Today’s Headlines

  • Unlicensed Driver Without Lights Hits Woman in Outer Sunset (SFGate); SFPD Adds Enforcement (OBB)
  • BeyondChron: Car Restrictions, Transit Upgrades Will Contribute to Mid-Market’s “Bright Future”
  • More on the Bus-Only Lanes Getting Red Paint Downtown (SF Examiner)
  • Stanley Roberts Shows Why the Buffered, Unprotected Bike Lane on Folsom May Not Be Enough
  • Muni Shelter at Eddy and Leavenworth Removed Because it Attracted Crime (SFGate, BeyondChron)
  • Noe Valley Town Square, Converted From a Parking Lot, Set to Open March 2016 (Noe Valley SF)
  • Silicon Valley Drives More than LA (Biz Times) — Latest in Business Times Series on SV Transportation
  • Video Shows Man’s Near-Miss With Caltrain, Which Delays System With Investigations (CBS)
  • Woman Recovers Stolen Bike With Help of BART Police (SFist)
  • SFO Station Power Outage Creates Major Delays for BART (CBS)
  • Marin Transit Seeing Higher Ridership, Matching National Trends (Greater Marin)
  • Concord Driver Arrested for Killing Mother on Sidewalk in Hit-and-Run (CBS)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

  • Gezellig

    Having lived (and taken transit in) Los Angeles as well as worked in Silicon Valley I’m not surprised at all that transit share is more than double in LA.

    By California standards LA has been expanding its Metro lines at a rapid pace with ridership on new lines (e.g. Expo Line, Gold Line Extension) often exceeding goals within months of opening. LA is (perhaps sometimes rightly) criticized for being too happy to bulldoze its past but the flipside is that it has less of a knee-jerk any-change-is-bad attitude towards any new development. As such, it’s also been more successful at developing transit-oriented villages around stations.

    What both areas need to do better is bike infrastructure—in places with so much flat land, great weather and often absurdly capacious rights-of-way a network of protected cycletracks should be an achievable no-brainer.

  • jd_x

    Well said. When I go to LA, I’m blown away how it is literally the *perfect* place for bicycling: flat and about as perfect weather as you can get. It’s a disgrace to humanity that it isn’t the bike mecca of the United States, let alone the world. What a shame that we did what we did with it and built it around the car.

  • CamBam415

    Okay, so the guy who ran across the track in front of the train is a fool, no questions asked.

    But the question that isn’t being asked is why does Caltrain even have at grade pedestrian crossings to begin with?! The world over has metal pedestrian bridges over train tracks connecting platforms, why can’t Caltrain do the same? Something similar to the Glenn Park J line Muni Station where you can use the bridge to change from inbound to outbound sides of the tracks.

    How many at grade pedestrian-only crossings are there, 10 or so? That is insane. I am sure it is more complicated then simply adding a basic pedestrian bridge, but it doesn’t seem that way. Either stairs with a basic ADA lift on the side or ramps (take slightly more space) seems very feasible and shouldn’t be cost prohibitive.

  • Gezellig

    Exactly! I guess if there’s any good news for places like LA and Silicon Valley it’s that many parts are theoretically more retrofittable for road diets+protected bike infra than your average SF neighborhood due to there being more space.

    Looks like there’s a project to do a cycletrack on Figueroa (http://la-bike.org/MyFig), so that’s a start.

  • murphstahoe

    Money.

    In the past few years, Santa Clara and California Ave station have been redone and now have undercrossings.Presumably the new San Bruno station will as well. San Antonio Station replaced the former Castro Station and has no at grade crossing. These stations are also ADA compliant with ramps, as is Lawrence Station where a really painful metal overcrossing bridge was replaced by a set of stairs and an ADA ramp. Bayshore had it’s at grade crossing removed in the early 2000’s.

    They are knocking them off one by one. Give them unlimited cash and it would happen immediately.

  • baklazhan

    Going from the outbound to the inbound platform is not that common. Either you’re arriving at the station, and going elsewhere, or you’re leaving from the station. Either way you only pass through one of the two platforms.

    The Glen Park station is in the middle of a freeway, so you’re stuck climbing stairs regardless, but many Caltrain stations are on level ground, so the platforms have direct access to the neighborhoods around them. Crossing the thirty feet of track is both natural and safe, as long as you exercise a reasonable amount of caution. Making people take an overpass would likely add hundreds of feet to every person’s trip, in addition to making them climb up and down. Compare the pedestrian overpasses on Geary Street in the Fillmore. You could force it with a bunch of high fences, but it would be both inconvenient and expensive.

    Installing additional automated gates instead would be both cheaper and more pleasant for the average person.

  • baklazhan

    More space is a blessing and a curse. Amsterdam is a great cycling city, but not because it has incredibly wide streets.

  • CamBam415

    The comment isn’t about the need to change from inbound to outbound platforms as agreed that is rare, I was just using that as an example to identify what I meant by a pedestrian bridge that I thought many SB readers could identify with…

    The need is clearly that people need to get to the platform without crossing tracks at grade. I have ridden rail extensively in the North East US and Europe and never seen an at grade crossing dedicated for pedestrians! It is just insane.

    People like you make assumptions that other people can judge the speed of trains and time to cross and assume that if you put in some mechanism such as a crossing arms and lights that people will obey. While I agree that SHOULD work, it clearly doesn’t and the rest of the world has figured that out and pedestrian over passes (or underpasses) from the platform to the station or town or parking lot are basic pieces of infrastructure. Caltrain has 10+ dedicated pedestrian at grade crossings and it causes a huge problem and expense for the system when people are hit or there are near misses.

    There is a better way to do things, and it isn’t that hard, unless you consider adding 100 feet of walking distance and a flight of stairs (with an ADA option) hard. Sigh.

    Agreed with Murph though… it is clearly a money issue, even though it shouldn’t have to be if we truly valued public transit. Meanwhile, spending $50M on a freeway widening project is barely even questioned.

  • baklazhan

    A pedestrian-only crossing is no less (or more) safe than a crossing for pedestrians and vehicles, or, for that matter, a typical major street crossing.

    Here’s a photo from Sweden: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/21/%C3%84ngelholms_station_juli_2010.JPG

    Another: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/7a/Karlshamn_station.JPG

  • CamBam415

    Good find on the Sweeden Pic! Yeah, seems absurd.

    Here is a pic of a simple ped bridge at Castlerock Station in Northern Ireland: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Castlerock_railway_station

    And a much bigger ped bridge from New Jalpaiguri Train Station in India:
    http://t0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTBm9yjkW6Yobo-VHgcOZ9rRYWECMcR3qgLt-XvF6SYATo6qWl3UQ

    These are not expensive and difficult infrastructure to build (well, maybe in California it is…)

    As with the combined cars & peds overcrossing, that is a more complicated scenario then a simple ped bridge. And while ideal, it is expensive to take cars over or under tracks. My point was the simple fix to the situation in the video… at the RWC Caltrain Station peds are forced over the tracks to get to/from the platform and “downtown” RWC. Seems ludacris.

  • baklazhan

    Mm. The simple ped bridge from Ireland has two issues: lack of ADA access, and low clearance. It would have to be a fair bit higher to make room for electric wires, for instance, or even the tall freight trains that sometimes use Caltrain tracks. Both problems would increase the size by quite a lot, as well as the inconvenience of using it.

    The Indian one doesn’t seem like it’s built to access any platforms, just to cross a major rail corridor. That may be somewhat easier from a design perspective, since you can have a long, sloping ramp up that doesn’t take anyone very far out of their way.

    My point, more generally, is that insisting on these major infrastructure projects for even the lowest-traffic corridors is a bad idea because it drives up construction and maintenance costs to the point that they become unfeasible. I don’t think Caltrain currently has enough traffic to justify bridges, but it probably will in the future, especially with HSR. But for other systems, like the SMART train in Marin, I think pedestrian overpasses would be an expensive boondoggle (I actually don’t know what their plans are).

  • CamBam415

    Sorry, but you are being too literal in your interpretations. I have clearly said all along that the bridges need to be ADA compliant; it isn’t that difficult to add or make bigger and use ramps in lieu of stairs.

    And yes, the New Jalpaiguri Train Station has stairs from the main bridge down to each platform; that is the sole purpose of the bridge.

    Again, focus on the big picture not specific implementations in various countries. My point is that Caltrain should not have at grade pedestrian crossings as it is clearly dangerous and causes the line performance issues and investigative costs; and in the worst case scenario, it is much worse.

    These bridges are the antithesis of big ticket infrastructure item and the maintenance is minimal. This basic piece of infrastructure is hardly a boondoggle; you are crazy (respectfully)… but as Murph pointed out, they are starting to replace the ped at grade crossings.

    Good question on SMART… I don’t know either.