Optimizing the Use of Both Passenger Trains and Bicycles

To: Theresa MacMillan

Executive Director, Metropolitan Transportation Commission

Re: Bicycles on trains

The Bay Area Transportation Working Group (BATWG) supports connection to public transit by bicycle and other non-automotive means. But we also recognize that rail systems, especially, are becoming increasingly crowded throughout the entire day.

The current policy of allowing bicycles on trains reduces the space available for other riders.   BATWG suggests a number of ways to support bicycling while freeing up space on crowded trains : Continue reading

Dumbarton Rail Gets a New Look

The overloaded Dumbarton Highway Bridge extends from Newark to East Palo Alto and is a virtual parking lot during peak commute periods. AC Transit’s feeble attempt to serve transbay commuting needs by using this highway bridge for its buses is completely negated by the fact that harried AC riders get bogged down in the same often unbearable gridlock as everyone else.


To alleviate this intolerable situation, it has long been recognized that a transbay passenger rail connection across the Dumbarton Straits was necessary. Such a crossing would run via a restored or rebuilt Dumbarton rail bridge between Redwood City and Union City. Continue reading

Capacity on Muni Cars versus Capacity on the Subway Platforms

SFE-SubwayDelaysThis letter was featured in the the SF Examiner on March 7, 2019

The SFMTA’s incoming LRV fleet of new Siemens cars clearly represents a major step forward. However two aspects of the situation are of concern.

First, it appears that someone thinks that jamming more standees into the new cars will resolve the SFMTA’s Muni Metro crowding problem. Will it?

How about the dangerous crowding that already occurs along all the downtown Muni Metro platforms because everyone is forced to one end of the station to catch his or her one and two-car “train?” (Where else do modern subways operate with trains that are only or two cars long?) Continue reading

Striving for Good Bus and Rail Connections

On February 9, 2018 the San Jose Mercury ran a story about the reasons people keep driving, even on traffic-clogged roadways, and why more travelers don’t use public transit. A survey sponsored by the Silicon Valley Leadership Group and the Mercury provided an answer to this question.  It showed that for most of those taking the survey the Number One reason for not using public transit was that it “doesn’t get me to where I want to go”.

Public and private transit will never be able to take everyone where they want to go all of the time.  But things can get better. For one thing the many unnecessary gaps between transit services that routinely discourage use of the Region’s vast network of rail and bus lines can and should be eliminated. Continue reading