Weekend Roundup: East Bay’s Transit Month, Progress on J.F.K.

...and BART scraps last of its lemons from the 1990s

Friday morning's rally in Oakland for better transit. Photo: Ian Griffiths
Friday morning's rally in Oakland for better transit. Photo: Ian Griffiths

Here are a few Streetsblog news nuggets to start your weekend.

East Bay Transit Advocates pile on push for better transit.

Some 50 transit advocates and elected officials joined an event Friday in Latham Square, Oakland to call for service restorations and transit priority. “This is a critical moment for transit in the East Bay. It seems like every ten years, recession forces us to cut service. That forces riders into cars. For our climate and social justice we need to re-invest in our system operations with new revenue sources,” said Darrell Owens, Vice Chair of East Bay Transit Riders Union and one of the speakers at the event.

The Latham Square meeting was part of the larger “Transit Month” celebrations throughout the Bay Area, focused on getting service back up to and beyond pre-pandemic levels. According to a release from Seamless Bay Area, which aims to integrate schedules and fares among the Bay Area’s 30-some transit operators, the event was a chance to:

  • Show support for public transit for its vital role for our communities
  • Thank operators and employees for their tireless work
  • Call everyone to use transit more
  • Support the post-pandemic restoration and further expansion of transit, including redesigning our streets to prioritize transit.

For more information on Transit Month and how you can get involved, check out the website.

Supervisor Connie Chan promotes a fully car-free J.F.K.?

JFKbooth

Supervisor Connie Chan hasn’t made a lot of friends lately in the safe-and-livable streets community with her support for closing the Great Walkway (turning it back into a highway for the de-facto exclusive use of motorists). But she released a J.F.K. Drive letter this week that seems pretty promising. From advocate Emily Huston on Twitter:

Streetsblog will be keeping an eye on this. As one can see in the Twitter thread, several advocates were skeptical about de Young Director Thomas Campbell’s call for preserving “safe access for people with disabilities” for those who must “must drive.” That doesn’t make any sense, because the museum has an underground garage with a dedicated underground roadway connecting to Fulton Street. The garage has 800 parking spaces, including ADA spaces right in front of the museum’s entrance. Banning cars on J.F.K. drive has nothing to do with museum access. But the “legislation text includes motorist access onto JFK at 8th Ave for ADA parking *on JFK drive*” points out Great Walkway advocates on the thread.

Still, it’s a very encouraging sign that the letter is apparently endorsed by the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition and Walk San Francisco. Let’s hope any pernicious details can be amended out. Be sure to check out the thread.

BART scraps the last of its lemons

BART C2 train. Image: Wikimedia Commons
BART C2 train. Image: Wikimedia Commons

BART trains are not all created equal.

BART is achieving certain milestones as it slowly replaces its legacy fleet. Last week the agency scrapped the last of its C2 trains, seen above. Out of all of BART’s old trains, the C2, purchased 30 years ago, had a bad history of breakdowns. BART was happy to see them go.

From a BART release:

The last of BART’s most problem-plagued 1990s-era train cars, known as C2 cars, has left the building. The C2s had more than their share of issues affecting riders and workers and were strategically targeted to be the first cars in the legacy fleet completely decommissioned. The last one was scrapped in August.

C2s were the most likely to have HVAC breakdowns leading to hot cars and rider misery. The operator cab was cramped with failure-prone sash windows. Engineers and mechanics had to come up with do-it-yourself fixes for problems like overshooting windshield wipers and passenger doors that popped off their tracks, taking cars out of service and causing delays.

BART, meanwhile, has 23 new “fleet of the future” trains in service. As Streetsblog reported in August, the agency is still working with the manufacturer to iron out teething issues with the new fleet.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

A J Church replacement bus. Photo: Ian Griffiths

Guest Commentary: How the Bay Area can rebuild a stronger, more resilient transit system

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Just as SFMTA can easily replace light rail service with buses to respond to an emergency, the Bay Area should be able to quickly restructure service in a coordinated way to protect public safety and while ensuring essential workers can get to their jobs. Our region’s lack of an empowered lead authority for transportation means each transit agency makes decisions in silos, resulting less access for everyone — and a more challenging recovery.