Today’s Headlines

  • GG Bridge Toll Hikes Approved; Supes Campos and Breed Only Members Opposed (SFGate)
  • How Many Shuttle Routes Overlap Muni’s? (Exam); Google Donation Won’t Stop SFMTA Lawsuit (Exam)
  • Paltry Drivers Insurance Minimums Leave Everyone Else to Foot the Bill for Ped Injuries (Planetizen)
  • Student Crossing Guard Program Kicks Off at Commodore Sloat Elem. at Ocean and J. Serra (Examiner)
  • SFCTA’s 19th Ave. M-Line Study Identifies “Highest-Performing” Option of Subway, Bridge (SF Examiner)
  • 29-Sunset Student: “It’s Hard to Be in a Bad Mood When the Driver is Singing” (SFGate)
  • More on the Board of Appeals Vote to Reverse Its 1050 Valencia Decision (Mission Local)
  • BART Delayed After Rain Seeps Into Train Control System Computers (ABC)
  • Caltrain Electrification Environmental Impact Report Released (Mercury, ExaminerPAO); Meetings: GC
  • German, French HSR Stations Provide Lessons for Upcoming SF, San Jose Stations (Green Caltrain)
  • Silicon Valley Leadership Group Board Members: Bike-Friendly San Jose Makes Sense (Mercury News)
  • How a Smart Growth Hater Unwittingly Argued for Smart Growth (Greater Marin)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

  • Sanfordia113

    50% of bridge tolls should go towards undergrounding automobile traffic in SF along 19th Avenue, where all these Marin & Sonoma County drivers speed through en route to SFO and the peninsula. Same thing with Lombard & Van Ness. Also should impose tolls on northbound traffic from the peninsula into SF.

  • david vartanoff

    we have shuttles because the Muni route(s) which they mimic are unreliable. The same reality exists in AC Transit served areas–Sutter, Kaiser, Highland Hospital, and Cal all operate shuttles on routes where AC also exists but is slow, often bunched, etc.
    Longer distance buses have served UCSF from Marin, and at one time the University of California had campus to campus buses as well.

  • jonobate

    No need for an SF big dig, traffic calming on 19th is a much cheaper alternative than undergrounding the road. Take the two center lanes and allocate them to the 28/28L for BRT service. If Geary and Van Ness can function with four general traffic lanes, so can 19th.

  • Sanfordia113

    If you think Van Ness/Franklin/Polk/Gough “functions,” then I guess you have not spent much time in a major Northern European city where efficient automobile, pedestrian safety, bicycle utopia, carless surface streets, and efficient public transit are reality.

  • murphstahoe

    Public transit isn’t going to get any more efficient by diverting the bridge toll money currently used for GGT and Ferries – which are *very* efficient thank you very much.

  • jonobate

    Don’t be so condescending. I spent the first 25 years of my life living in various European cities and am quite familiar how they operate.

    You’re rather missing the point. When I say that Geary and Van Ness can function with four general traffic lanes, I’m saying that they will continue to move private motor vehicles sufficiently with four general traffic lanes after the Geary and Van Ness BRT projects are implemented, which will reduce both streets from six to four general traffic lanes for most of their length. I am not saying that the status quo currently functions for all street users; quite the opposite. What I am saying is that the world will not end if we reduce the streets’ capacity to move private vehicles rather than expanding it.

    “Carless surface streets” is not something you often see in major European cities. The difference between these cities and San Francisco is that they are not afraid to repurpose street space from general traffic/parking lanes to bicycle, transit, and pedestrian infrastructure. In the short term these changes may increase congestion, but before too long congestion drops back to previous levels as a certain percentage of people realize that it’s easier to take transit or cycle to their destination than to drive, especially as improved facilities are there for them to do so.

    Congestion pricing is another useful tool in reducing VMT, but it’s not an essential one. Many cities manage fine without it, providing they have extensive transit networks in place and do not engage in projects such as highway widening that induce traffic. Your underground 19th Ave would be precisely such a project and would induce additional traffic onto 19th Ave and the connecting streets.

    Go ahead and name me one European city that solved their congestion problems by undergrounding a major highway.

  • And because you can have something targeted and more ‘express’ like. And because there are natural routes through the city.
    And because you’ll ride with only co-workers so crowding/safety shouldn’t be concerns.

  • Sanfordia113

    I don’t think we should be subsidizing transit to or from rural or wooded areas. On the contrary, we should be taxing transit of all modalities and subsidizing through tax rebates the stewardship of undeveloped land outside of SF/Oakland/San Jose.

  • murphstahoe

    San Rafael has 57,000 residents. Santa Rosa has 200,000 residents.

  • murphstahoe

    crowding/safety/corporate security. If I were a tech securities analyst I would just ride back and forth on the caltrain all day…

  • SFnative74

    Wow, you could call them the Twin Cities of Marin! What’s the population density of Marin?

  • Uh, Santa Rosa is in Sonoma.

  • Sanfordia113

    Santa Rosa probably had a population of 15,000 just 2 decades ago. Cheap long-distance commuter transportation is not the answer to urban sprawl. California HSR is one of the worst things California could do for its environmental sustainability (behind Gerry Brown’s water wasting diversion infrastructure plans).

  • murphstahoe
  • murphstahoe

    Those are the two largest cities on the GGT line – known to Sanfordia as “rural or wooded areas”

  • Sprague

    Santa Rosa has long been an important North Bay city (its 1991 population was 113,000,,_California). The solution to city streets inundated with cars is not grade separated city streets (which will lead to automobile mode share growth and, when tried in the past, resulted in San Francisco’s freeway revolt). More viable alternatives to driving are needed, ideally connecting San Mateo and Marin counties with limited stops in SF. Golden Gate Transit does a good job but regional rail (ie. connecting the Peninsula and the North Bay) would be a much better use of bridge tolls than urban highway projects.

  • Sanfordia113

    Freeway revolts were a result of parkland and people’s homes being sacrificed to create concrete wasteland. Tunneling roadways is the opposite of that. Reclaiming Golden Gate Park and 19th Avenue for parkland and housing would provide enormous benefits to residents, not to mention more efficient movement of people and goods through and around the city.

  • Ouch.
    I was thinking security in the “I doubt there’s many cases of apple-picking on the Genentech bus.” sort of way.
    But yeah, I suppose company buses also add some security in that people aren’t talking about their products in development in a vehicle full of competitors.

  • Sanfordia113

    Sorry, I was thinking Petaluma. Regardless, there is no reason to add housing or services to these otherwise encapsulated retirement enclaves where the residents don’t want or need additional services, if not for ABAG imposing mega-building requirements on them for low-income undocumented retards for the past few decades and continuing to this day.

  • jd_x

    Here’s the thing about your proposal: for the amount of money it would cost to underground 101, we could make *phenomenal* improvements to public transit that would mitigate people’s need to even drive. Further, this is anachronistic, car-centric thinking as we are still throwing money at cars instead of the alternatives. The Big Dig in Boston cost something like $20 billion … imagine what the city could do to public transit with that kind of money? As for 19th St, Van Ness, Lombard, etc. being traffic sewers and dangerous, you can immediately start by lowering speed limits, having SFPD actually do some damn enforcement, and just in general stop throwing money at it. When traffic is slow and miserable and public transit is awesome, people will choose public transit over driving. This is a much better solution than throwing billions at an anachronistic transportation system that is the car.

  • Sanfordia113

    yeah, and the streetscape of Geary and Van Ness are both going to be seriously degraded for pedestrians as a result of the de-greening of these boulevards. Undergrounding all northbound under Franklin and all southbound under Van Ness (e.g.), then cutting these streets down to a simple 2-lane bidirectional road with 15mph speed limits with substantial bans on private automobiles would do much more than you propose. And it would create a city that is safe and enjoyable to live in, instead of the nightmare espoused by current BRT proponents.

  • voltairesmistress

    Interesting, if a bit long, piece above on Silicon Valley Business group wholeheartedly supporting an extensive bike network in burgeoning San Jose. Nice to see them tying growth there to reducing single occupancy car trips to 40% mode share. I had no idea San Jose was expected to add 500,000 people in the next 25 years. That is over 300,000 more than San Francisco is supposed to add in that same time. Does anyone know if Caltrain expansion is expected to be able to serve so many more bilateral commuters? Will Bart have to also be built down to San Jose? Asking, because I don’t know, but perhaps others here do?

  • aslevin

    Caltrain Electrification EIR is just out. They show ridership increase, but not enough to keep up w/demand. There are other things they could and should be doing like longer trains and redoing the deal with HSR that caps them a 6 trains per hour at rush hour.

  • murphstahoe

    The only “Cheap long-distance commuter transportation” that might screw up Petaluma is the US-101 widening between Petaluma and Novato. And if the Marinites are worried about ABAG imposing things on them, Petaluma will grow and they can have the traffic without the tax base.

    And if you are so against this, why incent that sort of sprawl by adding capacity and speed to 19th Ave?

  • murphstahoe

    The hyperloop is more likely than undergrounding Franklin and Van Ness.

  • murphstahoe

    Presumably a lot of those jobs will actually be in San Jose 🙂

  • jonobate

    Why should we pay for (and encourage) Marin drivers to pass through SF, either underground or on the surface? The tens of billions required for such a scheme would never be covered entirely by tolls, and would instead suck money from State and Federal transportation funds that could be better spent on transit projects.

    Why should we have to deal with the increased traffic and degraded pedestrian environment at the points where cars emerge from the underground freeways? Don’t pretend that such a scheme would not allow exits/entrances for drivers accessing downtown SF. If you don’t think that these entrances/exits would be unpleasant, take a walk around downtown Boston.

    Why do you think Van Ness and Geary will be degraded for pedestrians as a result of BRT? Crossing distances will be shorter (2 lanes at once max for most of the corridor), and bulbouts, pedestrian counters, and new crossings will be added as part of the project. There’s much more that could be done, of course, but BRT is not going to make things worse.

    Why do you think we have to build underground freeways before reducing speed limits and lane counts on major arterials? 19th Ave, Van Ness, and Geary can and should be 25mph and two lanes in each direction for private vehicles, no underground freeway required.

  • Andy Chow

    San Jose has a light rail system that is currently underutilized. There’s nothing wrong with the mode itself (it works pretty much in most major cities in western US) if the city can plan around it rather than planning away from it.

  • jonobate

    The worst issue is not the 6 trains per hour cap, but the fact that only 2 of those 6 trains will be allowed to go to Transbay due to the ridiculous design of the station. The other 4 will continue to terminate at 4th & King.

  • aslevin

    They say they don’t need to do that anymore. It’s possible that the EIR still has that ridiculous assumption in its sample schedules (I haven’t gotten there yet) but those schedules are not definite and they say they don’t have the technical limitation anymore.

  • I kind of get what you’re aiming for, but keep in mind that Marin has the third highest transit commute mode share in the state, behind San Francisco and Alameda counties. We’re hardly just Muir Woods and Stinson.

  • the_greasybear

    Please help out my partner in his last semester at SF State by taking this short survey on home energy use–thanks!

  • jonobate
  • Sanfordia113

    Mostly, I suspect, because of the highly subsidized ferries. They are great! But this does not mean that they should be cheap and encourage people to live in Marin or Sonoma. Raise the bridge toll to $8, and also impose several $1 toll stations around SF in the underground freeways. And reduce surface street speed limits in SF to 15mph (with underground thoroughfares set to 55mph).

  • aslevin

    Ok thx. Marian Lee said last fall at a Friends of Caltrain forum that there is no longer a technical requirement preventing all trains from serving Transbay. That would be a good reminder in EIR comments that ridership will be higher if they make the commonsense decision to send all trains to Transbay. (They might choose to have ballpark specials that don’t go to Transbay.)

  • Golden Gate Ferry is subsidized less than the bus service (about 65% vs. about 75% for transbay bus service) and carries far fewer people than the buses. They’re hardly cheap, either, but that’s neither here nor there.

    I’d love to see San Francisco densify into a city of 3 million and expand the urban character south to San Jose and east to the whole Fremont Line and Amtrak corridor, but that’s not a realistic possibility in even the medium term. In the mean time 25% of all peak hour travel from the North Bay comes by bus or ferry. Improving service and improving the transit friendliness within Marin is key to cutting traffic.

  • Sanfordia113

    In that case, a better outcome would be to eliminate the buses and devote those resources to bicycle infrastructure.

    San Francisco County could easily accommodate a population of 3-4 million, if all transit and roadways were under-grounded. The only cities in the Bay Area that should grow population between now and eternity are those south of Richmond but west of the East Bay Hills all the way to San Jose, as well as all the cities between San Jose and San Francisco, east of the hills. No trees should be felled for new development. The “wetlands”/wasteland near Cow Palace/Bayshore Caltrain should not receive any protected environmental status, but shorelines and hilltops should. Open space per capita should be as important as resident population density per acre of development.

  • jonobate

    If San Francisco is to become a city of 3-4 million, it needs a way to move all those people around. Building a comprehensive rapid transit system for SF would have the same order of magnitude cost as your plan to move the arterials underground.

    Which one of the two would be most effective at moving people around? Which one has the least carbon emissions and other negative externalities associated with it?

  • jonobate

    Just to emphasise this point, let’s do some very rough cost estimates.

    The Big Dig constructed 5.1 miles of underground roadway plus a quarter mile bridge for an estimated total cost of $22 bn (according to the Boston Globe). Let’s call that $4 bn/mile. The tunnels have 4-10 lanes total depending on location, let’s assume an average of 8 which gives us $0.5 bn/lane mile.

    The Central Subway will build 1.6 miles of two-track subway for $1.6bn, so roughly $1 bn/mile for two subway tracks, or $0.5 bn/track mile.

    It makes total sense that these cost estimates come out the same, as boring a tunnel for a freeway lane is going to be the same order of magnitude cost as boring a tunnel for a subway track. Both are expensive projects, of course, but they will do for comparison purposes.

    Now let’s look at capacity. A freeway lane can move about 2,000 vehicles per hour, or roughly 3,000 people per hour with current vehicle occupancies. If built underground, that’s roughly 6,000 people miles per hour per billion dollars of construction costs.

    Let’s assume our subway is heavy rail (BART) rather than light rail (Muni Metro) – construction costs will be the same. A BART car can carry 200 people per car in a crush load, or 100 at a more comfortable 50% load. A BART train can be up to 10 cars, and a modern train control system (see: Paris line 14) will get you 40 trains per hour. So that’s 40,000 passengers per hour, or 80,000 people miles per hour per billion dollars of construction costs.

    In summary – if you had $7bn available, you could build a two-track Geary subway from the Bay to the Ocean (7 miles) that could move around 500,000 people miles per hour. Or, you could underground US-101 with two-lanes per direction, from the end of Presidio Pkwy to the start of the Central Freeway (3.5 miles), with the ability to move 42,000 people miles per hour. Which would you choose?

    TLDR; a rail subway has ten times the capacity of a road subway for the same cost.

  • FL

    The speed limits are already low and reasonable. Just need enforcement…

  • FL

    Get your facts right. 19th Avenue carries almost twice that of Van Ness or Geary. Drivers will just spill over onto the parallel residential streets and cause more problems. It’s unfortunate that people here want to turn all streets into busy cars street by constraining the major streets, but they just don’t want to listen to the silent majority in the City.