OCTA Committee Recommends Anaheim Abandon Streetcar Plans

Dec 15th, 2015 | Posted by

This seems like a pretty big blow to not just the Anaheim streetcar, but to the ARTIC station as well. A committee of the Orange County Transportation Authority board of directors is recommending Anaheim abandon its streetcar plans that would link the Disneyland resort to the future HSR station at ARTIC:

Citing the over $300 million cost and the likelihood that federal funding won’t materialize, the ad-hoc committee – consisting of board Chairman Jeffrey Lalloway, directors Shawn Nelson, Tim Shaw and Tom Tait, who is also mayor of Anaheim – is recommending that the city quit the streetcar project and instead explore alternatives, like enhanced bus services.

“The Committee recommends the city no longer pursue a streetcar alternative and instead work with OCTA on future planning efforts that are broader and include conventional as well as advanced bus transit alternatives,” the report reads.

There were a number of other concerns raised, including the possibility of worse traffic congestion on Katella Avenue (which is a claim I’m skeptical of) as well as technological incompatibility with a proposed Santa Ana streetcar. Both of those issues seem fixable, so I have to believe that the bigger problem is that OCTA doesn’t believe the Anaheim streetcar will get federal funding and therefore they don’t want the city or the county to pay for it themselves.

Local businesses in the “Platinum Triangle” area of Anaheim (basically, the area around Angel Stadium, on the other side of the 5 from the Disneyland resort) still seem committed to the streetcar project, but without OCTA or federal funding, it’s unclear if they’d be willing to foot the bill all by themselves.

If the streetcar proposal is dead, it would be a blow to the ability of high speed rail to effectively serve the Disneyland resort area. It wouldn’t be a fatal blow, however, as there would still be opportunities for connecting transit service from ARTIC to the resort, and families with luggage might still be willing get off of HSR and hop on a shuttle bus for a short trip to their hotel.

But even if that happens, it’s still a blow to ARTIC itself, further validating critics who argued that the City of Anaheim was wrong to build and open the station so far in advance of connecting services, like HSR and the streetcar.

ARTIC has already struggled in its first year, with low usage and design problems that have caused most train riders to bypass the interior of the station.

If there was any remaining doubt that Anaheim made a mistake in building ARTIC this early, the news about the streetcar should remove it. Anaheim should have waited and opened ARTIC along with HSR service and the streetcar.

  1. les
    Dec 15th, 2015 at 11:26
    #1

    Disney should create a new ride called the ARTIC Street Car Experience. They can hire French HSR testers to run it and charge a premium to move tourist from ARTIC to Disneyland. With Mickey and Goofy as greeters ARTIC would be an assured success.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Anaheim/Disney has no one to blame but itself. Katella is not pedestrian friendly. The city can change that with zoning, but perhaps redevelopment financing was part of their master plan. I always thought a monorail or other grade separated option made more sense…but I don’t work for Disney…uh I mean, the city…excuse me.

    EJ Reply:

    I like streetcars, and I think they look cute running through old-world cities, or clanking along Market St. in SF. But plodding through traffic along Oh So Scenic Katella Ave? Yeah not so much.

    https://www.google.com/maps/@33.803342,-117.8961303,3a,75y,257.67h,84.67t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1stK5Ywa0-aINYAFwCQLR9dA!2e0!7i13312!8i6656!6m1!1e1

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Exactly.

    Disney used Anaheim as a front to get federal money to build a “streetcar”.

    synonymouse Reply:

    When I first walked up and down Katella in the late sixties I said to myself this would be a great place for a modern articulated streetcar.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Your thinking is firmly planted in that decade.

    Eric Reply:

    On the right side of the street in your link is an under-construction 4 story mixed use condo project. There are similar projects along the street. The area is rapidly changing!

    However, a streetcar is still not worth it unless it gets separate lanes.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    I take a streetcar almost daily, however, it is a far cry from American streetcars. If it is not running on legacy lines (mostly pedestrianized city core) or has a lane to its own, it often runs on a grass surface that cars can’t enter, thus lowering noise and giving a bit of urban “green space” some people seem so focused on. Of course grass would not be the way to go in Cali, but there sure is some nice looking xeriscaping that can fit under and below streetcar tracks… In fact German federal funding is only available for new streetcar lines if they get their own row and don’t have to share the road with cars… And as for the BRT advocates: Buses can also run over streetcar tracks and frequently do as seen https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:DVB_Bus_454_126_0_Dresden.jpg here and https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Dresden_-_Postplatz_%287033653935%29.jpg here

    EJ Reply:

    Every European city I’ve been to that has an extensive streetcar network also as buses that run over parts of the streetcar lines. There’s even one city, Berlin IIRC (there may be others), that basically has the same brand for its streetcars and buses and they look the same on a map.

    Reality Check Reply:

    Yes, buses can easily call at the same low platforms served by low-floor LRT.

    But in the case of dumb SMART, who stupidly and needlessly went with heavy FRA-compliant high-platform DMUs, you’ve got high platforms. This greatly complicates the bus thing, because now people are saying that today’s bus-only downtown San Rafael transit center (formerly a train station) will need a rethink/rebuild to accommodate both SMART and buses since buses and high SMART can’t easily call at the same platforms.

    synonymouse Reply:

    It is an insider thing. There is a diehard cadre of NWP fans plus allegedly Doug Bosco wanting to mine aggregate at Island Mountain who basically want SMART to rebuild the line for them and then disappear.

    Plus San Rafael does not want loco-hauled nor “wine trains” ostensibly long enough to block the cross streets. Plus Larkspur does not want it at all because ABAG bullies them to build low-income housing in a county that has been trying to cordon off Marin City style projects since forever.

    Give this situation a few decades to sort itself out. BART is patient, like a spider.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    BART has very little interest in serving the North Bay. It’s much easier to use ferries as a substitute to another tube.

    Sonoma and Marin have very little interest in getting BART and all its urban “problems”.

    synonymouse Reply:

    BART-MTC-ABAG and the Democratic Party machine are more powerful than Marin and Sonoma. The colonization of Geary with Imperial broad gauge is merely the beginning of the offensive. Ed Lee is already collaborating.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Again, I had that same sentiment for a long time until it occurred to me that the MTC has no desire to erode the revenue from BATA. Even though BATA doesn’t get Golden Gate Bridge revenue, and thus would have another reason to “colonize” Geary…it would have to be a net positive financially and I don’t think it would be.

    The MTC formula is this: Push as many people onto BART until the Tube is full. Then push as many people toward the bridges until they are full. Then add ferry capacity until you run out of dock space. Then build up.

    And when then when you can’t build up any more…use high speed rail to open up the last part of California with reliable water supply to commuters. And when that’s not feasible any more…there’s always desalination….

  2. Spencer Joplin
    Dec 15th, 2015 at 11:46
    #2

    “Far in advance” is an understatement. ARTIC still advertises plans to connect to Las Vegas via maglev.
    http://www.articinfo.com/ride-plan-your-trip/future-connections

    I don’t think the streetcar would be much help to HSR, nor would its absence hurt it. Plenty of private shuttle fleets operate within a mile of ARTIC: to Disneyland, hotels, the Honda Center, etc. These organizations have the flexibility to service ARTIC when it becomes worthwhile.

    EJ Reply:

    ARTIC still advertises plans to connect to Las Vegas via maglev.

    Which project’s website, much like project itself, seems to be defunct. Oh ARTIC, you poor thing.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Still Maglev has a bigger proven track record of success than Hyperloop

    Ted Judah Reply:

    SCAG still has those plans in their vault…just waiting for the word to resurrect them…

  3. Jerry
    Dec 15th, 2015 at 11:59
    #3

    Angel Stadium and Disneyland are major major traffic generators. As such, they should pay a special carbon generator tax. Since they are responsible for generating the vehicular traffic which pollutes the area.
    Such a tax would help offset the expense of public transportation.
    This will also be true for the future NFL stadiums in the LA area.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    I am unfamiliar with the legal precedent that would have you tax not the entity doing the actual polluting (in this case cars), but the entity that “induces” the pollution. You called it a “carbon generator tax” but they don’t generate the carbon you are referring to, the cars do.

    If you do want to do this, then you have this problem.

    http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/policy/2010cpr/execsum.cfm#c1

    If that is the case, then this “special carbon tax” would also apply to employers (26.7% of travel) and shops (30.7% of travel). Assuming that Disney and the Baseball Park fall in the visit and recreation part (23.7% of travel).

    I think what you meant to say was you would politely ask Disney, the Angels, and the business association if they would support a special sales tax district in this area to provide the necessary funding.

    I doubt the magic kingdom would be super happy

    http://www.ocregister.com/articles/tax-669095-disney-city.html

    But they are pragmatists, if they are getting direct value and the tax is broad across all sales tax not just on them you have a shot.

    You plan, to single them out for no particular reason…not going to happen.

    Joe Reply:

    I am intimately familiar with the “taxes” levied on corporate and nonprofits to offset traffic and pollution impacts. Stanford and many bay area employers are required to provide subsidized or free Transit passes and in Stanford’s case also charge employees steep fees for parking.

    Companies like Facebook also pay for parks and bike paths and do thinks like build housing to appease cities and comply with environmental law.

    Singled out.

    Peter Reply:

    Those taxes (I believe the legal term is “exactions”, it’s been a while since I took land use law) are for new projects. I’m not sure how you would impose them on already-existing “destinations”.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Like Peter said, they “voluntarily” did those things to get something they wanted like building permits.

    The continuation is also voluntary, as the people at USC recently found out

    http://www.scpr.org/news/2015/10/06/54853/usc-cuts-subsidy-for-transit-passes-angers-employe/

    It is well within the city’s rights to impose a new tax if they can get the votes, but with a 2/3rd requirement and the fact it is a company town, I would shoot for a broader base than “soak the 2 biggest tourist destinations because they are big”

    Sierrajeff Reply:

    jeez folks – just do it as an improvement district – doesn’t have to be a “carbon tax” as the OP said, but there are still other viable ways of imposing costs on those entities that are creating the problems.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Easy solution: Tax parking. Every parking space provided costs $X p.a. In exchange you get rid of mandatory minimum parking requirements…

    Nathanael Reply:

    Yep. That does the trick.

  4. Grant Henninger
    Dec 15th, 2015 at 12:18
    #4

    Yesterday, the full OCTA board voted to wait until Anaheim has finished its environmental review before making a determination on the proposed streetcar. It was just a four-member sub-committee of the board, lead by Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait (who opposes the streetcar), that recommended OCTA abandon the streetcar plan. The full OCTA board rejected the sub-committee’s recommendation.

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    Thanks for the update!

  5. datacruncher
    Dec 15th, 2015 at 16:25
    #5

    Modesto ACE train extension might not leave the station

    Hopes for Bay Area-bound passenger trains from the Modesto area appear to have lost steam.

    Money from a transportation tax across Stanislaus County, if approved by voters in November, primarily should be used on potholes and other neighborhood street repairs, with some reserved for new highways, most people said in an October poll gauging support for increasing the sales tax.

    Listening to that advice, transportation leaders have fashioned options for a potential spending plan that pretty much leaves behind the idea of extending Altamont Corridor Express rail from Lathrop to Modesto, Turlock and Merced. Only one of the three options up for review at a Wednesday meeting would earmark some money for rail, and that amount isn’t near enough, supporters say.

    The percentage of tax proceeds to be set aside for neighborhood streets ranges from 47 percent to 50 percent under the three options, followed by 27 percent to 30 percent for “regional projects,” or future east-west expressways in the north, center and south parts of the county. Ten percent would be set aside for traffic signals and school route upgrades under any of the options, while bicycle and walking paths would get 5 percent, and services for seniors, the disabled and bus or other transit could share another 5 percent.

    More at:
    http://www.modbee.com/news/article49781930.html

    Joe Reply:

    Jeff Denham R-CA held town hall meetings on ACE. He’s going to be asked about federal help at some point.

    https://denham.house.gov/issue/transportation
    I currently Chair the Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials and in this capacity I am working to help expand access to transportation platforms. Specifically I have been working with ACE train to help them expand service in the Valley and provide greater services to commuters in the 10th District.

    If only the California delegation had someone willing to do something.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    …it was just the other day that I was thinking about how Raider fans in the Central Valley don’t have a one-seat ride to Oakland-Alameda Coliseum, yet fans in the Bay Area and Sacramento do. Part of this is because ACE doesn’t serve the East Bay, and because there’s no transfer yet from BART to ACE…

    Unsaid but implied, meanwhile, in the article:

    Modesto is a hotbed of Republican support, and the tax will be as hard a sell as it would be anywhere in California. The powers that be, however, are firmly in support of the countywide measure for transit. The goal is to have a locally-funded ACE replace (along with HSR) the San Joaquins. However, the distances involved are not exactly feasible for commuters. Thus, without improving speeds, there’s likely to be little support for the idea outside Sacramento

    Still, even HSR opponents probably don’t realize how much a “no” vote on the tax would be a setback to the project. It wouldn’t stop Amtrak California being dismantled, or CAHSR being completed, but it would require all the parties involved to regroup and come up with a new strategy. Compared to other turning points in 2016, the vote will have an outsized impact on where things stand this time next year….

    Jerry Reply:

    The Central Valley has a one seat ride on ACE to the 49ers Levi Stadium. With a stop just a few hundred feet from the entrance.
    But. Does ACE operate on game day??

    Ted Judah Reply:

    I don’t think it does.

    But this is the interesting thing: the Niners draw their fan base much more from those areas served by the other two services that pass by there: Capitol Corridor and Caltrain. Certainly mass transit is part of each team’s strategy, but the lack of parking is far more acute at Levi’s.

    Roland Reply:

    ACE and Capitol Corridor stop at Great America and run special services on game days.
    The only “Caltrain” service to Levi’s is the VTA light rail connection @ Mountain View.
    The VTA light rail will also provide a BART connection when the Milpitas station opens.
    The VTA Sprinters will provide a Gilroy connection if the 2016 tax measure passes: http://vta-sprinter.org/great-america-station/.

    joe Reply:

    Caltrain might not run but stations like Gilroy-San Martin-Morgan Hill have Game Day VTA Express Bus service to/from Levi’s stadium – The VTA drops and picks up just past the ACE stop.
    Best I’ve ever used to get to any sporting event – a minor walk and quick, cheap service.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    It’s easier to get to your average American Football game (yes we have a league in that sport) by transit in Germany than it is in the US. Let that sink in for a minute…

    EJ Reply:

    The goal is to have a locally-funded ACE replace (along with HSR) the San Joaquins.

    I tried to understand how that statement makes any kind of logical sense at all and I think I hurt my brain. The two trains serve different cities on different routes. They really want to replace a train subsidized by the state with subsidized locally? Care to provide any sort of explanation or backup for your statement?

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    doesn’t make sense consider the counties and sacramento just went through a lot of trouble legislating and allowing the counties to form the jpa for the san joaquins specifically to preserve and expand that service. Adding more trains. Adding addtional stops in fresno and bakersfield and sacramento and eastern contra costa.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Governor Brown restored fiscal stability in no small part by using what the State calls “realignment”–turning over responsibilities for state programs and services to local control in exchange for designating a set amount of funding from Sacramento.

    Sometimes, it’s less than clear why local governments benefit so much from this or that, but just know that most local governments would have collapsed after Prop 13 if not for a State-funded bailout. Almost 40 years later, the bailout is still with us.

    In the case of the San Joaquin’s, Brown’s criteria was that if the Feds enforced PRIIA’s requirement to have lower federal subsidies for state-supported Amtrak routes, Brown would spin the routes off to local JPAs to protect the State’s exposure to risk. And because, the State rarely runs a program unless it can get back more federal money than it puts in from State revenue… Thus, the “Northern California Unified Service” was born in the last CAHSRA Business Plan to repurpose the San Joaquins, Capitols, and Surfliner into service that would build on HSR at a later date.

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    well maybe that’s half the story. But really, its just a matter of, as usual, local people want more local control and more say so when it comes to decisions about the service. The feeling is that since ccjpa was successful at growing its service that a locally controlled san Joaquin could duplicate that success. The goal is to expand san Joaquin service not get rid of it.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Right…but…the whole point is that since the tax base of the San Joaquin’s service area is not as affluent as the CCJPA, that is the motivation to combine the Northern California services into one.

    Don’t forget too that a big part of the Capitols success was their GM Gene Skoropowski who was very successful in working with Union Pacific to prioritize passenger traffic. Putting it under local control was not necessarily a factor in its growth.

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    but the counties are not putting in money. the state is still paying for the service. and amtrak doesnt have the problems with bnsf in the valley that the ccjpa had with up.
    the capitols original problem was that it was being run by caltrans and caltrans doesn’t know anything about running railroads, so when experienced railroad people started managing it, it improved.
    the state is not dumping the financial responsibility onto the counties. the jpas are just taking over the promotion and decision making to better represent the constituents.

  6. EJ
    Dec 15th, 2015 at 17:25
    #6

    Hmm, surprisingly, there’s little business case in replacing a bus with a streetcar, when that bus only runs a few times a day, to connect with Metrolink trains, and doesn’t even run on weekends and holidays.

    calwatch Reply:

    Actually the ART runs every 30 minutes from ARTIC to Gardenwalk and Disneyland. And there is the regular OCTA 50-Katella bus, which will be expanded to 15 minute service next year (paid for by gutting bus service to a large swath of Huntington Beach and South Orange County).

    If it was an elevated peoplemover or an extension of the Disney monorail (ha ha), $300 million would be reasonable. But not a slow streetcar that will get shut down anytime a car stalls in its lane.

    Reality Check Reply:

    @Calwatch writes “But not a slow streetcar that will get shut down anytime a car stalls

    Stalled cars are a bogus worry: it is extremely rare for cars to just stall in the middle of the road (and on the tracks) and stalled cars can easily be pushed clear of the tracks by one or two humans.

    Ian Mitchell Reply:

    Police cars, delivery trucks, standing taxis… double parkers- plenty of bad drivers will block anything mixed-traffic.

    Reality Check Reply:

    You might think … but not so much. Rail goes in the inner left lanes or protected median such as you see on the Muni T-Third on 3rd or the M-Oceanview on 19th Ave. The blockers you cite almost always afflict the right-most lane.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    You could fix or at least reduce the stalled car problem with more frequent mandatory technical inspections…

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    Climate change is the only “business case” anyone needs to cite in order to justify building fixed electric passenger rail.

    calwatch Reply:

    Electric buses exist too, and in this instance, where there is no separate right of way, are essentially equivalent. Because of state law and the professional opinion of traffic engineers, buses on its own right of way can’t be protected by gates, while trains can. At least the Santa Ana streetcar project has half of the route on its own ROW.

    EJ Reply:

    Really? So what’s the carbon impact of tearing up the street, laying track, repaving it, and building electrical infrastructure? What about generating electricity, considering that much of the electricity used in SoCal is generated from natural gas? How does that compare with operating a bus? What about a CNG bus? Or an electric bus?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Small engines, like those in buses, are inefficient.

    EJ Reply:

    So what’s the comparative carbon footprint of a streetcar vs. a bus on Katella Ave.?

    Joe Reply:

    Over what time frame? you asked a bajillon questions.

    Literature on road emissions treat construction as a one time event.

    EJ Reply:

    Pick a time frame. Or just mindlessly repeat the mantra that we need to build rail because climate change. You’ll maybe convince some dumb people.

    Bdawe Reply:

    One time events contribute just the same as ongoing emission sources over the timescales we’re dealing with

    Bdawe Reply:

    That’s utterly dubious logic. Even if there weren’t significant emissions from construction and production of rail systems, electric-rail-all-the-things is not the intelligent way forward.

    If we’re going to deal with climate change and still have an economy when we’re done, then we have to precede by way of picking the low hanging fruit, not just mindlessly investing in particular infrastructure. For some that’s simply going to be abandonment of exurban lifestyles. For others it’s going to encouraging economic and social forces that make for walkable neighborhoods requiring fewer vehicle trips. For others it’s going to be pushing them from their car into a diesel bus. And for others it’s going to be electric railroads. But a simple ‘electric rail all the things’ is only going to produce a few very expensive, not terribly full, electric trains that are still stuck in traffic because they aren’t very useful.

    Eric Reply:

    Eh, all we have to do about climate change is build nuclear plants. Look at a list of countries ordered by GDP per unit of emissions. The highest scoring first-world countries are Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and France. All get their electricity mostly from a mix of nuclear and hydroelectric, and hydroelectric is already tapped out in much of the world.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_ratio_of_GDP_to_carbon_dioxide_emissions

    synonymouse Reply:

    I suspect that China will be the one country that goes most heavily into nuclear over time.

    Of course some are still claiming fusion is just around the corner. Seems to me big science and big engineering are slowing to a crawl. Wonder if that is what is encouraging the 3rd world crazies who want to go back in time.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Nuclear power is dead. Nobody knows what to do with the vast quantities of waste. The cost of nuclear is just waaaaaay too high. Most nukes cost 10 times as much to decommission as they did to build, and that’s without accounting for the cost of waste disposal, which nobody has yet figured out how to do. The plants fail within 60 years because radiation, heat, and water destroys all the internal equipment (the steel, the concrete, everything). Even based on the pure construction costs, nukes are just not cost-effective compared to wind, solar, or even solar + batteries.

    Luckily we can just build huge numbers of solar power plants, which are insanely cheap now. Batteries are still moderately expensive, but cheaper than nuclear.

  7. Reality Check
    Dec 15th, 2015 at 17:53
    #7

    Atherton again making noise about Caltrain “quiet zone”

    Caltrain QUIET ZONE at Fair Oaks Railroad crossing. You can HELP

    Joe Reply:

    Amethcas most wealthy zip code is cheap as always.

    . Note that because we believe the infrastructure for a Quiet Zone is already in place, we believe that no town taxpayer funds would need to be spent in infrastructure improvements.

    Aarond Reply:

    The only reason Belmont repaved it’s streets was because they got a federal grant for it. Yet, they won’t even have any streets (aside from Alameda and El Camino) connect to San Carlos because of traffic noise.

  8. JimInPollockPines
    Dec 15th, 2015 at 20:09
    #8

    The ANA streetcar reminds me the SAC streetcar idea. Both seem like a solution looking for a problem to solve. You shouldn’t build them just because they are in vogue.

    If the issue is disney guests, then disney can easily provide free shuttle service the same way hotels provide shuttle service. It can be scheduled or it can be on demand.

    Same goes for the stadium. Shuttle service to the station just like big parking lots have parking lot shuttles.

    The sacramento streetcar is equally not necessary because the area it will serve is easily walkable.

    EJ Reply:

    Well for the stadium, they could have just left the station where it was, since it was literally in the stadium parking lot. For Disneyland, there are already buses that connect to Metrolink.

    OC could sure stand to beef up its public transit, but I’ve a hard time seeing the need for a streetcar. In other parts of the world, they build streetcars to replace specific, over-capacity bus lines (which this line is not by any means). In the US, streetcars seem more like a fad based on the idea that white people in the US won’t ride buses.

    swing hanger Reply:

    Yup, rest of the world- buses are daily transport for everyone, in the U.S. they are for those nonentities w/o a car, and “the other”.

    Robert S. Allen Reply:

    swing hanger: That will change soon in Livermore when a Wheels bus from a park/ride there meets every weekday daytime BART train five miles to the west – in the years until BART is extended.

    Joey Reply:

    But no one will use the station because someone will inevitably built TOD and then it will be full of thugs.

    (no, that’s never going away)

    Aarond Reply:

    >In the US, streetcars seem more like a fad based on the idea that white people in the US won’t ride buses.

    There’s a lot of truth to that statement. Rail transit (light, heavy, commuter or otherwise) is typically perceived to be cleaner, better staffed, more punctual and most importantly policed. BART, Caltrain and Amtrak all have transit police officers, while Samtrans and ACTransit don’t. Compare Amtrak to Greyhound, the latter might be pretty crummy at times (especially in the winter) and slow, but everyone always gets two seats and the cars don’t stink like most Greyhounds do.

    It’ll be a long time before the “white people don’t use buses” meme dies. Growing up on the Peninsula, the most shocking thing I got to experience was how students who had cars mocked those that took Samtrans. Same for the stupid comments “regular” private school students on the Peninsula would throw at Bellarmine students, many of whom take Caltrain.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Don’t forget that bus stops are usually just areas on the curb which leave a person “vulnerable” to the “urban element” whereas rail stations are more enclosed and give a greater perception of safety.

    Of course, neither is true at the stops each day I use to commute for work, but they are also quite busy with other commuters and not in dangerous locations.

    Tokkyu40 Reply:

    The image I hear is that buses are poor poor people, regardless of race. Which is mostly true. People generally don’t ride buses if they have a choice.
    Streetcar and light rail, on the other hand, draw a wide variety of people who ride by choice.

    Joe Reply:

    The Santa Clara VTA operates express buses which cost more and make fewer stops. The seats recline and have reading lights and the bus offers wifi. The VTA express 168 and local 68 service very different clientele along the Caltrain corridor.

    At times my wife is uncomfortable with the aggressive panhandling on the 68. Thier race is irrelevant.

    EJ Reply:

    Well, you don’t even have to go to a non-English speaking country – you can go to London, and find a huge, world-class city, where people from all works of life like the bus and use it for daily transit (well, maybe not the oligarchs, the have Bentleys and drivers, but most people). Many people I know there prefer the bus to the Underground and the train system, even though the bus is slower and can get stuck in traffic.

    The buses are modern and clean, the drivers are courteous, there’s no panhandling (not sure how they solve that, but they have). Most British cities outside of London have either a fairly notional metro or tram system, or none at all, and almost everyone who uses transit relies on the bus. You go across the channel to a city like Vienna, and it’s even better. The city transit dept. makes a free app wherein you stand next to any stop, or enter its number, and it will tell you all the buses that stop there, where they go, and (pretty accurately in my experience), when the next one on each route is coming.

    All that takes investment, though, which US transit agencies seem to want to pour into things like poorly conceived streetcars, why they bus system is left to rot.

    swing hanger Reply:

    Lets face the reality- investment in well-planned public transport is just not a priority in the U.S. and probably never will be- given the target audience. When the general public of all socioeconomic backgrounds ride the bus regularly, then the standards go up, really go up. Unless that happens, the product delivered is basically a big middle finger to those that can’t or won’t drive.

    joe Reply:

    The VTA is clearly investing in buses but also segregating some lines with higher end and cost express service and maintains local service. It’s trying to attract commuters with some of the routes – 121 and 168. The Express passes work on all routes.

    Monthly Pass – $70
    Express Monthly Pass – $140

    I think any major city has its share of low income and sketchy places and riding a bus that crosses that segment might be a problem. Having more riders and a diverse cross section of the community minimizes opportunity for mischief and intimidation.

    synonymouse Reply:

    @ EJ

    “…poorly conceived streetcars…”? Where, what, when? It is like couch change spent on streetcars.

    Talk about poorly conceived. BART broad gauge and other sins; LV Monorail just to spend money on faux-future stuff; SMART as an instant museum op. The list goes on. Oh, don’t forget BRT’s in general.

    HART is going to the most interesting experiment. Must be “island fever” that makes otherwise sane people want to turn paradise into, quoi, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Manhattan. Herve Villechaise squeaking “Boss, zee train! zee train!”.

    Nathanael Reply:

    HART’s going to be the most popular urban rail line in the US outside NYC… if they ever manage to finish building it.

    Hawaii is too popular for the limited amount of buildable space between the mountains and the beach, and as a result Honolulu has been built up into a very dense city. Which currently means a smog-choked, traffic-choked nightmare. People will immediately head for the rails to avoid the traffic.

    Nathanael Reply:

    London also has a huge number of bus lanes, the “Congestion Charge zone”, and countdown clocks at bus stops. The buses in London typically run on time.

    I’ve never dealt with a US system where the buses run on time. The few individual bus lines where they do run on time seem to be very heavily patronized — often so heavily that they need to be converted to rail, as with the Orange Line in LA.

    Nathanael Reply:

    It’s going to be interesting to watch Chicago, which just put bus lanes in in the Loop (downtown). I expect this will lead to more businesspeople riding the buses… downtown. (The bus lanes are on a short circulator route which connects the commuter rail and subway stations, basically.)

    Reality Check Reply:

    @Aarond: SamTrans does have transit police: San Mateo Co. Sheriff’s Transit Police Bureau

    Joe Reply:

    Well a northbound, tightly packed Mtview train was delayed due to an unruly passenger this AM.

    Reality Check Reply:

    And so if you had a point, it would be … ?

    Aarond Reply:

    Thanks for the correction.

    calwatch Reply:

    On the other hand, in DC middle class people will ride Circulator when they won’t ride WMATA bus. The same in Anaheim, where tourists and visitors ride ART but won’t ride OCTA.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    The Sacramento streetcar is a whole other animal.

    Downtown Sac has plenty of housing and is quite walkable. However, the City has a lot invested in the new arena and wants to copy what San Diego did gentrifying the area around Petco. Might work, but the county jail is still only a couple blocks away and just a minor deterrent…

    Aarond Reply:

    Sac’s problem is that there’s a ten lane freeway going through what should be the densest part of the city. They’ve been sitting on the redevelopment plans for probably a decade now due to pure inertia.

    Also, for what it’s worth Elk Grove should really put aside their whining and get a proper SARCT connection down on Elk Grove Bvld. I doubt it’ll ever happen though.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Sac’s problem is that there’s a ten lane freeway going through what should be the densest part of the city. They’ve been sitting on the redevelopment plans for probably a decade now due to pure inertia.

    I never understood why Boston could ever justify the Big Dig and burying interstate highways underground…and then I moved to Sacramento…

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    The story I always heard is that Miss Nancy Reagan, during Ronnie’s tenure as Gov., while the I-5 was being built thru san – did not want to look out of the capitol and see the elevated freeway and so, insisted it be “depressed” which also took out a big chunk of historic sacramento ( which at the time was not touristy like the remaining “old sac” schlockfest is.

    She’s also know for these other bitchy shenanagins. ( I never ever like this woman at all, ever)

    Reagan was First Lady of California during her husband’s two terms as governor. She disliked living in Sacramento, which lacked the excitement, social life, and mild climate to which she was accustomed in Los Angeles.[51] She first attracted controversy early in 1967, when, after four months’ residence in the California Governor’s Mansion in Sacramento, she moved her family into a wealthy suburb because fire officials had labeled the mansion as a “firetrap”.[52] Though the Reagans leased the new house at their expense,[51] the move was viewed as snobbish. Nancy defended her actions as being for the good of her family, a judgment with which her husband readily agreed.[51][52] Friends of the family later helped support the cost of the leased house, while Nancy Reagan supervised construction of a new ranch-style governor’s residence in nearby Carmichael.[53] The new residence was finished just as Ronald Reagan left office in 1975, but his successor, Jerry Brown, refused to live there. It was sold in 1982, and California governors have been living in improvised arrangements ever since.

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    If there is one thing SF could do right, it would be to bury 19th ave between the 280 and the gg bridge and big dig a tunnel from the central freeway to a 19th ave tunnel.

    Then from the bay bridge route all “through” non sf traffic via 280x connection south and use the james lick for local “in sf” traffic only.

    Aarond Reply:

    It was just a different time, people expected different things out of urban planners. On the bright side, Sacramento has at least realized on some level that the freeway has to do. Problem is actually acting on that notion.

    Ian Mitchell Reply:

    I don’t think an area’s walkability is a negative for a streetcar.

  9. Ted Judah
    Dec 16th, 2015 at 07:41
    #9

    I know Robert is eager to cut bait on ARTIC, hoping to do damage control for CAHSR being branded as a “boondoggle”. But I think the issue here is far more straightforward.

    OCTA effectively distributes money to each city in Orange County by the projects it chooses. It is controlled by a Board comprised of local officials. At some point, the price tag for the streetcar probably got too high for the other board members’ liking. Most of te cost overruns had to do with specific aesthetic requirements Disney had. The Mouse has plenty of influence among the OCTA board I’m sure. But at some point, each of them has to run on something back home, and a half a billion dollar streetcar project benefiting only somewhere else isn’t going to do the trick…

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    The real focus should be on fixing ARTIC and making it useful. I think its an ugly building to begin with.
    ( Even transbay terminal which I support – is ugly on the outside with that gimmicky undulating mesh exterior)

    They need to stuff ARTIC full of services retail restaurants and entertainment, imax, etc connect it to the stadium with a moving sidewalk – people can go there before and after games – build some housing in the parking lot, and make it a local destination instead of just a train station. Maybe that will sustain it until HSR arrive.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    In essence make ARTIC Leipzig Central Station? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leipzig_Hauptbahnhof Okay. Let’s give Deutsche Bahn a call…

    EJ Reply:

    Does Germany have that same law as Austria and Switzerland where shops in train stations can stay open on Sunday, but almost everything else has to close?

    Eric M Reply:

    Germany’s law frowns upon being open on Sunday’s, but some shops at some stations can stay open. It is mostly regulated by the local governments.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    In essence yes. (Though opening hours are state law, while you can shop until 10pm in Saxony, in Bavaria 8pm is as late as it gets). The reasoning behind this (and also why gas stations are open on Sundays) is that travelers have “travel needs” and they may have need to buy something even on a Sunday. Thus (in theory at least) the stores opening on Sundays or at odd hours are there to serve travelers. This does not stop Leipzig main station from having an Aldi that opens on Sundays and has regular Aldi prices. And I think there is also a supermarket in Nuremeberg main station (in the state of Bavaria, much as I’d wished it to be in the state of Frnaconia, which does not exist) that opens on Sundays, but I think I’ve read something about alcohol being limited to certain times of day there…. And if you ever have reason to visit a German train station on a Sunday evening… Well you know why that law exists…

    Eric M Reply:

    I was giving a very simplistic answer

    Eric M Reply:

    And yes, I am German and visit Germany all the time.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Your response was not false ;.) I was just giving a bit more detail ;-) You could say: Most big stations have stores that open on Sundays, most small stations don’t.

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    Yes like this and the same for TBT

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    another idea would be to let disney build a disney theme hotel on the property and extend their monorail there in anticipation of hsr arriving there.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Disney doesn’t want to invest that kind of money. Hence the reason Anaheim went to the Feds for the streetcar project.

    Orange County is an urban planning nightmare because there’s no core to benefit from more density. And when they connect to major tourist areas, they leave another big draw behind. The only *real* solution is having all the cities and county merge. That would go a long way to avoiding these problems in the future.

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    well that will never happen. Californians love local control and hate giving it up.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Californians love local control to death is more like it.

    If we don’t find a way to share prosperity more effectively between different parts of the State quickly, we are facing income inequality on a scale that will make Jim Crow look quaint and benign…

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    My main concern is that local officials in Orange County will panic over ARTIC and make even dumber decisions to deal with the fact that they stupidly built the station way too early.

    EJ Reply:

    Nothing will make ARTIC better situated or more fit for purpose. In contrast to the old station, which had the stadium on one side and a good size office park on the other, not to mention it was right next to and under the tracks, meaning there was no awkward schlep over a bridge and back down to platform level.

    ARTIC is a fair distance away from the tracks – most buses drop you off closer to the platforms than the front entrance to the terminal, and only by placing the taxi rank awkwardly far away did they make it even viable for taxi passengers to use it – even at that there’s little reason to unless its raining. There’s nothing much directly adjacent to it – a big parking moat almost as wide as the stadium parking lot, a few office buildings and a small hotel sandwiched between the freeway and Douglas Rd, and on the other side, a rather unlovely stretch of the Santa Ana River.

    I actually like the way it looks, and in terms of bus connectivity it’s probably better than the old station (though that could have been fixed using either the vacant land between the parking garage and the freeway, or part of the stadium parking lot). Other than that, though, HSR or no, it’s poorly thought out.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Well, but how is it much different than the sagas playing out over Transbay or LA Union Station (and in sotto voce, Diridon Intergalactic )?

    Sure, Orange County has a poor track record (no pun intended) on mass transit. But the only reason Transbay, the “Grand Central Central Station of the West” isn’t in the same boat is because ARTIC was more efficient at finishing the project on time and on budget. No good deed, apparently, goes unpunished.

    Bdawe Reply:

    Is the walk between the headhouse and the platforms longer or shorter than at ARTIC or LAUS?

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Have not visited ARTIC, but my recollection of Union Station is that ARTIC could be longer…but it’s a nice hike from the Union Station lobby to the tracks.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Not very relevant as only a small fraction of LAUS users come through the lobby.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    As opposed to…

  10. Reedman
    Dec 16th, 2015 at 09:14
    #10

    Sounds like Metrolink and Rotem are facing some large lawsuits, and additional impact/crush standards are going to be implemented on passenger rail cars.

    http://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-adv-metrolink-report-20151216-story.html

    Elizabeth Alexis Reply:

    Was it possible for quality inspectors to find the defects with the Rotem trains or were they the type you only discover when the equipment fails?

    Drunk Engineer Reply:

    The fault was in the specification. Most newer commuter/regional passenger trains don’t even have couplers (they are articulated).

    Reality Check Reply:

    A number of us thought something didn’t seem right about how poorly those Rotem cars with their much-vaunted CEM fared (derailing all over the place, falling over, etc.) in that simple crash …

    Here’s the headline and some excerpts:
    Metrolink train cars that derailed in Oxnard had flawed parts, confidential report finds

    […]

    The confidential report, however, states that the manufacturer failed to meet design specifications that Metrolink required for cow-catchers on cab cars. The unmet specifications related to struts that extended into the car body and a requirement that cow-catchers be able to withstand a load of 100,000 pounds. The document noted that the specifications “may need to be more robust.”

    In addition, the report stated that the cow-catcher had some poor welds and that other parts of the device “showed probable failure” despite extra brackets and good welding in other places. A photo attached to the report shows that the cow-catcher had broken off the cab car. Arrows point to four weld failures and areas where bolts were sheared off.

    According to the report, a metallurgist found that one of the two failed couplers displayed evidence of a manufacturing defect known as porosity — a casting flaw that causes voids and bubbles to form in the metal.

    […]

    The rail cars involved in the Oxnard crash are among 137 passenger coaches that Metrolink bought several years ago from Hyundai Rotem for $263.3 million. Of the total, 57 are cab cars, which are placed in the front for trains when they reverse direction. Hyundai delivered the last coaches to Metrolink in June 2013.

    Dubbed the “Guardian Fleet” by the railroad, the Rotem car bodies have crumple zones that cushion the impact of crashes and other safety measures now required by the federal government, such as breakaway tables, more fire retardant materials and improved rescue access.

    […]

    In the aftermath of the Oxnard crash, railroad officials were quick to claim the cars had saved lives and reduced injuries because they were equipped with the latest safety improvements.

    Today, however, Metrolink is reviewing its Rotem fleet and is in the process of temporarily replacing the cab cars with locomotives leased at a cost of $23.9 million from the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Co.

    […]

    Clem Reply:

    I guess this is a day off for ‘Useless’ ?

    Eric M Reply:

    But Rotem is the only one able to build HSR for CA!!

    Roland Reply:

    “LTK was the technical consultant to METROLINK responsible for preparation of the overall specification for the subject procurement of cab cars and trailers specific technical guidance regarding CEM and APTA S-034 drawing from experience with CEM equipment and from serving as consultant-advisor to the PRESS Construction and Structural Committee.”
    http://ntl.bts.gov/lib/43000/43000/43077/Tyrell_DevelopmentCrash_Energy.pdf

    Can someone please refresh my memory as to who was awarded the Caltrain EMU procurement contract? I vaguely recall that they were the sole responders and allegedly were also responsible for drafting the RFP for rolling stock procurement consultant services?

    Roland Reply:

    http://procurement.samtrans.com/openbids.aspx?bidid=982854889

    “1. Award a contract for on-call, no guaranteed level-of-services, Electric Multiple Unit (EMU) rail vehicle support services for the Caltrain Modernization (CalMod) Program for a not-to-exceed amount of $24,240,000 for a six-year base term to LTK Engineering Services, Inc. (LTK).”

    “3. Authorize the Executive Director, or his designee, to exercise up to two 2-year option terms for an aggregate not-to-exceed amount of $8,969,000, if it is in the best interest of the Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board (JPB).”

    “4. Authorize the Executive Director, or his designee, to exercise an option for LTK to study and design the Centralized Equipment Maintenance and Operations Facility (CEMOF) and other operations and maintenance facility modifications necessary to support EMU vehicles, and to provide preliminary design for electrification of the maintenance yard, for a not-to-exceed amount of $3,636,000, if it is in the best interest of the JPB.”

    “5. Authorize the Executive Director aggregate change order authority of up to 15 percent of the total Board authorized contract amount”

    http://www.caltrain.com/Assets/__Agendas+and+Minutes/JPB/Board+of+Directors/Agendas/2014/3-6-14+JPB+Agenda.pdf (click on item #13)

    Roland Reply:

    The icing on the cake was #11 on the same agenda (DConsult LLC is Dave Couch, LTK’s old buddy)
    “1. Award an independent contractor agreement (Agreement) to DConsult, LLC (DConsult) of Conroe, Texas for the services of Director, Project Delivery for the Caltrain Modernization (CalMod) Program in the amount of $4.3 million for a term commencing April 1, 2014 and expiring in six years, or 12 months after electrified revenue service begins, whichever is longer.”

    Clem Reply:

    You may not know this, but they are the same guys who will someday spec your VTA Sprinter rolling stock. Guaranteed.

    Roland Reply:

    How much are you betting on this?

    Clem Reply:

    I wouldn’t want you to lose a dime. There’s a system that directs a certain designated portion of certain designated revenue streams to certain designated recipients. This system cannot simply be wished away. Consider it as a Unique Local Condition.

    Reality Check Reply:

    We can also thank LTK for SMART’s clunky new Nippon-Sharyo FRA-compliant DMUs:

    LTK:
    Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART) Commuter Rail System Planning

    BART Orders Stadler DMU (instead of clunky LTK spec’ed SMART DMU)

    Aarond Reply:

    eh they’re clunky but they fit the bill. As much as I’d love to see regular bilevel service up the NWP corridor, the tunnel down in Lakespur prohibts it.

    synonymouse Reply:

    “NWP corridor”?

    Boonville

    synonymouse Reply:

    wrong whistlestop – try Schellville:

    http://www.altamontpress.com/discussion/read.php?1,127022,127025#msg-127025

    Reality Check Reply:

    Are you sure SMART’s Cal Park tunnel between San Rafael & Larkspur prohibits bi-levels?

    As this history portion of this Cal Park Tunnel Rehabilitation overview states, it was re-excavated to double-track in 1924 (30 feet wide by 24 feet tall at the crown).

    Reality Check Reply:

    It appears from this image embedded in this Cal Park tunnel article ), that bi-level cars might still fit.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Is ridership going to be so high bilevels are needed?

    Reality Check Reply:

    Ridership high enough to _need_ bilevels? I’m guessing not.

    I think SMART should have gone for a lighter, sleeker more nimble Euro DMU such as the Siemens Desiro used by NCTD for the Sprinter or the Stadler GTW eBART will use.

    synonymouse Reply:

    ridership? ho ho ho

    GGT could not even find the money to keep express bus routes between Marin and Sonoma going.

    Nathanael Reply:

    But those were worthless. “Express” bus routes caught in traffic are, by definition, worthless.

    The entire point of SMART is that it isn’t caught in traffic.

    William Reply:

    On a shared corridor and a small operation such as SMART, FRA compliant rolling-stock is the way to go.

    Nevertheless, LTK only has itself to blame for not winning the SMART contract, submitting a bid that’s much more expensive than Sumitomo/Nippon Sharyo’s bid, even after added 20 years worth of fuel-cost.

    William Reply:

    Sorry, cross LTK and replaced it with Stadler

    Reality Check Reply:

    On a shared corridor and a small operation such as SMART, FRA compliant rolling-stock is the way to go

    I disagree in SMART’s case. FRA trains are (and will be) so few (what? 1 or maybe 2 per day, max), they could’ve used temporal separation and/or gauntlet tracks to go with much nicer Euro EMUs instead of newly minted lumbering FRA clunky junk … at low(er) platforms. High platforms are really dumb for SMART.

    Nathanael Reply:

    High platforms: Eh, the line won’t interconnect with any other train service, ever. Might let them use standard high-floor streetcars eventually, if they ever electrify.
    FRA compliance: this was to bend over backwards to retain freight service. I doubt that was a good idea but someone didn’t want to pick a fight.

    Reality Check Reply:

    So? Regardless of interconnectivity … high platform stations are not as nice as low platform stations. They’re not as pedestrian/rider-friendly … tougher for the mobility-impaired too, cost more to build, are more obtrusive and don’t blend into communities as nicely. Unlike with low-floor/platform trains, you can’t very easily or quickly stop high-floor/platform trains at temporary, new or special stations.

    synonymouse Reply:

    But you are not tapping into insider mentality. The purpose of SMART is to rebuild the NWP for the freight operators at taxpayer expense and then disappear. From the MTC-ABAG POV SMART is not designed to do well for that might upset Imperial broad gauge manifest destiny.

    So the more dippy the scheme the better.

    synonymouse Reply:

    @ Nathaniel

    Any electrification, over many agency dead bodies – say those of BART, MTC, ABAG, NWP, GGT -would be almost accompanied by civil works like viaducts, flyovers, underpasses incompatible with freight. Anathema to the NWP fanboys.

    synonymouse Reply:

    almost certainly

    Robert S. Allen Reply:

    How fast was the train going?
    What was the authorized maximum?
    Should MU or push mode passenger trains have a lower authorized speed?
    For them, the frequently cited 79 mph may be too fast. What was it here?

  11. John Nachtigall
    Dec 16th, 2015 at 09:30
    #11

    In other news, non-shockingly, the world did not end this year as oil prices skyrocketed. Despite predictions

    http://www.cahsrblog.com/2014/10/whats-up-or-down-with-oil-prices/

    Oil prices have continued to decline. Inflation adjusted, just above the “forever” average and just below the average since 1980

    http://inflationdata.com/Inflation/Inflation_Rate/Historical_Oil_Prices_Chart.asp

    Of course it will continue to go up and down, as all commodity prices do, but the “peak oil” myth continues to be disproven

    Anyone willing to admit they made a mistake assuming oil was “running out” and was soon to hit $200?? Crash the economy??? Cause Dogs and Cats to live together and the end of civilization? Anyone??

    Peter Reply:

    The fact that OPEC is pumping out everything it can in order to regain its market share by killing investment in more expensive methods of oil extraction doesn’t really say anything about peak oil.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Those new reserves (oil sands, tar sands, fracking) have proven they can profitably extract at $50-70 a barrel. In the future, that cost is only going down.

    So OPEC has lost the ability to “pump to kill” because the new reserves are vast and profitable at levels that OPEC cant accept. Hence the reason they have abandoned restraint and are just pumping for money. Especially Russia, who is in such desperate need of hard cash they cant stop at any price.

    In short, it has everything to do with peak oil because it proves the new reserves are profitable at a level that will not crash the economy.

    StevieB Reply:

    OPEC’s actions and the ensuing low oil price have directly impacted the U.S. shale oil industry with rig closures announced week after week. According to oil and gas consultancy WTRG Economics, as of December 5, the total number of North American oil rigs has declined 61.6 percent from a year ago. WTRG Economics also said in its latest note published last week that, year-over-year, oil exploration in the U.S. is down 64.7 percent and gas exploration is down 44.2 percent.

    Eric Reply:

    Yep, and if OPEC ever runs out of oil, those shale rigs will open right back up.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Exactly. The reserves have been proven viable at this level. They are shutting down and going bankrupt, bu the reserves are there forever until drilled

    Joe Reply:

    Peak oil extraction is an empirical observation. It’s origins are data driven so it’s not a myth. It’s an observed event for oil fields and aggregate oil field production.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    That’s on a single well. Peak Oil the theory assumes reserves and untapped reserves especially were in decline and therefor supply would dry up. A myth

    Joe Reply:

    Try referencing peak oil rather than typing your misconception.
    It is based on aggregate data, not a single well.

    If peak oil were a myth we would be drilling for light crude oil for ever.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    http://www.energytrendsinsider.com/2012/06/21/how-much-oil-is-left-in-the-world/

    So why have proven reserves continually increased despite using more and more oil each year.

    Those light crude wells you have in your mind…the lifetime keeps getting extended through technology like fracking and horizontal wells

    Joe Reply:

    Proven reserves of light crude. That’s peak oil.

    You change the meaning to include tar sands and declare victory.

    The environmental damage, energy needs and CO2e emissions to exploit tar sands makes it a suicide fuel.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Unfortunately very few people care, joe. They are stressed out, they need to get to their jobs, they want their cars, society as a whole has failed to provide alternatives with just a few urban exceptions. Look at the progress made by Caltrain or Metrolink in the last 25 years. Maybe 5 years worth. And what do we have to show for it? Down here we have ARTIC and Metrolink trains with freight locomotives! I haven’t thrown in the towel yet but it’s in my hand and I’m practicing my lob.

    StevieB Reply:

    Zombies appear in U.S. oilfields as crude plumbs new lows.

    Drained by a 17-month crude rout, some U.S. shale oil companies are merely hanging on for life as oil prices lurch further away from levels that allow them to profitably drill new wells and bring in enough cash to keep them in business.

    The slump has created dozens of oil and gas “zombies,” a term lawyers and restructuring advisers use to describe companies that have just enough money to pay interest on mountains of debt, but not enough to drill enough new wells to replace older ones that are drying out…

    To stay alive, zombie companies have curbed costly drilling and are using revenue from existing production to pay interest and other expenses in a process some describe as “slow-motion liquidation.”

    Bankruptcies and defaults loom because the cutbacks in new drilling have been so deep that many companies risk getting caught in a vicious circle of shrinking oil reserves, falling revenue and declining access to credit, experts say.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    …like what happens every time the price of oil drops. Or the price of natural gas drops. A significant fraction of industry can switch, cheaply and easily, between oil and natural gas.

    Anandakos Reply:

    Moving the peak a dozen years into the future doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist. I worked as a programmer in the geosciences departments of both BP and Shell in the 1980’s. At that time everyone knew of the big shale deposits in North America; we just didn’t know how to extract it.

    So, it’s true that marrying the existing technology of hydraulic fracturing to that of guided horizontal drilling has made those large shale deposits recoverable. But like all rock structures in this finite globe, they have an extent and thickness. When they’re used up they’re used up.

    And there are no future “glory holes” except perhaps methane hydrates if some way to concentrate them sufficiently to make it profitable can be developed. And that’s methane, not oil.

    Oil only occurs in certain types of sedimentary rocks: sandstones and limestones. Nobody has ever found it in basalt, granite or any other igneous or metamorphic rock. And of course, it doesn’t occur in every deposit of sedimentary rocks; there must have been a source rock containing the organic material for the creation of oil to proceed.

    So OF COURSE there will come a time of “peak oil”. Finding oil is dependent on the first eight miles of the skin of an 8000 mile diameter globe mostly covered by inaccessible water and widely smothered in volcanic rocks.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    There are mature well understood industrial processes to create complex hydrocarbons. That nobody uses because it’s cheaper to suck dinosaurs out of the ground. Plastic created from crop wastes is too expensive today. Plastic is very very useful and once dinosaur juice gets to the right high price we will turn to other technologies. But at that point it makes more sense for me to cover my garage with solar panels and run the heat pump flat out while the sun shines instead of burning No. 2 in a boiler.
    ….. and the payback period for slapping two inches of high efficiency foam under the new siding gets much shorter…. the payback period for an electric car gets much shorter too.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Don’t you Malthusist ever tire of being wrong? Current reserves will last 100-200 years and by that time technology will be advanced again.

    You said it, in the 8s everyone thought the shale could not be mined, Now a mean 20-30 years later it is viable. In 200 years you can’t even imagine what is viable.

    Just stop, we are not running out of resources especially oil

    Joe Reply:

    People know if we mine the shade reserves it’s game over for civilization.

    Also peak oil because you’re mining shale at 4:1 and not pumping light crude oil at 25:1.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Technology advances on all fronts. I don’t care where my kilowatt hours come from. If it’s cheaper to use solar my utility will use solar. Probably from cells on my roof.

    John burrows Reply:

    Agreed that we will not run out of oil in the next 200 years as long as we are willing to pay the price. The Green River Formation alone potentially contains over a trillion barrels of recoverable oil—roughly equal to present world proven reserves.

    But the question I have is what price is the world willing to pay? If we burn oil for the next 200 years at the current rate we will pump something like 2.5 trillion tons of CO2 into the atmosphere, almost as much as the 3 trillion tons that the atmosphere presently contains.

    And while we have no idea of how we will be meeting our energy requirements 200 years in the future, we can see that in one respect at least things have not changed that much in the last 200 years. Two hundred years ago the first railroads were built to carry coal. And now, 200 years later, railroads have evolved to the point that they are carrying billions of tons of coal per year. I hope that 200 years from now that this trend does not continue, because if it does, and if we keep burning oil the way we are now, we should be able to get the CO2 level in the atmosphere back to where it was in the Eocene, back when there was no ice at the poles and when sea level would have been around 250 feet higher than now.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    200 years ago New England was making a very good living processing whales for lamp oil. Almost everybody heated their house with fireplaces.

    There comes a point where grubbing things out of the ground gets more expensive than alternatives. Especially if the price of the alternatives continues to drop.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    It’s not going to come to that. In 20-50 years solar, wind, geo, etc will be competitive because of battery (or more likely capacitor) technology. Think of how far we have come with energy tech in the last 100 years.

    John burrows Reply:

    This is one time that I hope you are right

    Zorro Reply:

    Solar is already cause of scale, is now competitive with Coal.
    Solar Power Cheaper Than New Coal, Foresees German Solar CEO

    And this article was published on Jul 11, 2013.

    BELECTRIC specializes in utility-scale solar power plants as well as rooftop solar, and the former area is where the focus of the Deutsche Welle interview takes place.

    According to Beck, large scale solar power in Germany is already “approaching the costs” of conventional power, at 10 euro cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh).

    Robert S. Allen Reply:

    If all land-based ice in the world melted, how much would the sea level rise? (Don’t count floating ice; it would not affect sea level.) Has it ever been calculated?

    Zorro Reply:

    Would that include all the Ice Sheets on top of Greenland and on top of the Antarctic Continent?

    Some of which are a few miles thick.

    Robert S. Allen Reply:

    Ice a few miles thick on top of land? The top of such an ice sheet would be as high as most of the world’s mountain ranges. Has any honest study been done of how much the sea level would rise world-wide if all of the world’s land-based ice melted?

    Zorro Reply:

    Actually that is false, Ice sheets can be up to 1.9 miles thick and depresses a continents crust

    Would You like to retract that statement?

    58m or 190.29 feet in sea level rise(see quote below) and that is just Antarctica.

    Ice thickness varies considerably over these mountains, from 1-3 km thick.

    or 1.24 miles = 3 Kilometers

    Joe Reply:

    Yes it’s been calculated as 70 meters sea level rise or 230 feet.

    What is not in that estimate afaik is water expansion due to heating. That is additional sea level rise to ice melt.

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    Well it one thing that would be kinda cool about that is that it would replenish the old inland sea in the sacramento and san Joaquin valleys with the water level reaching in the eastern foothills up to about where all the reseviors are. Folsom is at 220ft for instance. It would be quite a sight to have that back.

    Zorro Reply:

    You know JimInPollockPines that would mean a lot of people would need to be relocated, and that would go for the state capitol, Los Angeles, Orange county and so on, its been mentioned that for every foot of vertical rise, there would be I think 100 feet of land going away, at least I think that is what I’ve read, sea level is already confirmed to be rising, so far it’s about 6 inches to 1 foot.

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    Well, how quickly would this rise happen? Would they have to run, or would they have time to pack?

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Problem is: Those things happen in catastrophic events. Just ask the Netherlands about floods in the 1950s. Or ask Hamburg why they love Helmut Schmidt. Or ask New Orleans about Katrina… Sure you can build dikes. Big parts of the Netherlands are under current sea level yet still dry land. But given the way the US maintains critical infrastructure, I doubt that would work….

    Joe Reply:

    70 meter sea level rise would be gradual over a hundreds of years but a tipping point to warming and massive degassing in the upper latitudes could accelerate the time line.

    On the way to total melt we’d probably wipe out every ecosystem on the planet. The rate of change is unprecedented. It’s extinction rates, too fast for biomes to adapt or migrate.

    Some areas of the planet would be lethal to humans for even short periods of time. Too hot and humid.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Nah. Lethal as such won’t happen. But we will create a lot of areas that are not conducive to human habitation… And that’s what environmentalism should eventually be about: Ensuring continued human habitation on this planet.

    Reality Check Reply:

    Wikipedia’s “Sea Level Rise” entry says 224 feet:

    • The total global ice mass lost from Greenland, Antarctica and Earth’s glaciers and ice caps during 2003–2010 was about 4.3 trillion tons (1,000 cubic miles), adding about 12 mm (0.5 in) to global sea level, enough ice to cover an area comparable to the United States 50 cm (1.5 ft) deep.

    • The melting of small glaciers on the margins of Greenland and the Antarctic Peninsula would increase sea level around 0.5 meter. At the extreme potential, according to the Third Assessment Report of the International Panel on Climate Change, the ice contained within the Greenland ice sheet entirely melted increases sea level by 7.2 meters (24 feet). The ice contained within the Antarctic ice sheet entirely melted would produce 61.1 meters (200 feet) of sea-level change, both totaling a sea-level rise of 68.3 meters (224 feet).

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    that puts the water about here

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    you can actually see pretty much exactly what that would like here and here for example

    Reality Check Reply:

    @Bob Allen, why are you re-asking the same sea-level rise so soon after others already answered it for you?

    Robert S. Allen Reply:

    Thanks to those who have tried to answer my questions:
    1. What is the volume of frozen water in land–based (not floating) ice?
    2. How deep would it be if spread over the surface of the Earth?
    That sets a maximum for sea level rise.
    How much of Antarctica ice is land-based (and how deep is it), and how much is floating?
    The claim that melted ice from Greenland would raise the world sea level by 24 feet seems incredible.
    Hopefully someone can answer my two main questions.

    Joe Reply:

    Water expands when heated so the maximum sea level rise is more than summing the total, non floating water melt.

    Best to leave this to the IPCC or nasa snow ice center and use a modern search engine.
    https://nsidc.org/cryosphere/quickfacts/icesheets.html
    99% of all fresh water is in Greenland ice.

    Joe Reply:

    ..and Antarctic ice

    Robert S. Allen Reply:

    Joe, why does ice float? Because a given volume of water expands when it freezes.

    Could IPCC, with its vested interests, shade its conclusions? That has been known to happen. I’m not saying that it does, but I’d like my two questions to get an honest, informed, independent answer.

    Joey Reply:

    Water is densest at about 4°C. As you move away form that on either side it expands.

    john burrows Reply:

    Another try at answering Mr. Allen’s questions regarding icecaps—-

    Area of Antarctica————————————————-5.4 million sq mi
    Area of Antarctica covered by ice——————————5.3 million sq mi

    (Note) Portions of Antarctica beneath the icecap are below sea level but the ice extends to the sea bed. In one place the ice extends well over a mile below sea level. None of the 5.3 million square miles of ice covering the Antarctic continent is floating. The ice shelves, which do float, are not included in the 5.4 million figure.

    Average thickness of Antarctic ice—————-1.2 miles (6,300 feet)
    Volume of Antarctic ice——————————6.4 million cubic miles
    Area of the Earth covered by water————–140 million square miles

    Spread that 6.4 million cubic miles of ice over the 140 million square miles of ocean and you get a rise of 241 feet, except we talking about water, not ice. We need to multiply 241 by 0.92 to convert to water which gives us a rise in sea level of about 221 feet if all of the Antarctic ice were to melt.

    Now lets do Greenland—

    Area of Greenland icecap———————————–660,000 square miles
    Average thickness of Greenland icecap—————–1.1 miles (5,800 feet)
    Volume of ice in Greenland icecap————————730,000 cubic miles

    Spread over 140 million square miles ocean, this would give a sea level rise of 27.5 feet. Multiplying by 0.92 to convert ice into water, we get a rise in sea level of 25 feet if all of the Greenland icecap were to melt.

    These numbers may be a little high because a rise in sea level on this order of magnitude would cover hundreds of thousands of square miles of land which would probably lower the total rise in sea level by a few feet.

    john burrows Reply:

    If the Antarctic icecap melted quickly, the relatively small volume of Antarctic sea ice that would be below below sea level would also be replaced by sea water, and would probably lower the total rise by another few feet.

    John burrows Reply:

    They tried to find oil in granite in Sweden about 30 years ago—Drilled two holes nearly 7 km deep, no oil or gas, at least not in usable amounts. But the idea is not totally dead especially in regard to finding commercial quantities of methane.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    So?

    If we run out of oil on earth we can get methane from the moons of Saturn. But we did not end the stone age because we ran out of stones…

    Robert S. Allen Reply:

    John Burrows: Thanks for your very thoughtful analysis on possible sea level rise if all ice were to melt. Your estimate appears realistic, presuming the basic facts are correct, and sharply in contrast to some of the others I have seen. Thanks again for a good answer.

    Reedman Reply:

    If thorium reactors were to be developed and deployed, some estimates are that there would be fuel for a couple thousand years of reactor operation.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Good luck getting them built, though….

    What with all the NIMBYs derailing even the most mundane projects…

    Aarond Reply:

    It’s not just the Saudis playing around. Putin is pissed over the sanctions and Rosneft is continuing to open unprofitable (though RF state subsidized) wells in the arctic. Inventories aren’t being cut. This is done because Putin’s regime is probably more stable than the Saudis, who are flanked by failed states on all sides.

    Overall, it’s a thrilling example of how lawfare (the sanctions over Ukraine) can spiral down into a larger pissing match. It’s also a plot point in the fictional film “Countdown To Looking Glass” (1984).

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    I’ve also said on numerous occasions, dating back to 2008, that there were only two ways to crash the price of oil: reduce demand by building alternatives, or reduce demand by cutting economic growth. Right now we appear to be following the second option.

    The Saudis’ action in fall 2014 was designed to “drain the pool” and force other producers out. That has been a success. But they probably did not count on a slowdown in China at the same time, which has accelerated the decline in oil prices and fueled global deflation. Persistent austerity policies in North America and Europe are also hurting overall economic growth.

    The Saudis appear to be continuing their high production levels policy in order to kill off the shale oil producers while also putting the screws to their geopolitical enemies in Syria, Russia, and Iran. This of course is not going down very well in Russia for obvious reasons.

    But, even though Roubini is quoted in that first link saying the decline in prices is permanent, I tend to agree with the others who think that the Saudis simply cannot maintain this level of production for that much longer. Markets are apparently betting that oil prices will rise significantly by the end of 2016. Peak oil remains a fact. And peak oil theorists have always argued that we could well see wild swings in price as producers attempt to manipulate supply in order to maintain market share (which is what the Saudis are doing) or to increase profits (which we saw a few years ago and are likely to see again soon).

    I should probably turn this into a post of its own…

    les Reply:

    Time to tax gas is now. Prices going down yet tax revenue going up. Will generate badly needed transpo revenue and continue to encourage public transit usage.

    Zorro Reply:

    The GOP is against any new tax, for any reason…

    Aarond Reply:

    Or just let states toll or privatize highways. It accomplishes the same goal and can actually be sold to Republicans since it’s a free-market solution and would allow them to gut the FHA’s budget. This would allow for both a somewhat self-sufficient highway system, increased transit utilization AND a net savings for taxpayers.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Or just tax fuel. The infrastructure is in place for that. Enough to cover state highways and county highways.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    I like the idea of privatized highways. And I am actually a big time socialist…

    Zorro Reply:

    I and others don’t like that idea, next there will be unaccountable & unelected people running and owning government, they used to be called Kings/Queens, below them were Lords/Ladies, in other words Feudalism…

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Of you don’t like the privatized highway, don’t drive on it. Easy as that.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    If not of

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    no new taxes.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Expect something on the ballot from Jerry in fall 2016.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Actually, you forgot the 3rd way to reduce the price of oil: increase the supply. Although the global economy is slowing, it is also true that the U.S. has significantly increased the amount of oil that it extracts.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    We are awash in natural gas. One of the reasons why, just a few years ago, half of our electricity came from coal. It’s down to 40%.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Thank fracking, Natural gas reserves have grown even more than oil because of that technology

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    The reserves have not grown. Our ability to extract them has.

    Nathanael Reply:

    No, the US has not significantly increased the amount of oil it extracts.

    Saudi Arabia has; that’s what’s driving prices down.

    The US has significantly increased the amount of natural gas it extracts. This is short-lived and will collapse within 10 years. We’re nowhere near peak gas overall though, because there are all kinds of sources — such as the renewable ones! — which have barely even been touched.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    You can’t argue the reserves in the US and Canada don’t exist. Those reserves represent hundreds of years of use. Proven profitable at 50-70 a barrel they are eminently useable.

    Who cares if the Saudi’s and the Russians drive the current companies out of business, the reserves are there regardless. The price won’t go above 70 for any significant period because a new company will just start drilling them again

    Peak oil is a farce, it has been proven over and over again. You have to look at proven reserves, not the individual companies. There will always be another company to pump when the price is right

    Joe Reply:

    If peak oil production didn’t exist we wouldn’t be discussing tar sands. It’s based on Empirical data from oil well and oil field production. The farce is confusing peak oil to discredit the problem. Moving to a new, dirty polluting and distuctive energy source proves the point.

    Profitable with government subsidy and full cost ? In terms of CO2e it’s highly inefficient.

    The fossil fuel emissions used to extract and refine the resource is part of the cost. Light crude is about 25:1. 25 units of natural gas for every one expended. There developing the easy stuff now and it’s energy intensive and environmentally destructive.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    It is not inefficient. It is being sold at the historical average of cost. Oil from tar sands is different to process, but not “bad”. That’s the whole point. Tar sands used to be impossible to mine. No longer. Hence no peak oil

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    They weren’t impossible to mine. They were uneconomic to mine.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    They used to be both. There was a point you could not extract the oil from the stone (poetic). That was the state when I was in school 20 years ago. Then it was possible but cost 200-300 a barrel and you had to mine it out of ground first, Now down to 50-70 while still in the ground. Amazing progress.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    There’s a point where it can’t be extracted from conventional wells.

    http://www.popsci.com/archive-search?query=oil%20shale&page=1

    A very quick surf finds “too expensive”.

    Nathanael Reply:

    You don’t understand Hubbert Peak Oil theory, John. Learn it. Also, you’ve underestimated the actual production cost of oil from tar sands — it’s still over $70/bbl. The promoters lie about these numbers, but the truth is made clear when they go bankrupt due to low prices.

    Zorro Reply:

    Oil, Gas and Coal that are in the ground and that are not being extracted already, should stay in the Ground, never to be extracted, and I do mean Never. Those Oil, Gas and Coal reserves that are being extracted should be phased out, starting with Coal…

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    So you admit there are plenty of reserves? Because that is a different argument

    Zorro Reply:

    I didn’t say they were plentiful, and they are destructive, too much of what is a good thing, is a bad thing.

    Nathanael Reply:

    “But, even though Roubini is quoted in that first link saying the decline in prices is permanent, I tend to agree with the others who think that the Saudis simply cannot maintain this level of production for that much longer. ”

    Robert: professional estimates say that Saudi has enough foreign currency reserves to maintain this level of production for about 5 more years, until 2020.

    (With Saudi oil fields, there’s no problem producing the oil — they’re old-style gushers. The problem is that the Saudis balance their budget with oil sales, and around 2020 they’ll run out of cash, and if they don’t raise oil prices, they’ll have to raise taxes or cut services. Their residents would probably overthrow the government if they did either; they’re basically being bribed to not revolt.)

    This level of oil prices is not “permanent” but I’d bet on it lasting until roughly 2020.

    Nathanael Reply:

    John, this is exactly what we expect from Hubbert Peak Oil theory. A lot of people have said a lot of nonsense, but if you look at the actual Peak Oil theories, everything has been going exactly as predicted by Hubbert; each region’s conventional oil production is peaking on schedule. The US lower 48 peaked when he said it would, and prices have been higher ever since.

    Following peak, production in that region is *permanently* more expensive in real terms as “unconventional” technology gets used; each “unconventional oil” technology has its own peak curve and they’ve been peaking on schedule too, but the important point is that each one is far more expensive than the last, and no, they do NOT get meaningfully cheaper. The oil price in real terms is still higher than it was 20 years ago.

    What’s going on right now is quite simply that Saudi Arabia, which has been constraining production for decades, *and* has the cheapest-production-cost oil, decided to open the spigots and flood the market in order to gain market share and drive its competitors out of business. Peak *Saudi* oil is still predicted to be in the future.

    Perhaps the greatest surprise is that oil prices went so high without much switching to alternatives. Many Peak Oil theorists assumed that ludicrously expensive $30/bbl oil would lead to industries switching away from oil to cheaper alternatives.

    But a lot of industries stuck with oil anyway, perhaps because the alternatives weren’t as cheap as they were expected to be. Home heating has been abandoning oil, but slowly. Industrial processes have been replacing oil with much cheaper natural gas, but slowly. The electricity sector *did* completely abandon oil. Plastics production has been looking for other feedstocks. And most notably, transportation still burns a huge amount of oil. Although electricity is getting price-competitive for transportation, finally.

    I would not invest in oil right now; the industry is on its deathbed.

  12. AndyK
    Dec 16th, 2015 at 11:25
    #12

    build stations last.

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    Totally.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Not really feasible, because as BART found out, it’s much easier to sell off land that you don’t need than acquire some when you do…

  13. JJJJ
    Dec 16th, 2015 at 14:26
    #13

    Fresno Greyhound moves into the Amtrak station tomorrow. They’re abandoning their classic greyhound terminal to make way for HSR (they also dont need 15 bus slots, they only use 2-3). In theory, they will move back to HSR whenever the station opens.

    Also, fun fact from the Fresno Bee: The TGIF in Fresno opened in 1979. I would have guessed 1995. Apparently one of the first west coast locations. Also odd, it has been the one and only location ever since, and continues to be one of the only places in the part of the city where you can get a full meal after 10pm that doesnt come in a bag.

  14. Reedman
    Dec 16th, 2015 at 15:25
    #14

    The Washington DC Metro system got a $150 million “extra” from Congress in the latest spending bill.

    http://www.loudountimes.com/news/article/new_federal_spending_deal_adds_back_150_million_for_metro432

  15. Aarond
    Dec 16th, 2015 at 15:54
    #15

    Pretty obvious why. Even hardcore Tea Partiers in Congress know they can’t do their jobs if WMATA doesn’t work. They might drive in, but their support staffs don’t. Does WMATA even have a connection to Dulles?

    Aarond Reply:

    meant in reply to @Reedman

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The support staff doesn’t commute by airplane.

    Aarond Reply:

    But they do use the WMATA connection between the Capitol Complex and the Pentagon at least, I’m certain of it.

  16. JimInPollockPines
    Dec 16th, 2015 at 18:39
    #16

    otFeds Call Connecticut Key Player In Any Northeast Corridor Scheme

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    These plans are too ambitious.
    The current hsr time from BOS to NYP is 3:40
    The current hsr time from WAS to NYP is 3:25

    Wouldn’t a reasonable goal be to shave :40 of BOS and :25 off WAS and make them both and even 3:00?

    Shouldn’t they give up the dream a 220 corridor and just shoot for 186 where possible?
    And couldn’t those time reductions be accomplished by creating a set of high quality tracks and overhead within the exiting row while using some property takes to flatten the most offensive curves, combined with better trainsets and dispatching?

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    or we could carpet bomb something.

    Zorro Reply:

    The US military never refers to bombing like that.

    Bdawe Reply:

    Why are round numbers reasonable? They’re just round.

    There’s more bang-for-buck, Washington-Penn than Penn-Boston South thanks to higher populations, fewer geological obstacles, and generally more amenable existing right-of-way.

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    It was just an example not meant to be precise. The point was do something thats reasonable for a reasonable amount of money. Although there is something to be said for round numbers in the traveling public’s collective mind

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The current time for NY-DC on the fast trains is 2:53. Recently it’s been as low as 2:40. There was a brief period, when the Metroliners first arrived, when it was 2:30, partly by eliminating stops.
    New Portal Bridge saves a few minutes and new tunnels from Baltimore to West Baltimore save a few more. 2:30 should be easy to do. Even faster with better track and catenary. And beefier substations. And lighter trains.

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    that’s correct, I pulled up a regional instead of an Acela by mistake.

  17. JimInPollockPines
    Dec 16th, 2015 at 22:20
    #17

    after looking at the google view of orange county one can see it appears to a place that will be virtually impossible to ever serve with public transit. that said… and yeh its only lines on map… maybe a light rail loop like this? serves most of the cities main areas, hits the oc airport, the IRV, SNA and ANA Amtrak/metrolink stations, the stadium, Disney, the beach, cities, and some shopping areas. cant do much more than that in OC.

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    Maybe im secretly a southern Californian, but even as I was drawing this all I could think was that – nobody with a car and middle class income will ever use transit in the OC. This is purely for the sales girl who live in an apartment in santa ana to get to her macys job in Newport beach. Or for the guy who lives in a duplex in garden grove to get to hunington beach to set up his sidewalk t-shirt and cheap jewelry stand. ( ok it might be hard to carry all that stuff on light rail so maybe he works in the t shirt shop)
    and it may be useful the occasional air traveler getting to and from john wayne – but only if they are the working poor.

    Donk Reply:

    You’re right – Nobody from OC with a car will use these systems, they will just drive. And why not? Traffic isn’t bad and there is ample cheap parking. I would drive if I was them too.

    The only people who this would be useful for will be people coming from outside of OC – tourists who don’t have cars and people from LA or SD who don’t want to sit in traffic or pay the cost of parking at Disneyland or the Convention Center. Everywhere else in OC has mass amounts of free parking so you may as well drive.

    OC is a car mecca and there is basically no reason to take transit.

    swing hanger Reply:

    And the same can be said of Santa Clara County- there is a reason it’s (or at least SJ) been called “LA North” since the 70’s.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    That’s far from the only reason San Jose and Los Angeles are often compared as sister cities, but… along the same lines, both Silicon Valley and Hollywood are dependent on employers that have big campuses, and it was even worse when aerospace employed more people as well.

    However, asnine transit planning decisions are often the result of a county having a large number of incorporated cities fighting over the pie. Everyone has to get a piece of the action and that’s not always feasible with rail: you can’t give each city half a station…

    Danny Reply:

    sure you can! just put the station near the city boundary!

    Nathanael Reply:

    Like Texarkana Amtrak Station, which is actually half in one state and half in another. :-)

    synonymouse Reply:

    How many streetcar-light rail lines can you build in OC or LA for the price of a 20 mile quasi-base tunnel encountering a fault enroute?

    Ted Judah Reply:

    It was the same in LA County not that long ago.

    Even now, there’s too much focus on downtown LA, which unlike San Francisco, is losing jobs and not attracting much development compared to say, Hollywood.

    San Diego is a decent model for the other Southwest cities (Las Vegas, Phoenix, the OC) to follow as far as building light rail. If you can’t use transit to build density, at least use it to make your region more attractive to tourists… San Diego hasn’t excelled in this regard, but it’s still useful for tourists and locals going to Mexico…which is what counts in the end.

    J. Wong Reply:

    “[D]owntown LA, which unlike San Francisco, is losing jobs and not attracting much development”

    Do you realize how much housing is being created in downtown LA? Maybe they’re losing jobs but they are gaining residents.

    EJ Reply:

    Have you ever even been to downtown San Diego? It’s pretty dense, both with housing and employment. It’s questionable how much is due to the Trolley, but they’ve hardly failed to densify the downtown area.

    bixnix Reply:

    Not much development in downtown LA, really? It’s crane city right now.

    Peter Reply:

    Tourists are not the main source of passengers for the San Diego Trolley (or MTS in general). I’d wager the vast majority are people commuting for work or just residents generally riding for other reasons. Even the Blue Line to San Ysidro is used by many people to commute (lots of people commute across the border each day).

    Nathanael Reply:

    SD Trolley is an extremely busy core route for the locals. The thing is that the current routes cater mostly to a lower-income population, so a lot of higher-income people overlook it. The extension to UCSD will probably change that perception.

    StevieB Reply:

    Mapping 28 Projects on the Way in DTLA’s Booming South Park. In the 15 years since Staples Center opened at Figueroa and Eleventh, Downtown LA’s South Park neighborhood has undergone a complete transformation. What was once a sea of parking lots dotted with the odd warehouse or low-lying residential building is now a powerhouse mixed-use district filled with glassy towers and searingly bright screens. It may seem like we’ve already reached peak South Park, but really the neighborhood is just getting started: no fewer than 28 new developments are on the way, from skyscraping micro-cities to low-stakes wood-frame apartment buildings. Hollywood is building a dozen hotels but the Downtown Los Angeles South Park district is attracting massive development.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Most of the demand for housing in downtown Los Angeles is because there is a desire to be close to jobs there, such as law firms and government agencies for those people who have no kids and who want a short and easy commute.

    The redevelopment of Bunker Hill and the invasion of CalTrans’s bulldozers has left what is considered “downtown” without a real residentially-oriented neighborhood except Skid Row. SF and SD had better luck with transforming their post industrial downtown areas into lofts and condos because they were less racially diverse and “welcoming” to gentrification.

    And to be clear every inner city is thriving right now as far as constructions goes in California. It’s just that in downtown LA specifically, the number of residents moving in has not compensated for the decline in jobs pushing some density out because some of that investment is going other places like Hollywood and Venice, which feel more human-scale.

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    LA is a little different that other large cities too because its know for a particular lifestyle and standard of living. Its is specifically NOT new York or Chicago. People move there for this southern California lifestyle. That has always been the draw, the reason. Both la and sf were alternatives to the large dense dirty cities that people were escaping. SF was the small town that felt like a big city – or the big city that felt like a small town, which was really nice. And la was the big city that felt like a nice sunny warm suburb without urban ills, and with nice lawns and landscaping, a paradise that stretched for as far as the eye could see and where everyone had their little share.

    Danny Reply:

    without rain LA is EXTREMELY dirty: even the pigeons have schmutz

    it’s so big I’ve worked there 6 years and only seen the inside of buses–it’s basically Muncie even if you have a car; and I know for a fact that Chicago has lawns

    Ted Judah Reply:

    It’s true that SF and LA both contain much more single-family homes that you would see in Manhattan or older parts of Chicago. But most major American cities, including Washington DC, Boston, or even Phoenix are said to also be big cities that are really small towns.

    And either way, the fact that Asia is now just as much an influence on California as Latin America or the East Coast means that both cities are going to embrace the character of many Far East metros on a much grander scale in the future…

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    oh god lets hope that hellish scenario doesn’t come to fruition. There’s a reason California has always been a nice place to live. because its been pleasant. So yeh lets be in big rush to turn it into another overcrowded third world shithole with people crawling all over each other.

    no.

    Aarond Reply:

    Jim I’m totally alright with San Francisco becoming New Tokyo as long as I can ride between New Tokyo and New Sonora on a Shinkhansen with my qt 3.14 2dpd waifu. Unfortunately, that reality is coming to fruition in Texas instead ;___;

    On a more serious note:

    http://gyrovague.com/2015/12/18/the-last-subway-line-in-japan/

    Obviously, the opposite situation exists here in the US, but worth a read anyway.

    Miles Bader Reply:

    What a bizarre article… The author sounds like he’s personally offended and enraged by rail construction in Japan….

    Tokyo, at least, is widely quoted as saying they’ll shift to improving existing lines rather than building new ones cost of new underground lines has risen too much. But the system could clearly benefit from more capacity, and there’s still plenty of new construction and extensions scheduled or under construction. [The article author handwaves this away in the comments by saying “I meant new lines“…]

    synonymouse Reply:

    What would he say about Jerry’s PalmdaleRail? What a stark contrast to the US where we cannot even get trolleybuses on Geary. Oh, we’ll wait for Imperial broad gauge, more of a gadgetbahn than maglev. And a gadgetbahn that cannot and/or won’t even go driverless.

    swing hanger Reply:

    You know what they say about opinions and a certain part of our (lower) body- this blog article is no exception, written by some “consultant” (in what field??). The key point is not new construction, but improvements (and maintenance!) to existing lines, as Miles says. You can see many urban rail lines being improved with elevation, upgraded signalling, and rolling stock being replaced with more energy efficient models (the life cycle is 20 years). This doom and gloom writing about Japan is so cliche, that I reckon much of it is rooted in self-congratulation. While there is a shrinking population in Japan, it is not unique in the region- the other democracies in these region, Taiwan and S. Korea, face the same problems, but for some reason wrt these nations, the tenor from Western writers is different.

    synonymouse Reply:

    San Franhattan.

    And just who is gonna stop Jerry’s “overcrowded third world shithole with people crawling all over each other” Judge Kerry? ho ho ho

    J. Wong Reply:

    “[O]ver crowded third world shithole”? I’m guessing neither @JimInPollockPines” nor @synonymouse have seen SF lately. It’seems about as far from an overcrowded shithole as you can imagine.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    For the 9 gazillionth time before San Francisco can become Manhattan it has to become Queens. Then the Bronx, then Brooklyn and when the density doubles again, Manhattan.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    You know, there should be a tax for unoriginal wording in discussions like these… If California had a Dollar for every time someone writes “X would become a suburb of Y” or “a new Manhattan” California could have built three Maglev lines from Sacramento to San Diego, Fifty HSR lines crisscrossing the state or about half a hyperloop….

    Aarond Reply:

    the only way we could possibly get a manhattan-esqe SF is if we get both a second BART tube and a Caltrain/Amtrak tube to Oakland. Also a BART line down Geary/19th and Muni down the coast

    this is at least 50+ years off assuming CAHSR can get built in the first place

    StevieB Reply:

    Downtown Los Angeles residential construction is booming. In 2000, just 27,849 people lived downtown, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. By 2013, the population grew to 52,400, according to the Los Angeles Downtown Center Business Improvement District. That group estimates the population will surpass 75,000 when all the developments currently under construction are completed.The Exploding Population of DTLA

    Thirteen Projects, Nineteen Cranes, One Massive Photo

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    There is a downtown Los Angeles? I thought that was like downtown Managua…

    Danny Reply:

    OC was *created* by the Red Car system and is basically a grid until you hit the Y

    even South County barflies want the Metrolink running more and more often. *the Metrolink*

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Exactly.

    It’s the same way San Mateo feels about CalTrain…a nice commute service free of urban ills and designed to move people long distances, not around town in dense neighborhoods…

  18. Eric
    Dec 17th, 2015 at 09:53
    #18

    http://onlinepubs.trb.org/onlinepubs/circulars/ec058/15_02_Swanson.pdf
    New light rail type with switchable 3rd rail. Electric rail in segments; only the portion directly under the train is ever energized, so the rest of the rail is safe and can be touched with no problems.

  19. Joe
    Dec 17th, 2015 at 11:59
    #19

    SF Chronicle

    High Speed Hyperbole

    Amazingly John Boyd at SfGate thinks HSR has spent 68 Billion on the worse boondoggle ever in the US.

    America’s 20 biggest wastes of money ever
    John Boyd | on December 17, 2015

    IMAGE 21 OF 22 No. 1 – California High-Speed Rail, Southern California

    How Much Has Been Spent: $68 billion
    Why It’s a Boondoggle: A bullet train could greatly reduced Southern California’s notoriously bad traffic. Construction on the first 29-mile segment began in early 2015, a full seven years after voters approved funding, but by then the projected $33 billion cost had more than doubled. Only a little more than a third of total funding has been accounted for and some opponents already are trying to get the project killed altogether.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Quite a few of his boondoggles are highway projects, which is expected since so much is spent on highways. The SuperCollider should not be on his list, as it was a basic science project killed by know-nothings and Reaganite thinking.

    Hardly any of PBCAHSR critics have an inkling of what’s really wrong at the heart of the project. Morons and incompetents have co-opted it and dumbed down a viable idea to a scab-together of subsidized commute ops.

    America’s biggest problem today is a failed political system that has degenerated into economic and social royalism. An entrenched “enforcement class” comprising the politicians at all levels, the cops, the military, the courts, the media, the lawyers. They produce essentially nothing but are there to protect the interests and power of the “royals”, the one percent.

    In California we have now an inviolate one party patronage machine that executes the bidding of outfits like the Tejon Ranch Co.

    Eric Reply:

    Needless to say, CAHSR has not spent $68 billion. It has *plans* to spend $68 billion. I wonder how many other errors are in the article.

    Also, for each cost given, I would like to know: is that high or low? Was it worth it or not worth it?

    BTW here’s the link:
    http://www.chron.com/national/article/America-s-20-biggest-wastes-of-money-ever-6704777.php#photo-9109815

  20. synonymouse
    Dec 17th, 2015 at 12:03
    #20
  21. Reality Check
    Dec 17th, 2015 at 15:41
    #21

    The Black Dust You Breathe on BART

    […]

    EBAYS students measured the concentration of particulate matter (PM) at BART stations — and found that PM concentration at Embarcadero was “through the roof,” says Kevin Cuff, EBAYS’s program director. “It was significantly in excess of what the EPA says are safe levels… It’s a significant health concern to children and adults with upper respiratory issues.”

    Most scientists agree that transit system dust is caused by the friction between tracks and wheels when brakes are applied. The EBAYS students hypothesize that Embarcadero Station gets inundated with that dust — which is primarily metal — as trains arrive through the Transbay Tube. They plan to present their findings at the American Geophysical Union’s Fall Meeting this week at the Moscone Center.

    The students aren’t the only ones who have noticed the poor air quality at the Embarcadero BART station. Chris Finn, the president of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555, which represents BART drivers and station agents, says the issue — along with noise pollution — has arisen with his membership, some of whom breathe that air for their entire shift, every day.

    But BART staff seem less concerned. “This dust has been analyzed and found not hazardous to breathe,” says spokeswoman Alicia Trost

    […]

    synonymouse Reply:

    It is Bechtel pixie dust.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Straighten me out on this but why would braking produce more particulate matter than straight running unless the wheels are sliding. I doubt BART would want the latter as it would produce flat wheels.

    How about flange wear caused by BART’s wheelset cylindrical tyre profile?

    J. Wong Reply:

    There’s a reason your brake pads wear out. The dust is from whatever BART uses for brake pads; the pads press against the wheel and use friction to slow it at the same time the contact is abrading the pad.

    swing hanger Reply:

    I don’t know about the specifics of BART rolling stock, but brake dust is generated by the friction between brake shoes and the wheels on bogies (and perhaps a lesser extent with disc brakes, mounted either on the axle or on the wheels in the case of motorised bogies). On many modern rolling stock, braking begins first with dynamic/regenerative braking, with friction braking cutting in below a certain speed. Where I live, you can see the effects of brake dust on the ballast of tracks, with the ballast considerably darker on the left side tracks of a double track main on approach to a station (trains run on the left here, they run on the right in the U.S.).

    synonymouse Reply:

    So it is essentially “freight car” brakes, not disk? I wonder if the forces in play here may have something to do with producing corrugation. Friction subtly deforming the surface of the rail.

    For BART Brutalism is not just a snide mindset but a way of life. Who is doing the “analysis”, PB?

    Reality Check Reply:

    It makes no difference whether they’re wheel brakes or disk brakes, pads are converted into dust. This is easy to see on the front wheels of cars with disc brakes — which is essentially all of them. Unless washed frequently, ventilated (non-solid) wheels of cars with disc brakes get covered in a layer of very dark dust.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Thanks for the information and example.

    Nathanael Reply:

    That’s why there are relatively new rules on what brake pads on cars (and on railroad cars) can be made out of. They used to be asbestos!

  22. Reality Check
    Dec 18th, 2015 at 12:46
    #22

    Palo Alto calls for collaboration in HSR design
    Rail Committee drafts letter calling for more inclusive process in designing Peninsula segment

    […] In the latest sign of the increasing sense of urgency, the council has just re-activated its Rail Committee […]

    In its first official action Wednesday, the committee authorized a letter to the rail authority formally requesting that the state agency adopt an approach known as “context sensitive solution” (CSS), which has been used in the past by the state Department of Transportation to design highways. The letter takes particular issue with the rail authority’s proposed deadline for the environmental analysis of the San Francisco-to-San Jose segment.

    “The City of Palo Alto feels strongly that trying to complete such a complex process on this timeline is not only rushed but is likely to result in less than desirable results,” the letter states.

    The city requests in the letter that the rail authority adjust its timeline “so it can include adequate time for the EIR and CSS processes.”

    […]

    […] the tone of Wednesday’s discussion was markedly different from prior meetings. Rather than defending the city from high-speed rail, today the committee is looking for more engagement with the rail authority. Instead of letters of protest and technical comments about environmental documents, today’s council is seeking a more direct conversation with the decision makers.

    Councilman Pat Burt, who chairs the Rail Committee, has been participating in policymaker workshops that feature engineers working on high-speed rail. He also recently had a meeting with Sen. Jerry Hill and Dan Richard, executive chair of the rail authority’s board of directors. Burt said Wednesday that Richard proved sympathetic, if noncommittal, to the city’s call for a “context sensitive solutions” approach.

    Burt said he made a point in his meetings with rail officials that the “accelerated” process for the environmental review is unrealistic and that it amounts to “ramrodding this (project) going forward.”

    […]

    In addition to a slower design process, the council hopes to secure the rail authority’s cooperation on the subject of positioning the rail tracks either over or under the streets that intersect them, an approach known as “grade separation.” The council’s preferred option is a trench for the new rail line.

    So far, neither the rail authority nor Caltrain have agreed to pursue rail separation, which would have an estimated price tag of more than $1 billion.

    […]

    EJ Reply:

    Oh boo-hoo. They thought they could just obstruct the project and kill it entirely. Now, since they wasted all that time, they want to slow down the EIR. Cry me a river, Palo Alto.

    les Reply:

    They were counting on Valley farmers and Denham to stop the project but no such luck. They should take what CAHSR gives them at this point and live with it.

    Joe Reply:

    Bakersfield is doing just that but Palo Alto is not going to roll over.

    Dan Richard and Admiral Akbar know CSS is a trap. Kings county made the same demand and it was rejected.

    There is such a divide between many residents expectations and reality. Any negotiated and drawn out process to change expectations is incompatible with the project timeline.

    CAARDs been leading the way. Great job. They just posted a critical analysis of contractor Tutor’s finances.

    EJ Reply:

    As a long-time Southern Californian, I’m prepared to believe anything Tutor-related is shady. If CARRD has the goods, they should publish them.

    That’s not the same as Palo Alto whining because they’re allegedly rushed into a process that they avoided and dragged their feet on for years.

    Joe Reply:

    It’s FUD.

    One time Tutor was the first bid and lower than the Authority estimated. Thier finances, cash flow (CARRD’s spin) made it a questionable bid and not the success CAHSR claimed. Their finances made Tutor’s team ineligible.

    Since then other bids have come in under estimated cost.

    I don’t like Tutor but it’s a matter of CA overweighting the cost grade and deemphasizing technical aspects of the contractor bids. Also Tutor is not likely to bully the authority with nunsance lawsuits. Too much at stake for CA. If they want more money they’ll have a fight.

    EJ Reply:

    Well, in SoCal Tutor goes back a lot further than CAHSR. http://la.curbed.com/archives/2012/04/the_red_line_construction_litigation_that_wont_die.php

    EJ Reply:

    It’s pretty rich, you of all people accusing other people of indulging in spin and FUD. Considering your track record. It’s weird, though, why you’re so passionate about defending CAHSR, in your own lame way, since you don’t seem to have any vested interest in it.

    keith saggers Reply:

    Palo Alto Chief Transportation Official Joshuah Mello also said there is “somewhat of a consensus” forming around the idea of Santa Clara County establishing a pool of funds that would be used for grade separation around the county — a system that is currently in place in San Mateo County.
    Gennady Sheyner Palo Alto Weekly

    Joe Reply:

    Any such fund requires competitive proposals. Palo Alto would need to be decisive and plan quickly to beat out sister cities such as mountain view. I can’t see that happening.

    Robert S. Allen Reply:

    CPUC has safety oversight responsibility over about 13,250 rail crossings of public and 3,230 of private roads, of which about 10,000 are at grade. California law gives CPUC jurisdiction over highway-rail grade crossings.

    I have not heard of CPUC allowing Caltrain to increase the 79 mph speed maximum to 110 mph or higher, or to add another carrier’s fleet of HSR trains on its track running at close to the maximum speed.

    This was the same CPUC that kept BART’s trans-Bay tube closed for 3 1/2 months after a fire in 1979. Two decades later, Amtrak’s crack “City of New Orleans” on 79 mph track derailed two locomotives and 11 of 13 passenger cars after hitting a heavy truck at a Bourbonnais, Illinois grade crossing.

    CPUC could well condition CHSRA authority to operate on Caltrain tracks at over 79 mph on their being fenced and grade separated. HSR could well have to end at San Jose, with transfers there to Caltrain, Capitol Corridor, ACE, Amtrak, VTA light rail, or the planned BART extension to San Jose.

    Indeed, CPUC could well find 79 mph too fast for push mode or MU trains which lack a locomotive in front shielding passenger cars from a scene of impact.

    Peter Reply:

    You do realize that while the CPUC may be in charge of permitting for grade crossing (where to place them), the speed of trains through grade crossing is directly relayed by the FRA. And unless the FRA had delegated its authority on this issue (and I don’t believe it has), the CPUC has no say on this matter.

    Robert S. Allen Reply:

    The speed of trains through grade crossings is only one of many factors in the CPUC RCEB Rail Corridor
    Safety Enhancement Program and their Highway-Rail Grade Crossing Action Plan. CPUC not only has a say, but has jurisdiction.

    Robert S. Allen Reply:

    The speed of trains through grade crossings is only one of many factors in the CPUC RCEB Rail Corridor
    Safety Enhancement Program and their Highway-Rail Grade Crossing Action Plan. CPUC not only has a say, but has jurisdiction.

    Robert S. Allen Reply:

    Sorry for the duplication. I was trying to edit, not repeat.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Even though a corridor has a speed limit I’m sure that’s a maximum. I’ve never seen any of the Bullets do 79mph thru San Mateo. That means they can increase the speed limit to 110 or 125 mph while still maintaining safety at grade crossings (meaning the trains won’t be going any where near the max. where there are grade crossings).

    Clem Reply:

    CPUC can and does impose more stringent regulations than the FRA, and there is nothing illegal about that under Federal law.

    Aarond Reply:

    The real reason this is happening is because of San Jose, who as we all know is getting a BART connection into Diridon. Santa Clara Co. doesn’t want to deal with the political hassle of extending BART north of Diridon (which BART proposed using Caltrain’s ROW) especially from Caltrain itself.

    But the tax revenue is still there, so SC Co. moved it into Caltrain grade separation a few months back I *think*. I remember reading about how they specifically moved funds from the Santa Clara City BART extension to Caltrain but I can’t find the specific source right at the moment. Palo Alto, obviously, doesn’t want to pay for nothing so they want this money to cover the project they are opposed to.

    By the way, did BART decide on exactly how they’re going to connect into Diridon yet?

    Robert S. Allen Reply:

    Planning is by VTA, not BART. Beyond Berryessa, they plan a long subway, under 101 and Santa Clara Street. Better would be two phases:
    A) Along line and grade of former WP over 101 to an Alum Rock intermodal station (28th and Santa Clara Streets);
    B) Subway just under San Fernando Street, with an SJSU station near 10th Street.

    Much shorter, less costly subway, with good 101 and downtown San Jose connections long before the subway as planned can be funded and built.

    That’s what I sought as Chairman of Fremont-South Bay PAC that chose WP route to San Jose.

    Aarond Reply:

    Actually, I meant that question less of which ROW, or if they’re going to allow for run-through service (or do Diridon in a Milbrae-like setup).

    Robert S. Allen Reply:

    It’s a VTA project. I understand the yard would be in Santa Clara, with the Santa Clara station hopefully linked to SJC (Mineta San Jose Airport). Design concepts appear fluid at this time. This would make a great HSR station, but that is not in the cards.

    Joey Reply:

    It’s not in the cars because having two HSR stations that close together doesn’t make sense in any universe. And connecting HSR to a secondary airport doesn’t make sense in most universes.

    Joe Reply:

    It makes sense to have close stations in San Francisco and in WADC. Same for San Jose.

    Santa Clara / San Jose should have a VTA monthly pass for unlimited rides between all Santa Clara BART stations.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Pick the same platform heights etc and the commuter station becomes an HSR station when you hang out a shingle and install a TVM.

    Robert S. Allen Reply:

    Joey, HSR to SJC in the Bay Area makes even more sense than HSR to BUR in the LA area. Both SJC and BUR serve important regional markets and merit HSR stations.

    synonymouse Reply:

    I assume you mean hsr from points in the San Joaquin Valley to SJ. That is a recipe for early failure, but perhaps merciful.

    Joey Reply:

    They serve regional markets that are going to be decimated when HSR opens. The best bets for HSR connections are intercontinental and to a lesser extent transcontinental flights. No one is going to ride the train for an hour, sit in the airport for an hour, and then spend another hour on a plane if driving the same trip doesn’t take much longer.

    Clem Reply:

    Operationally, does BART really need massive amounts of train parking at the end of the line? End the extension at SJ Diridon and save a billion. Use Newhall yard for HSR.

    Eric M Reply:

    And please, for the love of god, move that Caltrain maintenance yard to the outside of the turn and straighten the curve. What a buffoon move placing it the way they did.

    Mark Duncan Reply:

    Union Pacific insisted that CEMOF be located to the west of its track. Caltrain would have preferred to have CEMOF on the east side of the ROW where the Lenten roundhouse was located, but this would have required frequent crossings of the Union Pacific track.

    Joey Reply:

    The solution is simple: route the UPRR track along one side and the passenger tracks around the other side. Occasional fright and Amtrak runs are not common enough that they’d interfere meaningfully with vehicle traffic to and from the facility.

    Roland Reply:

    The CEMOF parabolica was the brainchild of this genius: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t994ePJb00A#t=981.

    Reality Check Reply:

    Citation needed. I thought Caltrain staff came up with the CEMOF design all on their own.

    Roland Reply:

    I wish I could help but SamTrans have deleted all Caltrain Board meeting archives prior to January 2013: http://www.caltrain.com/about/bod/Board_of_Directors_Meeting_Calendar/Board_of_Directors_Meetings_Archives.html

    Robert S. Allen Reply:

    Clem, Santa Clara Caltrain, with an SJC link, has huge patronage potential for both HSR and BART, especially if VTA light rail can go there too. Running the tail track beside Caltrain toward Sunnyvale may be better than along the Alviso line as proposed.

    Robert S. Allen Reply:

    That’s the BART tail track.

    Clem Reply:

    Oh, I get it, if some people had their way the BART “tail tracks” would run all the way up to Millbrae… But in the real world, where transit funding is limited, it makes more sense to terminate BART at San Jose and make the transfer to Caltrain super convenient.

    Jerry Reply:

    The BART “tail tracks” run all the way from Millbrae into Burlingame.

    Ted K. Reply:

    FYI – The Millbrae Stn. is a block or so north of the Millbrae – B’game border. So it’s not much of a stretch for the tail tracks / mini-yard to bulge a little into B’game. The intrusion ends less than a couple of blocks later just before Trousdale (I-280 connection).

    Ted K. Reply:

    My apologies – “before” should be “after”. I just checked Google Maps (el camino real and trousdale …) and saw the tracks going a half block more past the chocolate factory (Guittard – awesome scent plume at night).

    Neil Shea Reply:

    As Robt Allen says “Terminate it in San Jose” — BART that is.
    As Clem says, save a $Billion
    That money can then be applied to grade seps on the Peninsula Corridor, making everyone happy: Robt Allen, Clem, Caltrain, City of Palo Alto, HSR, me. Win-win-win.

    Meanwhile when SJC airport and the region are ready for a rail connection to the terminals — e.g. a tunnel under the runways as proposed — create a standard gauge Airport Express (light rail) from Diridon, stop in S. Clara, and then at the North and South terminals. One easy connection for passengers from HSR, BART, Caltrain, CapCor, ACE, Amtrak, VTA, etc.

    Roland Reply:

    Clem is talking about extending the Santa Clara “tail tracks” north to Millbrae (not south to Burlingame).
    The actual cost of extending “classic BART” from Diridon to Santa Clara is $1.5B if you include the $400M Newhall HMF and the loss of 50 acres of prime TOD land behind Avaya stadium ($100M).
    This was the prime reason for initiating the Sprinter project (8 stations, including Diridon and Santa Clara) for +/- $250M. http://vta-sprinter.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/BART-DMU-Stations.png

    Clem Reply:

    That’s exactly the trade-off that needs to be presented to Santa Clara County voters before the 2016 election: it’s either a bunch of sorely needed grade separations, OR the Santa Clara appendix to the BART project. Not both.

    Jerry Reply:

    @Clem
    Do Santa Clara County voters know how to do trade offs. Or even Palo Alto?
    Most want to have their cake, etc.

    Peter Reply:

    You can’t put this to the voters. They don’t know anything about this kind of stuff. You need to get the VTA board (and more importantly the VTA staff) on board with prioritizing Caltrain improvements over BART extension.

    Jeff Carter Reply:

    @Clem “it makes more sense to terminate BART at San Jose and make the transfer to Caltrain super convenient.”

    That is sacrilege…

    Our leaders have no clue about convenience.

    Look at Millbrae, connecting from southbound BART to southbound Caltrain you have several flights of stairs, world’s slowest elevators, frequently out of service escalators, very little shelter from the elements, a bus turnaround far removed from train platforms… The El Camino buses don’t even use the bus turnaround any more. They wasted too much time circumnavigating left turns, traffic signals, etc. to get to the thing. Now buses stop on El Camino near the station and people have to figure out how to get to Caltrain/BART.

    No coordination of fares or schedules. But then how can you coordinate a service with basic service that runs once per hour, vs. one with basic service every 15 minutes.

    Millbrae was supposed to be the ultimate multi-modal station with super convenient connections, but in reality, it is a prime example of how to not build a transit station.

    And let’s not forget the 33,000 daily riders that are supposed to be using Millbrae BART.

    Peter Reply:

    Santa Clara has no “huge patronage potential”. There already is a relatively convenient free public transit connection at Santa Clara, and it’s heavily underutilized. Unless airline traffic SJC goes through the roof (and they’ve been pretty unsuccessful at bringing in more traffic), transit patronage at Santa Clara will continue to approach zero.

    Jeff Carter Reply:

    @Robert S Allen: Huge patronage potential? I see it every day at Millbrae, all 33,000 of them ;-)

    Jon Reply:

    It makes zero sense for either HSR or BART to serve Santa Clara. The only possible reason is to serve SJC, but it would actually cost the same to connect SJC to Diridon with a people mover as it would to connect SJC to Santa Clara. Although Santa Clara looks closer on a map, tunneling under the runways would be prohibitively expensive, and if you go round the airport to get to Santa Clara the mileage works out about the same as a Diridon connection. So, add BART and HSR service to Diridon, and leave Santa Clara as a Caltrain only station.

    Jerry Reply:

    Is Santa Clara also an ACE station?

    Jon Reply:

    Yep

    Jon Reply:

    Okay, so “leave Santa Clara as a Caltrain/ACE/Amtrak station” would be more accurate.

    Reality Check Reply:

    How about just saying “extending BART past SJ Diridon makes no sense”?

    Jon Reply:

    Because stopping HSR trains at Santa Clara, which was also under discussion, also makes no sense.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Oh it makes a lot of sense…but extending BART would be a subsidy by other Bay Area counties (and Santa Clara County itself) to the few cities between Milbrae and Diridon that get a BART station.

    ACE is, of course, going away in 2017 as we know it, and may continue to serve Santa Clara or may not.

    Clem Reply:

    That’s a joke, right? Santa Clara County is the sole reason ACE exists at all.

    Aarond Reply:

    Why not just have HSR stops at the TT and Diridon? SFO flyers have to connect to BART anyway. I don’t see the point in having HSR stations anywhere else on the peninsula, except maybe Milbrae (though, should BART ever go up 101 this would become moot).

    Also, if we’re going to talk about potential HSR stations, RWC and SMC are far better candidates than Santa Clara city or Palo Alto. RWC in particular makes the most sense as they’re the county seat, and have high-density stuff next to their station now.

    Nathanael Reply:

    If Palo Alto wants to grade-separate, they can put up the money for it. They’re certainly rich enough to fund the $1 billion locally.

    That’s what Berkeley did with BART if I remember correctly.

    Robert S. Allen Reply:

    Tunneling BART through Berkeley (at the city’s expense) adjusted for inflation cost far more than would the grade separations. Right on, Nathanael.

    synonymouse Reply:

    And worth every penny. But BART is only 2 tracks.

  23. Lewellan
    Dec 18th, 2015 at 18:36
    #23

    Look otherwise decent fellows/ladies, progressives, environmentally conscientious Seattlers, (earn the modern ‘ite’ before using it) and friends of Seattle’s Seattlers: I am truly sorry for the slaps across the face to wake you the hell you up, to a potential dreadful tragedy the Bertha tunnel undoubtedly poses and will come about. Can you imagine this prospect ignored by my own and/or your betters, professionals who pretend their absence of concern isn’t tantamount to heresy, for better or worse. Imagine historic buildings collapsing. Imagine unexpected modern buildings too falling and more falling to the bulldozer, after extreme settling that CANNOT be controlled nor stopped!!

    That charge cannot be honestly ignored, as so many have, adding insult to emphasize superiority. Silicone Valley, your brethren Seattlers are in danger, an actual design engineer perspective.

    Thanks for letting me get that out. It’s important.
    Still promoting the Seattle Circulator Plan.
    Haven’t seen it? So not surprised. Discussion?
    Why bother with Mr L’s completed design all electric downtown study results.
    It’s ALL electric, what more need you know to assume positive results.
    Cost? Don’t bother with money already NOT being spent well.
    The seawall is weak. Should more money be spent strengthening it?
    Naw, just plug the thing together purdy, don’t mention structural integrity stuff.
    More sorry than you’ll ever know to insist again, Seattle’s Seattlers are in danger.

    Wish them a merry christmas and new year
    AFTER stopping BERTHA by the 23rd D-Day
    an officially delared public rejection borne of fear and dread.

    Please post it around.thanx

    So anyway, in there is a sort of apology plus
    an explanation for my fear and loathing,
    and seething the worst charges as slap of face, mostly.
    Truly, I am afraid of Buffet, Bryant, Wyatt, and
    entire West Coast Port Authority leadership,
    neglect, Balkanization, priorities.
    More horrible rail prosects through Washington than Oregon,
    sorry to have to make the charge again while apologizing,
    for probably near the last time after the 23rd, D-Day,
    or whenever these people sitting more than hard working,
    and building new sidewalks, but a seawall and ‘seawalk’ that will face damage.
    Did I just coin a phrase? “SeaWalk” perhaps?
    Get your act together. You’re being lied to,
    deceived, mislead horribly in transportation planning,
    sort of a 1-step ahead, 2-steps back sort of affliction.
    Thanks for the renderings to down after the future.
    After the future, those renderings will grow as verdant gardening.
    After the future always behind the scary nerd design engineer artist.

    Seattle’s Seattlers, I present you your future: Disastrous or Excelento.
    Stop Bertha as proposed. Period. Duh. You’re nuts to let it happen.
    Stop by the 23rd and THEN have a merry christmas newyear, OKAY?

    Aarond Reply:

    What’s the status on Bertha? Wikipedia tells me it’s 10% of the way it’s intended to go and still shut down due to maintenance issues.

  24. JimInPollockPines
    Dec 18th, 2015 at 21:59
    #24
  25. David M
    Dec 19th, 2015 at 08:44
    #25

    FRA decision on matching funds issue: http://www.gao.gov/products/B-325583 …we conclude that while the Authority has paid less than had been required under the original terms of the Agreement, the Authority has provided its matching share contributions to date consistent with the Agreement as amended, and thus is not in violation of the Agreement.

    Roland Reply:

    Amazing things can happen when you buy the right people:
    1/15/2014: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SjlmHHh_kZE#t=92
    1/21/2015: http://www.progressiverailroading.com/people/article/Hedlund-joins-Parsons-Brinckerhoff-as-director-of-publicprivate-partnerships–43279

    “The firms’ ability to bond with the boards that oversee them seems to go beyond just doling out campaign cash. Both firms are known for becoming so intermeshed with the government transit agencies that hire them and the transit boards that oversee them that it’s difficult to tell where one ends and the other begins” http://coronadocommonsense.typepad.com/coronado_common_sense/2010/03/taken-for-a-ride-parsons-brinckerhoff-expose.html

  26. Roland
    Dec 19th, 2015 at 17:10
    #26

    OT: Spacex Countdown (T-23:50:00) http://www.spacex.com/webcast/

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Space X is slower than the Saturn V and costs more and does not even get me to the moon. It is stupid. A boondoggle!

    (did I get the usual hyperloop fan right?)

    Zorro Reply:

    The Falcon 9 works better than the last rocket Germany made, the A5…

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    I don’t care which country the ol’ Nazi von Braun build his weapons errr…. rockets for. And given that you compare a design that is seventy ears obsolete with what Musk does today kind of proves my point that I was not even making. Musk did shave off a bit of unused lard by replacing ancient electromechanical technology in rocketry with computer systems… But that does not mean he knows the first thing about building concrete pillars in the central valley…

    Nathanael Reply:

    “Musk did shave off a bit of unused lard by replacing ancient electromechanical technology in rocketry with computer systems…”
    Yep, this is what saved so much on the price of the rockets.

    Musk has not come up with anything similar for civil construction. And the funny thing is, there probably *are* similar ways to save money; Musk is just looking in the wrong place. Seattle saved a lot of money on Link rail to the airport by manufacturing lots of identical concrete parts for the elevated guideway in factories, and only assembling them on site, rather than the traditional method of pouring concrete on site. There have to be other things which could be done along those lines.

    Roland Reply:

    I did not know that a Saturn V was capable of landing the first stage back from space 9 1/2 minutes after launch.

  27. Jerry
    Dec 20th, 2015 at 23:41
    #27

    A quote from the NY Times:
    “If we are funded for it and Congress says you are going to have a ninth cutter, I guess that is how it goes. But we are good with eight.”
    CHAD SAYLOR, a Coast Guard spokesman, on financing secured by lobbyists and lawmakers in a tax and spending bill approved by Congress.
    So do we have any HSR lobbyists that can get us an extra train???

    synonymouse Reply:

    Their newer vessels have chronic engine problems. So why not an extra one.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Indeed why don’t we? I for one would like some Dollar diplomacy that “forces” Latin American countries to build rail infrastructure… US and European influence has forced them to do worse…

  28. Alex
    Dec 21st, 2015 at 20:18
    #28

    Is it not going to have rent-a-car counters? Seems important for tourists. I ask since Robert only mentions shuttle buses to Hotels….

    Roland Reply:

    Who needs buses when you can blow $700M on pods?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t994ePJb00A#t=981

    Miles Bader Reply:

    Heh, are they attempting to rebrand PRT…? ><

Comments are closed.