In our recent Survey Monkey poll, we asked you: Which would you prefer: an additional Bay Bridge or an additional BART Transbay Tube? Both? Neither?
This was one of our most heavily trafficked polls.
Overwhelmingly, people prefer building an additional BART Transbay Tube to an additional Bay Bridge.
Both ideas have been tossed around for quite some time. As far back as the 1940s, there have been calls for a Southern Crossing, a second Bay Bridge extending from somewhere around Alameda to Hunters Point.
Senator Diane Feinstein has advocated for a Southern Crossing throughout her political career, writing a letter with Congressman Mark Desaulnier (D-Concord) to the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTC) as recently as December 2017 advocating for the authority to study an additional bridge and a second transbay tube.
Feinstein and Desaulnier pointed out that the most congested freeway segments in the Bay Area are afternoon commutes northbound and eastbound on U.S. 101 and Interstate 80 from the I-280 interchange in San Francisco to the Bay Bridge’s Yerba Buena Island Tunnel. The most congested route is the westbound direction on I-80, through the Bay Bridge, to Fremont Street.
“A second crossing would alleviate this traffic through San Francisco and the East Bay, would better connect the entire Bay Area, and would provide significant benefits for toll payers,” Feinstein and Desaulnier stated in their letter.
State Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) is less enthusiastic about a second Bay Bridge, but advocates strongly for a second Transbay Tube. In response to Feinstein and Desaulnier’s letter, the state senator issued his own statement:
“Whatever the merits are of another bridge across the Bay, it is simply not as important as building a second transbay rail crossing. A second tube can mean more BART trains running, including 24-hour service, a connection between Caltrain and the Capitol Corridor, and high-speed rail to Easy Bay. That is how we are going to reduce gridlock, not by building another bridge that pours more cars onto our highways on both sides of the Bay.”
In February, BART officials announced that the agency was studying building a new Transbay Tube, one that would likely run from Alameda to San Francisco’s South of Market Area.
Whatever gets built should be built as soon as possible. Weekday traffic on Bay Area freeways increased by 80 percent from 2010 to 2017, according to the MTC.