30 December 2016

Keep it Simple with Midge's Delight: Part 2 Analyzing the Transbay Alignments

Last week we looked at the Lindsay Boxer Discovery option, with its distinctive BART line up Fifth St past many new developments. Today we look at the simplest option for San Francisco in our series on Transbay Alignment choices.

Here we have the shortest BART alignment possible, while the Caltrain/HSR DTX line follows the already environmentally approved path up Townsend and 2nd Street. The only "flourish" is calling for a 4-bore tunnel. The four tracks would include two BART tracks plus two Caltrain/HSR tracks east between Howard and Mission Streets out of the Transbay Transit Center.

The simplicity? This option would include the fewest new downtown BART stations (2 instead of 3 or 4); build the shortest BART tunnel (only 0.8 miles to Market St unlike Lindsay Boxer's 1.5 miles). Yet Midge's Delight gets folks to the Financial District directly, and a to Mission Bay directly via Caltrain or with a single transfer if from BART.
The two new towers rising in the Transbay District: Salesforce Tower and 181 Fremont as seen from Howard at 1st St. Image: Brian Stokle / Urban Life Signs
As noted before, the options will be names of people. In San Francisco they are names of fictitious characters from stories that took place in San Francisco. Also, the orientation of the map has east at the top, "looking" to Oakland.

The BASIC ALIGNMENTS
  • BART
    • Arrives under the bay at Howard Street in SoMa.
    • Runs under Howard Street to 2nd St.
    • Turns west to go under O'Farrell Street and on to Geary Street to a terminus to be decided later
  • Caltrain/HSR 
    • The Downtown Extension DTX follows the Pennsylvania and 7th Street alignment from Potrero Hill to SoMa
    • Continues under Townsend St, then turning north under 2nd Street to the Transbay Center
    • Continues east out of the Center and on under the bay through a 4-bore 2nd Transbay crossing (2 tracks BART, 2 tracks Caltrain/HSR)
  • Muni
    • Operates largely as today
    • Central Subway extended to North Beach and possibly Fisherman's Wharf
    • Optional extension of N-Judah Mission Bay line further west to Division Street.
    • Optional Geary St Muni Metro could loop around Transbay Transit Center and then turn back southwest along Folsom back to the Mission. (not mapped)
Midge's Delight option. Source: Brian Stokle / Urban Life Signs

Aerial view of SoMa and the Transbay District. Caltrain runs under 2nd St. Muni's T-Third runs under of 4th St. BART comes from East Bay under Howard St. Transfers possible between all three.  Fremont Transbay Station under Howard has easy transfers to the Transbay Center. 4th & Townsend Station within walking distance of AT&T Park, Chase Center Warriors Arena, and Mission Rock development,.
Image: Brian Stokle / Urban Life Signs. Base image: GoogleEarth
The STATIONS
  • BART
    • Transbay Transit Center at Howard: The station on Howard between Fremont and First streets provides great access to the quickly developing and densifying Transbay District, while still being within walking distance of much of the Financial District north of Market. In addition a short pedestrian tunnel under Fremont would link to the Transbay Transit Center with its Caltrain, HSR, and bus services. The transfer through the tunnel would take less than a minute.
Looking west on Howard Street at Fremont Street. A BART station here would run between Fremont and First and only be a 1 minute walk to the Transbay Transit Center in a pedestrian tunnel. Image: Brian Stokle/Urban Life Signs
    • Union Square Powell Station (under O'Farrell Street) provides access to the Union Square shopping and cultural area in addition to providing transfers between the new BART line to the T-Third Muni Metro in the Central Subway, as well as existing Market Street BART and Muni Metro lines. Transfers from the new station could be made by connecting to the concourse under Stockton St. An optional additional pedestrian tunnel could directly link the two BART lines by going under Powell Street between O'Farrell and Market Street. 
The Union Square area already will have the new T-Third station that connects to the Powell St BART and Muni Metro station. Adding the 2nd Transbay BART station under O'Farrell create a major regional rail hub at this important shopping, culture and tourist neighborhood.  Image: Google Maps / Brian Stokle
  • Caltrain / HSR
    • Fourth and Townsend Station gives access to the same area as the current 4th & King station, with close proximity to AT&T Park, and the planned growth area in the Central SoMa plan. In addition, access to the new Chase Center Warriors Arena would be a short walk away. Transfers to Muni T-Third and the N-Judah would be important.
    • Transbay Transit Center: as planned this station will provide rail access into the heart of Downtown San Francisco providing service to the Peninsula, San Jose, as well as Fresno and eventually Los Angeles with the California High Speed Rail. 
    • In addition, pedestrian tunnels under Beale Street connecting Embarcadero Station and under Fremont Street to the new BART line under Howard would all connect to the Transbay Transit Center for passengers wishing to transfer from Caltrain and HSR to reach points throughout the Bay Area via BART and Muni.
Transbay Transit Center (center bottum) with its white patterned skin. The Salesforce Tower under construction rises center right with its glass exterior not yet complete.  Image: Brian Stokle / Urban Life Signs

21 December 2016

Analyzing the Transbay Alignments: Part I Lindsay Boxer in San Francisco

Talk of a 2nd Transbay Rail Crossing has gained a bit of a bump in the last few weeks due to a few new things:
  • BART's announcement that it will reduce service in the Transbay Tube for several months (VERIFY DETAILS) to seismically upgrade the tunnel.
  • The UC Berkeley Transportation Studio presented its findings on where a 2nd Tube, or as they put it, a 3rd Crossing, could go based on some robust analysis.
  • BART trains were either "stuck" in the tube Tuesday, December 20 due to mechanical problems (old system) plus there was a medical emergency that caused delays. Both cascaded delays through entire system.
So I've finally come to a very late annual edition of where a BART and Caltrain tube and tunnel (and maybe bridge) system should go. (Other editions happened in 2013, 2015, 2016) In I'll be looking at where they trains could go, the tradeoffs, the opportunities, the challenges, and the timing. In past installments, I've only looked at San Francisco, but I'll also be looking at Oakland too this time.

Rather than looking at all the alignments all at once (like I've done before I think taking a slower approach will give a chance to better look at each possibility on its own. This time around I'll be also trying a new approach - calling the alignments by unique non-geographic names. Because I'll be showing both BART and Caltrain/HSR and Muni, creating names by major streets would get really long and confusing. 

Rather, the options will be names of people. In San Francisco they'll be the names of fictitious characters from stories that took place in San Francisco. In Oakland it will be something else. I'm thinking it'll be famous East Bay sports figures, but maybe it will be something else.  

I've also oriented the maps a bit differently so as to jog my mind and perspective a bit to be open to new ideas and catch weaknesses I may haven't seen before. In San Francisco the perspective looks eastward with the bay at the top of the image, and Geary running up and down to the bottom of the image.

We begin with San Francisco and the "Lindsay Boxer Discovery". You can learn about the other options here: Midge's Delight (12/30)

The BASIC ALIGNMENTS
  • BART
    • Arrives under the bay at Pier 50 in Mission Bay.
    • Runs under 5th Street.
    • Turns west to go under Geary Street to a terminus to be decided later
  • Caltrain/HSR 
  • Muni
    • Operates largely as today
    • Central Subway extended to North Beach and possibly Fisherman's Wharf
    • Optional extension of N-Judah Mission Bay line further west to Division Street.

Aerial view of Mission Rock Station in Mission Bay. Caltrain runs under 3rd St. Muni's T-Third runs on surface of 3rd St. BART comes from East Bay and turns north under 5th St. Transfers possible between all three.  Mission Rock Station within walking distance of AT&T Park, Chase Center Warriors Arena, UCSF Mission Bay, Mission Rock development,.
Image: Brian Stokle / Urban Life Signs. Base image: GoogleEarth

The STATIONS
  • BART
    • Mission Rock: The station at Third and China Basin St provides great access to the growing Mission Bay neighborhood and transfers to Caltrain and the Muni T-Third.
    • Central Soma Brannan 5th provides stops in the center of planned new development in this part of SoMa that is far from current BART access. The Central SoMa Plan will bring 20 story hi-rises of offices here so getting access to more people will be important.
    • Mission Powell Station will be provide access to the Union Square shopping and cultural area in addition to providing transfers between the new BART line and existing Market Street BART and Muni Metro lines plus T-Third (for a second time).
  • Caltrain / HSR
    • Mission Rock station gives access to the same basic area as the current 4th & King station, with close access to AT&T Park, plus very close to the new Chase Center Warriors Arena. In addition, transfers to Muni T-Third and the new BART line are critical.
    • Transbay Transit Center: as planned this station will provide rail access into the heart of Downtown San Francisco providing service to the Peninsula, San Jose, as well as Fresno and eventually Los Angeles with the California High Speed Rail. In addition, a planned pedestrian tunnel under Beale Street will connect Embarcadero Station and the Transbay Transit Center for passengers wishing to transfer to the Caltrain and HSR from BART and Muni under Market Street.
Third and China Basin St where a Mission Rock Caltrain/HSR/BART/Muni Metro station would be placed.
Image: Google Streetview.

Central SoMa area with much future new dense office development planned at places like the Tennis Club, Flower Mart and even possibly the Caltrain railyard.  Image: Google Maps