Measure R Renewal Looks To Have Massive Support in LA County

Jun 17th, 2015 | Posted by

The LA Times reports on a new poll taken by Metro in advance of a possible November 2016 ballot measure to extend the Measure R taxes. Their findings: it has massive support:

More than two-thirds of Los Angeles County residents would support raising the county sales tax by a half-cent to bring in about $120 billion for rail and highway projects, according to a new poll paid for by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

People who identified themselves as likely voters were asked whether they would vote in November 2016 for a ballot measure that would raise the county’s overall sales tax rate to 9.5%. The proposal would also seek to extend Measure R, the half-cent tax approved in 2008, for nearly two more decades.

The combined income from the so-called augment and extend taxation structure could raise $120 billion over 40 years, officials said. The poll hinted at how dramatically that money could bolster transportation infrastructure across Los Angeles County, including a rail and highway tunnel through the Sepulveda Pass, a rail connection from Los Angeles International Airport to the San Fernando Valley, and a Purple Line subway extension from Westwood to Santa Monica.

The rail connections would be game changers for Southern California. A train under Sepulveda Pass? Finishing the Purple Line to Santa Monica? Building rail along the old Pacific Electric branch line to Santa Ana? Bring it all on!

It would also get LA closer to this rail network:

78380-full

Thanks to the idiotic 2/3 rule for tax increases, this measure would require 66.7% support at the 2016 election. A similar measure just barely “failed” in 2012 with 66.1% of the vote – a landslide win in any other election not governed by the 2/3 rule.

Transit and sustainability advocates would rightly say that a Measure R renewal should not have all the road projects that are envisioned here, such as widening the 101 in the Valley or widening the 5 in Santa Clarita. I agree. At the same time, the poll is pretty clear that those things need to be in the package if it’s going to reach the magic 66.7% mark:

Nearly two-thirds of the respondents said improvements to streets or freeways were their top priority. About one-fourth preferred light-rail and bus projects.

While freeway widenings are a waste of money and don’t succeed at their own goals of making traffic move more quickly, it’s also not a fight worth picking. If a wider 5 and 101 is the price to pay of finishing the Subway to the Sea and getting a north-south rail corridor from San Fernando to LAX via Sherman Oaks then it’s a price worth paying.

This proposal matters a great deal for the success of California High Speed Rail. The more rail that gets built in Southern California, the more easy it is to get to or from an HSR station without needing a car. HSR ridership will be high anyway, but it’ll be even greater – and more useful – with more rail connections from the stations to destinations and neighborhoods. HSR advocates should welcome these polling results and hope that Metro goes to the ballot in November 2016 with this plan – and that this time, they get the 66.7% they need.

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  1. Travis D
    Jun 17th, 2015 at 15:06
    #1

    That map is pretty out there. The Green Line up the coast to Santa Monica? I think it should be extended east to meet up with the extended Red Line. The Blue Line should be fully grade separated too.

    Donk Reply:

    They had real plans for the Green Line going up the coast. They actually did an EIR for this back int the 1990s, where the Green Line went past LAX and up Lincoln (technically down Lincoln) to Marina del Rey. But the 405 line has got to get done before the Lincoln line.

  2. Travis D
    Jun 17th, 2015 at 15:10
    #2

    Also that map shows a downtown Burbank HSR station as well as a Sylmar one. In addition I see it has the new Gold Line SE extension going along SR 60.

  3. Paul Dyson
    Jun 17th, 2015 at 16:29
    #3

    Maps are wonderful things. Look at the Metrolink map, for example, and then imagine trains running on those lines all day, every day, like a real railroad. While you are at it take a look at the measure A map from the 80s.

    Donk Reply:

    True, the Metrolink map looks great. For that matter, the Amtrak map looks great too.

  4. Joe
    Jun 17th, 2015 at 17:12
    #4

    Transit and sustainability advocates would rightly say that a Measure R renewal should not have all the road projects that are envisioned here, such as widening the 101 in the Valley or widening the 5 in Santa Clarita. I agree. At the same time, the poll is pretty clear that those things need to be in the package if it’s going to reach the magic 66.7% mark:

    Exactly and one could search the la times archives to show the Measure R strategy is to be inclusive with projects to win a supermajority.

    This of course makes our critical transit hobbyists happy. They can parade superior solutions which can’t pass a vote.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    I may be wrong (often am) but the pro road voters are also likely to be anti-transit and anti government, and will not vote for this regardless of the token road schemes. Of course you can pave over Santa Clarita from one end to the other for all I care.

    nslander Reply:

    Measure R and R2 prove otherwise.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    They haven’t voted on R2 yet.
    The selling proposition is that transit reduces congestion and so is as good or better than building roads.

    nslander Reply:

    Ok- it was Measure J. http://www.smartvoter.org/2012/11/06/ca/la/meas/J/

    It led with: “To advance Los Angeles County’s traffic relief, economic growth/ job creation, by accelerating construction of light rail/ subway/ airport connections within five years not twenty.”

    This is another example of the only polling that matters is the ballot box. Those identified as so anti-transit as to be impervious to the incentive of traffic relief are almost negligible; those opposed for ANY reason comprised barely one-third of actual voters, and less than one-third four years earlier.

    Joe Reply:

    Measure J

    In November, a Los Angeles County ballot initiative that would have extended a half-cent sales tax to fund transportation projects narrowly failed to get the required two-thirds of the vote it needed to pass. Now, the Los Angeles Times has found that the minority of voters who struck the tax down are clustered in areas at the county’s fringe.

    The debate over Measure J didn’t split along a clean pro-transit/anti-transit divide. Many pro-transit local advocacy organizations, including those with names like the Crenshaw Subway Coalition, opposed the initiative because, they argued, the tax money wouldn’t go toward projects in their neighborhoods. As Streetsblog reported in November, the rejection of Measure J was not simply an anti-transit vote, but concerned many factors including gentrification and equal distribution of resources.
    https://nextcity.org/daily/entry/l.a.-county-voters-opposed-to-transit-tax-are-where-youd-expect-them

    Yummy Transit Stuff needs to be spread around.

  5. jimsf
    Jun 17th, 2015 at 19:56
    #5

    would all that be light rail or heavy rail?

    Domayv Reply:

    most would be light and some would be heavy (like the Sepulveda line)

    Donk Reply:

    Actually the Sepulveda line will be light rail. Mostly grade separated, but some street running, especially at the ends.

    The only heavy rail lines on the map are the full Purple and Red lines. But there is no way they are going to extend the heavy rail Red Line into East LA. They are instead going to have the current ELA Gold Line (aqua on this map) bifurcate into two lines.

    Eric Reply:

    What’s the difference?

    Domayv Reply:

    Light rail is an urban form of public transport often using rolling stock similar to a tramway, but operating primarily along exclusive rights-of-way and having vehicles capable of operating as a single tramcar or as multiple units coupled together to form a train.
    Heavy rail is a railway with the capacity to handle a heavy volume of traffic. The term is often used to distinguish it from light rail systems, which usually handle a smaller volume of passengers. It can refer to rapid transit, when referring to systems with heavier passenger loadings than light rail systems, but distinct from commuter rail and intercity rail systems. It is characterized by high-speed, passenger rail cars running in separate rights-of-way from which all other vehicular and foot traffic are excluded.

    Given that the I-405 is among the most congested freeways in California, a heavy rail line with bi-level electric multiple units (i.e. Stadler KISS Russian variant) at 25kv 60hz AC would be most fit for the Sepulveda line. A light rail would not be enough to free the congestion.

    Lewellan Reply:

    The studied definitions for ‘light’ or ‘heavy’ rail include the notion of ‘transit oriented development’ and effects. Light rail, with fewer cars than BART-type heavy rail, IMO, usually handles the ‘greater’ volume of passengers. Perhaps light rail is more cost/effective than heavy rail, in that regard, therefore, more passenger volume is generated with light rail. Whatever.

    Lewellan Reply:

    BART generates a demand for long-distance commuting that it can’t handle. A 2nd Transbay Tube would essentially delay important changes in land-use and development laws, rules, guidelines that would reduce the demand for cross-county commuting. BART would no longer need run 10-car trains. Stations would redevelop. Transit Center Stations could simplify, reduce parking area, redevelop.

    Robert S. Allen Reply:

    Lewellan, BART allows long-distance commuting, a strong positive. It lets people change jobs and job sites without having to uproot their homes and families. With adequate parking, stations can better serve more distant communities. (BART would do well to provide charging for electric vehicles parked all day. That would double the distance people could drive to and from the station.)

    Lewellan Reply:

    The demand for cross-county commuting that BART generates, overwhelms highways and leaves communities economically dysfunctional without the ability to drive for all purposes. EV charging stations likewise encourages driving more than transit to access BART stations. Parking and commuting seems like Old School transportation and land-use planning. Light rail should be considered an anti-commute system. In order to fill seats in both directions at all hours, each LRT station must develop into sustainable communities providing occupational opportunities for residents – reducing their need for commuting – while attracting regional riders off-rush hours. Developers who see downtown San Francisco as the only Bay Area district for investment may have stock in General Motors.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Actually Charlie Smallwood told me the story going around amongst the railfans at the time of the BART ballot issue was that General Motors did indeed oppose the system. But its lobbyists advised against spending much money on defeating it on the grounds the measure was certain to fail.

    Plausible enough given the total dominance of the auto at the time(underscored by the loss of the Key System with no dedicated ROW for the replacement buses)rest assured GM fairly quickly recognized the massive suburbanization fostered by BART was doing wonders for auto sales.

    BART is the friend of the freeway and the airport, the frenemy of all other public transit modes, including CAHSR. Witness how DART got caught trying to lobby against HSR in Texas.

    Robert S. Allen Reply:

    It’s one Bay Area. Good rail transit lets people change where they work without uprooting their home and family life. Well-coordinated, or even better, unified rail transit can tie the region together, lending permanence to the social and economic union of diverse communities. BART has had such a positive effect in the three counties that voted for its bonds in 1962 – over half a century ago – that the other two major counties have sought and are gaining extensions. County lines really are not sacrosanct, when it comes to economic realities.

    Lewellan Reply:

    I’m not against BART, RS Allen, but designed to serve commuters, it generates more demand for commuting than it can handle. Synon’s “GM recognized that surburbanization BART fosters would do wonders for auto sales,” sums up my point perfectly. Land-use and development ultimately can and should reduce commuting overall. Should development of East Bay communities be neglected while investment dollars in a new transbay tube intentionally allow more transit and SOV commuters to reach overdeveloped downtown SF jobs? This is Portland’s metropolitan area regional planning perspective.

    Eric Reply:

    I meant, not what’s the difference in definition, but why does it matter which you use?

    Completely-grade-separated rail can have trains longer than a city block and thus has higher capacity. But it’s much more expensive to build. That’s the only real functional difference between light and heavy rail.

    The Red/Purple Line may be the worst of both worlds – subway construction expenses, but it’s barely longer than a city block. I can see its traffic eventually rising to the point where it will need some very expensive station lengthening. Would have been better to prepare for that when it was first built. Of course, back then nobody could predict LA’s future development patterns.

    Miles Bader Reply:

    Bi-level equipment is not good for urban lines, as it makes boarding/disembarking significantly slower.

  6. jimsf
    Jun 17th, 2015 at 20:01
    #6

    Ive been studying the nyc subway for an upcoming trip. Over ther, they have multiple lines using the same routes and passing through the same stations, but not every line stops at every station along that same route. I guess this speeds up trip times. Trying to take light rail from the San Fernando valley with transfers and all stops, to long beach, or across to east la and beyond is going to take all freakin day.

    EJ Reply:

    That’s been one of the criticisms of the Gold Line extension – there really isn’t any provision to run express trains and it goes a hell of a long way into the burbs. Even with the existing system, taking the Blue Line all the way from Long Beach to DTLA (about 20 miles) takes nearly an hour.

    By comparison the old PE system had passing loops for express trains, not to mention a fully 4 tracked line from Watts to downtown LA that enabled the more far flung feeder lines to run express to downtown.

    New Yorkers, even with their express subways, still actually have the longest (timewise) average commutes of any major metro area, but given the size and sprawl of LA, if they don’t figure out how to speed up public transportation, I wouldn’t be surprised if LA takes the crown in the not too distant future.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Many Bay Area transit trips are one hour.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    That’s also because commuter rail ridership in the Tri-State is much higher than California. If you compare BART to just the New York Subway, you might get the opposite result.

    Donk Reply:

    The Blue Line to Long Beach is unacceptable. Way too slow, way too crowded, and too many thugs. Oh wait, I am not allowed to use that word anymore, sorry.

    Eric Reply:

    The main purpose of suburbanization was to avoid young poor black males, what you call “thugs”, who were and are assumed to be criminals. Those who were too young to drive (which many gang members are) would find it impossible to navigate car-oriented suburbs, while the remainder could be harassed by local police departments into staying out (“driving while black”). If the 13 colonies had never imported slaves and created this underclass, the US would be like Europe and Japan, where the center cities had never been abandoned and remained the most vibrant parts of the cities. As it is, once crime rates decreased in the 1990s, inner cities started to gentrify once again.

    Tokkyu40 Reply:

    “Thugs” aren’t young black males. They’re violent criminals, usually male, and come in all ages and colors. White, brown, Italian, Hispanic, whoever was using brute force to take what they wanted was a thug. Being bludgeoned for your wallet was never popular even if the guy was a blue eyed blonde.
    The cities started dying when the streetcars were ripped out and the single use school of urban design meant you needed a car for daily life. Suburban living meant open roads, green grass and a private estate like the rich people had. City living meant bumper to bumper traffic in areas that didn’t have enough room for cars. Government policy drove out anyone who could afford to leave.
    Since the trolley lines have been coming back, cities are regaining life in the inner neighborhoods. Purely coincidence, as the Koch brothers would say…

    synonymouse Reply:

    The highway lobby wanted to make it necessary for everyone to own a car, preferably multiple cars.

    Lack of money in the poor neighborhoods undermined and undermines this idea. The highway lobby is up against a bigger power, the “gnomes”[dunno if they are still in Zurich].

    Whenever people in the ghetto start getting hired and prosperity for everyone looks in the offing the gnomes stage a dot-bomb or a TARP. Time to reshuffle the deck.

    Next time slap the TARPers in Guantanamo and have the guvmint buy up all the mortgages instead. And while you are at it, buy up all the student debt and refinance it at 4%.

    Reedman Reply:

    Detroit is a very car-friendly place (single family homes with garages and lawns). It didn’t help stop flight to the suburbs. It hasn’t helped bring people or businesses back.

    Memphis has a unique situation. Tennessee allows forced “annexation by ordinance”. So, Memphis kept taking surrounding suburbs (when Elvis bought Graceland, it wasn’t in Memphis, it was in Whitehaven [the name says it all ….]). But, Memphis can’t annex across county or state lines — for that reason, in the two decades of 1990-2010, the fastest growing city in the United States was Olive Branch, Mississippi, which for all intents is a suburb of Memphis (3500 population in 1990, 33000 population in 2010).

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Memphis isn’t the only city in the US with this annexation issue. Indianapolis and Columbus are in the same boat, just without Memphis’s crime rate.

    By the way, I’ll be remiss if I don’t point out that Santa Ana, California’s illegal immigration capital, is the fifth safest city in the US over 250,000, measured by the murder rate.

    Donk Reply:

    For the record, that is not my definition of thugs. Mine is persons of low socioeconomic status who are aggressive towards others. That does not preclude other races. From wikipedia: “Socioeconomic status (SES) is an economic and sociological combined total measure of a person’s work experience and of an individual’s or family’s economic and social position in relation to others, based on income, education, and occupation.”

    EJ Reply:

    Then again, BART has some fairly long trips if you go from the ends, and it’s been criticized for the same lack of ability to run expresses.

    jimsf Reply:

    Yes I think the longest trip on bart is about an hour but those trips for the most part, at least dont require a transfer so If you are first on at fremont or bay point, you get a seat, ride to sf without geting up or transferring. ANd barts speeds are higher than light rail.

    That map of LA, assuiming all that is liight rail, and with all those transfers…. one may board metro one morning, never to be seen again….

    Jerry Reply:

    …never to be seen again….
    Sort of like Charlie on the Kingston Trio’s, old Boston MTA, the Man Who Never Returned.

    James Fujita Reply:

    at least with a TAP card, it wouldn’t be for the lack of a nickel. Boston even calls their version of TAP “Charlie”

    Amanda in the South Bay Reply:

    Actually the longest BART trips, like Pittsburgh/Bay Point to Millbrae end to end, are 90 minutes.

    Joey Reply:

    The expresses definitely help, but keep in mind that the local stop spacing can be as little as 1/4 mile in Manhattan, which is very tight spacing by today’s standards.

    BMF of San Diego Reply:

    NYC’s system provides multiple tracks in a corridor, allowing trains to bypass another, or, berth at a station with another in the same direction. NYC benefits from a longer history from which they have leverage time and resources to make more improvements. They also benefit by being shallower and using cut-n-cover construction techniques vs bored tunnels.

    Metro Rail just turned 25yrs old, and to a large extent, really has not advanced/completed major system improvements to enable things like express services. Or many other services. Though, LA is beginning with system projects like the Union Station Master Plan, run-through tracks at Union Station (Metrolink), added special track work, and Regional Connector project.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Yeah, the New York subway mainlines are (almost globally uniquely) four-tracked. Back when they were built, it cost approximately the same to dig up the street for two tracks and for four, so they put in four.

    But the end-to-end trips are still pretty long. As Joey says, the local stop spacing is very tight. On top of that, none of the lines is express all the way: many of the lines become local outside Manhattan and inner Brooklyn, so for example the 2, which runs express in Manhattan, still manages to make 47 stops between the North Bronx and Eastern Brooklyn.

    By the way, something you should be careful of: some stations have separate entrances for the two directions, and don’t let you transfer wrong-way. First time I rode the subway, I tried to get from Columbia to East Midtown by taking the A/C southbound, and transferring to a northbound/eastbound E at 50th Street. But then I discovered that there’s no transfer from southbound to northbound at 50th Street on the A/C/E. The maps don’t indicate this; you’re just expected to know. Generally you can do that at express stations or at stations labeled as transfers (like 59th-Columbus Circle), but there are exceptions in both directions. For what it’s worth, the only other location where this sort of wrong-way transferring is useful is 47th-50th Streets on the B/D/F/M, and there, you can transfer.

    jimsf Reply:

    ugh this will be our first time in nyc. I think I have it narrowed down and figured out. Im not sure how walking blocks in nyc compares to walking blocks in sf but we’re both in good shape.
    from penn walk to top of rock, then back to times sq take the 1 downtown to south ferry, liberty ferry out and back, then the 5 from bowling to bleeker to pay CBGB respects, then walk from bleeker/bowery to village/christopher to pay our stonewall respects, then the 1 from christopher back to times sq to wander aimlessly around the rest of midtown/central park til its time to go home. 8 hours in manhattan. oh and something nice for lunch somewhere.

    Joe Reply:

    Been there in the summer. You walk you sweat.

    jimsf Reply:

    So its going to be hot and humid on august 27th I assume. Perhaps taxis will be the answer in between, though I am very much looking forward to braving the subways just to say I did.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Bleeker Street is a local stop, only the 6 stops there.

    jimsf Reply:

    oh i see it, i thought that little number was a 5.

    jimsf Reply:

    oh thats right I forgot, 5 xfer to 6 at city hall. that was the plan.

    EJ Reply:

    Last few times I’ve been there google maps has been very helpful for figuring out the subway – it’s not perfect (e.g. it doesn’t always tell you alternative routes, just one that works that may not be the most totally optimal), but it seems fairly reliable.

    If you’re using the official map, remember that it’s definitely not to scale, especially as you get outside of Manhattan.

    I dunno, I don’t live in NYC but I travel there a lot and with a few exceptions the subway system has always seemed relatively straightforward to me, given how extensive and cobbled-together out of several different companies it is. I doubt you’ll have a problem.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    If you’re into Chinese food, try Xi’an Famous Foods. It’s a local chain of Chinese restaurants coming out of a different region from the usual fare. Food’s served fast food-style, and costs like $8 for a dish, but is really good. There are a bunch in Manhattan, including a few that are walking distance from where you’re planning on visiting.

    jimsf Reply:

    that looks reeeeally good.

    Oliver Wendell Holmes Reply:

    Im not sure how walking blocks in nyc compares to walking blocks in sf but we’re both in good shape.

    Compared to blocks in most US cities, street blocks are abnormally short and avenue blocks are abnormally long. There are about 20 street blocks per mile, compared to about 5 avenue blocks per mile. In Manhattan, any time someone expresses a distance in blocks your first reply should be: “street blocks or avenue blocks?”

    Eric Reply:

    The other problem with 50th St is that the A doesn’t stop there… confusing station. They should at least make an out-of-system transfer between northbound and southbound.

    There are way too many places in the NYC subway where you’re “just expected to know”. Intolerable given how many tourists are supposed to be taking the subway. All over town lines cross each other without a transfer between them, and when there’s a transfer, it’s frequently only to the local line. (Bleecker, Columbus Circle, 51st St, 14th St/6th Ave…) Some of this can’t be fixed except at tremendous expense, but some can be fixed easily. And isn’t.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Yeah, exactly.

    On a more positive note, I like that New York will sell you a MetroCard at every subway station, at machines. Compare this with having to stand in line and see a human to get an SL Access Card here, or whatever inhumanity you have to endure to get a Navigo in Paris, or having to buy books of ten tickets at convenience stores in Vancouver.

    Amanda in the South Bay Reply:

    You can buy Clipper cards at MUNI TVMs.

    Jon Reply:

    …but not at the BART ones. Which is really annoying when your friends land at SFO and you’d like to be able to tell them to throw $30 on a Clipper Card and that’ll last them for the weekend.

    Robert S. Allen Reply:

    Jon, what a great idea! Looks like MTC should have a sales kiosk at each airport.

    Jon Reply:

    Last time I flew to London they were selling £20 Oyster cards on the plane. I have one that I kept from when I lived there, which I take with me when I go back in order to avoid having to queue up at the ticket desk at Heathrow airport.

    Best thing is it still gives a 33% Young Person’s Railcard discount, because apparently they forgot to set an expiration rate in the system.

    jimsf Reply:

    I notice that so many lines criss cross each other but not in a station where you can transfer so if you want to get really close to where you are going youd have to go up or down town further and double back even though in any given area they may be several stations.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Very often it’s not worth the effort to “get really close”. It’s faster to just walk the extra block or two.

    Eric Reply:

    Of course, a tourist can’t easily know when that’s the case and when not.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Manhattan, north of 14th Street, where most tourists are, is on a regular grid. If you can’t figure out Manhattan’s grid it’s probably best that you stay home.

    Jon Reply:

    Most European cities do not have a grid system; there’s nothing ‘regular’ about it when you have no point of reference.

    When I first visited New York, I expected it to work like London – you find the station you’re at on the map, you find the station you’re going to on the map, you figure out which lines will get you between the two with the fewest number of transfers, and you note the stations where you need to transfer. What tripped me up was the fact that there are multiple stations with the same name that might be up to a mile apart, and that you might need to go up to street level in order to make the transfer between them. That and the fact that you need to make sure you’re on the correct train letter for the line you’re on, else you might not be able to get off at your destination.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Jim is worried about getting around in Manhattan.

    jimsf Reply:

    not worried so much as, we have exaclty 8 hours to go from A to B to C to D so im just rying to plan the most efficient routing in advance so we don’t waste time accidently boarding the train to Hoboken or expecting to get off at a station that isn’t currently open (911)

    I remember back in the early 80s and friend and I did a stupid midnight flight escapade to LA for the day, and, thinking that la neighborhoods were just like sf neighborhood, we figured downtown and hollywood were walking distance and we even set out to walk from santa monica to LAX since it was “just down the beach from here” ( made it all the way playa del ray before it got dark)
    Anyway i just want it all nailed down because 8 hours in manhattan isn’t much time.

    EJ Reply:

    Don’t overthink it. Within Manhattan, during the day, I’ve always found the subway to be pretty straightforward. (Late at night you have to pay attention to line closures, and some lines get to be fairly infrequent). You’re just doing Penn Station, midtown, lower manhattan, east village thing, right?

    The official subway map is pretty easy to follow, and google maps is also helpful for figuring the subway out, especially because, unlike the subway map, it’s to scale, so you can accurately gauge whether it’s easier to just walk. It also will give you approximate journey times. Just hit the “transit” option and it will recommend a route for you, including transfers. Bear in mind that while it tries to take walk times at either end of your trip into account when working out the quickest journey, it doesn’t always get it 100% right – but it will get you there.

    Manhattan is fun to walk around, especially if you’ve never been (so many people! so much architecture! overpriced hot dogs!), but if you want to do all that stuff in 8 hours you’ll want to use the subway. IMHO taking cabs in NYC is way more of a PITA than the subway.

    jimsf Reply:

    hopefully there won’t be too many people that day. ALthough we do have too see some of those pushy jewish ladies, and some of those italian guys with the heavy accents like in the movies.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The Italian guys have way heavier accents in Jersey than in the city nowadays. Only time I ever heard people say woild instead of world (or goil instead of girl, etc.) was at Newark.

    By the way, nowadays there aren’t as many overpriced hot dogs on the street – they’ve been replaced with kebab stands that’ll make you a skewer for $4-7, depending on what part of Manhattan it is.

  7. IKB
    Jun 17th, 2015 at 22:14
    #7

    Strange how your map didn’t include that all important metropolis of Palmdale. Aren’t they part of this sales tax, or do they simply think that HSR is obligated to pay for this commute? Just asked.

    EJ Reply:

    The map isn’t official; it’s just the product of a local crayonista.

  8. synonymouse
    Jun 17th, 2015 at 22:25
    #8

    “…widening the 5 in Santa Clarita…”

    The absence of putative NIMBY opposition to a highway project thereabouts is most interesting.
    Spock would have said fascinating. The masses are inured to freeways and of course most of the mob can use them. No Amalgamated or TWU chauffeurs required. No strikes. DIY

    Miles Bader Reply:

    The term is “Stockholm Syndrome”… ><

  9. Alon Levy
    Jun 18th, 2015 at 01:35
    #9

    Robert, is this an official map of what they want to build with Measure R2? It looks a bit too big for the amount of money in question, especially when compared with Measure R.

    It’s also a weird map. I like the Whittier subway extension, and the Vermont subway, but why on Earth does the Vermont subway cut northeast, instead of taking over the Red Line to North Hollywood, splitting the Red and Purple Lines?

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    It’s not an official Metro map – as the linked text before the image notes, it’s one person’s version of what the full buildout could look like: http://www.scpr.org/blogs/news/2014/02/18/15879/a-potential-2040-los-angeles-metro-subway-system-m/

    It does generally, but not completely, match the long-term planning work that Metro has been doing, though Metro hasn’t made final decisions about most of those long-term projects.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Ah.

    I mean, to be fair, it’s a lot better than the map that went around Facebook a few years ago, in which every line had like 11 branches. But I think the Measure R2 map should include the following features:

    0. Metrolink modernization: electrification, high platforms, infill stations, run-through tracks at LAUS, high all-day frequency. Come on.

    1. Whittier subway. The Gold Line’s Eastside half should’ve been built that way, instead of on 1st and 3rd, which are not major streets. I like that the map brings the Red Line there.

    2. Subway to the Sea, and not just to UCLA. Also on this map.

    3. Vermont subway, as in my above comment.

    4. Orange Line railstitution, with extension at least as far east as Downtown Burbank (which is where the HSR station should be, and not the airport), and ideally east to Pasadena.

    5. Sepulveda line, as in Let’s Go LA’s posts on the subject. I dislike the way the map does it to the south, since it requires two transfers to get from there to Torrance and points southeast. At the Valley end it’s fine, but maybe a second branch is required – transit lines feeding chokepoints like Sepulveda Pass should branch.

    6. Possibly, Ventura light rail.

    Danny Reply:

    maps’ advantage is that they can show so much data with very little detail–note how effectively a half-width line shows the Blue Line’s loop in Long Beach; but alas he didn’t even use hatching to show what lines he proposes be built before and after 2030–so that makes it look like a bowl of spaghetti, with that weird lavender line looking as important as the current axes and the east seeming a bit overbuilt compared to its neighbors to the south

    it’s a LACMTA fantasy map so Metrolink doesn’t show up, but it’d actually be integral to the upgraded system–maybe a Red Car 2.0 (even the most right-wing barfly down here in OC complains that Metrolink only runs every 50 minutes, if that); CAHSR isn’t even hinted at, reduced to 4 vague pods

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Rather silly choosing that map to illustrate this posting. And as has been commented elsewhere the map fails to project an integration of Metrolink with the rest of the transit system.

    Danny Reply:

    it reminds me too much of that subway fantasy map Transit MessiahTM Damien Goodmon put out to prove that we was realio, trulio a transit advocate and not just a Cheviot troll: I know this creator put some thought into it, but still …

    swing hanger Reply:

    I noticed the (faint) Metrolink “LAX Express” line in the map (good), but it terminates at the “LAX Gateway” (is that the corner of Imperial and Aviation?), which is bad. Dig a tunnel for a station adjacent to the Bradley Terminal for crissakes.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    There are vague Terminal 0 plans, which would create a terminal closer to where it’s easy to build a station. Sadly, they’re being sandbagged by issues like “LAWA makes a lot of money on parking and doesn’t want to make it easier to take transit to LAX.”

    Danny Reply:

    IIRC New Jersey Transit pays Newark a “compensation” for the parking; I think they do the same at Toronto but I might be wrong on both counts

    StevieB Reply:

    You may want the Orange Line extended east to Burbank but the city of Burbank intentionally converted the right of way east of the Red Line Station into a bicycle path to preclude it being used for transit.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Actually we converted it to a bikeway to prevent it becoming a weed strewn mess. It’s still owned by LACMTA and they can convert it any time to transit. However, everyone involved wants any transit line from NoHo to go to the airport so it’s not an issue.

    jimsf Reply:

    wouldn’t it be helpful to have the red line go from noho to downtown burbank then to the airport?

    jimsf Reply:

    and glendale ?

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    No. Look at a map. Airport, end of the line. You’ve got Metrolink to do the rest.

    jimsf Reply:

    i see, maybe they should have had a line from la to glendale to burbank to noho to BUR

    jimsf Reply:

    metrolink is really horrible.

    jimsf Reply:

    not only did metrolink get the worst TVMs ever, but someone specifically made sure they they places each one…. a) in the direct blazin hot socal sun, and b) made sure they faced the screen at the precise angle so that no matter the time of day or night, yes even at night, the screen is the direct glare of the sun and impossible to read. Metrolink is the worst rail system on earth. Clinging to the roof of a train in India is more pleasant than riding metrolink.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Jimsf, quite right about Metrolink
    Nothing to lose by starting over, nowhere to go but up

    jimsf Reply:

    and greater LA OC IE together is just unmanageable as far as public transit. You need it for those who have no choice but no one else can make good use of it. I think the solution for socal might be, keep the freeways, make the freeways as smart as possible. get everyone to use the smallest cars possible, electric when possible. If you had smart freeways with pro active traffic management systems, everyone in two seater cars, and everyone using electric or hybrid, youd free up a lot of space and congestions, and clean up the air.

    That, or give everyone a jet pack and watch the mayhem ensue.

    Joey Reply:

    Ehh, you’re not going to improve things much with smaller cars, only a marginal capacity increase. To really reduce congestion you either need (1) fewer people traveling (i.e. tolls) or (2) A factor of 2 or more capacity increase, which can really only come from rail transit. The biggest problem for transit in LA is the first mile and last mile problem, which could probably be solved with a combination of local buses, cycletracks (LA is flat and has nice weather most of the time), and park-and-rides.

    jimsf Reply:

    well I guess I can see people riding bikes down there with the proper infrastructure in place since the weather is good and southern californians are generally good with fitness and the outdoors but overall its just not a walkable place. While nyc has a vertical scale that is beyond human, horizontally I can see it working, SF is still a verycomfortable human scale city wide. LA is not at all claustrophibic vertically but walking one feels like the lone ranger, scurrying across massive intersections.

    jimsf Reply:

    unless you have just a very confined life living working and playin in your local corridor.

    EJ Reply:

    Nah, you can get pretty much anywhere in LA on public transit – I mean, it’s not always super-efficient, but neither are the freeways. I did it when I was “between cars” for 6 months or so back in the late 1990s and I did OK; and it’s gotten better since then.

    SF is smaller, sure, but the only reason MUNI/Samtrans/BART/whatever seems easy to figure out is because you’re used to it; it’s not really easier than LA public transit.

    jimsf Reply:

    I guess it depends on where you are. Maybe metro la city is better, but for instance I think it tookme three days to get from long beach to newport beach on the bus.

    EJ Reply:

    Well… the OC is a different beast. Then again I lived in LA with a car for well over a decade and in that time went to Newport Beach like maybe twice. As far as DTLA/Pasadena/East LA/Mid-Wilshire/Silver Lake/the Valley/Beach cities travel, the bus is effective. Not saying you can’t find journeys that will easily take you 2+ hours; but it’s doable.

    jimsf Reply:

    yes we took a bus on the ill planned trip in the 80s… from hollywood to santa monica… again thinking oh its just a couple neighborhoods away…. I took what seemed like a couple hours or more. forever. I also remember the smog burning my eyes and being so thick you could actually reach out and scoop up a handful from the air.

    Phantom Commuter Reply:

    @jimsf OCTA Bus 1 operates every 30 min. on PCH between Long Beach and San Clemente. It’s very easy to get from Long Beach to Newport Beach. It’s a one seat ride.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    How often do rail-trails get converted back to rail?

    As for the connection to Burbank Airport, it conflicts with HSR, by improving transit service to a competing airport. KTX ridership dipped after Seoul opened a new subway line to Gimpo. Spend the money on better LAX transit instead, close Burbank, and redevelop the land.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    @Alon. I’ve never looked into the legal side of closing an airport. FAA has put a lot of money into Burbank over the years and I wonder if indeed it may be more or less impossible to close it. It ought to be open for discussion by the airport authority as an option to be considered as the proceeds from the land sale would be a chunky sum. Closure would solve the problem of the existing terminal which is too close to the runways.

    Of course the Red line extension would be planned to serve a combined HSR/Airport terminal, most likely alongside Hollywood Way on the east side of the airport property. There are 58 acres available (former Lockheed property).

    As for your first point, the answer is almost never. Indeed I can’t think of an example offhand.

    David M Reply:

    When Contra Costa was looking at closing the Concord airport, the first problem was that the land would revert to the Feds if it stopped being an airport, the other was that the grant money used to develop it would have to have been paid back.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    The Burbank Airport JPA purchased the land from Lockheed in 1978, but as we agree probably there are covenants attached to grant money received since.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    A large majority of passenger traffic out of Burbank is to cities that are within HSR range of LA. Just close the damn thing. It does happen: Denver closed Stapleton and redeveloped it, building a new airport farther away where there’s more space.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    or leave it open and use the slots for flights to Chicago, Atlanta, Houston… keeps people out of LAX leaving more space for international flights.

    Joey Reply:

    adirondacker: Is there really so much long distance demand from LA that LAX would be overcrowded even after all of the intra-California trips move to HSR?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    I suppose in some alternate universe where the population of California stabilizes and so does the growth in air travel.

    Joey Reply:

    So we should keep secondary airports on life support because they might be useful in 2060?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Millions of people a year find Burbank useful now.

    Joe Reply:

    The current system routes too many planes through LAX. There is a limit to the air space capacity near the airport and expanding LAX is expensive. BUR sits under utilized which means the rights aporia is to shift air traffic to the other regional airports.

    Another problem is decreased competition. The FAA reported a lack of competition and higher fares due to airline consolidation. Reducing LA airports reduces potential opportunit for competition.

    Chicago provides two good examples. One is keeping midway open and allowing it to establish a second airport in Chicago. Their airport relieves pressure on O’Hare and offers additional competition for airlines.

    Chicago also closed miggs field which was an airport next to the planetarium 12 street beach and Burham Harbor.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Joe’s more or less on the right track. A consent decree caps the total number of passengers that LAX can serve, and while it’s not close to that limit yet, there will still need to be reliever airports, and the location of Burbank and Irvine (and even San Diego…) along the rail line is a force multiplier.

    Runway length is an issue, but there is a lot of spare capacity to exchange.

    Donk Reply:

    San Diego also needs to rid itself of local flights in favor of HSR and bring in some better long distance flights. But with a travel time of like 4 hr to the Bay Area, I’m not sure that HSR will make a big dent in Southwest.

    Realistically, Tijuana will end up being the place for international travel out of San Diego. The cross-border terminal is opening up at the end of 2015. The only international destination they have right now is Shanghai, but this should start to increase. Sadly, the only nonstop flights out of SAN other than those in North America are Heathrow and Narita. It is pitiful that one has to drive to LAX to fly international out of SAN, or connect somewhere.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    The bi-national terminal is a bit of vaporware. American passengers are not going to feel at home having to wait at gates in Mexico. But more importantly, most American cities have pathetic international connections unless they are a) on the coast or b) a large hub for a legacy carrier.

    As for your point about the Bay Area, it’s true that HSR will be more helpful there to reduce flights by connecting to Las Vegas or Phoenix than San Francisco. But in San Diego, Las Vegas and Phoenix account for almost as many passengers as the three major Bay Area airports combined. In addition, there is strong demand from Denver and Seattle as well.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The thing about San Diego is, it’s not a large city or a large airport. It has no reason to be a hub, not when it’s this close to LA. Boston’s not a hub for anyone, either, but it’s bigger and close enough to Europe that a lot of European carriers fly there. Vancouver’s the same size as San Diego, but has tons of Asian immigrants, so there are flights to a lot of East Asian cities, in the same manner that three of New York’s top international air destinations are Tel Aviv, Santo Domingo, and a second Dominican city nobody’s heard of. San Diego’s immigrants are mainly Mexican, so there are flights to various Mexican cities instead of to Chinese ones.

    As for the binational terminal, frankly, it’s scarier for foreigners to use American airports than the reverse.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    The analogy you make with San Diego is quite imperfect, however.

    Vancouver is the only Pacific city in Canada and is the only real option for transiting passengers who don’t want to have to go through the US between Europe and Asia. Boston also has a lot of extra flights not so much based on the immigrant base of the city, but because its geographically close to Europe than New York.

    San Diego isn’t in Vancouver’s shoes, nor is it closer to other big destination cities in Mexico. But like Las Vegas and Orlando, it gets lots of domestic tourists. Once you open up HSR to the closer cities, all that will do is allow flights to other cities who haven’t had the chance to go there before.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    I doubt anyone connects internationally in Vancouver, to be honest. It’s only a hub for Air Canada, and a secondary one at that. People who travel between East Asia and Europe either go direct or connect in Dubai, which is shorter than crossing two oceans (think about what time zone Britain is in and what time zone Japan is in).

    Ted Judah Reply:

    I heard it was booming for transiting passengers a decade ago, but never made it there to check it out.

    I think traditionally European passengers didn’t like flying over the Soviet Union’s airspace and such. Qantas and other long-haulers, however, soon found the benefit to transiting in Bangkok en route to Europe. Now I hear Dubai bribes them to Dubai as their way station instead…

    Either way, San Diego won’t be anyone’s port of entry via air for the foreseeable future…

    Eric Reply:

    I’ve never understood the Vermont subway idea. It really seems like a line from nowhere to nowhere. At most it seems like a light rail corridor.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    It’s the busiest north-south bus corridor in the city, and south of Gage it’s so wide that an el would be an improvement rather than a blight.

    I think the proposal is to build it as far south as Artesia, which is the wrong way to go; it should extend to San Pedro, using the lower costs of elevated construction to build all the way.

    Miles Bader Reply:

    Why would an el be a “blight” in other circumstances? I’ve seen a lot of elevated rail lines, and they’re usually not any uglier than the surroundings; indeed, they typically add visual interest…

    [I know in Chicago people complain about the shadowing underneath their el, but I’ve never thought it was much of an issue in reality… the rather minimal steel structures they use mean that it doesn’t really affect much more than the middle of the street, and even that is a rather cool sort of patterned shadow.]

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The steel structures used on the N/Q and on the 7 over Roosevelt (not over QB) are noisy as fuck.

    EJ Reply:

    The Chicago El puts up a hell of a racket as well. I don’t think anyone builds steel els anymore though… the elevated portions of the existing Metro light rail lines, on concrete viaducts, aren’t particularly loud.

    Miles Bader Reply:

    Yeah, modern concrete viaducts aren’t an issue… (syno aside…)

    Miles Bader Reply:

    (which is why I’m wondering why a viaduct would be a “blight” in other circumstances)

    synonymouse Reply:

    BART stilts are noisy as hell. Check out Daly City.

    Joey Reply:

    BART’s noise is pretty specific to BART.

    synonymouse Reply:

    But unfortunately BART and its noxious noise is very unspecific when it comes to the Bay Area; it is all over the place and has Sac in its cross hairs.

    Joey Reply:

    Okay, but anywhere that the combination of flat wheels and hollow cores does not exist (i.e. HSR, CalTrain, LA Metro subway/light rail), the noise issue isn’t going to be nearly as bad.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    I don’t think you can build concrete viaducts that retain full use of the lanes below. The 7 el over QB is in a median, with parking but no moving lanes underneath. The Canada Line el is over a very wide sidewalk in Richmond, and the Millennium Line’s segments over the Lougheed Highway are not over moving lanes either. It’s a fight to remove lanes, especially when the street’s not very wide in the first place.

    EJ Reply:

    Alon, Vermont has extensive medians most of the way. Syno, BART is not relevant to Southern California. We don’t build anything the way they do, and we have no plans to start doing so.

    synonymouse Reply:

    “We don’t build anything the way they do, and we have no plans to start doing so.”

    A daunting detour via a base tunnel thru a fault to a tertiary commute target is pure Bechtel. Ranks right up there in stupidity with broad gauge, cylindrical wheel profiles, A-B cars, 1000vdc., etc.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    EJ: it does, south of Gage.

    Eric Reply:

    The current Red Line passengers would be furious about having to transfer onto a packed Purple Line train to get to downtown. I know downtown LA is less dominant than in other cities, but it’s still way more of a destination than southern Vermont.

  10. Phantom Commuter
    Jun 18th, 2015 at 12:55
    #10

    The map shown is total fiction and has about as much chance of happening as HSR. The “official” Move L.A. Dream Map can be found here:

    http://www.movela.org/

    Tokkyu40 Reply:

    Well, since HSR is under construction, the correct put-down might be, “less chance of happening.”

  11. Ted Judah
    Jun 18th, 2015 at 17:22
    #11

    I almost get the feeling from Robert’s schtick that the upcoming transit funding option will help pay for HSR construction…

    It would make sense, given the lobbying California officials did for 30-10, I wouldn’t be surprised if these ballot measures (remember another one is coming in the Bay Area) either loan or outright pay for HSR construction in their respective urban footprints.

    Doing that would with the existing patchwork of federal grants, Prop 1a bonds, and AB 32 cash could get us very close to Phase 1.

    However I can understand why nobody wants to come out and say that until the vote is over and the campaign consultants can shape the message for election as they see fit….

  12. jimsf
    Jun 18th, 2015 at 18:51
    #12

    This map is just a little too much. LA is so spread out i think that there will have to be a focused effort and using rail to make a “there” where there currently is no “there”

    Choose corridors and force development into those corridors. Some day when there are 20 million peopole just in la county and la looks like manhattan x 10, then people will glad that rail transit was put it. But for now, no matter what you do, it is impossible to live car free in socal and have any quality of life. simply cant be done now, or in the foreseeable future.

    Joe Reply:

    I think you are wrong. In fact LA is probably attracting those in CA who are not car dependent.
    Zip car for the occasional need as in SF.

    Donk Reply:

    Jim, that’s not completely true. There will be some areas that you can live/work in LA without a car. Once they get the Purple Line down Wilshire and the 405 Line in between the Valley and LAX, it will be viable to live along the Wilshire corridor. I lived in Westwood for a while and took the Big Blue Bus a bunch and occasionally the Wilshire Rapid. Overall that was a reasonably pleasant experience.

    With anything like the map above, living carless will be completely doable, as long as you both live and work near one of the main rail lines. With UCLA/Westwood, Century City, LAX, Downtown, USC, and SaMo all covered by rail, you hit many of the major employment/education spots.

    jimsf Reply:

    STill my impression is that walking in la for even a short distance is unpleasant. The entire region is on a scale not condusive to walking. Even downtown la is unpleasant to walk around. Wide streets, huge intersections ( im remember the area around staple I think) SO unless you realy live with in a few blocks of the nearest station and work within a few blocks of the nearest station, it wont work. walking in SF is better because the scale is completely different.

    And more impoartanly, its not just about getting to work. There is so much to do in socal as part of the lifestyle there, and you can’t do any of it without a car. No it just won’t work.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    The AAA tour book has a walking tour which works well from metro center to LAUS
    Last time I looked it needed to be updated with Disney Hall and the cathedral.
    I take all our visitors down there.

    jimsf Reply:

    I dont know. Ive only been downtown a few times and never for more than a few hours and it never seemed interesting or enticing. Further, I love going to socal in my car becaseu I love the freeways down there they whole thing is a work of art. Also the tranist has a bad scary vibe. Its not like the bay area. I never feel tense or uncomfortable on muni or bart but the red line and the antelope line both felt a little edgy to me.

    but whatever good luck la. I love it for what it is.

    StevieB Reply:

    I live in Southern California and now that there is a light rail station 10 minutes from my house I have had my car demolished and have been without the burden of an automobile for 3 years. I am looking forward to the “Complete Streets” implementation restructuring streets for other than cars.

    jimsf Reply:

    but really, no one is taking the subway to the oscars though right?

    StevieB Reply:

    Does Ed Begley Jr. count?

    Ted Judah Reply:

    He still takes his electric car.

    StevieB Reply:

    Begley took the Subway to the Oscars in 2014. In 2015 he rode a bicycle.

    Joey Reply:

    Of the people in the audience, possibly not. Look at the event staff, stage crew, and other benind-the-scenes people and I think you’ll find a different story.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Downtown is changing. There is interesting things to do there. Checkout out the Grand Central market and the neighborhood around it full of buildings from early-mid 20th century getting reoccupied by hipsters. It’s also walkable to Japantown (ramen!) and the Japanese-American museum.

    Phantom Commuter Reply:

    The Downtown hipsters are a tiny minority. It’s not really changing in any meaningful away.

    StevieB Reply:

    The WSJ in 2013 reported in Los Angeles Gets Serious About Its Downtown that in the last 14 years, its residential population has jumped to 52,000 from 19,000.

    Abandoned buildings have been transformed into luxury lofts.

    In the last five years, more than 450 new businesses have opened downtown, according to the Downtown Center Business Improvement District, a coalition of business owners and residents. Many of them are the city’s hippest new restaurants and boutiques. Over 5,000 apartment units are under construction. Investors from Israel, Canada and South Korea have commercial or residential projects in the works.

    A major sign of the change in Downtown Los Angeles is several grocery stores have opened with more on the way.

    Downtown rentals are not cheap with the median 1 bedroom rent $2,410 which is some of the highest in the county and higher than in Bel Air.

    J. Wong Reply:

    @Phantom Commuter

    You’re speaking from recent experience? Things change, slowly but surely. Maybe not enough to get you to go there, but there are certainly people willing to move there. Also, a lot of the condo construction downtown is new and not in existing buildings.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    The scary part is that both LA and SF were headed down the same path to totally eradicating any real character to their downtowns. SF invested in BART, and combined with local residents fighting for historic preservation, managed to avoid full-scale urban renewal.

    Los Angeles on the other hand, went for the gold and obliterated everything under concrete, asphalt, and glass. Even though both cities are enjoying an urban renaissance of late, Los Angeles is not gentrifying nearly as fast because of its large immigrant population.

    Eric Reply:

    I think it’s actually gentrifying more slowly because it is not land constrained. LA’s west side alone is way bigger in area than San Francisco. So there’s more supply and rents are not as outrageous.

    synonymouse Reply:

    LA enjoys more smog and concrete blight and has more people with very little money.

    EJ Reply:

    Oh fuck off. Typical Northern California snob – you don’t know anything about SoCal but you’re happy to make sweeping generalizations. The Bay Area was a bit different from SoCal when I grew up there in the 1970s and 80s – nowadays it’s just LA with a big lake in the middle.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    The fact is though, that if Southern California had adopted land use controls like the Bay Area did, LA would not have ended up in quite the hole it finds itself in.

    This isn’t endorsing Synonymouse’s cheerful racism, but to acknowledge LA’s job base never grew as fast as its population did…

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Ted, L.A. did not “obliterate everything under concrete, asphalt and glass”. The revival that is happening at the moment is taking place in buildings from the first half of the twentieth century, and there are plenty of them. Both L.A. and San Fran have their share of tall buildings, both have more under construction. I realize that you don’t like facts to get in the way of your rhetoric but you really are quite wrong.

    Donk Reply:

    The thing with with most of LA is that all of the main streets have businesses and then all of the streets in between are full of homes and duplexes, so it takes a while to walk from say Beverly to 3rd or Melrose. It is a totally different setup. If you have lived in SF or NYC or Boston, you aren’t going to like it. But I didn’t know any better, so I thought it was fun. But yeah I had a car most of the time I was in LA.

    Roger Christensen Reply:

    As a former docent who gave walking tours of downtown for the LA Conservacy I find it to be exciting but obviously I’m a fan boy who in my youth ushered at Broadway movie palaces. Actually the downtown grid streets are narrow as they were originally residential and there is no wide boulevard like Market St that was developed specifically to be a commercial core.

    jimsf Reply:

    I guess im thinking of the streets around staple center where there are new high rise condos. It was not a pleasant walking environment walking from the hotel to the center.

    EJ Reply:

    Well, yeah, that’s just parking lots, condos, and chain restaurants. But the fashion district, Little Tokyo, the Bradbury building and the area around it, Chinatown, etc. are all fun to walk around.

  13. Emmanuel
    Jun 19th, 2015 at 01:28
    #13

    I can draw maps, too. Is any of this actually turning into reality?

    nslander Reply:

    I find the skepticism here baffling. Just eye-balling that map, about half those routes are either completed or under-construction. Certain others of the proposed lines resemble historical inevitability. Then again, what we have now was purely fantasy 25 years ago, so maybe I shouldn’t be surprised.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    @nslander, it wasn’t purely fantasy 25 years ago. Prop A was passed 34 years ago with a promise of a transit system greater than we have today. If you knew your history you would find the skepticism less baffling.

    Joe Reply:

    34 years ago is when Ronnie ray gun took over from Carter and sent the U.S. On a fossil fuel car orgy

    Even with those awful years wasting time in Jeep Cherokees I see great progress in LA public transit.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Ronnie was a nouveau riche disgruntled ex-liberal and union prez strongly influence by McCarthyism but he did not destroy the PE nor the LARy.

    In the early to mid fifties when the deed was done the biggest villain amongst traction fans was a certain Jesse Haugh.

    Joe Reply:

    Judge Doom – clearly you never watched Rodger Rabbit.

    synonymouse Reply:

    No, I haven’t.

    I clearly remember the infamous photo of the LARy cars stacked 4 high in a junkyard that appeared in Railroad Magazine around 1954.

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/randar/14793376187/?ytcheck=1

    nslander Reply:

    @Paul Dyson – with roughly half of that map built out and u/c and popular and political will steady and building, why do you choose skepticism? Your appeal to our own grasp of history is but colorful whimsy when the topic of this thread is the prospect of the local electorate being presented the opportunity to shape its transportation future.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Prizes were made by prop A that have still not been met even with the addition of prop C money and now prop R.
    With more and more people avoiding sales tax with on line purchases we will soon hit diminishing returns with another tax increase
    That is why many are sceptic all. Meanwhile those that have enjoyed increased property values from being adjacent to transit get a free ride

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Duh, promises

    joe Reply:

    you pay sales tax on teh amazon.

    “The ability to specify tax collection obligations for orders at the state, county, city, and district level for each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia”

    Spread the word so many will no longer be skeptical.

    build HSR in Gilroy and I get the benefit. Okay becuase I get the impact too.

  14. J. Wong
    Jun 19th, 2015 at 07:55
    #14

    Could Measure R funding be used for the Angeles forest HSR alignments? L.A. seems to want that alignment so they should provide funding to make it sure it happens.

  15. keith saggers
    Jun 19th, 2015 at 09:12
    #15
  16. synonymouse
    Jun 19th, 2015 at 09:44
    #16

    Angelenos of modest means should vote against R on the grounds it will lead to yuppification and gentrification and soon they won’t be able to live where they are now. They will be supplanted by trendies and ritchies.

    The force-out would be much worse with an end to Prop 13. A sort of class-based ethnic cleansing.

    Forget sales taxes on the hoi polloi. How about a sales tax on all equities purchases on the stock market?

    Yeah, sure.

    EJ Reply:

    When is prop 13 going to end?

    jimsf Reply:

    never.

    synonymouse Reply:

    A very, very long time.

    The nannies plan to cram the masses, those that aren’t under bridges, into tenements like the one in Berkeley that collapsed after 10 years. That’s because the f*****g architects decree wood instead of masonry on anything but their precious high rises.

    If you haven’t noticed that in the real world of California doug fir deteriorates. The shit just turns to powder if the termites don’t get it. If it gets water on it it goes bad no matter whether it dries out or not. The 3/8″ siding on a 30 year old Condiotti in Rohnert Park is just garbage when you pull it off. You had better use pressure treated on everything. The real redwood is long gone.

    **** architects.

    EJ Reply:

    JESUS CHRIST YOU ARE SUCH A GODDAMN WHINER. There are buildings well over a hundred years old in California built out of douglas fir. The building I lived in when I lived in LA was built mostly out of doug fir and stucco in 1965 and it was solid as a tank. Turns to powder??? WTF are you even on about? Yes, you have to make sure termites don’t get it. Wooden siding doesn’t last forever. Newsflash, buildings require maintenance.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Must have been Berkeley NIMBY’s that caused that tenement from 2005 to collapse.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Actually Berkeley nannies – you cannot get oil-based primer any more in the Bay Area.

    Best you can try is pressure treated and hope for the best.

    The anti-brick architect mafia should be flogged thru the fleet.

    EJ Reply:

    Unless it’s massively reinforced (and thus expensive), brickwork falls to pieces in the first major earthquake. C’mon, everyone knows this. A number of people died in the Loma Prieta quake because they were in old, inadequately reinforced masonry structures when it hit. Any modern brick buildings in CA are brick veneer over a wood or steel frame. Masonry isn’t maintenance free either – mortar eventually crumbles and has to be patched or replaced.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Where I live most all the masonry buildings made it thru 1906 ok; it was the chimneys that came down. And this was before any modern notion of reinforcement.

    You can tie masonry together to make it seismically resilient. What you get in return is a building good for maybe 500 years instead of 50. Insects and fungi will go after doug fir, pine, even redwood. Termites eat current day redwood – no problem for them.

    Meantime you cannot get high end coatings due to air pollution laws, mostly designed to favor cars and trucks. No need for any paint with masonry and no wood decay. No brainer. But then architects have no brains; they hate overhead wires but love the visual pollution of high rises. They gave us the Willie B. Bridge. I’ll bet they don’t like bathrooms.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    My house is 140 years old. Mostly wood. Most of the houses in the neighborhood are just as old. The church down the street is even older and is mostly wood.

    EJ Reply:

    Ah, so you’re confused about which group of people you don’t like to blame this on? There are so many. I’m sure it was the Berkeley nannies who hadn’t inspected the structure in 10 years.

  17. Roland
    Jun 19th, 2015 at 12:32
    #17

    Breaking News: Caltrain Releases Video Overview of New Advanced Signal System: http://www.caltrain.com/about/news/Caltrain_Releases_Video_Overview_of_New_Advanced_Signal_System.html
    Q: Is this damage control or a preamble to MASSIVE budget overruns including replacing I-ITCS with I-ETMS (or both)?

  18. Emmanuel
    Jun 19th, 2015 at 16:02
    #18

    Since there is no Friday Open Thread I will post this here.
    Yesterday I made a trip to SDSU and I noticed that they finished the Aztec Student Union building. It is a large, bulky white building. Unfortunately I can’t post a link because somehow I’m on the spam list.

    It follows the Mission Revival Architecture that is commonly seen in Southern California and it made me think about station architecture and where we should go in terms of creating and designing the buildings that will provide accommodation and venues for people arriving and leaving.

    If you look at Southern California, what gives it that characteristic feel and look. For one I would say the wider roads lined with palm trees. The presence of sidewalks (looking at you, Ohio). Green turf. And finally the Mission architecture. Be it actual Missions, Mission Revival (1930s) or the newest wave to imitate the latter. I think it would really speak for ourselves if we aimed to design stations that not only fit into our landscape but also reflect our heritage. There are some styles I would like to point out.

    1. Mission Revival: Instead of aping the glass cathedrals of East Asia and Europe, maybe we should do our own style within the budget constraints with a slightly modernized touch. To me at least, what I get out of Mission Revival Architecture is that they remain very cool during the summer days, they give a sense of space to breathe, especially through the enclosed courtyards. Examples are obviously LA Union station.

    1b. “Billionaire mansion” style: At least that’s what I call it. It is slightly different from the Mission Revival. While the Mission Revival is more simplistic, this Spanish Revival architecture has more ornaments. Think of the interiors of the fancier hotels (interior of Manchester Hyatt) and resorts in SoCal (Grand Del Mar).

    2. Richard Meier style: These are buildings such as the Getty Center. I have seen many more modern university, hospital buildings and especially shopping malls in California adopt this design. This may work out very well if stations are intended to be integrated into malls. In fact this would make the most sense.

    3. Silicon Valley “Spaceship” style: These are the glass cathedrals ala Google Campus or the Transbay Terminal (Christ..) that love to show off state-of-the-art California technology and style. I could see some of these done up north. They come with the obvious advantage that they are more rare and thus are landmarks that people would easily find.

    These three are the major ones I have experienced. My personal preference would be to see a variety of station designs and styles along the segment. That way they all can cater to the taste and culture of that particular location and people can tell station apart by their looks as well. What I don’t want to see is glass buildings completely detached and out of context built into the middle of their towns. They would just represent the arrogance and cold-hearted politics that don’t listen to constituents in favor of building a prestige project.

    Emmanuel Reply:

    I hope this works. Providing links to images separately I HOPE Robert approves this. I would also like to apologize that I don’t know the names of these particular styles. Maybe an architect can help me out here.

    1. Mission Revival: http://images.oyster.com/photos/entrance–v813003-1600.jpg

    2. Richard Meier style: http://sowest.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/A-Great-Evolution-from-Amalgam-Del-Amo-Fashion-Centre.jpg

    3. Silicon Valley style: http://www.trendsderzukunft.de/google-campus-in-mountain-view-update/2015/03/02/

    Emmanuel Reply:

    Less known styles may be:

    4. Modern Palace/Vegas “Bay Sands style”: If stations were to be integrated with hotels, obviously something that would have to be worked out long before. The hotels, parks, or resorts could sponsor the overall theme, I picked this image because it reminds me of the ARTIC station, but it might be any memorable hotel along the Vegas strip or anywhere else.
    http://f.fwallpapers.com/images/marina-bay-sands-singapore_7.jpg

    5. Park: An open area with vegetation what else is there to say. Largely open station
    http://edem-letim.com/Hong_Kong/Disneyland_station.jpg

    You might say, why care about this, our focus should be building the rail line. But, I disagree. I think how comfortable and memorable people felt during departing and arrival will have a great effect on whether those riders will use the trains again. Remember, the station will be the first and last experience of most people’s trips and as such we could link the overall good experience of a vacation or any trip to a particular station. ARTIC in particular has completely missed the boat in terms of functionality for, integration of and representation for the community and it is an alarming signal that the people involved in picking the right stations don’t seem to have done ANY decent research on what makes for a good station and how it will play a significant role in drawing people in.

    Danny Reply:

    SoCal also was the epicenter of Googie–Anaheim should’ve gone for neon; and all CA is marked by the ranchette–so Burbank’s station could look like one of the houses in “Edward Scissorhands” inside and out!

    Miles Bader Reply:

    Instead of aping the glass cathedrals of East Asia and Europe

    You must be thinking of some other East Asia…

    jimsf Reply:

    I vote for an abundance of mission revival for the reasons you stated.

    joe Reply:

    I perfer Bedrock Revival.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Flintstone_House

    jimsf Reply:

    that would be pretty cool

    jimsf Reply:

    but there is about this that feels both earthy organic and human cool without feeling cold, open but embracing. Its very at home in our climate.

    Joe Reply:

    Needs laptop charging stations. :)

    What I don’t want is a globally neutral antiseptic design.

    This somewhat similar architecture is a very green building with 50+ year life. Uses computers to vent windows over the day to heat and cool.
    http://www.harleyellisdevereaux.com/projects/gilroy_community_library

    Emmanuel Reply:

    This is what I’m talking about.

    EJ Reply:

    Santa Fe station FTW! Here’s a newer mission revival station (built 1985) that’s quite nice. http://www.metrolinktrains.com/stations/detail/station_id/125.html

    I do like the idea of having a common design language for most of the stations; it can save on design and construction costs and it helps give the system an identifiable look and feel rather than being just a mishmash. In many parts of Europe for example, even though the railways were nationalized long ago, you can immediately tell what company built which line just by looking at the station architecture. Mission/spanish colonial revival isn’t the boldest choice for California, but it’s appealing and fits in architecturally in most cities.

  19. jimsf
    Jun 19th, 2015 at 19:56
    #19

    Here Ive gone a made the perfect lametro map but can’t figure out how to get a link to post. I hate hate hate the new google maps and according to online reviews so does everyone else.

    jimsf Reply:

    oh maybe this is it LAMetro would could should

    up close alignments aren’t exact but rough.

    jimsf Reply:

    LAMETRO
    maybe this link will work

    Ted Judah Reply:

    I need your permission…

    jimsf Reply:

    ok now try

    jimsf Reply:

    I also switched it to a numbered line system. lines 1 though 10 in a clockwise direction.
    Number/end point/via route 1 Santa Monica (wilshire) 2 Northridge (hollywood) etc.

    Donk Reply:

    Jim, that is a terrible map. Everyone has to transfer in DTLA. It needs to have connecting lines on routes such as the 405, Lincoln, Fairfax, etc.

    jimsf Reply:

    Well the fantasy goal is to use those lines to actually reshape the city and its patterns to push all businesses and high density residential into those corridors.

    But if you insiste I can add a periphery….. hold on.

    jimsf Reply:

    There its done. but thats all you get, keeping in mind the spaces in between the spoked system would be be connected by a grid of buses as well. From here forward you have to force the city of la into a more tradition downtown/outbound – corridors growth pattern cuz if they continue to just fling shit all over the place willy nilly the way they have for the past 100 years transit, and eventually cars, wont work at all.

    jimsf Reply:

    and keep in mind that the ex express connector would only be a connector with stops at transfer points and would travel elevated in the median of the 405 and 91. Youd be able to get from the north san fernando valley all the way to fullerton station very quickly and have access to 6 other lines along the way.

    Donk Reply:

    You are still missing some existing lines, like the Green Line along the 105. And others that are actually in the planning stages. And others on your map just don’t make any sense. But since you don’t claim to know that much about LA, I will let you off easy.

    jimsf Reply:

    well I figure since la has been a hot mess for 100 years, and probably will be a hot mess for the next 100 years anyway, how much damage could I do. yeh that green line never made any sense to me so i got rid of it. Its my map so the angelinos will just have to live my way. They could do worse.

    jimsf Reply:

    and i tried to spread the lines as evenly throughout the county as possible

    curious which ones dont make sense to you

    Donk Reply:

    Overall it is way too freeway heavy and missing some of the ROWs. Resada would not be used when there is the Ventura Line ROW. 91 would not be used when the plan is to use the existing ROW thru Torrance. You ELA stuff diverges from the existing Gold Line and existing ROWs. And the freeway that is actually used (105) is not on the map. Expo from Culver to SaMo is not on the map. But I do agree that there should be branch down Culver Blvd to Venice.

    jimsf Reply:

    actualy now the EX line gives you express access to 8 of the 10 other lines.
    Thats all you get la. make it work.

  20. John burrows
    Jun 19th, 2015 at 20:55
    #20

    Maybe 2016 will be a good year to raise sales taxes in California for transportation purposes. A poll that came out in the San Jose Mercury News found that 68% of those polled would vote for a half cent increase in the sales tax to support transportation measures, which would raise around $6 billion over the next 30 years. Repairs to the roads ranked highest, but there was also support for extending BART underground through downtown San Jose.

    With a little luck November 2016 will be a good month for supporting infrastructure at both ends of the high speed rail line.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Keep in mind there is also potentially going to be two other tax increases on the same ballot: an extension or revision of Prop 30 and a revision of Prop 13 property tax rates. The low circulation requirement and high turnout means that it’s going to be a free-for-all.

  21. Rob
    Jun 20th, 2015 at 08:29
    #21

    Wish norcal could get their act together on rail expansion the same as LA is forging ahead. A major gap in the system is a decent rail link between Sacremento and the Bay Area along the i80 corridor. There is a capitol corridor service which runs on freight lines but it is slow, unreliable and stations are few. As a result every day the 80 turns into carnage as its beyond saturation point for commuters. BART doesnt go up into north bay so realistically there is no rail option for a dozen or so cities with large populations from Vacaville to Richmond.

    Capitol corridor needs to be folded into the cahsr, providing fast travel times between Sac and Oakland / Berkeley. Cities along the route could get in on the action with a few well placed stations. Then upgrade the line all the way to Truckee so cahsr can get a ski train much like the French have.

    Domayv Reply:

    the issue with making a Capitol Corridor HSR that goes through the east bay is that right-of-way independent from the UPRR freight is tougher to get and it goes through a constrained area (unlike San Fernando where making high speed tracks is fairly easy). Also, they’ll have to build new right-of-way, and the only reliable way to do so within the Bay Area is to build as much as 36 miles of tunnel (including an undersea tunnel paralleling the Carquinez Bridge) from Oakland all the way to Cordelia since between Oakland and Richmond there’s no open right of way to build either a surface or elevated railway without MAJOR eminent domain, and between Richmond and Cordelia, it largely mountainous (an within Vallejo, there’s no open right of way to make an elevated or surface-level railway without eminent domain)

    Jon Reply:

    That’s not really a huge commute pattern. Solano county exports 40-45k workers to SF and the East Bay (i.e. people who might use the I-80 corridor), and I-80 doesn’t get clogged until you get to the I-80/CA-4 interchange. Sac – SF is an intercity market rather than a commuter route, and MegaBus is a perfectly good option for that journey.

    A good option for dealing the congestion south of the I-80/CA-4 interchange might be consolidate freight onto the the UP line used by Capitol Corridor, and then use the parallel BNSF lines to run eBART style DMU trains from Richmond to a park and ride lot at the I-80/CA-4 interchange. I’m not usually a fan of suburban BART extensions, but this would be a fairly cost-effective way to reduce congestion in the corridor.

    In the shorter term, it seems like BART wants to build an infill station where their right of way goes under I-80, with bus-only freeway ramps so that Soltrans and FAST can connect directly to the station.

    Robert S. Allen Reply:

    Plan an intermodal station in Oakland ((-880/7th Street) where BART crosses over the UP/Amtrak/Capitol Corridor/San Joaquin rail line. Six minutes by BART from downtown San Francisco Embarcadero BART/Muni station with 15 BART trains per hour. Connectivity is critical for rail travel.

    jimsf Reply:

    you dont need to build all that. all you need is an underground walkway from jack london station to lake merrit station its 7 blocks.

    Miles Bader Reply:

    How long are these blocks…? The longest “in station” transfers I’ve encountered have been on the order of 800m – 1km, and those seemed right on the edge of what would be considered acceptable…

    jimsf Reply:

    well you just put moving sidewalks in there like at the airport

    Alon Levy Reply:

    …800 meters?

    Where?

    The 500-meter things in Shanghai are already a minor crime against humanity.

    Eric M Reply:

    Add London’s Heathrow Airport to the list of ridiculous amount of walking needed.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Every day Heathrow Airport is not evacuated, aerially bombarded, and rebuilt is a waste.

    Michael Reply:

    Absolutely. But I do love my mile-long walk from arrival to the Tube without any outside air or much natural light… … and that damn mall with only one pub for the 10,000 people being kept guessing about where they’ll have to hike to find their departure gate. “Gates XX-YY – 20-minute walk from this point.”

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    stuff like that happens when you use an airport with 75 million passengers a year.

    Miles Bader Reply:

    I’m just guessing at the lengths, but most I’m thinking are (similar to what jimsf describes) really two separate stations that have been linked underground to make transfers convenient (something that often isn’t entirely clear from just reading the signs, if they just say “xxx line this way”).

    A typical example in Tokyo is from the Fukutoshin line (Shinjuku-san-chome station) to any of the lines at Shinjuku station proper. I don’t actually mind this because the connecting passages are broad, lively, and full of retail entrances and the like, it’s not just a long dank tunnel…

    [At Musashi-kosugi station there’s an in-system (within the fare gates) transfer between two platforms that requires about a 5-600m hike… They basically opened a new station for some tracks that didn’t previously stop there but happened to be physically close, and then built a very long transfer passage (mostly along the railway line) to connect them….]

    Oliver Wendell Holmes Reply:

    It’s 15 minutes walk for a healthy adult (I know, because I’ve done it many times). Building an underground walkway is beyond insane. Why would you spend a few hundred million dollars when people could just use the sidewalks that already exist? It would be far better to direct those dollars to improve the pedestrian environment in Downtown Oakland, which could seriously use some help.

    Anyway, using the existing BART transfer points at Richmond and Oakland Coliseum is faster for just about any Capitol Corridor/BART origin/destination pair.

    Peter Reply:

    Dude, if you’re having to resort to commenting on this blog in order to attempt to effect change in BART planning, you must have burned every single bridge you ever had with BART staff.

    Joey Reply:

    I consider us lucky. Better that he’s commenting on blogs than actually influencing transit planning.

    Peter Reply:

    Very true.

    Jon Reply:

    You can watch him make exactly the same comments that he make on this blog during the public comment section of BART board meetings. I’m sure the board pays as much attention as they do to all the other public comments.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Cut the old guy some slack.

    Are any of his ideas dumber than blowing billions on a base tunnel on a huge detour to a podunk on an alleged high speed rail line?

    I’d rather Mr. Allen making policy than PB. Anything stupider than getting your chief engineer fired for suggesting the obvious? I suggest PB fingered Van Ark for trifling with their gravy train.

    He was not party to blowing up San Bruno.

    Jon Reply:

    To be fair, an Oakland BART/Amtrak transfer station is badly needed. But it should be at Jack London Square rather than West West Oakland, on a new line running from the Oakland Wye to SF via Alameda. Building one at West West Oakland would cause massive crowding through the Transbay Tube, unless you implemented some hefty peak period surcharges.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    That’s more complicated than it sounds. The BART website has the planning documents on a Jack London station. Crazy as it might sound, it appears to be more challenging from a technical standpoint than the West Oakland plan.

    Besides, what is Richmond going to do if it’s no longer the way station for BART to Amtrak passengers?

    Jon Reply:

    As far as I’m aware, there are no detailed plans available for a Jack London Square station on a new BART line. BART did study adding an infill ‘Jack London Square’ station on the existing line at 4th & MLK, and determined it to be extremely difficult to construct. But that’s not what I’m suggesting here.

    The Capitol Corridor needs to be grade separated through the area anyway, which in turn means the existing station will need to be moved; so when that happens, the opportunity should be taken to add a BART station at the same location as the new Amtrak station, with new track connecting it to the Oakland wye. It won’t be cheap but it’s worth spending the money to do it properly.

    Why would Richmond be dissatisfied if a transfer station is added in Oakland? It’s not like their station would be closed.

    Jon Reply:

    For reference, I’m envisioning the ‘Grade-Separated through Jack London Square’ option from this CCJPA Vision Plan: http://www.capitolcorridor.org/downloads/CCJPAVisionPlanFinal.pdf

    BART tracks would be extended from the wye under Broadway to a station at Embarcadero & Broadway. The tracks would then continue under the channel to Alameda, surface and turn west to a station at the Alameda Ferry terminal, and then continue west through the abandoned air force base to a new Transbay Tube, landing in Soma.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    That’s very imaginative of you–but I wouldn’t bet on it.

    One, if there’s a logical transfer point from the Capitol Corridor closer to San Francisco than Richmond, BART would lose the revenue those passengers generate riding from the Tube to Richmond. The District would have to recoup this loss by hiking the Tube fare to make up the difference.

    Secondly, the Oakland wye can’t be threaded the way you describe. You would have to build a new wye and close the existing one intermittently to fix it.

    Third, BART operates in concert with the ferries and bridges to maximize ridership. A BART station that has a ferry stop as an intermodal connection will not happen.

    Jon Reply:

    Your first point is completely ridiculous. Richmond Amtrak station sees 773 boardings or alightings every day. Let’s assume all of them are transferring to BART to get to SF, and that all of them switch to the new Oakland transfer station, which we’ll assume has the same fares to SF as 12th St Oakland. Those riders would now by paying $3.30 to get to SF instead of $4.50. That’s less than $1,000/day in lost revenue, a tiny amount which will be completely outweighed by the added ridership from the Jack London Square station, and the riders induced by a more convenient Amtrak connection.

    For your second point – the new line may not connect directly to the Oakland wye, but it’s certainly possible to tie it into the system in that area. BART have released maps showing such a connection, so they must think it’s possible.

    For your third point – the Alameda station may not necessarily be at the ferry terminal, but that has no bearing on how and where BART should connect to Amtrak.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Ridiculous?

    BART’s ridership patterns, the ferry system, and the tolls are all calibrated to make sure that the maximum number of passengers cram into the Transbay Tube on BART. It’s a delicate balancing act, and very logical when you consider the costs that BART gets to defray by fares.

    Jon Reply:

    If you used BART to travel from a future Jack London Square BART/Amtrak transfer station to SF, you’d still need to use a Transbay Tube, either the existing one or a new one constructed in the future.

    jimsf Reply:

    well if we are talking alameda and new tubes then the thing to do would be to talk the dublin line and the fremont -SF line and turn them through to alameda at fruitvale with stops in old downtown alameda and out in west alameda then under to SoMa.

    jimsf Reply:

    …that would shorten the trip to SF from livermore and fremont and free up space in the north tube by directing those two bart lines to a new south tube.

    Domayv Reply:

    But then, they would have to buy the tracks from BNSF.

    Why not the CHSRA add in a San-Francisco-Reno line (which would actually give expansion to the Transbay Terminal since the terminal would now serve three rail lines, thus justifying expanding the station by adding more tracks and making it a true terminal as opposed to a 6-tracker that would get clogged very easily. (https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid=zWLI5V544xAc.kps6PIgTbaaI)

    Jon Reply:

    There are a few hills between Sacramento and Reno; enough to make the Bakersfield – LA crossing look like a piece of cake by comparison. And Reno has even less population than Palmdale.

    Domayv Reply:

    not hills, a mountain range (Sierra Nevada), though it isn’t as hard as, say building the a railway through the Tejon Pass, since there is an existing railway that closely parallels the I-80 freeway, but it’s owned by the UPRR and is slow and winding, not to mention, constrained. If a high-speed line between the Bay Area and Reno were to be built, a new right-of-way, including numerous viaducts and tunnels (some of which can be miles long) to cross the Sierra Nevada mountains, would be needed, and it crosses through the Tahoe National Forest, making this already daunting task all the harder.

    Additionally, there have been calls to expand the Capitol Corridor service to Reno, giving the town an inter-city rail service that it desperately needs (Reno is only served by the long-distance California Zephyr, which doesn’t stop at optimal hours and are low-frequency), but it hasn’t happened yet because the existing right-of-way is at maximum capacity, as Union Pacific freight traffic is at an all-time high. Also, I-80 in the Sierra Nevadas can get pretty clogged, especially during the winter since the Donner area is among the snowiest places in the US and has rather extreme weather. The Donner Summit would largely be bypassed with a tunnel, thus avoiding much of the weather-related problems.

    Also Reno has more people than Palmdale.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Reno’s far too small to justify any of this.

    It gets worse when you think about it a bit more. A lot of the travel from SF to Reno isn’t about Reno – it’s about Nevada in general. Reno is just closer to SF than Vegas. So once there’s HSR between California and Vegas, there will be some diversion of tips originating in SF from Reno to Vegas, making the already nonexistent case for SF-Reno HSR even weaker.

    Clem Reply:

    Your comparison to Tejon is sheer nonsense. The peak track elevation at Donner is over 2100 m (a bit lower than I-80). Tejon HSR would be a mere 1110 m (a bit lower than I-5). A Tejon crossing is a walk in the park compared to crossing the mighty Sierra Nevada.

    Domayv Reply:

    OK, I must have made a bad comparison. That being said, try making one on the Sierras (it’s possible since there is a existing rail line that goes roughly close alongside the I-80 and it isn’t a fault line hotspot like Tejon is)

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The rail line is a lot of things, but HSR ain’t it.

    Domayv Reply:

    Yeah I know, that’s why I’m thinking that the CHSRA start making San Francisco/San Jose-Reno high speed line (or at the very least, a San Francisco/San Jose-Sacramento via the I-80 high speed line) once the current line they have is done. If not that then then can start planning to introduce HSR service up to Redding

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Redding’s population justifies stringing catenary over the UP line and running a short HSR train every hour at lower speed north of Sacramento. It does not justify HSR.

    The feasible CAHSR tie-ins are all to the south: to Vegas (via Cajon, not Tehachapi) and Phoenix/Tucson.

    Domayv Reply:

    @Alon Levy: Couldn’t they just build new tracks (most likely paralleling either the I-5 or CA-99) and not take over from the UPRR’s. Also, at the very least, they could build an inter-city line (running around 125-140 MPH a la the OBB’s Railjet) and if ridership is enough, then they could introduce a high-speed line running at 220 MPH.

    Also, doing a Cajon high-speed line is even harder (despite there existing a railway, but it’s heavily congested) than doing one through the Tejon because the gradients on the Cajon are more noticable and less gradual (due to it being shorter in length than the Tejon). That being said, go suggest the idea of a Cajon HSR to Clem since if he was able to make a pretty good route of what the high-speed line would look like if it ran through the Tejon instead of the Tehachapi, then he could do the same with the Cajon.

    EJ Reply:

    Why don’t you go ahead and work out a HSR line through the Sierras. Let us know what you come up with.

    Domayv Reply:

    here’s one: https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid=zWLI5V544xAc.kdethM-MxOeA

    It’s not perfect but it does include a tunnel that bypasses the Donner Pass and several tunnels and viaducts that bypass the little towns east of Truckee.

    synonymouse Reply:

    It has to go to Palmdale first and then back towards Reno.

    Domayv Reply:

    uhh, not you Syno. That route you suggested is complete impractical. The only time it would ever work is if this is a Los Angeles-Reno railway (and going through Palmdale and following the US-395), but I’m talking of a Bay Area-Reno railway here, which would go through Sacramento and the Sierra Nevada mountain range, which is far more rational than what you suggested.

    Jon Reply:

    I think you need to interpret statements a little less literally.

    When I said “a few hills” existed between Sac and Reno, I was intentionally understating the problem. When synonymouse says that any Reno line has to go via Palmdale, he’s referring to his longstanding gripe that the Tehachipi route from Bakersfield to LA (via Palmdale) is being persued rather than a Tejon route. Granted you probably wouldn’t get that context unless you were a regular reader of the blog, but still.

    synonymouse Reply:

    It were a joke.

    john burrows Reply:

    A

    john burrows Reply:

    What I was trying to say—“Any thoughts as to how much this might cost?

    Jon Reply:

    Reno-Sparks metro area: 425,417 people
    Palmdale / Lancaster urban area: 513,547 people

    Others have already noted the huge issues with crossing the Sierras.

    Domayv Reply:

    EDIT: Also for an HSR station at Reno (complete with a maintenance facility), they’ll have to build a new one since the existing one, though it is located directly in Downtown, is too narrow-capacity to serve as a terminal. Also, it is now part of the National Register of Historic Places. Building a new one can cause eminent domain-related issues, unless the build the station either below or right next to the existing one, which would likely involve doing a “big-dig” on the city.

    Once the new ROW is built, Amtrak can now start providing intercity services to Reno, though they’ll have to forgo their diesels and instead use electro-diesels since regular diesels most likely cannot operate on the new ROW since they’re likely going to be too steep for them.

    keith saggers Reply:

    2014 VISION PLAN UPDATE FINAL REPORT | CAPITOL CORRIDOR
    Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority
    Nelson\Nygaard Consulting Associates Inc.

    Positive Train Control and Speed Increases
    Positive Train Control (PTC), which is in the process of being installed on Capitol Corridor trains right now and is soon to be installed by the host railroads, links every train in a system to a central computer which can set rules for where trains can be in relation to each other and control train
    movements to prevent them from getting too close. The technology has the potential to significantly increase speeds, even without costly infrastructure changes, though there is concern that it could potentially slow average speeds immediately after implementation as PTC is optimized for operations in the particular corridor in which it is implemented. When PTC is installed, the Federal Railroad Administration allows trains to reach 110 mph even without “sealing” at-grade crossings.

    keith saggers Reply:

    Amtrak trains in Michigan have installed PTC and have been allowed to reach top speeds of 110 miles per hour, though the line on which it was installed is not as heavily integrated with freight rail services. The FRA is currently working to improve the reliability of the technology for rights of way with both passenger and freight traffic

    Rob Reply:

    That’s great news. The capitol corridor is strangely under promoted given it’s usefulness. No idea why there isn’t a station at Vallejo/Benicia or around Hercules. I know Fairfield/Vacaville are building one. Why it’s not been linked to Bart at Jack London Square or West Oakland as someone mentioned here is also a mystery.

    The 80 is congested from the Bay Area to Sacremento during the commute. There are small stretches of calm but they are increasingly isolated islands surrounded by slow moving traffic. If there’s an accident forget about it. If it snows in Tahoe the amount of traffic on a weekend heading east is insane.

    The annoying thing is there is a great alternative in the Capitol corridor but it’s almost like an underfunded afterthought, run by Amtrak but not even carrying the Amtrak name despite year on year increases in ridership.

    If it were rolled into the HSR system it could be electrified along the route and a sweetener to BNSF / Union Pacific would be grade separation of the freight tracks along the bay as well as straightening out some of the kinks in the route. Would be a ton of work of course but that’s infrastructure development…

    Agree with running it all the way to Reno as that private casino money would be more than happy to invest in return for a station bringing wealthy gamblers from the bay area. Same with the resorts in Tahoe – they’d love a direct line bringing skiers from the bay up to the area so public / private investment would definitely be on the cards.

    It feels like a wasted opportunity as it stands. Most of the work and route is already there – it’s in the hands of the freight companies but for the right price / benefits they would be cooperative.

    J. Wong Reply:

    You make a lot of assumptions.

    1) It’s a half mile walk from Lake Merritt BART to the station near Jack London Square. How would you better connect to BART?
    2) “[R]un by Amtrak but not even carrying the Amtrak name” What does that even mean? Amtrak is contracted by CalTrans (state of California) to operate the Capitol Corridor (as well as the Surfliner and San Joaquin) routes. Funding is provided by CalTrans not Amtrak. The rolling stock is also owned by California. It is branded as Amtrak California.
    3) There is not sufficient potential ridership to justify HSR to Reno.

    keith saggers Reply:

    BART is contracted to operate the Capitol Corridor.
    The Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority is governed by a Board of Directors which consists of 16 representatives from its member agencies:
    Placer County Transportation Planning Agency (PCTPA)
    Solano Transportation Authority (STA)
    Yolo County Transportation District (YCTD)
    Sacramento Regional Transit District (Sac RT)
    San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART)
    Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA
    Wikipedia

    J. Wong Reply:

    Ok, then the statement “run by Amtrak but not even carrying the Amtrak name” is completely incorrect since it is not run by Amtrak, but it is carrying the Amtrak California name.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    @ J.Wong, not completely incorrect. The Capitol Corridor management has tried to distance themselves from both Amtrak and Amtrak California since becoming a JPA. If they had their way they would for sure remove “Amtrak California” from the rolling stock. Take a look at their website and their maps, where they try as hard as they can to pretend that other Amtrak routes do not exist. BART provides their telephone customer service. Call the Amtrak 800 number and you will be redirected if you are in their territory. If you are e.g. in southern CA Amtrak c/s will only quote the Coast Starlight trains between say Sacto and Oakland. Try for yourselves. This is the kind of Balkanization that we will be constantly fighting the next few years with the new JPAs for San Joaquin and the Surfliner. That’s what happens when you give local politicians their own Lionel set.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Actually, very weird right now.

    You’re right, the Amtrak site no longer books the Capitol Corridor, but interestingly the Capitor Corridor site redirects to Amtrak if you enter stations on the San Joaquin.

    Has the equipment been split up between the Capitor Corridor and the San Joaquins too?

    David M Reply:

    CC to BART transfers are at Richmond and Oakland Coliseum.

    Robert S. Allen Reply:

    CapCor/BART transfers at Richmond and Coliseum serve BART’s Richmond and Fremont lines well. They are of less value to trans-Bay and Concord line passengers. An intermodal transfer in Oakland where BART crosses over the UP rail (I-880/7th Street) would serve trans-Bay and Concord lines with shorter BART travel times and more frequent BART trains. BART is aerial and nearly tangent there, and a slight line change could reduce the CapCor curvature.

  22. jimsf
    Jun 20th, 2015 at 12:04
    #22

    OT at the beginning of this video theres an mbta train that is double deck with high platform boarding so that is what caltrain needs…

    Marc Reply:

    These are the infamous Hyundai Rotem cars, delivered 2 1/2 years late with shoddy workmanship, mechanical, and software issues. Not EMUs, they are used in diesel push/pull sets. They have automatic trap door steps (Clem will not approve) making them compatible with both high and low platforms. Wheel chairs are accommodated at low platform stations using ramp accessible short high platforms or lifts. Wheel chairs, ADA bathrooms, and bicycle storage in are located in the short high platform level floor areas, majority of seating is up/down stairs. MBTA does not permit bicycles during peak commute hours, so bicycle storage is somewhat less than Caltrain needs.

    Clem Reply:

    If I’m not mistaken, those are Kawasakis, of far superior quality.

    Marc Reply:

    Tis hard to tell the difference, but given the date of the video (before the Hyundai cars were delivered) you must be correct.

    EJ Reply:

    The issue isn’t with accomodating double deck EMUs with high platforms – they’ve been doing that in Paris (among other places) for decades. More problematical is accomodating high and low platforms.

    Clem Reply:

    Indeed. It’s all about the transition strategy, which up until recently involved a lot of hand waving and a bit of pixie dust. It’s a deceptively complex problem, to which the answer is not simply “SEPTA!” In recent months, we have finally seen signs that people who decide these things are starting to think it through more carefully.

    Just yesterday the Transbay JPA adopted a resolution in favor of common level boarding platforms for Caltrain and HSR. The Transbay chief engineer said these words: “we can’t have platforms at two different levels. It just doesn’t work.”

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Transit agencies other than SEPTA manage it. Without any drama.

    Joey Reply:

    There’s no drama because they don’t care about dwell times or ADA regulations.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    they don’t get funding from the Federal government unless the renewed station is ADA compliant. Level boarding decreases dwell time.

    Joey Reply:

    Oh sure, things work well at the high platform stations, but they’re perfectly content to let the “transition period” drag out for the greater part of a century. That won’t work on CalTrain.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Clem, does that mean W.C.’s are back.

    EJ Reply:

    The latest Caltrain spec includes the possibility of one ADA-compliant bathroom per train – no guarantee it will go into the final design, but they want to explore it as an option.

    Reality Check Reply:

    In addition to the shared single platform height part, looks like TJPA is pushing for ADA level boarding

    […]

    WHEREAS, The selection of a common platform height and compatible rolling stock width is impeded by California Public Utility Commission (CPUC) General Order 26-D, Section 3, which imposes side clearance requirements that do not reflect modern rail equipment and operations, and conflict with the Federal Americans with Disability Act (42 U.S.C. sec. 12101 et seq.) requirements for level boarding heights;

    […] be it FURTHER RESOLVED, That the TJPA encourages JPB and CHSRA to take all steps necessary to receive a CPUC waiver from requirements of General Order 26-D that conflict with Federal Americans with Disability Act requirements for level boarding heights.

    Roland Reply:

    Correct: “We can’t have platforms at two different levels. It just doesn’t work.”
    “Common level boarding platforms for Caltrain and HSR” is an oxymoron.

    Marc Reply:

    Once again, MBTA supports both high and low platforms through use of automatic trap door steps, wheel chair accessible short high platforms, and portable lifts when needed (at high platform stations, wheelchair users are directed to specific cars for low platform destinations). The beginning of this video shows a typical low platform setup at Haverhill, MA. No drama, and the Kawasaki cars have been in use since the early 90s. If there were major difficulties with this arrangement, you’d think they’d have upgraded all of the stations to high platforms by now.

    Clem Reply:

    No drama, nice lazy one minute dwell.

    Marc Reply:

    Yeah, does remind me a bit of Caltrain’s now typical 2 or 3 minute dwells. Want a transition to high platforms? That will do it, lazy as it might be. No “ghost” doors, no internal wheel chair lifts, no 3+2 seating, no need for exciting super custom hot rod Stadler EMUs. But, whatever floats your boat, I’ll likely be retired by the time any EMUs actually lurch into service on Caltrain…

    Clem Reply:

    Congratulations on your impending retirement, then.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    The only way there’s electrification of the Cal-Train corridor is if they put in BART…

    J. Wong Reply:

    ? Really?

    They’re putting in electrification. The plan is by 2020 or 2021.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    See what happens the dust settles from the 2016 election.

    J. Wong Reply:

    What are you suggesting? Caltrain electrification is to be funded out if Prip1A, no Federal funds.

    Clem Reply:

    What do you expect to happen, a high-speed rail implosion?

    Ted Judah Reply:

    My guess is that the lawsuit will render the use of Prop 1a monies in the bookends to be illegal without a funding plan that accounts for the entire segment.

    Meanwhile, BART will put a tax on the ballot next year to pay for upgrades and then gamely starve SMCTD of funds and seize the Corridor. The Authority and BART will sign a truce and be done with it.

    synonymouse Reply:

    With no W.C.’s there isn’t much difference now. MTC has managed to downgrade Caltrain to BART ghetto.

    Clem Reply:

    I agree with you that Prop 1A money will not be usable, but CNT money will make a good substitute at net zero impact to CHSRA (if they can’t use Prop 1A money in the Central Valley, then nobody can and Prop 1A might as well not exist…)

    As for BART “seizing” anything, the political tipping point is long past.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Clem, somewhat off-topic: which BART extensions do you consider to be foregone conclusions? Just San Jose, or also Livermore?

    J. Wong Reply:

    Ok, we’ll see if the Authority can come up with a plan that passes legal muster. (You’re assuming that they won’t, but I suspect that they’re working on it.)

    How will a BART tax starve SMCTD? Also, BART won’t “seize” the corridor. Even if they wanted to do so, which I doubt because that’s not really how bureaucracies work, they have nowhere near enough resources to do so.

    synonymouse Reply:

    If a “seize” were attempted it would be a joint MTC-SF City Hall machination. You could erect a lot of high-rises on the Caltrain property in SF.

    J. Wong Reply:

    “You could erect a lot of high-rises on the Caltrain property in SF.”

    Oh, yeah, that makes sense. Close down Caltrain and put all those commuters on the streets and freeways, which would then gridlock for hours. Sounds like a plan!

    synonymouse Reply:

    It is called Ring the Bay.

    I-280 would be coming down too.

    It is all about the money and the real estate going to friends. SF lives to sell off transit property – a tradition since 1945.

    J. Wong Reply:

    How valuable would be buildings that no one could get to to go to work?

    Reality Check Reply:

    J. Wong, didn’t you see “I-280 near Mission Bay would be razed in Caltrain tunnel plan“?

    Clem Reply:

    @Alon: both San Jose and Livermore (and even beyond Livermore) are pretty much done deals. It’s all about how much the BART snake can swallow and digest at once: first, San Jose. The freeways are gridlocked and Something Must Be Done. A fourth tax measure will be on the Santa Clara County ballot in 2016, promising to pay for BART to SJ just like the previous three that didn’t.

    J. Wong Reply:

    @Reality Check

    I am aware of the proposal (which is just that, not a plan). The claims being made above are that the Caltrain ROW would be “seized”, and supposedly Caltrain would be shut down. I was just pointing out what a gridlocked mess San Francisco would become without Caltrain, meaning any real estate would be less valuable.

    None of these speculations or proposals in the case of the 3rd St tunnel/station have identified any source of funding, and given how many billions would be required and how difficult it is to get funding for HSR, I don’t see BART or even the city of San Francisco being anymore successful than the Authority (beyond cap&trade).

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Think about how much easier HSR and TransBay have it if there’s no 4th and King Station. And the only reason for 4th and King is because CalTrain is not electrified.

    Now…between Milbrae and TBT…BART has a separate ROW…without CalTrain…the Authority gets it to itself.

    Between Milbrae and Diridon Intergalactic-planetary, BART just needs the air rights over the ROW and CAHSR can also get those for free.

    J. Wong Reply:

    How valuable would be buildings that no one could get to to go to work?

    synonymouse Reply:

    BART uber alles.

    J. Wong Reply:

    BART wouldn’t be “uber alles” if no one rode it.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Ve haff vays of making chyou ride BART!

    Like getting rid of competing bus lines.

    synonymouse Reply:

    San Francisco really does not give that much of a shit about transit. Otherwise they would have wired Geary and saved some real money on deadhead costs by basing the buses at Presidio Yard.

    SF really does care about building that tax base on the other hand and steering property to friends of management.

    J. Wong Reply:

    You’re right @synon that SF doesn’t give enough care to MUNI. That said, there’s also a minimum amount of service that is required to keep value in the tax base. They can’t keep building the tax base without transit.

  23. keith saggers
    Jun 21st, 2015 at 10:32
    #23

    http://www.railwaygazette.com/news/infrastructure/single-view/view/rigid-overhead-installed-in-uk-tunnel.html

    Michael Reply:

    That means it will finally be available for consideration here, since it’s now available to go look at in an English speaking country.

    Miles Bader Reply:

    Wait, it hasn’t been before? It’s such a blindingly obvious idea that I figured it was common everywhere…

    William Reply:

    In its electrification RFP, Caltrain already specifies for conductor rail in tunnels. See Volume 3, Part A, Section 3 of the RFP.

  24. Reality Check
    Jun 21st, 2015 at 18:49
    #24

    KQED Radio Forum:
    New BART Budget Targets Ongoing Service Problems

    Host: Dan Shafer

    Guests:
    Dan Brekke, KQED blogger
    Nick Josefowitz, BART director
    Steve Heminger, MTC chief

    5:05 Brekke: Trains dramatically more crowded — big pain point; 3% increase in car availability from 86 to 89%

    7:15 Heminger: BART a victim of its own success; aging & growing pains; highways and BART both about 40 years old — in need of overhaul;

    8:20 Heminger: BART obviously the linchpin of BA transit system

    9:50 Brekke: BART is such a one-off; everything must be built just for BART; uniqueness is a hinderance; unreliability

    12:00 Heminger: BART is a very inflexible system; choke points such as Oakland wye; cutting corners to save money; should have spent more for redundancy/reliability

    14:00 Josefowitz: funding gap; $4.8b needed to achieve state of good repair — 3x the current budget; a voter-approved bond could really improve the system & rider experience

    14:55 Heminger: it’s much worse — the shortfall is actually 10x the current capital budget

    15:23 Josefowitz: plan for going to the voters, but probably not all at once.

    15:45 Heminger: we’ve almost run the course of outward BART extensions — but SJ is not that, because it should have been done decades ago

    16:45 Heminger: currently a commuter/transit hybrid system; we need to move more toward a transit system, possibly using turnback runs

    18:00 Why no dedicated bike trains? Josefowitz: unlike Caltrain, we don’t think that’s best for BART — we can’t place cars so easily

    19:00 bikes on BART; used to require permits, but with restrictions on crowded trains, etc.

    20:00 Heminger: bike sharing another way “to skin that cat”; bikes the right way to bridge that “last mile”

    21:15 Caller: bikes blocking aisles, platforms, entrances … a huge inconvenience and menace; with crowding problems, why are we letting bikes mess it up for others … it’s a danger and unacceptable! Josefowitz: bike plan would make BART the largest secured bike parking operator in the country …

    24:35 Josefowitz: we need to get up to 10-minute headways; upgrade computer control systems. We’re running trains on 1960s software … it’s pretty incredible.

    25:20 Heminger: new software could boost tube capacity 20-30%. We need a 2nd BART tube — something we’re going to have to build.

    26:45 Caller Dillip from south SJ: can’t enjoy SF because BART is not here. Who in SJ decided not be part of BART? When would BART be extended to south SJ? Heminger: short sighted thinking — SMCo. conspired to keep it off the ballot there; Marin didn’t want it; GGBHTD didn’t want it on the GG bridge. SJ was not the largest city when BART was built — still had orchards down there.

    29:30 Josefowitz: no one county gets BART for free; 2/3 vote is a high bar, but voters understand just how critical BART is to the region

    29:50 Heminger: buy-in fee for non-BART counties, etc. SMCo. and SCCo. agreements. Some say it’s not good enough. Designed as a surrogate for the original buy-in. Controversial.

    31:30 Heminger: SCCo. paying for most of the SJ extension & a rehabilitation fee; SCCo. No representation on the BART board. Dan: SJ’s population was 200-250K when it opted out of BART. Heminger: taxed itself 3 times now and may need to do it a fourth time to get BART up and running.

    32:20 Caller: Caltrain took 3 hours a day — what about a business class car? Heminger: not a bad idea — BART also thinking about peak/off-peak fares.

    33:20 Heminger: Caltrain is more flexible; faster with express trains

    34:15 Caller: no redundancy — only one track per direction; nighttime shutdowns needed; needed an extra / redundant set of tracks in the first place. Heminger: we have been retro-fitting some crossovers for more flexibility, move more people.

    35:45 Caller: highways should not be financed with general funds; on transit MTC could lead with a fee on oil. Josefowitz: move BART to using renewable energy; solar has become so cheap that it might save us money. Rolling solar out to BART stations.

    37:30 Heminger: BART commendable for rolling income over for rehabilitation.

    38:25: Dangerous men board and do boombox dance show on board — potentially dangerous and loud; Josefowitz: BART police to do better with quality of life issues.

    40:03 listener: trains are filthy, too noisy, nauseating — don’t compare well to Japan; fare evasion also a problem. Josefowitz: BART very loud and screechy due to wheel/rail interface; working with top experts to redesign the wheel interface; if safe, we’ll roll out a new wheel profile; fare evasion not fair and aggravating — but it’s a fairness issue and we don’t think we’re losing much — maybe a few million — a year.

    42:40 Heminger: work rules need reform; date back to the origin of the system; inflexible as an engineering piece of work, but we really need more management flexibility

    43:40: Brekke: Labor issues; reform — strikes; we seem to have weathered strikes fairly well except for the 2 track worker deaths. Smoother way to handle labor/strikes next time around.

    45:00 Josefowitz: we need to reset our relations with labor; banning strikes will just lead to sick-outs and it could be just as bad as with Muni

    46:00 When will bathrooms reopen? Josefowitz: great question — they’ve been closed since 2001; reopening restrooms very exciting — maybe ensure people don’t do what they’re not supposed to in them. Brekke: restrooms are a mess — people find other places to go inside the faregates.

    47:45 Heminginer: consensus in the region on end of highway expansions — we’re betting heavily on BART and Caltrain; business very supportive of transit taxes — such as in SCCo. with BART measures.

    49:00 Josefowitz: so much dysfunction in Washington (DC) on transit funding — we can’t rely on them; gas taxes declining; cap and trade a huge game changer — we’ll plow that money right back into the system

    50:00 Heminger: we’re going to have to do more and dig deeper …

    synonymouse Reply:

    “…BART very loud and screechy due to wheel/rail interface; working with top experts to redesign the wheel interface; if safe, we’ll roll out a new wheel profile…”

    “if safe” What a dildo.

    BART renouncing Bechtel?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8vZx7yF_a7M

    synonymouse Reply:

    Sorry wrong clip. This one:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1CDlBLvc3YE

    But BART does need to answer for so much.

    Roland Reply:

    Listen to what Mayor Tom Bates had to say about BART seats during the 5/13 Programming & Allocations Committee meeting: http://mtcmedia.s3.amazonaws.com/audio/pac_2015-05-13.mp3.
    This is followed by Supervisor Scott Wiener mentioning that the next Transbay tube should be for Caltrain & Capitol Corridor connecting the Transit Center directly to the East Bay and Sacramento.

  25. Reality Check
    Jun 21st, 2015 at 19:22
    #25

    Hyperloop’s crowdsourced train advances as Cal HSR fails

    The audaciousness of Elon Musk to challenge bone-headed establishment thinking is on maximum display this month as his SpaceX organization helps launch the design competition for a “sub-scale” Hyperloop prototype pod train.

    Unlike the California High Speed Rail, that no sane person believes will be high speed or ever break-even, Hyperloop may revolutionize transportation by profitably whisking passengers and their cars at up to 800 miles per hour from Los Angeles to San Francisco in a half hour.

    […]

    Hopefully, Hyperloop’s privately crowdfunded and crowdsourced technologies will soon succeed, so that California’s Ministry of Transportation can be shut down to protect taxpayers from further boondoggle spending.

    Miles Bader Reply:

    Breitbart is exactly sort of gullible and technically illiterate fool that would fall for the veil-thin hype of hyperloop… ><

    joe Reply:

    “…whisking passengers and their cars up to 800 miles an hour…”

    Really?

    Miles Bader Reply:

    It’s Breitbart… ><

    Roland Reply:

    Really.

    TomA Reply:

    LOL at this. California should stop building proven techology that would do the job just as good or better because some college kids want to test out some mad geniuses throw away project idea.

    You wanna know how I know this isnt a viable idea. Because the guy who came up with it GAVE IT AWAY.

    Danny Reply:

    honestly there’s a whole book to be written about why vaporware just doesn’t ever go away or get recognized: over and over there’s dreamy CGI on a slick website, “Wired” readers get tingly and then super vicious, and then the company goes under and nothing’s ever heard of the ground! breaking! technology! again

    remember those ET3 acolytes that spent the entire 00s spamming every site ever with the same LaRouchite rhetoric, promising a new line would open next year (every year)

  26. Reality Check
    Jun 21st, 2015 at 19:24
    #26

    Bob Hope Airport’s connection to high-speed railway is still in the air
    Official stresses need for a new air terminal before discussion of high-speed train.

    If the state’s bullet train is going to have a station near Bob Hope Airport, the two transportation facilities should connect, airport Executive Director Dan Feger said this week. However, first things first — the airport and the city need to hash out the details of a proposed 14-gate replacement terminal at the airfield, he added.

    […]

  27. Eric
    Jun 22nd, 2015 at 01:03
    #27

    As good as another measure R would be, it’s still strange that a metro area of 18 million people thinks all it needs to build is street-running light rail, and not subways or elevated (except on one corridor). That strikes me as very bad planning for the future. The biggest city in the world without a full metro or plans for one is Dallas, which is less than half the size of LA.

    swing hanger Reply:

    Indeed. This fascination with “light rail” is a legacy of compromise politics and the “one mode fits all” thinking prevalent in N. America. Of course, a lot can be remedied in the LA Basin if Metrolink morphs from a peak-hour-only diesel commuter system to an all-day, frequent service S-Bahn/RER type electrified network.

    Miles Bader Reply:

    Of course, a lot can be remedied in the LA Basin if Metrolink morphs from a peak-hour-only diesel commuter system to an all-day, frequent service S-Bahn/RER type electrified network.

    Has that ever happened with any American-style commuter rail system…?

    swing hanger Reply:

    I don’t think so. I recall some talk about SEPTA moving towards running their FRA-burdened “heavy rail” operations more like a high frequency transit system with cross-city running, but resistance from entrenched interests(?) prevented that. Others are likely more knowledgeable about it. Don’t expect the likes of *Tokyu/Fukutoshin/Seibu/Tobu through-running* in our lifetimes in the U.S. (if ever)…

    Miles Bader Reply:

    Don’t expect the likes of Tokyu/Fukutoshin/Seibu/Tobu through-running

    Minato-Mirai/Tokyu/Fukutoshin/Seibu/Tobu through-running… ^^;

    swing hanger Reply:

    M-M: yeah that one, to me Tokyu trains with a different paint job lol (I remember when Tokyu ran elevated through Yokohama Station to Sakuragicho, even as far back when the “green frogs” ran).

    orulz Reply:

    You mean Minato-Mirai/Sotetsu/Tokyu/Fukutoshin/Seibu/Tobu. Lol. Although the Sotetsu link is still under construction.

    Reality Check Reply:

    Caltrain might (and should) go that way (morphing from commuter to metro/transit rail) …

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Unfortunately, Metrolink is a tiny system for how big LA is. No branch serves the Westside, only one peripherally serves South LA, only one peripherally serves the Gateway Cities, only two serve the Valley. It’s not like in Boston or Philadelphia or Chicago, where commuter rail serves almost every part of the city.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Nothing will happen to Metrolink unless people demand it. Right now I’m a voice in the wilderness at board meetings.

    Donk Reply:

    I have never been to a board meeting, but it would seem that the only place where people “demand” better Metrolink service is on the OC line in OC. There is a plan for service every 30 min on that line, either with Metrolink or Amtrak right? So I would think that is this is successful, then it could prove the concept, at least on a small scale.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    It’s a small step, 7 stations, and doesn’t reach the system hub. It’s the sort of half-hearted attempt that could well fail and give the idea a bad name.

    Danny Reply:

    north of Irvine they’re already putting in concrete ties–next up, catenaries!

    Eric Reply:

    Actually I omitted a number of third world cities between Dallas and LA in size that don’t obviously have subway plans, but I think the point stands.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Obviously the answer to your question is that LA Metro’s old CEO, (Roger Snoble) previously worked at DART, Dallas-Area-Rapid-Transit… (Just kidding!)

    In reality, history will give you some idea as to why LA and Dallas have such paradoxical ideas about transit compared to other cities.

    Eric Reply:

    I’m actually not really criticizing Dallas here. Dallas really doesn’t need heavy rail, and it’s hard to imagine it changing to the point that it does. That’s absolutely not the case with LA.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    I understand that too, but would recommend you study more history to get you bearings. Los Angeles had a very short window to build a heavy rail system on the magnitude of BART, DC Metro, or a more traditional subway.

    Unlike the Bay Area, where the Balkanization of many small counties and cities help build political support for transit within a core area…both the City and County of Los Angeles were too big for a few interest groups to transcend. Now, those same leaders are much more supportive of transit, but the federal government is far less able to bankroll mega-projects and Southern California’s pull in Congress is less then (late 60s) than today….

    EJ Reply:

    Most light rail lines in LA have extensive grade-separated sections. It’s really a matter of being able to build a lot of lines fairly quickly.

    Domayv Reply:

    Not really. The Blue Line, save for when its at the 7th Street Metro Center, is virtually always street-running, which is why so many fatalities happen on that line (the fatality count would actually be reduced to 0 if they have it put underground, which would actually be beneficial since it would add more tracks to use, given that the line almost always operates at capacity). For the Expo Line, the only grade-separated sections are anything west of Farmdale Avenue (even then, it still has 2-3 grade crossings, all of which can easily be grade-separated) and within 7th Street Metro Center. The Gold Line still has a bunch of grade crossings (especially true within Pasadena due to using legacy right-of-way inherited from the former Santa Fe Railroad, and within East LA). The only light rail line in LA to be completely grade-separated is the Green Line.

    Eric Reply:

    Blue line at capacity? Really? I just checked and it’s once every 12 minutes at midday!

    Donk Reply:

    It is pretty simple. The reason LA has so much light rail is because it is a gigantic metro area, and there was demand to cover as much territory as possible. As EJ says, they built out the existing ROWs first to get as much bang for the buck. The only exception to that is the Red/Purple Line.

    Now that they have filled in most of the ROWs with light rail or busways, they are starting to plan for more expensive lines that don’t follow ROWs. An example of this is the Crenshaw Line, which only has a small stretch of ROW. This project is purely a political play, will end costing upwards of $2B, and is taking money away from other more important lines. Next will be the next Purple Line extension, the Regional Connector, and the 405 lines, all which do not follow existing ROWs.

    Most of the system is LRT because the lines are integrated with the existing lines and have some street running. This basically makes sense, especially for worthless lines like the Crenshaw Line. Heavy rail will obviously be used on the Purple Line, and should also be used on the 405 line (but probably won’t).

    The only useful ROWs left where projects have not yet started are the Harbor Subdivision (with the exception of the small Crenshaw segment) and the the PE ROW to OC. The OC line will probably be LRT. There isn’t really a Harbor Subdivision line on the radar, but if there is one it will probably also be LRT to integrate with the Crenshaw Line.

    So it is all about keeping the cost down to cover as much as possible, except where there is an obvious capacity issue. This makes sense, but will come back to bit LA in a couple decades. At least they have high level platform boarding like a real metro system.

    Eric Reply:

    Why is high level boarding an advantage? It means more expensive and less convenient platforms. Does it have any advantages whatsoever?

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Cheaper, lighter trains. On subways and els, low platforms don’t have any advantage over high ones.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Faster boarding. Stepping up/down slows down entrance/egress.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    It is pretty simple. The reason LA has so much light rail is because it is a gigantic metro area, and there was demand to cover as much territory as possible. As EJ says, they built out the existing ROWs first to get as much bang for the buck. The only exception to that is the Red/Purple Line.

    Um, no.

    The reason there’s so much light rail is that the political structure of the MTA demands lots of little cheap projects all over the county than a few, expensive projects in dense areas.

    Heavy rail like BART averages around 33mph, most of Metro’s light rail lines are little better than half that.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Another way to think about the Dallas issue is that outside the US, the largest first-world city without a subway or electrified commuter rail is Tel Aviv, which has a metro area of 3.5 million. (It doesn’t have light rail, either, but is slowly and expensively building a subway-surface line.)

  28. Reality Check
    Jun 22nd, 2015 at 15:14
    #28

    Germany’s Hochtief wins $1.23b CA HSR deal
    German building company Hochtief has announced it’s secured a lucrative large-scale construction deal in the US. It will help build a stretch of an important high-speed rail connection between LA and San Francisco.

    J. Wong Reply:

    That’s CP 2-3. They’re saying it will take 4 years starting from 2016, which extends past the 2017 Federal deadline.

    Jon Reply:

    Yep, this was the ridiculously low “$1,234,567,890” bid, with the other two bids coming in at $1.7 and $2.1bn. It will be pretty incredible if they can keep to that budget – the authority’s estimate was $1.5 – $2bn.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Perhaps they spotted errors that will necessitate change orders.

    Eric M Reply:

    Perhaps. But design-build should limit change orders. Also, they could be doing what the Chinese are doing with other transportation projects, bidding low to get their foot in the door for better future considerations. Could also be they wanted to make sure their bid came in under Tutor Perinis’, as they watched the low bidding happen in the very first round. It set precedence. Lots of construction contracts still need to be awarded on this project.

    les Reply:

    yep, this is probably why Denham is putting the squeeze on CHSR with his latest legislation. It will be interesting to see what Brown has up his sleeve.

    Joe Reply:

    Since 2011 the House voted to repeal “Obamacare” 56 times.

    Now they are going to stop HSR.

    Zorro Reply:

    Yeah right, Denham has been trying that for years, that hasn’t worked yet, and is VETO bait, as President Obama said He’d VETO any bill with that inside it and it will stay vetoed until removed, an override requires a 2/3rds vote in both the House and the Senate, that will never happen.

    Joe Reply:

    With enemies like Jeff Denham, who needs friends?

    The GAO positive assessment and the STB federalizing the EIR process complements of Jeff “wrong way” Denham’s misguided attacks on HSR.

    les Reply:

    i doubt denham will get his wish. however this is a republican controlled senate now and less predictable. who knows what obama will throw under the bus to score a few points.

    Joe Reply:

    He will not throw himself under the bus. Anyhow, 60 senators needed if a CA senator objects.

    les Reply:

    With Obama gone in 1 1/2 yrs democrats are starting to get fifty.

    http://www.breitbart.com/california/2015/06/17/ca-dems-use-budget-to-reduce-oversight-of-high-speed-rail/

    les Reply:

    ie, figity…..Dam cell phone

    Zorro Reply:

    les, breitbart? Seriously? That’s a Wrong Wing website, not much there is credible..

    As to oversight, it was coming in every month, the bill and action seems reasonable, only Republicans objected in the State Legislature, as usual, this can be reversed if necessary, since this is not permanent, so don’t hyperventilate…

    les Reply:

    Zorro, who cares what the spin is. You should learn to read. “implement measures that would require spending reports from managers of the rail project to be sent to the legislature every two years instead of twice per year.” Dems are starting to dance. Given the fact that FlatIron can’t start construction until the year Obama leaves, this could result in hypervaentilating if your a dem.

    Zorro Reply:

    Spin = lies, people want the truth, not lies or distortions for political gain.

    I was watching the Cal Channel, the reports were coming in every month, according to what was braodcast, this can be reversed, if there is a valid need, don’t like that? Too damn bad, GOP minority can go scream itself hoarse, no one cares about stupid GOP rants…

    les Reply:

    i’m no fan of the GOP either. But I think dems need to start dancing a little more given the slow turn around rate of these construction bids. I think CHSR is going to have to step up spending on other project elements such as land acquisitions and EIRs.

    joe Reply:

    Oh please. Les posts brietarded news and doesn’t mention the redundant reporting.

  29. Derek
    Jun 22nd, 2015 at 22:45
    #29

    Omotenashi promo video of quick shinkansen cleanup goes viral

    EJ Reply:

    I don’t know enough about Japan specifically, but in many countries outside of the US, the dignity of labor is better respected than it is here. To the point that they make promo videos about how awesome their train cleaning crews are. It probably does wonders for morale.

    swing hanger Reply:

    In general, cleaning crews and janitorial staff have the same image in Japan as in other countries including the U.S. However, this particular group is special in that it is essential in maintaining the tight turnaround times (avg. 12 minutes from arrival to departure) for Tohoku/Joetsu Shinkansen trains at the Tokyo terminal. The whole system of schedule discipline is based on all parts of the service working in unison, and this includes the passengers, who are expected to line up at the appropriate places on the platform (clearly marked), as well as prepare to detrain a few minutes *before* the train stops at a station.

  30. Useless
    Jun 23rd, 2015 at 09:02
    #30

    A 32 mile long train tunnel digging was completed yesterday for less than $3 billion in Korea, through which KTX high speed trains and intercity express trains will run through. The situation in Korea was very much similar to Southern California and the Peninsular Corridor, where dense population has made new above-ground railway construction impossible, so they dug a train tunnel instead to bypass the existing blended traffic corridor that make up first 10 miles of KTX.

    What’s shocking is the cost and the speed of this tunnel digging, a 32 mile tunnel dug in 3.5 years for less than $3 billion. Unfortunately, I doubt the US contractors would be able to replicate this feat in California, or we would not even be having this NIMBY high speed rail construction opposition debates.

    Eric M Reply:

    Tunnel boring machines cost to run is pretty linear. The problem can be an unstable rock structure they encounter, i.e. fault lines. If the east tunnel alignments are selected, hopefully the contractors doing the work in Korea make a bid for constructing the tunnel. That would be huge to get a tunnel for that price.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Then just tack on a few extra cheap miles and bypass Burbank on your Palmdale base tunnel.

    synonymouse Reply:

    On your way to give your money to Mssrs. Wynn and Adelson.

    Useless Reply:

    Eric M

    That would be huge to get a tunnel for that price.

    Looking at the ARC tunnel fiasco, don’t bet on it. $14 billion for a 9 mile tunnel.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    14 billion is lie promulgated by His Girthyness. NJTransit was aiming for just under 10 billion and the Federal Government was estimating less than 12 billion. The tunnel was the cheap part.

    Useless Reply:

    adirondacker12800

    $12 billion or $14 billion, what difference does that make. It cost more than $1 billion to dig a mile of tunnel in the US, ensuring that the California HSR system will stay blended for the next 100 years because there is no money to dig bypass tunnels.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    What’s wrong with blending?

    Useless Reply:

    adirondacker12800

    What’s wrong with blending?

    There are many blending deniers on this board, who insist that blending gives certain vendors an unfair advantage over others.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    and out of the other side of their mouth they blather on and on about off the shelf oggly goodness and how any vendor anywhere can spit out anything you might want anytime.

    EJ Reply:

    [citation needed]

    Robert S. Allen Reply:

    adirondacker 12800: What’s wrong with blending?

    Even at 79 mph with engine in front, trains are vulnerable to accidents, suicides, and sabotage. Amtrak at Bourbonnais derailed 2 locomotives and 11 cars. More recently Metro-North and Metrolink each suffered heavy loss from collisions. (Usually the intruder suffers worse losses.) And that’s at moderate speeds.

    High Speed Rail needs secure fencing and grade separation for safety and reliability.

    J. Wong Reply:

    The costs for the actual digging part of the much-derided San Francisco Central Subway were under $1b, actually $234 million, although the total project cost is $1.5b (and it was 1.7 miles).

    So the claim that $1b to dig a mile of tunnel is 4x the actual costs.

    J. Wong Reply:

    And if you don’t know, the excavation part has already completed while the project completion is scheduled for 2019. So why the difference in price ($234 million vs. $1.5b) and time (summer 2014 vs. 2019)? Stations.

    Something to think about when considering the Angeles forest alignments (which will have no stations, @synon’s ravings not withstanding).

    J. Wong Reply:

    You’re throwing the term “blended” around as if it means something very limited and specific. That’s not the case. As I’ve noted before in the north, technically the “blend” will persist forever because the TBT will be shared between Caltrain and HSR. But gradually and incrementally I expect that Caltrain and HSR will “separate” on the Peninsula.

    As far as the south, I don’t believe there are any plans for a “blend” at all, mostly because of the heavy freight use of any existing tracks between Burbank and LAUS; they won’t be running any HSR there unless it is on their own tracks.

    Eric M Reply:

    Of course I wouldn’t hold my breath for the tunnel only costing $3 billion. But I also don’t think the tunnel options are going to be as sky high as everyone might think they are going to be.

    Useless Reply:

    Eric M

    Hopefully, the tunneling cost would drop once the LA Metro build out is completed and contractors have gained lots of experiences, because the reason the Korean HSR bypass tunnel was built so cheaply was because Korea has several contractors who have digged several thousand miles of tunnels across two dozen subway lines.

  31. Reality Check
    Jun 23rd, 2015 at 13:30
    #31

    Chinese High-Speed Rail May Be Coming to Russia
    China Railway Group will likely win a contract to build a high-speed railway connection between Moscow and Kazan.

    […]

    In the case of high-speed rail, China is particularly attracted to Russia. China’s attempts at concluding contracts for high-speed rail construction have run into roadblocks across the world, including in Thailand and Mexico […] China Railway Group’s bids for projects abroad emphasize the many competitive advantages of Chinese high-speed rail: low costs, speedy construction, and readily available financing (via China’s Export-Import Bank).

    […]

    Miles Bader Reply:

    Russia and china are trying to show they’re on good terms…. Putin especially needs friends.

  32. Reality Check
    Jun 23rd, 2015 at 13:33
    #32

    Caltrain Video Details ‘New Advanced Signal System’ (CBOSS)
    The new communications infrastructure is being installed along the Caltrain corridor and onboard trains.

  33. Reality Check
    Jun 24th, 2015 at 16:45
    #33

    Caltrain electrified car design needs improvement

    Caltrain staff’s recommendation for car design is deficient in two main ways: staff is recommending no bathrooms and no increase in bike capacity. A bathroom is an important amenity for joyful Giants fans and Friday afternoon party cars, and space for more bikes onboard is already needed.

    Joe Reply:

    Reduce passenger capacity with Moooaarrre Free bike spaces.

    Criticize HSR blended for reducing capacity.

    Jon Reply:

    So, accommodating actual riders with bikes is evil, but sending more empty trains down to Gilroy to pick up the few brave souls who use Caltrain rather than US-101 in one of the least dense, most car-dependent areas of the region is a perfectly sensible use of funds.

    GilroyLogic™

    Joe Reply:

    “evil” pretty much how a bike fanatic sees any criticism of their passenger reducing demands for more free Caltrain space.

    The system needs more passanger capacity and fare revenue.

    As for south Santa Clara county service – complain to the county. They pay for county service and also have the most heavily used stops. Tell them to pay for your bike space instead.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Just rode on a BART train with 4 bikes on board
    Doesn’t work for the long term, trains are too crowded
    Buy a ticket for your bike or leave it at the station

    jimsf Reply:

    Not only are cyclists obnoxious and militant, but no one over the age of 25 should be wearing spandex. That said, I think the new bart cars will be better able to accomodate bikes. The current interios havent changed much since the early 70s. Peronally I don’t like the new interior design with all the group seating. The last think I want to do i is sit with a group of strangers on public transportation. ( why I moved to the mountains) They could have kept is simple and just used long bench seats along the sides with open floor in the middle. I remember seeing boston subway cars with that layout in the 70s. Lots of open space to cram people, bikes, backpacks, skis furniture and livestock on board.

    ick.

    Jon Reply:

    I’m going to take a guess that the net cost per rider of providing Caltrain service from Tamien to Gilroy is more than double the net cost per rider of providing Caltrain service from Tamien to SF. That means you could reduce Caltrain operating costs by canceling all service to Gilroy and using the freed up resources to provide extra bike spaces between Tamian and SF.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    More free space is always needed
    So instead, charge for it

    Joe Reply:

    Right.
    The infill along the Caltrain ROW induces many more trips.
    2014 ridership data show 1/3 of riders are new to the system within the last year. They ain’t bikers.
    What accommodations needed in 90s to attract riders isn’t needed now.
    Charge a small fee.

    Reality Check Reply:

    Care to propose a practical way for Caltrain to implement and enforce POP bike fares?

    I supposed the fare media would have to be attached to the bicycle since bicyclists frequently sit far away from their bikes — sometimes in different sections of the same car, sometimes in adjacent cars.

    Reality Check Reply:

    Oh, and it has to work with Clipper. You’d have to devise a theft-proof way to attach a 2nd Clipper fare card to the bicycle. And then you need to figure out a way for the bike-attached fare card to tag on and off of the Clipper card terminals. And then you’d need to have a way to track down the cyclist somewhere in the train when the POP Clipper reader indicates non-payment of fare. Oh, and what’s the tariff?

    Totally not worth the cluster fuck of it, if you ask me.

    jimsf Reply:

    If there is a high demand for bike space, then that is a revenue opportunity. Make one car a bike car but make the bike people sit in that car with their bikes. put like 50 seats with 50 back spaces – one at each seat htye can ist there, hold the bike, and the conductors can scan their tickets and cards. Charge 5 dollars per bike.

    joe Reply:

    Segregation !!!

    Just charge $5 more for that train car bike or not.

    The more difficult bike advocacts make this, the easier to push bike off during peak hours.

    Joey Reply:

    Has anyone on this blog argued against charging for bikes?

    Reality Check Reply:

    California Civil Code §2180-2181 (pertaining to allowable luggage and luggage fees):

    2180. A common carrier of persons, unless his vehicle is fitted for the reception of persons
    exclusively, must receive and carry a reasonable amount of baggage for each passenger without
    charge
    […] No crate cover or other protection shall be required for any bicycle carried as
    luggage, but no passenger shall be entitled to carry as luggage more than one bicycle.

    Joe Reply:

    Charge more for the bike car without requiring a bike.

    Or dump bikes on a system at capacity during peak hours. Infill has changed the need to attract that bike demographic.

    Reality Check Reply:

    @joe: Bike advocates aren’t making anything difficult. They’re merely asking for more space commensurate with their much higher ridership growth rate (until space ran out) than walk-on riders.

    Joe Reply:

    You make charging for space difficult so accept the consequence. Merely admit to cut capacity for free bike transport. Merely.

    I’ll explore the awesome increase in bike ridership. Simple calculation to show how capacity and riders decease when to replace riders with free bikes. Every 24 bikes removes 20 seats.

    The growth rate is bull. I’m an ecologist and understand the reason you want to talk about rates and not absolute numbers or the negative capacity for bike riders.

    Where’s Derek when you need him?

    Reality Check Reply:

    The seats-removed-for-bike-spaces is a 1:1 ratio on gallery cars. If it’s 20 removed for 24 spaces on the Bombardiers, that’s an even better ratio.

    When I last checked, bike spaces generally always ran out well before open seats did … so the bikes-on-Caltrain advocates rightly observed that they were holding valid tickets they paid for while being denied boarding as trains with lots of empty seats were pulling out and leaving them fuming on the platforms.

    Under those conditions, it was easy to demonstrate seat removals for bike spaces had a great ROI since the cost was quickly paid for by an immediate and persistent net ridership and fare revenue increase. And everything after that was the fare revenue gift that kept right on giving.

    So today, even if you took all the bike spaces out and put seats back in their place, Caltrain simply needs to increase service levels (longer and/or more frequent trains).

    The argument that adding more bike space is bad only works because the Caltrain is failing to keep pace with ridership growth demand and its peak period trains are increasingly capacity constrained.

    As soon as Caltrain gets back to not being capacity constrained by doing what I’d argue is its job with the additional operating capital that it has long deserved and is long overdue, then not providing more bike space is just leaving riders and fare revenue on the table … and needlessly forcing a large and fast-growing class of riders not to use Caltrain.

    A lot of this gets wrapped up in what our goals are for public transit and Caltrain in particular. If it’s just to ensure there’s room for everyone on the paltry service that’s there, just jack up the fares until 15% of the seats are always empty (as with Dr. Shoup’s parking pricing philosophy).

    But if it’s to get as many people outta their cars and using non-SOVs so that we don’t face endless pressure to widen roads and build more parking and stew in our own congestion and emissions, etc. … then let’s call on Caltrain and the leaders who hold its purse strings to do the necessary. Unlike BART SF/transbay service, Caltrain is still running well below its technological capacity.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    No one forced them to bring their bike along on the train. All the people on the train without bicycles seem to be coping without one.

    Reality Check Reply:

    Yes, and your point is?

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Don’t you think growth by bike users happens because they are getting a free ride for their ride? Offering something for free only works when you are otherwise throwing it away. I don’t see any space unused on peak hour Caltrain service so stop giving away space you don’t have.

    Reality Check Reply:

    Sure, if you charge for bringing anything aboard with you — whether it be a bicycle, a backpack or a laptop computer … less people would do it. No surprise there.

    So what if there was a bike charge? … I’m guessing most bike-on-Caltrain riders would still pay it and you’d still have a space problem. Sooner or later, you’ve just got to face up to the fact that Caltrain isn’t providing enough service.

    Interesting stats about the Caltrain corridor:
    • 14% of CA GDP
    • 52% CA patents
    • 25% CA tax revenue
    • 75% Caltrain trips are work-related
    • 60% of riders are “choice” riders

    Source: pages 4 & 5 of EMU Procurement board presentation (here’s a version with audio)

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Charge them a buck a ride and most of them will figure out that it’s cheaper to buy a second bike and leave a bike at both stations. Or get on the bus.

    Joe Reply:

    We need Derek.

    Every bike rider uses 1.83 seats (20 seats removed adds 24 bike spaces) but pays for one seat.
    Adding 100 bike riders means kicking off 83 customers.

    Since bike cars are fixed. It’s a peak hour impact.

    So how many rides do we want to kick off Caltrain for increased bike ridership?

    Joe Reply:

    Zero seats are removed for laptop brief cases and all packages/carry on that fit in over-head shelving.

    Folding bikes are allowed on non-bike cars with some reasonable restrictions.

    J. Wong Reply:

    @Joe

    You’re claiming passengers are kicked off because of bicycles? I assure you that is not the case. The passengers ride no matter what even if they have to stand. No one is choosing to not ride because they cannot get a seat.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Charging more for bikes doesn’t work Caltrain’s POP.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    POP inspectors can check the fare medium attached to the bike just like they check the fare media the passengers have.

    Reality Check Reply:

    @adirondacker12800: how to keep others from tampering with or borrowing the fare attached to my bike? what should the fare inspector do when fare is missing or incorrect … stand around and wait for the owner to show up 10 stops later? Caltrain uses Clipper contactless farecards … explain precisely how these cards attached to bikes can be tagged on and off of the readers, and how the reader will know it’s a bike and not a person, and what the tariff is or should be? Etc. Etc.

    The only problem here is that Caltrain has a huge latent demand of riders with bikes which it is losing out on. Most of these riders will only ride if they can have the bike at both ends of the trip — the massively huge advantage in speed in door-to-door convenience (vs. relying on lame, slow and/or unreliable and/or non-existent transit or shuttles at either end) cannot be overstated for these riders. I’m one who stopped riding long ago because the bike space was getting too full and the resulting hassles of getting “bumped” (denied boarding), etc. were getting just too painful and not worth it.

    Michael Reply:

    For all of you who speculate about Clipper instead of using it daily, what could be done is that the cyclist tags on and off for their ride as usual. If they have their bike on board, there could be a Clipper reader mounted in the bike car that they tag when they park their bike on the train, which would deduct the parking fee from their Clipper card. The fare check for cyclists paying a parking fee could be accomplished randomly by a checker on the platform at departing stations. It would read if the bike parking fee was paid. Note that I do not support charging for each trip a bike takes, just laying out how it could be done.

    Reality Check Reply:

    Yes, a special Clipper terminal in each bike car could work with (random) POP inspections upon disembarkation. If the bike fare was fixed, you’d only have to “tag on”. If distance (zone) based, then you’d have to remember to tag off too. Or you could just have the bike surcharge be an add-on with the monthly pass … such that no additional bike-related tagging would ever be needed. But under today’s regime where non-Clipper day-use tickets are sold from station-based TVMs, you’d still have to come up with a TVM-based paper bike ticket & fare scheme too. Still a hot mess though.

    Jerry Reply:

    2 Michael – “just laying out how it could be done.”
    Good ideas. All of these problems need more thinking outside the box.

    Joe Reply:

    Then WTF are we doing cutting capacity and revenue?

    joe Reply:

    If it’s not easy to devise a way to pay then it becomes the bike riders problem, not a pass for free.space and demands for more and more.

    Remember that HSR compatibility reduces Caltrain capacity and is bad but bike reducing ridership capacity is okay.

    Useless Reply:

    Reality Check

    I support no bathroom rule as long as bathrooms are available on the platform for sanitary reasons. If you need the bathroom, then you can simply get off the train at the next stop and get on the next train when you are done.

    If you ever took a leak on a train, then you know it’s hard to make a clean leak even with your best intention, and frankly it smells.

    Reality Check Reply:

    Yes, first install and maintain bathrooms at every station (not going to happen!).

    Next run trains midday, nights, weekends and holidays such that a bathroom break doesn’t cost you and/or everyone in your party (or if traveling as a family or group) to wait an hour (or even overnight if on the last train of the day) for the next train. (When is that going to happen?)

    Putting at least one bathroom per train is and will be lots cheaper and better.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Right on.

Comments are closed.