The BART That Could Have Been

September 17, 2012

By: Evan Brown

You hop on the F line at 11th Ave and Geary, headed for Old Town Los Gatos. It’s a long ride and you’ll have to transfer in San Jose, but it’s not much more time than driving, and you get to watch the entire East Bay roll by outside the train’s window.

A little later, your business in Santa Clara County concluded, it’s back to BART, but now you have a decision to make. Do you go back along the same route, except this time taking the S line that ends in San Rafael? Or do you take the G, slicing through Silicon Valley and up the Peninsula back to the City? In any event, you’ll be taking the M line later on, which is how you’re getting to your dinner appointment in Santa Rosa.

Imaginary Bart Map

This scenario seems outlandish today, but it’s how things might have worked, had Bay Area planners gone ahead with their initial vision for BART instead of opting for the significantly scaled-down version that was ultimately put in place.

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BART began operations 40 years ago this week, and in its opening days only ran between MacArthur and Fremont, which today comprises just one leg of the 104 mile system. However, the initial plans called for a far more ambitious project, including cross-bay lines and spurs that would have reached all nine counties of the Bay Area.

Local cartographer (apparently there are still cartographers who aren’t Google employees) Jake Coolidge imagined what the familiar BART map would look like today if the grand scope of the original plans had been realized. Click here take a closer look.


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Paid for by Phil Ting for Assembly 2012. FPPC ID# 1343137