OK, folks, let's talk about how to deal with disaster.
If BART workers are on a picket line Monday, the commute will be atrocious, tempers will be short and many of the 200,000-plus would-be train riders will be cursing as they scramble for a way to work. Lots of you who don't ride BART will be cursing, too.
So if you've avoided pondering the nightmare that Monday might be, start pondering.
"I thought this would have been resolved by now, so I haven't begun to think of other ways to get into San Francisco," said Maria Lin, of Oakland, who was on vacation when BART went on strike the week of July 4. "I'm open to suggestions."
Suggestions? That's why we're here.
One hot zone will be the Highway 24 commute toward the Bay Bridge, where driving times from Walnut Creek quadrupled on the first day of the walkout last month. The drive over the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge will be awful, with construction complicating the mess.
The Highway 101 commute up the Peninsula will be no fun either, especially near SFO. Buses from the East Bay will be jammed, and for Caltrain, "standing room only" will take on new meaning.
For those solo drivers who insist on going it alone, may the Lord have mercy on your stubborn souls.
First, this is mandatory. Go to http://alert.511.org for a huge list of tips, including where to catch buses and ferries and how to find casual carpool pickup and drop-off locations. A good tip: Beale Street in San Francisco seldom has long waiting lines.
BART will also run charter buses, but they can carry only 4,000 passengers a day from the El Cerrito del Norte, Walnut Creek, Concord, San Leandro, Dublin-Pleasanton and Fremont stations into West Oakland Station and San Francisco.
Better yet, plead with your boss to let you fire up the laptop at home, or stagger your hours at the office. Catch a bus. Carpool, but wait until after 10:30 a.m. Order FasTrak online today -- you'll need it to use the carpool lanes at Bay Area bridges. It'll take about a week to arrive.
But if the car, van or SUV is your only choice (gulp), consider this.
Take advantage of free parking at any BART station or Park & Ride lot to meet your carpool. Caltrans will extend carpool hours on Interstate 80 from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. from the Carquinez Bridge to the Bay Bridge. But remember, a carpool on I-80 means three people per vehicle.
Along the Peninsula, SamTrans will have buses making temporary stops outside San Mateo County BART stations. It will also provide a shuttle from Daly City and Colma to a temporary transit center on Mission Street from 6 to 9 a.m. and 3 to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Still think the commute might be easier than feared? Yes, BART ridership is the lightest in August, but veteran traffic reporter Joe McConnell needed little prodding to spew a lengthy reply on what he anticipates:
"Look for monster delays on all the East Bay approaches to the Bay Bridge. I-880 should be one big parking lot in both directions north from Hayward and south from San Leandro to the San Mateo Bridge. A lot more people will be jamming up the Peninsula into San Francisco from Millbrae north, so look for traffic to crawl from South San Francisco all the way onto the Skyway.
"The Richmond Bridge approach will likely be worse than it already is as commuters try to escape the jam on 80 to the Bay Bridge and try 101 in southern Marin to the Golden Gate to get into S.F. I would expect 580 through Pleasanton and into Castro Valley to also be a lot worse, with a flood of should-be BART riders. Parking lots at the ferry terminals will fill up early. So will all the Park & Ride lots."
Whew. That wasn't encouraging.
James Dove, of Fremont, for one, plans on working at home Monday instead of commuting to the upper Peninsula. Then he'll figure something else out for the rest of the week.
"I might have to either carpool with colleagues via the Peninsula or work from a facility on 237," he said.
Jack Healy, of Clayton, is returning from a trip to New York on Monday. Normally, he would hop on BART at the airport in San Francisco, but because of the potential strike he'll be driving.
"I am not looking forward to the drive home on Monday if there is a strike," he said.
As luck would have it, the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials will be meeting this week in San Francisco.
Wonder what they might find to talk about.
You can find Gary Richards' columns at www.mercurynews.com/mr-roadshow, under the main navigation bar at Opinion > Columns, or at www.mercurynews.com/traffic. Follow Mr. Roadshow at Twitter.com/mrroadshow, look for him at Facebook.com/mr.roadshow or contact him at email@example.com or 408-920-5335.