Today’s Headlines

  • Super Bowl Helps BART Break Weekend Ridership Record (SFGate, SFBay, NBCBayArea)
  • Bikes Spurned but Gridlock Averted at Super Bowl (InsideBayArea)
  • Reward Offered for Information on BART Shooter (SFGate)
  • BART Reveals Cost of Getting Real Security Cameras (SFExaminer)
  • Editorial Says BART Unions Should Cut Costs (InsideBayArea)
  • SFMTA Unveils Plans for $3 Billion M-Ocean View Subway (SFExaminer)
  • Woman in Wheel Chair Struck and Killed by Motorist on Market Street (SFGate)
  • Berkeley Cyclist Critically Injured in Crash with Suspected DUI Motorist (Berkeleyside, DailyCal)
  • Protesters who Block Transit and Roads Face Mild Punishments (SFGate)
  • SamTrans Seeks Electric Bus Pilot Program (SMDailyJournal)
  • Editorial Supports Downtown Novato Train Station (MarinIJ)

Get national headlines at Streetsblog USA
Get state headlines at Streetsblog CA

  • Paulish

    Your headline overstates the cost of the proposed subway by 200-300% 😐

  • jonobate

    Yeah, where did the $6bn figure come from? Both the Examiner article and the SFMTA meeting materials say $2.5-$3bb.

  • It might be strategy: “OMG! $6 billion?” “Don’t worry, your City government is so efficient we’ve managed to cut that price tag in half!”

  • theqin

    They should up zone to 300 ft all of the parcels within three blocks of the M line stations and fund the M tunneling via property tax value capture.

  • SFnative74

    Amazing how expensive subways are but not doing anything may be more expensive in terms of delay and congestion. I’m intrigued by the idea of 4-car trains which are not only more efficient as they only need one driver, but also also increase capacity along the Market St portion of the subway.

  • jonobate

    The West Portal area has so much potential that is wasted on a strip of boring single story commercial buildings, and a vocal NIMBY population who don’t want that to change. If those buildings were 3-6 stories high with residences above the businesses the area might not be so completely dead in the evenings.

  • RichLL

    But isn’t the real bottleneck in the tunnel under Market?

    “We built half of a rapid transit system”, referring to the under-grounded Muni streetcars.

    There is nothing “rapid” about them even in the tunnels. The crawl under Market Street at peak times is ponderous. What is the point in having more M trains rushing through the suburbs only to be backed up from Castro station, or even West Portal, and on in?

  • davistrain

    But some people LIKE a place where the sidewalks roll up at 7 PM. Most likely the majority of them are either old folks like me or people with small children who aren’t interested in “night life”. Of course the typical response to this is “why don’t you move to a quiet senior-citizens community or a “boring” suburb.

  • jonobate

    Most of that crawl is caused by delays loading and unloading passengers at the subway stations, which in turn is caused by insufficient capacity on the trains for the number of people that are trying to use them. The way to fix this problem is to increase the length of the trains, but that doesn’t necessarily mean building a full subway out to Parkmerced. You could start by running every L and M as two car trains, which requires nothing more than additional train cars; continue by upgrading the J and K lines to run two car trains, which requires minor capital changes such as stop relocation/optimization; and then move on to upgrading the surface lines to handle three car trains, starting with the N.

    Nice as it looks on paper, the all-or-nothing subway approach is not really necessary for the M-line. If I had $2.5-3bn to spend on a new subway, I would spend it on Geary. A subway from a portal at Embarcadero & Folsom to another portal at Geary & Gough, with Stations at Mission & 1st (Transbay), Geary & Stockton (Union Square), and Geary & Van Ness, would be similar in length and comparable in cost to the proposed M-line subway.

  • jonobate

    Funny you should say that… even some seniors are starting to realize that increased density at West Portal might allow them to continue living there. http://archives.sfexaminer.com/sanfrancisco/seniors-may-be-the-solution-to-increasing-housing-density-in-west-portal-neighborhood/Content?oid=2632713

  • mx

    Of all the underserved areas in the city that could benefit from a subway, I’m not seeing (probably because I’m not a Parkmerced real estate developer) why undergrounding the M, which already has a dedicated right of way for much of its route, is the top priority. I’ve long thought we need to be building new subways, but why not build actual new lines to serve more parts of the city instead of sticking with the existing map? A Geary subway/light rail and extending the Central Subway to serve North Beach, the Wharf, and the Marina are all obvious candidates.

  • SFnative74

    Or, if the DTX project to extend Caltrain and HSR to the Transbay Terminal doesn’t pan out, the train box being built into the Transbay Terminal could be used as the terminus for a new Geary line, which would save a Geary project the cost of building a station and give it a turnaround. Since subways here seem to cost a little more than a billion dollars a mile, the $2.5-$3B could build the 2 mile segment you describe.

  • SFnative74

    Part of the problem are too many separate trains in the tunnel vying for limited platform space in closely spaced stations. If the number of separate trains could be decreased but the capacity expanded by using 4 car trains instead of 2, then it could be a win-win.

  • murphstahoe

    People LIKE a lot of things. But if giving them that thing is to the detriment of the community – something has to give.

  • RichLL

    But the people are the community, surely?

  • jonobate

    Transbay must be used for HSR/Caltrain. It makes no sense to dig six 400m long platforms and use them for two car light rail trains.

    Also, there’s the small matter that there’s no way to get from Transbay to points north of Market due to skyscraper foundations. A line from Mission to Geary could work because the buildings in the way (Palace Hotel, Academy of Art and a few others) are older mid-rise buildings without deep foundations.

  • jonobate

    Not necessarily. The interests of tenants with rent control might differ from those who don’t have rent control. If you don’t have rent control, you might welcome new residential development as it will keep market rate rents from skyrocketing so much. If you do have rent control, you’re not affected so much by increases in market rate rents, so your primary focus might be to keep new people out of your neighborhood so you can still live in a place where the sidewalks roll up at 7pm.

    Just one example where the desires of “people” (individuals, with individual circumstances) might not match up with the needs of “community” (a broad group of people who all live in the same neighborhood). There’s also the argument that we should be considering people who are not yet part of the “community” when we make housing decisions; i.e. people who want to live in that neighborhood but current are not able to, or people who have been pushed out by increasing rents and would like to come back.

  • p_chazz

    “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others”

    –George Orwell, Animal Farm

  • It’s where Muni Metro doesn’t have a right of way, and in the M-line’s case the delays moving into and out of the right of way cause a lot of problems. There are ways to address that without a subway…

    Parkmerced is an interesting case: the redevelopment was approved with a lot of strings attached about covering the transport impact all those new residents will create. Residents will get free transit passes, the developer will operate shuttle services, including one to BART, and is on the hook to pay for re-routing the M-line (with two, three-car surface stations) through Parkmerced. It will cost Parkmerced more to put the M-line underground, but a quick subway ride downtown is a good selling point. I suspect there’s more in it for them than just higher-quality rail service. Maybe undergrounding the M saves them costs elsewere?

  • jonobate

    What does that even mean in this context?

  • jonobate

    The Parkmerced developer will pay the same amount regardless of the final routing chosen. The M-line study came out of the SFCTA (correctly) pointing out that the developer’s plan to split the line in Parkmerced was a poor solution, and requesting that they be allowed to put the same amount of money towards a more comprehensive upgrade for the M-line.

  • p_chazz

    Substitute “community members” for animals.

  • jonobate

    Still doesn’t make any sense.

    My point was that a “community” is made up of many people with disparate views and opinions, and that taking the views of some individuals as representative of the entire community is a bad idea. What point are you trying to make?

  • SFnative74

    “Transbay must be used for HSR/Caltrain.” I think that makes the most sense, but right now there is no guarantee yet that project will happen. If it doesn’t, what other use could there be for the train box?

  • Mario Tanev

    The only place the M doesn’t have the right of way is intersections. Trench the traffic below them and be done with it. Remove one lane in each direction to create bike lanes.

  • p_chazz

    It sounded to me as if you were saying that some people matter more than others.

  • Mario Tanev

    That turn that killed the woman was illegal. Is the driver going to serve time?

  • p_chazz

    Only if it can be proven that the driver was grossly negligent or acted with malice.

  • p_chazz

    It would make a great homeless shelter.

  • gneiss

    How is making an illegal turn and running someone over in a crosswalk not ‘grossly negligent’?

  • mx

    The turn is legal for commercial vehicles. Whether a city-owned car being driven on official business is a technically commercial vehicle is a bit of a weird question, but I’d say it’s in the spirit of it. I see city vehicles making far more blatant illegal turns and driving in bus lanes all the time. It’s the running someone over in a crosswalk part that’s the problem.

  • mx

    Or just give transit signal priority at the intersections for a tiny fraction of the cost and be done with it.

  • mx

    Much like the old Transbay Terminal. Now you’re talking!

  • SFnative74

    Making an illegal turn that kills someone seems pretty negligent. Did I miss something?

  • p_chazz

    Criminal negligence requires more than merely a mistake in judgment, inattention, or simple carelessness. It only pertains to conduct that is so outrageous and reckless that it marks a clear departure from the way an ordinary careful person would act under similar circumstances.

  • p_chazz

    Criminal negligence requires more than merely a mistake in judgment, inattention, or simple carelessness. It only pertains to conduct that is so outrageous and reckless that it marks a clear departure from the way an ordinary careful person would act under similar circumstances.

  • We have a grand history of building big train stations and then running tiny streetcars to them… just look at Muni Metro!

  • njudah

    it’s a nice fantasy to talk about new “subways” after all a guy running for state Senate made a big fuss about it. there’s just one problem – no US federal government is going to fund the M subway, or the N subway or ANY subway in San Francisco anytime soon. They already paid a billion dollars for a stupid Central Subway that just goes to Chinatown, and there’s not even money for fantasy extensions of THAT, so yeah. Oh and if you say “But nancypelosidiannefiensteinwillgetthe$$$” both are out of office in the next few years. have fun with the meetings and maps though, maps and such are fun.

  • jai_dit

    To be clear: the above-ground portion of the M only has a dedicated right-of-way for about a block and a half (the diagonal between Sloat/Serra and 19th/Rossmoor), along which it makes 2 stops and has significant delays on either end as it exits/reënters traffic.

    I’m not saying that the M should be the city’s top priority, but it does have the advantage of partial funding already secured, and the disadvantage of having an actively harmful no-build alternative. (There are only so many trains in the system, and if the M gets bogged down, there will be ripple effects of vehicle availability throughout all the lines.)

    Plus, at least the neighborhood is actively supporting this one? Compare how Parkmerced, SF State, and the company that owns Stonestown have responded, with the way that the Geary Blvd Merchants Association acts any time someone proposes something along Geary, for instance.