Sunday Open Thread

Feb 3rd, 2013 | Posted by

It’s Super Bowl Sunday and a California team, the San Francisco 49ers, is playing for the championship.

New Santa Clara Stadium - Escalators

The 49ers are in the process of moving from their longtime home at Candlestick Park in San Francisco to Santa Clara, where a new stadium is under construction at a site that is somewhat transit-friendly. The stadium will be located next to the Great America VTA light rail and Great America ACE/Capitol Corridor stations, as you can see on the map below:

View Larger Map

This will give VTA light rail a big ridership boost. But the location is ironically more accessible to the East Bay than to San Francisco and the Peninsula. ACE and the Capitol Corridor will likely run a special football train or two, as we assume will Caltrain. The Mountain View Caltrain station to the stadium via VTA light rail won’t be quite as easy as the ACE and Capitol Corridor passengers will have it. VTA light rail will also help connect fans to BART when the Milpitas station opens in 2018, with a similar distance for fans to ride on light rail.

In the future, Niner fans from other parts of California can also take high speed rail to the games by transferring to VTA light rail at Diridon Station.

VTA light rail ridership will see a game day ridership boost, as it will be the key linkage to the major Bay Area rail services.

The most transit-friendly spot for a sports facility in Santa Clara County would be next to Diridon Station, and the San Jose Sharks have occupied that spot for 20 years. The Santa Clara Stadium site isn’t quite as easy for fans coming from SF, but with VTA light rail, it should work just fine.

The 49ers’ decision to move from San Francisco to Santa Clara was and remains controversial, and some fans will have a longer trek to make. But it’s good that transit access was a priority in locating the stadium, and once Caltrain gets upgraded and the BART to San José extension is built, it will be even more transit-friendly.

Anyhow, Go Niners and enjoy the open thread.

  1. JJJJ
    Feb 3rd, 2013 at 13:50

    Will the stadium pay for upgrades to that station?

    Jerry Reply:

    The Great America ACE / Amtrak Station used for the new 49ers Stadium has only a SINGLE track. So you can imagine the scheduling problems at future Monday night football game.

    Jerry Reply:

    Would a tailgate parking tax help pay for a station upgrade?

  2. Clem
    Feb 3rd, 2013 at 13:54

    VTA light rail will not be capable of handling this… it will melt down just like MUNI does for the Giants. The best way to handle it is to add a frequent SJ – Santa Clara – Great America Caltrain shuttle, with a transfer to/from the peninsula at Santa Clara. This offers both speed and capacity, qualities lacking in VTA light rail.

    joe Reply:

    Agreed. The MTV VTA alone cannot do much. It’s a single track along Caltrain so that’s a bottleneck.

    That route is also pretty slow so while I see some ridership boost, it’s not enough.

    Lawrence might be another stop for shuttles for the stadium.

    Chicago Bears run shuttles to Soldier’s Field. That connect the stadium to the Grant Park underground parking and other rapid transit connections.

    Amanda in the South Bay Reply:

    VTA is entirely double tracked along Tasman. Its still a grossly inadequate, poorly designed light rail system.

    BMF from San Diego Reply:

    Not certain about a lot of things here. The draw to use VTA? VTA’s ability to respond? Is the VTA maintenance and storage yard nearby?

    In San Diego, the Trolley will run long trains in each direction and every 7.5 minutes. And, they have tracks to store trains at the Chargers Stadium.

    BART can run very long trains and has multiple lines to serve the Oakland Raiders stadium.

    In LA, they don’t have the NFL, but for USC games – which routinely surpasses NFL games for attendance – the new Expo Line has long light-rail trains and they run every 6 minutes in each direction. Per Google Earth, they don’t have a nearby location to store trains during game time.

    Amanda in the South Bay Reply:

    The VTA, in my experience, is not very good at responding to events with increased service. In the week before New Years, in Dec 2010, I saw notices at MV VTA saying that there were going to be no late night trains on New Years Eve (when Caltrain was running late night trains SB. VTA light rail *normally* ends service with the last SB train from MV at 22:49 every single day).

  3. D. P. Lubic
    Feb 3rd, 2013 at 13:56

    From the east–first, Virginia’s mostly Republican government, including its governor, talk about getting rid of gas taxes entirely because raising them may be too difficult; instead, the governor is talking about replacing them entirely with an increased general sales tax:

    And similar troubles are showing up in Maryland:,0,3894704.story

    At least one transit-friendly writer does think the idea of a separate transportation tax on general income may have advantages:

    All in all, things seem to be getting interesting. It’s becoming apparent the current funding mechanism for road construction and maintenance is unsustainable, the “farebox recover” ratio for roads is falling drastically while even dinosaur Amtrak performs better in that regard, automobiles are getting better fuel economy which is having a negative impact on highway finances, and younger people aren’t as into cars as their predecessors and ancestors were.

    My, oh my, what are the politicians and pro-car, anti-rail zealots to do? :-D

    Jack Reply:

    Why not shift the taxes to the oil companies. Yes it will eventually be passed on in the form of higher pricing; but it would be a political win as the perception would be we are “sticking it” to big oil.

    Wasn’t Oberstar proposing something similar… I wonder if his name is still on the short list for Seccy of Trans.

  4. Paul Druce
    Feb 3rd, 2013 at 13:59

    CAHSRA is giving each of the losing bidders two million dollars each as a consolation prize Way to waste taxpayer money guys.

    Jack Reply:

    Says the man who has no f’in clue what goes in to bidding on a mega project. This isn’t competing bids for a new roof on your house. The resources put into a bid like this could very well approach the two million mark, especially on the accelerated time-frame.

    Incentives like this will make future contract awards more competitive as companies assign resources. This also molifies some of the objections when someone is chosen.

    We don’t want the PR firm “scandal” issues again…

    Paul Druce Reply:

    It’s not the normal practice, it’s larger than the norm, and if you aren’t willing to risk some money on a 1.8B contract, you have no business bidding in the first place.

    joe Reply:

    Bullet train officials say the incentive was designed to attract bidders and therefore spur better, more competitive proposals.

    “It might seem curious to people at first why we would pay losing bidders, but it’s very much a mathematical proposition,” said Dan Richard, authority chairman. “We think that we’ll get better bids and lower bids as a result.”

    Richard described the stipends as standard policy on large projects and added that the reimbursements do not come close to the costs incurred by unsuccessful construction firms.

    datacruncher Reply:

    The U-T didn’t do much research about the practice. Here are just two examples of the losing bidders getting a stipend for highway projects.

    Highway 91 widening in Corona ($1.3 billion project-$650K to losing bidders)

    I-15 near Vegas ($250 million project-$300K to losing bidders)

    Searches will turn up more examples from around the US.

    BMF from San Diego Reply:

    Yep, it’s really no big deal. LA Metro is doing the same for the Regional Connector and Purple Line extension projects too, except $1m per qualified bidder.

    synonymouse Reply:

    The bidders need the money for political contributions if they hope to stand a chance to get a contract.

  5. Jack
    Feb 3rd, 2013 at 14:04

    My brother is a huge Niners fan and I love to get a rise out of him by calling them the Santa Clara 49ers.

    As much as I treasure my childhood memories of games at the ‘Stick, it’s a terrible place to get to, surrounded by warehousing and unsafe neighborhoods. I totally understand the desire for the move.

    In the spirit of open thread. Do we have speculation on the exact site of groundbreaking yet? (Or are we considering the TBT) as the official start….

    D. P. Lubic Reply:

    I’m not a big sports fan, but I love some of the stories from Candlestick, most notably the tales about the wind the place gets. Puts a chill in even summer baseball games, and is a real test for a batter, that wind just takes all the range out!!

    Jack Reply:

    Oh man that afternoon breeze would freeze your marrow! And I would happily eat my icecream at the same time. lol!

    joe Reply:

    Moved to CA from Montana in Aug and went to Giants game at the Stick. I was warned and took a ski jacket to a night game and was cold. The Stick is awful.

    It’s going up right now.

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    Probably somewhere in Fresno. Haven’t heard anything specific though.

    datacruncher Reply:

    At one point it was rumored to be planned near the Fresno HSR Station site as part of the Fresno Street Underpass work. I don’t know if that will turn out to be the actual ceremony site but it is near where the first work will likely occur.

    Jerry Reply:

    Neither CalTrain nor transit friendly San Francisco advertised or made an effort to have people use the train to go to games at Candlestick. It is a short walk from the Bayshore CalTrain station to Candlestick. (Yes I have used the train as others have and it is a short walk.) The big problem is one of the roads people have to use going under 101 does NOT have sidewalks. So people have a dangerous walk on the street with cars zooming by. Even people who take advantage of free parking on the streets near the Bayshore Station walk on the street in the underpass area.

    flowmotion Reply:

    SF Muni runs a number of Candlestick Express busses, which they do advertise. (There are banners up in the Metro stations.)

    I’ve always wondered why Caltrain didn’t promote the Bayshore station for games — perhaps your instinct is correct and it’s the lack of sidewalks.

  6. VBobier
    Feb 3rd, 2013 at 14:06

    Well a move by the 49ers to Santa Clara should make the Giants happy, they won’t have to share the stadium with a football team anymore. Oh and down here people are rooting for the 49ers to win.

    Here birdie, birdie, birdie…. :D

    Jack Reply:

    The Niners don’t play AT&T Park. Just for reference.

    BMF from San Diego Reply:


    VBobier Reply:

    Sorry didn’t know, looks like soon the old stadium land could be sold, maybe, if that’s whats in the cards to do that is.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Already sold. It’s going to be a mall. (Lennar is the developer.)

  7. D. P. Lubic
    Feb 3rd, 2013 at 14:48

    Came across this looking for something else a while back, and thought it worth sharing here–streamlined steam locomotives from the St. Louis-San Francisco, all rebuilds of rather elderly locomotives.

    Source page; overall, the site looks like a good one for exploration:

    The Frisco had a roster with some very good looking steam engines, but I’m afraid that doesn’t include these blue and white streamliners. Of course, I’m not a fan of streamlined steam, with a couple of exceptions (N&W’s J, SP’s Daylights); I will say that the Frisco’s design somehow looks very appropriate for a train named the Firefly, these machines somehow remind me of bugs!

  8. Alon Levy
    Feb 3rd, 2013 at 15:25

    Here’s the official Caltrain Twitter account on CBOSS, @caltrain_news:

    @jirfy @ttpolitic @theoverheadwire @enf @alon_levy Its not incompatible HSR wouldnt have given us the funding for cboss if it was

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    CBOSS uses US Dollars, baryonic matter and electromagnetism. That is compatible with other signals in the universe. Plz to be keep sending #USDollars our way. kthxbye!

    William Reply:

    Is the analogy of metric vs imperial measuring system appropriate for CBOSS vs ERTMS?

    As far as I know, the hardware parts are mostly the same between various PTC systems, so the difference must be at the software level, i.e. prediction algorithm, communication codes, etc…

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The hardware parts aren’t the same, either. The CAHSR documents have a description of ERTMS vs. DS-ATC somewhere. The pre-ERTMS systems in Europe are not the same hardware, either, and that’s why multinational locos have to have multiple displays and systems.

    But the software part is highly nontrivial, too. A Mac and a computer have the same hardware nowadays.

    Jonathan Reply:

    As far as I know, the hardware parts are mostly the same between various PTC systems, so the difference must be at the software level, i.e. prediction algorithm, communication codes, etc…

    William, you patently don’t know enough to hold an informed opinion. Assuming that by “PTC” you actually mean a modern Train Protection System (TPS), which includes ETCS; not the proprietary Wabtec system[s] mandated by the US Class 1 freight railroads and generally known as “PTC”, without any qualification.

    Alon, by “computer” you presumably mean the “IBM-compatible” x86 PC? I mean, that’s the only kind of “computer”, by implication….. yet you probably know that an iPhone and a typical Android phone, say a Samsung Galaxy S2, have userland-compatible CPUs.

    William Reply:

    No, what I meant was that practically all PTC (or ATC) systems have on-board equipment, wayside signal/equipment, ballast to transmit/correct train data, and back-end server. So, if all PTC systems have these components, they can be largely the same, so the difference become what kind of “language” is used to communicate between the various systems, and associate algorithm.

    Jonathan Reply:

    William, you don’t have even the beginning of a clue what you’re talking about.

    So, if all PTC systems have these components, they can be largely the same, so the difference become what kind of “language” is used to communicate between the various systems, and associate algorithm.

    Your observatoin is valid. It’s the very same key observation behind ETCS and ERTMS. The Europeans used to have, what fourteen different national standards for this? And they (or rather their vendors) spent multiple billions of Euros putting together a standardized set of interoperable specifications, where you can buy different components from different vendors, and have them work together.

    That is why ETCS is the worldwide standard for greenfield deployments.
    in contrast, Wabtec’s proprietary “PTC” system[s] are *NOT* interoperable with .. just about anything else, with the possible exception of ITCS. Even your partitioning into elements seems fatally US-Wabtec-PTC-centric

    William: you might as well say that the Internet consists of computers., routers, links.. .and therefore a legacy IBM-mainframe COBOL application is “compatible” with a web browser. In point of fact, you might learn something from looking at the history of the OSI ISO protocol effort — for example, how different governments picked different subsets as “standard” “profiles”, and ended up with non-interoperable systems. Or naive efforts to “gateway” SMTP and X.400. Or SMTP and IBM’s SNADS. The semantics were never quite the same, and there were always corner-cases where mail failed. (Sometimes, not-so-corner cases). That might be marginally acceptable for emali; but it’s not acceptable for safety-critical systems.

    Jonathan Reply:

    Or, more concretely: one could make the exact same observation about automobile sub-systems.
    Can I plug a BMW ECU and an Chevy brake master-cylinder into my Toyota? No, I can not. (Not without an _awful_ lot of work in the first case; and custom mounting flanges and metric/inc adapters on the second).

    Yet that is _simple_ compared to what you suggest.

    William Reply:

    (Beside the first sentence, I think you kind of got what I was trying to say)
    Well, as in your car example, I think we can have another translation layer (could be a layer of software or another computer) in the PTC servers to translate between different systems. It may not be physical adapters, and adapter nonetheless.

    Of course this won’t be as efficient as running just one type of system, which would also save the cost of the translation layer.

    With the widespread of Virtual Machines nowadays, it become possible to emulate obsolete computing environments on modern hardware.

    Jonathan Reply:

    William, you don’t understand the terms you are using.

    I suggest again that you look into the history of X.400, and the non-interoperability of the OSI protocols; the need for GOSIP (essentially government-specified interoperability “profiles” for OSI); the non-interoperability issues with X.400 GOSIP(1984 versoin) with X.400 GOSIP (1988 version).

    The simple fact of the matter is that train control is an application-level protocol. And the semantics of one protocol usually simply _DOES_ _NOT_ _TRANSLATE_ exactly to the semantics of another protocol. And when the semantics don’t match .. . . collisions can happen.

    Here’s a very very simple example: there is no linear function which transforms between Celsius and Fahrenheit. (That’s for the mathematical, group-theoretic definition of “linear”). You have to add a constant, and that makes the transformation non-linear.

    But braking curves, chosen for arbitrary constants, can be non-translatable in the same way.
    Or one signalling system might have N braking curves, whereas another system doesn’t have the concept of explicit, consist-dependent braking curves at all.

    Jonathan Reply:

    To steal a line from another context : your grasp of this subject lacks opposable thumbs.

    William Reply:

    (Not to say either system is obsolete, just an example)
    Since all PTC systems are design to do basically the same job, I believe most train profiles would already exist on different PTC systems, and translation, for example, would be to take the train-profile in PTC-A, pick the closest match in PTC-B (there must be some kind look-up table), and re-enter the profile in PTC-B.

    Jonathan Reply:

    oops. The “opposable thumbs” quote belonged here.

    Noam Chomsky has a lesson or three for you. This isn’t really the forum to go into theoretical computer science; finite-state automata, versus push-down automata, versus turing machines; the isomorphism between those and Chomsky’s hierarchy of formal languages. (The three formal machine-type correspond to three of Chomsky’s formal-grammar language definitions; but I can never remember Chomsky’s numeric ordering: simpler first or simpler last?)

    William, I’m sure you are sincere, but the world is much, much more complicated than you seem to think.
    You aren’t just in over your head; you’re over abyssal depths, and moreover unaware of it.
    Can I ask, without prejudice or insult: do you know what “well-formed formula” means, in this context?

    William Reply:


    You’re right, I don’t know much about Computing Science, but I am a Hardware Engineer, so ever program boil down to the same machine code that’s running on CPUs, if all on the same architecture. Heck, the CPU themselves even have translating modules to make running a program more efficient, but to the outside environment they are all the same. :)

    Well, I think we’ll just have to agree to disagree. I agree translating would not as efficient, but not an insurmountable task. If anyone were to design a translating module, I think he would just treat one system as a black-box, only care about what’s its inputs and outputs.

    In the case you said no exact translation is possible, I think a safety margin can be added during translation to make sure trains don’t collide.

    This would be my last response in this matter. Remember the time when Mac and PC cannot talk to each other? :)

    Jonathan Reply:

    Huh? It’s not April 1 yet!

  9. John Burrows
    Feb 3rd, 2013 at 17:54

    If Super Bowl L (2016) is played in Santa Clara, it should be a good day for downtown San Jose hotels. I count at least 10 hotels with over 2600 rooms, most of them within a block of a VTA light rail stop. Admittedly VTA is not very fast, but on that day the idea of picking up a streetcar in front of your hotel and arriving at the stadium a half hour later is going to be a real winner.

    And someday the Oakland A’s (if they move to their proposed Diridon Station site), could bump the Sharks from their position of occupying the “Most transit friendly spot for a sports facility in San Jose”.

    Too bad I’m not much of a sports fan as I could then walk across the street to Cisco Field to watch an A’s game, take a 5 minute walk through Diridon Station to the Shark Tank, or hop on VTA and get to a 49ers game in just over a half hour.

    John Burrows Reply:

    That should read “Most transit friendly spot for a sports facility in Santa Clara County”

    Jack Reply:

    I recall transit access being one of the [many] key reasons for the stadium. Candlestick is just hard to get to.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    American football stadiums get used a handful of times a year.

    Talk of “transit access” or “boosting transit” or boosting anything (other than the owners’ profits) is delusional.

    Santa Clara is being taken to the cleaners, just like every burg that bends over for sports franchise owners has been.

    joe Reply:

    “While local businesses may see an increase in sales around the stadium, it’s sales and money that would have been spent in other parts of the community, for the most part,” said Richard Powers, a lecturer at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto. “So they’re just redirecting it into a certain area.”

    For example, it is common for franchise owners to negotiate a deal with a city to not pay property tax on the land or facility, he said.

    “Had that land instead been given to a shopping mall developer, that would have obviously generated property taxes and other types of sales and use taxes. That is now forgone.”

    There is also the loss in taking public money away from other projects that would also benefit the community.

    “Where are you diverting cash from? What other infrastructure projects that would be benefiting the community are being cancelled or put on hold?” Powers said.

    Joey Reply:

    Could you quantify that? I have heard very mixed things about the economic impact of stadiums.

    Eric Reply:

    Football is worse than most other sports. Baseball has 80 home games per year, basketball and hockey have 40 each (and the stadium complex uses less land), while football has just 8 home games per year. The other 357 days a year, the stadium is underused or entirely vacant.

    Derek Reply:

    Stadiums can be used for concerts and expositions and little league and sports competitions. The parking lot could be used for swap meets and farmers markets, and used by adjacent schools and shopping areas.

    We really need to get away from our single-use mentality.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Who needs a football field for a farmer’s market when a city block or two with sidewalks can do?

    Miles Bader Reply:

    Or a park. Or a pedestrian plaza.

    There are lots of possibilities, all of which are about a billion times less horrible than a stadium parking lot.

    Derek Reply:

    Who needs a football field for a farmer’s market

    Who said we do?

    Miles Bader Reply:

    Flexible space: good
    Parking lots: bad

    Stadiums, and especially giant stadiums with huge parking lots, can be repurposed … but often rather awkardly, and with the the problem that they inherently sort of suck.

    You can equally well use the same money and space to build something much nicer that allows the same wide range of uses without sucking so much.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Stadiums can be used for …
    We really need to get away from our single-use mentality.

    Cool story, bro!

    Amanda in the South Bay Reply:

    Our forefathers back in the 60s actually had more sense when they built multipurpose stadiums for baseball and football. Ugly, sure, but much more economical. Sports stadiums are still normally a shitty deal for taxpayers, they are subsidized toys for millionaires. I bet dollars to doughnuts the new stadium will never be used for anything else (very few people live out there, making it unlikely people are going to go out to a farmers market or anything).

    Eric Reply:

    “Stadiums can be used for concerts and expositions and little league and sports competitions. The parking lot could be used for swap meets and farmers markets, and used by adjacent schools and shopping areas.”

    There will be a few large concerts and expositions per year. All the other uses are like I said – underuse.

    joe Reply:

    @Eric and @ Joey

    Look for a recent study conducted during the NBA lockout.

    First (as above) sporting events simply moved entertainment dollars from X to Y so there was no net loss when NBA games were canceled. People spent that money elsewhere in the city economy.

    Secondly, (need to find & reared news story) I believe a finding was events had a minor, negative impact as a disruptor of other economic activity.

    Above article points to tax losses – the tax giveaways are lost revenue. There is an opportunity cost of having less visible, but tax producing use in place of a stadium.

    joe Reply:

    Different article but


    So if these games are lost in a lockout, the thinking goes, NBA cities lose out on big money. The empirical work of a few sports economists, however, has proven otherwise. For example, a 2000 study by University of Maryland-Baltimore County economists Dennis Coates and Brad Humphreys found that work stoppages in baseball and football between 1969 and 1996 – the NBA had experienced no labor disputes in that time period – had no impact on the economies of 37 metropolitan statistical areas with pro sports franchises. In fact, the models showed that cities saw a very slight increase in real per capita income during years with a work stoppage. Robert Baade, a sports economist from Lake Forest (Ill.) College, led a 2006 study that examined sales tax data in Florida. The study found that the lockouts and strikes since 1980 had no statistically significant effect on sales tax receipts in the metropolitan areas that house pro sports franchises.

    Second, as Coates and Humphreys point out in their paper, a reduction in public spending during a lockout can offset a drop in private spending. “Professional sporting events increase metropolitan government spending by driving up spending on public safety, crowd and traffic control, etc.,” [I think this spending and economic activity helps BUT the impact of Pre and post game congestion and crowd nuttiness keeping people away and suppress other economic activity].

    A third explanation offered by Coates and Humphreys is impossible to quantify, but makes some intuitive sense. Without NBA games to obsess over, people will actually do their jobs.

    Read more:

    Jonathan Reply:


    This is something Republican Governors and state legislatures are particularly good at: zero-sum games.
    Right-to-work-for-less states don’t _create_ jobs; they merely attract jobs from elsewhere.

    joe Reply:

    I concur.

    Also the austerity cuts have hurt them disproportionally.

    Walker’s Wisconsin is far behind Midwestern states in job creation since he took office. Talgo is contemplating a lawsuit with WI while Northern IL has the new Amtrak business.

    joe Reply:

    Texas Gov. Rick Perry slams California’s business climate in a new radio ad airing this week across the state.
    He says in the ad that building a business in California is “next to impossible.” And the solution he has for California businesses is clear: “come check out Texas.”

    California Gov. Jerry Brown has shot back. In an interview on Marketplace Morning Report last month, Brown criticized Texas for its relatively large percentage of people working at or below the minimum wage.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Rick Perry: so obnoxious he’s losing in polls to Hillary Clinton in his home state, by larger margins than Rubio and The Bully.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.

    BART to VTA is expected to be complete by late in 2016. Even if the game is held in Santa Clara, my guess is that the main beneficiary of the tourist dollars will be further north. Glendale, Arizona had a similar problem in 2009 when University of Phoenix Stadium was the site of the game but found its local entertainment district all but abandoned while Scottsdale, Tempe, and downtown Phoenix enjoyed no shortage of people.

    Michael Reply:

    I’m certain next year’s NY/NJ Super Bowl in the Meadowlands will have people flocking to the hotels in Newark, just as a future Super Bowl in Santa Clara will pack the San Jose hotel rooms.

  10. D. P. Lubic
    Feb 3rd, 2013 at 20:24

    Looks like somebody made money on the Super Bowl–the TV network:–finance.html

  11. James M in Irvine, CA
    Feb 3rd, 2013 at 22:38

    Thanks for the open thread. I haven’t figured out some things about posting on this blog and I was hoping for some insight. For example:
    1. How do you get the quotes into a seperate blue box?
    2. How do you make a word a clickable link instead of inserting the whole address?

    I would also appreciate any other tips available!

    jim M in Irvine, CA

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    1. <blockquote&gt … </blockquote>
    2. <a href=”http://…”>…</a>

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    <blockquote> … </blockquote>

    James M in Irvine, CA Reply:

    Thanks for the links!


    Jonathan Reply:

    For crying out loud! Blogs are for people who don’t understand WFFs and can’t type HTML.
    Yet if we want to cite a link, we have to type raw HTML? What is going on at WordPress??

    Oh wait, I used to work for their former VPE. Never mind. :-(

  12. Reedman
    Feb 3rd, 2013 at 23:41

    1) One other reason for the 49ers move is that the 49ers practice facility is just across the parking lot to the east from the new stadium.

    2) Hopefully BART will get the Warm Springs Extension going on schedule. VTA is building the extension to Berryessa (which will connect with Light Rail in Milpitas). BART took it’s time with the weird trench/tunnel they were required to build to get through the park immediately south of the present end of the line in Fremont.

    3) U of Michigan’s stadium in Ann Arbor which seats 110,000 (largest in the USA) seems to function OK without rail transit.

    Positroll Reply:

    “3) U of Michigan’s stadium in Ann Arbor which seats 110,000 (largest in the USA) seems to function OK without rail transit.”

    It works fine for the students walking there. And for those people getting there early to tailgate. But have you tried driving there, say, an hour or two before the game starts? It’s pretty chaotic, and that’s despite Ann Arbor having a pretty strong bus network that gets extra buses on gameday.

    BTW, AA has been thinking about getting light rail, which also would go from the train station to the Big House.

    GO BLUE!

    Jonathan Reply:

    Have you ever lved on a campus like Stanford, with a popular football team? Ever tried to get around campus — even on foot, nevermind trying to drive in or out of your dorm parking-lot — during a game?
    Forget it.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Sometimes, I love Columbia.

    Miles Bader Reply:

    Your dorm had a parking lot?!

    Only in America… ><

    Jonathan Reply:

    Grad housing.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    To clarify, my previous comment was re the fact that Columbia has a football team so bad that nobody cares about it, not re the fact that the closest thing to parking at Columbia dorms is on-street alternate side parking.

  13. James in PA
    Feb 3rd, 2013 at 23:58

    Can or should Caltrain operate special game trains directly to the Great America station? SF to Santa Clara to Great America? Gilroy to Santa Clara to Great America?

    How will Capitol Corridor, ACE and potentially Caltrain all use a single track both before and after the event without pissing off riders by making someone wait a long time to load and move trains? CC, ACE come from the north. Caltrain would come from the south.

    With large ridership to stadium events a few days a month and work-day commuter connection to VTA what would be a good station design for this location? It needs to move a lot of people to the stadium and provide quick transfer to VTA.

    Two tracks? Three tracks? An island platform with stairs up to the overpass or possibly a ramp under the tracks?

    The bridges near 101 and Lafayette are single-track and the ROW looks narrow in places. It may take a little effort to double track parts not already doubled all the way to Santa Clara.

    On the north side it is single track all the way to Newark. What he heck does Amtrak do when all the game trains are taking turns waiting?

    So basically two questions:

    1. What is the best operating scenario for the existing station on the day of a game? Lets even assume the train operators actually care about shaving off wasted minutes in getting the trains in and out.

    2. What is the best station and track configuration at a reasonable cost for this location? Where we don’t make the passengers have to walk across another track to get to the platform.

    With multiple trains arriving at one station it would be nice if Amtrak, CC, ACE, Caltrain and HSR all used the same platform height.

    Joey Reply:

    Another fun fact – the ROW in that particular location (in fact, all the way up from where it splits off from CalTrain) is owned by UP. They might be a little less hostile to game-day-only service increases compared to regular ones, but I wouldn’t expect it to be easy to make it happen. Particularly since CalTrain will soon be transitioning to a fleet of non-compliant EMUs.

    Jonathan Reply:

    Particularly since CalTrain will soon be transitioning to a fleet of non-compliant EMUs.

    What a strange interpretation of “soon”.

    Joey Reply:

    Fair point. But it will be a problem eventually.

    Jonathan Reply:

    Do you envisage that as before or after they get CBOSS working? Or declare CBOSS dead-on-arrival (see: BART AATC) and deploy off-the-shelf ITCS? Just curious.

    William Reply:

    VTA plans to replace/reconstruct Great America station, but is unfunded:

    Capitol Corridor has a long standing plan to double track between Fremont and Santa Clara: (Page 9)

    Having 49ers pitch-in to fund the double track + Union City station project would certainly be helpful. Contracting with ACE on running a few Union City-San Jose shuttle would certainly be great, since ACE trainsets are sitting idle during weekends.

    Just imagine the possibilities…

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Just imagine the possibilities…

    A bottomless pit. Dump trucks full of cash. More dump trucks full of cash. The pit still gapes. The possibilities! The possibilities!

    William Reply:

    Okay Richard, by your logic, you don’t need to eat today since you already ate yesterday…

    thatbruce Reply:


    By Richard’s parody of American infrastructure construction contracts, you’ve got a stomach that can never be filled, and there’s a never-ending buffet in front of you. Enjoy!

    J Baloun Reply:

    I have no rail tech knowledge to speak of but the following comes to mind:

    1.) Double track the Great America station with double length platforms. At the end of the game each platform has two trains lined up. The northern trains either a CC or an ACE and the two southern trains Caltrain. The passengers load like at 4th St after a Giants game and four express trains depart in a relatively short amount of time. Then four more trains are brought in from the Santa Clara yard…

    I guess if Amtrak or freight happens to arrive during the half hour process they just have to wait or move between loads. I would hope the dispatchers would also conduct the movement of the game trains with a sense of urgency.

    2.) If Caltrain is to run to to Great America, does the line need to be electrified or would the special Caltrain game trains operate with diesel?

    I am not saying any of this can’t be done. It seems relatively straight forward. But it would be nice if the operators demonstrated a professional solution without proving Richard correct again.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    We should probably be concerned about attracting patrons to the regular service 365 days a year rather than for 8 days of ball games.

    swing hanger Reply:


    James in PA Reply:

    I agree. As an engineer, both are just different design options to me. I am not trying to state the comprehensive solution. Please proceed…..

    William Reply:

    Yeah, it would be up to the 49ers and City of Santa Clara to fill the stadium in non-football days, but it is not to say that running special trains just on football days is impossible.

  14. BrianR
    Feb 4th, 2013 at 00:51

    apparently no one planning the new 49ers stadium in Santa Clara realized they were directly in the flight path of San Jose airport and that there will be consequences for locating it there.

    If this was seriously an oversight I find that hard to believe. The times I have visited Great America the few things you cannot ignore are the planes taking off from SJC flying directly overhead. Whenever the stadium is used in the future flights to and from SJC will need to follow a Temporary Flight Restriction and make a sudden diversion to avoid flying over the stadium immediately after take-off or before landing.

    William Reply:

    Hard to believe noisy football fans cannot take noise of a few airplane taking off or landing :)

    James in PA Reply:

    True the fans would barely notice an airplane overhead. However there are moments when the quarterback is trying to bark out instructions.

    Also the stadium is used for other events, like concerts. When the singer is at a dramatic segue and the airplane roars by it will be frustrating.

    Derek Reply:

    They could hire a spotter.

    BrianR Reply:

    From what I understand noise is not the main concern. It’s more like a concern from the FAA or other regulatory agencies about the risks of planes crashing into a stadium packed with a large concentration of people (unlike an office building with comparatively few people) or having mid-air collisions with the various newscaster planes, helicopters, blimps ect. that tend to circulate around stadiums during big events like NFL games.

    Incidentally the new Earthquakes stadium will also be just to the side off the south end of San Jose’s runways but not in the direct and immediate flight path like the 49ers stadium. Still, I would think noise would remain an issue with the Earthquakes stadium location.

    Joey Reply:

    Google maps is for crazy transit advocates with delusions of doing things efficiently.

    Peter Reply:

    Whenever the stadium is used in the future flights to and from SJC will need to follow a Temporary Flight Restriction and make a sudden diversion to avoid flying over the stadium immediately after take-off or before landing.

    Umm, no.

    From the Temporary Flight Restriction, in relevant parts:





    AKA, aircraft taking off and landing , which are in contact with ATC, like every aircraft into and out of SJC is, are permitted to overfly stadiums.

    That being said, whoever this idiot Turner is, he is also dead wrong about wind shifts now causing problems for ATC purposes that did not exist before. SFO, OAK, and SJC have ALWAYS had complex procedures in place to deal with the need to change flight patterns after wind shifts. This is nothing new.

    Where do they find these people?

    synonymouse Reply:

    same place as all our planning wunderkinder come from

    Peter Reply:

    Umm, I wasn’t referring to any “planning” people, I was referring to the local aviation “expert” that the idiot newsies interviewed.

  15. Matt Korner
    Feb 4th, 2013 at 10:15

    What is the status of the alternatives analysis for the segment for Los Angeles to San Diego via the Inland Empire?

    Which alignment, if any, has been chosen?

  16. synonymouse
    Feb 4th, 2013 at 10:31

    Older pc SF yuppies don’t like younger Google yuppies:

    A true laff-riot. Times change. When I got there in the mid-sixties there were no homeless or illegals. The cops during the evening commute used to run the few bonafide winos out of the 3rd & Howard area so the SP commuters walking down to 3rd & Townsend would not have to see them.

    If guess the Kumbaya Krewe want the Googlers to drive down to PAMPA instead of taking the company bus. Maybe they don’t like it because the mini-bus drivers don’t belong to TWU 250A and aren’t properly baksheeshing Pelosi.

    In reality the Machine truly needs the Googlers, et al to come up with the tax-the-rich monies to subvent all their social spending and for sure TehaVegaSkyRail. And the Googlers assuredly aren’t stupid – they can see how other single-issue cadres have thrived. If Pelosi tries to mess with them they can simply threaten to leave, like all the other business interests.

    Crap eventually dies ignominiously. Candlestick being a poster-boy. That piece of shit was built by Harney, who made a lot of money ripping up streetcar tracks during the postwar bustitution. Now after 50+ years they are going to implode it. Same fate will await Tehachapi stilts when they liquidate the Roundabout.

    J Baloun Reply:

    Mad dog, mad dog! Syn is foaming…

    VBobier Reply:

    Doesn’t He always foam at the mouth? I wonder has He had all His shots? ;)

    Miles Bader Reply:

    What’s silly is that (as he often does) syno actually posts something rather reasonable—the story he links to is indeed cringe-inducingly stupid, and well worth mocking—and then throws in all his stock phrases (“…pelosi…”, “…tehachapi…”,… oooh, syno, you forgot “…stilt-a-rail…” and “…moonbeam…”!) for no reason at all.

    synonymouse Reply:

    There were actually some reasons for the stock references, apart from the fact I just could not stop myself.

    The now somewhat middle-aged pc first generation yuppies of Noe Valley will indeed complain to their ward bosses. And there is no one who likes to nanny more than Queen you-know-whom. But it will be to avail because Jerry really does need these nouveau riche nouveau yuppie social networker Googlians to tax the hell out of. Somebody has to get soaked to pay for all those subsidies. Now is it beginning to become apparent to the late arrivals on the scene why Prop 13 was needed as assessments exploded?

    And yes I do truly believe the DeTour is so piss-poor, so ill conceived that it will indeed enjoy only a short life. If no private interests(and I am instructed no class ones could possibly find a use for it)want it than they will demo the viaducts as a safety hazard.

    And as to flyover problems at Santa Clara 49’erWorld, hell, just implode it and build a new one.

    synonymouse Reply:

    no avail

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Why not in future just insert “stock reference”? We’ll understand. Save a few electrons.

  17. Keith Saggers
    Feb 4th, 2013 at 11:32
  18. BeWise
    Feb 4th, 2013 at 14:41

    Hmmm…listen to what they say at 2:14 of the following YouTube video:

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    This sort of thing should have been done before we contemplated HSR.

Comments are closed.