Labor Day Weekend Roundup

Short updates and a reminder to appreciate labor's contributions this holiday weekend

Workers offloading girders for HSR's Fresno trench. Photo: CAHSRA
Workers offloading girders for HSR's Fresno trench. Photo: CAHSRA

Streetsblog will not be publishing tomorrow/Friday or Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 3.

However, before we go, there are a few short items of interest going into this long weekend:

California High-Speed Rail Construction Update

HSR construction, seen here in Kings County, is continuing throughout the state. Photo: CAHSRA
HSR construction, seen here in Kings County, is continuing throughout the state. Photo: CAHSRA

It seems appropriate, going into the Labor Day weekend, to acknowledge some of the labor going on in the Bay Area and throughout the state. The California High Speed Rail Authority has released an update on construction activities throughout the Central Valley. The viaducts, bridges, trenches, etc. are really taking shape. Of course, with this kind of rail project, the strategy is to get the right-of-way constructed, including all bridges, etc., so in the next phase track-laying equipment can roll down the completed ROW and put down the ties, ballast, and rails.

From the section of the September CAHSRA update about work to construct the ROW under State Route 180 in Fresno:

A crane sets pre-cast concrete girders over the northern section of the Fresno Trench, near downtown Fresno. Nearly 40 girders were placed over two days in August, while closer to State Route 180 (SR 180), work continued on a drainage structure that will relocate a 60-inch storm sewer line to the north side of the highway (Below). Crews have approximately 15 feet more to excavate before they reach the bottom of the trench where a concrete box will be constructed that will carry the trains under SR 180, a rail spur, and the Dry Creek Canal.

Work can also be seen closer to home–Caltrain electrification, which the California high speed rail program helped finance, is humming along. At some point in the future these two projects will come together, forming a continuous electrified rail line from San Francisco to Bakersfield–and then on to Los Angeles (key words there are “at some point.”)

The San Francisco Transit Riders Gear up for ‘Transit Week’

Workers in the Twin Peaks Tunnel. Image: SFMTA
Workers in the Twin Peaks Tunnel. Image: SFMTA

‘Transit Week’ will start Sept. 24 and is billed as a celebration of the 350,000 people who ride Muni every day, as well as the operators and construction workers who keep everything running. The Transit Riders, as in years past, will be using the event to push for cleaner trains and buses, and more punctual service. Key to that is getting the lawmakers who decide the agency’s budgets and policies to ride. That’s why, as part of Transit Week, the group is “asking Mayor Breed, district supervisors, the SFMTA and BART Board of Directors to pledge to ride transit all week long.”

From their release:

When our city and state leaders regularly ride public transit, they better understand the rider’s daily experience and the need to invest in our transit systems. A smaller version of our acclaimed 22-day Muni Challenge, this is an opportunity for our officials to promote their own commitment to public transportation, showcasing they care about the future of the Bay Area. We’ll update you soon on who’s pledging this year.

Transit Week will also include panel discussions, parties, and more.

BART getting Cleaner?

Cleaning a BART station. Image: BART
Cleaning a BART station. Image: BART

BART is hiring cleaning supervisors to patrol stations, looking for spills, gunk and graffiti. The supervisors do the patrols randomly and then order janitorial staff to clean up anything that needs it, just to keep everybody on the cleaning staffs proactive and on their toes.

From BART’s profile of Luis Villatoro, one of its new supervisors:

He spends most of every shift on his feet, walking the stations to inspect cleanliness. The pattern is random, so workers don’t know exactly when he will be checking out their areas. It’s a twofold goal: quality control, making sure cleaning employees are performing the necessary duties; and being an extra set of eyes to spot things that need attention.

Streetsblog is curious if readers have noticed any difference in cleanliness from the new program. Post your comments below.


A parting thought before the holiday. The pictures on the CAHSRA site are quite impressive, but one thing they can’t fully convey is how physically demanding it is to work in the Central Valley in the summer. If you’ve never worn jeans and a hard hat while doing tough manual labor on a 96 F degree day (the average summer high in Fresno), you can’t fully appreciate the contribution the workers in the lead image make to our state. Whether you ride a train, take a bus, drive a car, drink water, or go to the toilet, remember to take a moment this Labor Day weekend to remember all the sweat and, sadly, sometimes blood that goes into building and maintaining all the infrastructure we take for granted to make our lives full, safe and healthy.

Streetsblog wishes its readers a safe and fun weekend. We’ll be back with all things Streetsie on Tuesday, Sept. 4.

  • The best way to show appreciation for daily transit riders is to keep things running on time and keep the stations clean!

  • Two weeks into taking Balboa Park BART to/from work every day I have yet to see any police presence on the platform. Yesterday morning a homeless person was creating havoc. The morning prior someone smoking weed on the platform and someone else evading the fare gates. I have also yet to see any police presence on the Montgomery St. platform…but did see a pair walking and laughing to each other on the mezzanine.

  • lasertag

    BART needs higher turnstiles in order to combat fare evaders.

  • crazyvag

    Let’s not go for turnstiles, please. They are slow and annoying to use.

    The current state of the art gates are higher and remain open at all times. They remain open and close only if your ticket is invalid or one is not presented. This reduces the wear and tear by 95% percent of you assume that one in 20 people has an expired ticket. It also speeds entry since it eliminates wait for gate to open.

  • p_chazz

    If the gates remain open at all times until no ticket or an invalid ticket is presented, what is to stop a fare evader? If no ticket is presented, the gates close, but wouldn’t a fare evader still be able to gain entry to the paid area of the station, since the gates would reopen if they were obstructed.

  • Affen_Theater

    Can you (or someone) please post a link to a video (YouTube, perhaps) that show the operation of this new “state of the art” gate that stays open until a person attempts to enter without presenting a valid ticket? What are some systems that use such gates?

  • crazyvag

    Gate would be designed to be long enough to prevent that. In other words, gate funnels passengers into a 6-foot long path with a sensor placed 5 feet before the gate, giving it enough time to close.

    See 1:30 in this video:


California's HSR project, under construction, outside of Fresno. Photo: Streetsblog/Rudick

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