More on Smoke, Bikes on Caltrain, and BART Tunnels for this Weekend Roundup

Rides will be free today on several Bay Area transit systems because of the smoky conditions. Photo: SFMTA
Rides will be free today on several Bay Area transit systems because of the smoky conditions. Photo: SFMTA

Lots of news items on this Friday. First, the smoky conditions show no signs of abating, so another reminder to use a mask and be careful out there. Along those lines:

Transit Agencies Offer Free Service: To help people avoid long, strenuous walks or bike rides in this toxic air, Mayor Breed has instructed Muni to allow people to ride for free today.

From the SFMTA release:

San Francisco’s air quality has moved from red or “unhealthy” to purple or “very unhealthy” due to local wildfires and weather patterns. The Department of Public Health highly recommends that everyone stay indoors and avoid exposure to the outside air. As a result, Mayor London Breed requested that all Muni service be free tomorrow, Friday, November 16th, to ensure that all people have access to enclosed transportation during this time.

According to Muni, passengers are permitted to board without a transfer and should not tag the Clipper readers. In addition, cable car service is suspended.

The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) and SamTrans are also offering free rides. If you ride the bus, keep the windows closed!

A photo from last year's walk/World Day of Remembrance for Traffic Victims. Photo: Streetsblog/Rudick
A photo from last year’s walk/World Day of Remembrance for Traffic Victims. Photo: Streetsblog/Rudick

World Day of Remembrance for Traffic Victims Moving Indoors: Also due to the terrible air quality, Sunday’s walk to remember victims of traffic violence has been adjusted. “Walk part cancelled. We’ll have a memorial gathering from 3-4:30, with stations folks can go to to honor their loved ones. Press conference at 4:00,” wrote Walk SF’s Cathy DeLuca, in an email to Streetsblog. The memorial will be held at the Koret Auditorium at the San Francisco Public Library, 100 Larkin Street. Check the Walk SF website for more details and updates.

A Caltrain bike-car. Photo: Shirley Johnson
A Caltrain bike-car. Photo: Shirley Johnson

Caltrain Wants YOU for its Bicycle Advisory Committee: Caltrain is seeking volunteers to meet every other month and help them update their bicycle policies.

From the agency’s web page:

Caltrain’s Bicycle Advisory Committee (BAC) serves as the primary venue for the interests and perspectives of bicyclists to be integrated into the Caltrain planning processes. This group brings new ideas for discussion and helps Caltrain guide its future investments.

Applications are due Friday, November 30, and are available on the Caltrain website or by calling 650-508-6391.

The BAC meets every other month at 5:45 p.m. in San Carlos, just one block from the San Carlos Caltrain Station.

A possible alignment for the second Transbay tube. Image: BART
A possible alignment for the second Transbay tube. Image: BART

BART Continues Planning on a Second Bay Crossing: Not exactly a news item, but BART wants people to know that it is gradually moving forward on planning for a second Bay crossing. The idea would be for the new tunnel to include both standard gauge rail tracks and the wider BART tracks. According to the agency, the standard-gauge tracks would help knit up the entire mega region, by allowing through service on Amtrak, Caltrain, and High-speed rail across the Bay.

When will we be able to ride trains through the second set of tunnels?

From the most recent BART release:

BART hopes to begin construction on the second crossing in about ten years. There’s little time to waste: despite BART’s plan to increase capacity through the existing Transbay Tube, planners project demand for transbay transit will outpace capacity by 2040 in medium or high demand growth scenarios.

Of course, before any of the Bay Area’s standard-gauge trains can cross the Bay, they have to get to downtown San Francisco. And there’s still the little matter of the downtown extension to get them there.

  • How many decades are we waiting for a 1 mile DTX? And BART keeps dreaming about a second tube that is clearly two generations away from ever seeing a train. And opponents lament that it’s going to cost a major fortune in 2040 dollars (because it will). Meanwhile, traffic will continue to worsen and sprawl will expand. Way to (not) go, Bay Area!

  • Chris

    If the second crossing serves Alameda, it should be contingent on Alameda allowing high-density development near the station(s) on Alameda.

  • Jeffrey Baker

    In addition, they should close all BART station that aren’t completely surrounded by intense development by 2025.

  • LazyReader

    Before you get in a tizzy about Climate change, behold the wildfires aren’t the result of the Earth’s temp rising a degree. California’s wildfires are the result of two things, it’s land management and water laws has are what exacerbated the fire problem. For the
    last 100 years, the big cities and agriculture business have pulled water from the Colorado river, Sierra Nevada mountains and sub surface wells and springs which have been tapped to accommodate domestic water consumption so LA County residents and suburbanites can have jungle plants in a xeric climate. Combine a drastic reduction in the natural ground water, the replacement of native vegetation with weedy, invasive (and oil rich plants like Eucalyptus) is a recipe for disaster. So the subsurface water has been depleted; California’s forests have lost significant ground water; soil moisture has heavily declined.

    Add onto that, the federal and state government, 57% of the states forests owned by the feds. Both federal and state regulators were making it more and more difficult for them to do their jobs. As a result, timber industry employment gradually collapsed. Timber permits grew in cost, people who felled trees and planted them for a living looked for work elsewhere. Combustible fuel wood built and built to a level, that a catastrophic blaze was predictable… California spends 10 times more money subsidizing electric cars than clearing flammable brush. Woodwaste like twigs, branches and leaves/needles unusable for timber that were burned for electric power, were once prevalent in the state, when the state and feds started subsidizing renewable power to the tune of billions, the artificially deflated solar power and wind power replaced wood burning plants as a source of electricity the demand for wood fuel collapsed. With no demand for wood there was no demand to extract wood and the available fuel grew in volume, instead of burning safely in power plants the fuel now burns horribly in the wild. The policies frequently reduce the economic value of the forest to zero. And, with no intrinsic worth remaining, interest in maintaining the forest declined, and with it, resources to reduce the fuel load. And Now, it’s all burning up on log at a time.

    California’s ambitious plans to tackle climate change all by itself is dubious and laughable, One years worth of Coal construction in China matches all of the states annual emissions.

  • Because we see that the strip mall/tract home Alameda Landing development is such a great example of doing it all wrong. Most likely an Alameda station will have a big parking structure attached to accommodate drivers. The only alternative is having two stations to serve the two major commercial districts, but Alameda likes its small town feel and not want stations in its commercial districts. I know, that doesn’t make sense, but refer to the Livermore BART extension for logic.
    To Jeffrey’s point…closing all stations not surrounded by development misses the point. Density and height is a city issue, not BART. How many decades has it taken for Oakland to build next to Fruitvale? OTOH, in SF, Calle 24 continuously opposes major development adjacent to the Mission St. BART stations so you have local neighborhood/NIMBY opposition to contend with as well..

  • Flatlander

    Wow, he thinks that we use all this water for residential uses and not agriculture.

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