BART Strike: Bay Area Bridges Bearing Brunt

Thousands more motorists have been crossing Bay Area bridges each day of an ongoing BART strike that started Monday, according to the Metropolitan Transportation Commission.

The MTC, which oversees several Bay Area bridges, has been tracking motorists crossing its spans, and the Bay Bridge has been bearing the brunt of slow-moving traffic as the strike continues.

According to the MTC, there were 132,295 motorists that crossed the tolls at the Bay Bridge Tuesday, a bump up from Monday’s 128,065 motorists.

Before the strike, an earlier Monday in June saw 125,892 motorists, according to MTC officials.

MTC spokesman John Goodwin noted observations on the Bay Bridge during the strike, such as many new customers on the bridge, many of whom do not have FasTrak cards and were quickly filling the cash lanes.

On Tuesday, Goodwin said more cash lanes were opened to accommodate the cash toll demand, but that caused bigger back-ups for FasTrak cardholders.

He said the agency is working to find a better balance if the strike continues.

Today Goodwin said demand is lighter on the Bay Bridge and “today has been a much better trip.” However, he advised not telling that to commuters who were stuck in traffic on Interstate Highway 580 this morning attempting to cross the bridge from Oakland.

Other bridges also saw more motorists crossing the first two days of the strike.

The San Mateo Bridge processed 55,014 cars on Tuesday, compared to the 47,663 drivers at this time last year.
On the Carquinez Bridge there were 55,469 cars on Tuesday, which was up from a previous Monday in June that saw 52,510 vehicles.

The Richmond-San Rafael Bridge saw a slight increase in traffic with Tuesday rides reaching 37,862.
On the Golden Gate Bridge, fewer motorists crossed the toll plaza of the bridge than usual during the first two days of the strike.

Today there were 14,523 southbound drivers on the bridge, however that is 1,491 drivers less than the same day last week, bridge officials said.

On Tuesday there were 12,850 cars that crossed southbound, which is 604 fewer drivers than the week before.
Goodwin said traffic patterns have been skewed with typical commute hours starting at different times with drivers trying to beat the anticipated crowds.

He said there was not any official MTC data on those rush-hour changes.

Sasha Lekach, Bay City News

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  • sfparkripoff

    “The Bay Area Council Economic Institute estimated the strike would cost
    the San Francisco Bay Area $73 million a day in lost worker productivity.”

    How is that “transit first” policy working out for you this week San Francisco?

    What are the lessons learned from the BART strike?

    1. The city cannot count on public transit to be there when we need it.

    2. “transit first” means unions first, and commuters last. 

    3. If BART, CalTrain, or GG Transit fails the entire city will grind to a halt.

    4. The city is not prepared to deal with a transit emergency

    5. There has to be redundancy built into our transit system so that the city has a backup plan for commuters

    Public transit, serves itself before it serves the needs of the public and building an urban plan around a “transit first” policy is like writing a blank check to the unions.

    The Millions of dollars that are being wasted on creating “Walkable” and “Bike Friendly” streets in San Francisco have done nothing to help the hundreds of
    thousands of commuters who cross the bridges and tunnels every day. The “car free” special interest groups who have been pushing City Hall to close Market
    street to cars and remove roadway space for commuters only added to the
    downtown gridlock and traffic congestion during the BART strike.

    San Francisco has developed an urban plan around the loud but short-sighted desires of 15,000 cyclists in our population of 800,000. The BART strike should be a wake up call to the Mayor and the Board of Supervisors that transit first does not mean transit only. The vast majority of commuters got into the city by carpooling in private cars.

  • sfparkripoff

    “The Bay Area Council Economic Institute estimated the strike would cost
    the San Francisco Bay Area $73 million a day in lost worker productivity.”

    How is that “transit first” policy working out for you this week San Francisco?

    What are the lessons learned from the BART strike?

    1. The city cannot count on public transit to be there when we need it.

    2. “transit first” means unions first, and commuters last. 

    3. If BART, CalTrain, or GG Transit fails the entire city will grind to a halt.

    4. The city is not prepared to deal with a transit emergency

    5. There has to be redundancy built into our transit system so that the city has a backup plan for commuters

    Public transit, serves itself before it serves the needs of the public and building an urban plan around a “transit first” policy is like writing a blank check to the unions.

    The Millions of dollars that are being wasted on creating “Walkable” and “Bike Friendly” streets in San Francisco have done nothing to help the hundreds of
    thousands of commuters who cross the bridges and tunnels every day. The “car free” special interest groups who have been pushing City Hall to close Market
    street to cars and remove roadway space for commuters only added to the
    downtown gridlock and traffic congestion during the BART strike.

    San Francisco has developed an urban plan around the loud but short-sighted desires of 15,000 cyclists in our population of 800,000. The BART strike should be a wake up call to the Mayor and the Board of Supervisors that transit first does not mean transit only. The vast majority of commuters got into the city by carpooling in private cars.