Thursday, February 21, 2008

3 stop subway


I love urban transportation. In fact, if I wasn't teaching I would find a college and get my degree in Urban Planning and go to some town to create a viable work-up for their urban transportation system. Hell, I could go to Washington D.C. and just sit on the Metro and enjoy the scenery. The system is great and the stations are actually very nice looking. New York isn't as pretty, but it is a highly functional system.

California has crap. Sacramento has a light rain system that doesn't reach the commuter areas. San Diego's light rail is a bit better. San Jose's light rail is an embarrassment for the region that is known as the technology capital of the universe. BART is a regional system, hardly a subway. Finally we have Muni, a light rail system that works it's way around San Francisco. The problem is that the system misses some very important areas of the city (Fisherman's Wharf, North Beach, Marina, Palace of Fine Arts). The solve this problem, San Francisco has decided to create a three stop line from 4th and Brannon (near AT&T park) to Chinatown, stopping at Moscone Center and Union Square (totally missing BART). Estimated cost? 1.4 billion. Ouch. This has created some stir from the local columnists and complaints that the Mayor is pandering to Chinatown and tourists.

I can't say that I disagree. While I see the point of getting people from Cal-Train to Chinatown (or the shopping of Union Square), I don't see the reason why the line doesn't extend to North Beach, then the Wharf, the Marina District, and finally the Palace of Fine Arts. This city needs more access from the upcoming Transportation Center (in the South of Market) to other points in the city and the bus system is getting a worse and worse reputation for customer service. To be a premiere city, the planning in San Francisco needs to be in better shape. Maybe I need to seek a different profession.
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