Today’s Headlines

  • BART Extension May Not Have Enough Cars (SFGate)
  • Muni May Ban Political Advertising (SFExaminer)
  • Muni’s Ball Game Service (SFBay)
  • Sunset Tunnel Shutdowns (Hoodline)
  • Dolores Park Trashed (MissionLocal)
  • Poll Shows Lost Confidence in Bay Area (BizTimes)
  • Tech Workers Want to Leave the Bay Area (BizTimes)
  • The Life of a Parking Control Officer (SFChron)
  • Car Free Octavia (Hoodline)
  • Pedestrian Seriously Injured in Telegraph Hill (Hoodline)
  • Rock Slide Danger Halts SMART Testing (MarinIJ)
  • Commentary: The Truth About Muni’s Lax Safety Standards (SFChron)

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

  • Jeffrey Baker

    Speaking of BART extensions, I’ve been riding to Warm Springs lately. The station is really inhumane. Did the designers of this station envision that there would need to be two trains on the platform at the same time? That seems highly unlikely and easily avoidable. Without the center platform design the station could have been so much simpler, with the fare gates at grade. Why didn’t they design it that way?

  • thielges

    Warm Springs is not a terminal station and there will be at least two more stations to the south in a few months. The station needs at least one track per direction. If it were designed as a single track station that would place constraints on scheduling and make the system more fragile when a train becomes delayed.

  • Jeffrey Baker

    I didn’t say it should have one track, I said it should have one platform on the side. The other track can be a thru track to avoid the problem of the disabled train. This would not place a realistic constraint on BART’s scheduling because BART’s trains are far, far apart by any standard.

    For an example of such a station see Zurich Enge which has this two-track, side platform and platform at grade. I assure you that Enge sees far more traffic than Warm Springs BART ever will: it has a double-decker IR or S-Bahn as little as 2 minutes apart. Yes that station has platforms on both sides, but most people arrive on the Platform 1 and can exit directly the street.

  • Is that “Why is there a center platform when there could be a platform on each side? e.g. Fruitvale, West Oakland.” ?

  • Jeffrey Baker

    Well, those stations have aerial trackways, so there’s no chance of a street-level platform anyway. Side platforms seem sensible at those stations. And at least at Fruitvale when you exit the station there is a neighborhood at one hand and a bus station on the other (W.Oakland has the bus, but you have to cross the parking lot and a street to get to the neighborhood.)

    I guess you have to go to Warm Springs to experience the inhumanity of it. You go up into an elevated corridor to get over not just the track but the bus station / road / bike lane thing. If you were headed for those things you have to stop and turn around and backtrack to get to them. Again contrast with Zurich Enge where people walk straight out of a mainline rail station, level platform, with direct transfer to a streetcar line.

  • I’m still trying to understand your proposal: A single, single-sided platform that only one train can connect to at a time? So a SB train waits if a NB train is already there?

    (The Zurich Enge location looks like 2 tracks with outer platforms.)

  • Jeffrey Baker

    I think a single platform would have been less costly, yes. It doesn’t seem like much of a constraint on scheduling. We’re talking about a station with 15-20 minute headway.

    Platforms on both sides with a subterranean passageway would also make sense.

    Either way, the fare gates should be at grade and passengers should exit the station immediately into bus stops.

  • jonobate

    It’s going to be the terminal station for less than a year, so there’s no point building a single platform only to have to add another in the near future.

    For the time it is a terminal station, it makes more sense to use a center platform rather than side platforms for reasons of operational flexibility.

    So a center platform does make sense, but more generally I agree that the station is monstrously overbuilt.

  • Jeffrey Baker

    You’re laying money on Milpitas opening this year?

  • jonobate

    Doesn’t really matter. Let’s assume for a minute that the Silicon Valley extension will take two years to open, not one. How does that change the argument? Is unnecessarily rebuilding a station after two years of operation significantly less dumb than unnecessarily rebuilding a station after one year of operation?

  • Jeffrey Baker

    I think you’re overstating the operational constraint posed by having one platform. It doesn’t matter if WARM is terminal or station, it has the same service frequency. If you look at Fremont which recently became not-a-terminal, you could stand on the platform all day long and not ever have a train in each side of you.

  • Drew Levitt

    I haven’t been to Warm Springs station yet, but will probably pass through there for some South East Bay cycling action soon. I wonder whether we’re overstating the extent to which the platform configuration contributes either to (1) an “inhumane” quality to the station or (2) construction cost.

    Many BART stations are inhumane, but I think that’s more because they are in a pretty poor state of repair and also marooned in a sea of parking, which can isolate them from connecting transit service as you said, Jeffrey. I don’t think the platform configuration substantially affects riders’ experience of the station.

    Meanwhile, having separate trackways and platforms for each direction has benefits both for operational flexibility and for universal access, including general user experience. It helps to be able to say, OK, if I want to go to Place X I get on the train at Platform Y. (It’s true that two different routes – Richmond and Daly City – serve the same platform at Warm Springs, but no need to make it even more confusing than that.)

    Jeffrey – how did you embed an interactive Google Maps iframe in your earlier comment?? That was really cool and I’d like to learn how to do it.

  • xplosneer

    While I agree with Jeff here, I want to add there are also ways of making even 2-track stations easily accessible, with wide ADA accessible ramps. It can mean a slightly longer station design but it means bike and ADA access without the elevator wait and without the elevator/escalator maintenance.

  • Guys, it’s an island platform. You stand on the platform and look at the signs that direct you to the side where the next train will be leaving. Most metro systems operate this way unless you’re dealing with multi-platform termini handling multiple lines. It can’t get much simpler than that and there’s no need to overcomplicate things by building separate platforms for each direction. It’s not like BART runs every couple minutes and you’re guessing which train will leave first. Even if it did, signs would indicate which train would be boarding and leaving.

  • Drew Levitt

    I remember many such stations in Berlin – often below street grade, with long gradual ramps from the sole entrance/exit down to the center platform. Ahh, Berlin.

  • xplosneer

    Constant question of why the united states cannot build these things as well as Europe did 20 years ago.

  • Drew Levitt

    1. Funding, funding, funding
    2. We’re out of practice on delivering large, complex non-auto infrastructure projects
    3. (Much) stronger regional governing institutions in Europe
    4. Different social conception of individualism vs collectivism

    Those are the big ones that come quickly to mind. What else, do you think?

  • John Murphy

    The center platform allows you to do timed transfers, which may happen if they have some trains terminating here and some going further.

  • Jeffrey Baker

    I think the 3rd rail electrical system complicates this idea, but I guess a BART train can tolerate a gap in the rail as long as several points on the train maintain contact with it?

  • Jeffrey Baker

    Regarding the map, Disqus does that automatically if you just paste in a Google Maps URL.

  • Joe Brant

    Once the new railcars come in, Warm Springs will be on a 7-8 minute headway, and probably 5-6 minutes with a new train control system.