Two New Members Appointed to CHSRA Board

Jan 28th, 2016 | Posted by

The California High Speed Rail Authority got two new board members this week. Lorraine Paskett was appointed to fill a vacancy created when Jim Hartnett stepped down nearly two years ago, and former Assemblymember Bonnie Lowenthal was appointed to fill a vacancy created when Thea Selby was elected to the City College of San Francisco board this past November. (Congratulations, Thea, though you’ll be missed on the CHSRA board!)

Some background on each, courtesy of the CHSRA’s news release:

Lorraine Paskett is an attorney and CEO of Cambridge LCF Group, and Paskett Winery. She brings over 25 years of experience on water, energy and environmental issues. She is also currently serving on the Board of Directors for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and was previously a Senior Assistant General Manager of Sustainability Programs and External Affairs at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. In addition, she was previously a director for a private electric and gas utility, and served as vice president for a large solar energy company developing business, market, environmental and energy regulatory compliance plans for California.

Paskett was the Senate’s appointment to the board, and her background at the DWP and MWD gives her a lot of experience in big government bureaucracies – which I see as a plus for the CHSRA board.

Former Asm. Lowenthal probably needs less of an introduction, but you’re getting one anyway:

Bonnie Lowenthal was elected to represent Assembly District 54 (subsequently Assembly District 70) in 2008 after serving two terms on the Long Beach City Council, two terms on the Long Beach Unified School District, and on the Alameda Corridor Transportation Authority and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Ms. Lowenthal was appointed chair of the Assembly Committee on Transportation in 2010 by then-Speaker John A. Perez, becoming ex-officio member of the California Transportation Commission, where she oversaw public investment in highway, passenger rail and transportation projects. Ms. Lowenthal termed out of the Assembly in 2014.

She was appointed by outgoing Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins. Lowenthal did some great work in support of the HSR project while in the Assembly, killing a GOP anti-HSR bill and passing a bill to speed up land acquisition. Lowenthal had run for mayor of Long Beach in 2014, but did not get elected. Her service on the board should be particularly helpful to the Authority’s relationships with the Legislature.

  1. morris brown
    Jan 28th, 2016 at 21:02
    #1

    I believe the big story here is a marked shift on the board going to Directors from So. California. One would think these new director will resist this rumored shift to change from building south to building north.

    Lowenthal was a ruthless dictator as chair of the Assembly Transportation committee. Former wife of Alan Lowenthal.

    J. Wong Reply:

    The reality is that money trumps all. If IOS North is more likely to get funded, then that is what the Authority will go for.

    joe Reply:

    Also Alignment.

    If the Southern political interests can’t find an agreeable solution for PalmDale to Burbank then the project de facto has to move work elsewhere.

    With just the Southern IOS, this project could be tied-up as politicians used delay as leverage and avoid a decision/compromise. With the NIOS available, delay tactics shift work elsewhere.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Once IOS North is built and running then any resistance to the southern crossing is undercut. I suspect even Tejon Ranch would find it unresistable so we might get Tejon after all.

    joe Reply:

    Yes. A crossing, expensive either way, after the North IOS is operating would produce more value immediately after it is finished.

    Tejon, a switch, is going to be harder once (if) Xpresswest begins. LA County wants Palmdale connected and Nevada (GOP) wants to connect to LA via the HSR system at Palmdale.

    The current alignment is possibly 5B more or about 15 miles of BART track. There will be enough demand to pull in Federal dollars. I would not use today’s funding climate as a bellwether for 2018.

    J. Wong Reply:

    No, you cannot predict the future, however, if LA really wants Tehachapi they are going to have to use their political muscle and find the money. They can’t just sit on their asses like a baby and claim we’re a major population center so we get what we want no matter how much it costs.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Thats where the money the state and Federal government have comes from.

    les Reply:

    If X wants pdale bad enough they can skip a station at vville and put it at pdale. chinese got the funds to hook line into LA segment somewhere.

    Joey Reply:

    Nevada (GOP) wants to connect to LA via the HSR system at Palmdale

    I don’t think they particularly care where it happens, so long as the connection can be built. Palmdale kinda sorta makes sense given (1) XPressWest’s plan to terminate in Victorville and (2) The high desert corridor project (which is really just an excuse to build another highway). If you’re building an integrated system then it makes more sense to put the connection at Mojave and build directly to Barstow because it reduces NorCal-Vegas trip times.

    Joe Reply:

    They care. So much it’s written in the legislation they passed.

    You go with the business plan you have rather than the one you don’t.

    Joey Reply:

    What could possibly give them a reason to care? The only possible explanation I can come up with is bureaucratic momentum.

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    well really then the best of best would be a wye at Barstow with one branch via VRV down the hill to the inland empire along the 15/10 into la with the other branch to BFD via Mojave.

    Joey Reply:

    Okay, but you agree that connecting at Palmdale gives sub-optimal NorCal-Vegas service?

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    of course but Mojave isn’t on anyones radar so palmdale is the next best thing

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    and its really only relevant if both systems are going to allow the other’s trains to run though without transfers ( in which case the extra few minutes via palmdale instead of Mojave is not an issue)

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    It would make a lot of sense to move the Victorville station to Barstow, and then run XW west to a eye at Mojave, with trains able to run north towards Bakersfield, and south towards Palmdale.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Las Vegas to LAUS via Mojave? Hmmm, it’s bad enough going via Palmdale compared to Cajon. Now you want the larger market (SoCal) to have a longer trip via Mojave to favor the smaller market, Nor Cal. I think you need to offer some justification for that.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Well, ideally Mojave would be a start, with an eventual line from San Bernadino to Barstow, under Cajon.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    If it’s faster to and from San Jose it’s vitally important. If it’s faster to or from someplace else it’s a waste of money.

    Joey Reply:

    Paul Dyson: The distance is about 208 via Cajon, 220 via Palmdale/Victorville and 250 via Palmdale/Mojave (and keep in mind that more of the Cajon routing is through constrained urban areas). Detouring via Palmdale from NorCal adds nearly 60 km.

    Joey Reply:

    208/220/250 km. Of course it’s somewhat variable due to exact routing.

    Jon Reply:

    There is little reason to optimize NorCal – Vegas service at the expense of LA – Vegas service.

    Connecting at Mojave reduces SF – Vegas travel distance by 50 miles and increases LA – Vegas travel distance by 20-25 miles. However, it’s not worth the trade off because even via Mojave SF – Vegas is 600 miles by train, and that’s going to have a hard time competing with air. LA – Vegas is less than 300 miles via Palmdale, and that’s going to blow the doors off air service, so keeping that travel time down is going to benefit more riders.

    Of course, the ideal would be SF – LA via Tejon and LA – Vegas via Cajon, but Nevada’s never going to spend the money on a Cajon crossing when they could instead piggyback on CAHSR at Palmdale.

    Joey Reply:

    Your numbers are very different than mine. My estimate was that connecting at Mojave vs Victorville adds 30 km to LA-LV and that the same tradeoff adds 60 km to SF-LV.

    And just for reference, LA-LV via Tejon adds about 50 km vs the baseline. Certainly less than ideal but given that it reduces the phase 1 cost by nearly $5b (by Clem’s very detailed estimate) it might be worth it regardless.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Caron-Tehachapi is great for San Diego-Bakersfield and points north. San Bernardino, Riverside, Palm Springs…

    Jon Reply:

    How are you getting 208/220/250 km for LA – LV via Cajon/Palmdale-Victorville/Palmdale-Mojave? Google Maps has the driving distance as 429/468/521 km, respectively. Granted that will overestimate train mileage, but not by *that* much.

    Via Cajon
    Via Palmdale-Victorville
    Via Palmdale-Mojave

    Jon Reply:

    Last link again:

    Via Palmdale-Mojave

    Joey Reply:

    Ah, forgot to mention that the distance I was measuring was from LAUS to Barstow.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    The issue with a junction in Mojave or Palmdale to allow SF-Vegas direct trains is about load factor, not distance or energy savings.

    If you go by flight traffic data…for each LA bound train from the Bay Area, one third should pass Anaheim and then veer off to Las Vegas, another third should keep going south past Anaheim to San Diego, and one more third should head to San Diego along the same route but then continue to Phoenix. That would ensure the highest load factor possible, even travel times are slower and construction costs higher. Otherwise, it may be impossible to avoid an operating subsidy, which regardless of how you read Prop 1a, would make CAHSR much less popular politically….

    Danny Reply:

    Metrolink’s also looking into extension to Victorville

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Source?

    wdobner Reply:

    Which is why they need to pick IOS South. They got the mountain crossing right at the south and wrong in the north. Both Tehachapi and Altamont provide a better bang for the buck than their alternatives.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Uh…don’t forget Morris that 4/9 of the Board Seats are appointed by the Legislature who currently have both leaders hailing from Southern California. Since the Democrats reached their permanent majority in the 1970s, the Speaker and Senate Pro Tem have always been from the same two seats in SF and LA. Only when Brown returned to the Governor’s office did other parts of the state get a chance.

  2. Jerry
    Jan 28th, 2016 at 21:08
    #2

    Sure happy that Bonnie Lowenthal helped pass a bill to speed up HSR land acquisition.
    Now that she is on the board she might be able to explain it to them.

  3. Brian_FL
    Jan 28th, 2016 at 21:19
    #3

    Off topic – more construction progress at the new MiamiCentral Station for AAF/Brightline.

    https://youtu.be/uN1az3ynQqY

    Randyw Reply:

    So proud of there big concrete pour –> of course the transbay terminal is 30x as much concrete….

    http://www.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/blog/2013/09/transbay-takes-shape-with-massive.html

    Brian_FL Reply:

    And why shouldn’t they be? It’s not every decade or 2 that a brand new passenger rail system is built from the ground up!

    EJ Reply:

    Meanwhile LOSSAN can’t even get funding to fully double-track the Surf Line. To think what they could do with $1.75 Billion…

    Brian_FL Reply:

    Why not apply for a RRIF loan like AAF did? LA to SD should be just as good as MIA to Orlando for passengers. There must be a way to make it economically viable to obtain financing. Could they include big TOD projects at stations like AAF has?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    FEC already owned the land being developed.

    Brian_FL Reply:

    So why not partner with private developers or even buy property directly? AAF has actually spent by my estimate over $10M buying additional land in Ft Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. AAF only owned the land in downtown Miami for the station. Even there, they have bought additional land located close to the station to develop.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    See Kelo vs. New London and whatever the laws about redevelopment are in California.

    Brian_FL Reply:

    That was an eminent domain case. Why can’t government buy land without resorting to strong arming the owners? AAF was able to buy enough land in the downtown areas of two growing cities for station sites and related TOD. How can private industry do it yet it’s assumed that government can’t? AAF also bought private property near Cocoa to obtain ROW for the new route to Orlando – again without having to go to court.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Congratulations on MiamiCentral not being a complete over-the-top “public” scam of no conceivable utility, and perhaps featuring some rudimentary cost containment and some rudimentary function before form. Even if the last isn’t true, with 1/30th of the concrete, it would at least be easy to demolish. Meanwhile the catastrophic SF Transbay botch is about 10x more concrete than remotely necessary or remotely desirable.

    The best part (America’s Finest Full-time Fraud Professionals, on the job) is that all the fucking useless fucking expensive concrete PREVENTS THE TRANSBAY TERMINAL FROM EVER BEING A REMOTELY FUNCTIONAL RAIL (or even BUS) PASSENGER FACILITY.

    Everybody, everybody, in any way associated with this clusterfuck needs to taken outside and lined up against a wall.

    It’s $4 billion dollars which simply makes everything worse, in every way.

    Ohhhh, but look, a park in the sky, held up by more steel and concrete than anybody knows what to do with! But don’t look down, because all you’ll see is concrete concrete and more concrete, with no space allocated for “people” or “trains”.

    EJ Reply:

    But Richard, ours is bigger! MOAR concrete!

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Someone at my university once said it very succinctly… “There is only one problem with concrete [beat]. It’s ugly”

    EJ Reply:

    And not to forget:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sydney_Opera_House#/media/File:Sydney_Opera_House,_botanic_gardens_1.jpg

    1000% over budget, ten years late, but one of the most iconic buildings ever.

    Joe Reply:

    Well played.

    Miles Bader Reply:

    Concrete isn’t ugly at all. It can be used to build ugly structures, but it can also be used to build beautiful structures. Sometimes it ages badly (a huge amount depends on the formulation of the concrete, plus the climate, location, maintenance, etc), but often it ages gracefully…

    Many of these details can vary consistently by location, so it’s not entirely surprising that some people view it as “bad material.” E.g. I lived in Edinburgh (Scotland) for a few years, and in general it had a horrid track record with concrete buildings, a predominance of quickly dated early-’70s designs, badly aging concrete, etc. Living in Japan, though, they seem to do a far, far, far, better job with the material, and in general use it very well; I’d say I’ve come across many more beautiful concrete buildings here than ugly ones.

    EJ Reply:

    Yeah, with a few exceptions brutalism seems to have been executed particularly badly in Europe and the US. Japan does seem to have a lot more appealing modern concrete buildings. The same with some Latin American countries. I mean, I guess all the murals and mosaics mean the modernist parts of UNAM aren’t really beton brut, but IMHO they’re really appealing hunks of modernist concrete.

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    concrete is much more attractive than steel. some of the freeway interchanges in California are works of art.

    EJ Reply:

    Counterpoint:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gateway_Arch#/media/File:St_Louis_night_expblend_cropped.jpg
    https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Golden_Gate_Bridge#/media/File:Golden_Gate_Bridge_1926.jpg
    https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Hell_Gate_Bridge#/media/File:Hell_Gate_Bridge_by_Dave_Frieder.jpg
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RMS_Queen_Mary#/media/File:RMS_Queen_Mary_1_westward_bound_on_the_North_Sea_-_1959.png

    Steel isn’t beautiful? Please.

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    I wasthinking of this

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    versus this

    Eric Reply:

    The gateway arch has concrete between the skins up to about the 400 foot elevation.

    EJ Reply:

    And most modern concrete structures have internal steel reinforcement. The question was which material looks nicer, not what’s the best material for a given underlying structure.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    only from the backseat of a ’56 Buick. convertible with the top down.

    42apples Reply:

    But jobs! Who cares if it is a functional piece of transportation infrastructure?

    Jerry Reply:

    AAF Miami Central Station is in a MAJOR intermodal transfer station at the Government Center which includes MetroRail, MetroBus, and MetroMover.
    With Tri-Rail working its way in.

    swing hanger Reply:

    And FEC/AAF/Brightline actually looked at what works in other countries, and included retail, office and housing in the design of the station.

    Miles Bader Reply:

    Let’s hope it works well there too, and others follow the example!

    The U.S. could very well be a nice place again someday…in a century or two… TT

    Brian_FL Reply:

    Affordable housing at that as well at MiamiCentral. They seem to have done their home work and know what will work in downtown Miami. The residential units are geared toward younger people who would use transit services. The Miami station includes 990ft tall tower along with a building around 500ft tall. I would say they are copying the Japanese model more than any other.

  4. agb5
    Jan 29th, 2016 at 06:42
    #4

    Are they about to start construction of the trench north of Fresno station?
    A new photo on the Authority flickr account shows a Bauer BG30 drilling rig parked North of the 180.
    This type of machine is typically used to construct a Secant Pile Wall of a trench or pit.
    An early task will be to construct a pit to build the concrete box which will be jacked under the 180.

    datacruncher Reply:

    Tim Sheehan wrote on January 13:

    By the end of this month, Gomez said, crews will begin work on a trench that will eventually carry the high-speed tracks under Belmont Avenue and Highway 180 north of downtown Fresno.

    Read more here: http://www.fresnobee.com/news/local/high-speed-rail/article54531315.html

    Reality Check Reply:

    @agb5: oh, did you mean “parked North of the 180″ and “… jacked under the 180″?

    datacruncher Reply:

    http://www.kcet.org/updaily/socal_focus/history/la-as-subject/the-5-the-101-the-405-why-southern-californians-love-saying-the-before-freeway-numbers.html

    EJ Reply:

    That doesn’t seem like a very good explanation. In the Bay Area, at least when I lived there, people would still sometimes refer to “the Bayshore” but when they used its route number they just called it “101.” Having lived both in the Bay Area and SoCal, I find I always refer to LA freeways with the article and everywhere else without. “The 280” and just plain “405” sound equally weird to me. I’ve realized I even do it with freeways that exist in both places. If I’m driving to Orange County, I take “the 5,” but if I’m headed up through the Central Valley and the Pacific Northwest it’s just “5.”

    Travis D Reply:

    I believe the original plan was to build the pit south of 180 and jack it northward. But one of the ATC’s in the bids was for a concept to launch from both ends and meet in the middle. This concept had the advantage of being much quicker and producing less settlement.

  5. Bahnfreund
    Jan 29th, 2016 at 12:32
    #5

    Wait, there was a vacancy for two years?

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    Yep.

    Reality Check Reply:

    Anyone remember why Hartnett stepped down? I can’t recall.

    Jerry Reply:

    He got the Caltrain job.

    Reality Check Reply:

    Yes, of course, we all know he got the Caltrain/Samtrans/SMCTA CEO job … but what was the timing exactly? When did Hartnett step down and why, exactly?

    The search team announced that Hartnett as their choice as the best, most qualified candidate on March 11, 2015.

    So why did he step down two years ago? … or did he know the fix was in and that his pals would hand him the Caltrain/Samtrans/SMCTA CEO job after a long and phony nationwide executive search? … or did his under-fire chum and fellow Redwood City resident Scanlon quietly tell him the job would be his if he wanted it?

    If he stepped down from the Authority Board a year before the selection panel — headed up by friend and former city council colleague Jeff Gee — concluded he was the best candidate for a $420+k job in his own backyard … for which he arguably had little or no job experience for … hmmmmmmm.

    Scanlon announced his retirement August 28, 2014.

    Jerry Reply:

    He did not step down two years ago. He resigned from the CHSRA board only about 10 months ago. At the time he was named the CalTrain position.

    Reality Check Reply:

    @Jerry, so you’re saying Robert got it wrong when he wrote “Lorraine Paskett was appointed to fill a vacancy created when Jim Hartnett stepped down nearly two years ago“?

    Since we’ve got two very different versions of when Hartnett resigned from the HSRA board, does anyone have a citation they can post a link to?

    morris brown Reply:

    @Reality Check:

    Hartnett resigned about 1 year ago from the HSR board.

    see:

    http://www.paloaltoonline.com/news/2015/03/13/jim-hartnett-makes-a-return-trip-to-caltrain-151-now-as-ceo

    The Authority posted this:

    http://www.hsr.ca.gov/docs/newsroom/2016_Lorraine_Paskett_Board_Appointment_Board_of_Directors_012716.pdf

    clearly stating Paskett was replacing Hartnett as the new director.

    Reality Check Reply:

    @Morris, I don’t see where it say WHEN he resigned from the HSRA board.

    morris brown Reply:

    @Reality Check

    The official announcement of Hartnett’s resignation from the Authority’s website is at:

    http://www.hsr.ca.gov/docs/newsroom/2015_Hartnett_Statement_031215.pdf

    Note the date March 12 2015

    Reality Check Reply:

    OK, thanks Morris. I was too lame to find that on my own.

    So much for that theory.

    morris brown Reply:

    @Reality Check

    Although Hartnett completely lacked the necessary credentials specified for the job of Head of CalTrain and Sam Trans, Hartnett was nevertheless appointed to that position by his political cronie friends. It only pays a meager $425K per year with numerous benefits.

    The full Authority board is 9 members. They are still one member short after these 2 appointments.

    keith saggers Reply:

    Hartnett, a Redwood City resident, served more than a decade on both the District and the Caltrain boards of directors and has served both boards as chair. He was appointed four years ago to the California High Speed Rail Authority Board of Directors, where he served most recently as vice chair. He has resigned from that board. He served 15 years on the Redwood City City Council, including terms as mayor and vice mayor

    Joe Reply:

    Caltrain since he’s hire has adopted the HSR platform height. Future Caltrain and HSR platforms are compatible which means a lot at SFTB

    Caltrain’s transition is being done with dual height door EMUs to assure the system can function during the transition and gradually shift to the new platform height.

    There is great value in having a former board member who has “chronies” in the Pennisula.

    swing hanger Reply:

    A meager $425k indeed. In comparison, it is said the president of a for-profit passenger railway in Japan gets compensation averaging equivalent of $135K/year, though cultural considerations and stockholder oversight must be taken into account. With a big railway such as Tokyu Dentetsu, the responsibility is *considerably* more than managing a middling commuter line like Caltrain.

  6. Jerry
    Jan 29th, 2016 at 15:43
    #6

    Look at how long it takes for people on the Peninsula (Burlingame) to think about things.
    From 2007 to 2016.

    An article in the SF Examiner dated May 2, 2007 states:
    Rail separations could relieve traffic woes
    http://www.sfexaminer.com/rail-separations-could-relieve-traffic-woes/

    So-called grade separations — in which a road is depressed below or bridged above the tracks, eliminating road-level crossings — are being considered for a handful of Peninsula cities, according to the San Mateo County Grade Separation Footprint Planning Study, released last month. (April, 2007)

    One intersection where submerging the street below the tracks could go a long way toward easing traffic congestion is at Broadway in Burlingame, the city’s only access point to U.S. Highway 101, said Syed Murtuza, Burlingame’s assistant public works director.
    “The [Caltrain] crossing is just one block from the freeway, so there are traffic jams every time a train crosses [Broadway],” Murtuza said.

    Then today’s San Mateo Daily Journal (Jan. 29, 2015) reports that Burlingame is considering action on its Broadway Ave. CalTrain grade separation.

    Rail bridge eyed for Broadway: Burlingame considers grade separation solution for troubled intersection

    http://www.smdailyjournal.com/articles/lnews/2016-01-29/rail-bridge-eyed-for-broadway-burlingame-considers-grade-separation-solution-for-troubled-intersection/1776425157599.html

    Engineering consultants hired to address the problematic train and car crossing suggested raising the rail tracks through the area to a peak height of roughly 13 feet, and dropping Broadway by roughly the same distance to give clearance for traffic traveling east and west to pass more freely.
    The Broadway intersection, which connects the nearby commercial district to Highway 101 over the Caltrain tracks, has been rated one of the most congested crossings in the state and the worst on the Peninsula, according to a city report.
    “The [Caltrain] crossing is just one block from U.S. Highway 101, so there are traffic jams every time a train crosses [Broadway],” said Syed Murtuza, Burlingame’s assistant public works director.
    Murtuza added the amount of excavation allowed in the project is limited because the water table is so high through the area, which essentially precludes digging deep enough to burrow the rail tracks.

    Clem Reply:

    Burlingame is way ahead of Palo Alto, where they still think they’re getting a trench.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Reality trumps opposition to HSR (well really grade separation). Obvious funding source is Prop 1a funds with the string of 4-track.

  7. J. Wong
    Jan 29th, 2016 at 15:50
    #7

    What’s the political feasiblity of Altamont versus Pacheco? By that I’m assuming that Livermore HSR won’t be in Livermore but my sense is that the valley there is much more developed than anything Pacheco would pass through. The existing development (including wineries, etc) would be much more resistant to HSR.

    Travis D Reply:

    I wonder this too. Pacheco has nothing but farmland and grassland to deal with until it gets all the way to Gilroy. Going through Altamont means finding a way to build HSR through Merced, Atwater, Turlock, Ceres, Modesto, Ripon, Manteca and Tracy before it even gets to the Altamont pass.

    Clem Reply:

    Those cities will be affected anyhow, unless Sacramento is never connected to the HSR network. Sacramento is not only our state capital, but its metro population is greater than any city in Nevada!

    Jerry Reply:

    Clem:
    You did a great study of where people live and work along the CalTrain route.
    http://caltrain-hsr.blogspot.com/2013/10/census-driven-service-planning.html
    Has anyone ever done a similar study of the Sacramento to Bay Area corridor?
    Such as the Capital Corridor route and/or an Altamont route.

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    well there are these boarding and alighting numbers for the stations along the capitol route but these are 2013 and include all trains not just ccjpa butmany of these are also transfer stations so the numbers are still valid

    ARN 50k
    RSV 50 k
    SAC 1.1 m
    DAV 424 k
    SUI 196 k
    MTZ 474 k
    RIC 266 k
    BKY 153 k
    EMY 599 k
    OKJ 406 k
    OAC 30 k
    HAY 35 k
    FMT 38 k
    GAC 120 k
    SCC 9 k
    SJC 259 k

    what it doesn’t show is how many of that 1.1 million at sacramento are are to or from san Francisco. Not nearly as many as you would assume.

    Joe Reply:

    What happens in Sacramento, stays in Sacramento.

    les Reply:

    Come on Joe, Sacramento has a few things LV ain’t got.

    http://www.fairytaletown.org/

    datacruncher Reply:

    I saw this Tracy newspaper column today.

    …………
    So what’s that have to do with our town? For one thing, building the second phase of the San Jose-to-Merced route over the Pacheco Pass will end periodic speculation — spurred by climbing costs and unmet construction timetables — that the main route might connect San Jose to the San Joaquin Valley over the Altamont Pass and through Tracy.

    And while that possibility was intriguing, it really didn’t have much to offer our area, since it was highly doubtful the high-speed “bullet trains” would stop here.

    And even if some of the trains would make a Tracy stop, drawings exhibited a couple of years ago at the Tracy Transit Station showed that the high-speed trains would transverse the Tracy area on elevated tracks that would be unsightly and exacerbate potential noise problems, both in the rural areas and in the city.

    More at:
    http://www.goldenstatenewspapers.com/tracy_press/our_town/time-to-refocus-on-regional-rail-improvements/article_6cd0cda4-c6c5-11e5-a8fb-bf5fce727214.html

    synonymouse Reply:

    Unless they are picturesque Roman acqueducts aerials generally are not welcomed. They are more easily accepted when they are really, really necessary, say to eliminate dangerous grade crossings or cross a natural obstacle. But the architects obsess on their Embarcadero Freeways.

    synonymouse Reply:

    I’ll blame my hated prissy architects rather than the engineers.

    Miles Bader Reply:

    aerials generally are not welcomed

    How do you know?

    Judging from your comments, you obviously hate them with a passion, but I certainly don’t. I think some particular viaducts, in specific contexts, are ugly (or harmful in other ways), but I’ve seen plenty of viaducts that are completely fine, and in a fair number of cases they even enhance their location.

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    The answer to your question is that the political feasibility of Altamont rather than Pacheco is next to zero. It’s partly for the reasons you cite – folks living in Pleasanton and Livermore are not eager to have the bullet trains going through their valley. But it’s also because San José area leaders want to be on the direct route from SF to LA and most Altamont proposals, at least the ones most seriously considered, served SJ with a spur.

    I suppose you can never rule anything out entirely (who in June thought Donald Trump would be the GOP frontrunner on the eve of Iowa?) but CHSRA choosing Altamont over Pacheco is not likely to happen.

    morris brown Reply:

    @ Robert Cruickshank

    Once in a “blue moon” I agree with Robert, and this is certainly one such instance. I don’t consider Pleasanton and Livermore obstacles that cannot be overcome (after all look at all the opposition in Kings County and elsewhere in the valley).

    But San Jose’s opposition is a killer for sure. I have never understood why the State Legislature ever allowed Pacheco to become the chosen route. After all, many state legislators would want the much better, shorter and faster trip from Sacramento to San Francisco or San Jose that Altamont would offer.

    The killer force was Rod Diridon together with Zoe Lofgren who would not allow Altamont under any circumstances. Without San Jose acceptance the project was doomed.

    Joe Reply:

    San Jose wants to be closer to LA Metro area.

    Zoe had Nancy Pelosi backing her up and also Mike Honda who represented Gilroy at the time so supported Pacheco.

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    Isnt there some kind of symbiotic relationship between Hollywood and silicon valley? The san jose to Burbank run will probably be popular among that crowd.

    or what if everyone decides to meet in the middle and fresno becomes some kind of hip wheeling and dealing location from which inspiration and big decisions emanate!!

    joe Reply:

    Computer Generated Graphics for one.

    I too think that Fresno or Bakersfield, being midway, could benefit as a meeting destination provided they have facilities adjacent to the station.

    It’s like Rosemont, IL which has become a convention and meeting center because it’s right next to O’Hare which itself is centrally located. Rosemont’s success is why Chicago wants a HSR train to the city core – to take back some of that business.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    The killer force was Rod Diridon together with Zoe Lofgren who would not allow Altamont under any circumstances. Without San Jose acceptance the project was doomed.

    Useful idiots. (And in Diridon’s case, a complete idiot.)

    The killer force was PBQD (+ Bechtel/Tutor), whose proprietary BART extension south of Fremont towards the general direction of the San José (the Capital of Silicon Valley!) Flea Market would have been rendered obsolete and undesirable by a new modern standard gauge passenger line between those, especially one using much of the same ROW.)

    Doing it once and doing if right is never the profitable route, and so of course PB and allied mafiosi were violently opposed. Build BART, the fuck around with Amtrak for a few hundred million, the build HSR via Los Banos with “iconic gateway” Capital of Silicon Valley add-ons, then repeat.

    Add to that that there was the (small) possibility that contracts on a non-BART civil engineering project might not be “won” by PB and Tutor, who always “win” BART contracts. (As we see with CHSRA contracting, that turned out to be a zero possibility. Still, better to be safe than sorry!)

    Rustling up a few dozen Concerned Citizens in places like Pleasanton is dirt cheap. Buying off the MTC staff was done long ago — the agency is a fully owned subsidiary. Having Diridon and the like parrot whatever line you feed them requires chump change or less.

    As always, follow the money.

    Clem Reply:

    What they’re trying to build now will test the limits of profligacy, so you might think that a slight change of plans might be in order to move the needle back from “infeasible financial albatross” to mere “boondoggle”. Especially now that BART is a sure thing. The SJ mayor seemed fairly open to late changes.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    ….yeah but even you Richard aren’t acknowledging how much money is affected. Altamont would have a pronounced effect on the Delta Tunnels and the ability to pipe fresh water to the rest of the State.

    Pacheco neatly solves that problem and let’s state and local priorities not overlap as much. Remember, there’s a reason BART never got to build that extension to Patterson….

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Altamont would have a pronounced effect on the Delta Tunnels and the ability to pipe fresh water to the rest of the State.

    My hovercraft is full of eels.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Right…running standard gauge track through Altamont doesn’t affect how the State Water Project works.

    But if Altamont got HSR that would increase the amount development in San Joaquin County and environs to the point that it would jeopardize the ability to “repurpose” fresh water slated for the Tunnels.

  8. Ted Judah
    Jan 29th, 2016 at 17:37
    #8

    It’s also the fact that BART has no designs on Pacheco combined the popularity of the San Jose growth boundaries.

    Altamont has to compete with commuter traffic on a major interstate.

    synonymouse Reply:

    When PBCAHSR to Fresno fails, BART will take the Pacheco ROW at scrap value and regauge to divine 5′ 6″.

    Kids go thru selling candy on board LACMTA vehicles?

    http://progressiverailroading.com/passenger_rail/news/LA-Metros-Washington-addresses-ridership-decline-in-annual-report–47130

    I’ll take Raisinets.

    If transit ridership is in general decline how does BART do it? Let’s start with a monopoly imposed and enforced by MTC.

    LACMTA needs to change its name, with a cost of millions like “Clipper”, ’cause it sounds like an STD.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Why is it I get the sense from your posts that you never much leave the confines of town where you live? HSR to Fresno won’t fail with all the European and Asian tourists taking it to Yosemite.

    Michael Reply:

    Having traveled to Merced a lot at one time from the Bay Area on the San Joaquins, I was amazed at the number of foreign-speaking tourists who took the train to Merced and then bus to Yosemite. I wondered how they resolved their usual rail experience to that of our rail network. That will be a great opportunity for a tourist market, probably from Fresyes.

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    having worked both at the sf end and the merced end of that Yosemite trip I can tell you that the foreign tourists “love your American trains” I wish I had a dollar for everytime I heard that. The Europeans, especially the brits, love the Amtrak trains. ” but they are so slow” Id say, ” oh no they are wonderful and so comfortable and the service is so friendly”

    “really?’ id say… ” are you sure?” yeh they just love em. weird huh.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The ones who think it suck don’t get on the train.

    EJ Reply:

    I hear this a lot from Brits I know. They don’t care that our trains are slow, because when they’re here they’re on vacation. And the normal British loading gauge is much smaller than ours, so their trains by comparison tend to be fairly cramped and crowded.

    Here’s standard class on a Virgin Pendolino – the main express trains between London, the Midlands, and Scotland:
    https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Train_interiors_of_British_Rail_Class_390s#/media/File:Coventry_MMB_01_Rugby-Birmingham-Stafford_Line_390048.jpg
    Nicer than a plane, but not really by all that much, especially when it’s full.

    First class is nicer, but a lot more expensive unless you’re flexible about when you travel and buy your ticket well in advance:
    https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Train_interiors_of_British_Rail_Class_390s#/media/File:Crewe_MMB_01_West_Coast_Main_Line_390050.jpg

    Notice that since the carriages on these trains tilt, they taper inward toward the top, further reducing space.

    Jon Reply:

    As a Brit, I can verify this.

    It’s part of the ‘OMG everything is bigger over here!’ reaction that Brits have when they arrive here. When my friends arrived at SFO for a visit and we took BART into the city, they commented that the seats on BART were about 1.5 times the size as the commuter trains in the UK, which started the running joke that everything was 1.5 times bigger in the US. I still think that’s a pretty accurate ratio.

    One of those friends later took the Coast Starlight down to LA in a sleeper bunk, and enthused about how comfortable it was. He did not seem bothered by the fact that it took the train 12 hours to travel the same distance as London to Glasgow/Edinburgh, which takes 4-5 hours. Sleepers are not very common in the UK, simply because the max distance you can travel is shorter, and the speed usually faster, so traveling on one is something of a novelty.

    Eric Reply:

    The people are 1.5 times bigger…

    EJ Reply:

    Last time I was in the UK, I had time to take the train up to Glasgow from London to visit family – went first class since I was able to get a pretty reasonable advance fare, and I have to say Virgin first class is pretty great, especially while barreling through the Lake District enjoying a lovely cheese plate. I mean, they take care of you: “Would you like a cocktail, sir?” as you pull out of Euston – “Sure, sounds good.” Then you get served a meal that’s really quite good, wine included. Then it’s dessert or cheese, and the steward comes around and asks if you’d like a glass of port. Like a yokel, I said, “Really??” All of this stuff is included in the fare. TBQH I was a little bit sad when we pulled into Glasgow Central that the trip was over.

    Then again I’ve gone standard class down from Birmingham several times, and man, what a cattle car.

    Miles Bader Reply:

    Has the quality changed in recent years? I used to ride Edinburgh-London in standard class fairly frequently in the early ’90s, and it was really quite nice. I dunno what the effect of their screwed-up privatization was though, I guess probably not good…

    [A sleeper was a £25 surcharge then too.]

    Jon Reply:

    Having lived in all three cities, I’ve spent a lot of time traveling Edinburgh-London and Glasgow-London by train, as well as to various points in between. Almost always in standard class, although once or twice I ended up in first due to a free upgrade or due to first being cheaper than standard (happens occasionally on advance tickets due to the bizarre ticketing system.)

    The entire journey experience is much better than in the US, primarily due to the better quality stations, which are always staffed and have some sort of cafe/restaurant/pub to wait in rather than shiver outside on the platform. The renovated Kings Cross station is fantastic. The journey is smoother due to the single level trains and better quality of track maintenance, and obviously much faster. The legroom and seat width is worse than the US in standard class (about the same in first class) but still much better than flying. The only major negative compared to the US is the price; while not quite HSR prices, these two routes in particular are seen as premium services and are priced accordingly, so it is vital to book in advance.

    There are no sleepers on the standard WCML and ECML services, although there are two sleeper trains up to the highlands of Scotland, and a third down to Cornwall. I’ve taken the latter and it was very comfortable.

    EJ Reply:

    The speed just isn’t comparable. When Brits talk about how great the Pacific Surfliner is, I ask, well, how would you feel about the fastest train between Birmingham and London taking 2 hours and 40 minutes? Birmingham New Street – London Euston is almost exactly the same distance as San Diego – LAUS, and Virgin express trains do it in 90 minutes or less. Even the stopping trains that max out at “only” 100 mph and stop at every station are faster.

    Jon Reply:

    Absolutely true, but then most Brits are on holiday and not too concerned about speed. Plus there is a general conception that “everything is further apart in America” (not really true; California has a fairly similar population distribution to the UK), and also a surprise that there are any trains at all, given that the US and California in particular have such are reputation for car culture.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    A good question is what it would take to convert ACE into a service that ran through to Yosemite and had a terminus somewhere in the Bay Area?

    At this point, the Northern California Unified Service is going to blend ACE and in the San Joaquins together. I would say the Authority should scrap HSR to Merced at all…buuuuut….keeping it would allow some sort of run through service like I described….

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Hmmm. ACE Transbay-Dumbarton-Livermore-Merced-Yosemite. Interesting idea.

    datacruncher Reply:

    With YARTS now operating from Fresno’s Amtrak station (and its airport), I wonder how many foreign tourists are using Amtrak/YARTS on a SF-Merced-Yosemite-Fresno-LA or reverse routing. As an option they can also now use Amtrak through Fresno to travel between both the Central Coast and Yosemite.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    The grass on the other side of the fence is always greener…

    Clem Reply:

    Is competing with long-distance commuting on congested freeways not a desirable pursuit for HSR?

    synonymouse Reply:

    Yes, it is, especially since automobiles enjoy a bigger modal share than air throughout California.

    And the autos are taking a direct route and don’t generally stop to take on and unload passengers along the way.

    Of course the devil is in the definition of long-distance. Directly on route(say Bako)and an important destination gets you extra credit for qualifying as long distance. Same for Sac. Not much for smaller more properly regional commute destinations, epitomized by Palmdale.

    joe Reply:

    And the autos are taking a direct route and don’t generally stop to take on and unload passengers along the way.

    I assume you pee in mason jars to keep driving uninterrupted.

    One advantage of HSR is you can pee, eat, move and stretch while the train moves.

    Does knowing this now change your mind?

    Ted Judah Reply:

    The issue is cost: most mass transit is subsidized, but yet the argument is always “HSR…so lucrative it can pay for itself”. At high speed, a car is fairly efficient, but even more so are express or commuter buses.

    Still if you can buy a nice starter home in Fresno for $100,000, ride HSR to Silicon Valley in an hour and get paid a $300,000 per year salary…it might make sense to cough up $100 per day to take HSR…

  9. JimInPollockPines
    Jan 29th, 2016 at 19:51
    #9

    with this exciting news about ios north, and construction already starting in madera, im going to place my bet on the wye… I think they are going to choose the AVE 13 (west of chowchilla) to the 152 north alignment.

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    wye oh wye

    datacruncher Reply:

    In October, the Chowchilla City Council voted 4-0 that they preferred Avenue 21 south of the city and Road 13 west of the city.
    http://www.fresnobee.com/news/local/high-speed-rail/article39220749.html

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    I see, well that makes sense. they want it a little further away from town. I was really hoping that Caltrans and hsr would work together for an integrated 152/hsr corridor since there are plans to upgrade 152 anyway.

    Roland Reply:

    It’s in the works.

    Travis D Reply:

    I believe the agricultural sector opposes that route.

  10. Clem
    Jan 29th, 2016 at 19:59
    #10

    The Mountain View Voice has an article on the emerging anti-BART coalition of cities in the north and west of Santa Clara County, who would rather see their money go to Caltrain and grade separations than into the black hole that is BART to San Jose. The VTA, who are in the process of drafting the language for a November tax measure, expresses amusement and indifference:

    The cities’ proposed budget generated a little bit of head-scratching from VTA officials, who were not present at the Mountain View meeting. Transit officials say they’ve performed extensive outreach to cities in recent months to determine future transportation needs and priorities. In the months to come, transit officials plan to start screening that list of “hundreds” of ideas to determine which should receive top priority, said VTA spokeswoman Stacey Hendler Ross. She expressed doubt that the cities’ effort to draft a budget would actually influence the transit agency’s decisions.

    It’s gonna be a fight!

    Miles Bader Reply:

    Sooooo why is BART any more of a black hole than Caltrain? Both have strengths and weaknesses, but Caltrain doesn’t seem particularly more competent, and arguably has farther to go before it can be a reasonable modern transportation system….

    Speaking of which, is there no attempt to coordinate future plans…?

    synonymouse Reply:

    BART is so sold on itself it cannot handle the truth its tech is outdated and a severe handicap, viz. the cylindrical wheelset profile betise for one example. BART thinks it is the Jetsons but it is as noisy, maybe more , than its hoary great grand-dad, the NYC subway.

    Miles Bader Reply:

    What’s to stop them from changing the wheel profile, anyway? If the current track profile is incompatible with conventional wheels, is there a track that is compatible with both that could be used for a transition?

    synonymouse Reply:

    BART-Bechtel thinks the conical tyre profile will hunt, thus exhibiting the ride and feel of a railroad. BART hates being a train – Bechtel wanted an exotic but did not have the stones to go for monorail or rubber tired metro. But it had to be exotic enough to be be incompatible with SP trackage, thus Indian broad gauge. I think Bechtel used the dart board to come up with 5′ 6″.

    Miles Bader Reply:

    I’m not asking why they went with it in the first place, I’m asking what’s stopping them from changing it now.

    My impression is that it’s widely recognized at this point that it was/is a mistake, and that it would be better to use a more conventional wheel profile.

    Is it just a matter of cost? Could such a change be done incrementally to spread the cost over time as they replace components due to natural wear?

    synonymouse Reply:

    AFAIK the current cover story is “safety”. But with BART all is byzantine.

    BART cannot be fixed – best to contain it, quarantine it.

    Reality Check Reply:

    Citation needed.

    If a train had conical wheels installed, my guess is it would ride OK … the contact patch would be a bit different, but it should work fine. Convert all trains and, if even needed, over time regrind the railheads to optimize for conical.

    Why wouldn’t that work?

    synonymouse Reply:

    The trucks need to be redesigned with the most modern dampeners to alleviate hunting AFAIK.

    BART has a hubris issue.

    Reality Check Reply:

    Citation needed.

    Why? I don’t see how modifying or upgrading suspension, shock damping, etc. has anything whatsoever to do with wheel profile.

    synonymouse Reply:

    With a cylindrical tyre profile the flange makes much more contact with the railhead which reduces hunting at the price of high flange wear.

    The story is Bechtel was convinced they could not get the non-swaying or weaving ride characteristic they deemed acceptable by redesigning the trucks with anti-hunt features, dampers.

    Be nice to come across a complete article on the subject; better yet get hands-on taking apart some modern railcar trucks to for a better feel and understanding of exactly how it all works. I assume at a certain point it becomes proprietary and not readily accessible to the outsider.

    For instance has anybody come across some really detailed info and plans of the new outside frame motor trucks being used on 100% lo-floor articulated streetcars? I can’t get hold of hard print copies of railroad industry magazines like Railway Gazette or International Railway Journal. You just cannot walk into the local library and find a copy on the rack next to the New Yorker.

    There was post on the Altamont site last year or so about being at BART when this all happened. I’ll try to find it. The really funny thing is that the first cars received from Rohr had indeed tapered wheelset tyre profiles, industry standard. Bechtel freaked and came up with what it is still in practice at BART today.

    Jerry Reply:

    Are the systems better in Boston, NY, Philadelphia, Chicago, Washington, Baltimore, Miami, Atlanta and LA all better because they all have standard gauge track and similar third rail voltages?
    And do they all use the same cylindrical profile?
    Comparable maintenance hours might show something.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    @Reality Check: A little bit of railroad 101:

    Conical profiles (in fact, it is not conical, but is a rather elaborate curve) cause the truck to a sine wave motion. This is actually very good, because it does stabilize the vehicle. The frequency depends (among other factors) on the wheelbase and the wheel diameter, as well as he speed. This system has a natural frequency. Bad hunting starts when the disturbances (such as irregularities of the track, or coming from the carbody, but even the impulses from the sine wave running) get close to the natural frequency. And that can be really, really bad; I had a key experience with one modified Combino light rail vehicle type used on the interurban lines in Düsseldorf.

    Combino is essentially a set of two-axle elements combined with free floating connecting elements; like the good old “two room and a bath” streetcar type. As the wheelbase is relatively short, its running qualities on straight track is not the very best, especially at speeds above 60 km/h. So, they added a small short-wheelbase, small wheel diameter truck under the end module. Oh gosh, at about 70 km/h that truck starts to hunt like crazy, giving the operator a very good shake…

    Anyway, the advantage of “conical” wheel profiles is that the lateral forces are quite low, leading to a very small amount of wear. There are actually profiles where the wear is so uniform that the profile remains for a rather long time, avoiding the need for reprofiling on the lathe. Such profiles last well for 250’000 and more km. Because the wheels are self-stabilizing and self-centering, the flange can be relatively small, also avoiding friction (and wear); in fact, at places where there are many and tight curves, it becomes important to grease the flange (and that can actually allow for a few more kN of tractive force if applied to drivng axles).

    A cylindrical profile, OTOH, provides no stabilization, requiring bigger, sturdier flanges which guide the wheels along the tracks. That’s pretty much like your Lionel toy trains. There are indeed applications with cylindrical profiles, for example on funiculars, where the outside wheel is double flanged, and the inside wheel is just a cylinder… The noise mentioned with BART comes from the additional friction between wheel and rail and between the flange and the rail.

    Now, what does improving the suspension have to do with the profile of the wheels? Actually a lot, because the already mentioned irregularities do come to a big extent from the suspension. And the most common dampers are used to prevent hunting; in the olden days, there were simply sliding pads between carbody and truck, which were considered sufficient as dampers. However, within the last 40 years or so, the trend got to softer suspension, and the use of air springs, both devices requiring a more controlled damping.

    There is one thing not speaking against Bechtel: Nowadays, 60 years later, we know a lot more about the wheel-rail dynamics, and the way to build suspension systems providing a smooth ride. And once you have ridden a modern car, such as the IC2000 types of the SBB, or (unfortunately no longer in commercial use), a Grand Comfort car from the SNCF, you would call anything from the 1950/60 a horrendous shaker.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    @synonymouse: Low floor streetcars/light rail vehicles have their issues, because they no longer have axles which do the self-stabilizing and self-centering of the running gear. In most cases, the adhesion/friction control is a closed loop system with the control electronics of the single wheel motor. Of course, that involves a lot more friction between wheel and rail, and accordingly more wear, and accordingly more visits to the pedicure…

    One (a bit exotic) example is the Cobra of the VBZ in Zürich, where the two wheels of each side of the running gear (I was involved in that project for a minuscule bit, and they did insist on using that term over “truck”). In this application, it is all done using the control electronics, and in curves, the outer wheels are driven faster than the inner wheels, avoiding the screeching so typical for streetcars in curves after the rails have dried up (this quietness was one of the causes for the naming; it comes along silently like a snake). As the wheelbase is quite long, the running capabilities on straight track are good as well. The downside is that the rolling of the wheels is over-controlled, leading to more than necessary friction, and corrugation of the wheels… that’s when it turns into a rattle-snake… The consequence is that the wheels have to be reprofiled every 25000 km or so (and which caused the VBZ to acquire a second lathe).

    About literature… The Railway Gazette is not really a technology publication, more a typical industry news and features product; It very rarely even has drawings of bogies, for example (I believe having seen more world high speed surveys than in-depth technical descriptions of a vehicle; for that, there is simply not enough space).

    Probably even harder to get your hands on would be the SER (Schweizerische Eisenbahn Revue), which does have in-depth technical articles, usually written by the engineers having designed the vehicles. If I believe to remember correctly, the index is accessible on-line.

    You may get better information actually from the publications by the manufacturers; Siemens (if needed the Germany site), Bombardier, or Alstom may have good descriptions available. Otherwise, you might also contact them directly; I know that some have made extracts from the industry press available as special brochures.

    It may also be worthwhile to become friendly with operators; they quite often do subscribe to the industry publications, and if you ask nicely they actually may allow you to dig through their library.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Max, I believe the future of streetcars and light rail resides with lo-floor throughout. So all the R&D into truck designs that can best accomplish that end are well worth it. Individual axles, individual motors and controls are definitely more complicated and may give up some the of the innate robustness of solid axles but I hope there is a way out of the complexity and high maintenance to good performance and reliability. Just getting rid of wheel squeal is a huge plus. And wheel well intrusion into the body interior can be dealt with longitudinal seats just as buses have been doing for many years.

    I am kinda surprised that motors are contributing to rail corrugation – I guess vibration introduced by gearing and pulses in the motor rotors? Cable cars have bad corrugation issues but then Muni to my knowledge never grinds cable car rails. I suspect the wooden track brakes do reduce some corrugation at stops. And anecdotally I believe the worst corrugation on the cable cars is on the flat sections, say on California St. as it approaches the end of the line at Market. I think there is more slack in the cable and I wonder if that could contribute.

    Reality Check Reply:

    @Max Wyss, thanks for the detailed rail 101 writeup! Much appreciated.

    So does anyone know why BART has an insane-making earsplitting howling noise coming from the wheel-rail interface when running at speed on straight (“tangent”) track?

    I’ve always heard they’ve got a big problem with the surface of the rail (or wheels?) becoming corrugated … and that they don’t grind their rails (or reprofile their wheels) often enough to keep the ride quiet. Except, if that was true, then wouldn’t the ride be super quiet, at least once in a while, right after rails have been ground (or wheels reprofiled)?

    Max Wyss Reply:

    @synonymouse: There are some small trends away from 100% low floor, going to 70 to 80%, which allows the use of conventional driving trucks, and single-wheels running gear elsewhere. Such a configuration is acceptable for suburban use where passengers remain in the vehicle for a longer time.

    A somewhat interesting development is the Siemens Avenio which uses “longitudinal axles” (“Längsradsätze” according to http://www.ifs.rwth-aachen.de/files/RWTH_IFS-Seminar_2010_3_Richter.pdf … quite an interesting publication, in German language). In some ways, they take come concepts of the Cobra, and combine it with some other “best practice” features (such as a running gear/truck under every segment, or primary suspension of the wheelsets). Cobra had the advantage of radial adjustment of the wheelsets, which seems to be less so in the Avenio truck. So, this may be a way for development… (well, after the Combino debacle, Siemens has to catch up…).

    Longitudinal seats may not really work, because according to the above mentioned publication, they have a free space of roughly 700 mm between the “boxes” on standard gauge, which is too narrow for longitudinal seats; it works for transversal seats, if the carbody is sufficiently wide.

    Actually, I was not really talking about rail corrugation (which is, however, induced by wheels rolling over the rail, but still pretty full of mysteries; what’s mostly done is treating the symptoms, such as regrinding, or changing the rails for a different size), but of wheel corrugation (may also be called “polygonization”). And that effect has been shown to be caused by the drive train.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    @Reality Check: you’re welcome… Even after quite a lot of money spent on research, the mechanisms causing corrugation (in some places but not in others) are still not quite understood. It is a combination of materials, speeds, loads, moon cycle, trackbed, and so on. Of course, the lack of self-stabilizing self-centering axles on straight track adds to the factors as well. Regular grinding and/or replacing the rails for a different profile/weight are the ways to fight the symptoms.

    It is possible that the howling noise comes from the flange sliding along the railhead side (unless they do have flange greasers). If it sounds kind of the same on a regular train passing through a very tight curve, that could be it. Or if it sounds like a MUNI light rail vehicle going through a relatively tight curve when the rails dry up after rain, it could be it.

    The noise could also come from the wheels starting to resonate. The shape of the wheel, and maybe adding absorbers could change it.

    Ah, and another thing which also can contribute to the noise is the pickup shoes from the third rail, which is a place of continuous friction (although using the right material combination can reduce that noise too).

    synonymouse Reply:

    @ RealityCheck

    I believe the BART to SFO line was just as noisy when brand new, tho it is claimed new rail needs to be ground just like old.

    @ Max

    I suspect you can deeply “corrugate” wheels, aka “flat” them, by locking the brakes and sliding on hills. Particularly in SF.

    EJ Reply:

    @Max, the “howling” noise BART makes at speed doesn’t sound anything like flange squeal. You can hear it in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H0x22U4d6XE

    It’s less a “metal on metal” type of sound than some kind of resonance.

    EJ Reply:

    As you can hear it’s quite a bit different from the rumbles, squeaks and bangs you hear on say, the London Underground or the NYC subway.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Aluminum hubs, steel tyres.

    EJ Reply:

    I suspect you can deeply “corrugate” wheels, aka “flat” them, by locking the brakes and sliding on hills. Particularly in SF.

    I thought the ruling grade on BART was the stretch in the median of 580 over the hill to Pleasanton. 4%, right?

    Neil Shea Reply:

    Fair question, agree with Syn (for a change) need to quarantine BART and only use standard gauge on future projects

    Miles Bader Reply:

    I agree, but I’m not talking about gauge though, just the wheel profile… my naive guess is that this would be easer to change than the gauge and would have beneficial effects for BART riders by reducing noise…

    synonymouse Reply:

    No brainer but then we’re talking BART here.

    Robert S. Allen Reply:

    With BART replacing its aging fleet of cars, is wheel profile something they should be looking at?

    Max Wyss Reply:

    @Robert S. Allen: It definitely would be worth the consideration to bring the wheel/rail geometry to industry standards. Just so, I think noise would be reduced considerably, wear on wheels and rails would be reduced considerably, and the maximum speed could be increased. Adjustments of the track geometry, in particular the wheel guides, may be necessary.

    Opposed to what we read here regularly, regauging would have about the lowest priority; it is an island system, but so be it (considering that the subway system of Tokyo has three different gauges (and probably even more different incompatible signalling systems)).

    Eric Reply:

    Regauging would allow through-running with Caltrain, with intercity trains to Sacramento, or whatever else. That would save a ton of money that would otherwise be spent on duplicate infrastructure.

    Dual gauging key segments of BART might be an interesting cheaper alternative…

    Max Wyss Reply:

    @Eric: Where could duplicate infrastructure be saved? In my understanding, there is about nothing which could bring synergies.

    Robert S. Allen Reply:

    BART track gauge is set. It’s the wheel profile I was asking about – cylindrical/conical? With BART getting a new fleet, is this something they should be looking at? What are the benefits and problems of each? Syno has brought this up many times.

    J. Wong Reply:

    “Regauging would allow through-running”

    You must be kidding: No standard gauge cars can navigate BART tunnels irrespective of the gauge.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    I thought the meme was that the Eurowunder vendors were able to do anything your little heart desires.
    Chicago L cars would probably fit.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    @Robert S. Allen: To focus my previous answer a bit better, the advantages would be considerably less noise, and considerably longer intervals between reprofiling on the lathe. Done right *), the running quality could be improved, and possibly the operating speed increased.

    Technical disadvantages: none.

    However, the situation would have to be assessed seriously, as there may be implications on the track geometry (which may be small, but could also be major).

    *) “done right” means that the engineering is done by experienced organisms, such as either the rolling stock manufactureres (such as Siemens, Alstom, Bombardier, etc.), or specialized engineering companies (such as Prose).

    Roland Reply:

    Why complicate things when the real problem is with the stupid 3rd rail with 25% energy loss?https://vimeo.com/49668856

    J. Wong Reply:

    There are a lot of 3rd rail systems in the US not just BART (LIRR & Metro North to name 2). And no, the Chicago L cars would not fit in the BART tunnels.

    Clem Reply:

    It’s an issue of geography: where the money goes has not been where the money comes from. I agree that our local transit industrial complex is horribly wasteful, but that’s a different issue.

    joe Reply:

    Historically the north peninsula cities, I lived in MTView and commuter to Stanford, didn’t care much for VTA. In fact I think residents equated VTA with lower income riders from other places.

    It’s different now which means the VTA’s plan will need to change.

    FWIW, BART will suck up all Santa Clara HOV money generated when HOV is opened on south 101 so south county residents fighting the ever increasign congestion will not be paying for relief with Caltrain or VTA improvements, just helping getting BART to San Jose.

    Clem Reply:

    VTA would be well-advised to treat them differently than an ATM. The spokesperson’s contempt is barely concealed!

    Joe Reply:

    The game has indeed changed.

    Still this alternative budget may not be build off a solid consensus. Same article shows MTView city council nit picking the allocations. This will happen for each city in the this “Hanseatic League” of northern cities.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    I was very much around and involved with (the opposition to) the 2000, 2006 and 2008 VTA sales tax (= BART + freeway slush funding) campaigns.

    Nothing at all has changed. Nothing.

    https://www.google.com/search?q=lucy+football+charlie+brown&tbm=isch

    Joe Reply:

    I know. I recall reading your name.

    What’s changed is the previously disengages northern cities of Santa Clara Co are now interested in more than freeways.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Amazing what happens when you zap all the redevelopment agencies, isn’t it?

    Reedman Reply:

    Actual quote from a doyenne of Silicon Valley:
    “I go east of 101 probably twice a year, but only if I have to.”

    EJ Reply:

    Caltrain’s at least standard gauge, and it uses mostly mainstream railway technology. From a governance standpoint BART and Caltrain are both pretty screwed up, but in different ways. BART’s only real advantage is, for extensive tunnelled sections, its small cross section. But other than that it’s a nosebleed expensive technological dead end.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Very nicely put.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    …because catenary makes so much sense in tunnels?

    Roland Reply:

    Well it all depends on whether passengers enjoy spending twice as much time inside tunnels than they really need to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l-22IQNVV1I

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    catenary makes so much sense in tunnels?

    It’s the human non-sense generator!

    Most real world competent designers and builders of new rail lines anywhere in the world thinks so. (Naturally America’s Finest continue to love their third rail 19th century style subways.)

    The only historical cost justification for third rail was smaller tunnel excavation volume, and that’s really no longer much of cost driver, especially given the predominance of circular bored holes in which catenary space comes for free. (And if you’re going to go all crazy about tunnel cross-section, go full crazy with linear induction motors.)

    Third rail’s time was over over half a century ago.

    Bdawe Reply:

    The reasonably competent (for their own cost-minimization ends, not necessarily for long term capacity needs that they had no incentive to design for) designers-builders-thirty-five-year-operators of the Canada Line in Vancouver went with 750 v third rail in 2005, though they used conventional electric motors rather than LIM.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    There’s the crushing English as a First Language handicap to consider also.

    Bdawe Reply:

    The engineers were out of Montreal. Some of them speak French. The rolling stock was provided by Koreans.

    EJ Reply:

    FFS. What about Taipei? Copenhagen? Beijing? Warsaw? Singapore? All non-English as a First Language countries that have opened either brand new metros or new metro lines using third rail power in the last couple decades.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    What about the TransBay Tubes? Is Third Rail still and advantage there because of their size?

    Joey Reply:

    The transbay tubes are round, which means that there’s a fair bit of clearance above the top of the car. The cut-and-cover sections would be more difficult because the box cross section leaves less room.

    EJ Reply:

    TBQH I don’t really get the hate for 3rd rail, at least for entirely grade separated systems where there’s minimal chance of unauthorized people and animals entering the ROW.

    I mean, sure, for high speed, mainline, 25 kV electrification you need OCS. But for low-voltage DC systems, what different does it make if the power is delivered via 3rd rail or overhead wire?

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Richard must have had some sort of childhood trau— well never mind, clearly there is always some part of his greater intelligence that is mere mortals cannot comprehend….

    EJ Reply:

    It’s not just him, there’s a whole bunch of internet train people that seem to think third rail power is just utterly beyond the pale. I mean, sure, BART should have been built to standard gauge with OCS, since that would have meant it was compatible with a future electrified Caltrain and… well, really, just that, since every other rail line in the Bay Area would have required such substantial upgrades that new-build was probably inevitable.

    Joey Reply:

    It turns out that a lot of new systems are using catenary even if they are low speed and almost completely tunneled. The availability of overhead conductor rails probably helped catalyze this to an extent.

    EJ Reply:

    It’s more that, like Richard says above, with modern TBM-bored tunnels, a few feet either way in tunnel diameter usually isn’t a big cost factor.

    Reality Check Reply:

    Indeed, Panama City’s new subway uses overhead conductor rails … as does the new Line 4 subway in Sao Paulo, Brazil … as do a number of the subway lines in Santiago, Chile.

    synonymouse Reply:

    I wonder when Muni will go to overhead conductor rails.

    Peter Reply:

    Why would they switch? Their tunnels are already all built, with working OCS.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    “Working”?

    Hardly. Failures are common, and the subway has been closed part-time for months at a time (meaning massive rider disruption) to rebuild the under-maintained under-reliable catenary twice since I’ve lived here.

    Doing anything once and doing it right is never the solution for America’s Finest Transportation Planning Professionals. Nor is “maintaining assets”, for that matter: much better to employ an over-sized under-skilled massively under-productive work force, let stuff fall apart, and then bleat about “state of good repair” until federal, state and local taxpayers cough up to rebuild it “new”, at god-plated cost, but with the same festering rotting stinking structure.

    Peter Reply:

    Then I take my comment back. I did not know that the catenary was the cause of some of the Muni meltdowns (I thought their train control system was the main culprit).

    Bdawe Reply:

    the train control system used on Muni’s underground is used all over the world for automated and semi-automated trains

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    The underlying story here is there isn’t nearly as much money for transit in California as there should be. The Democrats really screwed up by not pushing through a big package in 2013-14 when they had supermajorities. It gets a lot harder now, unless they get the supermajorities back in 2016 and Jerry Brown decides to go out on a high note in 2017-18.

    les Reply:

    That would have made them popular.

    Jerry Reply:

    True for California. But the USA is getting ready to rebuild our nuclear program at a cost of $1 Trillion Dollars. The old bombs are old. We need new bombs that can kill people a lot better. Plus better delivery systems. Plus storage systems.

    Aarond Reply:

    Funny thing though since part of that is putting money into STRACNET rail corridors for nuclear waste disposal. According to the DoE’s website, the central CA SPRR (now UPRR) alignment is part of this due to Rancho Seco. The same route that CAHSR parallels.

    Reality Check Reply:

    Talk about funding fights … we’ve got BART directors squabbling about who’s getting ripped off:
    BART board director calls SF ‘deadbeat’ in paying for Fleet of the Future

    San Francisco is a “deadbeat” and hasn’t paid enough towards BART’s new fleet, says one BART board director, after a Thursday vote to ask for more funding from nearby counties.

    […]

    The BART Board of Directors voted Thursday to ask those counties to collectively contribute 75 percent of a needed $400 million towards purchasing some of its Fleet of the Future — new rail cars that will have a modern design — which residents across the Bay Area will ride.

    The board singled out San Francisco for its lack of help.

    “Let’s be honest, it’s San Francisco that’s the deadbeat, and has been the deadbeat,” said BART board director Joel Keller, to laughter from the board.

    […]

    […] to alleviate future crowding, BART is aiming to purchase an additional 306 cars to make for 1,081 new trains total, according to BART spokeswoman Alicia Trost.

    “To date, the counties have not contributed at all to the fleet,” Trost said, referring to San Francisco, Contra Costa and Alameda. Alameda County did allocate more than $800 million for other BART projects and programs in 2014.

    […]

    Keller said asking Contra Costa County was politically difficult.

    “It’ll be tough to convince people in Contra Costa County,” he said, “when other counties, like San Francisco, have been unwilling to support extra funding for BART.”

    Keller called on the San Francisco County Transportation Authority to take a lead position.

    Board Director Zakhary Mallet agreed with Keller, and said “East Bay counties disproportionately invest in BART, and San Francisco’s economy disproportionately benefits.”

    […]

    And for more about what they’re talking about:
    BART trumpets support for billions in bonds

    BART will likely put a measure for an up to $4.5 billion bond to fund track and station improvements on the November ballot after a recent poll of likely Bay Area voters showed broad support for it.

    BART’s Board of Directors received the telephone poll of 2,100 voters at its meeting Thursday. The poll showed 68 percent of those polled had an overall favorable opinion of BART and think the agency needs further funding.

    Such a measure would need approval of two-thirds of voters to pass.

    The measure would primarily go toward infrastructure upgrades, such as replacing tracks and repairing damaged tunnels.

    According to the survey, the biggest concerns of voters are accommodating the growing population in the Bay Area, making earthquake safety improvements such as to the tunnel under the Berkeley hills, modernizing the infrastructure, preventing breakdowns and delays and public safety.

    How large the bond would be remains unclear, however the poll found that support for a $4.5 billion bond dipped below the necessary two-thirds thresholds when voters were told opposing arguments.

    […]

    MOAR munny for BART!

    synonymouse Reply:

    Geary belongs to Muni and TWU 250A. Screw BART

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Like Market Street does?

    Joey Reply:

    I wouldn’t accuse MUNI of having any more competence than BART.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Muni is demoralized and intermittent but way less manhattanizing.

    I know it is way too late fjor the City; forgive my nostalgia.

    What is it that the elite are really concerned about when they publicly worry over a takeover by “AI”? Are they alarmed the robotic new rulers will be too “good” as in incorruptible, efficient, moralistic but draconian and relentless or are they worried they will prove as downright evil, twisted, deceitful as their human creators?

    Joey Reply:

    Is “manhattanizing” supposed to be a scary word? It doesn’t mean much to me.

    StevieB Reply:

    Manhattan is too liberal, racially diverse and successful for Conservatives. It is a scare word in their subculture.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Except on September 11th.

    Donk Reply:

    In 2016, SF should be the richest city in the world. Where is all of that tax revenue going? The city still is mostly a shithole and their transportation system still sucks. What are they spending their money on, the homeless?

    J. Wong Reply:

    What tax revenue? Unlike NYC SF does not have an income tax nor a financials industry that gets huge bonuses to be taxed.

    EJ Reply:

    Thank god. MTA makes Bay Area transportation agencies look like a model of fiscal restraint.

    Aarond Reply:

    I’m fairly certain that most of the city’s money goes into K12 schools, like most counties and cities.

    What makes me laugh though is that LA County has arguably better transit now. LACMTA has 90ish miles of track at the moment most (all?) of it using separate ROWs. Of course LA is no SF, and MUNI is busy with the Central Subway, but still SF is behind the ball on transit development inside the city itself.

    When was the last time anyone was seriously talking about Geary metro service? BRT is a step up but it’s not enough. BART is apparently (?) “studying” Geary (and a second tube) but that was a year ago. And then there’s the DTX sitting idle.

    SF has so much potential development money sitting on the table here.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Trolley buses on Geary were studied 20 years but nothing. Amid serious deadhead savings from on route vehicle storage.

    Gavin had the opportunity to launch something with the Muni Centennial in 2012. SF is adrift and running on Facebook fumes. Can’t last.

    Aarond Reply:

    I’d be surprised if the fumes lasted another 12 months. Superbowl City will be legendary.

    Aarond Reply:

    I already see where this will end: BART to Diridon but not to Santa Clara. It’s a compromise solution that satisfies BART’s desire to serve SJ, and Santa Clara NIMBYs to not have two projects to fight. I’d also get BART another step closer to ring-the-bay.

    Hopefully everyone will be rational and everything will work out. Hopefully.

    Neil Shea Reply:

    Hear, hear!
    As Syn says, “Quarantine It!”

    Aarond Reply:

    It’s only getting “quarantined” so that it can be expanded later on. The combined forces of Santa Clara NIMBYs, Caltrain, PB and ACE can all stop BART from going into Diridon if it’s part of a larger scheme to invade Caltrain’s corridor.

    Also, it gives BART more options. Perhaps (I’m spitballing here), BART could run into Diridon, then turn south and run down the middle of 280, before turning north at highway 85, which would let them turn onto 101 and ring-the-bay. It’s be 40 miles of track, which at 80 mph would be about a 30 minute ride.

    Aarond Reply:

    Which, in case it isn’t clear, also allows BART to expand into VTA’s territory. Imagine all of VTA’s light rail becoming BART hybrid DMUs (like the ones up in Antioch).

    Aarond Reply:

    By the way, this is also sarcasm. BART running VTA would not be a good thing.

    Eric Reply:

    I was afraid for a second.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    But BART does run VTA.

    By which I one means that private contractors who completely control “public” BARTD and have done so for decades also, for more than a decade, completely control “public” SCVTA.

    (HSR bonus: PBQD also runs CHSRA. Synergistic! Because, obviously, the less overhead and the fewer masters to answer to, the better!)

    Neil Shea Reply:

    Aaron – you seem like a conservative, pragmatic guy. It’s very important to distinguish between BART *Technology* vs. the large and powerful BART Agency vs. the public association of frequent service to key locations.

    BART Technology is nonstandard, severely aging 50 years, capacity maxed edits chokepoint with no easy way to expand, and super expensive for rolling stock and track. Taxing or borrowing $300 million per mile is profligate waste when standard, interoperable, more maintainable options including LRT, BRT or flexible trains like Caltrain, CapCor, ACE, San Joaquin, etc. which often can be extended for $75m or less.

    Extensions must be limited to hub locations that connect to standard rail services, i.e. Diridon and possibly downtown Livermore. Beyond that even the BART agency is switching to standard rail, e.g. eBART.

    For many bay area residents, BART is a brand for frequent, relatively reliable transit services. This is understandable since most Americans have a few examples of decent transit services to compare to.

    Finally the agency is well-connected politically, and tends to “steal everyone’s lunch money” even though it is the opposite of cost-effective.

    With that understanding, I can strongly agree with any of your suggestions if you use cost-effective standard rail technologies. Whether we should bring and everything as BART is a different and more complicated discussion.

    EJ Reply:

    I dunno if the current honchos at BART are a departure from our friend Robert S. Allen, but if he’s at all representative, that’s not a mindset that will get the Bay Area modern, cost-effective transit.

    Aarond Reply:

    I’m aware of BART’s issues. But the goal here is to think like a BART director that wants to expand the network.

    Personally I’d prefer VTA just expanding their system since that’s objectively a better option. There’s a branch line to Permanente Quarry that’s just sitting there. In a fantasy world where the Coastal Commission doesn’t exist, you could also have an ACE/bay ferry transfer station in Alviso.

    Neil Shea Reply:

    You never said if you live in the Bay Area, and if so what part. But the high costs of the BART monster is a main reason why we don’t have more transit options today. The people here favor transportation choices.

    At $300m+ per mile, BART has already shaken down all the communities except San Jose for all the lunch money they’ve got, and we still need 100++ miles of additional routes. Meanwhile most other Western cities are aggressively expanding at costs of $50-75m/mile — Sacramento, LA, SD, Phoenix, Denver, Portland, Seattle…

    You are saying greed and determination can be useful. But the Bay Area has added precious little in rail options the past 25 years, despite $Billions flowing through BART HQ. The kids are still hungry. I’ll advocate for cost-effective non-BART solutions.

    Danny Reply:

    keep BART’s viaducts, change the bogies, and move all the rails a foot closer together one night

    Elizabeth Reply:

    I think it is important to start distinguishing between:

    BART-specific infrastructure (trains, signaling, nonstandard tracks)
    BART service levels (frequent, all day service but no express trains)
    BART policies (lots of parking in outer network, no grade seps, underground in urban areas like SF and Berkeley)
    BART the organization

    In general, the public and most policy makers look at these as a package deal and most, beg for BART over other alternative, based on service levels and policies. In fact, you could have BART the organization with different tech (e-bart) or Caltrain with frequent service.

    Elizabeth Reply:

    This is a moment when decisions about BART’s future should/ could be made. A significant portion of the custom-one of kind- infrastructure now needs to be replaced – BART’s reliability over last 2 years has dramatically declined and passengers are noticing. 95% reliability means that there is delay on one leg of a commuter’s journeys every two weeks. You now have a delay once a week and the delays are becoming more significant.

    http://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/BART-delays-climb-with-age-ridership-6108027.php

    BART is trying to do another new train control system. This is budgeted at almost $1 billion – not to count the money already thrown away on the first attempt to do this. Because this will be a one of a kind project, again, success is far from guaranteed on this go around.

    The Bay Area is at a crossroads.

    joe Reply:

    For perspective, rebuilding the existing interchange at 880 and 101 is budgeted at 1 Billion dollars.

    Jon Reply:

    What is this crossroads, exactly?

    Neil Shea Reply:

    I think Elizabeth is right, a crossroads where we look for price performance, higher speeds, lower noise and eliminating grade crossings. Before we spend $1 billion on a highway interchange, or bailing out BART, we should ask a lot of questions. So Standard Guage rail should be favored over dead-end choices.

    Reality Check Reply:

    On the huge opportunity cost of poor-value-for-money costly BART, I often heard wise observers remark that BART is a stalking horse for the auto/drive-alone/highway lobby …. and that those who advocate for it over more cost-effective transit are either cynical or naive/unwitting accomplices.

    Jeff Carter Reply:

    @Reality Check: “On the huge opportunity cost of poor-value-for-money costly BART, I often heard wise observers remark that BART is a stalking horse for the auto/drive-alone/highway lobby …. and that those who advocate for it over more cost-effective transit are either cynical or naive/unwitting accomplices.”

    The problem is that the average Joe does not see any “cost-effective transit” to compare BART to. We have Caltrain with an awesome one train per hour and we have BART which runs trains every few minutes. While this isn’t the actual case, it is the perception that people have of each system. Caltrain is perceived as slow/inconvenient (due to infrequent service more than anything) and BART is perceived as fast and convenient.

    Unfortunately the politics of Bay Area transit has created this situation. Clueless politicians cheerleading for BART, thanks to heavy lobbying by contractors, engineers, consultants, etc. drive nearly all transit funding to BART and a few table scraps to Caltrain.

    Neil Shea Reply:

    Well put

    Neil Shea Reply:

    So Caltrain electrification and frequent service could not only improve transportation on the peninsula corridor, but also begin to change perceptions that only ‘BART’ provides frequent service. Not overnight, but I could foresee a time when both the public and politicians can better consider costs and technology alternatives for new routes.

    Reedman Reply:

    Elizabeth
    typo alert:

    BART policy is 100% grade separated.

    (one of the reasons it is a choice of citizens, in spite of the cost. No one in a car ever sits at a crossing gate that is blocking the road because a BART train is coming through.)

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Actually it’s the other way around…BART has been incredibly effective (because it’s gauge is non compatible) in controlling the urban footprint of the Bay Area and the over incorporation of too many cities, which is a primary factor in Southern Calfornia’s economic decline….The parking lots also helped reserve land for infill that LA only wishes it had.

    The real crossroads is that this isn’t your father’s Bay Area. Changing demographics mean the need for much more global changes, that’s why ABAG, MTC, etc. are moving to Beale street. BART is the handmaiden the shepherd, not the Lord.

    Neil Shea Reply:

    So Aaron if you just say ‘extend BART 10 miles’ I and many folks will say, WTF you’re as conservative and pragmatic as W Bush or a drunken sailor. But instead if you say, “Leverage the BART brand and align the agency to extend cost-effective, standards-based transit lines throughout Santa Clara and San Mateo counties” then we have something interesting to talk about.

    Robert S. Allen Reply:

    Aarond: FYI, although BART is designed for 80 mph, the Board long ago opted to max at 70 mph.

    Joe Reply:

    Slower than Caltain. Ha ha

    Roland Reply:

    By 40 MPH after electrification.

    Neil Shea Reply:

    Great point, BART is not only expensive, noisy and inflexible, it’s also quite slow

    Roland Reply:

    Courtesy of the power wasting third rail: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk%3AThird_rail#100mph_maximum_speed_test
    BART: Diridon to Embarcadero: 70 minutes
    Caltrain: Diridon to Transbay: 40 minutes

    Clem Reply:

    40 minutes? State your assumptions please

    Jon Reply:

    Uh, that’s due to the number of stops rather than the speed.

    swing hanger Reply:

    Basically, you don’t use third rail for the long distances involved in suburban commutes- you use overhead catenary as the running is above ground, and which allows much higher speeds. Third rail is for urban metros with short station spacing and reduced top speeds where the smaller profile of rolling stock allows smaller diameter (and cheaper) tunnels.

    Eric Reply:

    I like the 280-85-101 idea… As long as it’s elevated (and thus *relatively* affordable) rather than tunneled.

  11. Car(e)-Free LA
    Jan 30th, 2016 at 12:41
    #11

    Fresno International Convention Center

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Wrong place to write this, sorry

  12. Roland
    Jan 30th, 2016 at 15:17
    #12

    OT: Hyperloop Update: Secretary Anthony Foxx pledges federal funding for hyperloop research: http://www.theverge.com/transportation/2016/1/30/10874902/spacex-hyperloop-competition-anthony-foxx-elon-musk-moonshot

    Roland Reply:

    MIT wins hyperloop pod competition. Another 22 teams advance to the next phase: http://www.theverge.com/2016/1/30/10877442/elon-musk-spacex-hyperloop-competition-awards

    Roland Reply:

    Here are pictures of the MIT prototype complete with dual retractable undercarriages: http://www.engadget.com/2016/01/31/hyperloop-pod-competition-in-photos/#gallery=361350&slide=3784611
    We will know by the summer whether or not levitation is achievable within one mile and how (on-board air tanks are allowed).

    Roland Reply:

    Link to article: http://www.engadget.com/2016/01/31/hyperloop-pod-competition-in-photos/

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    Instead of wasting time reinventing the wheel these smarty pants should focus on doing something really useful like figuring out how to capture the freshwater melting from the poles/glaciers and diverting it to feed into the drought prone watersheds. If we put people in space 50 years ago and plan to send them to mars as well then we can certainly distribute water

    Roland Reply:

    First indication that the Hawthorne test track may be in a tunnel with an inner metal liner similar to the SFPUC Dumbarton pipeline: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/uAPmkVhqjrx (fast forward 27:30)

    Danny Reply:

    yeah, I can’t find any source whether it’s even magnetized: ET3’s been playing this game since ’97 and hasn’t so much as made a prop, just CGIs and Scientology-level cultishness

    Ted Judah Reply:

    MWD already cooked up that scenario in the 1960s under Joe Jensen. It went I where in part because (I think) slowing population growth made selling the volume of bonds for financing became impossible.

    EJ Reply:

    “Why don’t these people work on my pet project? I’m too ignorant to know if it’s even remotely possible, but they should drop what they’re doing and work on that!”

  13. keith saggers
    Jan 30th, 2016 at 16:56
    #13
  14. Faber Castell
    Jan 30th, 2016 at 18:35
    #14

    What HSR overpass are we looking at in this animation video?

    https://youtu.be/j9b84XzjA4w

    Edward Reply:

    Whoever posted that animation posted it as a comedy. An editorial comment?

    Arcadis NV is based in The Netherlands but has offices in Emeryville and is doing part of the work of the CP 2-3 contract.

    Alignment subsection C2 of CP 2-3 has an over pass over Nevada Avenue.

    https://www.google.com/maps/dir/@36.13794,-119.585,16z/data=!3m1!1e3

    Elizabeth Reply:

    WHy do you think it is a joke? (other than Youtube category) It pretty much looks like what most of the overpasses that cross over the rail corridor do (both freight, wide berth, hsr). The guy who posted it works for Arcadis, who has responsibility for this section.

    Edward Reply:

    *I* don’t think it is a joke. *You* have just stated the reason that I thought it might be an editorial comment: The Youtube category.

    Elizabeth Reply:

    got it. assuming it was posted without any ulterior motive, do you have an editorial comment?

    Edward Reply:

    If the guy who posted it works for Arcadis (and is friendly with his employer) I suppose we can group this with typos. I’m not sure what you call it when you hit the wrong button on the screen. But s**t happens to the best of us.

    Edward Reply:

    As far as editorial comments, I have two:

    The design in the animation is appropriate for the location. This is open farmland except for the solar power site. My family owns three farms near here. Most roads in the area are two lanes. The animation has four lanes and raises the road over a highway, the freight railroad and HSR. Much cheaper than doing something with all of the other three. In this area they are closing about half the roads and providing over or under crossings for the rest. CAHSR is also giving $12 million to the county to upgrade some of the connecting roads before the road closures.

    In more built up areas a low berm for HSR and underpasses that have to dip ~12 feet for cars and zero for pedestrians and bicycles is cheaper and less intrusive. There are a few cases where the rail can be in an underpass, but when you take into account the fact that the track has to go much deeper than a road has to because of the catenary, it is usually cheaper to put the road under. If there is only a single road, it can also go over, but it must go high to allow clearance for the catenary. This usually is a problem in a built up area as the overpass must be excessively long to reduce the slope of the road to something reasonable. See the animation to understand this.

    Jerry Reply:

    The overpass looks similar to the one Burlingame is considering for their grade CalTrain separation at Broadway.

    Jerry Reply:

    Caltrain grade separation
    But with the train on top, and the road on the bottom.

    Joe Reply:

    Recall 880 pancaking. I’d pass on that design for the Pennisula.

    Joe Reply:

    Unless just a road underpass.

    Elizabeth Reply:

    What was this?

    Edward Reply:

    The collapse of the Cypress Street Viaduct in Oakland during the ‎Loma Prieta earthquake. The great majority of the deaths in the quake were caused by this. The collapse was caused by two things:
    The freeway was mainly on fill.
    The supports of the upper level (which had been added later) had insufficient rebar around their circumference, allowing the concrete to spall and the supports to then collapse.

    J. Wong Reply:

    The video doesn’t show the 880 (and 101 and 280 and Embarcadero) design. The problem there was double deck w/o adequate re-bar allowing the 2nd deck supports to collapse. The only place this kind of double deck still exists is part of 280 where it approaches 101 but it has been retrofit to modern standards.

    agb5 Reply:

    Pancaking is not possible when the support pillars are directly under the bridge deck, as the are in all grade separations (except the rail over rail crossings)

    Edward Reply:

    There is a funny tale related to this. There was a seismology conference in Tokyo and some of the submitted papers were going to show that the local designs of highways would not have collapsed in a similar quake. Before the conference started the Kyoto quake hit. None of their elevated roadways collapsed. The ground liquified and they rolled over between 45 and 90 degrees. But everything stayed intact. Not very useful, but intact.

    Some of the papers were withdrawn, others were left as the authors felt that showing all the potential problems was more important than a little embarrassment.

    agb5 Reply:

    You what solution are you proposing for California to build grade separations which don’t pancake or roll over?

  15. Trentbridge
    Jan 31st, 2016 at 09:52
    #15

    0.75 inches of rain in Fresno today – maybe the Fresno River is about to put in an appearance and make the reason for a viaduct obvious…

    datacruncher Reply:

    Unlikely with this storm.

    Upstream from the viaduct the Fresno River feeds Hensley Lake. As of Midnight last night, Hensley was only at 17% of capacity.
    http://cdec.water.ca.gov/cgi-progs/reservoirs/RES

    Even if/when Hensley releases water, the John Franchi Diversion Dam diverts dam releases into the Madera Irrigation District’s canals before it reaches the viaduct.

    It is going to a lot of rain/snowmelt before any water reaches the viaduct. It will happen someday just not very often.

  16. JJJJ
    Jan 31st, 2016 at 17:58
    #16

    People frequently point to Fresno Air Terminal travel numbers to say that HSR numbers are unrealistic.

    Here’s a recent article in the Bee which sort of explains why that’s not quite the case.

    http://www.fresnobee.com/entertainment/performing-arts/donald-munro/article57136453.html#storylink=hpdigest

    Essentially, people are so sick of delays = missing connections that people would rather drive 4 hours to SFO or LAX then fly out of Fresno. Never mind saving a butt-load of cash in the process.

    datacruncher Reply:

    Airlines do not like short flights anymore either.

    The shortest route Southwest (usually still thought of, although incorrectly, as a point to point carrier) currently flies is Austin to Houston-Hobby at 148 miles, they have dropped everything shorter.

    FAT-OAK is 153 miles and FAT-SFO is 158 miles, basically the same distance. But the Austin MSA is twice the population of Fresno MSA.

    Danny Reply:

    Southwest (and Best Western and McDonald’s) in fact sabotaged a private TXHSR in 1994

    and now SW, AA, and Continental want to drop anything under 500 miles since they can’t make any money off it, have had to face up to bankruptcies and the inevitable rot that sets in after every corporate raider

    as usual anti-rail rabidness and its being 300th on anyone’s priority list back then means that it costs billions and billions more to unsoil the bed because they couldn’t look past the next quarter down the road two decades before

    swing hanger Reply:

    I haven’t lived in the U.S. in years, but on visits back I’m surprised how air service has changed so much from say 20 years back- even mid-sized to large city airports are no longer served by the big airlines, but rather by regional puddle jumper airlines (I assume with lower labor costs and cheaper to run equipment) feeding into the big metro area hub airports. Even SJC, which once had frequent jet-only service to LAX (remember PSA and AirCal?), now has propjet service on the same route.

    JJJJ Reply:

    Its interesting that airports like Monterey and Fresno used to get big jets – 757s. I think even Modesto and Visalia used to get big planes. Then it switched to almost all tiny turboprops, maybe 20 seats. Now the issue is theyre dumping all the propeller planes for jest only (Embraer and Bombardier, 75 seats). The ride is slightly faster and slightly more comfortable, but instead of 6 flights a day, they now do 2.

    The exception for Fresno are the two flights a day to Guadalajara, which are on “real” planes. Allegient also offered 757 service to Honolulu for 3 years but that has since ended.

    datacruncher Reply:

    The airline industry now operates in a very different environment. Government regulation of airlines (where they flew, what fare they could charge, etc) saw 737s operate at cities like Modesto, Merced, and Visalia. United operated milk runs that stopped at two different Central Valley cities between SFO and LAX. In that era the airlines accepted flights with load factors around 50% or so.

    The deregulated environment and changes in costs,

    Additionally a 1970s era 737-200 had about 120 seats or so. Today due to less legroom (and Boeing lengthening fuselages a little), UA operates the 737-800 with 155 to 160 seats.

    Mixed in with regional jets to Phoenix, AA also operates the mainline Airbus A319 on FAT-PHX. Typically the A319 seats about 125 passengers, similar to the 1970s 737. Of course FAT-PHX was not a route operating in the 1970s, those passengers were using SFO and LAX.

    Along with GDL and PHX, Fresno also has mainline sized aircraft on flights on AA to Dallas (MD80 series and 737-800s) and Allegiant (MD80 series) to LAS.

    datacruncher Reply:

    oops, the second paragraph should say, The deregulated environment and changes in costs changed the industry over the last 4 decades.

    JJJJ Reply:

    Itll be interesting to see what replaced the MD80 on the Dallas and Vegas trips. The one time I took Allegient from FAT to Vegas, it was a TWA plane, they wont last forever. AA is actively retiring their MD80s.

    datacruncher Reply:

    AA is putting 737-800s on routes as the replacement for MDs. They have about 95 MDs left in the fleet and will retire over 60 before the end of 2016. The 30 or so that will operate in 2017 are planned to operate from DFW on short Texas/Oklahoma/Louisiana type hops. Fresno should see the move to 737-800s this year, although it might be after the busy summer travel season.

    Allegiant has operated 757s on busy days into Fresno since they were no longer needed for Hawaii. But Allegiant is currently picking up Airbus A320s as the replacement for their MDs. They have purchased some A319s but now say the preference is A320s.

    Drunk Engineer Reply:

    Even SJC, which once had frequent jet-only service to LAX (remember PSA and AirCal?), now has propjet service on the same route.

    But…but…but…isn’t San Jose is the Center of the Universe?

    Michael Reply:

    AirCal was the plane that would take me as a kid from SFO to Orange County to DISNEYLAND!

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    San Jose is one of the Bay Area’s two major centers, but the center of transportation is SFO airport (because airlines like to have a single regional hub.) SFO is located on the peninsula between San Francisco and San Jose, so you can’t make the claim that it exists primarily to serve the city of San Francisco, of which it is not even a part.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    I met a guy the other day at LAX who San Joaquin-Bus-Red Line-Blue Line-Green Lined it to LAX from Fresno.

    swing hanger Reply:

    Once, back in college, I did UCLA (back when a thruway bus served Westwood) to Menlo Park using the San Joaquin + the various connecting buses and Caltrain. Too bad it took all day and most of the evening.

    Jon Reply:

    I recently did Downtown LA to 16th St/Mission via Thruway bus, San Joaquin train, and BART. I had a bike with me a didn’t want to have to dismantle It to put it on a plane or the Coast Starlight.

    Donk Reply:

    You forgot about the (infrequent) Green Line-LAX shuttle bus.

    EJ Reply:

    I guess he saved about seven dollars, but you know you can take a direct bus from LAUS to LAX for 9 bucks?

  17. synonymouse
    Jan 31st, 2016 at 20:43
    #17

    http://www.altamontpress.com/discussion/read.php?1,128777,128777#msg-128777

    They still are riding the bus.

    I wonder if that is the tunnel that SP daylighted after the 7.1 in 1952.

  18. morris brown
    Feb 1st, 2016 at 04:29
    #18

    LA Times has a front page article titled:

    Train Delays Soared in 2015

    On line version at:

    http://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-metrolink-delays-20160201-story.html

    Clem Reply:

    This article is about Metrolink train delays. Over 600 delays (some 15% of the total) caused by the PTC system stopping a train when it shouldn’t have. Does anyone wish to take a guess about what CBOSS will do to Caltrain punctuality?

    Donk Reply:

    This is exactly what we are going to get with HSR – a poorly run passenger rail system. Are there any “well run” passenger rail systems in the US?

    It seems like this story about Metrolink pretty much sums it up for most US passenger rail systems. The metro/subway/light rail systems are more efficient than commuter rail and regional rail since they typically have their own dedicated track and are generally newer (at least on the west coast), but they still seem to suffer from the same idiocy and ineptitude.

    JB in PA Reply:

    Southwest airlines runs ok. Except it is made of aluminum instead of steel, and doe not run on rails.

    I am only half joking. Can a US commuter rail run as smoothly as a low cost carrier airline?
    Ok so there is no shortage of criticism of airlines. But they move people safely every day. An not just people, Americans. The same people who demonstrate manners on the Freeway and in the ramps to the Football stadium. Not Japanese, Chinese, or Swiss, but make a rail system Americans can use.
    I am only half joking about the American mannerisms.

    Joe Reply:

    There is an active government oversight for our national airspace assuring safety and managing air travel – it’s called the FAA.

    Eric Reply:

    FAA sounds like FRA.

    Joe Reply:

    Our Airspace is a public resource. The FAA controls the entire system.

    Rail is private infrastructure. Unless we’re taking about the CTA or NY Metro, many commuter rail run on private infrastructure.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    And FRA sounds like the NRA.

  19. morris brown
    Feb 1st, 2016 at 06:37
    #19

    Fox and Hounds: High Speed Rail Hides from Oversight

    Joe Reply:

    At the oversight hearing HSR mentioned the draft presentation also showed costs going down in their segments but that was omitted by the LATimes reporter.

    How come Morris Brown made the same omission ? And Morris also dismissed Morales explanation as to why the draft presentation was wrong as unbelievable. What is the pointed of more oversight if critics have their ears plugged ?

    Looks like Morris can get just about anything printed.

    morris brown Reply:

    @joe

    I did not omit some costs going down, and neither did the LA Times. Did you read the article?

    The cost increase predicted by the PB report was about $9 billion, a 31% increase for the Merced to Burbank segment. The report also showed an overall increase of about 5% for the whole Phase I of the project, with a net increase of about $3.5 billion to the baseline project for the San Francisco to Los Angeles segment. Indeed the 2014 business plan, simply incorporated the 2012 business plan cost estimate of $68 billion.

    The committee took everything that Morales and Richard said as gospel. No new data presented, just their really saying — the LA Times article is bogus –. They continue to hide behind “we don’t have to produce data — all of this is just “DRAFT” materials.

    Joe Reply:

    The LATime sure did and Richard openly complained. I don’t see the part where some costs were less. The word less is no where to be found Ecuador the goal is to mislead and misinform.

    The LATimes editorial page correctly labeld the report a draft PowerPoint presentation. My god man, wake up! This incessant lying has cost opponents dearly. Overreaching negativism backfires.

    EJ Reply:

    Ecuador?

    Joe Reply:

    “Unless”

    Joe Reply:

    LATimes editorial board:

    http://www.latimes.com/opinion/editorials/la-ed-1105-high-speed-rail-20151105-story.html

    In a draft PowerPoint presentation dated October 2013, the agency’s project management consultant estimated that the cost of the first phase of the line, from Burbank to Merced, could grow to about $36 billion. Yet the authority ended up putting a lower cost estimate in its official business plan released four months later, The Times recently reported.

    True, the presentation was labeled a draft. And authority officials said they used “scores of analyses and assessments” to develop the updated cost estimates.

    EJ Reply:

    And the LAT editorial board, which in general supports the project, says that it raises questions about CAHSR’s published estimates. It doesn’t MATTER that it’s a draft. Sure, it would have been nice for CAHSR if nobody’d mentioned the thing, if it had stayed safely buried, if it had never gotten out into the wild. But you can’t unring that bell. As a CA taxpayer, I don’t care about making the CAHSR board look good. I want a more detailed answer than “we used lots of different analyses” as to why they went with a lower estimate.

    Assuming they went through some even halfway rigorous analysis, it shouldn’t require much effort to summarize what that was. It should already be written down and memorialized, FFS. And if they didn’t and just picked numbers they liked, they need to be called out on it.

    Joe Reply:

    It matters if it’s a draft presentation or final report. It was not a authority report. It was done by a subset of the team. The LATimes corrected the record. They know better to get caught over reaching and lose credibility.

    Wolf wolf!

    Internal work-in-progress materials should NOT be released. That would cripple innovation and censure difficult decisions. Sadly it might mean we don’t get to play back seat manager to every decision and recreate the debate.

    There’s been no crime. No need to call CSI.

    As for wanting an answer – listen to the hearing. They pretty much fully explain the reason they went with their estimate. Main reasons are the viaducts and differing scope double booked some work that inflated the total given how the LATimes totaled the work.

    EJ Reply:

    It was done by PB, who as CAHSR’s consultant of record, should have at least some credibility. If I give my boss an estimate for a project, and he gets hold of some earlier internal document suggesting I’m way off, regardless of what his source is, I better have a decent answer as to why. Got nothing to do with any “crime.”

    You’re not the only one here who has ever managed a project. Internal, work in progress documents shouldn’t be released, but sometimes they are, and when that happens you need to explain them.

    EJ Reply:

    I agree they have offered better explanations than what they’re sometimes given credit for, but you seem to be arguing that they can just say, “it’s an internal draft” and it should magically go away, which, no.

    Joe Reply:

    It is not a representative presentation and is a waste of time and attention to ove reach what it is.

    The anonymous authors changed the scope of phase 1 from the official scope. This really confused Ralph and part of the cost growth is a misunderstanding (Ralph) what the presentation described. Careless of him but hey he’s a busy guy. He double booked work in an urban area to the order of billions of dollars of cost growth.

    Another problem is the draft presentation assumed viaduct alignment but the final design omits that viaduct. What’s the controversy ? The draft author assumptions were not consistent with the final design.

    Why all the excitement ? It sells newspapers.

    Waste of time to review intermediate work in a dynamic planning environment if it’s not finalized. You chase SWs ends that were abandoned.

    Elizabeth Reply:

    Watchdog CARRD asked the Authority to release it, which they did, which was the right thing to do.

    Peter Reply:

    There are many reasons for not releasing drafts (and in fact for why they are exempted from the Public Records Act):

    The data used in them may not have been properly validated, the draft may just have been discussing a possible option that the agency decided not to go with, among many others.

    There is no reason to hold an agency (or anyone, for that matter) accountable for the contents of drafts. Would you take an author’s early draft of a novel and hold it up against them when they publish the final draft (“But that’s not what happened in this version!”)?

    Elizabeth Reply:

    1. Drafts are not exempted from release – the same criteria applies to them as applies to any other document.

    2. The Authority has admitted that this presentation was given to senior authority staff and represented the current dollar project cost – with a couple of remaining things to be done – decide on timing, include inflation figures. A biz plan takes awhile to put together. By October – the basic cost figures need to be done. This was not a draft presentation – it was the final one and it was given. The cost figures were not finalized, because they were in 2012$ – turning them into YOE required thinking about timing/phasing and inflation.

    3. The Authority did not “fine tune” the project costs. It literally dismisssed the millions of $$ of work done by its consultants and decided to use the 2012 cost figures again. This is not okay.

    Peter Reply:

    Drafts are not exempted from release – the same criteria applies to them as applies to any other document.

    Wrong. And I don’t even know what you mean with “the same criteria applies to them as applies to any other document”.

    Government Code 6254: “Except as provided in Sections 6254.7 and 6254.13, this chapter does not require the disclosure of any of the following records:

    “(a) Preliminary drafts, notes, or interagency or intra-agency memoranda that are not retained by the public agency in the ordinary course of business, if the public interest in withholding those records clearly outweighs the public interest in disclosure.”

    EJ Reply:

    That would be “Preliminary drafts… that are not retained by the agency in the ordinary course of business.” A document isn’t automatically exempt just because someone stamped “DRAFT” on it.

    “If preliminary materials are not customarily discarded or have not in fact been discarded as is customary they must be disclosed.” ” Citizens for A Better Environment v. Department of Food and Agriculture, 171 Cal. App. 3d 704 (1985)

    Quoted in: http://www.calaware.org/downloads/Top10_CPRAExemptions.pdf

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    criteria is the plural of criterion, not that anyone cares anymore..

    Joe Reply:

    This was not a draft presentation – it was the final one and it was given. The cost figures were not finalized, because…

    The LATimes editorial board clearly called the presentation draft. I posted that link and still the critics argue.

    “Wolf, wolf, wolf!”

    Elizabeth Reply:

    It is a common misperception that anything that is a draft document is nondisclosable – one that is heavily exploited by agencies like Caltrans. CHSRA now is staffed by former Caltrans lawyers.

    The courts 20 years ago expanded the definition of the “catch all provision” (6255) in the Public Records Act to include a deliberative process exclusion. This is not an automatic thing – but an agency can try and make a case.

    Prior to that, the draft provision allowed certain documents that met multiple criteria, including deliberative process, to be withheld. It also had to be “not retained” – given the Authority still had the “draft” presentation and it was presented – it was retained.

    Now, any scenario in which the “draft” exclusion could be used successfully is also covered by 6255.

    From the AG’s report:

    VI
    EXEMPTION FOR PRELIMINARY NOTES, DRAFTS AND MEMORANDA
    (Gov. Code, § 6254(a))
    Under this exemption, materials must be (1) notes, drafts or memoranda (2) which are not
    retained in the ordinary course of business (3) where the public interest in nondisclosure
    clearly outweighs the public interest in disclosure. This exemption has little or no effect
    since the deliberative process privilege was clearly established under the balancing test in
    section 6255 in 1991, but is mentioned here because it is in the Act.4

    This is a lengthy presentation but a good guide to the PRA
    http://oag.ca.gov/sites/all/files/agweb/pdfs/publications/pra.pdf?

    The ACLU of Northern California has won a couple of court cases that show exactly how limited exclusions to releasing records are. Here is the latest ruling (says tentative – but was adopted): https://www.aclunc.org/docs/20151210-tentative_ruling.pdf

    Joe Reply:

    Just Waste time.

    We learned nothing from this draft PowerPoint. It illustrates why draft, preliminary material should be exempt from release.

    What a useless waste of time and money.

    Can’t critics wait a few more weeks ?

    Assemblyman Jim Patterson, R-Fresno, a critic of the project, criticized the Democratically controlled committee for only allotting 90 minutes for the hearing, but Democrats on the panel promised more hearings once the business plan is released.

    Read more here: http://www.fresnobee.com/news/state/california/article56788083.html#storylink=cpy

    EJ Reply:

    Well, that’s, like, your opinion, man…

    But it’s wrong to claim that it’s exempt from release.

    Peter Reply:

    Forgive me for not going into lengthy detail as to EVERYTHING that has to happen for a draft to be exempt.

    I never said that drafts would always be exempt, or that stamping “draft” on a document makes it exempt.

    Elizabeth Reply:

    Peter,

    Sorry for jumping down your throat. We have spent the the last five years with the Authority where they insist that it just has to have a draft stamp on it to withhold it. Caltrans used this excuse to withhold key Bay Bridge documents, by telling everyone “draft documents are exempt”. This has been repeated so often that even reporters often accept this.

    It probably makes sense given 6255 to simply take the draft language out of code.

    joe Reply:

    Caltrans used this excuse to withhold key Bay Bridge documents,

    Right.

    Watchdog CARRD didn’t ask the LATimes to released their copy of the powerpoint to the public.

    This “confidential report” very helpful attacking the project until it was released and shown to be another exaggeration.

    Point proven here – there’s nothing in the slide deck. Opposition Legislature has found nothing with this very very important document.

    The lack of evidence means opponents need to dig deeper.

    Peter Reply:

    There may have been a legal reason for why the LATimes didn’t release a copy. If they acquired it illegally (not through the proper channels), their attorneys may have said that while they could discuss it, they couldn’t produce it.

    Once the records was released by the Authority via the public records act, it enters the public domain and anyone can disseminate it.

    Travis D Reply:

    They said it would all come out in the new business plan. That will be the time to scrutinize things.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Don’t worry your pretty little heads about it.
    PB will tell Mister Morales to tell you as much as you need to know when you need to know it.
    So hush your mouth child and wait until you’re grown up enough to understand big people business.

    Joe Reply:

    And maybe you have the PowerPoint charts pinned on the wall with string attached to various news Articles clippings with the letters P and B circled and a photo of Jeff Morales with his eyes burned out and little horns drawn on his head in red maker.

    EJ Reply:

    Last time we got to vote on it, in 2008, there’d be a HSR line from San Francisco TBT to either Anaheim or Irvine by 2020. It would cost $40 million. So scrutiny is in order.

    joe Reply:

    If you discount the California Governors’s election which one candidate tried to make HSR an issue.

    What’s to scrutinize January 2016? Maybe we can rummage through their trash or get TMZ to bite.

    I’ll wait until the draft plan for which all those discarded people that wanted to speak about HSR but were afforded one minute can take 60 days to write lengthy essays.

    Edward Reply:

    That was 2008 dollars, not year of expenditure dollars. That’s how they jacked up the apparent price for the same expenditure. And much of the delay has been intentional by those who are opposed.

    But scrutiny is always good, both of CHSRA and its opponents.

    Joe Reply:

    Remove contengicies (10+B) and year of expenditure dollars and the price is 43B which is the figure mentioned in the oversight hearing.

    EJ Reply:

    No, it was $33B in 2008 dollars. $40B was the YOE figure.

    joe Reply:

    My understanding so far is:

    Today the 68 B reflects YOE dollars and over 10 B in contingencies. Delays increase cost due to the YOE dollars. Some contingencies are allocated to sections and some contengicies are held at the projected level.

    If it was 40B YOE we’re at roughly 58B YOE now.

  20. Eric M
    Feb 1st, 2016 at 20:37
    #20

    And this shows how far NIMBY‘s like Morris Brown will go and do anything to stop the HSR project:

    Residents Question ‘Fake’ Cemetery in Path of Proposed High Speed Rail in Acton

    swing hanger Reply:

    Yeah, I’m waiting for the time when the anti’s will chain themselves to the rails while chanting “hey hey ho ho, hsr has got to go!”…

    Jerry Reply:

    All hat no cattle.
    All tombstone no graves.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    “Eric M” helpfully contributed

    And this shows how far NIMBY‘s like Morris Brown will go and do anything …

    Eric! My man! Your wife? Not suffering from any recent beatings? Good, good, to hear that.

    Eric M Reply:

    How pathetic, which is no surprise coming from you. Get lost crybaby.

  21. Roland
    Feb 1st, 2016 at 21:25
    #21
  22. Roland
    Feb 1st, 2016 at 21:35
    #22
  23. agb5
    Feb 2nd, 2016 at 00:59
    #23

    New photos from the Fresno Trench. A line of concrete piles with no steel reinforcing heading towards 180
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/hsrcagov/albums/72157663873099342

    Also more photos from the Fresno river viaduct.
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/hsrcagov/albums/72157662961982270

  24. Edward
    Feb 2nd, 2016 at 11:14
    #24

    Interesting. When the comments were split into two pages it appears it was by date. This disconnected some of the comments from the discussion they were related to. Oh well, this will only affect those doing research in 2095 attempting to see what all the hullabaloo was about.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    The “paged” comment change is bad, Robert. Please undo it if if it under your control.

    Not only does it break things, but it’s simply unproductive: web browsers have been able to “scroll” since, well, before web browsers existed. (“Paged content” is 99% “web designer” bullshit to increase site hit counts and ad placement opportunities, not anything in the interests of human beings.)

    Neil Shea Reply:

    Agreed, paged comments is not working, breaking threading, breaking search w/i page

    Clem Reply:

    Seconded, the change makes comments unnavigable! Reverse course!

    Peter Reply:

    Has anyone actually emailed Robert about it?

    Reality Check Reply:

    Thirded!

    In addition to busting search-in-page searches, this completely needless comment paging busts deep links to reader comments in Inoreader — which is how I read and keep track of postings & comments in all the blogs I follow.

    What totally useless unhelpful fix to a non-problem!

  25. JJJJ
    Feb 3rd, 2016 at 09:04
    #25

    I agree that this change is not great

Comments are closed.