Atherton Continues To Thwart Progress

Jul 11th, 2016 | Posted by

Last week’s big news was that the Caltrain electrification contracts were officially approved, with completion expected by 2020.

That is, unless Atherton gets its way and stops the whole thing:

Officials in this wealthy Bay Area enclave will decide by early next week if they’ll seek a restraining order to stop Caltrain from going ahead with $1.25 billion in contracts for bringing electric train service to the Peninsula….

Atherton officials contend that Caltrain has not addressed physical and aesthetic impacts of building an electric train system that will run through the community. Electrical towers will require removal of at least 200 trees, Conners said. And because the system is also intended as a step toward high-speed rail — the California High-Speed Rail Authority has committed to $113 million in funding — Atherton officials anticipate future train-related issues.

“High-speed rail has even more impacts because of the speeds at which it goes through communities,” Conners said.

The city will decide by early next week whether to ask a judge for a temporary restraining order to prevent Caltrain from proceeding with the contracts until the dispute over the environmental impact report is resolved, he said.

Caltrain service is bursting at the seams, and so is traffic on Highway 101. Electrification is necessary to add capacity and better service. Atherton, one of the richest cities in North America, is happy to delay or stop those improvements just because of their aesthetic concerns.

If you needed further evidence that reforming the California Environmental Quality Act is needed to stop cities from being able to do things like this, well, here you go.

You probably didn’t need further evidence that Atherton doesn’t care about traffic or climate or jobs and the economy. You also probably didn’t need further evidence that they’re hypocrites, but here you go:

Atherton’s quiet zone, an area a quarter-mile on each side of the Fair Oaks crossing, went into effect on Monday, June 13. The quiet zone is the first in the Caltrain corridor, and many other cities are looking to see what happens in Atherton before they try to do the same.

Residents and town employees say the quiet zone has made a huge difference in the amount of train noise.

But when, a few days after the quiet zone had gone into effect, town officials pointed out to Caltrain that some train horns were still sounding in the quiet zone, the response was not what the town wanted to hear. Loopholes in the law, Caltrain said, mean its train operators are still allowed to sound their horns in much of the quiet zone….

Caltrain spokeswoman Tasha Bartholomew said on June 17 that despite the quiet zone, “Caltrain engineers can still sound the horn through the Atherton station.” The station is next to the crossing inside the quiet zone.

The reason, Ms. Bartholomew said, is that “the Atherton train station includes five pedestrian crossings that require all Caltrain trains to sound horns as they transition the station.”

You know what would solve this? Grade separation. Put the tracks above or below the street, and that also gives pedestrians a way to cross the tracks without actually walking directly on the rails. No people or cars crossing over the rails means no horns.

But Atherton and its neighboring communities have spent ten years fighting to stop any kind of grade separation, unless it’s a long tunnel that someone else pays for.

None of this makes any sense. But maybe it’s not supposed to. It’s possible that Atherton, a town that exists because of the railroad, would prefer that railroad simply not exist. That won’t happen, of course. Let’s hope Atherton makes the right decision and supports, rather than opposes, Caltrain electrification.

  1. Roland
    Jul 11th, 2016 at 11:03
    #1

    And that is precisely what the 8-mile 150 MPH tunnel under PAMPA is all about: https://youtu.be/3TNFWZrzUw4?t=5638

    The problem is that there won’t be any money left for the tunnel after the rent-seekers are done blowing up whatever funding is currently on the table.

    Edward Reply:

    Somebody doesn’t like trains…

    synonymouse Reply:

    BART-MTC

    synonymouse Reply:

    -ABAG

    EJ Reply:

    Are you having a stroke?

    synonymouse Reply:

    flatline

    Roland Reply:

    Apologies to those not familiar with PAMPA (Palo Alto, Menlo Park and Atherton): tunneling just under Atherton is physically impossible (where do you start and where do you end?).

    Many justifiable concerns below about tunnel costs but what about the massive (Prop1A-compliant) increase in capacity vs. the 2-track fustercluck @ San Bruno & Hillsdale with a combined cost of $400M (and counting) for 4,000 feet of “grade separations”? W-T-F???
    Did I forget to mention the $100M+ Belmont throw-away piece of garbage https://youtu.be/VwD2xOmNnqs?t=1744? Are they going to “electrify” that too? WW-TT-FF???

    Going back to the tunnel, it is essentially a PAMPA bypass used by REAL (150 MPH) HSR and any trains that do not stop at any of the PAMPA stations. Freight and trains making local stops would be the only traffic left on the existing tracks.

    PS. The gentleman in the video right after Ken Bukowski is Rich Cline, the Mayor of Menlo Park: https://youtu.be/3TNFWZrzUw4?t=5687

    Joe Reply:

    “Did I forget to mention…”
    It reads like a Shamwow Infomercial.

    Looked at both videos. Not sure, as usual, what’s your point. Does this Caltrain video show where you caught some Pokemon’s.

    There is no context sensitive solution. Lawsuits failed and this is 2016.

    Roland Reply:

    Ding Ding. It works everytime!!!

  2. Jerry
    Jul 11th, 2016 at 11:30
    #2

    A small town of 7,100 people with about 4,000 feet of railroad track will try to stop the entire 50 mile project?
    At most, they should only be able to delay their own little section.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Jerry, in So Cal one or two streets, about 300 people, in Northridge have put Metrolink and Surfliner service back a decade by halting a double track project. Seems like there’s no such thing as greater public benefit.

    I agree with EJ, close Atherton station. It’s not worth the fuel and brake wear stopping there.

    Jerry Reply:

    Has anyone actually proposal the closing of the Atherton station to the people of Atherton??
    They might go for it. Send the idea up the flagpole and see if anyone salutes it.

    Jerry Reply:

    I think Clem or someone proposed closing/moving the station to the Fair Oaks area. (which would serve more people)

    Clem Reply:

    That’s right, the station should be moved. Read all about it at the bottom of this article .

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Closing the station does nothing to solve this. They hate the aesthetics. The 10 million dollar homes next to a train track does not work for them. they dont use the train station, closing it does not hurt them.

    The best possible solution is to get them to use their money to lobby the state to pay up to bury the tracks. Use the money and lobbying clout they have to the advantage of the project. They have lots of both. Everyone spends all their time

    Dont fight them, make them part of the problem (and therefore the solution). The 1% (or in this case the 0.1%) are supposed to have almost infinate powers to “make things happen”, so help them “make things happen”

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The train tracks were there when they bought the house. Tough shit.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    True, and that fact is not going to prevent them from fighting….so do you want to fight or do you want to get a solution?

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Hell make a deal with the devil.

    If it needs to be done do it and be quick with it…

    Joe Reply:

    They want to hold up the project as lomg as they can and they want money to settle.
    It’s how these cities roll.

    Best to litigate and offer the bare minimum grade crossing legally required as a consequent. They picked a fight over something important and no local state politician will back them up.

    Aarond Reply:

    Better idea: elevate the tracks as Caltrain did in Belmont and San Carlos. If Atherton complains about privacy, have them pay for a 20 foot sound wall.

    EJ Reply:

    It doesn’t help the electrification issue, but it solves the quiet zone problem, if it’s actually true that the reason they blow the horns is the ped crossings associated with the station. I’m not proposing closing the station to “hurt them,” but if it’s horn noise they have a problem with, and closing a station they don’t even use will solve it, then why not?

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    What are the stats for the station? Is it justified, not only in itself but taking into consideration the extended journey time for everyone else.
    As for the neighbors’ properties, absolutely their valuation takes into account the location; they’d be worth far more in some bosque pleasaunce rather than alongside Caltrain. If they don’t like it they can move. Unless they bought last week they’ll still make out fine.

    EJ Reply:

    http://www.caltrain.com/Assets/Stats+and+Reports/Ridership/2012+Annual+Ridership+Counts.pdf

    According to that, referenced by Wikipedia, there’s ~50 passengers, boarding and alighting, every Saturday and Sunday. See page 24. It’s the least used station between San Jose and SF.

    Jerry Reply:

    Saturday .- 56 on, 62 off
    Sunday .- 45 on, 49 off

    Reality Check Reply:

    The Caltrain 2015 Annual Passenger Count has fresher data (highlights presentation):

    Saturday: 89 on, 98 off
    Sunday: 22 on, 46 off

    Stupidly, unlike weekday counts which are averaged over 5 days, weekend counts are based on a single Saturday and a single Sunday … so a single special event or one group, club or family riding to/from Atherton on the counting day completely skew the numbers.

    Atherton gets 32 trains Saturdays and 28 on Sunday, so that averages to:

    2.8 on & 3.1 off per Saturday train
    0.8 on & 1.6 off per Sunday train

    Higher than I would have guessed … but still dreadful … especially since they’re all likely pleasure/convenience park & ride types who would still ride from the nearby Menlo Park or Redwood City stations anyway.

    Roland Reply:

    This is much higher than Gilroy which has 0 ridership on Saturdays & Sundays. How about closing Gilroy instead?

    Jerry Reply:

    There is no service to Gilroy on Saturday and Sunday.

    Roland Reply:

    There is no service to Atherton Monday-Friday.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    The horn noise is just an excuse…they hate the trains. If HSR actually runs the disruption will increase, regardless of train horns. They hate the trains, the horns are just a symptom.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    So why did they move so close to the tracks?

    Aarond Reply:

    Easy way to get into an otherwise expensive area. Properties adjacent to the tracks are all bargains. Of course, the hate for trains is just a general feeling everybody in the town shares.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    But why do they hate trains?

    synonymouse Reply:

    The rich and connected have the power to make things they don’t like not happen. See Tejon Ranch Co.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Stop at

    “The rich and connected have the power.”

    Power can be used for good or evil or self interest or public interest.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Well that’s capitalism for you.

    One of the reasons why some people doubt a capitalist democracy is actually possible.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    From what I have observed, Socialist and Communist governments have even denser concentrations of power (due to being actual dictatorships). So how is this a capitalism problem?

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Capitalism means that the rich will have undue influence on politics, as evidenced by every single capitalist state in existence or history.

    There has only been one sort of “socialism” actually put into practice if by that you mean the Soviet Union, Cuba and the likes. It’s what I’d call “economically populist socially authoritarian”. Basically the High Sparrow or Lenin. If you read up on Marx, you’d be surprised to hear that he did not consider Russia a good place for a communist revolution because it lacked an industrial base (and it still did not have much of it in 1917). It may have been inevitable that the good ole trusty economically populist socially authoritarian faction would take over communism, but it’s not the only communism there is.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Ah, the “That was not communism” argument. Takes me right back to the 80s and my childhood. Good times….

    Ok, if democracy (political system) can not co-exist with capitalism (economic system) then what ecomonic system does co-exist with democracy?

    Even the “democratic socialist” Nordic countries are capitalist. The state does not own the mechanisms of product (socialism). As far as I can tell, the only political system to ever support democracy is capitalism, so give me an example otherwise. An actual example.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    If we look at it from the gradualist approach (and to be quite honest quite a few communists don’t think Capitalism can be reformed or that there is even a theoretical gradual approach to it) countries with “more” capitalism (like the USA) tend to have more corruption, money in politics inequality and all that than countries with “less” capitalism (Nordic socialist countries)…

    So…

    If you think one tiny bit of socialism is the inevitable first step towards full on Marxism, the argument for capitalism does not look all that good.

    And if people had always believed there needs to be precedent for a new political system before forming it, the US would be a kingdom today.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    So there is no example then. That is what you are saying? Capitalism is the only system that has supported democracy. I’m glad we agree

    Oh, and your observation on corruption is untrue. Greece has just as much “socialism” as the Nodric countries and is the most corrupt country in the EU/NATO. Other examples can be given also.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Greece is currently de facto ruled by an unelected junta of the creditor nations and the world bank.

    By the way the coup of Pinochet in Chile can very accurately be summed up as Chicago boys of the ultra-libertarian school shooting up a flawed but democratic socialist system to implement “pure” capitalism. We all know how that worked out…

    synonymouse Reply:

    @ John

    Problem is if the State pays for Atherton tunneling everyone else is gonna want to pile on. This is now high profile stuff – PB cannot pull any shit on these people. It’s not Oakland.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Think bigger….

    “Hello rich Atherton people, if you want your tunnel you have to help us lobby for all the money for the peninsula. Don’t want to help, well that is your choice, but the status quo is trains above ground tooting horns. So if you fight/Do nothing that is what you get. Do you want to help us now?”

    Just calling them Rich NIMBY is not going to get anyone what they want

    synonymouse Reply:

    I doubt Atherton has a consensus as to what they want of PB. So those next to the tracks will have to fend for themselves.

    The city fathers are going to want the plan that increases property values the most.

    Eric Reply:

    “John Nachtigall Reply:
    The best possible solution is to get them to use their money to lobby the state to pay up to bury the tracks. Use the money and lobbying clout they have to the advantage of the project.”

    I thought you were a conservative, opposed to government boondoggles at taxpayer expense.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    I am a conservative opposed to fovernment boondoggles at taxpayer expense

    I am also an engineer who values efficient at problem solving and project managment. If you are going to do this project, do it in the best way possible. The best way possible does not include pissing off a bunch of rich powerful people when it can be avoided.

    Does Caltrains/CAHSR really need this fight? Given all of the other issues, do you really want to add this city to your list of enemies?

    Be smart, be a good project manager and solve the problem in the most efficient way possible.

    Want an example. CAHSR at the beginning told the CV (specifically Kings County) that HSR was coming through and they had little to no say in the alignment. Basically STFU. So that got everyone there agitated. Now They have not been able to stop HSR from coming through, but they have slowed it to a crawl. They are taking HSR to court for a much larger percentage of emanate domain than planned. They are kicking and screaming and dragging them the whole way.

    HSR has “won” so far. The prize is delay and expense and inefficiency. This is joe saying “No deals with the devil” Is this really the most efficient way. Because if you listen and work with them you can get the same result, without a lot of the fuss.

    They are people, not enemies.

    synonymouse Reply:

    PB is the enemy – these are the guys who reinvented the wheel and got you to pay for it.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    You’re hopeless.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Is there a chance he is either

    a) a performance artist

    or

    b) some sort of chat protocol testing for Turing whatever?

    StevieB Reply:

    PB is an excellent source (> 19% of the Daily Value, DV) of protein, dietary fiber, vitamin E, pantothenic acid, niacin and vitamin B6. Also high in content are the dietary minerals manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc and copper.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Wait, I thought Pb was lead…

    Joe Reply:

    You haven’t honestly admitted there is a radical opposition based on opposing whatever is offered.

    Maybe when Trump is the Nominee … Nash.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Much like you can’t admit that all CAHSR ideas are not passed down from the mount.

    So I guess we both have problems.

    Joe Reply:

    Why blame me for your inaccurate summary?
    You are not honestly appraising the environment and blame the project.

    Meanwhile Donald Trump will be nominated by the party opposing HSR and professes to hold conservative values.

    I’ve never thought CHARA was “perfect” which itself is a silly standard. Nor donI think ALL Dems have to vote as a uniform block.

    Roland Reply:

    What is CHARA? Are you trying to spell CRRA or just making stuff up (again)?

    Joe Reply:

    A typo.

    I didn’t mean to get into your head that badly.

    Roland Reply:

    Ding. Ding.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    what does Trump have to do with anything? Did the FBI call him “Extremely Careless” and I missed the press release?

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    If Trump becomes President we won’t be talking about Emails.

    We’ll be talking about nuclear launch codes and a tanking economy…

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Hillary may have been careless, but Trump is the real criminal (ie. Trump University)

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    I think you should have made that “e.g.” and not “i.e.” Trump U is by far not the only criminal activity Trump can be associated with. His four bankruptcies (with him personally coming out financially ahead) cannot have been legal legitimate and fair…

    Reality Check Reply:

    @John, “the most efficient way possible” is not burying the tracks, which what’s now underway.

    Setting a terrible precedent by blowing a few billion$ to suck-off Atherton (and/or all of PAMPA) with a tunnel is a horrible idea … and trades one set of “delays and expense and inefficiency” for another much worse set. Thank God dog you’re not in charge!

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    You didn’t read what I wrote very well. You get something much more out of the deal.

    CAHSR has stated they need 3 billion to extend from SJ to SF and to get to actual Bakersfield. Right now they don’t have that money.

    If you agreed with Atherton to bury the tracks if they got the legislature to provide funding for both, you are better off.

    That is efficient. Right now you have no money…after you have money. Can’t build without money. Much better Chance of the IOS breaking even with SF on the line
    All for the small price of burying the Atherton line.

    But you go ahead and fight them. I am sure it will turn out as well as the Kings County work

    Joe Reply:

    John trolling for ” the cost overruns” “OMG the HSR project costs are waaaaaay over budget.”

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    It’s much more efficient to tell them “you moved next to an active railroad. We are going to make it quieter and cleaner. STFU”

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    In a rational world people would take that. But as Brexit shows, we do not live in a rational world.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Is Menlo Park (part of PAMPA) really very affluent and NIMBY. I never really got that impression.

    Reality Check Reply:

    Not only the fuel and brake wear, but the overhead of maintaining the station, additional time imposed on crew and passengers (“time is money”) … it’s well known that marginal minutes of travel time have a marginal effect on ridership. I bet stopping at Atherton on weekends results in a net loss of ridership (“how long does the train to SF take? … screw it, let’s just drive”) and fare revenue too, with the extra minutes dissuading more from riding than the vanishingly few who wouldn’t otherwise ride Caltrain on weekends if it wasn’t for the Atherton service.

  3. Reality Check
    Jul 11th, 2016 at 11:40
    #3

    Today’s “Rear View Mirror” history column in the San Mateo Daily Journal:
    Dumbarton Rail: a bridge to the past

  4. synonymouse
    Jul 11th, 2016 at 12:50
    #4

    Atherton has a point: if the Tejon Ranch can lay down at the very least “terms” so can they. After all they are both filthy rich. Jerry has to listen to them.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Based on what does he have to listen to them? Tejon Ranch threatened lawsuits both directly and in Bakersfield. But Atherton has an existing ROW and any threat of lawsuit is relatively toothless. It isn’t just a question of money, and besides, Atherton cannot fund a lawsuit because if there’s anything rich people hate more than trains is government taking their money.

    synonymouse Reply:

    We are in total agreement on the last point except that there have been some rich folk over the years that were train fans but the current crowd none I know. You cannot even get Buffett to give some couch change to the CRM.

    The Tejon Ranch’s litigation threats are just propaganda, cover story. They would get nowhere in a Party machine kangaroo court if the word came down from the bosses to throw out their case. But it is nothing like that – Jerry is the Tejon Ranch official lawn gnome.

  5. EJ
    Jul 11th, 2016 at 12:51
    #5

    “You know what would solve this? Grade separation.”

    Why can’t they just close Atherton station? It’s only used on weekends as it is, right?

    synonymouse Reply:

    If they eliminate the station and demand only 2 tracks an Atherton only tunnel would be much cheaper – maybe the local ritchie riches could pony up the dough.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Cut and cover with a bus bridge.

    EJ Reply:

    Cut and cover they’d have to rip out a bunch of trees. Which is supposedly part of the reason why electrification is going to be such a tragedy. Can’t be chopping down a bunch of scuzzy looking blue gum Eucalyptus, you know.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Invasive weed species that are a fire hazard.

    EJ Reply:

    You forgot how they drop tons of resinous bark and leaves, which, besides being highly flammable, prevent native plants from growing. And they fall apart on a regular basis, shedding huge destructive limbs. I’ve waited 3 hours stuck on a Pacific Surfliner at one point because one collapsed across the track near Camarillo.

    Zorro Reply:

    In Australia these trees are called widow makers for this reason, the only animal that likes the leaves that I know of, is the Koala

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    so if they replant with Redwoods then you are 100% ok with it…..

    Does anyone care about solution or are we just burning rich people in effigy instead?

    EJ Reply:

    I’m sure the residents, er, job creators in Atherton appreciate your concern.

    EJ Reply:

    For real, though, I grew up in Santa Barbara, and I live in San Diego, where North County is analogous to Atherton. Your mistake is assuming that there is a some sort of practical outcome that Atherton residents want. Their basic, fundamental belief is that they are better than you. They derail projects just to prove they can.

    Joe Reply:

    Atherton billed the White House for “expenses” incurred during the POTUS visit at Atherton.
    Failing, Atherton then tried to put a lien for the expenses on the home owners he visited.

    Aarond Reply:

    Personally, I find that attitude to be stronger in Palo Alto and Cupertino (Stanford and Google/Apple influence, I reckon). Atherton just wants to be left alone. The same sentiment is why Belmont won’t fix any of their roads (to the point where not even fire trucks can safely navigate them).

    These places, after all, are bedroom communities. The entire MO for residents are to keep the area as banal, inert and prosaic as possible.

    synonymouse Reply:

    aka low-crime

    Joe Reply:

    http://www.citywatchla.com/index.php/world-views/11291-academic-leader-stanford-tops-crime-list-as-well

    Stanford University (Student Population, 16,963) had an effective crime rate of 7.94 per 1,000 student during the reported period. The next closest campuses are UC Berkeley (Student Population, 37,565) with an effective rate of 3.2 per 1,000 and UCLA (Student Population, 41,845) with an effective rate of 2.84 per 1,000. Most California universities had an effective rate between 1 and 2.5 per 1,000

    synonymouse Reply:

    Familiar with Telegraph Avenue?

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Aren’t white suburbs the places where white collar criminals often reside?

    Or am I missing something here?

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    FYI, Stanford is not in Atherton.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    So what’s your solution?

    And do you think those people are actually inclined to take your solution or just pout and demand status quo to never change…?

    Joe Reply:

    They’re assholes. Follow the law and no concessions. Litigation is a given.

    Minimize exposure which means close the underused station.

    Roland Reply:

    Did I just hear the pot calling the kettle black? I am beginning to see a pattern…

    Joe Reply:

    We’re all seeing your pattern.

    Roland Reply:

    Ding Ding. It works everytime!!!

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    I am willing to bet that station has more boardings than the concrete pad at the end of IOS North.

    So will you close that “underutilized” station also?

    Ted Judah Reply:

    True, but Atherton doesn’t have many options strategically outside of litigation….

    Joe Reply:

    @John I would close temporary HSR stations when they are no longer needed.

    Caltrain Atherton should be closed like Castro Station was closed in MtView and San Antonio opened in its place.

    Keep the Stanford stadium stop as a option for game events.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Provisional solutions tend to become permanent. Trust me, I live in a place that has had a “provisional” constitution for almost seven decades now…

    Joe Reply:

    Provisional will not in this case.

    These are stop/stations at the end of the system under construction. They will be removed like any other temporary stop. And I gave examples of stations eliminated along Caltrain ROW.

    Joe Reply:

    Right. It’s barely used. Make the enclave, close and fence off the station. Let the City pester someone/thing else.

    Atherton wants Caltrain to pay for a quad gate near their station. Quite zones require at least a quad gate.

    Even then a quite zone still isn’t likely.

    Thier “Mayberry RFD” era station has 5 at grade pedestrian crossings and Caltrain seems intent on sounding the horn at the station because of them.

    EJ Reply:

    Wait, I thought the quad gate and the quiet zone was a done deal, and Atherton’s now up in arms because Caltrain blows their horns at the ped crossings in the station.

    Joe Reply:

    There are two crossings about 1/4 mile apart.

    One is quad and the other is not. Between the two lies the station.

    Joe Reply:

    The lady at Atherton station is up in arms about where they blow the horn. She’s measuring where.

  6. Derek
    Jul 11th, 2016 at 14:03
    #6

    Caltrans should offer to narrow Atherton’s section of El Camino Real (CA-82) to two lanes in each direction and transplant those 200 trees there.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    are you all really so naive…they would love that.

    They DONT WANT people to travel through the community. If you built a wall and had a single (guarded) gate to get in they would think that is the best thing ever. All these ideas to “punish” them dont punish them at all. They are one of the richest communities in the world, being cut off from the rest of the riff raff is fine with them.

    Derek Reply:

    They DONT WANT people to travel through the community.

    For that reason, they should welcome an opportunity to narrow El Camino Real.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    they would, and it hurts everyone else.

    So what does that accomplish?

    Derek Reply:

    Electrification. Pay attention!

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    narrowing El Camino Real = Caltrain electrification???

    Joe Reply:

    Libertarianism.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    It accomplishes encouraging transit use instead of driving–they good thing. Personally, I don’t see a reason for most surface streets to have more than 2 general purpose lanes in each direction.

    Miles Bader Reply:

    In many places it’s also a good idea to remove parking lanes, and at the very least, to get rid of free parking.

    Joe Reply:

    Sadly State Route 82 aka El Camino Real is the State’s responsibility and managed for regional benefit. Your awesome trick to use NIMBY’s to throttle traffic and impose fees and barriers for cars will not happen.

    EJ Reply:

    I don’t know about everyone else, but I’m not arguing that they should be “punished.” It just sounds to me like there are solutions which accomplish both their goals and the goals of better regional rail on the peninsula.

    Joe Reply:

    “Punishment” to Atherton is trying them as equals and being fair.

    It’s it’s feels like punishment to them and hence the satisfaction.

    For example, Robert is mistaken. No full grade separation is needed for a quiet zone. Quad gates are enough. Atherton is litigating and wants Caltrain to pay the cost for quad gates.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Atherton is too dumb to have recognized they would have been relatively more sated with a BART 2 track subway cut and covered on the ROW. Too late, suckas.

  7. Randy Erickson
    Jul 11th, 2016 at 16:55
    #7

    Let’s see ….. Atherton wants a tunnel …. let’s build a tunnel ….. with the construction happening between 1:00AM at night until 4:30AM in the morning …. the hours when Caltrain DOES NOT run …. and let the neighbors listen to all of the “jackhammering” that will occur during construction. Better yet ….. they complain of a “little – itty – bitty – horn” …… let’s bring back the steam engines like “SP 4449” ….. and let those horns blow ….. so theose resident understand what “A REAL” horn is all about ….. then perhaps they will give the “OK” for what they are hearing today. Which came first, the railroad, or those spolied brats???

  8. morris brown
    Jul 11th, 2016 at 21:41
    #8

    Atherton won’t seek temporary injunction in fight with Caltrain

    Joe Reply:

    Because they can’t yet.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Their litigation does not stand a chance in a Party machine court. What kind of tech are they referring to – hydrogen-powered locomotives or cold fusion? Acting dumb won’t elicit any sympathy. The electrification of the SP lines was conceived a hundred years ago.

    Their only other options are diesel – crapout – or BART. They had a chance at the latter if they had teamed with Hemminger and Kopp et al a decade ago but probably too late now.

    Their trees are hardly even collateral damage – Jerry’s developer pals will cut down an infinitely greater number in the years to come, all over the State. For tracts and strip malls. And, yes, gas stations.

    Jerry Reply:

    From the Mercury News article:
    Connors says, “You have to put this whole structure around the tracks. There’s a tower on each side of the tracks, and there’s a beam that goes across the track for the overhead electrical. It would widen the whole area.”
    Would it really widen the whole area?
    Can’t a pole (tower?) go in the center of the tracks and the wire strung from the center pole?
    Can’t the overhanging tree limbs simply be trimmed?

    synonymouse Reply:

    What do you think PB’s 4 track Embarcadero Freeway on rails footprint would have been?

    EJ Reply:

    Whining about things that didn’t happen. What a lazy, miserable troll.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Funny you don’t see I am essentially agreeing with the Cheerleader position on Atherton.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    What’s the cheerleader position? Up the pyramid? Or waving those fuzzy ball thingies and chanting semi-coherent “battle cries”? (not to denigrate this great sport of course, I could never do that and it looks seriously taxing on the muscles and bones)

    Clem Reply:

    The details of the placement of each “tower” are in the RFP. The details of which specific trees will be affected and how much are in the EIR.

    Jerry Reply:

    One RFP emphasized Minimize Tree Removal, and
    • Pole placement between tracks where space permits
    • Double poles utilized from one side spanning both tracks where trees can be saved beyond opposite track
    • Portal structures with feeder cable located closer to track minimizing tree removal and tree trimming

  9. synonymouse
    Jul 12th, 2016 at 00:32
    #9

    It matters little. Just like SF the place won’t be anything like what it used to be.

    With 200 million mostly at the poverty threshold, next to the railroad tracks will be jammed with the huddled masses. The rich will have pulled back to more defendable compounds.

    Aarond Reply:

    Not Caltrain: the SMSD and SCSD take their transit security seriously. Taxpayers want it, the county provides. CAHSR will get the CHP protecting it, the Cap Cor and ACE will continue to use UP’s Pinkertons.

    All the homeless will be pushed up into SF, Oakland, and Berkeley because they’re run by morons who tolerate it. Their largest concentrations will be under freeways, like it always has been. UP will invest in better fences, and freeway shutdowns will become more common.

    EJ Reply:

    Please state your source for the 200 million number.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Don’t be ridiculous, @synonymouse’s only source is his fevered imagination.

    synonymouse Reply:

    What’s your estimate?

    Compare 50 years ago to today and come up with a multiplier. Apply that to a realistic figure of the current population adjusted for illegals, homeless and travelers.

    The Party and the California Establishment want wide open borders and infinite population growth. Their economy depends on a sort of population growth ponzi scheme.

    Their plan to deal with the restive mob is mostly all circenses, very little panem.

    EJ Reply:

    Hmm, so should I go with estimates produced by intelligent people who’ve studied the question, or with a number some racist dimwit pulled out of his ass?

    synonymouse Reply:

    developer disinformation

    EJ Reply:

    OK, let me ask you again, how do you get to 200 million? You “come up with a multiplier”? How?

    J. Wong Reply:

    He waves his hands.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    No doubt the same place he got the ancient PBART conspiracy powered by Tejon ™ from…

    Ted Judah Reply:

    The *rate* of population growth in California has been falling since the 1900’s and peaked (for obvious reasons) right after statehood.

    We have been at 1% natural increase for the last 55 years, and barley more than that since 1850. Only migration has caused the overall rate to rise. At 40 million 1% is noticeable, but not on par with other states let alone developing countries.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    One percent growth means the population doubles about every seventy years. Of course that’s if that growth is stable and other factors don’t play a role…

    Ted Judah Reply:

    So…if the HSR Project is finished by 2100….the kids will still be alright…lol.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    I think by 2100 the Libertarian Whig Party will lobby for a HSR line from Whiteknife to Yukon. Even though that makes pretty little sense. But who in their right minds would have predicted an Ukrainian boxer being a major politician a hundred years ago?

    J. Wong Reply:

    @synonymouse

    Ultimately any economy depends on a “growth” Ponzi scheme, but hey that’s the definition of economy. Without it you have no economy, and how do you survive without one?

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Well arguably feudalism is a zero growth or no growth system. But it is not really stable without internal or external war (e.g. crusades or (re)conquista)

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Capitalism is merely war without bloodshed; the word “federalism” originated from the same root as “feudalism”, FWIW.

    Faber Castell Reply:

    Put down Paul Ehrlich and rejoin reality please.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Janet Yellen is reality?

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Why are you such an unrealistic pessimist, Syno. More likely, the bay area will have 15 million prosperous condo dwellers next to the tracks.

    synonymouse Reply:

    When I got here 50 years ago there were a handful of hardcore winos. Now you have homeless tents pitched on sidewalks. The trend is inexorable; your take pollyanna. Some are predicting AI will trash many management jobs, heretofore mostly untouched. Retail is already facing crisis due to online being significantly cheaper.

    J. Wong Reply:

    “The trend is inexorable”.

    Now that’s an interesting thought. The question is the per-capita amounts of homeless increasing or decreasing. There are more absolutely than 50 years ago, but are there more or less per-capita? That is, there more non-homeless here also.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Also, it would take thousands of years to reach 200 million homeless.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Well if you destroyed two out of three US homes as a government mandated program (hey it’s a thought experiment, it doesn’t have to make sense) ….

    You could get two hundred million homeless in the US.

    How and why you’d get them all to California is another question entirely. I’m sure President Trump will know something…

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    I guess you go for the places with the best street-sleeping weather.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Which would probably be SoCal… Little rain and all that…

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Could have sworn that whole deinstitutionalizatiok of the mentally ill thingie less than 50 years ago may have aomething to do with this…

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    That AI thing is falsr. Read the economist issue on it.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    What does it say?

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Essentially, it shows that AI, like computers before it, is used to adjust jobs, not replace them. This is because AI brings down operating costs for a business, it slows them to sell things for less money, thus increasing customers, and hiring many more people in other sectors to meet demand, thus contributing to a net gain jobs in this. An example of this would be the ATM in banks, which resulted in banks needing far fewer tellers. This reduction allowed the number of bank branches to skyrocket, and as such, many new jobs were created in fields such as costumer service, resulting in a net gain of jobs.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Interesting.

    Jerry Reply:

    Synonymous – What is the difference between a regular wino and a “hardcore wino”?

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    The Mohs scale of the core I’d wager….

  10. Aarond
    Jul 12th, 2016 at 05:16
    #10

    Ten killed in head-on Italian train crash:

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-36774059

    units appear to be DMUs

    agb5 Reply:

    The trains appear to be an Alsom Coardia and a Stadler Flirt.
    Possibly the actual trains shown in this photo: http://www.gazzettadeitrasporti.it/news/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/opt__IMG_20130604_1231001.jpg

    It is a single track line with passing tracks at stations.
    http://www.ferrovienordbarese.it/company/our-fleet

    Reality Check Reply:

    Yes, viewing additional crash site photos and video, the crash involved the 2 EMU types shown in this photo: http://www.gazzettadeitrasporti.it/news/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/opt__IMG_20130604_1231001.jpg

    agb5 Reply:

    Right here : https://goo.gl/maps/XKh4dWATo622

    Roland Reply:

    20… http://www.cnn.com/2016/07/12/europe/italy-train-collision/index.html

    Reality Check Reply:

    Italy train crash probe looking into antiquated telephone alert system

    Union leaders and railway police blamed human error, noting that that particular stretch of track didn’t have an automatic alert system that would engage if two trains were close by on the same track. Rather, news reports said the alert system relied on station masters phoning one another to advise of a departing train.

    Roland Reply:

    An Italian version of the holdout rule??? Talking of which, does anyone remember what happened in SSF the last time a driver was on drugs and “forgot” to call the southbound train to let him know that he was unloading passengers? Talking of SSF, WTF is SamTrans doing blowing $200M on 25th Avenue instead of fixing the holdout rule in SSF once and for all? What about Broadway for crying out loud???

    Reality Check Reply:

    The surviving train driver must have evacuated the cab and run back into the train …

    Italy train crash inquiry will examine antiquated telephone alert system
    Stationmasters had to call each other to say when a train had departed on stretch of track where crash happened, killing at least 27 people

    One of the train drivers is believed to be among the victims, while the other is reported as being in a serious condition in hospital.

    Reality Check Reply:

    Note to self: if you see a train driver bolt out of the cab past you, it’s probably a good idea to follow him.

  11. morris brown
    Jul 12th, 2016 at 06:02
    #11

    At least 20 killed as trains collide head-on in Italy

    Aarond Reply:

    For context: the 2008 Chatsworth Metrolink crash, which used FRA compliant vehicles killed 25.

    EJ Reply:

    It didn’t mention in the article what speed the trains were running at, nor how heavily loaded they were. Where did you find that information? I assume you have it, otherwise you wouldn’t know whether it could be compared to the Chatsworth crash.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    I seem to recall 80 km/h and 120 km/h but don’t quote me on it…

    Brian_FL Reply:

    Not comparable in the sense you mean – FRA standards vs Euro standards. Chatsworth did not involve 2 relatively light weight trains. One was a heavy freight train with alot more energy available to cause damage when it hit the lighter pax train. FWIW, from the Italian crash pics, I’ve never seen FRA compliant train cars where large intact portions of the side walls snapped off and landed away from the train as shown in this crash.

    Eric Reply:

    Is that bad? In road vehicles, crumple zones are considered a good thing. Is this comparable?

    Brian_FL Reply:

    I would think keeping passengers inside the train car shell with strong side walls would help prevent injuries. If I’m in a car crash I don’t want the doors to fly off either! It appears these trains didn’t crumple, they sort of ‘exploded’, at least the sides did.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    But have you ever seen FRA compliant cars after a collision speed of 200 km/h?

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    I find the US vs. EU (world) regulations on this a very informative case study in 2 different engineering approaches to the same problem

    Do you engineer assuming that at some point you will have contact (US), or do you engineer assuming you can prevent accidents (EU).

    No right answer, but a real world example. Both have real costs and advantages and disadvantages. Its a real life example of tradoffs at the policy level.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    What was the speed of collision in Chatsworth?

    Roland Reply:

    Approximately 64 KPH each: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2008_Chatsworth_train_collision#Collision

    StevieB Reply:

    2015 BROUGHT BIGGEST PERCENT INCREASE IN U.S. TRAFFIC DEATHS IN 50 YEARS Last year, the U.S. had the highest one-year percentage increase in traffic deaths in half a century, according to 2015 data released by the National Safety Council (NSC). Initial estimates, which may be revised when more information becomes available, indicate that 38,300 people were killed on U.S. roads in 2015, and roughly 4.4 million sustained injuries that resulted in medical consultations.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    up 8%

    Which proves how successful we have become at preventing traffic deaths

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_motor_vehicle_deaths_in_U.S._by_year#/media/File:USA_annual_VMT_vs_deaths_per_VMT.png

    When you have not seen an 8% increase in 50+ years you are doing a fine job

    Joe Reply:

    Making up success criteria.

    Airlines have dropped fatality rates an order of magnitude.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    so have cars. Look at the chart. 240 to 20 deaths per billion miles. That is an order of magnitude.

    Are you saying that US traffic deaths have not been on a decline? Because the data is very clear.

    StevieB Reply:

    An 80% reduction of traffic death in urban areas is easily achieved by limiting speed to 20 mph.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    limit it to 5mph with electronic of physical controls on cars and you can get that to 0

    what is your point?

    All public policy balances risk with reward. contrary to popular myth, Human life if not immeasurably valuable, lives are given costs all the time.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    And you think the cost of human live should be “Gosh I cannot afford to cross midtown Manhattan at less than 30 mph”?

    StevieB Reply:

    Boston City Council votes unanimously to lower city speed limit to 20 mph

    The measure, which was supported unanimously, would also decrease the speed limit to 15 mph in school zones, as well as other “municipally designated zones,” such as areas near senior centers or MBTA stations.

    Boston is just the start.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    This should really be common sense.

    In Germany there is a move to flip the current law on its head. Currently the law says that inside built up areas the speed limit is 50 km/h unless a good reason for 30 km/h can be found. Activists want to make 50 km/h the exception that needs a good reason to be implemented…

    JB in PA Reply:

    Auto travel 20 deaths per billion miles.
    Airline travel 1 death per 6 billion miles.
    A factor of 120.
    So it is true. You have the same risk flying 2000 miles as you do driving home from the airport 17 miles.
    Some differences. Cars are not built like planes which cannot pull over and check the tires.
    Planes are flown by people with much more focused training and pilots tend to practice better crew resource management.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    So we could reduce the amount of car dead by better training for car pilots, right?

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Hey look! We only killed 8% more people than last year for the first time in fifty years. What a great success!

    How many publicly financed policies that literally kill a certain random subset of the population every year would have a chance of survival?

    Aarond Reply:

    any indian reservation

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Guns

    Aarond Reply:

    Only ones wielded by police officers, as privately held guns are not publicly financed.

    This is especially true in here California where the available handguns for commercial sale are all old models that most police departments have stopped buying entirely. PDs buy high-capacity Glock 10s and Glock 30s, not civilian Ruger 380s or Ruger sp101s.

    Reedman Reply:

    This is a California train blog, so, (in round numbers):

    Caltrain kills an average of 12 people per year on its tracks.

    BART kills about 8 people per year on its tracks.

    Obviously, suicide is significant percentage of these fatalities.

    Reality Check Reply:

    Caltrain doesn’t kill anyone … much like with the GG Bridge, they use it get themselves killed.

    Reality Check Reply:

    … [to] get themselves killed.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Okay and to be fair probably some traffic death are (hidden) suicides as well.

    Still. Driving is far more deadly than trains. And even common sense regulations are opposed by a rabid lobby.

    Hey, that reminds me of some other topic…

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    in a rough count

    Police (both justified and non-justified)
    Fire (staffing levels determine response time)
    Airplanes
    Trains
    sidewalks
    Flood control (50 year flood vs 100 year flood)
    car safety regulations (mandatory vs non-mandatory safety equipment)
    building codes (in a major way)
    environmental regulation

    that is just off the top of my head.

    I could not name a single public policy that does not balance random deaths with cost/convenience. Can you?

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Yes but more driving means more death. And policies are designed to enable more driving.

    A sensible cost benefit analysis would ask “Where can we change current driving in a way to reduce fatalities”. In Sweden “vision zero” is officially stated government policy. Now the US is no Sweden (for one thing the US probably has more IKEAs), but lower speeds in built up areas and more stringent requirements fro drivers licenses (which are cost neutral or even revenue beneficial measures) could safe many, many lives.

    Brian_FL Reply:

    Also the government says 2015 was the year with the most miles driven ever recorded as well. So part of the 8% increase is due to a 3-4% increase in miles driven. This also calls into question whether younger people are really giving up car travel or ownership. Maybe the decline was caused by the recession after all, and not a permanent societal shift.

    http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/pressroom/fhwa1605.cfm

    Edward Reply:

    I’ll know it is time to slack off on our programs to reduce car deaths when more people die from guns in the US than cars. It was getting close, both about 30,000 per year, but cars seem to have surged ahead lately.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Honestly given humans are in the equation, how much lower than 20 per BILLION miles traveled is reasonable. humans are not perfect

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Zero.

    We should strive for zero people killed by cars and zero people killed by guns.

    I know that may sound impossible, but politics is – or should be – flawed idealists striving for the impossible with the means the got.

    Having cities designed for humans not cars is a big step towards less death on the streets. And it has a ton of benefits not associated with that.

    Miles Bader Reply:

    Yes, and a fixation on fatalities (and pollution/climate-change) tends to obscure the even bigger problem with American car culture: it has made American cities and towns miserable places to live, a sea of eight-lane roads, parking lots, and strip-malls.

    It’s not just the loss of those few people who are directly killed by cars, it’s the vastly greater number of those whose entire life is made worse.

    As you say, cities should be designed for humans, not cars.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Yes of course.

    But dead people in the streets are the easiest thing to tackle politically. The movement that made the Netherlands a cycling nation (again) – and almost entirely by accident – was called “stop child murder”. They were up in arms about their children on bikes getting mowed down by cars. And rightfully so. That they ended up creating very good bike infrastructure for all age groups and classes was almost an afterthought at the time.

  12. morris brown
    Jul 12th, 2016 at 08:20
    #12

    Fox and Hounds: Hijacking the Prop 1A High Speed Rail Funds

    Roland Reply:

    The ‘bookends’ behind the bullet train: http://santamariatimes.com/news/opinion/editorial/columnist/dan_walters/the-bookends-behind-the-bullet-train/article_13d623f3-2817-5ca3-9581-de3d44dc608b.html

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Count me as a “bookender”. My first objective has always been upgrade regional rail. HSR is a ground level airline without it.

    Roland Reply:

    Paul. Welcome to the Prop1A Challenge.

    We have a clearly defined set of rules (AKA “opportunity” in the Peninsula):
    1) SJ-Transbay (not 4th& King) non-stop in 30 minutes or less.
    2) 12 trains/hour/direction.
    3) No operating subsidy.
    Do you have a similar project in the south and, if so, what is it?

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Palmdale to Anaheim. In my opinion, Bakersfield to Anaheim should have been the first section built. It would provide a two seat TRAIN ride not via the coast Starlight between LA and SF. (And yes, I do get the reasoning for Central Valley first)

    Joe Reply:

    No path through to Burbank and delay means losing money.

    SoCal hasn’t got its collective shit together to make the ARRA deadline.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    I think LA Metro just wishes it would all go away, leave them to spend their money on subways and light rail which their residents will use. There is close to zero political support here for either regional rail or HSR.

    Aarond Reply:

    Funny because up here people want an easy way to get to Disneyland. Everyone has done the I-5 drive, and everybody hates it.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    When I lived down south, I didn’t realize how frustrating it is to arrive in rush hour traffic at the end of your journey. I used to think if you took the 210 freeway you could dodge most of the congestion. No more, as traffic slows to a crawl in downtown Pasadena and doesn’t let up until you reach San Bernardino County

    As a result, I’ve started to calculate insane detours to avoid the LA Basin entirely…I’ve researched every possible rest stop along the 5…

    …but how would HSR help a family going to Disneyland without some sort of auto-train???

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    I don’t know where you got the zero political support thing here in LA. I’ve seen quite the opposite–even my ultra conservative aunt from North San Diego county wants HSR.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Respects to your aunt, she doesn’t have a vote on the metro board

    StevieB Reply:

    At the Los Angeles Metro Board Meeting on October 22, 2015 the Metro Board approved the construction of 2 platforms with 4 run-through tracks for the exclusive use for High Speed Trains at Los Angeles Union Station for use by 2024. What is being planned for High Speed Rail at LAUS is for 2 of the most western platforms to be rebuilt for High Speed Rail which would include High Level Platforms which will be unusable by Metrolink or most Amtrak equipment in California. This will also include separate tracks from the rest of the station tracks for these 2 platforms which will be used exclusively for High Speed Passenger trains coming into and out of LAUS.

    Quite an endorsement by the Metro board for California High-Speed Rail.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Be careful what you wish for, Paul. The bookend approach is what will cause Southern California to lose out. Now the local establishment accepts they will get the Delta Tunnels and the Bay Area will get “Arnold’s Train”.

    Meanwhile OCTA uses the the Surfliner to gobble up Metrolink and LA Metro builds $100 billion dollarsin subways…it all works out in the end. Bob Morretti would be proud.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Ted, see above, SoCal does not care. And OC doesn’t want Metrolink any more than anyone else does. It’s an albatross.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    It’s better than nothing. I took it to Fullerton the other day–a trip I wouldn’t have made without it.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    After 25 years and 100 million a year plus capital it ought to be a lot better than nothing, but it ain’t.

    EJ Reply:

    7 lines to Caltrain’s 1. Over 5 times Caltrain’s route mileage. And yet the whole system gets barely 2/3 Caltrain’s daily ridership. Put another way, wiki has the Los Angeles CSA at a population of 18.6 MM, and metrolink can’t muster up a daily ridership much more than 40K. This sound like a system you want to dump 100 MM a year into?

    Ted Judah Reply:

    …so if SoCal doesn’t care…why support the bookends again?

    EJ Reply:

    Because the bookends have the potential to give SoCal a regional rail line that actually works well, as opposed to Metrolink.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Besides, IOA north and CA politics in general unfairly benefits northern California over southern California.

    Neil Shea Reply:

    SoCal does OK for themselves. But we Nortenos still want the train to pull into LAUS, OC & SD so we’ll all need to keep working until it’s complete

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Can we just have some sort of electronic block disabling fox and hounds links?

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Seconded.

  13. Bill
    Jul 12th, 2016 at 09:31
    #13

    I wonder how many people use the Atherton station when it isn’t baseball season? Somebody should inform them that electric engines are “somewhat” quieter than diesel/gas too.

    Jerry Reply:

    The survey for the above referenced Atherton station took place in February which is outside of baseball season.

    Aarond Reply:

    It reads like an endorsement for dual-gauging the system. That’s probably the only way BART can be truly “fixed” at this point, even though all trains would require a DMU power car for non-BART tracks.

    Reality Check Reply:

    Atherton knows electric is quieter than diesel … but their opposition to anything that brings HSR one step closer is an open secret, and so they’re also hiding their electrification (HSR) opposition behind grave “concerns” over losing some trees and/or tree branches along their 3,600-foot (about 2/3 of a mile or 1.1 km) of the Caltrain ROW.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Well the opponents of Stuttgart 21 also mightily complained about a few trees being cut down…

    Roland Reply:

    Ever heard a Prius take off? https://youtu.be/tkV2xNGVP8o
    http://www.hitachi-rail.com/products/on-board/propulsion/hybrid/

    At the rate things are going, you can expect these in the Peninsula years before LTK are done redesigning the CalFranKISSentrain: http://www.schienenfahrzeugtagung.at/download/PDF2014/MiV04-Wagner_Starlinger.pdf (slide 34)

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    We can supply hybrid b units for Caltrain diesels in 2 years

    Clem Reply:

    Would set us back three decades

    Roland Reply:

    SamTrans and their LTK buddies are way too clever to consider hybrids. Here is where they will come from and he will be laughing all the way to the bank across Dumbarton Rail and beyond: https://youtu.be/3TNFWZrzUw4?t=5575

  14. Neil Shea
    Jul 12th, 2016 at 11:11
    #14

    O/T: Inquiring about BART’s non-standard gauge

    http://kalw.org/post/hey-area-how-width-bart-tracks-affects-your-commute

    synonymouse Reply:

    The SP wanted it thus and the Bechtels sat on the SP Board of Directors.

    Aarond Reply:

    It reads like an endorsement for dual-gauging the system. That’s probably the only way BART can be truly “fixed” at this point, even though all trains would require a DMU power car for non-BART tracks.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    It’s actually a blessingin diguise. If you had used standard gauge…cost overruns would have made some of it be commuter rail or light rail going under a fat tube through the Bay. Instead you get a neat check on urban growth that also encourages smaller cities to be pro-mass transit.

    Sure it’s ugly, but what isn’t from the Space Age era? Try looking at UC campus sometime…you can tell the age of architecture by how terrible it looks…

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    The funny thing is, there was an era when concrete monstrosities were considered beautiful and nineteenth century architecture were considered ugly…

    Neil Shea Reply:

    In any case the first law of holes applies
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law_of_holes

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    What do you mean by that? An end to new Indian gauge tracks?

    synonymouse Reply:

    No more 3rd rail.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    What’s so bad about third rail if you are not planning on going a hundred miles an hour? (which is probably a megacubit per milliyear)

    Ted K. Reply:

    It’s a shade over 3 (three), almost 3.1 .

    1 megacubit = 284.09 miles
    1 milliyear = 8.76 hours
    1 MCbt/mYr = 32.43 mph
    100 mph = 3.08 MCbt/mYr
    [2 sig. figs.]

  15. Roland
    Jul 12th, 2016 at 12:13
    #15

    OT: Declaring war on Brisbane: http://www.sfexaminer.com/declaring-war-brisbane/

    J. Wong Reply:

    The thing is said development will do nothing to change the small-town feel given that it is significantly down the road from Brisbane proper, which doesn’t even have a supermarket (it does have corner groceries). So where do you think the new residents are likely to go outside of their homes? My opinion is Daly City or San Francisco, both of which are closer to them than Brisbane proper.

    Ted K. Reply:

    Brisbane Baylands – http://brisbanebaylands.com/

    The current plan has a supermarket at the corner of Geneva and Old Bayshore. This is a TOD w/ commuter rail (Caltrain), light rail (SFMuni’s T-Third), various bus lines, and a potential BRT. And an HSR maint. facility may not be a problem due to the southern end being reserved for light industrial and green space. Heck, maybe the developer will build the facility under a lease-purchase agreement.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    BRT is so useless.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    BRT only ever (arguably) “works” in low wage countries. The US is not, globally speaking, a low wage country. And with a fifteen bucks an hour federal minimum wage it won’t be even compared to many European countries…

    J. Wong Reply:

    That’s not Brisbane proper, it’s Daly City about a long block south of the San Francisco border. So rather than the new Brisbane residents going into Brisbane central, they will go to Daly City along with all the old Brisbane residents.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Is there ever any chance of SF annexing Brisbane and Daly City. The cities just bleed into one another, and I feel things would be planned better if they were united.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Well, I don’t know if it is possible but probably not likely. The cities are in different counties and SF is its own county completely contiguous with the city it’s supervisors making up the city council. (San Mateo County was split off from SF County when someone who lost an election got his friends in state gov’t to do so .)

    Ted K. Reply:

    The west side of Old Bayshore is Daly City and the east side is Brisbane.

    Could S.F. annex those two towns ? Extremely unlikely due to the county border and the fact that the rest of San Mateo County would cheerfully rub S.F.’s nose in the historical fact that their county used to be part of S.F. County. Cries of “Indian givers !” would probably be heard all over the area and in Sacramento.

    More likely, but unprobable due to San Bruno Mtn., would be a merger of everything from South S. F. to the northern border. That would a bitch to set up and both Brisbane and D.C. would NOT like being swallowed but there would be considerable savings in goverment costs. Keep in mind that the merger would include Colma and possibly Broadmoor. Then you would have something like St. Louis and East St. Louis but in one state.

    Roland Reply:

    There is no need to annex any towns. The only thing that needs annexing is the Baylands.

    Ted K. Reply:

    The Baylands is part of Brisbane and is not up for grabs. Keep in mind that Brisbane got its start as a railroad dorm for SP’s workers. So the built part of the town has a bone-deep link to the former rail yard.

    The only merger I can see happening is an emergeny services facility with space for police (SFPD, BPD, CSP) and fire / rescue / medics (SFFD, NCFA).

    Brisbane website : http://www.ci.brisbane.ca.us

    North Co. Fire Auth.: http://northcountyfire.org

    NB – The NCFA is a pooling arrangement between Brisbane, D.C., and Pacifica.

    Ted K. Reply:

    My apologies – the CSP merged with the CHP n 1995. If there is a CHSRA facility in the Baylands then having a CHP substation nearby would make tactical sense.

    https://www.chp.ca.gov/home/about-us/the-history-of-the-california-highway-patrol/milestones-in-time/merger-of-the-highway-patrol-and-the-state-police

    Roland Reply:

    The only thing Catellus and Recology need to do is ask. Game over if that is what they want to do. This will take care of Geneva Harney and the T-third extension issues once and for all.

    Ted K. Reply:

    1) Recology is a neighbor to the northeast of the site. Their facility straddles both the county line and Beatty Road (which connects to US-101).
    2) The developer is Universal Paragon Corp.
    3) Catellus is the developer for the UCSF-Mission Bay project in S.F.

    The connection between #2 and #3 is that UCSF’s LRDP (Long Range Dev. Plan) had the Baylands on their short list of potential sites. Mission Bay in S.F. won the pageant.

    4) The T-Third line presently stubs out just south of Sunnydale Ave. Linking it to Caltrain at the Bayshore Stn. has been on the planner’s radar for many years. Further extensions are unlikely due to cost.
    5) Geneva – Harney BRT is a proposed and studied link between Balboa Park BART and Hunters Point.

    Note to the Balboa Park LRV foamers – Your fantasy of a rail link to Balboa Park would turn into a nightmare during the planning process. They’ll probably try to avoid the Cayuga dip which means Alameda to Ocean to get to the station. The communities (at least two – east of Mission and west of Mission) will fight every millimeter of the way. At least the BRT can fall back to an ‘R’ (rapid, SFMuni-speak for limited) bus route and thereby stay under the radar.

    NB – I used to live near Geneva + Mission. I love the dream of a Geneva rail line but blanch at the practicalities.

    Ted K. Reply:

    s/Further extensions/Further southern extensions/

    A northern extension may make it through the planning process in spite of the cost due to the business community wanting more tourist dollars. But the business community along Geneva and that part of Mission is a lot smaller and their pockets aren’t as deep.

    Roland Reply:

    Geneva-Harney is supposed to be BRT, not LRV: http://www.sfcta.org/geneva-harney-bus-rapid-transit-feasibility-study. The issue with extending the T-third is that SF don’t want to spend money in another County (not cost). As an example, the current T-third tail track already extends 100 feet into Daly City.
    https://www.google.com/maps/@37.7084413,-122.4054206,3a,75y,211.2h,88.53t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sDnTMIKYcdJTByQ_yhlzA_g!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

    Ted K. Reply:

    Re : Geneva – Harney BRT
    True, but as I said there some foamers out there that want tracks on Geneva and won’t listen to those who bring up jurisdictional (Cow Palace to Old Bayshore is San Mateo Co.), cost, and routing (Cayuga dip) issues.

    Re : Current tracks
    I’ll agree that they are in San Mateo County by a number of feet. But what will require further research is which town they may be in. They could be in D.C., they could be in Brisbane, they coud be split, or they could be in neither. It might take a visit to either SFPL’s Main or the county seat to check the maps.

    Re : Money
    What if CHSRA (as a bookend project), UPC, and S.F. split the bill ? That might unjam things a lot with UPC (the developer) taking the lead on the planning. So instead of SFMuni trespassing in San Mateo Co. it’s the developer adding a major amenity to its project.

    Roland Reply:

    CRRA will indeed foot part of the bill (once we win the Prop1A challenge) because relocating the tracks one block west (towards Bayshore) is the only way to increase the speed through the Baylands to 120 MPH (20-second saving between SJ and SF). Coincidentally (not), shifting the 2 mainline tracks west releases space for a storage/maintenance facility between the tank farm and the hill. Is this beginning to make sense?

    Ted K. Reply:

    I think your map may have a glitch. North, and a little east, of Ice House Hill the quad-tracks make a pretty straight shot for the tunnel. The open space for a maint. facility is just to the EAST of the off-limits tank farm. The facility might need a small chunk of the lagoon for the access tracks.

    Are you proposing a half-tunnel cut into the side of Ice House Hill ?

    Also, when is the best time to lay down tracks for a street-running LRV ? Ans.: When you build the street in the first place.

    Roland Reply:

    1) Which tunnel are you referring to (#4 or #5)?
    2) The relocated mainline tracks (closer to Ice House Hill) vacate sufficient space for a storage/maintenance facility to the WEST (not east) of the tank farm (same space as the existing tracks).
    3) There are currently no plans to cut into Ice House Hill (no need).
    4) There is no impact on the lagoon (no change to the existing track layout until north of the lagoon).
    5) The T-third extension will be built at the same time as the relocated Bayshore multimodal transit center (Caltrain, HSR, BRT, Muni and standard-gauge BART).

    Ted K. Reply:

    #1 – The one(s ?) next to Schlage lock.

    #2-4 – I see where we’re going in different directions. You are talking about a version of Clem’s
    Plan A on the west side. I’m talking about a Plan B about half as large on the east side w/out moving the mainline. If BART can be kept away from that idle yard in the south bay then the Brisbane site doesn’t have to be as large and can be a sort of ready reserve location.

    We need some flexibility here so that the developer doesn’t fight the project to the death. Also, Caltrain may not want to move the mainline. The ROW may be fully in play with the existing quad-tracks.

    http://caltrain-hsr.blogspot.com/2009/09/focus-on-brisbane.html

    Clem’s Plan A (max-case) – http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_XbahXM_YRqg/S2kcJZogcQI/AAAAAAAAAWI/XDL1JWUTCkQ/s1600-h/brisbane_yard_overview.jpg

    Ted K. Reply:

    http://caltrain-hsr.blogspot.com/2009/01/top-10-worst-curves.html

    Okay, I see from the above page the kink at the south end of tunnel #4. It’s #2 on Clem’s list of problem curves that will cost CHSRA and Caltrain time. (And time is money.) So there are four pieces to this puzzle :
    A) Move the Bayshore Station south and maybe west – developer planning on this;
    B) Move the mainline west to maintain speed – developer may not be aware of the need;
    C) CHSRA facility on the east side – developer not openly aware but space is available; and
    D) CHSRA facility on the west side – developer no clue and bound to fight.

    The worst case is A + C. A good case is A + B + C. Option D would be a major furball.

    Roland Reply:

    The tunnel next to Schlage lock is #4. The abandoned tunnel south of Ice House Hill is #5 and no, I am not talking about any of Clem’s ideas and the NewHall yard is going to be turned over to TOD, not YABD (Yet Another BART Boondoggle).

    Roland Reply:

    See http://www.ci.brisbane.ca.us/sites/default/files/Lebrun01-24-14.pdf

    A) “Move the Bayshore Station south and maybe west – developer planning on this” (Page 2)
    B) “Move the mainline west to maintain speed – developer may not be aware of the need” (Page 1)
    With regards to C) and D), look at the picture on page 4 and you should see that relocating the mainline towards the hill opens up a massive area between the hill and the tank farm (enough for a storage/maintenance/turnaround yard).

  16. Joe
    Jul 12th, 2016 at 13:04
    #16

    I look forward to reading your clever suggestion in the Caltrain meeting minutes.

  17. R Ruiz
    Jul 12th, 2016 at 13:30
    #17

    I am not a fan of riding trains through tunnels, but wouldn’t the “free market” solution be for a tunnel to be funded by selling development rights for the space above the tracks? Also, such a tunnel would need to be four tracks. There would be no way to go back and add tracks after the fact, and our cities are going to continue to grow. Caltrain should not build anything without a plan that would allow future expansion to four tracks.

    It might be a fun exercise for someone to figure out how many floors of office and residential space would be necessary to cover the cost of a four-track PAMPA tunnel. Of course, none of these people would be happy with the linear wall of development that would result, but it’d be an interesting way to encourage TOD in communities that resist growth.

    Ultimately, this situation is another matter that points to the need for CEQA reform.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    In nice round number you have to sell the land above the tunnel for 75 million dollars an acre. With a really cheap tunnel.

    Reality Check Reply:

    But many PAMPA “bury the tracks” advocates envision linear parks, bike/ped paths and playgrounds.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    So they can tax themselves 75 million an acre to buy the land–thats the free market.

    Reality Check Reply:

    Yes, they “can” do it … but in the free market, people don’t pay you based on what say you need … they pay you what they’re both willing and able. It’s a safe bet PAMPA voters will not be willing to pay $75m an acre (if that’s even the right figure) to underground the tracks.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    There’s 12 acres in something 100 feet wide and mile long. Give or take. take how much a mile of tunnel costs and divide by 12.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    This whole calculation would be so much easier in metric units…

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    They don’t sell California real estate in hectares.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Right now they sell it in square inches…

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    I think they should sell it in cubic cubits. Just for shits and giggles.

    Ted K. Reply:

    Let’s compromise by honoring Mr. Diridon, sr. by using rods.

    1 rod = 16.5 ft. = 5+ meters
    1 sq. rod = .253 are (roughly)
    160 sq. rods = 1 acre
    1 hectare (ha) = 395+ sq. rods

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rod_(unit)

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Which is why the tunnel shouldn’t be built.

    Roland Reply:

    They can dream on. This will never happen (even if they could afford it).

    Jerry Reply:

    Development above the tracks?
    Palo Alto has/had a similar proposal already worked out.

    Jerry Reply:

    above, “the tunnel”

    Roland Reply:

    In Palo Alto, the tunnel runs under Alma.

  18. John Nachtigall
    Jul 12th, 2016 at 16:08
    #18

    Another reason for the people on this blog to not like the Hyperloop

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/mattdrange/2016/07/12/hyperloop-one-cofounder-accuses-company-leadership-of-nepotism-assault-wrongful-termination/#5b0db6904384

    Nothing like a good gossip

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    do you like Hyped Loop?

  19. Neil Shea
    Jul 12th, 2016 at 16:33
    #19

    O/T: Hyperloop One ‘rife with nepotism’

    I am sure it would be hard enough to demonstrate unproven, futuristic, impossible-sounding technology even if you had sufficient funding and an emotionally functional team

    http://mashable.com/2016/07/12/hyperloop-one-lawsuit/

    Danny Reply:

    but it’s VaporWareTM! it always costs less, goes faster, is done quicker, and can cry media persecution whenever anyone questions things like “promised to start transporting passengers as early as 2021” or “keeps driving into trucks and embankments with the newest hardware and most active-learning software”
    and is Musk even working with H1 anymore? he seemed to have been skipping between “builders” every 9 months, last I checked–now it’s “being built” in Slovakia (“Alstom gave us money! honest and for true!”)

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Slovakia?

    aka the country so small you can get from one end to the other in what? Three hours?

  20. rob
    Jul 18th, 2016 at 10:52
    #20

    Honestly the opposition to tunneling in California is bizarre. Yes it costs more initially but you end up with real estate freed up by removal of tracks which can be turned into bike lanes and parks or housing. It’s an investment that once done will last for hundreds of years.

    If you want a comparison have a look at the train line that Italy moved behind San Remo on the riviera. Freed up a whole stretch of prime coastal real estate most of which was turned into a bike / pedestrian lane that lets people bike the entire coastline safely. Benefits the entire community and will keep benefitting for YEARS.

    The bay area has train lines in a similar position – all occupying prime area often along the coast line. Moving those inland into tunnels in key points would benefit the entire whole bay area by speeding up rail service by removing kinks and giving back a huge environmental benefit.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    for people who moved next to an active railroad. They wanna increase their local taxes to pay for they are more than welcome to do it. Otherwise they get a quieter, cleaner, faster railroad where the railroad has been for well over a century.

    Joey Reply:

    The opposition is that it’s quite expensive in an environment where funding is quite limited.

    Joe Reply:

    Limited funding- funding is limited by limits that limit funding.

    Governments can borrow. Today Germany is being paid 0.18% to hold investor money. A negative rate of return.

    So yes we have limits but they are not linked to a physical commodity like gold. Not every tunnel is worth digging. Limited funding is due to the limits we put on funding.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    nobody is stopping them from raising local taxes to pay for it.

    Roland Reply:

    @Rob: Amen!

    Roland Reply:

    In other parts of the world, tunnels cost +/- 10% more than viaducts:
    http://www.greengauge21.net/wp-content/uploads/Final-Report-Appendices-B-J.pdf (table 1.3 on page 39).

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