Wednesday, June 11, 2008

BRT and BART Redux

In response to the previous post about BRT and BART, Rob Wrenn sends me the following:

The fact that 25,000 people a day have used buses on the corridorshould be evidence enough that BART can't serve everyone's needs, but if more evidence on why BART doesn't fully serve the BRT corridor is needed, consider this info on BART station spacing:

From Wikipedia, BART, distance between stations:
BART: 104 miles, 43 stations (1 under construction).
Do the math: 1 station every 2.4 miles.

By contrast, the Paris Metro, with, according to Wikipedia, the mostc losely spaced metro stations in the world:382 stops, 298 stations (some stations serve more than one line), 133 miles.So almost 3 stops per mile in Paris compared to one stop every 2.4 miles for BART

For specific distances between BART stations along the proposed BRT route, I looked at a map and measured:

Downtown Berkeley to Ashby: about 1.2 miles, 18 1/2 blocks
Ashby to MacArthur, 1.75 miles, 28 1/2 blocks
MacArthur to 19th St, 1.5 miles, 26 1/2 blocks
19th to 12th Street, .35 miles, 7 blocks
12th to Lake Merritt, .65 miles
Lake Merritt to Fruitvale: about 2.75 miles
Fruitvale to Coliseum: 2.1 miles
Coliseum to San Leandro: 2.9 miles
San Leandro to Bayfair: 2.45

I live about the same distance from Ashby BART and Downtown Berkeley BART (somewhat closer to Ashby). I walk at a fairly brisk pace and it takes me about 15 minutes walk to get to Ashby BART (I think it would take my wife 5 minutes longer at her normal pace). It works out to be 9 blocks or 8 tenths of a mile, and you have to wait for traffic signals to cross some streets such as Ashby. Many people just won't walk that far or take that much time to get to a public transit stop.

I live only two blocks from Telegraph and the proposed BRT corridor. People who won't walk nine blocks like I do, might walk two, three, four blocks to Telegraph to get a bus to downtown Oakland (or Pill Hill or downtown Berkeley) if the service is reliable and reasonably rapid.

The distance between Ashby and MacArthur or MacArthur and 19th is even greater than that between downtown Berkeley and Ashby, so BART effectively serves even fewer people living on either side of Telegraph south of Ashby station along the BRT route (especially if they live east of Telegraph and thus farther from BART) .

And for people south of Oakland, the station spacing is much greater still. Lots of people living within 4 or 5 blocks of East 14th or International Blvd would have to walk 30, 40 minutes or more to get to a BART station.

There's a reason why the buses on the proposed corridor already carry a lot of people. BART, despite claims of BRT opponents, is clearly inconvenient for many people along E. 14th and International Blvd. BART does a good job of serving people whose trip origin and destination are both within a few blocks of a BART, but given the wide spacing of BART stations, there are clearly lots of people whose trip origin and/or destination are too far from a BART station for BART to be useful.


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