Central Subway Problems Persist

A SF Examiner Op-Ed, January 19, 2018 by Gerald Cauthen. 

Have you ever wondered how the Central Subway project, a 1.7-mile rail extension of Muni’s Third Street line from Fourth and King to Chinatown, managed to get so bollixed up? Here’s a brief history of what happened:


At the end of 2017, it was announced the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s Central Subway manager, John Funghi, was leaving his post for the $1.6 billion project to work on Caltrain electrification. His departure came shortly after Tutor-Perini, the station contractor, released a report Nov. 1, 2017, showing that the project is more than two years behind schedule and burdened with more than 1,300 construction contractor claims outstanding — only 73 of which had at that time been addressed by the SFMTA — leaving the remaining 94 percent awaiting “processing.”

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Another BART Success Story

BATWG, an independent group of volunteers, is often critical of Bay Area transportation policies and practices. However once in a while a project comes along that engenders respect. BART’s new Diesel Multiple Unit (DMU) line running between the Pittsburgh Bay Point BART terminal and Antioch is such a project. The new line began carrying paying customers on May 26, 2018. By all accounts it is proving to be an outstanding success.

DMU1Most impressively, the 10-mile extension including vehicles was completed at a per mile cost of less than one sixth the estimated cost of building the much ballyhooed all-BART extension to Livermore.

The DMU project is notable for several reasons:  Continue reading

Getting DTX Underway

Gerald Cauthen. Published in the SF Examiner (6/28/2018)

The Bay Area Transportation Working Group (BATWG) and many San Francisco transit advocacy groups have long supported the Caltrain Downtown Extension project (DTX). DTX will create a high quality north-south alternative to driving into San Francisco. It was defined in November 1999 by 69.9 percent of the voters of San Francisco as the No. 1 transportation capital improvement priority.

DTXTrains Yet for the last 40 months the multi-agency Rail Alignment and Benefits (RAB) study has unnecessarily delayed and obstructed DTX. And the disruption is continuing. The May 29, 2018 RAB release continues to place extra costs and other obstacles in front of DTX. Here are some ways of accelerating the process:
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The Case for the BART – Livermore Express Bus Alternative

The Bay Area Transportation Working Group (BATWG) is an all volunteer organization dedicated to rebalancing the Bay Area’s transportation network. Our program is based upon the conviction that even a 15% to 25% shift from automotive to nonautomotive means of travel would do wondrous things for the Region.

On a number of occasions BATWG has expressed its support for the BART/Livermore Express Bus Alternative. While it is recognized that there are advantages to extending BART eastward, the fact remains that the very modest resulting increase in BART ridership (11,900 a day) would have no discernible effect on I-580 traffic and come nowhere close to justifying a $1.6 billion capital cost followed by a $22.8 million a year increase in BART’s annual operating costs.    Continue reading