Today’s Headlines

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

  • re: downtown extension

    Just give it up, folks. Twenty years ago voters wanted it and it hasn’t come. Nor will it in the next decade. Just build an elevated automated people move (like Airtrain), for a fraction of the cost, that runs between STC and 4th/Townsend and then over to the new arena. Make it a free transfer for transit riders. Call it a day.

  • sf in sf

    No transit project is more critical to the Bay Area’s future than the Caltrain downtown extension. You can see from bikeshare data that by far the most popular use for bikeshare is to fill the gap between Caltrain and the Market Street BART/Muni Metro spine. Uber, Lyft and scooter data would likely show the same thing.

    Caltrain and BART are both in the midst of major investments to beef up their capacity, but instead of connecting, our two regional rail transit services have a mile gap in the urban core — exactly where demand for transit is highest. And for Caltrain, the future transit center terminal will double its utility. There are more jobs within a mile of the Transbay/”Salesforce” Transit Center than within a mile of every existing Caltrain station put together. That’s how big DTX is. I couldn’t agree more with Gerald Cauthen’s op-ed: let’s get it done.

  • How many decades are we going to read about these op-eds about DTX, new Transbay tube, BART under Geary, improving Muni, etc. Expect another fantasy transit map or contest to appear in the coming months.

    The solution lies within the same governing bodies and elected officials who either created or exacerbated the problem. Until they step up and actually do something then the op-eds will continue, but less frequently, as the reality of the situation finally sinks in.

  • thielges

    “There are more jobs within a mile of the Transbay/”Salesforce” Transit
    Center than within a mile of every existing Caltrain station put
    together.”

    And this is how the value proposition of DTX should be framed. It should not be “4 billion for a 1.3 mile extension” because everyone who reads that will perform the division and puke at the cost per mile. Instead it should be :

    – double the amount of jobs within walking distance of Caltrain
    – double(triple?) the amount of rail connections to Caltrain

    View spatially, DTX seems really expensive. Viewed in terms of transportation economics and efficiency it makes much more sense.

  • Jeffrey Baker

    If SF was planning to pay for it, that would be a compelling argument, but when you frame it that way and we’re all supposed to chip in you really are highlighting the way that SF stands to disproportionately benefit from causing our regional housing crisis.

  • sf in sf

    Not sure I follow the argument. You mean because San Francisco gets tax revenue from the jobs? But most of the offices Caltrain would newly reach were built before 1980, predating the housing crisis. A better rail link also makes East Bay office space more valuable because it’s more accessible from the Peninsula/South Bay, and vice versa.

  • DTX on its own isn’t going to do anything to solve a housing crisis. “Crisis” being defined as lack of accessibility, insufficient housing stock, and price points out of the reach of the majority of residents. It will, however, bring Caltrain downtown. That’s about it. (You have to leave HSR out of the equation because of its uncertainty.) If I live in the Richmond and work down in San Mateo I’m not going to take Caltrain to my job…spend 45 minutes on the 38 or other bus line to the STC only to wait for a train to head me back in the other direction? Thanks, but I’ll drive.

    DTX isn’t going to make BART or Muni more efficient.

    sf in sf’s comment focuses on “jobs.” Huge difference if you view Caltrain as a commuter rail system instead of a 24/7 mass transit system.

  • Same can be said for rail under Geary. “Busiest bus line west of the Mississippi in an area that moves nearly 100,000 riders on a handful of bus lines, not to mention the development opportunity in/around stations.”

    Every construction project has a huge price tag and is mismanaged (before, during and after construction).

  • sf in sf

    I know a married couple one half of whom works in Martinez and the other half in Oyster Point in South San Francisco. These kinds of situations are common. There is no great place for them to live and both have decent commutes, but integrating the region’s rail transit makes things a lot better.

  • In this example, integration would be Caltrain to downtown SF and then under the Bay to the East Bay to connect to Emeryville and points north (including Martinez) and JLS and points south. THAT is integration, but a $2B bus station that is decades away from rail and currently doesn’t even have a darn tunnel to link with existing Muni/BART systems on Market St. Yes, a tunnel. NYC subway has a million of them linking different rail systems (Penn Station/WTC/GCS) and subway lines. It’s ridiculous that a bus rider getting off at the STC has to walk about to Market St. and then enter either Montgomery or Embarcadero station. At the bare minimum a tunnel should have been built in phase 1. But, clearly not a priority.

    In terms of better integration, Washington, DC is thinking the same thing by combining VRE and MARC so that a VRE train entering Union Station from VA continues into MD. And vice versa.