What’s Stopping Climate Action?

Sep 21st, 2014 | Posted by

Protests are being held around the world today as part of the People’s Climate March. I’m all for the march and I wish them success.

It’s also a good occasion to remind ourselves of what is really preventing action on global warming. Contrary to what many people assume, the people who deny global warming is real aren’t the primary obstacles. They’re a nuisance, but are also pretty small in number.

The bigger problem is that not enough Americans have shown themselves willing to accept the costs, financial or not, of changing the way we live. There is no way to reduce carbon emissions without making such changes. But many Americans, especially older ones, have been taught that the way we lived in the late 20th century was the Greatest Thing Ever, the Pinnacle of Human Civilization.

And there lies the problem. Even in blue states like California, where climate denial is relegated to the political fringes and where voters have backed climate measures like AB 32 and high speed rail, there’s still resistance to taking action to reduce CO2.

Every time a NIMBY screams about new density in their neighborhood, every time a business complains about losing parking to transit or a bike lane, every time someone complains about costs and efficiency as an excuse to oppose giving everyone mass transit no matter where they live, – every time those things happen, it undermines our ability to reduce CO2 emissions and address climate change.

We can see that unwillingness to take action on climate change, rather than acceptance of its reality, is the real problem just by looking at Neel Kashkari. At the gubernatorial debate earlier this month he said climate change was real. He’s not a denier. But he also opposes taking any meaningful action to address the problem. Kashkari opposes high speed rail, opposes inclusion of fuels in the cap-and-trade system, and even opposes the new statewide ban on plastic grocery bags. He routinely hints at the need for less environmental regulations, and while he is not very clear on what exactly he suggests we do there, the effect is likely to undermine efforts to reduce CO2 emissions.

Neel Kashkari has no chance of being elected governor. But he’s showing us that accepting the reality of climate change – and that humans are causing it – doesn’t mean anything for actually doing something to stop it.

It’s also true that oil companies and their Republican allies stand in the way of climate action. But that doesn’t invalidate my point. In many ways it reinforces it. Oil companies tried to repeal AB 32 at the ballot box and when that failed, they ran a high profile media and lobbying campaign to exclude fuels from the cap-and-trade system. That failed too.

Republicans oppose climate action not solely because of oil money, though that’s surely part of it. Their entire political movement is rooted in defense of the society of the late 20th century, from its white male privilege to the carbon burning ways we live. Their base are the people who complain about Agenda 21 and believe that nobody will ride trains.

In a state like California, those people are nowhere near a political majority. But when you add to their numbers people who call themselves Democrats, who say they believe humans are causing climate change, but also oppose density and believe that nobody will ride trains, you can get close to and in some cases actually achieve a majority of the population.

And then you can block things like urban density, or new trains, or bike lanes, or wind turbines, or big solar projects, and so on. Throw in people who may not care at all about those things but who care very deeply that their taxes not go up to pay for any of it, and it’s not hard to build a coalition that blocks meaningful climate action even though that coalition includes a lot of people who accept that CO2 emissions are making our climate hotter.

California’s record here is mixed. At the statewide level there clearly is a political majority to act on climate and ignore the whining that comes from Republicans, oil companies, and those who dislike change. HSR’s future in Sacramento is bright. But when you get to the local level, it is not hard to build a political majority to block climate action.

My hope is that today’s climate march not only helps build momentum to not only take on the oil companies, but also those in our communities who are preventing us from doing what we must to stop climate change from getting worse.

  1. synonymouse
    Sep 21st, 2014 at 10:21
    #1

    Growthmongering is Climate Change. There is no smart growth, just more growth or less.

    LAHSR is real estate exploitation. Sprawl pure and simple.

    synonymouse Reply:

    The People should March on Jerry Brown, demanding he keep the **** out of the high desert.

    Jon Reply:

    Given that life expectancies are increasing, less population growth means restricting the number of children that are born. How exactly do you intend to do that?

    synonymouse Reply:

    For men in America life expectancies are not changing. Approximately 82. A lot of my friends never made it into their fifties.

    I just got to be a grandpa at almost 70 and I have three daughters. Internally the population is reasonably stable. It is millions of refugees from hellholes – where tradition and religious fanaticism are demanding high birth rates – who are upsetting the apple cart. European welfare states are starting to feel the impact.

    Eric Reply:

    Hispanic immigrants tend to adopt American birth patterns after a generation or two.

    Europe has a problem with Muslim immigrants, specifically the fanaticism which often attracts young Muslim males. But in the US this is not a significant issue.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Muslims in Europe tend to adopt European birth patterns after a generation or two as well. It’s something that’s very easy to miss in the various moral panics surrounding immigration to Europe, which nowadays are worse than the equivalent moral panics in the US. When European Muslims riot, they riot as unemployed minorities in a Western setting, same way as when American blacks riot. Often, the trigger for the riot is identical: a well-publicized police shooting of a nonwhite youth.

    Occasionally you see actual Islamic extremism in both the US and Europe, like going abroad to fight for Al-Qaida or ISIS or shooting up a military base, but that’s pretty limited, about on the same scope as when neo-Nazis go abroad to fight for Ukraine (because Russia = communists).

    Now, what is a more serious problem is FGM. That’s neither a Muslim nor a European problem: it happens in the US, too, among immigrants from countries that practice FGM, not all of which are Muslim (e.g. Ethiopia is mainly Christian). There are recent pushes from integrated progressive members of those communities to ban FGM, such as Nazir Afzal. It’s a few decades later than would have been ideal, but better late than never.

    Jos Callinet Reply:

    Please pardon my ignorance, but just what does the acronym “FGM” stand for? What is FGM?

    Jos Callinet Reply:

    Surely it isn’t “Federal Growth Management”!

    Reality Check Reply:

    FGM = Female Genital Mutilation

    Alon Levy Reply:

    This.

    JJJJ Reply:

    Europe is not having issues keeping their population stable or decreasing.

    And if you want to take a more forceful approach to birth control, we could eliminate teen pregnancies in a week. You know how we require children to be vaccinated to be in a public school? Require the birth control implants as part of that regiment. For women, today, for men when the supposed male version comes out in 2017. No birth control no public high school for you.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Ew.

    JJJJ Reply:

    We can start by simply no longer paying people to have kids. If you have kids, you shouldnt get a tax credit, thats ridiculous.

    Jerry Reply:

    Octomom would object.

    Paul Druce Reply:

    What is ridiculous about a slight tax credit to help defray the costs of a child? It’s not like a thousand dollar tax credit is a massive sum that they are receiving either.

    JJJJ Reply:

    We’re literally paying people to have children. It should be the opposite. Each child is using up a tremendous amount of public resources.

    joe Reply:

    No one is paying people to have kids.

    We do hold people accountable for their children. CA incarcerates parents for neglect, garnishes wages for child payments, mandates consoling and mandates families pay for that consoling if evidence of neglect or abuse is found.

    You can be investigated by virtue of an accusation without evidence.

    CA can remove a child from the home, mandate behavior under penalty of prison or loss of child.

    Raising a child is expensive.

    That’s why no on wis scamming the state for that fishy parenting job and tax credit.

    Paul Druce Reply:

    1) Family and progeny are a good thing and ought to be encouraged.
    2) A thousand dollar tax credit is nowhere near paying them to have children. It is a very limited defrayment of the costs of raising a child.

    JJJJ Reply:

    Theres 7 billion people on earth. No, we do not need more. No, it’s not something we should encourage.

    Why should we have to defray the costs of a choice someone makes? I made a choice to buy some beer today, care to defray that cost for me?

    joe Reply:

    Yes.We subsidized the grains that were used to make your beer.

    Joey Reply:

    Yes.We subsidized the grains that were used to make your beer.

    Benefitting from something and agreeing with it aren’t the same thing.

    Eric Reply:

    We should encourage a birthrate that is around replacement. In Africa and South Asia this means providing contraception. In Western countries this means subsidies for kids. (Contraception should be readily available in Western countries too, but for different reasons.)

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The issue in high- and middle-income countries (I hate the term Western here – East Asia has lower fertility rates than the West) is that in a lot of places, women have to choose between a career and a family. This suppresses birth rates and workforce participation at the same time, and leads to a situation where more feminist countries have higher birth rates, the exact opposite situation to the one in the third world. That’s how Scandinavia is barely below replacement whereas East Asia, Christian Democratic Germany, and Southern and Eastern Europe are far below it. What Abe is doing – appointing more women to the cabinet, signaling that Japan is liberalizing – is a small part of a more comprehensive solution.

    Also, you shouldn’t lump Africa and South Asia together. South Asia’s fertility rates are rapidly decreasing toward 2; India’s is 2.5. Africa’s are also rapidly decreasing, but are still quite high.

    Eric Reply:

    Hmm, last time I check India’s rate it was much higher, but that was several years ago. At that point Middle Eastern countries had already begun a serious drop, IIRC. Looking now, the only areas with very high rates are Africa and a handful of other areas like Afghanistan and Gaza.

    So, what ideas do you have to fix Africa’s problems? :)

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Yeah, that’s a hard one. At the risk of repeating conventional wisdom and overinterpreting the last few years, Nigeria has quick economic growth, about the same per capita as India and Bangladesh, so we can expect fertility rates to drop, even though so far they haven’t. Ethiopia is extremely poor, but has also had good growth lately, while its fertility rates have gone down about 0.15 per year. Several other large countries, some fast-growing (Ghana) and some not (Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania), have had large recent reductions in fertility rates, about 0.05-0.1 per year. The population projections for Africa are going up because in many places fertility rates aren’t dropping as fast as previously projected, but in the largest country, economic growth is necessarily going to lead to future drops if it continues.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    France disagrees with you and generously funds children with tax credits. As a result, its fertility rate is… 2.

    This whole BUT THEY’LL BREED LIKE RABBITS moral panic misses the important fact that in the entire developed and middle-income world, the only places with above-replacement fertility rates are small very religious subcultures: Israel, Mormons, the Amish, ultra-Orthodox Jews in Europe and the US. That’s a hair above 10 million people, and the vast majority of them have fertility rates around 3, not 6.

    Paul Druce Reply:

    Have fun watching NARAL and the USCCB join hands in lobby against that particular bit of insanity.

    TomW Reply:

    Rather than mandotry birth control, teachin teenagers about effective birth control would be a big step forward. That doesn’t happen in far too many schools.

    Anandakos Reply:

    Whooeee. THAT’ will go over with the Fundies. Yep.

    Lewellan Reply:

    Sprawl is part of the project, certainly for Gilroy and Los Banos, but Palmdale would do more infill along with more sprawl. The 1st Phase Madera-Fresno and even 2nd Phase reaching Bakersfield produce too little to justify the cost. Some clearing of route is sensible, but track laid first is more sensible anywhere other than Madera-Fresno. The environmental benefit of electrification through the valley is moot. Altamont electrification could by triply productive right away. Who would want to insure no one understands this truth? HSR Advocates or Opponents? Answer: Opponents

    joe Reply:

    Yes!! Gilroy’s downtown specific plan will have Sprawl in the title. That’s why the city recommended downtown as the station. Sprawl.

    Talgo!

    Alan Reply:

    Once again, Lewellan displays nothing but total and complete ignorance of the project, not to mention a total ignorance of reality.

    Lewellan Reply:

    Once again, Alan has nothing actually constructive to say about reality.

    Talgo-type locomotives as ‘dual-mode’ are merely more applicable in most rail corridors nationwide.
    To dismiss their application is an insult to actually credible transportation planning professionals, a minority of whom inhabit this forum. Blank rejections of perspective prove nothing, Alan, other than that you can’t substantiate a defense of your positions. Your advocacy for HSR lacks a clear understanding of the impacts both HSR modes impose upon communities. Many here accept or ignore route options in a narrow-minded fashion. My position is more balanced. If a balanced viewpoint isn’t Alan’s Reality, Alan et al undermine their own credibility. Justice is blind.

    Alan Reply:

    You’re hilarious–accusing me or anyone else of of not adding anything constructive to the conversation, when you’re the one who continues to show your total ignorance. You continue bleating about your precious Talgo toys, without realizing just how impractical they are FOR THIS APPLICATION.

    Now, whether you like it or not, here is the reality:

    1) The decision regarding the type of propulsion and method of operation for the California HSR system has been made. It was made nearly six years ago, when the electorate approved Prop 1A. It is the law of the state. You cannot change that. Talgo toys cannot meet the specifications that have been written INTO THE LAW.

    2) The route decisions have been made. You cannot change those, either. There are NO route decisions to be made at this point–only specific alignment options relating to the route that has been selected. Altamont is not an alignment option. Maybe in a decade or so.

    3) It’s not our fault that you did not, or could not, participate in the process at the time when your input might have made a difference. So quit whining about the decisions that were made.

    The difference between us, Llewellan, is that I’m smart enough to recognize the futility of arguing for changes that cannot be made. You aren’t. You try to advocate for positions which will not or cannot be adopted, and several of us have tried to explain that to you–nicely at first, now with a bit more forcefulness. Bottom line is, you don’t know jack about this project. Go back into your mommy’s basement and try to learn a few things about the project before trying to lecture the rest of us. And get the chip off your shoulder.

    To your credit, however, you have managed to do something good here. There are several of us in this forum who have very clearly been on different sides of certain issues, sometimes very passionately so. But you’ve managed to unite us on one position–that you are totally, hopelessly, bat-shit crazy.

    Lewellan Reply:

    Alan, the legal dictate about which rail technology is more applicable came crashing down 3 years ago when the project cost more than doubled ($42billion to $98billion), when communites along the Peninsula rightly objected to severe impacts, and when the project was salvaged with the ‘blended’ design that cannot meet the 2hr 40min supposedly uncontestable legal mandate.

    Please don’t bother me with your juvenile tantrums and insults. Too many forum participants here immediately respond to my viewpoint with senseless derision; demonstrating a level of intelligence only welcome behind closed doors among tyrannical bosses. But you’re no boss. You’re just another concerned advocate (that’s fine) who can’t however see that your closed-minded perspective could derail the project. Alan, you are NOT smart enough to to know how to deal with serious complications that typically occur on projects like these. It would be better if you resist the temptation to belligerently demand that your debatable opinion go unchallenged. Screw you.

    Alan Reply:

    Kid, you need to grow up. You’re dead wrong about “the legal dicate…” crashing down. The law is still the law. There is no debate about the technology for this project.

    Go screw yourself. I doubt that anyone else would have you. You’re trying to dictate the course of this discussion by insulting and deriding anyone who doesn’t agree with your delusion, and you’re the one who throws the childish tantrums. As far as “belligerent demands”–don’t flatter yourself. You’re not that important. You’ve proven that you have not taken any time whatsoever to actually understand that project. As far as others responding to you with derision–you make it too easy You post lengthy, nonsensical dribble which prove that you know nothing about HSR. It’s like shooting fish in a barrel.

    The law is the law. It will not change. Go back to mommy’s basement until you understand that.

    Lewellan Reply:

    I wrote stating my objection to your “juvenile” trantrums, Alan, but I really meant to use the word “infantile” instead. The discussion over which technology is more appropriate is still open, whether like it or not. I don’t believe you are able to think outside the box, and insults come to you more naturally than any expression of credible perspective. BTW, I’m in my 60’s and have record of accomplishment in rail planning that you, sir, will NEVER come close to matching. Don’t waste my time.

    Alan Reply:

    You’re full of shit. You have absolutely no credibility in this forum, you’re lying about your accomplishments, you’re totally incapable of recognizing sarcasm, and you have no clue about my accomplishments. You act like a 2-year old child. You’re still too stupid to understand reality.

    Reality, as I have repeatedly tried to explain to you, is Proposition 1A. You cannot change it. You cannot amend it. The discussion is OVER about technology. It has been over for nearly a decade.

    If you really are in your 60’s, and the transportation planner that you claim to be, then you had an opportunity to submit appropriate comments throughtout the planning process, when your “suggestions”–such as they are–could have been considered. Did you submit comments? Did you favor the Authority with the benefit of your vast experience? No? Then shut the h*** up.

    You obviously have not taken the time to learn about this project–you proved that with your uneducated comments about Los Banos. And have you noticed that absolutely no one else on this blog–not a single person–has found your “suggestions” to have merit?

    You really are delusional when you think that the government of the State of California is suddenly going to stop and undo well over a decade of planning to even, for a moment, consider your fantasies. You really need psychological help.

    You also have very selective memory, as you ignore this fact: I’ve acknowledged that there may be applications–relatively short-distance, lower-speed services–where your precious Talgos *might* be appropriate. The main HSR trunk line is not one of them. Thinking outside the box? You don’t even know what a box looks like.

    Act like a man. No one is taking you seriously. No one, even for a moment, is considering replacing real HSR with your Talgo toys. Your argument is done. It’s history. But you can go back to your bosses at Talgo and tell them that you’ve given it your best shot, and maybe they’ll give you a cookie.

    synonymouse Reply:

    “The discussion is OVER about technology. It has been over for nearly a decade.”

    What in hell are you talking about? PB-LAHSR have not got a clue about what they are going to do. Why do you think both the UP and BNSF have sent Richard and crew lengthy nastygrams demanding to know in appropriate detail what they are planning?

    Now why don’t you inform us about the intimate details of the DogLeg, the rolling stock and how it is going to interface with Amtrak on the class ones in the Valley. A little while ago someone was suggesting doodlebugs.

    Jerry is geriatric and does not know the difference between Talgo and tango. A few months ago we were going down the NEC trainset route. PB’s idea of hsr is BART.

    The craven courts have given Jerry and Richards carte blanche – they can do whatever they want. Prop 1a is nullified. They don’t even have to go to Palmdale if they don’t have to do 2:40 or not require a subsidy. There is no prioritizing provisos – it’s utter carte blanche.

    Alan Reply:

    Syno, even you know what I’m talking about. The debate Llewellan is trying to have–Talgos versus 200+mph, electrified trainsets is long, long over.

    If you want to read the details about the connections between the ICS and BNSF, read the EIR’s. The uncertainties between BNSF/UP and the Authority do not involve the kind of trains to be used–the class I’s know that they’ll be electric. The concerns of BNSF and UP have been discussed here at great length.

    And no matter how many times you say it, Prop 1A has not been nullified, and the Authority cannot do whatever it chooses. The appelate court made the correct decision based on the law.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Yeah Lewellan’s Talgo cause is like Mr. Alllen’s IBG cause or my Tejon cause.

    But the tech case is not that nailed shut. The NEC joint bid was a commitment and they backed out of that. It says something. 160 is much more likely the top operating speed in the real world of California than 200+. This is not Japan or Switzerland. We won’t talk Muni maintenance; just BART and, what, how many cars are out of service? These are 13 undocumented no-show guys just itching to drop a dime or walk the picket line. And the first thing to go is maintenance when the operating deficits start to snowball.

    Whoever gets the rolling stock contract is going to try to proprietarize the specs as much as they can get away with. So they always land the work in the future. Alternately PB might try to pull a BART and attempt to unilaterally re-invent the wheel and write the specs in minute detail. In that instance they would either be trying to shoot the contract to a select insider or they would run the risk of the bids coming in really high because the prospective builders would have to engineer something more from scratch than the usual practice.

    After a certain number of years observing the political scene you read tea leaves. In between the lines. The appellate judges have resolved to ignore the content of Prop 1a. There is no judicial oversight and PB has indeed been indulged with carte blanche.

    Alan Reply:

    The end of the joint procurement thing was more of an admission that there is too much of a difference between the century-old NEC and the new-build California project. It doesn’t change the fact that Calfornia HSR is going to be a 200+ mph, electrified system, and not Talgos, which cannot meet the Prop 1A specs.

    The appelate decision on the financial plan had less to do with what was in Prop 1A than with what wassn’t in Prop 1A–specifically, the lack of any remedies for violations of the law, and the unwillingness of the Court of Appeal to allow Judge Kenny to make them up. The bond portion of the decision had almost nothing to do with Prop 1A, but simply a restatement of bond law decisions that have been made over the course of decades.

    You can read tea leaves, I read the decisions. I saw nothing that indicates that th courts are ignoring Prop 1A or failing to provide judicial oversight.

    synonymouse Reply:

    When is a law a law and not an advisory? Is it still a law if there are no consequences for flouting it? When there are no penalties outlined it is up to the court to impose same. If the appellate ignores the abrogation of the “law” there is a message sent out to the plaintiffs and the defendants and that is we are not motivated to read or enforce, perhaps we don’t like the law and would rather go with political expediency. They chose to go with the program and please the boss. Some judicial independence.

    So what is Judge Kerry to do if he finds that he convinced with a reasonable degree of certainty that the PB-LAHSR scheme will neither do 2:40

    synonymouse Reply:

    Weird program – hit a random key et voila you are posted. So let us pick up where we got keyed.

    If the judge is convinced that PB is violating both the 2:40 requirement and the no subsidy proviso what is he to do? Nothing, according to the Cheerleaders, just wave it on. It is uncharted territory and I hope he will do the direct and dramatic and throw out Prop 1a. Then they would have no enabling legislation.

    Prop 1a is so self-contradictory and lacking it should never have been approved for the ballot.

    synonymouse Reply:

    And the PB-LAHSR scheme is so retrograde how much difference is there in reality between it and the “century-old NEC”?

    Does the NEC go on a gratuitous 50 mile detour following an 150 year old freight railroad route that was necessitated by a need for 2% gradients and a connection to the east to the transcon?

    EJ Reply:

    Wait, I thought that CAHSR was going to be exactly like BART; now you’re saying it’s going to be like the NEC? I’m so confused. It’s almost like all you do is moan and whine without any real coherent theme.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Pay attention:

    1. CAHSR exactly like BART? Is it possible to screw up that badly twice? Even for PB.

    2. The point was made that the proposed joint rolling stock order with the NEC was a poor idea from the outset because CAHSR would inherit the inherent limitations of NEC’s 100 year old operation. Obvious except that the einsteins at PB want to slap on a handicap of monumental, historical proportions with a sharp right detour 50 miles off course into the hinterlands. Like zombies stumbling along an obsolete Loop route dating back 150 years. Instant NEC.

    Alan Reply:

    Syno, the judge made clear that if the Tos action had gone to trial before the Legislature appropriated money based on the first funding plan, then there could have been a viable remedy–the Authority could have been ordered to redo the plan and resubmit it to the Legislature. Once SB 1012 was enacted, however, that wasn’t possible. The judge correctly ruled, and the Court of Appeal agreed, that the courts cannot overrule an otherwise constitutional act of the Legislature.

    The claims that the system cannot be designed to meet 2:40 or the no-subsidy requirement are grossly premature. But, we’ve debated those issues to no end, so there’s no point in going further here.

    The courts have no grounds to simply “throw out” Prop 1A, and not even the project opponents have asked the courts to do so. The only time the courts would have power to do so is if Prop 1A was unconstitutional, and that clearly is not the case.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Just a judicial cover story for capitulation. The Appellate Court has effectively announced PB’s jedi mind tricks work on them. Prop 1a is being studiously ignored; the judges regard it as a bad, unworkable law best consigned to the vault.

    So Prop 1a is no longer an obstacle to PB; they can do whatever they want. The Court has indicated they will make no attempt whatsoever to distinguish between lies and realities. Of course PB-LAHSR cannot make 2:40. It was never intended to; it is simply a collection of regional commute ops designed to enable real estate exploitation.

    Now some lies are easier to execute than others. With Propa 1a gone PB can dump Palmdale if for some reason they conclude that is expedient. All you have to do is temporize; we’ll get to Palmdale eventually. Anything that PB puts out is taken as gospel. Who is going to stop them?

    Lewellan Reply:

    Alan, you are entitled to your opinion, but not entitled to rudely dismiss the opinions of others. Your defense of the proposed 200mph system and argument against a 125mph Talgo ‘dual mode’ system are pretentiously weak. Your simplistic responses strain credibility and your condescending attitude has no place in this debate. Forums like this allow a-holes like you to bully others and not risk a fist planted in your face. However, judging by your persistent belligerant attitude, I can only imagine you as an obiese armchair slob or a limp-wristed pantywaiste accustomed to getting the last word by whining. Your contribution here is more counterproductive than you can possibly understand. F-off you jerk.

    Eric M Reply:

    @Lewellan,

    If your 125 mph Talgo can’t make SF-LA in 2:40, it is irrelevant. THAT IS THE LAW.

    Zorro Reply:

    Lewellan, since Prop1a is not going away and the CHSRA is winning, what do you propose to do? More whiny behavior? I agree with Eric, Talgo is irrelevant in California for HSR. Alan, Eric and others can dismiss you, so can I for that matter. You’re Dismissed.

    synonymouse Reply:

    “THAT IS THE LAW.” The law is whatever PB-LAHSR says it is. This is the upshot of the Appellate Court ruling. They are not interested in reading, investigating, interpreting, enforcing Prop 1a. The message is clear: when it comes to planning and policy of hsr the decision making is strictly and entirely political.

    So the power rests with the Authority and PB. Whatever they decree the Courts will rule in their favor. So what “hsr” in California comes to is determined by political winds. This constitutes a double-edged sword for the Cheerleaders. Ergo if PB and co. change their mind on Palmdale, with the nod from the bosses, and make it unexceptional Palmdale will lose in court.

    Similarly if they deem it politic to change the hardware of hsr so be it. Whatever PB says is true. If they want Talgos and they say it meets 2:40 so be it. If they decide monorail is hsr, so be it. If they decide to go IBG, so be it. However improbable they have effective carte blanche so long as the change order is approved from above.

    The point is there remains no judicial oversight so if the politix change there is no recourse. Who is going to stand up to the bosses? Nobody.

    Alan Reply:

    Forums like this allow a-holes like you to bully others and not risk a fist planted in your face. However, judging by your persistent belligerant attitude, I can only imagine you as an obiese armchair slob or a limp-wristed pantywaiste accustomed to getting the last word by whining. Your contribution here is more counterproductive than you can possibly understand. F-off you jerk.

    I seriously doubt that Llewellan is man enough to do any such thing.

    And Llewellan has the nerve to attack others for supposedly being “rude” and “infantile”? Pot, meet kettle. Obviously, you define “rude” as anyone who doesn’t kneel down and worship your idea of replacing real HSR with Talgo toys.

    If you were a real transportation planner, you’d understand a few things. You’d understand the laws that goven projects like this, and you’d understand how things have to be when the law defines how the system will be built. You’d understand the importance of using the right tool for the right job. Obviously, you understand none of those things.

    Llew, you’re entitled to your opinion, just as the rest of us are entitled to tell you how wrong it is. You’re ten years late to the debate. Talgos are not going to happen on the Calfornia HSR project, no matter how much you whine and pout. You’re wrong. Period. Full stop.

    Maybe you and Syno could get together and go find someplace to cry together. But just go. Take your nonsensical ramblings and your Talgo cheerleading and go.

    Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

    –Albert Einstein

    Pretty well defines Llwellan. All of his repeated whining about Talgos hasn’t changed anyone’s opinion up until now. Why should he think it will change?

    Alan Reply:

    Reposted to correct formatting:

    Forums like this allow a-holes like you to bully others and not risk a fist planted in your face. However, judging by your persistent belligerant attitude, I can only imagine you as an obiese armchair slob or a limp-wristed pantywaiste accustomed to getting the last word by whining. Your contribution here is more counterproductive than you can possibly understand. F-off you jerk.

    I seriously doubt that Llewellan is man enough to do any such thing.

    And Llewellan has the nerve to attack others for supposedly being “rude” and “infantile”? Pot, meet kettle. Obviously, you define “rude” as anyone who doesn’t kneel down and worship your idea of replacing real HSR with Talgo toys.

    If you were a real transportation planner, you’d understand a few things. You’d understand the laws that goven projects like this, and you’d understand how things have to be when the law defines how the system will be built. You’d understand the importance of using the right tool for the right job. Obviously, you understand none of those things.

    Llew, you’re entitled to your opinion, just as the rest of us are entitled to tell you how wrong it is. You’re ten years late to the debate. Talgos are not going to happen on the Calfornia HSR project, no matter how much you whine and pout. You’re wrong. Period. Full stop.

    Maybe you and Syno could get together and go find someplace to cry together. But just go. Take your nonsensical ramblings and your Talgo cheerleading and go.

    Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

    –Albert Einstein

    Pretty well defines Llwellan. All of his repeated whining about Talgos hasn’t changed anyone’s opinion up until now. Why should he think it will change?

    Neil Shea Reply:

    Alan — if you want to be the adult here you may want to give it a rest. No, no one listens about Talgos

    Alan Reply:

    Neil, you’re quite right.

    Lewellan Reply:

    I’d relish the chance to punch a deserving bully like Alan in the nose. Tell you what, Alan, insult some local rail transit advocate the same way you have me, only do it face to face and see what happens. This argument isn’t about HSR. It’s about how a dimwit bully like Alan ultimately gets what he deserves.
    Try to make whatever your point is in the least words, Alan. It is possible to say more with fewer words, especially on those rare occassions when you have something to say worth hearing.

    Alan Reply:

    Who’s the bully? You’re the one making threats, you’re the one who’s making childish, demeaning attacks. If you think it’s “bullying” to point out just how wrong you are, then you really are as immature as you make yourself out to be. I don’t insult “local rail transit advocates”–they’re all far smarter than you are. None of them suggest replacing real HSR with Talgos. And they can all write coherent sentences.

    I’m not bullying anyone. I’m sitting here laughing my a** off as you sink further and further. It’s actually a lot of fun watching you become more and more hysterical. You obviously don’t realize this, but I couldn’t care less what you say. I’ve been called worse things by far better people than you. Didn’t care about them, either.

    Face it, Llew. I’ve won and you’ve lost. The HSR project is under construction, with 200+ mph electric trainsets–in other words, real HSR. Nothing you say will change that.

    Maybe it’s only “rare occasions” when I say something worth hearing, but it’s still far more than you’ve ever accomplished here.

    You never answered my question: When there was an opportunity to shape this project–in other words, while the Program EIR was being developed, before Prop 1A was passed–did you or did you not submit comments? When you had the chance, did you try to convince people of the alleged merits of your idea?

    Didn’t think so.

    Lewellan Reply:

    Alan, you liar. I am fairly defending my position, after which YOU condescendingly, rudely, derisively malign me personally for an opinion contrary to yours which you uphold like a supreme authority shithead. You’re a bully and a liar that I’d be proud to go one on one with any time. You deserve a good comeuppance and will get it one day. No doubt many of your circle of associates feel the same way. I am able to express my opinion without going on and on and on as you do; a sure sign that you haven’t the mental capacity to make a point simply and fairly. You laugh because you’re a stupid jerk.

    Alan Reply:

    Exactly what am I lying about? You’ve been making threats. You’ve cowardly avoided answering my direct questions.

    You have no defensible position because what you advocate–replacing real HSR with Talgo toys–cannot and will not happen. It’s indefensible because you had an opportunity to make your views known to the Authority, and didn’t. You’re a coward because you sit behind a keyboard and make threats that you wouldn’t have the courage to do in real life.

    I’m laughing at you because you’re so pathetic. You don’t know when you’re wrong. You don’t even know what a “supreme authority” is. The “supreme authority” is the law of the state of California, which states clearly that what you advocate will never happen. Go read it before you babble on about things that will never happen. You can babble all you want about the supposed superiority of your low-speed Talgos against real HSR. Nobody’s buying it. You started this thread displaying complete ignorance of reality–stating that HSR will cause sprawl in Los Banos, when the law makes clear that there cannot be a HSR station in that city–not without another public vote to amend Prop 1A.

    And I”m laughing because I can see you hyperventilate into hysterics as you bang on your keyboard.

    Yes, I’ve written a lot of words. It sometimes takes a lot of words to get through to someone with such a thick skull as you. And BTW, I’m not expressing an opinion when I state what the letter of the law is. It’s a statement of fact. It speaks volumes that you don’t know the difference.

    You’re as clueless about my “circle of associates” as you are about practical transportation and when to give up. But I certainly have no need to defend myself to the likes of you. At least I have associates.

    Now go ahead, hyperventilate a bit more. Tell us again why the state should throw away 15 years of work and tens of millions of dollars to do LSR the way that you, and only you, think it should be done.

    Lewellan Reply:

    One last time, possibly more simply even for you, alan.
    Low speed rail (125-150mph) is applicable in most railroad corridors now, not 10 years of planning later, 30-40 years building, after which rail travellers actually acquire fewer new passenger-rail option arrangements for the state and nation. Starting with ‘dual-mode’ lessons will definitely apply to future HSR planning, duh. I mostly see the big picture instead of the gold-plated masarati could work as well LSR; something like that. Environment impact, noise, elevated viaducts alongside neglected existing road and railway crossings, etc, of certainty must leave people questioning YOUR credibility. Your inability to accept any LSR option is a sure sign of incompetence. Do not seek employment within any transportation planning agency or private engineering firm. Don’t embarrass yourself among the peers of your profession pretending to offer a fair assessment of the CAHSR project. No doubt many within your circle of associates feel the same. Who’s having hystrionics now, ya jerk? Just forget it. You’re not worth my time, but thanks for allowing this rail planning participant to put you in your place. Whatever you do, don’t give much advice on HSR. You’re counter-productive for the rail movement. Conservatives hate yer guts. I think you’re just conceited and drunk. Have a good weekend.

    Lewellan Reply:

    edit: Instead of the gold-plated masarati 200mph Bombarder, ‘dual-mode’ 125mph ‘HSR’ would work as well and better. Alan’s last post can be edited in half and still say nothing. (^;

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    To go 125.0001 MPH the track needs to be grade separated. The cost difference between grade separating for 125.0001 and 225 is minimal. It takes just as long to get the financing lined up while the environmental permits are taken care of.

    Zorro Reply:

    Lewellan, this 125mph ‘HSR’ of yours is not ever going to happen, only what the CHSRA is building will be built. No matter how much you agitate for your idea, what you want will not happen in California, you don’t have the power to make this so and that is a fact. But go ahead and whine, like a little 2 year old.

    Lewellan Reply:

    Don’t forget that a ‘dual-mode’ option would redirect electrification to where it would do some good.
    Talgo didn’t design that economic advantage among others with ’tilting’ McPherson Strut single-axles, least weight, least fuel consumption, and far more comfort. More existing track grade-separated for safety. More development directed to where so-called Progressives could (but won’t) build infill housing out of their stupid garages. Buy now. Garage w/attached house, fenced compounds by the hectare. I appreciate adirondacker, for this cost comparison study which demonstrates how Talgo, where compatable, would build Bakersfield-to-Sacramento in the 1st Phase. Upgrades only to San Juaquin and valley lines. =TALGO rail operation 2021= Electrify Peninsula. Upgrade LA.
    Decide route to Palmdale and put concrete there.
    Still, adirondack, whatever visitor reads my posts will defend my position for TALGO, baby.
    I’m having a good week. Portland-to-SLC Talgo. SLC-to-LV Talgo. TALGO LA-to-DENVER.
    Talgo to Alberquerque. How far behind are all of you here now that you see the big picture.

    Alan Reply:

    I’ve never said that lower speed rail has no use. Quite the contrary. There are applications for lower speed rail where the cost of HSR doesn’t make sense. The California HSR project, however, is not one of them.

    That said, the dream of Talgos everywhere will never happen. Current Federal policy provides for the purchase of standardized, bi-level passenger cars for corridor services. The first order of those standardized cars is now being built for Midwest services. The goal, of course, is to reduce expenses across the country by having a standard, interoperable pool of equipment and minimize parts inventories, etc. The Talgos will ultimately suffer the same fate as the various oddball turbine train sets in Amtrak’s past.

    Adirondacker is spot-on when he points out the minimal cost difference between 125mph and 225mph grade separated construction. The electrification cost is relatively low compared to the civil works, and the environmental effects far better than anything internal combustion, dual or single mode. In fact, the electrification cost for the IOS, per the 2014 Business Plan, is only about 8% of the cost of the civil works (adding together the costs in FRA categories 10, 20 and 40 on page 34, and using the figure in FRA category 60 (the electrification cost) to derive the percentage. So there isn’t a tremendous amount saved, and what might be saved could be signficantly offset by the cost of dual-mode vehicles and their support infrastructure (shops, etc.)

    The supposed savings from not doing electrification would also be offset by the costs of redoing a decade or more of environmental and planning work, and would be more than offset by delaying the start of service for another half-decade or more.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Unless they are already in Utah, normal people don’t want to take a train, conventional, HSR or even mag-lev to Salt Lake City. It’s too far from any other large population center.

    Lewellan Reply:

    Your assumptions, alan, against Talgo-type systems are debatable.
    More HSR corridors can apply Talgo ‘dual-mode’ than to 200mph Bombardier-type.
    To rule out Talgo is to restrict the application of more lessons learned and applied nationally.
    “Build LSR when HSR doesn’t make sense. The California HSR project is one that makes sense.”
    This is your confusing rhetoric. Makes sense eh? Just because you say so?
    Infrastructure difference in costs, Talgo vs Bombardier, my estimation remains “costs more than double” with 200mph guideway, moreso than with electrification.
    More existing track and road grade-separated for safety. More development directed to an electrified Altamont rather than add Gilroy sprawl. Gilroy better off with improved San Juaquins.
    So, you have no idea, alan. Your last post was somewhat courteous though still a bit too officious to accept as an unquestionable assessment. I really don’t mind any opposing view. It’s your rude dummy slams that ruin the discussion. You’ve got to back off doing the rude; more than myself. I’ve mentioned already how sour attitudes do not improve the political climate necessary to win public approval of rail projects all kinds, as you should know. I’m smarter than you, alan, and I don’t hyperventillate words on paper. Routine editting is a practice you should try some time. Your verbose illiteral wordsmithing plus the rude denunciation isn’t at all impressive. Back off or I’ll always rip your attitude to shreds, shrek.
    Can you believe Maglev is still considered for the NEC? THAT is stupider than teleportation, really.

    You need a new car.
    You think you have enough for a Maserati.
    You settle for an economy 4-cylinder Ford Mustang.
    Turns out the Mustang is more fun, more comfortable and doesn’t break down much.

    Alan Reply:

    Let’s review…

    My statements, backed with citations from CHSRA and based in reality, don’t mean anything just because I said so.

    Your statements, based on nothing more than a foamer’s dreams, mean everything, just because you said so.

    Got it.

    You continue with the name calling and insults, but I’m the one being rude. Check.

    Was I even speaking to you? I was addressing the points that adirondacker and Zorro made above. Do try to keep up with the flow of the conversation. Sorry if stating facts and reality seem sour, but that’s life. In the real world, we learn to do what’s politically possible and achievable. What you suggest is not.

    Could you please explain how Gilroy would be better off with “improved San Juaquins”, despite the fact that Gilroy is nowhere near the route of the San Joaquins? (And you accuse me of illiteracy?) And please cite your source for your statement that infrastructure for your 125mph LSR would be significantly less expensive than 225mph HSR.

    Lewellan Reply:

    Alan, I could answer though you are not at all interested in fair debate. Gilroy is on a rail corridor that would probably be better with San Juaquin-type upgrades. Thanks for being brief with your platitudes, however, you are FAR more insulting than myself mostly in righteous response to your absurd verbose disgusting profundity. You are either drunk, that’s okay, or drunk on ego, which is NOT okay.
    Fair discussion begins by understanding the contrary viewpoint.
    Obviously, you’re not into the fair play thing.

    Alan Reply:

    You didn’t say “San Juaquin (you still can’t spell the word) TYPE upgrades. You said:

    Gilroy better off with improved San Juaquins.

    That proves that not only do you know nothing of California HSR, you don’t know anythig about California geography.

    Now, how about actually answering the questions I asked you? How will Gilroy be better off with improved San Joaquins, and what is your source for your claim about 125mph infrastructure being significantly cheaper than HSR? You should understand by now that nobody is going to accept “because I said so” as proof that your fantasies will work.

    If you still refuse to answer, and just toss out some more of your childish insults, I think the rest of us can safely assume that you have no proof and that you have nothing with which to document your claims. Your lie that I’m not interested in “fair debate” is hilarious. There can be no debate if you’re not willing to provide evidence to support your claims.

    Lewellan Reply:

    WOW. Is THAT ever a conspicuously timely perspective or what?
    Ha HAH alan. Period. Lah dee dah. ha ha. whoopedeedo!
    I do not know this alan person who appears to be insane, but is merely stupid, of course.
    It’s the human condition. We love everyone, children and their gods.
    Alan. Drop it. Love thuh TalGo, love. LoVe-eh-leh-TALgO, arriba! Yai! Talgo!
    And to otherwise Californians the same, of course. Bell-isimo! Talgo! Hahah! Yea!

    Alan Reply:

    So, bottom line: You have nothing to offer to support your dream. You respond with gibberish and insults. You’re going to have to do a lot better if you expect anyone to take you seriously. You claim to be interested in “fair debate”, but don’t understand what “debate” is.

    Now, once again, answer the questions: How will Gilroy be better off under your “plan”? And what proof do you have that it will be cheaper?

    No worries. The rest of us will be riding nice, fast comfortable HSR trains. Your Talgo toys can wave from the junkyard.

    Lewellan Reply:

    Your last sentence undermines what crebility you pretend to have. Your “Talgo toys” repeated statement of opinion is clear evidence of inexperience and uninformed, unreasonable bias.
    Unsurprisingly, once again you resort to confrontional argument, unable to accept contrary view,
    haughtily dismissive. This stupid Gilroy question isn’t pertinent nor are you actually interested in debate.
    I expect a few regular readers have read this barbarous back and forth between you and me. I’m confident they would agree with me. You are acting like a biased bully.
    I do not respect your supposed expertice in this field of study. Too narrow-minded.

    Lewellan Reply:

    Your last sentence undermines what crebility you pretend to have. Your “Talgo toys” repeated statement of opinion is clear evidence of inexperience and uninformed, unreasonable bias. Unsurprisingly, once again you resort to confrontional argument, unable to accept contrary view, haughtily dismissive. This stupid Gilroy question isn’t pertinent nor are you actually interested in debate. I expect a few regular readers have read this barbarous back and forth between you and me. I’m confident they would agree with me. You are acting like a biased bully.
    I do not respect your supposed expertice in this field of study. Too narrow-minded.

    Eric M Reply:

    Lewellan, how many times must it be told to you that your dual mode Talgo train-sets will not meet the requirements of Prop 1A from SF-LA set into law. For some reason, you just won’t listen to that fact.

    As for your credentails and your statements of others “clear evidence of inexperience and uninformed”, lets look at a comment you made in 2009.

    You stated: “High-speed trains may reach 200mph, but their average speed is around 150mph, the top speed of some standard locomotives. If high-speed trains need only reach 150mph, their tracks can also handle some freight train service making the investment doubly productive.”

    If you don’t know what average speed it compared to top speed, your credibility is zilch. To think the average speed is their top operating speed shows you have no understanding about rail. Acceleration, deceleration and stops make up the “average”. See what that does to the numbers of your precious Talgo dual mode trainset?

    Eric M Reply:

    Art Lewellan, interesting transportation stuff you have posted to your Facebook page too

    Alan Reply:

    You think you’re clever, spouting your dribble and posting it twice, to hide the fact that you refuse to answer the clear questions I asked. You repeatedly refuse to accept the realities of this situation, particularly Prop 1A.

    I really don’t care what you do or do not respect. You’re hardly in any position to be making judgements about me or anyone else in this forum. Your supposed “expertise” amounts to little more than a foamer’s dream.

    The Gilroy question is pertinent because YOU BROUGHT IT UP. When I pointed out the fact that Gilroy is not served by the San Joaquins, you went into bully mode to try to hide your mistake.

    You may be confident that “a few regular readers” might agree with you–but none have. Several regular readers have expressed the same sentiments as I have.

    Face facts: Your precious Talgos have no real future in this country’s transportation future. They’re going to remain oddities and one-offs. Nobody is showing interest in buying any Talgo sets other than the few that have been built. The future is HSR, supplemented by conventional locomotive-hauled trains operating at speeds up to 110 mph.

    Your refusal to answer direct questions asking for proof of your claims is evidence that you have no answers or proof. Fair enough.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Prop 1a is outtahere. The judges are simply not up to it. PB infallibility. If they decree Talgos, however unlikely, no problem. There is always some happy horseshit to peddle it.

    Eric M Reply:

    @synonymouse

    Just stop with the “Prop 1a is outtahere” BS.

    Do you have a personal computer computation showing the travel time of 2:40 cannot be met from SF-LA using a train-set such as an AGV, Siemens Velaro or Bombardier Zefiro? Please post if you do.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Realtime revenue service or once in eternity, burn the furniture, one train on the line, all regs suspended?

    They’ll be lucky to do 2:40 with Tejon. Ask yourself why airlines limit themselves to 500-600 mph range. Maximize profitability. The UP CEO was correct with his guesstimate of about 160mph top speed for CAHSR.

    Where are you going to get the funds for Japanese level maintenance? How much equipment does BART have out of service? And BART just hoovers up public monies because it has created a monopoly for itself in the Bay Area. PB-LAHSR will not be able to do that.

    Prop 1a has been replaced with PB sovereignty. The courts don’t like Prop 1a and do not want to open that can of worms by interpreting and enforcing its provisos. So it is effective carte blanche for Jerry and Richards and PB. Besides I thought that is what you wanted. The problem for the Cheerleaders toeing the party line is that you will have to live with its vagaries. Whatever PB doles out to you, you will have to take it and like it.

    Eric M Reply:

    Again synonymouse, please provide proof of not meeting travel time?

    If not, just stop with the made up BS.

    Lewellan Reply:

    Oh the joy to challenge alan once again briefly.
    Alan, Talgo is here to stay so shut up.
    Try riding one routinely, Cascades, Spain, dual-mode types anywhere.
    Talgo fits in more US passenger-rail corridors. You’re not at all impressive, alan,
    a know-it-all mulletville, baseball cap wearing authoritarian who ain’t above it all at all.
    Hardy har har, eh?

    john burrows Reply:

    I was unaware that HSR was going to stop in Los Banos. Is this another truth that only you are aware of ?

    Alon Levy Reply:

    If you believe Richard Mlynarik, a Los Banos stop will be added after the system opens.

    Reality Check Reply:

    Los Baños mayor still seeking a high speed rail station

    As the California High-Speed Rail Authority prepares to hold an informational meeting in Los Baños next week, Mayor Tommy Jones is working to come up with a location near the city where a station could be placed.

    […]

    Los Baños is not one of the sites chosen for a stop on the high-speed rail route. However, Jones believes having a location picked out is one of the critical steps in lobbying the rail authority to change its decision.

    “I talked to the people who did BART. They told me a lot of stops were added,” Jones said, comparing Bay Area Rapid Transit to the high-speed rail project. “It’s going to have to be a fight, (but) we’re going to get the process started.”

    […]

    Jones and Merced County Supervisor Jerry O’Banion believe there should be a stop on the Westside.

    Jones said he’s considering a location near Santa Nella as a place where a high-speed rail station could be constructed.

    “The train is going south to Fresno. It doesn’t make logical sense to go north to Merced,” Jones said. “I think the only reason a stop was not here was politics. Politics is the reason California is in the shape it’s in.”

    O’Banion is not convinced that commuters in Los Baños will use the high speed rail system if they are forced to go to Merced to board it.

    “The whole reason for the rail is to eliminate car traffic,” O’Banion said. “I don’t think people in Los Baños or on the Westside are going to drive all the way over to Merced to cross the mountain and come back to Los Baños.”

    Jones said because Los Baños has been declared a population growth center in the San Joaquin Valley Blueprint — a document listing goals and assumptions for the region in the next few decades — it is necessary for the city to have a stop along the high-speed rail route.

    […]

    Los Banos officials determined to fight to get HSR stop

    As the California High-Speed Rail Authority continues to accept comments on the proposal for the state’s first bullet train, some city officials are determined to fight to get a stop in or near Los Baños.

    “I will not agree with them no matter what,” Mayor Tommy Jones said of the officials who made the decision to not give Los Baños a station along the train’s route. “I think there should be a stop on the Westside. It only makes logical sense. I think we still have a fight ahead but I think we will end up winning.”

    Officials already seeking to overturn Los Baños HSR station ban

    MTC votes to back sprawl-enabling Pacheco HSR route via Los Baños

    Massive sprawl planned between Los Baños, Santa Nella

    john burrows Reply:

    ” Los Banos mayor still seeking a high speed rail station”—

    Article is from June, 2010—Is the current mayor of Los Banos still seeking a high speed rail station?

    Reality Check Reply:

    The point is the Los Baños HSR station ban is a political thing … politics can, and, if Pacheco HSR occurs, someday likely will.

    Alan Reply:

    How, exactly, do the good people of Los Banos intend to get Prop 1A amended? Outside that city, I doubt if there are very many people who would care about it–but a lot who would be opposed.

    Joe Reply:

    ANd if the people of CA decided to put a station at Los Banos then that’s what the people want to do. A political thing, exactly the way to make this decision and it needs to have state political support. Hizz Honor the Mayor of Los Banos isn’t a factor.

    StevieB Reply:

    Prop 1a prohibits spends bond funds on a California High-Speed Rail system which includes a station in Los Baños. Once the bond funds are spent and a rail system is running how does Prop 1a stop an infill station being built in Los Baños with additional funding?

    Neil Shea Reply:

    After the major metro areas have service, if there’s enough population, it makes sense operationally (e.g. delay to local trains), there’s money to build a station and the state HSR authority approves it, let them have it. Focusing development around rail stations again is a good thing.

    Alan Reply:

    I’ll grant that it’s been quite a long time since I’ve been through Los Banos. What’s the economic justification for building a station there, other than stroking the egos of the local politicians?

    Reality Check Reply:

    Both developed (and more significantly: undeveloped) property values within a large park-n-ride radius would increase dramatically. Instant Los Baños sprawlburbia … just add HSR station!

    Alan Reply:

    OK, but you can say the same thing about just about any community along the route which hasn’t been selected for a station. What is it about Los Banos today that would overcome Prop 1A’s specific prohibition of a station between Gilroy and Merced?

    joe Reply:

    Or any community around a HSR station. Look at SF! The land around the TBT was way underdeveloped and undervalued. So undervalued that the developers will SF to reduce their tax rate. And BUR and Kings CO and Fresno and Bakersfield.

    The Altamont alignment would also have a park and ride station and CV sprawl-burbia. It’s a positive feature of that alignment.

    Los Banos is a conspiracy. There are supposed to be wealthy interests who bought up the land around Los Banos decade or more ago and will sit on that land for two more decades and reap great rewards. They engineered the Los Banos / Pacheco Alignment.

    It’s National Treasure 3 or True Detective 2 level conspiracy.

    Neil Shea Reply:

    Good discussion. But if it was such a guaranteed boon to surrounding land values then you’d have less opposition to the planned stations — landowners always have a loud voice in local politics.

    And if the Silicon Valley and SF economies get more workers — whose salaries do not need to factor in $million homes — without more cars on the roads, then why again is this a bad thing?
    Indeed how do our economies continue to grow if the number of workers remains constrained and while their salaries continue to rise?

    As Joe notes, the Altamont overlay eases transportation to the Livermore/Tracy exurb, where landowners may see value increases — and is that terrible also?

    Reality Check Reply:

    HSR station will boost land values and sprawl potential almost anywhere, but of course, and quite logically, the increase in values and sprawl will be roughly proportional to how undeveloped and how remote the area is. (Therefore SF or downtown LA won’t see sprawl effects, while Los Baños will.) The sprawly-auto-orientedness of the station-triggered development can, of course, also be mitigated by strong land-use regulations (e.g. urban limit lines/boundaries, etc.). Los Baños, due to its close proximity the Bay Area but with poor auto connectivity via Pacheco Pass Hwy 156 to Hwy 101 and reputed weak land-use policy & sprawl-friendly local gov’t, was thought to be in the sweet spot for these effects, and, Santa Nella, cited by the mayor in the earlier referenced articles about lobbying for a HSR station, was said to be just ready to pop — just add HSR! All of this is what I recall led to the Los Baños station prohibition being lobbied for and, ultimately, agreed to and included into the Prop. 1A language. Remember, back then all the HSR happy talk was of it being up and running much, much sooner than the still-unknown dates it is today.

    Anyway, it’s been kind of interesting, in a strange sort of way, watching @joe apparently get off just a little too much on mocking the vast conspiracy theories he claims some people or groups somewhere are obsessed with … so I’ll leave it there.

    jimsf Reply:

    once the system is up and running and successful, more communitiues will want service and los banos and others will get “infill” stations. They won’t get every train, but they can get locals. There can still be sf-la nonstop service, express service the makes big stops only, limiteds, every few stops, and locals, all stops. That way everyone gets something.

    synonymouse Reply:

    It is a collection of regional commute ops; LART, FART, SJART.

    There will be stops seeded all along.

  2. Derek
    Sep 21st, 2014 at 11:04
    #2

    NIMBYism is, conceptually, a rather simple problem to solve, once you realize that the reason people oppose density in their neighborhood is because it brings some minor problems the neighborhood is forced to deal with while the tax revenue that density brings all goes to the city and county.

    joe Reply:

    Trivial in, trivial out.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Derek, you are wrong in most cases. Usually, people oppose density because they want to create a housing shortage. It’s all about incumbent protection. Often the incumbent protection isn’t even economic, but political – newcomers who you don’t know might vote for a mayor you don’t know or don’t like. It makes it very hard to negotiate with NIMBYs, because the incentives for them are to make demands that others find unreasonable.

    Derek Reply:

    Yes, as I said density involves downsides and very few upsides for the incumbents.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Yes, but it’s not a matter of externalities or anything like that. There’s a big difference between the downside of “your business dumps toxic waste near my home” and the downside of “your business competes with my business.”

    jimsf Reply:

    Here in El Dorado County there are so many anti growth and anti density measures on the novmember ballot its hard to keep track of which one is which. You have lots of wealthier newcomers who bought lots o nice homes and executive homes ( people from LA and the BAY mainly) along with well paid tech workers who do not want ANY densification any where near them – after all that is why the fled LA and the Bay Area. Then you have all the country folk and mountian folk who do not want any more new people from the Bay and LA to move here. So combined, there is a huge anti growth movement here. Meanwhile the county had drawn boundaries around all the unicorparated communities to try to keep future growth confined to denser central locations, and the people who live in these communities are now voting to get rid of those boundaries so that any growth will be forced to sprawl further into the forest on larger lots while apartments and such will be banned from the centers.

    of course if they dont put the fire out there may not be anyone up here. My house was spared

    joe Reply:

    In Montana any lot 20+ acres is a ranch and ranchers are not subject to housing regulations.

    You can imagine how many ranches now dot the valleys and mountainsides.

  3. Zorro
    Sep 21st, 2014 at 11:18
    #3

    The plastic bag ban is motivated by profit by the Super Market chains, instead of giving away flimsy bags that cost the chains money, now they will be selling plastic bags, ones that can’t be washed and dried like cloth bags in ones clothes washer and dryer, so yeah I oppose the bag ban, people need to be more responsible, to give a hoot and not pollute… Old flimsy plastic bags go to the landfill, new ones will go there too.

    Derek Reply:

    Trader Joe’s sells cloth bags.

    jimsf Reply:

    I always prefer paper. The ones with the handles, but they are hard to find.

    Joey Reply:

    I don’t think Trader Joe’s uses anything else. I always bring my own bag anyway though.

    jimsf Reply:

    at food4less I get paper in plastic because their paper bags dont have handles so i have to put them inside the plastic bags to get handles. Of course I re purpose them as trashbags.

    Zorro Reply:

    There is No Trader Joes near where I live, I go to Stater Bros. Paper bags cost money. Plastic bags you buy generate bacteria when they rest on the floor, just like womens handbags do, that’s why they need to be washed.

    Paul Druce Reply:

    They’ve all pretty much been selling cloth bags that you can do that with for awhile now.

    Zorro Reply:

    Not at Staters or Vons, I go to both every month, some things I need are only available at Vons, however I do the majority of My shopping at Stater Bros Market.

  4. Trentbridge
    Sep 21st, 2014 at 13:44
    #4

    Have you looked at old movies recently? The changes in California since 1977 when I arrived (legally) have been immense. I took my drivers test in a Cadillac Eldorado that my in-laws lent me and it sucked gas so fast you could see the fuel gauge moving. Gas was $0.45/gal. There was no Metrolink, no Blue Line, No Red Line, No Purple Line, No Expo Line, No Green Line, No Car Pool Lanes, No hybrids etc. etc. There was PSA, Hughes Air West, Air California flying fuel inefficient 727s up and down the coast for $38 one way. The smog was really bad – all summer long. We banked at drive-up windows for God’s sake.

    We’ve come a long way, baby.

    jimsf Reply:

    ah the good ole days! And those 727s were the best!

    swing hanger Reply:

    I remember as a kid exiting from the retractable tail stairway on a PSA 727 at SJC back in the early 80’s, a neat experience, along with the stewardesses proffering “coffee, tea or tang”. I associate Air California with the stubby 737 with a sunburst nose, and Hughes AirWest with “banana” DC9’s.

  5. datacruncher
    Sep 21st, 2014 at 14:06
    #5

    This article is starting to show up on McClatchy paper web sites today:

    China’s polluted air may be affecting Fresno
    ………..
    As bad as that sounds, it may not be the whole story, local air leaders say. Global pollution may be helping to create those dirty-air days.

    They say evidence points to plumes of pollution from China and eastern Asia, thousands of miles across the Pacific Ocean.

    The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District has contributed about $200,000 to help study it. The research is led by federal agencies, such as NOAA and NASA, as well as the University of California at Davis.

    The research and the Valley were featured earlier this month in Science magazine, a leading outlet for the latest research and scientific news.

    Among the bigger questions: How much ozone gets all the way across the ocean and down into the Valley?

    Is it 1 or 2 parts per billion of ozone? Or is it something more significant, such as 10 or 20? The air district’s estimate is a range from 4.5 to 22, but nobody knows for sure — yet.

    “We’re trying to quantify this source,” said atmospheric researcher Ian Faloona of UC Davis. “There is pollution coming from beyond the U.S., and it is affecting the western edge of North America.”
    ……………

    http://www.fresnobee.com/2014/09/20/4136058_chinas-polluted-air-may-have-affected.html

    The Science magazine article referenced is at
    http://www.sciencemagazinedigital.org/sciencemagazine/12_september_2014?pg=25

    Ben Pease Reply:

    Glad someone’s studying it. And then what? Out here in the sea air of the Richmond District there certainly seems to be more gritty, black coal dust on our car and windows in than I remember growing up.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Muni’s crappy diesel buses – tell them you want electric and you don’t mind wires to get it.

    TomW Reply:

    I would be surprised if their buses contribute more 1% of the pollution in the city.

    synonymouse Reply:

    If you live in Presidio Heights not down in Dogpatch where Muni congregates its diesels.

    synonymouse Reply:

    poorly maintained diesels.

    joe Reply:

    Transport has been observed since 1999.
    Transport of Asian air pollution to North America. Jafee et al 1999.
    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/1999GL900100/abstract

    The issue is background Ozone is increasing making emission targets more difficult and fees for exceeding limits more likely.

  6. Alon Levy
    Sep 21st, 2014 at 14:36
    #6

    You’re of course right that Kashkari is a soft denialist. That’s just of a lot of moderates in the US, who aren’t outright denialist because that looks extreme, but in practice oppose any nontrivial attempt to mitigate GHG emissions. Usually stuff like extra research funding to alternative energy is popular with this crowd, since the amount of money in question is very small.

    The problem is that there are degrees of soft denialism. On a conceptual level, let’s talk in terms of a carbon tax, not because it’s the only way to reduce emissions but because it’s easy to quantify. Someone who believes GHG emissions do not cause any damage, and thus supports a $0 carbon tax, is a denialist. Someone who believes GHG emissions do cause damage and the optimal carbon tax is $10/t-CO2 is a soft denialist. The same is true of someone who believes in $20/t-CO2. At this stage, I think even $50/t-CO2 is soft-denialist. But these are different degrees of soft denial.

    Of course, Kashkari and many others oppose carbon taxes. This, by itself, is not soft denial. Naomi Klein opposes carbon taxes, and although I think very negative things about her, I do not think she’s a denialist of any sort. She just thinks regulation by a socialist government is the only way, and so we should look at the regulations and social changes she favors. We can run a similar analysis for other people and the various regulations, or funding for green technology, that they support. As an example, someone who supports a ban on fracking and new oil drilling and accelerated coal shutdowns is not a denialist.

    I bring all of this up because I think the mainline Democratic Party in the US is soft-denialist. I’m going to ignore people who believe in violent revolution like Kshama Sawant, and focus on other people, who still count as progressive, including Jerry Brown. I’m basing this on the following observations:

    1. The spending projects the national party supports include very little that isn’t already on the agenda, for unrelated reasons: HSR, cash for clunkers, random green jobs programs, some local transit, additional research. Conversely, other spending projects, including Clean Coal (TM) and aid to the auto industry, are bad for the environment.

    2. Obama’s stimulus was very light on green projects. Even labor-intensive projects, which would have been the most useful in reducing unemployment, didn’t get much if any money. Specifically, retrofitting buildings for higher energy efficiency is crucial, but didn’t happen.

    3. California’s cap-and-trade is expected to generate about $10 in revenue per t-CO2.

    4. Since the party has a huge contingent of moderate suburban NIMBYs, it doesn’t do anything about zoning reform, parking reform, highway cancellations, etc. Some urban initiatives do a little bit (e.g. Seattle’s failed effort to cancel the tunnel), but there’s nothing particularly radical, such as creating large car-free zones, completely abolishing parking minimums in a large swath of the city, etc.

    5. Urban transit plans tend to be limited – a line here, two lines there. The only city with a plan that’s even mildly transformational is LA, and even there, we’re talking about less than Vancouver per capita, and frankly, Vancouver is the start of what North American cities need to do, and not the end of what they need to do.

    The main positive aspect I can think of is that now that the Upland South has completely switched to the GOP, the Democrats are less beholden to the coal lobby, which is why Obama could announce the phaseout of coal in the first place. Unfortunately, the party makes up for the old coal country with newer and more auto-dependent suburbs.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Kashkari and Brown are both hustling sprawl. Brown is more into greenwashing because that’s how Democrats are supposed to talk. Political theater in California is like professional wrestling.

    TomW Reply:

    If we all travel in a carbon-neutral way, what’s so bad about building sprawl on desert lands?

    Alon Levy Reply:

    It’s more expensive to build solar panels to power this travel.

    Joe Reply:

    More expensive compared to AlonvilleMegaCity but practically it isn’t. Solar powered desert city has ample, cheap power at rates equal to coal generated electricity. I assume the station will also attract jobs and increase in GDP as it would every where else they add HSR.
    No farmland consumed.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Everything.

    Population is the source of pollution. The presence of a large human population even at the basic agrarian level changes the ecosystem.

    Start with the obvious. Water. The Tejon Rancheros et al plan to steal it from NorCal. Adios Hetch Hetchy.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Does this mean sprawl is okay in the large majority of the first world that doesn’t have water shortages?

    synonymouse Reply:

    I believe that most areas that are experiencing high birth rates also have a shortage of clean fresh water.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Actually, the stimulus was originally planned to be very green, but as the Obama Administration found out the depth of the economic crisis, switched gears.

    Originally, the stimulus had as its largest appropriation improvements to the State Weatherization Program where homeowners get money to put in stronger insulation and siding to limit the new for heating and cooling costs. Not sexy at all, but a great strategy.

    However, when Republican state Legislatures started to reject the stimulus funds, the Obama Administration decided Governors could use the funds however they wanted.

    Eric Reply:

    Cities like Denver, Dallas, and Salt Lake City have recently invested in comprehensive transit expansions. Not just one or two lines.

    Granted that many US cities are in a state of transit infrastructure paralysis, but that is not unique to transit – nowadays freeways are also being built at the rate of a line or two here or there rather than comprehensive systems. Basically the whole US political system is descending into paralysis, and a freeway system was the last major project to be built before this paralysis.

    Also, many expensive transit investments have been made recently in the US, which have little to no benefit due to incompetent planning. For example mixed-traffic streetcars, Central Subway, WTC. It’s not fair to attribute these to lack of enthusiasm for transit.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Denver and SLC are fairly serious, yes. Dallas is not: it’s building light rail lines to the middle of nowhere, with stations surrounded by oceans of parking. Its light rail ridership befits a metro area one tenth its size.

    As for the incompetent transit projects, some of them I’d classify as not really transit projects but development projects, including WTC PATH, the 7 extension, and the Portland streetcar. I’m undecided on where to put the Central Subway, which is a sop to Chinatown interests. That said, you’re right that there are lots of bona fide transit projects that are still terrible: BART to San Jose and Livermore, the DC Silver Line, LA’s Foothills extensions, East Side Access, ARC/Gateway.

    Eric Reply:

    Dallas’ light rail system is quite large and was entirely built in the last 20 years. We can criticize Dallas for incompetent planning, but not for lack of effort.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Dallas made some effort at construction (I say some, because much of it was on cheap-ish exurban ROWs), but none at actually developing the stations.

    Being new is not an excuse. SkyTrain opened in 1986, and the Copenhagen Metro in 2002.

    Eric Reply:

    Vancouver and Copenhagen are very different cities from Dallas. Do you really think Dallas would be better off now if it had spent an equivalent amount of money on grade-separated automated subway rather than light rail?

    Alon Levy Reply:

    No, but that’s not even the point. The problem in Dallas is that the stations are parking lots. In contrast, Vancouver, Burnaby, and New West build shopping centers, residential towers, and office towers around SkyTrain stations.

    Eric Reply:

    Is there market demand for such construction around DART stations? If so, then Dallas is being incompetent by not changing the zoning to allow it, at no cost to themselves. If not, then I can’t see who is to blame, cities are not expected to build unprofitable development.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    I think it’s a multiple-equilibrium situation, i.e. there are two choices the government can make, and both lead to profitable situations. One choice is to build lots of parking. In that case, there’s no market demand for nearby housing – who the hell wants to live near such a huge parking lot? The other choice is to only build a small amount of parking at the station and instead upzone, maybe looking for an anchor tenant. In that case, this creates market demand for nearby development. The anchor tenant may need subsidies initially, but afterward the development becomes self-sustaining. Metrotown was not built spontaneously – there was government involvement there.

    Now, I don’t know whether Dallas has a pent-up demand for urban living. Houston does; Montrose is seeing large price increases lately. But that’s right next to its downtown, and also Houston and Dallas are not the same.

    Eric Reply:

    Yeah, based on my experience with a different Midwest US city, the demand for urban living is concentrated in a few inner neighborhoods rather than along the light rail lines, and developers have refused to build any TOD at light rail stations except in the favored quarter.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    I think Minneapolis is very different from Dallas here.

    But for what it’s worth, Dallas builds parking lots in the favored quarter direction, too.

  7. JJJJ
    Sep 21st, 2014 at 15:06
    #7

    Off topic: What the hell happened to the attractive HSR website? Seems like all the interactive maps are gone, and the whole thing looks bare bones.

  8. jimsf
    Sep 21st, 2014 at 15:58
    #8

    The problem is that at this time, and for quite a long time, the american middle class, working class, and working poor, simply can not afford to be squeezed any further. The cost of mitigating the effects of climate change, and the cost of slowing climate change, is going to have to be paid by people who can afford it. People just can’t afford to have anything more squuzed out of them because wages have not kept up with costs.

    Joey Reply:

    It wouldn’t be such an issue if there were alternatives. The main issue now is that (a) Transit networks suck (or are mediocre in LA and SF) and (b) walking and especially riding a bicycle isn’t safe in a lot of areas (because of cars). So I think the solution is to increase the carbon tax while expanding alternatives. It might still be somewhat of a burden in the short term but I don’t think transportation costs are going to be anyone’s first concern when droughts and floods become commonplace.

    joe Reply:

    JimSF’s point is transportation costs are a concern for families as other costs rise and their budgets get squeezed. Also regressive taxes are a bad way to pay for the transition.

    Nothing magic about carbon taxes. Restoring historic tax rates and using the revenue for transit, including more subsidizes to encourage use, would result in the same benefits.

    Joey Reply:

    The magic of carbon taxes is that if you make producing carbon expensive than people will stop producing it. It would be nice if that weren’t necessary but we’ve waited too long already. There are no more easy solutions.

    joe Reply:

    The problems Jimsf and mentioned don’t bug you. Too bad.

    If you taxed C heavily we could get emissions down because people would be unable to afford the fuel and heating and essentials. Emissions would be curbed by affordability, lack of, not curbed by ease of emission reduction as CnT tries to accomplish. Poverty and impoverished people emit less Carbon.

    There is no enlightenment without suffering.

    That’s cool because then they’ll all see the world your way and build the kind of living spaces you always advocate need to be built.

    Restoring taxes on wealth and implementing aggressive CnT would also curb emissions and also generate revenue for transit. Subsidized transit would increase ridership cutting automobile trips but these are not painful lessons needed to be imposed on people for their blindness.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Sweden, once again.

    Now, as you noted, Sweden doesn’t have a large resource extraction sector the way the US does. But this is irrelevant to your current argument. You’re not saying carbon taxes are bad because they’re going to lead to job losses in the oil and coal industries; you’re saying they’re bad because they reduce consumers’ purchasing power. And in that case it’s worth noting that in Sweden they do not, and in fact economic growth here is quite high.

    Eric Reply:

    Swedish GDP per capita is about 20% less than US GDP per capita, and probably much lower when compared to Swedish-Americans (the US group with the most similar cultural characteristics). Sweden is rich now, but how much richer could it be if it didn’t have such limitations?

    Joey Reply:

    money > planet

    Alon Levy Reply:

    First, on the level of personal income from work, the difference is basically just shorter working hours in Sweden. If you go here, you’ll get per capita income net of rent and interest, which when you think about it right is equivalent to mean household income per capita in the US (which excludes income from rent and interest, and only includes income from work). The US average is around $27,000, but I’m forgetting whether it’s from 2013 or a bit older. The Swedish average is €19,700, or ~$24,000 in PPP terms.

    Second, Swedish-Americans are genetically similar to Swedes. Everything else? Meh. They’re American. They’ve been American for, like, five generations. The more recent Italian migration has already diverged enough that Italians who go study in the US remark on how Italian-Americans aren’t real Italians.

    Eric Reply:

    Being a migrant means that you no longer fit perfectly into either your source country or destination country, as you’ll find out if you ever have kids, if you haven’t found out already. So there is no contradiction between Italian-Americans being “not Italian” to Italians and retaining a distinct culture when compared to other Americans. When I visited rural Wisconsin as a kid, the distinct culture of Scandinavian-Americans was quite obvious. Some authors have even tried to argue that the distinct cultures of different parts of the US can be attributed in large part to the original groups that dominated the settlement of those areas.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/govbeat/wp/2013/11/08/which-of-the-11-american-nations-do-you-live-in/

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Oh, there definitely are noticeable differences between cultures within the US, and some of those can be traced to ethnicity or institutions that developed in the original country. But the entire experience of modern living for those cultures has been in the US, surrounded by American institutions. This matters. All of those ethnic white cultures play American football and not soccer – sometimes because they immigrated before the rise of spectator sports, other times because they assimilated to American football because soccer was associated with strange foreign Europeans. Few have the same emphasis on unions as a source of socialization that Scandinavia has, and the ones that do tend to be Italians and Irish in industrial cities and not Scandinavians in Minnesota. Most are more religious than their European counterparts: Scandinavia has remnants of Lutheran culture, Minnesota has actual Lutherans. All are used to the range of political opinions that’s acceptable in the US and not in their original countries.

    This assimilation is obscured because of hyphenated identities, but people with hyphenated identities are still American. It’s very obvious if you interact with both Israeli and American Ashkenazi Jews (and let’s throw post-Soviet Jewish immigrants into the mix – same original stock, vastly different experiences in the last 100 years). Instead of Teddy Roosevelt’s enforced monoculturalism, the US has let minorities find their own way of being exactly like everyone else. For example, the Jews started making Hanukkah an important holiday, to have a Jewish way of celebrating a gift-giving family holiday in the winter. For another example, Kwanzaa, supposedly a manufactured black separatist tradition, is celebrated between Christmas and New Year’s, which is not what a rejectionist culture would do. Ultra-Orthodox Jews don’t celebrate anything around other groups’ holidays; they have their own set, thank you very much.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    There’s actual Lutherans all over the place. Lots of us ended up in greater Minnesota but there’s lots of us every where else. We blend in with the other Eastern/Northern Europeans in the appetizing stores.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_0-W-OLT6nw

    It’s traditional in my family to have potato pancakes for Christmas. We even call them latke. Chrusicki too if someone is up to it. Otherwise the boxed stuff from White Eagle Bakery. The only Polish food names the next generation recognizes is pierogi and golumki. They don’t recognize the Finnish or Swedish food names. I have to use English or as with latke, Yiddish.

    Most years Orthodox Jews, and the not so Orthodox ones, celebrate Passover around Easter, because the goyim calculate when Easter falls the same way one calculates when Passover falls.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Well, Easter was invented to coincide with Passover, back in the day… but in the 2,000 years since, they’ve evolved in very different directions. Nearly all Jews keep doing seders, which are the traditional extended family gathering in Judaism. (However, the gift-giving holiday is Purim, which also doubles as the costume holiday…) But I’m told by American Jews my age that Hanukkah is also really important nowadays as a family holiday, which is not how it functioned traditionally, or how it still functions in Israel across all levels of religiosity. I forget whether in US practice, Hanukkah Gelt has already evolved from grandparents giving money to grandkids to reciprocal gift exchange. Orthodox Jews are of course less assimilated.

    My point about Lutheranism is less about different regions of the US and more about US vs. Europe. There are practicing Lutherans here… but not that many. I forget if Sweden is one of the European countries where mosque attendance is higher than church attendance. I wouldn’t be surprised if it is, and the percentage of Muslims here is about 5%.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    …and there’s always Chanukah gelt for Christmas. There’s always a ham too. No more pickled herring by the quart for New Year’s but that’s because the people who eat more than one piece are dying off.

    Without looking things up, since most Swedes are nominally Lutheran I suspect there’s more Lutherans at a service every week than there are Muslims. Looking things up, I doubt it even more. Muslims are 5% of the population.

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

    Alon Levy Reply:

    From the Wikipedia link: “Less than 4% of the Church of Sweden membership attends public worship during an average week; about 2% are regular attendees.” Christianity collapsed in most of Europe in the postwar era in ways it did not in the US.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    ah yes, 100% of the Muslims go to mosque regularly

    Joe Reply:

    National Poilicy is influenced by national resources. And NO I am not referring to about jobs or job losses – I am referring to the monetary value of the fuel reserves.

    Sweden hasn’t extensive reserves of fossil fuels so the nation does not have national wealth – public or private – based on fossil fuel assets. Efforts to move off that resurce do not negatively impact wealth in Sweden.

    The US has fossil fuel reserves and they are quite valuable and assets for private US citizens and add vakue to our national lands and natonal wealth.

    Degrading the value of the asset impacts the asst owner. That’s Americans not Swedes. These wealthy Americans push back on efforts to reduce fuel dependency.

    A 10 year effort to build a magic machine that seperates water into O and H2 at 90% efficiency with sunlight would put that wealth at risk and be opposed. That magic machine would be of immense benefit to the US economy but the established fossil fuel based wealth interests would oppose it to protect their wealth.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Joe, you just said, “people would be unable to afford the fuel and heating and essentials.” Those people are of course not oil company owners. They’d be able to afford fuel just fine.

    joe Reply:

    Nope.

    On average, it costs $2,078 to heat a Connecticut home with oil, according to TVCCA.
    LIHEAP enrollment is solely based on income thresholds tied to the size of a household. A single person with an annual income of less than $17,505 qualifies for support, while a family of four that makes less than $37,775 can sign up. For households that include a person at least 60 years old, younger than 6 or with a disability, income guidelines to qualify start at $23,340.

    http://www.norwichbulletin.com/article/20140920/News/140929954#ixzz3EC6JuN6P

  9. Howard
    Sep 21st, 2014 at 17:29
    #9

    China’s per capita carbon emissions overtake EU’s

    “New data on carbon shows that China’s emissions per head of population have surpassed the EU for the first time.

    The researchers say that India is also forecast to beat Europe’s CO2 output in 2019.

    Scientists say that global totals are increasing fast and will likely exceed the limit for dangerous climate change within 30 years.

    The world has already used up two thirds of the warming gases researchers calculate will breach 2 degrees C.”

    http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-29239194

  10. Paul Dyson
    Sep 21st, 2014 at 19:31
    #10

    To answer Robert: fear of unemployment, fear of poverty.

  11. Robert S. Allen
    Sep 21st, 2014 at 21:24
    #11

    Half a century ago the voters in three Bay Area counties funded BART. Annexing San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties could lead to BART around the Bay, to an integrated rail transit system for the five counties’ six million residents and the region’s huge job base. We need a regional vision like the three counties showed in 1962. That vision is what we lack today.

    synonymouse Reply:

    The South Bay showed the correct vision in rejecting Bechtel’s failed attempt to re-invent the wheel.

    “supported duorail” Why not 7′ gauge?

  12. Robert S. Allen
    Sep 21st, 2014 at 21:48
    #12

    Some people hate BART because of its one-operator trains, level boarding, automatic fare collection, clean electric propulsion, and secure, crossing-free trackway Sure, BART has problems, but it has been a real success story. (Until the BART bonds passed in 1962, San Francisco had only two buildings of over a dozen stories.) Let the voters have a vote on expanding BART to five counties.

    MarkB Reply:

    That proposition makes about as much sense as saying the terrorists hate us because of Freedom(TM).

    EJ Reply:

    The reasons people don’t like BART are its astronomical capital costs, its non-standard track gauge, structure gauge, and wheel profile (making it forever incompatible with existing railroads, unlike most suburban metros, which can run on existing tracks outside of the urban core), its endless deferred maintenance…

    Nobody hates BART for the reasons you outline, as you well know. You should quit lying.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Personally I hate BART because it gets a bit less ridership than SkyTrain, the woefully incomplete rapid transit system of a metro area of 2.3 million, and around one third the ridership of the Stockholm T-bana, the complete rapid transit system of another metro area of 2.3 million. It’s intimately related to my hating BART for not being well-integrated with Muni.

    I want to grant BART that the most important link in the system, the Transbay Tube, was really expensive to build because of topography, so there’s only one of it. But to be less charitable to BART, the Bay makes life difficult for both transit users and drivers (Bay Bridge traffic, ew), and generally chokepoints like this favor transit.

    joe Reply:

    But you never use it.
    “hate” is an esthetic.

    BART and MUNI share all Market St. subway Stations. Pretty integrated where they overlap.
    A MUNI/BART unlimited ride pass is sold only in SF and good for all stops from Balboa Park to Embarcadero. That’s why BART SF has such high ridership. Technicals point to the density and etc but ignore BART uniquely offers unlimited rides with a pass. Unlimited as in no limit for short rides anywhere any time.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    I do use it when I visit. The area’s transit system is decent enough at getting me from the airport to downtown SF, and terrible at getting me from the airport to Palo Alto (where, you may remember, I missed a train and had to take a taxi because of the confusing underpass at California Avenue).

    BART and Muni are not integrated well at all where they overlap. As noted by Reinhard Clever, the transfers in the Market Street Subway require one to go up to the mezzanine level, cross faregates, and go back down. An integrated system would’ve built the tunnel with cross-platform transfers in the same direction, and maybe even one in the wrong direction at Civic Center. Not sure why you bring up the unlimited-ride passes; lots of transit systems have these, including SkyTrain and the T-bana.

    The other problem of integration is that BART and Muni overlap so much in the first place, instead of having one or two CBD transfer stations and then serving two separate corridors. In my retro-fantasy, Muni handles Market Street on its own, and BART was only built with stations at Embarcadero and Montgomery, with cross-platform transfers as noted above; beyond Montgomery, alt-BART branches into areas not served by Muni, one branch connecting to 4th and King and taking over Caltrain (with standard gauge, of course) and another branch going west on Geary and serving both the Golden Gate and the Richmond District. The branches would form a wye, to let trains from the Richmond District and Marin County cross over to 4th and King rather than congest the Transbay Tube. Perhaps the Tube isn’t even used by BART, but by Muni and AC Transit, with third rail operation in the Tube and trolleywire in the open (as done on Boston’s Blue Line); maybe alt-BART runs on the Bay Bridge instead, to allow for full-size commuter and intercity trains.

    Joe Reply:

    This assement pretends one can rework infrastructure at a level that’s close to pure fantasy.

    Sharing a pass allows people to use both systems and transfer. Reworking tunnels , alignments and guage and etc is a waste of time. Why not write a fan fiction star trek novel. That fantasy fiction might be pubished.

    Joey Reply:

    The point of making this kind of criticism is to inform future planning choices and avoid repeating the same mistakes.

    And a lot of what Alon said can still be fixed:

    A cross platform transfer is out of the question but a new transfer area could be built on the much-longer-than-necessary MUNI platform at Civic Center and/or Embarcadero with direct access to the BART platform below. Transferring passengers would have to make one level change and pass through one set of faregates rather than three level changes and two sets of faregates.

    The Geary corridor is still open and easily has enough demand to justify a full subway. There are numerous other unserved areas of BART’s core service area (SF/Oakland/Berkeley) which could get very high ridership relative to the cost of building there.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    The Geary corridor is still open and easily has enough demand to justify a full subway. There are numerous other unserved areas of BART’s core service area (SF/Oakland/Berkeley) which could get very high ridership relative to the cost of building there.

    This nonesense about a BART extension on Geary seems to never die. Although it is, from a technical perspective, feasible, it would actually be a stupid idea because it would cannibalize ridership on one of the cross-bay routes that would have to be paired with it.

    I really am not familiar enough with ridership patterns to know which line you could *repurpose* this way and not cause that much disruption. The new Geary line could still serve Montgomery and Embarcadero, after all.

    Nevertheless, BART is supposed to be for getting someone from outside the City into San Francisco, not get someone already in the City downtown. Geary had the potential to be just another dog-leg that really should be solved by MUNI.

    Joey Reply:

    Regardless of what BART’s stated purpose is, travel within the core system is one of the largest ridership markets. And if ridership is to grow on scarce transit dollars, then that market cannot be ignored. As Alon mentions, there are systems with less track in smaller metro areas which carry as many riders as BART.

    And I’m not quite sure what you mean by cannibalizing ridership. A branch to Geary would serve Embarcadero, Montgomery, and have a station very close to Powell – most of the commute would stay the same. It would also serve to balance out peak demand – as it is there are a huge number of trains coming from the East Bay in the morning – way more than there is demand on the SF and Peninsula lines. They either have to short-turn or terminate at Daly City. Either way they are pretty much empty. By adding another line in SF this would be balanced somewhat.

    Joe Reply:

    why not MUNI?

    Joey Reply:

    It could be, but that would only add to the peak flow problem – MUNI already has a lot of LRVs going downtown in the morning and not much to do with them after that.

    jimsf Reply:

    The concord line should be the sfo line bay point -sfo
    the richmond line should be the geary richmond -geary-19th to daly city
    the fremont line should be a bay loop fremont san jose san mateo sf oak fremont
    the dublin line to daly city

    and the ricmond-fremont line reroute along a new east bay core corridor

    jimsf Reply:

    bart with core and geary

    synonymouse Reply:

    Trolley coaches or articulated lo-floor streetcars for Geary.

    It is TWU 250A territory. BART is for the ghetto.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Pardon me. BART is ghetto.

    EJ Reply:

    Syno, you’re old. Younger white people aren’t as frightened of black people as you are.

    synonymouse Reply:

    SRO. No WC’s anywhere. Ugly and noisy as sin.

    I call that ghetto.

    Pretty soon bedbugs.

    Amanda in the South Bay Reply:

    Syno is old, but this young person thinks BART is a piece of shit. In fact, quite a few of my friends who ride BART think the same way.

    Joey Reply:

    To be fair, the rolling stock was due for replacement a decade ago if not more. Why they decided to prioritize SFO, Antioch, and Warm Springs over fleet replacement I will never understand.

    Neil Shea Reply:

    jimsf — you’re as bad as Robt Allen in wanting to extend expensive, non-standard BART further while mindless extensions are the main reason for the deferred maintenance.
    Embarcadero down Geary to Richmond District and down 19th Ave needs to be standard-gauge Muni, grade separated initially or later as appropriate.
    Your map is missing the line from Pleasanton (Livermore) to San Jose, an actual commute route

    Reality Check Reply:

    @Joey, what’s so hard to understand about why extensions are politically waaay more sexy!, SEXY! than mundane state-of-good-repair/maintenance shit like fleet replacement (a big yawn to anyone who doesn’t actually ride). Lots more juicy contractor/consultant consortia pork in extensions too.

    joe Reply:

    Contracto’s fault again.
    It’s axiomatic that deferred BART maintenance is because pork.

    Deferred water and sewer maintenance, deferred bridge repair, deferred road, highway, waterway and electrical grid repair and investments. The entire nation is under investing in maintenance while also expanding. BART is no exception. It is the rule. Why blame contractor pork?

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/02/us/pipes-roads-and-walks-crack-as-los-angeles-defers-repairs.html?_r=0
    [LA] City officials estimate that it would cost at least $3.6 billion to fix the worst roads, $1.5 billion to repair the sidewalks and $3 billion to replace aging water pipes.

    Reality Check Reply:

    It’s a co-factor. Hence the word “too”. Feel free to assign it the weighting that pleases you.

    jimsf Reply:

    I don’t see what the big problem is with having to get from muni to bart. Ive been doing it for 30 years and never once has it remotely been an issue, even when the escalators are broken. Half the people use stairs anyway. And there are elevators too.

    are todays young people really to lazy to walk the extra 100 feet? I mean you walk further than that going from store to store in union square.

    Joey Reply:

    The target audience is non-masochists who might otherwise be driving (i.e. not me). Remember that transfer time is perceived as lasting longer than it actually does. It’s usually not a conscious effect – most people won’t say “I won’t take transit because transferring takes too long,” but it will factor into their thinking when they try do decide whether taking transit or driving is faster/more convenient.

    jimsf Reply:

    well then screw those people. They aren’t going to use it anyway. Their secret transfer time concerns are just an excuse. They always planned on driving.

    Now if you can eliminate transfers altogether and provide ample parking at the origin, then and only then, will get some drivers onto transit. It takes parking, and a single seat ride to get those folks.

    jimsf Reply:

    that said, it would be very simple to just put an escalator from the bart platform up one floor to the muni platform. Or even simpler, remove the cages around the existing stairwells at embarcadero and civic center.

    The problem is the fare payment.

    jimsf Reply:

    I suppose you could put a bart fare gate on the muni platform at the top of the direct escalator down to bart.

    Joey Reply:

    Yes, and that’s exactly what I’m proposing.

    Joe Reply:

    I don’t see how this is a problem. Is their some ridership issue or lack of interest in MUNI/BART in SF becuase I don’t see it. Transit masochists seem to be driving up rents in SF and BART’s usage in SF is robust.

    Adding a fare gate at the top and direct access – is that going to increase ridership?

    Joey Reply:

    Adding a fare gate at the top and direct access – is that going to increase ridership

    Yes, but it’s difficult to say exactly how much. Like everything else, it needs to be studied and the cost/benefit weighed against other transit projects. The reason I advocate for it is that it’s a relatively cheap improvement which would make transferring a lot easier.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    It’s not 1969 anymore, why does there have to be fare gates for each system?

    jimsf Reply:

    adirondacker12800 Reply:
    September 22nd, 2014 at 6:58 pmIt’s not 1969 anymore, why does there have to be fare gates for each system?

    because bart fares are based on distance and calculated by entry and exit scanning.

    muni is pop

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Last time I went into a Market Street Muni station I had to go through a fare gate. Had to go through one to get out too.

    Reality Check Reply:

    Muni is proof-of-payment (POP) now … the faregates are pre-POP, so they’re not needed … not they only exist in the Market St. subway anyway, so they’re obviously not essential. It’s every passenger’s responsibility to have and show their POP upon a fare-inspector’s demand.

    jimsf Reply:

    The faregates help with fare enforcement in the busiest downtown stations because the inspectors could never keep up with checking tickets. In the non subway areas you pay your fare to the driver or tap your clipper.

    jimsf Reply:

    even with the faregates downtown, the inspectors still random check. Meanhwile fare evasion is rampant everywhere in the system because san franciscans god love them, never did like rules.

    Reality Check Reply:

    POP doesn’t require checking everyone. Read up on the theory sometime. Works great, even in places busier than downtown Muni Metro stations. Faregates not needed. Spot checks done properly ensure that fare evaders eventually get caught, more than making up for all their free ride “savings”. Think of POP as a casino slot machine. Done right, over time the gambler (fare evader) statistically always comes out a loser. So what if s/he gets a few jackpots (free rides) here and there?

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Funny you mention that, I do write fanfic, just not Star Trek.

    Anyway, the reason I focus on some retro-fantasies is that they help understand what went wrong with certain real-world projects, which can give good guidelines for the future.

    Joey Reply:

    The consultants working on the Market Street Subway knew that cross-platform transfers could be implemented and would be a good idea. It didn’t happen because the politicians told them to put BART on one level and MUNI on another level. There’s an old article about this I can probably dig up…

    Reality Check Reply:

    That would be interesting! Please post if you can find it without too much trouble.

    Joey Reply:

    Okay, here it is. It’s an article from The Nation in 1966. Sorry for the crappy scan quality. The section I was referencing starts on the third page, but the rest might be worth a read too.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Very interesting read.

    I would add that most people are unaware there was a racial element to transportation planning in the 1960s, especially in California. The freeways were often intended to barricade minorities away from working class white neighborhoods.

    It could have easily been that similar forces were in play in the East Bay too. Berkeley, which as you know paid for the tunnel for BART underneath its streets, was consumed by a riot in 1964 over school desegregation. It was a much different time.

    Reality Check Reply:

    Thank you so much for taking to the time to scan & post that. Interesting read indeed.

    Even then, there were knowledgeable people warning that the “pods” (for looks only slant-nosed cabs) would be a costly operational pain in the ass.

    Also, the bit about noise was interesting: that ballasted track was known to be quietest and that the rubber pads were already known not to work well.

    The author also noted the cost blow-outs being attributed to “inflation” were perhaps only 25% inflation-caused.

    The mention of the non-engineering/non-technicals in the organization jibes with what I had thusfar only heard anecdotally.

    Joey Reply:

    Fortunately I already had it as a PDF so no scanning necessary this time.

    Drunk Engineer Reply:

    Having a direct BART-Muni transfer is not some Star Trek fantasy. BART has been proposing such a thing for more than 10 years.

    Unable to get the project funded, BART staff has done the “logical” thing by making it much more expensive. The latest plan is a $900 million(!) project that would have both the direct platform connection, plus add two new BART platforms (at Embarcadero and Montgomery).

    Joe Reply:

    The Ferengi are interfering with our transit system.

    You missed the part about building out BART as a local commuter system for the SF and east bay.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Keeping the two systems separate is pretty stupid, though. I suppose transfers don’t matter thaaat much to a commuter from Pleasanton, but one from Oakland might well be working farther out on Market Street, or in the Sunset District, or elsewhere in the urban core that’s not served by BART.

    jimsf Reply:

    I think there is a plan to put platforms on each side of the train at embarcadero and montgomery so that people can exit to one side while people enter from the other side in order to speed things up. makes sense.

    EJ Reply:

    That’s called the “Spanish Solution.” It seems like it works well every time I’ve seen it used, e.g. on the DLR in London or on a various airport transit systems.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    The first time I have seen such a solution was in München, at the Marienplatz S-Bahn stop… lots of platform, and a single track lost in the middle… Hauptbahnhof and Karlsplatz have it too.

    People movers at airports have it often to separate incoming and outgoing passenger flows.

    EJ Reply:

    If you’ve got room, who cares how much platform there is? Also, since no one has to wait at the disembarking platform, you have the flexibility to make it smaller than the embarking platform. I could see it being a problem on the muni subway though at those stations, since wouldn’t you have a significant number of people transferring between muni lines (ie getting off one train, and waiting for the next one)?

    Ted Judah Reply:

    As the saying goes, “don’t hate the player, hate the game”

    BART had an uneviable task: it had to serve both urban and suburban interests at the same time. And it had to respect the local (intra-county) transit systems already in place.

    From a purely, “let’s live in an alternate universe” perspective, it’s a half-baked attempt at Next Generation ™ rapid transit.

    From a “those who can do, those who can’t teach” viewpoint, BART hit all the right notes. 1) It has very good farebox recovery (for a US system) and 2) people fear it expanding because of its success.

    Yes, there are many reasons to decry BART: high fares, that ugly, ugly Brutalist architecture that makes Soviet housing projects look warm and inviting. and no four track segments to help allow express trains to maximize ridership at peak times.

    But in a (fast approaching world) where gasoline is $6 a gallon and electric cars poop out at 200 miles a charge, it’s a great insurance policy for region-wide mobility unlike the numerous jurisdictions that opted for light rail and are about to get screwed.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Actually gas prices are falling. Go figure.

    synonymouse Reply:

    When it comes to Bechtel, PB, Tutor, PG&E: hate the player.

    synonymouse Reply:

    “San Francisco had only two buildings of over a dozen stories.”

    And it was a wonderful place, much nicer than today.

    Ah, what the hell. Cities are screwed – they are either Manhattan or LA. Whatever to become filthy rich and then luxuriate in impenetrable enclaves whilst the the little people and low level employees are crammed into cattlecars and anthills.

    You don’t need a space station for “Elysium”.

    Eric Reply:

    And somehow most people prefer them anyway.

    Eric Reply:

    Nobody goes to that restaurant anymore. It’s too crowded.

    jimsf Reply:

    hell must have just frozen over because you just said something I agree with.

    john burrows Reply:

    “Until BART bonds were passed in 1962 San Francisco had only two buildings of over a dozen stories”—You are giving BART way too much credit.

    According to Emporis—

    Before 1960 San Francisco had 2 buildings over 400 feet tall, 5 buildings of over 20 stories, and 40 buildings of over 12 stories.

    Did you look this up on Wikipedia without noting that their list was for buildings over 400 feet tall?

    synonymouse Reply:

    “Let the voters have a vote on expanding BART to five counties.”

    Let the voters have a vote on LAHSR.

    Let the voters have a vote on splitting California into NorCal and SoCal.

    Yeah, like that’s gonna happen.

    Amanda in the South Bay Reply:

    Yeah, gotta love those over built and expensive BART stations that are shrines to concrete.

    JB in PA Reply:

    They remind me of over-built nuclear war structures from the Cold War era. Maybe BART design is stuck in the 1970s. Nuclear hardened structures make Brutalist look wimpy.

  13. MarkB
    Sep 21st, 2014 at 22:43
    #13

    That proposition makes about as much sense as saying the terrorists hate us because of freedom(TM).

    MarkB Reply:

    [delete ^]

  14. Robert S. Allen
    Sep 22nd, 2014 at 02:55
    #14

    A unified, integrated rail transit system for the five large counties surrounding San Francisco Bay would do much to reduce auto commutes. BART has proved its worth in the three pioneering counties that funded it in 1962, so much that San Mateo County got it to SFO and Millbrae, it’s under construction to Berryessa in San Jose, and it’s planned to downtown San Jose and Santa Clara in Santa Clara County. Too bad the Berryessa extension doesn’t go one more station at grade and OVER 101 along the former WP to an Alum Rock station at 28th and Santa Clara Streets, there to meet the new super bus transit line.

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    The next phase takes BART underground to Alum Rock Station at 28th and Santa Clara Street.

  15. Robert S. Allen
    Sep 22nd, 2014 at 03:03
    #15

    Also to intercept San Jose and US 101 commuters at large park/ride facilities adjacent to the McKee and Alum Rock US 101 interchanges. This would be an early stage of the much more costly subway to downtown San Jose-Diridon extension en route to Santa Clara Caltrain by SJC.

  16. les
    Sep 22nd, 2014 at 11:55
    #16

    It’s kind of sad that the US has no credibility for dealing with climate change outside of Brown. What kind of world leader have we become? We’ve become the Switzerland of everything that matters.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/22/us/brown-seeks-more-electric-cars-in-california.html?_r=0

    Observer Reply:

    I totally agree. But, you are being too kind. The Swiss have an excellent record when it comes to the environment and social progressiveness. And as we all know Switzerland has an excellent rail passenger system. I would love for the USA to be as environmentally aware as the Swiss, and to have their social progressiveness; not to mention the fact that the Swiss know the importance that rail can have when it comes to preserving the environment.

    les Reply:

    whenever i think of the swiss i think of their seemingly inaction during the war. maybe a bad example

  17. Elizabeth Alexis
    Sep 22nd, 2014 at 18:17
    #17

    OT Ridership model behind 2014 Business Plan

    Although the CHSRA (Frank Vacca) denied our request to see the ridership model used for 2014 Business Plan forecasts for various confusing reasons, the Authority did release a series of memos that actually do contain the memo.

    We have posted them on our site
    http://www.calhsr.com/resources/ridership-forecast/

    Note: we are using google drive as content management. If you don’t want to view them in google drive format, just download and read. If anyone wants to walk us through the workaround to just open them in browser normally…

    There are some deeply concerning aspects of this model – it is truly broken when it comes to access and egress which means it simply should not have been used for stub systems like the IOS. It must be wreaking havoc with assumptions at end of line stations for parking demand.

    and I believe the specific weaknesses make it inappropriate

    Paul Druce Reply:

    Masters of the understatement when it comes to problematic areas on model results; I’m especially amused by the “Modeled flow tends to be on the low side between LAUS and Irvine” for LOSSAN on page 17. Some great info on the existing routes though.

    Joe Reply:

    Well the Peer Review Group will have their expert opinion on the model.
    These reviewing safeguards are designed into the proposition to protect taxpayers.

    Elizabeth Alexis Reply:

    The peer review group transitioned last year to a consultant role. In general, I think their critique is accurate although very gentle. If I am reading their latest missive correctly (they are very cryptic), they think that Cambridge can continue fiddling with this for the next five years (yes – CS wants another 5 years to fix a model that still fails after 10 years) and that another modeling effort should get started.

    That is right – you heard it- they think there is a need for a new model. I would probably try and keep this model simpler than what is proposed. At this point, the model doesn’t actually even explain why so many people drive from SF – LA and why current air demand in the CV is so low. That would be a great starting place.

    joe Reply:

    Proposition1A defines the role and responsibilities as well as membership criteria for the Peer Review Group. How they transitioned out of this role would be a very interesting change compliance with a law.

    Critiques can be gentle – one reason is professionals understand there are interest groups who would seize on any comments and distort them to further an agenda. It’s how we do our work in reviewing proposals across the spectrum of academia.

    The ridership model is advanced, a finding by the GAO, and the most advanced of its kind in the USA and is supposed to be under continuous improvement. The model is always a compromise and will be strong in some places and weak in others. They should be constantly modifying the model as they gain knowledge. This is how climate models are managed.

    And yes there could be simpler models for some questions and more complex models for other questions. I can see they would have a set of models rather than one massive model.

    What we know is a highway along PAMPA was expanded to reduce side street congestion. I saw no model study or complaints. Somethings are automatic and others need a detailed models because waste fraud and inconveniences.

    The complaint is two fold: They will be making and improving models for years and also the complaint is poor performance in the current models. I mean really.

    Nadia Reply:

    @Joe

    In this case, Elizabeth is referring to the RIDERSHIP Peer Review group as having transitioned to consultants – not the Peer Review Group set up by Prop 1A.

    joe Reply:

    Then this implication is even more ridiculous.

    Ridership is reviewed by the Peer Review Group and ridership was investigated by the GAO. Congress held hearings.

    Models are constantly refined. What they have to-date is state of art in the US.

    Is the suggestion CA should stop the project until our models are more accurate.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    My suspicion is that Cambridge Systematics and Parsons Brinckerhoff are having the same problem. The 2005-vintage data they are using for cost estimates and ridership was not a realistic base. There are several reasons for this, but most crucially was that 2005 was the height of the housing bubble and the most unrealistic year for other financial indicators.

    Now, it would be easy to say, use a new base circa 2013 or 2014 and bite the bullet. True up the estimates and move on…but I think the issue is that cost estimates appear to be rising and ridership falling but not for the same reason. The capital market is awash in investment, while the consumer market is still in recession. Thus, it’s possible that this Oliver Twist-esque paradox continues on for quite some time. But I don’t think 20 years is realistic either, and that is the lifetime of the project for these estimates.

    Put another way, the 2008 bank bailout has short-circuited the ability of the federal government to do large transportation projects and nearly wiped out the ability of any volume oriented business to expand. Usually, high interest rates and recessions would make public works projects more attractive and cheaper. But because we had big banks able to borrow money so cheaply, they bought the assets the public works projects needed without the vehicle of public financing. Meanwhile, the lack of investment in demand (because all the money is chasing assets) kills your sales models dead in the water. To wit, California would still have a budget deficit, but for the tax increase in Prop 30.

    So it doesn’t surprise me they need a new model, but they are out there. I used FAA data recently to look at air passengers between Western US cites. When I only excluded cities that could be served by CAHSR, I found that the model that made the most sense was to send trains between SF and LA in groups of 3. All three would stop at Union Station and Anaheim, one would then go onto Las Vegas and two to San Diego. One would end there, and and another would continue on to Phoenix. Sounds really basic, I know, but the modeling bore it out….

  18. Reality Check
    Sep 22nd, 2014 at 19:52
    #18

    How San Francisco Is Designing Its Metro Train of the Future
    BART cars are about to get their first real overhaul since the system launched in 1972.

    The so-called “Fleet of the Future” plan will put between 775 and 1,000 new BART cars on the tracks between 2017 and 2023, at a cost between $2.5 billion and $3.3 billion. But the overhaul is more of a full reimagining than a cosmetic touchup — from the big-picture look of the car itself to the minutiae of floor patterning and handrail grips. BART used the chance to rethink how the trains look on the outside and feel on the inside, how they accommodate the crowds of today and the near future, and how they subtly control rush-hour crowds and all those bicycles. The designers behind this project are focusing on the many minor details that together make a train ride either smooth or crowded or terrible or great.

    In other words, BART asked what the redesign can do not only for its train cars but for the system as a whole. It’s industrial design mixed with interior design, plus a splash of social engineering. And with the right touch, BART might even be able to hold on to that futuristic feel for another 40 years.

    jimsf Reply:

    they got lots of rider feedback. Personally I dont like the new interior lay out because I don’t want to talk to or look at anyone on bart. I hate that “group” seating. I prefer two- two facing forward and behind a newspaper.

  19. jimsf
    Sep 22nd, 2014 at 19:55
    #19

    ok I had to tweak this a little , now this is how it should be

    jimsf Reply:

    that gives everyone a single seat ride to the airport and should increase the success of the sfo line

    Joe Reply:

    Where’s the Gilroy train?

    jimsf Reply:

    I gues Gilroydians can use the HSR direct to sfo.

    Joe Reply:

    I hear you man. It’s exactly what I’m gonna do.

    That southern stretch of 101 is one of the most congested transportation Corridors in the bay area with people heading basically in one direction. it’s BART-topia

    If Livermore gets a BART station then send one south to South San Jose, Morgan Hill and on to Gilroy. Put Caltrain to sleep forever.

    jimsf Reply:

    I think gilroy will have capitol corridor and hsr. but no caltrain, ace or bart. maybe extending vta lightrail south from santa whatchamacallit would be better?

    joe Reply:

    Santa Thingamagig.

    Southern and Eastern San Jose ares are undeserved and dense now. BART would clean up.

    Capitol Corridor would do well if they could take over Caltrain and run 6 trains in the AM and PM each way. Salinas is, with current track, just under an hour from Gilroy. 5AM makes Gilroy at 6AM. Then run a 6AM Salinas and 7:00M train. Out of Gilroy run trains at 5:30, 6:30, 7:30. That’s 6 trains at 30 minute intervals. This would take some exporess bus ridership but attract many more commuters who cannot afford to risk a 3 train commute.

    We gave a reservist a ride last week because he missed one of the few Gilroy trains and had a long wait. That lame 3 train service kills ridership. You cannot afford to miss one of only 2 or 3 trains.

    joe Reply:

    And CC riders could transfer at San Jose to Electrified Caltrain OR continue North along the East Bay. That dual service would also gain CC ridership with both Pennisula & east bay workers.

    Transfers are easy – we transfer now at Tamien to catch an express train to Paly.

    Finally, Google now runs a bus service down here. I know a few Dads on soccer who work there.

    We have new developments that are bike path and walkable. Traffic circles and green spaces.
    http://www.cityofgilroy.org/cityofgilroy/city_hall/community_development/planning/glen_loma_ranch/default.aspx

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Jim,

    Try this design on for size: it also uses SFO as the core of BART’s expanded system, but also creates extensions as well:

    https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid=zaqdRYJFwKOc.kuPOVFmJhoY8

    Neil Shea Reply:

    Ted – your link says Permission Needed

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Oh sorry. Let me fix that.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Fixed.

    jimsf Reply:

    yeh thats a good one but id run the vallejo line via 80 corridor not concord. that said there are plans for a new rail bridge ( benicia-martinez bridge) so one would hope it is built with ample capacity for the future.

    Joey Reply:

    Have those plans moved forward at all? I haven’t heard anything about that in a while.

    jimsf Reply:

    I was just searching for details about that bridge. It needs to be replaced but I can’t find anything specific about plans on the google. Just an article about how there is only one federal inspector for all thousands of rail bridges in the state and that this one was built in 1930 and that all the freight railroads handling more toxic goods and increased petroleum shipments.

    Imagine the disruption if that bridge failed in an earthquake it would take years to get it rebuilt.

    Howard Reply:

    Build the long delayed rail bridge between Pittsburg / Bay Point and Birds Landing (Chipps Island) first. It was originally approved by the state and construction started in 1912, but construction stopped in 1913 due to lack of funds (by California Northern Railroad). Move as many trains as possible to this new high bridge (not drawbridge) before starting construction of the new Benicia Rail Drawbridge, because the new construction may require temporary closure of the old bridge. The added benefit is the increased capacity from a second bridge that does not close every time a large boat passes.

    Alan Reply:

    It’s not just the bridge-it’s rebuilding the entire SN between the bridge and Sacramento that makes Howard’s suggestion infeasible. (Maybe the connector between the SN and the Martinez Sub near Suisun could be rebuilt, but that’s problematic) Even if the environmentalists all went into a coma and this somehow got past CEQA review, the sheer expense is prohibitive. You can’t just rebuild the SN trestle north of Chipps–there would have to be long approaches on either side to enable the tracks to reach the height necessary for a fixed span bridge.

    Jerry Reply:

    Regardless of how you look at it – sooner or later, the infrastructure MUST be updated or replaced. Pay me now, or pay me later.

    Alan Reply:

    No question about it–eventually, the Martinez drawspan must be replaced. I’m just saying that a replacement bridge would have to be essentially parallel to the existing spans, probably to the north of the highway bridge. Even that is going to have a lot of challenges. Trying to do anything on the SN alignment just has too many environmental, economic and political challenges to be practical.

    Jon Reply:

    The last Capital Corridor board meeting included a 2014 Vision Plan Update that suggested the bridge be replaced with a high bridge parallel to the existing one (PDF page 94).

    http://www.capitolcorridor.org/included/docs/board_meetings/boardmeeting091714suppmaterials.pdf

    jimsf Reply:

    I think there was a plan for a trans delta freeway at one time. Id like to see that. something in a straight line from sacramento to 242 in concord.

    I hate how freeways have so many doglegs after all.

  20. Robert S. Allen
    Sep 27th, 2014 at 17:04
    #20

    How about a HSR tube from Port Costa to Benicia?

Comments are closed.