Hanford To Begin Studying an HSR Station

Jul 23rd, 2015 | Posted by

Some welcome news out of Kings County, where Hanford is considering a station planning grant:

The council previously considered accepting the $600,000 grant from the California High Speed Rail Authority on June 2. The authority plans to fund the grant using $200,000 of Proposition 1A money and $400,000 from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

As a condition of the grant, the city would have to provide a local match of $200,000, plus $50,000 for staff time and other services. Representatives from Kings and Tulare counties, as well as the city of Visalia, have offered to contribute to the matching funds.

Visalia in particular has always been a strong supporter of HSR, in part because their leaders understand quite well how important the project is to their city’s economic future:

Visalia City Manager Mike Olmos said the Hanford high-speed rail station should serve as a regional station to benefit the surrounding area. Olmos said one of Visalia’s weaknesses in attracting businesses is its lack of connectivity to the rest of the state.

“Our council has been very clear that if the project does happen that we would come and try to partner with Hanford and the Kings County community to try to bring a regional station to fruition,” Olmos said. “It benefits all of us in several ways, primarily economic development.”

It’s really good to see Visalia leaders express this strong support for HSR and this keen understanding of why the status quo isn’t working for the Valley. As the economy booms on the coast, the Central Valley is getting left behind because it isn’t well connected to those coastal metropolises. HSR can bring jobs and businesses to Hanford and Visalia, something both communities desperately need.

HSR becomes even more important in the midst of a drought, as the agricultural industry struggles to manage the lack of water. There will always be farming in the Valley, but the drought is a reminder that the region must diversify and add in new businesses and industries if it is to survive.

  1. JimInPollockPines
    Jul 23rd, 2015 at 18:53

    I think the station will be right here

    Though most of the growth is going to east in Tulare County from visalia downt the 65 corridor to Porterville.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Hmm, your link shows Google Maps in Clackamas, OR. Maybe because that’s where I am right now.

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    yes i know I love the new google maps.

    keith saggers Reply:

    This map includes Pollock Pines

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    maybe bing is better. hanford station

    Tokkyu40 Reply:

    I git a wide view of the mountains west of Fresno.

    Tokkyu40 Reply:

    East of Fresno. Whatever.

    BrianR Reply:

    Your link shows me the Hanford station will be in exactly the same location as the Redwood City Caltrain station.

  2. JimInPollockPines
    Jul 23rd, 2015 at 21:30

    The hanford study would include light rail

  3. JimInPollockPines
    Jul 23rd, 2015 at 21:48

    Architectural design for kings tulare station.

  4. Roger Christensen
    Jul 24th, 2015 at 08:34

    Of course Board of Supes and City Council continue to parrot their lockstep opposition. What is encouraging is their recent criticism from the Hanford Sentinal and the Kings County Grand Jury.

  5. Joe
    Jul 24th, 2015 at 12:29



    “Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx says the government has opened a price-gouging investigation involving four airlines that allegedly raised airfares in the Northeast after an Amtrak crash in Philadelphia in May disrupted rail service. […]
    The four airlines are Delta, American, Southwest and JetBlue.”

  6. Ted Judah
    Jul 25th, 2015 at 02:52

    There will always be farming in the Valley, but the drought is a reminder that the region must diversify and add in new businesses and industries if it is to survive.

    That is an interesting choice of words, since the obvious industry that replaces agriculture most times is …wait for it…home construction. But perhaps more importantly, while railroads have long been part of land development programs in the US…the question is what industries tend to follow HSR when it expands….

    Tokkyu40 Reply:

    Home building doesn’t replace agriculture. Housing tracts can replace farmland, but only if there’s another industry to provide the people to buy the houses.

    Ian Mitchell Reply:

    When what’s now the 7 was build out to flushing from midtown manhattan, it was built into farmland.

    If housing stock is unaffordable, unpleasant, crowded, and it’s possible to maintain ones employment, it’s possible for new home construction to be entirely fueled by commuter buyers. That’s kind of the concept of suburbs. I’d say that it appears a huge impetus for CAHSR (especially the routing choice of kinking over to Palmdale and Gilroy) is to relieve the pressure on cost of living in those coastal cities.

    What will visalia be, considering its distance from SF and LA?

    Perhaps, it will be the place where all those people who build the homes near Bakersfield and Fresno for those working in LA and SF.

    Orlando, Houston, DFW, there are a lot of cities in the US where $130,000 is an average home price. That’s under 5 years rent in SF and LA, on average. I’d imagine there might be a lot of induced demand for housing in the central valley when it becomes possible to live there while working in the coastal metropolises.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    First, Flushing was already a town center. Some of the areas in between were farmland, yes, but it wasn’t a line to nowhere. See here for a photo from 1910.

    Second, between 1900 and 1910, Queens’ population doubled. That was before the Dual Contracts were signed.

    And third, if the point of HSR is to let people escape from high LA and SF prices, then wouldn’t YIMBY and abundant housing activism achieve the same result without spending so much money on infrastructure?

    Ian Mitchell Reply:

    1. No disagreement. “Into farmland” not, “terminating in a field”.
    2. That’s what I’d reckon Bakersfield, Fresno, and visalia would want to happen.
    3.Yes, it would. but if there was the will and YIMBYism to make housing affordable in SF and LA, hosuign would be affordable in SF and LA. Sometimes the problem is entrenched deeply enough that infrastructure is a workable solution.

    Jon Reply:

    #3 is spot on. The only YIMBYs in SF and LA and those who see density as desirable from an environmental and urbanist point of view. They are greatly outnumbered by property owner NIMBYs, who benefit from keeping neighborhoods exclusive and property prices high, and anti-displacement NIMBYs, who oppose new construction on the grounds that it brings rich people into formerly working class and minority neighborhoods. There is no popular movement behind increasing density, even though that is the most logical solution to the problem.

    Joe Reply:

    You jest. No developer wants to build affordable housing – it’s there because it’s is mandated as part of developing expensive, high profit housing.

    There’s no free market interest for building dorm room sized and cheaply priced housing. NIMBYs are not holding up Cheap apts for single males just out of college. You guys want a unicorn.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    by some magic the developers are supposed to buy up million dollar condos, tear them down, build new ones at four times the density and sell them for 200k because the construction cost was only 175k. Or tear down 2 million dollars of low density building, put ten units on it and sell them for 175k because the construction cost was only 150k.

    Miles Bader Reply:

    Is the ratio only 10:1? If the housing demand is so high, it seems like they should be building at least 5-10 story buildings…

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The 150k condos would be walk-ups…..

    Joe Reply:

    Demand is measured in dollars not desired or wishes. Lots of people want to live in low rent units in SF.
    Developers build expensive housing in areas where rents are high to meet demand and they maximize profit.

    NIMBYs didn’t make SF a tiny city on a water bounded peninsula.

    Miles Bader Reply:

    But if there’s so much demand, why would they stop at low-rise buildings?

    Tokkyu40 Reply:

    If the average price of housing in LA is $330,000, then $2 million of sprawl would be 6 houses. The same space could hold at least 20 units of density at $150,000 each, for a total of $3,000,000. If we assume that a 50% profit margin has market value…
    The real demand right now is for walkable suburban neighborhoods. We have enough MacMansions to last at least 40 years if we don’t build any new units.

    joe Reply:

    The real demand is obvious – whats really being built. home owner associations to cram more homes per development. stand alone homes on very small lot sizes. That in gilroy is a 600k home and upwards.

    6 homes are less costly to build and complex than an 20 unit complex which I question is possible on the same property as 6 homes and that wojld sell for 50% the price of a home.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    I dunno. The fabulists who think doubling or tripling the density in San Francisco will make it as cheap as El Paso have New Law Tenement in mind, with central heat, running hot water and a full bathroom in each unit. Elevators and the rest of high rise folderol make the units more expensive.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Come on now, there are lots of 10-story New Law buildings with elevators fronting the avenues, which judging by how they look could have grandkids who are eligible for Social Security.

    Jon Reply:

    Who’s talking about affordable housing? I’m talking about apartments like the studios that were recently constructed a block away from me, selling for $750k each. These apartments may be small, but they are not cheap.

    The fact that these tiny studios sold for such high amounts shows that the market demand is there. The reason there isn’t more of them being constructed is because of the NIMBY opposition mentioned above – existing property owners opposed to new apartments because they make their neighborhood less exclusive, and anti-displacement activists opposed to new apartments because at current prices only rich people can afford to buy them.

    There’s plenty of room to build in SF; the whole eastern side of the city is filled with warehouses that could be replaced with apartment buildings, and right now the market is there to build them. Yet because people like ‘Joe’ can’t conceive of buildings higher than two stories, we end up with HSR super commuters proposed as the answer to the housing shortage.

    joe Reply:

    Market demand is for building 750k units. Its the developers who want to build and sell for 750k.
    You think they want to build faster and sell the same product for 1/2 or 1/3 the price. Why?

    The NIMBYs don’t force them to sell at hundreds of K more.

    and zoning genuiuses think water power and services and schools are magicaly added like developing monopoly property…. a larger development will need an EIR.

    Jon Reply:

    You think they want to build faster and sell the same product for 1/2 or 1/3 the price. Why?

    The price will not drop to a half or one third if they build faster.

    SF needs to build around 5,000 units a year just to keep up with current population growth. We’ve been averaging around 1,500 units a year over the past two decades, which is why prices keep going up. Prices will not start to go down until we exceed 5,000 units a year in housing production for a sustained period of time. Every apartment built before we hit that rate of production will continue to be insanely profitable for developers.

    Even if we did hit a rate of housing production that resulted in a decrease in housing prices, housing production would continue as long as developers were still making a profit. An individual developer is not going to pass up a development opportunity because he’s worried that the industry as a whole might be oversupplying the market; he’ll build as much as he can as long as it’s profitable. Despite what you’re implying, there is no evidence of a conspiracy amongst developers to restrict supply.

    Water, power, and other services are far cheaper to provide for infill development than for sprawl development, because for the most part it’s already there to hook into. Many of the developments currently held up by community opposition already have an EIR behind them in the form of a Planning Department community plan; that’s not where the delay is coming from.

    Joey Reply:

    Building non-luxury units is still profitable, just less so. If there are a limited number of units that can be built, they’re all going to be luxury units.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Jon has it backwards.

    Demand for housing in urban areas is a product of the access to jobs. It’s a product of the Enclosure Movement. Once freeholders no longer had access to common land in England in the 18th century, migration to the cities accelerated.

    The difference today is that with interest rates being low, it’s much more lucrative to park more of your assets in real estate than anything else. So instead of urban real estate being a function of how much people actually make, it’s a function of how much demand there is for property.

    To prove this point (and to entertain yourself), use Trulia’s Affordability Map to see the price per square foot for homes throughout California: http://www.trulia.com/local/san-francisco-ca/type:home_prices_sales_sqft_affordability. Note that in each county in California, home prices vary basically based on home size and square footage, not on the price per square foot.

    Thus, no matter how much housing you add in San Francisco or Santa Barbara, there’s never going to be enough to slake the thirst of people of willing to invest.

    TomA Reply:

    Its kind of obvious. In most markets where you have a bubble people tend to create more of the product until the point where the bubble bursts. Investors are in aggregate not very prudent – or rather – none of them think they are going to be the bag holders taking the big losses. Just look at the Central Valley housing market in 2000s.

    The fact that that hasnt happened in SF (and other major coastal cities) is pretty much a sure sign that something is greatly out of whack. I would assume that its NIMBYism and just general zoning issues, not that the real estate developers suddenly became prudent investors.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Jon’s right. There would be a solid housing boom in the inner city and the inner suburbs if not for very restrictive zoning codes, which are everywhere.

    Joe Reply:

    “Building non-luxury units is still profitable, just less so. If there are a limited number of units that can be built, they’re all going to be luxury units.”

    Profit maximizing decisions.

    The argument is: NIMBYs distort the free market. NIMBYs restrict development.

    Yet everyone acknowledges that high-end units are more profitable and return a better yield then the kinds of development they would like to rent.

    San Francisco is a landlocked city. Real estate is highly restricted. You could build San Francisco up like Manhattan. Which would end up with is a city that have rents as expensive as Manhattan. Go around the globe and try to find a city that builds high-density units and has Affordable housing in the city core.

    The first person to say Houston has to sit in the corner.

    Jon Reply:

    You’re confusing two separate concepts – “building affordable housing” (i.e. building housing dedicated for low-income people with rents subsidized by the city), and “making (market-rate) housing more affordable” (i.e. increasing the number of market-rate homes being constructed in order to slow the increase in housing prices across the ciy and make market-rate housing more affordable to the middle class.)

    It’s the latter process that is being throttled by NIMBYs. No-one is claiming that the market is interested in building “affordable housing” with subsidized rents; but the market does want to build more market-rate housing than is currently being constructed, and should be allowed to do so.

    Joey Reply:

    Last I heard, SF was less affordable than Manhattan. And much less affordable than other first world skyscraper cities.

    Jon Reply:

    Well, quite. And the reason Manhattan is so expensive is because it hasn’t added housing as fast as it has added jobs.

    Manhattan is already extremely dense, so we may be approaching the limits of how dense it can become without destroying its historic resources, but that’s certainly not the case with SF.

    New York also fares better than SF because Manhattan is surrounded by boroughs which have excellent transit connections and are still relatively affordable. That’s not so much the case with SF; the only place that kinda fulfills the same function is Oakland, which is seeing a huge influx of middle-class buyers and renters as a result of the insane cost of living in SF. But the desirability of Oakland is limited by high crime, poor schools, and the fact that BART isn’t as extensive or frequent or 24/7 as the NYC subway is.

    J. Wong Reply:

    That’s supposing jobs are appearing in San Francisco that can be commuted to from Oakland. That doesn’t address the jobs that are created on the Peninsula where the Peninsula cities haven’t increased their available housing. Consequently, all those people are trying to move to San Francisco because it is a better living environment. (There’s not enough apartments on the Peninsula, too many single-family homes.)

    Jon Reply:

    I don’t disagree with any of that. Oakland only works as a bedroom community for a limited number of people.

    joe Reply:

    @JWong SF RENT CONTROL. I moved from Mountain View to Noe Valley in 96 for the security of having rent controlled housing costs. My wife also did the same which is how we met on the commute south.

    That doesn’t address the jobs that are created on the Peninsula where the Peninsula cities haven’t increased their available housing. Consequently, all those people are trying to move to San Francisco because it is a better living environment.

    Of the top 10 impacted Caltrain trains, 3 of the 10 are commutes from SF south.

    joe Reply:

    @joey and jon SF is not more expensive than Manhattan. Manhattan is as expensive if not more and 1.6+ M which show that SF is not going to grow it’s way to cheaper rents.


    May 2015
    The rental market is heating up, with Manhattan apartments hitting an average of just over $4,000 per month in April, jumping more than 5 percent compared to last year, according to a report released Thursday by Douglas Elliman.

    For the long term, the new buildings are still not enough, Greenblatt said, noting that many New Yorkers are hopeful the market could get a boost from the de Blasio administration’s 10-year-plan that aims to create 80,000 new units of affordable housing.

    SF has a population of 837,442 (2013). If we doubled capacity, why would rents drop given Manhatten shows there is no relief with double the capacity and higher density? And there’s not enough SF infrastructure for all these new people.

    April 2015
    San Francisco landlords wanted a record average rent of $3,458 in the first quarter, up 1.9 percent from the fourth quarter and 13.2 percent from the first quarter of last year, according to a report from Real Answers. The report includes properties ranging from studios to three-bedroom townhomes in complexes with 50 units or more.

    It’s pretty obvious if one cares to look objectively.

    And No. Finding a slight rise in SF rents doesn’t disprove the obvious — SF cannot build to reduce rents – even with Manhattan density.

    Joey Reply:

    Rents have less to do with absolute density and more to do with population growth vs housing growth. Neither Manhattan nor San Francisco are adding housing at the rate that people want to move there.

    There are still a few places to build in Manhattan, but much of it can’t really be expanded upward that easily. Maybe at some point it becomes profitable to knock down midrises and build highrises in their place, but not yet I suppose.

    San Francisco on the other hand has plenty of room to expand up in order to keep up with population growth. Maybe absolute density will become a limiting factor in 2080, but we don’t really know what population flows will be taking place then so it’s probably not worth worrying about for now.

    joe Reply:

    Neither Manhattan nor San Francisco are adding housing at the rate that people want to move there.

    San Francisco on the other hand has plenty of room to expand up in order to keep up with population growth.

    Maybe absolute density will become a limiting factor in 2080, but we don’t really know what population flows will be taking place then so it’s probably not worth worrying about for now.

    You can’t build your way to lower rents – nowhere do they do this in any land locked area. No where. Take Manhattan and it’s much denser and twice the people and it still no way.

    Build like Manhattan. When is the next big earthquake predicted for Manhattan? We can’t reasonably build like Manhattan in the Bay Area.

    Absolute density – it’s a new one. WTF is that?

    Maybe you need to read “Magus Robot Fighter”. NorAm is one massive city. If you can argue for more density than any other guy can one up you. There’s no limit once you put the NIMBYs aside and just keep building up.

    There’s a lesson that you can’t out grown demand and it’s evident everywhere there is limited land.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Global population is expected to peak sometime this century and then shrink slowly.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Joe: Tokyo is pretty land-constrained, in the sense that there’s a limited amount of flat land in the Kanto Plain, and most of it is already urbanized.

    Joey Reply:

    Joe, you completely missed the point again. It doesn’t matter how dense SF or Manhattan is at the present – housing prices have nothing to do with how tall the buildings are. What matters is the rate of construction of new housing units relative to the rate of population growth (or at least demand for population growth). If no one wanted to move to Manhattan it would be cheap. If no one wanted to move to San Francisco it would be cheap.

    Joey Reply:

    And earthquakes don’t seem to be a major barrier toward building tall buildings. High-rises are going up on reclaimed land near SF’s waterfront. I’m sure that earthquake-proofing adds cost, but if it makes sense to build high-rises on unstable ground, then it makes sense to build mid-rises on more stable ground. And building codes seem to be at least adequate to prevent large-scale disasters – most of the buildings in downtown SF were there before 1989.

    Joe Reply:

    Tokyo Night lights

    Surface area
    845 mi² (2,188 km²)
    Tokyo, Area

    SF is under 49 mi^2

    Joe Reply:

    Rate of construction must exceed demand on finite resource already highly dense.

    I’m sure there’s a way to figure this out.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Manhattan is just under 23 square miles.

    Joe Reply:

    33 mi^2 I think.

    That’s why it is a good predictor for SF. Twice the people ,denser and still not affordable.

    Joey Reply:

    Joe, SF is actually denser than Tokyo overall, but not by a huge amount. In any case, there’s no undeveloped land for it to expand into – everything new has to be infill.

    SF is aready dense by US standards, but much of it isn’t particularly dense, and there are areas that can absorb new housing without displacing anyone. Take, for instance, the triangle bounded by 101, 280, and Cesar Chavez. Count the number of existing housing units (hint: it’s zero to a good approximation). Count the land area that’s build above one story (hint: it’s zero to a good approximation). Much of the land near 22nd St CalTrain is occupied by parking lots or single-story industrial structures. There are a few empty/abandoned lots left in the Mission, but anti-growth NIMBYs are trying to ban all development regardless of whether it displaces existing residents or not.

    Miles Bader Reply:

    I don’t think it makes much sense to use official city boundaries for housing, as neither the housing market, the job market, nor the transportation system respect them.

    Anyway, I don’t think Tokyo is really land-constrained in terms of housing, the metro area is around 13,000km^2, and even with the large population, there’s still lots of not-very-crowded and even borderline rural (i.e. farms) areas that still have a “viable” commute (depending on where you work of course). Even within the more heavily urbanized 23-ku area, there are a lot very low-rise and not horrendously expensive housing areas that are simply “not so fashionable.”

    I guess it’s probably transportation constrained, as even with Tokyo’s excellent transportation system, you’re limited by the number of people willing to do long commutes and the ability of the transportation system to cover increasingly vast expanses of land as you move out from the denser center.

    Joey Reply:

    Joe, if SF had the density of Montana but was preventing the construction of new housing units despite demand, it would still be expensive. As I said, this has nothing to do with absolute density, only relative rates of change.

    Joey Reply:

    To be clear, I’m telling you should not be looking at the value of a number but its first derivative.

    Joe Reply:

    I’ve lived in Montana for six years. Missoula Montana to be specific. I’ve also lived in San Francisco. Let me tell you your analogy makes no sense.

    There is a lot of housing development in San Francisco. All you have to do is look at all the development happening along the old 3rd St. Near the ballpark what used to be open space near the foot if Potrero hill.

    As a former SF of resident I can tell you that density is going down because wealthy people are buying what used to be two flats and turn them into one family residences with two cars. This of course is happening because that’s what happens when MONEY moves into an area.

    The free-market is reducing units and increasing housing size because the free-market is catering to money.

    Joe Reply:

    The Derivative of housing growth for a highly dense 49 sq mile area. You think that growth can exceed demand. You’re nuts. I have reality to prove it.

    My old parish St. Paul’s sold this building as condos. They now go for > a million each. Just build more fast right?


    Joey Reply:

    Yes, build more faster. It might not cause rents to drop, but at the very least they won’t be growing as fast. Right now, demand is far outstripping supply and any relief is badly needed.

    Joey Reply:

    And I’m calling bullshit on “density is going down.” Land area is constant, which means that density follows population. But population is going up (at least as of July 1, 2014). Year-over-year growth is down slightly 2013-2014 compared to 2012-2013, but by a very small amount (source). Being a former resident doesn’t make you an expert in demographic trends.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The Census Bureau says the land area of Manhattan in 22.83 square miles.


    Tokyo has a bay too


    Which is difficult to get across


    Port cities tend to have problems like that. Pesky harbors.

    joe Reply:

    @A try the google. 33.77 mi² (87.46 km²)


    And I’m calling bullshit on “density is going down.” Land area is constant, which means that density follows population.

    I call bullshit on your mischaracterization. Wealthy people want and use and pay for more space per person. As SF gentrifies, the number of people per unit drops.

    In SF, 1996 – 2001 I saw families move out and replaced by smaller families or single people sharing apts. I saw 3 unit (1 illegal garage conversion) turn into a 1 unit home with Mom, Dad and Baby and their 2 BMWs.

    Here’s more of the obvious.

    Here’s a NYTims article.

    Manhattan was much more crowded in the early 1900s than today, especially in the tenements of the Lower East Side. For example, in 1910, 66 people lived on the four residential floors of 94 Orchard Street. Today, the buildilng houses 15 people.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Joe, how does replacing three single households with one household with three people increase the population in your example?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    I used Google. I wanted an authoritative source. If one types in a county name and the word “census” one of the top selections offered will be the official page on the U.S. Census Bureau’s website.

    While a few people live in the water


    it’s not very many.

    When the Luftwaffe provides landfill the Census Bureau adjusts their numbers.


    Or when somebody decides to dig up 18th and 19th century landfill and make 20th century landfill out of it.


    They did the same thing as San Franciscans dumped rubble into the bay. Or Bostonians dumped stuff in the swamp.


    They are really picky about things like that. It’s how the Google gets things like population density numbers.

    Jon Reply:

    While it is indeed the case that rich families are buying buildings with two or three rental apartments and combining them into single family homes, the units lost to this process are a tiny fraction of the problem. It’s probably safe to assume that all such conversions were a result of purchasing rental properties, so we can use the number of Ellis Act evictions that occurred last year – 41 buildings, amounting to 140 units – as an upper bound for the number of times this occurred. This number pales into insignificance compared to the increase in population in the city last year, which was 15,000. So to a first (and second!) order approximation, Joey’s statement that density follows population in San Francisco is entirely correct.

    Such is the folly of forming opinions solely based on something you experienced personally. A more scientific approach might be to recognise than no single person can experience everything related to the problem at hand, and in order to gain an accurate assessment, one needs to look at the facts rather than just one’s own personal experience.

    J. Wong Reply:

    How can the population density in San Francisco be going down when the population is increasing and the amount of land is supposedly fixed (I haven’t heard of any massive landfill projects)?

    As it is, NIMBYism is a problem in San Francisco. The Lake Merced development would like to increase density (so they could sell more at high prices, of course), but NIMBYs are arguing against it (often using progressive arguments). In my own neighborhood, they want to develop the Balboa Reservoir site, but guess what the neighbors preferred use is; “Leave as open space”. (For myself, I am open to creative solutions that could put as much as 6000 units there supposing sunlight isn’t significantly blocked.)

    “Past behavior is not a predictor of future behavior” as they like to say about mutual funds. The same applies to real estate. Will prices always increase? In the long term, yes, but in the short term much of the pressure could be alleviated by increasing the rate at which housing is built. I’ve lived in San Francisco long enough to see two housing peaks and their subsequent busts followed by this third increase.

    Jon Reply:

    How can the population density in San Francisco be going down when the population is increasing and the amount of land is supposedly fixed

    It can’t. Joe is confusing population density (measured as persons per square ft of land) with crowding (measured as persons per square ft of dwelling unit).

    Even after making that distinction, there is no evidence that the persons per square ft of dwelling unit is decreasing in San Francisco, despite the claims he makes of rich people buying up multiple apartments to convert into single family homes. While I’m sure this does happen, I’m also sure that in poorer neighborhoods increased housing costs are causing more people to squeeze into apartments that have not increased in size. The wealthy enclave of Noe Valley is not representative of the entire city.

    Joe Reply:

    Noe Vallley is a working class German Irish neighborhood.

    Oh I’m sorry that was 20+ years ago.

    It’s a perfect representative example of SF changing if one believes in the theory of gentrification.
    I was there before St Paul’s sold their property as a 1.2 m condo units.

    SF wealth per capita is increasing.
    Wealthy use more space than poor for a given locality.
    I moved out without eviction. Ellis evictions do not measure conversions.

    The nytimes article for those who care to click and read.

    Look forward to a scientific counter example.

    Joe Reply:

    @ jwong
    “(For myself, I am open to creative solutions that could put as much as 6000 units there supposing sunlight isn’t significantly blocked.)”

    Shouldn’t they be cable to put a tower of section 8 condos up on that land?
    It gets ridiculous when reasonable issues such as having a zoned neighborhood called NIMBYism.

    Jon Reply:

    Look forward to a scientific counter example.

    This is exactly your problem. You seem to think that debates can be conducted by providing conflicting “examples” (i.e. anecdotes), and that this is somehow “scientific”.

    The plural of anecdotes is not data. Provide some data to back up your assertions.

    synonymouse Reply:

    50+ years ago, Joe.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The Census tracks how many housing units there are and how many households there are… All ya gotta do is compare 1990 to 2000 to 2010…

    Jon Reply:

    You can indeed do that, and it shows a slight decrease in the number of people per household between (2.36 people per household in 2000 -> 2.33 people per household in 2010). But given that 2000 was the peak of the last boom, and 2010 was just before the current boom, I suspect that the value will have moved back up again in the 5 years since then.

    Joe Reply:

    You “suspect” while lecturing others about science.
    You also suspect contrary to the data. Double sweet.

    The plural of suspecting stuff is …. Sciences!

    Joey Reply:

    Joe, all the “data” you’ve posted thus far has been anecdotes. You claim that SF’s density is decreasing, despite that fact that population is increasing and land area is constant. You can possibly make the claim that residential floor space has increased faster than population, but you would have to provide a source to back that up (and source is not the same as “this one time I saw this”).

    Jon Reply:

    Well, find some data from a year more recent than 2010, and we can see if my suspicion is correct or not.

    The difference is, I’m being clear that my suspicion is a suspicion, whereas you’re claiming absolute certainty of what is happening without providing any data to back it up.

    Jon Reply:

    The other thing to consider is that the ratio of people to housing units may well be dropping because newly constructed units tend to house fewer people than the city’s existing housing units. In order to test Joe’s theory that consolidation of units is causing the housing crunch, we would need to exclude new units from the calculation, which is probably not going to be possible using census data.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Data from a year more recent than 2010. They estimate the population grew from 805,195 in 2010 to 852.469 in 2014.


    Reedman Reply:

    What is distinctive about San Francisco (47 square miles) versus Manhattan (34 square miles) is that about two-thirds of SF’s residential land is zoned for single family homes. SF can’t rationally grow much unless that changes (or SF annexes more land like Treasure Island, which in “transit first” SF, has no BART/rail access).

    Michael Reply:

    Treasure Island has always been a part of San Francisco. It’s also developing Treasure Island. There’s MUNI connecting to the Transbay Terminal and plans for frequent ferry service. Plan is for about 8,000 residential units.


    Joey Reply:

    Treasure Island has and will always have poor access.

    Joe Reply:

    “In order to test Joe’s theory that consolidation of units is causing the housing crunch, we would need to exclude new units from the calculation, which is probably not going to be possible using census data.”

    Not my theory. There are many factors which are not NIMBY. I’ve given one and an example how adding units to Manhattan level housing would not reduce rents.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    It’s possible to put subway stations under small islands.


    Joey Reply:

    Joe: If there’s no concrete, citywide data to back it up then it’s just a theory.

    adirondacker: That presupposes that the alignment passes under the island to begin with.

    Joey Reply:

    Well, scientifically speaking if there’s data to back it up then it’s still a theory, just a testable theory. But if there isn’t data then it’s an untestable theory, which is the worst kind.

    Joe Reply:

    Nytimes has the data. I made the link.

    It’s not controversial.

    Btw calling something untestable because it lacks citywide data is a misnomer and wrong to think a scientific or rigorous finding required city wide data. We make solid estimates and make decisions without complete sampling all the time.

    Joey Reply:

    If you’re trying to make a claim about the entire city, then you need citywide data, or at least a random sample of locations throughout the city.

    Manhattan’s population (and thus density) is indeed lower now than in 1910 (when it peaked), but it’s rising again and has been since at least 1990. But I don’t think a 100 year comparison is a very good basis for current population/housing growth trends. If you really wanted to look at affordability, you would compare today to ~1960 when Manhattan’s population was about the same as it is today but falling sharply instead of rising.

    Joe Reply:

    Nytimes shows the mechanism and gives examples and summary data.
    Surrogate data and examples about in SF. Wealthy people moving and gentrifying poor and middle class neighborhoods.

    You guys bitch and moan about NIMBys without a shread of evidence or example of where your NIMBY free solutions work.

    Now you toss Pedantic demands on those who challenge the NIMBY-made-SF-unaffordable dogma.

    Joey Reply:

    I don’t dispute that the pattern you’re pointing to exist, only that its effect on population density (population / land area) is not what you claim.

    Then the question becomes “Do development restrictions reduce gentrification / displacement of existing residents.” According to the pattern you just outlined, the answer is no: if rich people are not moving into new luxury units, then they are adapting existing units to their needs and displacing more people than they add.

  7. keith saggers
    Jul 26th, 2015 at 05:58

    AUGUST 4, 2015

    2. Consider Issuing a Request for Qualifications for Environmental and Engineering Services on the San Francisco to San Jose and San Jose to Merced Project Sections

    Roland Reply:

    CPUC Section 180532
    (a) The authorization and responsibility for planning, construction, and operation of high-speed passenger train service at speeds exceeding 125 miles per hour in this state is exclusively granted to the authority.
    (b) Except as provided in paragraph (2), nothing in this subdivision precludes other local, regional, or state agencies from exercising powers provided by law with regard to planning or operating, or both, passenger rail service.

  8. synonymouse
    Jul 26th, 2015 at 10:45

    Yesterday I got the chance to take a trip to the Valley, first in a long time. We got as far south as Modesto.

    Cookie-cutter strip malls and stucco tracts everywhere and mostly grittier and drier than I recall from past jaunts. Not freezing tho, unlike coastal.

    But what was most striking to these antediluvian eyes was the forest of windmills just to the east of the Western Railway Museum, where I volunteered a few times in 1966.

    Talk about visual pollution – how come the prissy architects aren’t on this case? At least overhead lines do not move. And lighted up at nite – tho I do wonder if you incorporate LED’s or some other kind of street lighting into urban overhead wiring for streetcars and trolley buses.

    Point is there is no panacea; every tech has some issues. It would be best if the “Cheerleaders” for every “improvement” and project would confront the negatives honestly instead of resorting to brainwashing.

    How about placing a huge windmill atop the blinking TransAmerica Shaft – that would really be “Look at Me!”

    synonymouse Reply:

    And I do remember seeing a sign advertising new “single story homes”. People are getting wise to the advantages for buyers with limited income of one story. DIY is easy. Otherwise you need scaffolding, which is what we went to Modesto for. Craigslist stuff is cheaper in the Valley because real estate for storage is cheaper.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    How much did it cost you to drive there and back?

    JB in pa Reply:

    Adventures of city ‘mouse and country ‘mouse.

    keith saggers Reply:

    Once upon a time city mouse went to visit his cousin, country mouse. Near where his cousin, country mouse lived there where large windmills that went round and round, and round and round, and round and round…

    synonymouse Reply:

    Have you seen these suckers? They are not pleasant to look at for any length of time. Passive solar collectors would be less distracting.

    If they are attractive slap them on highrises.

    James Fujita Reply:

    Well, it was bound to happen. ‘mouse is literally tilting at windmills.

  9. keith saggers
    Jul 27th, 2015 at 11:35
  10. Elizabeth Alexis
    Jul 27th, 2015 at 15:22

    OT We received some more progress reports from CHSRA via foia (after a LONG delay)


    Jon Reply:

    Thanks. Apparently CAHSR are studying a station in Tehachapi? And apparently they have reviewed a draft of SF Planning’s alternative alignment into Transbay. Most interesting…

    Mark Duncan Reply:

    Jon, could you identify the document in question? I was unable to find it at the above site. Thanks!

    Jon Reply:

    For the Tehachapi station, there is just a brief mention in this March 2015 report: “Studied future station in Tehachapi and related alignment shifts through the California Portland Cement active operations.” The April 2015 report also notes that this work is continuing.

    This seems like a crazy idea, given the place has less than 15k people. Maybe it’s because Palmdale – Tehachapi will be significantly cheaper to construct than Tehachapi – Bakersfield, so a Tehachapi – Anaheim IOS might be affordable whereas a Bakersfield – Anaheim IOS would not be. Reducing the bus bridge between the southern IOS and the central valley IOS to 40 mins might make it feasible for people to travel between the two regions on HSR before the mountain crossing is completed.

    The SF alignment is mentioned here: “A City of San Francisco draft technical feasibility assessment of rail yard alternatives and an I‐280 boulevard feasibility study were also reviewed.” The interesting thing here is that such a studies exist at all, and that they haven’t yet been published. The I‐280 boulevard study has a lot more secrecy around it than is typical for Planning Department projects.

    synonymouse Reply:

    “Reducing the bus bridge between the southern IOS and the central valley IOS to 40 mins might make it feasible for people to travel between the two regions on HSR before the mountain crossing is completed.”

    The one bus each way a day. Just when you thought PB could not outdo itself for stupidity.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Politically Palmdale comes first.

    Fresno Area Rapid Transit(aka Orphan ARRA)will be an utter fiscal disaster. The Valley is more auto-centric than ever and will continue to build more freeways with the same abandon as stucco tracts and strip malls. Electric vehicles will kill the eco and smog spin.

    Hey if I were PB why mess with the Gravy Train so long as Jerry GHQ keeps kicking out the big checks.

    J. Wong Reply:

    So, I guess you’re privy to information that they’d get funding if the plan was Tejon? No? I didn’t think so.

    You can speculate all you want, but I think both routes are having a difficult time w/ funding given the current leadership in Congress. And I doubt that any public (or private) company would fund the mountain crossing at either Tejon or Tehachapi given the cost.

    PB does what they’re told to, so I wouldn’t blame them so much as I would the Authority, if you have problems with their plans. At this point, however, they are only studying the options, which you are free to consider “stupid”, but it is a very large and complicated undertaking without any clear or easy solutions to the funding and engineering challenges.

    synonymouse Reply:

    On the contrary, I suggest there is a “relatively” clear and easy solution to the mountain crossing and that is Tejon.

    CAHSR is a marginal project that requires the optimal route for viability.

    Political problems, such as at Sta. Clarita, require a “ready, willing and able” mindset to resolve. PB, Jerry Brown, Richards do not evidence that mindset as regards the mountain crossing. So it is a basket case and maybe always will be.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Firing Van Ark set the project back years and off in the wrong direction.

    The Cheerleaders laughed when I said more high desert stations would be added. Forget Prop 1a; Jerry Brown and PB have. Los Banos, Baby.

    synonymouse Reply:

    The Sierra Club is as stupid as PB.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Before they can say it’s a crazy idea they have to study it and produce a report that says it’s a crazy idea. One that documents all the reasons it is a crazy idea. Otherwise foamers will whine that they never gave it a fighting chance and it would be much cheaper than the option they choose and if the Southern Pacific didn’t have a feud with the Santa Fe it would all be so much better….

    Ted Judah Reply:

    I’m more interested in the discussion about how the 3rd version of the ridership model won’t be available in time for the 2016 Business Plan.

    The existing model is spitting out predictions saying there will be the exact same ridership in 2040 for leisure travelers between the Bay Area, San Joaquin Valley, and Southern California….

    Meanwhile, for business travelers, the model spits out that CAHSR will be the dominant mode share between the Bay Area and Southern California….

  11. Reality Check
    Jul 27th, 2015 at 17:29

    Taiwan implements HSR reforms

    A new structure for Taiwan High-Speed Rail Corporation (THSRC) came into effect on July 27, when the Ministry of Transport and Communications signed two agreements with the company to terminate the original build-operate-transfer concession for the Taipei – Kaohsiung high-speed line.

    Under the new structure, the Taiwanese government will become the majority shareholder in THSRC, but the company will continue to be privately managed. Government-controlled companies will increase their stake from 22.1% to 63.9%, while large private shareholders will cut their holdings from 37.4% to 17.4%. The remaining shares will be held by smaller investors.

    THSRC will reduce its capital by 60% or $NT 39bn ($US 1.2bn) to cover its losses before raising its capital by $NT 30bn. $NT 24bn of this will come from the government’s High-Speed Rail Construction Fund, with banks providing the remainder.

    The operating concession for the line will also be extended from 30 to 70 years.

    Upon completion of the reforms, private shareholders will be represented by seats on the board but the government will retain overall control.

    THSRC expects to carry 50 million passengers on its 345km line in 2015 and so far this year has achieved punctuality of 99.4% with an average 14.4-second delay per train. Ridership is expected to increase with the opening of new stations in Miaoli, Yunlin and Changwa in December and a 9.2km extension to Nangang in Taipei, which is due to start operating next July.

    THSRC is also planning to cut fares, although it has not yet confirmed when this will come into effect.

  12. Paul Dyson
    Jul 27th, 2015 at 20:31

    Surely there must be something more to say about Hanford?

    joe Reply:


    It enters into the discussion for Naval Air Station Lemoore, which remains on a significant growth trajectory despite the lack of rain. Two F/A-18 squadrons from the East Coast are due to be relocated to the base in 2016 and the new F-35C joint strike fighter is slated for arrival in 2017.

    At the same time, the base runway and helicopter pads, which see upwards of 200,000 takeoffs a year, are in some ways dependent on whether enough irrigation water is available for surrounding fields.

    About 12,000 acres of NASL “greenbelt” surrounding the air operations area is classified as farmland. The Navy leases out the property for crops, which acts as both a noise buffer and a way to keep tumbleweeds and wild animals from straying into the runway zone.

    Birds get caught in jet intakes and slam into cockpit windows. Animals stray onto the runway and interfere with takeoffs and landings.

    The base’s employment of about 6,000 active-duty military personnel and 2,000 civilian workers helps make the government sector the biggest source of local jobs, grabbing more than 33 percent of all employment in Kings County.</b

    By contrast, the report lists agriculture as being directly responsible for 15 percent of jobs in Kings County.

    Twice as much economic activity from a naval Air Station as from Ag.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    That’s true, but remember that Western states usually have prohibitions on local governments levying an income tax. Thus, county governments in California don’t care about jobs, what they care about is property tax and who owns said property.

    And the largest landowners in Kings for sometime is going to be the cotton farmers…

    Joe Reply:

    Sales tax.

    That means CA cities want retail.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Sales tax revenue has actually been on the decline for a long time. Even before Amazon became prevalent, the sales tax revenue per capita has been sinking. That is why cities, especially ones without much municipally run functions, aided the housing boom so vigorously….

    joe Reply:

    Amazon collects CA sales tax.

    Sales tax fluctuates and seems to track the state economy – http://www.governing.com/gov-data/state-tax-revenue-data.html

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    California corporations have their property tax assessments frozen in 1970s amber.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    You are making my point. Unless Boswell wants to sell in Kings County, there’s nothing to buy on the scale that would challenge them. Thus, the Board of Supervisors are rational.

    joe Reply:

    I think he dissed your point.

    John Lindt Reply:

    Stay tuned to see if the city manager actually has three votes to do the planning study. A sea change if he does.
    Watch our news website sierra2thesea.com

    Roger Christensen Reply:

    Listening to the rhetoric coming from there I can’t imagine. But I do like your coverage.

    keith saggers Reply:

    A key issue for the Authority is “connectivity” at the station, says Alley – how the new station will interface with the roads, Downtown Hanford and transportation alternatives to other nearby communities like Visalia.
    To that end Hanford’s Darrel Pyle is piggybacking on the project with the idea of building a light rail project east and west of the station tying in NAS Lemoore, the City of Lemoore to the west and Visalia/Tulare/Exeter to the east along the Cross Valley Rail Line alignment.
    The HSR station location will sit astride both the north/south HSR line and a newly built east/west light rail line near the intersection of SR 43 and SR 198.
    Pyle says there is opportunity to apply for millions of dollars in Prop 1A monies available for construction to connect communities like those in Tulare County to the high speed rail line

    keith saggers Reply:

    Alley says construction of all three stations, Hanford ,Fresno and Merced, could begin as soon as 2017 to 2019 to be ready to accept passengers by 2020. Prior to that, Alley says they want to do test runs for about a year on the 130 mile Central Valley leg of the route before it opens to passenger traffic

    keith saggers Reply:


  13. joe
    Jul 27th, 2015 at 21:00

    Gilroy is changing their High Speed Rail site. There is a 28 month study underway to examin both the downtown and greenfield station alignments.

    Downtown Gilroy Station Area Plan – Under Construction.

    The previous HSR content is now at

  14. agb5
    Jul 28th, 2015 at 07:39

    Does anyone else think that the Authority needs to hire a more inspired photographer who gets out of the car and walks around a bit instead of taking 26 photos of the same thing from the same place.

    EJ Reply:

    Well, maybe when it’s something more exciting than a small building being demolished…

    datacruncher Reply:

    I’m wondering if there was a media “center”/”event” across the street. Those are at almost exactly the same angle as the Fresno Bee’s photos and video.

  15. synonymouse
    Jul 28th, 2015 at 13:32


    “Shane Kaufmann, a vice president for a branch of the Transport Workers Union in Las Vegas, which represents several thousand casino dealers, said rules are frequently ignored at high-stakes tables.”

    TWU? WTF?

    Edward Reply:

    They are involved in the efficient transport of money…

Comments are closed.