Monday, March 28, 2011

Bay Area TOD Policy Might Work

We've had lots of discussions about freeway running light rail and transit and some folks say its ok as long as the major nodes are connected. I probably subscribe to that version, but when it comes down to it I'd rather have the ends of lines not be parking lots. That's why I was glad to see that the BART to Livermore extension was actually going to end in downtown Livermore, not along the freeway. This was thanks in part I believe to the MTC TOD policy, which states that you need to have a certain amount of housing units to build certain technologies like BART. Now of course that policy in itself isn't as powerful as it should be but at least its a good start.

However that won't stop some folks in Livermore from arguing that they thought the line was going down the freeway median all along. What's the point of building a rapid transit line like BART if you're just going to park cars around the stations?! Apparently some people don't get this.
"I guess the thing that's hardest for me to comprehend is that they're putting this train right down the most populated part (of the city) they could come up with,"
Because that's the point! Going to the most populated places so the $3.8 billion line will actually have more riders than parking spaces is the goal. I would personally do it a little differently, but that's just me.


BruceMcF said...

People keep using specific transport technologies as shorthands for transport tasks, but it does not mean that the shorthand is very accurate.

The question is not whether its "light rail" or "heavy rail", the question is whether its a local neighborhood transport corridor or a regional transport corridor.

If its a local neighborhood transport corridor, it needs to be easily accessible along the corridor. If its a regional transport corridor, it can be workable as long as it connects to the major centers and the draw of taking the transport link is sufficient to drive access to the stations where they happen to be.

Of course, faster transit speed includes, among other things, wider station spacings, which reduces the cost per route mile of locating the station outside the highway median and bringing rail in a highway median out to serve the station.

There are capacity issues that can arise in using light rail for a regional transport corridor, but that is not a question of transport task, but of total trips in that task and the dedicated transport corridor's share of those trips.

Daniel Jacobson said...

For $2.7 billion, Salt Lake City bought 177 miles of light rail, commuter rail, and BRT. For $3.9 billion, BART wants to buy 13 miles to the burbs. This project is terrible and will never get funded.

Pantograph Trolleypole said...

That's a good point Daniel. This project shouldn't even get funded. I meant to write that but ended up forgetting about it in the end. But for discussion's sake, this is a better outcome than we'd get without the TOD policy.

Jarrett Mullen said...

Common Livermore argument: We deserve this extension because we've paid into the BART district for years!!

Randy Simes said...

This is precisely the problem with MARTA rail in Atlanta. The system includes huge parking garages at most train stations, and even the urban station locations have a suburban feel due to the bus feeder system they use that requires bus bays at the rail stations.

As a result you have stations accommodating to cars and buses, with people being an afterthought. This is why, in my opinion, Lindbergh Station is the best transit-oriented parking development in the nation.

Franco Marciano said...

@Daniel Jacobson, You've pretty much summed up the current Livermore BART extension. I'm still a supporter and advocate for a BART extension, I'm happy it goes downtown, but I'm not sure the cost can be justified. I thought the original 2003 DMU plan was much better in comparison. At this point, even after all the scoping meetings, I hear that it's still not a sure thing so...