What if a key BART station goes offline?
March 5, 2009 2:22 PM   Subscribe

[Bay Area Transit Filter] -- How to get from Oakland to Walnut Creek without BART?

There's been some talk reported in the local soon-to-die paper that there will be a protest at the Fremont BART station today. Now, I don't travel on that line, but it got me to thinking: how would I get back home to Walnut Creek from my office in Oakland if either the Macarthur or Rockridge stations were closed, for any reason? I've heard of BART creating "bus bridges" to unaffected stations but that seems to take forever for them to set up.

I looked at 511.org, AC Transit, and the County Connection web sites, but I can't find a bus line that goes through the Caldecott Tunnel.

Should I just get ready to climb the Berkeley/Oakland Hills? Share a cab?
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord to Travel & Transportation (14 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
511 suggest that you have to take AC Transit up to Vallejo (#72R), switch to Vallejo Transit (#80 to #78) to Fairfield Suisun Transit (#40) to County Connection #111, which drop you off in WC. At least that's what I get using my old address in Oakland to my mom's in Walnut Creek. You can specify on the trip finder to exclude BART and rail. Hell of a long trip, though.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 2:32 PM on March 5, 2009 [1 favorite]

You can play around with the parameters some more and it'll find out way for you to skip the Fairfield connection, but you still have to go through Vallejo without a rail component.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 2:36 PM on March 5, 2009

If MacArthur and Rockridge were closed, I would take BART down to Hayward and take AC Transit into Dublin and north to WC from there. Might be a little faster or more direct than going Vallejo.
posted by rhizome at 2:47 PM on March 5, 2009 [1 favorite]

The protest will be at the Fruitvale station, starting at 4p. If this "station shutdown" is anything like the last one, it won't affect the service--it'll just be people standing around the turnstiles.
posted by mattdidthat at 2:54 PM on March 5, 2009 [1 favorite]

rhizome's idea makes sense, I was thinking your question was what to do if ALL of BART was shut down. It is kind of odd that nothing seems to go through the Caldecott.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 3:01 PM on March 5, 2009

Ugh -- up to Vallejo? Reminds me of when I'd go to Calistoga via public transit: Embarcadero BART -> Vallejo Ferry -> Napa Valley Transit. Took about 3.5 hours.

I guess another option would be to get to Jack London Square, take a train that stops in Martinez, and then take a bus from there. It is odd that there are no buses though the tunnel.

mattididthat: I was thinking of this article which mentions the possibility of an action at Rockridge at some future date, which would "would affect people who 'have more access to power.'"

But I was also just thinking generally of power failures and earthquakes and all that fun stuff too.
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 3:21 PM on March 5, 2009

The bus bridge already exists at night as the All Nighter. It would just run in the day.

A real concern is what will happen when (not if) a large quake decommissions the Bay Bridge and the Transbay Tube for a couple years. Yikes.
posted by quarterframer at 3:24 PM on March 5, 2009 [1 favorite]

Last time there were protests the trains were still passing through, they just weren't stopping at the stations near the demonstrations.
posted by bradbane at 3:48 PM on March 5, 2009

posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord I was thinking of this article which mentions the possibility of an action at Rockridge at some future date, which would "would affect people who 'have more access to power.'"

I seriously doubt the protesters are dumb enough to interfere with the operation of the BART trains by obstructing the track. If they did, almost all of the system would be affected since the overwhelming majority of it is single-track--if one train is stuck in a station, it jams the entire system. I also seem to remember reading that interfering with the operation of BART trains is a federal crime--which by this time has no doubt been upgraded to an act of terrorism under the Patriot Act--and I would bet that any protesters who managed to climb onto the tracks would find themselves surrounded by BART police armed with automatic rifles faster than you can say "SWAT".

I would not worry about the protest affecting your commute.
posted by mattdidthat at 3:54 PM on March 5, 2009

Thanks, all -- quarterframer, looks like the All-Nighter that would have been perfect (Route 820) was discontinued late last year. I suppose they could start it up again should the need arise.
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 3:58 PM on March 5, 2009

posted by quarterframer A real concern is what will happen when (not if) a large quake decommissions the Bay Bridge and the Transbay Tube for a couple years. Yikes.

After the 7.1 Loma Prieta earthquake, the Transbay Tube was immediately inspected and I seem to remember engineers determined it had only shifted about 1/4 of an inch, and service resumed almost immediately. The Transbay Tube isn't like a conventional subway dug through bedrock; the tube is a series of cast concrete sections which were lowered into a trench dug in the mud, welded together underwater, and sealed. The tube was then buried, and the water was pumped out. The Transbay Tube has a greater degree of flexibility and is more likely to withstand severe earthquakes--it certainly faired better than the Oakland-Bay Bridge, but hopefully the new bridge will be finished by the time The Big One hits.
posted by mattdidthat at 4:12 PM on March 5, 2009

I work at BART--currently (4:10 pm) service to Fruitvale is not disrupted--if you are going to Walnut Creek, you'll be on the Pittsburg/Bay Point line and won't go near Fruitvale anyway, so you shouldn't experience any delay at all.

We will have bus bridges around the station if it becomes necessary--we work out arrangements with AC Transit or other bus agencies to provide bridges and have one in place for today. Your best source of info is bart.gov for any updates. You can sign up for service alerts at www.bart.gov/alerts and you can follow us on Twitter to get more info (sfbart).

Thank you for riding BART!
posted by agatha_magatha at 4:13 PM on March 5, 2009 [6 favorites]

Thanks! Again, I'm not overly concerned about today's action, but about the March 19 action, and just random stuff that can (very rarely) shut a station down. I just like to know what my options are. When I lived in Oakland I could walk home.
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 4:29 PM on March 5, 2009

I had a similar interest in this on the 5th also, as I had to get to the Oakland airport for at flight at 6:50p (and had previously been quasi-delayed during the first major Oscar Grant protest). I ended up calling the BART customer service line (which can be found on their website) and was surprised to find a super-knowledgeable and friendly person who answered all my questions. Seriously, best customer service ever. For future BART questions, I'd definitely give them a shot.

Regarding station closures, what I was told on the phone is 1) they planned to have through service, even if the station was overwhelmed enough to be closed (riders would be unable to disembark at the station, however), 2) if someone managed to get on the tracks they would need to shutdown the power at the station, preventing through service. At that point, they planned to fill in holes with buses or the like. I'm guessing this is how they will react to future protests.
posted by ragaskar at 4:23 AM on March 13, 2009

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