local

BART Seat Lab

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Bay Area Rapid Transit, or BART is a common fixture in the lives of Bay Area  California residents. The above-and-underground train network spans northward to Richmond, southward to Fremont, and regularly ferries passengers between San Francisco and points to the east.

Despite their centrality to Bay Area daily life, BART cars have not seen a replacement since the 1970s when the system opened; and that is about to change. BART is actively seeking feedback on its ‘Fleet of the Future’, a long-range plan to replace its cars.

This estimated $3 billion project will be the single largest upgrade expenditure that the BART has ever seen—that could be why BART is enlisting the help of the public to get it right.

A series of ‘seat labs’ are taking place at BART station near you! There, you can try out several configurations of seats and aisle widths, and give feedback on materials, lighting, signage and more. What is most important to you on your commute?

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Remaining BART seat lab schedule and locations

Read more:

Seat lab early feedback: Majority of riders want wider aisles in Fleet of the Future

Photos of BART Under Construction

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The San Francisco Chronicle website has a gallery of photos from when the BART system was originally under construction in the 1960s and 1970s. You can see the photos here.

There is a photo of people on a walking tour through the Transbay Tube.

Also, there is a photo of then-President Nixon riding BART in 1972.

Go. Look.

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(Image credit: Wikimedia Commons)

The Dublin Pleasanton BART Station under construction, much later, in 2009.

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Caltrain is in Serious Trouble

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(Image credit: Wikimedia Commons)

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A few days ago, I began to see news that Caltrain will face a huge operating deficit starting this summer. However, the magnitude of that deficit didn’t sink in until an article pointed out that the $30 million operating deficit will be nearly one-third of its operating budget.

According to the article, cuts on the table include:

  • Weekday trains would be reduced from 86 to 48, with service limited to commute hours.

  • No weekend service, eliminating up to 68 trains.

  • Service eliminated from Gilroy to the Diridon Station in San Jose.

  • Up to seven of 23 stations along the Peninsula closed.

    The article also made the following point:

  • Caltrain is unique in the Bay Area, as it is the only transit line that lacks a dedicated source of funding. Instead, agencies from the three counties in which it runs contribute funds to help cover operating costs.

    But the Valley Transportation Authority, SamTrans and the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency all face their own budget battles and will reduce their aid by $25 million next fiscal year.

    You can read the entire article here.

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    GreenTRIP Certification

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    GreenTRIP is a certification program developed by TRANSFORM, an organization that “works to create world-class public transportation and walkable communities in the Bay Area.” According to the TRANSFORM website:

    GreenTRIP is a powerful new certification program that rewards residential in-fill projects that apply comprehensive strategies to reduce traffic and greenhouse gas emissions. GreenTRIP certification standards supports projects providing appropriate amounts of parking and offer effective incentives for new residents to drive less and own fewer vehicles. Since these types of developments create less driving and use less land for parking, there’s more space for shops, services, and affordable homes – plus less traffic and pollution.

    For more information on the certification and the pilot projects, visit the TRANSFORM website.

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    Assorted Links

    A climate skeptic, Representative John Shimkus of Illinois, seeks the House Energy and Commerce Committee chairmanship.

    San Francisco transportation officials are facing a shortfall of at least $137 million as they try to move forward with plans for a new subway tunnel for the city’s light-rail service.

    Several glazing industry associations successfully appealed changes to ASHRAE Standard 90.1 that would have reduced the amount of glass allowed in commercial building envelopes.

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    Regional Bike Sharing in the Bay Area

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    photo: a bike sharing system in the St. Etienne metro region wikimedia commons

    Regional transit authorities have recently announced that they will go ahead with a new bike sharing program slated to start next year and  attributed as the first of-its-kind regional effort at a comprehensive bike sharing program in the nation.

    The pilot program will put 1,000 new bikes on the road, and up to 100 kiosks around the Bay Area, with approximately half the amount being placed within the City of  San Francisco, and the other half being placed along the peninsula transportation corridor that includes Redwood City, Mountain View, Palo Alto and San Jose.

    With transportation accounting for more than half of the air pollution in the Bay Area (SFMTA), the bike share project aims to reduce the number of vehicle miles traveled by encouraging people to increase bike travel for short trips in dense urban and downtown areas.

    The Metropolitan Transit Commission (MTC) has approved an initial $4.29 million grant for the estimated $7 million project, that will be managed by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) and facilitated by a regional partnership between BAAQMD, SFMTA, SamTrans, Santa Clara Valley Transit Authority, San Mateo County and Redwood City. The participating jurisdictions and transit agencies will also contribute to the funding of the program.

    When rolled out, the bike system will require users to buy a yearlong subscription and will utilize smart cards, GPS tracking and wireless technologies.

    Read more:

    San Francisco Bike Sharing Moves Ahead with Regional Plan and Funding: MTC grant to area partnership moves SFMTA plan forward, San Francisco Metropolitan Transit Authority(SFMTA) press release

    Bike sharing project expected to begin next year, SF Chronicle

    Bay Area maps out bike sharing effort, New York Times Green blog

    AC Transit Cuts Take Effect Today

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    Significant adjustments to nearly 70 transit lines took effect today. According to the AC Transit website:

    Significant changes include:

    • Reducing frequency on 28 lines
    • Starting service later in the morning and/or ending earlier in the evening  on 18 lines
    • Eliminating or operating shorter routes on weekends on four lines
    • Reconfiguring service in some areas, including West Oakland/Emeryville, Lakeshore Ave./Grand Ave. in Oakland, Bay Farm Island in Alameda, and San Leandro
    • Discontinuing service to Orinda BART and along Broadway Terrace in Oakland
    • Adding extensions to two lines to replace limited service in Piedmont, and service between Alameda and the Oakland Airport

    All changes are listed in detail on the AC Transit website here.

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    L.A.’s Electric Vehicle/ Mass Transit Experiment

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    photo: Wikimedia Commons

    The County Metropolitan Transit Authority (Metro) of  the City of Los Angeles is partnering with EV Connect to bring a large scale roll out of electric vehicle charging stations at strategic locations throughout the city’s transit network.

    The pilot program will assess the viability and appeal of integrating electric vehicle charging into a mass transit network. Patrons will be able to leave an electric vehicle at a charging station, and then continue their commute on transit. The partnership will monitor and study the program to create benchmarks for a potential “charge and ride” transportation industry.

    The pilot will help Metro move toward its sustainability goals for regional transit. See other environmental initiatives of Metro here.

    Read a full story from the Kansas Star on the new program here.

    Full List of AC Transit Cuts

    The full list of night and weekend buses with service being cut has now been posted on the AC Transit website here.

    Weekend lines that will continue to operate include: Lines 1, 1R, 18, 20, 22, 26, 40, 45, 51A, 51B, 57, 60, 72, 72M, 73, 76, 88, 97, 99, 210 and 217.

    Lines that will be cut include: Lines 7, 11, 12, 14, 21, 25, 31, 32, 49, 52, 54, 62, 65, 67, 68, 70, 71, 74, 85, 86, 89, 93, 95, 98, 242, 251, 275, 332, 345, 350, 376, 386, F, NL and O.

    The discontinued All-Nighter service includes Lines 802, 805, 840 and 851. Lines 800 and 801 will not be affected.

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    Assorted Links

    An op-ed has some interesting math lessons for locavores.

    Sanford, Maine implemented a trash-metering system and residents reduced trash thrown away by 50%.

    The folks at Walk Score have released Transit Score, which ranks how well-served a location is by transit.