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View Diary: Why the San Francisco Bay Area Deserves Better Public Transit (142 comments)

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  •  You poor people (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, citisven, codairem, llywrch

    I use public transit in Los Angeles, since I don't have a car by choice. After 7 PM, service gets very very limited in the San Fernando Valley where I live. Is it that you need something to complain about?

    Sure, there are too many agencies. But if it works, it works. 8.1 miles an hour? Bring a book.

    Seneca Falls, Selma, Stonewall

    by Dave in Northridge on Tue Aug 13, 2013 at 05:59:29 PM PDT

    •  It is relative. (9+ / 0-)

      I now live in the North Bay. I could get to the South Bay on public transit, but it would take all day. Outside of the Northeast it is probably one of the few areas where that at least can be done.

    •  The 8.1 mph is sort of a red herring in my book. (5+ / 0-)

      Yes, local bus lines are extremely slow due to many stops.  But there's some good reasons for that, including the extreme hills in the city that can make walking even 1-2 blocks a challenge.  Sure, some stops can be eliminated.  But a lot can't.

      Also, Muni serves enough of the city that it is not common for someone to need to ride a bus line from one end to the other.  Yes, someone, somewhere does it - they may even be reading this thread!  But in a city like SF, the goal of a bus is generally, with the exception of Geary, which desperately needs light rail, to bring people to a trunk line.  Muni does that just fine.

      So, yeah, transit is slower in SF.  But unlike LA, where a 15-mile transit trip is not uncommon, there is no physical way to travel 15 miles within the city of SF without doubling back.  (the longest trip, a SW to NE diagonal, is served by Muni light rail or BART; the SE to NW diagonal would be a very uncommon commute, although I'm sure someone does it).

      "The first drawback of anger is that it destroys your inner peace; the second is that it distorts your view of reality. If you come to understand that anger is really unhelpful, you can begin to distance yourself from anger." - The Dalai Lama

      by auron renouille on Tue Aug 13, 2013 at 10:08:48 PM PDT

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      •  I think he meant the light rail was 8.1 MPH (4+ / 0-)

        Including the L tram line from the zoo to Market St. which would be your SW to NE commute. I lived near Taravel back when those trams were still Green Monsters.

        “If you can convince the lowest white man he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll empty his pockets for you.” Lyndon Baines Johnson

        by spacecadet1 on Wed Aug 14, 2013 at 05:31:02 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  When it takes you 45 minutes to go 2 miles (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        slksfca, Nulwee, spacecadet1, sfbob, Simplify

        it is frustrating to say the least. And I assure you I use the crosstown buses a lot, and then often still need to walk a long way to my destination.

        Many of us use this to do a lot more than commute downtown, and many of the places I need to go have no MUNI nearby, at least not near enough to do any shopping or especially for the elderly or disabled who cannot easily walk up and down hills.

        Where ignorance is our master, there is no possibility of real peace. - Dalai Lama

        by kimoconnor on Wed Aug 14, 2013 at 08:21:47 AM PDT

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      •  The WORST thing about MUNI, (IMHO) (5+ / 0-)

        is that the metro portion is guaranteed to be plugged up at peak hours and is under-utilized at other times. And there is no means of detouring around a blockage.

        Many, though by no means all, of New York's subway and elevated lines are three- or four-track and, within mid-town Manhattan at least, there are multiple lines. If a train breaks down, other trains can go around it if they have to, and you can always backtrack in the opposite direction as needed. Or you can hop onto a different line. If a train breaks down in the Market Street Tunnel, you're out of luck. At the very least there should be a third track between Embarcadero and Castro stations; why nobody bothered to think of this is beyond me; did they assume trains wouldn't ever break down? Did they not foresee that there might be a benefit in instituting unidirectional limited service at some point? I once lived along the Number 7 line in Queens, which for most of its distance is three tracks. It runs express trains inbound in the morning rush-hour and outbound in the evening; this makes things far, far simpler and reduces the loads on the local trains (admittedly no fun at the best of times) during rush hour. Who didn't want to bother spending money creating something similar under Market Street?

        The other side of the coin--and this is due in part to the lack of dedicated rights-of-way on a good portion of the surface lines, is that service slacks off abominably in the evenings, particularly on the weekend. There are three different lines running between West Portal and Embarcadero. Even on a weekend schedule of one train per line every 20 minutes, one ought to expect to see an inbound or outbound train every 6.5 minutes. Why then does one frequently see a 15 or 20-minute headway between two inbound or outbound trains? There really is no good excuse for it, particularly given that street traffic is lighter at these hours and is thus unlikely to be creating its own set of bottlenecks. Trains are alleged to run on a schedule, notwithstanding the challenges (which schedules are supposed to take into account), but if you ask a train operator or station agent about it, they'll just laugh at you. For this reason, people who really would prefer to use public transit (myself included) not infrequently wind up driving because there is simply no predicting how long it'll take you to get from place to place using transit. If San Francisco wants to view itself as a "transit first" city then there should be plentiful transit available, not just during peak hours but all day and all evening (weekends included).

        •  They didn't even install grab bars at first (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          sfbob, spacecadet1, Nulwee

          Because they assured us the trains would have seats for everyone.  Really.  BART became more popular than the original planners foresaw, especially for transbay.  Ridership has gone way up, particularly among young people.  I am always amazed how many people are riding late at night.  But then, it stops around midnight, and a cross-bay cab is hugely expensive.

          Don't bet your future on 97% of climate scientists being wrong. Take action on climate now!

          by Mimikatz on Wed Aug 14, 2013 at 11:37:51 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Um, so, because things are terrible some places, (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LaughingPlanet, slksfca, sfbob, Simplify

      people shouldn't want them to be better than bad in others?

      •  Exactly, Laura, exactly. (0+ / 0-)

        Governments care only as much as their citizens force them to care. Nothing changes unless we change -- George Monbiot.

        by Nulwee on Wed Aug 14, 2013 at 09:36:56 AM PDT

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      •  Politics of envy (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Nulwee

        Not that I'm saying the above commenter agrees with this, but it's a lot like how anti-union folks stir up anger about union wages and benefits. Envy is a natural emotion, but let's try to put things in a rational context.

        Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

        by Simplify on Wed Aug 14, 2013 at 11:02:02 AM PDT

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    •  If only you could read a book on the bus (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      slksfca, Nulwee, Simplify

      I cannot even hear my thoughts most of the time.

      Where ignorance is our master, there is no possibility of real peace. - Dalai Lama

      by kimoconnor on Wed Aug 14, 2013 at 08:22:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  New BART cars (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Nulwee

        are supposed to have noise amelioration, which is hugely welcome—those wheels howl on the slightest turn. I'm not sure whether it'll be just cabin noise insulation or noise reduction at the source, though.

        Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

        by Simplify on Wed Aug 14, 2013 at 11:00:16 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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