A couple of quick updates to start on the last weekend before the election. Oh, and if you haven’t already: POLL!
BART update on COVID Tech
Despite some early sophistry, there is no evidence that COVID spreads more easily in transit than other indoor activities, provided basic precautions are followed. Nevertheless, the transit agencies are still obliged to ensure that the airflow in trains and buses is as fresh and virus-free as possible.
For this reason, BART controls high-quality filters and virus-killing UV lamps in their HVAC systems. “The pilot is using MERV-14, which can trap particles between 0.3 and 1 micrometer,” said Ben Holland, BART manager for vehicle systems technology, in a statement. BART currently uses a slightly less fine filter (MERV-8 to be precise) in its train HVAC systems. Their concern was that the higher quality filters might reduce airflow or clog it too easily, but the results show that they work well, so they will switch to the higher quality filters.
In addition, there was concern that the retrofitted UV lamps they were installing in the train’s underground HVAC units could loosen from their mounts over time. “So far there is no sign of it,” said Holland. Also: “We put it over a pit, looked inside and it just worked perfectly,” he said. “The UV light comes on when it should. The existing security features work well. “
The hope is to install the disinfection lights on all trains.
Meanwhile, the transit agency reminds people of social distance and wears masks.
Progress on the South Bayfront Bike-Ped Bridge in Emeryville
A rendering of the new bridge. Photo: Emeryville
“You can’t get there from here” is a response usually associated with the east coast. But it is also true of East Bay in Emeryville on Horton Street, where nine railroad tracks cut pedestrians and cyclists from homes, shops, the water, and the easiest route to the Bay Bridge. A project to address this issue reached a major milestone this week when the large, pre-fabricated parts for a new pedestrian and bicycle panel arrived from off-site.
Emeryville Councilor John Bauters tweeted about the arrival of the pieces to be built into the bridge:
OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG
SOUTH BAYFRONT BIKE-PED BRIDGE HAS ARRIVED FOR ASSEMBLY !!!!
– John J. Bauters (@JohnBauters) October 30, 2020
From an Emeryville publication about a bicycle and pedestrian bridge project under construction on the other side of the train station:
The South Bayfront Bridge connects Ohlone Way and the Bay Street area via the tracks with Horton Street. The bridge will span 227 feet and pass over the Union Pacific Railroad’s right of way. The city of Emeryville is building a new bridge over the tracks of the Union Pacific Railroad for pedestrians and cyclists, as well as an adjacent park. Construction began on January 6, 2020 and is expected to be completed in autumn 2021.
Currently, cyclists and pedestrians can only cross the railroad tracks via Shellmound Hill near Ikea, either by climbing stairs at the Amtrak station or traveling all the way north to 65th Street [Update/correction: there’s also apparently a precarious way to do it on Powell… Streetsblog will have to check this out ASAP]. After its completion, this bridge will make a major contribution to the connection of living, shopping and recreation for people who are on foot or by bike.
Check out the revised plans for San Jose’s Station
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
BART, electrified Caltrain, more ACE and Amtrak service, VTA … and finally High Speed Rail. Diridon Station in San Jose will receive a lot of new services over the next few years. The city of San Jose has prepared a major modernization and redesign of the station, including better access for cyclists and pedestrians, the construction of neighboring apartments, more retail stores, etc. The latest draft is now open to public comment with a few changes: The city is not planning a large ballpark more, Google has started planning an adjacent mixed-use settlement and the city council directed staff to create an implementation plan for affordable housing for the Diridon area.
Review the changes and make your comments HERE.
And one last time: If you haven’t already, VOTE! Check out Streetsblog’s recommendations HERE.