Gaps

Supposing the first two sentences of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address had read like this?

“Four score and seven _________ our
______________forth____________ on ____________,
a new _________ in
Liberty, and dedicated to the
____________that all
_______________. Now we are
________ in a great _______,
____________that nation, or any
nation_________, can long endure.”

With such gaps, the Gettysburg Address would never have become one of the most enduring and beloved axioms in human history. The damage done to the Gettysburg Address by the above omissions is analogous to the damage done by the decades-old gaps in the Bay Area’s network of trains and buses. There is no better way to illustrate the dismal effect on travelers and public mobility of these gaps than to simply list them:

1. The lack of a fast rail shuttle connection via a rebuilt Dumbarton Rail Bridge between Union City and Redwood City, with connections to BART, the Altamont Commuter

2. Express (ACE), Amtrak and Caltrain.The lack of a significantly speeded-up and otherwise upgraded ACE system between Stockton and San Jose with connections to the Dumbarton rail shuttle and Amtrak.

3. The 1.3 mile gap between where Caltrain now stops and the $2.3 billion terminal waiting in downtown San Francisco, where Caltrain will link to 10 other rail lines, over 40 bus lines and tens of thousands of new transit-oriented housing.

4. The lack of a BART/Amtrak connection in West Oakland. As shown in the photo the ideal place for a transfer station between BART and Amtrak would be at the point where left/right BART line passes directly over the Amtrak tracks.

Gaps5. The lack of an efficient regional bus system, operating mostly on HOV lanes, to take people where BART doesn’t go and will probably never go.

6. The lack of an east-rail connection between the Marin-Sonoma rail service and the Fairfield Amtrak Station.

7. The bus loads of harried riders who continue to get bogged down in peak period gridlock.

8. AC Transit’s low ability to attract riders who are not transit-dependent. Catering to only the transit-dependent is no longer enough, if it ever was. There are simply too many riders of choice in the Bay Area to ignore.

9. Thanks to decades of inaction on the part of MTC, it is now unlikely that the Central Bay Area will see another subaqueous rail tube before 2060. What happens from the time BART runs out of transbay carrying capacity and the time the needed second rail crossing is up and running? No one says.

10. The multitudinous gaps in bus service within and between Bay Area transit agencies.

After saying and doing virtually nothing about these and other service gaps during his 18 year stint as the head of the Region’s transportation agency, former MTC Director, presumably seeking to curry favor with his new bosses in San Francisco, now calls for congestion pricing. Anyone with even a superficial understanding of the situation would recognize the need to launch an aggressive program designed to bring the non-automotive travel modes up to standard first, and then take further action if and as necessary to bring City and regional traffic congestion down to manageable levels.