick with local buses stuck in traffic while few wealthy commuters take rail.

    So simply this plan is far from “good enough.”



    Oh no doubt this is politically expedient. But Khamis’ statement makes it sound like the right thing to do is to keep doing what we are doing, as if we are traveling in the right direction when we need to steer towards more practical solutions.



    I suspect the real issue is that ultimately you can only fund the projects that the voters agree to pay more taxes for. And if over 90% of commuters use roads, which is probably true across the entire Bay Area, then it is naive to push for anything that disadvantages that many voters.

    That’s why this plan is a shrewd compromise. It’s about 50/50 between roads and transit. Enough for drivers to capture that 90% of voters but still heavily skewed towards transit. Political reality must trump ideological naivety.



    Khamis’ statement is backwards looking. You don’t fund the modes just because people are using them. You fund projects to support the modes that are sustainable. Silicon Valley cannot continue its growth using the same old space intensive automobile mode. Pretty soon you hit a hard limit when there’s no more room for lane expansions.

    Expanding 85 and 101 will result in a decade’s worth of relief (after years of construction snarls). Then what?



    I-80 in downtown San Francisco, westbound. I think he got on around 4th Street and then worked his way over to the left hand lane, presumably because he wanted to take 101-South.

    The traffic was crawling and so he was able to both pass cars and change lanes. Impressively ballsy, and he had a rather wild crazy look in his eyes.



    “Interestingly I was driving on I-80 yesterday and was passed by a bicyclist.”


    Passed by a bicyclist on a frontage road (for example the bike path in Berkley/Albany) or actually on I-80? The only place I am explicitly aware that I-80 is bike legal is central Nevada, and that is not a place you would presumably be stuck in traffic such that a cyclist passed you.

    It would not be unheard of for someone to simply ignore the prohibition, of course.



    Look! It’s Bernie Sanders!



    Yes, basically. Our system of training,testing and licensing all rests on the judgement of the examiner. He/she sees you driving in a variety of situations and extrapolates that you’re OK to drive in all situations (but not all vehicles).

    The alternative would be to have some type of two-phase training and testing where you get an initial license to drive on regular roads and then an “advanced” license to drive on freeways. Probably too expensive to run and too difficult to enforce.

    Interestingly I was driving on I-80 yesterday and was passed by a bicyclist.






    alberto rossi

    If the terminus of the M and J are going to be out by Park Merced (this may happen even without a new subway), put a new railyard out there somewhere: under the freeway or under Brotherhood Way maybe. But no, Muni plods ahead with its $40 million track replacement project at the Green Yard.



    Do your stats include RoyTT ?



    So we allow people to drive on the freeway but do not allow them to be trained?

    Blame Siri



    An invalid syllogistic form, as you know. However, if two things happen together a lot, then even though neither causes the other, people can reasonably draw some conclusions. Correlation may not be causation, but they’re not necessarily orthogonal either.

    In this case bus and like lanes do not cause gentrification, but they may be symptoms and indicators of it.

    When gentrification catches hold, neighborhoods change. I happen to think they are good changes – they become safer, cleaner, nicer, better maintained and, yes, the demand for traffic calming and quieter streets does tend to be accentuated when an area becomes more affluent.

    The problem here was the premise that gentrification is bad. It isn’t.



    Your handle has made about 10 times as many Disqus posts as mine, so if I have nothing better to do with my time, you have nothing else to do with your time at all, evidently.

    Given your prolific trolling of almost every local website all day, every day, the pot here is definitely calling the kettle black.

    I still think you need to get over NoeGate.


    Robert Parks

    Build a spacious underground rail yard for Muni…how about under the Reservoir parking lots at City College…then totally build over them. Or (probably not politically palatable) build it under the south end of Balboa Park and restore the park on the roof at about the same level?

    As for the Muni lines? J to SF State, K to Bayshore, M to Daly City BART!


    Jym Dyer

    @REA – Since you’re making the argument that this causes gentrification, how do you explain the last wave of gentrification, during the dot-com years? That wave hit the Mission hard, displacing working-class residents and their jobs as well from the city, but no transit improvements at all. Instead, we got a Muni Meltdown.



    Isn’t the reason why very basic? Learner drivers are not allowed on a freeway even with an instructor or other licensed driver. So there cannot legally be any training.

    The French word for “for” is “pour” not “por”, just so you know.



    i think you’re supposed to click through to the Business Insider story at the end and see a bunch of sentences separated by giant shutterstock images.





    I am sorry you think REA cares about gentrification, and not just parking and open lanes for his car. His family has been here for two generations and he’s very happy about the recent doubling of his property values.



    > San Francisco Housing Crisis Roots

    That article said nothing. “San Francisco has a lot of people. And it has a history of having a lot of people. We also have a housing crisis. The end.” What was that?



    Enough whining. If you want a mode of transportation available at your doorstep with minimal crowding then get a car. Meanwhile, many human beings, like myself, who suffer unnecessarily long commutes crossing the city prefer the removal of many stops, especially on surface rail. It’s 2016, not 1916, and shouldn’t have to take 45-60 minutes to travel 5 miles.



    16 years in SF and 16 years reading how SPUR likes to pat itself on the back touting the same, tired ideas. Meanwhile, no credible solutions have been implemented and nothing in the pipeline other than an overbudget $2B bus station.



    Agreed. People tend to forget that a robust transit system, be it local or regional, should provide a level of service that satisfies the needs of non commuters and car-free households.



    “Chan also hopes Muni can some day find an alternate location for its
    light rail yard, so it can be repurposed and developed into
    transit-oriented development.”

    Gee, maybe if BART and MUNI worked collectively to address the problems and land use alternatives something worthwhile would result other than a slap of paint on the BART station. Unless BART is willing to front the cost of moving the MUNI rail yard it will remain in place. However, this doesn’t mean that MUNI can’t do its part to make transfers to BART easier and route its lines more effectively through the area.



    I am sorry that you think that recent efforts by the city to make our streets better for transit counts as “gentrification”. But, if you think that rolling back the changes will in any way stop the displacement of families and businesses from the Mission then you are living in a fantasy land. Those forces are much larger, driven by demographic shifts happening at all levels of California society and are more due to land use constraints and tax policies than anything else.

    The effect of removing the improvements would just make life harder for the already stretched families and individuals that depend on transit every day. It will delaying their ability to get to their jobs and back home again and make their commutes less predictable. Do you really want the 65,000 bus riders impacted negatively to preserve your vision of what the Mission should be?



    It would be great if that ratty little strip mall at the corner of Geneva and San Jose could be torn down and replaced by a transit-oriented development.



    1) Gentrification is change
    2) Transit lanes are change



    Roger: how about regularly updating the Word on the Street box on the right side of the website? Hasn’t been touched since you took over, and it starts to feel stale when this stuff which is always present isn’t being updated. My advice: either drop it or update it.



    I am not arguing the pros/cons of better transit for working poor. We have had the most robust displacement in the history in this city in this neighborhood in the last two years, families evicted in the thousands, and business and hoising displacemets on this very street including arson of some of the buildings on Mission Street. A huge push by developers to transform the and corridor pushing out mom and pop businesses. This is not Trump or transit hating against the poor. Kmow your history and that of gentrification in this city. The timing of these lanes is in my opinion part of of that effort change. I was birn and raised in the Mission my gamilyhas lived here for two generations. You have to do better then its good for bus riders when the city hasn’t given a shit about transit riders for 20 years



    Red lanes are gentrification? Am I right? Of course I’m right! TRUMP 2016



    More traffic on Valencia is fine – it’s just the double parkers that are a bitch.



    You were able to very easily discern that the ruse was very poorly implemented. Occam’s razor – there was no ruse. You made no assumption, you just threw that silly rant out there because you have nothing better to do with your time.


    Dexter Wong

    Muni has owned this parcel since it merged with the Market St. Ry. (1921-1944). It was the other company’s main shop and Muni continued to use it until 1977. The rest of the area was the Ocean bus division until Woods was opened in Dogpatch. Muni then turned everything that wasn’t used by BART into the Muni Metro Shops and yard. There is another Metro yard near Pier 70 (but I don’t know how well Muni would function with its main yard way out there).


    Elizabeth Creely

    Keep the lanes. Mission Street will benefit from the increase in foot traffic/bicycle commuting.


    Dexter Wong

    This is an ad, it has nothing to do with this discussion!


    City Resident

    Transit lanes have nothing to do with gentrification. If anything, they enable everyone who does not have the privilege of owning a car to travel more quickly and reliably. Transit lanes help all residents and employees of the Mission District, regardless of their ethnicity, their income, or the amount of time they have lived in the neighborhood. I’d argue that these transit lanes might help to reduce gentrification. With faster and more reliable transit, I can get by without a car and have more money left over for housing expenses. Without a car, I am better able to afford to live in the Mission.





    Simply put. The red carpet is a stupid idea and a way for continued displacement and gentrification to occur in our neighborhood. Mission Street is a historic throughfare and should remain open to vehicles. Those who are new to the Misdion or wish that Latino residents leave want these lanes to further their agenda. Great buses are two minutes faster, but what about maintaining the diversity in a community? Folks always talk about the importance of a diverse city until they see it at a planning meeting distrupting their privilege.


    Eric Rodenbeck

    “As the article is not of infinite length, it does not include every fact in the universe. Your argument is that because something’s not mentioned, you can go ahead and assert it, which is extremely weak.” YES


    alberto rossi

    Hsieh is exactly right about Muni viewing this area as a storage facility rather than as a transit hub. Indeed they think of the J extension past 30th Street and the M extension past Plymouth in similar terms, as operational conveniences rather than real revenue service. Work on the Balboa Station Plan started in the 1990s. It’s nearly 20 years later and BART’s starchitect Tim Chan is still talking about “some day”. And who knew that they’re so benighted that they think a new frontage road is a good substitute for decking the freeway, the centerpiece of the Balboa Plan?





    Ted King

    P.S. The powerhouse / offices re-use across the street is also stumbling forward.

    Comm. Center group –

    Progress report of sorts –


    Ted King

    Please keep BART at arm’s length when discussing SFMuni’s upper yard property. Yes, the BART station will be impacted during construction. But that wedge is a city of San Francisco project.



    It’s easier for light rail to get dedicated infrastructure than buses. It’s a battle of perception



    Valencia’s only one block over … I don’t think bikes should be a priority on Mission. Hopefully the transit lanes stay!



    Mission Community Hearing, June 20- Mission Cultural Center 6PM
    Please attend and support better transit



    There are plans to change the position of the tracks on 19th Ave, and move the Holloway station into Parkmerced. The M only shares the roadway with cars in West Portal. This is a dense, commercial district, and it would be inappropriate to go fast. The other problem is the big diagonal crossing of 19th Ave. During peak hours, cars back up onto the track, and the drivers have trouble navigating the sea of SOVs. I think this is being addressed, but I don’t know how yet.



    Early reports cited faster bus travel times. Too soon to know about mode shift.