Tuesday, January 2, 2007

(The Other) Subway to the Sea

With Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa planning the subway to the sea on Wilshire in Los Angeles, I think Mayor Newsom should start his own program in San Francisco. One of most ridden bus lines in the United States, the 38 Geary is always plastered with faces on the windows because it is so full and needs more capacity. The Geary Corridor also has the limited service 38L which acts as an express bus. So why are they going to spend millions of dollars to take away a lane and save riders only a few minutes while using the same buses?

The first step of the second subway to the sea is the 3rd Street light rail which opens in the next few months. The next step is the central subway project which leaves a spur going west to link up a future Geary Subway before it turns off to go under Stockton(which by the way should continue past broadway). The decision to build the GS to at least Masonic though is very far off while they wait for more money. But really the line is ready to go.

So the problem with this picture is that while the United States FWHA would put in 90% of the cost for a road that desperately needed to be built, they would do it. This is the top example of what is happening with the new starts program. Funding for major urban rail projects is getting stymied for artery clogging BRT and unneeded roads by folks who don't like to invest in infrastructure needed to make cities work. aka the libertarian movement. Where would they be without the Federal Highway Program in their arguments? Probably arguing for better transit to support the free market.

The point is that projects like Geary are the projects that need to be funded. Folks shouldn't be plastered on the windows bus service is not adequate. This is why the case needs to be made for a major transit infrastructure initiative that rivals that of the Highway expansion of the last century. The first project? Geary Subway to the Sea

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