San Francisco interlude: BART rules

Underneath the Muni tracks we visited yesterday is BART, a regional rail service that connects San Francisco with the suburbs. They have their own rules.


Pamela said...

The train looks futuristic but in a 70's Logan's Run kind of way.

Ballard Avenue said...

BART is a creation of that we-can-do-anything optimism (or hubris) of the 1960s. The sharp pencils and slide rules running BART decided to create everything about an urban subway system anew. The trains were unlike anything ever seen. They planned and built the tunnel under the bay, and the equally difficult tunneling under San Francisco and the Berkeley hills. They created the first automatic train control system and the first farecard system. And they did all this simultaneously. Their ambition, to us in our pinched and crabbed world of "Well, you know it just can't be done blah blah blah..." is breathtaking.

Not everything BART did worked right out of the box, and some of their early decisions have come back to bite them in the butt. It has been called one of the great planning disasters of the century. But if that is so, it is a disaster that carries nearly 400,000 people a day and it's impossible to imagine the Bay Area without it.