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    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.



    A little self-promotion about Bike East Bay’s new theft prevention partnership with BART:



    Somewhat off-topic, but I’m not entirely familiar with Muni boarding procedures. Is there ever any reason for people to tap their clipper cards after boarding a rail car in an underground Muni Metro station? I’ve always paid at the gate while entering the station, but I still see some people tapping their clipper cards in the vehicle. It looks to me like those people might be paying twice!

    Help me figure out if I should speak up next time…


    Amanda Clark

    The VTA 181 takes forever to board in Fremont, because so many people pay by cash, and I have a feeling very few of them are familiar with the various transit systems and don’t have a clue as to what is going on. In that case, all door boarding wouldn’t work.



    What you say makes sense, but while I don’t necessarily agree point for point with Andy’s assertions there is a definite correlation between Clipper adoption and income.

    The 72X bus from Santa Rosa to SF carries mostly Financial District commuters. Clipper adoption is ~100%, it’s very annoying when a cash customer appears, so much so that I carry an extra clipper card and say “Give me $10″ and tag them on (saves them $1.75 and I make 60 cents, but mostly it gets the bus moving). Not only are we all saving 20% up front, almost everyone is getting another 20-30% in tax savings.

    When I occasionally take the 101 bus which is intra Sonoma/Marin as well as going to SF, Clipper adoption is ~15%. I look at the ridership and my reaction is that they could really use the 20% discount.

    There just is a huge part of the population that is just unplugged. Best way to get money is to have money.


    Andy Chow

    I am not saying that it cannot complete in phases. I am rather saying that it can only be completed in phases, but in a way different than what you and BART think.

    I think the SF portion, whatever that is, should be completed before the 2nd tube and tie in with the existing system in SF. That portion has the highest independent utility. If this and the Alameda portion is done, the tube will simply be connecting the dots. I expect that to be the most expensive portion.



    Yes, I know how phasing works, thanks. My point is that your claim that this line cannot be completed in phases is nonsense. You’ve thrown up several reasons why this is apparently the case, and none of them stand up to scrutiny.



    “SamTrans officials say dedicated bus lanes on most of El Camino Real aren’t feasible, because the street is too narrow for four lanes of auto traffic and bus lanes.”




    The system as built needs tight scheduling, as it’s two-way operation on one track. The 7.5 minute headways would be no less forgiving.


    Jeffrey Baker

    I do sympathize with the cost questions, but if that’s what you’re worried about then it makes even more sense to use Clipper than not. You save a dime or a nickel every time, depending. And, for AC Transit customers, it takes uncertainty out of the equation: if you’re not sure you will ride twice or three times in a day then you don’t have to buy the $5 day pass up front. I never understood the argument about bank accounts. I put value on my card using cash at BART stations. It’s easy and there’s no way I’m giving my bank account details to the bozo contractors who run Clipper. So you don’t need a bank account to use Clipper.


    Andy Chow

    A lot of other agencies are concerned about the revenue implications. In Muni’s situation, the about 50% of the riders use Clipper, while AC Transit and SamTrans are at about 30%+. Since all monthly passes are sold on Clipper only in these agencies one can conclude that more Muni riders buy passes than at AC Transit and SamTrans.

    While I don’t have the data, it is likely that the median income of Muni riders is higher than the AC Transit and SamTrans riders. What we know that the Clipper penetration for transit agencies that are more patronized by higher income folks are much higher than buses (Caltrain at 70%+, ferries at 90%+).

    I believe Clipper is more used by the higher income folks because of access to technology, having regular work schedule to justify pass purchase, having bank accounts, and having access to commuter tax benefit programs. Low income folks tend to use cash only, not having steady income, and work in businesses that don’t offer commuter benefits. More kids and elderly use local transit but most may have no access to bank accounts and commuter benefits. So for a lot of these riders they stay with cash rather than switching to Clipper.

    With Clipper there should be no need to pre-buy monthly passes like it was during the paper era. Such cards have the ability to place a monthly fare cap. People with low income can put cash on the card as they can afford yet still enjoy the savings of a pass if they ride regularly, and not having to come up with a lot of money upfront when they have other things (like rent) to pay for.


    Andy Chow

    Yes. It only got funded when VTA decided to phase the project, which was reluctant to even consider before Chuck Reed became mayor in 2007. Once VTA approved to phase the project, the cost effectiveness number improves (the project was submitted for New Starts funding during the Bush era when cost effectiveness was more important and less emphasis was placed on TOD potential. Priorities have changed somewhat since.) and Obama Admin was eager to spend money on any infrastructure project.

    To see how big mega subway projects proceed, just look at Los Angeles Purple Line extension. Extension to UCLA/Westwood require two phases (the 2nd phase is not funded) and that even the first phase with 4 stations will take 8 years to construct. In the meantime, the LA Metro is building 4 other light rail extensions in various parts of the county with one of them tunneling downtown.

    In the Bay Area, there will be a number of projects on the pipeline if you include Muni, Caltrain, SMART, and VTA, as well as BART in other parts of the region. So our table is just as full as Los Angeles. The whole 2nd tube thing will have to get in line. The best way to get it done is the phase the project so each segment is bite size (like $1-2 billion at most) and demonstrate independent utility. In every funding cycle or so there’s rail project in all parts of the region, rather just putting all the money in one part of the region, which is politically unacceptable.


    Jeffrey Baker

    Are any other agencies planning to do this? AC Transit spends lots of time with people queued up behind cash-paying customers. Using all-door boarding, requiring Clipper, or making the fare a round number of dollars would all reduce dwell.



    For anyone who’s *really* interested, this link will take you straight to a video of the presentation:


    Ted King

    This doubled frequency from every 30 minutes to every 15 minutes,

    There was already quarter-hour service for those who could ride either the 390 or the 391 (e.g. Millbrae/Burlingame to Daly City). All the ECR does is make it a consistent fifteen-minute (15 min.) interval over a longer route.



    Not quite, unfortunately. The map on slide 9 is showing the long list of 30+ “Vision” projects that were initially considered, as well as the State of Good Repair and Capacity projects, which went through a separate analysis process. The “limited list” on slide 10 shows the 14 “Vision” projects they decided to move forward from that list. This list of 14 projects will be whittled down to a “short list” of 3-5 that will move forward to implementation.

    The news here is that a new Transbay tube and Geary line will be included in that list of 3-5 projects. I will be very interested to see what else makes the final cut.



    According to this article they plan to construct an underground walkway between the new Transbay Transit Center and BART in “Phase 2″ of its construction. Not sure if that’s still the plan however.



    Whoops–good to know, thanks! Just unparenthesized it in my post, too.



    The parenthesis breaks that link, btw. (I guess Disqus’ auto-linker isn’t smart enough to fix that.) Here’s the fixed link just in case:


    Veronica Vanterpool

    Noah is an effective, ardent advocate for equitable transportation in general. It is always a pleasure being in the same battle with him. Congrats, Noah.



    Btw, not sure how many people checked out the PDF Aaron linked (, but there are some pretty cool things they’re at least studying. In addition to the 30th St Infill they’re also studying an infill at Van Ness/Market (along with a potential corridor along the Presidio/Van Ness/SoMa) and some other cool stuff:


    Jamison Wieser

    Considering that most of the two-car trains run on the N, West Portal isn’t too short. The M and the K run mostly one car ‘trains’.

    The K operates with one-car trains, but the M and the L are mostly if not exclusively two-car trains during peak hours when this is needed. In order to work at all, this has to work at the busiest times.

    Until Muni starts double-birthing it won’t know what does and doesn’t work about it. Starting with only Embarcadero and Montgomery let’s them work out the kinks before expanding to all stations.

    There will be problems in practice that need to be worked out. Double-birthing potentially creates new delays. Not problems that can’t be solved, but problems easier to solve starting with just two stations in only one direction.

    Passengers may hold doors open for riders who now have to walk down the platform for the second train, or those riders all try to squeeze through the first door of the second train. Maybe N/T trains should only board in the first spot so there are never confused Giants fans running up and down the platform trying to figure out which train to get on (Spot 1: Embarcadero, Ballpark/Caltrain, Sunnydale. Spot 2: Embarcadero only)

    I’m really curious to see what Muni does with the announcements, messages, and signs.



    Congrats to both Noah and San Francisco!


    Clarence Eckerson Jr.

    NOAH! Way to go!



    Okay, how about the BART extension to Berryessa? San Jose Flea Market is hardly an area of thriving density, and that extension was funded by New Starts.



    I’ve had the honor and pleasure of working with Noah ever since he came to TA so many years ago. Paul nailed it: “combination of zeal and judiciousness.” It’s hard to imagine the NYC livable streets community without the benefit of Noah’s quiet wisdom and tactical shrewdness. I consider him merely on extended loan to you lucky folks by the Bay!


    Andy Chow

    This project is not a “new starts” project so that these requirements didn’t apply. Usually a region submits certain competitive and more expensive projects for new starts and use other funds for those less competitive and expensive projects. This was funded partly by raiding the Dumbarton Rail funds.



    Congratulations to Noah – loss for us in NYC but great thing for San Francisco. Thanks for all you’ve done.



    Though I’ve been a cyclist all my life, the only reason I’m a cycling advocate is a fateful meeting I had with Noah Budnick in the summer of 2006. TA was a much smaller organization then, and Noah and Paul were tabling for TA at a Solar Energy Festival at Stuy Cove (both of them together!), with petitions denouncing the NYPD’s attempts to outlaw small groups rides (10 cyclists) as “parades” requiring permits.

    I got involved with TA, started up a lawsuit against the NYPD, and the rest is history! Noah and TA totally changed the way I viewed cycling, living in the city, and the NYPD. I join many others in offering a big thank you to Noah for all he’s done. The only thing more awesome would be to take the SF liveable streets movement beyond what we’ve achieved here.

    Our loss is SF’s gain!

    PS Paul’s gotta step up his sartorial game with Noah out of the pic!


    Eric McClure

    Big win for San Francisco. Thanks for all you’ve done to advocate for safe streets in New York City, Noah, and don’t be a stranger.



    Not true. You made this up. There was huge support in Marin but BART asked the county to drop out for the reason Eric mentioned.



    Since I am “that way” – I keenly look forward to the Rob Anderson blog post on this one. His tears of sadness are so delicious.



    He will be missed here in NYC. Thank your lucky stars, SF!



    “You have to find common ground and figure out what other people care about. That’s core to building partnerships and coalitions.” Consensus building – Yes!