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?

    Eric Reply:

    I remember a speech in Iron Man 2 along these lines…

  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.

    blankslate Reply:

    Umm, just ride your bike about a mile up to the Albertsons and Costco on Hollister.

    I lived in Santa Barbara for years without a car, and it was pretty easy, at least compared to the Bay Area. A reasonably fit person can bike from the extreme edge of the metro area to downtown in about an hour, so how bad can it be?

    Anyway, it was unfortunate that Joe gave the 24X as an example of a good train connection, since it is actually a pretty bad example (train station outside of downtown with almost no direct transit service). You, on the other hand, chose to completely ignore the example of the Marguerite shuttle, which shows that a very large and unwalkable campus can be efficiently connected to train service. I’d say the score is 1-1.

    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.)

    joe Reply:

    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.

    A University will get possibly 100+ qualified applications for a tenure track position and can fill any position easily at low salary but the goal is to attract top candidates and, for UC, build a top 10-20 program. That means hires with either a proven record winning grants or of noted scholarship.

    Top graduate students will look for positions but the timing is difficult. They will wait for the right tenure track opening(s) while post-doc’ing in the best departments. The very best do not jump at the first tenure opening. Accepting a position into a weak program and not attracting top students will tank a promising career. I’ve seen that and Iv’e seen people get stuck at institutions. The very best are recruited and depts will open a position tailored for a candidate. 100 apply and they pick their person.

    UC Merced should be able to build a program within reach of Berkeley or U of IL in Comp Sci., for example, if it had access to HSR. The UC M campus offers a good quality of life and would be a 2 hour trip from LA and SF.

    If you need me to explain why access to SF and LA is necessary for attracting and retaining the best UC Applicants and Faculty then you’re one of the least self-aware people trolling the internet.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Lol at 100+ qualified applications. Well, I guess it’s strictly speaking true that if the university gets 500 applications then it’s 100+, in the same sense that “lose up to 50 pounds” is true if you only lose 2 pounds. At Bridgewater State, there are about 160 applications, as far as I remember. At actual research schools, it’s far higher.

    Top graduate students will get NSF postdocs if they’re American, or decent postdocs if they’re not. (The very few best will get the top postdocs, but that’s like 10 people per year US-wide getting the non-NSF positions at places like Harvard and MIT.) They might wait a year, but it’s uncommon to wait years for the right position to open. During postdoc, people with some flexibility can apply in two successive years for tenure-track, but this is uncommon, and usually requires cobbling together an NSF funding source plus another funding source.

    To build itself up, a university mainly needs funding to convince top people to come in. For example, UT spent decades getting John Tate to come in from Harvard. This often requires the chair to jockey for resources with the dean and the president, because there’s only so much funding the university has to hire superstars, and if the math department gets one, then the economics department doesn’t. And of course some universities have been good for long enough that it doesn’t matter if they’re at a peripheral location.

    I don’t actually think HSR helps any university. It’s hard to say because the only academic environment outside North America I’m even mildly familiar with is France, but there I don’t think Lyon has managed to attract better talent just because of HSR access to Paris. The top people still go to Parisian universities.

    What does help a university is being in a large metro area with many other universities. This is for several reasons:

    1. Most people would prefer living in New York or San Francisco to living in Merced. That’s why Merced is cheap and San Francisco is expensive.

    2. A large metro area is friendlier to two-body problems, especially when it has a large number of universities at a variety of levels. The Bay Area is actually relatively weak there, since it has a steep drop in quality below Stanford and Berkeley, whereas Boston has Brandeis, BU, BC, Northeastern, and Tufts, and New York has Fordham, the better CUNYs, Rutgers, and Stony Brook.

    3. A large city can maintain a network of collaborators even without conference travel, which means that people at teaching schools without research funding can still do research; CUNY is exceptionally good at this, and my grand-advisor has former students with very high teaching loads who still can attend CUNY seminars and conduct research.

    HSR should be of some help, especially with point #3. But there’s only so much it can help if it costs $100 roundtrip to get from Merced to a Berkeley seminar. HSR will emphatically not turn Merced into part of the Bay Area. It can help Merced be a satellite metro with significant Silicon Valley-bound commuting, but it’s too far and too expensive to have the same ties that exist between the urban CUNYs. Just as the TGV hasn’t turned Lyon into Paris, CAHSR is incapable of turning Merced into San Francisco.

    Drunk Engineer Reply:

    Building HSR will be highly detrimental to making UC Merced a top institution. The $60+ billion CA spends on HSR comes at the expense of higher education spending, esp. the UC system.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    …having Cornell hasn’t turned Ithaca into much of anything other than yet another Northeastern college town. Or Dartmouth turned Hanover into a slightly different version. Merced can aspired to becoming New Brunswick. And Merced is never going to see competition like there was for the southern half of Roosevelt Island.

    joe Reply:

    HSR should be of some help, especially with point #3. But there’s only so much it can help if it costs $100 roundtrip to get from Merced to a Berkeley seminar. HSR will emphatically not turn Merced into part of the Bay Area

    UC M will recruit better and more diverse students if it is 2 hour from either SF or LA.

    I’m not thinking about HSR for attending UCB seminars but faculty research collaboration, student committee, recruiting…Access to industry, funding…

    But what are YOUR ambitions? Teaching college or research ?

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Well, Dartmouth is the least prestigious Ivy, specifically because it’s remote. But the situation for Cornell is very different. The next example I was going to bring up is Urbana-Champaign: so middle-of-nowhere that David Foster Wallace could describe its social dynamics in terms of SUVs vs. pickup trucks, but still some strong research departments.

    As for faculty research collaboration, it’s similar to the seminar situation, only somewhat less frequent. You want to be close, but you want to be close by a mode of transportation that won’t burn a significant chunk of your travel funding, and I think the range is much less than that of Merced-SF. For what it’s worth, I don’t recall much collaboration with people living in New York when I was living in Providence (my CUNY collaborator was in Providence that semester), but we had extensive collaboration with a professor at Amherst; right now, a colleague of mine who is in Worcester this semester drives to Providence frequently. This should give you an idea of what the range is.

    I’ll plead ignorance about student recruitment issues. The environments I’m familiar with are very much unlike California. Either they’re private schools, which recruit from a huge geographical area, or they’re public schools in relatively compact areas (NUS and Singapore, UBC and Metro Vancouver and sort of Metro Victoria) such that intercity transportation matters less.

    Personally I see myself as doing research + teaching, but this is standard for most researchers nowadays.

    Donk Reply:

    Well both UCLA and UCSB lose out on good faculty because they are expensive to live next to and hard to commute to. Many faculty are choosing USC over UCLA partially because it is just easier to get to USC. UCSB is a great place, but it is just impossible to live there. The purple line to UCLA or Metrolink to UCSB might actually make a significant difference.

    Joey Reply:

    Metrolink to UCSB? Take a look at map and see where the tracks are in relation to the university.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Do faculty members actually avoid UCLA because of living costs? My impression of assistant professor salaries is that they’re high enough to pay the rent, even at places like Berkeley, Cambridge, the Village, and West LA.

    For one data point, I know a couple with a two-body problem who have postdocs at UCLA and USC. With two postdoc salaries, they live in Santa Monica (at least, the UCLA postdoc half the couple intended them to). An assistant professor salary is way lower than two postdoc salaries, but the assistant professor most likely either is single or has a partner with a supplementary (or higher) income.

    joe Reply:

    “Do faculty members actually avoid UCLA because of living costs?”

    I’d say no. They’d take hit. It has UC foundation, good students, facilities and reputation, good airport, consulting opportunities, culturally diverse – top 10-15 CS program.

    They would take the position and work on their tenure and career to either push up their salary or eventually jump to a better situation.

    Donk Reply:

    @Joey – ok – Metrolink near UCSB, not to UCSB. Agreed that taking a shuttle from the station to campus is not ideal, but it doesn’t need to be difficult if UCSB makes a commitment to putting a better shuttle system in place. In the end it wouldn’t be much different than the purple line stopping at Wilshire/Westwood if your office was in North Campus.

    Donk Reply:

    @Alon & Joe – Ok yes, an assistant professor can afford to live right next to UCLA and or UCSB if they want to. But if you want to live in a descent house with descent, affordable schools for your kids, you gotta go somewhere else. I am operating under the assumption that many professors have kids and want to live in a detached home.

    Another somewhat related note – spouses of professors who get offers at UCSB often are unable to find jobs in the area, and is a major limitation for that University in attracting high quality faculty.

    joe Reply:

    Donk

    U MT and Stanford have faculty housing. UCLA does but the rates look pretty step to me. Two body problem is real and most relationships I know break up at this point – getting a job. Attracting top talent can mean dual positions and even Stanford does this. I know of two cases.

    I would disagree with Alon that SF and NYC are top destinations. My life plan and that of many of my peers was a professorship at a college town with good connections and students where the income was, for the area, very good.

    Many newly minted professors do not have kids. That is my personal experiences and those of the community I know – we postponed that part of life. No time and money. The late 20’s and 30’s are a mix of “catching up” It varies by degree. I see more married graduate students in humanities than Comp Sci. /Eng.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    You do all realize that most people don’t work in education, most people who work in educations don’t work in colleges or universities and most people who work at colleges and universities are professors?

    Alon Levy Reply:

    In math, kids in grad school is exceedingly uncommon, especially for people who intend to stay in academia. Kids in postdoc is marginally more common. Kids in tenure-track is more normal.

    For my late Xer/early Millennial peers, a significant chunk of the life plan includes living in a walkable area, which excludes a lot of those small college towns.

    synonymouse Reply:

    The $60bil figure is low and not just because of PB and Tutor greed but the large and continuing significant subsidies running some few half-empty trains over the DogLeg will entail. Who knows who will pay for Palmdale commute runs.

    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?

    joe Reply:

    No.

    Observer Reply:

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

    joe Reply:

    Beats me.
    1) who would want to go to the remote and icky Central Valley?
    2) There’s no benefit to HSR putting Fresno less than 120 minutes from LA and under 90 from SF.
    3) Fresno is icky and remote.

  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.

    blankslate Reply:

    I drove the reverse of that route points this past Friday around 5pm and it took 35 minutes.

    And I had to pay for parking.

    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.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Got it. I still have some SP stationary with the 6th/Main address and a “streamliner” logo.

  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.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    The main attraction of Fresno is cheap water. I agree pulling it closer to Sacramento has potential. But right now, Capitol Corridor service is too expensive and slow to catalyst the growth happening right now in the Sacramento Valley.

    It’s a combination of Bay Area and Angeleno transplants using their existing home equity to buy a bigger, newer home. It’s also fueled by professionals moving to Sacramento to avoid competition from immigrants who work in industries where it is relatively easy to set up shop. State government, however, is 60% of metro Sac’s GDP and with Brown being relatively tight-fisted, don’t expect much to change out here.

  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.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Adi: Conrail would get it? What do you mean by that?
    DoT transfers it to the states
    What would that have to do with Conrail?
    Certainly the freights don’t want it

    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.

    jimsf Reply:

    Bart will either take over existin caltrain, or, work its way down the peninsula one station at a time, probably starting with an extension from milbrae to downtown san mateo (subway) watch for that to be proposed.

    synonymouse Reply:

    We will know by the end of the year the immediate fate of PB-CHSRA and by extension the funding of Caltrain electrification. Of course hsr could implode and the bookend monies still retained by the various parties benefiting. Strange things have been known to happen in politics.

    Still if the current scheme and the blend survives judicial oversight and does not go back to the ballot, then Caltrain electrification is too far along to be overturned by BART.

    BART is carrying the luggage of retrograde tech it refuses to jettison. So the new equipment could very well be as noisy the current stuff. grubby urban utilitarian and rattletrap.

    J. Wong Reply:

    After the burn SamTrans got with the SFO/Millbrae debacle do you really see them supporting Bart to San Mateo? Without local support, Bart isn’t going anywhere else on the Peninsula. Besides, Bart seems pretty focused on the far East Bay and San Jose, right now.

    jimsf Reply:

    long term yes I do. After antioch and livermore and san jose and santa clara, then san mateo.

    Jon Reply:

    I think the only way some resemblance of sanity will be restored to Bay Area transit is if the MTC takes a bigger role in coordinating the individual transit operators, much as the MTA oversees the subway and commuter rail networks in New York. Think BART = New York Subway, Caltrain = Metro North.

    Until then you’ll continue to have a situation where individual transit operators compete with each other for the same market, much as private subway operators did in the early days of the New York and London subway networks.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    New Yorkers weren’t stupid enough to run the subway all the way out to Trenton and New Haven.

    Jon Reply:

    New Yorkers didn’t build their subway during a period where suburban sprawl was the idealized form of development.

    What’s your point, exactly? That your system is way better than ours?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    My point is that in the rest of the world isn'[t stupid enough to send the subway 50 miles out from the center. . No one in Washington DC is seriously proposing extending Metro to Baltimore and Baltimore is closer, much more of a destination and bigger than San Jose. Or anyone in Boston sending the subway to Providence. Or Chicago sending the L to Joliet, Waukegan or Elgin.

    Jon Reply:

    No disagreement there. What relevance does that have to how Bay Area transit should be organized?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    I dunno either. you were the one who brought it up.

    Reedman Reply:

    bigger???

    Baltimore population is 621k and falling.
    San Jose population is 982k and rising.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Baltimore has suburbs. San Jose is a suburb.

    JB in PA Reply:

    The east coast is special…..don’t try this at home kids.

    Of course population density has nothing to do with it. Try discussing the square miles of empty land out west and get shouted down.

    http://www.mapofusa.net/us-population-density-map.htm

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Okay, then don’t compare it to New York. Compare it to Washington, or Toronto, or Vancouver. Why does Vancouver manage to have more riders on SkyTrain than the Bay Area gets on BART? The Expo Line does go pretty far into the suburbs by Vancouver standards, but it’s still only 30 km, and people in Surrey are constantly complaining that the Expo Line only touches Surrey but doesn’t go very deep into it.

    joe Reply:

    San Jose trolling is fun.
    MARC commuter runs from DC to Baltimore with BWI stop. DC METRO extension isn’t needed.

    Chicago has METRA which runs to Joliet, also a line to Naperville and another to Elgin, Aurora and etc to Satellite cities. No need to run CTA to these cities. again, service would be redundant to the prexisting service that goes back decades.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Yes, and Caltrain goes to San Jose. That’s the entire point: keep the long-distance travel on mainline rail.

    Or are you talking about SJ-Oakland? Because there were proposals for Caltrain East, which were rejected in favor of BART. It’d be new service rather than a historic line like Metra, but then again there are areas where passenger rail was discontinued and restored decades later, like Providence and the Old Colony Lines.

    Joe Reply:

    Tunnel under the bay was BARTs killer app. Peninsula residents had scenic 280 which completed in 64 and connected SJ to SF.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    It would be a local train to supplement the long distance trains like Trenton locals and expresses and the Poughkeepsie locals and expresses supplemented the long distance trains. I’m sure Metra took up slack as did MARC, SEPTA, SLE and MBTA. Or a local amplification of the Capitol Corridor trains like NJTransit replaced Clockers. But then passengers would’t be able to gaze in wonder at each and every platform between San Jose and Oakland like they will be able to do with BART. Mmm mmmm mmmmm all local all the time sounds so inviting!!!

    Michael Reply:

    280 wasn’t finished until early 70’s when they completed the gap between 92 and Farm Hill. 85 to Farm Hill and 92 to 1 in Daly City opened 67-68. 280 was still in the early planning stages when San Mateo County leaders (not a general vote) withdrew from the proposed BART district. That was probably around 61 or 62. The three-county vote to form BART was 1963.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    yeah well San Mateo county was bright enough to not get suckered into slow local trains, they had their fast express trains that used a more direct route, what did they need BART for?

    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.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    I’m just pointing out transfer options that are easier than CalTrain…

    Alon Levy Reply:

    As awful as the Caltrain experience was, it doesn’t really compare to having to take two flights instead of one.

    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.

    Donk Reply:

    If you are going on a week long conference and can’t travel light then Spirit is not the airline for you. The problem is that people book flights on Spirit simply because it is the cheapest fare on Kayak and then don’t do the math on the fee details.

    And yes, they do not take personal responsibility for their lack of reading or doing simple math and they instead blame the airline. It is 100% their fault if they get charged too much.

    I am not talking about blaming other passengers.

    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.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Meh Cantonese comes from meh cooks. Sometimes good Cantonese is just the thing like good central European is sometimes just the thing. the chances of finding good anything in Vancouver is higher than Indianapolis.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    I’d believe that, except that even the good Cantonese restaurants, the one where I’m almost the only white person, are meh. This is not true of Sichuan or of Xi’an Famous Foods or of Zhejiang cuisine.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Well sometimes sorta bland food is just the thing. Whether it’s wonton soup or kreplach soup. And sometimes the wonton or kreplach get stuffed with ricotta and covered in tomatoes.The trayf doesn’t always have to spicy slathered over it.

    EJ Reply:

    To really appreciate Cantonese food you’ve got to learn to enjoy weird parts of odd animals, and a fair amount of smelly fermented things. If you shy away from that it can be pretty monotonous.

    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.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    It actually makes sense to link the Cascades to CAHSR, but it is true the ridership would be low between Sacramento and Eugene. I would stick to the Klamath Falls alignment because Crater Lake is a big draw.

    Another option is a Portland to SF night train in the European style.

    Amanda in the South Bay Reply:

    Medford and Ashland (Southern Oregon Univ) > KFalls and OIT

    Amanda in the South Bay Reply:

    People in Oregon *drive* to Crater Lake.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Um, why yes.

    That whole lack of connection from Klamath Falls I am sure puts a dent in ridership demand. But something more accessible and convenient could a actually change that…

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    There’s a whole 66,000 people in the county. There wouldn’t be much ridership no matter what is there to put a dent in.

    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.

    Clem Reply:

    I love the idea of a covert wayfinding guerrilla group. People would post appalling cases of bad signage to a suggestion website, and small cells of covert designers would deploy professional grade signage in the dead of night.

    EJ Reply:

    Reminds me of this guy, who got tired of the piss-poor freeway signage in LA back in the 1990s, and made his own:

    http://ankrom.org/freeway_signs.html

  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?

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Heaven forbid. Let’s have a northern CA regional authority that runs the San Joaquins, Cap Cor, Caltrain and Ace. Rationalize some facilities and cut overhead by 50% plus.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    That’s what awaits us in 2017. One Ring (the Bay) to rule them, and in the darkness, bind them.

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    Why no reply, former BART director Robert S. Allen?

    jonathan Reply:

    Ahh you’re the person who wants to “annex” San Mateo. In just the same way that Putin is annexing Crimea. Does the “annexation” of the Sudetenland or Austria ring a bell?

    EJ Reply:

    Great analogy. Bravo. Nothing contributes to a discussion like comparing a spat over transit agency jurisdictions to Hitler.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Lebensraum! Bart-land, Bart-land uber alles!

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    first Stockton then the world.

  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.

    Thomas Reply:

    Do you think the Legislature will go along and approve the $250 million in Cap and Trade for HSR the Gov. is asking?

  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 !!

    EJ Reply:

    I always say to people I know from Arizona – “getting rid of daylight savings time – the only good political idea to ever come out of your state.”

    Donk Reply:

    Putin got in on the act in 2010 and canceled 2 or Russia’s 11 time zones. Now there are only 9 time zones in Russia.

    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.

    blankslate Reply:

    We are now on Daylight Savings Time 2/3 of the year and only on “Standard” time 1/3 of the year. Let’s split the difference and shift the clock 40 minutes ahead, and leave it at that.

    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

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    You don’t waste any daylight if you get your sorry selves out of bed in the morning.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Waking up in the morning is for lazy people. Real hard workers get up at 4 in the morning every day.

    EJ Reply:

    Stop me if this sounds totally radical, but maybe school could start and end later so kids don’t have to go to school in the dark? Instead of screwing up everyone’s schedule and creating all kinds of headaches for people whose job it is to keep track of time?

    I don’t think anyone who doesn’t work in IT can truly appreciate the amount of time wasted pointlessly to make sure computer systems properly account for DST.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Check to see if the daylight savings time is set?

    EJ Reply:

    You mean, check to see if the settings that software developers have spent thousands of hours building, testing, and debugging are enabled? Just to accomodate DST? That’s the point.

    joe Reply:

    One of my favorite:

    http://www.dailytech.com/Lockheeds+F22+Raptor+Gets+Zapped+by+International+Date+Line/article6225.htm

    When the group of Raptors crossed over the IDL, multiple computer systems crashed on the planes. Everything from fuel subsystems, to navigation and partial communications were completely taken offline. Numerous attempts were made to “reboot” the systems to no avail.

    Luckily for the Raptors, there were no weather issues that day so visibility was not a problem. Also, the Raptors had their refueling tankers as guide dogs to “carry” them back to safety. “They needed help. Had they gotten separated from their tankers or had the weather been bad, they had no attitude reference. They had no communications or navigation,” said Retired Air Force Major General Don Shepperd. “They would have turned around and probably could have found the Hawaiian Islands. But if the weather had been bad on approach, there could have been real trouble.”

    “The tankers brought them back to Hawaii. This could have been real serious. It certainly could have been real serious if the weather had been bad,” Shepperd continued. “It turned out OK. It was fixed in 48 hours. It was a computer glitch in the millions of lines of code, somebody made an error in a couple lines of the code and everything goes.”

    EJ Reply:

    That one’s still pretty baffling. All key systems should have been running on UTC – doesn’t matter where you are in the world. Maybe there’s a requirement that certain aspects of the UI output local time, but that conversion should have been done far above any application layer that would actually crash the system.

    EJ Reply:

    My point isn’t that accommodating DST isn’t a solved problem in the software/data biz. We know how to do it. It’s just that it’s occupying a bunch of headspace, for a system the hardly anyone really likes or benefits from, that could be used for something actually useful, productive, and interesting.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Clearly, the solution is to spend a trillion dollars on a new plane. Remember the saying: trillions for defense contractors, not one penny for internal improvements.

    Jerry Reply:

    Or was the saying: Moderation in the pursuit of a new plane is no virtue. And extremism in the spending of money for defense is no vice.

    Donk Reply:

    They need to completely overhaul school hours and vacation time to account for the reality of life in the 21st century, where everyone isn’t a farmer and you have two working parents. So yes, the daylight savings thing should be on the table when our country gets its act together and finds a better solution.

    blankslate Reply:

    FYI, the idea that the rationale for DST had something to do with farmers is a complete myth. Farmers were, indeed, practically the only group that organized *against* DST when it was first established.

    Joe Reply:

    Summers are too hot to hold kids in school.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    That was never the rationale: the school year is not year-round even in areas without hot summers. The rationale was that summer was the harvest season, so children needed to go back and help their parents.

    StevieB Reply:

    In the TIME articleA Brief History Of: Summer Vacation your agrarian rational is shown to be a misconception. Fall is the harvest season not summer. Before the civil war rural schooling was divided into summer and winter terms, leaving kids free to pitch in with the spring planting and fall harvest seasons. Urban students, meanwhile, regularly endured as many as 48 weeks of study a year, with one break per quarter. In the 1840s concern for the health of the students in the unsanitary cities led to summer vacation which alleviated physicians’ concerns that packing students into sweltering classrooms would promote the spread of disease.

    blankslate Reply:

    I believe the ancient greeks, or someone else ancient like that, had a time system where every day had exactly 12 hours of daylight. So the length of an hour changed throughout the year.

    Eric Reply:

    I think that was everyone in the pre-modern era. Among other things, it means your day and night hours have different lengths (except on the equinox). Not convenient.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    It’s only inconvenient if you have a clock.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Yeah, but cities had had clocks for hundreds of years before standard time. Pendulum clocks are a 17th-century invention, and reasonable water-powered clocks existed in the medieval era.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The whole village would share one. It was synced to the sundial. The only people who cared were people who didn’t farm which means most people didn’t care. It doesn’t matter that it’s a different time in Philadelphia than it is in New York until the railroad gets that trip down to less than a day. Or the time in Paris versus Calais or London and Dover. The high speed transportation of 1825, the Erie Canal, got the trip down to ten days. The only people who care about accurate time keeping are people who cross oceans. Pittsburgh or Peking doesn’t move around much and neither do the trails, canals or railroads going there. The rivers can be tricky but they don’t move around much either.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The pendulum clocks were not synced to sundials; they were accurate enough by themselves. I do not know if in the 18th century, stores already had regular opening hours, but people very much did have a constant hour length rather than 12 hours of daylight.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Ya forget to wind it, then what happens? It gets cold and it runs fast, it gets hot and it runs slow. you can’t tell if it’s running fast or slow unless you are comparing it to another clock now and then. Until the railroads start sending out time signals… the local clocks are being synced up to apparent movement of celestial objects. The cathedral clock if there was a cathedral. There’s a local time signal you are syncing it up to. Took a few years for it to become railroad time in England and there weren’t time signals being slung around in the US until the Pennsylvania Railroad decided to use the time being observed in Pittsburgh.
    Nowadays we have these new fangled clocks that monitor time signals and adjust themselves. Until ten years ago listening for the beep on WINS and looking at the clock was good enough.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9CpsPgXyIm8

    Listening for the beep on WINS is good enough for me. It’s how I check the clock in the car – it drifts. Someone else in the household has gadgetitis so the kitchen clock “listens” to WWV and adjusts itself. Automagically shifting for Daylight Saving Time. So does the clock radio in the bedroom. If I type “time” into Google it figures out where I am and tells me what time it is ten miles from here. Which is good enough. But then the computers in the house are running NTP clients and the clocks on them are correct. The thing that records video along with the quaint VCR next to it “listen” to the time signal on PBS stations and adjust themselves. The cell phone used to be screwy, it would be off by minutes but the time on that is always correct these days. As long as it can get signal fairly often.

    Joe Reply:

    Babylonian.

  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.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Quite, Amtrak does own most of the NEC. That’s why the national network is disintegrating, the NEC will always need more money. Time to transfer NEC ownership to a consortium of the NEC states so that they can pay for the level of service they desire, just as we do in CA.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Amtrak estimates that two thirds of the money they’ve spent has come from the states. Get back to us when you have another 30 billion to kick in.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Paul, you can’t be serious.

    There is less than a zero percent chance that Amtrak could function if the NEC was deeded to various states. The real alternative is to deed it to CSX which is exactly what the GOP wants.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Conrail would get it. Neither CSX, NS or Conrail want it. Usual numbers that are tossed around is that 1,000 trains a day use it and only 50 of them are freights. Some of them neither CSX or NS.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Ted, explain your concern please

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Devolving state-supported routes to Amtrak is one thing, but doing that for the NEC or Long distance trains is a recipe for disaster.

    For example, most of the Acela NY to DC route is controlled by New Jersey and Maryland. Can you imagine how fast the system would go bankruptnif Maryland or New Jersey started to charge higher and higher trackage charges for their segments knowing the District, Pennslyvania, Delaware, and New York are held hostage.

    The experience of having the Surfliner run by OCTA will make these sort of “adventures in realignment” more visible than they are currently.

    CSX might not really want the NEC but would take it to ensure it has continuous tracks from NY to to Florida. The value of having port connections up and down the seaboard is a good advantage even it is not heavily utilized right now.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    They have access to metro NY without all those pesky passenger trains getting in the way.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juice_Train

    Anandakos Reply:

    CSX wouldn’t want it and doesn’t need it. They have a perfectly good parallel line which runs typically three to ten miles away. The owner of choice would be NSC; they’re the freight operator because they got the “Pennsylvania” part of Conrail (nee-“PennCentral”).

    Donk Reply:

    In principle, I agree with Paul on this one, but then there so much money thrown at highways and airports that the Amtrak money is just noise.

    Donk Reply:

    The bigger issue really is the federal gas tax imbalance. I am tired of giving my gas tax dollars to AK, AL, and MS. We should cancel the federal gas tax and leave it up to the states to fund roads and transit. For the tea party states that end up having their roads crumble apart – tough shit – create a gas tax, and stop blaming CA for your financial problems.

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    Amtrak and other NEC stakeholders are well aware of the obstacles they face — they’ve come to expect them. The railroad always is facing scrutiny, whether it’s over subsidies, long-distance routes, food service or operations; there has been more analysis of Amtrak than of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, Amtrak President and Chief Executive Officer Joseph Boardman says-

    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.

    jimsf Reply:

    well with muni, at least I always got where I wanted to go. sometimes it took a while, sometimes I had to walk or take a cab, but I got there and it was never boring.

    Amanda in the South Bay Reply:

    SJ is so much less densely populated than SF, dumping a BART station isn’t the end of the world.

    jimsf Reply:

    Better to build it now than try to add it later. Maybe they should at least excavate for it.

    Joe Reply:

    SF BART stations are close together. SJ needs to build more stations in their designated urban core and zone to build up. Then let VTA pass holders buy a BART pass for selected SJ station trips.

    Peter Baldo Reply:

    It’s a lot easier to build at least the shell now, rather than to add a station once the system is running. It all depends on how San Jose intends the area to develop. The Embarcadero station, the Berkeley subway, were built in the beginning. It would cost much more to add them now. Looking back, I don’t think anyone regrets the extra expense.

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    Embarcadero staion, Wikipedia

    Service at this station began on May 27, 1976, three years after the other San Francisco stations.[1] The station was not part of the original plans for the system. As a result of increasing development in the lower Market Street area, the basic structure of the station was added into the construction of the Market Street subway, anticipating a later opening.[4] The later opening resulted in the Embarcadero station having a much different design than the other three Market Street stations.[citation needed]

    Since at least 1992 the station was serenaded by the “Jazz Man” Ronald Brewington.[5] He would play saxophone for commuters and entertain them with conversation and charm.[5] For Christmas Brewington would give out Christmas cards to passengers stating “You are my Carnegie Hall”.[5] He claimed his name was Garrick Sherrod, however that was an identity he had stolen.[5] The Jazz Man was actually a fugitive from Albuquerque facing capital murder charges stemming from the 1987 murder of his wife Diedre.[5] He was arrested at a BART station in 2012 and extradited to New Mexico.[5] In 2013, he pleaded guilty to the murder and was sentenced to 16 years in prison

    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 !

  22. Keith Saggers
    Mar 9th, 2014 at 16:09
    #22
  23. Neil Shea
    Mar 10th, 2014 at 03:21
    #23
  24. Reality Check
    Mar 10th, 2014 at 03:32
    #24

    Headline story in the weekend edition of the Palo Alto Daily Post was “Peninsula $$$ could go to BART”. The story that MTC is proposing to forgive the $100m or so loan of Dumbarton Rail funds to the SJ BART extension. Interestingly and somewhat surprisingly, Menlo Park councilmember Kristin Keith was cited as among those who are questioning the ripoff.

    therealist Reply:

    STOP THE MADNESS !

  25. Reedman
    Mar 10th, 2014 at 09:30
    #25

    In other California public transit news:

    http://www.mercurynews.com/news/ci_25302661

    The BART Extension to San Jose is on-budget and one year ahead of schedule. The reason is the clack of political infighting between Alameda and Santa Clara counties, and all the money to do the project has been identified and is flowing in and being spent as expected. The Warm Springs Extension is expected to be fully operational in time for Super Bowl L in Santa Clara in Feb 2016.

    jimsf Reply:

    good.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    The BART Extension to San Jose is on-budget and one year ahead of schedule

    Oh, so it was completed from Fremont to Santa Clara in 2009, entered service in 2010, cost a total of $3.8 billion for everything, and is carrying 78,000 riders per day?

    Because that is exactly what was promised.

    Moron.

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    This is the extension to Berryessa, Berryessa to San Jose (Diridon) is not funded yet.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Moron

    Amanda in the South Bay Reply:

    At this point, I’d just be happy if the VTA adjusts their Fremont busses to whatever the new southernmost BART station is when it opens. Not counting on it though, given its the VTA.

  26. jimsf
    Mar 10th, 2014 at 12:17
    #26

    WHAT is up with the dumbasses who design ticket vending machines. I have yet to, in all my years and all my travels, and I am no stranger to public transit,….find a tvm with a decent user interface that makes any kind of sense. I swear its like they design them to be as fucked up as possible.

    Had to drop the car off today and take SACRT light rail home. I should have just walked the 20 blocks ( but I have a torn meniscus)
    First they charge 2.50 which seems pretty high for their rinky dink little bottom of the barrel 99 cent store light rail vehicles with the cheapest hokey interiors. ( parking lot trams are more comfortable)

    Then I knew Id have to come back later to get the car. The ticketing options/ user interface was unnecessarily clunky and stupid. I wanted two tickets one for now one for later and wound up with to tickets both of which expired at the same time. what a waste of five bucks.
    Talk about bad signage too, walking up and down k street trying to figure just where the train would actually stop.

    Whatever happened to just dropping your fare in the fare box when you board and getting a transfer.

    Joey Reply:

    The people who design them have no incentive to do it right as they’ll keep getting contracts even if they deliver a shoddy product.

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    At SFO BART ticket machines one can wait ages while people try to figure them out.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Good Lord Jim,

    Stop being such a grumpy old man. First it was daylight savings time, then people handing you cell phones instead of verbally telling you the number, now ticket machines and the “good old days”

    Are you always this annoyed when you lose an hour of sleep?

    jimsf Reply:

    yes. I am.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    RT’s kiosks are the stuff of legend. Most riders have monthly passes and steer clear of the machine.

    jimsf Reply:

    at least with bart it makes sense. of course Ive been using bart machines for 40 years so I know how to work them ( although they are still finicky when it comes to dollar bills)

    oh oh and you know what else…. holy jeezus the metrolink machines. In the sunniest place on earth, they made sure that every single freaking metrolink tvm interace faces directly into the sun no matter what time of day it is so you can never read the screen. (At least the with the RT machines, the automated lady is shouting the directions at you at full wake the dead volume and its cloudy a lot up here)

    Ted Judah Reply:

    If you ever need help finding your way around or want to grab lunch sometime, let me know.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    I was going to ask how it manages to have sunlight on it at night but nevermind.

    EJ Reply:

    Amtrak’s machines always seemed pretty straightforward. Haven’t touched them since they came out with the smartphone app with e-ticketing though. I’m actually fairly impressed that Amtrak got on the ball with that while a lot of airlines, not to mention European railways, are still struggling to get it implemented.

    jimsf Reply:

    Im not big on tech, or apps, or anything like that, but I actually have the amtrak app on my phone and find it is (much to my surprise) done very well. someone somewhere actually listened to our suggestions.

    EJ Reply:

    Yeah the only issue I have is you’ve got to click through too many screens to get from the home page to your ticket, kind of annoying when the conductor is walking down the aisle and you’re waiting for it to load. You should be able to click on “upcoming trips” and have your next ticket pop up right there, without then having to click “view e-ticket.” Or have a separate “view my next e-ticket” link on the home screen. But other than that it’s pretty solid.

    jimsf Reply:

    Oh I never get that far with it cuz I don’t use tickets. I just use it for checking skeds and train status.

  27. Reality Check
    Mar 10th, 2014 at 13:59
    #27

    Feb. 24 SF Chronicle:
    Anniversary party for BART SFO extension stalls indefinitely

    Today’s SM Journal:
    Failed BART/SFO 10-year anniversary bash

    BART to SFO, which had many problems when it opened, didn’t [sic: still doesn’t] attract the riders it predicted, and was losing money (SamTrans had to pick up the tab). Today, it is a success. The $1.5 billion line from Colma to SFO with stops at South San Francisco, San Bruno and Millbrae has carried more than 30 million passengers and is operating at a [sic: non-] profit. BART, not SamTrans, now operates this extension and is the beneficiary of the increased revenue. Even though BART took a heavy toll on Caltrain funding, Caltrain reinvented itself and is also [not] a big success.

    ***

    Today, I would be more than happy to celebrate BART’s achievement. It provides a necessary service and is a boon to Peninsula residents who want to leave their cars behind and travel to the East Bay or to San Francisco. Often objections to a major project fade away once it is built and working. No major infrastructure project is built without vocal critics. In the case of BART to SFO opponents, led by several members of Burlingame’s city council, traveled to D.C. to stop federal funding.

    Today, we have another group of people fighting high-speed rail. They bring lawsuits, write letters to the editor and sponsor initiatives. Some suggest that state funding for high-speed rail should be used for early childhood education. No one, not even tea party members, are against early childhood education. And no one should be. It should be available to all children in the United States as part of the public school system. It is a number one priority.

    The problem with trading funds is that high-speed rail is a capital project — one time money. Support for universal preschool is an ongoing expense. There is no similarity between the two. High-speed rail in California is going to happen. Just as it has happened in most European countries, in Japan, China, and the eastern United States. Once it is built, people will use it, like it and wonder why there was so much criticism in the past. Just like BART to SFO, it might even turn its critics into fans.

    ***

    Here’s the cost per mile of building BART to SFO and high-speed rail. BART to SFO from Colma to the airport cost approximately $172 million per mile for 7.2 miles. High-speed rail from San Francisco to Los Angeles will cost approximately $131.5 million per mile for 520 miles.

    datacruncher Reply:

    It did not take Robert Allen very long to post his pro-BART schtick to the San Mateo article comments.

    Reality Check Reply:

    His Facebook ID claims affiliation with BYU. Suggests he was afflicted with Mormonism before BARTism.

    Donk Reply:

    I don’t understand why people think it is ok to make fun of Mormonism, while other religions are off limits. The only people you can still make fun of publicly are Mormons and fat people. I am ok with making fun of people, as long as you can take it when people dish at your group.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Wait, is that actually true? In atheist circles, the most common religious group people tell jokes about is Southern Baptists, followed by Catholics. In secular Jewish circles of course people tell jokes about Judaism, relentlessly.

    jimsf Reply:

    I think its ok for people to make fun of their own, but not others. Except politics where anything goes. Religions are protected and people have to right that. I think the mormons should even be allowed their polygamy. Right wing politics though, I deeply despise.

    Reality Check Reply:

    I’m an atheist. While some seem nuttier than others, all religions are bunk to me.

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    Good article, thank you Sue Lempert

  28. Reality Check
    Mar 10th, 2014 at 15:22
    #28

    Machines quietly tunneling in Muni’s Central Subway project

    […] work has been imperceptible on the surface, even when passing beneath some of the city’s busiest areas, such as Fourth and Market streets, where the boring machines had to dig beneath Old Navy and Forever 21.

    “You could be in the Nike store shopping and you wouldn’t feel a thing,” Funghi said. “We’ve been very fortunate. Nothing on the surface has moved. We crossed under BART without stopping or even disrupting service.”

    The boring machines are made of three parts: a rotating cutting wheel, known as the cutter head, attached to a steel cylinder that serves as a shield and operations center and 300 feet of tunneling equipment. The machine spews a conditioning foam that softens the rock and dirt, which is ground up and inhaled by the cutter head and transported by a giant screw onto conveyor belts that haul the diggings out of the tunnels.

    As they lurch forward, 5 feet at a time, the machines install prefabricated curved concrete slabs that form the tunnel’s linings. Workers bolt them together and inject caulk behind them, and the boring machines press forward.

    The machines excavate and build about 50 feet of tunnel a day, Funghi said. Big Alma is quicker at 54 feet a day compared to Mom Chung’s 44-foot average, but Mom Chung holds the performance record of 96 feet in a single day.

    As the machines continue to chew their way north, construction crews are working on the North Beach shaft where the machines will be removed. Mom Chung is expected to be pulled out in May with Big Alma following a few months later.

    The tunneling may be done this summer, but it will be another 4-1/2 years before passengers can ride the Central Subway in 2019.

    […]

  29. Reality Check
    Mar 10th, 2014 at 15:47
    #29

    Wow, it looks like Utah Transit Authority’s “Frontrunner” trains feature nearly-level boarding into the same Bombardier cars Caltrain uses.

    Joey Reply:

    To be fair, Utah doesn’t have that outdated CPUC rule about workers hanging off trains. To be even more fair, CalTrain hasn’t even tried to get an exemption, even when it looks like the CPUC wouldn’t have many objections to it. At least they’ve begun to talk about it at the recent level boarding forum.

  30. jimsf
    Mar 10th, 2014 at 21:10
    #30

    The antidote to MUNI in a city of hills!

  31. Reality Check
    Mar 10th, 2014 at 21:31
    #31

    Crazy Japanese High-Speed Train Amenity: Footbaths!

    Have you ever been on a high-speed train and, out of nowhere, felt the urge to dip your feet into a nice warm bath while you watch scenery wizz by the window? Most likely your answer is “no,” but now you can do just that, thanks to Japan Rail’s introduction of luxury foot-baths on their trains this July.

  32. jimsf
    Mar 11th, 2014 at 08:24
    #32

    Does the two track option on the peninsula refer to not expanding two track areas to more than that only, and allows for more tracks to be used in those areas where row is already wide enough for more or where more than four tracks already exist. Because Im pretty sure most of the row is already four tracks wide.

    Joe Reply:

    The law freezes the HSR alignment to the description given in the 2012 business plan. It deferred to that 2012 document.

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    Provide High-Speed Rail (HSR) Compatible Electrical Infrastructure: An electrified Caltrain system would set the stage for an enhanced, modern commuter rail service and for future blended HSR service. While this project will not include or study all infrastructure necessary to implement high-speed rail service on the corridor (such as HSR maintenance facilities, station improvements, or passing tracks), the electrical infrastructure (such as overhead wire systems) will be compatible with later blended service

    J. Wong Reply:

    I don’t think the blended plan says anything about restricting entirely to a 2 track option. Didn’t Jerry Hill (CA senator on the Peninsula) propose a law that would in fact codify that because the blended plan left open the possibility? (Which I haven’t heard of since so I hope it died.)

    J. Wong Reply:

    :-( I was wrong it was passed! http://sd13.senate.ca.gov/news/2013-09-07-high-speed-rail-safeguard-bill-signed-law

  33. Keith Saggers
    Mar 11th, 2014 at 12:40
    #33
  34. Neil Shea
    Mar 11th, 2014 at 15:27
    #34

    Record ridership on Caltrain (48k/day) and BART (403k)
    http://www.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/news/2014/03/11/bart-caltrain-ridership.html

  35. Anandakos
    Mar 13th, 2014 at 15:45
    #35

    And then he wonders why people call him “Neel CashAndCarry”…..

Comments are closed.