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    There were definitely statements about “thugs” made by people opposing the downtown extension, specifically by former BART board member now full time busybody Robert Allen, who went door to door collecting signatures against the project. I’m also not surprised to hear that some well connected person had a financial interest in an Isabel/I-580 location as well.


    Charles Siegel

    From 24 to 30 trains per hour looks like 25% to me. 24 * .25 = 6


    david vartanoff

    If BART wants my vote, several commitments must be made. 1. Honor local transit passes from AC and other agencies on the same basis as Muni. 21. commit to 24/7 service within 5 years. 3. agree not to build further extensions into low density suburbs.

    As to the promised improvements, CTA was able to schedule trains in their State St subway every 105 seconds (basically 30 TPH) with mechanical relay based block signals in the 1950s.



    100%. This whole canard about “this subway will allow black people to come here and steal our precious bodily fluids” would be goofy 3 decades ago, let alone today. “thugs” have cars anyway.



    I don’t know if your thug theory is correct but I did hear that as a reason why Marin didn’t want to come in on the original BART.

    But if BART ran focus groups in the Livermore area asking local residents whether they’d prefer a car-friendly station or a downtown station, then it would not surprise me if a majority favored the former.

    The reality is that there is little in the way of public transit that far out, and there are limits on parking downtown. People are very spread out there, so the number of people who could walk to a downtown station might not be high.

    So you may be correct that it “goes against every regional policy on sustainable growth and transit oriented development”. But in order to get local support and funding for this extension, you really can’t afford to ignore your customers either.



    I hadn’t heard that explanation before, but it’s totally plausible.



    Let’s not forget how well the moving block (CBTC) system works for Muni…



    Why will the project succeed this time?

    Only time will tell if it succeeds, but it’s far more likely now that James “Broken Promises” Fang is no longer on the BART board.



    Don’t look too closely, as nothing actually makes sense, except the hope, “give us money”



    The new cars are already paid for. And 3.5 Billion should buy miles more than a new computer system. That might be 3.5 million? They dream of 1000x that amount. Big Balls for such a screwed up agency. Guess they can ask, but. Just Say No.



    That was because the guy who owns a bunch of land near the proposed station in the 580 median lobbied to get it put near his land so he can develop it as cookie cutter burbs.



    Thief, not robber. Theft, not robbery.



    Also, below the first graphic, there’s a mention of “Enhanced Traction Power”. Does that just mean throwing in an additional substation (one that hopefully doesn’t have those mysterious spikes)? Or does it actually require the better acceleration/braking of the new fleet?



    Yeah, that was because NIMBYs in Livermore didn’t want “thugs” from Oakland having access to their downtown. So instead we get a freeway median station that goes against every regional policy on sustainable growth and transit oriented development.

    I really hope this project never gets funded. It’s not worth spending billions just to save Livermore residents 6 minutes of drive time when going to BART. If you need to, build more parking garages at Dublin/Pleasanton BART instead. It’s still bad, auto-centric policy, but it saves several billion dollars that could be used on better projects.


    Jeffrey Baker

    BART initiated this project in 1993 and has squandered tens of millions on it already, with no successful results. Some of the jokers who mismanaged the project the first time (like Keller, Blalock, and StreetsBlog BFF Radulovich) are still on the BART board. Why will the project succeed this time?



    Not to be nitpicky the the first graphic is showing 50% more capacity while text only mentions 25% increase in capacity.


    Rogue Cyclist

    Speaking of nauseating development (or the lack thereof) around BART, I had a chance to see plans for the Livermore extension over the weekend. Didn’t know that the line is going to end in the I-580 median instead of Downtown Livermore. Such a waste.


    SF Guest

    You need not worry about building more freeways unless you mean toll lanes.



    You don’t need to confront the robber, just call 911 from a safe distance down the street and tell them “robbery in progress”.



    OK – tell the government to build that train instead of more freeways and parking

    Crickets… crickets…



    “Bay Area traffic jams growing worse…”

    You don’t say. Sadly, nothing of worth is being done to change its course. The Central Subway is a waste of $2B. Caltrain electrification/extension to TTC is now decades away (and that’s just connecting riders to downtown and isn’t an expansion project). BART to SJ is another boondoggle as downtown SJ only gets 2 stations and the rest are just typical car-centric, commuter rail stations.

    And people wonder why traffic is bad. For a region of over 7 million people there is 1 bridge connecting SF with the East Bay and 1 tunnel carrying an already maxed out subway. Way to go!



    “entitled traffic causing motorists?” Give me a real public transit system that competes with my 15-minutes driving commute and I would gladly swap my car for a cushy seat on a train.


    Marven Norman

    There’s no need to even put Federal money into investing in housing around transit. Just take the Feds out of investing in the status quo and the market will naturally correct itself to offer most housing near transit.



    Depends on where you are in Europe. I’d be reluctant to stop a bike thief in Glasgow with three of his mates and a van standing by…



    A federal law banning certain abusive types of zoning would do the trick. Types of zoning which should be banned:

    (1) “Single family” restrictions and other “number of household” restrictions, which are an invasion of privacy anyway and are really unconstitutional; this is the #1 problem
    (2) General restrictions on commercial activity in residential areas, as opposed to restrictions on noise-generating or drunkenness-generating activities which are OK
    (3) General restrictions on residential activity in commercial areas
    (4) Floor Area Ratio (FAR) limits, which have no rational justification ever
    (5) Height limits which are not related to sunlight access for neighboring properties
    (6) Rear setbacks
    (7) Side setbacks which are not related to sunlight access for neighboring properties
    (8) Front setbacks which are not reserved for sidewalks / light rail / utility lines / drainage
    (9) Parking minimums



    It is, however, possible to get rid of free street parking.

    Delivery zones; short-term (15 minutes) parking; drop-off/pick-up zones; etc. Those are more valuable than free street parking.



    In New York City, for the most part, the students are simply told to get on the subway or the bus. There is no need to send thousands of cars around to move students to the school they are going to. Younger students do get yellow school buses.

    San Francisco can do the same thing.



    If they really believe the church argument, they should have hundreds of handicapped spaces next to each church.

    They don’t.



    Street parking can be useful if (a) it’s metered, and (b) the metered rates are high enough to keep it fluid, with spaces open most of the time. This allows for short-term parking, which is by far the most valuable for motorists (for pickups, drop-offs, short errand running, short shopping trips, or even meals).

    If, as a city government, you have people parking their cars in the same street parking spot all day or all night, you’re doing it wrong. That’s what private garages and driveways are for.



    Really, you want me to jump in and tackle a guy who has a working angle grinder.
    And then you could write the comment saying what a one-armed idiot I was for giving up a limb for someone else’s bike.
    And to suggest a witness is as bad as a perp … well that’s just nonsense.



    Supporting a BART bond measure doesnt take away from Muni at all, unless Muni is help funding the project, which it should since BART down Geary and 19th Ave. would alleviate large amounts of LRV and bus crowding. BART down Geary is feasible, because I’m assuming based on the well-established popularity of BART within the city, and frankly its higher popularity over Muni, that if BART puts up a hefty bond measure for the project (and we already know it has support from the Mayor and some supervisors who’ve advocated for it), SF will certainly meant the 66.7% criteria to go for it. People in SF know how stellar the BART-Mission line is, and how a subway is needed under Geary (or possibly over). Unlike merging transit agencies that require support nobody’s yet advocated for, nor does the average person even understand, a Geary subway is a lot more politically feasible. There are conditions, however. BART needs to construct smaller stations, without large Fed funding the project will likely take a little under a decade, and Muni expansions would be neglected, but what Muni expansions should get priority?

    -M-Ocean View subway isn’t really a project yet, more like an idea, but if BART did the routing it specified 2014 preliminary study, BART already covers literally that corridor. And honestly it wouldn’t alleviate much anyways, going to Daly City, unless it went through Daly City, which isn’t happening.

    -If they wanted to extend the Central Subway to Fisherman’s Wharf then it should’ve been part of the initial plan. And the reason it wasn’t, was because it was a political favor to Chinatown, very little to do with sensible urban planning. And that’s going to be funny anyways. Can’t wait for all the Chinatown residents to take it a few stations and then transfer to the 8-Bayshore bus, which the majority of them use anyways.

    “There’s a lot of push backs on high speed rail on the Peninsula and Central Valley,”
    That’s entirely different though. HSR is an unknown system thats not remotely as popular as the widely considered successful BART. Those are farmers who would be against any rail project, and on the Peninsula, they hate it because they think it neglects Caltrain and duplicates an already established line. Suburban communities have the LOWEST opinion of BART (66.0% ish), according to bond percentages, yet they’re always the ones asking for the system.

    I’m very doubtful any amount of Geary Blvd. lobbying and anti-BART campaigning or comment-time whining to the BoS is going to stop the majority of SF for asking for one of the biggest subway expansions since 1972, on a corridor everybody knows needs it. Especially, if it’s BART. Tell people on the Peninsula BART will be coming to duplicate Caltrain and everybody would ignorantly vote for it, just as they voted for BART to San Jose, even though it doesn’t go to the Peninsula.

    “Merging Caltrain and BART can be done easily by an act from the state legislature.” Thats the only way its possible. It’ll never make it as a county measure, and Caltrain (run by the vocal JPB) would not endorse it. If not flat out slandering it.

    “And you still haven’t explain why a standard gauge rail system with 25kv overhead electrification can’t run trains as frequent as a 3rd rail broad gauge system”

    Did I say it couldn’t? I said Caltrain’s plans don’t indicate that level of frequency. I’m not at all arguing technology. I don’t mind Caltrain in the 2nd tube, though I’m doubtful it’ll happen, but to say its more necessary than BART in the 2nd tube? No way. BART is far more efficient, and once we replace the ATC this coming Nov., we’re talking 30 secs-2min rush hour train blocking, even with the old rolling stock, and now we’re getting new stock, right now. Meanwhile, thanks to Caltrain’s terribad funding thats unlikely to be changed, they’ve been theorizing and not materializing electrification, DTX, and a electrified rolling stock for 2.5 decades. In that same time, BART’s been busy with SFO ext. and Dublin ext, and now Warm Springs.

    I’m not making a rolling stock tech argument, I’m making a routing, funding feasibility and density argument. BART’s expansions should be within the core of the Bay Area, that requires a 2nd tube. Caltrain, is a system that if prioritized over BART (which would never happen: East Bay doesnt care about Caltrain, Caltrain can’t fund a transbay tube/BART can) wouldn’t make sense. We shouldn’t spend billions helping East Bay-Peninsula commuters. We should instead be getting more people out of their cars and on public transit between SF and Oakland, where the vast majority of the Bay Area lives, by making the system more subway like. Yeah, build the suburban routes with overhead, but dont do that with the metro lines, its fine as is, and will only make the current core system incompatible

    “The benefit for the joint bus and rail operation is that the tunnels can be used to the maximum extant immediately”

    Thats fine, but that would’ve been a nightmare if buses, streetcars Muni Metro and BART, even with compatible tech, did all that under Market st. And its kinda a moot point anyways, this cant be done with heavy-rail, no matter the gauge.

    Point is: I agree BART needs to adopt the Caltrain route. But I don’t agree with your dismissal of the BART Geary route. You seem to chalk it up to political bickering on the boulevard, but it’s not like Geary votes alone, and frankly, outside of a few business owners, the Richmond and Sunset (let alone the rest of the city) would ADORE the project. Gas stations are plentiful along the corridor, making ample placements for stations, density is there, and with BART we can maybe get more condo housing on the corridor. There’s going to be complaints, sure, but BART is not HSR, Caltrain or even Muni. It’s far more popular. Seldom do you hear local communities shooting down BART extensions. If anything, they’re begging for stations and parking lots.


    Andy Chow

    Why do you think your plan is politically feasible and mine isn’t? The tube itself regardless of technology will be expensive and complex enough that it could suck out all the regional transit funding for at least 20 years. You think that there will still be leftovers, and you think that someone else in San Francisco and East Bay wouldn’t want the leftovers for their projects? SF voters may be transit supportive, but any realistic funding program will need to take consideration of maintaining Muni and take care of other subway proposals like extending the T to North Beach and M under 19th, among others.

    Sure the state legislature could somehow impose a subway down Geary and 19th along with a 2nd tube, but then would people living in Geary and Sunset want that kind of interest. There’s a lot of push backs on high speed rail on the Peninsula and Central Valley, even though these communities were not asked to contribute local funding for HSR.

    Merging Caltrain and BART can be done easily by an act from the state legislature. The state has taken bold steps to consolidate the ferry agencies in the Bay Area (SF Bay Ferry/WETA) and eliminated redevelopment agencies and taking their funding away. And they don’t really have to merge, they just need an arrangement to share brand and keep funding and management separate. There are cities such as Phoenix where there’s only one transit brand but are separately managed and contracted by participating cities.

    Whatever service plan Caltrain has should be taken with a grain of salt. A 2nd standard gauge tube isn’t going to have trains every 30 minutes because some Caltrain plan proposes 30 minute frequency down the peninsula after electrification. It will run as frequently as demand requires and the infrastructure allows, and operating funds to support the service level can be arranged in many different ways (and it is an issue even if it is broad gauge, since BART train operators require a salary no different than Caltrain engineers).

    And you still haven’t explain why a standard gauge rail system with 25kv overhead electrification can’t run trains as frequent as a 3rd rail broad gauge system. Some label like commuter rail, or current service level, aren’t factors.

    The benefit for the joint bus and rail operation is that the tunnels can be used to the maximum extant immediately. Seattle has big plans for rail, but then like I have shown it is a multi-decade effort. If the tunnel is rail only, it would be running with reduced service levels until most of the rail lines are done, which is expected to take 20 years or so.



    If we’re talking about politically unfeasible things, merging BART with Caltrain (i.e. eliminating JPB) is dead on arrival. JPB isn’t giving up its own position. Thats a lot less likely than BART down Geary, which is put on a county-ballot, I’m very doubtful would fail. Even with Geary business owners making a fuss, SF would surely vote for that new routing. SF, by far, votes the most in favor of BART (as the recent bond polling for 2016 shows). And understandably so, because the area with the fastest, most efficient transit in San Francisco, is the Mission and Outer Mission segments of the BART line.

    And funding bases are very real issues, its the reason DTX wasn’t done in 2000. Caltrain’s lack of funding, and inability to have a tax structure, means the system is on rails just to barely maintain itself, let alone capital projects. Had Caltrain had BART’s county-tax base, DTX likely would’ve already been finished.

    ” co-currently with the 2nd tube”
    Absolutely, it can be done. It would be a multi-phase project. It would require multiple bond passings likely, but its again, unlikely SF or Alameda county would vote against it. And, it MUST be done. 2nd tube without BART metro routing would just be a billion-dollar convenience for Transbay Tube 1, which isn’t even at capacity yet. BART’s technology is ideal for close-range commuting.

    ” I also expect difficulty with building a rail yard in SF which would likely be required to support this.”

    Why would a rail yard be needed for a Geary route? No preliminary BART planning as indicated a necessary rail yard. And the Colma yard works fine, considering the 19th ave routing leads straight to it. The Geary Outer Richmond terminus could easily be a dead-end, turnback. No need for a rail yard. And if mechanical issues arise, again, Colma is well within range.

    ” A Caltrain first 2nd tube would result in a more complete system much sooner.”
    Firstly, I’m unsure if the East Bay has any interest in Caltrain. Secondly, Caltrain’s electrification isn’t even going to be much more frequent. Caltrain plans on running 30 min intervals WITH electrification. (I.e., BART Sunday service on the Bay Point line.) Caltrain is not a good model for metro-systems, but rather commuter rail. Thirdly, its seemingly unnecessary. If DTX and Embarcadero integrate, Peninsula commuters from the East Bay would just transfer there. Why toss another train underwater, build another expensive bore, for a small amount of commuters?

    “The downtown tunnel is also shared with buses”
    Right, and easily clogged. But seemingly not as clogged considering the infrequency of the light rails. SoundTransit’s model is not ideal.

    Running separate rolling stock on a single line, I don’t have an issue with. But that requires integration, and in the provincial strong Bay Area, that’s unlikely to happen. The Market Street subway is actually a stellar subway concept, having segregated trains on different levels, easily accessible. Its only issue is the lack of penalty free-transfers. Which could be accomplished with transit fare integration and a stairway exclusively between Muni metro and BART.

    “What I want to see is BART being more than a hardware system of broad gauge trains, “

    I want to see that too, outside of the core. Having 3rd rail, Indian gauge trains is wasteful and expensive on suburban routes. It should’ve been catenary. 3rd rail requires frequent substations, which only work well in the urban core. Rail gauge was an engineering mistake, thinking trains might tip over turning overhead segments. Needed better center of gravity. Its an issue with future rolling stock, but gauge-wise, within the urban core, I don’t see it as an major issue. I don’t expect freight trains running down from Ashby to MacArthur.

    But I also want to see current BART technology, which area-ridership indicates is most used between Berkeley-SF-Oakland, expanded within those areas. It is the fastest, most efficient form of transit in the whole region as of current. And is being under-utilized by going to places like San Jose, rather than Geary, Lakeshore, or Emeryville.



    Right. I’m going to put myself in harm’s way to defend your property.

    If we were in Europe, where this type of crime is rarely violent, I’d happy jump in.

    In San Francisco, I never will if it means that I may be in danger.



    Because the consequences for interfering can be more severe for an onlooker than for the victim of the theft or even the perpetrator.

    I’ve put myself in harm’s way when someone’s physical safety was threatened, but it’s never the smart thing to do.



    Caltrains has always been the ugly stepchild when it comes to improvement funding.



    Why blame the State Penal Code and not the indifferent onlookers? They are just as bad as the thief, who depends on public indifference to do his job without intrusion……



    School choice is a good thing, and so is desegregation of student school bodies. Transportation impacts are a secondary concern to both other goals, if it requires a fleet of school buses, so be it.


    Andy Chow

    Funding base and frequency are non-issues. Basically, the two agencies can merge and whatever funding mechanism that is used to fund BART can be used to fund running FRA compliant trains (which would have a BART brand). It is not as if somehow running FRA compliant trains are somehow significantly more expensive to run than proprietary broad-gauge trains, Nor would there be physical constraints that prevents a standard gauge corridor with grade separation from running trains as frequent as broad-gauge trains.

    The problem with the idea of BART under Geary and onto 19th is that there’s no way that under the current political and funding environment that it can be done before or co-currently with the 2nd tube. I also expect difficulty with building a rail yard in SF which would likely be required to support this. A Caltrain first 2nd tube would result in a more complete system much sooner.

    I certainly challenge the notion that “metro” service can only be accomplished with certain train designs. In Hong Kong, the East Rail line is now managed by the same agency that runs the subway (and is considered as a part of the subway network). Trains on the line use mainline railroad electrification (25kv AC, same as to be used by Caltrain) and actually share tracks with locomotive hauled intercity trains. Trains run as frequent as every 4 minutes.

    In Seattle, the new line between downtown and University of Washington is all subway, but uses light rail vehicles that can run on street median. The downtown tunnel is also shared with buses.

    Denver recently opened a new rail line between downtown and airport. Trains run every 15 minutes direct to terminal, so service level is comparable to BART at SFO. But the trains are FRA compliant, have grade crossings, and use mainline electrification (25kv AC).

    What I want to see is BART being more than a hardware system of broad gauge trains, but about a more diverse hardware systems that offers common experience (software). That’s where integrated fares and schedules, cross platform transfer, and ticketing technology comes in. (for example, BART’s stripe fare card system is incompatible with proof of payment, but that technology is old and should be replaced by smart card or smart phone technology that are compatible with proof of payment.)



    The problem is that is an argument to make no change at all. If the city makes a change and then somebody dies there, then there is a liability. But as long as the city changes nothing, then nobody can blame the city for what it did.

    So if being paranoid about lawsuits is the criterion (and how sickly American is that) then the fear-mongering around this will simply confer paralysis on the city. And it is already hard and expensive enough to make changes.

    As DrunkEngineer also notes, pre-1990 infrastructure has a grandfathered exemption from ADA. But if you make changes to it then the entire weight of ADA comes down on you.

    And who was a major funder and lobbyist for ADA? Trial lawyers, of course. So paradoxically ADA may be slowing down street redesign.



    It’s not just about deliveries, however. In a street like Market Street or the other examples given, it might be, as few people live there and there are not any or many driveways and garages.

    But in an area like Taraval, the commercial strips are low-rise, with many residential structures as well. It is hard to pedestrianize a street where the residents need vehicular access to their buildings. Even on the block of Duboce by Church, cars were only banned in one direction because there was a driveway on the other side.

    And then there is a need for cabs, shuttles, emergency vehicles, FedEx deliveries, disabled vehicles and so on. The reality is that it is not possible to pedestrianise many streets at all, no matter how desirable you may think it is.



    I doubt if anyone can put a number on that. But it misses the point. Every change potentially makes the road safer for one class of people but more dangerous for another class.

    Disabled people typically need to park close to their destination, which is why we have disabled parking zones and parking stickers to allow that.

    Cherry-picking one disabled class against another is probably neither an effective nor honorable way to determine what is best here.



    Excuse me, but the entire thrust of Roger’s piece is about how free “storage” (he means parking) is something that should be removed.

    I gave Roger credit for backpeddling on that over-broad goal towards the end of his piece, but pretending that wasn’t the theme here is disingenuous. It’s in the title!



    Caltrain has neither the frequency nor funding base (its mostly grant funded and farebox) to pull of BART-style service, even with electrification. And BART technology is ideal for this situation, which is close, metro-style service.

    Via the 2nd tube, new BART metro lines onto Geary and onto Lakeshore are ideal, and can be funded with large bond measures. BART’s suburban expansions that are miles long are quite expensive already.

    2nd tube can use Caltrain if need be, but first and foremost, the heaviest ridden system with the most frequent service and already well-established routes throughout the East Bay, should be first and foremost. And that’s BART.

    And honestly the rail gauge is not that big of a deal, nobody should be running foreign rolling-stock on BART routes that are already increasingly congested. The only issue with the gauge is that the train cars can be harder to order, but thats it.



    I realize that our so-called justice system frowns on such things, but it would be wonderful if a bike thief were caught, pounded into a bloody pulp and tossed into the nearest trash bin. In my fields of interest, non-ferrous metal thieves are held in a similar level of contempt. Sometimes they try to steal wires that are still energized, and the bastards find out that Ohm’s law is more rigidly enforced than the state Penal Code.


    Jamison Wieser

    Just like all those new parking spaces along Mission where the SFMTA eliminated Muni stops.



    As the @DrunkEngineer:disqus alluded to, there is a real danger that the city could be on the hook for substantial payouts to disabled people and others who get injured or killed by designs that don’t incorporate standard safety features like boarding islands. In a court case in November 2015, the family of a cyclist who was killed in Indian Wells, CA was awarded a $5.8 million judgement against the city for negligence after making a road more dangerous for people on bicycles during a redesign.

    If the city goes forward with substandard design simply to save on street parking, we as taxpayers, may well be opening ourselves up to significant liability (since ultimately it’s us who pay the legal bills), particularly given the fact that motorist insurance is woefully inadequate in covering medical injury costs for people who get hit by drivers.


    Greg Costikyan

    I know bike theft is a big problem in SF, but in 2 1/2 years there I never lost a bike. I’ve had 5 stolen in NYC, however. (Of course, my SF employer did provide indoor bike storage, which is useful for peace of mind).



    This argument is just another version of the argument about residents who were displaced coming back to go to church. I give a lot more credence to the church argument.

    The church argument was always prefaced that pretty much everyone driving back was far too infirm to take transit.



    do not feed the troll