Neel Kashkari Wants to Cut Off the Central Valley – And Leave It Poor

Mar 7th, 2014 | Posted by

Republican gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari has been traveling around the Central Valley bashing the high speed rail project. For someone who claims to care about jobs and poverty, it’s a bizarre and hypocritical thing to do. High speed rail is essential to the Central Valley’s future economic prosperity, as well as providing desperately needed jobs now. But Kashkari wants to sabotage all of that:

“Sacramento and Gov. Brown are focused on building a train and not really putting people back to work in a real way,” Kashkari said in an interview at the shelter, not far from sidewalks where the homeless slept. “I think it’s an egregious example of him having the wrong priorities. It’s a vanity project.”…

In a swing through the Central Valley this week, he pledged to try to block the rail project if elected, saying that if courts don’t dismantle it, he would revisit it with voters. He dismissed the Democratic governor’s argument for the train as an investment in California’s future.

“We have more important things to do,” Kashkari, 40, told a Stanislaus County farmer. “Hopefully Governor Brown will admit his error.”

Kashkari has also attacked Governor Jerry Brown for supposedly not doing enough on jobs and poverty. But the bullet train would do wonders at addressing both issues. It would create 20,000 jobs over the next five years in the Central Valley. That’s a big number for the region and would make a huge dent in the 12.4% unemployment rate in Fresno County.

But just as important is the long-term impact. Fresno struggles with high unemployment precisely because it is poorly connected to the rest of the state. It takes too long to drive to SF or LA on the freeway. Fresno lacks good air connections to the coastal metropolises. And so Fresno gets left behind while coastal California experiences another economic boom.

Economists understand the central role of high speed rail in future economic growth. Richard Florida made that point in 2009. He argued that HSR makes “megaregions” possible, where places like Fresno can be brought into the same economy as the Bay Area and Southern California because travel times have been slashed. People can move to the Valley and commute to the coasts, or live on the coast and commute to the Valley. A tech startup can find cheap office space or warehousing in the Valley. Florida expects that regions are going to be more deeply interconnected to each other, and that when this happens new economic value is created. Agglomerations of multiple metropolises have a significant competitive advantage over individual metropolises, just as the individual metropolis emerged with a competitive advantage over the individual industrial city over a century ago.

This analysis is shared by shared by the World Bank, which found significant benefits to regional development as a result of China’s high speed rail expansion. A UCLA-Tsinghua study found the same thing:

In places like California where high-speed rail is planned, proposed stations could create booms for second-tier cities, like Palmdale and Bakersfield near Los Angeles, the authors said. This would improve quality of life by easing congestion in the major cities while giving more isolated cities greater access to metropolitan hubs. As the authors observed in China, lower housing costs initially attract new residents, creating a housing boom that will benefit the second-tier cities.

And that is exactly what happened in Spanish cities like Ciudad Real, which have boomed by being connected to Madrid and Barcelona by the bullet train.

Kashkari is telling the Central Valley to be happy with the status quo, that 12.4% unemployment is fantastic, that they don’t need to do anything at all to prepare for the future. That’s only true if you believe global warming is a lie and that gas will remain cheap forever.

The Central Valley will benefit more from HSR than any other part of the state. Residents there should reject Kashkari’s politically motivated attacks and his desire to keep them disconnected and poor.

  1. Drunk Engineer
    Mar 7th, 2014 at 21:51
    #1

    And that is exactly what happened in Spanish cities like Ciudad Real, which have boomed by being connected to Madrid and Barcelona by the bullet train.

    You’re joking, right? The Ciudad Real region has a 22% unemployment rate.

    joe Reply:

    In Ciudad Real, a city of 75,000 people about 100 miles south of Madrid, hotel beds and hotel stays more than doubled between 1990 and 2007. The city’s population also grew at a much faster rate than the rest of Spain during the same period.

    Matthew F. Reply:

    And Spain overall has an unemployment rate of 26%.

    Rational assessments are based on how one region fares relative to comparable regions over time, not from stripping context from statistics and presenting them in an intentionally misleading way.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    fair enough…care to compare it to a US city of 75,000 people with no HSR??

    StevieB Reply:

    Would you care to compare it to Darhan, Mongolia with a population close to 75,000?

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    I thought he was trying to show how it would be good for the US? Did we annex Mongolia no I was not paying attention?

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Being 4 percentage points better than the US national average, a Ciudad Real is 4% under the Spanish national average, would put a US city of 75,000 with a headline unemployment rate under 4%.

    Drunk Engineer Reply:

    Rational assessments are based on how one region fares relative to comparable regions over time, not from stripping context

    Next you are going to say Oakland is a very safe city, because the murder rate is not as bad as Detroit or Somalia. Just need to put in the proper context!

    Emmanuel Reply:

    Right-wingers doing rational assessments? Impossible.

    Edward Reply:

    Ciudad Real, a small city, is not famous for being a disaster because of its high speed rail station.

    It is famous for its 1.1 billion euro airport with a 2.5 mile long runway designed for the Airbus 380, which went into bankruptcy and closed in three years, taking the local savings bank with it.

    The funny thing is that they were going to call it the Don Quixote Airport until wiser heads prevailed.

    Judge Moonbox Reply:

    Spain had crashed, not because of government mismanagement–Zapatero had balanced the budget every year before the crash–but because the Housing Bubble had allowed investors and regional governments to lose sight of any common sense. Ciudad Real isn’t the only city to build an unnecessary airport; there’s another in Castellon de la Plana

  2. jimsf
    Mar 7th, 2014 at 21:57
    #2


    “Sacramento and Gov. Brown are focused on building a train and not really putting people back to work in a real way

    the paycheck you bring home from the job created by the project is imaginary and only buys pretend groceries. Its not a real job. It allows you live in imaginary housing and go pretend shopping. Is that really what you want?

  3. Matthew F.
    Mar 7th, 2014 at 22:14
    #3

    Well technically he wants to leave the Central Valley cut off.

    Emmanuel Reply:

    Exactly. Wouldn’t it be in his interest to keep it cut off? Last thing you want is urban sprawl which would shift the demographics towards Democrats. Oh, the horror. CHSR will be the Trojan horse of Liberalism.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    There is a threat even worse than urban sprawl … indeed, the opposite of urban sprawl, which is urban infill development. While urban sprawl can sometimes include Republican leaning outer suburban development, infill development all too often trends to demographics that tend to vote Democratic.

  4. joe
    Mar 7th, 2014 at 22:39
    #4

    As doubts cloud California high-speed rail, plans in other states gain support

    http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/03/07/3980970/as-doubts-cloud-california-high.html

    Eric Reply:

    I don’t live in California, and one reason I’ve been following CAHSR so closely for the last few years is the positive effect one successful HSR system would have for proposals in other parts of the country.

    But it’s looking more these days like Texas will be the first state with HSR between two major cities. Compared to California, Dallas-Houston is much easier terrain, probably much less bureaucracy, and apparently all privately funded. Once it’s successful, there will be a rush to build a similar system centered on Chicago. And much of the partisan divide on HSR will disappear once it’s been shown to work in the biggest of red states. All this will make it easier to build a system in California and to improve the system in the Northeast.

  5. Max Wyss
    Mar 8th, 2014 at 02:44
    #5

    One thing is for sure, if that candidate gets elected, and if he ditches the project, any hope of private investment in any kind of USAn infrastructure project can be given up. If an individual can ditch a project which has already started, just for ideological reason, no private company (such as Vinci, or so) would even think about getting involved with such a project.

    Well, maybe that’s the plan…

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Just out of curiosity, how do you think any private investment would make money?

    Let’s say that tomorrow, the savior arrives. Mrs. X (to be politically correct) with 60 billon in hand and it’s burning a hole in her pocket to spend it on HSR. How would you convince her to invest in CAHSR

    1. I assume she could run the system and keep the profits. So you won’t actually get profits until 2030 or so, because even if the IOS breaks even it’s not making any appreciable money.

    1a. Even in 2030 the amount of money is real small in comparison to the investment. I have not done the math myself but 10s of millions in profit will never pay back to a positive ROI on 60 billon. Given the risk they are going to want 10, 15, 20% return if you have to wait until 2030 and beyond.

    1b. That pesky law certainly implies the profits will be used to pay for expansion of the system.

    2. There is real estate development along the track. That is where the real money is. Except there are a few issues there also.

    2a. Because they are using the blended plan, the land with the highest value on the bookends will not be seized because the existing ROW is already present. If you gave Mrs. X a swatch of condo ready land 2 blocks in every direction from each station that could be worth a real chunk of change in profit. But you can’t do that under this plan because you are not building new track so you don’t have any legally justifiable reason to take the land.

    2b. Even if you did, are the Democrats prepared for the press of taking land and giving it to a billionaire?

    2c. The rest of the line, the land just isn’t that valuable. The CV is way overbuilt with home that are already abandoned. The new homes would be close to HSR, but you can’t drive premium prices in a place is 20-40% empty homes. So by the time you buy the land, build the condo (or other high density housing) and sell it Mrs. X will get a modest profit at best. But that brings up

    2d. It is a bit like launching a rocket. So if you seize the land around stations and Row to redevelop, that raises the cost. Then add in the cost of developing that land and selling it and now you need more money. So you seize more land and you get more cost etc. for low profit land like in the CV I submit you can’t take and build out enough land to ever. Are it profitable given the current oversupply. If you do it on the bookends, the cost of the land goes up a lot.

    So if you seize 60 billon worth of land, it takes another 30 billon to build the homes. You sell them for 180 billon. I’m not even sure it is realistic to make 2x on the investment, but let’s be nice. Make a 90 billon profit. But you spent 120 billon (60 on system and 60 on land) so you need more land and therefore more investment. So 200 billion is around break even if my assumptions hold true. But that is 200 billon now vs profit later. The numbers get worth when you factor in the time value of money. Unless you can make 3-4x multiple on the land you never get a ROI

    3. Maintenance of the system will earn someone money. But of you are running the system see 1 this is not a profit center it is a cost. So if Mrs. X both runs and maintains the system she can’t make maximum profit off both. And again, the total pot is small in comparison to the needed investment

    So if you have 1 Mrs. X with 60 billon or 60 Mr and Mrs X with 1 billon each it does not matter. There is no ROI, and especially no ROI with a big profit commensurate with the risk.

    Can you make money on running the system if you invest little to nothing? yes if the ridership projections are true.

    Can you make money on maintenance? Yes if you investment is small and you are not the same guy running the system

    Can you get a great ROI on a 60 billon investment? No. You would have to invest much larger sums in real estate speculation on the bookends and would really need to invest hundreds of billions to get even close to a decent ROI.

    So tell me, if I had hundreds of billions, why would I invest in this instead of say buying the parking system in Chicago and get an instant ROI with constant money stream and steady payments??

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Actually, I think Kashkari is trying to argue for a defined public-private partnership model that is dependent on Wall Street. That is what his campaign is about, making sure the government isn’t strong enough to kick Wall Street’s ass when it acts like “Wall Street”.

    If you have the feds and state able to pull stuff off without the rent-seekers, Wall Street headed for a more peripheral role in the economy.

  6. Judge Moonbox
    Mar 8th, 2014 at 06:16
    #6

    Conservatives have made the argument that government jobs aren’t REAL jobs–as if highways don’t facilitate commuting and delivering goods (except when they talk about how many jobs a defense spending program creates).

    There is no reason to assume that a government job is unreal. The money is the same. The taxes have to be accounted for under the same rules.

    The difference is that many jobs don’t create something of lasting value. Many of these jobs are ones that the government does because there’s no profit–can you imagine privatizing national defense?

    That does not justify categorical thinking–CaHSRA is a government job, therefore it doesn’t create lasting value.

    Alan Reply:

    “…can you imagine privatizing national defense?”

    Isn’t that what Dick Cheney was trying to do with Halliburton?

  7. Amanda in the South Bay
    Mar 8th, 2014 at 07:38
    #7

    Helping the economic situation in the CV is laudable, but the only thing I can see HSR doing is to make CV cities better situated bedroom communities. In other words, people still won’t work in Fresno, etc, just have an easier commute from there to the Bay or LA. I’d think the way to revitalize CV cities is to get businesses to relocate there, have people move to the CV to *work* in the CV, and improve local streets and public transit. HSR is completely orthogonal to that.

    joe Reply:

    How it is orthogonal?
    Plans for developing around the HSR stations show infill and transit.

    Fresno is between LA and the Bay Area – that’s also a competitive advantage. Put a fast train downtown and it’s 90 minutes from Stanford Silicon Valley and closer to LA.

    With HSR a HQ and/or R&D can be in the high cost Bay Area/LA and manufacturing/fabrication in the CV.

    HSR could strengthen CV Universities. Faculty and students would have easier access to the coastal finance, innovation incubator to prototype and market ideas. Today UC Merced has fantastic access to environmental/natural resource/hydrology which fosters great faculty. They could expand into eng or other escorts by virtue of being a low cost city for faculty and students and fast access to the expensive engineering centers.

    Amanda in the South Bay Reply:

    “Plans for developing around the HSR stations show infill and transit. ”

    Ah, so maybe a Starbucks or Subway co-located with an HSR station then? That’ll surely revitalize the CV economy.

    joe Reply:

    http://www.gilroyhighspeedtrain.org
    http://www.gilroyhighspeedtrain.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Vision_Report_Final_web.pdf

    I’ve seen more refined plans than in this report – these are notional but reflect the city’s intention to rezone (new general plan when the station is decided) and allow multi-story, high density developments.

    City planners did the work – identifying current land use and zoning – careful to not surprise current land owners.

    Fresno had a recent battle on BRT and 40% infill requirements for new development.

    I expect a starbucks and subway somewhere.

    StevieB Reply:

    California High Speed Rail will give central valley businesses increased access to customers in cities with stations. Increased access will provide increased opportunities for sales. Increased sales by central valley businesses will create a demand for additional employees. Additional employees will purchase goods and services in the central valley. The companies providing goods and services to the local population will see an increase in sales and this will provide opportunities to expand businesses. The central valley needs more and better transportation options.

    Paul Druce Reply:

    Do feel free to name what sort of businesses these might be, preferably with specific examples.

    joe Reply:

    I know UC Merced will be big winner. The campus is ideally located for the natural sciences and has attracted good faculty in those fields from the start. https://es.ucmerced.edu

    The access to HSR and SV and LA will boost other Depts and faculty. https://eecs.ucmerced.edu
    UC Univs are incubators for R&D and faculty spinoffs.

    Poetland’s a center for solar manufacturing. Why couldn’t the CV be one in that or similar fields with low cost land and access to the SV and LA knowledge and finance centers all along the HSR system. HQ in LA R&D in Bay Area and CV fabrication.

    Joey Reply:

    The UC Merced campus is out in the middle of nowhere, far from the city itself. Not transit accessible or within walking distance of anything. Good luck getting people there from HSR.

    joe Reply:

    Jeezus – HSR is not within walking distance.
    Why not expand CatTracks? http://cattracks.ucmerced.edu

    Here’s how Stanford does it …
    http://transportation.stanford.edu/marguerite/
    UCMerced ExpressBus to meet with trains.

    Here’s how UCSB does it.
    http://www.sbmtd.gov/maps-and-schedules/maps/24x-map-stops.pdf

    Are you a dual major or just getting your minor in trolling?

    Joey Reply:

    Since you decided to being up the UCSB example, let’s talk about the 24x. It comes at half-hourly intervals if you’re lucky. At many times of day it’s worse than that. It leaves you a mile from the Amtrak station at MTD’s transit center, meaning you either have to walk the rest (with luggage!) or transfer. At the worst times, the buses fill up completely at the transit center leaving some to wait for the next one (another half hour if you’re lucky). I’ve personally used this bus to get between campus and Amtrak before. It’s not something you’d repeat unless you’re a masochist. You would think this would be a call for more service but MTD is looking at cutting service due to funding constraints. Goleta Amtrak is similarly remote, but it’s close enough to campus that having a friend with a car usually gets you a ride.

    I have plenty to complain about UCSB’s location. If you only need to travel around campus and the adjacent residential community (Isla Vista), then you don’t need a car. UCSB has a 55% bicycle mode share for commuting to class and many of the others are walkers or skateboarders. Driving on campus is highly limited and parking his expensive. But once you need to get anywhere else, for instance, to a grocery store with reasonable prices and selection, it becomes incredibly difficult without a car.

    Emmanuel Reply:

    Oh yes. Let’s use one example and come to a conclusion about all the others. Overgeneralization much?

    I could tell from experience that it takes me LESS time to take the Amtrak Express bus from Santa Cruz to San Jose railway station than taking public in the LA metro area to reach LA Union station. And if you really desperately wanted to catch the Express, you would have been there earlier to make sure you get on the bus anyway. UCSB is nowhere as isolated as UCSC and I managed to buy groceries just fine.

    Joey Reply:

    BTW have you looked at the CatTracks schedules in your link? The downtown-campus route runs every 70 minutes. How is that supposed to be useful?

    joe Reply:

    Well do you think when they put a HSR station at Merced the schedule might change?

    I do.

    Joey Reply:

    Perhaps. It would have to more than double to be remotely useful though.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    More to the point, the route would have to be timed to meet the train.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Merced would be well positioned if it was south of the wye. I’m not sure what happens north of it.

    Paul Druce Reply:

    I know UC Merced will be big winner. The campus is ideally located for the natural sciences and has attracted good faculty in those fields from the start. https://es.ucmerced.edu

    Please elaborate on how UC Merced, 8 miles from the proposed downtown station, is supposed to gain “increased access to customers in cities with stations [and] increased opportunities for sales.”

    Poetland’s a center for solar manufacturing. Why couldn’t the CV be one in that or similar fields with low cost land and access to the SV and LA knowledge and finance centers all along the HSR system. HQ in LA R&D in Bay Area and CV fabrication.

    Because Portland has a critical density of workers with the required skills, which the CV doesn’t (same reason that tech companies tend to flock towards Silicon Valley; that’s where the workers are). If memory serves, manufacturing solar panels is also a very electricity intensive process and Portland’s electricity is significantly cheaper.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The same way Cupertino is going to benefit from being about the same distance from the HSR station in San Jose.

    Paul Druce Reply:

    So, little to none?

    joe Reply:

    Maybe you’d find this interesting, Paul’s being a troll.

    Access to HSR put UC Merced and other CV campuses very close to some of the top R&D institutions in the world. It is low cost and in the case of UC Merced, apart of a top tier foundation.

    Stanford and other top tier universities spit out Ph.Ds. with the intention graduates will go out and get university jobs and produce research.

    The best of those news PhDs who want to continue working with their Advisor can take a position at a CV campus and, with HSR, have ready access to their home institution and continue collaborating.

    And the3se campuses produce educated students solving the skilled worker problem.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Stanford and other top tier universities spit out Ph.Ds. with the intention graduates will go out and get university jobs and produce research.

    You are deranged, “joe”.

    Ask any real live junior scientist in any sort of graduate program or in the hell of untenured indefinite servitude post-doc hell what the fuck their job prospects are for “university jobs”.

    Those people would already KILL for jobs in Merced.

    It isn’t lack of a choo choo train that is the problem.

    Please, just stop typing about things about which you HAVE NO IDEA AT ALL. That, of course, would be “everything”.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Have I told you how many people have apologized to me for not being able to offer me jobs? (“We’re not hiring in algebra this year,” “central admin canceled the posting,” etc.)

    Observer Reply:

    HSR orthogonal to economic development! Fresno is isolated. Going to and from Fresno from the bay area or L.A. is the pits. Highway 99 is awful and to this driver at least makes for fatiguing stressful diving. This is not to mention that Fresno has some of the worst air quality in the nation, which also hurts economic development. HSR can only help. It will help.

    Amanda in the South Bay Reply:

    Is most air pollution in Fresno caused by people commuting to LA or the Bay?

    Observer Reply:

    In other words why can not people accept the fact that California needs modern 21st century transportation – HSR.

  8. StevieB
    Mar 8th, 2014 at 07:43
    #8

    Rod Diridon is optimistic. “I think that [the project] will happen now. I think that our wonderful governor and our legislative leaders are going make it happen now…. If it was delayed it would only be a matter of time before it came back,” Rod Diridon, executive director of the Mineta Transportation Institute based out of San Jose State University and former founding board member of the California High-Speed Rail Authority Board told the Guardian.

    Drunk Engineer Reply:

    Just call him Baghdad Rod.

  9. Amanda in the South Bay
    Mar 8th, 2014 at 07:46
    #9

    Rod Diridon is the father of the worst light rail system in the country. Why should anyone care what he thinks?

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Diridon’s model worked in other parts of California and the West. San Diego, Sacramento, Portland, Denver and Salt Lake City all have “successful” light rail systems.

    San Jose and VTA have problems tied to land use. Namely, all the manufacturing jobs in San Jose from the 70s and 80s are gone and the remaining and new jobs shifted to suburbs to the west like Mountain View. San Jose, unlike Los Angeles and SF or Sac or…Portland…doesn’t have the political power through the VTA to bring the suburbs to heel on land use.

    Amanda in the South Bay Reply:

    And its a piece of shit system that is poorly designed and operated. But lets not dwell on that.

    Amanda in the South Bay Reply:

    Right now Google Maps says I can drive from Santa Clara LRT station in downtown SJ to Tasman and North 1st in 12 minutes. It takes 21 minutes according to the VTA timetables. That’s sure going to work to attract riders!

    Amanda in the South Bay Reply:

    23 minutes on a weekday.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    I actually don’t like light rail much having lived in several cities in the Western US.

    But it is cost effective, and until the majority of the electorate are Millenials who won’t Blanche at a top marginal tax rate of 50%, it is going to be what gets the votes.

    Plus it is not much different than MUNI, which obviously makes South Bay types groan. But in Sacramento, the light rail is still dirty and crowded like MUNI but very prompt. So it is possible to do light rail “right”.

    Amanda in the South Bay Reply:

    Yeah, Santa Clara County is a mess, but there’s nothing inherently impossible with building and operating a decent light rail system to cover the county. That just wasn’t done in the case of VTA light rail.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    I think the hardest part for Santa Clara County is still the influence cities have over zoning. BART has been a boon for some areas of SF and towns like Lafayette which are very compact. But without a good streetcar/light rail system to connect to it, not sure most cities can do that much better.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Don’t give credit for the San Diego trolley to Diridon, that was Sen James Mills creation. Predates VTA by 6 years and initially used existing rights of way to provide a low cost system. Diridon doesn’t know what “low cost” means.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    I believe Diridon was instrumental in getting the Legislature to authorize a countywide sales tax for transit. San Diego was already operating, but quickly adopted a local sales tax to spur growth of their system.

    Also building on existing ROW has worked great in Sacramento and San Diego, but now is effectively exhausted. In LA it has been a mixed bag, and in San Jose it is has been a failure.

    Amanda in the South Bay Reply:

    Very little of VTA light rail has been on existing ROW-the Almaden extension, and the bit from Moffett to Mountain View. And partly the line from Diridon to Campbell, though that’s alongside an existing ROW, not supplanting it. At least the section from Winchester to downtown SJ goes by relatively quickly.

    synonymouse Reply:

    It would appear the Santa Monica air line redux should be a smashing success. They should resurrect the PE name and logo.

    And speaking of which, a picture of the gone world:

    http://www.altamontpress.com/discussion/read.php?1,99218,99218#msg-99218

    Dig that crazy smog. I think LA must be coming up on some kind of centenary of smog. See if you can spot the dual gauge. One of the Altamont posters commented the bicyclists would not be happy. Poor street railways – the auto clubs used to bitch about the track now the cyclists. I guess AAR check rail is the worst for bikes as the groove is wider.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    I don’t see any dual gauge. It all looks like LA Railway 3ft 6in

    synonymouse Reply:

    Look at the track directly in front of the LARy #431(?). PE operated there too.

  10. Roger Christensen
    Mar 8th, 2014 at 08:12
    #10

    Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearingen has announced her intention to run for State Controller. If she is successful the likely mayoral candidates to replace her are anti-HSR types. HSR could lose it’s support from Fresno.

    Observer Reply:

    The next mayor of Fresno may very well be anti-HSR. Mayor Swearingen is wonderfully progressive, and has been cooperating and working with with the CAHSRA. My fear is that once construction begins through Fresno, the next mayor will pull out all of the old gripes from the anti-HSR playbook, and will whine and complain about the construction process through the city in an attempt to damage HSR as per the anti-HSR playbook.

  11. Reedman
    Mar 8th, 2014 at 09:04
    #11

    Why doesn’t Jerry Brown prove he supports the development of the Central Valley along the HSR corridor by proposing to build a station in Los Banos?

    Observer Reply:

    Los Banos deserves a HSR station; if HSR takes hold in the state, perhaps eventually it will happen.

    morris brown Reply:

    @ Reedman and @ Observer:

    Quite obviously neither of you know anything about the project. Maybe you are both land owners in the Los Banos area.

    Educate yourselves a bit:

    From Prop 1A

    2704.09

    (d) The total number of stations to be served by high-speed trains for all of
    the corridors described in subdivision (b) of Section 2704.04 shall not exceed
    24.

    There shall be no station between the Gilroy station and the Merced
    station.

    The absolute restriction of a station in the Los Banos area, which sticks out like a “sore thumb” in Prop 1A was inserted when it was discovered certain highly placed political interests had purchased large plots of land there, had planed a large community to be built around the station, the net result of which would be many millions to be made by these interests, and destruction of a pretty pristine part of the state. The environmental community went ballistic and got this restriction inserted.

    Joe Reply:

    Or concern for the wetlands north of Los Banos which protection from sprawl:growth was a major issue with environmentalists.

    Your story would make for a better TV episode – submit it.

    morris brown Reply:

    A bit more on no station at Los Banos: from 2008 Wall Street Journal:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/24/business/24house.html?_r=1&hp=&oref=slogin&adxnnlx=1219514507-FEhDbYsIALDtiPR/8AX1qw&pagewanted=all

    On the western edge of Merced County, near the Diablo Range that separates the Central Valley from the Pacific Coast, is a stretch of empty land that a coalition of landowners has wanted to build on for years. The plan calls for the eventual construction of a city of 16,000 houses called the Villages of Laguna San Luis.

    In many ways, the idea makes sense. The pass over the mountains is winding and slow, but if a proposed high-speed train is ever built, the Villages could end up being a bedroom community for San Jose. By 2025, California is projected to grow to 44 million people from the current 37 million. They will need somewhere to live.

    This summer, the Villages came up for a vote with the Merced County Planning Commission. Cindy Lashbrook, a commissioner who is a fruit-and-nut farmer, says the project was basically well thought out. But all the cars that came with all those new houses would cause even more pollution. And in a state suffering from drought, where would the water come from?

    “We have to stop thinking that more growth is always the answer,” Ms. Lashbrook says. “We have more housing than we need. We need jobs.”

    She voted against the project, which faltered on a 2-to-2 split, with one commissioner absent. That meant supporters could bring it up again before the full commission, which they did. They won the second round, 4 to 1.

    Robert will remember this history well.

    To go along with this, the family of a consultant to the Authority (or to PB), owned a dairy farm which lo and behold was right at the middle of the proposed Los Banos High Speed Rail station.

    joe Reply:

    All I know is that it’s okay for a US Rep that owns land impacted by HSR to introduce legislation against HSR and not face any ethics investigation.

    I guess what side of the vote matters more than ethics.

    http://www.cahsrblog.com/2014/02/crew-files-new-ethics-complaint-against-rep-david-valadao-over-hsr/

    The complaint argued that Valadao most recently failed to tell his colleagues about his financial stake when arguing against the project before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. House rules allow members to vote on issues where they may have a financial interest, but frown upon lawmakers sponsoring, advocating or participating in committee hearings about them.

    Valadao’s amendment would have forced the federal Surface Transportation Board to approve a completed rail network plan as opposed to individual segments on a case-by-case basis. California is in no position to offer such a completed plan. The project, heavily favored by the governor, is facing challenges at the state and local level that practically have it on life-support. A delay like this would almost certainly kill it.

    Its death would benefit Valadao and his family, which own numerous pieces of property in and around Hanford. Although the state is now actively considering a second Hanford route that would have less impact on the dairy, it would still be problematic for the family.

    The Fresno Bee identified three parcels owned by a partnership which includes the congressman that would be directly affected by one of the routes. The land is valued at around $1.8 million. The partnership owns six parcels within a mile of one or both lines, valued at $1.38 million, and family members own four parcels within a mile worth $6.2 million.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Simply put, water rights in the Central Valley flow east to west. Los Banos is a worse place for growth than even Palmdale. Developers overlook this because they figure nothing can stop growth once it takes place. But trust me, there are communities in places like Arizona that have just as compromised a water supply and it is not pretty.

  12. Eric
    Mar 8th, 2014 at 09:46
    #12

    “In places like California where high-speed rail is planned, proposed stations could create booms for second-tier cities, like Palmdale and Bakersfield near Los Angeles, the authors said. … As the authors observed in China, lower housing costs initially attract new residents, creating a housing boom that will benefit the second-tier cities.”

    So HSR will create an explosion of sprawl in Palmdale. And at the same time it’s supposed to receive cap-and-trade funds because of its environmental value?

    synonymouse Reply:

    Palmdale sprawl is the raison d’etre of PB-CHSRA.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    You are looking at it the wrong way:

    Look at what the Bay Area looks like with BART allowing some suburban growth to have density and efficiency or LA where the freeways ensured there was no density at all.

    Eric Reply:

    San Francisco is dense because of its older history and geographic constraints. Is the rest of the Bay Area really denser than the LA area?

    And weren’t the surroundings of most current BART stations built before BART was?

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The weighted densities were pretty much the same in 2000.

    StevieB Reply:

    Housing and development does not have to be automobile oriented detached single family homes on the periphery of communities. The type of development allowed will be determined by the community but the CA HSR Authority should be involved with transit oriented development at stations to capture value.

    Eric Reply:

    The community will choose automobile-oriented detached single-family housing. In fact they already have. Take a look at an aerial photo.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    If the farmland at the edge of town is zoned for single family houses all that will be built out there will be single family houses. When someone goes looking for a place to live and all that is being offered is single family houses they’ll pick a single family house.

    jimsf Reply:

    A shift is taking place in sacramento mainly because sac is essentially part of the greater bay area. There is a big demand for downtown housing. New styles, lofts, highrises, are selling. Even some higher density projects in the suburbs. But that hasn’t stopped the endless construction of bigger and better custom and semi custom tract housing outside of sac in “desirable” areas such as plumas lake, woodland, eldorado hills, elk grove, lincoln and roseville.

    There happens to be enough people here now to begin supporting the “new urban living” but its just getting started.

    The same thing could happen with fresno, with hsr, bringing it into the sphere of influence of silicon valley ( as envisioned per the 152 corridor as well)

    People who want urban living, in a more liveable, affordable city, who have been priced out of santa clara county (and everyone who isn’t rich has already been priced out) could have a good quality of life in new fresno.

    Fresno, like oakland, gets a bad rap generally, but like oakland, it has a lot to offer, and endless potential if properly managed.

  13. Keith Saggers
    Mar 8th, 2014 at 13:17
    #13

    not sprawl, infill-

    Deakin Env. Impact of High Speed Rail-Session 118.pdf

    SB375 plans to increase densities, activity levels around transit and HSR station areas could create more supportive environments for HSR use

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    http://www.arb.ca.gov/cc/sb375/sb375.htm

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Right. Infill. Sure.

    Infill as in “fill in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tulare_Lake“.

    (Hey, look! Wow! A link!)

    PS Digging the “create more supportive environments for HSR use” jive. One would almost think that pointy nose go fasy choo choo was the end and everything but a means. Choo choo wuvs TOD. Choo choo wuvs infill. Choo choo doesn’t wuv Oakland, though.

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    The Transbay Transit Center/Caltrain Downtown Extension (TTC/DTX) project is the critical centerpiece of a long-range visionary transportation plan that will transform downtown San Francisco and regional transportation well into this century. The project consists of three interconnected elements: 1) replacing the outmoded terminal with a modern terminal; 2) extending Caltrain 1.3 miles from Fourth and King streets to the new TTC at First and Mission streets, with accommodations for future high-speed rail; and 3) creating a new transit-friendly neighborhood with 3,000 new homes (35 percent of which will be affordable) and mixed-use commercial development

    Joey Reply:

    You’re really lecturing Richard on the TBT project?

  14. Alon Levy
    Mar 8th, 2014 at 13:53
    #14

    Off-topic: I missed a Caltrain to the airport, because the California Avenue underpass signage is nonexistent and I confused the underpass that goes under the entire station for the underpass that gets me to the northbound track. I will probably miss my flight as a result. Or have to pay $100 for a taxi. Most likely the extra cost I’ll have to shell out is more than the cost of putting up clear signage at the station.

    Thank you, Caltrain.

    Amanda in the South Bay Reply:

    Its a sad day when even a well known transit blogger gets screwed by Caltrain.

    Amanda in the South Bay Reply:

    I wasn’t being flippant-if I was around I’d offer you a ride.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Alon,

    I did everything I could possibly to do rectify that absolutely appalling and completely obvious clusterfuck of rider hostility.

    However, Bob “CBOSS” Doty, sometime “Rail Transformation Director” of Caltrain, said that everything about the station was all just fine, because Palo Alto staff had “signed off on it”. So nothing to be done! Caltrain’s ace engineering staff had achieved perfection, once again!

    Hey, but Caltrain staff and consultants got to pocket $10 million for this and the awful-but-not-as-bad bundled underpass in Palo Alto. So it is really was all perfectly OK, after all!

    Basically, they all hate you, will be sure to sure they hate you at every possible opportunity, and they all deserve to rot in hell.

    America’s Finest Transportation Planning Professionals. Doing exactly what they do.

    joe Reply:

    Palo Alto staff had “signed off on it”.

    No small feat.

    Why is PA absolved of responsibility ? I though cities had a “stake’ and say in the design and usability of stations.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Update: I took a taxi. $85, which is about $45 more than the reimbursement limit for the conference.

    The actual physical infrastructure at the station isn’t horrible. Yeah, the slope down adds time relative to a staircase, but that’s just a couple of seconds. I showed up at the station with like 2 minutes to spare – I just spent both of them going across the wrong ramp and then back.

    One sign is all that would’ve been needed: “to San Francisco ->.” Perhaps another sign at the entrance to the other ramp: “no access to San Francisco.”

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    The underpass ought to be at the north end of the station, because that is where 98% of the passengers come from.
    The underpass ought to connected under the “expressway” to the eastern side of the tracks, but does not.
    The long circuitous ramp should not be the primary access route for the majority of passengers.
    The signage is, as with everything connected with Caltrain and with North American transit, appalling and hostile.

    Things used to be even more fucked up: before the Clipper “Smart” Card defense-contractor-welfare scam was imposed upon all Caltrain passengers, there used to be convenient and easy-to-use multi-ride paper tickets, which needed to be validated before boarding (note BEFORE only, unlike the Clipper clusterfuck). Caltrain never installed a validator anywhere on the northbound platform or anywhere on the route to the northbound platform, and pretty much hid a sign that said that you needed to go to the other platform (via the endless ramps) before returning to see your train departing.

    The agency and its staff and contractors simply hate you and anybody who isn’t paying them hundreds of millions. The contempt is dipping and obvious.

    Emmanuel Reply:

    “The signage is, as with everything connected with Caltrain and with North American transit, appalling and hostile.”

    This a thousand times

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    I spent a merry half hour at Palo Alto one rainy evening looking for a taxi (no signs of course). The Taxi dispatcher didn’t know where they were either. Turns out they were just out of sight from the southbound station building in the parking lot. RM et al, you are so right about these jackasses. Also had to hump my luggage from a southbound cap cor round the ramps at San Jose to buy a Caltrain ticket, then back again, except there was no indication which of the 4 trains in the station would be the next to depart. Turned out it was none of them, a fifth came in from the south!
    Caltrain is the scale of operation which would have been given to a recently graduated student of British Railway’s Management trainee scheme to gain experience before running a “real” piece of railway. What do these people do all day, except dream up ways to annoy their patrons.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Yeah, California Avenue was so hopeless I just looked for wi-fi, found it, and then Googled to find a taxi service I could call.

    Emmanuel Reply:

    That’s what happens when we put people in charge of public transit projects who will never step a foot on a train.

    Reminds me of LAX which in itself is an beautiful clusterf***.

    Clem Reply:

    How frustrating. This has to be the most asinine underpass design on the entire system.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    See, I knew that there was a problem with the underpass at one of the Caltrain stations, but didn’t remember which, and didn’t know it was about confusing signage rather than just an inconveniently placed ramp.

    Clem Reply:

    Just be glad you never had to take the elevator at Millbrae. The button labels are hilariously confusing.

    Amanda in the South Bay Reply:

    Millbrae BART delenda est

    synonymouse Reply:

    passive periphrastic – cool.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    I would’ve transferred at Millbrae if I’d had 15 more seconds to get on the train before it closed its doors.

    Clem Reply:

    Consider yourself spared, then. What really blows my mind is that such utter failures of user interface design can occur within only a few miles of Johnny Ive.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    No doubt it was the result of numerous community outreach meetings that cost almost a million dollars in total.

    Peter Baldo Reply:

    No kidding. Do you think transit agencies should employ chief designers and give them the kind of power that Apple does?

    Amanda in the South Bay Reply:

    No kidding, right? Only professionals should be allowed to design such architectural gems:
    http://www.subwaynut.com/caltrain/millbrae/millbrae10.jpg

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Clem, such a paradox is the raison d’etre Of Silicon Valley. Steve Jobs isn’t smart enough to solve real problems, but he can sell you a pocket sized iMac that claims to solve all of your problems.

    Silicon Valley is a creature of Wall Street, not Main Street.

    jimsf Reply:

    bart really needs to take over caltrain. I know it s all bart haters on the is blog but they do a good job _ granted it took 3 deacdes to get ther – of getting people from a to b reliably. The timed transfers work great.

    But in the bay area any time you changing between agencies you are screwed.
    There have been multiple attemps over the years to make it better and each attempt has been half assed at best.

    Ive used every agency in the nine counties over 30 +years and its always been that way and probably won’t ever change.

    Individually , bart and ccjpa are the best. Caltrain the worst.

    AC transit has gotten better since the 80s.

    Muni is Muni, uniquely san franciscan.

    Individual feifdoms and people’s careers always come before passenger convenience when it comes to the competing agencies in the bay area.

    Changing caltrain to bart would give you comparably dreamy result filled with creamy chocolately goodness!

    Amanda in the South Bay Reply:

    I don’t know, BART taking 8 hours to clear a death on the tracks last Wed night/early Thursday seems pretty incompetent to me. Caltrain never takes that long to recover from a death. And as a bicyclist, Caltrain beats BART hands down, no contest.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    You have to get out more.

    jimsf Reply:

    I think caltrains days are numbered

    Ted Judah Reply:

    I agree. John Tos and Aaron Fukuda are going to be moving to San Francisco in a month. Apparently Willie Brown has a job for them in the SF Department of Agriculture.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Both Muni and AC were better in the sixties.

    Joey Reply:

    I will fight against converting CalTrain to BART tirelessly, but the BART system is actually operated semi-reasonably, which is more than could be said of CalTrain. Folding CalTrain into the BART district and having them operate a modernized, electrified version would probably be a good thing.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Another update: the flight’s delayed almost 3 hours because of a mechanical issue with the plane. So not only are the institute and I splitting $85 on a taxi instead of $9.25 on Caltrain+BART. (Oh, and for good measure, even though BART runs on a 20-minute takt and Caltrain runs on an hourly takt, the transfer takes 13 minutes.)

    Fuck cost-effectiveness, I want HSR from California up to Vancouver, now. Fuck the ridership estimates – call it a project to bind the West Coast together. Fuck the Siskiyou Mountains – if they’re a problem, nuke them. Fuck the cost – any worry about the cost is just austerity-minded thinking. Seriously, door to door it’s going to end up an 8-hour trip, so might as well make it 6 hours on a train instead of 3.5 at the airport and 2.5 on a plane. (Okay, probably not 2.5, that’s just schedule padding, but still.)

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Next time, take the train to Portland and fly to San Jose.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    That’s 8.5 hours on a train that comes once a day and leaves Vancouver at 6:40 in the morning. That’s not HSR; that’s a hagfish or a coelacanth that escaped from the museum.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    It’s 950 miles or 1,500 kilometers. There’s nothing between Eugene and Sacramento worth stopping for. Going to Eugene is a stretch ‘cuz thriving metro Eugene is more or less the same size as Utica. Or a little bigger than Binghamton. It’s Mercer County NJ as far from NY as Wilmington is. It can’t be Wilmington because New Castle County is 40 percent larger. Without Philadelphia in the middle. There ain’t nothing out there. Including most of Oregon. The population of Connecticut is 3.5 million. Oregon’s is 3.8. There ain’t nothing out there.

    http://bmander.com/dotmap/index.html#4.00/40.00/-100.00

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Well there won’t be any arguments about doglegs then, will there?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    there’s as many people in lovely greater Palmdale as there are in Eugene, soon to be twice as many and it’s half as far out of the way.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    I know all this. A California-Northwest connection is one of my standard examples for “HSR that would look neat on a map but is a terrible investment.” However, when I’m in “screw cost-effectiveness, I want choo-choo” mode I temporarily don’t care.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    when you aren’t in a foul mood because your plane doesn’t work you’d take the plane because the train would take too long. Even if it had 220 MPH track all the way to Martinez CA.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Another solution is to connect in Las Vegas or LAX.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Okay, so now you’re telling me not to take a direct 2-hour flight but to turn it into an ordeal with 3.5 hours in the air plus connection time.

    jimsf Reply:

    or fly from seattle to san jose.
    or rent a car and drive.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    You assume he knows how to drive and has a driver’s license.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Seattle-Vancouver is 3 hours by road. Nobody ever does it that I know of. Vancouverites who want to fly out of the US for the cheaper flights drive to Bellingham, not Seattle.

    jimsf Reply:

    FYI there is a cheapo airline that flies nonstop from bellingham to oakland for 79 bucks

    allegiant air

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Okay, but then I need to a) get to Oakland, b) pay all the hidden fees, and c) get from Bellingham to Vancouver.

    The comment you posted elsewhere about low trust? I don’t trust these low-cost airlines. The Southwests and the Virgins, sure. But the Allegiants and the Spirits, and the Ryanairs that they base their operating plan on, live on defrauding their own customers about the real cost of flying. For example, read the baggage fees. Hidden charges can easily triple the cost of a ticket. No, thanks. The legacies are at least relatively honest about ticket costs.

    jimsf Reply:

    well I dont trust their pilots either. But actually the 79 wasn’t the cheapest I just found it for 64 each way.

    I don’t know about their fees. but you can save some money if you dont mind risking your life.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    …you’d get a BART ride if you flew into Oakland! a nice long BART ride. with a transfer!

    Donk Reply:

    I like Spirit Airlines. All of the fee rules are posted very clearly on their website. As long as you can travel light and are relatively low maintenance you are fine. The people who get pissed are the ones who don’t take personal responsibility for not reading the rules. They are to blame, not the airline.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    It’s a week-long conference. Traveling light enough to avoid huge baggage fees is not an option. Hell, sometimes the same bag clearly meets carry-on standards and sometimes it doesn’t, but with Delta I can argue “it seemed like a carry-on when I packed” (and to be fair, the last time Delta had given me trouble it had explicitly pointed pointed at this bag as an example of a good carry-on while complaining about another bag).

    The personal responsibility angle is a canard. Allegiant doesn’t actually have to spend $50 in marginal cost per carry-on bag. If everyone showed personal responsibility and traveled light, Allegiant would bump everyone’s ticket fares. It’s just that this way it can make the passengers blame other passengers. Fuck that.

    jimsf Reply:

    at least you have a nice airport in vancouver!

    Aren’t their any flgiths from vancouver to san jose?

    Alon Levy Reply:

    No, the direct flights are only to SFO. YVR is a small airport, so there are only direct flights to major North American airports and hubs and a handful of super-important global hubs like London. There are no direct flights from Vancouver even to fairly major American cities like Boston and San Diego.

    jimsf Reply:

    Give yourself extra time and take the coast starlight in a roomand make a mini vacation

    Joey Reply:

    The Coast Starlight isn’t that easy to get to from Palo Alto. It’s either CalTrain to San Jose or CalTrain + AmBus to Emeryville. And then there’s another transfer at Seattle with an hour layover (might be less if the train is late).

    jimsf Reply:

    Yet people do it everyday. I know that todays young people are soft and spoiled but I know it was thaaat bad

    jimsf Reply:

    sorry for the snide comeback, but I was just reading an article about how todayls millenials don’t trust anyone, and are mad cuz they aren’t getting thier dream job right away out of college.

    I will say they seem to be very polite though unable to function without using electronics.
    ( don’t hand me your cell phone when I ask for your reservation number. I don’t want your phone.)

    Joey Reply:

    You may be on to something, but I think it’s too systemic to blame any one group of people for.

    I see the value in taking a slow, relaxed trip, without worrying about exactly when you will arrive, but there are a number of reasons why a lot of people can’t or won’t do that. Some of it has to do with punctuality. I’ve been told by some that there was a time when people weren’t obsessed with scheduling every moment of their lives. I can’t say whether that’s true or not, though I certainly see how it could be the case. Having phones, giving way to cell phones and text, makes it easier to make and confirm plans in advance rather than just showing up and figuring it out from there. On the other hand, arriving a few hours later could mean loosing a lot of productivity at work the next day which I don’t think people have been able to afford at any point in time. Another part of it may have to do with the trust issue you mentioned, which I think more has to do with devaluing interactions with strangers. There’s a huge potential to meet new people on longer, slower trips, but a lot pf people don’t seem to care about that all that much, or at least it’s not stated as a reason when they do take longer trips. Some of that probably has to do with being connected all of the time – why talk to the stranger next to you when you can talk to your existing friends through your mobile phone? Then again, people said the same thing about newspapers when they began appearing.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    If everybody was competent enough to deal with ticket vending machines then Amtrak wouldn’t need ticket agents.

    jimsf Reply:

    oh they are competent. just a little strange. My last three jobs have been in college towns. The differences are like night and day. Davis students a miles ahead when it comes to being independant and transit saavy. Mostly northern californians and bay area kids.
    San Luis Obispo was all kids from socal. Their parents hovered over them and the kids had no trace of independance in them. Merced. I guess UC Merced is like the school everyone goes to when they can’t get into the other schools or something. I won’t elaberate.
    The davis students have renewed my hope for the future. Still though. talk to me, don’t hand me your ipad. Im old. I can’t read that tiny print.

    if they don’t learn to speak up, evolution is going to make their mouths disappear altogether!

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Ooh! Can we come visit you at the Davis station one of these days?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    It’s not that they can’t speak up it’s that they don’t live in a world where there are old people like you that can’t hear.

    jimsf Reply:

    I can hear. I just can’t read the tiny print on the phones they hand me.

    I don’t get why you would hand someone your phone when they ask you for inforamation.
    Im not here to read your damn phone for you. Tell me what you want.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    If the train is more than an hour late, the transfer gets bumped to a lot more than an hour.

    Honestly, I didn’t even look at the Starlight. It’s too slow and is a three-seat ride with really inconvenient connections. A train going all the way to Vancouver, at HSR speeds, would’ve been somewhat faster than the flight with the three-hour delay and somewhat slower than the flight based on the original schedule. Even I have my limits as a railfan. I know people, like Robert and like some friends from the gaming community, who’d take the long-distance trains to visit family, but I’m on somewhat tighter schedules and tend to die when I’m deprived of wi-fi for too long. On the plane, I was using the net on my phone until the moment the plane started speeding up to take off.

    jimsf Reply:

    fyi wifi on the starlight in the sleepers.

    jimsf Reply:

    I can get you round trip for 600 first class room and meals

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    YVR is a smaller airport because Vancouver is a smaller metro. It’s smaller than Portland OR. Or Sacramento. Or Baltimore. Or Charlotte. It’s Salt Lake City, Indianapolis or Kansas City.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Oh, I know. Relative to its size, it’s not that bad: it’s worse than Denver and Charlotte but better than Indianapolis, Sacramento, Pittsburgh, Portland, St. Louis, and Austin.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    If I won a free trip for week’s stay in one of them, my choice where to go, I’d pick Vancouver. The big fish in a small pond is going to be more interesting than the small fish in a big pond even though they are the same size. If for any other reason Vancouver has more immigrants and they have better restaurants.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Sadly, a huge fraction of those immigrants are Cantonese, and they have meh cuisine. The others are great, though.

    swing hanger Reply:

    Now I realize why so many N. American airports have bars near the gates.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    They don’t let you get off the plane and throw back a few while they figure out the mechanical problem.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    We were off the plane for the mechanical problem, and we even got free refreshments after an hour and a half (=the pretzels and cookies they sometimes sell on flights).

    Judge Moonbox Reply:

    The Siskiyous? It’s my impression that the Klamath Falls alignment is straighter than the one through Medford, and that the greater population of Medford-Grant’s Pass won’t make that market more appealing.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Yeah, it’s possible. I have not actually looked at possible alignments too carefully, since both of them are terrible ideas. For legacy service, the Medford route is better: there’s far less freight so it’s possible to maintain the line to passenger-primary standards, Medford is comparatively more important. From Sacramento and points south to Portland and points north everyone would keep flying, so the intermediate cities rise in value. For hypothetical and completely unnecessary HSR all the way, Sacramento-Portland, Sacramento-Seattle, and SF-Portland become more viable, so Medford loses relatives importance.

    Eric Reply:

    “Most likely the extra cost I’ll have to shell out is more than the cost of putting up clear signage at the station.”

    Time for guerrilla signage.

  15. Amanda in the South Bay
    Mar 8th, 2014 at 14:34
    #15

    Richard-I remember you bringing this up online. And I’ve had the misfortune of taking that station on occasion, it really is an appalling design. I can’t believe they managed to get Santa Clara looking halfway decent.

  16. Robert S. Allen
    Mar 8th, 2014 at 16:50
    #16

    In 1957, nearly six decades ago, the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit Commission’s monumental “Report to the Legislature” sought unified rapid transit around the Bay. San Mateo County supervisors withdrew, but a super-majority in three counties voted for the bonds that got them BART. (Santa Clara County was not represented on the Commission, and the cost to reach Marin was prohibitive.)
    —–
    It’s a really good and authoritative report available in public libraries. Just needs to be updated, with a plan and a balanced bond measure before the voters of the five major Bay Area counties.

    Alan Reply:

    Go. Away. And. Quit. Trolling.

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    ‘Robert
    As you may know Caltrain is being electrified in a 5 year project for future EMU’s and HSR.
    Please note Amanda’s comment.
    Are you suggesting BART as a manager of day-to-day operation similar to their operation on Capitol corridor?

  17. Amanda in the South Bay
    Mar 8th, 2014 at 17:10
    #17

    Robert-
    You do know that electrified Caltrain would beat the pants off of BART?

    Regards,
    Amanda in the South Bay

    Amanda in the South Bay Reply:

    And not make you go deaf.

    synonymouse Reply:

    I suggest that Mssrs. Allen, Diridon, Kopp and J. Brown and a host of others all belong to a generation that drank the BART-Bechtel Kool-Aid.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Take that back – both Brown bros.

  18. swing hanger
    Mar 8th, 2014 at 17:52
    #18

    Whenever I visit family in the Bay Area, coming from my foreign abode, and use the public transport, I always get the sense that society is telling me: “f**k you, get a car like everybody else!”

    Donk Reply:

    That’s the same feeling I get when I travel using public transportation anywhere in CA. There usually is a newly widened freeway paralleling the route that I am on and ample parking right next to the place that I exit.

    They take all of your dignity when you choose to take the bus. There is nothing worse than waiting at a bus stop with car exhaust blowing in your face while sweating in the hot sun when you have no idea why you have been waiting at the stop for 30 min. At least now this is a little better with real-time bus apps.

  19. Thomas
    Mar 8th, 2014 at 18:05
    #19

    Governor Brown has included Cap-and-Trade funds in next year’s budget for HSR. Can he use his authority to keep the $250 million for HSR in there, against the will of most legislators?

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    The legislature has to approve the budget

    Thomas Reply:

    If the legislature’s proposed budget does not contain the Cap-and-Trade funds for HSR, couldn’t Governor Brown use his veto power, ordering this funding to be included? Then it would take the legislature 2/3s vote to overturn this veto, wouldn’t it?

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    The Gov proposes the budget. The legislature can change it. When it goes back to the Gov for signature he can line item veto but not change any numbers or put anything back in. So if the legislature cuts the $250M to say $100M the Gov can only remove the $100M, not change it.

    Thomas Reply:

    Thanks for the explanation. So to be clear, if the Gov. proposes $850 million in Cap and Trade, with $250 million for HSR, the legislature can propose the $250 million be spent on other things, but the Gov. cannot change that back to HSR, correct?

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Yes, the line item veto gives the Governor power to participate in a logroll ~ say you get the money here if you leave that money over alone ~ but not to unilaterally spend money that was never authorized and appropriated.

  20. jimsf
    Mar 8th, 2014 at 18:43
    #20

    My great hope for the future is that the millenials with do something usef ul and rise up to eliminate this insane time changing every six months. Ugh so freakin pointless.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The world is filled asshole control freak managers who would shit 12 different colors if people worked 8 to 4 instead of 9 to 5 during the summer. So instead we shift the clock so everyone can work 8 to 4, according to a sundial, during the summer.

    jimsf Reply:

    I say split the diff change it 30 minutes and leave it

    BruceMcF Reply:

    But the latest daylight saving time changes have been outside the the time when there is any pre-workday daylight to “save” to use in the evening, even in the northern states where the swing in the length of the day between summer and winter is the most extreme. It was just because of some modelling that predicts modest energy savings on questionable grounds, so that shifting daylight savings time could be labeled an energy saving policy without tackling the actual disruptive effects of actually substantial energy saving policies.

    jimsf Reply:

    I don’t even care who what or why. It’s an annoying and pointless thing to do. We can all live without it. Some states do fine without it.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Year round daylight savings time. The only good thing Stalin ever did.

    therealist Reply:

    DIG HIM UP, PROP HIM UP…ALA BERNIE !!

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    It makes sense to stay on standard time in Arizona. In the dead of summer there isn’t much you can do in the late afternoon except hide from the sun and hope it goes down.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    It is also far enough south and west within the time zone that even without DST the sun doesn’t set until 7pm or so in the summer.

    Donk Reply:

    It would be best to calibrate the whole system so that sunrise = 630am, wherever you are, any time of the year. This way we don’t as a society waste any daylight. But obviously the drawback is that you would have to get up either 2 min earlier or later each day, depending on the season.

    I like the idea of scrapping daylight savings in principle, but it just won’t work for many people in the country having to have their kids walk to school in the dark in the morning or wasting daylight hours in the early morning. Keep in mind that these problems are much more exaggerated from N-S and on the E-W extremes of each time zone.

    What is bizarre is traveling in the equatorial region of the planet. The sunrise/sunset is basically the same every day of the year. Hard to get used to.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    “Hard to get used to”? It’s awesome, having 12 hours of sunlight in December.

    As a nitpick, the sun doesn’t rise and set at the same time every day. There’s a substantial shift in the time of noon, coming from a) Earth’s axial tilt, and b) Earth’s eccentric orbit. The total length of the day is essentially constant, but the sunrise and sunset both move together by about half an hour total.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Analemma
    http://www.math.nus.edu.sg/aslaksen/calendar/sunrise.html

  21. jimsf
    Mar 8th, 2014 at 20:18
    #21

    Ambitious Expansion Plans Mulled for BART’s Future

    Donk Reply:

    Why no yellow line from Daly City to San Jose? Ring the bay!!!

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    San Jose/Santa Clara extension, wikipedia-

    A final leg will be built to the urban core of San Jose, first to Alum Rock station on the city’s “east side”, connected by a tunnel under Santa Clara Street to a downtown San Jose station.[1] Original plans called for separate Civic Plaza/SJSU and Plaza de César Chávez stations but, but these were consolidated into a single station to save money.[1] The line will continue to the Diridon/Arena station, co-located at the current Caltrain/ACE/Amtrak station, and either terminate there, allowing for a future extension to a Santa Clara station, or go all the way to that station, which will be co-located with the existing Santa Clara Caltrain station.[1]

    When this happens might be good time for BART to take over Caltrain

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    Capitol Corridor Governance-wikipedia

    The Capitol Corridor is fully funded by the state through Caltrans Division of Rail. Caltrans managed the line from its inception in 1991 to 1997, but in 1998 the administration of the route was transferred to Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority (CCJPA), formed by transit agencies of which the Capitol Corridor serves in order to have more local control, while still funded by Caltrans. CCJPA in turn contracted with BART for day-to-day management and staff support; also, CCJPA makes decisions on the service level of Capitol Corridor, capital improvements along the route, and passenger amenities aboard the trains.
    The Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority is governed by a Board of Directors which is consist of 16 representatives from its member agencies

    Joe Reply:

    CCJPA should take over Caltrain south of Tamien and extend out their service to Salinas as planned.

    Transfers at SJC for electrified Caltrain to SF while CC continues north to Oakland. Better and coordinated service to south county.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Keith S: The Wikipedia entry is not quite correct. (Is that a first?) Under the PRIIA 2008 formula there is still about 15% federal money, i.e. via Amtrak, that covers operating costs. Of course that is true only if you believe Amtrak accounting and the way the deal was negotiated. I have it on reasonably good authority that Amtrak marks up the state corridors 20% to the states so that they are Amtrak’s most profitable business, with no enterprise risk. So in reality the flow of fed money is somewhat circular, except that the flow ends at 60 Mass Ave. As I have written before, CA taxpayers pay twice for their intercity trains, once with their fed taxes which go almost exclusively to the NEC, and again with their state taxes to pay for the state corridors.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Amtrak spends money on the NEC because that’s where Amtrak owns the track. People in the Northeast pay federal taxes just like people in California do.

    Joe Reply:

    Article refers to infill station at 30th st. I lived there and it was midway between glen park and 24th. Too far. A station would have been useful.

    SJ is cutting a BART station which saves money but they are not learning from SF.

    Joey Reply:

    If they were learning from SF they’d cut expressway lanes for BRT and protected bike lanes and stop building more parking structures. But they’re not learning from SF.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Muni is a basket case. Refer to the Stubway and the absolute unwillingness to expand Presidio Yard Geary carhouse to store Geary St. equipment.

    Joey Reply:

    Muni is definitely a basket case, but despite its flaws, San Francisco still manages a 30% transit mode share. It’s still eons ahead of VTA in any case. Other areas of city planning are improving though.

    Donk Reply:

    The Bay Area seriously needs to pass a multi-county Measure R-type transit tax. And put those funds in the hands of someone competent.

    therealist Reply:

    comPetence is VASTLY overrated !

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