Thursday, November 29, 2007

A Real Bay Area Metro

Eric over at Transbay Blog made some comments in the Livermore Thread that rang true for many people in San Francisco and other big cities with half finished metro lines. I too wish we had a real metro system in the Bay Area. It certainly would make getting more places much easier. And I have a feeling that it would increase ridership dramatically.

Why do I think we should invest more in urban subway systems? Because these lines have been driving national ridership gains over the last 15 years. (data here). Heavy Rail has produced about the same gain as bus, light rail, and commuter rail combined. Obviously there are different modes for different purposes. But some corridors need a metro, more than BART has now. Perhaps we should start a campaign? The Urban Subway Expansion Project. Any other cities that should join? I nominate LA first.

So where should we put new subways? In the Bay Area.... we'll just make a map. Any corridors? I'll start with Geary haha.

1 comment:

Eric (from Transbay Blog) said...

For some reason, the commenting thing is a little funny, in that you can't enter a blog URL unless you're a Google customer. So I identified myself a bit differently from usual :)

When I was a kid, I used to draw pretty crazy fantasy subway maps with lines going every which way (in ways that made sense, but still expensive), but since then, the maps have gotten more and more cost-effective. We get to do true fantasy here?

It would really only take a couple new lines to bring a lot of neighborhoods into the system:

1) Geary! Yes, you're right, of course. Maybe one service that goes out to the ocean (or maybe BRT would be enough to serve these riders), and another service that turns south, tunnels under the park and 19th Avenue, with stations at Muni Metro connection points. Line ends at Daly City or SFO.

2) Not as pressing as Geary, but if we're fantasizing, just turn the 49 bus into a BART line, as we're almost all the way there anyway. New stations at Union (or Lombard), Geary, Market, and then onto 16th, 24th, Glen, Balboa, and ending at D.C.

3) Maybe a spur off the Geary line and the Van Ness line could both end at a station near the Golden Gate Bridge/Marina. Flood that station with GG Transit bus and ferry service, and you might get a lot of Marin commuters.

4) MacArthur Blvd BART: This is essentially the NL AC Transit bus line. Start it in SF, put it in a new transbay tube, then stations at: Emeryville, transfer point at current MacArthur station, Broadway/MacArthur, Grand Lake, 14 Ave/MacArthur, Dimond, Laurel, Mills College, Eastmont, East 14 St/73 Ave (transfer point to a new East 14th subway -- see below), and then terminating at a true Oakland Airport station. If a new, regular use exists for the Oakland Coliseum, trains can stop at the existing Coliseum station for special events. If not, just close that station.

5) Relocate the whole section of track between Lake Merritt and San Leandro stations so that it is a subway under East 14th Street. Stations at: 5 Ave (or maybe 14?), 23 Ave, Fruitvale, High, Seminary, 73 Ave, and 98 Ave, and then onto San Leandro.

Now there's a system I'd like to ride! Too bad it'd be ghastly expensive. In the real world... I'd be pretty thrilled with just the Geary line. :)