Breathe easy, East Bay commuters. A San Francisco Superior Court judge has approved the 60-day cooling off period requested by Governor Brown in the ongoing BART labor negotiations, so we've averted another BART strike for now. The judge agreed with Brown's assessment that a strike would too greatly impact public safety and welfare.

Both union negotiators and BART's negotiators are returning to the bargaining table this afternoon at 1 p.m., saying they are eager to hammer out a deal even if tonight's deadline is now moot. BART's controversial lead negotiator Thomas Hock told reporters, "You think we want to come back here in 55 days?"

As of last night, the unions were said to be considering some concessions in their wage demands, and both sides were reportedly getting closer to a deal in the hope of doing so before the Sunday morning court hearing.

As the Mercury News reports, the law allows for only one cooling off period, and therefore a strike threat looms on October 11 if a deal can't be reached by then. And while the unions were very vocal in their opposition to the cooling off, their attorneys did not voice objection in court.

Cooling-off periods have been used five separate times since 1988 to avert BART strikes, and they have generally helped deals to be struck.

[ABC 7]

All previous BART strike coverage.