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BART, BART, Muni for Bay Area Memorial Day Weekend Roundup

An eBART trainset. Photo: BART

Lots of important transit milestones going into the Memorial Day weekend. Three important items are listed below:

1) Livermore Extension Rejected.

The BART Board, by a 5 to 4 vote, rejected the proposed Livermore extension of the Dublin/Pleasanton line down the center of I-580. The Chronicle did some excellent coverage of the dynamics of the meeting, but for the short version of what happened, San Francisco BART Director Nick Josefowitz summed it up nicely in his tweet:

Meanwhile, the vote may spur on the recently created Tri-Valley-San Joaquin Valley Regional Rail Authority, which is working on a separate plan for some kind of rail connection between the Altamont Corridor Express and BART. It's chaired by Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty, who also sits on the BART Board of Directors. Streetsblog will take a dive into its proposals in a future post.

2) East Contra Costa BART Extension Opening Ceremony

Today BART and local officials did a ribbon cutting for the eBART extension to Antioch. That's the diesel-powered light-rail train (see lead photo) that will start running in regular service tomorrow from the end of the Pittsburg/Bay Point Station down the median of State Route 4. The $525 million BART-to-Antioch project was 60 percent less expensive than conventional BART because the trains don't require electrified third rail or the same level of infrastructure--they are smaller and narrower than BART's fleet and run on standard-gauge tracks. "East County residents now have an environmentally friendly, comfortable and state-of-the-art commute option," said BART Director Joel Keller, who serves East Contra Costa County, in a prepared statement. The extension, according to BART, will be able to carry an estimated 2,400 people in each direction, per hour, during rush hours. The new service is 10 miles long and adds two new stations, the Pittsburg Center Station and the Antioch Station.

The timing of the rejection of the Livermore extension and the opening of this less-than-full BART line tie together--BART has been slowly moving away from full extensions towards focusing on its core system.

On a side note, BART, ironically, opted not to provide rail or bus service to the opening ceremony itself.

3) The Twin Peaks Tunnel Will Closed for the Weekend--and then for Much Longer

Back in San Francisco, commuters who depend on the Twin Peaks tunnel are in for some headaches. During this Memorial Day weekend, the tunnel will close after regular train service Friday night/tonight and re-open early in the morning on Tuesday, May 29. There will be bus substitutions for the K, L and M lines. West Portal and Forest Hill stations will be closed. Muni is encouraging riders to take BART if they can (although it seems, once again, BART won't be taking Muni-only passes and tickets during this initial closure).

Additionally, the K will transition directly into the J as an alternate (albeit slow) route into downtown.

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This is just a prelude to a 60-day closure, planned to start in late June. Ugh.

Have a happy and safe Memorial Day weekend.

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