Friday, April 24, 2009

CHSRA and Peninsula Cities Agree On Planning Process

NOTE: We've moved! Visit us at the California High Speed Rail Blog.

As reported by the Mercury News:

In the first signal that individual Peninsula cities will have a direct voice in high-speed rail planning, a state official Thursday unveiled plans to launch working groups in which local representatives will help shape the massive project.

San Mateo, Santa Clara and San Francisco counties would each get a working group that would meet eight times with high-speed rail officials between May and April 2011, said Tim Cobb, project manager for the San Francisco-to-San Jose section of the high-speed rail line....

Cobb said after the meeting that the working groups were based on similar setups already in place in Southern California, where planning of the train is further along. The "technical working group" meetings will take place during project milestones, such as when key planning documents are released.

The Santa Clara County group will consist of representatives from the five cities along the Caltrain line — including Palo Alto and Mountain View — plus the county government. The San Mateo County group will be made up of representatives from the 11 cities along the train tracks, as well as a county official.

It would be up to the cities and county governments to choose who would be their representative, said Cobb. Ideally, each delegate would remain through the duration of the planning process, he said.


Obviously this is the right thing to do, although as usual, the devil is in the details. It's good that the cities have a formal seat at the table with CHSRA, and that should do much to ease the concerns of the cities that their concerns are being ignored. As I've argued before though, that never really was the issue here. Instead the issue is the desire of some Peninsula cities to exercise a veto over the project and interject themselves into decisions, such as operations, that they really have no place or right dictating about (and make no mistake, many of these cities will want to dictate terms).

It will be very interesting to see how this group approach proceeds, especially when the astronomical cost of tunneling becomes clear. That's when the big fight will take place.

The above was announced at sn HSR info session in Belmont last night. Not much else took place, although this was worth noting:

While going underground in general is expensive, it might be worth it in areas where there are many grade separations with which to work.

“At this stage, I don’t think we can talk about the costs of the alternatives yet and I don’t think we want to,” said Tim Cobb of the High-Speed Rail Authority.

At the same time, even if a tunnel is listed among the alternatives, cost will likely be the deciding factor. We'll see what happens.

Note: This weekend I'll be here in Sacramento for the California Democratic Party convention. If there's any HSR news to report, I'll be sure to post it here. Otherwise I'll leave you in the capable hands of Rafael and the open threads!

49 comments:

jim said...

All those sities trying to figure out what they want... together...boy is this going to be interesting to follow.

Rafael said...

If CHSRA is smart, they'll quietly look at a backup strategy, such as running tracks up the I-880 median from San Jose to Oakland Coliseum Amtrak/BART and West Oakland BART.

After the Dumbarton rail bridge is restored, Caltrain could potentially provide connecting transit via a station at Whipple/Union Landing. However, moving the existing Fremont Centerville a mile south to where the UPRR tracks run over I-880 would be preferable as Amtrak CC and ACE could then serve as HSR feeders as well.

Reaching SFO (or rather, Millbrae) and downtown SF in phase 1 would arguably be preferable, but definitely not at any price. If need be, AB3034 should be amended to refine the starter line as "either SF or Oakland to LA and Anaheim", rather than submit to tunnel blackmail by peninsula cities.

Bianca said...

It's not just a matter of amending AB3034. One of the big selling points of Prop 1A was the idea of getting from downtown LA to downtown SF, and by "downtown SF" nobody was thinking "well, downtown Oakland, and then BART into the City." I don't think it's politically viable to change the terminus at this stage in the process.

California needs Congress to grow the HSR pie. The Speaker of the House has an enormous amount of influence to wield in whether and by how much the pie grows. Taking the terminus out of her district, and angering her constituents, is a non-starter for CHSRA. Not. Going. To. Happen.

I too will be interested in following this planning process. Oh, to be a fly on the wall...

Aaron said...

@Rafael: Once you talk about terminating HSR in Oakland, people start to wonder "Why bother taking HSR to SF when I can just fly Southwest into OAK?" It's a terrible idea that shouldn't be seriously considered.

Rafael said...

@ Bianca -

I'm only saying that CHSRA should have a plan B to put itself in a stronger negotiating position.

If you want to see HSR trains going to the TBT in phase 1, the best approach would be to push back hard on tunneling in the peninsula. The DTX tunnel + train box in downtown SF will be horrendously expensive as it is.

CHSRA could have pushed back on PCJPB to deal with peninsula cities off-line, but the Authority chose to give them a seat at the negotiating table. It's possible that this will prompt the cities to become more reasonable but I'm not holding my breath.

@ Aaron -

the world does not revolve around SF and its precious TBT. SF is definitely a bigger tourist draw than Oakland, but trains can't fly. If running tracks through the mid-peninsula turns out to be financially infeasible, SF will be SOL and so will Caltrain.

Taking BART from SF out to West Oakland is less onerous for SF residents than going to the TBT is for East Bay residents. Folks living in the peninsula would have to take Caltrain to Fremont (via Dumbarton) or else to San Jose Diridon. This is comparable to what East Bay residents would have to do to catch an HSR train plying the preferred route.

There are more people in the East Bay than in the peninsula and, the connection between Oakland Coliseum and Oakland airport has not been messed up like the one between Millbrae and SFO.

jim said...

Well, the thing is, these cities are not going to hijack this project. It isn't an option for them and they don't have the right or power to do so. What they can do is ask for reasonable mitigation. The legislature, the governor and the rest of the state are just going to say " oh well" and let a handful ( not even all mind you, but a small group of residents in an even smaller group of cities) derail this project. The EIRs and other work that has been done are too far ahead to spend another 10 years going back over the issue. The majority of cities and their residents welcome the economic perks that HSR will bring. Any excessive mitigation costs (above what might be considered reasonable by HSR) can be borne by the two counties via a vote on a two county HSR mitigation tax. The state still has power of eminent domain and the right of way is owned by the railroads or joint powers that use it and as long as the railroads /owners of that right of way are well compensated, the project will go forward.

jim said...

These folks aren't worried about saving the baby seals here, they just don't want to be inconvenienced and that isn't a legitimate enough reason. and the world does too revolve around san francisco. if it didn't we wouldn't have 200,000 too many people here.

Clem said...

It is noteworthy that they are trying to lump the cities together by county. Within Santa Clara county, I doubt Palo Alto's interests will align so well with San Jose's. It will be interesting to see whether the nascent "council of mayors" that Palo Alto is trying to organize up and down the peninsula across county lines and excluding SF and SJ interests will be superseded by this new group.

Pass the popcorn.

@Rafael: there is no money or political will to restore the Dumbarton bridge. Not even a glimmer. Forget. It. Now.

I think you may lend the peninsula opponents too much credence. They are not the threat you seemingly believe them to be.

jim said...

I mean really, I saw their cute little march they had down there, do they really want to challenge us to a march on sacramento over this? San Franciscans know how to protest. we'll mop the floor with them. By the way, Ive been doing my own unscientific poll of riders at work - 100 percent so far are for high speed rail adn the comments range from " didn't they already start building that?" ( college student from Davis) to "I told my grandkids, I don't care if I'm 90 you get me on that train, I'll be the first one on" ( grandmother from SF)

Eric said...

I agree that the idea of an alternative to San Francisco as the final destination is absurd. Oakland is NOT a tourist destination. I think people get so wrapped up that in which they only think about Californians riding this train, that they forget about how many tourist will ride it. They don't want to go to Oakland. San Francisco is a destination for tourists all over the world (has been for a very long time) and foreigners know how efficient HSR is and are willing to take quick trips from SF-LA or LA-SF. Two and one half hours on an elegant train is nothing.

Although I do not agree with the attitudes of some on the peninsula (NIMBY), it is proper to hear their REASONABLE concerns. No one here would want to steamrolled over with out a voice heard. And remember, you can never please everyone no matter how hard you try.

Aaron said...

@Rafael: I have no particular care whether or not HSR ends at 4th/King or TBT, and I'm starting to wonder if the TBT is worth the price and grief. But business travelers are not going to settle for Oakland, and a lot of tourists who aren't familiar with the bay area are going to balk and stick with what they know. More people live in the East Bay, but SF is still the heart of the Bay Area.

Morris Brown said...

Anyway you care to look at this "Planning Process",it represents a "new position" by the Authority in dealing with the Peninsula. It certainly is a complete change of attitude as shown by Diridon to the Palo Alto City council, when he flat out said the Authority would not be negotiating, only taking comments.

This may well all be just talk and no substance, only time will tell.

In the meantime, I note the Authority is looking to spend 8 million for a consultant to perform community outreach. They are also hiring more staff, apparently rather quickly.

The funds from the bond measure just floated, will partially go to the Authority (how much I don't know), so the money crunch for them seems to be over, at least for now.

As of April 13th, there were 9 pieces of new legislation dealing in one way or another with this project.

AB 153
AB 733
AB 1375
SB 165
SB 409
SB 454
SB 455
SB 526
SB 527

Lots to keep our hard working legislators and their staffs working.

Bianca said...

Rafael, I really think that the notion of a tunnel is going to be dead in the water as soon as hard numbers start getting crunched.

As we've discussed before, there are people who are pushing for a tunnel because they want to kill HSR altogether, and they are being disingenuous about it. Then there are people who want a tunnel because they haven't understood what a tunnel means. I can't say how many of them are engaging in magical thinking (i.e., I won't see it, I won't hear it, I won't have to pay for it) and how many of them have not yet thought through the full implications of what a tunnel means. I believe that a good portion of the current pro-tunnel crowd think that they want a tunnel because they believe that a tunnel will be less disruptive to build and quieter to operate, and they haven't really thought through the implications of how expensive tunnels are and how the tunnel would be paid for.

Clem has a great post over on his blog about the realities of tunnel construction. I imagine most of the regulars here have already seen it but anyone who lives on the Peninsula ought to read it.

Tunnels are staggeringly expensive, noisy and disruptive to build, and can create a host of new problems to solve.

I'm hoping that the Peninsula Cities can organize some design competitions, give local architects a chance to design something beautiful for the community, so that Jim McFall's drawings of concrete monoliths aren't the only thing circulating out there, and we don't have to point to pictures from Italy to demonstrate that grade separations can be reasonably attractive and won't result in the sky crashing down about our heads.

YesonHSR said...

HSR will never be built if it does not stop at 4th and King or 1st and Mission.Ask DIFI or Pelois or Boxer or the 76% percent of San Francisco that said YES on Prop1A.
Its the same as stopping Aclea in
Balitmore and transfering to a MARC
train for the ride into DC.

arcady said...

Somewhat off-topic, but I went out and did a few subjective measurements of train noise today (on the MBTA Providence Line, as that's what's local to me). Notable things I found: an Amtrak train running at 125 mph is about as loud as a commuter rail train running at 80, but the noise is somewhat different. The commuter rail has a much larger low-frequency component from the wheel flats and diesel locomotive, and it carries a fairly significant distance. The Amtrak noise is almost entirely higher frequencies from the wheel-rail interface, and tends to go sideways from the train. You can barely hear it even when the train is 200 feet down the track, which means that the change in noise level is much more rapid than with the commuter rail, which you can hear coming from a considerable distance. I think this is a pretty good parallel for what can be expected from the Caltrain corridor too.

flowmotion said...

A wise move, and considerably better the "ram it through" approach some felt the CAHSR should take.

Also, Rafeal, if I-880 median is a viable "Plan B", you might as well throw the US-101 median back on the table as well. Both highways seem equally bulit-out.

Alon Levy said...

Well, if they can build a second Transbay Tube, then SJ-Oakland-SF isn't that bad. It might even draw more riders than SJ-SV-SF, though the cost will be much higher.

jim said...

another tube under the bay is 30 years away - if i happens in my lifetime ill be amazed.

Bay Area Resident said...

Within Santa Clara county, I doubt Palo Alto's interests will align so well with San Jose's. Wrong Clem, and sounds like more spin from CHSRA that the concern is only coming from a few people that live near the tracks. Caltrain goes through 3 highly contentious areas of San Jose. The first one is at and around Diridon, that is the spanish speaking area, where some residential blocks are going to get flattened for the station and all the residual mess there. Then there is the willow glen part, that is the curved part where this train is going to run right through a neighborhood with huge liquefaction problems, ELEVATED, that is situated 3 blocks from highway 280 (this will leave a blighted crime ridden section between the freeway and the tracks). The third is the area along monterrey called Edenvale where all those right of way issues are - this section has the potential to have the most emmenent domain takings.

The only people in San Jose that are actually FOR this train is that San Jose leadership forum group, that is the consortium of Silicon Valley corporate interests (I don't know if its a PAC) headed by Carl Guardino. But the train is more of a political maneuver by Guardino and Diridon as old political hacks than something that REALLY is being lobbied for by these companies. The SVLG lobbies the govt for things like H1B visas that they want, but there is no widespread support of this train for SV (other than they support all kinds of transportation). There is definitely a concerted effort in the South Bay govts to shut the citizens up on this train though- something that does not exist in Palo Alto, because the congresspeople in the south bay are being lobbied by Diridon/Guardino to counterbalance the residents.

A lot of residents and community activist groups in San Jose feel overtly lied to by the SJ City Council prior to the election too. Some questions were raised and the city council said things like "don't worry the train will be QUIETER than current Caltrain", with no mention of frequency of trains every 5 mins vs today 30 mins. There was also a VERY contentious discussion between somebody at HSR and the president of one of the neighborhood action groups on a park that was just erected adjacent to the tracks in San Jose- this was a park built and maintained by the residents, HSR was asked specifically about this park prior to the Prop1A vote, they said the park would remain intact for this neighborhood group, and after the vote they said "oh, no way sorry". So people are really pissed off.

Clem said...

Thanks for the background. Notice, though, Palo Alto is being cleaved from Menlo Park and Atherton through this arrangement.

Also notice that the Santa Clara county group has much more representation from the county (vs. cities) than does the San Mateo county group... on the face of it, because SMC has more impacted cities, but in practice the interests of SCC cities will be diluted by heavy county representation.

I share your distaste for the SVLG.

Anonymous said...

BAR 7:15,
I'm a SJ resident, who also has many a family member and co-worker in SJ, and I can tell you straight up that you are a lier! Not only are you overblowing SJ HSR opposition, but provide no facts to back up your ludicrous claims (what else is new).

Anonymous said...

The more the true dimensions and intentions of the HSR project are revealed to the public the more I regret having voted for it.

It appears that the Peninsula will be shafted by a BART-style 4-track elevated that will be butt-ugly ghetto and will transmit noise like tuning fork for miles in every direction. Sound walls will be a graffiti magnet and you will need razor wire to keep the gangbangers out. Remember the Caltrain ROW goes right thru the heart of towns not in a freeway no-mans-land.

The HSR doesn't need 125mph on the Peninsula nor does it need a stop in Palo Alto. All this is a consequence of a non-direct route between the Bay Area and LA. The HSR concept has been hopelessly dumbed down by detouring thru the Tehachapis to benefit real estate speculators in Palmdale. If you insist on the Tehachapis route and adding podunk stops like Merced just just do a modest diesel upgrade in conjuction with the freight railroads.

Spokker said...

"The HSR concept has been hopelessly dumbed down by detouring thru the Tehachapis to benefit real estate speculators in Palmdale."

Yes, because nobody in Palmdale wants a faster, better way to get to Los Angeles. Hopefully the real estate spectators ride it once or twice!

arcady said...

The population of the Antelope Valley is fairly low, there aren't too many jobs, and honestly, I don't think we need to be encouraging people to live in the High Desert. There's no water there, the commutes are very long, and even if high speed rail improves the travel time, there's still the problem that you're travelling much further on a less fuel efficient mode (speed takes considerable energy). Is it worth it to have a route that's 50 miles longer just to serve a population of 200,000? Is it really because of them that the route was laid out that way, or because of the political pull of real estate speculators?

Alon Levy said...

Anon: the expected 2:38 line-haul time is for a train that makes no stops between LA and SF. Having other trains stop at Merced does not slow this express train down. Detouring through Palmdale does, by about 12 minutes, but one of the reasons for the detour is that it's geologically simpler than to bore a long tunnel from Sylmar to Grapevine. It's not just about real estate speculators, who would benefit a lot more from Altamont and new developments in Merced and Modesto.

Anonymous said...

I predict that there will be one parliamentary train per day (or week) that actually does take the mandated 2:38, and that all the other trains will end up making at least some stops along the way, with travel times ranging from 2:40 (just San Jose) to 3 hours (with Fresno and Bakersfield thrown in) to 3:30 (all stops).

Alon Levy said...

I don't think there will even one such train - it's very unlikely trains will ever skip SJ. SF-SJ-LA will take, in principle, 2:41. If you add Palo Alto and Burbank, make it 2:46; with SFO and Sylmar, make it 2:51. It's unlikely many trains will skip these stops - the time saving isn't worth it. Most will probably skip the stops in the higher-speed sections - Gilroy, Fresno, Bakersfield, and Palmdale. The ones that won't will probably take about 3:20 to get from LA to SF. Either way, adding stops in the Central Valley won't impact express travel time, because express trains won't make a single stop between the LA Basin and the Bay Area.

Clem said...

the expected 2:38 line-haul time is for a train that makes no stops between LA and SF.... There is no such thing. Every train stops in San Jose. And it might as well, since even a non-stop train would trundle through the Diridon twisties at a mellow 60 mph.

I predict that there will be one parliamentary train... No need to predict. A strawman operating plan is already in their "business plan".

Spokker said...

Considering the current, very comfortable but long, San Joaquins bus/rail trek takes nine or so hours to travel from Los Angeles Union Station to... Oakland, a 3 hour ride between Los Angeles Union Station and Downtown San Francisco would be incredible, and you wouldn't have to step foot on a shitty plane.

Bay Area Resident said...

well my goodness Anonymous, you called me a lier! Ouch! And what exactly is a lier anyway. I am very involved with the south bay neighborhood associations and this train. One neighborhood sent 70 pages of scoping comments to the CHSRA full of things like, what is the mitigation for the flowerbeds at the corner of x and y that exist 200 feet from the tracks, and will the residual wind damage obscure the patio view of Mrs broomhilda who lives across the street, and what is the metric for determining the damage and mitigation?
The CHSRA is obligated to respond to these extreme and deliberate stonewalling tactics. Neighborhood committees don't send 70 pages of scoping comments on an EIR if they are happy with the plan, now do they? Whose the lier now?

James said...

Hey NIMBYs, Rail can work. London proves it.

I just spent two weeks touring around London; my first visit to the UK.

Took the Underground all around the city. Took the commuter rail out to Harrow, Salisbury, Oxford. Look at the Underground map and all the lines weaving around London. Then look at the UK railway map. There are just as many routed weaving all over the country.

Spent two days on a side trip to Amsterdam. Walked from Hyde Park apartment to Lancaster gate to Liverpool St. Sta. Took the train to Harwich and walked across the terminal to the overnight ferry. Woke up in the morning and walked across the terminal to the train to Amsterdam Central. Walked out the door to the local tram and toured around Amsterdam. One overnight in Amsterdam and took the overnight ferry back to London. The entire system is connected.

I did not drive a car between April 5 and April 20. I, in effect, 'walked' from Palo Alto, CA. to London to Amsterdam to London to Palo Alto.

During the entire trip we rode the train in one form or another about 40 or 50 times. The average wait time for a train was literally 3 minutes except for one incident coming back from Amsterdam. The rail service is often down for maintenance on the weekends and the Ferry company did not have enough buses ready so we had to wait for the next train.

One previous comment on this blog mentioned that you cannot commute to work, go to the bank, and buy groceries on the CHSR. I recommend a visit to London. You can go almost anywhere on the Underground and you can go anywhere when you connect to the very capable bus system above ground and are willing to walk a few blocks.

At one point we were making our way with the evening commute and I clocked some Underground trains departing the same platform at 1 min. 45 sec. apart.

James said...

On the ride out to Harrow I looked across the 7 or 8 parallel tracks leaving Paddington Station and there was another train heading the same direction at the same speed. While looking my view was blocked by an express train heading the same direction much faster. London has trains all over, and it has some very valuable real estate. It seems the all the terrible trains have not hurt property values.

Bay Area Resident said...

those trains in London are not 20 feet from million dollar homes as is the case here. Nor do they go through various school athletic facilities, meaning RIGHT THROUGH them.

I think the problem with the idiots that conceived of this train/route is that they are too LA-centric. I once mentioned that there would be an uproar if HSR directly buttressed Beverly Hills high school, and the posters here remarked that Palo Alto had an ego problem thinking it was as good as Beverly Hills. REALITY CHECK- Palo Alto demographically speaking is MORE EXPENSIVE than Beverly hills with higher median incomes. You put a train right down the middle of towns like this, and Palo Alto is not the only one, you've got a fight on your hands. A big fight. Then the HSR people respond like you did, the train goes right through Spain, London etc. Uh well, no actually it doesn't. Trains in Europe are treated like freeways as they should be, and not rammed through BEDROOM COMMUNITIES.
http://technology4life.files.wordpress.com/2007/06/renfe-4.jpg
http://media.photobucket.com/image/renfe%20train%20spain/Daneelo/Occasional%20Train%20Blogging/WhereIsIt/SpainEasy.jpg

Bay Area Resident said...

hey James every wonder why they call it the Underground in London and not the Elevated 20' high Concrete Birm(not including catenaries), or alternatively the Elevated 75' aerial structure prone to liquefaction? Or how about calling HSR the Green version of Cypress Structure?

The fact that you would wax and wane about the London UNDERGROUND on this model is a mind blower.

Bianca said...

I once mentioned that there would be an uproar if HSR directly buttressed Beverly Hills high school

Beverly Hills High has an oil well on it. I'm guessing the folks at Beverly Hills High would gladly trade a grade-separated, electric, HSR train for an active oil well.

Trains in Europe are treated like freeways as they should be, and not rammed through BEDROOM COMMUNITIES.

By your logic, BAR, we already have a "freeway" rammed through our "bedroom communities." The railway was here before Palo Alto, Atherton, or Menlo Park even existed. The towns exist where they do because of the railroad. It was very poor foresight on the part of city leaders in the areas that allowed residential zoning adjacent to an active railroad. Better zoning 80 years ago would have spared us a lot of NIMBYs now. The railroad tracks have been in place for over 100 years, on weekdays over 100 trains a day run up and down the tracks. So if you insist that trains are like freeways, well we already have that running up and down through our communities. Let's make it grade separated so that it's safer for kids to cross, and electrify it, so that it is quieter and doesn't spew tree-killing diesel exhaust into our air, and while we are at it, let's upgrade it so we can run faster trains. The first two things we are getting with Caltrain, whether HSR is built or not. It isn't a case of "ramming through" something that isn't already there.

Eric said...

Again, it's worth pointing out, as far as appeals to the European model go, that even in rail-centric London, an HSR connection to central London through the suburbs couldn't get built until the construction authority agreed to go underground. And building underground in London, even in the relatively low-density eastern suburbs, is not particularly cheap or easy, what with its boggy ground, dozens of active underground rivers, and large amount of legacy underground infrastructure that has to be detoured around or mitigated.

K.T. said...

Eric,

Thank you for sharing the information for London. I will add a case for Japan.

There may be more locations, but these are the lists of locations I know where Shinkansen has speed regulations inside the metropolitan area:

1) Tokyo-Shinagawa
Speed Regulation: 110km/hr

2) Shinagawa-Shin Yokohama
Speed Regulation: 160km/hr

3) Tokyo-Oomiya
Speed Regulation: 110km/hr

1),2) Between Tokyo and Shin Yokohama, Shinkasen line were built on top of existing freight line, so the curve radius is too tight for bullet train to operate in their full speed. I think tunnel option were not considered because of the tight construction timeframe set by the World Bank, who invested on this project.

3) Speed of this line is currently restricted to 110km/hr、due to the tight turn radius, and agreement with the residents who were concerned about the noise. (although the commute train running adjacent to the bullet-train track is noisier than bullet train at 110km/hr)

Changing gears, major train stations in Japan has building within their property, so they can rent out the space for hotel, department store/shopping mall, restaurant, and office space for business for additional income (and to attract addtional ridership).

I am not expecting a large-scale station with all of the features listed above in Palo Alto or at any other potential bay area station between SF and SJ or in every single CHSR station, but CHSRA needs to provide business plans beyond providing fast, safe, and reliable service to attract ridership.

James said...

I start a comment with "Hey NIMBYs" and BAR answers. Hmmm.

Even Caltrain with its linear route and limited connectivity to a rail network attracts a reasonable ridership. London is a case study in what can happen when a rail network is fully connected. No two metro rail systems are the same. CHSR will likely never be as connected as the London systems but it will serve as the backbone of a better rail system in California and will promote and require improvements in all adjacent rail and bus routes. When this happens it will attract more and more riders which will promote more improvements...

Alon Levy said...

Tokyo and Yokohama are urban rather than suburban, though. Tokyo's density is 13,000/km^2, Yokohama's is 8,000. This means that noise issues are harder to mitigate, and straightening curves requires massive displacement of residents. The situation in the Peninsula is very different: densities in the major SV cities don't exceed 3,000/km^2, and Palo Alto's is 1,000.

Bay Area Resident said...

Bianca, really, can we please stop with the tired old "you people moved next to a smelly train" blather? Its been pretty furiously debunked everywhere at this point. People who live in their million dollar homes on the tracks where trains go by at 35mph every half hour at worst DO seem to be noticing that the plans are for 125mph trains every 6 minutes, and seem to feel put out by it. Now maybe they shouldn't- because well, they should have KNOWN that Diridon would ram this claptrap through California with no regard for the residents- but they didn't seem to know that, so, there it is.

James said...

Many who post here are well aware of the London systems. For those who are not aware (I am still learning) here are some maps.

The Underground itself:
http://tinyurl.com/yvtjav

The Underground and the above ground connections to the many London stations:
http://tinyurl.com/764bum

And the greater National map:
http://tinyurl.com/ckjzlh

UK rail is a system of systems.

The bay area equivalent of the Underground is BART under SF, OAK and Berkeley. The Underground has a circle line. The bay area would have a circle line if BART were to go all the way around the bay. Even better if BART were separate from the Caltrain route. To get more fully connected the bay area would have to have cross routes serving every city. (I have a dream...)

James said...

Count'em. London is served by 14 commuter and express stations in the above-ground national system. Waterloo alone has 20 boarding platforms. Amazing. All those riders are many, many cars not on the roads.

James said...

The bay area has arguably three stations only remotely similar to the UK national class. SF, SJ, and OAK. And we are talking about a second SF station with only 6 platforms. And this is the most powerful nation in the world and we have to whine and cry about one more railroad station. This country needs to grow up and join the rest of the world.

Clem said...

where trains go by at 35mph every half hour ... come on now, you're starting to sound like a broken record.

K.T. said...

Alon Levy,

Yes, I totally understand that population density is different.

However, Tohoku/Joetsu/Nagano-Hokuriku Shinkansen Line between Ueno Station and Oomiya Station is one of the example where 2-track high speed rail and 2-track commuter rail is adjacent, also both system in a elevated structure (although one proposed in Bay Area would not gonna be tall as this one)

I do not have much information on how European and HSRs handled noise issues at the locations where tracks are laid adjacent to the developed area. It would be nice if there are any technical papers (written in English) available, so we can adopt that information to the discussion.

BTW, here are some of the documents that shows current noise level of locations near Caltrain track (not for all corridor, though)

http://www2.burlingame.org/planning/plan_comm/Draft%20Environ%20Impact%20Report/4.4%20Noise.pdf

http://www.redwoodcity.org/cds/planning/pdf/eir/preciseplan/11.655.pdf

http://www.cityofpaloalto.org/civica/filebank/blobdload.asp?BlobID=9765

http://www.ci.millbrae.ca.us/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=155

TomW said...

Bay Area Resident said..."Diridon ... where some residential blocks are going to get flattened for the station and all the residual mess there"
Where exactly is the proof for yoru statment? Can you tell us exactly where the station will be, and what blocks will get "flattened"?

Alon Levy said...

James: the Circle Line only serves the center of London - it's contained entirely within the most central fare zone. San Francisco, whose water-bound geography is such that its suburbs don't expand uniformly in all directions, can't have anything like that. Having a circular line for the sake of having a circular line doesn't make much sense - the idea is to let you transfer to the radial lines effectively, on the model of Yamanote in Tokyo and Koltsevaya in Moscow.

Other cities built on large bodies of water, such as New York, Toronto, and Hong Kong, have no proper circular lines either. Some of them have lines that are circumferential in the sense that they do not serve downtown - such as the G in New York, Bloor-Danforth in Toronto, and Kwun Tong in Hong Kong - but BART already has an equivalent of that, in the Richmond-Fremont line.

A circular line can work in LA, whose downtown is located far enough inland that it makes sense to circle it. But not in SF, where the CBD is right against the water and suburbs extend only in some directions.

BruceMcF said...

Bay Area Resident said...
"Bianca, really, can we please stop with the tired old "you people moved next to a smelly train" blather? Its been pretty furiously debunked everywhere at this point."

Furiously disputed, certainly. Debunking presumes that the furious won the argument.

"People who live in their million dollar homes on the tracks where trains go by at 35mph every half hour at worst"

An example of a debunking would be when someone states a flat out lie, and someone else provides clear, objective evidence that it is a lie.

For example, Caltrain Weekday Northbound Departures (pdf).

San Jose Northbound: 7:45, 7:50, 7:55, 8:03.

Not a single one of those trains go anywhere except along the Caltrain corridor.

Therefore, the number of people living along the Caltrain corridor who have "trains every half hour at the worst", with "higher frequency" equal to worse, that would be exactly and precisely zero.

And when someone who claims to be a local resident simply flat out lies in a way that is easily seen by anyone who cares to look, it suggests they are not interested in persuading those interested in the facts, but are instead only trying to offer convenient, false, rationalizations for those who are opposed for either non-rational reasons or for rational reasons that they do not care to make public.

The "no train faster than 35mph" people would have to be a minority of the population along the line that live sufficiently to either a speed limited stretch of track, or to an all-services station.

And examination of the same evidence presented above shows that there are no all-services stations in the Peninsula ... the two all-services stations are San Jose and 4th & King.

So, basically the above is representing the interests of the NOBODY who experiences at most half hourly trains, and a small handful living very close to one of the old tight curves built into the right of way.

And stepping back, in twenty years time, everyone one of them will be living in a formerly million dollar house unless their suburb has convenient access to electrified transport, because entirely car dependent suburbs in twenty years time will be the new slums.

So that small handful fighting for their relative property values compared to the large majority of people living on parts of the line that get normal train operations are fighting to try to experience large absolute declines in their property values in the decades ahead.

Anonymous said...

Idea: BART runs up over parts of Oakland. Why not just run an elevated platform all the way up the valley over 101??? Downtown issues solved for peninsula cities.