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Archive for the ‘transit’ Category

Priorities

Biking to the new Antioch BART station is nerve wracking, to say the least. The streets are designed for very high-speed car travel. So if transportation agencies have $16 million to spend on improving access to the station, where should it go? To parking of course:

Wright called the Hillcrest Slatten Ranch intersection near the eBART entrance “a death trap” for cyclists and urged officials to figure out a solution.

“I have been saying that for two years,” he said. “How do we get together (and solve the problem) before we have a cyclist that gets killed? We should be proactive in fixing it.”

Councilman Tony Tiscareno also said he is concerned about traffic, noting more development will be coming in the near vicinity.

“It’s encouraging that we are going to be able to see some more parking, but one of my biggest concerns is traffic and accessibility to that area.”

[BART Director] Keller said BART officials will look to see if better eBART access exists for cyclists in the area and report back to the city within 90 days.

So BART will “study” the bike access issue and report back..well that’s great. It should be noted that two-thirds of riders don’t drive to the station. The drivers are an entitled minority here.

And it’s not just bike/ped access. Keller says parking takes priority over new railcars:

Keller added that once parking is taken care of, BART will be working on purchasing additional cars to assist in overcrowding on trains.

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With the passage of AB-2923, BART has new zoning powers to develop housing around it stations. So how is that process going…?

BART identifies funding to add over 800 parking spaces at the Antioch Station

With full funding identified, BART is moving ahead with plans to nearly double the amount of parking at the Antioch Station. Antioch Station currently has 1006 parking stalls. Another 800-plus spaces will be added under this plan.

“The response to the extension has been overwhelmingly positive, except for criticism about the lack of parking,” says BART Director Joel Keller, who represents East Contra Costa County. “We’ve made it a priority to ensure that every rider has access to the new service which takes drivers off the congested Highway 4 corridor.”

The plan calls for converting a plot of BART-owned land just east of the current lot into more than 800 additional parking spaces.

The current daily ridership for the Antioch Station is 3,050 while the forecasted ridership before its opening was 2,270 trips.

The proposed parking lot cost is $16.4 million. Funding sources include the Contra Costa Transportation Authority, BART, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and the East Contra Costa Regional Fee and Financing Authority.

BART will now work on the environmental impact and design.

Approval by the BART Board is required with the plan expected to go before Directors in late 2018 or early 2019. Construction would begin in fall of 2019 with the new lot opening in fall of 2020.

BART directors representing the eastern suburbs are just not interested in doing transit-oriented development. This is the problem with AB-2923, as it gives BART zoning power that it is generally not interested in using.
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Can’t believe this guy is in charge of educating kids:

Hundreds of students from across Beverly Hills Unified School District streamed into Will Rogers Memorial Park Friday morning to protest the planned construction of a subway to the Westside, which will travel under Beverly Hills High School.

Kevin Allen, principal of El Rodeo School, said about 310 of 550 of his elementary school students were scheduled to show up, along with more than 45 parents.

“We just want Metro to come back to the table and work with us,” he said. “We worry about the safety of our kids.”

Allen said today was an opportunity to teach students about what it means to be a peaceful protestor. “Our students today are going to get a lesson on Rosa Parks,” he said.

 

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Fresno is not “Nowhere”

What a bizarre campaign strategy: go visit a major city and tell voters they are bunch of unimportant nobodies:

Republican California gubernatorial candidate John Cox stopped in Fresno for his #HelpIsOnTheWay statewide tour Thursday afternoon. To a small crowd of media only, Cox discussed issues facing the high-speed rail project while near an active construction site for an overpass.

“It really is the train to nowhere, isn’t it?” Cox said as he stepped off this tour bus and looked at an unfinished rail along Highway 99. “The train to nowhere represents the biggest point of departure between me and my opponent in this race,” said Cox.

There are 1 million residents in the Fresno metropolitan area. Pretty sure they don’t consider their city as “nowhere”.

cox

 

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The seats are too damn high

Yesterday while riding in one of BART’s “fleet of the future” trains, a middle-aged woman sat across from me. She was having difficulties with the seat, because the seat is too damn high:

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As you can see, her feet come nowhere near reaching the floor. And that’s despite sitting at on front edge of the seat. It is hardly the first time I’ve seen something like this. Every time I see someone shorter than 5’2 try to sit in one of these seats, they look like a toddler in a high-chair.

Apparently the new Muni LRV‘s have the same problem, which makes me wonder if this is a stupid new fad among US transit planners. Signs posted in the new BART cars explain that the higher height is a design feature because it provides more space under seats to store luggage. I have yet to see anyone take advantage of this, as most riders prefer to keep their laptops and purses on them at all times.

BART staff was aware of this problem, but dismissed any concerns. Their PR web producer writes:

As a 5-foot-2-inch tall person, I had never really thought about seat height. BART’s 16.5 inches fit me just fine. (They’re among the lowest of its peers — consider 17 inches in Boston, 18 in Washington and 19 in Vancouver.) I tried out some examples of higher seats, and didn’t mind the dangly, feet-not-touching-the-ground feeling. It was pointed out that higher seats are more forgiving for taller people or those who have difficulty getting up and down.

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Hong Kong high-speed rail begins service

Hong Kong now has high-speed rail service to the mainland:

Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor gave the ringing endorsement at the HK$84.4 billion (US$11.3 billion) Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link opening ceremony, which was also officiated by Guangdong governor Ma Xingrui, before leading hundreds of guests to board the train.

Ma described the commencement of the express rail link as a “milestone” in the establishment of the Greater Bay Area – Beijing’s initiative to link Hong Kong, Macau and nine Guangdong cities to form an innovation hub rivaling Silicon Valley.

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Looks like Saudi Arabia will beat out Morocco for Africa’s the first high-speed rail service in the Arab world:

Saudi Arabia will soon start offering high-speed train services between Makkah and Madinah. According to the local reports, the first rail service will be on September 24, 2018. The 450km line will link the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah via Jeddah and the King Abdullah Economic City of Rabigh.

The Haramain high-speed train line, which has been repeatedly delayed and resulting with cost increases, having originally been due to open in 2012.

There will be eight services daily in each direction until the end of the year, according to the news on Saudi Gazette. Trains on the line will travel at speeds of 300kph, is expected to cut down the amount of time taken to travel between Mecca and Madinah to two hours. It will also shorten the travel time between Jeddah and Mecca to half an hour.

The design and construction of the project will allow it to withstand tough climatic and heavy traffic conditions. Since temperatures in the region range from 0–50°C, the track will be designed to handle the temperature changes.

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