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

Report No. 2 from the Southeast Bay

Here is how things look to a young BATWG activist:

reportfromse2I believe to get bay area residents out of their cars, we need good public transit, a network of safe bicycle/e-scooter trails and more safety for pedestrians.

I think good public transit is a must, but the bay area has a unique challenge because it was built out with low density developments. Frequent service for mass transit needs high density developments for both housing and office space so that ridership can be high enough to make the dense network of stations and routes that run frequently economically viable. We don’t have that and there is also little support for high density developments … and that is where bikes and e-scooters etc. … come in. In essence, e-scooters and bikes turn low density developments into places with higher “effective density” since they increase a person’s non-automotive range. Continue reading

An Update on AC Transit

busonlylaneBecause of the sluggish pace of Bay Area infrastructure development it is estimated that a half a century will slip by before another transbay passenger rail service is up and running. In the meantime it is incumbent on AC Transit to carry a much greater share of the transbay travel load than it currently is. According to AC Transit sources, with the addition of 40 new double decker buses it would be possible to expand its transbay peak period operation from today’s 150 buses an hour to 190 buses an hour. This is still far below the 300 buses an hour that AC’s grossly oversized bus deck in the new Salesforce Transit Center is capable of handling. More buses would help, but the big challenge for AC Transit is to boost its transbay ridership from today’s puny 14,500 riders a day to something closer to the 24,000 riders an hour that the new bus deck is capable of handling. Continue reading