Posts Tagged ‘transit’

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class="post-2913 post type-post status-publish format-standard hentry category-local tag-bart tag-newfleet tag-transit">

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.

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class="post-2868 post type-post status-publish format-standard hentry category-local tag-bart tag-muni tag-newfleet tag-rant tag-transit">

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.

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class="post-1390 post type-post status-publish format-standard hentry category-local tag-muni tag-natford tag-openletter tag-rant tag-san-francisco tag-sfmta tag-transit">

Open letter: Nat Ford’s severance package

June 22nd, 2011

To the mayor and city supervisors:

Since we’ve decided to honor former SFMTA director Nat Ford’s $384,000 severance package, I would like to propose that we provide these funds in the form of a pre-loaded Clipper card.

Please note that funds on a Clipper card are not refundable, and can only be used for transit.

Thank you,

Eric Gregory
MrEricSir.com

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class="post-191 post type-post status-publish format-standard hentry category-local tag-caltrain tag-high-speed-rail tag-san-francisco tag-trains tag-transit">

SF Central Subway vs. California High Speed Rail

November 10th, 2010

A while back, San Francisco’s MTA got a big bundle of federal cash to build Muni’s “Central Subway” project. This new subway line will create an underground connection between CalTrain’s 4th and King station, Union Square, and Chinatown.

This area is horribly congested with traffic so the idea has merit. It would allow folks from the peninsula and South Bay to hop off Caltrain and take a quick subway ride to Union Square and Chinatown.

Meanwhile, there’s another plan being developed separately — a plan that would build a high speed railway from Los Angeles to San Francisco. Between SF and Gilroy, the new railway would follow the existing CalTrain route.

But instead of terminating at 4th and King, the new High Speed Rail line — as well as CalTrain — would be extended via subway and terminate at 1st and Mission. Construction on the new station and subway train box is already underway.

Now, any reasonable person looking at a map can see that 4th and King is awfully close to 1st and Mission. Especially for a train. So close together, in fact, that keeping the existing 4th and King station seems excessive.

Which leads me to wonder: aren’t these two plans mutually exclusive? Either the 4th and King station will be gone, and the Central Subway will effectively go nowhere, or CalTrain will have to keep an awkwardly placed station just to connect to the Central Subway.

Overall, I think the High Speed Rail makes a lot of sense. It’s fast, electric, can be powered by renewable resources, and trips will take less time than an airplane. But there’s something being lost in the planning process, and it needs to be fixed if they’re serious about building it.