Quote of the Month

At the May 5/6 National Shared Mobility Summit, SFMTA Transportation Director Jeff Tumlin was quoted as saying: “This (sic…meaning the pandemic) is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to question all of the historic, political decisions that created the transit system, in the form that it was when we inherited it.”

Could he actually have said that? Could he have failed to learn how and under what circumstances transit evolved? Or how and why its decline began after WWII. Or why it continues to have appeal for urbanites and environmentalists? Has he never seen or read about the great systems of many European and Japanese cities?

Mr. Tumlin should forget trying to psychoanalyze the politicians and instead focus on making his system work better.

Streamlining the Caltrain Extension Project

Bay Area Transportation Working Group

During these difficult times of shutdowns and reduced resources, it is both necessary and prudent to conserve transit resources wherever and whenever possible.

With that in mind the Bay Area Transportation Working Group (BATWG) has updated its previous statements about the DTX project. There appear to be opportunities to significantly reduce costs without cutting into or otherwise undermining the passenger rail service into the Sales Force Transit Center. We are joined in these recommendations by the two preeminent rail advocacy organizations of California; namely, RailPAC and the Train Riders Association of California as well as by TRANSDEF, SaveMuni and other DTX supporters. These opportunities relate to the 4th and King Station, the proposed Pennsylvania Avenue subway extension, the Tunnel Plug and the subway under Second Street:

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Getting the Phase II BART Extension Right

There are rumors that the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) may finally have come to its senses. As previously reported in these pages (See BATWG Newsletter #14), Phase II of the BART extension along Santa Clara Street through downtown San Jose was to require almost 5 miles of tunnel 56 feet in diameter, the height of a five story building. The subway was also to be exceedingly deep, resulting in longer escalators, longer elevators, longer stairways, longer ventilation structures and longer utility runs. According to a VTA presentation made to the BART Board on May 31, 2019, the bottom of the subway was to be 121 feet below grade, the height of an eleven story building. Needless to add this design added greatly to the project cost.

But the situation could be brightening. With a small section of cut-and-cover construction at the two downtown stations the size of the subway could reduced enough to avoid having to haul away an extra 1,400,000 cubic yards of spoil. It would also significantly reduce both the thickness of the concrete tunnel lining and the depth of the subway. It is to be hoped that common sense will eventually prevail in San Jose.

BATWG’s Survey of BART Riders Ongoing

Because of COVID-19 we are no longer passing out survey notices at BART stations. However you can still take the survey, from home. 

If you are or were a BART rider think back to how things were before the current crisis. Were things ok? How could they have been better? You can find the survey by going to BATWGblog.com and clicking “BART Survey.”

Please tell your friends and associates about the opportunity to weigh in. Anyone who is or was riding BART is eligible. And now would be a great time for BART to bear down on cleaning up its act.