Today’s Headlines

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  • Anonymous

    The East Bay Bicycle Coalition is leading a ride to the new Bay Bridge bike path starting today at the West Oakland BART station at 6pm: https://www.facebook.com/events/1407704696120885/

    Here’s a sneak peek video of the path leading up to the bridge: http://www.mercurynews.com/breaking-news/ci_23996247/video-riding-along-bay-bridge-bike-path

    We already have over a thousand people signed up so it will be a huge and slow (but fun) group. If you want to check out the path earlier, however, it will be officially open starting at noon.

  • Andy Chow

    If that woman still has any assets left I think Caltrain riders should get compensated (like a free ride day or something like that) for getting their commute messed up.

  • Anonymous

    I assume you also support attatching to the assets of anyone who causes a traffic accident on US-101, for the lost time of anyone stuck in traffic behind that person?

  • Anonymous

    The Stanford article is very telling. They saved $100 Million, in large part by leveraging Caltrain. Anyone who says Caltrain doesn’t turn a profit needs to read that number – this is just one organization. And I don’t want to hear “then Stanford needs to kick in to Caltrain” – the Stanford family pays boatloads of taxes, from direct taxes paid by Stanford itself to the income taxes of the lowliest janitor who has a job because Stanford needs clean bathrooms.

    This applies, to BART, MUNI, SamTrans, VTA, etc…

  • Anonymous

    Andy, I share your frustration with the suicides on Caltrain utterly disrupting the commute (I was actually on the train that hit Cashion last week), but that isn’t the right solution. I find it extremely annoying that these people need to kill themselves in such a brutally public and disruptive way, but you gotta step back and look at the big picture here and realize the last thing family and friends of the victim need to deal with is having to deal with the financial mess that would be taking all her assets. I agree that suicides on Caltrain are a huge problem and there needs to be a solution (grade separation?), but your suggestion is not the right approach.

  • Andy Chow

    Most car crashes aren’t planned or intentional, unlike somebody committing suicide. But if it is something along the line of gross negligence like DUI, then it is something that I would support.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t think you have a very good grasp of mental illness.

  • Andy Chow

    Well the article certainly didn’t portray any mental illness that the victim may or may not have, but rather written as an article of someone who died in an accident not at his or her fault. Improper media coverage encourages copycats as shown in a series of suicides by Gunn High School students at the same location a few years ago.

    http://www.sprc.org/sites/sprc.org/files/library/sreporting.pdf

  • Anonymous

    Suicide by walking in front of a moving train is a pretty good indicator (100%) of mental illness.

  • Andy Chow

    Someone else who might be suicidal may be encouraged to use Caltrain as a method because his or her life will be “celebrated” in the newspaper.

  • Andy Chow

    Someone else who might be suicidal may be encouraged to use Caltrain as a method because his or her life will be “celebrated” in the newspaper.

  • Andy Chow

    Someone else who might be suicidal may be encouraged to use Caltrain as a method because his or her life will be “celebrated” in the newspaper.

  • Andy Chow

    Someone else who might be suicidal may be encouraged to use Caltrain as a method because his or her life will be “celebrated” in the newspaper.

  • Andy Chow

    Someone else who might be suicidal may be encouraged to use Caltrain as a method because his or her life will be “celebrated” in the newspaper.

  • Anonymous

    Anyone who comes to that conclusion is mentally ill.

  • Andy Chow

    Grade separation is ideal and worthy to strive for. I think Caltrain now needs another strategy: something that allows quicker service recovery/delay reduction in the event of something like this happen. You could fence in areas without grade crossings to prevent trespassing, but almost impossible at grade crossings.

    Right now I think what could be effective is to put additional crossovers at key locations to provide more turnback points and reduce the length of single tracking.needed (reduce delays). Say it there’s a cross over between Palo Alto and Cal Ave, any blockage at Charleston would allow double track usage at Palo Alto, a very high ridership stop.

  • Andy Chow

    That’s why responsible journalist should not just “celebrate” such deaths but also remind that there are resources to get help.

  • Anonymous

    I agree that, since suicides are unfortunately a regular part of Caltrain’s operations (not to mention other incidents like mechanical breakdowns and cars getting stuck on the track), they do need a quicker, more effective way to get the system back up and running. I think additional crossovers is a good idea.

    I also think it would be nice to have the bus bridge system improved, and more importantly, better information given to passengers. In 6 years of riding Caltrain nearly every day, I always hear about the bus bridges but never once has my train ever had access to one; we just end up waiting the 1-2 hours until we can move through.

    Seems like they could have two designated spots, each 1/3 of the way from the ends of the corridor, where 1-2 buses are kept. When there is an incident, these buses can quickly be pulled into action to move passengers across the incident. All trains on either side of the incident should then immediately start going back and forth. There will still be delays, but hopefully they could be more on the order of 30-45 minutes rather than the current which is twice that.

  • mikesonn

    Really, this all comes down to “20+ years ago” Bay Area failing to properly invest in transit. We should have grade separation and electrification by now. Also Andy, Caltrain has spent the last 4 years replacing all the fencing along their ROW.

  • Jeffrey Baker

    I do. Also anyone driving a car that stalls or runs out of gas on the Bay Bridge should have their car and all their personal belongings and their pants seized on the spot, and then should be kicked in the groin for every AC Transit bus that was stuck behind them.

  • Andy Chow

    What I know is that in most cases deaths on the track generally cause an hour long delay. Single tracking would start in about 30 min to 1 hour depending on the circumstance. Bus bridge hasn’t been much useful because it can take just as long to set up.

    Extra board drivers generally wait at the bus yard for their assignment. If they can just pick up a bus in the yard, then you need to give them instructions, etc. If you put buses at some other location, you need to wait for the driver to get there. Bus bridge would be more helpful if such delay is expected to last 3-4 hours, which most Caltrain delays don’t last that long (BART can have 3-4 hour delay if someone is trapped under the train and have to shutdown third rail).

    Having more crossovers would be helpful in setting up a more efficient bus bridge if it is necessary, or provide better opportunity to transfer to regular bus routes.

  • Andy Chow

    The Caltrain ROW is still not entirely fenced. It has gotten a lot better but you will find fence on one side in some location and none on the other side.

  • Andy Chow

    By the way, for a few years now Caltrain has banned any trackside memorials (flowers, candles, teddy bears) to discourage copycats.

  • mikesonn

    Please, tell me where this is.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t think fencing matters anyway, since most people determined to commit suicide can easily climb over it. Plus, they can always get around the fence at a road crossing.

  • Andy Chow

    Fencing nonetheless is still very effective in preventing non-suicides. Several years ago, a kid got killed after getting off a bus (which stop right next to the track without sidewalk) and the kid tried to cross the track at an illegal crossing. Because of his death, the bus stop was removed and the crosswalk leading to the bus stop also removed. A fence was eventually placed.

    Fencing also limits the number of potential areas where a suicidal person can hide and wait. If you go to the JPB meeting, you can read the security report where almost every month the sheriff was able to intervene and detain a suicidal person before the train get to that person. It would be harder to trespass from the station or grade crossing without someone watching and reporting.

    Fencing is a tool to discourage trespassing and narrow down the possible locations. Additional crossovers are to speed up service recovery in the event something like that happens.