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Why Bart Needs To Go To Sacramento And The Central Valley

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The San Francisco Bay Area is a prohibitively expensive place to live. Everyone knows that. What people don’t know is that the Bay Area is no longer considered a singular region anymore. It’s now a part of the larger Northern California Mega Region. The higher the prices get the closer you are to San Francisco, the further out people go.  It isn’t uncommon for someone to live in Sacramento or Stockton and work in the Bay Area’s urban core.  We have to accommodate this new reality. And what better to accommodate this than fucking BART? Amtrak connect Sacramento to the Bay, but it’s expensive and doesn’t have many stops.

BART is no stranger to extensions. San Jose just received a BART station less than 2 years ago. Antioch got a fake BART station because Contra Costa County has been paying into the BART system since its inception and East Contra Costa, despite Antioch being the second biggest city in the county, was largely left out of the equation.

No one really seemed to mind that these parts of the Bay Area were underserved because until Silicon Valley changed the Bay Area forever. San Jose and Antioch are both roughly 50 miles from San Francisco. Antioch used to be a heavily blue collar town on the outer edge of the East Bay, and San Jose, despite its size, was rarely looked at as a metropolitan center equivalent to San Francisco or even Oakland.

So where are people going that want to own a home or  just rent something a little cheaper? The fucking Central Valley.

Tech changed this. Distance is relative, and what was considered far out in the past is looked at much more favorably now. San Jose is now treated like a world class city with a real estate market every bit as competitive as San Francisco, and Antioch is looked as a great compromise because a home can purchased for around $600,000.

I don’t know if you know this, but that’s a lot of fucking money.

So where are people going that want to own a home or  just rent something a little cheaper? The fucking Central Valley. Cities like Sacramento, Stockton and Modesto are the new bedroom communities for the Bay Area’s working class. And we should do everything we can to lessen the pain of this already shitty situation.

I know this goal seems unlikely, but at the rate the bullet train is taking, it’d probably get done before that. 

The commute from Sacramento to San Francisco during rush hour traffic is around 2 hours one way. Quality of life suffers immensely from these long commutes. That’s now to mention the environmental impacts of all those cars sitting on our roadways for prolonged periods of time.  According to climate scientists, we have until 2050 to achieve net zero carbon emissions. A great way of doing that would be to have a public transport network connecting our cities, suburbs and exurbs together.

I know this goal seems unlikely, but at the rate the bullet train is taking, it’d probably get done before that. Expanding BART to the Central Valley would also achieve BART’s initial goal of connecting the entire Bay Area. A lot of Alameda and Contra Costa County and now, Santa Clara County are left out by BART. Then in the case of the entire North Bay, they’re completely cutoff from the system. This is especially hard for Solano County cities like Vallejo and Fairfield that are largely working class, but due to lack of public transport face grueling commutes to their jobs.

It doesn’t necessarily have to be BART, but I don’t know why we spend so much money and get so little. We spend a ton in taxes and tolls, which is fine, if we get something… but we fucking don’t.

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Abraham Woodliff - Bay Area Memelord

Abraham Woodliff - Bay Area Memelord

Abraham Woodliff is a San Francisco-based writer, editor and digital content creator known for Bay Area Memes, a local meme page that has amassed nearly 200k followers. His work has appeared in SFGATE, The Bold Italic and of course, BrokeAssStuart.com. His book of short stories, personal essays and poetry entitled Don't Drown on Dry Ground will be available early 2022.

4 Comments

  1. Scott Mansfield
    April 26, 2022 at 12:47 pm — Reply

    Actually Amtrak’s Capital Corridor has some sweet deals. You can buy a monthly pass which keeps the price reasonable. For example, a monthly pass from Sacramento to Emeryville runs about $500, which translates to a $25 round trip, assuming you make the trip 20 days a month.

  2. April 26, 2022 at 3:39 pm — Reply

    BART should go EVERYWHERE in the Bay Area.

    But if they’ve never gotten it to Marin, I’m not holdin’ my breath for SacTown.

  3. Aaron Goodman
    April 27, 2022 at 7:40 pm — Reply

    In Europe it’s called urban growth boundaries and for too long the banks real estate and development industries cuddled up to politicians to spread sprawl. Cities sprung up around sacramento and the valley creating a megalopolis while destroying the valleys prior agricultural status.

    When you drive to north shore Tahoe on route 80 you see 12 lane freeways and a measley little tram that barely links anything.

    That’s the problem and the sign that development was flawed to strip malls and auto-centric development.

    Well now we should make those profiteers pay…

    For each development focused on spraw and car centric living the banks that funded it should be forced to pay for those Bart lines.

    In urban areas where we have to deal with capacity buses and stalled trains needing reinvestment it’s critica to fix the urban before you let the suburban dwellers in their Escalades and SUV’s off the hook..

    Remind those readers that Bart extensions are nice but LRV systems are supposed to link to Bart and trains 🚊 as a network 🚋 and 🚎 🚌 🚙 🚘 🚗 🚴 etc

    And if you never built the light rail vehicle network when development occurred it’s a needed first step to ween the commuter madness into a more environmental future than a 12 lane highway to Lincoln Roseville granite bay etc…

    They should all be linked first before you extend Bart to wherever they can place an intermodal station and link all the systems as a network…

    Transit advocate in SF and the region…even though I like Bart extensions they need to be paired with LRV systems in build stages and with linkage points (nut tree ?? ) or another town ?

    Ag D11

  4. Anthony Veerkamp
    April 27, 2022 at 7:56 pm — Reply

    Definitely disagree that extending BART further out should be a priority-it’s only going to exacerbate sprawl on prime agricultural land, and do little to reduce auto dependency. Densifying the transit network in the region’s high density urban core should be the priority.

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