Posts Tagged ‘BART’

Don’t count on Monday morning bridge reopening

Safety engineers were still testing the most recent repairs to the Bay Bridge over the weekend, and the word mid-Sunday afternoon is: don’t count on the bridge being available for the Monday morning commute. Better plan alternatives. Update @ 5:20 pm: That’s confirmed, no Monday morning on the bridge.

Pictures show an eerily empty toll plaza, an eerily empty bridge, and stuffed BART trains. Meanwhile, a car thief blew through barricades in San Francisco and led police on a chase over the closed bridge, and most people in San Francisco today completely forgot there was any problem at all, since it’s a gorgeous, sunny, warm 1st of November.

Full Bay Area rail map makes Marin exclusion painfully obvious


Back when BART was being planned in the 1960s, each Bay Area county decided whether or not to support it, and the original system (map) — as it existed from the 1970s to the 1990s — reflected the fact that both Marin and San Mateo Counties were left out of BART. (The stations built in San Mateo County south of Daly City station, connecting BART to San Francisco International Airport and to Caltrain in Millbrae, are the result of several whoops-I-guess-it’s-actually-a-good-idea votes in the late 90s.) This new map of all Bay Area rail (large .gif file) by SF Cityscape highlights Marin County’s isolation. (Courtesy CurbedSF)

It’s a local urban myth that snobbish Marin voters rejected BART because they feared it would bring the hoi polloi to its gentle shores. But the truth is more complicated. As told in the book “Paying the Toll: Local Power, Regional Politics, and the Golden Gate Bridge,” by Louise Nelson Dyble, the 1962 decision to eliminate Marin from the BART district was the result of Golden Gate Bridge District intransigence and indecision by the Marin County Board of Supervisors. Read a page of the book from the Google Books scan.

‘Nearest Tube’ stop to become ‘Nearest Subway’ in SF

The British company acrossair is supposed to expand its “Nearest Tube” application for the iPhone 3GS — changed to “Nearest Subway” for the US market — to San Francisco today. The app uses GPS to overlay a subway map on the phone’s live video feed to tell users where the nearest station is.

It should be a simple feat in San Francisco, which has only two subway lines. But checking the acrossair website shows information only for the London and New York versions, and even those are said to be “launching as soon as Apple approves it!”

Update a day later: Speaking of BART, Streetsblog draws attention to the transit system’s “data transparency,” meaning that it allows anyone to use live data from its train control system to build applications, and lists the resulting applications on its website.

Public Transportation 2.0

The Bay Area is is known as the hub for bleeding edge technology, and now public transportation is taking advantage of it. Bart, Muni and Caltrain have easy to use online services to find your way around the city and keep up-to-date on the latest travel alerts.

Bart is now on Twitter – providing the latest train delays and other interesting Bart news from and for commuters. You can get the updates directly to your phone through text messages. In addition, the account also responds to your questions. Recently I was having some problems with my Bart cards de-magnetizing and complained about the process to get a refund. The SFBart Twitter account promptly responded with some advice.

Here’s an example of a useful and timely update from SFBart: “There is a 15-20 minute delay at Embarcadero in the Daly City / SFO /Millbrae direction due to an equipment problem on a train.”

SF Bart is also getting into the community spirit and has a funny and somewhat unofficial blog where you can see what commuters are up to.

Caltrain is taking an even more progressive community approach by allowing its passengers to provide updates to the Caltrain Twitter accounts:
and the bicycle car More information on how you can participate and provide Caltrain updates to the Twitter account is here:

If you don’t have a Twitter account, maybe now is the time to sign up or you can subscribe to the RSS feed off those pages.

Muni takes advantage of NextBus, a site that tells you when your bus will arrive via the website, Mobile Internet or SMS alerts.

If you want an easy way to plan your trips using public transportation, try out Type in your start and ending address and the time you want to depart or arrive, and it will give you options using Bart, Muni and Caltrain. has a list of other useful services such as Dadnab which is text messaging service that plans your trips on city transit.

With all of these new fangled ways to plan out your trip using public transportation that make getting around the Bay Area that much easier, who needs a car?

BART closes shooting investigation as demonstrations continue

BART closed its investigation today into the police shooting of an unarmed passenger in the early hours of New Year’s Day without any testimony from the police officer who shot the man.

Former officer Johannes Mehserle, who resigned from the force last week without ever talking to investigators, claimed his 5th amendment rights against self-incrimination. Meanwhile, California Attorney General Jerry Brown assigned an investigator to the case.

A demonstration last week in Oakland turned violent, with 120 people arrested, several cars burned, and storefronts damaged.

Demonstrators were gathering at this hour in San Francisco for another demonstration. (The last link courtesy SFist.) Update: The SF protest was relatively peaceful, with no arrests. You can read the somewhat juvenile account by a demonstrator on Indymedia.

Breaking: BART to San Jose may pass after all

Update to the story below as of 1720h PST: The San Jose Mercury News is reporting that with 9800 ballots remaining, Measure B has passed the 66.67 percent mark.

The ballot initiative to fund a BART extension to San Jose may have squeaked by, KNTV was reporting this afternoon. Though initial balloting showed the measure falling short of the required two-thirds majority, mail-in ballots are turning the tide.

With 17,000 of 42,000 mail-in ballots still to be counted, the vote to fund the 22-mile BART extension with a 1/8-cent Santa Clara County sales tax was 66.61 percent yes; the measure, like any tax increase in California since the 1978 passage of Proposition 13, requires at least a 66.67 percent yes vote.

If the Bart-to-San Jose tax passes, it would complete a surprising trifecta of voter support for mass transit projects at a time when local and state budgets are tight. Earlier this month, voters in Marin and Sonoma Counties passed a rail initiative, and statewide Proposition 1A also passed, kicking off the state’s bullet train project.

My Cup of Joe

Peets @Embarcadero Station

As I exited the Embarcadero BART/Muni station, contemplating my public transportation frustrations, I noticed the spectacle pictured above.

At first glance, I thought nothing of it. I remembered the construction walls were up for the better part of the year. Once I realized the change in scenery, I hopped down the escalator (I was going up) to snap a a picture.

I don’t know what compelled me. Maybe it was the thought of looking forward to a nice Cup of Joe after expelling myself from one of my most frustrating morning rituals: dealing with the N-Judah on a daily basis. (I mean, come on! How many people can you fit in one train during rush hour?)

It seemed like the light at the end of a very long tunnel. And then I thought of how much better life would be if Muni would invest just as much into running their trains on time, or having an adequate amount of trains during rush hour. Of course, being from the South (as in Southern California), I really can’t complain about public transportation. Muni is by far the best in comparison.

Still, I really do despise the N-Judah with every fiber of my being. But, the bright side is that after waiting up to 20 minutes* for a 30 minute* ride in a sardine-packed streetcar, I’ll get to wait in what I expect to be a very long line of aggrevated train riding coffee drinkers. Oh joy! [/Sarcasm]

The real bright side is that this might mean the lines will probably lessen a bit aboveground!

Check out the San Francisco Business Times article if you’re not hip to the BART/Peets news.

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