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  1.  

    p_chazz

    I love looking at public transit porn. But like porn of the more salacious variety, it represents ultimate ideals that can give us wet dreams, but can never be achieved.

  2.  

    p_chazz

    “Traffic calming will help, but, unfortunately, cyclists won’t see any facilities coming to Geary.”

    Why should they? No reason why a bus corridor should also be a bicycle corridor. Parallel streets in the Richmond and Western Addition district would make for better bicycling than Geary. A route parallel to Geary using Anza, O’Farrell and Post streets would make more sense.

  3.  

    sebra leaves

    Embarcardero has a wide sidewalk and plenty of room for bikes as it is currently configured and needs to be left alone. There is no reason to spend any money working on a roadway that may have to be raised or in some way altered soon deal with to rising seas or sinking land, whichever comes first. Save the money to pay for other more pressing Muni operations and maintenance.

  4.  

    randyw

    I’m all for the subway, it is just a red herring as an argument against BRT.

  5.  

    Mark

    Jimbo is 100% correct. BTW-time advantages of a subway are a lot greater than you think. Try it some time.

    For a supposed tech capital, SF is sadly low on the visionary scale.

  6.  

    PaleoBruce

    BRT is a fantastic idea, we get so much “bang for the buck” using our scarce public right-of-way space this way. I am sorry if single occupancy motor vehicle owners are inconvenienced for the greater good of the public. Subways are great only in a make believe fantasy world where we can ignore their very high cost.

  7.  

    Jeffrey Baker

    Center-running BRT is a disservice to riders, as it guarantees that riders will have to stand in the middle of the road and wait for a signal to cross the street. It will be as bad as T-Third median platforms where every day you see self-respecting riders just jumping off the platform rather than walk hundreds of meters out of their way to stand and wait at a red light for one minute or more.

    BRT should run on one side of the road or the other so that riders have even odds of not having to cross the street.

  8.  

    david vartanoff

    Actually Geary deserves both better bus ,until we re lay the tracks, and a subway. Even the inadequate brt lite being proposed will be an improvement over current service. Much like Mission there are commercial strips where surface transit is better and there are riders who need to skip most of those stops.
    As to the NIMBYs and the cost cutting bad decisions, gags for the former, and just build the good version–we all know the estimates are white lies at best anyway.

  9.  

    randyw

    Of course we all would love a subway, but this gets huge benefits and costs on a per-mile 3.5% as much as the Central subway. This is paid for by LESS than 1 year of construction inflation on the subway option.

    The time advantages of the subway are not a great as imagined anyways. There would be dramatically fewer stations, and so unless you are near one, you have a longer walk, time to descend to the platform, and less frequent service.

  10.  

    keenplanner

    Good idea!

  11.  

    keenplanner

    SFMTA could increase capacity by running more vehicles more frequently, and giving them no-nonsense priority over automobile traffic. All MUNI vehicles should be connected to a central computer and equipped with autonomous functionality, even if they have an operator.
    There really wouldn’t be a need to build more subways if SFMTA would just implement improvements that prioritize transit over traffic.

  12.  

    Jimbo

    this is a money wasting boondoggle. there is very little improvement here. save the money towards a subway. geary is already congested and this will make it worse. taking it underground, and more people will use it and people can still use the streets above. will fight this tooth and nail. city needs to be more visionary

  13.  

    Kieran

    I’ve stated this before but the only reason Muni should do this BRT on Geary is if it eventually brings back the B Geary streetcar line along with having a subway from Transbay Terminal until just west of the Laguna/Geary intersection where there would be tunnel portals.

    From there the B Geary streetcar would run on right of way where it’s signal prioritized-in that when a streetcar approaches an intersection that currently has a light making the streetcar stop, within 10 seconds of the streetcar approaching that intersection the light would change to allow the streetcar to cross. The B Geary could either turn around at 48th/Point Lobos or Ocean Beach.

    I like how this article mentions that Geary would’ve had a Bart subway (though they didn’t mention that it didn’t happen because of Marin county pulling out of the original Bart program). The Geary section was going to snake up north off Geary at around Park Presidio/26th ave, cross under the Golden Gate Bridge and go into the North Bay until around Santa Rosa.

    Here’s an interesting what-if-In 1937 there could’ve been a Geary subway, roughly from Geary/Fillmore, going under Geary to Market/Geary, then turning north up Montgomery to Columbus. From there it might’ve gone along Columbus to Fisherman’s Wharf.

    There’s also a section of this proposed subway that show a line starting from Transbay Terminal, going under Market and basically following the Bart alignment through the Mission but surfacing at about 27th and Dolores st, afterwards possibly taking the present J Church route along San Jose ave through the Bernal Cut. Another route is shown going from Transbay Terminal until Church/Market sts.

    The reason this subway never was built was because the bond measure cost 49.3 million $ and being that it was in the middle of the Depression, voters didn’t want to spend that amount of $. Plus Muni could’ve simply extended that Market st tunnel from Church/Market to connect with the already-existent Twin Peaks tunnel.I think it’s a shame because not only would San Francisco have gotten more subway tunnels earlier in its history but the B Geary streetcar would’ve been saved and we wouldn’t be having this discussion of finally improving transit on Geary.

    Link to that proposed subway article which also has a pic of the map I described.

    https://transbayblog.com/2008/08/19/no-subway-for-you/

  14.  

    keenplanner

    Seriously? SFMTA is allowing Geary St. merchants without data to back up their claims and derail the BRT? And why can’t BRT go through tunnels? Has SFMTA ever ridden a true BRT system?
    Enough with the compromises and accommodating car traffic. Build it right, and build it soon.

  15.  

    Ryan

    I live within walking distance of SSF BART but I usually drive there because El Camino is so unpleasant – like walking along a freeway – even with the sidewalks. All this project does is bring certain sections up to that extremely low standard, albeit with some tepid crosswalk and median improvements thrown in.

    I can’t speak to biker’s complaints. I know damn well I wouldn’t allow my kids to ride a bike along El Camino unless it was fully separated and contiguous. I guess we all know that El Camino will remain a freeway until:

    1. Lanes are removed
    2. Lanes are narrowed to 10′ or less
    3. Sidewalks are widened significantly
    4. There’s actually somewhere worth walking to in between the vast dead stretches.
    5. Walkers and bikers are fully separated from automobile traffic.

    I don’t see anything remotely like this on the boards (sigh).

    On the bright side, South City has been more agressive than most cities in implementing GBI, TOD and pedestrian-friendly projects in general, often over vocal NIMBY opposition. And given that it’s an older suburb with an intact Main Street, in the land constricted Bay Area no less, there’s a lot of reason for optimism that things will eventually “gel.”

  16.  

    RichRoLLed

    I’d be proud to call that much speculation my own.

  17.  

    RichLL

    Or perhaps a tidal barrier near the GG Bridge, like the one in London’s Thames Estuary, which can open to let through shipping?

    There is quite simply no way the Bay Area is going to lose a major airport.

  18.  

    Jeffrey Baker

    Building a berm around the airport sounds like just about the easiest thing to do. Why do you think they’d allow an actively-used airport to be flooded when a simple fix exists?

  19.  

    Karen Lynn Allen

    Both SFO and Oakland International are extremely vulnerable to sea level rise. San Jose International is not. My guess is SFO will be defended. Runways will be raised, even floating runways implemented. It will be extremely expensive. My guess is Oakland International will not be defended. As Oakland runways become more and more routinely flooded, East Bay travelers will take BART to SFO, or they’ll travel around much of California on the Capitol Corridor and San Joaquin train lines. (Perhaps even via high speed rail, but no one should hold their breath awaiting it.) A decade or two from now, running an expensive fixed rail line to a largely abandoned destination will be seen as an unusually stupid waste of money.

  20.  

    RichRoLLed

    That’s not how this game is played Dexter.

    I make something up to get a response. You disagree with me because you are wrong. I point out how wrong you are. You try to argue. I deflect and make some other claim while aggrandizing my own skills and intellect. ad infinitum

  21.  

    Jeffrey Baker

    The commentary in that article is right on point. OAC was built with federal “shovel-ready” money at the same moment that AC Transit was slashing service. What’s more “shovel-ready” than driving buses on existing routes? Nothing! And we still haven’t regained any but a tiny fraction of the services that were cut from AC Transit six years ago.

    Streetsblog didn’t ask about OAC in the recent softball interview of Radulovich http://sf.streetsblog.org/2016/11/17/exit-interview-director-tom-radulovich-reflects-on-20-years-with-bart/ . Would have been interesting to discuss.

  22.  

    Jeffrey Baker

    Oh gosh, what if we find out the buses are sometimes late? Not sure if we can survive these revelations.

  23.  

    mx

    A Forbes reporter is reporting that the hackers claim they have 30GB of SFMTA data they’re threatening to release.

    https://twitter.com/iblametom/status/803309068035231744

  24.  

    RichLL

    Nice little transit system you have there. It would be a shame if it had a little accident. Pay me some bitcoin and I’ll protect you.

  25.  

    RichLL

    Very amusing. but isn’t there a very real sense in which Americans are more reluctant to embrace more centralized and powerful governments projecting more control over individual freedom and choice?

    For better or worse, the US routinely rejects concepts like universal healthcare, high taxes and even global warming. Easy to criticize but what do you do when the voters won’t support what you clearly see as superior.

    Rather than hoping for a magic fairy to sprinkle pixue dust and turn SF into Zurich, why not do the hard part – cinvincing the voters that the sacrifices are worth it?

  26.  

    murphstahoe

    Re OAC: Now they are placing the blame on Uber/Lyft for missing ridership projections. The reason is the fare, plain and simple. To assume that those Uber/Lyft riders would be on BART/OAC in the absence of Uber/Lyft is pretty weak.

  27.  

    mx

    Boy am I sure glad the SFMTA Board is working on its station naming policy. Reading today’s headlines, it’s obvious there’s definitely nothing more important for them to be focusing on.

  28.  

    thielges

    And there you have it: Efficient public transportation lubricates the slippery slope towards socialized medicine. Thanks for pointing out this hazard Rich.

    This is why Americans should resist any efforts to improve the efficiency of transfers: If any one member of your Death Panel is late for the hearing you go scott free and remained plugged in.

    It is a scary world out there and so long as you can stay ensconced in the heated comfort of your Rich Corinthian Leather interior then all is well. Never let anyone pry your fingers off of the steering wheel.

  29.  

    RichLL

    Obviously their transit system works great. I’ve used it myself and it’s like clockwork – you can set your watch by when the train leaves.

    Where the regimentation and collectivism enters into it is rather everywhere else. To have an infrastructure that precise and punctual you have to massively favor transit over cars and drivers. You have to raise taxes to cover the much higher subsidies needed. And the state needs to take over and socialize responsibility for things like healthcare and pensions – a big part of the cost base for transport authorities in the US.

    So yes, we could in theory have a Swiss system here – but the political and economic priorities of the voters would have to change massively and become more European. The recent Trump victory we’re moving in the exact opposite direction, ideologically.

  30.  

    bradlyn rock

    my colleague was looking for CA DMV REG 195 a few days ago and learned about a great service that hosts a ton of fillable forms . If you are interested in CA DMV REG 195 as well , here’s a https://goo.gl/awWLao.

  31.  

    Claude

    What level of regimentation and collectivism is imposed by a quick, convenient cross-platform transfer? You stand up, exit one vehicle, walk to another vehicle and sit down.
    These are people who sprint a quarter mile across an airport to miss a connecting flight. I think they’re smart enough to figure out the system on a train platform.
    And if they’re really that dead set on sitting in the cold and wind for a half hour they can always ignore the connection and wait for a following train.

  32.  

    Jym Dyer

    @njudah – I recently had to pick up a package from FedEx Home & Ground (the driver didn’t make 3 attempts, but that’s another story), in South City. I didn’t choose the delivery service, but in general I would choose ground delivery for its lower carbon impact, the same concern that makes me one of the ~30% of San Franciscans living carfree. But the Home & Ground shipping center for the 2nd most carfree city on the continent is 3, nearly 4, suburbs away. Bad setup.

    Following the only available instructions I could obtain from their website and/or 800 number, I ended up in a sprawling corporate park that involved a freeway overpass and wide boulevards (one with a perfunctory bike lane) to get from the Caltrain station. I chose this route as less problematic than the conditions around the BART station, which would have involved this awful stretch of road and a freeway underpass.

    When I got there, I was helpfully told that Home & Ground packages were in another part of South City, “only 5 minutes away.” More car mentality, of course, nobody’s expecting a bike with trailer, or cargo bike. That route was no picnic, it involved a freeway underpass anyhow, and was practically in San Bruno. The good news is that it’s actually quite close to the San Bruno Caltrain station, and not far from its BART station, though overall the problem is that nobody at FedEx is thinking in terms of carfree customers.

  33.  

    RichLL

    You misunderstand. A big part of having a powerful, centralized and socialized system of anything is a suppression of individual freedoms for the alleged common good.

    Like I said, you could make the same point about healthcare, homelessness, education and any other political topic in Europe versus the US. They are happy with higher taxes for a socialized system and we prefer lower taxes and more freedom.

    And it’s not that one system is better than the other, but rather that they are different reflections of different cultures. Just be glad there are differences because you can choose which system to live in. If we were all exactly the same there would be no such choice

  34.  

    denvoran

    Again what? You can’t have it both ways. The Swiss transportation system can’t be superb but still require its users to have patience and “put up with stuff”.

  35.  

    RichLL

    Again, it’s more a cultural thing. We might as well discuss why the Europeans have free universal healthcare and we do not.

  36.  

    RichLL

    I agree, Dexter. I also have nothing against cycling, although I do have an issue with the aggressive riding habits of some urban cyclists, and the rather presumptive attitude of some bike advocates about their importance versus other road users.

  37.  

    denvoran

    If the Swiss system is superb, then what can they possibly have to be “patient and willing to put up with”? Talk about wanting it both ways…

  38.  

    Dexter Wong

    Actually I do not bike but I have nothing against it, unlike you. I suppose you hate hiking, too? If my personal life is fair game, then yours is too.

  39.  

    RichLL

    I never denied that the Swiss transportation system is good. In fact it’s superb. What I am denying is that the American people have an appetite for that level of regimentation and collectivism.

  40.  

    RichLL

    Depends. I as an individual am not entitled to what I want. But if the voters decide that they want something then they are generally entitled to it.

    The good people of Livermore have been paying the BART tax since forever and therefore I will trust them to decide where they want a BART station, and certainly over people who are ideologically biased about it and don’t even live there

  41.  

    RichRoLLed

    It doesn’t matter that you don’t agree, it just matters that you respond.

    And if you think I’m not entitled, you’ve got another thing coming.

  42.  

    RichRoLLed

    That path on the SF-O Bay Bridge is also an obvious suicide magnet magnet.

  43.  

    RichRoLLed

    Do you even read my replies? The answer is clear.

  44.  

    RichRoLLed

    Unless Rose Pak tells me she wants car-free streets, the answer is “No!”

  45.  

    RichRoLLed

    Keep my personal life out of this.

    Your personal life is fair game though. You must be one of those radical walksie-bikesie people that is on the losing side of history.

  46.  

    denvoran

    The Bay Area overwhelmingly does not agree with what the “American electorate” thinks of “experts ” and “elites”. Again, the SPUR talk was about applying Swiss best practices to California, not to Trumpland.

    You’re not entitled to what you want. Just because you want something doesn’t mean that there are resources to deliver it and sustain it. Especially if that thing is an inherent contradiction in the face of reality – such as unlimited free parking – or lifelong manufacturing jobs that guarantee the “American Dream” – or a retreat from globalism, while enjoying the steady stream of cheap consumer goods that it enables – etc.

  47.  

    RichLL

    I think the American electorate told you what they think of “experts” and “elites” earlier this month.

    I don’t need an “expert” to tell me what I want. I need those experts to listen to what I tell them that I want, and then go build it.

  48.  

    Flatlander

    That’s silly. Public outreach is much better suited to vision/goals, broad strategic thinking rather than specifics. The “people” could think that trains should all have square wheels. Thankfully, we have experts who know better.

  49.  

    denvoran

    If you’ve lived in Switzerland, then you should know that it’s the *American* transit rider that puts up with “stuff” (inconvenient/limited service, unmaintained/outdated stations/vehicles, uncoordinated schedules/ticketing) – not the other way around.

    It’s “the people” that often want it both ways. They want a freeway BART station (read: auto-first access) but are unwilling to pay the full cost of parking at such stations and/or want people who walk/bike/take a bus to subsidize their parking spot.

    They want to be able to easily drive and park on Polk for themselves, but don’t care if anyone else is able to. Allotting space for peds/bikes/transit provides greater access overall. This is not political or expert elitism – it’s fact. The Laws of Physics, supply and demand, Economics 101.

    There simply aren’t enough parking spaces – or for that matter – resources in the world to satisfy unconstrained “American individualism”. Just because “the people” want unlimited parking and mobility doesn’t mean they are entitled to it. The Swiss experience shows that high-quality, real transit alternatives to unsustainable auto dependence can provide better mobility options for greater numbers of people. Their transit mode share speaks for itself.

  50.  

    xplosneer

    I acknowledge there is a “sort-of” parallel trail for this segment. Even so, bike share is low at least in part because many people view it as dangerous (I acknowledge many people live unreasonably far from work. However, this is along a bart corridor).

    Also, the community we are talking about is larger than just those who live there. Stakeholders are not just residents. What about those that take BART in? I bet if those people and those who work within biking distance of BART were consulted with equal numbers there would be higher demand.

    Even then, sometimes people don’t know what is actually possible until the route exists. Not saying local control is bad but this is hyper-local given the region. I’m definitely no populist.