Today’s Headlines

  • New Muni Fleet Under Construction (SFExaminer, SFBay)
  • Sunset Tunnel Seismic Retrofit (Hoodline)
  • Senator Says Let BART Break (KQED)
  • London Starting 24-Hour Tube Service–Why Can’t BART? (Wired)
  • Two Stabbed on BART Train (EastBayTimes, SFGate)
  • Don’t Smoke Crack on BART Please (SFist)
  • Another Complication in the Bay Area’s Housing Market–Renter Blacklists (ABC7)
  • Cities Segregated by Income (Curbed)
  • Housing Prices Still Smashing Records While Condos Slip Slightly (Socketsite)
  • How Transit Drives Gentrification (Phys)
  • San Jose Motorists Don’t Like Sharrows (MercNews)
  • Bike Pedal Caused Sierra Fire? (SFChron)

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

  • Jeffrey Baker

    That state senator from Orinda sounds like a bit of a dick, but his position on the BART bond is right on. BART needs a plan for dealing with labor when their contract runs out within a year. BART needs directors who are not “grassroots organizers” and who are not terribly concerned about “social justice”. The BART board needs hard-nosed operations people with real industry experience.

    As soon as the BART board presents the master plan for overthrowing themselves, I’ll be 100% behind a capital bond.

  • RE: 24 hour BART.

    Please, enough comparisons to other more robust systems. I think people will be happy if BART runs more frequently during normal operating hours. Let’s start there.

  • RichLL

    Yeah, I’m a big fan of BART relative to any other form of local transport that doesn’t sail or fly, but I can’t see throwing money at a BART. management that threw our money at its workers in 2013. Giving them a new slush fund just encourages the BART workers and unions to go big and aggressive at the next contract talks.

    So I will vote a big fat NO on this bond measure unless BART strikes are made illegal and a wage and benefits freeze is then imposed.

    And yes, a big fat finger to freaking “social justice”. We want operational efficiency and not political correctness.

  • Rogue Cyclist

    Exactly. We’ve been through this before. BART can’t run overnight because of maintenance needs and the lack of redundant tracks. That’s it.

  • david vartanoff

    Wrong!. Many track segments in NYC, Chicago, and Philly which run 24/7 are 2 tracks same as BART. The issues are political will and scheduling outages. Note that Labor Day Weekend there will be an outage from Glen Park to Daly City during the whole weekend, so obviously BART can do work outside the short work window overnight.

  • Not outage. More like major infrastructure repair project.

    And, once again, BART is nothing like the subway systems you reference. BART is a commuter rail system with some limited local service in downtown SF and Oakland. If BART were an extensive network of transit lines then I would agree that it should be 24/7 (or at least 22/7). But it’s not. Accept that fact and move on, folks.

  • murphstahoe

    with some limited local service in downtown SF and Oakland.

    2 cities comprising a couple of million in population, divided by a body of water with a single bridge.

  • The Bay Area should have at least triple the rail investment that it currently has. Heck, SF alone should have triple.

  • RichLL

    SF and Oakland are closer to one million people than two million.

    And while several hundred thousands people cross the Bay in that area, almost all of them do so during the hours that BART currently operates.

    Do you have $$ to show the average cost per trip of a trans-Bay BART ride at 3 am?

  • RichLL

    And I’d like a pony. But with well over 80% of households in the Bay Area choosing to own a car, where will the votes come from for raising taxes to that extent?

  • david vartanoff

    BART IS the subway, and in NYC terms,the East BAY from Richmond through San Leandro is essentially the image of Brooklyn–mostly residential/light commercial but with several CBDs, universities, and entertainment venues.etc.–all large trip generators. And like the NYC case, a body of water separation which makes transit/water crossings critical infrastructure. Yes, BART needs more routes–within the urban cores, not further extensions into SUV land. That said, Ashby at 11PM reminds me of 2nd Ave on the IND, or Astor Place at the same hour for exiting riders.

  • Henry

    They’ve already made an agreement to the contracts that will last them until at least 2021. Also, I’d elaborate more, but intersectionality is very important. You can’t treat industry workers like clumpy brown piles and still expect a robust transit system. We’ve been there.

  • citrate reiterator

    You keep making this error over and over again here. That 80% figure is irrelevant: owning a car doesn’t mean you oppose raising funds for transit. If you want to get a sense for how SF voters feel about spending on transit vs. cars, you may want to look at how people have actually voted in the recent past. Despite being favorable for car-owners, Prop L in 2014 lost 37-63. Likewise, Prop A that same year authorized the city to raise property taxes to repay the bonds it issued. It passed 72-28.

  • OaktownPRE

    I see people walking through the BART “emergency” exits almost every time I ride, the last time was directly in front of the well paid station agent who did nothing. I can’t in good conscience give more money to a system that’s run by people who can’t seem to figure out how to alarm an emergency gate to deter fare evaders. Heck, even Muni has that figured out.

  • citrate reiterator

    I’m guessing that fare evasion through emergency gates is a pretty tiny part of BART’s operating costs compared to service and maintenance, and BART has stated the bond money will be used for long-overdue maintenance.

    And I’m also pretty sure fare evasion is way less common on BART than Muni; only the Muni metro stops actually have turnstiles at all. If you board the rail outside of the subway area (like most of the passengers) there’s nothing to stop you from just getting on without tagging up. That’s why they have those fare inspectors downtown every once in a while.

  • RichLL

    citrate, you clearly misunderstood my statement because you cited Prop L, which was a San Francisco voter initiative, whereas my 80% figure referred to the entire Bay Area – a much more relevant location to consider given that the discussion was about BART.

    In fact the figure is probably closer to 90% given how car-centric vast parts of the Bay Area are, but I was trying to be conservative precisely to pre-empt claims like yours.

  • Alicia

    Whether you’re discussing the city of SF alone or the entire Bay Area, you’re making the same unjustified leaps of logic you make pretty much everywhere you post – that if a household has a car (1) every member of the household gets to use it,.(2) they rely on that car or cars for their daily transportation needs, and (3), owning a car means that they oppose good public transportation and/or bicycle and pedestrian friendly city planning.You don’t have a single scrap of evidence for any of those three assumptions. They’re all pulled out of your ass.

  • citrate reiterator

    You’re right, mea culpa: we should look at more of the Bay Area. However, this figure you’re citing is still about car ownership, not willingness to fund transit (and population density is lower in areas that are more car-dependent, so looking at “area” can be misleading). If your contention is about voters, we should look at polls or previous votes.

    According to reports I’ve read, 2016’s ballot initiative to increase funding for BART would need to pass in Alameda and Contra Costa counties as well as SF. The last relevant initiative I can find is Measure VV from 2008, where voters in Alameda and Contra Costa counties voted on a measure to raise taxes to fund AC Transit. It passed 72-28. So it appears that voters there are *also* willing to fund transit despite having higher levels of car ownership. My point that you can’t use car ownership as a proxy for willingness to fund transit stands.

  • citrate reiterator

    To be a little pedantic, BART isn’t the only subway in the Bay Area (though it’s the fastest and most reliable one). Also, the density of the East Bay is way lower than Brooklyn, even if we’re talking just Oakland.

    That doesn’t mean there isn’t a market for late night BART access. On the other hand, London provided night service with buses only until literally this year, so I don’t think subway service at night is necessary to be a world class city. (At night congestion is usually way lower so buses can be reasonably competitive with cars.) I think the major difference is that their buses had as low as 15-minute (!) headways on weekend nights and actually duplicated the major train routes. AC Transit has *hour* long headways (a long time to be waiting around above ground in the middle of the night) and doesn’t even make the Mission stops in SF, for example. So I think there’s plenty of room to improve late night service even without specifically needing BART to run 24/7, if it turns out that’s impractical.

  • RichLL

    I’ve never fully understood how the BART elections work. Do the votes across all three counties get added together to determine the result? Or does each and every county have to pass it for the proposition to prevail?

    Either way, to your point, I’d expect the larger population centers to approve it more easily, while the suburban and rural areas to more likely to oppose it, being more car-centric.

    Which isn’t to say that those voters won’t vote for transit. They may see it as taking a load off the freeways making the commute easier for those who can’t use transit for all the usual reasons. I think the case where car owners and drivers are more likely to oppose transit improvements is where they directly take resources away from cars, increasing delays and congestion. If it’s a new rail line, on the other hand, it will more likely be approved.

    To the other point, yes, car ownership doesn’t entail daily dependency. But that correlation will be higher in areas where car travel is more indispensable. A friend of mine who lives in San Ramon told me that he can’t remember the last day when he didn’t get in his car at least once. San Ramon has crappy transit.

  • RichLL

    As stated above:

    1) True but every member of a household potentially benefits from having a car available.

    2) The stats for different modes of travel are published and fairly well known. I believe it’s about 60% in SF and clearly will be higher in the outlying areas such as where BART travels

    3) It’s true that car owners do vote for transit. My household has 2 cars and I’ve voted in the past for (or otherwise supported) BART expansion, the central subway, SFO upgrades, better ferries and improved safety. That said I am more likely to support new rail routes that do not take away resources from cars, than the explicit removal of roads and lanes for cars.

    And thank you for focusing on the article and the topic.

  • Alicia

    “Potentially” is such a slippery word. I can “potentially” benefit from my roommates’ cars – but in the real world, I have only driven with her a grand total of once, and that was only because I wanted her to buy something on my behalf so I could get her employee discount at the store where she works. In other situations, I take the bus or (after bus service ends) a taxi.

  • RichLL

    One thing a car gives you is flexibility and the ability to quickly respond to change. So if I get call inviting me to be in Marin in one hour, whether business or pleasure, emergency or opportunity, I can be there. I can make commitments and decisions based on my confidence in my mobility.

    And it’s not a rare situation for me to get a call from a friend asking me for a ride somewhere.

    So the issue is not so much that I could not theoretically manage without a car, but rather that my life is richer and better for having that option. And that remains the case even if, tomorrow, I don’t use my car. The point is that I could. And if you could not, then that gives me an advantage.

  • Alicia

    So the issue is not so much that I could not theoretically manage without a car,

    Of course, it isn’t – that wasn’t even what I was talking about. Your response is a huge non sequitur.

    We are not talking about *your* potential uses of *your* car. We are talking about one room-mate or household member’s “potential” use of the property of another household member. That’s not the same thing, just as a landlord being able to rent out an unused parking space is not the same as a tenant being able to do so.