CARB Explains Why HSR Is Essential to a Greener Future

Jan 30th, 2014 | Posted by

Governor Jerry Brown’s plan to use cap-and-trade funds for high speed rail has generated some ill-informed criticism from environmentalists and right-wingers. Last week I explained how HSR is an appropriate use of those revenues. Apparently the California Air Resources Board wanted to speak up for themselves, which is exactly what they ought to do. So Mary Nichols, chair of the CARB board, joined Secretary of Transportation Brian Kelly to publish an LA Times op-ed explaining high speed rail’s important place in California’s green future:

High-speed rail has the same potential to change the way people travel in California. By 2040, it could reduce car miles traveled in the state by 3.6 billion miles a year, the equivalent of taking 317,000 cars off the road daily. And by 2020, the project is estimated to eliminate between 278,000 and 674,000 net metric tons of greenhouse gases from voluntary emissions reductions, electrification of local rail and other efforts. High-speed rail will be constructed with net-zero emissions and operate 100% from renewable energy.

This statewide rail system would also give rise to transit and pedestrian-friendly development, which, in turn, preserves Central Valley farmland. The city of Fresno, for example, has approved a land-use plan that directs growth to infill and denser development in the city core, while barring expansion into prime farmland on the city’s outskirts. A key element of this downtown development is the future high-speed rail station and its connection to transit.

California is on track to meet its 2020 emission reduction goals under AB 32, and we need investments in rail modernization to help achieve long-term reductions beyond that date. Reducing car travel, promoting infill and transit-oriented development, preserving farmland and open space, and avoiding massive highway and airport expansions are all part of the high-speed rail project and the vision for California transportation.

CARB knows what it’s talking about. They are the ones charged with implementing AB 32 and the cap-and-trade system, not the Sierra Club, and not the Legislative Analysts Office. CARB are the experts in the room, and they are saying that California needs high speed rail to meet its long-term CO2 reduction goals.

Nichols and Kelly also point out numerous other reasons why high speed rail is green, and those matter too. For anyone who considers themselves an environmentalist, concerned about reducing CO2 and protecting open space, supporting high speed rail at a moment when it is coming under intense attack from the right should be a top priority.

  1. joe
    Jan 30th, 2014 at 19:26
    #1

    Report recommends sweeping overhaul for Caltrans
    http://www.sfgate.com/default/article/Report-recommends-sweeping-overhaul-for-Caltrans-5190881.php

    “Caltrans today is significantly out of step with best practice in the transportation field and with the state of California’s policy expectations. It is in need of modernization,” according to the report, which was written by the State Smart Transportation Initiative, a program at the University of Wisconsin. Co-author Joel Rogers told reporters that problems identified in the report have persisted for decades, and that as a result Caltrans operates as “a highway department, not a mobility department.”

    The solution too reduce GHG emissions is not found by switching to electric cars. We have to break this car culture with long term infrastructure changes, not more roads for Teslas.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Barbara Boxer will not be pleased – Marin needs more lanes for beemers on 101!

    Darrell Reply:

    It must be both communities that support less driving and EVs for the remaining vast amount of suburbia the U.S. has built over the last century.

    Joe Reply:

    Or infill suburbia and increase density as Fresno is planning. Fresno plans to build BRT systems and make 45% of new development infill.
    HSR also connects Fresno to Silicon Valley with a 60+ minute trip.

    EVs are cars still. Our current car friendly development makes walking and biking more difficult. Congestion is still congestion and the cost per mile is still high. Suburbia can bike and walk if they build sidewalks, make the intersections safe and divest from box stores. With some minor zoning fixes, allow some smaller stores in neighborhoods so people can get a few things without a trip to costco.

    Also CA gives a car pool sticker, 1,500 tax credit and Feds offer a 7,500 tax credit on a Ford Fusion that goes 18-20 miles on a charge. Pretty expensive for a 20 mile electric ride, that’s 1/2 a gallon savings for a vehicle that goes 40 a gallon.

    Derek Reply:

    And eliminate minimum parking requirements, and place a moratorium on new freeway lanes.

    Joe Reply:

    Eliminate parking restrictions as opposed to mandating some fraction of required parking be electric car charging stations.

    slackfarmer Reply:

    “eliminate minimum parking requirements”

    This is the most important change to land use regulation in order to shift away from car-centric culture toward walk-friendly, sustainable communities. Parking drives everything. Unless you’ve developed projects and analyzed the design impacts and costs of parking (especially sub parking) it’s hard to understand how much parking minimums impead density.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    However in LA, City Council members frequently hand out zoning variances that waive parking requirements and yet traffic is still noxious. Part of it is realizing the Richard Florida crowd still wants a neighborhood with soul and character and low crime and good transit. Eliminating the LOS isn’t the point; it’s meeting the LOS through alternative means.

    joe Reply:

    “However in LA, City Council members frequently hand out zoning variances that waive parking requirements and yet traffic is still noxious. ”

    Phase two is offer an public transit alternative.

    Derek’s a stick guy – he likes to whack problems with more problems.

    I think a stick without a carrot is bad public policy so make sure areas have good public transit alternatives in place and improve transit by managing Right of Way along the route (like eliminating turns).

    The first legal left turn South on 19th Street after crossing the golden gate bridge is Sloat. We do it for improving automobile flow, we can do it for bus. Eliminate turns that slow traffic and allow them for Buses.

    Paul Druce Reply:

    Also CA gives a car pool sticker, 1,500 tax credit and Feds offer a 7,500 tax credit on a Ford Fusion that goes 18-20 miles on a charge. Pretty expensive for a 20 mile electric ride, that’s 1/2 a gallon savings for a vehicle that goes 40 a gallon.

    The similar Chevy Volt, 38 mile range, has 72.8% of fleet miles as electric miles, with the median figure 78.4%. 722,547 gallons of fuel have been saved by the Volts reporting on that site or 6,421 metric tons of CO2e

    joe Reply:

    Okay – I’ll do some calcs when the boy is in bed and see what the emissions are for fusion, volt and prius plug in vs prius.

    StevieB Reply:

    The number of electric and hybrid vehicles in the country totals less than 1/2 of 1% of the totals.

    joe Reply:

    Some calculations:
    http://www.physics.uci.edu/~silverma/voltmileage.html

    The moral of this comparison is that it is far more effective to discourage the continuation and use of the past largest SUVs than to focus on the ephemeral race to infinitely impressive but misleading mpg figures.

    Taking a vehicle that gets ~40 MPG, the Fusion Hybrid, and adding EV capacity (ENERGI) isn’t as cost effective as replacing legacy cars and SUVs with more efficient cars. The Volt in the site gets 64 MPGe (EV mode) and 34 MPG in gas mode.

    Consumerreports found 99 MPGe (much larger) and 32 MPG overall gas but noted “The biggest range sapper is the Volt’s heater, which runs on electricity. Using the cabin heater, seat heaters, lights, wipers, and other accessories on cold-weather commutes often cut the electric range to around 20 to 25 miles.”

    You make a point that the commute which is short has more to gain with these smaller range cars. The Volt seems to used by people with commute that fit into it’s electric range.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    How about transit scrip for clunkers?

  2. Tony D.
    Jan 30th, 2014 at 20:00
    #2

    @$#&!! The Sierra Club! Bunch of special interest a$$ holes posing as environmentalists..

    synonymouse Reply:

    “Bunch of special interest a$$ holes posing as environmentalists..”

    Jeez – that describes so many. Let’s start with Heminger at MTC, move on to all the gang at PB, stop by Barry Zoeller and the Tejon Ranch at Lebec. But I think Moonbeam, the legacy guy and greatest disappointment, garners the trophy for greenie poseur.

    Darrell Reply:

    The Sierra Club supports California HSR.

    joe Reply:

    The Sierra Club opposes HSR receiving any Cap and Trade funds. They’ve campaigned against the project’s access to any C&T funds.

    I support the Sierra club. No money, no membership, no petition signing, no effort whatsoever but I support them more than they support HSR because I don’t speak out against their finances.

  3. John Nachtigall
    Jan 30th, 2014 at 20:09
    #3

    3.6 billion miles or said another way, 1.2% of predicted highway miles traveled. Whoop hoo.

  4. Alon Levy
    Jan 30th, 2014 at 20:41
    #4

    You’re arguing from large numbers without context. The number 278,000-674,000 metric tons sounds big, but it’s about 7-18 kg per Californian. As an annual reduction, it is trivial.

    Also, “voluntary emissions reductions, electrification of local rail and other efforts” is weaseling. How much would be saved if the money Brown wants to spend on HSR went to solar power, or electric car charging stations, or building insulation, or local transit? It’s possible to electrify local rail without HSR.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    “Arguing”?

    Paul Druce Reply:

    Of relevant comparison: At 2020 traffic levels (50 trains per day) and 6.5 gallons per train mile, electrifying BNSF’s Mojave subdivision (the Tehachapi pass) would save approximately 165,000 metric tons of CO2e per year (with carbon-neutral electricity). That’s a 138 mile route, call it 1.4 billion to electrify including locomotive purchases (probably an operational pain in the ass and there may be other issues as well).

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    There’s a BNSF study, which unfortunately has evaporated from the web, that says it makes sense for them to electrify when they are paying 4 bucks a gallon for diesel. Keep in mind that most railroads buy diesel wholesale and it doesn’t have road taxes on it.

    Paul Druce Reply:

    You know, I think that the “Makes sense at $4/gallon” is a bit of a Chinese whispers game result; I think it results from a misread of a 1970s study of electrification which projected out the cost of diesel in 2000s to be about that.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    2004 or so. They are pursuing natural gas.

    http://www.bnsf.com/employees/communications/bnsf-news/2013/march/2013-03-06-a.html

    joe Reply:

    CA’s approach is a portfolio.
    1. Cap and Trade isn’t the sole HSR funding source. The merits of HSR do not stand on GHG alone
    2. HSR isn’t a stand alone benefit – it’s part of a statewide effort to reduce car dependence.
    3. HSR will purchase renewable power fostering renewables.
    4. CA does spend on local transit – HSR connects local to regional.

    Your alternatives to mass transit benefit a subset of the population: electric cars – we already provide a 1500 tax credit, 7500 fed tax credit and car pool lane access – how much more money do we spend to prolong our car culture and congestion ? The State shouldn’t be building charging stations for 40-80K cars and expect broad public support.

    If we prolong the recession – economic misery depresses emissions. Make cars and operating less affordable by cutting the minimum wage. There are many solutions that cut GHG besides HSR.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    California’s approach is to decide to build HSR, and then raid other funds that may be related. And your and Robert’s approach is to use language like “essential.” No, HSR isn’t essential; the state chose to make it part of its statewide effort. I want to hear explanations for how much cap-and-trade money is spent per t-CO2 and why it’s higher than reducing building emissions, not why it’s part of a plan made by bureaucrats who a generation earlier thought demolishing neighborhoods to build freeways was essential.

    joe Reply:

    “California’s approach is to decide to build HSR, and then raid other funds that may be related. ”

    No it isn’t. That’s just whinny. The governor has a responsibility to take care of important short and long term State Goals – promote economic growth, jobs and provide infrastructure for the entire state.

    “I want to hear explanations for how much cap-and-trade money is spent per t-CO2 ”

    Why? Our policy is long term, permanent reductions. why handicap that policy with an arbitrary, simplistic metric.

    Economic activity positively correlates with GHG emissions – The Scientist in me knows why this is bad. You can tank the economy, cut the size of the economy and layoff people. The desperate poor don’t emit much CO2.

    So why not stop the silly metrics.

    We Scientists used to have to fend off attacks on R&D because a climate science study doesn’t cut CO2 emissions spending climate science dollars on CFC light bulb subsidies.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Simplistic metrics like spending cap-and-trade dollars on the most cost-effective emissions reductions? Okay…

    The R&D itself doesn’t cut CO2 emissions, but it can help direct emissions reductions effort in the most productive direction. It’s like administrative spending in charities and government departments handling social spending. You don’t want too much of it, but you need some of it, and the more complex the operation the higher the percentage of administrative spending should be. According to the NSF, federal funding for geosciences research is $1.65 billion a year (link), of which not all is climate related; compared with over 5 billion metric tons of US emissions a year, it’s not a lot.

    HSR in contrast doesn’t have this overarching role. It’s one of many projects to reduce emissions; it doesn’t facilitate other kinds of spending, nor does it direct other emissions-reducing projects. If you have HSR, you still need to make the building stock more energy-efficient, close down coal and gas plants and replace them with renewables, raise the car fleet’s fuel economy, and reduce the amount of local driving.

    Joey Reply:

    Do you have a better metric on which to measure emissions reduction? Or should we just throw away all of the numbers and do what our hearts tell us?

    joe Reply:

    Interesting sarcasm – you favor metrics pulled out of a butt that do damage because that’s better than actually bothering to describe the problem clearly.

    CO2 per dollar is bad policy. It can be used to undermine climate change science and policy. I described how Co2 per dollar metrics are used to attack science and studies. It would give negative measures for economic growth and lower unemployment – shitty economy also reduce GHG emissions. Increased poverty would be a positive. Can we stop now?

    I don’t have my own joe metrics – not that self important to make my own up. I would refer to the metrics used by the State since it is their policy. Why not consider including measures for economic activity – jobs – clean air and other factors including long term infrastructure changes, financial realities which happens to include HSR and may not be done by 2020? CO2 per dollar is not a serious argument.

    You want metrics – try some reading here: http://www.nap.edu/
    Here’s a discussion of the national problems with GHG and land use. Same local, car centric focus of the DOT.
    http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=18264&page=131
    Similar to the same criticism of Caltrans.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Yeah, and I explained why the attack on studies is stupid, which you decided not to reply to. In contrast, the metric you’re proposing underlies an actual dodge: China is using it to promise to cut its CO2-to-GDP ratio, not its CO2 emissions.

    As for why not to include other metrics than CO2, it’s because the pot of money in question is dedicated to climate change. The people you’re talking to right now – me and Joey, and to some extent Richard – do not oppose giving California HSR money from a general pot like the general budget or a dedicated ballot proposition, as a transportation project. (We think the project is being mismanaged, but mismanaged != worse than nothing.) The objection is specifically to giving it large amounts of cap-and-trade money.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The places most people in California live have mild weather. While increasing building efficiency is a good thing there’s less bang for the buck in places where the weather is mild.

    Derek Reply:

    Diminishing Marginal Utility says that might not be the case, depending on what efficiency upgrades have already been done on the building.

    joe Reply:

    And depending on how long the building will operate, who pays for maintenance and what incentives does a builder have to add cost to the construction, what are future energy costs even if the builder is the owner and operator and how is this efficiency communicated as a value in the marketplace?

    I like the State to establish standards that consider the lifetime of the building’s they permit and regulate.

    Our Library was built with a 50 year lifetime and they evaluated the cost benefit of operating the facility over that life time. We have a highly efficient Library.

    For City Government with Bond funded buildings, it’s better financially to spend more money up front to invest in efficiencies that will keep the operational costs low.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    If you keep it dry and the vermin don’t get in it, insulation is forever.

    joe Reply:

    It’s more than insulation – the building auto-regulates windows and airflow to cool and heat.

    We get 40 deg temp swings in the summer. A 95 deg day will cool to 55 at night. This winter we’ve seen the low to mid 70′s during the day. Today was 64 and the low 32.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Yes. On the other hand not everything you do to cut down on energy use needs to be maintained or wears out. Some of it is moderately cheap, like insulation, doesn’t need maintenance and never wears out.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Gilroy’s summer high is 10 degrees Celsius higher than San Francisco’s.

    If only it were possible to build more in SF and less inland.

    joe Reply:

    Why?

    I used to carry a windbreaker in my bag to protect me from the cold and fog on the walk home from Caltrain. And I was on the eastern side – from Dogpatch to Noe Valley, not the western districts.

    Anyone think Napa is a hell hole? It’s the same climate except we’re closer to the marine air which cools the day off faster with a evening breeze – fog in the hills.

    I’m 10 minutes from a walk in a redwood forest with my dog.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Are you asking why Gilroy’s summer high is 10 degrees higher than SF’s? It’s because it’s inland and on the leeward side of the mountains. Same reason its winter low is 5 degrees lower.

    Napa’s climate is a bit more moderate than Gilroy’s but less moderate than SF’s. It doesn’t mean it’s a hellhole or anything like that. It’s not Dallas, which is where people end up after they’ve been priced out of California. But it’s not San Francisco, either. California has large gradients between coastal and inland microclimates.

    joe Reply:

    I currently live in Gilroy, I have lived in SF for years and walked, I lived in MountainView and have done field work in Napa studying microclimate and weather trends from 1950-present.

    The best weather is on the Peninsula.

    Gilroy looks bad because Max Min are misleading. We have the same night Minimum as Napa. We get 265 days of sunlight, very cool nights and evenings with moderate winters. Temps drop 7 degrees per hour (F) as the breeze comes in from the north and western coastal fog hangs on the mountains and blows into the valley from the Pajero River gap.

    SF in the summer can be very cold. I needed to carry a water resistant windbreaker to walk home from work. You always bring a coat if you have a trip to the western districts or golden gate park.

    The best areas for expansion are in the south Santa clara valley – Gilroy is growing and they have both high end and affordable homes. There’s infill and multistory units going up all along the Caltrain ROW from Morgan Hill south.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    The fact is using Glaeser’s logic just about anywhere in California is more ideal for new housing construction than the rest of the country. Expanding to Gilroy is still sprawl; there is a lot of area left for up zoning in the Bay Area.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    That’s true on the coast more than in the interior. But yes, and as Ed Glaeser argues, upzoning in coastal California is good for the environment because it lets people live in areas with much less requirement for heating and cooling.

    Eric Reply:

    Also, simply because it’s upzoning.

  5. Elizabeth
    Jan 30th, 2014 at 21:38
    #5

    Here is the Caltrans report

    http://www.calsta.ca.gov/res/docs/pdfs/2013/SSTI_Independent%20Caltrans%20Review%201.28.14.pdf

    There are definitely hints that managerial focus on reforming Caltrans could have a huge impact on GHG.

    joe Reply:

    Just hints?

    Highlighted on Page 9
    Caltrans became a
    statewide purveyor of
    local transportation
    infrastructure—a
    critical shift in its
    mission.

    Over time, as transit declined and local car-trip distances increased, Caltrans became a statewide purveyor of local transportation infrastructure—a critical shift in its mission.

    Highlighted on page 11:
    A built environment that reduces
    VMT is precisely the goal of the
    state’s landmark climate policy. And
    it is precisely the opposite of what
    Caltrans was organized to do.
    — foster higher auto-mobility, without regard to the consequences in land use.

    Highlighted: Page 13
    It is not clear that decision makers
    fully understood the situation they
    were creating when they
    disempowered Caltrans vis-à-vis
    local governments.

  6. Drunk Engineer
    Jan 30th, 2014 at 22:12
    #6

    CARB knows what it’s talking about.

    Apparently not.

    Their editorial repeats the lie that California would have to spend $150+ billion on new highways and airports unless HSR were built. The $150 billion figure has been completely discredited. It was based on the maximum feasible passenger load of HSR (i.e. crush loads), as opposed to actual demand.

    Derek Reply:

    Stop building highways and airports and watch what happens to demand for HSR.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    You have a cite for that? If you need crush load capacity on Thanksgiving morning you need crush load capacity, it doesn’t matter if that capacity is HSR, roads, airports, gnat fart powered canal boats or funiculars running horizontally instead of vertically.

    morris brown Reply:

    Drunk Engineer:

    Never never confuse Robert with real facts.

    Alan Reply:

    I don’t think you’d know real facts if your life counted on it.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    There are unreal facts?

  7. Observer
    Jan 31st, 2014 at 05:32
    #7

    OT/FYI: The republican/tea party controlled Fresno city council voted down BRT for Fresno yesterday. This means that the HSR station when – if it is ever built will not have any viable form of public transportation to it. If you do not know the city, this is very typical of Fresno.

    StevieB Reply:

    Developers are against the BRT which would promote infill development. The Fresno City Council President Steve Brandau says, “If people in Fresno demanded high density, developers already would be building high density.” Brandau is advocating for more sprawl in Fresno to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

    Policies forcing Fresno to build high-density residential while all our neighbors build homes with front and backyards, swimming pools and garages, puts us on a collision course with the market. We will be left with our high-density housing and a shiny new bus that nobody will need or ride.

    In a heinous twist of fate, when people reject Fresno’s high-density plan and move to neighboring cities, we will create more vehicle miles traveled and greenhouse gas emissions will increase as people drive from where they live back into Fresno for work.

    Observer Reply:

    The ridership is there to support BRT. BRT was an important part of Fresno’s 2035 general plan to promote more infill and high density development. However, neither republicans or Fresno area developers are into high density – both opposed BRT. The fact remains that Fresno’s urban core continues to get worst and worst. BRT with at least some infill would have helped.

    Joe Reply:

    They ain’t done yet.

    Critics complained about BRT taking funds from bus line service and improvements. They didn’t attack infill. They pitted BRT against existing Bus service.

    Well they had better act now to improve bus service now that they saved the Express bus service from the BRT boogie man.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Perhaps these critics have observed LA Metro where local buses are cut year after year to “pay” for the Orange Line and the Rapid buses. We’ll soon have a trunk with no branches.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    If so, then the resistence was likely AstroTurf groups like the Bus Riders Union who wanted more development in sunny Madera County. Plenty of urban riders in LA that saw less local route frequency still used the BRT.

    JJJJ Reply:

    There hasnt been a bus improvement in 30 years. BRT wasnt taking a penny from regular bus service, it was getting 3 years of fed operating money: an extreme rarity.

    synonymouse Reply:

    This is the same developer crowd that is demanding the Palmdale Mojave Tehachapi detour. Prop 1a needs to go back on the ballot. Let PB and Tutor and the concrete and sprawl lobbies spend a fortune to pimp it.

    Roger Christensen Reply:

    Fresno, with some of the worst air in America, blight and flight abandoned neighborhoods, and butt ugly sprawl has said no to light rail, to a streetcar proposal, and now to a simple BRT.

    Elizabeth Reply:

    And one wonders why environmentalists question whether HSR to Fresno would improve or exacerbate sprawl.

    The lack of density in the downtown region is not because of restrictive zoning. The measures that need to be taken are on a much wider regional basis but the appetite is not there and very few, if any, binding commitments have been extracted.

    Observer Reply:

    Again, the 2035 general was supposed to address some of these problems. You can bet that the next step will be a push to rewrite and totally change the 2035 general plan as developers were totally against it. Developers always seem to get what they want in Fresno.

    Joe Reply:

    Why would an environmentalist not question development? We ask the same questions in Gilroy and the concern for HSR induced sprawl motivated a downtown station.

    Their diligence in Fresno indicates nothing and I certainly would go to Fresno and ask what is their appetite for infill and Sprawl. They have plans. One might think their strong support for a downtown station and plans to build up downtown would indicate something other than sprawl centric development. Their General Plan, passed last year, calls for 45% of development to be infill.

    Observer Reply:

    The 45% requirement for infill development is exactly what area developers want to get rid of in Fresno. Again BRT was all a part of this. With the republican/tea party council majority rejecting BRT, a $38million federal grant that was to go toward building BRT in Fresno will expire and revert back to the feds. One would think a downtown HSR station along with downtown plans would help in changing Fresno’s sprawl centric ways; but area developers do not want infill, they want to build out like they always have in Fresno.

    Joe Reply:

    Developers want to build skyscrapers in Palo Alto. Citizens have to zone and fight. In Fresno they want to revitalize the city. We will always have to fight.

    Fresno developers develop track housing on land they buy and carry as a liability until developed and sold.

    Infill housing and multistory units probably scare the shit out if then. No plans on hand to build that stuff readily and it probably means reconfiguring their business to do infill.

    Observer Reply:

    It seems that the horse trading has begun among Fresno council members and the mayor regarding BRT. One council member who voted no on BRT wants the 2035 general plan changed, the 45% infill requirement no doubt. Another council member is just mad because he says his area is being ignored. Stayed tuned.

    joe Reply:

    Was the delicate flower who felt ignored Council Member Lee Brand ?

    Observer Reply:

    No, he is the one who wants the 2035 plan changed.

    Observer Reply:

    Note: the $35m grant expires in 30 days. So now is a good time for council members to exert political pressure to extract anything that they may want.

    JJJJ Reply:

    No, it was the guy who recently got like a billion dollars spend in his district for Highway 168, has huge annual subsidies for the airport in his business…..and doesnt realize his district crosses the BRT line.

    Observer Reply:

    HWY 168 and HWY 41 in Fresno to what is now the northern part of the City of Fresno were a developer’s dream come true. Both HWYs opened up huge new growth areas in Fresno/Clovis in formerly rural areas, and generated what must by now be millions of vehicle miles travelled; both HWYs paid for by – our tax dollars. These growth areas had virtually no public transport to them – they still do not. I do not mind new highway or airport construction, and these growth areas are just part of a growing area’s economy. But please – a little more balance. A little more funds for public transport and HSR. We undoubtably will need more transport venues to accommodate future growth in California; HSR is the most efficient and comfortable way to travel between metropolitan areas.

    Derek Reply:

    The lack of density in the downtown region is not because of restrictive zoning.

    False.

    datacruncher Reply:

    That is the county zoning code for rural and unincorporated areas, not the city’s code. That link does not restrict downtown Fresno density.

    Derek Reply:

    This does. For example, SEC. 12-306 (I).

    JJJJ Reply:

    Fresno has a modern downtown form based code slowly moving its way along the approval process.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    But but but! HSR will change everything.

    Check out the awesome, transformative, game-changing, TOD around this American HSR flagship station.

    Besides, it’s all about the Generational Shift.

    Like iPhones.

    iPhones for Fresno!

    iPhones for Fresno: Give generously. Give from the heart. Give for The Future. Give from Gilroy.

    Joe Reply:

    But but PB will ruin everything.
    Plus. Concrete !
    PB, Concrete and United States Customary Units!

    A Fiery Death would be too good for us all .

    Because Gilroy!!

    Eric Reply:

    Thank you guys for my daily dose of dada.

    Michael Reply:

    It’s the terminal stations with all the multi-modal action that really flourish.
    View Larger Map

    Michael Reply:

    Ugh, that experiment with a link failed. Please zoom in on the BART station, a bit to the west (left) of the center of the view.

    Joey Reply:

    You seem to have a very liberal definition of “flourish.” In FY13 the Pittsburgh-Baypoint station got an average of 5570 weekly exits – not quite the lowest ridership in the system, but lower than most of the urban and inner-ring suburban stations. The 2008 Station Profile Study tells us that roughly 84% of the stations’s passengers use it as an origin rather than a destination, and of these, 48% drove alone and about 21% used transit. You’re correct that its position at the end of the line probably boosts transfers and park-and-ride trips from further out – I wouldn’t be surprised if its ridership dropped a bit once eBART opens.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    That report clearly states Pittsburg/bay point riders have the LONGEST median distance between home and BART of just under 8 miles. I am thinking Michael was being facetious .

    Alon Levy Reply:

    But Fresno isn’t a terminal station…

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    …stations by definition aren’t terminals… and terminals aren’t stations…

    JB in PA Reply:

    Grand central terminal?

    jonathan Reply:

    Oh really?

    Paddington Station
    Kings Cross Station
    Wellington Railway Station (ends near the waterfront, on reclaimed land)
    ..and last but not least, in the context of California HSR
    Caltrain San Francisco Station, 4th & King.

    Provincial know-it-alls, sigh.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Boston South Station.
    Boston North Station.
    Most of Washington Union Station.
    Hoboken Terminal.
    Atlantic Terminal.
    Operationally, Chicago Union Station.
    Chicago Millennium Station.
    Ogilvie Transportation Center.
    Waterfront Terminal.
    Until they build the run-through tracks, Los Angeles Union Station.
    Gare Montparnasse.
    Gare du Nord, ex RER.
    Gare de Lyon, ex RER.
    Gare Saint-Lazare, ex RER.
    Gare de l’Est, ex RER.
    (Speaking of France, Lille, the alleged success story of HSR-oriented revitalization, is a through-station. Maybe that’s why in 2004, ten years after the Chunnel opened, Nord-Pas de Calais had the highest child poverty rate in France. If only if had been a terminal, it would’ve been rich and prosperous like Marseille.)

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Here you go Michael: https://maps.google.com/maps?ll=38.019342,-121.945775&t=h&z=15

    (Generally: pan/zoom to where you want to go, then click on the “link” icon, and copy it.
    That URL always includes a whole pile of crap: pretty much the only useful things are
    the “ll” (latitude/longitude), “t” (type: map, aerial, hybrid) and “z” (zoom level) parameters.
    So I try to edit out the crap, then visit the edited URL to ensure I didn’t make a mistake, then paste the shorter-but-still-full-contents URL)

    Eric Reply:

    Acela trains from Route 128 station to NYC travel at an average speed of about 65 mph. I wouldn’t exactly call that HSR.

    Joey Reply:

    It fits the international definition of HSR, which is a top speed of 200 km/h on legacy track or 250 km/h on new track. But that’s beside the point. Route 128 is in the middle of nowhere and yet Amtrak insists on stopping all trains there.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    People who live someplace that can only be served by cars like to drive to train stations with big parking garages. It’s what it was designed for. It keeps those cars out of the places that are centuries old and walkable. It’s Amtrak’s most used station outside of the ones in Boston. 14 percent of Amtrak’s ridership in Massachusetts use it.

    Joey Reply:

    Sure, people use it. It’s got somewhat more ridership than Stamford and somewhat less ridership than Bakersfield. Does that mean every train should stop there?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Why shouldn’t every train stop there? It’s the busiest station in Massachusetts not in Boston.

    Joey Reply:

    Because it’s in the middle of a straight section of track and stopping incurs a major time penalty for everyone who actually wants to go to Boston. Again, I’m not saying that no trains should stop there, but every train seems excessive.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    There’s two trains an hour in each direction. When there’s four maybe it would make sense to have the super-express skip it – to encourage people going to New York to free up seats on the less express train but that’s something they can worry about in 2030.

    JJJJ Reply:

    Makes more sense than, say, New London.

    Joey Reply:

    Perhaps, but most Acelas don’t stop at New London.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    But the speed zone through Route 128 is much higher than 65 mph, no? In contrast, New London is in a slow zone.

    Brian_FL Reply:

    But is not the idea of rail transit to serve the largest number of people? If this one stop serves 1 in every 7 passenger in MA, why argue? And isn’t route 128 convenient to a lot of suburban Boston people? Or is that the real agenda here? That it serves people who chose to not live in the city center and who have cars? Come on people… Let’s make any rail transit convenient and easy to use. And it isn’t the maximum speed that matters but the convenience of the service.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Because stops slow trains down. The faster the trains are, the more problematic each stop is. Conversely, the closer the stop is to the end, the less problematic it is; Route 128 slows fewer people down than New London but more than Back Bay.

    The real agenda is to speed up travel to South Station, which is the region’s primary station. It has nothing to do with suburbia. I also don’t think intercity trains should be stopping at Back Bay unless it’s necessary as part of a blended plan, as I’ve said on my blog multiple times.

    There’s also a problem with Route 128′s car-oriented layout, yes. It makes it less useful than stations in cities, or in suburbs with edge city development. The parts of Route 128 with the tech jobs are north of Boston, not south of Boston; the Route 128 station is in Westwood, which if I remember correctly has the fewest jobs of any township along the highway. Under any rail modernization, the station will also lose out relatively speaking, for three reasons:

    1. Rail modernization includes improving the MBTA, which improves access from all suburbs to South Station, but only improves access from a few suburbs to Route 128.

    2. Under a blended plan, people from the Providence Line suburbs could transfer from commuter rail to HSR at Providence. Route 128 is an inferior transfer point, because it’s a better location for on-the-fly overtakes (again, look for my MBTA-HSR posts). A same-direction transfer there is useful for people in Hyde Park and Readville, but slows down trips to Boston for anyone coming from further south on commuter rail.

    3. Speeding up intercity trains means that access and egress time become comparatively more important. This benefits locations near high-intensity development, since access and egress times are lower.

    The same is true of Route 128′s sister stations, Metropark and New Carrollton. At Metropark Amtrak hardly even stops nowadays because of capacity issues involving switching to the local tracks.

    Brian_FL Reply:

    @Alon but isn’t the Providence line a Boston oriented commuter service? Meaning that the people in suburban southwest Boston wanting to travel south would not get good service throughout the day on the MBTA versus boarding Amtrak? Same for return trips in the evening north bound to Boston. From the schedules it would appear that MBTA service south of the 128 station decreases substantially. I would think that Amtrak stops at 128 as they consider it to be a stop to be used by suburban passengers traveling away from Boston or not quite going all the way to Boston proper.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    It is a Boston-oriented commuter service, with awful reverse-peak service. When I was at Brown I knew people reverse-commuting from Boston and if they took the train they might need to get to the university an hour before class because the next train would arrive too late. With the recent MBTA fare hikes, I occasionally took Amtrak between Boston and Providence, not because it’s faster or more comfortable (although it is) but because the schedule fit better.

    However, I’m specifically talking about a situation in which the MBTA improved, as part of a blended plan. Think half-hourly service all day. It’s cheaper to do that than to build enough infrastructure as to not require blending intercity and commuter trains on the Providence Line.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    But if the train doesn’t stop there nobody can get on and nobody can get off.

    A quick surf through Amtrak using Metropark as an origin and Philadelphia as a destination show 24 trains a day. The longest gap in service, southbound, is between the 11:48PM train and the 3:36 AM train. Most suburbanites would kill for that many intercity trains a day. Hardly “hardly stops there” considering there are only Force them to take a NJTransit local to Trenton and change trains they’ll just drive to Baltimore.

    Some people, unless you make parking easy, won’t take the train. It’s okay to have a station on either side of a metro area that the bus phobic can drive to and park their car. The Hikari can stop there. The Nozomi can skip the stop. Worry about whether or not it should be a Hikari station, Kodama station or a Nozomi station when they are running enough trains to have Nozomi and Hikari.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    It’s because it’s a weekend. On weekdays, during the daytime, most trains do not stop (although a larger proportion stops than I remembered).

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    I used a Wednesday departure and a Thursday return. Only carless people would use the train between Woodbridge and Philadelphia on weekend.
    No Keystones stop in Metropark during the week, maybe that’s what you are thinking of? There’s 48 trains a weekday between NY and Philadelphia. Some of them Keystones. I haven’t looked recently. Two hours in mid afternoon there are four trains an hour to Philadelphia. 48 a weekday between NY and Philadelphia with half of them stopping at Metropark is decent service for a suburban park-n-ride. Hikari versus Nozomi kinda thing.

    … Keystones. there is grumbling that the Keystones don’t stop in Cornwells Heights. Service at Cornwells Heights sucks. The people grumbling usually point at Metropark. I think Cornwells Heights was supposed to be northern Philadelphia’s New Carrollton/BWI/Metropark/Rt128. Amtrak’s excuse for not serving Cornwells Height more often is that the train has to use the local tracks for a long stretch and Amtrak and SEPTA maintain the tracks for much lower speeds…. discontinued stopping at Cornwells Heights because it slowed down the Keystones too much. IIRC 12 minutes because they spend miles and miles on lower speed local tracks. Which was probably done to speed up trips from Pennsylvania to New York. Want to speed up Keystone trips to New York discontinue stopping in Philadelphia… Someday when there’s two Keystones an hour from Harrisburg one can go to New York using the Pittsburgh-New York subway on the west side of Zoo Interlocking and the second one can go all the way to Washington. When they get to a third it can go to Wilmington or maybe to New York via Wayne Junction.

    wdobner Reply:

    Man, between “advocates” attempting to make the case for denying service to Fresno, Palmdale, San Jose, Bakersfield, and now Route 128, it’s almost as if there’s a desire to keep anyone living outside of the anchor cities from actually using any high speed rail service anywhere. No wonder such a big deal is being made over the end-to-end travel time, the only people who will be able to get on the train will necessarily be travelling from SF to LA, or Boston to NY in these fantasies of new urbanism run amok.

    I know those dirty subhumans who do not inhabit the immediate area around the urban core are beneath contempt, but we’re going to have to bend our collective stiff necks and accept the fact that park and ride facilities for trips originating in the suburbs will be a vital part of the projects’ ridership.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    @Alon: Wouldn’t Route 128 in relationship to Boston be kind of an equivalent to Aix-en-Provence TGV to Marseille? Aix itself is not thaaat important to justify a TGV station, but as that station’s 1 hour driving radius covers a lot of the Hinterland of Marseille, it is justified.

    BTW, it still takes some 25 or so minutes to get to Aix-en-Provence TGV by (frequent) bus from Aix centre. That station has (if I remember correctly) some 5000 parking spaces.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Wdobner, I do not think there’s a single person who wants to deny service to all cities you mention. I want to deny service to Palmdale and have HSR serve San Jose via a branch (or a BART branch if there’s no justification for direct HSR service) and Route 128 via commuter rail connections at Providence. For the record, what I currently think of New York-Boston stopping patterns is that every train should stop at New Haven and Providence and some should also stop at Stamford, (Shin-)New London, and New Rochelle if at all possible based on the blended timetable.

    Max, the problem I have with Route 128, at least initially, is that on the Providence Line, HSR is never going to have dedicated ROW, and initially shouldn’t have dedicated tracks except at overtakes. Moreover, the stop spacing is very wide, unlike on the Caltrain corridor, so Clem’s trick of having overtake segments 4-5 stations long to allow overtakes without slowing down local trains wouldn’t really work.

    It boils down to the question of whether there’s an overtake around Route 128 or not. If there isn’t, then intercity trains probably should stop at Route 128, to reduce the local-express speed difference, or there can be a mix of stopping patterns. If there is an overtake, then intercity trains shouldn’t stop, because an overtake segment needs to have as large as possible a speed difference to avoid slowing down the overtaken local train too much. (A cross-platform transfer like the one Clem proposes for Caltrain is less useful since it would only cover Hyde Park and Readville.) A timetable with an overtake at Route 128 is friendlier to trains on the line that don’t go all the way from Boston to Providence, including Stoughton Line trains and Woonsocket-Providence local trains.

    The driving station radius is also much less than in the case of Aix-TGV, because the line is shorter. The distance from Boston to New York is 350 km. People who need to drive an hour to the station are going to drive all the way. People who need to drive half an hour to the station will still have a reduced mode share. The 20-minute station radius out of Route 128 still hits suburbs like Newton and Needham, which isn’t nothing, but is a smaller proportion of the metro area than Aix’s proportion of the Marseille metro. North of Boston, the access to Route 128 is harder, and if the MBTA modernizes with a North-South Rail Link then the access to South Station will be much easier; south of Route 128, it’s easier to drive to commuter rail and then transfer at Providence.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    @Alon: I wonder if overtaking would be necessary at all, with a really quick commuter rail set-up (let’s think of 4-car KISS with all axles of the power cars driven (which would be a MUTZ at bls)).

    How long could the interval be if the commuter train leaves South station immediately after the high speed train, and would reach Providence just so that the high speed train “bites its tail”? In such as scenario, we could give up the high speed train stop at Route 128, and provide a timed transfer in Providence. And, in an ideal world, there would be through-ticketing, and maybe even a discount on the PR fee.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    People who have to drive 15 minutes to the station and then have sit on a local toddling along for 45 minutes so they can change trains will just drive to the station where they change trains. Or just drive.
    In fiscal year 2012 Route 128 had 444,058 boardings and alightings. New London had 173,003. Stopping at Rt 128 is more important to Amtrak than stopping in New London. And why can’t the people in New London take the commuter train to New Haven or Providence?

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Max: it is necessary, probably more than once. The line is quite straight, with a long middle segment that allows 300+ km/h. An N700-I would do the trip in about 20 minutes nonstop from South Station to Providence, and a 160 km/h FLIRT would do it in about 40 minutes making all stops. It’s tight if there’s a single overtake in the middle, at Sharon, and then it’s impossible to schedule other trains into the line. It’s better to do two overtakes, one at Route 128 and one at Attleboro, where there already are four-tracks for Amtrak-MBTA overtakes.

    Adirondacker: what commuter train from New London to Providence? There’s a commuter train from New London to New Haven, granted, but it’s longer and slower than Route 128-Providence. Conversely, since New London is on a dedicated line it’s easier for trains to stop there without fouling up the timetable.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Like the ones that ran until the 70s? Apparently one trip a day lasted until then. Back in the day there were locals running between New Haven and Providence in addition to the locals from New London to Boston. Probably locals from Bridgeport to Hartford via Waterbury too.

    Ten years ago you could have said “what commuter train to Wickford Junction” and 20 years ago you could have said “what commuter train to Old Saybrook?”, 30 years ago you could have said “what commuter train to Providence?” and 50 years ago you could have said “what commuter train to Trenton?”, from New York anyway. Local service from New York ended at New Brunswick for all intents. Trenton and Princeton Junction were served by the expresses to Philadelphia and the long distance trains. There was no Secaucus, Metropark, Jersey Avenue or Hamilton. Or what’s now New Carrollton or BWI. Metropark, BWI and Capitol Beltway, what’s now New Carrollton, were going to replicate the success of Rt. 128. That’s what they are designed for… keeping cars out of centuries old downtowns and the garages they would need. It’s a good thing the garages are out by the highway interchange.

    People who don’t want to take the commuter train from New London can get on the once an hour Hikari that comes through. The Nozomi don’t have to stop at Rt 128, Metropark or New Carollton. The Kodama and the Hikari should.

    Hikari service for New London means the station for New London costs around $0. They have to hang out a shingle and install a TVM. Something they already have. Having the Kodama and Hikari stop at Rt 128 costs about the same…. The once an hour Nozomi to Richmond skips it, the once an hour Nozomi to Roanoke skips it, the once an hour Kodama to DC stops there and once an hour Hikari to Harrisburg stops there.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    I don’t think the Nozomi should stop in New London, either. The twice-an-hour Kodama/Hikari should.

    The comment about New London-Providence is that commuter rail south of Providence is really questionable, unless you’re talking about a hyper-local line to Warwick. Rhode Island’s population doesn’t really cluster along the NEC once you get past Warwick or, charitably, East Greenwich. Connecticut does have some towns that can be connected east of New London, but it’s still a slow line and New London-Providence is about 100 km, whereas Providence-Route 128 is 50. (New London-New Haven is 80, but there’s a reasonable string of towns to connect there.)

    Matthew Reply:

    Does the “w” stand for “whiny” wdobner?

    I have to take two trains to get to South Station, even though I live in the city. I guess that means Amtrak really hates people who live in Boston, amirite?

    Or maybe it means that matters of geography and physics don’t allow trains to stop at every station along the way, and you might have to take another train to connect. Such is life.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    If the Nozomi goes from Boston to Providence to Harford to Waterbury people in New London are screwed. So are people in Bridgeport, New Rochelle, New Haven and Stamford. What they got now is what they are gonna get.
    They can come to a cross honoring agreement with Amtrak, like they have now. Look at the SLE schedules. Train 2151 westbound in the morning … is an Acela… takes 38 minutes to get from New London to New Haven. That’s better than driving and more reliable. Running the Hikari on the legacy alignment between Kingston and New Haven is good enough. From Kingston to Boston it’s going to running almost as fast as the Nozomi if not as fast. Run the Nozomi on a radically different ROW out in the hinterlands. Not the hinterlands of Willamantic but the hinterlands out near the Turnpike. The Hikari station in New London and Old Saybrook cost $0 and don’t need a MIS and DEIS and EIS and 3,187 lawsuits. It’s all there already.

    via Waterbury screws Hartford’s frequency to Springfield and places west of Springfield. It makes it much slower for the people along the coast and they travel less thorugh Hartford… they drive to the humongous parking garages at White Plains Airport to get to Syracuse instead of taking Metro North to Stamford and changing trains when they don’t drive all the way…

  8. morris brown
    Jan 31st, 2014 at 12:46
    #8

    Keystone XL oil pipeline clears significant hurdle
    New report raises no major objections to Keystone XL pipeline; alternatives worse for climate

    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/keystone-xl-oil-pipeline-clears-195806174.html

    Robert can surely entertain us with 10,000 words on this issue.

    StevieB Reply:

    What’s next on Keystone XL pipeline: More waiting

    The release of the State Department’s final environmental study signals the completion of TransCanada’s application for Keystone XL and the beginning of the department’s “national interest determination.” That 90-day period allows eight federal agencies — the Environmental Protection Agency and the departments of Defense, Justice, Interior, Commerce, Transportation, Energy and Homeland Security — to offer their views.

    Then by an executive order from the George W. Bush administration it goes to the Secretary of State.

    Once that period expires, the full package moves to Kerry’s desk, where he can request any additional information he thinks is necessary…

    Secretary of State John Kerry has no deadline to make a decision, which means he could indefinitely delay the project if he chooses.

    Too soon for Keystone XL supporters to claim victory.

    synonymouse Reply:

    The Democratic Party is now the party of Wall Street and corporate America and the Tea Party that of rural and small town America.

    joe Reply:

    Stay classyHead of bank bailout runs for Calif. governor
    SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Neel Kashkari, a former U.S. Treasury official who was the architect of the nation’s bank bailout at the height of the recession, said Tuesday he is running for governor of California with a campaign that will focus on boosting jobs and improving public schools.
    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/01/21/head-bank-bailout-runs-for-calif-governor/

    Observer Reply:

    I would say that both the republican and democratic parties are the parties of wall street – when it comes to wall street, there is little difference between them, and the tea party the party of spite – as they just do not like the cultural changes going on.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Cultural values would seem to be on a pendulum historically.

    The Greco-Romans never thought they would be overwhelmed by old testament values.

    And the nannies do have an inner conflict with their visceral tendency toward the puritanical.

    Observer Reply:

    Actually, when it comes to wall street, I just may agree with the tea party, and I may give them a credit for for that.

    Observer Reply:

    Hence rural america’s appeal to the tea party. And the democrats wonder why they do not appeal more to rural america.

    StevieB Reply:

    What is the tea party position on wall street? The tea party in general favors less regulation and lowered regulation of wall street led to the derivative disaster.

    Observer Reply:

    Well, probably the only thing I would agree on is with their distrust of wall street.

    Joe Reply:

    The bailout and stimulus ate illegal.

    Less corporate tax

    Smaller govt

    Any one recall a tri corner hat, flag waving patriot at occupy Wall Street? They were cheering on the police.

    synonymouse Reply:

    The derivatives were a necessary byproduct of the ongoing need for high risk-high yield investments to the feed the 401k habit. They’ll be back.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    True, the bailout of AIG ensures derivatives can continue on, for things like cap n trade and stuff.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    but the Tea Party believes it was the evil regulations, forcing banks to give mortgages to brown people, that caused the problems. The stalwart Wizards of Wall Street didn’t have anything to do with it.

    synonymouse Reply:

    The more objective economists’ argument was that the political move to guarantee eased up financing for low income first time homeowners opened the flood gates to risky mortgages across the board. To wit, interest only loans, no down payment, juiced appraisals, etc.

    It is a substantive issue.

  9. Derek
    Jan 31st, 2014 at 14:13
    #9

    California drought: State’s water deliveries to be halted
    By Kurtis Alexander, San Francisco Chronicle, 2014-01-31

    Department Director Mark Cowin said at a news conference that if the dry spell continues, only carryover water from last year will be channeled to the farmers and several towns that get their water from the State Water Project.

    The good news is, some of them already have offers on their land.

  10. Donk
    Jan 31st, 2014 at 23:18
    #10

    OT: This is a great article for those of you who love security theater. Looking forward to the same thing being created around HSR.

    http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/01/tsa-screener-confession-102912.html?hp=pm_1#.UuyXLHmVju0

  11. Thomas
    Feb 1st, 2014 at 08:45
    #11

    If the court hears the 2nd phase of the Prop 1A lawsuit and rules that the blended plan would not meet the 2 hours 40 minutes travel time required by Prop 1A, would that invalidate the funds? What could the Authority do to move forward at that point?

  12. Peter Baldo
    Feb 1st, 2014 at 09:43
    #12

    The plaintiffs are the exact same people who insisted on the blended plan. They’ve been traveling around the state drumming up lawsuits over nearly everything. Certainly a judge can see through that.

    I’m not even sure what the 2:40 means anymore. With the blended plan, San Jose is the effective northern terminus of the high speed system. That’s why the station is so fancy. Most Bay Area passengers (nearly everybody who lives in the East Bay and on the peninsula) will embark and disembark in San Jose, using Caltrain, BART, ACE, Capitol Corridor, or a car to complete their trip. SF and SFO passengers might take the twice-an-hour through trains to SF, though Caltrain will serve them just as well. The important time is San Jose to LA.

    synonymouse Reply:

    But that is not what Prop 1a prescribes. SF to LA.

    San Jose is on the periphery of the Bay Area just as Palmdale is in relation to LA.

    From Sonoma County it is easier to get to Sac than San Jose.

    Once again:

    **** San Jose
    **** Fresno
    **** Palmdale
    **** Sin City

    Viva Oakland, Sac, San Diego and a host of other abused and snubbed venues.

    datacruncher Reply:

    Media reports in many sources told voters pre-Prop 1A that HSR would include San Jose, Fresno and Palmdale in phase 1 between SF and LA. That was never a secret before heading to the voting booth.

    morris brown Reply:

    Much more than just media reports saying where HSR would go. Going via to LA from the north is prescribed in Prop 1A.

    Prop 1A.

    2704.04

    (3) Upon a finding by the authority that expenditure of bond proceeds for
    capital costs in corridors other than the corridor described in paragraph (2)
    would advance the construction of the system, would be consistent with the
    criteria described in subdivision (f) of Section 2704.08, and would not have an
    adverse impact on the construction of Phase 1 of the high-speed train project,
    the authority may request funding for capital costs, and the Legislature may
    appropriate funds described in paragraph (1) in the annual Budget Act, to be
    expended for any of the following high-speed train corridors:
    (A) Sacramento to Stockton to Fresno.
    (B) San Francisco Transbay Terminal to San Jose to Fresno.
    (C) Oakland to San Jose.
    (D) Fresno to Bakersfield to Palmdale to Los Angeles Union
    Station.

    (E) Los Angeles Union Station to Riverside to San Diego.
    (F) Los Angeles Union Station to Anaheim to Irvine.
    (G) Merced to Stockton to Oakland and San Francisco via the
    Altamont Corridor.

    synonymouse Reply:

    So how does one cope with the inherent contrdictions in the provisos of Prop 1a? Ergo detouring via Palmdale means 2:40 is not possible nor is a profitable operation, ie. banned subsidies are required.

    So the devil is in the very fine print. How do I deal with this level of obfuscation and trickery? I vote no on everything now.

    Impeach Christie and then investigate Jerry Brown.

    StevieB Reply:

    Funding from (D) Fresno to Bakersfield to Palmdale to Los Angeles Union
    Station is allowed but not prescribed just as capital costs from (C) Oakland to San Jose may be funded but they are not dictated.

    morris brown Reply:

    @StevieB

    Wrong. Prop 1A dictates that Phase I be from SF to LA and Anaheim.

    see:

    (Prop 1A)

    2704.04

    (2) As adopted by the authority in May 2007, Phase 1 of the high-speed train
    project is the corridor of the high-speed train system between San Francisco
    Transbay Terminal and Los Angeles Union Station and Anaheim.

    The other mentioned routes such as Oakland to San Jose, can only be funded after Phase 1, is completed. Therefore the only way to build Phase 1, which must be built first, must, by law, include the detour to Palmdale.

    All this was politics, but built into law.

    joe Reply:

    A spur to Palmdale would meet the Proposition requirements and allow Phase 1 to build between SF, LA/Anaheim.

    Upon a finding by the authority that expenditure of bond proceeds for
    capital costs in corridors other than the corridor described in paragraph (2)
    would advance the construction of the system, would be consistent with the
    criteria described in subdivision (f) of Section 2704.08, and would not have an
    adverse impact on the construction of Phase 1 of the high-speed train project,

    (C) Oakland to San Jose.
    (D) Fresno to Bakersfield to Palmdale to Los Angeles Union
    Station.

    I’d look to fund that spur as part of a future extension to Las Vegas NV.

    Clem Reply:

    I could support a spur to Palmdale, because it wouldn’t put all destinations in Northern California and Southern California 13 to 18 minutes further apart just for the sake of serving Palmdale.

    joe Reply:

    I know, you wrote about it.

    synonymouse Reply:

    To this amateur observer it appears that the politics of the mountain crossing are so byzantine and so obdurate the only choice is to devote 50 years to building Jerry’s certain albatross or kill the project.

    No sign whatsoever of any brain activity at PB-CHSRA. Time to pull the plug on life support.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Proposing a “spur” is nothing but lip service to eliminating the HSR ROW from the inland parts of the State. Ridership will never, ever justify spurs.

    You either want an inclusive, statewide system or you don’t.

    Honestly, the biggest obstacle to Tejon is the City of Santa Clarita. If the offered money to build an HSR station within city limits, Tejon would happen. But without their buy-in, Palmdale will end up being the bride and critics in Northern California will have to accept reality.

    Clem Reply:

    According to many contributors around here (as well as CHSRA chairman Dan “Palmdale is the center of the universe” Richard), the Palmdale connection is absolutely key to connecting Las Vegas to California destinations via the High Desert Corridor.

    I want an inclusive, state-wide system, and I have nothing against Palmdale, but I don’t want that inclusion to come at the cost of speed. Delaying every SF or LA-bound passenger by 13 to 18 minutes just for the sake of traveling to Palmdale is not acceptable.

    The only reality that needs accepting right now is that we have run out of money before even starting.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Nonsense – the spur to Palmdale is just a sop to the politicians. Connect it to Metrolink – that is what Palmdale needs anyway- decent commute service to LA.

    Auto-obsessed Fresno is not ready even for AmBART. The way to deal with sprawl is to not encourage population growth. The true environmentalist will not support infrastructure projects whose purpose is to enable and encourage more population growth rather than better serving and accommodating the population we already have.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    what happens in 2050 and the people in San Diego who want to to Fresno are told “sorry all the trains are booked up”? and “yes we could run a few more trains but there’s no room for them to go through Union Station, suck it up or fly”

    Clem Reply:

    If all the trains are booked up then fares must be too low.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    That to the people who can’t get on the 6:00 Acela to DC or the 6:05 Regional to DC and have to cool their heels until 7 because Amtrak can’t run a 5:55 super express that only stops in Philadelphia.

    Clem Reply:

    If you are expressing a concern about the inherent capacity limitations of California HSR, or insinuating that a second mountain crossing ought to be included at Cajon Pass, then so state. Meanwhile, back in reality…

    Joey Reply:

    Adirondacker: I’m confused … by having two routes between San Bernardino and Mojave you have more capacity between Mojave and Fresno? The only trains you’re possibly rerouting are those between LA and Las Vegas, and that can happen in either scenario. I don’t see why Cajon is any more likely with Tehachapi than with Tejon.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    I didn’t say anything about Las Vegas. I don’t say anything about Las Vegas any more because it sets some people’s hair on fire, they begin to rant and froth at the mouth. People in southern California don’t have that reaction and there are people in Las Vegas who, I know this is hard to believe, would prefer to go to Southern California instead of the Navel of the Universe that is San Jose, third largest city in the state etc. Where the first largest city in the state is and the second largest city in the state is. Maybe the people in Palmdale should consolidate with the people in Lancaster and the people in Rosamund and the people in Victorville and the people in Mojave and 20 years from now they can live in the third largest city in the state.

    One route between San Bernandino and Mojave. The people in San Diego who want to go to Sacramento or San Francisco don’t have to go through Los Angeles or vice versa. They can go over Cajon and Tehachapi. It frees up capacity for people in Ontario who want to go to Burbank. Or people in Bakersfield who want to go to LA. And people in San Diego who want to go to LA. I’d say that people in Ontario who want to go to Las Vegas and vice versa wouldn’t have to go through LA either but that might cause too much brouhaha so I won’t. Might not if they want to go to Bakersfield or points north either. Or people in San Bernandino or San Diego who want to go to Las Vegas.

    Joey Reply:

    I doubt the people in San Diego who want to go to San Francisco or Sacramento much care if the train goes through LA. The time difference between Cajon-Tehachapi and LA-Tejon is negligible.

    And I must ask, where would this Ontario-Burbank train be coming from and going to, if not San Diego and Northern California?

    And again, how does Tejon vs Tehachapi change whether Cajon gets built?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The mileage is around the same but it avoids all that slow track in central Los Angeles.

    Joey Reply:

    I did some calculations a while back, and concluded that Cajon would save 15-20 minutes over stopping at LA for NorCal-San Diego. Now, from that, subtract the 12 minutes saved via Tejon. These calculations were pretty approximate so feel free to challenge them, but the actual time savings aren’t that big.

    Donk Reply:

    I disagree that the extra 15-20 min going thru Palmdale is “negligible” for San Diego – Bay Area.

    I have taken many flights from LAX and SAN to SFO and SJC. Even though it usually costs more to fly into SJC than SFO, I usually select SJC if I am flying to the mid-Peninsula for business for two reasons: (1) frequent fog delays; and (2) the flight is around 10-15 min shorter. On flights from both LAX and SAN, the difference in travel time is significant enough to me to factor in to my decision making.

    For HSR from SAN-SJC or SFO, an additional 15-20 min would be a smaller % of the total travel time, but it is still significant.

    joe Reply:

    If the SFO trip was 15 min shorter you’d still use SJC as the destination because the fog delays can ruin a day business trip. Dependable departures and arrivals are most important.

    Joey Reply:

    Donk: 15-20 minutes was via Tehachapi. Change to Tejon and it’s more like 3-8 minutes.

    synonymouse Reply:

    @ Ted Judah

    With up to 40 miles of tunnel evidently authorized or contemplated for the Palmdale-Mojave detour that could translate into some very substantial mitigation and cosmetic undergrounding at Sta. Clarita, mit station in an acceptable location to the townsfolk.

    Michael Reply:

    Talking Vegas options-
    Using I-5/210 and I-15/40 (Barstow) as endpoints, it’s 144 miles to roughly follow I-5 to SR 138, thence east to SR 14 to SR 58 to Barstow. It’s 110 miles to roughly follow SR 14 to SR 138 to I-15 to Barstow. 34 mile difference is about the same time difference as Tejon vs Palmdale between LA and the Bakersfield. Since we’re talking California HSR, what trip time/alignment length should be optimized?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    I did some calculations a while back, and concluded that Cajon would save 15-20 minutes over stopping at LA for NorCal-San Diego. Now, from that, subtract the 12 minutes saved via Tejon.

    Add in 12 minutes getting from San Bernardino to LA… 165 miles at an average speed of 165 takes an hour – via Cajon and Tehachapi. 165 miles at an average speed of 125 through LA and over Tejon, takes 1:20. If it drops down to 100 it’s 1:40. It frees up capacity for the people who want to go to LA. Or people in LA who have a trip that goes through LAUS.

    Joey Reply:

    You still haven’t said how any of this affects Tejon vs Tehachapi. We disagree on exactly what benefits a Cajon line would have, but there seems to be no reason why it would be more useful in one case or another. Keep in mind that Tejon can connect to the Mojave desert along SR-138.

    jimsf Reply:

    First how cares about 15 minutes. No one.

    Second I don’t know why everyone is still arguing over the routing when its already been decided and isn’t going to change.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    If Tejon gets built Tehachapi never will. Unless cars and airplanes are banned. Cajon might be built someday but it’s utility would be to get Southern Californians to Las Vegas and vice versa. Carfree people in Bakersfield or Fresno might use it to get to Las Vegas, both of them, but the rest of Northern California will still fly or drive. Even if it is Bakersfieldians to Victorville to get on a train.
    Tejon and Cajon divert Southern Californians taking trips to Las Vegas out of downtown LA. Tehachapi and Cajon divert Southern Californians not going to LA out of downtown LA. Keeping people from San Diego who are going to Bakersfield and points north out of downtown LA might have some utility someday. Especially to the people who live in Glendale and want to get to El Monte or Fullerton to Van Nuys or…

    Joey Reply:

    Okay, but again, given the dubious assumption that SD-NorCal trips would not travel through LA, there’s still the potential for cross-Mojave line from I-5 and SR-138 to about Helendale. This would also be used for NorCal-Vegas trips.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    why wouldn’t you pick the train that doesn’t go through Los Angeles? it would be 20 minutes faster.

    Clem Reply:

    For the same reason that I wouldn’t pick the direct train from New Brunswick to New Haven. It would be 20 minutes faster but far too expensive to build, especially when you consider that most trips that start and end in those places have New York City on the other end. It would be dumb to route around such a key destination, even if this delays some secondary trips by a few minutes.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Thank you, Clem.

    LAUS and Palmdale Hauptbahnhof differ by orders of magnitude in importance and business.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Pity you weren’t around to advise the New Haven Railroad or the Pennsylvania Railroad. They went ahead and did it, make it possible to get from New Haven to New Brunswick on the same train. Without a ferry for 97 years. with all electric service for 97 years too. And NJTransit and Metro North didn’t consult you they’ve been doing for years too, running trains from New Haven to Trenton. Very few of them and only Sunday but they do it.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    No, all of those trains go through New York and stop there.

    John Bacon Reply:

    @ Clem
    For the same reason I would not build a direct HSR between San Jose and Sacramento while missing San Francisco. Far more trips from those outlying cities have San Francisco at the other end than direct trips between them. Extending CHSR trips from Southern California crossing the Pacheco Pass to San Jose to San Francisco, through the BART Bay Crossing tube and along an electriied Capitol Corridor route to Sacramento would be a more efficient use CHSR seating capacity. For example seats vacated in San Jose could be occupied by northeast bay and Sacramento bound passengers from SJ. The slow Richmond to Sacramento Capitol Corridor Route would certainly take less time at a lower cost to operate between SF and SAC. than any other proposed SF to SAC service. The 4.5 inch difference between rails for a common center 56.5 inch – 66 inch dual-gauge trackway is the same distance between running and check rails for 1.35 meter tracks. BART cars are the same width, 10.5 feet, as standard US passenger cars so the same lateral platform clearances would work. Standard air-suspension plus lazer platform height sensors would allow for exacly equal train-floor platform-heights without careful track-way height adjustments. Conforming to BART train separation standards within tunnels while applying continuous electronic distance measuring equipment (DME) signaling with computer driven controls responding immediately would allow for safe 29 to 35 second line headways for 700 to 1,312 foot trains at 80 mph.
    Note: Peak rush-hour use for the existing Market Street and Transbay Tubes would be in opposite directions for BART East Bay and CHSR Transbay services.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Boston to New York is served very well by going to Grand Central. They didn’t need to build the Hells Gate Bridge or carve a new ROW through the Bronx and Queens to get people between Boston and New York. DC to NY is served very well by going to Penn Station. Get Albany to NY down to 90 minutes and Boston to NY down to 90 minutes and it will be twice as fast to go through Manhattan than to go through Springfield now, no need to build that sillyness through Worcester. They can just outbid Metro North riders and LIRR riders for slots. The people who want to go from San Diego to Bakersfeild can just outbid the Metrolink riders for slots. And the people who want to go from San Diego to Los Angeles for seats.

    Joey Reply:

    Which raises the question: is it cheaper to add capacity along the urban routes around LA or to build another mountain crossing?

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The LA equivalent of all this is the run-through tracks; SD-LA, SF-LA, etc. could be well-served without the project.

    jonathan Reply:

    John Bacon,

    You *cannot* be serious. Run standard-gauge on BART? On four tracks with a common center?
    Do have you any idea how wide the web of a rail is? How on Earth can you make special trackwork (tournouts) work?

    What HSR stock fits in BART’s loading gauge?

    This idea is so bad, it isn’t even wrong.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    so silly Amtrak, even though they are turning customers away from the 6:00 and the 6:05 from NY to DC, all they have to do is run more trains? Outbid LIRR and NJTransit riders for the slots? Like the people who want to go through LA at 5:15 can outbid Metrolink riders for the slots and outbid the people who want to go to LA for the seats?

    synonymouse Reply:

    @ jonathan

    But certain BART outlying segments could be expropriated and rebuilt to hsr standards. Ones that are outside the proper territory of an urban 3rd rail subway and should be standard gauge OC.

    The very thought of messing with BART – dancing on Bechtel’s grave – is deeply satisfying.

    John Bacon Reply:

    @ Synonymouse
    Converting BART’s Millbrae to their SFO Station tracks to a pure 56.5 inch gauge track would be enable an especially desireable split train CHSR service between the San Joaquin Valley (where airline service is largely ineffective) and the present SFO BART Station. Note: BART manages to slap a $4 surcharge on passengers using their SFO Station without significantly reducing their ridership.
    @ Jonathan
    A sufficient difference between gauges is necessary in order to make dual gauge operation feasible. There is a new dual-gauge line in Lithuania that accomodates both West European 56.5 inch and Russian 60 inch gauges at moderate speeds. Yes one should be reluctant to walk away from the truely elegant single gauge switch designs available. Unless you have an extremely desireable under utilized very expensive to duplicate facility already in place. A lateral moving track-way platform would make switching possible but expensive compared to single gauge swiches. But duplicating the present Market Street Subway and Transbay Tube would produce a far more expensive yet mediocur transfer ability to a facility, BART, that accommdates 89% of SF trans-bay public transportation today. If all trains between Montgomery and the eart-end of the transbay tube make the same stops few swiches would be necessay.

    jonathan Reply:

    @ John Bacon.

    did no-one tell you that BART tracks are laid on concrete balks? With a big hole in the ground between the rails?

    If you want to put standard-gauge track in the middle of BART, then at best you’d have to close BART down completely for months. Build forms in the existing pit, to narrow it enough to support standard-gauge tracks. My guess is that to get sufficient structural strength, you’d have to demolish the existing concrete baulks and pour new ones.

    Your proposal is not sane.

    Michael Reply:

    John, while it might be very difficult but feasible to add an inner rail for standard gauge on existing BART lines, how do you propose to deal with the vastly different operating envelope? I doubt there’s space for OCS above an existing BART vehicle. What about much larger standard railway vehicles?

    jonathan Reply:

    @Michael:

    Please read for comprehension. John bacon isnot proposing adding _an_ inner rail to existing BART lines; John Bacon is proposing adding *two* inner rails. So that the vertical edges of standard-gauge trains (the same width as BART cars) line up with platform.

    He doesn’t have any plan for different operating envelope. He doesn’t have any plan for overhead catenary. Hardly surprising, he routinely advocates that HSR (and Caltrain) should operate with BART-style third rail on the “blended” system. Without full grade separation. Yes, 1kV third-rail exposed to pedestrians.

    He ignores loading-gauge issues (height).

    QED, he’s a kook.

    John Bacon Reply:

    @ jonathan
    During 1998 a German HSR train derailed at 160 mph cosing 101 lives. A disintegrating resilient wheel initiated the crash sequence. Excessive noise complaints concerning the car the defective wheel supported were written starting at least two weeks before the crash. A significant number of German HSR trains terminate their runs at capacity constrained stub-end-terminals. This is understandable when serving ancient cities which have no through the center right-of-ways. But creating a costly capacity constrained terminal that would discourage conservative CHSR rolling stock maintenance practices combined with an inconvenient transfer to a popular east bay transit network, BART, makes no sense when a parallel under-utilised Market Street Subway and trans-bay tube already exists.
    With the help of modern power semiconductors sections of third-rail within 100 feet of a grade-crossing could remain grounded until a train is present and needes the power. (A 300 foot or longer train could operate without a live-third-rail within 100 feet of a road crossing.) One mile segments with frequent road crossings such as downtown San Mateo and Menlo Park could use overhead catenary wire applied by retractable pantographs. (Chicago’s CTA made third-rail to overhead catenary transitions on-the-fly with one-man-trains for 40 years on the ‘Skokie Swift’ shuttle until the entire line was changed to third rail a decade ago.) Low overhead clearance required third rail electrification would allow shallow-open-cut grade separation construction where heavy overhead-bridge-piers could be constructed along the edge o the present ritght-of-way without using expensive slow continuing operation shoo-fly tracks while constructing track-above-grade road crossing separations. Third rail electrification is definitely cheaper than 25KVA OCW. when you consider overhead catenary construction and maintenance cost compared to third-rail suspention costs. Even the conductive material cost for 1,500 VDC electrification is less than 25 KVAC when you consider one line-side substation feeding 16 EMU cars will require one-half the total system mass compared to the total system mass required for one transformer for each EMU. Note: Transformer mass (M) = P^0.75. The advantage of higher voltage times copper’s greater conductivity compared to aluminum, (25/1.5)*(2.82/1.678) is attenuated by copper’s higher density, and cost per pound times the greater efficiency of DC vs. AC conduction: (8.98/2.70)*(3.20/0.75)*1,414 leaves a net distribution line conductive material cost advantage of 1.396. If sixteen individual EMU transformers are substituted for by one line side transformer the total system transformer mass and cost will be cut by one half. Since greater transformer frequency along the line will be traded against conductive line costs a balance between transformer and line costs will leave the total resources applied to these two major cost centers nearly equal to each other. Therefore total system conductive material costs will be the sum of transformer and line costs or 1.396 + 0.5 = 1.896 for a 1.500 DC third-rail electrification. Compare third rail electrification’s expense to the total cost of 1 + 1 = 2 for a 25 KVAC OCW electrification.
    Single deck HSR car heights range from 11.25 to 14 feet. BART’s trans-bay tube has an inside diameter of 17 feet. The short distance between existing rail supports and an inner set of rails (4.75″) would take a small amount of material. Note: One of rail technology’s great strenths is the ability of a rail to support over 60 times its weight. The short spans between supports is surely a major factor. The problems advanced so far to creating a dual gauge BART trans-bay route through their existing tube are not difficult to solve except for switches.

    morris brown Reply:

    @Joe

    As usual Joe, you don’t undertand what is written.

    joe Reply:

    I do undertand. You are conflating the requirements (THE CORRIDOR) with the design.

    Phase I is Los Angeles to SF.

    I could build the corridor (D) Fresno to Bakersfield to Palmdale to Los Angeles Union
    Station. That is compliant with Phase I.

    I achieve (D) by building track to Bakersfield from Los Angeles and run a spur to Palmdale.

    I am required to have fund for all proposed Corridors or useable segments.

    I would build (D) as a series of useable segments – two stations.

    Los Angeles to Bakersfield is a useable segment. (hardest with great value)
    Bakersfield to Fresno is a useable segment. (cheapest)
    Palmdale Spur to Bakersfield-Los Angeles useable segment. (this is a useable segment with three stations).

    I have completed the corridor (D).

    StevieB Reply:

    @ morris brown,

    you have cited sections of Prop 1A but not a section that prescribes that the bond funds must be spent on the Palmdale section. If all the bond funds are spent connecting Bakersfield to San José then is there a directive that future construction must include Palmdale?

    morris brown Reply:

    @ StevieB

    The Authority’s current plan says they are going to build first, south from Fresno into the LA Basin. I suppose they could change that plan and decide to build north to San Jose. But eventually they have to build all the way from SF to LA and Anaheim, and to do that before spending funds elsewhere. The segments for Phase I are written into law, so from Bakersfield to the LA basin, they must go via Palmdale.

    Prop 1A only dictates how Prop 1A bond funds must be spent. So if from Bakersfield south to LA would not need any Prop 1A bonds, I guess they can take any route they choose.

    A new business plan (2014 plan) is set to be released very very soon and is on the Agenda for the next board meeting.

    joe Reply:

    ” The segments for Phase I are written into law, so from Bakersfield to the LA basin, they must go via Palmdale.

    No they can build a segment between LA and Bakersfield and add a spur to Palmdale.
    The Proposition does not forbid this design. This deisgn allows service from LA to Palmdale to Bakersfield. It also allows LA to Bakersfield which is not forbidden by the proposition.

    Since the proposition also contains: (B) San Francisco Transbay Terminal to San Jose to Fresno.
    The Altamont alignment would be illegal and never considered.

    You’d have to interpret this to mean

    synonymouse Reply:

    PB-CHSRA pretty much twists out its own interpretations of Prop 1a as it grinds along.

    You just know they are going to interpret 2:40 as the shortest trainset with maxed-out- burn the furniture – hardware, no passengers, no schedule or stops, no safety regs or procedures in place, no other trains on the line anywhere, and cops placed everywhere humans could come close to the track.

    That is if they could not get away with putting an hsr car in a cargo aircraft and flying along the line from NorCal to SoCal. Jerry could probably find the toadies to make that all legal-like.

    Clem Reply:

    The San Jose HSR station plans were always fancy. The blended approach did not change the plans for SJ at all.

    Peter Baldo Reply:

    You’re right. The station hasn’t changed – it was always going to be a big transit hub. But the slower speeds and limited capacity up the peninsula, the loss of the Palo Alto station, capacity problems in SF, mean than San Jose will become even more important, and SF less important, as a hub.

    CaHSR isn’t going to want to tie up 90%-empty high speed train sets on the peninsula for two hours, while paying top dollar to Caltrain to use the tracks and the SF station. I expect they’ll end most runs in San Jose, and make the through trains to SF downtown and the airport a premium service. Blue and yellow trains to SF, gray trains to San Jose. This may be a perfectly acceptable outcome.

    synonymouse Reply:

    No compelling need for hsr direct to San Jose at all. Zuck, Tim Cook, all the gang have their private jets. Good enough.

    Oakland and the East Bay a much more important destination.

    Tony D. Reply:

    You’re so full of shit with this anti-SJ opinion! Silicon Valley/SJ are creating jobs hand over fist; the East Bay recently lost 500 jobs. Commercial/office construction booming in Silicon Valley/SJ; almost non existent in the East Bay. Any questions ass hole?!

    Brian_FL Reply:

    Way to keep it classy Tony D.! We can all agree to disagree yet keep it nice.

    @Robert Cruikshank – let’s not let your blog devolve into name calling and worse. I’ve always appreciated that you let anyone comment here. Now I might not always agree with mouse on things he says but he needs to be respected here.

    synonymouse Reply:

    @ Tony D.

    Thanks for waking me up. Every now and then I need a “Go get your shine box” moment.

    Clem Reply:

    Your civic inferiority complex is showing.

    joe Reply:

    Really?

    It is so easy to troll the comments by linking to a positive, factual news article about living or working in San Jose.

    http://www.mercurynews.com/business/ci_24985534/bay-area-adds-more-than-11-000-jobs

    Silicon Valley powers a gain of 11,200 jobs in Bay Area last month

    The East Bay, however, lost jobs in December as that region continued to lag the robust gains in the South Bay and San Francisco metro area.

    Santa Clara County added 5,800 jobs in December and the San Francisco-San Mateo-Marin area gained 5,500 jobs, the EDD reported. The East Bay lost 500 jobs.

    “The contrast is striking. The South Bay and the San Francisco metro area are the major job engines for the entire state, while the East Bay is one of the weakest,” said Jeffrey Michael, director of the Stockton-based Business Forecasting Center at University of the Pacific.

    Clem Reply:

    Unless I missed it, San Jose wasn’t mentioned.

    joe Reply:

    I saw a reaction to this:
    “No compelling need for her direct to San Jose at all. Zuck, Tim Cook, all the gang have their private jets. Good enough.”

    Which isn’t serious position given the nasty things written about Oakland by the same person.

    synonymouse Reply:

    You mean something like Oakland is the city of the future and always will be?

    Oakland has its problems but deserves better, much better. All the East Bay – they cannot even get a streetcar or trolleybus.

    As difficult to believe as it may appear, at the time I voted for Prop 1a I also thought the Caltrain-Pacheco-99 route was the neat way to go. But after a short while I realized that a professional planner would always have to look for the greater good and that is the more boring, more mundane default alignment thru Altamont and I-5.

    Now I always took Tejon as a given. I hope Richard allows me to borrow one of his patented expressions but veering way, way off to the east at Tehachapi is truly “batshit insane”. And irresponsible and unprofessional on the part of PB.

    Amanda in the South Bay Reply:

    Yes, upper middle class (and higher ) white and possibly Asian tech people are so much more important than serving the East Bay and Sacramento. And obviously all those tech executives are going to want to switch to taking the train rather than going by private jet.

    synonymouse Reply:

    San Jose 49′ers
    San Jose A’s

    Reedman Reply:

    San Jose Sharks play across the street from Diridon …

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    90/10 split SJ/SF?
    What next? 90/10 Bakersfield/LA?

    Jesus God you people are fucking outright unquestionably batshit insane.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Insane? No…

    Clueless to everything else in the pipeline, maybe.

    The overbuild at Diridon makes a lot more sense if you factor in the Northern California Unified Service expansions to the San Joaquin Valley, Ring the Bay, and HSR extensions to Sacramento and Reno.

    90/10 is ridiculous, but I think a similar situation may happen with L.A. and Anaheim.

    Joey Reply:

    Expanded NorCal unified service? So instead of 7 slow trains which may or may not arrive within an hour of their scheduled time you now have 12? Huge transfer market right there. And why would you take a train through the San Joaquin Valley to San Jose, only to get on another train going back into the San Joaquin valley?

    Amanda in the South Bay Reply:

    Diridon is the center of nothing but parking lots, old houses, run down businesses, and busy streets.

    John Burrows Reply:

    Next time you are at Diridon try looking on both sides of the tracks. Better yet walk through the tunnel to the VTA Station and cross the tracks. You will be standing on Laurel Grove Lane in front of Cahill Park, a 160 unit condo development where I live. Immediately to your right will be Plant 51, a 251 unit retrofit of the old Del Monte Plant. Across the street from Plant 51 is The Avalon of 200 plus rental units. If you walk down Laurel Grove Ln to your left and follow it around the corner you will come to Georgetown with another 80 plus units.

    As you walk toward Georgetown, you will pass the site where The Santa Clara Housing Authority is proposing a 182 unit senior and multi-family housing project.

    Clem Reply:

    San Jose Diridon station does have the highest residential density along the rail corridor outside of San Francisco. The jobs aren’t particularly dense there, however, since it is located at the southern end of Silicon Valley. Most of the action is to the north.

    Amanda in the South Bay Reply:

    That’s only on the west side-the other three sides are surrounded by craptacular San Jose. I’m fairly biased, because I’ve had to wait untold hours at Diridon, waiting for VTA/Caltrain connections, and there’s literally nothing nearby to do while you wait. Want to get a cup of coffee, or a meal while you wait? I suppose you could walk to Crema or Chipotle, but that’s hardly close. Its one of the more uninviting areas to wait in.

    John Burrows Reply:

    There is a coffee shop called Hannah on the corner of Wilson and the Alameda—Quite a bit closer than Crema.—But I agree that there are better places to spend your time than Diridon.

    Amanda in the South Bay Reply:

    I’ve been there before, didn’t know it was still in business. Bear in mind I’m happy about that housing development to the west of the station, but overall, its still a pretty barren area without a bit of walking.

  13. Keith Saggers
    Feb 1st, 2014 at 14:02
    #13
  14. synonymouse
    Feb 2nd, 2014 at 13:16
    #14

    http://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/02/02/with-little-rain-california-farmers-brace-for-drought-unemployment-sending/?intcmp=latestnews

    Buying water from BC and building a pipeline there is a better infrastructure investment for the Valley than TehaVegaSkyRail.

  15. Thomas
    Feb 2nd, 2014 at 14:15
    #15

    Can construction begin on the first 24 miles north of Fresno if the remaining 5 miles of the 29-mile segment have not been environmentally cleared? Also, is STB’s review of the project regarding just environmental clearance, or does it include the project in its entirety? Could the STB issue a decision to stop the project?

    Elizabeth Reply:

    Theoretically yes – notices to proceed have actually been given.

    It would, however, seem like officials have pre-decided on fresno-bakersfield eir, given that they have to approve it or leave a 24 mile segment literally deadended in downtown Fresno. I’m not sure what the independent utility of this could possibly be. A new awesome bike path?

  16. Keith Saggers
    Feb 2nd, 2014 at 15:28
    #16

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The California High-Speed Rail Authority (Authority) applauds the California Transportation Commission’s approval of the release of $8.5 million of Proposition 1A connectivity funds for the Southern California Regional Rail Authority’s (Metrolink) High-Speed Readiness Program. The program will increase Metrolink service levels to support and compliment planned increases in ridership as well as connectivity to the future high-speed rail system.
    “This funding will provide Los Angeles and the surrounding areas with a better, safer, and cleaner passenger rail experience in the very near future,” said Authority Southern California Regional Director Michelle Boehm. “Modernizing and improving local rail service like Metrolink, will increase Southern Californian’s mobility and economic opportunity, while reducing harmful emissions released into the air.”
    The $8.5 million allocated on Wednesday allows Metrolink to purchase three additional high powered Tier-4 locomotives for their commuter rail service. This is part of an $89 million investment of connectivity funds allocated through Senate Bill 1029 (Budget Act of 2013) to repower and/or purchase 20 to 30 stronger, faster, and greener locomotives, and recondition and improve passenger cars. The state investment of $89 million will help leverage a total of $203 million for this purpose. Metrolink also received approximately $35 million for Positive Train Control (PTC) system work from Proposition 1A connectivity funds in previous appropriations

    Clem Reply:

    Proposition 1A funds used to buy diesel locomotives for a commuter railroad. Nice. I guess we should be glad they’re stronger, faster and greener.

    joe Reply:

    http://www.railjournal.com/index.php/locomotives/los-angeles-metrolink-orders-tier-4-diesels-from-emd.html
    EMD says the F125 is compliant with the US Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act’s 305-005 Next Generation Locomotive specifications and offers an 85% reduction in emissions compared with older Tier 0 diesel locomotives. This is achieved through the use of a selective catalytic converter-only after treatment system and electronic fuel injection.

    http://www.epa.gov/otaq/locomotives.htm
    n March 2008, EPA finalized a three part program that will dramatically reduce emissions from diesel locomotives of all types — line-haul, switch, and passenger rail. The rule will cut PM emissions from these engines by as much as 90 percent and NOx emissions by as much as 80 percent when fully implemented. The standards are based on the application of high-efficiency catalytic aftertreatment technology for freshly manufactured engines built in 2015 and later.

  17. Joe
    Feb 3rd, 2014 at 22:07
    #17

    Bakersfield City Manager Alan Tandy

    http://www.bakersfieldcalifornian.com/local/x54081502/City-again-seeks-payback-for-high-speed-rail-work

    While the CHSRA doesn’t have the money to lay track south of 7th Standard Road, City Manager Alan Tandy said city staffers have worked thousands of hours to catalog and respond to residents’ questions and concerns about the train.

    “I was thinking of compensating the city of Bakersfield for the excessive amount of man-hours,” Tandy said. “It’s fine that they pay other people. Ignoring us is the bad part.”

    In a statement Monday, the rail authority’s CEO said his agency hopes to reach an accord with the city.

    “We have worked to improve our relationship with the City of Bakersfield and our goal is to have an agreement in place soon, as we have done with other stakeholders affected by the high-speed rail program,” Morales said in an email. “We look forward to working with the city as we go forward on this critical project for the Central Valley and all of California.”

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