Posts Tagged ‘Transit’

We don’t need CalTrain for bullet trains, says HSR

California’s High Speed Rail Commission, the agency tasked with getting bullet trains running up and down the state sometime this century, says CalTrain’s “staggering deficit” and possible collapse will not keep it from proceeding with its plans.

Just because the local transit agency, which runs trains from San Francisco to San Jose (and Gilroy, at commute times), is facing drastic cuts to its schedule, even a possible shutdown, doesn’t mean the bullet train project can’t go forward. High speed rail would share the CalTrain right-of-way from Gilroy north (click for a Google map overlay of the bullet train route), and if CalTrain can’t hold it together in the decade or two before the bullet trains arrive, the High Speed Rail Commission might just take over CalTrain. At least that was the idea “floated” by HSR board member Rod Diridon, long-time transit mandarin. After all, they’re both essentially state agencies.

The map shows some details of the HSR plan on the Peninsula, where some sections would be in a trench, some on an elevated way, some at grade level.

Meanwhile, the threat of a lawsuit forced the CalTrain board to put on hold the long-planned electrification of the line. Inexplicably, the lawsuit is from an environmental group, even though electrification would make the line less polluting. Right now it seems CalTrain can’t do anything right.

The cost of living in the Bay Area

urban_land_institute_logoA liberal think tank, the Urban Land Institute, has issued a report on the cost to working people of living in the Bay Area. The report, Bay Area Burden, examines the impact on working people of high costs of housing and transportation, looks at how proximity to mass transit helps relieve the burden, and asks policymakers to take working people’s needs into account when making land use decisions.

Their website, bayareaburden.org, has a Housing + Transportation Calculator that’s fun to play with.

Full Bay Area rail map makes Marin exclusion painfully obvious

marin_co_fail

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.

High speed rail contract put off

train_wreckCalifornia’s High Speed Rail Authority delayed a vote to award a $9 million public relations contract when some commission members let it be known that the contract was about to be awarded to some cronies of Gov. Arnold Schwartzenegger, and that two of the three commission members who recommended the PR firm used to work with one of its principals.

Wasn’t Schwartzenegger elected by promising not to do business as usual?

San Joaquin trains now on Google Transit

san_joaquin_routeCourtesy Jackson West, this post on the Trillium Solutions blog: Amtrak’s San Joaquin trains, which run between San Jose, Martinez, and Bakersfield, are now in the Google Transit system.

That means you can see them listed among mass transit options when planning your trip to the Buck Owens Crystal Palace or to see the awesome classic neon signs that Thomas Hawk recently blogged about.

I said when planning your trip. It’s Amtrak, you know, so don’t time things too closely. That said, the Capitol Corridor and San Joaquin trains are said to be among the best in on-time performance.

Trains near LA, Chicago and New York City have also been added.

Public transportation 2.1

I was inspired by Tara’s post, Public Transportation 2.0, to add more than a comment.

When I was in Bangalore in 2007, I was struck by the utility of the ubiquitous motorized rickshaws, known locally as autocabs or just autos:

Any visitor to Asia has seen these things, since they’re in every Asian city. And they are cheap and they are everywhere. When I mentioned them to one of the panjandrums of the Bay Area public transportation scene, the executive director of one of the NGOs that lobbies for transportation policy, he was dismissive. “Oh, the tuk-tuks,” he said. “They clog up the streets, and they pollute. That’s not what we need. We need commuter rail that goes everywhere.”

Oh, fine, Mr. Bay Area Transit Boss! So I’m on my way to work in the morning. Never mind how I get to the BART station; I take a train across the bay to, say, Ashby. Now that I have alighted at your gigantor 1970s-era concrete monster BART station, I need to get to work, 2.3 miles away. It’s too far to walk. I could wait 20 minutes for a bus, and then that bus would take 20 minutes to poke along for the two miles, making my trip to work take over an hour… And that’s why I drive every day instead.

Read more

‘Temporary Transbay Terminal’ will be a block farther from Market St.

Map showing present TransBay Terminal and Temporary Transbay TerminalThe Transbay Joint Powers Authority, charged with replacing the present Transbay Terminal with a new, intermodal terminal possibly including a bullet train terminus, has revealed plans to relocate operations to a “Temporary Transbay Terminal” one block farther south and a block and a half east, to a spot bounded by Howard, Main, Folsom and Beale Streets. Click the thumbnail for a graphic showing the present terminal and the temporary new location.

The present Transbay Terminal primarily serves AC Transit buses for East bay commuters; Greyhound also has its San Francisco terminal there. Both these services will move to the temporary location.

Judging from drawings showing “prospective” appearance, the temporary terminal will be a circle of bus shelters with a few planters. The temporary terminal will displace a large parking lot whose customers are urged to consider alternatives, including not driving into the city at all. The parking lot will close Oct. 31, 2008 for construction of the temporary affair.

Golden Gate Bridge toll goes to $6 cash Tuesday

Tomorrow the toll to cross the Golden Gate Bridge goes to $6 cash, $5 for FasTrak. Don’t get caught short.

The Golden Gate Bridge District, which is not managed by the Calif. Dept. of Transportation or CalTrans, sets its own tolls. The fare to cross CalTrans bridges in the Bay Area, including the Bay Bridge, remains at $4.

If you’re new in town and don’t understand which bridges we mean, here are the Golden Gate and Bay Bridges. Flickr photo by user brothergrimm.

Riding transit to ‘Spare the Air’? Bring a book

acetrain_cfu.jpgThough high gas prices and “Spare the Air” days like today have more passengers than ever riding public transit — including the ACE Train that runs from Stockton in the central valley to Silicon Valley — sometimes they can’t win for losing. Yesterday the ACE trains were threatened by the heat wave now torturing inland areas, with 110+ temperatures hot enough to warp steel rails. Train workers had to walk in front of the train to make sure the rails weren’t damaged by the heat, delaying the trains one to two hours.

At least there have been no reports of BART delays due to the heat, as in the May heat wave.

Muni Transit Effectiveness Project community meetings

The SF Transit Effectiveness Project (TEP) community meetings kicked off this week. On 4/19 at West Portal Elementary was the first meeting, with meetings upcoming on the following dates/places.

In April and May, the TEP will share preliminary proposals for Muni service changes and reliability improvements at a series of 11 community meetings throughout San Francisco. With your help, a revitalized Muni system will not only benefit current transit customers, but will improve mobility for everyone who lives, works in or visits San Francisco. Interpretation in Cantonese and Spanish will be provided, and there will be a Fast Pass raffle at each meeting.

  • 4.24 – 6pm – The SF Jewish Community Center – map
  • 4.26 – 10:30am – Dianne Feinstein Elementary – map
  • 4.28 – 6pm – Southeast Community Facility – map
  • 4.30 – 6pm – City College Mission Campus – map

Meetings will continue into May, for a full schedule visit the meetings page on the TEP website.

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