Holiday Open Thread

Dec 23rd, 2016 | Posted by

For those of you traveling between the Bay Area and Southern California – or between the Central Valley and either of those two coastal metropolises – you’re probably already thinking about how much easier your trip would be if you could take it on a high speed train. Unless of course, your idea of fun is coming to a dead stop on Interstate 5 in the middle of the empty west side of the Valley.

Feel free to use this as a holiday open thread.

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  1. Roland
    Dec 23rd, 2016 at 21:21
    #1

    “The FTA very recently informed the JPB that it requires the JPB sponsors to commit an additional 10% (or $200 million) beyond the adopted budget to ensure that any cost over-runs or shortfall in revenues will be covered without additional federal assistance. The FTA imposed a similar requirement for the Central Subway FFGA for federal funds in Fiscal Year 2011. For the PCEP, JPB has asked its members – San Mateo County Transit District/San Mateo County Transportation Authority, Valley Transportation Authority, City and County of San Francisco – and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission to each adopt a Board resolution to commit up to $50 million to satisfy this condition. The action is time sensitive given the required 30-day Congressional review of the FFGA package and other FTA approvals that need to happen in order for JPB to give its PCEP contractor a full Notice to Proceed, locking in the current contract price and other terms by March 2017. Following consultation with the Mayor’s Office, SFMTA and the Controller’s office, we are recommending that the Transportation Authority commit up to an additional $50 million in State Regional Improvement Program funds to cover San Francisco’s share of the FTA’s requirement. The 2017 PCEP Supplemental Memorandum of Understanding commits the JPB to establishing an oversight protocol with the funding partners, including the Transportation Authority, which is in place and which we believe substantially lowers the risk of cost over-runs above the budgeted project contingency.”
    http://www.sfcta.org/special-board-january-5-2017

    Clem Reply:

    From the staff memo:

    We further note that the scope of the electrification project is less complicated than many other projects for which the FTA issues FFGAs, as it is primary installing wires and poles and doesn’t involve tunneling or other complicated underground or structural work.

    If that’s true, then CBOSS must have been a walk in the park!

    Roland Reply:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/11/08/tories-accused-of-another-broken-promise-as-electrification-of-g/

    Mike Jones Reply:

    Perhaps this is the best way for all electrification; wire up the core but leave the peripheries to “bi-modes”? Urban electrification is easy to justify, but intercity lines sometimes only have 1-2 trains per hour. All depends how the Class 800 perform, but the money saved could be used to electrify the Midland Main Line, that has potential for mush more intensive use.

    Roland Reply:

    Mike, you are about to get flamed for some perfectly sensible reasoning:

    1) The ENTIRE Caltrain fleet could be hybridized for approximately $100M.
    2) The resulting $1.5B cost saving should be enough to build DTX (including electrification) and a 4th & King replacement station.
    3) Diridon would be able to start working on its Big Dig without worrying about electrification.
    4) There would not be any need for a third track between Diridon and Tamien.
    5) Trains would be able to continue south to Gilroy without transfers at Tamien.
    6) PBRRA would be able to focus their severely limited resources (and skills) on Pacheco (including electrification).

    Let the fireworks start!!!

    Clem Reply:

    The fuse was wet… Breaking news: PCEP contracts continue to not be an cancelled, per latest monthly report, despite request from a member of the public.

    morris brown Reply:

    @ Clem who wrote:

    The fuse was wet… Breaking news: PCEP contracts continue to not be an cancelled, per latest monthly report, despite request from a member of the public.

    Could you explain your comments here, which at least to me seems “cryptic” and I just don’t understand.

    Clem Reply:

    just pulling Roland’s leg, that’s all

    morris brown Reply:

    OK, Clem….thanks… Happy New Year

    Roland Reply:

    @Clem. Kindly help me understand which part of this video clip it is that you do not understand: https://youtu.be/A_YJA_6IjY0?t=87.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    2017 the year of the ZEBL!

    Roland Reply:

    How does a ZEBL recuperate energy from the passenger car brakes?

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    A ZEBL does not solve every problem. It’s a stop gap for any commuter operator to use existing passenger cars and retrofitted retired locomotives to better effect. The ZEBL can also have a pantograph to recharge under the wires. It doesn’t capture the energy directly from passenger car brakes but if the ZEBL and the locomotive are used for the primary braking then that doesn’t matter.

    Jerry Reply:

    More information on ZEBL can be found here:
     http://alankandel.scienceblog.com/2014/11/27/hybrid-power-locomotive-booster-provides-muscle-to-more-efficiently-move-trains/

    And patent information here:
     http://www.google.com/patents/US20160001799

    Jerry Reply:

    This might be better
    http://contest.techbriefs.com/2016/entries/automotive-transportation/6393

    Jerry Reply:

    Or this
    http://www.google.com/patents/US20160001799

    Clem Reply:

    Because our commuter trains need mooooooore weight!

    Roland Reply:

    This minor issue can be easily resolved by tossing all seats, passengers, bikes, wheelchairs and toilets out of the window. Think of mooooooore A-C-C-E-L-E-R-A-S-H-U-N!!! Whoo-hooo!!! Par-Tay!!!

    J. Wong Reply:

    The problem is @Roland is that the funds are not fungible. Pretending that they are doesn’t change the reality.

    Roland Reply:

    @JAW. Kindly refer to the Kenny ruling and elaborate on how the electrification of 4th & King qualifies for Prop1A bonds.

    joe Reply:

    Kenny made no ruling on 4th and King Eligibility.

    J. Wong Reply:

    So, you’re saying the Penisula doesn’t need electrification for HSR? Oh, it does so then Prop 1A funds can be used for that. Kenny made no ruling that HSR must erupt from the ground fully formed and operational.

    synonymouse Reply:

    The Peninsula ROW should have been electrified in SP days.

    zorro Reply:

    Cause HSR will run there, as Caltrain tracks are going to be shared with HSR, so why are there no lawsuits in the LA County area like this? HSR money was spent down there, on an area where HSR is going to be running at, yet no one is suing down there, just up in the Peninsula, this isn’t about electrification, this is about HSR going to SJ and then to SF and about using the bonds, to make sure CA has to repay $2.5 Billion in ARRA money from the state budget, as a one time appropriation by the State Legislature…

    Roland Reply:

    “Section 2704.04, subdivision (b)(2) provides that “Phase 1 of the high-speed train project is the corridor of the high-speed train system between San Francisco Transbay Terminal and Los Angeles Union Station and Anaheim.” Subdivision (b)(3) identifies specific high-speed train corridors, and lists, “(B) San Francisco Transbay Terminal to San Jose to Fresno.” Subdivision (a) identifies that the purpose behind the Bond Act is “construction of a high-speed train system that connects the San Francisco Transbay Terminal to Los Angeles Union Station and Anaheim…”

    Consequently, it appears that the intent of the Bond Act was for the system to extend, in San Francisco, to the Transbay Terminal, not stop 1.3 miles short at a 4th and King Caltrain Station.
    This specific language and indication of intent does not conflict with a general referral to “San Francisco” in section 2704.09 subdivision (b)(1) and (3). It is reasonable to interpret this
    reference to “San Francisco” as indicating the Transbay Terminal identified as the intended San
    Francisco location in section 2704.04.

    It appears, at this time, that the Authority does not have sufficient evidence to prove the blended system can currently comply with all of the Bond Act requirements, as they have not provided analysis of trip time to the San Francisco Transbay Terminal, and cannot yet achieve five-minute headways (even allowing for the definition of “train” to include non-HSR trains).

    However, as Plaintiffs acknowledged during oral argument, the Authority may be able to accomplish these objectives at some point in the future. This project is an ongoing, dynamic, changing project. As the Court of Appeal noted, “because there is no formal funding plan and the design of the system remains in flux.. .we simply cannot determine whether the project will comply with the specific requirements of the Bond Act…” (California High-Speed Rail Authority, 228 Cal.App.4th at 703.)

    There is no evidence currently before the Court that the blended system will not comply with the Bond Act system requirements. Although Plaintiffs have raised compelling questions about potential future compliance, the Authority has not yet submitted a funding plan pursuant to 15 section 2704.08, subdivisions (c) and (d), seeking to expend Bond Act funds. Thus, the issue of the project’s compliance with the Bond Act is not ripe for review. Currently, all that is before the Court is conjecture as to what system the Authority will present in its request for Bond Act funds.
    This is insufficient for the requested relief.”

    http://www.thehamiltonreport.com/downloads/TOS-RULING-KENNY-3-4-2016.PDF (pp15-16).

    Roland Reply:

    Here is a GWR IEP leaving Paddington (on batteries no less!!!). The diesel racket comes from the train on the next platform: https://youtu.be/XoNV2oo4_os?t=57
    Here is a view of the lowered pantos: https://youtu.be/XoNV2oo4_os?t=45

    Roland Reply:

    GWR Class 800 testing @ 200 KPH. The last pass is a diesel pass. There is no noticeable difference in sound: https://youtu.be/JA9OV8ikCY8?t=52

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Batteries Roland? You sure?

    Roland Reply:

    Paul, they can definitely take off on batteries if they are fully charged (typically everytime they leave a station after stopping). In this case, may be not if the train sat for a long time. Listen carefully when cars 2 and 4 go by and let us know if you think that the powerpacks are running.

    On a related note, it looks like the Paddington overpass may well be one of the many reasons why they had to put GWML electrification on the back-burner(?)

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Roland: Paddington is already electrified. Overpass?
    I think you are wrong about battery power. To the best of my knowledge these trains are not designed to run off batteries. They are bi-mode, not hybrid. Just because you can’t hear the mtus doesn’t mean much, there’s always a lot of ambient diesel roar at Paddington with HST sets and dmus coming and going.

    Roland Reply:

    Paul,

    Paddington:
    The overpass is the one above the GWR IEP in the video. The only two 25KV OCS lines in and out of Paddington I am aware of are Heathrow Express and Crossrail. Are you referring to “electrification” as 750V DC third rail or ??

    Battery Power: Here is the Hayabusa proof-of-concept in action back in 2007: https://youtu.be/tkV2xNGVP8o. “The key to the system is an onboard energy management system, which forms an interface between the diesel engine and a high energy density lithium-ion battery bank which can be charged from either the engine or from energy regenerated during braking. The hybrid train uses battery power alone to accelerate from a stand, with power fed from the battery through a DC to AC inverter” http://www.railwaygazette.com/news/business/single-view/view/hybrid-technology-enters-the-real-world.html.

    Following the award of the IEP contract, Hitachi awarded the diesel powerpack subcontract to MTU. Here is how an MTU hybrid diesel powerpack works (exactly like the prototype): https://youtu.be/poKCsgm-Muw.
    BTW, every “pure EMU” Class 801 is equipped with a single MTU backup powerpack capable of moving a train @40 MPH after a power/catenary failure, so the GWR 800s will be converted back to 801s after GWML electrification simply by removing all powerpacks bar one on each train.

    Q: What is the difference between a bimode and a hybrid?

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    A biomes has electric and diesel direct drive without batteries. E.g. BR class 73.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Bimode!

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    The hitachi website only mentions bimode for the class 800. No reference to battery power capability.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Definitely not a hybrid

    Roland Reply:

    Class 800s DO NOT have a diesel direct drive. Please refer to http://www.hitachi.com/rev/pdf/2014/r2014_10_105.pdf Fig 7 on page 5 and provide links if you have evidence to the contrary.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Read that page carefully Roland. The power packs drive traction motors I.e. Are diesel electrics, but there is no regeneration of batteries. The original concept assumed mostly electric operation with diesel power packs for relatively short operation beyond the wires. Adding hybrid capability would mostly be redundant and extra weight as usually regenerated power would be returned to the cat. Of course now that Network Rail has effed up electrification the game has changed but too late to change the spec to hybrid.

    Roland Reply:

    Read that page carefully Paul.

    “Fig. 7 shows an overview of the traction and auxiliary power supply (APS) system. The system can select the appropriate power source from either the main transformer or the GUs. Also, the size and weight of the system were minimized by designing the power supply converter to be able to work with both power sources. To ensure that the Class 800 and 801 are able to adapt to future changes in operating practices, they both have the same traction system and the rolling stock can be operated as either class by simply adding or removing GUs. On the Class 800, which is intended to run on both electrified and non-electrified track, each traction system has its own GU. On the other
    hand, the Class 801 is designed only for electrified lines and has one or two GUs depending on the length of the trainset (one GU for trainsets of five to nine cars, two GUs for trainsets of 10 to 12 cars). These GUs supply emergency traction power and auxiliary power in the event of a power outage on the catenary, and as an auxiliary power supply on non-electrified lines where the Class 801 is in service and pulled by a locomotive. This allows the Class 801 to operate on lines it would otherwise not be able to use and provides a backup in the event of a catenary power outage or other problem on the ground systems as well as non-electrified routes in loco-hauled mode.”

    Clem Reply:

    Yup, no traction battery

    Roland Reply:

    Can you elaborate on how you came to that conclusion?

    Clem Reply:

    I think the onus is on you to explain how the extensive details you provided on the Class 800 and 801 say anything about any battery being ever used to provide emergency traction power.

    Roland Reply:

    Always happy to oblige. What else do you need?

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    MTU 12v 1600 r80l power pack. See mtu-report.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Show me where it mentions either hybrid or recharging of batteries. There are two choices, electric from catenary or diesel power pack.

    Roland Reply:

    “Although progress has been made in recent years on improving rolling stock energy efficiency by reducing weight and utilizing regenerative braking, problems remain in cases where the generated energy cannot be returned to the overhead lines, or when full use cannot be made of the regenerative energy because it is consumed by the resistive load of the overhead lines. To overcome these problems, Hitachi has since 2007 been developing systems that utilize battery technology in trains”.
    http://www.hitachi.com/rev/pdf/2014/r2014_10_all.pdf

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Quite true Roland, but not in this train. This is not a Hayabusa.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    For lights and a/c, not traction.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    In 2010 the order was changed based on economic conditions and the expectation of electrification to Swansea. That’s when the straight diesels were dropped from the order, ditto hybrid. As I mentioned above, you don’t put hybrid batteries in electric trains. Consider also that these are express units. You get bang for your hybrid buck with commuter and local multi-stop services.

    Roland Reply:

    3.18.4 Train Unable to Proceed Under Main Power Source Mode
    TS1938 It is an essential requirement that for “Train unable to proceed under main power source”
    mode, “basic services” are provided to passengers for a minimum of three hours following
    failure of the main power source.
    TS1939 It is an essential requirement that for “Train unable to proceed under main power source”
    mode, the train shall be capable of “limited movement” while supplying “basic services” for
    a minimum of one hour following failure of the main power source.
    https://web.archive.org/web/20090219040451/http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/rail/pi/iep/iepinvitationtotender/ieptraintechnicalspecifi.pdf

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Are you Dutch? You are stubborn enough. It’s not a hybrid and that spec doesn’t mean it can accelerate out of paddington on battery power.

    Roland Reply:

    Are you Irish? You are stubborn enough. If not, how do you account for TS1939 dropping the requirement to provide “basic services” for a minimum of three hours (TS1938) down to a minimum of one hour while providing “limited movement”?

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    1/8 Irish. The diesel power packs are for that limited movement. These trains do not charge batteries from regenerative braking to provide traction. End of story. Bimode, not hybrid.

    Joe Reply:

    I approve Roland’s train set purchase.

    Roland,
    Please provide a business account number with funds so we can proceed with your purchase request.

    Roland Reply:

    Joe,

    Thanks for the offer but we already have a young man standing by with a pen literally burning to write a check to a manufacturer of his own choice as soon as “Caltrain” agrees to sell him +/- $4M of annual trackage rights.

    morris brown Reply:

    This delay in Caltrain’s FTA grant approval, means any approval will be under the new FTA management of the Trump administration. It won’t now happen before Jan 15th as hoped, and will be under new officials at the FTA.

    Clem Reply:

    It will happen on January 19th.

  2. Roland
    Dec 23rd, 2016 at 21:25
    #2

    Unless of course, your idea of fun is coming to a dead stop without power, light or heating on a so-called “high speed” line buried under a foot of snow somewhere in the Tehachapis.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Which would definitely happen.

    Roland Reply:

    As in tonight? http://www.fresnobee.com/news/local/article122714509.html

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    I think CAHSR is smart enough to know when to not run trains.

    Aarond Reply:

    trains can run all-weather, snow plows have existed for quite some time

    Edward Reply:

    I found the unfounded pessimism rather amusing. It puts a new light on some of the anti-HSR arguments I see here.

    Roland Reply:

    Would you be so kind as to elaborating on some of the anti-HSR arguments that you see here?

    Joe Reply:

    “Buried under a foot of snow”
    A foot of snow is about 1″ of water.
    You break out the parkas when the lows hit 30.

  3. Roland
    Dec 23rd, 2016 at 22:17
    #3

    How about turning the clock back 8 years and reflecting on how much we have achieved since 2008? https://youtu.be/SS0RD6dqpKY (Senator Lowenthal: “Why don’t you tell us how you really feel?”).

  4. Jerry
    Dec 23rd, 2016 at 23:23
    #4

    An American Public Transportation Association (APTA) poll shows that:
    65% of Trump voters favor INCREASED funding to repair and improve Public Transportation, and
    69% of ALL voters support the use of their tax dollars for Public Transportation.
    http://www.expertclick.com/NewsRelease/Transit-News-Voters-Support-Investment-in-Americas-Public-Transit-Infrastructure,201694104.aspx

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Which means that 73% of Clinton supporters want more public transit?

  5. Neil Shea
    Dec 24th, 2016 at 00:04
    #5

    I-5 definitely does not flow on holidays. Plan 150%-200% of the time. Very stressful with so many impaired drivers

    Roland Reply:

    Napa is even more stressful (hence the wine train).

  6. morris brown
    Dec 24th, 2016 at 02:30
    #6

    WSJ behind a paygate… I copy below… air now competitive on NYC to Boston and then some.

    http://www.wsj.com/articles/the-boston-laguardia-shuttle-battle-heats-up-1482336839

    The Boston-LaGuardia Shuttle Battle Heats Up
    Scott McCartney
    Dec. 21, 2016 11:14 a.m. ET

    Boston

    There’s an old fashioned air-shuttle war going on.

    Prices are tumbling for flights between New York LaGuardia and Boston Logan, with new entrant JetBlue Airways shaking things up. Even before that, airline passenger traffic on the route grew 7% in the 12 months ended June 30. Amtrak has seen Acela Express ridership slip.

    The New York-Boston shuttle was once the jewel in the airline crown, a high-profile and often highly profitable service that gave an airline stature and loyalty from business travelers.

    Eastern Air Lines flew the short hop with widebody A300 jets in its heyday in the 1980s, letting passengers walk on and pay for their seats onboard. If no seats were left, both Eastern and Pan Am’s shuttle promised another plane and crew in 15 minutes. The magnetism of the shuttle even enticed Donald Trump into the airline business for a few years starting in 1989.

    But the shuttle has been a shadow of its former self since the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks and Amtrak’s introduction of high-speed Acela service 16 years ago. Security screening hassles and delays frustrated passengers and made travel by train, bus or car about as easy and timely.

    Airlines scaled back to small regional jets. Amtrak now accounts for 56% of air-rail passengers between New York and Boston.

    Much has changed to make planes more competitive with trains. PreCheck screening has eased security hassle and let travelers arrive closer to departure time. Delta and American have set up separate check-in lanes for shuttle passengers at a few airports. In-flight Wi-Fi has kept air passengers connected and airlines have reduced flight delays.

    “I don’t think the need to go between New York and Boston decreased at all. Air was just not in the conversation for the last 15 years,” says Marty St. George, JetBlue’s executive vice president for commercial and planning.

    The short-haul flying rebound has led to Delta expanding its shuttle offerings, adding Seattle to its Los Angeles-San Francisco West Coast shuttle and New York-Chicago. American says it is studying the possibility of turning some of its short-haul markets into shuttle service.

    Between New York and Boston, flying is now cheaper than Acela, and sometimes faster, too. Acela’s basic one-way walk-up fare between New York and Boston is $200. JetBlue, with six daily flights, set its walk-up fare at $129 one-way, and competitors matched on many flights. Acela schedules trains for a trip of about three hours and 40 minutes between those two cities. Airlines schedule the trip at 75 to 90 minutes. Allowing two hours for getting to and from the airport, flying can be faster.

    To make sure, American says it gives its shuttle flights priority over other planes when bad weather causes slowdowns.

    “It’s not the glory and majesty of the old days,” says Vasu Raja, American’s vice president of network planning. “But air service is very competitive with train service now.”

    The easy links to Washington, D.C., and New York helped Boston grow health care, defense, financial, advertising and publishing industries, says Thomas Glynn, chief executive of the Massachusetts Port Authority, which operates Logan. For airlines, shuttle service builds business-traveler loyalty and corporate contracts. “The shuttle has been one of the most important things in our development as a city,” he says.

    Government data show the average one-way airline ticket price between New York and Boston was $148 in the second quarter, the most recent reported. That was down 13% from $170 in the same period two years earlier, according to consulting firm Oliver Wyman’s PlaneStats. American has cut prices more aggressively than Delta and gained market share.

    Acela ridership in the Northeast corridor, from Washington to Boston, was flat in the year ended Sept. 30 and down 2% the previous year. Amtrak says when slower, cheaper Northeast Regional trains are included, ridership is actually up.

    Improved Wi-Fi and future investment in the next-generation of high-speed rail show Amtrak is committed to strengthening its market position, says Jason Molfetas, Amtrak’s executive vice president for marketing.

    JetBlue began shuttle flights Oct. 31 with fares as low as $49. The airline isn’t officially calling its service “shuttle,” since it isn’t running flights hourly, but executives informally refer to it as a shuttle.

    The $129 unrestricted coach walk-up fare was the shocker. At the time, American and Delta had walk-up fares as high as $443. Mr. Raja says American opted to match; Delta says it offered a sale as JetBlue launched, but thinks its customers will pay a premium for better service. Delta offers 17 flights daily in each direction between LaGuardia and Logan. (American has 15.)

    “We’re competing with our schedule,” says Henry Kuykendall, Delta’s vice president for New York.

    Jay Hussey, a Boston headhunter, couldn’t turn down a JetBlue price of about $130 round-trip to New York, cheaper than American or Delta offered. His flight to LaGuardia Monday was his second time using JetBlue instead of Amtrak or other airlines. “The prices before were obscene, like $800 round trip,” he says. “It was less expensive to fly to San Francisco.”

    JetBlue, like Delta and American, offers free beer and wine on shuttle flights. A JetBlue shuttle boarding pass gets you a free cup of coffee at Au Bon Pain stores near shuttle gates. JetBlue has free broadband satellite Wi-Fi on its shuttle airplanes that can be used gate-to-gate, so passengers are never unconnected.

    Mr. St. George says JetBlue’s corporate customers in Boston, where it is now the largest airline in terms of flights and passengers, were asking for LaGuardia shuttle service. But JetBlue was using its limited LaGuardia takeoff and landing slots for other flights.

    In October, the Federal Aviation Administration relaxed slot restrictions at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey and JetBlue moved six daily flights to Florida from LaGuardia to Newark so it could create a shuttle.

    Joe Reply:

    The easy links to Washington, D.C., and New York helped Boston grow health care, defense, financial, advertising and publishing industries, says Thomas Glynn, chief executive of the Massachusetts Port Authority, which operates Logan. For airlines, shuttle service builds business-traveler loyalty and corporate contracts. “The shuttle has been one of the most important things in our development as a city,” he says.

    Another argument for HSR.

    Jerry Reply:

    So is it a loss leader for the airlines?
    And the airlines are still not downtown to downtown.
    What is the cab fare to the airports? ???
    Getting to Newark is no picnic.

    Alan Reply:

    I think it’s likely that it’s a loss leader for Jet Blue, at least.

    The cost comparison will only hold as long as the price of oil stays low. If we start seeing prices rise again, the cost advantage goes away. Acela, being electrified, is somewhat less vulnerable to oil price spikes. And of course, nothing stops Amtrak from pricing to meet competition.

    The hassle factor may be as important as anything. Taking a cab to LGA, and from Logan into Boston wipes out the cost advantage right there. Amtrak’s right in Midtown Manhattan. No muss, no fuss. You can, of course, take public transportation to LGA, but that involves a transfer from subway to bus. Roadways around LGA are congested and crowded under good conditions–right now, with massive construction going on, the conditions are not good.

    The reconstruction of the Central Terminal (Terminal B) at LGA is just getting underway. All of the gate changes over the next few years, with lots of construction going on around the field are likely to contribute to delays. Delta uses the Marine Air Terminal (Terminal A) for its shuttle flights, so they likely don’t have the congestion of the main terminals. But, DAL still has to share the same airfield, which has its own constrictions. Finally, all it takes is one or two good storms to totally screw up traffic in and out of LGA, JFK, and EWR.

    So I don’t think the outlook for air is quite as rosy as the WSJ postulates. But then, one never expects much journalism from a Murdoch operation.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    LGA is a generally senseless airport that ought to be shut down and consolidated into EWR and JFK. Small airports are stupid. Do you realize how much housing/offices/parks could go on current land occupied by LGA.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    It’s not a small airport. It’s the country’s 20th busiest. Shoving the nation’s 20th busiest airport’s traffic into the nation’s 5th busiest airport or the nation’s 15th busiest airport would likely cause a few problems. Across the country.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Not really. Assuming you cut regional flights and replace them with regional rail financed by the development of those airports. For instance, I would gladly finance CAHSR by selling of Oakland Airport, Long Beach Airport, and Burbank Airport. The same could be said for Providence, La Guardia, Washington National, and White Plains back east.

    Drunk Engineer Reply:

    I would gladly finance CAHSR by selling of Oakland Airport,

    The comments in this blog are just so fucking retarded. You do realize that the Port of Oakland has significant air cargo business, right? And there is also the small issue that CHSR won’t be providing any service at all for the East Bay.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    BART exists. The Port of Oakland can move its air cargo to SFO. We shouldn’t let stupid turf wars stop common sense efficiencies.

    Drunk Engineer Reply:

    It is an intermodal port. Are you going to move the container shipping and freight rail operations to SFO as well? And re-locate the gazillions of shipping businesses that surround the port? You obviously have not thought this one through.

    Neil Shea Reply:

    Leave an airstrip for freight

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Then leave one runway of OAK there and develop the rest. Air to sea traffic isn’t that common.

    Drunk Engineer Reply:

    So you would close California’s 4th busiest airport, and the East Bay gets what in return? The high-speed trains aren’t coming to Oakland. You obviously have not thought this one through.

    Alan Reply:

    So you’re going to move air cargo to a field (SFO) that has no room to expand, and put more truck traffic on the 101 and the Bay Bridge? Not gonna happen.

    The FAA puts a ground delay plan into effect whenever the weather goes below limits for parallel runway operations at SFO. That puts some pretty severe constraints on passenger service, to say nothing of any added air cargo.

    Then you want to add even some of the traffic from SJC? You *really* have not thought this through. Do you really believe that even the EIR’s for this would be finished in our lifetimes?

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Absolutely I have though this through. What is so difficult about taking BART to Transbay, Dirdon, or SFO from the East Bay, assuming that CAHSR/Caltrain doesn’t eventually extend to Oakland? The eastbay doesn’t exist in a bubble. A truly massive portion of air traffic is flights to Southern California. Those will not exist with CAHSR, and waaaaaaaaay less capacity will be needed. Just closing OAK could provide the land for all the new housing the Bay Area will need for decades.

    Ian Mitchell Reply:

    You could pack all the housing the east bay will need for decades just into the driveways of houses with on-street parking that is never occupied, within the peninsula alone. Oakland airport is not the place to get space from. SFO is more sensible to close- especially because of the proximity of Alamada AFB land which is PERFECT for a bay-area superhub using some of OAK facilities for a new, modern SF airport.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    OK. Fine. You convinced me. Closing SFO it is. I guess SFO has terrible runways anyway, but they’re nicely aligned for lots of condos with water views.

    Eric Reply:

    One runway for OAK is more than enough. OAK gets 11M passengers per year, SAN (a one-runway airport) gets 19M passengers per year.

    Closing half of OAK (the northern half) and using the money for a new transbay tunnel would be a great addition to the East Bay.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Ironically, I’m currently sitting inside SFO.

    @Eric
    What were proposing is that OAK gets expanded with four or five full parallel runways, and SFO gets closed and redeveloped in its entirety.

    Drunk Engineer Reply:

    SFO sits on wetlands and bayfill, and has endangered species. Redevelopment would violate all kinds of environmental laws. Adding new runways to OAK would also be complicated (to say the least). Try to think this one through, instead of posting idiotic nonsense.

    Aarond Reply:

    @ Car(e)-Free LA

    It’s important to remember that thanks to the Coastal Commission, any bayside development is a huge pain in the ass. This is why Redwood City has to gamble in a federal court to redevelop the Cargill flats. When Caltrain (one day) goes to rebuild Dumbarton, they will have a huge court fight even though it’s a rebuild. Also OAK’s approach goes over the Bay Bridge.

    A new mega-airport would have to be done inland. The only reasonable place would be Solano County, but the ideal spot is currently taken by Travis AFB. The only other option is for SF to build an artificial island 500 feet off Ocean Beach (like Osaka Kansai).

    Thus, we’re stuck with SFO as-is. Hence why people are even bothering with CAHSR, since it’s impossible to build a new airport without burning a huge amount of money.

    Clem Reply:

    When Caltrain (one day) goes to rebuild Dumbarton, they will have a huge court fight even though it’s a rebuild.

    Not if it’s a tunnel. There is a recent precedent that proved that boring tunnels under Dumbarton is both politically and technically feasible– in fact, one of the largest cost drivers of tunneling is geotechnical risk, which has been 100% retired by the water tunnel project.

    Joe Reply:

    Any bay tunnel for rail will draw BART interests like drunks to a party.
    They will embrace as joint effort and then move north to SF. It will add billions to the cost.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Surely environmentalist Democrats in the state legislature would realize that it is in the benefit of the economy, the people, and the environment to consolidate airports and make an exemption for this project, even if it means bay fill.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    It’s not 1955 anymore and people don’t think bay is nearly useless. there would have to be a more compelling reason then you think it’s a good idea.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Because bay lands can be mitigated with more marshes towards Novation or something, and the bay near the Oakland airport isn’t exactly pristinr. Also, lower co2 emissions>a little bit of bay.

    Marc Reply:

    Before assuming it is just a matter of political will to close an airport, look into the FAA Airport Improvement Program (AIP) and the assurances and stipulations associated with any grants it provides. SJC and OAK have both likely accepted 100s of millions in AIP grants, the FAA will not look kindly on closing either one. Car(e)-Free should be aware of this, Santa Monica has been attempting various subterfuges to close it’s airport for at least 20 years, it’s still operating.

    Aarond Reply:

    @Car(e)-Free LA

    The Coastal Commission exists courtesy of Prop 20, and no Democrat will vote to repeal it especially as the only true beneficiaries would be San Mateo, Santa Clara and San Joaquin Counties. There’s not enough mutual interest to make bay development easier.

    Roland Reply:

    The only “minor” issue is that the SFPUC tunnel crosses the DBR ROW, so a DBR tunnel would have to go either above or below the water tunnel…

    Alan Reply:

    … proximity of Alamada AFB land which is PERFECT for a bay-area superhub using some of OAK facilities for a new, modern SF airport.

    This is a PERFECTLY ignorant comment. First of all, Alameda was a Naval air station, not an Air Force base. More to the point, there is nowhere near enough land to construct a modern airfield of the necessary size. And make no mistake–it would require demolition of all of the existing aviation infrastructure and starting from scratch. The single long runway at Alameda is not long enough for the likes of A380’s, and one runway is not going to replace four.

    There is not sufficient surface transportation infrastructure to serve an Alameda airport–the Posey and Webster tubes would not be able to handle the volume of traffic that an airport would draw. The Nimitz is close enough to capacity as it is. Any solution to this issue would take well over a decade (for the EIR’s and lawsuits) and likely billions of dollars. And that’s IF you could get the Coastal Commission to even consider the idea. Lawyers like Stuart Flashman would wet their pants over the possibility of decades-long litigation. (On the other hand, maybe that’s not such a bad thing–might draw Flashman away from HSR and let us get some work done…)

    Then there’s the FAA, which would also need to be persuaded that an Alameda mega-airport would be a good idea. No sure thing there.

    Ian and “car(e) free” need to accept the fact that SFO, OAK, and SJC are all going to be with us for at least the next several decades. If, somehow, the powers-that-be were to be convinced today that airport consolidation would be a good idea, my seat-of-the-pants estimate is that we’re looking at 2050 at the earliest–with or without HSR.

    Travis AFB might be a reasonable location for a regional mega-airport–IF the Air Force can be convinced that they no longer need it. That’s likely to be a hard sell. And of course, it would require major infrastructure investments just to get people to that location from the Bay Area, and *that* would likely take several decades to build. The only upside of that is that it would be the lion’s share of building a SF-SAC HSR line. Going from Fairfield to Sacramento would be relatively easy.

    Aarond Reply:

    To continue this thought experiment, the cost of relocating Travis (say, to a reactivated Mather), building the new airport, then connecting it to the rest of the Bay Area with the Cap Cor/Dumbarton rail (perhaps another transbay tube) is not small. This is the type of mega-project that would make a new island west of SF cost-competitive, in the sense that it would “only” require a six mile BART extension.

    ….however, artificial islands (especially ones full of trash) don’t do well in earthquakes. And Kansai airport itself is famous for needing it’s terminals suspended on massive jacks, which physically keep the heavy terminals from sinking in the mud.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    @Aarond. The state legislature could exempt ONLY this project from the coastal commission, because of its significance and it being in a already very damaged environment.

    @Alan. Such a project would absolutely be massive, expensive, difficult, take forever to build, and eventually be worth it. That’s why we should think about it now–so we can have it in 2050, not 2080.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The Federal government takes a dim view of filling in watery places too.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Then restore 100 square miles of wetlands in the central valley or something in exchange for mabye 5-10 square miles of bay.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Providence is the country’s 38th largest metro area. Flights from there to Chicago or Florida or Charlotte or Florida or Atlanta or Florida keep flights out of the bigger airports and people off the roads to the those airports.
    Westchester County by itself would have the same population as metro Tucson AZ. With Fairfield County CT it’s the same size as Providence. They fly to Chicago or Florida or Charlotte or Florida or Atlanta or Florida without using the bigger airports and without clogging the bridges

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Which goes to show why we need really good regional rail with good scheduling–so people can and will go to Logan Airport or EWR.

    Ian Mitchell Reply:

    Is there anywhere on earth that people from a populated area of such a size, travel such a distance, to catch a plane, regularly?

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Not Boston to EWR. That would be ridiculous. Westchester County to EWR and Rhode Island to Boston.

    Ian Mitchell Reply:

    Still, in excess of 50 miles seems excessive for cities and areas of millions.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    and right now whole plane loads of them take a really short drive and don’t clog the major airport with another flight to Florida.

    Eric Reply:

    Probably in Japan. Japan uses wide-body aircraft for short-range flights because it’s so crowded.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    If there are enough people in Providence who want to go to Orlando why should they have to take a long train ride to a very crowded airport to get there?

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    It’s the hub and spoke model. It works. An airport is a very inneficicient use of land.

    Ian Mitchell Reply:

    Here’s some land that isn’t airport in Warwick. https://www.google.com/maps/@41.6921097,-71.453866,3a,75y,142.93h,57.42t/data=!3m7!1e1!3m5!1sxnu16xSBXamiyuRsJEN4hA!2e0!6s%2F%2Fgeo1.ggpht.com%2Fcbk%3Fpanoid%3Dxnu16xSBXamiyuRsJEN4hA%26output%3Dthumbnail%26cb_client%3Dmaps_sv.tactile.gps%26thumb%3D2%26w%3D203%26h%3D100%26yaw%3D156.74716%26pitch%3D0%26thumbfov%3D100!7i13312!8i6656

    It’s not like the airport is up against high-rises or anything.

    Providence has an issue with abandoned and dangerous properties.

    Rhode Island has no need for more brownfield land with decades of aircraft fuel contamination to sit waiting for redevelopment.

    aubrey Reply:

    Airlines are actively moving away from the hub and spoke model because hubs are too expensive and crowded,

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Then expand them, and move short distance spokes to HSR.

    Roland Reply:

    How about a different approach and turning the three Bay area airports into a single VIRTUAL megahub? http://www.railpro.co.uk/railpro-magazine/magazine-archives/heathwick-two-become-one

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    No. That’s land–inneficient, doesn’t allow new development, doesn’t simpify flight paths, and doesn’t allow quick plane changes.

    Roland Reply:

    Did someone mention something about “fucking retarded” comments on this blog?

    Clem Reply:

    For comparison, the mighty San Jose airport ranks 41st in the U.S., and sits on some very valuable land in the heart of Silicon Valley.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    It would make sense to shut it down in favor of SFO. A yuuuuge portion of traffic is to Southern California, which CAHSR will take. We should concentrate on having a handful of efficient megahubs fed by regional rail.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    The owners e.g. of Burbank would want to keep the money for other purposes less the money they would owe the FRA. Otherwise it’s a great idea…

    Neil Shea Reply:

    For travel farther than 600 miles/1000 km it makes sense to have a small number of large regional airports, perhaps ~4 in California, 1 in New England, 2 in NY metro, 1 in Philly, 2 in DC, etc.

    Already we see flights from Fresno and Bakersfield only go to West Coast hubs, most travelers from Tucson taking the (ground) shuttle up to Sky Harbor, etc. Even from Sacramento or Ontario, pity if your long distance flight is canceled or majorly delayed, that may be the last or only one of the day.

    If you stopped subsidizing small city airports, what would you have left?

    Neil Shea Reply:

    OK maybe 5 in California, 3 in the south and 2 in the north

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    I think Ontario, John Wayne (maybe), San Diego, LAX, SFO, Sacramento, and San Jose (maybe) should be enough. We should also probably keep isolated airports like Santa Barbara and Mammoth for the time being.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Honestly, the Midwest and the south are the worst offenders in terms of unnecessary airports, but at least they mostly don’t have more than one airport per big city.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    If the Port Authority was able to auction off slots at the three major airports in New York fares would skyrocket and more traffic would shift to the smaller airports. Its a good thing that there are enough people on the Island that want to go to Florida that there are flights locally, keeping them out of the major airports. Same thing for Westchester or Providence or Hartford or ,,,,

    Neil Shea Reply:

    Sure, keep midsize airport during a transition.

    For California, probably SFO, Travis AFB, LAX, Palmdale, and Miramar AFB are enough to concentrate the long-haul traffic

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Or they could entirely cut flights less than 250 miles and replace them with regional rail, consolidate into large Hubs like Atlanta, and finance an extra runway at EWR by selling off White Plains.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    This isn’t rural bus service.
    You can have 40 flights as day from New York to Orlando or 30 flights a day, leaving slots in New York for places that aren’t Orlando and 5 a day from White Plains and 5 a day from Islip. Or 30 a day from New York to Chicago or 25 a day from New York to Chicago, 3 from White Plains and 2 from Islip. It means people in Islip don’t have to take a long ride to get to Orlando or Chicago and there are slots available for flights to Glasgow and people from White Plains don’t have to take a long ride to get to Orlando or Chicago and it leaves slots available for flights to Singapore.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Or all flights like those to Albany, Buffalo, DC, Boston, Hartford, Pittsburgh, etc. could end, allowing the closure of small airports and the expansion of flights to long haul destinations. So much capacity is taken up by regional flights.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Taking the train to Newark doesn’t get me to Chicago or Florida or Detroit or Florida or Denver or Florida or Charlotte or Florida or Atlanta or Florida. The flights from Hartford to LGA that are used by people connecting to the puddle jumper to Harrisburg will go away but the flights from Hartford to places outside of HSR range means those people aren’t clogging the major airports. There are enough of them to fill whole planes. Which then aren’t clogging the major airports.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Major airports aren’t clogged when you get rid of the local flights. And I’m sorry if you lose your direct route from White Plains to Florida, but HSR-EWR-anywhere is only marginally longer for Florida and much shorter for most other places. That HSR can be financed by selling airport land to private developers, which then lowers housing prices. Airports for Florida-Westchester travelers are less important than thousands of new homes and HSR for a huge variety of trips.

    Ian Mitchell Reply:

    Here’s an area not far from (but not right against the edge of) white plains airport.
    https://www.google.com/maps/@41.0848904,-73.6662381,3a,75y,217.17h,96.8t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sWngO8WPd1KRtMkxqO8L7Ww!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

    There’s no lack of land in that area- we’re talking 25 miles or more from NYC, it’s not Astoria.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    And here is a picture of what White Plains Airport could look like:
    https://www.google.com/maps/@47.541336,-122.0191765,1870m/data=!3m1!1e3

    Though I will agree that redeveloping White Plains is a lower priority than DCA or LGA.

    Alan Reply:

    This whole thread is absolutely pointless. Even if money grew on trees, the political will is simply not there to close all of the secondary airports in California or any other state. No city or its chamber of commerce is going to allow the loss of its airport. The CEQA process would take 10 to 15 years, and the lawsuits would likely double that. An artificial island so close to the San Andreas fault would earn the universal condemnation of every seismologist in the world, and adding bay fill to expand the old Alameda NAS site or OAK is just not going to happen.

    So, we need to start considering realistic, real-world plans to deal with what we have and how to make the best of it. Besides, by the time the CEQA process is finished for any new airport, Starfleet will have perfected the transporter and we won’t need airports. Either that, or the EIR will have to consider objections from cranky old country doctors who don’t want their atoms scattered all over the universe…

    aubrey Reply:

    Airports have owners that would be getting any money from redeveloping them, not you

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    I don’t expect money, though I’m a young person trying to enter the business. I do want to live in better cities, and I enjoy improving them. Is it strange to be interested in more than just my personal bottom line?

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Alan, quite right, a pointless line of discussion. Learn to play the hand we are dealt, not wish a fistful of aces.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Alan, quite wrong. There is no harm in wishing and discussing massive, unlikely plans for the distant future. It’s the only way progress ever happens.

    Roland Reply:

    How about discussing something that makes more sense for a change?
    How about https://youtu.be/dLRHdGrw9cQ for a start?

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    @Roland

    Oaky. They have a pretty good plan. Mostly, I just want it to connect with the E2 routing to Palmdale. Ideally, 4 or 6 new tracks would be tunneled from Frogtown under Elysian Park (with Metrolink stopping at Dodger Stadium) to Union Station, funded by development along the LA River and in the Elysian Valley, but what they have is fine, and can be rerouted in the future. I suppose I have a habit of attaching grandiose development schemes to any massive infrastructure project as a way of funding it.

    Ian Mitchell Reply:

    If we’re talking about airports to shut down, yes LGA makes sense to shut down (largely because the capacity it adds is calculated to be less than the capacity it removes from JFK and EWR due to flight path interference).

    But in California, SFO is more reasonable to close than OAK. The land of Alameda AFB would be a prime location for a new SFO that would encompass some of the facilities of OAK and some new, and concentrate bay-area flights, while freeing up land on the more valuable side of the bay to be developed.

    While we’re on the subject, the best solution for San Diego is to build a truly international airport in a neutral border zone with a parallel runway to TIJ.

    As for other northeastern airports, the ones which can pull dual duty and which are well-integrated or integratable with mainline rail are more worth keeping and expanding. PVD, BWI, EWR, PHL, TTN and ISP are all more easily integrated into a system which can offload short-haul air travel to regional rail than airports like JFK, BOS, DCA, IAD, or HVN, which can’t easily be connected to frequent regional rail service. The same logic applies to Burbank and Ontario airports.

    Air travel between the megaregions is going to happen- and market forces favor point-to-point service for major markets therein. Within megaregions, short-haul flying can be seen as a market failure- air facilities are being provided at an artificially low cost, while rail service is hindered or underdeveloped.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    I agree with you 100%. Closing SFO is just as smart as closing OAK–I’m just making the point that every metro area–San Diego-Tijuana, LA, the Bay, New York, London, whatever can and should consolidate airports.

    Ian Mitchell Reply:

    The thing is that airports don’t occupy all that much land.
    Wanna free up land? Attack zoning laws. Attack parking minimums. Attack HOAs, restrictive covenants.

    HSR is necessary in California because the market for travel is growing. Adding highway or airport capacity is more expensive than HSR.
    Efforts should be made to better manage airport capacity: shifting short-range flights to rail, mid-range O&D flights to non-hub airports (e.g. a flight from Vegas to LA would go to Burbank rather than LAX), and auctioning off slots to ensure that airlines are flying 737s, 787s, A321s and A380s, rather than RJ-175s, A319s, and RJ 900s.

    SFO, LGA, and SAN are worth selling because the right plans for future air capacity work better without them in the flightpath, and there’s real and immediate demand for the land.

    But keep in mind, the right response to a growing travel market is to first price capacity, which will cause it to be better managed, and use that revenue to invest in new capacity as needed once demand responds to pricing.

    Before a single lane-mile of new freeway should be considered, demand-responsive tolls must be put in place. Apply that model of thinking everywhere.

    When there’s some environmental or geometric consideration (rail does well in both), price those aspects- land value and externalities need to be in the pricing calculation.

    Eric Reply:

    “The land of Alameda AFB would be a prime location for a new SFO”

    Why use Alameda AFB instead of expanding the existing OAK?

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Yeah. Alameda is quite a ways away. I think you’d want to keep the westernmost runway, add two parallel runways to the east of it, and a midfield, Atlanta-style terminal and two runways out in the bay to the west. One interesting possibility is the reroute of the 880 along a bridge across Alameda AFB curving around in the bay to pass through the new midfield terminals and reconnecting near Hayward. It would open a lot of land in Oakland to redevelopment.

    Alan Reply:

    I don’t think either one of you know what you’re talking about. You’re simply drawing lines on a map and not considering the real-world effects of those lines. Alameda makes absolutely no sense whatsoever for a regional mega-airport.

    For one thing, do you honestly expect the people of Alameda or west Oakland to simply sit on their hands and allow hundreds of flights a day, many of them widebodies, to overfly their homes? No amount of mitigation will offset the effects on those neighborhoods. No amount of mitigation will offset the effect of the new freeway spur across the estuary to Alameda which would be required.

    No sane regulator is going to recommend an airport with the Bay Bridge so close to the flight path. An aircraft which loses an engine during a takeoff to the northwest from Alameda would very likely fail to achieve an altitude which would clear the bridge.

    Any efforts to expand SFO, OAK or Alameda NAS would require serious fill into Bay wetlands. That simply is not going to happen. Right now, Hamilton Field near Novato is being demolished in order to reclaim Bay wetlands. No way that they would countenance the destruction of wetlands to build new runways.

    We simply have to figure out ways to take some of the load off of both SFO and OAK without expanding either field, and that’s where HSR comes in.

    And for what it’s worth, closing LaGuardia is also fantasy. The Port Authority is investing billions on a new Central Terminal and other improvements (not the least of which is finally building a rail connection to LGA). They’re committed to that airport for the long term.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    @Alan

    If you looked at flightpaths, they would pass over the Port of Oakland and the 580/80/880 interchange before heading NNW over San Pablo Bay, or else come in from the South over Warm Springs or Mountain View (fairly high up). Not a big deal. Also, I realize that Alameda AFB makes no sense for an airport. Few if any residential areas would be negatively affected. Also, OAK is already on bay fill, and expanding it a little on its west side isn’t a big deal, especially when that part of the bay is polluted, wetland free, and already full of fill. A bunch of new wetlands can be built somewhere else.

    Alan Reply:

    If you looked at flightpaths, they would pass over the Port of Oakland and the 580/80/880 interchange before heading NNW over San Pablo Bay, or else come in from the South over Warm Springs or Mountain View (fairly high up). Not a big deal.

    First of all, I’ve read more than a few approach plates and departure procedures in my time. Most likely, far more than you. Second, I was referring to your Alameda fantasy (which you still cannot refer to correctly, after repeatedly being corrected. Alameda was a Naval Air Station, not an Air Force base. Get it right if you expect people to take you seriously).

    Your comments about Bay fill are also incredibly naiive and uninformed. You seem to believe that it’s ok to make things worse, just because they may already be bad. You would be in a minority. The people who would oppose even a single additional truckload of bay fill are loud, vocal, and have the resources to tie any plan up in court for decades. The state would not allow it to happen. Even the Coast Guard would probably object. And no, restoring a bunch of wetland somewhere west of Fresno is not going to be accepted by anyone as a mitigation for filling the Bay. So yes, expanding the OAK fill on its west side–and it would have to be a *lot* more than “a little”–IS a big deal. Deal with it.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Then return 1.25 times the land at SFO to the bay that you fill in OAK or something.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    That would make it very difficult to sell it for housing, the other reason you want to close it after satisfying your urge to limit each metro area to one airport.

    Alan Reply:

    Then return 1.25 times the land at SFO to the bay that you fill in OAK or something.

    How do you propose to return more land to the Bay than was taken in the first place? Maybe dig up everything east of the 101?

    Michael Reply:

    Remove the bigger airport and expand the smaller one. Explain how that makes any sense at all. Oakland’s surrounded by the bay, only has one commercial runway, and lacks direct connections to a freeway. I’m sure you’ll have an explanation, but it won’t make sense unless the reader is smoking crayons.

    Jerry Reply:

    Before you talk about filling in the San Francisco Bay you should take a visit to this place:
      http://www.spn.usace.army.mil/Missions/Recreation/Bay-Model-Visitor-Center/The-Bay-Model-Journey/

    And read the background about it here:
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S._Army_Corps_of_Engineers_Bay_Model

    Joe Reply:

    Sea level rise will flood the Bay airports. SFO is 13″ and OAK is 9″.

    Factor in high tides which can be 6″ and storms.

    models show that if sea levels rose 6.6 feet (2 meters) — the general estimation by scientists for sea-level rise if if carbon dioxide emissions continue — for a salt marsh along the coast of Louisiana, much of the marsh area would become open water by 2100.

    Aarond Reply:

    Rising sea levels won’t affect the South Bay because San Mateo and Santa Clara will (somehow) get a levee installed along the bay. The Reber Plan would be revived, but with the cutoff at the Dumbarton or San Mateo bridges.

    The CC would mount a major fight but if sea levels do in fact rise, Silicon Valley would be able to use federal courts to buy their way out. In which case, a new airport could probably be built in Alviso or Bair Island.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    @Adirondacker. You only need a little more land to add to OAK, so you would only be returning about 1/3 of SFO to the bay, leaving an area about 4X the size of Mission Bay to redevelop.
    You only need to expand OAK slightly on the west side to make a 4-6 parallel runway, Atlanta-style airport. OAK actually has a ton of land that isn’t utilized very well.

    @Michael SFO is very prone to delays from fog due to its idiotic runway design and can’t be easily fixed. It has more valuable real estate as well, and doesn’t take up that much more geographic space than centrally located OAK.

    Joe Reply:

    Leeves ?

    Rising sea levels require active pumping of water and a barrier that will survive a 7+ earthquake while sitting on mud and unconsolidated soil.

    We are going to lose land. It’s a matter of time and I suspect a major correction andnlose of insurance after the next EQ.

    Aarond Reply:

    Even better, with Mineta gone San Jose can build high density.

    Drunk Engineer Reply:

    High density in San Jose? They would rather convert the space into moar parking.

    Michael Reply:

    And by that logic, we also close Oakland, Burbank, Midway, National,…

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Sure

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Amtrak’s load factors out of Boston are abysmal so they could drop prices and beat out the airlines. Better yet they could focus on the suburban stations and intermediate points where there is no airline competition. Why struggle to get to Logan if you live on the SW side of Boston, for example. Yet Amtrak focuses on “prestige” trains that go 140mph for a few miles. As I have mentioned here many times before, top speed is for amateurs and politicians. Total journey time and quality of the experience is what matters. As for throwing gillions of dollars at a new route, it will never happen, and cannot be justified by the likely return.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    It’s a lot cheaper than building new airports. Not that there is any place to put new airports. A lot cheaper than building more highway too. Not that there is anyplace to put new lanes.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Amtrak certainly does not have a capacity problem north of New Haven. I don’t think airport capacity is such a problem either. The journal article mentions that there has been a switch from regional jets to larger aircraft. Double the capacity with a bigger plane, no problem. If there are too many flights during peak hours impose a surcharge. Southwest’s 737 fleet has grown it’s capacity by continued stretching of the aircraft. Today’s 737 has almost double the number of seats compared to the original ‘plane.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Rail travel is likely to experience more security controls in the future.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Which is fabulous if you want to go from Providence to New Haven. Not so great if you want to go from Providence to Philadelphia. Or Trenton to Hartford. Or Back Bay to New Brunswick. Or Springfield to Wilmington or…. Boston to anyplace south/west of New Haven. Manhattan?
    Bigger planes need bigger terminals. A cool 4 billion to redevelop LaGuardia. So more people can get stuck on the Grand Central Parkway trying to get to Manhattan. Or eastern Queens and Long Island. Or Brooklyn.

    Ian Mitchell Reply:

    LGA is better off scraped out and replaced with development.

    If NYC wants to emulate London’s airport system, then remove LGA, JFK serves as Heathrow, EWR as Gatwick, HPN as Luton, ISP as Stansted, Teterboro as London City and TTN as Southend.

    Only two of those airports serve hub duties, the rest are treated solely as point-to-point.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Honestly, EWR makes sense as the biggest hub to me, because its on the NEC, and can serve eastern PA as well as everything else. American might do well to move there and shut down operations at Philadelphia.

    Ian Mitchell Reply:

    EWR isn’t exactly on the NEC, it’s connected via a aging monorail. But it’s got a stop so I count it.

    There are plans to PHL a mainline NEC stop via a re-route as part of speeding up the NEC for HSR.
    I like this plan, personally.

    EWR is pretty far from Philly- 90 minutes at fastest currently, still about an hour for the foreseeable future.
    If you were going to have an airport pull dual-duty for Philly and NYC, you’d probably do best with TTN.
    That’s not on the NEC, it’s very close to the west trenton SEPTA line, however.

    I think that with 7 million people, Philly is indeed big enough for its own airport- but that airport should be intermodal, well integrated with regional and intercity rail, local and intercity bus, as well as ride-hail and ride-share service.

    If we go by airports every 100 miles, then BWI, PHL, EWR, HVN, PVD, MHT follows such a pattern eerily well. I don’t think it’s unnecessary to have an airport every 100 miles in such a heavily populated area- I can’t think of anywhere on earth where airports are that sparse in comparison to people.

    I’m sure there’s more off-street parking at bars in each of those cities than their airports occupy in total area. If we’re looking for space, we can certainly find it.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    I’m not proposing shutting down PHL. However, it would make sense for American to move to EWR with United, consolidating its northeastern hub there, and close its hubs at JFK and PHL. it would mean mall American and United service in the area would be at EWR and all Delta service would be at JFK.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Philadelphia’s people mover serves University City, 30th Street Station, Suburban and Market East/Jefferson and Temple. Spending billions of dollars so people can take the train past Newark or Baltimore/Washington is reallllllly reallllly stupid. They can fly out of EWR or BWI

    Ian Mitchell Reply:

    I think the idea of putting PHL on the NEC isn’t so much about PHL as it is about a straighter right-of-way that happens to add a stop which will serve significant travel demand (e.g. from Delaware and South Jersey) at a net time savings. It wouldn’t be airport-specific trains, it would be PHL being served by all northeast regional, Acela, and other NEC trains.

    Ian Mitchell Reply:

    I’m pretty sure gates are cheaper at PHL. If it’s for hub operations, Philly is closer to net mean center of population for both the northeast and the US as a whole than Newark is. Newark’s valuable for international connections, and O&D (that is, to/from NYC) traffic.

    Delta currently has about as many flights to LGA as they do to JFK and newark combined. In an event of closing LGA, I don’t know whether it’s safe to say delta would concentrate operations at JFK.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    LGA is over 50% regional 100 seater jets.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    LGA like DCA has restrictions on what destinations it can serve.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    LGA like DCA is an unnecessary airport in close proximity to larger hubs with room to grow.

    Ian Mitchell Reply:

    LGA, like DCA, is providing a all-in net negative transportation value while sitting on some of earth’s most valuable land.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    so useless that they are the nation’s 20th busiest and 23rd busiest airports.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Yes. They are useless when they’re next to BWI/IAD and EWR/JFK, along the NEC, and serving primarily short distance flights.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Besides, the value of large hubs in air travel cannot be overstated.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    @Adirondacker
    Think of it this way. ORD is America’s third largest airport. It is the only Midwestern hub of two massive airlines–United and American–that could have their own very large airports if Chicago had another airport. However, bigger airports are better than smaller airports. New York can choose to have a Dubai/Atlanta/Chicago style airport or a couple of large but not massive airports. The more efficient choice is the former. it allows more destinations, more connections, and uses less land per passenger. It causes less areas to have noise and air pollution.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    the 14 million people a year who use LGA and the 11 million who use DCA disagree. And usually pay higher fares to do it.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Most people don’t care which airport they fly out of.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Then why do they pay more to use LGA and DCA?

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    In 3 weeks, it costs $137 from LAX-LGA via American, $157 via United, and $195 via Delta. Alternatively, it costs $289 from LAX-EWR via United, $199 to JFK via Delta, and $224 via American to JFK.

    It isn’t necessarily cheaper. A few people on the Upper East Side might be willing to pay a little more, but that doesn’t justify its existence.

    Joe Reply:

    @Carefree: Former world’s busiest airport Chicago Midway is a SW hub. CTA connections and good access to south side.

    Airports compete with rail and maybe Amtrak has to adjust fares however the airline industry operates on tight margins and consolidation usually results from short lived fare wars.

    Flights are packed now. Choice is limited. These are signs of a matured market seeking profit from cutting service, cramming seats and other fee based innovations.

    It’s not a industry poised to threaten to HSR in CA. We haz CEQA.

    Ian Mitchell Reply:

    Ahem, “all-in net negative transportation value” is not the same as useless.

    DCA and LGA each constrain the flight paths of other airports.
    (e.g. Dulles and JFK/EWR)
    Because of the layout of the respective airports, the terminal capacity they provide (that is, gates for aircraft), does not equal the flight path capacity that they deny at other regional airports.

    In the short term (no build) situation, this isn’t a particularly bad situation.

    If you had two fictitious airports, where airport A’s flightpath allows for 200 flights per hour, and Airport B lies in that flightpath, constraining A’s flightpath to 100 per hour, while furnishing 50 flights per hour, the transportation value of that airport could still be positive, if there weren’t enough gates at airport A to accommodate 200, and each airport sat on worthless land.

    This is not the case with LGA and DCA. Each of those airports occupy land which is itself quite valuable.
    Furthermore, JFK now has more gate capacity than it has flight path capacity- LGA is now causing idleness and delays at JFK, after a bunch of money was spent expanding JFK.

    JFK and EWR can add terminal capacity- and have. The issue is that LGA is reducing overall flight path capacity. That’s the main rationale for closing it. The land’s a bonus.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    You can’t fly from LaGuardia to Los Angeles without changing planes. Or at best, sitting in your seat for a long layover at some hub airport between the two.

    Ian Mitchell Reply:

    Apparently, that’s due to a restriction on flights over 1,500 miles, except to denver, that the port authority calls “perimeter rule”.

    Ideally, if we were interested in using airports efficiently, a rule (e.g.) that no flights under 300 miles in length be allowed would be more sensible.

    http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2015/03/04/laguardia-to-los-angeles-nonstop-these-2-airlines.aspx

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    One megahub airport is ALWAYS better than two or more airports.

    Roland Reply:

    But But But what about Podunkdale International???

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    But but but podunkdale international actually makes a lot of sense with HSR connections. It would take less time from PMD to get to downtown, Hollywood, the San Fernando and San Gabriel valleys, and even some of the Westside by HSR+Metro than it does today from LAX. Not to mention the probable growth of the Antelope valley, and HSR to the central valley and eventually Las Vegas.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Las Vegas already has an airport. The nation’s 9th busiest.

    Neil Shea Reply:

    Yes, and most of their visitors arrive by car

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Las Vegas has an airport, but it can’t expand and doesn’t have the same amount of destinations as LAX. Many people might fly to PMD then take HSR, especially form places access the Pacific. Besides, lots of people might want to get/use united/Delta/American miles, and LAX is a hub for all 3.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Getting more airplane Plaid Stamps isn’t a pressing concern.

    Jerry Reply:

    Nor S&H Green Stamps.

    Danny Reply:

    yeah, this is definitely a price war being supported by their longer routes–the booze and wifi show that they’re competing by way of service like the airlines did pre-deregulation

    Neil Shea Reply:

    So aside from JetBlue’s launch sale, American and Delta often charge $800 per round trip! Note that Amtrak still has more than half the market, even with slow, non-HSR service.

    But indeed, why not give the benefits of shuttle service to Anaheim, Burbank, San Jose, downtown SF, Fresno and Bakersfield?

    Ian Mitchell Reply:

    I’m assuming there’s less competition. I think the only route truly comparable on the west coast is LAX-SFO.

    Joe Reply:

    HSR Rail to CV will, as with NEC to Boston, spur economic development with connections to coastal economic activities. It’s not going to happen with airlines. HSR infrastructure anchors a commitment.
    Airline mergers, fuel costs and bankruptcies can end airline competition and service quickly.

    HSR will induce development.

    Ian Mitchell Reply:

    HSR connects productive places. It cannot make a place productive.
    It’s a great technology, but let’s not consider it a panacea.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    It can make some places productive by making them bedroom communities/logistics hubs for the metro areas they connect to, just like what freeways did to small towns 30 miles from CBDs. The key is to make sure that growth doesn’t become Atlanta style sprawl.

    aubrey Reply:

    High speed trains aren’t commuter rails. It costs $30 one way to go one stop on any HSR in Europe or Japan

    Edward Reply:

    But a BahnCard100 costs € 4,090 for a year, less than € 16 per work day. In addition it can be used for long distance trips and on any transit in the entire country. An additional perk is that you can have one piece of luggage picked up at your door and delivered to your destination, and I don’t mean the station.

    Don’t take a single ticket price, double it and say that that is what it costs a commuter. It doesn’t work that way.

    Roland Reply:

    Not true: https://ticket.southeasternrailway.co.uk/journeys/STP/SFA/2017-01-02T12:00//1//

    Roland Reply:

    Here is a ticket to Ashford (3 stops) for £13.40
    https://ticket.southeasternrailway.co.uk/journeys/STP/AFK/2017-01-02T12:00//1//

    Danny Reply:

    places are productive because they have good infrastructure that lets them either foster a diversity of primary/secondary/tertiary sector, or provide access to them across a geographic distribution
    serving Fresno also serves Clovis and Raisin City and Piedra and the whole gridded skeleton of farms in the county; this changes the whole pattern, from agrarian dependence to rural flight to a switch from exurban sprawl to making the postwar burbs walkable and transit- and bike-friendly, etc. etc
    “Fresno” isn’t a solitary zero-dimensional node on a line, it’s a real place that will have much more access to big-city resources (as well of course as providing cheaper housing, yada yada)

    Roland Reply:

    The Chinese confirm that HSR has no impact on aviation: http://english.cctv.com/2016/12/29/VIDE5cmrai20d0FtYGbhnSED161229.shtml

    Alan Reply:

    You always accept the party line, comrade?

    Roland Reply:

    Are you referring to Comrade O’Leary? https://www.google.com/flights/?hl=en&authuser=0#search;f=EDI;t=LCY,LGW,LHR,LTN,SEN,STN;d=2017-01-16;r=2017-01-20

  7. John Nachtigall
    Dec 24th, 2016 at 03:59
    #7

    Merry Christmas Everyone

    Joe Reply:

    Happy holidays.

    zorro Reply:

    Merry XMAS

  8. morris brown
    Dec 24th, 2016 at 07:32
    #8

    LA TIMES: The hunt for dollars to build the $64-billion bullet train

    Here is a major article, just in time as a Christmas Present to Robert and his readers.

    Joe Reply:

    LATimes, now reinvented as TRONC, gives us the same crappy hot take for 10 consecutive years.

    The state does not know where to find all of the $64 billion it will cost to get the first passengers rocketing between San Francisco and Los Angeles on a bullet train.

    Alan Reply:

    Big deal. Vartebedian is an incompetent hack with no credibility.

    zorro Reply:

    Nailed it!

    And Merry XMAS.

    Joe Reply:

    2025 headline.
    “CA still doesn’t knows from where the final 3 billion to complete HSR will come!!!” Questions remain.
    Pulitzer pleez.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    2040 headline.

    Concerned residents in Escondido are worried that their horses are more sensitive than the ones in Acton that didn’t mind the HSR at all and….

    2050 headline.
    Despite its rapid densification and new elevated rail system, people in Phoenix love their uberbubbles. Entrepreneur Elon Must III tweeted that he thinks we should all just teleport everywhere and not build HSR anymore, especially because only 80% of all air-rail-bus-car trips between SF and LA use it.
    Besides, Ted Cruz IV thinks its a waste of money, and has filibustered all federal funding by reading The Cat in the Hat.

    Danny Reply:

    2032: “operating profits are a blemish on good governance,” Rep. Eric Trump II (R-NY) insisted as he proposed the selloff off profitable rail routes; he is joined by the Conservative Party–all representing states with lossy routes–and both of the New Whigs (Rep. Chelsea Clinton (W-NY) and Sen. Rahm Emanuel (W-MT))

    StevieB Reply:

    Vartabedian wrote an entire hit piece on California High-Speed Rail based on some memo that the Authority did not ask for a loan from the Federal Government? The less biased Mercury News reports “California board approves high-speed rail funding as new lawsuit filed“.

    The high-speed rail board approved $3.2 billion in funding Tuesday for two segments: $2.6 billion for a 119-mile leg connecting Fresno to Madera and $600 million to electrify a 55-mile stretch of existing Caltrain tracks in the San Jose Peninsula that will eventually connect with high-speed rail…

    The state treasurer’s office initially sold about $1.1 billion in high-speed rail bonds but the bonds were encumbered for years as the project was tied up in court. The plaintiffs in the biggest case lost their challenge and opted earlier this year not to appeal, finally freeing up financing for the project.

    Assemblyman Kevin Mullin’s policy director, Andrew Zingale, said “We do understand that the opponents continue to look for ways to continue to challenge the expenditure of these funds but they’ve consistently failed in that and the direction of the Legislature has continually been upheld and we feel confident that this will still be upheld.”

    Joe Reply:

    Ralph is awful and repackages the same crap over and over.

    He’s helping unintentionally by reminding everyone McCarthy opposes HSR and Denham also. This is important to make sure the state recognizes who is blocking money.

    The project is real now – construction. Maybe 2018 it will not be such a badge of honor to block infrastructure in CA.

    Danny Reply:

    that’s also part of why Measure M passed: with Expo done and the Purple in the works, rail transit was visible and available for all to use, especially in the richer Westside; suddenly people realized–as you said–that this was a real thing
    and Angeleños realized we were decades behind and that every time a convenient, modern, and entirely unproblematic solution that every other city or country had, people with money were allowed to put up such a stink that the needs of 85% were sacrificed for a few dozen bigmouths
    anti-rail was never a viable movement: it only won because it was allowed to, and “I oppose rail because I oppose rail” is an argument that won’t fly any more with real construction ongoing

    zorro Reply:

    Nailed it!

    And Merry XMAS.

    Joe Reply:

    McCarthey and Denham can run on a solid record of shutting down HSR construction and killing CV jobs.

    Ralph will help them get the word out.

    morris brown Reply:

    I didn’t notice either Denham or McCarthy having any problem getting re-elected. McCarthy is in a very powerful position and most likely will do whatever to kill any Federal funds for HSR.

    The Authority was banking on the Demos gaining control of the Senate, which never happened. As Robert has recognized, don’t look for any further federal funding for many many years.

    The whole project is being supported by only our Governor, and he has only about 2 years left in office.

    Joe Reply:

    HSR is now real and under construction. People are employed and working. Small business is engaged supplying servies and goods.

    Jeff Denham was unusually vulnerable and lost his major newspaper endorsement for supporting Trump. HSR will build to merced and connect to ACE for trips to San Jose. Denham can try to kill that.

    Kevin McCarthy is just a powerful as Eric Cantor who got sacked over immigration. He’s going to lead off by cutting health care and then provocative Medicare. He’s on the record now.

    They also both tied themselves to Donald Trump. We register voters in CA and don’t gerrymander.

    Roland Reply:

    “HSR will build to Merced and connect to ACE for trips to San Jose” means we can forget about Pacheco and Gilroy?

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    No, but it means slightly quicker service for a few years than what we currently have.

    Danny Reply:

    and Brown’s successor is Newsom, who’s probably twice as flaky on HSR as whatever Trump will turn the GOP into

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Or Villaraigosa.

    Roland Reply:

    Not so. Gavin actually has a better understanding of what it will take to get “HSR” done.

    Danny Reply:

    yeah, galas for rich people to show off their trophy wives and selling out to the CCP
    actually that’s not that far from Trump’s vision, come to think of it

    Alan Reply:

    The whole project is being supported by only our Governor, and he has only about 2 years left in office.

    And by a majority of intelligent California voters, which leaves out Morris.

    Neil Shea Reply:

    And yet 119 miles built for $7.8B is an impressive accomplishment, while all the naysayers were wringing their hands

    Roland Reply:

    119 miles for $7.8B would be impressive if it was anywhere close to he truth…

    Aarond Reply:

    Dems have a supermajority, they can make a gas tax increase happen. There’s a narrow but feasible path to SF-LA service by 2024.

    Roland Reply:

    Gas taxes have been known to speed up the construction of base tunnels…

    zorro Reply:

    So what if they do Roland? No matter which of the current Palmdale to Burbank routes is ultimately picked, tunneling will be needed.

    Roland Reply:

    Tunneling is going to go faster because of gas taxes??? Someone needs to tell Elon that we have found the solution!!!

    zorro Reply:

    Higher gas taxes would help pay for tunneling and such, I said nothing about a speedup. You just thought that I did.

    aubrey Reply:

    They’ll just be finishing get started on the paperwork by 2024

  9. StevieB
    Dec 24th, 2016 at 12:26
    #9

    California board approves high-speed rail funding as new lawsuit filed.

    The high-speed rail board approved $3.2 billion in funding Tuesday for two segments: $2.6 billion for a 119-mile leg connecting Fresno to Madera and $600 million to electrify a 55-mile stretch of existing Caltrain tracks in the San Jose Peninsula that will eventually connect with high-speed rail…

    The state treasurer’s office initially sold about $1.1 billion in high-speed rail bonds but the bonds were encumbered for years as the project was tied up in court. The plaintiffs in the biggest case lost their challenge and opted earlier this year not to appeal, finally freeing up financing for the project.

    Assemblyman (D-South San Francisco) Kevin Mullin’s policy director, Andrew Zingale, said “We do understand that the opponents continue to look for ways to continue to challenge the expenditure of these funds but they’ve consistently failed in that and the direction of the Legislature has continually been upheld and we feel confident that this will still be upheld.”

    Joe Reply:

    Morris Borwn hired Nick Cage to find the original CA constitution with secret anti-HSR code later illegally erased by Masons

    Alan Reply:

    Is that the code that had been quietly added by Laurel and Hardy?

    Edward Reply:

    Some things have improved. This is from the California Constitution of 1879:
    —–
    Article II
    Section 1
    Every native male citizen of the United States, every male person who shall have acquired the rights of citizenship under or by virtue of the treaty of Queretaro, and every male naturalized citizen thereof, who shall have become such ninety days prior to any election, of the age of twenty-one years, who shall have been resident of the State one year next preceding the election, and of the county in which he claims his vote ninety days, and in the election precinct thirty days, shall be entitled to vote at all elections which are now or may thereafter be authorized by law; provided, no native of China, no idiot, no insane person, no person convicted of any infamous crime, no person hereafter convicted of the embezzlement of misappropriation of public money, and no person who shall not be able to read the Constitution in the English language and write his name, shall ever exercise the privileges of an elector in this State…
    —–
    You will be happy to know that the educational qualifications did not apply to those over 60 at the time the amendment took place, that being November 6, 1894. Blacks were ok… but those Chinese…

    This and several other anti-Chinese sections which had not been enforced for decades were quietly removed when China became an ally in WWII.

    All of this is from the 1909 edition of “Constitution of the United States and of the State of California and other Documents” published by the state printing office.

    Just found a few more from the same constitution:
    —–
    Article XIX
    Sec. 2 No corporation now existing or hereafter formed under the laws of this State shall, after the adoption of this Constitution, employ, directly or indirectly, in any capacity, any Chinese or Mongolian. The Legislature shall pass such laws as may be necessary to enforce this provision.
    —–
    The courts thought this was a bit much and it was found to be in conflict with the U. S. Constitution and therefore void. However…
    —–
    Sec. 3 No Chinese shall be employed on any State, county, municipal, or other public work, except in punishment for crime.
    —–
    …was fine, at least it still was in 1909.

    Roland Reply:

    Thank you for confirming that you live in a prior century (not necessarily the last one).

  10. Reedman
    Dec 24th, 2016 at 22:13
    #10

    In other California rail news, BART-to-Warm Springs still isn’t running.
    ————–
    The station, and the 5.4-miles of rail leading to it, were originally scheduled to open in 2014. Construction began in 2009 with work crews tunneling beneath Fremont’s Central Park and Lake Elizabeth, but construction delays pushed the opening back to 2015 then into this year, when it was expected to debut sometime last summer.

    That soon became fall, then winter, which means 2017, BART spokeswoman Alicia Trost said.

    “We don’t have a date, and we won’t before Christmas,” she said. “At this point, we can’t set a date.”

    http://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/BART-extension-to-Warm-Springs-Station-moving-in-10812196.php

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    And updates on SMART?

    Roland Reply:

    SMART is stuck at least until December 31st 2018 at which point LTK will announce that the time has come to redesign CBOSS.

    Ben Pease Reply:

    Re Warm Springs extension, I am reminded of the MBTA Blue Line, which switches from third rail to pantograph (or vice versa) at Mavericks. Back in the day this transition was marked by 3-5 seconds of darkness (now the lights stay on in the cars). BART needs the equivalent of trains “tuning out” of the analog system at Fremont, and “turning on” to the WSX signal system as a new train; and vice versa. Just keep the two signal systems separate. Of course it’s not that simple (they’ve been trying for years to KEEP trains from disappearing from the system); spectacular problems could ensue.

  11. morris brown
    Dec 25th, 2016 at 06:08
    #11

    Caltrain’s modernization funding would seem to be in direct conflict with Trump’s over riding mandate on spending

    “Buy American, hire American.”

    http://www.cnn.com/2016/12/08/politics/donald-trump-terry-branstad-china-des-moines-iowa-rally/

    How in the world will the FTA now grant Caltrain funds, when the trainsets are made in Switzerland and a foreign company is in charge of electrification?

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    It’s such a silly mindset. San Francisco has more in common with Mexico City than rural Alabama, yet because someone decided to draw a line in the desert ages ago, the government will try to create its own stupid little walled garden that encompasses a weird mix of placess, an if everyone chooses this mindset then nobody will buy from us if we don’t buy from them, and we all lose out.
    Aside from that, I doubt the data is particularly partisan. Besides most of congress is controlled by globalists. It will only become an issue if trump decides to spend his nearly non-existent political capital on it.

    les Reply:

    You mean this Trump: “Trump Winery under fire after applying for visas seeking foreign workers”

    http://www.foxnews.com/food-drink/2016/12/23/trump-winery-under-fire-after-applying-for-visas-seeking-foreign-workers.html

    Clem Reply:

    The trains are to be made in Utah, not Switzerland, in compliance with FTA Buy America requirements. Similar requirements apply to the electrification contract. Try again!

    morris brown Reply:

    @Clem

    Different administration, different application of the requirements. My understanding is trains only assembled here in US; they are really made in Switzerland.

    We shall see. What we do know is any core grant to Caltrain will come under the Trump administration, not O’bama’s; has to get congressional appropriation as well.

    Caltrain’s goal for sure was to have this done by Jan 15th, and this will not happen.

    Clem Reply:

    No, the relevant laws do not change from one administration to the next. And an FFGA de facto guarantees the annual appropriation; I challenge you to find a single counter-example!

    Alan Reply:

    As I recall, FFGA’s are actually promises to expend funding which has already been appropriated, correct?

    Roland Reply:

    “The annual pay-out of funds established by the terms of the FFGA is subject to Congressional appropriations.”
    https://www.transit.dot.gov/regulations-and-guidance/fta-circulars/full-funding-grant-agreements-guidance

    Alan Reply:

    You forgot the sentence which follows your quote:

    Nevertheless, Congress well understands the purpose and value of the FFGA, and history shows its strong financial support for projects under these agreements.

    In other words, “Congress could withhold an appropriation for a FFGA, but it’s not likely.”

    Context is important.

    Clem Reply:

    Has Congress ever?

    Roland Reply:

    Context: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/115th_United_States_Congress#Party_summary

    Joe Reply:

    1. Prop1a is a law and unambiguous
    2. Laws under Trump will be reinterpreted.

    This is a brain on drugs.

    Alan Reply:

    3. The only people who put an apostrophe in “Obama” are bigots and racists.

    Roland Reply:

    Here are the results of the FTA investigation the last time Dave Couch, PTG and LTK had a brush with Buy America:

    1. METRO and CAF violated FTA’s Buy America requirements. This began with METRO’s release of a Request for Proposals (RFP) that stated FTA’s Buy America requirements did not apply to the procurement; continued with METRO’s unsupported evaluation of the various offeror’s Buy America compliance, including the Certificate of Compliance submitted by CAF; and culminated with METRO’s decision not to require CAF to meet its contractually mandated Buy America obligations and to circumvent the Buy America requirements by entering into a separate, locally funded contract with CAF for the pilot vehicles;

    2. METRO violated FTA’s competitive procurement rules when it chose to negotiate with one of the offerors, CAF, to the exclusion of all other offerors, and allowed that offeror to continue revising its price while refusing to allow other offerors the opportunity to present their Best and Final Offers (BAFOs); and

    3. METRO’s LRV procurement was flawed due to the sum of many failures, including the lack of an adequate procurement plan, the lack of an adequate source selection evaluation plan, METRO’s failure to disclose all evaluation factors in the solicitation, METRO’s failure to inform potential offerors of the relative importance of those factors that were disclosed in the evaluation, METRO’s use of undisclosed changes in evaluation factors, and METRO’s failure to perform a complete best value analysis.

    https://www.transit.dot.gov/regulations-and-guidance/buy-america/report-investigation-houston-metro-buy-america-and-procurement

    Are we having fun yet?

    Joe Reply:

    Not an example of a buy us law interpretation changing under a new administration.
    Nothing relevant to us manufacturing vs foreign.

    What are the procurement accusations against the Caltrain procurement ?

    Roland Reply:

    Caltrain violated FTA’s competitive procurement rules when it chose to negotiate with one of the offerors, Stadler, to the exclusion of all other offerors, and allowed that offeror to continue revising its price while refusing to allow other offerors the opportunity to present their Best and Final Offers (BAFOs).

    Clem Reply:

    When can we expect the deal to fall apart?

    Clem Reply:

    Bonus questions: how many bids were submitted, and thus how many offerors were there in total?

    Roland Reply:

    Extra bonus question: what is the difference between a bidder and an offeror?

    Clem Reply:

    So many questions, so few answers…

    Jerry Reply:

    Bidders? Offerors?
    You need a good auctioneer to keep track of it all.
    Fortunately, Turlock in the Central Valley held the auctioneer championship.
    https://youtu.be/Ea7gn8hhEFA

    Alan Reply:

    When Trump starts producing all of his products in the US, he can start lecturing others about doing the same.

  12. Roland
    Dec 25th, 2016 at 08:36
    #12

    http://www.eastbaytimes.com/2016/12/24/palo-alto-man-killed-in-caltrain-crash-identified/

    Roland Reply:

    Clem Reply:
    December 23rd, 2016 at 2:04 pm
    “The only thing worse than quad gates is quad gates with intrusion detection interlocked into the train’s signaling system. To allow a 110 mph train to stop in time to avoid a detected obstacle, gate down-time has to be increased to such a grossly long period of time (~90 seconds) that it will only tempt pedestrians to duck under. The safety benefit is negative.”

    Look at all the time we saved!: https://twitter.com/Caltrain/status/812507737544212480
    Stupid Krauts!!!

    Clem Reply:

    Is it your recommendation then that we gratuitously increase gate down time per train from 30 seconds to 90 seconds, frustrating everyone and giving them better and more extended opportunities to tempt fate?

    Also, how would quad gates with intrusion detection have prevented this gentleman from intentionally (yes, this was an intentional act) driving his truck through the gate into the path of the train?

    From the State Journal Register:

    Crossing-signal warning times of 20 to 30 seconds will near 90 seconds at highway crossings when 110-mph Amtrak service begins, said Stead. Unlike at current speeds, he added, gates will come down well before a train comes into view.

    “It gives you an idea how much time and distance is required at faster speeds,” Stead said. “The highway user is going to have to train themselves to believe the warning is accurate. They won’t see the train coming.”

    The safety benefit of this idiotic approach is negative.

    Roland Reply:

    1) “Il lui a fallu seulement 43 secondes sur 1,25km pour passer de 200km à l’arrêt complet.”
    http://www.newsbombardierfrance.com/2016/06/regio-v200-termine-ses-essais-velim.html

    2) VABs take care of people who attempt to crash through the gates after they come down (Class 7).

    3) “Nine people died in accidents at level crossings in Great Britain in 2012-13: four pedestrians or cyclists and five occupants of road vehicles” (The UK has 6,500 crossings).
    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201314/cmselect/cmtran/680/680.pdf

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Or you could–you know–actually build grade seperated crossings.

    Roland Reply:

    Why fix a problem for $1.5M/crossing when you could blow north of $100M on a single grade separation?

    Clem Reply:

    90 seconds of gate down time per train is not “fixing the problem,” quite the opposite!

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    They were offered grade separations but the Berlin Wall it would create would curdle the chicken milk.

    Roland Reply:

    Method of operation (Section 2.64)

    The sequence of events to close the crossing to road traffic, once the lowering cycle has been initiated, is:
    (a) the amber light on each of the road traffic light signals immediately shows and the audible warning begins. The amber lights show for approximately 3 seconds (up to 5 seconds to suit road conditions);
    (b) immediately the amber lights are extinguished, the intermittent red lights should show;
    (c) approximately 4 to 6 seconds later the left-hand barriers should start to descend. Once the left-hand side barriers are lowered, a scan of the crossing area is performed by the obstacle detector. If the crossing is clear, the right-hand barriers will begin to descend immediately. If an obstacle is detected, and in order that it may clear the crossing, there will be an interval before the right-hand side barriers may begin to descend. The time for each barrier to reach the lowered position should normally be 6 to 10 seconds. At skew crossings, where the crossing distance can be greater, barrier timings may need to be lengthened accordingly;
    (d) it should not be possible to lower the barriers unless at least one red light in each road traffic light signal facing approaching road traffic is working;
    (e) once the barriers have started to descend, the lowering cycle should be completed in the normal sequence even if all the red lamps in any one of the road traffic light signals facing approaching road traffic fail. The barriers may then be raised when it is safe to do so. Where, in these circumstances, the barriers have not started to descend, they should remain in the raised position;
    (f) the audible warning for pedestrians should stop when all the barriers are fully lowered;
    (g) the intermittent red lights should continue to show; and
    (h) the crossing is again scanned by the obstacle detector. A clear scan, confirming ‘crossing clear’, is required before railway signals can be cleared for the passage of trains.

    http://orr.gov.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0016/2158/level_crossings_guidance.pdf (page 20).

    agb5 Reply:

    Even a policeman can stop a determined cyclist from crossing when the gates are down:
    http://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/other-sports/cycling/watch-cyclists-narrowly-miss-high-speed-5505943

    Roland Reply:

    Who needs quad gates when you have policemen at every grade crossing? http://metro.co.uk/2014/03/17/horror-as-train-arrives-at-destination-with-body-of-dead-cyclist-stuck-to-its-front-4628175/

    Roland Reply:

    Caltrain carnage continues unabated: http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Person-struck-killed-by-Caltrain-in-Burlingame-10821411.php

    Clem Reply:

    Quad gates or grade seps will not solve the suicide problem.

    Joe Reply:

    Grade separations along the PAMPA ROW should reduce suicide attempts by train.

    Neil Shea Reply:

    Making suicide less convenient reduces it

    Joe Reply:

    Right.

    Suicide isn’t an act of determination as much as desperation and temporary loss of hope.

    That’s why there are sucide hotlines.

    These arguments against prevention would logically follow this:
    “Certainly a person who wants to kill them self would NOT call a hot line”

    Clem Reply:

    Grade separation won’t reduce the problem to less than what BART sees– unless full platform screen doors are also employed, which I doubt will happen.

    Neil Shea Reply:

    None of the Palo Alto student suicides were at stations. And it prevents #11 last week who *drove* himself onto the tracks.

    And it reduces accidents, like the lady in MP a year or so back, or the confused visitors in PA a few years ago.

    So there are ongoing deaths that can likely be avoided. Plus grade seps have all the other benefits Clem has written about.

    Joe Reply:

    Why more deaths at the Charleston crossing than University grade separated crossing?

    Joey Reply:

    I think you may have missed Clem’s point. While grade separation will likely reduce suicides, it won’t eliminate them entirely.

    Neil Shea Reply:

    I am not aware of any BART suicides – or non-employee accidents – outside of stations. For 430k riders vs. 60k riders, ~720 trains/day vs. ~66 trains, it seems BART typically has roughly half the death of Caltrain. So on a per rider or per train basis, Caltrain seems to kill 15-20x as many humans as BART does.

    Reality Check Reply:

    @Neil Shea is unaware that BART has plenty of suicides:
    BART launches campaign after recent suicides on the tracks

    Number of trains or riders has little to do with rates … but having to pay (or jump a faregate) and do it in a well-lit station around others and cameras likely depresses BART’s suicide rate … but despite all that, they still get over a dozen in some years.

    Neil Shea Reply:

    BART had a bit of a peak into 2014 with 8 deaths, a year when I believe Caltrain had 16 deaths. My point was exactly what I said, that considered on the basis of number of trains or miles of track, BART is far, far safer than Caltrain.

    Joe Reply:

    At the link.

    “Over 40 years of suicide prevention research has established that restricting easy access to lethal means is a proven effective way to reduce suicide deaths,” she said. “A system to restrict access will be needed at the BART stations.”

    Neil Shea Reply:

    For any busy urban station I would absolutely consider platform screen doors for safety and operational efficiency. But no, I would not begin a comment with “Grade separation won’t reduce the problem…”

    Jerry Reply:

    While there are probably national statistics on railroad accidents in which people are killed, are there national statistics on rail suicides?

    Joe Reply:

    Yes.
    There is a database with incident reports.

    Roland Reply:

    http://safetydata.fra.dot.gov/OfficeofSafety/default.aspx

    Jerry Reply:

    The FRA reports that nationwide in 2015 there were 313 suicides by rail.
    http://safetydata.fra.dot.gov/OfficeofSafety/publicsite/Query/suiabbr.aspx

    Roland Reply:

    This shows that in 2015 only 7 of the 20 fatalities (20% of the entire State of California) on Caltrain tracks were confirmed as suicide.

    Reality Check Reply:

    I presume this is because only 7 deaths were confirmed suicides at the time they were reported to FRA. As Caltrain will confirm, on average, over 90% of deaths are ultimately ruled suicides.

    I stipulate vehicle drive-arounds are not a factor in Caltrain deaths. I’ve been paying attention for many decades (well back into SP days) and cannot recall or cite a single vehicular drive-around death on the Peninsula. (There was a bike ride-around fatality just south of Diridon in the Gardner area this last year.)

    The purpose of quad gates is to prevent drive-arounds. They would have done *nothing* to prevent any of deaths that have occurred at Peninsula Caltrain crossings, since none of them were due to drive-arounds.

    Obstructed crossing detection could have helped with some — but you don’t need quad gates for that. And due to hugely increased gate downtimes associated with train-stopping obstruction detection, it’s not at all clear that there’d be a net decrease in crossing injuries and fatalities.

    It seems that it’s actually the long downtimes associated with detection that creates the need for quad gates, since the temptation to walk, ride or drive around the lowered gate will rise precipitously once everyone catches on that they’re in for a good 90-second wait before the damn train even shows up.

    Ergo quad gates by themselves are nothing but costly and ineffective “safety theater” on the Peninsula.

    Roland Reply:

    So what is your plan for 110 MPH in the Peninsula? Forget it or ???

    Roland Reply:

    Meanwhile in Riverside (12 crossings over 8 miles for $13M):
    http://www.pe.com/articles/zone-818932-crossings-quiet.html

    Roland Reply:

    There are currently no PSDs on the market designed to withstand the turbulence created by trains blowing by at 110 MPH on the adjacent track, a problem neatly resolved by SFFS. PSDS additionally require protection from weather exposure.

    Clem Reply:

    SFFS or FSSF is neither here nor there, with respect to this particular issue

    Roland Reply:

    Kindly help me understand which part of there are currently no PSDs on the market designed to withstand the turbulence created by trains blowing by at 110 MPH on the adjacent track it is that you do not understand.

    Clem Reply:

    Presumably one would have to set them back “behind the yellow line” and make the area beyond them a no man’s land used only during boarding and alighting. The sort of thing that would never fit in places like the northbound platform in Mountain View.

    Roland Reply:

    Mountain View wants to move the station further up the line (west of Castro/Moffet) which would leave plenty of room for SFFS, including 80 MPH switches when the old northbound platform gets blown away.

  13. morris brown
    Dec 25th, 2016 at 09:13
    #13

    SF Chronicle — Willy Brown…

    “Top info gained from around town: Word has it that DiFi will announce that she’s not going to seek re-election to the U.S. Senate seat she’s held since 1992. Instead, she’ll support Gov. Jerry Brown when her term ends in 2019.”

    http://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/williesworld/article/Willie-s-World-10816882.php?cmpid=gsa-sfgate-result

    Danny Reply:

    she can retire to the pretty house war profiteering bought

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    What do you have against Feinstein?

    Who else thinks Garcetti will run and get the seat?

    Aarond Reply:

    She has her position because White killed Moscone and Milk. As Senator, she’s proven to be a thing which SF residents loathe (for better or worse).

    She’s not retiring though, as creatures such as her don’t “retire”. They simply find a new soul to consume.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Cynical much?

    Jerry Reply:

    “Cynical much?”
    White carried a gun, went around a metal detector, and killed a San Francisco Mayor and Supervisor.
    And was sentenced to five years in jail.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    What about her makes her loathsome and a soul-devouring creature?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    She got 88 percent of the vote in San Francisco the last time she ran. Peculiar way to show their loathing.

    Danny Reply:

    the Center for Public Integrity has categorically condemned her and Richard Blum for making millions off Iraq War contracts after she voted to give GWB power to invade in 2002

    StevieB Reply:

    Of all the reasons to vote against George W Bush’s invasion of Iraq the prospect of profits from military contracts was not high on the list. The Senate voted 77-23 in favor of the Iraq Resolution. Your obsession with war profits is very peculiar.

    Danny Reply:

    well, for one thing it let Trump win by looking like a dove
    besides of course the million dead, but whatevs

    StevieB Reply:

    You start out with war profiteering and somehow pervert into letting Trump win. You are incoherent.

    Danny Reply:

    Feinstein was a large part of what turned the Democrats into an interventionist party; that left the issue of noninterventionism (or even isolationism) up for grabs, which the un-ideological and unprincipled Trump managed to seize by pointing out that toppling Hussein and Qaddafi were what the professionals call “bad ideas”
    Feinstein and her husband (through Tutor Perini) reaped millions from her vote and, with Hillary Clinton, was one of the lead Democratic voices in demanding the war as a positive good
    had they been a party devoted to long-term political considerations rather than a bunch of millionaires chasing short-term profits and donations they would have remain untainted by the rapidly unfolding disaster; as it stood they were as much bound to Iraq as the GOP

    Jerry Reply:

    All war profits should be taxed at 80%. To pay for Veterans Affairs and for life insurance policies for all military and civilian casualties of war.

    John Burrows Reply:

    I celebrated number 78 earlier this month, and don’t like to vote for any one older than I am. But Jerry Brown for senator might be an exception.

    Jerry Reply:

    War profits?
    The U.S. sold $40 billion in weapons last year. Number one in the world. France was number two at $15 billion.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/26/us/politics/united-states-global-weapons-sales.html?hpw&rref=politics&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=well-region&region=bottom-well&WT.nav=bottom-well

  14. synonymouse
    Dec 25th, 2016 at 14:04
    #14
  15. Reedman
    Dec 25th, 2016 at 21:42
    #15

    Hyperloop to be in operation by 2020:

    http://www.tulsaworld.com/opinion/othercolumnists/vivek-wadhwa-your-future-commute-flying-through-tubes-at-mph/article_4fa7980e-a7f3-594e-98ad-6bb9b6d78eda.html

    Aarond Reply:

    Quote, “By 2020, self-driving cars will have progressed so far that they can drive safely at speeds as fast as 200 mph in their own partitioned lanes on highways. “.

    It’s as if these people have NEVER seen a train in their entire lives. And that truly astounding, considering that this level of idiocy is something I’d expect from a backwater type and not an academic from Stanford (as in, Leeland Stanford) of all places!

    agb5 Reply:

    By 2020, self-driving cars will have progressed so far that they can drive safely at speeds as fast as 200 mph in their own partitioned lanes on highways.

    Technically true but its not going to happen, at 200mph a car would have horrendous fuel consumption and tire ware.
    And how much it is going to cost to build partitioned highways everywhere, an extra two lanes in each direction (a single lane if you assume all vehicles travel at exactly 200mph and never break down).
    How much will it cost to rebuild every interchange to be wider and have a separate entrance for Self-Drive?
    How will they stop a human driven vehicle form using the self-drive lane?
    How will they stop a badly maintained self-drive vehicle with a sofa tied to the roof from entering the 200mph only lane?

    The worlds fastest production car, the Bugatti Veyron, could already beat HSR from SF to LA, but it would need to stop six times for new tires which cost $30,000 per set.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OC00qHonfj8

    200mph requires pushing hard against the laws of physics which are not going away by 2020.

    The author has not though this through at all.

    Joe Reply:

    That quote is a nonsense statement.

    Will E Coyoye on a Acme rocket can also travel selfless on the same idealized lane.

    Danny Reply:

    I think this blog discussed these supercars back when Cato was proposing them: we concluded that they needed couplings (to negate the headway issues), guideways, outside power sources, and maybe even steel wheels

    Roland Reply:

    Correct: https://youtu.be/yNO-phlT–o?t=40

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    It would need a different road too. They could probably push it and go through the curves are higher than the design speeds but going 200 through a 100 mph curve doesn’t work out well.

    agb5 Reply:

    They could add a banking, but that would crush the tires and suspension and the bank angle would need to match a specific speed.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    A new road, whether it’s taking over a lane on the existing road or building one that doesn’t have curves. Or they aren’t going to go 200 for very long.

    Roland Reply:

    Texas State Hwy 99: https://youtu.be/B-gzNi6MRwI

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    It’s a closed road. there are a few curves between San Francisco and Los Angeles.

    Roland Reply:

    It’s a toll Road that was closed at the time of the event.

    Jerry Reply:

    Perhaps Vivek Wadhwa of the Washington Post or Reedman will provide the answers to your many questions. After all, it is the fantasy season.
    Now get back to more serious things. Such as closing and moving all the airports of the Bay Area and the country all over the place. Hey, China hauled out some rocks and dirt and made new landing strips in the waters of the South China Sea.

  16. Jerry
    Dec 26th, 2016 at 01:08
    #16

    Court says CEQA does not require a new EIR for the San Francisco Muni T-Line Loop in a certified precedent decision. There was no reason to update the 1998 EIR.
    http://sfbamo.com/news/court-rules-muni-light-rail-expansion-may-proceed/

    keithsaggers Reply:

    New turn back loop will be at 18th, Illinois and 19th streets.

    Alan Reply:

    I’m just starting to read through the opinion, but this appears to be very good news. It says that the courts will not allow never-ending challenges to projects through the misuse of CEQA.

    Flashman might just have to go back to chasing ambulances, while Brady looks for another stooge.

    Jerry Reply:

    Thanks Alan.
    I did report that it was a “certified precedent decision. ”
    Meanwhile, others are chasing windmills. :-)

  17. morris brown
    Dec 27th, 2016 at 09:50
    #17

    Washington Post:FRA unveils recommendations for faster rail travel in the Northeast Corridor

    The Obama FRA and DOT leadership, with departing messages, I would say.

    keithsaggers Reply:

    http://www.necfuture.com/alternatives/

  18. Roland
    Dec 27th, 2016 at 10:46
    #18

    Hyperloop competition update: http://www.yakimaherald.com/news/state_news/uw-students-competing-in-race-to-build-working-hyperloop-pod/article_9d336c94-cbf7-11e6-b843-f711608f96bd.html
    Next round: max speed.

    Wells Reply:

    Why do the elite pretend such far fetched transport system ideas make sense? Why do institutions of supposedly higher education encourage students to direct efforts toward such dead end pursuits? Answer: The elite are planning population control measures that do NOT include real solutions. Hyperloop and self-driving autonomous car technology are a ruse. Even the potential of HSR is wasted on routes that produce car-dependent development. We’re headed for WWIII, boys. The ruling elite have again orchestrated their only answer to world problems with weaponry, depravation, starvation.

    Roland Reply:

    I read that you were arrested in Florida after texting 741741. Did you post bail?
    http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/florida-man-charged-threatening-trump-facebook-44373725

    Wells Reply:

    Theories about the ruling elite planning war as a means of population control is historical fact. I figure a prediction of WWIII based on globalization. The more dependent nations become on long-distance transport (and travel), the more vulnerable they become to devastating disruption of the means of transport, ie, petroleum. Global trade is supposedly more economical to conduct because it favors the least number of mass producers and downplays the cost and impact of longest distance transport. The global economy also dismantles economies of lesser scale: national, state and regional economy consists of innumerable local economies which are all fundamental components of a sustainable economy. Oil companies may pull the plug whenever the chaotic effect reaches maximum potential. Roland, are you a Trump chump or just a punk?

    Danny Reply:

    I’ve never understood this conspiracy theory, that there’s this cabal of people who rule the world and want the population to crash to 2 billion; if they were really in charge they would’ve just legalized the Pill and encouraged sex ed back in 1961–we only have so many people because it was seen as a sign of national power by the likes of Nehru and Nkrumah and Echeverria and Mobutu

    Joe Reply:

    These kooks exist, are wealthy and meet annually in Aspen.

    Danny Reply:

    I thought Davos was where the Red Dress holograms met

  19. Michelle
    Dec 28th, 2016 at 11:00
    #19

    What would be most ideal for me as I travel up and down the state is to be able to also bring my car to use when I arrive at my destination, like on a ferry. Does anyone know if an idea to ferry automobiles on the high-speed passenger trains was considered or planned?

  20. Roland
    Dec 28th, 2016 at 12:48
    #20

    Spaceship flyover: https://youtu.be/F29Ue0tGapc
    Fatal flaw: no signs of Spaceship East (SE) and/or Spaceship West (SW) BART station(s)…

  21. Roland
    Dec 28th, 2016 at 14:20
    #21

    Breaking News: BART Phase II SEIS/SEIR: http://www.vta.org/bart/environmentaldocumentsphaseII

    Aarond Reply:

    Note the very little nub under Cruz Bvld at the very end of the alignment. That seems really odd to me, because the implication (assuming it’s intentional) is that BART wants to eventually expand up the ACE/CapCor alignment to Great America and NOT up the Caltrain corridor or El Camino. Of course the former does not preclude the latter, but why would they draw it that way?

    ….that’s assuming it’s intentionally drawn like that, and not a mindless oversight.

    Jerry Reply:

    That’s to provide room for the new BART/CalTrain connection to the San Jose Airport. And maybe a branch to Levi Stadium and Great America…..
    Maybe a People Mover similar to the one at SFO or Oakland Airport.

    Aarond Reply:

    BART going up the ACE route would also allow for a 101 route up to Milbrae. This would allow for a more convenient people mover/BART station under the runway approach.

    Roland Reply:

    http://vta-sprinter.org/santa-clara-ebart/

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Or they could run the line a shorter distance beyond Dirdon to city college/valley medical center, serving new areas with potential extionsions to valley Fair/Santana row, apple doughnut, and deanza college

    Roland Reply:

    And move the BART intergalactic maintenance facility to Permanente quarry.

    Clem Reply:

    The pan-galactic maintenance complex already exists in Hayward, with ample room to grow. It has only one flaw: it creates zero VTA jobs. Newhall Yard is a VTA boondoggle that BART doesn’t need.

    Roland Reply:

    The VTA has nothing to do with BART maintenance (other than 1/4% sales tax).
    Newhall Yard is a BART boondoggle that VTA doesn’t need.
    Hayward Phase II ($186M) was fully funded (by BART) until Measure B passed…

    Clem Reply:

    Why then does VTA want to blow $1.5 billion on a redundant link between Diridon and Santa Clara?

    Roland Reply:

    The VTA were told in no uncertain terms that BART “could not possibly operate” at Diridon like Fremont for the last 20 years without a pan-galactic $500M (including land) Newhall maintenance facility (you won’t believe the track work until you see it).

    With regards to starting tunneling in Santa Clara, they know that their 45-foot monster cannot possibly go under 101 so they are expected to make a last-minute left turn towards the 101 overpass “due to unexpected and unavoidable circumstances” (bye-bye Alum Rock station?).

    Joey Reply:

    Of some interest: they are considering a single wide bore tunnel which would not require additional excavation for stations (except escalators etc). This technique has been used successfully elsewhere in the world.

    Clem Reply:

    Also of interest: boring must commence from Santa Clara, to prevent amputation of the redundant Santa Clara segment

    Wells Reply:

    An airport is the place one goes to when going somewhere else. Automobiles have made city and suburban life so unbearably disgusting, getaway air travel as a relief most often arrives at places that are as deplorably overrun with traffic as the living conditions left behind. Don’t worry, the self-driving car will come installed with windshield and side-windows that double as monitors displaying scenic vistas passing when stuck in traffic or in slums and ruins.

    Roland Reply:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jUHrve5oUQk

    Wells Reply:

    I figured Clem might appreciate my ‘bigger picture’ view on transportion planning.
    Roland’s youtube link however was juvenile and entirely unrelated.

    Neil Shea Reply:

    What the region needs is a people mover from Diridon to the terminals of SJC airport. We don’t need a connection in Santa Clara, a bus around the runways, or an expensive redundant proprietary duplication of Caltrain to Santa Clara

    Roland Reply:

    Correct but we don’t need a “people mover” all the way to Diridon either.
    Believe it or not, some folks are pushing for a hyperloop “study” and, no, I am not making this up either.

    Wells Reply:

    Ralph Nader believes “Nothing short of an organization of wise and experienced, military, national security and diplomatic officials who served under both parties can have a chance to slow down a deadly momentum of brute force and troop expansion overseas. Enlightened billionaires have to step up to make this happen before a likely unleashing of Trumpian rage and rant.”
    It’s difficult to include Elon Musk as enlightened. He’s just another billionaire with more money than he knows what to do with.

    Roland Reply:

    Right: https://youtu.be/10gECHeMSds?t=40

    Wells Reply:

    Another idiotic waste of money from Elon Musk- colonizing Mars.
    Never mind real needs on Earth, say, building sustainable economies.
    Roland, smoking pot isn’t a good idea. It can make the stupidest things seem smart.

    Roland Reply:

    Right again (100% perfect score): http://www.cnn.com/2016/12/28/asia/china-space-program-white-paper/

  22. les
    Dec 29th, 2016 at 16:30
    #22

    Seattle region should have a big year for transportation in 2017 (the precursor of a long pipeline of projects coming to the area thanks to ST3):

    Downtown street car begins construction (finally connecting two disjointed segments)
    Amtrak Cascades adds 2 new rt runs, some Siemens’ trainsets and a shortened route to Portland
    Bertha finishes worlds largest tunnel (record diameter)
    Sounder adds 2 rts
    Bellevue-Seattle 10 station Link line begins major construction with yet the start of another tunnel.
    Northgate Link station construction begins with tunneling finally have been completed.
    The award winning 520 bridge should come to completion:
    “The new SR 520 floating bridge won a prestigious national award in November as the country’s top design engineering project of 2016”

  23. keithsaggers
    Dec 29th, 2016 at 19:14
    #23
  24. Jerry
    Dec 29th, 2016 at 23:29
    #24

    Morris Brown and neighbors are sued for violating the California Environmental Quality Act.

     http://www.mercurynews.com/2016/12/28/menlo-park-east-palo-alto-to-sue-city-over-general-plan-update/

    Foxes and Hounds are clearly upset.

    Jerry Reply:

    http://www.mercurynews.com/2016/12/28/menlo-park-east-palo-alto-to-sue-city-over-general-plan-update/

    joe Reply:

    FWIW

    Menlo Park has a small section near East Palo Alto which has lower per capita income and representation. Wealthy MP residents have dumped most of the facebook expansion impacts here.

    http://www.paloaltoonline.com/news/2016/07/07/east-palo-alto-activists-say-menlo-park-omitted-key-letter-from-facebook-expansion-study
    From July

    Something is missing from the almost 5,000 pages of text detailing how the environment would be affected by Facebook’s plans to build three 75-foot-tall buildings (two offices and a hotel), and add an estimated 6,550 employees to Menlo Park.

    That something, said Tameeka Bennett, executive director of Youth United for Community Action, is a four-page letter written by a coalition of agencies in East Palo Alto submitted almost a year ago.

    The irony was not missed on East Palo Alto Councilman Carlos Romero, who told Menlo Park staff: “I am floored, almost speechless that the very group that actually almost took (your) city to court … and compelled you to approve a housing element and to put money on the table so people could develop affordable housing … Their letter was not included?”

    Eventually this growing part of MP will have clout in the city council. Now they have little to none.

    http://www.mercurynews.com/2016/10/12/menlo-park-belle-havens-future-drives-council-candidates-debate/
    “It’s been 30 years since Belle Haven has had city representation on the council,” Taylor said. “I live at ground zero for the biggest changes in Menlo Park. My neighbors want a seat at the table, they want representation. … I am running because my heart belongs to this city.”

    She lost.

  25. Roland
    Dec 30th, 2016 at 15:46
    #25

    http://www.mercurynews.com/2016/12/29/menlo-park-grade-separation-project-taking-shape/

    Aarond Reply:

    Slow progress but progress nonetheless. With Menlo Park and southern San Mateo figured out, Caltrain can move onto the big ticket items: downtown San Mateo and downtown Redwood City.

  26. Reedman
    Dec 31st, 2016 at 10:38
    #26

    Phase One of the new Second Avenue Subway starts running tomorrow on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.

    http://www.amny.com/transit/the-second-avenue-subway-explained-1.11244882

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    And it is now running. Yay.

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