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Southbound and Upside Down = 22nd St Caltrain Revival

August 24, 2009

A subtle yet perspective-bending shot from Plug1 of What I’m Seeing:

22nd st caltrain upsidedown

Ahh, Caltrain, so close but yet so far. The 22nd St station has great potential but the 48 is a joke.

If only there were a fast bus from the Mission and Noe to this station (maybe down Cesar Chavez and 16th?) that synched up with train arrivals/departures. A quick mockup I did last year (from one of the proposed Muni routes — ignore the green, look instead at the red).


The idea is it doesn’t stop every block, i.e. BRT, ~10 minutes. (And there has to be coffee. Someone needs to sell coffee at the station. Or on the bus.)

And why does the “baby bullet” not stop at Santa Clara? Arrrrrgh. VTA light rail in the south bay is a slow moving clown car from either Mountain View or San Jose. Don’t get me started.

I want my high speed rail, and I want it now, NIMBYful Palo Altans be damned. It is my god-given right to travel at 150mph between SF and San Jose (especially when I can drive faster than Caltrain’s current top speed of 79 mph, and the old SF&SJ line was doing 67 mph 144 years ago).

Transit rant off.

12 Comments leave one →
  1. Neo Displacer permalink
    August 24, 2009 6:36 pm

    I hear you man. I commuted by car to Mt View for years. The few times I rode the train I liked it, but getting from the 24th St corridor to the 22nd St was a deal killer and going all the way to the ball park is worse. You can take BART to Millbrae and then hop on the Caltrain. Too bad there isn’t an inter-modal in SF with BART, Caltrain, and Muni Metro all converging

  2. August 24, 2009 7:11 pm

    It would be awesome if the 48 more consistently lined up with CalTrain’s schedules, but the bus itself isn’t that slow. It’s usually 15 minutes from CalTrain to 24th and Valencia.

    I think the 22nd CalTrain is an awesome stop, but CalTrains schedule makes it easier to BART to Millbrae for me. Here’s an iPhone panorama I took at 22nd a week ago

  3. August 24, 2009 9:46 pm

    Nice panorama!

    BART via Millbrae is the least painful option, but good god that ride to 24th has to be the longest 27 minutes ever — especially when I remember that it’s 12 minutes on Caltrain between Millbrae and 22nd on the baby bullet and 19 on the local.

    Latency on the 48 is the killer. I wish there was a cross-town option connecting the T-Third and 22nd St Caltrain to the J-Church along Cesar Chavez.

    Maybe we hijack a Bauer bus and turn it into the CC Express.

  4. Dan permalink
    August 25, 2009 1:41 am

    I hate to tiresomely overplay the expat card, but the last time I was in SF and took the bus from 24th street corridor to 22nd caltrain, the experience nearly inspired me to go on a three-state killing spree and single-handedly caused me to re-evaluate any thoughts of moving back. I had an epiphany when I looked at the route map and noticed that the bus line is sort of an oddball snaking line haphazardly trying to service an entire large square area. When you look at a comparable MUNI map in Prague, it looks like a dense WEB emanating geometrically outwards from the city centre, rather than a few lines trying to weave back and forth and cover stops in all directions.

  5. August 25, 2009 9:34 am

    From (upper) Noe I rode the GP BART for a year down to Millbrae, then onto Caltrain to MV. You pay a lot more for taking the two different agency trains and (of course) there’s no pass or discount for this itinerary.

    Last month, I started driving to 22nd and doing a monthly Caltrain pass. It’s about 25-30% cheaper and parking is abundant and free near 22nd. It also shaves about ten minutes off of my previous time.

    I agree that a (fast) bus straight across Cesar Chavez would be a dream. I have contemplated biking, but CC is like a highway at rush hour and I don’t have a deathwish. Maybe once the bike-friendly CC comes to pass, that will be an option…

    BTW: you can get a coffee on 22nd about 2.5 blocks east of the station. Not ideal, but possible.

  6. August 25, 2009 10:09 am

    How safe is parking your car at the 22nd St lot? I have not heard good things.

    I’d be willing to pay for safe, well-lit parking with bicycle guards riding around.

  7. August 25, 2009 10:56 am

    My bikes, trains and automobiles commute includes the following:

    -Stash your car in MV during the week. From there you drive to/from your Santa Clara location and can take the bullet train (I commute down to South SJ).

    -Bike to the Caltrain station instead of taking the bus. It’s a quick trip and if you use a beater bike you can lock it up by the station and not worry about it. Unfortunately I don’t have enough experience to comment on the bikeability of CC since I am coming from the North part of the Mission.

    My full commute time from South SJ (almost Los Gatos) up to the Mission is 1:15. By car it takes between 50 and 1:00. And the time gap is more than made up for by the work I get done on the train.

  8. August 25, 2009 11:30 am

    Unfortunately I am on the shit end of the Caltrain stick when it comes to location and transfers. Between getting to 22nd (or BART to Millbrae), no baby bullet at Santa Clara and the interminable crawl of VTA light rail on the other end, it’s easily a 2.5 hour journey. Compar this to the 45 minute drive to my office near SJC (which you’d think would be a transit hub of some sort.)

    Good idea on stashing the car though.

  9. Jake permalink
    August 25, 2009 3:06 pm

    Hiya. Would love, love some sort of BRT serving the 22nd St Station. I’ve been a daily CalTrain bike commuter for about a year now. Quick thoughts:

    1. Biking to the 4th and King station is the best option for me, then taking the bike on the train. This does mean you get bumped coming back sometimes (San Carlos, for me), but it beats any other transit option.

    2. When I lived on the edge of Bernal, I would try to ride to the 22nd St Station but quickly stopped b/c you will fucking die if you ride a bike on Cesar Chavez. Took a few near misses with some very large trucks, plus nearly jouncing my spine out of my mouth on some potholes, before I decided to just start riding to 4th and King. Now that I start out at the 16th St. corridor, it’s six of one, half dozen the other to ride to 4th and King or 22nd, but I still choose 4th just because the ride is much more bike friendly.

    3. Also terrible is the bike paths leading underneath the 101 at Cesar Chavez. Not only are they confusing and hard to follow if you’re a first time rider, but the paths are taken over by camping out homeless people. If you can’t ride on the bike paths, going underneath the 101 underpass on a bike is pretty much asking to get killed.

    In short, I would love to use the 22nd St. Station, but for a variety of reasons, I can’t. That said, overall it’s a pretty great service — it’s kept me from getting a car, CalTrain is clean and quiet compared to most public transit, and you can drink a beer on your way back from work. Now if only it was cheaper (or my work would offer fucking commuter checks…)

  10. carbonxt permalink
    August 25, 2009 4:18 pm

    Man, you hit the nail on the head!! The 48 is a joke, and with Muni’s whole TEP & the 58 they’re making it a little better – but only a little. It’s almost like they want to wish the station away because it doesn’t fit nicely with their primary lines in the area (like the 22, 12 and T).


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