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

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  •  You're Right (1+ / 0-)
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    Transit in the Bay Area is and has been a disaster. I lived there 25 years, and I could never understand how this patchwork was supposed to work.

    But, it has improved. When I moved there Caltrain didn't connect with the light rail in San Jose (which was barely existent) or with BART in the City at any point. To travel from downtown San Jose to Berkeley required two substantial walks between systems.

    And, of course, separate fares.

    There should be one agency and I think it should be called "BART". There should be three levels: very fast trains between city areas, light rail at the mid-level, and bus at the lowest level. Everything should match so that no transfer takes more than about five minutes. (I always figured 15 minutes per transfer.)

    Much as I like Caltrain, I would not put more into it. Instead, I'd run BART down El Camino Real. There are about a million people who live or work within a mile of ECR. A fast, elevated (or submerged) train along that route with stations about every five miles would cut car traffic enormously. There are places where the Caltrain right of way would be suitable for BART. And BART is already electrified.

    And why should there be two different types of inter-city rail? (Or, three, if you count Amtrak.)

    But, we won't see it. Getting these agencies to work together would take about 18 acts of God. I'll check back in 2113 and see if they've got it down to a dozen. I'm not betting on fewer than that.

    •  An El Camino subway would be amazing (2+ / 0-)
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      Radiowalla, Liberal Thinking

      and so damn expensive. Caltrain's right-of-way already exists and basically remains within a half-mile distance from El Camino from Millbrae to Santa Clara. Even if I had infinite money to spend, I would improve the existing corridor without tunneling under the street.

      The Bay Area has also got the Altamont Commuter Express rail make that four.

      Also, someone in the above comments mentioned ABAG as a good unifying source for a single transit agency.

      •  That's Why (0+ / 0-)

        I'd use the Caltrain right of way for it where feasible. But, BART is already electrified, so I think eventually Caltrain will go.

        I don't know whether ABAG is better or worse than BART as a governing organization. ABAG has experience working with the different counties. My limited experience with them has been positive, but I think BART could more easily unify the transportation schedule.

        In any case, it's a shame that Santa Clara and San Mateo counties turned down BART originally. If BART had had them on board it might have had the critical mass to unify the system. But given Silicon Valley was a farming community at the time, that probably was never going to happen.

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