Posts Tagged ‘bart’

BART to the future fleet

April 17th, 2014

BART's Fleet of the Future prototype BART's Fleet of the Future prototype BART's Fleet of the Future prototype BART's Fleet of the Future prototype

Today BART launched the first of several workshops with a full-scale prototype of their new train cars. They’re looking for rider feedback before finalizing the design. Most of it seems pretty nifty:

  • Comfortable, easy to clean seats
  • Extra set of doors for faster boarding
  • Bike racks
  • Digital signs and maps

BART says their new trains will be quieter on the inside and have better air conditioning, but these features weren’t part of the demo.

I took the time to voice my concerns about the boarding difficulty that the redesign didn’t address. One BART representative suggested a couple mirrors might solve the problem, which is an interesting alternative I hadn’t considered.

If you’re interested in checking out the prototype and giving feedback, several more workshops are scheduled. If all goes as planned we’ll start seeing these new trains in 2017.

Handwritten song lyrics taped to pole

April 11th, 2014

Hope There's Someone lyrics

I’m not entirely certain what compels someone to write out the lyrics to the 2005 hit Hope There’s Someone by Antony and the Johnsons, then tape the page to a pole in a BART station. Perhaps they were inspired by the recent Avicii version?

In all likelihood we’ll never know. It will remain as one of the unsolved mysteries of our time, just like that wooden box.

BART station side hatch

March 14th, 2014

This morning I arrived at the 16th Mission BART station only to find the entry was blocked by a steel gate! Oh no! How would I get to work?

Turns out a detour through a secret passage was necessary, as documented in the photos below.

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New BART trains don’t address boarding issue

March 8th, 2014

The new BART train cars will have lots of improvements over the current ones. But there’s one boarding issue that they didn’t quite tackle.

See what’s missing from their design, as pictured above?

You may have to take a step back, so to speak, in order to notice. Consider how people board BART trains: commuters and other frequent riders wait in a line or small group on the station platform near where the train’s doors stop when it pulls into the station. Generally they let other passengers off first before anyone gets on.

Or at least, they try to. On current BART trains it’s difficult to tell if there’s someone waiting to exit before you get on, because the trains are designed like this:

Now Boarding

As you can see from Todd Lappin’s above photo, there aren’t windows next to the doors. This means you can be standing on the platform, unable to see an exiting passenger before you try to board. Not exactly a well thought out design.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

Van Ness Muni Metro Station

As the above photo by Roshan Vyas illustrates, even when Muni Metro’s doors are open you can still see the people inside. You can wait for them to get off before shoving your way on — or not, like certain impolite Muni passengers at rush hour. But either way at least there isn’t a wall at a crucial point in the train car exterior.

BART’s new trains narrow this boarding blind spot, but they don’t eliminate it. Look at all this wasted space:

I understand there needs to be a place for a map and maybe some ads on the trains, but this isn’t the place for it. There shouldn’t be a need to pick between faster boarding and information — both goals are attainable without sacrificing one for the other.

Proof that Mitch Hedberg never rode BART

March 7th, 2014

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“An escalator can never break, it can only become stairs. You will never see an escalator out of order sign, just ‘escalator temporarily stairs — sorry for the convenience.’”

– Mitch Hedberg

 
While he may have taken Muni Metro, it’s clear that Hedberg never rode BART.

Things San Franciscans despise: filth

May 7th, 2012

Most visitors would be shocked to learn that San Franciscans hate filth.

Ours is a city that doesn’t want to stay clean, but we try our best. Some cleaning accomplishments we’re especially proud of include:

  • We require restaurants to display a hygiene score card.
  • We have a number to call for park and sidewalk cleaning.
  • We heavily fine anyone who dares block our street cleaning vehicles’ precise schedule.

Yes, we live in moldy old buildings. Yes, the entire city often smells terrible. And yes, that’s human urine on your car door. Sorry, I should have told you not to park here.

Tourists don’t recognize our little obsession with cleanliness because we often focus on minor details, ignoring larger issues that are politically unpalatable to address head-on.

The poster child for our cleanliness obsession reaching a disorder level is Bart. Despite drug deals and human excrement problems in certain stations, Bart focuses on appeasing germaphobes who demand free hand sanitizer and inorganic germ-resistant vinyl seats.

This isn’t to say San Franciscans are trying to scrub away our hippie image; we’re just washing our organic heirloom tomatoes with soap these days.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go confirm that the overflowing trash can I reported to 311 was emptied.

 

Original photo by gruntso.

Yet another punk show at 16th Mission Bart

June 17th, 2011

Yesterday evening we had another little punk show at the 16th Mission Bart stop. Unlike many previous shows, this one was right in the middle of things; not much buffer zone between the audience and the band.

I wasn’t there when they finished up, but I hear that things ended quite early.

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Another punk show at 16th Mission Bart

September 1st, 2010

A rather loud all-girl band from Olympia was playing at the 16th and Mission Bart stop this evening. Here’s a few pics.

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Transfering between Muni Metro and Bart

July 1st, 2010

Let’s say you’re going to work, and like a lot of folks, you have to transfer from Muni Metro to Bart.

What do you have to do? Well first you have to get to one of the shared stations, i.e. Civic Center, Powell, Montgomery, or Embarcadero. (I’m not counting Balboa Park, that’s another story for another time.)

Next you have to actually do some walking. Here’s a highly-skilled MS Paint diagram of what you currently need to do on foot:

  1. Go from the Muni platform level to the ticketing level
  2. Head through the exit and into the Bart faregates
  3. Go back down to the Bart platform level

Does it have to be this complicated? Of COURSE NOT!

Anyone who’s ever transferred has probably thought of this, but there’s a pretty simple solution here: stairs between the Muni and Bart platform levels.

Like this:

See? We eliminate two flights of stairs and save up to 5 minutes or so.

So what’s the rub, why didn’t they build the station like this in the first place?

It seems there simply isn’t enough room to have all the extra faregates and ticket machines we’d need on the station platforms. Or at least, it USED to be that way.

But now that we have Clipper, couldn’t we make do with less? All you’d have to do is exit Muni and tag on to Bart. Or in the other direction, tag off Bart and on to Muni.

Muni trains already have Clipper machines inside the train, and it’s a proof-of-payment system, so gates aren’t really needed. Bart could just have a couple faregates at the platform level. It wouldn’t have to take up too much space.

So there you go, commuters; now just convince the powers that be to build this.

Follow up: Live poetry event details

June 12th, 2010

It’s come to my attention that the live poetry I witnessed the other night is actually an ongoing event. Who knew? Everyone but me, apparently.

From 16thMission.com:

Join us on the streetcorner at 16th & Mission every Thursday night at 9:00pm, and lend your voice to this ecclectic [sic] group of street performers. From musicians and emcees to poets and comics, there’s something for everyone here under just the stars and streetlights…

There’s even some Yelp reviews and a short documentary film (warning: long load time and out of sync audio).

How did I not know about this?