Today’s Headlines

  • SUV Driver Kills Skateboarder at Third and Cargo Way; SFPD: “Driver May Not Have Known” (SFGate)
  • Driver Nearly Hits Two on Third Street, Beats Them After They Tap His Hood, Gets Arrested (SF Weekly)
  • Driver Hits Off-Duty SFPD Officer at Leavenworth and Ellis, Flees Police and Crashes (SFGate)
  • SFPD Hasn’t Cited Driver Who Backed Into Woman While Parking in the Castro (SF Appeal)
  • News Flash: SF Slow to Make Streets Safer (SFGate); Why Seniors and Disabled Oppose Prop L (BC)
  • SFSU Bike Advocates Push for Bike-Friendlier 19th Ave in M-Ocean View Subway Project (GG Xpress)
  • Geneva-Harney BRT Planned to Connect Daly City’s Bayshore With Candlestick Point (Exam)
  • Muni’s First Streetcar Brought Out Once Again, Drawing Fans From Around the World (SFGate)
  • Gap in Proposed Lower Haight Residential Parking Permit Zone Leaves Neighbors Wanting In (Hoodline)
  • Bay Area Reporter: BART Board Candidate Nick Josefowitz is Running a “Scorched Earth Campaign”
  • Levi’s Stadium Opens Bike Path During Games for Ticket Holders in “Pilot” Program (Cyclelicious)
  • VTA Postpones Meetings on Plans to Nix Alum Rock BART Station After Uproar (Green Caltrain)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

  • aslevin

    Regarding BART Phase 2, the uproar has been about cutting the Alum Rock station, which is the centerpiece of a popular “urban village” plan for East San Jose that community members have worked on for over a decade.

  • It seems so contradictory to me how much time and effort goes into planning these projects only to have them radically shift after a decade.

    For a while it was super-important to not break the San Jose extension up into two phases. Then at some point it started making more sense to go ahead with the Berryessa extension.

    Because a situation like this will come up again, I wonder if it would have been a better to approach Alum Rock as an infill station from the beginning?

  • The GG Xpress article describes how moving the M-Ocean View into a subway will open up space for bike lanes, but here is a rendering from the feasibility study showing the difference it makes without the Muni in the center median.

  • murphstahoe

    No. Because without having that Alum Rock station sitting there on the pretty picture, the ballot measure would not pass. Of course, the ballot measure can’t actually fund what is promised. So we need to hoodwink the voters because contractors need jobs and Carl Guardino needs a pat on his back.

  • aslevin

    It is reasonable to evaluate plans based on current conditions. For example, the plan for the Santa Clara station was made when Caltrain ridership was well under half of what it is today, San Jose’s major plans for and when it seemed most logical to add an airport connection from that station, before High Speed Rail’s plans to stop at Diridon, and before San Jose’s major land use plans for the Diridon Station area. The Santa Clara station may not make sense based on changes since the initial proposal.

    But it doesn’t make sense to make these changes with minimal community input, without disclosing the assumptions behind the changes, and without board approval of major policy changes.

  • I didn’t mean to imply that Alum Rock should be pulled this late. I’m with you 100% on why it makes sense to both pull Santa Clara and keep Alum Rock.

    The next time though, when there’s a subway project with an intermediate surface stop that could potentially be dropped or deferred, which is what’s been happening anyway, why not phase the project around that risk in the first place? Build the subway extension or key stops in phase 1, and that intermediary stations in phase 2 hand-in-hand with the transit villages and urban renewal projects.

    There’d be some short term wins in reducing traffic, increasing ridership and economic development around the stations as they open, but that should also help in generating more demand and tax revenue to cover the planned – phase 2 – infill stations right? And shouldn’t a phase 1 run a little faster if it only has to include minimal planning for the phase 2 projects. It would definitely mean less broken promises.

  • Moving Alum Rock into a future phase doesn’t mean it can’t still sit on the map looking pretty. CC: Livermore.

  • jd_x

    I know subways aren’t popular on this site, but I honestly think this is the way to go. As much as I love public transit, huge buses and trains are a hazard to pedestrians and cyclists, not to mention loud, and putting them underground, at least for some primary routes in each part of the city, is ideal. We will still have some surface public transit, but I think having an extensive underground subway like NYC, London, Paris, etc is key to making a city truly livable and as car-free as possible.

  • Here is a direct link to the 19th Avenue feasibility study from March which gives a lot more background on that bike meeting (along maps and renderings to help picture what a 19th Avenue Subway will look like)

  • 94110

    I agree that subways have not have not been popular on SB SF, but I think that may be the particular subway plans being discussed.

    If I recall correctly, the best performing alternative in the document has a subway stretch between Francis Circle after the junction with the K, which runs underground from there to the existing right of way in the middle of 19th. That’s not the segment the city is seriously considering.

    If I had my druthers for subways for Muni I would first put the J underground between Market and 22nd at Church (or bring it above ground in Dolores Park if you are pinching pennies). That would have the major side benefit of speeding up the N by reducing the number of trains at the Church and Duboce portal.

    Second highest priority Muni subway would be a tunnel for the N from church to Duboce Park, or even dig out the Buena vista tunnel and keep it underground from Market to Clayton.

    But these are just fantasies not backed up by billions of tax payer dollars with no need for accountability like the Central Subway and now the 19th Subway.

  • The idea isn’t to exit back into the center of 19th, but cross entirely under it. What the feasibility study recommended starting like you said: entering a tunnel right after the junction with the K at St. Francis Circle.

    Instead of coming back up in the center of 19th, it would continue the entire way under 19th where it would continue underground through Stonestown (the property owner has been supporting the project financially and will be giving over some land), SF State (which has access to a lot of grants for transit access to education to fund their section), and through Parkmerced before exiting to the surface and crossing back over Junipero Serra on a pedestrian/bike/transit bridge.

    What I think you might be referring to is the feasibility study’s further recommendation to look at starting that tunnel prior to St. Francis Circle so both the K and M would cross under with K coming back up in the median of Junipero Serra.

    And even though there are other corridors that probably are more critical, one of the things driving this project is that the developer of Parkmerced will pay for the subway through their development (they don’t want these big trains ruining their nicely planned neighborhood either) and along with Stonestown have been helping fund the project.

    (I’m attaching a map I drew of the feasibility study’s recommended route and potential station locations to explore further. Ocean Avenue seems to me like it could easily be overtaken by under-grounding St. Francis Circle with a nice pedestrian/bike path that block to Ocean Avenue)

  • …would have the major side benefit of speeding up the N by reducing the number of trains at the Church and Duboce portal.

    The big constraint on the Market Street subway isn’t the Duboce Portals – there are problems anywhere Muni Metro intersects with street traffic – it’s the total number of trains being squeezed through the most congested station. For both Muni and BART that’s Embarcadero Station.

    My pitch has been to turn the J-Church into a low-floor, modern streetcar line running along the surface of Market Street, sharing trackway with the F-line. Outside of the Market Street Subway the J-Church doesn’t have a single high-platform stop that would need to be lowered (but some ramps could be removed) requiring not much more than an outbound turn at Market & Church and probably some modifications to use the track loop around the Hotel Vitale or build an alternative turnback.

    This would open up subway capacity for more frequent service on other lines.

  • Andy Chow

    The problem is that the politicians do not want to deal with reality regarding its ability to fund the project. It has been that way since 2000. They don’t want to admit that they can’t afford it until the time the economy crashes which brought down sales tax revenue and required cut to bus service. When they ask voters to approve more funding, they make sure they do everything they can to obscure the truth, so the end result is voters approving more taxes and still cannot completely fund it.

    The previous general manager Pete Cipolla was fired because he told then mayor Ron Gonzales that the project cannot to done (the Bush Admin was tight about the New Starts process and Gonzales was against the idea of phasing). The 2008 tax was sold on the premise that it is the only tax needed for the project to Santa Clara, but again a year after they settled on going to Berryessa, which has been planning for several years since Chuck Reed took office and Michael Burns at the helm of VTA.

    This time the VTA’s new GM is asking all of us to confront reality. It is about time because BART has been a distraction to improve transit throughout the county. This project has been tooted as the Next Big Thing for the last 15 years and we cannot have the rational discussion about other priorities and alternatives. I think the best strategy going forward is to make decision after the Berryessa portion is open. I am not sure whether BART will ever perform like the Next Big Thing, but I think we can agree to let the commuters decide whether or not it is the Next Big Thing.