RAB and DTX: A Letter to the S.F. Board of Supervisors

The below letter, which was hand-delivered to the SF Board of Supervisors on September 4, 2018, outlines the damage to San Francisco that would be caused by relocating Caltrain’s 4th and King rail yard to some distant location and/or by delaying the extension of Caltrain into the new SF Terminal. Please feel free to contact any of us if there are questions or a need for discussion.

Dear Supervisors,

It is our understanding that the S.F. Board of Supervisors will shortly be called upon to approve the Department of City Planning’s Rail Alignment Benefit (RAB) Report. As you evaluate it, please consider the following:

The RAB planners have been planning the full build-out of Mission Bay for over four years. They have used up their $1.7 million budget and are now looking for add-on work. Most of the RAB proposals, first revealed by the Chronicle’s Matier and Ross on May 18, 2015 and first publicly presented by RAB on February 23, 2016, have since been quietly dropped. Two remain:

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Bay Area Rail – Status Report


OldRailBy the late 1960’s the Bay Area’s interurban passenger rail systems were mostly gone. Since then travelers, encouraged by the State State of California’s long standing practice of widening and expanding its freeways to temporarily ward off gridlock, have turned increasingly to automobiles to get around: to the point where things got completely out of hand. Caltrans’ myopic struggle to build its way out of traffic congestion failed.

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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

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