UC Berkeley-UCLA Report Urges Central Valley to Use HSR to Stop Sprawl

Aug 28th, 2013 | Posted by

The law schools of UC Berkeley and UCLA have published a new report titled “A High Speed Foundation: How to Build a Better California Around High Speed Rail” that urges the Central Valley to find ways to ensure HSR limits sprawl rather than fuels it.

The report lays out the risk that without a focused effort, HSR could produce more sprawl in the Valley given usual development patterns. But it also argues that the HSR project is an excellent opportunity to produce sustainable development oriented around new center city density:

Four Key Barriers to Efficient Development around a High Speed Rail Foundation

1) Lack of a Valley-Wide Organizing Effort to Optimize High Speed Rail Decision-Making: the eight-county San Joaquin Valley lacks a collaborative mechanism, with business, community and government involvement, to focus on deciding, shaping, and mobilizing support for high speed rail policies and benefits.

2) Lack of Resources for Planning and Outreach for Station-Connected Development:
Cash-starved local governments and planning departments lack the funds needed to plan for development connected to high speed rail, gather citizen input, and mobilize community support for station-connected plans.

3) Financial Support for and Lack of Limits on Auto-Oriented Development: many local governments in the region have historically tended to approve lower-density, single-family developments and ranchettes that require residents to drive to services and jobs, which leads to disinvestment in future high-speed-rail-connected areas, higher costs to municipal budgets, and unmet consumer demand for compact, walkable neighborhoods.

4) Lack of Financing for High-Speed-Rail-Connected Projects: high speed rail stations and connected communities require improved center-city neighborhoods and older urban corridors, where historic disinvestment and deteriorating infrastructure may make development projects and upgrades difficult to finance.

In the past I have argued that sprawl requires three ingredients: cheap oil, cheap credit, and favorable land use policies. We no longer have the first ingredient. We have the second ingredient, at least for the time being. But it’s the third ingredient that the report focuses on in these points.

Three of these four missing pieces that they cite have to do with funding. They are right to point out that even with downtown HSR stations, Valley cities will need more financial resources to fully take advantage of those stations and provide the amenities and other infrastructure investments that will help bring new residents to the areas near the station.

The report also lays out some steps the Valley should take to address these barriers:

This report identifies the steps that government leaders, businesses, and the public can take to ensure that California optimizes growth patterns around high speed rail. These stakeholders will need to:

• Enlist a Valley-wide collaborative entity, including business, community, and government leaders, to develop a vision for regional economic growth and environmental preservation tied to high speed rail, ensure that high speed rail decision-making supports that vision, and mobilize citizens to implement the policies necessary to realize it;

• Support local and regional planning efforts and outreach, including through computer modeling programs and identification of best practices and tools, to implement the vision;

• Demonstrate the costs of development patterns that do not support the regional high speed rail vision by compiling and modeling data on the impacts of this development on municipal budgets, agricultural productivity, and public health; and

• Utilize and support financing programs that can catalyze private investment in thriving, mixed-use pedestrian, bike, and transit-accessible development projects that are connected to mobility hubs and high speed rail stations.

I suspect it’s the last item that’s the most important. A Valley-wide collaborative entity is a very good idea, but it will take funding to provide the kind of infrastructure that will make transit-oriented development thrive in the Valley cities hosting HSR stations.

Those cities – Bakersfield, maybe Hanford, Fresno, Merced – all have good bones. Like most major California cities they were originally built around centrally located railroad stations. Their downtowns are walkable with compact blocks. Those are great conditions for TOD. But more will be needed to take these downtowns, many of which have not seen significant infrastructure investment in several decades, and make them ready for 21st century density.

But that is an opportunity for the Valley and for the state as a whole. California would do well to invest in these efforts, since doing so would be cheaper and more effective in the long run than letting this region struggle with 12% unemployment.

  1. synonymouse
    Aug 28th, 2013 at 22:39

    The purpose of CAHSR in Palmdale is to sprawl the high desert. The purpose of laying CAHSR thru farmfields in the Valley is to soften it up for sprawl, the way the military bombs to soften up a target before overrunning it.

    swing hanger Reply:

    Those places have sprawl, with or without HSR. The purpose of HSR should be to transport people quickly and efficiently over intercity distances, full stop, not as a tool to influence land use policy.

    VBobier Reply:

    You sound like you are against more people living or being born in CA syno…

    synonymouse Reply:

    They just want to build the meth labs closer to each other, ie., no yards.

  2. Howard
    Aug 29th, 2013 at 00:39

    HSR Stations need great local transit system connections in order to attract Transit Oriented Development and to function properly. Without an extensive high capacity public transit system feeding Central Valley high speed train stations the high speed rail passengers will need to drive to the station and park in large parking lots or garages, that use the land that could have been used for transit oriented development. Transit oriented development next to high speed rail stations also needs extensive, fast, frequent and high capacity local transit because most people going, commuting, to or from them will be from the local area, not arriving by high speed rail; therefore, they will drive and park there, again requiring land using parking lots or garages, unless viable and attractive regional transit is provided. Fresno has a great regional bus rapid transit system plan, but no money to build it, as far as I know. That plan does not seem to take the CHSR station into accout, because the downtown transit hub is, and will continue to be, three blocks from the CHSR station.

    Andy M Reply:

    Transit to a station extends journey times. It is easy to forget that train times are station to station whereas driving times are door to door. Add the time needed to buy a ticket and wait for a train, and the rail option may not be faster than driving at all. Transit is only a secondary support for rail. More important is to locate the stations in walkable areas with
    -dense land usage
    -mixed residential and commercial zoning
    -measures to support the intensification of land use around stations such as removing requirements to provide parking spaces
    -open green spaces and high quality architectural design making urban and non car centric living more attractive for people from different social classes.

    Areas irrigated by transit in smaller cities, unless they are very densely built (such as in bigger cities), always result in transit being the second fiddle to car usage. Transit is a fine thing for areas that are already built and is definitely better than no transit. But it is not taking the bull by its horns.

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    In 1985, San Francisco adopted the Downtown Plan, which slowed development in the Financial District north of Market Street and directed it to the area South of Market around the Transbay Terminal.[9] In the early 1990s, the Embarcadero Freeway was demolished following the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, freeing up numerous city blocks for development south of the Transbay Terminal. In 1995, Caltrain agreed to study extending its commuter rail service from its Fourth and King terminus closer to the Financial District, including whether the Transbay Terminal should be remodeled or rebuilt.[10]

    Ultimately, it was decided that the Transbay Terminal should be rebuilt, with the rail extension entering the Terminal under Second Street. To finance the projects and promote development in the area, the Transbay Redevelopment Plan was adopted by the City of San Francisco in June 2005. By raising a number of building heights and selling former freeway parcels, the plan envisions the development of over 2,500 new homes, 3 million square feet of new office and commercial space, and 100,000 square feet of retail.[11]

    Keith Saggers Reply:


    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Pity that they’ve first completely, irreparably botched and then punted indefinitely on funding or building that whole Caltrain to downtown SF business.

    But hey, Wikipedia! 1985 Downtown Plan! It may be a $4 billion hole in the ground with a $300 million cost overrun on its first structural contract and hundreds of millions in “architecture” and “design” disappeared down a black hole of fraud and misrepresentation, and it has zero prospect of any rail service for decades, but it’s teh awesum in the press releases!

    Transit Oriented Sim City!

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    Ultimately, it was decided that the Transbay Terminal should be rebuilt, with the rail extension entering the Terminal under Second Street. To finance the projects and promote development in the area, the Transbay Redevelopment Plan was adopted by the City of San Francisco in June 2005
    “To finance the projects”

    Joey Reply:

    Except that the DTX is still unfunded. For now we have a station with no tracks leading into it.

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    the obsession with the unfunded, grant are applied for, stay tuned.

    Joey Reply:

    Who applied for which grants to specifically pay for the DTX tunnel? To my knowledge no one, not the TJPA or the PCJPB or the CHSRA had even started looking for funding.

    Keith Saggers Reply:


    Keith Saggers Reply:

    http://transbaycenter.org/uploads/2013/01/State-of-Program-2013.pdf see page 22

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    Similar schemes could be adopted in downtown Fresno, Bakersfield etc.

    joe Reply:

    Parking Spaces.

    The Ridership model uses some simplifying assumptions. That riders can drive/park at the station simplifies how they model impacts of station location.

    What concerns me i when the simplifying assumption in a simulation drives design.

    Gilroy for example has to build 6.000+ parking spaces to accommodate the ridership forecasts. Palo Alto balked at that same requirement. If a station is built like a BART park and ride then the station will be surrounded by a parking moat.

    For now the city wants a downtown station at the Caltrain stop and proposes dispersed parking structures and urban landuse to allow infill and upwards building around the station. The Caltrain station currently sits at the transportation hub for the city and regional services.

    An out of town location will save a ~1-2 billion and foster sprawl. On the plus side it means trains can fly 220 and not disrupt the city.

    Mandating 6,000 parking spaces be built immediately to accommodate ridership forecasts misuses the ridership model.

    Derek Reply:

    Gilroy for example has to build 6.000+ parking spaces to accommodate the ridership forecasts.

    Is that assuming a parking price of zero? Profit optimization would suggest that there should only be just enough parking that MC=MR (the cost of building another parking space equals the expected revenue from it) and therefore that the price of parking should be nonzero.

    Joe Reply:

    E equals MC squared.

    Reedman Reply:

    Other examples:
    The initial parking at the BART Milpitas-Great Mall station will be 1200 spaces, with BART Berryessa having 2500 spaces. The BART Warm Springs station (which will come before the two Silicon Valley stations) will have 2000 spaces.


    Joe Reply:

    It’s the old model where everybody is supposed to drive to BART, park and then take the train to San Francisco to work in the financial district Or go to a As game.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Made Bechtel richer.

  3. Mike
    Aug 29th, 2013 at 08:59

    Admittedly I only spent 60 seconds looking at the Executive Summary, but doesn’t it seem like this report says “In order for HSR in the Central Valley to support a non-sprawling development patter, the barriers to compact development, and the incentives for sprawl, need to be reduced or eliminated”? In other words, “In order to achieve X, the barriers to X must be removed”?

    StevieB Reply:

    What does Barrier #3 and the proposed solution say to you?

    Barrier #3: Subsidies for and Lack of Limits
    on Auto-Oriented Development.

    The conventional development patterns in the San Joaquin Valley, dominated by autooriented, single-family housing developments largely separated from services, retail
    centers, and jobs, have contributed to the substantial loss of farmland in the region, poor
    air quality, and economic burdens on residents who spend more time and money on
    transportation. Many participants felt that this pattern is in part caused by public subsidies
    for auto-oriented infrastructure and a corresponding lack of policies to accommodate
    alternative development. The resulting financial pressure to build outward has resulted
    in disinvestment in existing neighborhoods that are more likely to be connected to high
    speed rail stations.

    SOLUTION: Promote Policies to Encourage High-Speed-RailCoordinated Development that Preserves Open Space and Farmland

    State and local leaders need to make the economic case to local decision-makers and
    their constituents that approving auto-oriented development will not meet emerging
    market demand, will damage the region’s valuable agriculture industry, and will entail
    costs that hurt municipal budgets. These leaders will also need to implement policies
    that limit the potential for business-as-usual development and instead encourage private
    investment in high speed rail station areas and urban corridors and centers.

    Mike Reply:

    It says (to me) that X (i.e., sprawling auto-oriented development) is bad, and that in order to stop X it’s necessary to change the conditions that produce X. With the addendum, that once you’ve changed the conditions that produce X, investment in HSR station areas should be particularly encouraged.

    Does it say something different, or more meaningful, to you?

    I shouldn’t piss on this report; it’s just a report after all.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    There is almost nothing that delivers guaranteed profits like subdivision of exurban land.
    Good luck fixing that, or changing it by one inch, by “encouraging investment” in “urban corridors” in Fresno, or elsewhere. The “infill” guys will take the nice “encouragement” of tax breaks to build a Celebration Marketplace and a couple of three story “TOD” structures, thank you very much, while continuing to turn fields outside town into subdivisions using a different set of tax breaks. Score!

    Speaking or Robert’s hallucinatory “good bones” of Bakersfield, Fresno and Merced, this is the reality of the Central Valley. New construction. Public facility, publicly funded. Transit Oriented 4 Eva! Those under-used vernal pools — so convenient to stations on the Pacific Flyway! — really needed development you know.

    Good bones? Good God.

    Neville Snark Reply:

    What do you propose, RM?

    joe Reply:

    The CV’s vernal pools would be better protected if CV resources were not appropriated for the benefit of “Capitol City” residents. SF toilets are flushed with water piped from Hetch Hetchy. May he cries after each bowel movement – I don’t know.

    Citizens of the Capitol are far removed from the deprivation and open oppression of the twelve Districts, and are generally preoccupied with extravagant fashion, parties, and mass entertainment … Most Capitol citizens depicted in the novels appear either oblivious of, or totally unconcerned with, the poverty and desperation that prevails elsewhere in Panem.

    Reedman Reply:

    I believe that tract house development is a natural outgrowth of a particular change in society since WWII — the zoning/planning/building-department world (I will call it ZPB).

    In the old days, a ‘developer’ would take an empty parcel of land, survey it, put in streets/sewers/electrical, and then sell lots to individuals who wanted to build a house for themselves.
    Homes were designed individually, built individually, at different times. That model is gone because the cost of generating a set of plans acceptable to ZPB is 10s of thousands of dollars, and getting those plans approved by ZPB is 10s of thousands of dollars, as well as months to years of time in this process. That is all before a single shovel is put into the ground. Modern developers beat this by re-using the same approved set of plans on multiple homes (cookie cutter development. Start singing “Little Boxes” here.). Anyone who has had to deal with California’s Title 24 energy requirements will then see this amplified by interference at the state level. Note that ZPB makes it essentially impossible to do single family home infill projects. The ZPB process is also why strip mall development dominates — getting ZPB approval for a bunch of near-identical commercial spaces simultaneously is the only way to economically deal with ZPB.

    No amount of “smart development” from Berkeley or UCLA will change this. Berkeley (the city, not the university) is the poster child for this — getting approval for a small addition to your house is a multiyear process. One smart development ‘solution’ is to essentially ban single family home construction, though expanded use of the ZPB process. This isn’t what people want. HSR will succeed if it allows people to cheaply/quickly get from/to where they want. HSR will fail if it focuses on social engineering instead of transportation engineering.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Homes were designed individually, built individually, at different times.

    Sometimes. Just like they are today. Tract housing has been built for centuries, it’s just that before World War II it usually came without any provision for automobiles.


    There was no zoning back when they were building them. It’s one of the reasons there are zoning and building codes now. Left to their own devices the speculators would build things that were unsafe in many ways.

  4. synonymouse
    Aug 29th, 2013 at 11:27

    The Cheerleaders need to recognize that the Feds are inevitably going to lose interest in funding CAHSR as a high speed rail starter or demo because it is simply not. It has to dawn on them that it is regional rail, and most of that in very rural areas, not genuine 21st century hsr. Hell, even their neo-Bechtel “let’s reinvent the wheel” testtrack in nowhere to nowhere’s ville won’t even be electrified. Diesel is state of the art 21st century?

    You must know that I have never been a fan of Quentin Kopp, who considers BART superior to Caltrain in every way, but he is entirely correct in indicting PB-CHSRA as reneging on real hsr. Prop 1A has been effectively dismissed.

    It is preposterous that they intend to attempt to rescue a circuitous 19th century detour with close on to 30 miles of tunnel. Longer than a base tunnel that would probably shorten the mountain crossing by 40 miles.

    Challenge to the PB worshippers and the “I Heart Palmdale” cabal in the way of a mental exercise:

    Let’s propose to give the class ones, UP and BNSF, $20bil to design and build the mountain crossing. They can’t bank any of the money – they have to spend it all on the best crossing. Now what would they build? It would be a base tunnel, not the hopeless Tehachapi meander whose many shortcomings they know so intimately.

    Any outside railroad expertise is just going to laugh at this exercise in stupidity and profligate spending. The money from the Feds is going to be diverted to the NEC, which will be much closer to the real thing.

  5. Stephen Smith
    Aug 29th, 2013 at 11:40

    How about we put the stations on I-5 (or somewhere between Hwy. 99 and I-5) and then use one-fifth of the money saved to build transit out there from the downtowns? *ducks*

    synonymouse Reply:

    Richard has been very helpful in pointing out the almost unconscious error I have been routinely incorporating into my I-5 model. I have been automatically assuming 110% co-operation from Caltrans to the point that not only would the I-5 ROW be “free” but Caltrans would effectively be subsidizing it to some degree.

    Very unlikely it could go down that way and if you don’t get it better than free you are back to square one on picking out your alignment. Of course PB is going to the other extreme – selecting the most expensive and disruptive alignment: cutting right through the center of urban areas with scorched earth and mass quantities of stilts.

    Joey Reply:

    I think that a lot of money is being spent on trying to accommodate express trains in Central Valley downtowns, not necessarily stopping trains. Express trains require very wide curves and extensive mitigation for the noise they create. If you keep express trains outside the city and only send stopping trains into the city, the situation is better for everyone and it might even save money in some cases. I think the strongest case for this is Fresno, where the local alignment could enter the city along a freight spur and exit along the BNSF alignment. If the express alignment is sufficiently close to the city, then this doesn’t require much new track, and it can be built to lower standards than would otherwise be possible. Other cities are a little bit less certain. This solution would work for Modesto and Merced, though Merced is small enough that it might not justify the additional investment. Hanford is getting a greenfield station either way. With Bakersfield there’s no easy way to access the city center without going through the entire city.

    agb5 Reply:

    Because the people voted specifically for 220mph electric trains on a corridor from Fresno to Bakersfield to Palmdale to Los Angeles Union, so you’ll have trouble convincing a judge that your scheme is legal.

    Joey Reply:

    There’s nothing in Prop 1A that says HSR actually has to go into the city centers. Greenfield stations would work just fine.

    Derek Reply:

    Prop 1A prohibits operating subsidies, and HSR going into city centers will maximize operating profits, so city centers are best.

    Joey Reply:

    Sorry, but that’s not logic. There’s no reason to believe that HSR would not be able to cover its operating expenses with greenfield stations (and significant precedent to suggest that this isn’t the case), and very weak evidence that this would even have a net negative effect on revenue. Please show your work.

    Derek Reply:

    If you think locating HSR stations outside of city centers will not have a net negative effect on revenue despite the evidence you claim exists, then the burden of proof is on you to show otherwise.

    Joey Reply:

    That’s not how null hypotheses work.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Order of magnitude check on aisle five!

    Joe Reply:

    Deteks right about the rules for operation which do not benefit from lowrt station construction costs in green field.

    Some of the most strident cost critics live in the most expensive cities in NA with massively expensive stations, subway extensions and bridges.

    Amazing how they choose to pay for the privilege and access to this city central infrastructure and demand austerity for the rest of the State. Capitol City.

    Stephen Smith Reply:

    Your claim that Calif. HSR cost critics “choose” to pay for boondoggles in their own big metro areas is quite simply factually incorrect. The CHSRA critics on this blog are also extremely critical of Bay Area transit projects (I assume that’s what you’re referring to – LA’s projects are actually pretty cheap). Read Clem on CBOSS, or syno on BART, or Richard Mlynarik and David Schonbrunn on…well…anything.

    Stephen Smith Reply:

    I like your sense of humor.

    agb5 Reply:

    I’m not saying it’s impossible, there is no definition in Prop 1A, but the further out of town the station is, the more legal challenges there will be.
    A one hour diesel bus transit from the station to downtown is not a 220mph electric train.

    jonathan Reply:

    Any electric train going through a city center is not a 350 km/hr train.

    if you _want_ real HSR, then you have to *build* real HSR. Spending billions and billions, per city, so you can run trains into the city center at 200 km/hr (125 mi/hr) ends up being a longer journey for everyone who doesn’t get on or of at that station. it’d be cheaper *and* arguably faster, overall, to build greenfield HSR stations (reasonable ones, not the concrete monstrous “iconc” stations); and build subsidized, close-to-free, local transit between the greenfield station and HSR.

    Poor Derek. Did nobody tell Derek that subsidies to local transit running between city centers and greenfield HSR stations, is not actually an operating subsidy to HSR? Shock, horror! No more BART!

    agb5 Reply:

    Legally the train must be capable of sustained 220mph speeds, but there is no requirement that it actually achieve that speed in any particular section of track.

    What is the max speed a train can go through a green-field station? isn’t there a speed limit when it goes over the track switches at each end of the station?

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The straight direction in a turnout has no speed limit. TGVs go through exurban stations at full speed.

    swing hanger Reply:

    Agree with Jonathan. Downtown stations are good, but if operating requirements (or the local yokels reject it democratically) dictate it, then a greenfield location is fine. This is what is done in Japan (with the “shin” prefix stations) and I believe in France with the LGV routes. Dogmatically routing a high speed line through every downtown to force TOD or lifestyle changes is akin to making perfect the enemy of the good.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    then use one-fifth of the money saved to build transit out there from the downtowns?

    Because something more elaborate than changing the bus stop signs, to add the new route number for the bus to the HSR station 50 miles away, it’s going to cost more than you would save?

  6. agb5
    Aug 29th, 2013 at 14:47

    Because the people voted specifically for 220mph electric trains on a corridor from Fresno to Bakersfield to Palmdale to Los Angeles Union, so you’ll have trouble convincing a judge that your scheme is legal.

    nick Reply:

    Does that mean that CAHSR has to run through the middle of cities at 220 mph also ? How much of the time does the train have to run at 220 mph to qualify under 1a ? Genuine question by the way. the sensible thing to do would be to have loops running through the cities serving downtown stations for stooping trains but city bypasses for through trains. These could also have parkway stations so this way you would have a larger catchment area. Encouraging more traffic into downtown areas might be worse then sending that traffic out of town

    agb5 Reply:

    “High-speed train” means a passenger train capable of
    sustained revenue operating speeds of at least 200 miles per hour
    where conditions permit those speeds

  7. morris brown
    Aug 29th, 2013 at 15:04

    Embezzler was hired by CA high-speed rail agency


    Published: August 29, 2013


    The Associated Press

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A woman who embezzled $320,000 from a California state agency was later hired by the state’s High-Speed Rail Authority — and she said nobody asked about her background.

    Carey Renee Moore spent two years in state prison after pleading no contest to felony grand theft in 2007.

    Prosecutors said she embezzled $320,000 in 2005 when she worked as a procurement officer for the Department of Child Support Services and used it to buy a television, hot tub and other items, including pornographic videos, handcuffs, whips and chains.

    Moore, who at the time was called Carey Renee Aceves, was working for the state Board of Equalization when she was arrested in 2007. She was in the process of being fired but resigned before the action became final and so no record of her crime was placed in her personnel file, The Sacramento Bee (http://bit.ly/141r1Z6 ) reported Thursday.

    In 2011, Moore was hired by the High-Speed Rail Authority. Her job included making travel plans for officials.

    Her state job application didn’t ask whether she’d been convicted of a crime because the State Personnel Board had removed that question and transferred it to supplemental forms for jobs that required background checks, such as law enforcement.

    Nobody else asked Moore whether she had a criminal background and “I wasn’t going to get a job if I said it,” Moore told an unemployment insurance appeals judge last October.

    “I went through State Personnel Board language to make sure there was no reason I couldn’t or shouldn’t do this,” she said.

    Her cover letter and job applications described Moore’s time away from the state as a “four-year voluntary resignation” to fulfill “family obligations” due to “personal family circumstances,” the Bee said.

    At the rail authority, Moore got a good review, a raise and a promotion. However, her past surfaced when the Franchise Tax Board began garnishing her wages to collect more than $373,000 in restitution.

    When a rail official asked about the garnishment, Moore said it was for taxes she owed while working at the child support department, the Bee said, citing a copy of a dismissal notice.

    She was fired in July 2012 for lying to secure her job.

    She filed but then withdrew an appeal. She also won a battle over whether she was entitled to unemployment benefits.

    Rail authority spokeswoman Lisa Marie Alley declined to comment on Moore’s hiring, saying it was a personnel matter, the Bee reported.

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    wow I never new, trains are really bad

    synonymouse Reply:

    “Prosecutors said she … used it to buy …pornographic videos, handcuffs, whips and chains.”

    Dummy – if she had hired on in San Francisco she’d still be working. 13 undocumented no-show paradise.

    jonathan Reply:

    What is it with you and the “13 undocumented no-shows”? Another reference to the 1960s?

    synonymouse Reply:

    Drop a dime and then work gravy OT on your days off.

    jonathan Reply:

    What (if any) actual factual basis is there for this “13 undocumented no-shows” you keep repeating?
    (“Drop a dime”? You _are_ stuck in the 1960s!)

    jonathan Reply:

    Which says:

    Such unscheduled absences, as Muni calls them, include drivers who call in sick to take care of themselves or a member of their family, drivers who have jury duty and drivers facing disciplinary issues.

    Jury duty and disciplinary action are not “undocumented”. And if you actually read the article, Muni employees have to produce a doctor’s note if they call in sick for more than 3 days; and they don’t get paid if they take a single sick day. And the current union contract means they don’t get overtime unless they’ve worked 40 hours in a week.

    You’re lying, Synon. Plain, upfront lying. The documents you cite flatly contradict your claim.

    And there’s _still_ nothing to support “13 undocumented now-shows”. Unless you’re confusing a percentage with a count???

    synonymouse Reply:



    synonymouse Reply:


    “Good work, Dan. Speaking of Muni’s union, what about a mention of the “sick-out” practice for Muni drivers? My understanding is that they don’t even have to call in sick; they just don’t show up for work, which is why there are so many gaps in service on Fridays and Mondays, when many drivers take long weekends.”

    Obviously 13 undocumented no-shows is not something TWU 250A wants to ballyhoo. But I’ll keep looking for more detailed info.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    If they are undocumented how does anyone know they aren’t showing up?

    jonathan Reply:

    Synon, the 2013 articles you cite say explicity that Muni changed its contract and rules.
    The circumstances you cite from 2008 and 2013 no longer exist. The sources you yourself cite, say you are wrong. Which part of “wrong” do you not understand?

    As for the “13 undocumented no-shows”, there is exactly one source any search-engine is able to find for that: your own posts here.

    @Adirondacker: Synon cited two articles which includes in its “no-show” numbers, drivers who are on jury-duty, drivers under disciplinary action; and drivers who call in because they’re looking after a sick family member. In Synon’s world, all those count as “undocumented”. Even though the 2013 articles clearly state that Muni requires a doctor’s note for absences more than 3 days. In Synon’s world, apparently those all count as “undocumented”. Oh, and Muni drivers get no sick-pay for a 1-day absence! Take one day off sick, and its without pay.

    I don’t think Synon is deliberately deceiving people; I think he’s genuinely incapable of accepting facts or sources which contradict his preconceptions.

    synonymouse Reply:

    The MOU between SF and TWU250A would indicate whether there are indeed 13 undocumented noshows. Anybody got a copy?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    If it’s in the contract… the contract is a document.

    nick Reply:

    You sound like a desperate man Morris. Are you saying that nobody has ever been erroneously hired by anyone ever. She lied, was found out and sacked. End of.

    BrianR Reply:


    Did you even read the article you posted? I think if you did read it you would of not posted it as the news was 100% inconsequential and despite what the title implies there is nothing to implicate the CAHSRA in any way possible.

    The basic story is that the CAHSRA hired someone for a low level position that didn’t require background checks, the State Personnel Board previously removed questions from the application form that would of revealed her criminal history, the CAHSRA later found out about her criminal history and fired her for not disclosing that info on her original application.

    Where’s the scandal here? The article answers all it’s own questions so maybe you think the scandal is that the CAHSRA “unjustly” fired her and should of given her another chance to redeem herself.

    People have always lied on resumes regardless of where they are working. Public school districts, the postal service, the military and random government jobs can easily find themselves in this situation.

    Would you really try to discredit the idea of public education because some districts hired someone then fired that person when they found out they had a criminal past?

  8. Alan Kandel
    Aug 29th, 2013 at 15:10

    If the CV powers that be who say they want high-speed rail really mean it, then they need to understand how all the pieces of the puzzle fit together. This report is an excellent tool for helping educate people on all the interrelated aspects of HSR. Like I have mentioned previously – whether on this site or elsewhere – HSR doesn’t – and can’t – exist in a vacuum. Maybe other technologies can, but this one can’t.

    agb5 Reply:

    Hyperloop exists in a (99.9%) vacuum.

    Joey Reply:

    As do it’s cost projections.

    Joey Reply:


  9. morris brown
    Aug 29th, 2013 at 15:51

    Train in Vain — A judge’s ruling puts California’s high-speed rail plan in legal peril.


    Excellent article putting into a real perspective the impact facing the CHSRA and Judge Kenny’s ruling and upcoming remedies.

    Alan Reply:

    The article begins with a factual error in the first paragraph. The author–an editorial writer for the San Diego UT (notoriously anti-HSR) claimed that the judge ordered a stop to construction. No such order was contained in the judge’s ruling.

    The rest of the article is equally weak.

    synonymouse Reply:

    So what is the Judge really up to? I can’t make any sense of it.

    IMHO it is either toady or hit the roady. Lose the vacillation.

  10. Gianny
    Aug 29th, 2013 at 19:22


    D. P. Lubic Reply:

    I have trouble with these people saying these roads are “dangerous.” “Dangerous” is being in combat with people shooting at you. Dangerous is being a fireman going into a burning building that could collapse at any time, or other people in rescue and recovery work. A road? It’s not going to jump up at you and bite you. It just lays on the ground like a rug. Now, I will say some of these roads can be very unforgiving of human error, and the price of that error can be high, but that doesn’t make them inherently dangerous, at least not in my opinion. Of course, I also spend most of my driving time on secondary roads in mountainous territory, so maybe I’ve had stronger experience than most drivers.

  11. Emmanuel
    Aug 29th, 2013 at 20:11

    What the heck. Sprawl is the whole point behind this.

Comments are closed.