Today’s Headlines

  • Plans to Calm Eddy Street (Hoodline)
  • More on Decline in Traffic Deaths in SF and NYC (Newsweek)
  • Jump Bikes Gets Permit (TechCrunch)
  • Supes Disgusted by 16th Street BART (SFBay)
  • Kim Calls for More Money for Sidewalk Cleanup (SFExaminer)
  • Oakland’s ‘Safe Haven’ Site (EastBayTimes)
  • AC Transit Director Fined (EastBayTimes, KQED)
  • Teen Robbed on Muni Bus (Hoodline)
  • More Salesforce Tower Impressions (Curbed)
  • More on Regional Measure 3 (SFChron)
  • More on Proposed Gasoline-Powered Car Ban (EastBayTimes)
  • Commentary: SMART Train Spends too Much (MarinIJ)

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

  • Sean

    I never thought I would agree with Dick Spotswood, but he is on to something. I don’t know why SMART wants to increase track speed to 80 mph on a single track system in between Windsor and Santa Rosa. I do think is part of a concerted effort of consultants to justify bigger expenses, which I see everywhere in transit.

  • re: 16th St. BART
    This is old news. VERY old news. The problems the station faces is endemic in this “world-class city.” You can gentrify the area with as much market rate housing and trendy restaurants as you like but it will never be cleaned up.

  • jonobate

    Track maintained to a higher standard is safer, even if the increased speed limit it allows is never used in practice.

    Compared to the SMART extension, BART’s extension to Berryessa is about 10 times as expensive per mile, and the Central Subway is about 50 times as expensive per mile. If you want to look at wasted cost in rail transit, there are much bigger fish to fry.

  • Sean

    While I agree that there are other projects that are far more wasteful, that comparison is apples and orange. This is existing track at grade with no electrification. MUNI and BART had to build new track, acquire ROW, electrify the track, and MUNI had to build a tunnel. I’d like to see most of the SMART ROW electrified and double tracked at some point, but upgrading 59 mph seems like a good interim solution that can be delivered quickly. I think there are several other rail projects that could really use some short term cheaper fixes right now. CAHSR/Upgrading AMTRAK come to mind.

  • DrunkEngineer

    Spotswood’s plan is idiotic.

    A temporary platform will have all kinds of ADA issues. Using the existing track (even as class 3) would make for a bumpy and unpleasant ride. And even if the agency saves $20 million, they don’t get to keep that money — it goes back to granting agency.

  • Sean

    Sounder in Seattle had a temporary platform in Kent for a few years with no ADA issues, and there is plenty of track with far more trains and ridership that is a lower class in the Bay Area, plus that could be upgraded as we get more money. The money saved could be put towards going further north to places like Cloverdale. Its a shame they build gauntlet track instead of just double tracking the stations.

  • John Murphy

    Spotswood is a gadfly who likes to act smart without knowing much.

    It’s not worth spending a cent to go to Windsor unless we do it right. As it stands, a huge chunk of Windsor is closer to the Airport station than it is to the Windsor Station! And if you want to board at Windsor, you need to be at the station 5+ minutes earlier than you’d need to be at the airport.

    Now, make that extension *slower* and it becomes a no-brainer just start your trip at the airport.

    More importantly it brings up operational issues. Short term, the placement of the passing tracks up and down the system were done with respect to the entirety of the system, not just the IOS. That presumes the expected speeds in Windsor.

    Medium term SMART would be “smart” to run some express trains, that could start in Windsor and skip the airport station completely. If so, the higher speeds add more value, you aren’t having to slow down in the section behind SCDS and standard structures.

  • John Murphy

    Another $20 million doesn’t do anything. It’s at least $150 million to get to Healdsburg. There are 2 bridges that need replacing, one of which – the much larger one – is in the Russian River Salmon and Steelhead run, endangered or threatened species. A lot of the ROW along Old Red has random informal easements and places where residents have paved over the tracks. It’s a giant mess.

    Cloverdale will never happen as far as you or I know. We’ll be dead.

  • Sean

    I am only using him as a strawman to show incremental changes could be something to look at. If you want to look at slow track speeds, look at Penngrove.

  • murphstahoe

    The bigger deal of course is that the whole track was painstakingly done with positive train control. They won’t be able to get that to work with this ancient track