Sunday, April 26, 2009

Gavin Newsom on HSR

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

by Robert Cruickshank

In a meeting with bloggers yesterday at the California Democratic Convention here in Sacramento, Gavin Newsom answered questions on a wide range of topics, including one from Becks who writes at Living in the O on restoring transit funding.


(I'm the one sitting next to Gavin)

Newsom's answer was that California is a wealthy state, and that we should be able to find the means to support transit. He pointed out the absurdity of the federal stimulus supporting spending on infrastructure and rolling stock but not on operating expenses - "we can buy buses but can't pay people to drive them." Newsom specifically mentioned high speed rail in his answer - that when he was younger he took a trip to Europe and rode their high speed trains, but when he came back "all we had was Caltrain." Newsom was a strong supporter of last fall's Proposition 1A, and has been one of the leading forces behind getting the Transbay Terminal done. Newsom wants to build HSR as governor of California - if he won two terms he might be able to preside over the opening of the LA-SF route in 2018.

Of course, his leading rival for the Democratic nomination for governor, Jerry Brown, is also a longtime supporter of HSR, having created the state's first HSR project back in the early 1980s when he was governor. Both men, if they became governor, would presumably be strong supporters of HSR.

I'm headed back to Monterey on the Capitol Corridor this afternoon - use this as an open thread.

103 comments:

Anonymous said...

Let me be the first to say: screw you, Newsom. If you cared about transit, you'd help get Muni out of its financial hole, not dig it deeper with various dubious measures that defeat the will of the voters and transfer tax revenue away from Muni. Maybe if you ever rode the system, you'd know what it needed (hint: it's not the Culture Bus). But that's not how it works, is it? Actually doing things to help environmentally friendly public transit isn't what appeals to your faux-green liberal elite power base, it's making token gestures like getting a hybrid SUV, or putting in a parking lot for the mythical electric cars that nobody (except Newsom and a few dotcom billionaires) seems to actually have, instead of stringing wires for electric trolleybuses, which transport thousands of people every day using clean hydro power. Who knows if Gavin will "support" the HSR or actually give it money, because hey, Ahnold also "supports" it in theory, but put the Authority on a starvation budget for years. Meanwhile, I think us San Franciscans will be happy to see him gone.

jim said...

I'd like t see Gavin win ( even though I'm not thrilled with what he has/hasn't done in Sf. he is long shot though and will have to come up with a way to motivate the rest of the state to vote for him. He has some high negatives. If DiFi runs she will win hands down. IF its between Brown and Newsom it'll come down to who runs the best campaign. People are wary of Newsom and tired of Brown. There's gonna be a huge generation gap in this one. What I don't get on the special election is why republicans are against all of the propositions that promote fiscal responsibility and the dems are for them. Very odd.

jim said...

Anon, you kow that the mayor doeasn't have that much say over what's done with muni. They are trying to put in the TEP but I don't agree with what they are doing there. It's not the mayor who decides to cut runs. The problem is there are two faction is sf. Old school folks who want lots of stops, plenty of service for the folks who need it most, plenty of service to the neighborhoods, etc, and a younger more professional crowd made of up of outsiders who have put pressure on muni to hurry up and get them downtown quickly at the expense of service elsewhere. I don't think they should have combined muni with sfmta.

Rafael said...

@ jim -

the dichotomy you point to regarding Muni buses/streetcars/subway is actually quite common. There are at least two different approaches to satisfy both groups:

A) do stop at all stations, but improve the acceleration/braking performance of the vehicles.

B) implement bypasses to support an additional semi-express level of service for those in a hurry, possibly priced at a premium.

Caltrain went for approach B with its "baby bullet" service. Electrification will allow them to revert to approach A, delivering local service with the end-to-end line haul time of today's baby bullets. Note that Caltrain could negotiate the right to operate a strictly regional HSR service alongside the sped-up locals.

In SF, semi-express service would be fairly easy to implement for bus service. For streetcars and Muni Subway, there is typically not enough width to lay down gauntlet tracks or full quad tracks.

BART is developing a second-best solution in Central Contra Costa County Crossover, which relies on enforced signaling, to allow a semi-express train to safely cut across to the other track, overtake a local train and cut back again.

In theory, a similar approach could work in SF, provided the frequency of local trains is low enough to avoid introducing artificial wait states. It might make sense to offer semi-express service in off-peak hours first and then expand it to rush hour if an when there is both demand and confidence that it can be implemented safely.

Note that semi-express service is very uncommon in streetcar and subway services based on just two tracks. Normally, operators just try to increase the frequency of local service, in effect cutting line haul times by cutting wait times at stops/stations.

In addition, planners for integrated public transport systems always look for opportunities to create networks featuring a large number of convenient transfer points and single tickets with fares based on geographic zones.

jim said...

@rafael well here in Sf, the biggest gripe is generally the bus service... as that is the majority of service and the biggest problem is traiffic and slow boarding exacerbated a LOT by the fact that riders simply refuse to move back and let others in - its the single biggest issue in slowing down the bus service and rampant double parking is the second biggest issue, followed be pedestrians crossing at intersections wehre busses turn... its just very congested here.

jim said...

It wasn't such a big problem until the great plague.. the invasion of the most obnoxious, high strung, overpaid, gogo type A's that took over the city from about 1997 to 2006 or so. That disaster is 2nd only to the 1906 quake and fire in the amount of destruction to San Francisco and it's those folks who foisted changes upon the city that left us in a shambles. Now it's over and what do we have to show for all the "money" "jobs" development" and "revenue" - nothing. We are worse off than ever. Like the holocaust - "never again"

Rafael said...

@ jim -

I haven't ever taken an SF city bus. A common solution for the problem of inadequate pedestrian flow down the aisle is to switch to an honor system for the tickets. Basically, that means passengers are expected to purchase tickets from vending machines and/or participating vendors, e.g. newspaper kiosks.

Passengers are then expected to validate their tickets themselves by inserting them into a slit in one of typically several punch machines on board the vehicle. Holders of long-term passes do not need to punch repeatedly.

Passengers can board or alight at any door, which greatly reduces dwell times during rush hour. On occasion, a small team of undercover inspectors will either board a bus and suddenly flash their badges once the vehicle is on the move. Alternatively, larger teams will execute challenge inspections at the exits of a large terminal or transfer stations.

In such actions, every single passenger is asked for their ticket to avoid any charge of profiling. Anyone caught without a valid ticket has to buy one plus pay a relatively hefty fine on the spot. The fines essentially fund the inspection teams.

The system works best wherever school-age children who live in the city automatically qualify for low-cost annual passes, good for unlimited rides on all public transportation within city limits. Given that children are more likely to dodge fares than other passengers, simply making annual passes affordable for everyone eliminate the biggest headache for an honor system. Note that children from the poorest families get their passes for free.

Parents generally like the approach because it makes their children independently mobile well before they get their own drivers' licenses. It's up to parents to decide at which age their children are mature enough to travel on public transport alone or with an older sibling.

This system of public transport passes would replace dedicated school buses. However, I'm not sure if US school desegregation laws would permit such a switch.

Aaron said...

@Rafael: You should take some SF busses, I don't live up there but I've strangely become rather familiar with them. Despite SF's high transit ridership, they have no LA-style rapids, and only a handful of expresses (largely on the 38-Geary, which is even busier than LA's 20/720/920).

SF is obviously a very small city in terms of land area, and most busses stop every block or every other block (blocks in San Francisco being extremely small). But frankly, with SF's vicious hills and the fact that many elderly and disabled people take the bus in SF, I don't think it's a bad idea. SF's needs are very different than LA, and as a wheelchair user, I'm glad that bus stops in SF are so frequent. TEP tries to streamline that and reduce the number of stops, which may make things more difficult, especially for all of the old Chinese ladies in the Sunset and Richmond ;p.

Aaron said...

@Rafael: Also (I hate posting twice in a row), SF already has a partial proof-of-payment system (one that is, frankly, very difficult for out-of-towners to figure out, even those who have used PoP before in LA). Currently it's only in effect on the surface portions of the Muni LRT lines, but since so many riders in SF have monthly passes, it would not be difficult to implement such a system on the bus lines as well. I'm not sure why they haven't yet, but I'm sure politics are involved.

SF busses have serious capacity issues - it's very difficult for wheelchair users to get from the door to the wheelchair area (there's 2 rows of bench seats, requiring at least six passengers to get up and move every time I get on or off a bus), and the crowded aisles are a very real problem. I'd love to see them buy new busses like the ones LA Metro uses, but unfortunately money doesn't grow on those beautiful sycamores outside City Hall.

Anonymous said...

jim, yes, I'm very aware of the limitiations on what the Mayor can do to Muni, but he's managed to do a lot of damage anyway with the work orders, and with the general apathy toward actually improving anything at Muni.

And jim, I don't really like the sort of people you're talking about either, but you have to realize that in our more or less capitalist society, it's ability to pay that determines who lives where, and if there's anything those ***s have, it's the ability to pay the exorbitant SF prices. But why are the prices so exorbitant? Because of YOU, jim, you and your anti-development attitude. If the city had sane development policies and allowed lots more high-density housing to be built, then maybe people besides the "overpaid gogo type-As" could actually afford to live in this fine City and County that you call home.

Alon Levy said...

Three things.

1. Comparing gentrification to the Holocaust is just not appropriate. It makes people like me, who've had branches of their family almost entirely wiped out in the Holocaust, roll their eyes at you.

2. Proof-of-payment doesn't need to be complicated. In Singapore it works the following way: you board a bus. There's a smart card reader near every door that you can tap. If you don't have a smart card, you can put cash in a box near the driver, who will print you a temporary ticket. This can be done even after the bus starts moving. Once in a blue moon, there's an inspection. Despite the laxity of enforcement, and despite the fact that Singaporean culture is such that people only obey laws when there's harsh punishment, there's very little fare evasion.

3. San Francisco isn't the only city in the world with buses. Examples of how to speed up bus service just from the four cities I've lived in - Tel Aviv, Singapore, Monaco, and New York - include one-way streets with bus-only lanes going in the other direction, proof-of-payment, signal priority, strict enforcement of bus-only lanes, and a mixture of local and express buses serving the same route. In Nice they also physically separate bus lanes from all other traffic.

PA_Marcher said...

I heard Newsom speak in Palo Alto last month and someone asked him what he would do to ensure better oversight of HSR. He said something to the effect of - I've had my share of trouble with the HSRA and if I get into office, there would be some definite changes.

Perhaps someone should get him to elaborate now that he's officially running. Besides supporting HSR - how will he ensure transparency, oversight and accountability?

Spokker said...

"Comparing gentrification to the Holocaust is just not appropriate."

It's like Rwanda, then.

Alon Levy said...

Right...

Spokker said...

Maybe jim meant, "Never forget..." like 9/11?

無名 - wu ming said...

the best way to make both paying fares and the overall system function smoothly is to go to a single rechargeable card w/ microchip that you just place on a reader momentarily when you get on and off the bus. both hong kong and taipei have some version of this that works for the subway, commuter trains, and a host of private bus companies, and it allows them to handle a crush of passengers that puts anything in the US outside of manhattan to shame. on the busses. just get in line, slap it the reader, move to the back, and you're on the bus.

newsom's biggest challenge IMO is explaining how his experience in SF actually translates to dealing with areas with different needs, economies, and levels of income.

Spokker said...

Suica in Tokyo is also a robust model to follow. You can even use them in vending machines.

Alex said...

Vancouver is another city going the smart-card route too.

I lived in Hong Kong for a year, way back in 2000. I LOVED the smart card "octopus" system. Even then, it had become so wide spread that you could use them in stores.

Why are we always 5 to 10 years behind in technology here in North America?

Anonymous said...

The Translink system is a cluster**** of epic proportions, and while I don't really know the details of what went on, I can guess. The problem is that writing software is actually hard, and many people underestimate the difficulty of the task. I'm guessing the contractor for Translink thought that the hard part was installing the hardware, and once they'd done that, they'd just quickly write the backend software and be done with it. And of course the software project became a disaster as many poorly managed projects do. It's also partly the fault of the contracting agency, in this case I believe it's the MTC, for not really having enough competence to properly select and supervise the contractor. Again, this is all purely speculation on my part, but I personally think that it's very like that something very much like this happened.

As a random unrelated factoid, the CharlieCard from Boston seems to use hardware somewhat compatible with Translink, as the Translink readers actually try to read the CharlieCard.

Spokker said...

Alex, these smart cards are more of a mass transit thing and we lack comparable levels of transit. I think we have establish good transit first before putting on the bells and whistles like smart cards.

In an era where tons of agencies are slashing service, we can't afford to waste any money. I'm starting to think that we should look for other funding sources for mass transit that aren't as vulnerable during a recession as we fight for this high speed rail doohicky. I think Robert has established that high speed rail cannot work without good local and regional transit, and I agree 100%.

Alon Levy said...

Alex: one explanation I've read for Japan, which is also true for Hong Kong and Singapore, is that housing prices are extremely high, so 20-somethings can't afford to move out of their parents' homes before they marry. They still work, though, generating a lot of disposable income that doesn't need to go toward rent, utilities, and household necessities like food and furniture. So instead, it goes toward technological gadgets. This creates a large market for a tech industry, which can then go on and develop smart cards, cellphones, and other general-purpose technology.

Anonymous said...

Newsom should first explain why there are *four* different public transit systems running down the same Market Street corridor - BART, Muni rail, Muni bus, and trolley car. If Newsom could actually manage a project of noteworthy proportions, he'd underground everything with Muni rail subway *only*. Since he doesn't have a record of leading any large infrastructure projects on a local level after 6 wasted ego-focused years, voters should think twice about his effectiveness on a statewide level. Then again, who knows how much Meg Whitman would accomplish...

Spokker said...

Those services on Market St. offer different levels of service and go to different things.

BART is regional rail for much of the Bay Area. Muni light rail covers some of the City of San Francisco. The trolleys are part-tourist destination and part connection between Market St. and the Wharf. The Muni buses hit Market St. and branch off to different places.

And there's why I love Market St, both above and below. If only someone could get rid of the cars :)

Spokker said...

Correction: "Those services on Market St. offer different levels of service and go to different *places*."

Aaron said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Aaron said...

@Anon, 8:53pm: You show a startling lack of understanding about how SF works.

1) BART is a multi-county agency that is a commuter rail service. Newsom does not own BART, and BART and Muni share the same tunnel structure in order to save costs; BART's goal is to bring in people from the Peninsula and East Bay, and an efficient way to do that was to share infrastructure. It'd be a waste of resources for Muni to have a tunnel on Market and BART to have a tunnel on Mission or Howard.

2) The busses are feeding into the Downtown financial district and the Muni rail network.

3) F-Market service was meant as a tourist line, but became extremely popular for residents as well (so popular that they're having to add/restore an E-Embarcadero service due to crazy overcrowding).

It's not like any of those services are running empty cars. The demand is there.

(deleted last comment since I didn't finish my sentence, bad me).

jim said...

Oh lord where to begin. I'm not even gonna try.

jim said...

@anon... your comment about the 'allow them to build more dense housing" and how that willbring down prices. No it won't. There are only two others lies bigger than that one, ( the check is in the mail) The is an insatiable demand for housing here much like in manhattan where they never stopped building and prices are thousands of dollars a month regardless of the number of units. Also, there is plenty of availabililty here now- empty units all over town. Its still expensive to live here... Third - during the last boom the thousand of units of housing were built - THOUSANDS and prices went UP not DOWN. because in san francisco the basic laws of supply and demand don't work. When new units here go on the market and can ask a higher price, older units in other neighborhoods take that cue and raise their prices as well as "the new going rate to live in the city" In the meantime I frankly don't care how much newcomers have to pay to live here as I don't want them here anyway. All of us who live here now, already have a place to live. Why in hell would I want to deteriorate the city further by adding more people - at any price? What is the benefit? There isn't any. It just makes it worse for us. More people on muni, more people shoving, more people in line at walgreens, more people in the way on market street, more people tearing up the parks, increased social problems and the need for more and more service for more and more people, while our legendary views and pleasant neighborhoods are ruined for the benefit of developers and outsiders who just want to use the city for their own needs and when times get bad they hit the road with no loyalty whatsoever. good riddance to them. and too any one else who wouldnt defend the neighborhoods, the views, and the quality of life.

無名 - wu ming said...

smart cards aren't bells and whistles gadgets, they are key links in a transit system that make your system run much more smoothly by removing passenger flow bottlenecks, and speeding up transfers between various rail and bus lines. it isn't rocket science, it smoothes things out decidedly for regular commuters, and is a godsend for tourists, who tend to be 10x as boggled when it comes to using multiple systems to get from point A to point B.

given that CAHSR will be funneling a significant # of out-of-city people right into the center of the SF transit system, it would be a great idea to have smart card vending machines right next to the HSR terminal gates, to ease those passengers' transition into the thicket that is bay area transit. total no-brainer.

無名 - wu ming said...

as for jim's cranky rant about outsiders, it is worth pointing out how few of those who complain about outsiders tend to actually come from that place. people have been flooding into SF since john sutter struck gold in sacramento, and they will likely continue, even if homeowners prevent the construction of new housing entirely.

what constraining the supply of housing does is effectively kick the youth out of the city, and let the wealthiest of outsiders buy in when the old folks die or sell their houses and move somewhere cheaper. i've seen it happen in other parts of CA as well, although SF is probably one of the most stark examples.

jim said...

my family has been here for a hundred years and I don't care what anyone thinks about it. and everything I said is the truth. the real truth about what happens when we let them have their way. This city is too special - its not some ugly ass place like houston, or reno, or some other nondescript place - this is a very gorgeous piece of land in a very perfect latitude . don't eff with it.

jim said...

kick the youth out? so we can expect less litter, graffiti, and shoplifting? lol the last time I checked the city was overrun with young people. look now matter how you slice it - cramming more people in the same small space is bad for everyone. this is america not hong kong or calcutta thank you.

Spokker said...

wu ming, perhaps I'm biased because the smart card rollout on Los Angeles' transit system has had mixed results. I would say that it works *okay* based on what I have read from those who use *only* Metro. However, it has created problems with another operator that allows its riders to transfer to Metro bus and rail with their ticket. It's a whole clusterfuck that I kind of don't want to explain. You can read about it here.

Start reading where it says "Proposed Transfer Policy."

All I know is that for the trips I take the loss of transfer privileges will result in a whopping 50 percent fare increase. That's insane and I wish there were more planning between transit agencies. Metro thought nothing of other agencies as they implemented this thing.

Brandon in San Diego said...

Well, this is a post and thread that has spun to the land of out-of-control and off-topic!

In evaluating Newsom, the question should be asked what was San Francisco's contribution from their general fund to support operations and/or capital projects.

As we know, or should know, transit operations need a stable & consistent flow of revenue to maintain service. When revenue flow is uneven or fluctuates... that means services are cut, or capital projects deferred, and/or fares increased.

It is my understanding that prior to Newsom, the City/County programmed "general fund" revenue to augment Muni's budget and provide stable funding. That also kept fares low; $0.75 or $1 per trip.... something like that. Since Newsom became mayor, the City/County general fund contribution was reduced and fares increased.

Granted, the City/County has competing interests for those funds in the vein of city interests; however, transit obviously did not rank high enough to protect that stream of revenue.

AND, I believe there was a minor controversy concerning use of an enacted 1/2-cent sales tax that was funneled to pay for Newsom's staff... that occurred within the past 1-2 years.

I like Newsom. I was on the fence up 'til 1-2 months ago when I saw him on HBO's Bill Maher. He had great talking points and new his topics well... as well as the politics. He turned heads and seemed to impress Maher.. from what I recall.

But, if evaluated on his transit track record... I think I want to know answers to the above.

Rafael-
That Central Contra Costa County crossover project is not for express services... overtaking other trains. It is so BART does not need to run their outbound trains all the way to their yard in Concord, in order to turn their trains around, and then provide more frequent service in the inbound direction. By moving the turn-around location closer to their desired place to begin more frequent service...Pleasant Hill BART Station... they can reduce cycle time and the number of trains they need to run, and thus save operating costs.

Anonymous said...

This city is too special - its not some ugly ass place like houston, or reno, or some other nondescript place - this is a very gorgeous piece of land in a very perfect latitude . don't eff with it.In other words, this is nice land, but you can't get any cause I got here first. Blegh. Anyway, I believe that you're mistaken in some of your other beliefs. You give New York as an example, saying thousands of new units were built. But 2000 units out of a population of 2 million is an increase of 0.2 percent, hardly enough to matter in terms of overall supply and demand. And I think having more people in a city generally makes it better, and SF is nowhere near the level of crowdedness of Hong Kong. And going sort of back to the topic at hand (Gavin Newsom, that is), I personally do share some of your concerns about developers and their attempts to destroy the city. I think developers need to be tightly controlled, projects need to be made small (lot-sized, not block-sized), and very strong disincentives should given to keep them from tearing down existing old and affordable housing to build new "luxury" housing. But I think that over all, the only possible way to make housing more affordable in any reasonably fair way is to build much more of it, and of course, the infrastructure needs to be upgraded to match. But hey, the more people live along a train line, the more profitable that line gets, because the track is a fixed cost, and the trains are a comparatively cheap variable cost. And as for overall environmentalism, I think there are huge benefits to letting people live in more dense areas and reduce their travel, as well as in areas with a "perfect climate" that doesn't require much heating or air conditioning.

BruceMcF said...

Brandon in San Diego said... "That Central Contra Costa County crossover project is not for express services... overtaking other trains. It is so BART does not need to run their outbound trains all the way to their yard in Concord, in order to turn their trains around, and then provide more frequent service in the inbound direction. By moving the turn-around location closer to their desired place to begin more frequent service...Pleasant Hill BART Station... they can reduce cycle time and the number of trains they need to run, and thus save operating costs."

Thanks for that ... that makes more sense. It would seem that rebuilding some of the designated local-only stations with one siding platform would be a more effective means of introducing an Express/Local mix if one was REALLY desirable.

Of course, without spare capacity through the CBD, that is trading off speed from outlying express stations for fewer services at intermediate local stations ... unless the split is that existing services become outlying Express services and new outlying locals are put on, which maintains frequency but adds a transfer to intermediate local stations.

All up, new Express capacity with effective interchanges with BART ... say, a short stretch of dual gauge platform track for platform/platform interchange ... would seem to be a more effective approach. That lets personal preference decide whether people at the intermediate stations prefer the transfer to the Express or the single ride through to the CBD.

mike said...

Wow Jim, it turns out that you share much more in common with our friends down in Palo Alto/Menlo Park than one might have first imagined. You guys should get together and throw one big NIMBY party!

Yes, many people find San Francisco, and the Bay Area in general, to be a desirable place to live. The fact that your family has lived here a hundred years, however, is irrelevant. It's a free country - you can't stop people from crossing the border into SF any more than they can stop you from ever crossing the border out of SF. I live in SF and my family has lived in this area for almost 50 years, but I don't think that gives me any right to prevent others from moving in.

Anyway, you're confusing cause and effect. Rising prices (or more accurately, expectations of rising prices) caused the high rise condo boom by making it profitable to build these buildings. Building more housing units did not cause prices to rise (quite the opposite...prices would go up even further or fall less if all the condos hadn't been built...prices on the new condos in SOMA are down probably 30% from peak because there is a glut now).

Your claim is equivalent to observing that BART runs parallel to some of the most congested highway corridors in the Bay Area and claiming that BART therefore causes traffic congestion. BART doesn't cause traffic congestion...it was built there in response to traffic congestion (or expectations of future traffic congestion).

At any rate, people have to live somewhere, and I'd much rather have them living in cities, burning less fuel, and building up the density required to support better transit service, than living out in the exurbs and driving 20,000 miles per year. Even if it means the wait at my local Walgreens might be a little longer.

Gavin Calcs said...

Gavin Newsom (and other SF originated politicians), make a pretty significant political miscalculation if they believe and act as if SF is the center of the universe. Newsom decided to come to Palo Alto (home of Facebook)to announce his candidacy live. Hmmm. Interesting - if he thinks PA and other silicon valley high tech/small towns (that he apparently is pretty interested in pandering to), are going to roll over and get railroaded by CHSR, for the sake of San Francisco's tourist industry.

In fact, I wouldn't be a bit surpised if we soon hear ol Gav start touting the undergrounding of HSR through these communities. or "HSR done right". As a gubenatorial candidate, Gavin might just see the need to start broadening his horizons a bit beyond the 46 square miles that is SF. We'll see how long it takes him.

Anonymous said...

Gavin Calcs just cracks me up. Half of California's population is Bakersfield and south, and you use Palo Alto as an example of "outside SF". The Bay Area isn't the center of the universe either, nor is it even the center of SF, and Gavin is going to have to have at least some appeal to SoCal if he wants to become governor.

Newsom Calcs said...

Yes, its true, I didn't mention every constituency that Newsom is going to have to figure out how to appeal to. There's an extremely conservative population outside of the Bay Area. From Roseville to Orange County - he'll have a hell of a time convincing anyone to vote for him. We'll see him changing his tune on a lot of topics soon, once he realizes he has to step outside of SF interests. (And No, The Bay Area is not equivalent to SF. SF interests have almost NOTHING to do with the interests of the Peninsula cities, and you're making the same mistake he may be (yet to see) by lumping it all together.

However - Gee, you'd think by CHSRA's insistence that they MUST run the high speed rail directly through the Peninsula, that in fact it IS the center of the universe. In fact its really the residents here that know much better. In fact, why don't you convince CHSRA to take it elsewhere. In fact go FIND the center of the Universe, and take it there.

BruceMcF said...

"Gee, you'd think by CHSRA's insistence that they MUST run the high speed rail directly through the Peninsula, that in fact it IS the center of the universe."

Why precisely would anyone think any such thing?

You'd think by CHSRA's decision on the Caltrain corridor as the preferred alignment that it is an existing rail ROW, 100 feet or more wide for the majority of its length, already slated for substantial electrification and grade separation upgrades, and with existing regular rail services slated for increasing frequency themselves that can act as a ready made rail recruiter and distributer for a mid-Peninsula station.

Its not the preferred alignment because its the Center of the Universe, but rather because its the most obvious choice for the preferred alignment to connect San Jose and San Francisco to Southern California along a single alignment.

jim said...

I wonder what his take is on the transbay terminal situation? Between Gavin Brown and Feinstein who do we think will do the best for HSR and CAli in general? I like Gavin's ideas, but I wonder if he can manage the state well. Feinsteiin can get things done and she's a moderate. I'm kind of tired of Brown.

arcady said...

Hm, I wonder if someone from this blog can get Newsom to say something about HSR here. Skeptical as I may be about him in general, I think it would certainly boost his credibility on this issue, and in general too.

murphstahoe said...

I agree with the very first commenter. Newsom is the Mayor. It all trickles down from there. If Gavin doesn't have much say on what MUNI is doing and MUNI is doing poorly - Gavin as Mayor needs to take the lead in replacing the staff. The buck stops with the Mayor - the same is true of being Governor.

The Supervisors in SF are now in a huge kerfluffle over MUNI's budget and the Mayor is MIA.

The Bike Plan has been delayed for over 3 years now. Certainly this doesn't happen except for one wingnut - but there was no reason not to sort this thing out much faster.

Mayor Daley would probably not be able to pull some of the stunts here that he's done in Chicago (ripping up Miegs field in the middle of the night) but he gets things done. Gavin has no record of the sort. Gavin is a great face for ribbon cuttings, but he does not have the skill or temperament to be Governor - witness his repeated temper tantrums with the local media. That will NOT fly in higher office, but I have no reason to believe that promotion will improve his behavior.

jim said...

The difference between chicago and new york is that chicago has a political machine where everything is determined by money. In san francisco things are more democratic in that nearly every san franciscan is a constituency unto themselves and no one is denied a voice. Its great, but it makes the city impossible to manage. No mayor in the last 30 years at least has been able to manage the city. Walking a line between, traditional democrats, progressives, liberals, developers, public employees, unions, gays, the sanctuary-ists, god knows how many diferent racial minorities, the homeless contingent and their supporters, and the fact that each and every nieghborhood in each an every district carries its own seprate political clout and desires in a city of 800k is an impossible task. No one can do it. You can't get san franciscans on the same page about anything except tragedy. San Franciscans come toegther for things like Jonestown, Milk MOscone, Loma prieta, but thats it.

jim said...

I meant the diff between chicago and SF ( not new york)

murphstahoe said...

Jim - that's BS. Daley bulldozed Meigs Field in the middle of the night and put in a PARK - sticking it in the face of the money, in order to save the City of Chicago millions of dollars.

Not exactly playing nice. But the distance between what Gavin is doing and what Daley is willing to do is wider than the Grand Canyon - with some chutzpah and attention, Gavin could get some stuff done. But he's too busy hanging out in Davos and campaigning for Governor.

jim said...

Yes well im not a big fan of gavin at all, but you aren't going to get away with doing stuff like that in san francisco because of the constituencies I mentioned. and the fact that everything has to go through the board of supervisors. No one is gonna bulldoze naything here in the middle of the night and you know it.

jim said...

in any case, for those of you who don't follow transit here closely this is what's going on. One, we still have the issue, in the process of being resolved, of deciding between less neighborhood service and fewer stops and more express service and higher volume on the bigger runs. A compromise will be reached somewhere in the middle. I for one do not support cutting neighborhood services, or limiting senior and disabled access. As for speeding up the busiest most congested routes, when completed, three projects, the central subway, Van Ness BRT Geary BRT, will greatly improve service on the cities most overcrowded lines. These three projects have been well planned out, the central subway has received high priority from the feds for funding, and the Van Ness and Geary BRT routes will have to wait until the economy/budget problems are worked out. In the meantime, MUNI is laying off employees and cutting services - a separate issue from the TEP recommendations. As for paying fares, we use an honor system inthe subway with "fare inspectors" writing tickets, however muni is now going to lay off a lot of fare inspectors as well as meter maids, which will cut revenue collection and may be a wash. As for faster boarding, most people do use the back door even though its against policy, and the slow down due to boarding is due to paying the fare, its the fact that people refuse to move back and continue to block the doors so people can't get on. In the meantime half the riders are mad at people using the back door assuming they aren't paying there fare, while the other half want to use the back to speed things up. ( notice how this supports my previous point of never being able to get SFers on the same page about an issue) The "translink" system has been a disaster bay area wide, and is basically a useless waste of money as most people only use one or two modes anyway. Overall I give muni high marks as it has certainly met my needs for decades. Once the three big projects are completed things will be even better. Again, neighborhood service and multiple stops ( especially in hilly districts) should not be cut and these very vocal constituencies will like do a good job of preventing at least some of those cuts. IN the meantime fares are going up this summer and again at the beginning of next year. So that's where its at for now. And just to clarify Muni, is now sfmta which is the transit (muni) AND parking and traffic, it remains to be seen whether or not this is the best structure.

Alon Levy said...

You know, until the 1990s New York was considered ungovernable too. It had high crime rates, a volatile racial situation, machine politics, and people who didn't trust one another...

calcs said...

And how does prospective governor Newsom defend the massive and duplicative government spending on luxury high speed rail line in California (who's sole purpose really is to get tourists between Disneyland and SF) when local transit solutions across the state are being starved, services to the needy getting cut, routes being cut, fares being raised, etc.

(And this doesn't even to begin to consider the massive school funding issues, water issues, power/enegy issues, etc.)

What would be his proposal to develop and fund the massive NEW amounts of public tranist that would be required to bring riders deep into the Penisula cities (caltrain line) without cars, where these services don't exist today? (Of course, implementing the CHSRAs wild and crazy ridership vision without cars, because we all KNOW that the premise for CHSR is how lushly GREEN the new system will be, and how much it reduces everyones dependence on automobiles..)

Yes, I'd LOVE To have Newsom post something on the matter of HSR, and how he justifies it outside of the SF city limits.

jim said...

This isn't new york, never will be and doesn't want to be. New york is new york. San Francisco is San Francisco. They are too completely different animals. San Franciscans are overwhelmingly against what has been knows as "manhattanization" and in fact there's new buzz about putting stricter height limits back on downtown. The northern and western neighborhoods are very well protected against much development, and the eastern neighborhoods plan has already spelled out the details for the only remaining developable part of the city with specifics on zoning and height limits.
The eastern neighbors with separate sub section ( mission bay and western soma) can be seen here.

http://www.sfgov.org/site/uploadedfiles/planning/Citywide/Eastern_Neighborhoods/Eastern_Neighborhoods_Planning_Areas_Map.pdf

wesern soma:
http://www.sfgov.org/site/uploadedimages/westernsoma/planarea.jpg
mission bay:
http://www.sfgov.org/site/uploadedfiles/sfra/Projects/MB%20Development%20Projects%20Map_3.06(1).pdf

jim said...

HEres a better link that shows everything:
http://www.sfgov.org/site/planning_index.asp?id=25288

murphstahoe said...

Jim - you disqualified yourself with "these three projects have been well thought out" with one of those being the Central Subway. That is definitely an issue where a strong - and wise - mayor would torpedo that boondoggle pronto.

jim said...

Its not a boondoggle. How do you figure its a boonddoggle?

jim said...

I don't hacve time to set you straight right now as its timefor work but I assure you it is a very important project and as I said has been determined to be a high priority funding project by the feds as well.

Alon Levy said...

Jim: when you say San Franciscans, do you mean San Franciscans as a whole, or just the third of them who were born in California? Are you even attempting to count the other two thirds, or are they dead to you?

lyqwyd said...

Newsom is a freaking joke. He likes to claim he's done stuff for transit, but the only thing I've seen him do is pose for photo opps. Why is Muni in such a mess if he's so transit focused? The muni board is appointed by him and they do nothing while the budget falls apart? It takes the board of supervisors to get involved before anybody questions the "work orders" sent to Muni by every other city department. Newsom sucks, he can barely handle being mayor of SF, much less governor.

Newsom likes to know about an issue and have the right response, but followup? Time to actually get something done? He's nowhere to be found.

murphstahoe said...

"I don't hacve time to set you straight right now as its timefor work but I assure you it is a very important project and as I said has been determined to be a high priority funding project by the feds as well."

The feds got their info from Gavin. Gavin got his info from the contractors who will make $$$ on this. Nuff said.

lyqwyd said...

I agree with jim regarding the Central Subway. It is a needed connection in the SF transit network, and will open up options that never existed before.

The buses that go along the same route are insanely crowded, all day every day. I used to work along that bus route (can't remember the number anymore), but it would be packed to the gills every time I stepped out of my office. I've never seen a bus more crowded than that one, and I used to ride on the 38.

Although it may not be as cost effective as some other projects, I believe it will add value to the T-line and open up ridership, as there are some people who will not ride a bus, but will ride a streetcar.

I sincerely hope they find a way to end it in North Beach, or better yet at the end of Van Ness, or farther, that will truly make it a great line.

Alon Levy said...

Okay, so there needs to be a Central Subway. Why does it have to be backward compatible with legacy light rail, so that it can only run three-car trains?

Aaron said...

@Alon: The goal, as I understand it, is to pull the T-Third out of the Market subway and run it solely up the Central Subway (also will help with the mess that has led to the K being interlined with the T); thus, it needs to be inter-operable with the T-Third, and the goal is to use the same rolling stock the rest of Muni uses. I think your assertion is that Muni's rolling stock is suboptimal, and if we were building a new transit system from scratch, I would agree. But Muni has problems more similar to Boston
and Philadelphia than to Los Aneles, and they have to have a system that works on the tracks they have.

I think the jury is still out on whether or not such an expensive subway is needed (frankly, if they're going to build it, I say build it to North Beach or not at all, I hate half-built transit), but if they do build it, it should be compatible with Muni's current equipment.

arcady said...

The problem with the Central Subway is that, first of all, it's inherently limited in capacity in the current design, because they're only going to build 2-car platforms. Secondly, it's not going to be very convenient for that super-overloaded segment from Market to Chinatown, because on the Market Street end, there will be a long walk to transfer (and a long escalator ride down the deep tube) and on the Chinatown end, there will be a cascade of 3 or 4 escalators from the surface to the platform. It might well take more time than the 30/45, and will probably be less convenient for people carrying loads of shopping bags. The current design of the Central Subway is the product of a very long process of political wrangling intermixed with fudging the design to make it actually work. Originally it was supposed to have gone up 3rd and Kearney, serving the Financial District, then they moved it over to Stockton, with a zigzag route from 3rd via Geary to Stockton (which was supposed to also be used as part of the Geary line eventually), then they made this deep tunnel horror which will go under the BART line at Market. And for just the amount of the latest cost overrun, they could have extended the T on street trackage to Van Ness/North Point, providing at least some relief to both the 30/45 and Central Subway.

Brandon in San Diego said...

Bruce,
From early this AM, BART has no plans for express service. As you said, they do not have the capacity in teh CBD.. or tube under Bay. But, also notable is that it would take substantial funding to enable express services with a third track required along the majority of each line. And, if done in a piecemeal fashion, there are no guarantees it would work... or have a long operable life before something else is needed.

The crossover at Pleasant Hill has one function... really... to just turn trains around sooner rather than go all the way to the Concord BART Yard. Or, beyond to the Concord BART Station. Hey, since those trains are almost all the way to the Concord BART Station.. might as well start trains there. Tho... added capacity is needed beginning at the PH Bart Station. Unfortunately for Concord users... they don't know that they are about to get less service some time after those crossovers are operable.

murphstahoe said...

My general statement on the Central Subway is to challenge anyone to tell me what constituency will ride it?

People from Chinatown headed to Caltrain? People from Bayview headed to Chinatown?

Stockton is very crowded so it seems intuitive that this rail line will solve it, but I honestly can't figure out who will ride it.

My data - I ride MUNI extensively and have ridden the 30 plenty of times, and I take Caltrain every weekday. The new configuration would definitely be bad for anyone commuting to Caltrain from anywhere not directly on the extension.

The majority of 30 riders I observe boarding in Chinatown transfer at Powell to MUNI or BART. No matter how gnarly the 30 can be - the Central Subway is a longer walk from most locations in Chinatown to then go down 9 levels, for a train that won't be any more frequent. Admittedly it whips you to Union Square but then you have a long walk. The only way people will take it is if the 30 is deprecated, which can't happen for the riders coming from North/West of Chinatown.

Sadly we aren't given an either/or choice of whether to fast-trak the TEP with the money, but we could do amazing things with that amount of cash. It's a tough, non-obvious, politically less flashy choice - and Gavin doesn't have the stones or motivation to make it.

jim said...

I'm too exhausted tonight to even start. You all go ahead since you have it all figured out.

jim said...

Alon Levy said...
Jim: when you say San Franciscans, do you mean San Franciscans as a whole, or just the third of them who were born in California? Are you even attempting to count the other two thirds, or are they dead to you? Mostly dead. If they came here during the great invasion. They won't stay. They go places to use the resources and to make money, not because they have any kind of real connection to the place. They come they go. Ill still be here 20-30 years from now so Im concerned with what goes on in the long term, not just what makes some obnoxious little punks a quick buck.

jim said...

The central subway is a political reality.
The subway will be designed to eventually serve the north beach wharf area ( future) chinatown ( most dense and only neighborhood that has a business district that will embrace it) union square ( heart of the city) the 4th street corridor ( high density per the new eastern neighborhoods plan in case you havent read that) the third street corridor ( most of sf future residential development will take place here) and ending near candlestick just north of the biotech area (oyster point and with the new UC campus at the north end see where the leads 20 years down the road???) When finally built out ( neighborhood plans and subway) this will be a major north south end to end corridor that will rival mission street end to end. Yes at first glance, my impression was way spend so much to go such a short distance, but after reading further into the future you see the bigger plan. One can argue the details platforms locations etc... but in this ctown everything that is done is a political compromise. That is a political reality. Just like there won't be a greary subway for the simple fact that geary merchants oppose it. short sighted yes, a political reality, yes. You should have seen the huge fight starbucks had to fight and eventually LOST simply trying to open a store on geary blvd. There is one other corridor planned to be a main corridor and that is 16th street from mission down to mission bay. Geary gets brt built to future light rail standards for future conversion. Van Ness gets brt also built for future light rail conversion. And all the whining about how things are done won't make any difference to most because most will leave town who can't cope with how things are done. Those of us who will still be here to see the end result in 20-30 years, will have long since adapted.

jim said...

This is very interesting article on the history of sf streetcars subways and buses, the pro and con forces over the years, and specifically addressing geary blvd. There have been several attempts from the 1930s to the 2000s to get a geary subway and the merchants are against it everytime.

jim said...

http://blog.streetcar.org/2008/09/what-might-have-been-geary.html

adn for the sake of staying on topic. I doubt newsom will win anyway.

jim said...

and to anyone who wonders why some would so carefully defend the past or be wary of the future you only have to look at what we HAD here in the way of transit before to realize that destroying the old for the new has proven time and time again to be a mistake. Here's an article on the line my grandparents used to ride that ran at lands end on land that has since washed into the pacific - with cool pics- http://www.outsidelands.org/lands-end-station.php

arcady said...

Wow, 6 comments in a row. That must be a new record.

Anyhow, about the Central Subway: I think most people agree that there's a need for some kind of improvement in this corridor, and probably most agree that it should be light rail, and even that it should go down 4th and Stockton (rather than 3rd and Kearny or something). But the current design is in many ways suboptimal. For one thing, it's inconvenient for the very busy Chinatown to Market St segment, and even if most of the ridership switched to subway, it might not be able to cope with demand, given that they're only building narrow two-car platforms. In terms of overall system connectivity, the transfer to Market Street's Muni and BART will probably be very inconvenient. And the whole thing costs a lot, and will take a long time to build. A surface line would be arguably more convenient for more people, possibly not much slower, especially when you count the vertical travel time to get from the subway to the surface and the presence of the Stockton Tunnel, and could be built much, much faster. And if it proves inadequate, it's not that much of a waste to replace it with a subway.

4th/Stockton also not the most important corridor: Geary has far more demand overall, and would expand rail transit to areas that don't have it at all. The Geary BRT might look like a great iea, but keep in mind that it only addresses the outer part of Geary, west of Laguna. I don't think merchant opposition would be a problem: if they can live with BRT, they should be able to live with rail, as it fits in the same space, and rail would have a much higher capacity (3 car trains instead of articulated buses). Oh, and it would potentially connect to HSR at Transbay, though the 4th/Stockton line would connect at 4th/King.

jim said...

They do have a problem with rail - thats what the point is. They have said it time and time again they do not want a subway under geary. Im not arguing what's best - im reporting facts of the way it is - the sf political reality. Also, the central subway options including surface which cant cross market, have already been studied to death. The current design, the chosen design after countless options, reviews, and pubcil meetings, is the compormise after being tweeked by neighborhood groups, merchants, and engineers. It is the result of many studies of many options and a lot of community input. Like i said that is how its done here. There's no point in going back and saying, "oh they should do this" It would be like going back and saying, "hey they should run HSR down thi-5." ( and yes I post a ot at night after work cuz im at the peak of my day then sorry to be so chatty but there's no one up tot respond at at that hour.)

jim said...

@arcady "4th/Stockton also not the most important corridor: Geary has far more demand overall, and would expand rail transit to areas that don't have it at all. " again you missed the part about the eastern neighborhoods plan that incorporates high density along fourth to work in harmony with the central subway. Its not for today, its planning for future growth which is something that people on this blog tend to support. If I had my way, Id stop all development and we wouldn't need the subway and Id send 200,000 poeple back to where they came from, problem solved. But since every who doesn't live here seems to think that the new people in cali should get dumped on SF instead of in their towns and neighborhoods, the least we have a right to do is contain them in planned corridors on subway lines, at least that will help to keep them out of the way.

jim said...

another reality that no one is going to talk about is that the politics of the project have to do with the two vocal communities who wanted the service the chinese and the black community, both neighborhoods have been historically underserved by muni and this project answers their demands. As for the who will ride it question.... you can't think in terms of commuters all the time. its not about commuters, its about people going about their daily chores and such, and many many people ride from the bay view to market street and up towards the wharf and many people will transfer at powell, including me, to get from the subway to the northeast part of the city. For instance currenly the only way I can get from civic center to north beach is by cab so I rarely go over there. I wont ride the 30 because its disgusting. Once I am in north beach after a show at beach blanket, I end up walking home every time because you can't get a cab, and the 30 is to full to pick up passengers. I can walk to broadway faster than I can get their on muni. with a transfer at Powell and a train to Washnton St, it'll be simple and fast. Another realted note, there is a desire to also revive the wharf/ft mason/marina/ golden gate bridge line and extend light rail from the wharf to the bridge either via the t or f. however, so far it is being blocked by the marina district residents.

arcady said...

jim, my impression is that the merchants on Geary were deathly afraid of losing parking or roadway space, and that the issues were largely on bits west of Fillmore (which would be surface running with both LRT or BRT), rather than east, which would be mostly subway. I probably don't know the whole story here, as I haven't exactly been following the issue closely and don't know the whole backstory to it. As for the design of the Central Subway, yes, it's a compromise. But at some point, if you keep compromising, you get a solution that won't please anyone, and might even have traded away some critical things, like cost-effectiveness or even more importantly operational effectiveness. Recent history leads me to believe that at a high level, Muni has a very poor grasp of how much capacity their system actually has, and other operational realities. The startup of the T is a case in point: before the K/T interlining, there just was not enough space in the subway for all the trains. And I think this ignoring of operational realities will lead to disaster with the Stockton line, given that they only plan two-car platforms, ridiculously deep stations, a very long transfer from Market Street (the station will actually physically be at Union Square). The whole design really doesn't make much sense as a line designed from scratch, only as the result of a long complicated political process with lots of compromises eventually leading to this rather compromised solution.

jim said...

why they did it - from sfmta:

Central Subway Project Draft SEIS/SEIR 1-5
the
Central Subway and the Third Street Corridor to transit lines serving all parts of San Francisco and the
region. The Third Street Light Rail Project was intended to address the inequality of transit connections to the Muni Metro rail system and to regional transit services such as BART--- perceived by residents of the corridor.--- High employment rates for the Bayview and Visitacion Valley residents made the need for improved transit connections to regional employment centers particularly critical. Economic vitality was also a key issue for Chinatown residents and businesses that experienced reduced accessibility as a result
of the removal of the Embarcadero Freeway following the 1989 earthquake.
For the Phase 2 Central Subway Project, transit accessibility along the Corridor is particularly critical as
the population has a higher degree of transit dependency (72 percent of households along the Central
Subway Corridor are without a vehicle compared to 29 percent citywide) and higher unemployment rates
than other parts of the City (9 percent unemployed in the Central Subway Corridor versus 4.6 percent
citywide unemployment).3 The Phase 2 Central Subway also provides the opportunity for future

3
2000 U.S. Census Data


1.0: PURPOSE AND NEED - PROJECT GOALS AND OBJECTIVES

connections to other key transit corridors, such as Geary and North Beach, identified in the 1995 Four
Corridor Plan.4

jim said...

@arcady"The whole design really doesn't make much sense as a line designed from scratch, only as the result of a long complicated political process with lots of compromises eventually leading to this rather compromised solution." Yes I agree with what you are saying/seeing from your perspective, what I am trying to get people tounderstand is how things come to fuition here. and the way its done is just that. a compromise where everyone and their dog ( literally sometimes) has a say. So we get what we get, but its a solution that is reached by consensus. then we move on. Thats way my head explodes sometimes when I hear people from god knows where saying " they (sf) need to this that and the other when they don't get it. I mean Id never consider telling anaheim how they should build or situate their hsr/transit center.

jim said...

the station have to be deep because they have to get under a deep sewer system under mission street. ( not just bart) and whats the big seal about deep stations? are we afraid to ride the escalator? I dont get it.

jim said...

I guess I need to start my own san francisco transit blog page huh.

from sfmta:
"The rate of population increase in the Central Subway Corridor is far greater than the City as a whole,
which is expecting a 20 percent population increase. The 26 percent employment increase in the Central
Subway Corridor is slightly lower than the projected citywide employment growth of 28 percent over the
same period. Much of the population and employment growth would result from ongoing development in
the Mission Bay Area, and projected development in the South of Market Area, which the Central
Subway Project would traverse."

lyqwyd said...

As far as who will ride the Central Subway I see it this way: from a ridership perspective it's actually 2 different lines... coming from Chinatown (and hopefully from North Beach or beyond) to Market St. people coming from west/north of Market will ride it to Market & 4th area.

The second line is basically the T, but going directly to Market & 4th instead of all the way to embarcadero and then back up to Market. I ride this way, and it will save about 5-10 minutes not having to loop back to get to Market st shopping areas.

A 3rd ridership contingent will be those with access to the existing lines (N,J,K, etc) trying to get to Caltrain... again, it will save 5-10 minutes on those trips.

Finally, a far off in the future hope will be a branch that goes up geary, replacing the Geary BRT line. Without building the Central Subway connecting Geary to Market will never happen.

I agree that the CS is suboptimal, but the reality is that if it were done in cut and cover it would be blocked by business interests. The only option after that is a deep tunnel.

To say that the money would be better used elsewhere is misleading, because the money would not exist if it is not spent on the CS. The vast majority of the money is federal (about 80% IIRC) and if it's not spent on the CS it doesn't get redirected to other Muni projects, it goes away. Since California contributes more money to the federal government than it receives I'm for almost anything that will get us some of that money back, particularly on a project that, although it's suboptimal in design, is a necessary connection in SF that will open up many future possibilities.

The same thing can be said for the T-line, if it wasn't built, the Central Subway wouldn't have been. It wasn't ideal, but it was necessary, and it serverd an underserved part of SF and has opened up lots of transit oriented design possibilities, and will reduce the traffic impacts of the UCSF Mission Bay campus development.

jim said...

thats right. personally I can't wait because I may actually go over to north beach for dinner once in a while.

Alon Levy said...

Jim: the majority of rail ridership comes from commuters. Even in New York, people with unlimited monthly cards ride the subway 55 times a month on average, as compared with 43-44 swipes for weekday commute. People with pay-per-ride cards swipe less.

Now, you're welcome to argue San Francisco is more rail-friendly than New York so it'll generate more discretionary travel... but that would be weird, to say the least.

murphstahoe said...

"I wont ride the 30 because its disgusting. Once I am in north beach after a show at beach blanket, I end up walking home every time because you can't get a cab, and the 30 is to full to pick up passengers."

But the Central Subway is sure to be like lounging around in Emirates First Class section, clearly...

murphstahoe said...

"A 3rd ridership contingent will be those with access to the existing lines (N,J,K, etc) trying to get to Caltrain... again, it will save 5-10 minutes on those trips"

Gavin looks at a map and thinks like you do - and this is why he should be shot down - he doesn't actually ASK the people using the service.

I lived in the Castro and take Caltrain to work every day. This change will make the Caltrain commute WORSE - not better.

If you are on an N Judah - which will take you to Caltrain, you would be crazy to get off at Powell, walk 1/4 mile to the T stop, then connect. With the long walk it cannot possibly be a timed transfer - you might end up with a 5-10 minute wait. By that time, you would already be at Caltrain. Then the new subway is still above ground before the platform at 4/K and will get stuck in the crazy light cycles that are sure to exist at 4th, just as they are today.

Current KLM riders - if they are on a K they would similarly be better off if that train went to Caltrain the old way. If you get an LM you ride to Powell and get the next T/N - twice the frequency of the Central Subway.

Overall the best case time savings is trivial, and the cost to get it is a lot of hassle compared to just staying seated in a KT/N.

Honestly with the Central Subway in place it would probably be faster to switch to the 47 at Van Ness, all you have to do there is walk up the stairs to the 47 stop, and the 47 travels on less trafficked streets to Caltrain.

arcady said...

To say that the money would be better used elsewhere is misleading, because the money would not exist if it is not spent on the CS.That was one of the big arguments Robert Moses used to push through his highways, and you can see where that went. Please don't use it.

Without building the Central Subway connecting Geary to Market will never happen.This was true of an earlier Central Subway alignment (it went on 3rd, Geary, and Stockton) but I don't see how it's true now.

Overall, I think the Central Subway would do a poor job of connecting Market St to Caltrain, a poor job of connecting Chinatown or Bayview to Market St transit, and a reasonably good job of connecting Bayview to Chinatown and eventually North Beach. Really, though, SF needs to take a step back and work out a more comprehensive plan for rail expansion, and figure out just what they need to build to provide a faster and more functional urban transit system. Which, bringing this all back to the original topic somewhat, is something that Newsom could have instigated as mayor but did not.

jim said...

And again everyone is overlooking the long term plan and only looking at what they want for today. The long term plan is a high density corridor from market to bayview - thousands and thousands - almost all of sfs future growth and develpment will be adjacent to this corridor and that is the plan.

and what are you doing living in the castro and commuting on caltrain?

jim said...

Isn't it generally agreed that folks should live closer to work and with the cost of living so high in SF I'm not sure why anyone would live here if they don't work here when its cheaper to live outside the city and closer to work. But in anycase, none if this 9 and im not really a supporter0 is gavin's fault. In san francisco the mayor doesn't have much power. The board of supervisors has a lot of power. and as I pointed out - it wasnt' the mayor who said make the subway this way, it was community input - the subway was going to be longer for instance and the folks new lofties/ residents of the snottified townsend 4th area didn't want an underground station the wanted it to stop on the corner. and thats what they got. Chinatown got what they wanted, and third/bayview got what they wanted, and the rest from union square to moscone center has to be squeezed in best they can.. it has to go deep under mission due to sewer, and it has to go deep under market due to bart, and there isn't money or room for a market stop and a union square stop 3 blocks away, which would be ridiculous. I seem to recall riding the subway in boston decades ago and they had these long walkways downtown between four stations - boylston-haymarket- washington? something like that. you could transfer through these long corridors under the street. in Sf, the left hates the mayor because they think he's to yuppiefied and the right hates the mayor because they think he's to progressive. it is a thankless job and no mayor, has been considered "successful" for decades. ( willie brown was loved and hated at the same time as well but was lucky enough to be mayor when we got a lot of money to spend from the feds for loma prieta rebuilding and a booming clinton economy at the same time. NO mayor of sf can take a hard line to get something done. the rest of the power structure will just laugh at them. a chicago mayor would be lost here and a guliani would be run out of town. sorry.

jim said...

and no wonder there isn't enough housing for people who work here to live here when people who don't even belong here are hogging it for the sake of being hip.

Aaron said...

@Jim: I don't disagree with you, but if they're only putting in 2-car platforms, I'm wondering just how good the long-term planning is...

Having said that, having had the misfortune of being on a 30-Stockton before, I can tell you, it's pretty awful. The Central Subway will meet a needed demand.

In addition, you're right about Boston. The transfer at Haymarket and North Station is painless, but at Park/Downtown Crossing, as well as State Street, the transfers involve an obscene amount of walking. At State Street, it's obvious that they artificially connected 2 subway stations that weren't meant to be connected. Yet, people transfer from the Orange to the Blue lines on a daily basis.

I don't like that there isn't an easy transfer at Market, but I think it'll work out in the end. I'm just worried about the 2-car platform part of it, I hope they build in such a way that they can extend platforms later, like NYC does periodically.

jim said...

OH yeah it WAS state street and and the blue and red? blue and orange? anyway, I remember it - it was 1979 i spent a year there in junior high, they were remodeling the downtown stations, and they had boeing cars on the green line just like munis old cars the blue line from wonderland was this rickety old thing that would know you on the floor

jim said...

you know Im assuming they built for two car trains because other than a very short stretch of subway, the rest of the line is surface and they only ever run 2 car trains. they will never run more than two cars on that line. just like they wont run more than two cars on the N. At least the nickname will be applied more appropriately to a train than the bus.

jim said...

and anyway all this hoopla about speeding up muni. the only people who want to speed up muni are the ones who are always in a big rush because they don't manage their time properly, or have put themselves into a bad commute situation, and the ones who are just high strung no matter what. Why change the whole thing around for them anyway? (probably just more of those new folks anyway) i say make life here as annoying as possible to them so they'll get mad and leave.

Aaron said...

By the way, they still used those Boeings as of a few years ago :(. I think they were finally phased out of the D line in 2007.

jim said...

I like our bredas, but I wonder what we'll get next.

jim said...

clik my avatar and see the future of muni per the buzz I pick up here and there.

Anonymous said...

jim: do you consider yourself to be a conservative? Because it's pretty clear from your comments that you are one, and there's nothing wrong with that, so long as you admit it. You're not alone in your views in the Bay Area either, but what really irks me is not that that Bay Area people have these views, it's that they try to then pass themselves as liberals and progressives and the like.

jim said...

Im not a liberal, Im a moderate democrat, gay, public secotr, union member. I like to stick up for the underdog when people gang up onsomeone like the mayor - even though Im not thrilled with him. I also see that my yourthful idealism has given way to more conservative values although Im big on social justice. SO in other words its a case by case situation. Mostly I defend the san francisco that my grandparents and great grandparents taught me about.

jim said...

I don't think there's much wrong with Sf. I get really sick of people from outside who constantly either bad mouth it, or constantly try to tell us how we need to manage our affairs. Butt out is what I say - dont you people have your own cities and local governments to worry about? Thats my attitude. I always put it this way. Its like rude people you barely know showing up at your house, coming inside on your carpets with their muddy boots, sitting down on your furniture before being asked to sit down, and then criticizing your decor and re arranging your furniture without asking, and then leaving. Just like its rude to go to paris and expect the parisians to change their way of life and philosophy to please you - so is it here. I mean really people coming here then complaining about how things are. wtf? why didn't you stay where you were if it what so great? know what I mean?

Alon Levy said...

Jim: the San Francisco your grandparents taught you about was the San Francisco where people wouldn't shake Harvey Milk's hand and where the police harassed gay people. It's the San Francisco of Dan White, who saw himself as someone defending ordinary people from the incursion of gays from all over the US into the Castro. It's certainly not today's San Francisco, where two thirds of the population wasn't even born in California.

jim said...

But it was a lot classier and people didn't act like pigs Women wore gloves downtown not spandex with muffintop. They didn't look like slutty third world ho's. and people werne't so slovenly , rude, and obnoxious. Since when did advancing civil rights mean giving up civility?

jim said...

and ive given up even trying to communicate with people who don't speak english, its taking up too much of my time and effort.

murphstahoe said...

"and no wonder there isn't enough housing for people who work here to live here when people who don't even belong here are hogging it for the sake of being hip."

I didn't feel like divorcing my wife who works downtown...