BART strike

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We here in the Bay Area are girding for the Bay Area Rapid Transit (our above- and below-ground train system aka BART) strike that's due to begin this Sunday at midnight. (Oh my goodness, I just realized Saturday night revelers better have a backup plan to get home).

It'll be a doozy, because of the thousands of BART riders who use it to bypass the Bay Bridge that connects Oakland with San Francisco. It's estimated that there will be 5000 additional cars per hour on the bridge, which is already at full capacity during the rush hours even with BART commuters using alternative routes. Oh, and other trans-Bay mass transit like bus and ferry have already announced that they don't have the capacity to run extra trips. Super!

I remember the last BART strike, back in 1997. Luckily, I wasn't doing an East Bay-SF commute, but the wide-angle helicopter shots on the news of the backup leading to the bridge was literally a 20-mile parking lot. The bridge is a linchpin of Bay Area traffic: when it backs up, all the connector freeways (which is basically all of them) downstream are affected, too. Which affects all the side streets and alleyways, too.

It seems the only people who will get to work on time on Monday are walkers or bicyclists. For everyone else, I'm looking forward to hearing commute-from-hell stories.

Let's just hope that the strike is resolved quickly. As I recall, the 1997 strike didn't last more than a few days.

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