Uber, Lyft, and HSR Stations

Dec 1st, 2014 | Posted by

Over at Palo Alto Online, Steve Levy makes an interesting point about ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft making connections to HSR stations easier. He starts off by explaining his reasons for originally voting against HSR:

I was part of the original (1998) HSR consulting team and expressed reservations about the ridership projections. I voted against HSR and have told the Governor, who I voted for and generally support, that I thought the HSR money would be better spent improving intra-regional mobility and commute options.

The main problem I saw and still see is that there are substantial challenges in getting to and from the HSR stations. These challenges cast doubt on the total travel time and cost projections and, hence, the ridership projections. One clear problem is that most if not all stations do not have the capacity to house the parking, shuttle and taxi service that is available at airports in the Bay Area and Southern California.

I mention this first off because it’s important to point out the sizable error he’s made in his assumptions. HSR stations in California, especially in the coastal cities, are FAR easier to reach than the nearby airports. Union Station is at the center of the LA rail and freeway network. The new Transbay Terminal will be a block from BART and Muni in downtown SF. There are literally no better places in Northern or Southern California to put an HSR station in terms of connectivity.

It’s not just the SF and LA stations that are well placed. San José Diridon is at the center of the Silicon Valley’s transit and freeway networks. Same with Anaheim. The Central Valley stations are all located in the heart of their downtowns. I cannot imagine what are the “substantial challenges” that Levy refers to.

That being said, he is right that ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft will help make connecting to those stations even easier:

Could services like Uber, Lyft and Zipcar reduce the time and cost of getting to and from the HSR stations? While some trips begin and end near HSR stations, most do not forcing many riders to take taxis or drive and park—both expensive options and often time consuming as well.

While Uber in particular has come in for withering criticism of late, Levy is right in the broader sense that ridesharing services, as well as carsharing services like Zipcar, can help make it easier for people to get to and from the HSR stations.

While he’s at it, Levy also makes another realization about HSR that this blog has been pointing out for over six years:

Housing is generally cheaper farther away from job centers. The current HSR alignment would open up Kern County as a residential commuting center into the San Fernando Valley and open up Monterey and San Benito and southern Santa Clara counties as residential commuting options in the Bay Area that would not require much car usage.

This service is at least a decade away but over the long term could be part of addressing housing affordability and access in parts of the state’s two largest regions.

While the Bay Area core, including Palo Alto, needs to become much more dense, he is right that HSR will open up those places as new housing centers. Again, centrally located HSR stations can help ensure that growth doesn’t come in the form of new sprawl, which is important.

  1. Jerry
    Dec 1st, 2014 at 17:04
    #1

    On the Peninsula, Redwood City would like a station for HSR.
    But, they are building new high rise buildings just inches away from the tracks. Not even allowing room for a passing track. Let alone greater access for more cars, taxis, buses.

    Jerry Reply:

    There are ZipCar locations at Stanford University, but are there any ZipCar locations at SFO?

    Michael Reply:

    Zip Cars are for short trips, priced above $10/hour, and must be returned to original location. They’re not really suited for airport origin trips. They have regular rental cars for that. Two different markets.

    Eric Reply:

    High rises next to HSR stations is a great idea. (Not leaving room for a passing track is obviously not a great idea.)

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    America’s Finest Transportation Planning Professionals.
    http://caltrain-hsr.blogspot.com/2011/09/development-oriented-transit-again.html

    Death is too kind a fate.

    joe Reply:

    http://www.gilroyhighspeedtrain.org

    Oliver Wendell Holmes Reply:

    Death threats in the CAHSR Blog comment section? Seriously?

    Jerry Reply:

    You certainly have misread that.

  2. Jerry
    Dec 1st, 2014 at 17:14
    #2

    Steve Levy ignores the car rental (sharing) business. Many of which have counters at the airport and off site locations for their cars which require shuttles.

    joe Reply:

    Gilroy envisioning project/exercise – not really a plan – shows both rental car and hotel(s) near the station.
    This is significant because the project landuse changes were based on existing city landuse maps and the station landuse impacts, such as multi story hotels, informed the city council and citizens prior to the YES vote. The City wants to infill and build up.

    As much as we find this place small town, Gilroy’s effort to bring and plan for HSR really does exceed what I see elsewhere.

  3. Jerry
    Dec 1st, 2014 at 17:18
    #3

    Steve Levy’s 1998 HSR consulting service apparently failed to identify that most of the destinations of flights from the Bay Area airports are to destinations outside of the state of California. CAHSR is just for CA.

  4. Observer
    Dec 1st, 2014 at 17:21
    #4

    Can’t see the forrest for the tress? I would rather try getting to a HSR station downtown than any airport anywhere anytime, let alone the stress of driving between my destinations.

  5. Alon Levy
    Dec 1st, 2014 at 17:35
    #5

    In South Korea, a substantial proportion of HSR travelers get to the station by taxi. In addition to transit connections, taxis are useful for the last mile for both business travelers and tourists, and if the station is centrally located then the taxi ride can be 10-15 minutes, vs. an hour as at some airports.

    joe Reply:

    BUS. I went to Seoul and the best and affordable way to/from the Airport is with a large, luggage carrying “touring” bus. The cabbies patrol the hallways but they’ll underbid and make you pay every toll and fee.

    Eric Reply:

    Not the express subway line from downtown to the airport?

    I had a long flight stopover in Paris, and took RER from the airport and a touring bus back. Bad idea – the freeways were entirely jammed, the bus was delayed, and I almost missed my flight.

    joe Reply:

    That subway was’t finished when I went.

    Direct from SFO. Took a cab in to Seoul and he raked me over. Used tour Bus on the way back.

    I recall getting in late and leaving late in the day their time – off hours. No issues with traffic.

    Eric Reply:

    One of the things I do nowadays to kill time is look at random cities on the Google Maps traffic layer at specified days and times. In major cities like NYC or LA or Paris, the freeways are all jammed at rush hour, as you might expect. But several hours later, with few exceptions they are all flowing completely freely.

    So at many times, a bus will make good time to the airport. But you run the risk of unexpected traffic, which is probably unlikely, but has big consequences when you need to catch a transatlantic flight. I assume that urban/suburban rail services are much more reliable. Like maybe a 99% chance of arriving in time rather than 90%.

  6. Reedman
    Dec 1st, 2014 at 18:07
    #6

    One possible reason for Mr. Levy’s concern about auto access is that in Northern California, BART has a reputation of being extremely hard-nosed about drop-off/pick-up, red curbs, and kiss-and-ride. The BART station red curbs (indicating both no stopping and bus stop [a red curb is not needed for a bus stop, buses are allowed to stop at red curbs, taxi’s are not allowed to stop at red curbs]) are given large, prime locations (right at the entrance) and the sheriffs immediately give a $250 ticket for anyone in any car dropping off a passenger at an otherwise unused red curb. The blue curbs [stopping of cars allowed] generally are significant distances away from the entrances. What Mr. Levy would probably like to see at HSR stations is a process like airports use, which allows drop-off/pick-up near entrances.

  7. joe
    Dec 1st, 2014 at 19:43
    #7

    Dumb stunts

    SACRAMENTO – Today Assemblyman Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, introduced AB 6 to stop the further sale of any bonds for high-speed rail purposes and redirect funds for construction of school facilities for K-12 and higher education.

    “The High-Speed Rail boondoggle has been a proven failure and it’s time we spend taxpayer dollars in a responsible way. California hasn’t passed a school bond since 2006 and there is no more money. Projects are shovel ready and Sacramento must act.” Wilk said. “This bill will help our schools receive the funding they desperately need to improve education facilities.”

    If he’s lucky, HSR will forever bypass Santa Clarita.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Sta. Clarita and the Tejon Ranch are uber-nimby. They want to be bypassed, but to no avail. They are sitting atop the prime escape route from LA and atop I-5. They are in the bulldozer’s path..

    They will just make a bigger I-5. The highway lobby is bigger than the Tejon Ranch Co.

    J. Wong Reply:

    San Mateo didn’t want BART thinking that they’d keep their small town feel. Instead, they developed anyway, and when they finally gave into BART, they got screwed. Want to bet that that won’t happen to Sta. Clarita?

    synonymouse Reply:

    They should have put up a better up a better fight against MTC, BART, Kopp, SFO, PB.

    Oliver Wendell Holmes Reply:

    Public education is a boondoggle.

    Alan Reply:

    “This bill will help our schools receive the funding they desperately need to improve education facilities.”

    Actually, this bill would be a clear violation of the California constitution if it tries to redirect Prop 1A bond proceeds to schools. Even the LAO should be able to see that.

  8. J. Wong
    Dec 1st, 2014 at 20:45
    #8

    “[S]tations do not have the capacity to house the parking, shuttle and taxi service that is available at airports” is where he went wrong. Not that they don’t have the capacity, which they don’t, but that people would expect to drive like they do to the airports. Except even that’s changing. The share of people getting to SFO on BART is increasing. I see people transferring from the East Bay trains to the SFO train all the time.

    joe Reply:

    CAHSRA seems to require 20% of anticipated ridership parking at site and 80% within a 3 mile radius. (according to the Gilroy HSR project documents.

    For Gilory it would be 6,500 spots for a full build which means 1,300 on site. No small feat.

  9. Howard
    Dec 1st, 2014 at 21:10
    #9

    All the airports I have been to do not have all of the parking and rental car facilities next to the terminal either. They have local public transit and limited expensive premium parking only next to the terminal. To access the rental car facility or the plentiful budget parking one needs to use a shuttle bus or rail people mover. The California High Speed Rail Authority plans for the California High Speed Train stations to operate the same way, especially with the CHSR train stations being downtown. I think instead of shuttle busses we should improve adjacent local rail and train stations. Let them get more ridership.
    For example:

    At Diridon Station (the San Jose high speed rail station) Caltrain and/or BART should serve as the shuttle train to the lightly used Santa Clara Station. The Santa Clara Station would be expanded to host the rental car facility and the economy parking garage. It’s only one station away (College Park does not count). Alternatively the proposed San Jose Airport to Diridon train station people mover would allow the airport to share parking and rental car facilities. A similar facilities sharing is planned for Burbank.

    At the Gilroy Station (Monterey Bay Area HST Station) an extended Caltrain (to Hollister) could shuttle passengers to a new Monterey / Bolsa Road Caltrain Station (south of US 101 and the Monterey Road interchange). This new Caltrain station would host the car rental facility and the economy parking for the Gilroy HST Station. People would use a frequent two way Caltrain service to go between. It could also be a park and ride station for Prunedale and Aromas Caltrain commuters.

    A few stations, like Trans-bay Terminal, may be transit only (no parking). Other stations, like the under used Millbrae station may need no changes beyond what is planned anyway (parking structures).

  10. Ted Judah
    Dec 1st, 2014 at 22:07
    #10

    You live long enough, you see everything: after reading for years about the massive amount of parking PB’s EIR were stuffing into Burbank, Fresno, and Palmdale now we have Steve Levy declaring the stations need MORE parking?????

    So instead of having a statewide BART system, Levy literally wants BART stations statewide with huge parking lots to boot?

    Suffice to say, I think Levy is really saying local mass transit won’t pump enough connecting riders to boost demand to the point of viability. He’s pointing out that many employers have no reason to return downtown which would boost HSR significantly. And it is true that local governments will end up fighting more than coordinating with each other as more funding is realigned.

    joe Reply:

    The CAHSR ridership model has simplifications. One I am concerned about is reliance on car-trips to simplify station location impacts on ridership. It make modeling the system easier but pushes cars/parking.

    The simplifying assumption is a station at RWC or Paly would not impact ridership. It’s irrelevant. Both get the same ridership since the distance between them is small and drivers in the area would choose either as the mid peninsula station.

    This simplifying assumption (IMHO) pushes parking. The ridership projections require drivers and that means parking. If Paly, RCW or or Gilroy does’t have 6,500 spaces, 20% local on site, how can HSR get the projected ridership it needs?

    The solution is to swap car riders with bus.mass.transit.dropoff.uber.whatever and model the draw transit provides over parking. Subsequently the stations can decrease mandatory parking at the HSR station and increase on site people-centric stuff. If more parking is needed add it after the fact – assuming they charge a cost recovery parking fee.

    Howard Reply:

    Another alternative is to spread the high speed rail station parking around by adding a few dedicated spots to each Caltrain and BART station. Then people only need to drive a short distance to the nearest train station and take the local transit train to the high speed rail station (via Caltrain or BART). This would minimize VMT and GHG.

    Alan Kandel Reply:

    Whichever way getting people to and from centrally located HSR stations is achieved, it seems to me California will still need to meet 2020 and 2050 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions-reduction targets. GHG must be reduced to 1990 levels by 2020 (per AB 32 – Global Warming Solutions Act for 2006 stipulations) and 80 percent below that by 2050 (per Executive Order S-3-05 stipulations). The level of GHG in 1990 was 427 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MMTCO2e). Today, statewide GHG weighs in at 458.4 MMTCO2e or thereabouts.

    As it relates, in 2012, transportation’s contribution to GHG was 37.3 percent, followed by industrial (21.9%), in-state electric generation (11.2%), electricity imports (9.6%), agriculture (8.3%), residential (6.9%) and commercial (4.8%).

    Being transportation in state is the highest GHG producer, high-speed rail likely to lead to a reduction in GHG, it would then seem prudent to advance any plan that further reduces GHG coming from transportation. Providing scads of at-station motor vehicle parking seems counter-intuitive at best and the absolute wrong approach at worst.

    Howard is definitely on the right track with his observation.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Transportation is the largest only because the emissions of buildings are separated into different sectors.

    But not to worry, the cap-and-trade slush fund invests a large majority of its money into transportation and related development (with an outsized emphasis on HSR relative to intercity travel’s share of GHG emissions), and not alternative energy.

    joe Reply:

    Again, the CAHSRA Ridership model assumes car trips to/from stations to simplify how they model the impact of station location. RWC or Palo Alto is irrelevant to ridership forecasting. Ridership drives revenue so the pressure is on to build parking.

    The Authority needs to change how they model ridership and include impact of development around the stations.

    For now I’d relax parking requirements. Build parking to meet demand rather than build parking to meet anticipated demand.

    Parking spaces will crowd out people and are not cheap.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Howard’s also cruising for a fight with all the local government entities too! BART is not going to connect directly with HSR except San Jose Diridion *someday*. But even if it did, it would want someone to pay for all those spots taken out of commission.

    Operationally, Howard is on the right idea, but remember too that at least with BART all those spots are full during work hours.

    J. Wong Reply:

    “BART is not going to connect directly with HSR”. Millbrae?

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Milbrae is not going to be the HSR station for SFO. The City will have a shit fit if that happens.
    However this shared parking concept with airports generally explains the change in many of the station designs in San Diego and Burbank.

    Joey Reply:

    Millbrae has been on the books as a HSR station for years. If the city was going to have a shit fit they would have had it already.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    No the City and County of San Francisco will have a shit fit. Milbrae has no dog in the fight.

    Notice what happened with BART to SFO; Milbrae is the location on paper for the HSR station only so that a day passes without United Airlines and various politicos from the Bay Area trying to kill each other again.

    It’s not an accident Dan Richard got picked for the CHSRA Board…

    Joey Reply:

    Ted, that doesn’t change the fact that it’s been the official plan for years now. Millbrae was chosen as a HSR station specifically for its proximity to SFO. If someone wanted to complain about it they have had ample opportunity to do so. The city of SF has no reason to deny Millbrae the station.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    I understand what you are saying from a procedural point of view but part of is about ridership. In the last decade, the ridership model hewed to catchment areas around stations for population regardless of income.

    In air travel, especially in California the exact opposite is happening in the years since Prop 1a– carriers are circling the wagons around the highest flyers and caring less about population. Having a station embedded at SFO like Charles de Gaulles does outside Paris is going to be a huge revenue and ridership boost. It’s a fight for another day, but it is coming.

    Joey Reply:

    You still have yet to suggest any reason why the city of SF would oppose a station at Millbrae.

    Howard Reply:

    The idea is to build a few new reservation parking spots for high speed rail passengers at all local transit stations (Caltrain and BART), not take away existing commuter parking spots.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    The adjacent land is to valuable for that in regards to BART and nearly all of CalTrain and even Cap Corridor. Certainly Metrolink would be interested in your idea if they survive.

    joe Reply:

    The plan is to spread parking around a 3 mile radius BUT the on site parking has to be 20% of forecasted need which is 20% of a very large number. It amounts to 1,300 spaces on site for Gilroy.

    Michael Reply:

    BART allows paid airport parking at many stations. Here’s a link to how it works.
    https://www.select-a-spot.com/bart/reservations/facilities/?type=long_term

  11. joe
    Dec 1st, 2014 at 23:02
    #11

    More proof San José is a cow town and sucks. or not

    http://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-1202-airline-market-20141202-story.html
    LAX increases market share as that of Ontario airport, others shrink
    “The fact is that the attempt by Los Angeles to regionalize aviation in Southern California has failed miserably,” said Ontario Mayor Pro Tem Alan Wapner. “We need to bring local control back to the airport.”

    Meanwhile, the market shares of four out of the five other commercial airports in the region have shrunk since the recession, though some have seen increases in travelers, according to Oliver Wyman, an aviation consulting firm that prepared the report for the authority.

    They have contended that the airport’s decline is due to the economic recession and a restructuring in which the airline industry shifted flights to dominant airports, such as LAX.

    Airlines consolidate flights around a few large airports.

  12. morris brown
    Dec 2nd, 2014 at 08:09
    #12

    Here is a bit of reality about rail being the future of commuting etc.

    See:

    http://www.foxandhoundsdaily.com/2014/12/southern-california-stuck-drive/

    <b Southern California Stuck in Drive

    …. Instead of rushing to rail, Angelenos continue to rely on their cars to get to work. From 1980-2013, the market share of drive-alone commuters has risen from 70 percent to 74.1 percent.

    Alan Reply:

    “Fox and Hounds”? Really? Hasn’t the Cato Institute come out with some kind of drivel lately? Expecting “Fox and Hounds” to be objective is about as funny as expecting Faux Noise to practice real journalism.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    If we were to look at GHG emissions trends from 1980 to 2013, we’d conclude that large parts of humanity are doomed.

    synonymouse Reply:

    “Rather than invest huge dollars in rail megaprojects, perhaps we could reduce bus fares, a strategy attributed to the legendary Los Angeles County Supervisor Kenneth Hahn that increased bus ridership dramatically from 1982-85.”

    Diesel buses do nothing to reduce smog, one of LA’s biggest woes. Natural gas is still fossil and don’t forget that rubber dust. This is just highway lobby-bus salesmanship.

    This article also ignores high labor costs, reduced by mu’d articulated streetcars.

    It even misfires on its rap of Manhattan worship, which is epitomized by highrises, loved by all Ritchie Riches, from the Koch Bros. to Pelosi-DiFi.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Meantime San Diego streetcars are doing quite well, thank you:

    http://progressiverailroading.com/passenger_rail/news/San-Diego-transit-agency-set-ridership-record-in-October–42735

    Joey Reply:

    And yet San Diego is still trying to pour money into highways.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Excessive and short sighted but you will see the same with BART and PBHSR. They will still build more freeways.

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    I’m all for making transit fares free, and failing that, making them as low as possible.

    But that’s not something you do instead of building new lines. It’s something you do in addition.

    Neville Snark Reply:

    But this not a throwaway line. In Central Europe — I just name it because these are the cities in which I’ve spent the most time — everyone has a yearly (or monthly) pass than comes to about a dollar or so a day, covering the metro, streetcars, and buses. Of course they’re starting from the opposite direction. But in order to convince people that it really is much better to ride transit (except of course not for all trips), and not to build any more suburbia, in order to make California a real role model in the fight against climate change (of course that’s probably a lost cause, but still). something radical has got to be done to shake things up.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    A dollar a day? Over here it’s more than three dollars a day, before PPP adjustment (after adjustment, make it about $2.50).

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    Joel Kotkin and Wendell Cox? Oh this oughta be fun.

    Alan Reply:

    And the blog conveniently forgets to mention Cox’s association with a Koch Brothers propaganda mill…

    Alan Reply:

    The Fox and Hounds blog, that is, not Robert’s blog.

  13. Mike Jones
    Dec 2nd, 2014 at 09:54
    #13

    If you’re going to have a high capacity HSR system, with centrally located stations in vibrant areas (not necessarily right downtown), then car parking is irrelevant. You’ll never fill the trains from car parkers, so why try? Equally, building density around the HSR station will not alone provide you with enough customers, you need transit (including taxis). Every trip has a home element, it is here you need the density, every BART station is a hub for HSR, while every HSR station is like a centrally located airport.

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    Daily Journal

    Bicyclists make up about 11 percent of Caltrain ridership with its older Gallery trains able to host up to 48 bicyclists and the newer Bombardier trains providing room for up to 80, said Caltrain spokeswoman Jayme Ackemann.

    “The issue of bike capacity is a real challenge. First of all, we provide more bicycle access than any other transit system in the country … and at a certain point you have to consider the whole environment of the train,” Ackemann said. “We want to provide more capacity for all customers, that certainly includes the bicycle customers. How much more is something we haven’t been able to determine yet.”

    Good news from Caltrain, buying cars to refurbish that have capacity for 8o bikes. Hope HSR is taking note, good way to get to stations.

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    Article by Samantha Weigel

    Mike Jones Reply:

    Even bikes can be problematic. At many European and Asian stations parked bikes are an impediment to station access and design. Bike share is more effective, but good transit that delivers and then leaves is the way forward. The bike counter on Market St. San Francisco records about 3,000 riders (one direction) a day while just one MUNI bus line on Market records between 10,000- 30,000 daily boardings, and there are many bus lines on Market!

    Ted K. Reply:

    Bicyclists seeks space in Caltrain changes: Transit agency to buy used cars, electrify system(S.M.Daily Journal, 1 Dec. 2014)

    Howard Reply:

    Most people live in single family house neighborhoods without good transit service; therefore, they need to drive to a park-&-ride lot somewhere (CHSR, Caltrain, Capital Corridor, ACE, BART or VTA light rail station). Only a small minority of people live in high density neighborhoods with good local transit. We need to have good car access to CHSR stations for CHSR to succeed because we have had over 50 years of mostly suburban sprawl development (it will take many decades to build enough high density transit orientation development for it to become the majority). Therefore, distribute the CHSR parking at every local transit station that has parking (by adding a few reservation spaces at each) so that the park-&-ride drivers can drive as little as possible. Let them pay a fair market price for the parking. This way the downtowns with the CHSR stations are not overwhelmed. The only way to have the majority support the California High Speed Rail project is to allow the majority to access it. Since most people now live in single family home neighborhoods the only way to get majority support now is to have enough park-&-ride spaces. Things may be different in thirty years, but this is the way things are now (except in San Francisco of course).

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Most people live in single family house neighborhoods without good transit service; therefore, they need to drive to a park-&-ride lot somewhere

    Yet that doesn’t stop them from using airports.

    Howard Reply:

    I always drive to the airport economy lot.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    I take the massively expensive express trains. It means I can leave my apartment an hour and a half before the flight and still get on.

  14. Eric M
    Dec 2nd, 2014 at 17:06
    #14

    Here is a good story for you Robert. It even mentions your blog. Would be a good topic to write about again, even though you covered it before. I take no credit for finding this story. It was posted on Altamont Press.

    Jerry Reply:

    Thank you Eric. In the 2012 election year the article states that nationwide Jeff Dunham was the 2nd largest recipient of dark money.

  15. john burrows
    Dec 2nd, 2014 at 21:37
    #15

    Randal O’ Toole and other opponents of high speed rail have been arguing for some time now that driverless technology will very possibly make travel by car so fast and so enjoyable that by the 2030’s or the 2040’s almost no one will want to take the train.

    If totally driverless cars do arrive in the next 25 years, it might be that their effect on rail travel will be the opposite. There is no reason why swarms of driverless cabs couldn’t be operating in metropolitan areas across the country ready to go anywhere to pick you up and take you quickly and cheaply to the train station, airport, or to wherever you want to go. If getting to and from the train becomes even quicker, cheaper, more reliable, and less of a hassle, then the trains are
    going to be used more, not less.

    john burrows Reply:

    And you wouldn’t have to tip.

    Joe Reply:

    I appreciate the reversal of the anti-HSR argument.

    Still driverless cars is a red herring.

    Autonomy Researchers across the spectrum persistently debunk the idea of driverless cars.
    What driverless system that might work in a controlled, instrumented warehouse cannot cope with on road decisions with the right context.

    Mike Jones Reply:

    If you don’t actually own a car you become very aware of how much it costs to use one. Bring on car share!

  16. Neil Shea
    Dec 2nd, 2014 at 23:53
    #16

    OT: Our friends at BART are still brainstorming: New transbay tube; several infill stations; standard gauge DMUs between Coliseum and Richmond; of course plenty more broad gauge in SF, past Richmond and to Livermore; and maybe even some BRT and buses. Infill station possibilities includes Mr. Allen’s West Oakland Intermodal plus I-80 Richmond and Fremont Shinn where they cross train tracks.

    They do mention their $5B capital shortfall, and promise a ‘Short List’ of 3-5 options on Thursday. Other than some capacity tweaks at Embarcadero and Montgomery, and a possible infill station at Irvington and 30th/Mission, it mostly seems fantastical.

    The Peninsula is spared any published machinations. Interestingly on slide 9 the only corridor that doesn’t specify a technology is the new tube, and the map on slide 8 draws it ambiguously linked to BART in Oakland but prominently linked to their E Bay standard gauge DMU corridor idea.

    I think they’re signaling the end of broad gauge expansions, acknowledging that a future bay crossing would be standard gauge. Of course they list the NW Contra Costa and Livermore using BART technology to avoid signaling too quick a pivot. Similarly they’re not ready to suggest electrifying and grade separating their standard gauge corridors to make them “safe & reliable” yet ;)

    http://www.sfcta.org/sites/default/files/content/Executive/Meetings/pnp/2014/11/BART%20Vision%20-%202014%20Nov%2018%20SF%20PlansandPrograms%20Committee%20UPDATED%20FINAL.pdf

    http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/A-2nd-transbay-BART-tube-Maybe-but-not-anytime-5931039.php#photo-7220523

    Eric Reply:

    BART should never have been broad gauge, but if you are going to add a one station extension to an existing broad gauge line (like Livermore), it should be broad gauge too. Not just for “signaling”.

    Eric Reply:

    It looks to me like the second tube will be directly connected to the West SF corridor, whose technology is labeled as “BART”. So it too will be broad gauge. :(

    Personally I don’t see why a new tunnel cannot be dual gauged at least temporarily.

    synonymouse Reply:

    No more broad gauge nor 10 car trains on Geary. Where is TWU 250A?

    Neville Snark Reply:

    why does everyone speak of BART on Geary rather than Muni?

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Because there’s demand for both more SF-Oakland trains and CBD-Geary trains, so might as well build one line to serve both.

    synonymouse Reply:

    “a project driven by institutional ambition”

    Quoting from the NY Times article on Iconic PATH. A simplistic but not altogether wrong way to answer why BART on Geary is that BART is intrinsically evil.

    Evil=huge bureaucracy, militant unions, political most pampered pet status, utter ownerships of MTC, finely honed expertise at steeling lesser transit ops lunch money, exquisite connections with crony engineering consultants and contractors, and so on.

    Muni is in capitulation mode and will likely turn over its entire operation to BART, which will scrap everything but a few diesel buses and sell off all the real estate to its special friends. SF becomes Son of NYC.

    Manhattanization causes Global Warming.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Um, sure, global warming is caused by Manhattanites who take the subway 5 km to work every day, while commuters from single-family houses in the suburbs who drive 30 km in each direction are actually sucking in CO2 from the atmosphere.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Manhattanization means explosive population growth which is Global Warming. Take away about 30 million people and you don’t have the Manhattan template any more, as we have come to know it.

    The mere presence of homo sapiens changes the ecosystem. The more the greater. Your non-Global Warming Manhattan would be the version with a few Native American villages in it.

    The Cheerleaders and Smart Growthers fabled tech innovations will render the suburbs on a CO2 par with Manhattan. Electric cars and there you go. The reviled “Deniers” are claiming electric cars are less polluting than say BART.

    For laughs the new science riff is saying habitable planets may require a catch-22. They have to have life to generate the conditions to support life. You cannot escape population. there is no smart growth.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Urban birth rates are lower than rural ones, so no, it does not actually mean explosive population growth, and in the parts of the world with above-replacement fertility rates, urbanization actually means less population growth.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    …Manhattan’s population peaked in 1910…. Before San Francisco becomes Manhattan it would have to first become Queens and then Brooklyn.

    synonymouse Reply:

    So since most Americans live in cities the US population is going down, right?

    Alon Levy Reply:

    US birth rates are below replacement. There’s no population growth coming from the US, merely a shift of population from Mexico, China, the Dominican Republic, etc. Mexico has low and decreasing population growth, because of the demographic transition, and China’s population is expected to peak shortly and then fall.

    synonymouse Reply:

    The population is always going to peak shortly.

    But according to Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking AI will snuff us all shortly. Perhaps that is the reason big science seems to be slowing down. These geniuses aren’t as smart as we thought. What is the difference between these AI bossbots and our political class and our moronic technocrats exemplified by PB and MTC. AI will be pushing “progress” if it liquidates our pollitical class.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Um, no, it’s not always going to peak shortly; people make informed predictions based on birth trends. The entire population growth in China is demographic momentum – there are fewer 75-year-olds dying than people being born, due to high population growth 50 years ago and rising life expectancy. But there are way fewer people being born than 25-year-olds. The smallest cohorts in modern China are the ones born in 1960 and 1961, during the mass starvation caused by the People’s Democratic Dictatorship, but narrowly behind them are the cohorts born since 2000.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Population Denial

    Eric Reply:

    The population has *already* peaked and started to decline in Japan, Germany, Russia, and much of eastern Europe. Every other developed country except Israel has below replacement fertility, but population is still growing slowly because people are living longer on average.

    When the rest of the world becomes developed, does anyone really think their birth patterns will be any different?

    synonymouse Reply:

    The countries you cite are not currently at war or preparing for one.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Russia is not preparing for war? Abe’s Japan is not preparing for war? Iran (also below replacement) is not preparing for war? Come on.

    The countries with birth rates that are more than a little bit above replacement, with the exception of Israel, are all quite poor. Even middle-income countries, like Brazil and Mexico, are either below or a little bit above replacement, and so are a lot of countries at the upper end of low income, like India and even Bangladesh. The really high growth rates are in the poorest and more illiterate countries in the world, like Afghanistan and the DRC, where I assure you Manhattanization is not happening.

    synonymouse Reply:

    And that is why California’s population is falling.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Russia(aka former Soviet Union)has experienced defeat after defeat in recent times, like the US, and now faces the worrisome prospect of Germans in the Ukraine. Putin is carrying out an orderly retreat.

    Japan is worried a US in decline will not have the desire to go to war with China unless we are directly attacked.

    The Ayatollah will not permit a truly strong military in Iran knowing that will lead to a successful coup and the theocracy replaced with a junta.

    If there is a big war I suggest it will follow a nuclear attack on someone, which I believe is pretty close to inevitable.

    Michael Reply:

    Wow. Evil Germans attacking Russia. Those concrete ties along the SMART line must really be getting to you.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Yes, Germany was peacefully marching only within its own borders in 1870-71, 1914-18, 1939-45.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    In 1870, France attacked first.

    swing hanger Reply:

    Alon, please don’t equate Japan (a true democracy which has never waged war since the end of WW2, unlike any of its neighbors) with Russia or Iran, which are not. If you were living near an aggressive totalitarian nation intent on reestablishing its hegemony over neighboring seas and territories (Communist China), you would certainly want your nation to be able to defend itself better.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    If Merkel engaged in the same sort of denialism Abe engages in, people would be openly making Nazi comparisons, even if she tried making the “Putin is more expansionist” excuse.

    swing hanger Reply:

    Abe’s remarks doesn’t make for a “shift to the right” for the general Japanese population (his LDP was returned to power by the voters not for nationalistic reasons, but for economic), but it makes good fodder for the barstool Western press to make nazi analogies. The Japanese are some of the least patriotic people on earth, and extreme nationalistic political groups or parties are viewed as the (lunatic) fringe and are kept there, unlike the situation in some European nations.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The problem with lunatic fringes is that often, people agree with them and only condemn the methods. In Israel, which is even more racist than Japan, there are fringe groups too, who the center reacts to by saying things like, “well, Lehava is too extreme, but interracial marriage is a problem and we should educate our children to only marry other Jews.”

    synonymouse Reply:

    Hoping the Commune would be crushed?

    I guess from the British point of view the Colonists attacked first.

    Joey Reply:

    Because MUNI has too many trains going eastbound in the morning while BART has too many trains going Westbound in the morning. Putting BART on Geary reduces midday storage and turnback needs rather than making them worse.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Putting BART on Geary makes it possible to build a lot of highrises and to sell off Presidio Yard.

    Joey Reply:

    Ridership data from the 38 and adjacent lines suggests that there’s enough demand to support a full subway even without new development. Not that I see new development as a bad thing.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Once again from the top:

    Geary belongs to Muni and TWU 250A.

    **** BART

    synonymouse Reply:

    And all its works.

    Joey Reply:

    MUNI has proven repeatedly that it can be just as bad as BART in construction costs, and arguably worse in operations.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Just say no to BART Bechtelian BizarroTech.

    Where is the BARTkrieg on Geary going to cross Market? 3rd & Kearny is too tight for BART shit unless you do 10mph and 10 swayback beercan cars of wheel squeal you can hear all the way to the Ferry Bldg.

    So if the Geary corridor is so busy it demands full subway how come nothing is being done to accommodate this huge patronage in the interim? How come no trolley buses out of Presidio Yard? How come no 3 section diesel articulateds. How come no lo floor trams?

    Political corruption botched the Stubway; Muni management is impotent to deflect it. But no problem for BART? Yeah, BART is corruption.

    Joey Reply:

    I never said BART did things well. Just that MUNI doesn’t do things any better.

    My main argument for why it should be BART is the problem of peak commute flows and how MUNI already has too many vehicles going downtown in the morning. BART by contrast has an excess of vehicles heading west in the morning and nowhere to send them. Adding more origins on the west side of the transbay tube would also help fill reverse-commute trains, driving up farebox recovery.

    As for the curve, Post to 2nd looks like it would work okay. Though depending on the timeframe for the second tube, there’s some argument for hooking it directly up to the Market Street Subway via O’Farrel. Based on my rough calculations there should be enough room for a junction west of Montgomery station.

    synonymouse Reply:

    You are in the mud there and way down. So your station in 2nd St. and one at Union Square on Post.

    And then cutting down 19th Ave. to the Sunset and Parkside to sap and kill the N and L and the trash the M to arrive at IBG Central Daly City.

    BART the special friend of the highrise, the freeway, the parking garage, the airport and a little bit the diesel bus when absolutely no other way. The sworn enemy of anything not in Manhattan, like the streetcar, the trolley coach, the cable car. Anything standard gauge OC, anathema to Bechtel-SP dogma, including HSR that by comparison would make BART look like the ghetto garbage it is.

    synonymouse Reply:

    “there’s some argument for hooking it directly up to the Market Street Subway via O’Farrel[sic].”

    You want an at grade branching off the BART level or are you converting the Muni level to IBG?

    Where is the useless TWU 250A? They need to work over Lee. Amalgamated is going to wipe them off the map.

    Joey Reply:

    I for one think it’s better to leave agency turf wars behind us.

    Jon Reply:

    I think assuming that a new tube will be standard gauge is reading waaaaay to much into that map.

    Jon Reply:

    If you watch the presentation, the BART representative explicitly says that everything BART has planned in San Francisco will be “BART technology”.

    http://sanfrancisco.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=25&clip_id=21452&meta_id=411329

  17. Reality Check
    Dec 3rd, 2014 at 00:19
    #17

    How Cost of Train Station at World Trade Center Swelled to $4 Billion

    With its long steel wings poised sinuously above the National September 11 Memorial in Lower Manhattan, the World Trade Center Transportation Hub has finally assumed its full astonishing form, more than a decade after it was conceived.

    Its colossal avian presence may yet guarantee the hub a place in the pantheon of civic design in New York. But it cannot escape another, more ignominious distinction as one of the most expensive and most delayed train stations ever built.

    The price tag is approaching $4 billion, almost twice the estimate when plans were unveiled in 2004. Administrative costs alone — construction management, supervision, inspection, monitoring and documentation, among other items — exceed $655 million.

    […]

    Barring disaster, the authority expects to open the hub next year. The cost is currently placed at $3.7 billion, though that does not include several hundred million dollars of damage at the site from Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

    What did nearly $4 billion buy? Certainly an arresting structure, but one whose details do not match the shimmering images that Mr. Calatrava used to seduce officials a decade ago.

    Jerry Reply:

    So who paid for the cost of the Westfield Mall which will be operating in the Train Station. Or did the Authority build it and simply rent it to Westfield?

  18. NECuser
    Dec 3rd, 2014 at 07:38
    #18

    The Buy America waiver request that CHSRA submitted when it was teamed with Amtrak to build 2 prototype HSR trainsets overseas may not be that relevant now or not a concern for the near term, but the FRA granted CHSRA’s and Amtrak’s requests: California High Speed Rail Authority Prototypes Buy America Waiver Decision.

    FRA eLibrary page link: http://www.fra.dot.gov/eLib/details/L16036#p1_z5_gD

  19. James M in Irvine, CA
    Dec 3rd, 2014 at 09:36
    #19

    FRA waives “BUY AMERICAN” requirement for 2 HSR trainsets for CA, and 2 for Amtrak NEC. Now if we could only get 2 for ExpressWest and track to run it on, we can start garnering public support…

    http://www.fra.dot.gov/eLib/details/L16035#p1_z5_gD_lWR

    MarkB Reply:

    The FRA begins by agreeing that:
    “…a waiver is appropriate under 49 U.S.C. §24405(a)(2)(C) because domestically produced HSR trainsets meeting the specific technical, design, and schedule needs of Amtrak and the Authority are not currently available in the U.S. There is no assembly or testing facility for HSR trainsets operating at speeds greater than160 mph in the U.S. Moreover, domestically-produced HSR trainsets cannot be bought or produced in the United States within a “reasonable time” given the program schedule associated with Amtrak’s and the Authority’s projects.”

    But on the final page it throws what I read as a bombshell:
    “Any components must be domestically manufactured or separate waivers for components applied for and granted before assembly ofthe prototypes can commence.”

    Depending on the definition of “component,” it could mean a part-by-part analysis of (for example) an AGV down to the level of screws, light bulbs and decals. “What are the specifications of the screw with part number AGV-GVW-4987-sc-b4? Is such a screw available from a U.S. foundry? If yes, begin an RFP process to purchase—or worse, have manufactured for this job— and ship domestic screws to Tolouse (or wherever Alstom is located); if not, apply for an FRA waiver for screw AGV-GVW-4987-sc-b4. Repeat for the other 49,999 parts in a consist. If that’s the case, it could grind on for a decade.

    swing hanger Reply:

    And hope that foundry can make metric screws…

  20. Scramjett
    Dec 3rd, 2014 at 11:44
    #20

    This may have been said already, but I get the impression that Steve Levy doesn’t count public transit as a viable option for getting you to HSR stations. He seemed to be very specific about bringing up “Shuttles, taxi’s, and parking.” Some of HSRs major hubs will have excellent public transit (Union Station is a Metrolink hub).

    However, he may have a point in most locations. Outside of LA and SF, public transit is not used and is widely considered by transit planners and a sizable portion of the public as “charity for the poor and disabled” in addition to being a commuter “alternative.”

    But we have 10 years to work on improving public transit in those places that it is currently lacking (hello SacRT!). To start, we need to tell transit planners to stop treating public transit as a “charity” and start treating it as a viable transportation mode (not just an alternative). We also need to start using more rail based transit and giving buses their own rights of way (if buses have to be used). The problem with buses as they are today is that they are stuck in the same traffic as everyone else on top of still having to stop at bus stops. I don’t think “stress free commuting” is enough of an incentive to coax people out of their cars. Same or faster service because transit has its own right of way is the way to go.

    There really needs to be something for fast tracking the existing transit plans and helping metro areas without a transit plan (CV?) develop and implement one. It needs to have a requirement that transit projects be given their own rights of way where possible (particularly in downtown/urban environments). Statewide would be preferable since it seems to be nearly impossible to get local measures off the ground what with the stupid 2/3s rule on tax/fees.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The Red Line and the Regional Connector are precious. Metrolink kind of sucks, though.

    Scramjett Reply:

    Interesting. I’ve only ridden on Metrolink once my whole life so I can’t comment on that. What about it sucks? Maybe that is an area that would need improvement in the next 10 years.

    Howard Reply:

    SacRT light rail has more riders than VTA light rail, even though it has less miles of track. Sacramento Regional Transit is currently building a light rail extension toward Elk Grove that is expected to have high ridership (it ends at Cosumnes River Community College so it will have ridership in the off peak direction). Future expansion plans include double tracking the line in Folsom for higher frequently trains and extending the northern line all the way to the airport. Studies are being done to connect West Sacramento to Sacramento by streetcar. Capital Corridor is designing a third heavy rail track to Roseville to bring commuter rail transit to Roseville. By the time Phase 2 of High Speed Rail is built Sacramento will have a great local transit rail system to connect to.

    Scramjett Reply:

    That is absolutely correct. My issue with SacRT is not what their current plans are, but the timeline for their planning. The Blue Line Phase 2 extension will start fare service in September, and that’s great (especially for me, no more trucking all the way to Meadowview) but the Green “DNA” line is currently stuck in development hell and planned for 2035. They need to get the ball rolling on that and fast track it so that it’s done by the time HSR comes to Sacramento (granted, not by 2024, probably closer to 2030, though I’d hope that once tracks go on the ground, it would be easier and faster to get through planning and construction of all the remaining segments).

    The streetcar is good, but the 2035 MTP called for a more robust street car network that includes downtown, east sac and up to Cal Expo. When I brought that up with SacRT CEO Mike Wiley in the monthly transit chat, his response was basically “yes, that is in the 2035 plan but SacRT can’t afford it so we won’t do it.” Why the hell even have an MTP if they’re not going to follow it because of “funding issues?!” That makes me wonder if all of the other elements of the 2035 MTP are just vaporware, which is why I made my point above. It may not have been clear, but the state really needs to step up and start funding transit agencies like SacRT to fast track their existing MTPs (and maybe even make some changes to include greater use of exclusive rights of way) because all I ever hear from them is incessant whining about how underfunded they are. For that reason, I’m not terribly convinced that Sacramento’s transit network will look that much different 20 years from now.

    Or maybe I’m just cynical.

  21. Amanda in the South Bay
    Dec 3rd, 2014 at 14:14
    #21

    “San José Diridon is at the center of the Silicon Valley’s transit and freeway networks. ” Spoken by someone who doesn’t sound like they know what the center of the region’s transit and freeway networks are.

    Robert S Allen Reply:

    At Diridon: Caltrain, Capitol Corridor, Amtrak, ACE, VTA Light Rail, planned VTA BRT, planned BART.

    Good interim Bay Area end for HSR. Then along Mulford line to the BART overhead in Oakland (at I-880/7th near the Bay Bridge) and on to Sacramento. From a new HSR/BART intermodal station at the BART overhead, link to four downtown SF BART/Muni stations, 16 tph, in 6 to 10 minutes. Don’t squander more HSR money on Caltrain electrification and extension of track unsafe for HSR.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Protesters shut down your roads so you’re posting again?

    Amanda in the South Bay Reply:

    Both Mountain View and Palo Alto get more daily boardings than Diridon.

  22. joe
    Dec 3rd, 2014 at 19:34
    #22

    Who would have thought? Office space is tight in Bakersfield.
    http://www.bakersfieldcalifornian.com/local/x1952134825/Bakersfield-tightest-in-country-for-office-space

    Third quarter vacancy rates for city office space are nearing 7.4 percent, which is the lowest in the nation and the third lowest in North America, and developers continue planning at least four new office complexes to meet demand.

    “I think most people overlook Bakersfield when they’re talking about major office markets because we’re not considered a major metropolitan area, but we do have one of the strongest occupancy rates in the U.S., and it looks like it will stay that way for some time to come,” Bynum said.

    To achieve the tightest market for office space nationwide, Bakersfield narrowly beat out San Francisco, in second place at nearly 7.5 percent, and Nashville, Tenn., in third at more than 7.9 percent.

    David M Reply:

    Oil price drop might change that.

  23. Paul Dyson
    Dec 3rd, 2014 at 20:39
    #23

    You mean both trailers are rented at the same time?

    James M in Irvine, CA Reply:

    Yup….

    (Thanks for the laugh…)

    JIm

    Joe Reply:

    Senator Deleon apologized when he shot off his mouth about tumbleweed central valley.

    Bakersfield has9 million sq ft of office space compared to 12m in downtown Sacramento.

  24. datacruncher
    Dec 3rd, 2014 at 21:54
    #24

    Interesting timing for this ranking, it doesn’t look like economic stimulus in 2015 from HSR construction was part of the ranking. Adding in the impact of HSR related jobs could make Fresno an even stronger housing market next year than many might expect.

    Fresno, Not San Francisco, Among Nation’s ‘Strong’ Housing Markets, Trulia Says
    The best housing markets in the country include Boston, Seattle…and Fresno, Calif.?

    Real-estate website Trulia.com put the Central Valley community on its list of 10 housing markets to watch in 2015, alongside coastal cities and technology hubs.

    Conspicuously missing from the list of places with “strong fundamentals for housing activity” were hot housing markets San Francisco and Denver.

    “Fresno makes the list for having strong job growth currently, a low vacancy rate” and a relatively high share of millennials living in the city, said Trulia economist Jed Kolko. Young adults entering the workforce in larger numbers will drive household formation and rental demand.

    http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2014/12/03/fresno-not-san-francisco-among-nations-strong-housing-markets-trulia-says/

    Joe Reply:

    This and bakersfields low office bacancy rate challenge the negative stereotypes flying around.

    datacruncher Reply:

    I’ve been trying to watch some of the economic and development activity in Fresno that might be impacted by HSR.

    It looks like the city is working with a new developer to convert this long vacant 7 story building (located 1 or 2 blocks north of the HSR station site) into housing. I’ve thought the location was a key site since it would be visible to many using the station.
    http://www.fresnobee.com/2014/11/27/4256867/city-hall-likes-chances-of-latest.html

    I posted a few weeks ago that it looked like the city of Fresno was negotiating a sale of property 3 blocks southeast of the station to a developer who proposed twin 9 story apartment buildings.

    jimsf Reply:

    The valley has changed considerably. The stereotypes that are floating around, at least about the various cities, are leftover from the early 80s. In the last 40 years there has been a steady influx of of people from the bay area and in Bakersfileds case- socal – and since then those people have had kids, raised familes etc. valley housing, and all the popular businesses that follow it, have made for little distinction between the tract home and shopping center in Modesto and the tract home and shopping center in Hayward. with the exception of san francisco, living in california has become a fairly cookie cutter experience which involves Raleys, well fargo, chipotle, starbucks and panda express. EAting panda kung pao in redding is just like eating panda kung pao in Asuza.

    I drove through modesto a week ago to get down off the hill after a scenic drive on 49 – the route took me through a Modesto I had never seen ( not the 99) Who knew there is a whole, real downtown city there that was pretty large, and pretty active at night. Looked very nice in fact!

    So even as forces work to make san francisco less interesting, other forces are making our second and third tier cities, more interesting. hmm interesting.

    joe Reply:

    When HSR is finished the coastal Californians can visit these exotic CV locations and discover civilization.

    Gilroy’s treated as CV. Many changes since I move here in 2001. No organic produce. What’s Risotto? etc. Now 2014 these items are in demand and available.

    I picked my lively wife at Gilroy Caltrain and saw a white unmarked High Tech two story tour bus let off employees who use Caltrain parking. Probably the google bus that stops at Morgan Hill.

    The city added lower cost homes in the downtown area and some apps but a majority of growth is upper middle class and that’s changing the town.

    JB in PA Reply:

    Interesting way to look at the boundary around the bay area. The first city treated like cities in the CV.
    The string of CV treated cities form an arc around the Bay Area counties. Of course, some of the first CV treated cities are CV cities.
    Watsonville, Gilroy, Tracy, Brentwood, Fairfield, Vacaville, Clear Lake, Lake Port, Ukiah.
    A common theme of these cities is a high percentage of current, recent, or adjacent agricultural economy. Closer cities have lost much of their agriculture to development. Los Altos maintains the orchard next to the City Hall and avoids laying sidewalks so they can pretend to be rural. Residents pay a lot to avoid having a sidewalk.

    JB in PA Reply:

    A similar definition exists for the City to suburban boundary. SF is more generous. They don’t set their urban boundary at the city limits but go all the way to the county line.

    Ted K. Reply:

    HUH ?!

    A) San Francisco’s official city limit IS the county line.

    B) The transition to Daly City is so seamless that several chunks of DC feel like they’re part of SF. Just travel down Old Bayshore past Sunnydale to Geneva, then on west to the Cow Palace. Or perhaps go south on Mission to Flournoy, turn right, go a block, and then turn right onto San Jose for a couple of blocks. The only easy markers are the street signs – SF’s are black text on white while DC’s are white text on blue.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Ironically, it’s Daly City that the song Little Boxes was originally about.

  25. Robert S Allen
    Dec 4th, 2014 at 00:06
    #25

    2008 Prop 1A was for “…Safe, Reliable…” HSR. From San Jose to San Francisco CHSRA plans trains at 125 mph past trackside station platforms and dozens of grade crossings. Accidents, suicides, and sabotage would make HSR on Caltrain NEITHER SAFE NOR RELIABLE. HSR really needs a secure (fenced and grade separated) track.

    Of course our chief HSR proponent appoints the CPUC commissioners who have the final say on railroad grade crossing safety. Tenure, or safety, what a conflict of interest for the commissioners!

    Neil Shea Reply:

    BART should never run express trains that skip stations, wouldnt be safe

  26. Phantom Commuter
    Dec 4th, 2014 at 11:11
    #26

    Anaheim is served by OCTA Route 50. It operates every 20-40 minutes. Hardly the center of anything. Disneyland is nearly 2 miles away.

Comments are closed.