San Jose Loves Idea of Starting HSR Service in the North

Jan 25th, 2016 | Posted by

San Jose CalTrain station

I mean, this doesn’t really count as “news” given how obvious the positive reaction would be, but it’s still noteworthy that leaders in Silicon Valley welcomed the idea of building the Initial Operating Segment for high speed rail in the northern part of the state, from San José to Bakersfield:

“This would seriously be a game-changing win,” said Carl Guardino of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, who also sits on the California Transportation Commission. “One of the big winners would actually be our efforts to electrify Caltrain. High-speed rail comes to San Jose and we electrify Caltrain between San Jose and San Francisco; the winner is everyone who depends on additional speed, with less noise and less pollution.”

…a northern route would be a boon for commuters who live in the affordable Central Valley and work in and around San Jose, said former Santa Clara County Supervisor Rod Diridon Sr., who sat on the California High-Speed Rail Authority board until 2010 and strongly supports the bullet train.

“Right now we have 50,000 commuters every day coming north from the Central Valley,” he said. “Highway 152 and I-580 get jampacked, and it’s taking people 21/2 hours to come from Fresno to work.”

Guardino’s support is a big deal, suggesting local industry would really like to see this happen. And Diridon is right about the importance of providing a good alternative to driving on 152 and 580.

Others in San José are welcoming, but also aware of the challenges ahead, like the city’s mayor:

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said he’d heard rumblings that the city may be back in play for the early spur. Still, he said, he’s “not jumping for joy.”

“What would be good for San Jose and Silicon Valley would be to have a completed line that connects the entire state,” he said. “I’m not terribly interested in political battles over whether it gets to one city before another. I’m more interested in either getting it done completely, or focusing those dollars on intercity transit systems like BART.”

As an elected official who has to deal with the Legislature it’s understandable that Liccardo’s comments were measured. He’s aware that there may be some legislators from Southern California who are unhappy about this idea – though it is worth noting that so far, the comments quoted in the media have come from ex-legislators like Richard Katz.

Liccardo might also be thinking about the unresolved questions of how to get HSR tracks from Diridon Station to Gilroy – questions that helped lead the California High Speed Rail Authority to decide to put the IOS in the south:

When Diridon was on the rail board, the idea was to bring it north to the Bay Area. But he said it became problematic because there wasn’t consensus on what form or path it would take. So the southern option came to the fore.

Now “there may be a window of opportunity to have the San Jose extension be done first,” he said. But that would require a concerted effort and concrete decisions on a subject that concerns residents who live in areas that the tracks would cut through.

“If it ran adjacent to the Union Pacific right of way it can be done quickly and inexpensively,” Diridon said. But that route also cuts through San Jose’s Willow Glen neighborhood, and the people there are “not excited about that,” he added.

An alternative such as a tunnel running between the Tamien and Diridon stations would be more acceptable to residents, but the added costs of putting the tracks underground would likely torpedo the plan, he said.

“We are talking about something that brings great benefits, but also comes with great impacts that no one takes lightly, nor should they,” said Guardino. “The outreach has to be thorough and thoughtful.”

There’s really no way to avoid these kinds of issues. Sometimes people who live near a proposed route don’t want it, and that opposition isn’t going to go away immediately or even in the space of a few years just because you focus on building somewhere else. Eventually the questions about how to build the HSR tracks south of Diridon Station were going to have to be answered, so that might as well happen now.

That said, the challenges facing an IOS from San José to Bakersfield pale in comparison to the challenges currently facing a Merced to LA route. The main unresolved issues along a northern IOS, as I understand them, are:

• How to get the tracks from Diridon Station south to the alignment along Monterey Road south of Tamien

• Where the Gilroy HSR station would go

• Any remaining (or potential) legal or environmental challenges to the routing east of Pacheco Pass, along the 152 corridor

• The final design of the Chowchilla Wye

Those are all much more easily resolved – and for a lower price – than the big challenge of how to get the tracks from Palmdale to Burbank, given the costs of a long tunnel under the San Gabriel Mountains and the fact that such a route has just as much opposition as the Highway 14 route.

It’ll be interesting to see what Southern California elected leaders have to say about this plan, especially those in the Legislature. They might not have a problem with it, as long as projects such as run-through tracks at LA Union Station remain funded.

  1. Peter
    Jan 25th, 2016 at 15:56
    #1

    Gee, I wonder if this has anything to do with the Authority moving up the Peninsula EIR.

    Joe Reply:

    It’s smart to have options.

    The authority also granted burbank $800,000 to study station location options. I see that as a carrot to encourage HSR while the north segment is a stick of local politicians can’t agree on a way from Palmdale to Burbank.

    Gilroy has gotten similar support for station site planning.

    Roland Reply:

    A Station Area Planning Agreement is not a grant.

    Joe Reply:

    Oh please.

    Granted also means to give something requested.

    Let’s see how Burbank is funded – legal mechanism.

    Grants and Cooperative Agreements are the mechanisms to send funding and collectively fall under the description of a funding agreement.

    In this case the state mechanism is a grant.

    The Burbank City Council voted to accept the state grant, which is largely made up of 2009 federal stimulus money and includes $200,000 from California’s cap-and-trade program, at the end of September. The money will also be used to explore opportunities for related economic development and sustainability in the airport area.

  2. Travis D
    Jan 25th, 2016 at 17:35
    #2

    How much closer to a formal route adoption are the northern segments than the southern ones? Is the San Jose to Merced EIR close to completion?

    Seems to me that with lots of money to spend and time ticking away building north makes sense since the routes south of Bakersfield are all up in the air.

  3. Joe
    Jan 25th, 2016 at 17:38
    #3

    The UP ROW may save cost but cuts through Gilroy and Morgan Hill which has encouraged relatively dense infill along the tracks in the past ten years. Running 220 mph trains is going to have an impact without very good noise mitigation. Unlike the Pennisula, there is no plan to leverage HSR to improve Caltrain service. Without some carrot offering some gain for the impact, I think the authority will have to follow 101 from Gilroy north.

    Clem has implement the FRA noise propagation model in excel. People are going to have to start getting specific and model.

    Joey Reply:

    You have to acquire new ROW either way. The UP alternative is UP adjacent, not in the existing ROW.

    Zorro Reply:

    Yep, UP will not allow their row to be used, but next to it? UP has no problem with this.

    I’d go for the tunnel option between Tamien and Diridon stations, the clock is running, it might cost more, but so do lawsuits, in both time and money and that is time HSR just doesn’t have.

    Joey Reply:

    UP has no problem with this.

    Actually they do, since it restricts their access to customers, but they don’t really have any ground to stand on when it comes to opposing it.

    Roland Reply:

    The tunnel portal is at the Lick Quarry (not Tamien).

    Robert S. Allen Reply:

    Adjacent to UP? A factor to consider: that limits rail-served industry on land next to a freight rail line.

    Roland Reply:

    The “rail-served industry” will continue to strive above the tunnel.

    Anandakos Reply:

    Give me a break. There is no way major industry is going in between San Jose and Gilroy. It. Just. Is. Not. Going. To. Happen.

    Joe Reply:

    Well you are carefully avoiding any mention of cost. Good for you.

    Joey Reply:

    I avoid mentioning cost because it’s not immediately clear which one would cost more. I’d hazard guess that the smaller number of grade crossings along 101 would favor it as far as cost goes.

    Just a side note that running through Morgan Hill and Gilroy are independent as of the Supplementary AA – alternatives were carried forward which do one or the other, both, and neither.

    Joe Reply:

    Well you can assume the source is uninformed and hazard a guess.

    Joey Reply:

    Hence why I didn’t comment on it until you demanded that I did. The AA maps do show a lot of aerial and trenched alignment along the 101 alignment, probably accounting for the slightly higher cost in the preliminary AA (but not by a lot). Though interestingly, the alignments traveling through Morgan Hill and Gilroy show somewhat higher operating costs.

    Roland Reply:

    The people who take Monterey Highway to work are not amused: https://youtu.be/267F-75lOik?t=201

    Joe Reply:

    Who? Your video makes no sense.

    Montetey HW is the old 101 and runs parallel to 3-4 lane 101 from Gilroy to HW 85. I use it, entering and exiting at Bailey, and it’s not that crowded or fast a road. It’s slower than 101.

    PAMPA sued the initial EIR for being deficient in their outreach about possible impacts to Monterey HW.

    Roland Reply:

    This is a PB/Tripousis video (not mine). HSR does not align with Monterey until Metcalf (north of Bailey). North of Bernal, Monterey will lose one lane in each direction (currently 3) all the way to Capitol, hence the lawsuit.

    Peter Reply:

    Monterey is severely overbuilt for the levels of traffic it sees. Losing two lanes will not have much impact.

  4. Vic V
    Jan 25th, 2016 at 18:24
    #4

    I whole-heartedly want the entire HSR system built, but I have to say that if the South is bypassed because of 2 mountain ranges, it might never be built in the south. This would lead to a bunch of “I told you so’s” and further the Anti-HSR crowd agenda for killing this project.

    les Reply:

    I don’t think this is a case where CAHSR is abandoning progress in the south, but far from it. They just need to have wheels running sooner than later and the north affords this opportunity. They can order train-sets sooner, use up grant money faster and have an IOS within a decade. They’ll keep sending cash to the south and the south will apply for grants for Metro upgrades in the meantime. If they wait for the south the Valley tracks will be overrun by almond trees before trains roll.

    Aarond Reply:

    True, but wheels running sooner might not be a good thing if they don’t go anywhere. If CAHSR is running from SF to Bakersfield, it will totally be called out as a train to nowhere and as a boondoggle. Depending on how elections go in the next 5-6 years, it could wind up being defunded and just ending there with the bus bridge.

    It’s a risk, more than I’m comfortable with.

    J. Wong Reply:

    If people see high-speed trains running, they’re going to want it. The hope is that they’ll realize it is only a boondoggle if they don’t complete the southern crossing and the political will will be found to get it funded.

    (And no one is calling Bakersfield nowhere only Madera and Shafter.)

    snogglethorpe Reply:

    If opponents are so dishonest, they’ll call it a boondoggle and train to nowhere regardless of how it’s built… there will always be incomplete states at some point in the project.

    Trying to second-guess them seems pointless, and certainly shouldn’t be a major factor in planning…

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    excuse me southern Californians, but the central valley, sacramento valley and bay area are not nowhere. Northern California could very well build its it own high speed rail system serving the two thrids of the state north of the tehachipis and leave socal out altoghter.

  5. Richard Mlynarik
    Jan 25th, 2016 at 18:38
    #5

    .

    Guardino’s support is a big deal, suggesting local industry would really like to see this happen.

    Guardino’s support, as always, means that somebody is making bank, big time bank. (Hint: it isn’t little you taxpaying public person.)

    He’s nothing if not perfectly consistent. He’s got a perfect 100% track record of being utterly wrong ever single time (grotesque misrepresentation of projects to funded, of costs, and of resulting “benefits”) on every single Santa Clara County transportation sales tax, ever, and of a perfect 100% record of taking hundred of millions of dollars directly from the pockets of the poorest and putting them directly into the pockets of special friends like those at PBQD.

    Joe Reply:

    Okay Mulder. I get it. It’s a conspiracy. Buzzard rules apply – think the opposite.

    I never ever thought public construction invoked money and corporations. Now I know.

    Jerry Reply:

    Guardino joked that it’s a choice between “Silicon Valley and Silicone Valley.”

    Roland Reply:

    Did you expect anything else from my friend Carl?

    Ted Judah Reply:

    You seem to forget that even if Mr. Guardino dissolved like chaff in the wind, the new Senate Transportation Chair is Bill Beall from…wait for it…San Jose.

    If HSR runs from San Jose to Gilroy to Fresno…that allows CalTrain to stop service below Diridon and repurpose some of the San Joaquin trains too.

    Roland Reply:

    Right: who needs Tamien, Capitol and Blossom Hill when the 68 only takes an hour to get to Diridon (without traffic).

    Joe Reply:

    Service isn’t going away. If Caltrain gets distracted, CC should take over.

    Clem Reply:

    All Caltrain service should extend to Blossom Hill. Diridon is an artificial terminus, the unfortunate result of property boundaries and obsolete tradition. The demographics demand it!

    Joe Reply:

    Lame ridership numbers at the two stations indicates the present level of service, 3 trains, is deficient and cannot attract riders.

    Clem Reply:

    Yup. Only when frequent service and demographic concentrations combine do you get strong ridership. South San Jose is quite ripe, if only Caltrain would pick the fruit

    Joe Reply:

    I fear they wait until the three trains fill up which will not happen. The north express at Tamien is filled at San Jose Diridon. Packed at the next stop Sunnyvale. So bad we’re considering staying on the local.

    CC is more likely to be the one to step up to serving the corridor with transfer on to electrified Caltrain.

    Meanwhile

    http://m.sfgate.com/business/article/Apple-gets-green-light-for-massive-San-Jose-6786465.php
    SAN JOSE — San Jose City Council Tuesday unanimously approved Apple’s plans to develop up to 4.15 million square feet of office space over 15 years in North San Jose,

    Reality Check Reply:

    @Clem … if only VTA would ask/advocate (and help pay) for Caltrain to pick the south SJ fruit!

  6. Jerry
    Jan 25th, 2016 at 20:07
    #6

    Today’s SJ Mercury News also reported that California transportation money is being cut back.
    http://www.mercurynews.com/news/ci_29420326/california-transportation-money-cut-back

    A five-year plan for California transportation improvement projects lost three-quarters of a billion dollars this week when the California Transportation Commission cut its revenue estimate, an action that could impact planning funding for the second phase of BART’s extension to Santa Clara County.
    A $754 million cut affects a number of Bay Area projects in the first three years of the five-year plan.
    Transportation funding has become a hot political issue, with Gov. Jerry Brown, Democrats and Republicans proposing ways to stabilize the revenue that is being eaten away by vehicles that use less — or no — gasoline, and the falling fuel prices.

    So far, no agreement has emerged in a running debate about enacting new taxes and fees or shifting or tapping existing funds. The Legislature has to consider taxes, the governor said in his State of the State message Thursday. He focused on maintenance, not improvement, of the transportation system.

    Clem Reply:

    VTA must be positively freaking out. The tax measure fight is going to get a lot more interesting. Last time around, Measure A (2000) was passed by promising a whole bunch of Caltrain improvements that were later abandoned because HSR would pick up the tab, supposedly. Caltrain got crumbs (from the County!) and BART got billions. Is the bait and switch about to repeat itself, with VTA shirking off all grade separation funding onto the CHSRA? Will North County cities served by Caltrain roll over and let San Jose steal their lunch money again?

    Roland Reply:

    See Palo Alto Online front page on Friday morning.

    Clem Reply:

    Friday the 29th or 22nd?

    Roland Reply:

    29th

    Roland Reply:

    Make that Thursday 28th.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    How many people are left in Santa Clara County that remember 2000 and voted in that election? I’m not diminishing the impact the local transportation ballot measures may have…just pointing out that there has been a significant change to the electorate in the last 16 years.

    Jerry Reply:

    What will it take to kick Peninsula grade separation projects into high gear before Caltrain electrification work begins?

    Aarond Reply:

    I obviously cannot speak for Clem, but as I see it RWC wants grade separation so their downtown area. Since they’re the only city in San Mateo Co. that is building up (as well as being the county seat), it only makes sense that they get their needs served. This is especially true if the Dumbarton Corridor studies go anywhere, which would position RWC as a hub.

    Joe Reply:

    It will take

    1) money.
    2) outreach to Pennisula residents.

    Once redisents know the rail traffic levels coming to town, residents will demand grade separations due to the increased gate closure times.

    Reality Check Reply:

    @Aarond … where do you live, and do you just make stuff up? You obviously can’t speak for RWC either … because it’s not a subject of discussion here in RWC. Should it be? Probably … but it’s just not … not yet.

    Reality Check Reply:

    RWC council just approved a $450k Broadway streetcar study tonight … they have awarded the contract to CDM Smith, the same consultant that SamTrans selected for the Facebook-sponsored and recently approved Dumbarton Corridor study.

    Jerry Reply:

    a streetcar or “urban circulator”
    Could also be a ‘people mover’ similar to Miami’s or Detroit’s.

    Reality Check Reply:

    Detroit’s one-way loop people mover sounds like a disaster:

    Detroit losing money on the ‘People Mover’ that no one ever rides

    http://detroit.jalopnik.com/the-detroit-people-mover-is-dead-long-live-the-people-1153060757

    Bdawe Reply:

    It’s the same technology as Vancouver’s spectacularly successful Skytrain, just stupidly implemented.

    Reality Check Reply:

    Yes and so? Did anyone say the technology was at fault in Detroit?

    With rare exceptions, the technology is almost never to blame for poor ridership.

    Bdawe Reply:

    More along the line of ‘fun facts’

    EJ Reply:

    Has any city ever built a fixed guideway “urban circulator” that’s worth a crap? I’m not talking about properly built out streetcar/light rail and/or metro systems, but these dinky little 2 or 3 mile loops. Whatever the technology – streetcar, agv, etc., they generally seem like losers.

    synonymouse Reply:

    And Geary cannot even get a trolley bus altho the ridership warrants it in spades.

    swing hanger Reply:

    Why a lowrise suburban city like RC needs a streetcar is beyond me.

    snogglethorpe Reply:

    Is RC actually a city? I stayed there a few years ago and all I saw were lots of strip malls and office parks…

    Aarond Reply:

    RWC has built up in the past five years. They have a small “urban” downtown now around their Caltrain station and they’re leaning into growth.

    Elizabeth Reply:

    I can’t vouch for streetcar (as far as I can tell no one *needs* a streetcar) but RWC is definitely up and coming, whether they want to be or not. Pretty much all the nice local retail stores that have fled Palo Alto rents have relocated to RWC – starting to see businesses go too. This is a city with potential, hopefully they make something of it.

    Aarond Reply:

    I reckon they will. They’ve already gotten their first taste of mid-density development money, I don’t see them backing off. Everything between 101, the Caltrain corridor and the Dumbarton branchline could easily density and dwarf all the other SMC cities. And bring in lots of tax revenue for both the city and county. There’s even a spot for a ferry.

    On paper, everything lines up too nicely to pass it up.

    Clem Reply:

    Take a look at how I think they should lay out a major Redwood City HSR/Caltrain/Dumbarton transfer station: download this KML file and then File->open in Google Earth. It’s a tight fit, but it would really put RWC on the map!

    JBinSV Reply:

    North and sough turnback tracks in the middle.
    Remodel the Safeway a little.

    Joey Reply:

    Remodel the Safeway a little.

    Demolish the Safeway and build something transit oriented (which could include the Safeway on its bottom floor).

    JBinSV Reply:

    Would the finest rail planners try to make another wye junction with Dumbarton?

    Clem Reply:

    Sequoia Station totally redeveloped into a shopping/station complex, Broadway reconnected, buses right underneath the platforms, and the entire street grid extended seamlessly to El Camino.

    JBinSV Reply:

    Downtown Palo Alto seamlessly connected to Stanford University and the mall.
    Downtown Menlo Park seamlessly connected the Library, City Hall, and SRI/USGS/Sunset.
    Castro St. seamlessly connected to the neighborhoods and on the NASA Ames.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Why a streetcar? Generally, it has to do with infusing downtown areas with more sales tax revenue.

    But other than San Francisco’s cable cars, there really isn’t an example of a successful streetcar in the US–New Orleans calls its light a streetcar, but it really isn’t….

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Boston, Philadelphia, Cleveland. Newark. Baltimore.

    Bdawe Reply:

    What people talk about streetcars, they aren’t talking about partially grade separated rapid transit lines like you refer to.

    They’re talking about local stop mixed traffic services. While they might be technologically identical, the merits of a ‘light rail’ and ‘streetcar’ line are not the same.

    Peter Reply:

    If this isn’t a streetcar, I’ll eat my hat.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    They all run in the street for part of the line. NJTransit occasionally makes noises about reinstating some of the lines that could use the subway.

    Bdawe Reply:

    That’s not the point.

    The point is that they enjoy significant amounts of private right of way rather than being stuck in traffic for the totality of their journey. they’re part of a rapid transit system rather than just being the local bus on rails.

    There success lies not just in being vehicles that travel on rails, but in being of a design that makes them more useful than the local bus

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    That doesn’t stop them from running in the street.
    NICTD! they run regular-ish trains in the street.

    EJ Reply:

    The only one of those that’s arguably a streetcar system is Philly, and even that system has a big chunk that runs underground. Cleveland’s line doesn’t exist yet. The other 3 are light rail systems (mainly reserved and/or grade separated ROW with short street-running segments). On the West Coast, the San Diego Trolley, LA Blue, Gold, and Expo Lines, Portland MAX, and most of SF Muni are similar. I’d argue that in SF the E & F lines should be considered successful streetcars though.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    According to WIkipedia the streetcars have been running in Shaker Heights since 1913.

    EJ Reply:

    Ah, true, I was thinking of Cincy. But wiki, you’ll note, also identifies Cleveland’s system as a “light rail/interurban,” not a streetcar.

    A bit of street running when the large majority of the line has its own ROW doesn’t make a rail system a streetcar. Would you say Amtrak’s Coast Starlight and Capitol Corridor are streetcars, since they run on a section of street trackage in Oakland (one of the last places in North America where a railroad main line runs down a city street)? No, you wouldn’t. In Portland there’s a distinction between the MAX light rail, which has some sections of street running but mostly has its own ROW, and the Streetcar, which operates mostly in city streets with closer stop spacing and has only a few short segments where it has its own ROW.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The only people who spend time examining the it closely are transit nerds who need to get laid. Them be streetcars in the tunnels of the Newark subway. They were standard issue PCC cars up until recently.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Yeah it’s a critical distinction to understand systems like LA’s Red Cars relied on the right-of-way streets offered to build cheaply.

    Even though it seems like as much nerd-dentia as whether Star Wars is fantasy or science fiction…it’s not. Once automobiles proliferated in the 1920s, streetcars had very limited utility. That is why subways, and later light rail gained currency.

    Bdawe Reply:

    Yes, adirondacker, light rail and streetcar vehicles are functionally the same. In a similar vein of missing the point, the Detroit People Mover and the Vancouver Skytrain are also the same tracks and trains. But the success of the Vancouver skytrain has no relevance to the transit value of circuitous one-way loops, and the failures of the Detroit people mover have nothing to do with driverless metros.

    In the same vein, your bunch of rapid transit lines have nothing to do with the usefulness or return on investment of what they’re talking about in Redwood City

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    When did I say anything about Redwood City? “an example of a successful streetcar in the US” covers a lot more places than the Bay Area.

    EJ Reply:

    The only people who spend time examining the it closely are transit nerds who need to get laid. Them be streetcars in the tunnels of the Newark subway.

    Haha, yeah, jokes on me for forgetting that you never have anything useful to say. You are entertaining when you argue with syonymouse, though. Since you guys are, by far, the two dumbest people who comment here, it’s a hilarious vortex of nonsense.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The trolley cars running in metro Cleveland run on the street in Shaker Heights. They run on the street in Brookline and on the street in Philadelphia. They run on the street in Baltimore and Buffalo. Dallas and Houston. Camden. Denver…

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

    Reality Check Reply:

    Anyone interested in Redwood City’s multitude of redevelopment projects underway, approved and planned in and around the downtown and extending south of Woodside Road (Stanford in RWC is 1,518,000 Sq Ft Office) and east of 101 near Broadway (Harbor View Place 1,296,556 Sq Ft Office) can browse the Redwood City GIS map here. Once you’ve clicked to acknowledge the disclaimer, click on “City Projects”->”Planning Projects” and browse the zoomable, pannable, clickable map.

    Roland Reply:

    Box.com HQ (including 900 shared parking spaces): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QIri2Fek_-8

    Reality Check Reply:

    That video is already dated … around a thousand housing units have been built or are under construction since it was shot … all within easy walking distance of the train station & downtown.

    That tired auto-oriented Sequoia Station shopping center anchored by Safeway turns its back on the station and downtown, is a traffic circulation nightmare and is ripe for complete do-over.

    Reality Check Reply:

    Re: Redwood City … here’s a summary chart of major recently-completed, under-construction or planned Redwood City projects, nearly all of it close to the train station / downtown:

    As the chart shows:
    • 3,996,961 square feet of new office
    • 65,000 square feet of new retail
    • 3,804 new units of housing
    • 177 new hotel rooms

    With more on the way …

    Aarond Reply:

    Given the growth in RWC, I’d reckon that it’ll be a thing the city government pushes for at some point. That and redeveloping Sequoia station into something more modern. Especially if SMC gets serious about the Dumbarton corridor.

    I’m specifically thinking of Whipple Ave, Brewster and Broadway since those are the ones with the most traffic.

    Reality Check Reply:

    @Aarond … yes, “at some point” is nothing like what you said before … and is guaranteed to both be true “some day” and virtually indisputable and unfalsifiable. Nice back-pedaling!

    Clem Reply:

    I still expect grade separations to proceed in this sequence.

    San Mateo County has a good handle on things.

    Santa Clara County (VTA) has been asleep at the switch, mesmerized as they are by BART to SJ. As I was saying, north county cities have to sharpen their knives to take on SJ interests and spread the wealth.

    J. Wong Reply:

    The 25 St plan is ready, they just need the money, which HSR could give them with the string that it must be for 4-tracks.

    Jerry Reply:

    So it’s not just about grade separations.
    It must include four tracks where necessary/desired.
    BEFORE ?? electrification ???

    J. Wong Reply:

    It would be better to have 4-tracks there so HSR should provide the funding with that caveat. Per Clem’s Optimizing Mid-line Overtake.

    Reality Check Reply:

    @Jerry, _for_ 4 tracks is not the same as _with_ 4 tracks.

    Building a grade sep for 4 tracks with only 2 tracks present is just smart, and doesn’t cost much more than building one for only 2 tracks.

    Reality Check Reply:

    For example: at minor extra cost, Southern Pacific built the Dumbarton line bridge foundations over Hwy 101 in just south of Marsh Road in Menlo Park for 2 tracks, even though only one is present. Makes adding a 2nd track much easier/cheaper later.

  7. Ryan
    Jan 25th, 2016 at 20:23
    #7

    OT: Secretary of State cleared the Initiative Statue to prevent issuance of Prop 1A bonds for signatures today. They need 365,880 by 7/25/16 to qualify for the ballot. The Constitutional Amendment proposition redirecting Prop 1A to water was also supposed to be cleared today, but isn’t up.
    http://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/ballot-measures/initiative-and-referendum-status/initiatives-referenda-cleared-circulation/

    What is the best thing a strong HSR-supporter can do to prevent these from making it on the ballot, or preventing their passage if they do make it?

    Roland Reply:

    What makes you think that strong HSR supporters would like to prevent these from making it on the ballot?

  8. Donk
    Jan 25th, 2016 at 21:17
    #8

    It really bothers me that you use an accent over the e in San Jose. What is the deal with that?

    Edward Reply:

    San Jose Mercury News (CA) February 15, 1996 Section: Living Edition: Morning Final Page: 2E Section:ACTION LINE Title: INCONSISTENCY ACCENTED BY SAN JOSE AND SAN JOSE Author: Andy Bruno

    “Rosemary O’Kane, airport spokeswoman, says the city council passed the directive on April 3, 1979, mandating the use of the official city seal (grapevines and sheaf of wheat) on all vehicles, letterheads, stationery and business cards. That same mandate directed the seal be changed to San Jose (with the accent mark and San Jose printed on all stationery supplies, which include the City of San Jose in its preprinted title. O’Kane says this directive had no bearing on any public signs, so the current airport signs without the accent are correct.”

    The city is still officially San Jose (no accent) in the city charter. The city website is totally schizophrenic on the subject. You are free to choose whether or not to use it… and so is he.

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    Because it annoys you?

    Or because that’s the city’s name? Just because they haven’t bothered to update the charter doesn’t negate the city’s clear intention here.

    That said, I also don’t refer to El Paso de Robles or San Buenaventura, though it would sure be fun to do so.

    synonymouse Reply:

    http://www.laalmanac.com/history/hi03b.htm

    But “El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora La Reina de Los Angeles de Porciuncula” is catchy.

    StevieB Reply:

    Los Ángeles if you write the name in Spanish.

    Donk Reply:

    Well if the City of San Jose doesn’t even bother to use the accent, then why bother? I don’t think the San Jose Mercury News, the SF Chronicle, or the LA Times use it, so it isn’t like it is a journalistic requirement. It seems like if using the accent makes it seem like one is trying to make a statement or to elevate San Jose into something bigger than it is. I like the way Richard Mylnarik uses the accent mockingly to emphasize the importance of the San Jose Flea Market.

    Joe Reply:

    IMHO the mocking bold accent is the text equivalent of making fun of how native Spanish speaking people use English.

    Jon Reply:

    Or, y’know, maybe the city is just respecting their Spanish speaking residents by spelling the city name the way it is spelled in every Spanish speaking country.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_José#Places

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    So the town west of Santa Rosa should be spelled Севасто́поль ?

    JBinSV Reply:

    I moved to Sebastopol in 1967.
    Used to have a branch line running down main street to serve local freight.
    The story goes
    There was a minor fist fight some 100 years ago. Someone said, Hey is this Sebastopol because the Sevastopol Crimea war was in the news. The name stuck.

    Jon Reply:

    Is there a large Russian population living there? Would they appreciate using the Russian spelling?

    If so, then sure. If not, it doesn’t really matter.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Why is the size of the population pertinent?

    Jon Reply:

    Because democracy?

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Just because Anglo-Saxon migrants routinely bastardized Hispanic culture and pronounciation in California for 100 years doesn’t mean the rising Latino majority in California has to do the same thing.

    “San Jose’: it sounds boring…even in Spanish”…

    Jon Reply:

    How is spelling the place San José a bastardisation of Hispanic culture?

    Ted Judah Reply:

    No, Anglicizing “San Jose” (and all of California’s Hispanic names) is the bastardization…try talking to someone from Florida when you give them directions…)

    EJ Reply:

    How is this possibly controversial? Even the city itself uses the accent inconsistently on its own website. I spell it San Jose purely because é isn’t a character on a standard US keyboard and I’m too lazy to type Alt+0233. But honestly, who cares if someone uses the accented e?

    Joey Reply:

    Windows makes it very hard to type accented characters (or any special characters). OSX and some flavors of Linux definitely make it easier.

    EJ Reply:

    There’s a quicker way on Windows, too, I’ve just never bothered to learn it. For whatever reason, I just find it easier to remember the codes for characters I use a lot.

    Reality Check Reply:

    On Windows you can go into “Region & Language” in control panel and then into the “Keyboard and Language” tab and then “Change keyboard …” to activate the language bar configured with as many keyboards as you like. You can define a hot-key switch sequence to toggle between keyboards … using “US” and “US International” covers my needs and allows me to easily type German Umlauts ä, ö, ü and the Eszett ß. Works for é and É too.

    Jon Reply:

    Ted, we are in agreement. I misread your comment.

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    local people pronounce their local place names in ways that may differ from the original. Southerners have their infamous drawl. Calfiornians also have a relaxed way of speaking.
    The correct spelling of san jose, and every other Spanish name in California, is without the accent because that’s just the way it is. As for the pronunciation, and I have this argument with my Hispanic husband every time we take a road trip – the correct pronunciation, for Californians, in California, referring to a city in California in santa clara county – is sannazay. period. All the san and santa names in calfifornia are pronounced as one word in a way that renders the san or santa mostly indistinguishable.

    when one says sannabarbruh you cant tell if its santa Barbruh or san abarbruh because the pronunciation is sannabarbruh.
    santa cruz is sannacruz
    In san mateo the “n” is pronounced but just barely and the result is almost sammatayo
    sannarozah
    sacramennoh ( t is silent)
    los gatos is lasgatose ( or “the cats”)
    los angeles is of course elay the only time people actually say los angeles is when they are trying extra hard to sound impressive. really, Angelinos don’t care, so nobody should. which is the opposite of san Franciscans who go into convulsions if you call their city by an unapproved nick name.

    mend o cino is pronounced mend uh cino
    va lay ho is pronounced vuh layo

    and the list goes on.

    ( until recently northerners did not use “the” in front of freeway numbers, only southerners did that and hella originated and was only used in the north)
    that’s the finally word on how to say stuff in California Ive been here the longest so that means im right.

  9. Roland
    Jan 25th, 2016 at 21:22
    #9

    Calmod update: http://www.caltrain.com/Page1933.aspx

    Roland Reply:

    Agenda: http://www.hsr.ca.gov/docs/programs/statewide_rail/proj_sections/SanFran_SanJose/LPMG_Jan2016_Meeting_Agenda.pdf

    Presentation: http://www.caltrain.com/Assets/Caltrain+Modernization+Program/Blended+System/HSR+Jan+PP.pdf

    Clem Reply:

    Still pretty generic, staying away from any controversy. It surprises me that there don’t seem to be any plans to do a Supplemental Alternatives Analysis, and that the preferred alternative is scheduled for this summer. Decide, announce, defend!

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Wait for the Business Plan to be released just in time for the Legislature to not have enough time to do hearings in advance of the budget bills being dropped in March…

    *sparks fly*

    J. Wong Reply:

    4-track for mid-line overtake!

    Roland Reply:

    Ever heard of RWJ?

  10. john burrows
    Jan 26th, 2016 at 00:05
    #10

    Even with IOS-North there is still a potential funding problem. The 2014 Business Plan, if I remember correctly, has the cost for IOS-North pegged at around $31 or $32 billion. This is at least $7 billion more than most of the guesses that I have seen regarding available funding, including cap-and-trade.

    If there is not enough money, Dragados mentions what might be part of a temporary solution in their RFEI response. They throw out the possibility of making an agreement with UPRR to use the line between Gilroy and San Jose and to spend (their guess is around $500 million) to electrify the line which would allow trains to go to San Jose and then on to San Francisco at less than high speed.

    A lot of speculation at this point—The next board meeting is scheduled for three weeks from tomorrow unless they change it again. Will that be when we see the 2016 business plan?

    And concerning “San Jose” I never use the accent, but probably not qualified to comment because I pronounce San Jose as Sanozay

    Ted Judah Reply:

    I’m pretty sure the Authority had a private investor tell them that San Jose to Fresno could generate revenue right away, and that they would be eager to join in.

    synonymouse Reply:

    “…San Jose to Fresno could generate revenue right away…”

    “yuk yuk yuk”, to quote Curly.

    Travis D Reply:

    Your evidence that they are wrong is what?

    J. Wong Reply:

    He doesn’t have to evidence, he just knows.

    Elizabeth Reply:

    The airlines say that SJ – Bak is not a viable stand alone corridor.

    There are two regional jets a day from SFO to Bakersfield
    There are two regional jets a day from SFO to Fresno
    There are zero flights from OAK or SJC to either location.

    This is an example where rail is great in adding service to places without enough demand to justify reasonable service levels – it just doesn’t work as standalone.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Yup, mostly people just drive if they have to, but with a choice (and given the time involved) they’ll likely take the train.

    Jon Reply:

    It’s not a viable standalone corridor for flights; that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not a viable standalone corridor for rail. Factors that may change the profitability for rail are operating costs (probably lower), total journey time (probably lower once you include TSA wait times), ease of station access (definitely better), comfort of journey (definitely better), etc.

    If the IOS gets to San Jose, it can get to San Francisco, because the additional capital improvements for blending on the peninsula are minor. Likewise, Burbank is close enough to downtown LA that it counts as an LA airport. So really we should be comparing flights from each of the two metro areas to destinations in the Central Valley to figure out the relative merits of each IOS, although this is likely to underestimate rail demand due to the caveats noted above.

    No. flights between LA area and:
    Bakersfield 0/day
    Fresno 4/day
    Merced 1/day

    No. flights between SF area and:
    Bakersfield 2/day
    Fresno 2/day
    Merced 2/day

    As it happens, all those flights are from SFO or LAX.

    In short, it’s a wash. Current airline service does not suggest that IOS North will have less demand than IOS South (again, with the caveat that airline service does not really predict HSR demand.)

    Elizabeth Reply:

    For anything over very short distances (SD to LA, SF to Sac) and in areas like the Bay Area/LA where there are a zillion different airports not located in the boonies, airline service is actually an excellent proxy for high speed rail demand. Ridership models exploit the similiarities – common carrier, premium on speed, business travel – explicitly (the two modes are nested together).

    Ted Judah Reply:

    You are leaving out one critical component however: flights are point-to-point, but rail consolidates several potential “stations” that may have different demand patterns into one service.

    You’d never base the decision to add a bus route, for example, based on the ridership from only two stops…

    When I have used airline data to model HSR demand, it’s important to layer each route on top of each other to determine the maximum capacity needed.

    Elizabeth Reply:

    I don’t disagree generally speaking – but the question in this case is very specifically about San Jose to Bakersfield as a standalone route. This has commuter traffic – which can be any number depending on price – and SJ/Fresno, SJ/Bak and Fresno/Bak. A high speed rail system is expensive to maintain – tracks must be check every night. You need some core market of biz travelers willing to pay a lot. That just doesn’t exist for this route.

    Elizabeth Reply:

    Ted – also – this is also route that would have very low load factors – this too makes it almost impossible to cover costs.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    …until half of Silicon Valley moves there….

    Secondly, IOS North means we aren’t going to see Fresno Bakersielfd until HSR reaches SF. Plus, they may choose to build from south to north to complete LA to Fresno…

    Elizabeth Reply:

    Half of silicon valley moving there would make load factors even worse, not to mention GHG/person.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Remember Ben Tripousis’s speech to USHSR–

    IOS North means you can get rid of CalTrain south of Diridon, justify BART’s imperial designs on expanding to the Pacific Ocean, end the battle over Altamont, and get a capital partner very early in the construction process…aaaaaaand…turn Fresno into a bedroom community for Silicon Valley. Think Tracy, but bigger and with more smog.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Except more people drive from Bakersfield to LA than to the Bay Area. Hence more potential ridership.

    Elizabeth Reply:

    What he said.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Bako to LA is a much better proof of concept, with a lower subsidy required. But the express alignment.

    Jon Reply:

    Well, obviously Bakersfield to LA will have ridership potential, despite the zero flights between them. Point is, you can’t say “IOS-North will be a bust because there are few flights between the cities served by the route”, and ignore the fact that exactly the same thing is true for IOS-South.

    synonymouse Reply:

    It is practically commute distance; that is what Bakersfield was worried about.

    Lewellan Reply:

    If certain HSR advocates could only give up the notion of 200mph, we all might get somewhere sooner.
    To these types, technology is either irresistably shiny, or the urban areas where they live are so repulsive, getting far away faster won’t lead to more places quickly becoming equally repulsive.
    Factoring into the equation the land-use elements that actually reduce VMT is verbotten.

    datacruncher Reply:

    SFO to Bakersfield or Fresno nonstop price out too high for most people, even on expense accounts. The airlines now only want passengers on those flights to feed their longer distance flights at the hubs.

    United’s fare for a nonstop roundtrip to Bakersfield:
    next Tuesday 2/2 returning Wednesday 2/3 is $765
    The same roundtrip with 4 week advance:
    Tuesday Feb 23 to Bakersfield and returning Wednesday Feb 24 is still $765.

    United’s fare for a nonstop roundtrip to Fresno:
    next Tuesday 2/2 returning Wednesday 2/3 is $743
    The same roundtrip with 4 week advance:
    Tuesday Feb 23 to Fresno and returning Wednesday Feb 24 is still $743.

    Elizabeth Reply:

    The high prices are because there is not very much demand for intra-California travel from these places.

    Most of the seats in the plane are actually quite cheap, but sold as a connection to elsewhere. This way they sell a handful of tix to biz travelers at exorbitant prices but can still fill a plane. When demand goes higher, you see additional flights where the seats are filled by intra-california passengers and can be bought in advance at reasonable prices.

    Supply of air service is endogenous to demand.

    Joe Reply:

    1. Airport gates in major airports are limited resource as is airspace capacity. They can be used for long distance and high fare trips or trips to Bakersfield.

    2. If air traffic to from la to Bakersfield was a reliable predictor the whole ridership model would be pointless.

    3. The city manager of Bakersfield thinks the LA connection is important.

    Joe Reply:

    This summary of super commuting was partially used by Texas high speed rail and it’s relevant to the CA system.

    http://wagner.nyu.edu/files/rudincenter/supercommuter_report.pdf

    I can’t believe air travel between Bakersfield and LA is used as a measure of HSR ridership. We’re going backwards.

    Elizabeth Reply:

    Joe – there is plenty of capacity at SJC, OAK, Fresno and Bakersfield.

    The ridership model uses existing plane ridership to predict high speed rail demand. Plane demand is so low to/from CV it has been screwing up the numbers and they have had to make adjustments for “major airports.”

    HSR and planes are not perfect substitutes but they have a lot in common.

    Joe Reply:

    The ridership model doesn’t use air trips as the sole determination. Plane trips are not perfect predictors and it’s evident here. Also demand and supply seem to be working when tickets are $700+ demand produces few trips at that price. Demand is not low.

    Why less trips northward ? Bakersfield is more closely connected to LA as City Manager Alan Tandy is quoted in the article and LA airspace is limited.

    A key feature of HSR is to connect the CV to the coasts. It induces trips by putting Bakersfield 60 min from LA and 60 from Fresno to San Jose.

    les Reply:

    It’s not just flyers that HSR will attrack but Amtrak riders as well, similar to what NEC did back in the 80s for the NE. San Joaquin was doing over 1 million passengers last I checked. The convenience of HSR will also spur demand on its own merits as well.

    datacruncher Reply:

    The high prices will also discourage demand. At that fare there is no attempt being made to develop or grow a market.

    But the big problem is simply the relatively short distance. Fresno to San Jose is

    As a comparison, there are only 5 flights daily on 50 seat regional jets between Sacramento and SFO, no flights at all to SJC or OAK. San Diego has no flights to Burbank or Ontario.

    But I don’t think that reflects no demand for travel between any of those regions.

    Being told to arrive 60 minutes or more to clear security before a 1 hour flight reduces the time/cost benefit of flying vs simply driving 3 hours. Add in delays/disruptions/changes in frequent flyer programs/etc and the benefit drops even more.

    For a short flight there is no longer a perceived benefit for choosing flying as an option on short travel that can be accomplished by a 3 to 4 hour drive.

    I think Allegiant has recognized that their leisure flights cannot complete with driving until it is about a 4 or 5 hour drive time.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    People drive Bakersfield to LAX. HSR will not go to LAX but could go to SFO. May change how people travel.

    synonymouse Reply:

    If you want this thing to self-terminate please, please build SJ to Fresno and fuggedabout the mountain crossing.

    Is Jerry that far into senility? I doubt he will go for this capitulation.

    What do you think Gavin will do as soon as he is in office with this fiasco?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    There are mountains between San Jose and Fresno.

    synonymouse Reply:

    And between SF and San Bruno.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Much lower mountains than the southern crossing.

    synonymouse Reply:

    But Pacheco has just a fraction of the riders.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    …until your commute from Fresno takes less time than a GoogleBus from the East Bay…

    Woody Reply:

    Counting the number of flights from Bakersfield to the Bay Area ignores the biggest carrier in the market: the San Joaquins, with 4 flights a day (not counting the 2 Sacramento trains) and hundreds of seats available.

    The competitive pressure from Amtrak routes helps to keep down air fares in the markets where Amtrak is a factor, and it can reduce the amount of capacity offered by the airlines because they can’t compete with the low prices of passenger rail.

    A 6 or 7 years ago, the State of Illinois paid Amtrak to run two more Lincoln Service trains — Chicago-Joliet-BloomingtonNormal-Springfield-St Louis. Train ridership doubled. Most flights Springfield-Chicago were dropped; the few left Springfield-O’Hare are for passengers feeding the long distance fights there. After Virginia paid for a new train from the NEC-D.C.-Charlottesville-Lynchburg, air fares dropped considerably on the fewer flights that remained.

    Almost 1.2 million riders used the San Joaquins last year, with some passengers riding 6 hours from Bakersfield to Oakland. These figures seem to suggest a large market could exist for a very fast train between the Central Valley and the Bay Area that is completely overlooked by counting air service only.

  11. Reality Check
    Jan 26th, 2016 at 01:16
    #11

    HSR project could change tracks toward Silicon Valley

    (features a fine photo of Rod Diridon, Sr. … sitting on a platform bench at his namesake station)

  12. Brian_FL
    Jan 26th, 2016 at 11:33
    #12

    Pictures of the first Siemens passenger coach shell for AAF:

    http://gobrightline.com/images/bl/Press-Release-Images/brightline_train_car_shell_exterior_team.jpg?sfvrsn=0

    Very nice looking – will Amtrak or other state services buy this after they see what AAF is getting?

    Brian_FL Reply:

    Press release here:

    http://gobrightline.com/press/press-releases/2016/01/26/brightline-trains-taking-shape-siemens-completes-first-passenger-coach-shell

    Drunk Engineer Reply:

    The 1950’s called: they want their train back.

    Jerry Reply:

    Good to hear that AAF is moving along. The Siemens work is being done in Sacramento area. Hope the politicians there can see that HSR means JOBS in California.

    Brian_FL Reply:

    Another view of the side from a closer angle. Gene Skoropowski is 4th from left. I really like the big windows on this coach car. Can’t wait to see the bright color schemes applied to these trainsets.

    http://www.railwayage.com/media/k2/items/cache/682741b117791827941232da57754db7_XL.jpg

    les Reply:

    Several states have already ordered these prior to AAF’s order. Seattle-Portland gets theirs next year.
    http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/Projects/Rail/newlocomotives/illustration.htm

    Woody Reply:

    You seem to be confusing the new Charger locomotives ordered from Seimens by Midwestern states, California, and Washington with the coaches ordered from Seimens by Brightline AAF.

    les Reply:

    AAF’s order for locomotives and coaches is all part of the same order.
    http://www.railwayage.com/index.php/passenger/high-performance/siemens-lands-all-aboard-florida-order.html

    Cascades is also getting coaches as part of its order.

    Jerry Reply:

    Keep those orders rolling in.
    More JOBS for California.

    les Reply:

    my bad. locomotives are the same but coaches are different. Cascades recently added new Talgo coaches, but i assume they’ll need more when they add more runs the next few years.

    Brian_FL Reply:

    And AAF is expecting the first complete train (5 cars and 2 charger locomotives) to be delivered sometime in Fall 2016 to begin testing.

    Elizabeth Reply:

    I think we should all write our predictions for how this project plays out, bury them in a time capsule and open it 5 years.

    Elizabeth Reply:

    (this whole thing feels like it could be a subplot in a Carl Hiassen book)

    Brian_FL Reply:

    Funny you mentioned Carl as he came out against AAF sometime back. Let’s hope it succeeds so that we can get more passenger rail systems that make sense built in this country. Hourly service and higher speed (110mph +) can be implemented in several corridors in the US if we had a will to do it. Maybe it has to be private or a mix of public and private investment.

  13. datacruncher
    Jan 26th, 2016 at 11:55
    #13

    Interesting.

    The Consulate General of Japan in San Francisco is paying Steve Larson (the former executive director of the California Public Utilities Commission) and his firm, California Strategies, $37,500 for research and advice on opportunities for the Japanese high-speed rail industry in California.

    Read more:
    http://www.politico.com/tipsheets/politico-influence/2016/01/ryan-mccarthy-joint-fundraiser-japan-looks-into-california-rail-cloakroom-hired-for-bangladeshi-war-crimes-212336

    Elizabeth Reply:

    Now THAT is a validation of private firm interest.

    Eric M Reply:

    Michael Cahill, president of Siemens Industry Inc.’s mobility division, said his company didn’t propose private financing because the state’s request wasn’t specifically set up for a financial proposal. But, he said, Siemens could be interested in making a financing pitch at some point.

    “We didn’t propose anything concrete in terms of private money going in, because there wasn’t an opportunity to do that,” he said. “Which doesn’t mean we wouldn’t be interested. Quite the opposite.”

    Ted Judah Reply:

    The Japanese are the only ones who offered a firm commitment and financing, dating back several years.

    datacruncher Reply:

    More on this contract with the Japanese Consulate:

    TRANSPORTATION. California Strategies is working for the Consulate General of Japan in San Francisco to “collect and analyze information concerning high-speed rail activity in California,” in addition to providing ways for Japanese companies to become involved. According to contract documents, California Strategies will also “facilitate … visits to Japan between leaders of the California high speed rail effort and leaders of the high speed rail effort in Japan.” The contract is scheduled to last from Jan. 15 to March 31, according to disclosure forms, and is worth a total of $37,500.

    http://thehill.com/business-a-lobbying/lobbying-contracts/267094-bottom-line

    Ted Judah Reply:

    …imagine being a fly on the wall at those meetings on Japan…

    “Hi, I’m Jeff…I’m here to make the most momentous foreign policy decision for America in a generation, Prime Minister Abe…Don’t worry about what they think in DC…everyone on Sacramento knows we are where the actions is *really* at.”

    “By the way, why is it called a California roll anyway?”

    synonymouse Reply:

    A coupla guys with knives grab you from the front and behind and demand your wallet.

  14. datacruncher
    Jan 26th, 2016 at 11:59
    #14

    This is the Bakersfield/Kern County view of a possible switch to IOS North.

    Local officials mostly indifferent to connecting high-speed rail north of Bakersfield before building south

    Connecting California high-speed rail between Kern and the Bay Area before building south toward Los Angeles would not resolve the touchier issues surrounding the project’s local impacts, but it would provide more time for planning the route south from Bakersfield, local officials said Monday.

    For those reasons, city and regional planners were unmoved by the possibility, reported by the L.A. Times, that the California High-Speed Rail Authority will construct the project north from Bakersfield before connecting to Southern California.

    …………

    The executive director of the Kern Council of Governments, Ahron Hakimi, said the rail agency has assured local officials that all property acquisitions necessary for laying tracks between Bakersfield and Palmdale will be put on hold if construction does go north from the county before heading south.

    ……….

    Building north from Kern before heading south does have one important implication, Bakersfield City Manager Alan Tandy pointed out: Local travelers probably see more value in connecting to L.A. than the Bay Area.

    “We have thought that the predominant use of the entire facility would be to and from L.A.,” he wrote in an email.

    “Northern use would certainly exist but not at the same level. For whatever period of time L.A. and (San Francisco). were not connected it would seem to have a significant negative impact on the theory behind it.”

    http://www.bakersfield.com/news/2016/01/25/local-officials-mostly-indifferent-to-connecting-high-speed-rail-north-of-bakersfield-before-building-south.html

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    They are out there with heavy machinery right now building it north of Bakersfield.

    Elizabeth Reply:

    Anybody else find this a depressing headline?

    Joe Reply:

    Kern County wants the Maintanance Facility. It doesn’t matter if The Authority build the the N or S IOS.

    Eric M Reply:

    Why? It could be local officials see building north or south as equally important.

    synonymouse Reply:

    “…the rail agency has assured local officials that all property acquisitions necessary for laying tracks between Bakersfield and Palmdale will be put on hold…”

    This must infuriate people in the Valley whose property has been condemned under eminent domain.

    Do they have a discrimination-unequal treatment case here? Poor people in the Valley getting kicked around whilst ritchies in the San Gabriels and Tehachapis get the kid glove treatment.

    Travis D Reply:

    They aren’t even analogous. One is being built while the other is a route that is still being debated.

    Joe Reply:

    Worse to have property on the route and sit waiting, not be able to sell it because of the future train alignment and not having the state buy it outright.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Unless you are the Tejon Ranch and if events play out as you hope and scheme you do not have to sell an acre.

    StevieB Reply:

    The Bakersfield to Palmdale segment crosses the Tejon Ranch.

    synonymouse Reply:

    If PBCHSRA implodes not any more.

  15. datacruncher
    Jan 26th, 2016 at 12:02
    #15

    Opinion piece from Bakersfield about the HMF

    HSR facility would be good for Kern

    High Speed Rail. For some, it has become a four letter word since being approved by California voters 8 years ago — and the fact is, for Kern County, it is a four letter word — JOBS.

    At a time when the County is experiencing an economic crisis due to plummeting oil prices and an epic drought, job one should be recovery. It is imperative that we pursue ways to alleviate our economic crisis, stabilize our two legged economy and prepare for the opportunities of the future. As it turns out, just such a train may pulling into the station.

    The fact that the High Speed Rail is coming is an imminent, inescapable fact. As a Kern County Supervisor, I have never minced words on how I feel about the HSR, but try as I have, little can be done at the county level to put an end to it. The question then becomes, as a county, do we lay down across the tracks in an effort to stop the inevitable? Or, do we stand and fight, tooth and nail, to realize the significant benefits that could come to Kern County? The answer is obvious and it’s called the Heavy Maintenance Facility, or HMF.

    ……….

    Additionally, while there are several other planned HSR projects in the U.S., California would be the first. This means the HMF will be the epicenter of a brand new industry in our nation. Manufacturers, suppliers and all manner of related commerce would conceivably locate nearby. If we can secure this new facility, Kern County could become the go-to supply and maintenance expert for the entire country. HSR Maintenance would become one more in a long list of industries from oil and agriculture to aeronautics that Kern County has pioneered and in which we still rank number one.

    As if that was not reason enough to want the HMF here, consider this. Kern County, as we know, is one of the largest ag and oil producing counties in the United States. Since oil prices worldwide have fallen off a cliff since 2014, and our ground began drying up even earlier, we have lost countless jobs and our economy has taken a tremendous hit.

    This leads me to make two points. The first point is this: Oil and ag are the lifeblood of this county, more so than anywhere else in California, and as a result we pay considerably more than any other county in cap and trade. Now that California will be doling out some of those cap and trade funds they have accrued from us, this is our chance to get those dollars back here in Kern County where they belong.

    More at
    http://www.bakersfield.com/News/Opinion/2016/01/24/HSR-heavy-maintenance-facility-would-be-good-for-Kern.html

    Jerry Reply:

    Opinion of Kern County Supervisor Mickelson Gleason who says Kern County pays, “more than any other County in cap and trade.”
    And they want to get those dollars back where they belong.
    Wonder what the almost Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy says about all of this?? Does McCarthy now see that HSR means JOBS for Kern County?

    Jerry Reply:

    “Mick”

  16. Roland
    Jan 26th, 2016 at 12:28
    #16
  17. Roland
    Jan 26th, 2016 at 13:27
    #17

    Hyperloop update: http://www.theverge.com/2016/1/26/10834742/hyperloop-test-track-aecom-construction-firm-deal

    Danny Reply:

    oddly Aecom wanted cash rather than MuskPod stock to build a large pipe and a pump; I can’t tell if it’s supposed to be magnetized

    Roland Reply:

    The current thinking is to use magnetic levitation (http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/arx-pax-mfa-technology-accommodated-in-spacex-hyperloop-pod-competition-300158428.html) in the compression/decompression chambers and in the tube until the pod compressor can generate enough air pressure for levitation. Given that the SpaceX test track will only be one mile long, there is a fairly good chance that they will run a magnetic strip the entire length of the test track.

    Clem Reply:

    What we have here is a refusal to use wheels!

    Jerry Reply:

    A hybrid maybe?
    Use wheels until the pod has reached enough speed to generate enough speed to generate enough air pressure for levitation. Then retract the wheels such as a passenger jet plane does upon take off.
    Should I apply for a patent? :) :)

    Jerry Reply:

    Forget about it. Just use a jet plane instead.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    OOooh stuffing more things into the tube making it heavier and therefore needing beefier pylons! And making the pod heavier!

  18. J. Wong
    Jan 26th, 2016 at 15:00
    #18

    O.T. from the New York Times Magazine: The Wreck of Amtrak 188

    EJ Reply:

    Thanks for the link. That’s a really sad, but interesting article.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    It sounds like he might have had a medical condition that he didn’t disclose to keep being able to conducting and then fainted…

    EJ Reply:

    Where did you get that idea from the article? The explanation postulated in the article seems reasonable – on his previous train, the cab signals failed so he had to rely on lineside signals, causing stress and fatigue, then, since the train was late, he had insufficient break time before his run back to NYC, and then finally he got disoriented when a rock hit his window. He probably should have refused to take the second train without his mandated break period, but I suspect being somewhat new to the NEC he didn’t want to rock the boat.

    I had no idea Amtrak would still allow a train to operate with defective cab signals. I also don’t understand why if rock throwing is such a problem on the NEC, they can’t better protect their personnel. Other countries put metal grilles in front of the cab windows for service in areas where people commonly throw rocks at trains.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    If the train cannot operate without cab signals when they go pffftsizburrrrrrrrrp halfway between two stations you have to wait a really long time until they fix them.
    The trains have multiple layers of laminated glass. They don’t need metal grills.

    EJ Reply:

    Well it sounds like they do need more protection of rocks do as much damage to the glass as is described in the article.

    Clem Reply:

    The cab signals were perfectly operational on the accident train. It’s just that ACSES (the PTC flavor used on the Northeast Corridor, derived from the French KVB) wasn’t yet working on that section of track, exposing the train to human error.

    EJ Reply:

    Yeah it was the Acela he was operating immediately before that had faulty cab signals, which caused undue stress and potentially contributed to the crash, since he was fatigued and not properly rested when he got into the cab of the Regional that crashed.

  19. morris brown
    Jan 26th, 2016 at 15:30
    #19

    Lou Thompson, Chair of the Peer Review Grouop, wrote a letter on Jan 14th to some of the leadership of the Legislature.

    This letter is partly concerned with evaluation of the the replies to Expressions of Interest that the Authority received a while ago. To him they showed great interest in the project, but as he writes for their investment in the project, things would have to change. He is entitled to his opinion, that is not my view nor the view of many others, including Director Rossi.

    One statement he makes really makes no sense:

    Instead, private partners prefer a commitment to an “availability payment” (where the Authority guarantees to pay an investor for providing a stated level of operating capacity whether or not the forecast usage actually occurs) prior to the point at which demand has actually been demonstrated. Since demand cannot be effectively proven on less than a significant part of the system (an Initial Operating Segment), this means that significant private demand-based investment cannot be expected before 2025 at the earliest in the absence of an assured system of availability payments. In addition, most new services face a “ramp-up” period in demand, during which initial losses might be expected. This could conflict with the prohibition of an “operating subsidy” in Proposition lA. A clearer definition of the term “operating subsidy” to allow initial losses would be useful.

    I frankly don’t see how subsidizing any loses, initial or otherwise, could be construed as anything but a clear violation of the “no operating subsidies allowed” clause in Prop 1A.

    keith saggers Reply:

    Many potential investors also said they need a revenue guarantee from the state to reduce their investment risk. That’s prohibited by the law voters passed in 2008, though Dan Richard has said such guarantees won’t be necessary once the project can demonstrate strong ridership. Politifact

    Jerry Reply:

    They all want to minimize or eliminate risk.
    Super Bowl 50 – NFL covers Santa Clara’s expense, but San Francisco pays out over $5 million in expenses. City of San Diego pays the Chargers for every vacant seat at a game. It’s win win for some. Lose lose for others.
    Oakland paid big bucks to get the Raiders back from LA, but has little money left for schools or police.
    Just wish that HSR could get a few of the crumbs.

  20. Spencer Joplin
    Jan 26th, 2016 at 16:02
    #20

    Every article on this story stems from a single interview of Richard Katz by the LA Times. Is there any more confirmation to this story than the opinion of a former HSRA board member?

    Nadia Reply:

    Yes – Jeff Morales also said it in December 2015:

    http://www.kcra.com/news/highspeed-rails-treeplanting-plan-slow-to-start/36864728

    “Meanwhile, Morales said the authority is currently re-evaluating which section of the line will be the first to offer passenger service. Initial plans called for service to begin in 2022 between Merced and the San Fernando Valley.However, Morales said Tuesday his staff is also looking at starting on a section between San Jose and Bakersfield.A decision is expected by the time the authority releases an updated business plan in early February.”

  21. Roland
    Jan 26th, 2016 at 20:29
    #21

    Here is Morales testifying in front of the budget subcommittee 9 months earlier (March 2015) that SJ to SF could be first: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XYxieksoBAU&t=1299

    This would take care of the “no operating subsidy” pesky detail but where are they going to find funds to match the bonds???

  22. Reality Check
    Jan 26th, 2016 at 20:40
    #22

    New WeFuel app brings gas to Palo Alto drivers too lazybusy to visit a gas station

    Do you hate going to the gas station and wish the gas could instead come to you? Well, now there’s an app for that.

    It’s called WeFuel and it’s pretty much what you imagine it to be. With the push of a button (or a couple buttons) the fine folks at WeFuel will come and refuel your car for you, whether you’re at work, at home or even at the mall.

    “Using the WeFuel iOS app, (an Android version will be available in the spring), users select their choice of fuel and choose their payment option, and a professional WeFuel delivery truck will arrive within a half hour or less to fill their vehicle,” the WeFuel press release read.

    WeFuel brags that not only is its service easier and less time consuming than driving your car to the gas station, it’s safer, too. However, it doesn’t explain that claim at all.

    Right now, the app only serves folks in the Palo Alto and Menlo Park areas of the Bay Area in California. However, WeFuel aims to expand to the entire Bay Area by 2017. It has other tricks up its sleeve, too. The company is working on device called “WeFuel Driveo.” Despite its silly name, it’s an “internet-enabled device that will allow a WeFuel technician to refuel any vehicle without the owner being present.”

    […]

    Miles Bader Reply:

    Perhaps it would be better to just nuke it from orbit…. It may be the only way to be sure.

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    we have to get this in the sacramento area. I hate going to the gas station.

  23. Donk
    Jan 26th, 2016 at 21:04
    #23

    A couple interesting developments in LA:

    -The second phase of the Metro Expo Line will open in May. A mid-2016 estimate has been expected since Metro took control of the substantially completed rail line ten days ago, but no opening date has been publicized.

    -USDOT approved phase three of Metro’s Westside Purple Line Subway for expedited treatment. This should speed up the federal processes to all for an accelerated schedule, potentially extending the subway to UCLA in time for a possible 2024 Olympics.

  24. morris brown
    Jan 27th, 2016 at 04:53
    #24

    Front Page of today”s LA times: (Jan 27 2016)

    Southland transit agencies report shrinking ridership as investments continue to grow

    If you build it “they will come”? — Apparently not in LA.

    Donk Reply:

    When finished, the Purple Line extension will revolutionize public transit in LA.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    No, a Crenshaw subway will revolutionize transit in Los Angeles once it connects Hollywood to LAX.

    It’s going to be as big a transformation as the Aqueduct or the Hollywood freeway.

    Donk Reply:

    The Crenshaw Line, will be a slow, circuitous route through the city. It will be nice to have, but will not really change the way people get around LA. The most important part of the line would be the subway connection between Wilshire (Purple Line) and Hollywood, not the windy, slow part south of Wilshire.

    Wilshire and the 405 are the two most important remaining corridors, by far.

    Danny Reply:

    it 1. connects three long-range lines and 2. helps lance the festering boil that is the Westside

    EJ Reply:

    Ah yes, the highest and greatest goal of any rail transport system. Connecting to the airport.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Of course. Any other line could be used by commoners. And that’s not what we would like, right? Bad enough that you often have to take a cab to the airport…

    EJ Reply:

    Kinda fun to take Heathrow Express, when you’re in London, and know that on a per km. basis, you’re taking the most expensive regularly scheduled train trip in the world. Makes you feel like a real high roller.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    $142 roundtrip between New York and Newark for Monday February 1st in a first class seat on Acela.

    EJ Reply:

    Damn, ContradictionBot, you’re really on the ball today!

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Reality is a bitch ain’t it?

    EJ Reply:

    You’re adorable.

    Jon Reply:

    To be really pedantic, a single cash fare tube journey between Covent Garden and Leicester Square will set you back £4.90 for 250 meters of travel.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    How much longer is it on the train? …. instead of walking

    Joe Reply:

    Same for roads. Same article also reports….

    …miles driven daily per person are declining.

    Eric Reply:

    “Foothill Transit is no longer counted in Metro’s total boardings after 1988”

    Which might just explain why peak ridership was reached in 1985.

    “[Metro] lost more than 10% of its boardings from 2006 to 2015”

    2006 just happens to be an arbitrarily chosen high point. There’s a 10% loss from 2006 to 2015, but a 19% gain from 2004 to 2015. Which is more real? Probably something in the middle.

    “[Metro] lost more than 10% of its boardings from 2006 to 2015”
    “In Orange County, bus ridership plummeted 30% in the last seven years”

    So the worst declines they can cherrypick are 10% for LA and 30% for Orange County. That seems to confirm the idea that transit ridership is increasingly in dense urban areas rather than suburbs.

    Bottom line: Everyone knows that statistics can lie, but it’s rare to see statistics lie as blatantly and transparently as in this article.

    Bdawe Reply:

    Even the thirty year number is cherry picked quite severely – 1985 was not only the peak, but it was the peak after a few years of extremely rapid growth from a base lower than the low point in the 1990s

    Joe Reply:

    84 olympics required extensive updates to the la bus system. 1985 would be the warm after glow.

    EJ Reply:

    It’s even more cherry picked than that. Metro’s (and it’s predecessor, RTD’s) fiscal year is July 1 – June 30. So FY 1985 actually includes the Olympics.

    Danny Reply:

    OCTA got *butchered*, that’s why nobody’s riding it

    the rest of the article is, ironically enough, BRU-style number-massaging

    EJ Reply:

    Hate to say it, but maybe the Bus Riders Union had a point.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    A lot of these data are suspect. Perhaps the Red Line replaced two bus journeys for someone, so they are counted once, not twice. A lot of local routes were cut. Instead of waiting an hour for a connection maybe a rider walked further and took a one seat ride, especially if they can pick up a “Rapid”.

    Elizabeth Reply:

    what he /she said

    Jerry Reply:

    s/he ?

    Elizabeth Reply:

    EJ elizabeth james? eric johnson?

    Having to cut bus service because of cost overruns/ need for ongoing operational$ related to rail is a bizarre and disturbing American phenomenon.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Though it does make sense to cut redundant bus services after a rail line opens.

    joe Reply:

    I agree with Elizabeth.

    Resiliency is needed to attract and retain riders. We’ve had to ride the local 68 to get home when Caltrain is out. There’s the 168 express that complements Caltrain with stops at the south county stations.

    Miles Bader Reply:

    A degree of redundancy is desirable/necessary…. In dense areas, multiple rail lines and/or bus routes can have a lot of overlap in the areas they serve, reducing crowding, increasing the density of stations/stops, and allowing them to be act as backups for each other when something goes wrong.

    Michael Reply:

    I always assumed “Environmental Justice” but I’ve been in this game too long…

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Well it IS the country with the love affair with the automobile, after all…

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    They always did.

    Michael Reply:

    And I believe their suit is what caused “Rapid Bus” to be invented. With friends in Santa Monica and interests Downtown, I have a lot of experience with the original Rapid Bus. It’s great.

    Jerry Reply:

    Did they start walking, ride share, or use a bicycle? ?

    Jerry Reply:

    Would the LA Times article be true for the SF Bay area??
    If not, perhaps all the more reason to have the HSR IOS in the north.

    Elizabeth Reply:

    There is great data available at http://www.vitalsigns.mtc.ca.gov/transit-ridership

    The story is pretty depressing overall. People do not like bad transit.

    Jerry Reply:

    44% of all transit trips in the region is supplied by MUNI.
    Eat your heart out VTA.

  25. Zorro
    Jan 27th, 2016 at 09:24
    #25

    [Viet + Full] Discovery Mega Structures UK Super Train (National Geographic Documentary)
    Video has English audio with Viet Subtitles. Very interesting documentary.

  26. Reality Check
    Jan 27th, 2016 at 11:32
    #26

    Silicon Valley leaders express skepticism of Gov. Jerry Brown’s Delta tunnels plan

    Three of Gov. Jerry Brown’s top water lieutenants came to Silicon Valley on Tuesday to make the case for his $17 billion plan to build two huge tunnels under the Delta to more easily move water from north to south.

    But rather than embracing the idea, five of the seven board members of the Santa Clara Valley Water District — whose support is considered critical to the controversial project — instead voiced skepticism. Their concerns ranged from the price tag to environmental impacts to whether Santa Clara County property owners could be left with property tax increases without a public vote to pay for future cost overruns.

    “For me there’s a lot of uncertainty,” said board Chairwoman Barbara Keegan. “I don’t want urban water users to end up subsidizing rural water users.”

    Vice Chairman John Varela added: “We are talking about potential decisions we could make that very possibly could create extinction of species. I don’t want to do that. Not on my watch.”

    Most of the water agencies supporting the tunnel plan are in Southern California and the Central Valley. The Santa Clara Valley Water District has so far been the Bay Area’s largest supporter, which allows Brown to say the project isn’t marked by the same north-south rivalry that resulted in a 1982 defeat at the ballot box of a similar “peripheral canal” plan he backed.

    Brown’s current plan is to build two tunnels, each 40 feet in diameter and 35 miles long, under the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.

    […]

    Roland Reply:

    “Each 40 feet in diameter”. What could possibly go wrong? http://q13fox.com/2016/01/26/seattle-contractors-challenge-order-to-halt-bertha-tunneling/

    Travis D Reply:

    Do you have evidence that all such sized tunnels will be subject to the same issues?

    Roland Reply:

    Subsidence in soft ground conditions is unavoidable when there is no ground conditioning or compensation grouting to compensate for the thickness of the tunnel shield (AKA “the can”) as the TBM advances.

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    under no circumstances whatsoever should kern county or kings county get the HMF

    Joe Reply:

    Jim
    Kevin McCarthy ain’t helping them.

    “I refute the argument that you should go for it just because you think it’s going to create jobs,” said local Congressman Kevin McCarthy. “I’m opposed to High Speed Rail. But for my argument if Mick Gleason and the others want to try to go after it because they’re going to build it, Kern County is a great place for it.”

  27. morris brown
    Jan 27th, 2016 at 12:13
    #27

    The Assembly Budget Committee #3 had its meeting today on High Speed Rail Oversight.

    Chair Bloom limited the length of the hearing to 90 minutes, which as predicted by Assemblyman Jim Patterson would prove vastly in-adequate.

    With both Chair Richard and CEO Morales again proclaiming the LA Times article was in-accurate and had no value. They did their best trying assassinate the abilities and characters of both the author, Ralph Vartabedian and the LA Times paper itself.

    Chair Richard absolutely refused to comment on the possibility of going north before going south. He said the whole system would be addressed and promised that the 2016 business plan would carry an lower that $68 billion cost estimate; he hedged on whether they could meet the present proposed construction time lines.

    This is a very sorry outcome for this hearing which was promised when the pressure was applied to the Democratic leadership from the LA Times article.

    At the end, things got nasty. Chair Bloom refused to extend the meeting or even recess and come back for further discussion and public comment.

    Several members of the public had come great distances to attend and talk and were dismissed with only 1 minute to speak.

    The video can be viewed at:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gg-lRSn-QVg

    about 1 hour 25 minutes

    Travis D Reply:

    It’s revealed the project price has come down and you think it went badly?

    J. Wong Reply:

    @morris brown would consider it a failure unless Richards and Morales admitted that HSR is a scam and has no possibility of being achieved.

    Nadia Reply:

    As a reminder, the last time the budget dropped significantly ($98 to $68 Billion), we lost an entire section of project (remember Anaheim?):

    http://articles.latimes.com/2012/apr/07/local/la-me-bullet-anaheim-20120407

    Reading the now infamous “draft” presentation reported in the LAT (and subject of today’s hearing) you can guess what will be cut to lower price tag for the 2016 biz plan.

    Anyone want to take a guess? I’ll go first – money for TBT is out.

    Jerry Reply:

    As it should be.

    Roland Reply:

    I’ll go second: TBT is in but the cost of DTX will drop from $3.5B to $1.5B including a new Caltrain station under 7th, courtesy of a new RDP appointed by the City of San Francisco.

    Travis D Reply:

    Well in the actual video they explicitly say that the cost savings are from the tunnels. Specifically their advisers for tunneling (Spanish firms) are saying their initial estimates for tunneling costs were way too high.

    Travis D Reply:

    One possible change is that in Spain the vast majority of HSR tunnels are single bores. CAHSR called for double bores on all but extremely short tunnels (such as under CA 180). The Spanish firms might have advised them to drop that requirement for all but the longest tunnels.

    Clem Reply:

    Double bores are effectively required in the US thanks to our foreign policy. Basque or Catalan separatists are not nearly as dangerous as the threats our HSR system will face, and long single bores are a liability for safe evacuation.

    Joey Reply:

    Is there any reason to use double bores over a large single bore with a bulkhead installed in the middle?

    Reality Check Reply:

    Dunno, but volume goes up the square of the radius … one large bore is a lot more material to remove than two smaller bores. E.g. two 16-foot bores are a lot less volume than, say, a single 30-foot bore. Compare 2 x 8^2 (or 128) vs. 15^2 (225) … so a single 30-foot bore would be 75% more volume. A single 40-foot bore — like Brown wants TWO OF for water — would be over triple the volume of twin 16-foot bores!

    Roland Reply:

    Yes, unless you want an holocaust like this one: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/1374137/170-perish-in-Alpine-tunnel-inferno.html
    There have been some bizarre tunnel contracts in Spain with separate bores being awarded to different companies with no know contract for cross-passages between the 2 bores. The EU no longer grants federal funding for single bore tunnels.

    Clem Reply:

    For water, volume is the whole point. For high speed trains you need a lot of free space or aero drag (swirling air) starts to heat the tunnel to uncomfortable temperatures. Details are in the tech memos. I think a single bulkhead is vulnerable to explosive blast pressures in a way that twin bores are not.

    Roland Reply:

    “As trains attain untested speeds, computational fluid dynamics (CFD) helps tunnel designers understand aerodynamic flow so that they can produce safe designs without costly prototyping and testing.” http://www.arup.com/Services/Fluid_Dynamics.aspx

    Joey Reply:

    Dunno, but volume goes up the square of the radius

    Alon Levy has suggested in that past that tunneling costs are more proportional to circumference than cross section.

    I think a single bulkhead is vulnerable to explosive blast pressures in a way that twin bores are not.

    Fair enough, though I was under the impression that fire safety, and not terrorism, was the primary concern in designing tunnels.

    Joe Reply:

    Since I help out with elementary school geometry, a circumference is defined such that I can measure it. A cross section is a perspective. What’s the cross section measurement if not the circumference ?

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Since I help out with elementary school geometry, a circumference is defined such that I can measure it. A cross section is a perspective. What’s the cross section measurement if not the circumference ?

    Edumacating Murca’s Future Finest.

    Joe Reply:

    I am a parent of an 11 year old. We’re reviewing geometry and I don’t understand how a tunnel cross-section differs quantitatively from the tunnel circumference/perimeter.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    I am a parent of an 11 year old. We’re reviewing geometry and I don’t understand how a tunnel cross-section differs quantitatively from the tunnel circumference/perimeter.

    We can only hope he or she overcomes this and grows up to be a thoughtful human being.

    L^2 L^3

    Elizabeth Reply:

    Nicer version.

    The area of the cross – section = pi * diameter/2 * diameter/2
    The circumference = pi * diameter
    Ratio of cross-section to circumference = diameter/4

    The amount of material removed =roughly but not exactly the cost = the area of the cross section x the length

    So when the circumference increases, the cost goes up by diameter/4 * length * change.

    Joe Reply:

    Thank you

    The area is better predictor then perimeter/circumference.

    A cross-section is defined as the intersection of a plane and a 3D object. It has both perimeter and area.

    I think the term would be “cross sectional area” if it refers to the area.

    As Elizabeth noted “the area of the cross section”.

    Surface area to volume is a pretty common concept in biology and environmental biophysicis.

    It explains upper limits to single called organisms and why needle shapes leaves are better adapted than broadleafs to sun and heat.

    Joey Reply:

    I know you had no trouble understanding what I was saying, but I’ll spell it out explicitly anyway: Alon Levy suggested that tunneling cost was closer to proportional to the tunnel’s diameter/circumference (r) rather than cross sectional area (r^2). The possible reason being that the tunnel lining is more expensive than physically removing material.

    EJ Reply:

    Well I personally didn’t understand what you were saying, initially, but that explanation actually makes intuitive sense.

    Roland Reply:

    How can you possibly have “tunnel estimates” when you don’t have an alignment let alone elevations???

    Travis D Reply:

    You always have alignments just not one concrete one. As for estimates, we are talking about very rough estimates based on a price per hundred feet of structure constructed. How did you think they got their price estimates in the business plan?

    Roland Reply:

    My point precisely: It is impossible to have an estimate until you have a potentially workable alignment including elevations. Once you have that, you can start making trial bores to see whether tunneling is even possible. If the trial bores reveal faults, a large aquifer, unexpected ground conditions that cannot be handled by any viable tunneling approach, the alignment has to change, new trial bores are needed over the new alignment etc. If the eventual alignment ends up being 5 miles longer than what they started with, we are looking at a variance of +/- $2B for a single tunnel.

    EJ Reply:

    This isn’t the first time anyone’s constructed anything, including tunnels, in this part of California. All of this area has also been extensively studied by geologists and seismologists. You make estimates on what you think you’re likely to find and based on construction of long tunnels in similar geology elsewhere in the world, with the caveat that once you start actually drilling test bores, that might change.

    Roland Reply:

    Guess what would happen if they had to testify under oath?

    Travis D Reply:

    I would suspect not much.

    Joe Reply:

    There have been many opportunities to speak out on HSR. People opposed get quoted all the time. A hearing on alleged problems should be focused on the issue and not a theater stage for opinionated opponents and cranks.

    Hint, don’t travel great distances if the agenda doesn’t give you the time you want to make the trip worthwhile.

    Reality Check Reply:

    https://youtu.be/gg-lRSn-QVg?t=54m55s

    Jim Patterson (R-Fresno) grills Dan Richard on issues raised by the LA Times “IOS shifting north” story starting at 54m53s.

    Best excerpt is when Richard says at <a href="https://youtu.be/gg-lRSn-QVg?t=1h3m43s1h3m43s: “We’re looking at all the possibilities, we’re not afraid to relook at things we’ve looked at in the past if that gets us to the goal of getting this done fastest, and as Mr. Morales said, in the cheapest way possible.

    Alllllllltamoooont!

    Reality Check Reply:

    Jim Patterson (R-Fresno) grills Dan Richard on issues raised by the LA Times “IOS shifting north” story starting at 54m53s.

    Best excerpt is when Richard says at 1h3m43s:

    “We’re looking at all the possibilities, we’re not afraid to relook at things we’ve looked at in the past if that gets us to the goal of getting this done fastest, and as Mr. Morales said, in the cheapest way possible.”

    Alllllllltamoooont!

    synonymouse Reply:

    Do you really believe this? They know what happened to Van Ark.

    Nadia Reply:

    All options SHOULD be fully evaluated.

    The challenges remain the same as always.

    Getting from SF-LA under 3 hrs is needed so HSR can effectively compete with other transit modes.

    To ensure the project can meet that goal with the money they have, they have to be ready to “value engineer” and remain open to all alternatives.

    Clem – how’s that article coming?

    Clem Reply:

    The article is the easy part. The hard part is building track databases (curves, grades, distances) to make accurate trip time calculations. I am for the moment mired in that part…

    Travis D Reply:

    If my suspicion is true, that they are going to hand over the southern bit to private interests, who knows what kind of new studies and alternatives might be explored.

    Elizabeth Reply:

    Public Records Act you should be able to request these files records@hsr.ca.gov

    Clem Reply:

    In the case of Altamont, the range of alternatives studied by the CHSRA was far from optimal, you might even say sand-bagged. I guarantee you they don’t have the data I’m putting together.

    I’ve got SF – Fresno done (via Altamont or Pacheco). The bit I’m still working on is the Manteca wye and northwards to Sacramento. In other words, I’m about 75% done laying those virtual tracks!

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Impressive

    Travis D Reply:

    There is what happened with Van Ark and then there is the alternate reality version that only The Mouse believes in.

    Clem Reply:

    Van Ark resigned at the same board meeting where the sand-bagged Tejon study was released.

    Travis D Reply:

    So subscribe to the same conspiracy theory?

    Joe Reply:

    Van Ark was unable to navigate the politics. It’s a core requirement of the job. He was stressed and unhappy.

    synonymouse Reply:

    “Van Ark was unable to navigate the politics.”

    In other words, as we used to say at work, it is not who you know, but who you blow.

    Clem Reply:

    That’s not a conspiracy, it’s a fact.

    Roland Reply:

    Quad gates at every Caltrain level crossing. Hallelujah!!!!

  28. Reedman
    Jan 27th, 2016 at 13:56
    #28

    In another argument in favor of connecting the Central Valley to San Jose first, it appears that Apple is going to develop 2 million square feet of office space next to 101/SJC:

    http://www.sfgate.com/business/article/Apple-gets-green-light-for-massive-San-Jose-6786465.php#photo-9306965

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    That lucrative market for transporting commuting Apple employees on their daily trips from and back to Bakersfield and Modesto.

    Joe Reply:

    A controlled study in Germany showed an increase in local GDP when a HSR station opened and connected the area to the nation’s larger economic centers.

    Roland Reply:

    The increase in local GDP in Ash Kalra’s district paid for Avaya stadium.

    Travis D Reply:

    Don’t mock that. I know people that live in Modesto who got offered jobs with Google and had to turn them down because they couldn’t find affordable housing near the job and it was too far to commute every day.

    Roland Reply:

    http://www.sheaapartments.com/apartments/ascent/. Transfer to the Google bus @ Ohlone Chynoweth.

    Roland Reply:

    Sprinters don’t go to Cupertino (yet) but they will go here sooner rather than later http://vta-sprinter.org/appleairport-station/

    Eric Reply:

    What the hell is a sprinter?

    Reality Check Reply:

    It’s a Siemens Desiro (available in DMU or EMU) … such as used on NCTD’s Sprinter DMU service between Oceanside and Escondido.

    Here’s NCTD Sprinter page.

    Eric Reply:

    The NCTD Sprinter is a slow, infrequent DMU service that failed to meet ridership projections. Why would anyone want to duplicate that elsewhere?

    EJ Reply:

    It may only get about 75% of its projected ridership, but it’s still got better ridership than the Coaster. It came in at less than $14MM per km, so it was a fairly cheap way to use an existing ROW to build a commuter line in a not particularly dense area. It might have some relevance to, say, Caltrain south of Blossom Hill, particularly if it could be extended to Salinas. Though UP runs enough freights that you’d probably have to use FRA-compliant DMUs. Doesn’t really seem to be too relevant to Central and Northern Santa Clara County.

    It’s a Siemens Desiro (available in DMU or EMU)

    Well, not really, since Siemens actually makes a completely different product (an electric locomotive) called Sprinter. It just happens to be the name of NCTD’s service.

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    Since the san Joaquin valley sacramento valley and bay area are part of northern California it makes sense to do more to tie those economies together for the benefit of all of them regardless of what does or doesn’t go on in southern California.

    Jerry Reply:

    So true.

    EJ Reply:

    Well then it’s only fair that we split the funding and spend half of it on connecting LA, San Diego, the IE, and the Central Coast. Is that what you’re advocating?

  29. Reality Check
    Jan 27th, 2016 at 15:02
    #29

    Disabled BART train in Transbay Tube causes major delays

    Reality Check Reply:

    Jan. 27, 1966 SF Chron cover: When BART was called a $1 billion fantasy

    MarkB Reply:

    paywall

    Roland Reply:

    The TTC clearly does not need another Transbay tube.

  30. morris brown
    Jan 27th, 2016 at 15:55
    #30

    Both initiatives sponsored by Huff and Runner have cleared the AG and are now ok’d to circulation for signature gathering.

    from the
    Secretary of State:Secretary of State:

    1767. (15-0109A1)
    High-Speed Rail. No Issuance or Sale of Future Bonds. Suspension of Project. Initiative Statute.
    Summary Date: 01/25/16 | Circulation Deadline: 07/25/16 | Signatures Required: 365,880
    Robert Huff and George Runner c/o Charles H. Bell (916) 442-7757
    Prevents issuance and sale of remaining amount of high-speed rail bonds previously approved by voters to initiate construction of high-speed train system. Redirects unspent high-speed rail bond proceeds to any other purpose approved by voters in separate measure at same election, or, if none, to retiring outstanding high-speed rail bonds. Suspends high-speed rail project, except to study, using state general funds only, feasibility of completing full route from San Francisco to Los Angeles with Sacramento and San Diego connections. Establishes process for preserving project assets and retiring pre-existing obligations. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: State savings of up to about $700 million annually in debt-service costs, depending on the actual reduction in bond funds spent as a result of this measure. Other potential fiscal effects (such as changes in state spending and loss of federal funds), depending on whether the state continued to pursue a high-speed rail project in the future. (15-0109.) (Full Text)

    1769. (15-0107A1)
    Water Bond. Reallocation of Bond Authority to Water Storage Projects. Initiative Constitutional Amendment and Statute.
    Summary Date: 01/25/16 | Circulation Deadline: 07/25/16 | Signatures Required: 585,407
    Robert Huff and George Runner c/o Charles H. Bell (916) 442-7757
    Prioritizes water uses in California, with domestic uses first and irrigation uses second, over environmental, recreational, and other beneficial uses. Reallocates up to $10.7 billion in unused bond authority from existing high-speed rail ($8.0 billion) and water storage ($2.7 billion) purposes, to fund water storage projects for domestic and irrigation uses. Removes requirement that water storage projects funded by the $2.7 billion amount also benefit the environment. Creates new State Water and Groundwater Storage Facilities Authority to choose the projects to be funded by reallocated bond amounts. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: No significant increase or decrease in the state’s anticipated debt payments from the redirection of up to $10.7 billion in bonds from previously approved measures, assuming these bonds would have been sold in the future absent this measure. Unknown net fiscal effects on state and local governments due to measure’s changes to how water is prioritized in the State Constitution, as well as potential changes to funding levels available for capital projects. (15-0107.) (Full Text)

    J. Wong Reply:

    So who’s funding the signature gathering? They don’t need a lot, but it still costs money to pay people to collect signatures of registered voters.

    Roland Reply:

    Whoever needs water for fracking.

    BrianR Reply:

    Ballot initiative organized by agricultural industry cover group California Water Alliance not satisfied by the fact California has lost “only” 95% of it’s natural wetlands habitat and has the misguided understanding of ecology that water is always “wasted” unless it prioritizes domestic and agricultural uses over environmental. As if it should be a crime to ever see a fresh water stream or river flowing into the ocean.

    Morris Brown, I wouldn’t even expect you to vote for that. I get it that you hate HSR but I didn’t think you literally hated the environment. What are you trying to protect if you don’t care for anything beyond the limits of your own back yard?

  31. Nadia
    Jan 27th, 2016 at 16:07
    #31

    #2 is a flat out NO (for me) in one line: “Removes requirement that water storage projects funded by the $2.7 billion amount also benefit the environment.”

    Note that #1 Text includes the following

    “This measure is intended to be comprehensive. It is the intent of the People that in the event this measure or measures relating to the same subject shall appear on the same
    statewide election ballot, the provisions of the other measure or measures shall be deemed
    to be in conflict with this measure. In the event that this measure receives a greater number of affirmative votes, the provisions of this measure shall prevail in their entirety,
    and all provisions of the other measure or measures shall be null and void. ”

    This must be freaking Jerry Brown and HSR folks out… the water vs. train battle is about to get ugly. Between these measures and the Delta tunnel projects – yowzer.

    No wonder the new price tag for HSR has to go down – it is the only way to survive.

    Elizabeth Reply:

    For non-Californians (and even Californians), water policy and use is very complex. There are some provisions in the state constitution about “beneficial use” that allowed the state to curtail water usage this summer by certain water rights holders.

    Changing the constitution on this issue would be a big deal, forever. This is why, unlike other previous initiatives, this one appears to have some $$ behind it and seems likely to qualify for the ballot. It would be interesting to know who paid for the Hoover poll…it seems like research for a campaign.

    Joe Reply:

    Follow the money. Water irrigates CV tree nuts which are highly profitable and easy to ship globally.

    joe Reply:


    http://www.bustle.com/articles/133631-what-is-michael-burry-doing-today-the-big-short-character-is-still-weary-of-the-financial
    “Fresh, clean water cannot be taken for granted. And it is not — water is political, and litigious. Transporting water is impractical for both political and physical reasons, so buying up water rights did not make a lot of sense to me, unless I was pursuing a greater fool theory of investment — which was not my intention. What became clear to me is that food is the way to invest in water. That is, grow food in water-rich areas and transport it for sale in water-poor areas. This is the method for redistributing water that is least contentious, and ultimately it can be profitable, which will ensure that this redistribution is sustainable. A bottle of wine takes over 400 bottles of water to produce — the water embedded in food is what I found interesting.”

    Roland Reply:

    Monterey shale, not CV tree nuts.

    Jerry Reply:

    … the water vs. train battle is about to get ugly
    Seems that way.

  32. Jerry
    Jan 27th, 2016 at 18:36
    #32

    Lorraine Paskett appointed to CAHSRA
    http://www.hsr.ca.gov/docs/newsroom/2016_Lorraine_Paskett_Board_Appointment_Board_of_Directors_012716.pdf
    She has 25 years experience on water, energy, and environmental issues. And is currently serving Southern California on the Metropolitan Water District.

  33. Anandakos
    Jan 29th, 2016 at 00:03
    #33

    Um, pardon me, but the folks in the Willow Glen neighborhood BOUGHT A HOUSE NEXT TO A RAILROAD LINE! It doesn’t have a lot of freights, but it has freights, and they make a lot of noise of the rattling, banging, and deep growling sort. The “swooshing” sound of an HSR train will be nothing like the passage of a UP freight.

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