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Imaginary BART Map Makes Local San Franciscans Foam at the Mouth

I haven’t owned a car in 6 years. I’ve also lived in the Bay Area for roughly the same amount of time, and while I know that I should be grateful to those early city planners that let me get away with this seemingly impossible feat for so long, I’ve been at a disadvantage.

You see, the San Francisco metro area, as unmistakably beautiful and tough as nails as it is, is also home to one of the most inadequate public transportation systems anywhere. It bypasses 90% of its hub city, convenient to only a narrow corridor of real estate and also neglects most of the Bay Area’s fringes: Marin, Napa and Sonoma Counties, the Southeast Bay and a bunch of towns east of the Oakland hills, estranging throngs of folk yearning to leave their cars at home when they go to work for God’s sake. Compared to other cites in the world BART plain sucks.

What we need is a visionary plan, something simple, something that makes the locals sit up, wipe the spittle from the corners of their mouths and say, “GIMME!”

Jake Coolidge, a good friend of mine and torch bearer for the rather lost art of cartography, also felt disadvantaged with our state of rapid transit, so he went ahead and did something – he dreamt up the BART map that should have been built. But sadly also whose implementation is almost completely inconceivable at this stage in the game. With the following map Jake wonders aloud what the San Francisco Bay Area would look like it if BART actually reached the population centers it once intended on serving.

Click on the map to be taken to Jake’s site and a larger version.

By Jake Coolidge, 2011.  Based, in part, on the original Bay Area Rapid Transit plan published in 1956. BART logo and “Bay Area Rides Together” © 2011 San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District.

Alas, you don’t have to be a terminal pessimist to know that a dreamworld like this is nah-gonna-happen. Even if an extensive BART map like this was envisioned at the start, the costs to build it in today’s money pretty much throw it under the bus (so to speak). Dreamers will be dreamers, I suppose.

Anyway, imagining a public transportation paradise isn’t new. Back in ’03, Alan Foale imagined the entire planet as accessible by public transportation, and it was glorious. This idea that we as a people can all travel together to our respective destination for the minute cost of a subway token is a carrot dangling out in front of us. Jake Coolidge’s fresh BART map has me dreaming of better things, a civil planning utopia where no one would need a car and the skies would run clear and fresh. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a carpool to catch.

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6 Responses to Imaginary BART Map Makes Local San Franciscans Foam at the Mouth

  1. Akemi 12/12/2011 at 1:37 pm #

    As someone who has been car-less in San Francisco since 2003, this map makes me weep.

    • RvB 09/14/2012 at 4:53 am #

      Well, we actually do have a lot of this, to be fair. The extension line through San Jose is served by VTA (the Los Gatos line of the street car.) And digging up Saratoga for BART is ridiculous. Wish Santa Cruz had a train line…


  1. Jake Coolidge Cartography » Archive » The BART System That Never Was - 02/13/2012

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