127 Replies to “Sunday Open Thread: New Muni Metro”

  1. I go to SF regularly for work. I know we compare our fair city to SF often, but I would argue that we have little in common. The majority of Seattle proper is lower density than most of SF’s burbs. We have very few dense areas and sparse cultural diversity. Our great grid is wasted on single family sprawl…. Inside the city.

    Leaving Seattle, you quickly enter the land of lollipop streets and complete car dependency.

    SF is a city. Seattle has an identity crisis.

    1. San Francisco is huge compared to Seattle. It is also a lot older.

      A much better comparison is Vancouver, BC or Portland, OR. There are differences in both cases, but I think we are much more like those cites than any others. As far as urban policy is concerned, Vancouver is the best out of the three (in my opinion). They have a much better rail system (especially measured in cost versus benefit). They have a lot more density, yet have preserved a lot of the existing houses. That is because they have a far more liberal set of ADU and DADU rules. I would say their new buildings are nicer as well, but to me the biggest difference is not the new taller buildings, but the way that the old buildings (whether several stories high or fairly flat) blend in with new structures (or are converted to house more people).

      1. San Francisco is huge compared to Seattle.

        Wait, are you talking about SF or the Bay Area? SF proper is tiny—it’s a 7mi by 7mi square! A couple of weeks ago, I walked literally half the length of the city (Buena Vista Park to Ocean Beach) in a little over an hour.

        Seattle is literally three times larger than San Francisco. Yet it houses 200,000 fewer people.

      2. Huge by population. Holy cow, how could you think otherwise. Do you really just jump on a blog and assume other people are stupid. Maybe instead of assuming that other writers are wrong — that they don’t understand basic geography — you should take a second and consider that certain words (like “big” and “San Fransisco”) have multiple meanings.

        OK, I’ll restate my sentence to make it more clear. The Seattle (metropolitan area) is tiny (in population) compared to the San Fransisco (metropolitan area).

      3. Ross, this is a thread about Muni, which is exclusively within the city of SF. Forgive me for assuming you were talking San Francisco when you said “San Francisco”, rather than “Bay Area” which people use when they want to refer to the region.

    2. City boundaries are relatively arbitrary. Comparing San Francisco to the subset of Seattle between Beacon Hill and Ballard would be more appropriate.

      1. Political boundaries bring political realities. Residents of North Seattle benefit from Seattle’s municipally-owned utilities, its minimum wage laws, its school districts, its fire departments, and even its zoning laws. Therefore, we should think about the entire city when we talk about planning, land use, and transportation.

      2. Political boundaries aren’t totally meaningless, sure. But they’re close to meaningless when comparing cities to eachother. If we’re going to compare any part of Seattle to incorporated SF, with its fairly small and pretty meaningful borders, some subset of incorporated Seattle is the best comparison.

        I’ll agree that we should often think about the whole city, as long as we define “city” more widely than political boundaries. Does our thinking change much when we cross from the City of London to Westminster? From West New York to Guttenberg? From Sunnyvale to Santa Clara? From the lower West Side of Chicago to Cicero? From North Seattle to Shoreline? A lot of urban transportation and planning concerns cross these boundaries, not to mention more substantial boundaries, both political (commuter trains from Luxembourg cross national boundaries) and physical (all the rivers around New York).

      3. Unless you’re comparing to prove a point then you pick which portion of the city you want to compare. For instance, Charlotte NC has more people than Seattle and is probably larger physically but has far fewer people. Odd comment? Go there and you’ll see. You pass the “Entering Charlotte” signs about 10 miles out in the middle of a field. In Seattle you’ve been driving in the city for an hour by the time you see the sign.

        Political boundaries are mostly irrelevant. In the case of San Francisco we look at the city proper as the core because it’s squashed into an area with little ability to spread. If we compare that same area of Seattle the comparison is not the same as if we consider Seattle the sprawl to the north and south.

  2. Sound Transit, Metro and WSDOT have a new concept for bus integration at the Mercer Island East Link station. Rather than routing buses around the block on city streets and dropping off riders at the existing Park & Ride, the 554 will drop off passengers on the 80th Ave overpass and get right back on I-90. Seems a bit tight for 60-foot coaches to do two 180-degree turns on an overpass but apparently it is possible thanks to the overpass being overbuilt with excessive landscaping.

    See the last page from the Mercer Island open house:
    http://www.soundtransit.org/Documents/pdf/projects/eastlink/20141121_EL_boardMI%20parking.pdf

    1. Excellent. That is exactly what I had hoped. This is a great model for all of our suburban areas. I would do the same thing in Kent (put the station next to the freeway) and Lynnwood. This is why I think ideas like light rail to Issaquah or Everett are misguided. Almost all of those riders just want to get into Seattle. There are some folks in Issaquah who want to get to Bellevue, but they can transfer in Mercer Island. Good express bus service actually means one less transfer for the Issaquah rider trying to get to Seattle (over a new train) because a light rail line from Issaquah can’t go to Seattle. In the case of Everett or Tacoma, it is the same number of transfers (one). All of that is assuming that folks arrive at the freeway station via a bus — for the handful that walk, light rail would have one less transfer.

      1. I think it is better to put the Kent station close to the college on 99. Peak riders aren’t going to want link service slower than current expresses. Besides the all-day demand is at the college and 99.

        Lynwood should be good as-is since there are direct HOV access ramps to the P&R lot.

      2. If I’m reading the diagram correctly (no guarantee) the Issaquah expresses appear to be turning around and going back to Issaquah, not heading to Seattle. So it’s a transfer either way (with the exception of whatever forward-peak one-seaters remain).

      3. @Stefan — They will want to connect to Link so that they can get to the airport. The demand in general for walk up riders will be miniscule. The most densely populated pockets in the area are to the east (of the freeway). There is no way Link is going there, so you can pretty much forget about trying to serve people with that many walk up riders the way you could with a stop in say, Capitol Hill. If you put a station at the freeway, each bus (on the way north) could swing by and dropoff folks heading to the airport, and continue on.

      4. Why not have two stations, one at the college and one at the freeway? If it’s going to stay the end of the line indefinitely, there won’t be any through-riders to be slowed down.

    2. The big question is, will people from Eastgate or Issaquah actually ride these buses when the alternative exists to drive directly to the train? Especially with ST building a bunch of extra parking to accommodate all of these people who could be riding the bus.

      1. For the P&R lots that fill quickly there should be a parking charge high enough to keep 5% or so of the spaces open all-day.

      2. Well, judging from the behavior we’ve seen, “should” does not at all mean “would”. Then, there’s the issue of weekends – even during a Seahawks or Sounders game, there would be plenty of space at South Bellevue P&R for everyone to drive directly to the train.

        Ideally, a route truncation would be re-invested in more frequent service on the route. However, I somewhat concerned that a truncated 554 would not even get enough riders to justify its current half-hourly service, once everyone driving to Eastgate or Issaquah P&R chooses to drive directly to the train.

        Sound Transit’s fare structure only exacerbates this – if you don’t have an Orca card, the gas to drive a few extra miles becomes way cheaper than paying $2.50 for the bus transfer.

    3. Wait… that map shows the 554 making two 180 degree turns in front of the east entrance to the station… while the 216 does a giant loop around the station before getting back on I-90. Why? Isn’t the point to drop passengers at the station and get right back onto the freeway? The 216 is a peak-only express. It’s just going to deadhead back to the origin point, making that loop seems like a waste of time.

      Under this arrangement eastbound 216 passengers also need to walk over to N Mercer Way to board their bus. Again, why? Under this proposal there’s a stop right at the front door of the station. If you make people walk an unnecessary half block, you’re just increasing the transfer penalty.

      1. The only reason I can think of is that they are worried about space on the overpass during peak times, therefore only the 554 uses that drop-off/pickup zone.

      2. The 554 would likely live-loop or else have a short layover in the bay to enable a timed transfer.

        The “216” is merely there to represent an undefined KCM route or routes looping through Town Center to access the layover space and bus stop on N Mercer Way. Conceptually, KCM has indicated they would delete the 212 and increase service on everything else, mostly the 214, and have everything stop at the Eastgate freeway station. To “protect” against Eastgate riders swamping all of the buses, they would have the current 218/219 use the N Mercer Way stop (and the 215 too before it was deleted).

        Westbound service would drop off and then immediately depart without looping through town.

    4. Now that we’ll have the 554 and the 216 starting and ending at the same point, can’t we convert all buses that deadhead today into expresses from the Highlands to MI (and optionally running through Eastgate). That’s not being done currently because it would requires buses to go through Downtown rather than go directly to the layovers at Convention Place or in Belltown, but once there’s no time penalty to turn the deadheading buses into revenue service it should be done.

      I’m also glad to see that we’ll only get two routes using I-90 to/from Eastgate/Issaquah, including one peak-only route. MUCH better than today’s confusing 7 routes (used to be 9).

    5. ST is trying to minimize impacts to Mercer Island’s street grid to the extent possible and also to avoid acquiring more ROW. They get quite a bit of pushback on the earlier options for roundabouts at other locations, all of which would’ve required significant ROW acquisition. SE 27th St is a primary E-W route, so adding a roundabout and all the bus traffic would seriously impact traffic along SE 27th St, especially at peak hour. The design as shown would keep buses out of that SE 27th St/80th Ave SE intersection and just impact traffic on 80th, but cross-I-90 travel can be accomplished at three other locations (76th, 77th, and Island Crest).

  3. How much more funding for operations could we raise for Metro and Sound Transit if advertising rules for both the inside and outside of buses and trains, and for stops, were liberalized? Sometimes it at least feels like we may be leaving money on the curb there, especially seeing some buses and trains with at least empty advertising space, or space entire consumed by rah rah Metro or Sound Transit type placards.

    1. I’d pay an extra $1 per ride to just get rid of the advertisements. We don’t advertise on Airliners, or Amtrak, or in our cars. Why do bus riders need to be subjected to it? Oh, because they’re poor and blah blah blah? GTFO, suburbanites.

      1. We don’t advertise on Airliners, or Amtrak

        Not sure what airliners or Amtrak trains you’ve been flying lately. Delta sure as heck plays advertisements after its safety video, and Amtrak NEC trains have advertisements.

    2. To answer Joe’s question, the amount would be negligible compared to the cost of actually providing useful bus service.

  4. My letter to ST:

    Dear ST representative,

    I would like to take a moment to express my serious misgivings about the long range plan for the Puget Sound region. Given what I’ve read thus far it appears ST3’s initial incarnation is ill conceived and I am inclined to vote no for it. Why?

    I believe all projects should emphasize ridership over politics and appeasement for each component.

    For instance:

    a) Pierce County should fund intercity LR within the Tacoma area for the time being. Connecting Tacoma to Federal Way should be a low priority because ridership will not pan-out and rider subsidies will be high. Sounder trains from Tacoma to Seattle have a very low ridership and unless 25,000+/day ridership can be guaranteed a LR line will be heavily subsidized. Put a Federal Way to Tacoma link in ST4 or ST5 when ridership could be assured.

    b) Same holds true for Snohomish County. Build out an intercity LR for Everett and save the money from being invested in a low ridership Lynnwood to Everett link. Put stations at Boeing plant, downtown, community college and at Sounder
    station. Also add another 1 or 2 Sounder train-sets for the time being until ridership justifies a LR link to Lynnwood. Please spare tax payers highly subsidized sections.

    c) I think a line that would most justify LR in the tri-county area is one from Ballard to Redmond. Though expensive and difficult to get from Sandpoint to Kirkland I think the cost are justified because of low rider subsidies and the ability to pay for itself off quickly and it would be an investment that will serve the area for 100’s of years. Be bold and show the world that Seattle is a world class city. Kirkland/Redmond/ Woodinville is less than 5 miles from UW and a link will provide access to UW stations and Link in general for over a 100,000 citizens. Everett is over 30 miles to the north of Seattle(Tacoma 34 to south) and over a 100,000 citizens but does not have the connection to the UW to the same extent as the Kirkland area.

    Please don’t blow tax payer money but do everything possible to maximize LR ridership.

    1. What you are essentially advocating for is to do away with sub-area equity and have everyone, from Everett to Tacoma pour their resources into a Sand Point->Kirkland crossing. Good luck convincing people in Everett or Tacoma to go along with that.

      In Seattle, we should be focused first and foremost on getting the Ballard->UW line built and what the other sub-areas choose to do with their money is their business – since we aren’t paying for it, we shouldn’t care.

      1. I agree, although subarea proportionality needs to go. It will make things more difficult politically. The chances that everything that every area wants magically line up is very low.

      2. Remember, if sub-area equity went away, there would be a very real chance that Seattle’s needs would be forgotten about and Seattle’s money going to fund Link to Tacoma and Everett. The only reason Link to Ballard is even on the table is sub-area equity.

        What needs to go is not the fact that each sub-area spends its own money, but the fact that each sub-area must tax at a uniform rate.

      3. Even if what each subarea wants is proportional to its population, that doesn’t mean they’ll match up exactly. So in the current regime, one subarea has to reach down to its lower priorities while another subarea has to forego one if its highest priorities.

      4. Eliminate sub-area equity from ST3 and even I will vote “No”. Seattle has too many urgent transpo needs to backslide into the same old pattern of diverting Seattle tax dollars to pay for less urgent regional or state wide projects. Keep local tax dollars local.

        That said, I would like to see some changes to sub-area equity in ST3.

        Namely, I’d like to see each sub-area be given the the ability to add an additional surcharge (with voter approval) to any passed ST3 package. Something like, “If ST3 passes, then each sub-area could increase it’s local taxes by x% of the regional base rate.”

        Such a system would preserve sub-area equity and the regional nature of ST, while still allowing each region to do a bit more to address urgent needs.

      5. lazarus, I think many people refer to eliminating “subarea equity” when they really mean to refer to eliminating “subarea proportionality”. I prefer to think of the “equity” in “subarea equity” as each subarea buying “equity” in its own projects via tax dollars.

      6. @Kyle

        Actually, no, when most people refer to eliminating sub-area equity they mean exactly that, “eliminating” sub-area-equity.

    2. Your first two points make a lot of sense. The first half of your third point makes sense. But as has been pointed out, over and over, another light rail line over (or under) the lake would be ridiculously expensive for the ridership. Here are some light rail ideas that are much cheaper and much more worthy:

      1) Ballard to the UW only.
      2) Ballard to downtown via Interbay
      3) Ballard to downtown through Queen Anne
      4) Ballard to downtown via Westlake
      5) Replace the Metro 8 with underground light rail (not an exact route, but you get the idea).
      6) Aurora/Phinney Ridge Corridor
      7) Lake City/Bothell Way

      Those are all just in the city. Some of those probably don’t make financial sense. But all of those are more cost effective than another lake crossing. A lot of these (like the first one) represent a huge improvement over anything else that is available. On the other hand, if you can get to 520, you can get to the UW (more or less) very quickly. The connection is not ideal, but it isn’t worth spending billions and billions to rectify by trying to get across the lake (again). My guess is the hardest part is simply getting to the freeway. Which leads to another suggestion:

      8) Light rail or BRT from Kirkland to Bellevue. This would involve a connection (in the case of light rail) to buses headed towards the U-District or buses would simply go from the heart of Kirkland to the U-District (https://seattletransitblog.com/2014/10/07/showcasing-brt-on-the-eastside/).

      1. When it comes to potentially spending billions on connections to Tacoma and Everett, instead of wasting it I would apply the extra billions on Ballard-Kirkland. However, you are correct in stating there are several lines that would be successful within the Seattle area. My argument is if ridership subsidies are high then don’t waste tax dollars regardless of who is paying for it. Portland has a LR subsidy at $1.50/ride which is lower than their average bus ride which is what we should strive to exceed. Everett/Tacoma will get their money back, just on better investments is all.

      2. I’d love to see someone come up a rough concept for what this Ballard-Kirkland line could be at least fleshed out a little more. For example any line going to Kirkland from UW will have to continue past downtown Kirkland to at least 1 park&ride oriented station (cant get by with a single urban style subway station with no parking under downtown Kirkland), by then you are almost half way to Redmond. Where would stations potentially be between U District and the Sand Point Crossing? Realistically are we talking a bridge or tunnel to cross the lake?

      3. Not to sound pessimistic, but any Seattle urban rail line probably won’t be in service until the 2040s, given the length of time it takes Sound Transit to dedicate funding, design/engineer/ and construct service. Given that i will be retired, possibly dead, I lose interest in these service proposals.

        I still am in disbelief that it will take six years to get service from UW to Northgate when they are tunneling right now!

      4. A UW-Kirkland segment would probably have stations at U-Village, Children’s, and 65th just east of Sand Point Way. “Urban-style” spacing with stations at 35th Ave, Burke-Gilman Park, and Princeton Ave would probably require it to be surface-running (like MLK). I suppose 45th and Sand Point Way are wide enough, although the Montlake traffic may cause too much gridlock.

        Maybe we could have an automobile tunnel from 45th & 25th to 520. Just kidding. It would have no UW exits, like how the DBT has no downtown exits.

      5. If it’s approved in 2016 the last line would be finished around 2031. That’s based on ST1 and 2 having four years of planning and ten years of construction, totalling 15 years of capital projects. The shorter/easier lines would be done before that. But this would be the hardest project with the bridge/tube. Everett and Tacoma are basically all elevated in highway ROW, so they’re quick to construct.

      6. Mike, a UW-Sand Point line could avoid Montlake traffic by being tunneled under NE 45th with a portal under and to the side of the NE 45th St. Viaduct, crossing Montlake/25th NE elevated, then landing in the middle of NE 45th near U Village.

        One line extension likely to be in ST3 which shouuld take a lot less time to build would be Overlake-Redmond. With luck in getting approval and getting the design completed, construction could be simply continued from the interim terminus.

      7. RossB,

        For your #4 do you mean the streetcar?

        Also as much as people here don’t like the idea of light rail to West Seattle it still makes more sense than any further crossing of the Lake or any further rail on the Eastside (downtown Redmond excepted)

        Hell even light rail to Tacoma and Everett makes more sense than any further Eastside rail.

        I would support BRT on the ERC between Totem Lake and Bellevue.

      8. aw,

        The environmental process for Overlake-Redmond is already complete. The environmental process for Kent-Federal Way will be done before ST3 starts.

        So yes both of these should be very fast to build.

      9. Chris, don’t you think they might need to do an SEIS for Overlake – Redmond? Do they have a preferred alternative for that segment?

      10. Even if everybody is denying it now, Link to Everett could eventually strengthen the case for killing off north Sounder at some point in the future.

        Already, it’s pretty ridiculous. With Link to Lynnwood complete, it looks worse. And, if Link goes from Everett Station to downtown in the same amount of time as north Sounder takes (but much more frequent, serving much more useful destinations along the way, and with no mudslide disruptions), the continued operating costs for the line for Edmonds and Mukilteo alone become almost impossible to justify.

      11. Another factor is that light rail looks different when it’s running and you can actually go to a nearby station. People didn’t think they’d ride Link in Rainier Valley, but then the did. The same thing might happen with Lynnwood. Once it’s running, people who don’t live right next to a Sounder station may drive the other way instead, especially since Link will be the shiny new thing in town. If Sounder North’sridership drops, more people might question the money we’re throwing into it. They could always suspend it (especially after a mudslide) and wait a while before selling off the facilities. That way they could restart it again but they’re not paying the operating expenses. However, the Everett extension will be decided long before any of this happens, so it will either be under construction or it won’t.

      12. Would Link from Lynwood be attractive on a time saved perspective to North Sounder to/from Edmonds or Mukilteo? Probably not for folks already in those towns or coming in by ferry. King Street is about 30 minutes from Edmonds and 40 minutes from Mukilteo. There would probably be a transfer at the other end that would add some time, but how would that compare to the drive and transfer time to Link?

        In any case, it’s going to be almost ten years before North Link gets to Lynwood. That’s plenty of time in which North Sounder could build ridership.

      13. Because of the limited walkshed at Edmonds, the very limited walkshed at Mukilteo (it’s hard to say what’s worse, the land use or the terrain), and mediocre travel times from Everett, Sounder can only build much ridership by buying it, one parking stall at a time. This would be an expensive proposition for an already expensive service.

        (Even buying parking is limited by the number of people that will prefer to drive west for a twice-daily service instead of east to many I-5 express runs… it really sucks to miss the last train, especially to/from Mukilteo… but for now IIRC there are enough people that want this to fill existing lots…)

      14. @Chris — I meant grade separated light rail. But for comparison purposes, even a streetcar would be more cost effective. West Seattle light rail (which is horribly expensive) would be more cost effective. A freakin’ monorail would be more cost effective. There are very few projects that would be less cost effective that a second crossing of the lake. It’s really a moot point. There is no way that Sound Transit can study and come up with a plan for ST3 that includes light rail from the UW to Kirkland. On the other hand, there is every reason to believe that light rail from Ballard to the UW will be part of ST3 (along with other plans).

    3. It isn’t worth paying for the additional North Sounder trips. North sounder is a complete waste of funds. The operating subsidies required are huge.

      Since it is unlikely we’ll ever kill it entirely we should look at running FRA compliant DMU instead of today’s locomotive hauled trains.

    4. Every time I hear someone bring up an intercity light rail in Lynnwood/Everett I know that person has probably never even been there. Most of the ridership in those places are taking commuters to Seattle, thus a light rail to Seattle would be more effective than anything else.

      1. So what you’re saying is that central Snohomish county is entirely wrong for light rail, and should build none whatsoever, correct?

        For you see, light rail is an entirely incorrect capital expenditure and service paradigm if all you really need is a long-haul commuter enabler.

  5. The weird voice and strange diction in the video are not helpful. Other than that it took me a few minutes to get what their actual proposal was. Didn’t know they currently throw all kinds of traffic into a tunnel.
    The dream of Efficient Transfers. Good luck convincing the SF hobnobs to give up their one-seat rides.

    1. The Muni Metro is so crowded and slow during afternoon peak, it makes the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel look like a model of efficiency. The platforms are long, but only one two-car set can load at a time. It’s totally dumb. You won’t have a hard time convincing SF transit users to try something dramatically different.

      1. Apparently, in the original implementation trains consisted of multiple cars, each assigned to a different line (!), which would be broken up at the portal and sent on their way. But the Breda decouplers turned out to be so disastrous that they abandoned that plan.

  6. Question for Mark Dublin,

    Does downtown Olympia still have the sidewalk waterfalls, or have they plugged all the holes?

  7. Caravaggio’s Characters on the no. 44
    Now on view!

    “The Hunchback of Thackeray Place”
    This study of an 80-year-old peasant figure elicits equal parts awe, pity,
    and opprobrium. The figure, who appears to be male, wears a red flannel
    shirt and a grey hooded sweatshirt, and, whether seated or standing, his
    chin has dropped all the way to his chest, hindering the viewer’s view of
    his face and prohibiting any connection with the figure, who remains mute.
    Who is he? His clothes give off a sublime reek of urine. This is no
    hipster. Nay, this is a surefire example of Caravaggio’s penchant for
    depicting those who, cast off like him, inhabit the margins of society.
    The figure has appeared on three out of four recent trips, alights each
    time at Thackeray Place, and shuffles off into the night. Scholars are
    unsure whether the name of the figure’s stop is a warning to the viewer
    against embracing the vanities, or just a coincidence.

    “The Freezing Crowd”
    A crowd of merry peasants, with ruddy cheeks straight out of Franz Hals,
    bundled in the latest North Face shades of dark grey and black huddles
    together for warmth, their faces lit only by the neon glow of the nearby
    e-cigarette store. It is a testament to Caravagggio’s brushstroke that the
    realization soon dawns on the viewer that once the bus arrives, there is
    no way everyone is going to fit. One figure in this work, who wears sunglasses to avoid the truth-seeking
    glare of E-Cig ‘n’ Vape, sneaks his way toward the curb ahead of everyone
    else. Glares abound. A moment of high drama, to be sure. (Some scholars
    have posited E-Cig ‘n’ Vape as Caravaggio’s denouncement of the perversion
    of capital — what they see as his update of Emile Zola’s great
    Rougon-Macquart series.)

    “The Sorority Trip”
    It’s another Friday afternoon and that means every blond girl this side of
    Idaho is wearing her smallest black dress and clutching her biggest
    cellular telephone, speaking in a dialect of hashtags punctuated by the
    refrain “I know, right?” Where are they going? The artist keeps their
    destination a secret, which has annoyed critics who want to know exactly
    how to keep their distance in the future. Caravaggio’s manipulation of
    light and shadow comes to a fore in this work as the sorority girls’
    rhinestone-encrusted phones cast a chiaroscuro patina around the interior
    space of the painting, illuminating the less privileged sectors of
    society, including what Camille Paglia has identified as a reference to
    the hunchback from another well-known scene of consternation (see
    “Thackeray Place”) and, perhaps, way back in the rear, a figure in
    Ray-Bans (see “Freezing Crowd”).

    “The Arcing Voltage”
    One of Caravaggio’s tensest scenes, this work uses both the newfound
    invention of electricity and the representation of what Victor Hugo called
    “the sea of humanity” (making it appear as if the entire world’s
    population was contained within the space of a mere 60-foot interior) to
    create an effect of sheer terror. The work takes place at barely 4 pm, yet
    an atmosphere of the inkiest night prevails. As the bus accelerates
    through a dead spot on the wire, the current surges, the lights flicker
    out (and everyone’s rolling eyes are depicted in a dramatic chiaroscuro),
    and the bus stalls. This moment of tension shows Caravaggio’s power to
    find the grotesque balance in everyday life: his great wit lies in
    situating the dead spot on an upward slope, so the bus rolls backward into
    the frozen landscape. The viewer is “taken for a ride,” so to speak, as
    his eyes connect with the gaze of the stupefied, yet not surprised,
    commuters, to whom this has happened before.

    “The Permissive Weekend Operator and the Drunken Teenagers Clutching a
    Dripping Backpack of Beer”
    A woman in her mid-40s, this figure (pictured in the upper register)
    elicits both rapture and rage for her no-disputes approach to collecting
    the appropriate fare. Want to ride for free? It’s fine by her. Want to
    enter through the rear door (as one figure, in the left foreground, is
    shown doing)? No problem-o. Want to board at the stop in front of the
    supermarket and claim you “lost” your card, as three visibly intoxicated
    figures aged approximately 16 are show to do (in the right middle ground)?
    Step lively. Around the perimeter of this chaotic work appear the
    painterly faces of the holders of pre-paid monthly cards. Their Munch-like
    expressions belie their disbelief as they appear to think over the great
    existential question of the fabric of society, and whether or not they
    should continue to hold it together through their actions, for actions to
    the contrary, at least in this Caravaggio work, seem to have no
    consequences. Scholars have been unable to determine where Caravaggio
    found inspiration for this work. They agree that the three drunk teenagers
    must have stolen alcohol from the supermarket by hiding it in a backpack,
    and must have dropped it on the ground at some point, yet they are unable
    to agree on the question of why the three do not opt to take seats in the
    front of the bus, but rather undertake the journey to carry their dripping
    bag all the way to the rear, giggling as they sprinkle beer all over the
    floor. Another critical question is that of why they are already drunk, if
    they are coming right from the supermarket. A mystery indeed, and one some
    viewers would just as well leave unsolved.

    “The Anathema Commuter”
    This rail-thin, Millet-like figure, world-weary yet
    still youthful, appears both relieved at temperatures below 85
    degrees and perplexed at how to dress for the Seattle winter. Could he be
    a recent transplant from the olive groves of the sun-kissed south? His
    outfit makes it it appear so, yet his complexion seems too pale. His
    posture is strained, as if he is trying to touch the seat as little as
    possible, lest he besmirch his wardrobe. He clutches a recent edition of
    The Seattle Times in one hand, and a can of Modelo Especial in the other.
    It is a testament to Caravaggio’s skill in brushstroke that both ink-stained fingernails and the date of
    the edition of the newspaper are visible — fine details at odds with his
    thick application of hair in creating the sweeping parameters of the
    central figure’s disheveled hairstyle.

    “Le pecore” [The Sheep]
    This stunning work attempts to examine why, when one bus arrives with the
    entire population of the Austro-Hungarian empire aboard, and another bus
    is clearly shown to be coming down the street 30 seconds behind it,
    everyone waiting at the stop clambers aboard the first bus. Well, almost
    everyone; one figure holds back. His head held high, he gazes down the street, fearless and
    confident, like George Washington crossing the Delaware.
    Scholars have subjected this work to an ultraviolet
    treatment, which has revealed that the lines of sight are in fact lines of
    light: the figure who holds back is the only one who can see the second
    bus, which, to the other riders — the titular “sheep” — remains shrouded
    in Caravaggesque darkness. They are incapable of seeing it. This can be
    the only explanation. Well, either that, or they are distracted by their
    texting.

    “The Five-Handed Merman”
    In this work, Caravaggio elaborated a solution to a common problem: how to
    hold your books, your umbrella, your Thai takeout, and your 12-pack of
    toilet paper, and hold on to the bar at the same time. The solution? Give the rider
    five hands. This is simple enough. One bold Caravaggesque touch is that,
    in this crowded work, the rider easily signals for his stop by reaching
    for the cord with the pinkie finger of the hand that holds his pad woon
    sen, and the “STOP” request light casts a glow on the Cottonelle label,
    thus creating an illumination of the “circuit” of the digestive system.
    Caravaggio’s real genius, though, lies in his conversion of the central
    figure’s lower body to a mermaid’s tail, thus enabling the figure, who is
    male, to navigate the rainy season in Seattle without difficulty, although
    his balance while standing on the bus is not perfect; this poise
    discrepancy is something later Southern Renaissance masters will correct.

    “The Alternate Route”
    Caravaggio got so sick of painting all this nonsense day in and day out
    that he just said “Aspetta” (lit., “hold up”; or colloq., “don’t play”),
    used the Uber app on his iPhone, and arranged for a ride to work. When the
    Uber driver showed up, he asked “Are you Michelangelo,” for he had already
    been pinged the passenger’s name, and they operate on a first-name basis.
    The artist and the driver then exchanged the illegal livery company’s
    trademark fist bump. Caravaggio was pretty tired that morning, and
    couldn’t even remember whether it was Uber or Lyft that had the cars with
    the pink mustache on the dash, but he figured that if he was already at
    that advanced a level of late capitalism, the world was over and so it
    mattered little whether he was getting into a car with a complete
    stranger, potential kidnapper or murderer, or anyone, really, and being
    taken for a ride.

    1. Thanks, MM- I really enjoyed this!
      Kept looking for a link so I could view the images, but i soon realized that they were best viewed in my mind.
      Great Sunday a.m. read…

  8. “When Vancouver replaced one of their bus lines with a BRT line, they saw ridership increases of almost 15%. When they replaced that line with an automated subway, the ridership increased 700%.”

    Oh.

    The phases also show how much even just incremental improvements can help when you have six lines to start with. If we had Forward Thrust we could have made incremental improvements on it in ST1 and ST2 and added lines.

    1. Comparing the Canada Line to anything that existed before is a little absurd. And that’s as it should be — why build any huge project from scratch if the outcomes won’t be whopping?

      The New Muni plan has some fantastic ideas and a good sense of practical details, but the website includes just enough strained comparisons and weird rhetoric and non-sequiturial examples to wonder if they don’t have a few unhinged types in their midst.

      Also, where the hell is the Central Subway in their plans? The thing is 3/4 dug and it doesn’t appear anywhere on their connectivity map! That’s the sort of thing that makes you wonder if the people are in touch enough with reality to make the necessary impact.

      1. Ah. “4” and “5” are not mobilely clickable, and I figured it should be present in the map by the time they get to any other tunneled “(3) Enhance”ments.

      2. Having a desktop’s chance to view all stages, it is definitely an ambitious plan, with an attention to connectivity and to the transfer experience that is light years beyond anything in Metro, Sound Transit, Seattle Subway, or even Vancouver’s long-term vision.

        I just hope that the advocates don’t deceive themselves about relative costs, nor get carried away with non-sequiturial rhetoric like the Canada Line thing Mike rail-biased about above.

      3. Kyle,

        “Embarcadero” on the map is NOT “North Beach”! “Embarcadero” is the subway station in front of the Ferry Building at the foot of Market.

        I wondered exactly what d.p. wondered. When the Central Subway is completed, the T-Third will run straight ahead at Fourth and King, entering the subway about two blocks to the north, just south of I-80. This proposal doesn’t account for use of the existing N/T trackage along The Embarcadero (the street, not the station) south of Steuart Street.

        (By the way, that’s not “The I-80″…..)

      4. Oh, I completely agree.

        SF is the ultimate split-personality city today: that 2nd-in-the-nation statistic on annual trips-per-capita belies a culture with far higher car ownership and far more people who never touch MUNI than in comparable cities like Boston, Chicago, or D.C. It seems that SF residents are either all-in or all-out on today’s transit. (Philly proper has a similarly split personality, I’ve observed.)

        So a significant improvement in the experience and results of life-by-transit in SF would easily see Canada Line-like numbers on its heaviest lifters.

        Compare, though, to a system like Link, where so many trips even to Capitol Hill or Northeast Seattle trips are entirely unaffected by its inferior design that no especially notable bump in transit modeshare is anticipated as a result. Never mind 700% — the majority’s habits aren’t likely to change at all!

      5. And Anan,

        Kyle was right, but you have to be on a non-mobile device to get the future tabs to work properly.

        The Central Subway should obviously be accounted for in the initial phases, though, since it’s almost done. Definitely an oversight that points to some hermeticism in the New Muni crew.

      6. @d.p. I considered it worse that they completely ignored the Parkmerced project, which is San Francisco’s “other” significant LRT subway project. It’s a plan to underground the M Oceanview along a portion of it’s route, and realign it slightly to the west to serve the Parkmerced neighborhood, which is going to undergo considerable redevelopment in the years ahead. There’s already talk of taking advantage of the project to provide an Extension to Daly City BART (badly needed), and extending the subway up to West Portal.

      7. So I looked up the Parkmerced project, and I’m a little confused about the transit component. Is there really a concrete plan for the M-Oceanview redesign. And if so, is there a map-containing document that you could point me to?

        Because what you describe sounds about 500% better than what I was able to glean from existing public documents, which seemed to point more to a branching proposal that would put a new branch into the center of the Parkmerced project, but which would reduce the non-common segments (both the existing tail to Balboa Park and the newly-built spur) to 15 minutes even at rush hour.

        That’s a horrible idea. Especially for anyone whose trip might be better served by the Balboa Park BART transfer than by even an improved ride into the Market Subway.

        I suppose there’s a chance that severing the Market Subway from the surface branches, as the New Muni site proposes, could fix the above issue, since the combined segment from SFSU to West Portal would no longer be frequency-restricted by its respective share of downtown tunnel capacity.

      8. Here’s the final MUNI version of the study:

        http://www.sfcta.org/sites/default/files/content/Planning/19thAvenue/19thAve_final_report.pdf

        It’s a bit different from what Parkmerced originally proposed in that the branching is further south and less abrupt than the original proposal. Now, mind you, the original Parkmerced proposal wasn’t as bad you’re making it seem. This is because in earlier incarnations of the TEP plan (renamed MUNI Forward recently), the M was going to be cut back to SF State, and the J-Church extended through Oceanview (over already existing and regularly used track at Balboa Park) to Parkmarced, which would actually mean a net frequency increase for the area. The Parkmerced developers probably took that service plan into account when they did their design.

        And Speaking of new Subways in San Francisco, MUNI’s finally getting started on the Third phase of the Central Subway:

        http://sfmta.com/sites/default/files/agendaitems/2014/12-2-14%20Item%2015%20T-Third%20Phase%203%20Concept%20Study.pdf

        It’s pretty much the exact alignment I envisioned myself, down to station locations. I favor the Three station-Two Way-Powell/Beach Subway (Option 2B). They even go on to envision potential Phase Four options (I favor a Chestnut St Subway, because that’s more the core of Marina district (Though theres also quite a bit on Lombard, but Lombard’s an absolute traffic sewer), terminating at the Presidio, or the Golden Gate Bridge).

  9. San Francisco should have a conventional underground heavy rail subway system of criss-crossing lines, Combined with the underground transit SF already has, 15-20 miles of new subway would go very far in a city that’s 7×7 miles in size with most of its density focused in the NE quadrant of the city.

  10. Haven’t heard anything on STB about the Madison BRT Public Work Session & Open House last Thursday other than an ad for it.

    http://www.capitolhillseattle.com/2014/11/proposed-87-million-madison-bus-rapid-transit-is-like-light-rail-without-the-rail/

    Looking like shoulder running lanes west of Boren, center running lanes east of Boren. They are weighing 3 downtown route options. Now is pinning down routing downtown, and transitway locations in the RoW as well as station locations too (I had concerns with a poor transfer at Madison & Broadway as the Madison BRT stops would be 2 blocks from Broadway). The center running design at Madison at Broadway showed the transitway having to pinch down to a shared lane for both directions just for a left turn lane off Madison EB onto Broadway NB!!!!

    1. I wanted to attend but I didn’t know when it was. and I went to two other events last week (Capitol Hill Link and the CCC) which was kind of a lot. There’s so much happening in transit and land use now it’s hard to keep up.

      What are the downtown alternatives? I looked through the meeting materials and didn’t see any. My main concerns are Marion’s two extra turns, Marion being a block away from the library, and the distance from Link. If it’s going to be on Marion, at least put it on the west side so that people coming from the library only have to cross one street rather than two.

      The only map I see is from the Transit Master Plan. Its eastbound Broadway station is a block away (Boyleston), and westbound a half-block away. Those are short blocks so I’m not concerned about it. The streetcar station (and presumably the north-south bus stops) are at Marion. That’s a bigger concern because it would be a 1-block transfer eastbound (on Boyleston), and 1 1/2 blocks westbound (going further around the corner and crossing a second street).

    2. One of these days, an update session will occur A) when I’m not coming down with a cold, and B) which I know about in advance.

      I too would like to know where the current conundra on stop placement and downtown alignment stand, Poncho. The map in your link has been around at the start of the process, and its problems are myriad (downtown legibility and uphill speed on Marion, transfers at 4th rather than 3rd, the access gap between downtown and Boren).

      So as Mike said, please update us re: the current menu of options as best you can.

      1. It was about downtown routes, stop locations, and alignment in the right of way. There’s a Madison-Marion, Madison-Spring and a bigger loop option that hits University Street Station. Also where to terminate the line, it seemed Western was the preferred option.

        As I mentioned there could be quite a large amount of center-running dedicated lanes which I was surprised to see and delighted to see. I really think this has the potential to be one of the best BRT lines in the country, just shy of Chicago’s Ashland BRT quality. But it will need advocates to speak up.

      2. Yeah, it seems like east of Boren will actually be fast. So as with so much of Metro, it seems like the usefulness of the line will come down to its operational functionality as it enters and leaves and offers transfers downtown.

        Spring would be a disaster, of course, unless the plan is to spin around from Madison>Western>Spring>2nd and then climb across downtown on a Madison counterflow, which would be awesome. Curb lane on the eastbound climb, and westbound just before the 6th Ave I-5 access, seems like asking for trouble, unless the plan is to mostly ban right turns off of those streets.

        I really think the transit community needs to be insisting on a stop at 8th. The otherwise half-mile gap between stops is steep the entire way, and you cannot reasonably make the case that 2/3/4 riders headed to destinations on 8th and 9th can switch to the central BRT spine if it refuses to stop until the hill crests.

        Ditto for downtown at 3rd. The case for the ease of perpendicular transfers is predicated on not forcing people to brave the 3-story grade change from 3rd to 4th.

        What was the deal at Madison and Broadway? Is the busway basically doubling as the left turn lane for a block?

  11. I lived in SF for nearly six years and I “mostly” loved MUNI. I used to live in SOMA on third street, and unlike King County METRO, I didn’t have to rely on a schedule. The 15/30/45 buses down 4th Street used to come every few minutes into the wee hours of the AM. The schedule had ten minute frequency for each line into the late evening, past 11pm, with final buses around 1:30AM before the night owl route would kick into service. Daytime service was even more frequent. The 30 line would run every 5 minutes, with weekend service every six to eight minutes.

  12. Even more crazy is the service levels on Gear Blvd. The Gear Lines, local/limited/and express, carry nearly 58,000 riders per weekday, making it one of the most used transit corridors in the west coast. At peak times on Beale Street in San Francisco, there is either a 38,38L,or 38X coming every 45 to 60 seconds. Sunday service on the 38 is scheduled for every five minutes. The 38 Lines run 24 hours with OWL service between 1AM and 4AM running at the same frequency as the 8 Line in Seattle, every 30 minutes.

  13. In general, splitting rail lines into separate inner and outer segments increases the number of transfers and hikes operational costs, with little reliability benefit to show. While one connection is useful, today many customers make connections between rail and local buses or other rail lines on one or both ends of their trip; this is how 2-seat rides become 3, 3 become 4, and 4 become 5-seat trips. Consider an employee of the California Academy of Sciences who lives in the East Bay. Today, her trip would be local bus to BART, BART to Downtown San Francisco, and MUNI N-Judiah to Sunset – 3 seats. Under their plan, her trip now requires a forced transfer at Castro, for a 4 seat ride.

    They claim frequencies on the N-Judiah can be improved to every 4 minutes from 7 today. Assuming random arrivals, a 3 minute reduction in headway reduces waiting times by half the headway, or 1.5 minutes. Transfer penalties outweigh frequency increases at low headways; it will likely take her more than 1.5 minutes to make the connection at Castro regardless.

    The new Siemens trains MUNI is receiving in a few years will provide a great reliability improvement, as well as fix some of the issues with a joint high and low-floor system with mechanically simpler exterior steps.

      1. I’m more curious to note BART’s sudden discovery of the massive need for urban infill stations and urban coverage in order to broaden its customer base and general usefulness. At the very moment when Sound Transit proceeds with lighting money on fire to replicate the original, failed BART approach, while rendering infill forever impossible.

        Of course, to the extent that the system’s overseers insist on a second Transbay Tube — rather than better using existing capacity through improved network design or, say, by redesigning the interiors and getting rid of the 30 La-Z-Boys that somehow fill every inch of the wide-body cars — any needs bundled to that boondoggle will sink like the tube itself.

    1. MUNI is primarily for people already in San Francisco. It can’t make things convenient for every corner of Oakland and Walnut Creek. That’s like going from some random house in Tacoma to Greenwood or West Seattle; it’s going to be at least a 3-seat ride, and there’s not much the transit network can do about it without adversely impacting the majority of riders on each of those lines.

      1. Of course a one-seat (or even two-seat outside small areas) trip would be impractical to provide from everywhere to everywhere. The question is if regional three seat trips should become four, or four become five seat trips. While everywhere-to-everywhere trips aren’t as common, the ability to reasonably travel from everywhere-to-everywhere is liberating, especially if this liberation is the breaking point between choosing to own a car or not.

      2. The Muni transfer will improve service for either everybody or nobody. If it’s better for San Franciscans, it’ll be better for Oaklanders too. The one-seat Muni rides that are lost are replaced with rapid transit going more places, and with other one-seat rides. That may not benefit this Oaklander but it doubtless benefits other Oaklanders going other places.

  14. So I was poking around Sound Transit’s quarterly Ridership Report, and noticed that the cost per boarding has come way down to $4.39 !! That’s only $.14 higher than KCMT (who is at $4.25/boarding). The day is very nearly here where Light Rail becomes cheaper to operate than busses per passenger! That’s very exciting to me. (Though I wonder if with all this reorganization if Metro’s Cost per boarding won’t dive due to fuller and fewer busses)

    http://www.soundtransit.org/Documents/pdf/rider_news/ridership/Q3%202014%20Service%20Delivery.pdf

    http://metro.kingcounty.gov/am/accountability/peer-comparison.html

  15. The short summary history of Muni Metro’s four-car trains is needed.

    1. When Muni Metro opened, the branch line cars were often tied together to form a four-car train.. Even though the cars were tied together, the union rules mandated that each car had to have an operator. Thus, a train would have one operator driving and up to three sitting in the cab and doing nothing.
    2. Muni got terrible back up problems at the end of the train line at Embarcadero Station. The problem was that all train lines ended there and there was no tail track. Drivers also had to switch directions in the train — and there wasn’t enough time for driver breaks. (This is a similar layout as we have at SeaTac Link station now and why it’s important to build tail tracks and/or sidings at end-of-line stations.)
    3. Muni then spent a huge amount of money (hundreds of millions of dollars) to resolve the Embarcadero problem call the “Turn-Around” project. Unfortunately, the ultimate design fix would no longer allow for four-car trains. Thus, Muni had to quit linking cars together and to this day there are no more than two car trains in their tunnel. They did get a rule change allowing one-driver for a two-car train but that was an uphill battle with the union.
    4. Muni then opened the Third Street line in the mid-1990’s and created the “Meltdown” because the route ended at Castro Station and there were no tail tracks or sidings to turn around the line. When trains pulled in, both directions had to shut down for a few minutes. Light rail delays became so bad that it would take an hour to go three miles in the train. The fix was ultimately to link the line with a branch line in the other direction yet that required some creating rethinking of driver assignments as the combined route directional travel time was too long. (Note: I wonder how will Link driver work rules work when trains run from Lynnwood to Federal Way.)
    5. This proposed fix is to apparently return four-car trains to the tunnel but forcing transfers rather than one-seat rides.

    Lesson 1: Design the system with more than enough tail track or sidings to allow for the trains reversing direction. Not doing this will create horrible delays that may be enshrined for decades. I certainly hope that Sound Transit’s link planning is obsessing about preventing this basic operational problem, because what I’ve seen so far appears to show little consideration of this (extra tail tracks and sidings). Northgate or Lynnwood appear to be ground zero for this potential problem.
    Lesson 2: Light rail design must consider human factors when it comes to driver requirements. Trains are driven by drivers, and drivers need breaks. Their contracts include breaks. Unless Sound Transit designs a driverless system, designing a system without allowing for consideration of the humanity of driver breaks at end points, future riders will have a similar delay problem with Link down the road.

    1. Third Street line did not open until the mid-00s, not the mid-90s. It is interlined with the K-Ingleside.

      Your short history ignores the inability of MUNI to switchback trains at Embarcadero Station within any kind of reasonable timeframe. The NYC Subway can switchback very quickly, but MUNI has no will to improve the process. Their internal bureaucracy is mired in such mediocrity that they can’t see the forest for the trees.

      Finally, you’ve left out the automation factor in the subway, which was introduced in the late 90s and led to huge operational problems. I’m not convinced they are able to operate more efficiently with this system in place than if they were just operating by hand with cab signals.

      Overall, the throughput on this subway just sucks and MUNI has no desire to do anything about it.

      1. It has been suggested that a big part of the resistance to implementing Positive Train Control on Boston’s Green Line is the likelihood that it could cause a reduction in vehicle throughput that would make Muni Metro in the ’90s look like a cakewalk.

        With all the regulatory inpediments to walking back any “modernizations” even when they prove totally disastrous, a PTC that backfired would fuck Boston in a way that would be literally impossible to unfuck.

        “Progress.” Gotta love it.

      2. K-H you are are correct. I would note that the first leg to South Beach opened in 1998 as an extension of the N-Judah but it wasn’t a separate Market Street line. The cause of the first meltdown as a remember was indeed the Automatic Train Control system which began with the South Beach segment opening. There was a second Muni meltdown in 2007 when they tried to shoehorn in the T-Third Street line trains into the subway and then turn them around at Castro Station. Although I got the T-Third Street line date wrong, I am right that it did create a meltdown.

    2. Good background info! It is pretty mind blowing that they built four car stations and run two car trains.

      I think the third lesson from this is the hazard of interlining routes that have non-grade separated tails. With at-grade segments on Central Link and coming to east link, we could have similar problems tying our whole network together.

      1. It’s more about the hazards of designing sloppily.

        The laborious J-Church and N-Judah tunnel access would be more analogous to our stupid southern DSTT portal or our deletion of a needed Montlake air vent than to our relativity well-designed and full-priority median segments.

      2. The stations are actually MUCH longer than even four car trains would be. They’re sized to fit the BART trains which can run to ten (somewhat shorter: 70′) cars downstairs.

  16. I have an idea for this blog. It would be a once a month post called something like Transit Photo of the Month. About a month ago, there was a post encouraging readers to take transit photos. I think a good motivation for readers take more pics, especially those who aren’t in the habit of taking transit pics, would be if there was sort of a competition. One of the bloggers would go through the most recent additions to the STB Flickr pool, and select the best photo taken the previous month.

    1. Sam,

      I think Stormin’ Norman/Lincoln would win every month with his “Empty Metro” period.

      1. Talk about someone with an axe to grind.

        ‘I saw an empty bus once so therefore nobody rides the bus and we should just cancel service entirely’

      2. I took a picture of an empty car once. We should grind all cars into toothpaste and cancel all driver licenses.

      3. I wish the article were preserved somewhere, but there was a Jack May (according to his .sig file) that used to go on anti-transit rants on the newsgroup misc.transport.rail.americas.

        One of his rants contained the sentence “Nobody rides buses anyway because they stop everywhere to pick up passengers.”

      4. Glenn, now that’s a “rant”!

        Proof that the Normal Curve of Distribution has a long tail……

    2. I promise if they do a transit pic of the month thing, I will do it, and I will take positive pics of transit, not negative ones like empty buses and stuff.

      1. OK, Sam. I’ll bite. What are the rules?

        You said you wanted current work only. OK, how do you define “current”? Must it be within the previous month or is there a few months’ grace?

        You said “transit”. Does that include ferries? If so, they have a big advantage. Does it include para-transit vans?

        I assume that vehicle interiors are OK. What about facilities? Station interiors? Station exteriors? Does it have to move?

        How about a special section for “art” photos? Something like a close-up of some special work?

  17. I remember the big loop through downtown required to get between the CalTrain and anywhere west of downtown. Looks like, eventually, this won’t be needed anymore.

    Now, if only the CalTrain itself could start running more frequently than once an hour…

    1. The looping should also be made obsolete by the Caltrain tunnel to Transbay Terminal.

      Though there have been rumors that the Terminal’s platform capacity was underdesigned, such that a portion of trains will be forced to remain at arm’s length from where people really want to go, in the purgatory of 4th & King.

      Compared to BART and Caltrain, the foibles and backfires associated with MUNI service implementations seem almost quaint.

      1. Is access to the Transbay Terminal even funded? I recall reading recently that there’s no funding source for the extension.

      2. That problem is partially a result of early designs not having Caltrain and CAHSR share platforms and entrances, brought about because it was assumed that the two would have vehicles of different heights. Recently, though Caltrain and HSR are at least saying that they would work together to have the same platform heights (though HSR will probably end up dictating the exact height).

  18. First time I’ve heard of this. This plan is rather similar to some ideas that I’ve had for San Francisco’s transportation, albeit with one key difference: I’d switch the tails of the J and L (With the J operation through Oceanview, and the L through Ingleside, which I think matches demand a lot better). One project that this plan completely fails to account for is the Parkmerced project (Which isn’t so much of an actual extension so much as it a grade separation and realignment project).

  19. After some update this weekend I am getting a security certificate error when I go to http://www.orcacard.com to reload my card. To whom can I report this?

    Certainly seems a pure practice to not have a security certificate on a website that takes credit card info.

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