Saturday, April 4, 2009

Sacramento Bound

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

In recent months, whenever we mentioned Sacramento on this blog, it was in the context of state politics - especially the saga of AB3034 (the bill enacted by proposition 1A), the even more tortuous state budget process and its impact on CHSRA. Yet there is also a bona fide HSR spur from Merced to Sacramento that is planned for phase II of the project and that we've not given the attention it deserves. Like the spur to San Diego and the extension to Irvine, this will be funded using non-state bonds backed by net positive operating revenue from the starter line, which may take several years after start of operations (2018-2020 time frame) to materialize.

In other words, actual construction on the spur to Sacramento won't begin until 2023-2025 and the first trains won't run into the state capital until several years after that. That's a very long time to wait, but the city is already busy planning for its bullet trains. Specifically, a huge 240-acre site northwest of downtown is being developed as a mixed-use transit-oriented development that will preserve and partially re-purpose the historic rail yards at its center.


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The part of greatest interest to us on this blog is the Sacramento Intermodal Transportation Facility (SITF), which will be located just south of the historic yards. UPRR and Amtrak will remain at grade but the alignment between the rail bridge across the Sacramento river and 7th/D will be straightened out starting this year.

An overview of the SITF component of the redevelopment project was presented at a recent workshop. Still to be decided is if the historic depot (station) should remain where it is or be moved 500 feet north. The latter would create a more compact facility and free up space for general development on the downtown side of the site.

Either way, the light rail transit (LRT) station for the SITF will be relocated to the east, near 5th Street. Among other lines, Sacramento is planning one out to SMF airport via the Natomas district. It will be a slow ride with a total of 13 stops and, the airport station appears to be far removed from the two terminals. It's unclear how successful the service will be at attracting passengers with baggage - most of those connecting at the SITF will probably prefer a taxi or shuttle bus. The project has progressed to the project EIR/EIS stage for the first mile along 7th Street, but it doesn't appear to integrate into the design options for the SITF depot at all well. Either the documentation is out of date or, the left hand doesn't know or care what the right is doing. It's not intermodal if you have to walk two blocks.

Just north of the new LRT tracks will be the relocated run-through tracks for UPRR and Amtrak. The area reserved for these will accommodate two island platforms for a total of 4 platform and two through tracks on the outside. To avoid the freeway supports, designers moved the islands further from the river than strictly necessary and tacked on severely curved sections at the eastern end. The straight sections are approximately 250m (800ft) long. The HSR station would be a terminus featuring what appear to be 10 full-length tracks on an upper level, with a concourse in-between. It's not immediately clear if the current plans for the SITF already reserve enough space for all ten elevated tracks.



Elevating the HSR tracks implies two things: first, that HSR trains will never cross the Sacramento river. And second, that UPRR agrees to let CHSRA run an aerial structure above its own tracks on the way to that station. Please zoom in on Sacramento for details of the implementation CHSRA used for cost estimation purposes.

As we have recently discussed (How Important Is UPRR To California HSR?, Union Pacific Speaks), it is far from clear that UPRR will in fact agree to this concept. If so, CHSRA could find it very difficult to reach the SITF at all. East of 46th Street, CHSRA intends to run at grade, except for short sections in Elk Grove, the Lodi bypass and downtown Stockton. All of those aerials are overpasses of other rail lines or freeways. South of Stockton, CHSRA is counting on the UPRR ROW that runs east of the Sharpe Army Depot and is currently used by ACE. Between Manteca and south Fresno, CHSRA would prefer to keep running alongside UPRR tracks and I-99.

It very much remains to be seen if UPRR will go along with all that, early indications are that CHSRA might have to partner with BNSF instead for the south Stockton-south Fresno section. That might mean greenfield bypasses for both Fresno and Merced plus relocating several stations. For example, Merced county may well prefer a station at Castle Airport to the Amtrak stop on W 24th, in a residential neighborhood at least eight blocks from downtown. Considering that express trains will run through the Central Valley at 220mph (as opposed to just 125mph in the mid-peninsula), it's not clear that CHSRA has fully communicated the noise impacts to Central Valley towns hungry for the construction work.

None of the videos produced by NC3D features audio, something that may well come back to haunt the planners. Just how much would it cost to send a sound recording specialist to Europe or Asia, anyhow? Example: grade separations in Fresno.



Sticking with BNSF would mean all of the stations in the Central Valley would be intermodal with Amtrak San Joaquin trains, though it's unclear if that service will remain viable once the HSR network is fully built out. One problem for HSR is that the BNSF tracks UPRR's at very nearly a right angle, with insufficient room for a high-speed corner. One possibility would be to cross over between Escalon and Ortega/French Camp, roughly along an existing secondary rail ROW. The ever-useful 2005 Rail Rights of Way and Abandoned Corridors Study commissioned by Caltrans' Division of Rail (aka Amtrak California) shows this section as active. My guess is UPRR owns it now.


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Even if CHSRA were to bypass Stockton to the east on a brand-new ROW - something that it never even considered - it would still have to deal with UPRR north of Lodi and up in Sacramento. For this spur, even more than any other part of the planned network, CHSRA needs to be in UPRR's good graces.

40 comments:

Casey at bat said...

CHSRA has studied a Stockton bypass. See page 11 of:

http://www.cahighspeedrail.ca.gov/images/chsr/20080529155951_Ch_2_Alternatives.pdf

David S said...

At least with Sacramento being phase II, the UPRR issues will be resolved. Either:

a) UPRR and CAHSRA will have come to an agreement previously.
b) The train is so popular that UPRR would have a hard time opposing it.
c) The train is unpopular, and there is not sufficient funding to build phase II

yeson1a said...

This phase may well become a "rapid rail" section..ie 110mph if future funding is less than expected or the UPRR was a total bear on phase one. If 110mph is good for major endpoints like CHI-STL it should work here and may even give the option of startup with phase one.Of couse Im talking about a non-electric service like the Midwest is planning

Rafael said...

@ Casey at bat -

bypassing Stockton to the east would entail non-trivial impacts on very productive farm land. The document you refer to doesn't show where the bypass would reconnect to the existing but out-of-service rail ROW east of CA-99.

It also says nothing about where on such a the Stockton station would be located and what local transit would connect it to the downtown area. Granted, that wouldn't be CHSRA's problem to solve, but putting a station in a beet field without any certainty of decent (i.e. rail-based) connections makes no sense.

I think CHSRA meant to end all speculation about this when it selected the UPRR corridor for the northern portion of the route through the Central Valley. It's been blatantly obvious for some time that they had not achieved a sufficient level of preliminary agreement with UPRR to warrant that selection.

Even if Stockton were bypassed by sticking with BNSF for as long as possible, there's just no way around cutting some sort of deal with UPRR in Sacramento itself.

Rafael said...

@ yeson1a -

you're talking common sense, but this is about Sacramento. Politics is everything there, state pols would never have allowed prop 1A to go forward without the prospect of full-fat electric bullet trains rolling into its shiny new STIF. It's a matter of prestige.

Rapid rail only makes sense if you have a freight rail operator that is willing to share track or at least ROW and a regulatory path to mixed traffic from FRA. Grossly over-engineered passenger train locomotives and rail cars are not the future, they're the past and present.

JimS said...

Beet field stations are horrible, horrible ideas. If you're going to drive to the train, why not just drive to the airport instead?

A light rail connection will not make it better. The more transfers you add, the less likely someone will take your mode of transportation.

The biggest advantage of HSR is its ability to get you downtown without any hassle. Bypasses defeat that.

BruceMcF said...

Rafeal: "Rapid rail only makes sense if you have a freight rail operator that is willing to share track or at least ROW and a regulatory path to mixed traffic from FRA. Grossly over-engineered passenger train locomotives and rail cars are not the future, they're the past and present."

That is not "only makes sense", that is, "makes the most sense".

Though Rapid Rail for the overlay between SF and Sacramento makes more commercial sense than Rapid Rail for the extension of the CV route to Sacramento ... a three hour radius of Sacramento to "X" goes much deeper into SoCal if its a bullet train corridor all the way up, and since that majority of the bullet train corridor in that radius would be finished in Stage 1, there is a substantial network economy for having that as a bullet train corridor all the way.

Rapid Rail Sacramento to SF, by contrast, would be so dominant already that making it a bullet train corridor would be more or less adding like adding chocolate glaze to chocolate fudge.

Rafael said...

@ BruceMcF -

I have no problem with bullet trains going to Sacramento, especially because it would make the Delta a more attractive place for new migrants to settle, hopefully in transit-oriented developments. The Delta is where the water already is.

UPRR is not a company that will easily accept non-compliant equipment on an adjacent track it doesn't even own, much less on its own tracks. Running FRA-compliant diesel passenger trains at 110mph is possible, but expensive unless they're allowed to cruise at that speed for significant distances (i.e. semi-express or express mode).

That, unfortunately, is very difficult in California: many secondary freight routes, e.g. the one down the central coast, are mostly single track. Without substantial investment, co-operation from UPRR and sufficient demand, service will remain local or semi-local and average line haul speeds will remain at 45-55mph.

The Amtrak Capitol Corridor may have a shot at higher speeds, since UPRR actually hauls quite a but of freight from Oakland across the Sierras. The biggest problem is the scenic but wiggly bit between Benicia and Richmond. Some track superelevation and a few short tunnels would do line haul times a world of good.

The other big issue is that Amtrak CC doesn't have an intermodal station with BART anywhere near downtown Oakland. More on that on Monday.

BruceMcF said...

Rafeal: "UPRR is not a company that will easily accept non-compliant equipment on an adjacent track it doesn't even own, much less on its own tracks. Running FRA-compliant diesel passenger trains at 110mph is possible, but expensive unless they're allowed to cruise at that speed for significant distances (i.e. semi-express or express mode)."

You have compliant 110mph diesel passenger trains needing clear track, and UPRR unlikely to welcome new track for non-compliant rolling stock and ... there's a problem with what, exactly?

Well, there is of course a problem in a situation like the Northeast Corridor, with built-out rights of way already heavily used. But in California ...

"[M]any secondary freight routes, e.g. the one down the central coast, are mostly single track."

IOW, ample room to add new track. New welded 60mph track in existing right of way traversed by a tilt-train at 110mph is a massive step down in cost from the bullet train corridors. Lots faster to build, too.

Hell, finish the top half of the Caltrain Corridor, and you could be running the SF/Sacramento route terminating at 4th and King before the SF/Anaheim bullet train route and the TBT opens.

The traction would have to be (or be upgraded to) hybrid electric / diesel electric to pass through into the TBT tunnel, but since a good portion of the route would be electrified, that would cut down operating costs in any event.

jim said...

One thing the article didn't mention is the on again off again plan to move the current sac sation building back 500 yards or so... in one piece. ( with us in it as my coworkers like to joke). The new station/track alignment will be good in that the passengers will be kept off the tracks and the freight traffic will be such that here won't be passengers running across tracks where freight trains pass as is done now. If they don't move the existing historic building, then some argue the walk from the ticket office to the platforms will be too far. Moving and updating the historic building has its own problems as the historic society will not allow so much as a light bulb change or the addition of air conditioning. if you have ever been to sac saion in the summer time, you know that when it's 110 out side, its also 110 inside. They went and built the sac light rail next to the existing platforms and will then move it over to 7th. Recently there was an entire makeover of the bus and light rail area and the thruway bus area, all of which will have to be redone again after the move. this is how things happen in the city of sacramento. Getting something done in sacramento is like 9 times harder than getting something done is SF. There are two approaches to the proposed station. One that goes through town and has a very messed up transition to the station, and one that comes around the back way ( which is the normal usage - "elvas") As for the viability of the San joaquin service there is nothing but continued growth planned for this service, Service will be increased not decreased due to hsr. Also, capitol corridor will eventually try to reduce trip times but is also under pressure to add more stations to the existing line. Double tacking was only recently completed, and electrification is a possibility as are increased speeds, but it is a long, long long way off. There are also plans for another agency to operated along the i-80 corridor between solano and placer county.

Rafael said...

@ BruceMcF -

re: two-mode locomotives. This is possible for overhead catenaries at 1500V DC. Just shut off the diesel genset, take the juice off the wire with a pantograph (third rail requires grade separation) and feed it directly into the power converter that drives the electric traction motors.

For 25kV AC, this doesn't work because the power electronics cannot accept such a high voltage, even after rectification. You need a big honking transformer in the chain and, there's not enough space in a diesel locomotive for one. One option is to put it in the trailing car of the consist, right behind the driver cab there. The power then gets routed along the length of the train to the locomotive.

Another option would be an electric tender car with just the pantograph, transformer and rectifier on board. This could be inserted between the locomotive and the unpowered passenger cars - handy if they lack conduits and connectors for 1500V DC.

Rafael said...

@ Jim -

I didn't go into detail on where the depot ends up because it doesn't matter for train operations. It's easy enough to install some ticket vending machines with touch screens close to or on the platforms. Those will serve 98% of passengers just fine. As for the waiting room, you wouldn't need one if the trains ran frequently and on time ;^) Anyhow, it's easy enough to add moving walkways between the island platforms and the depot.

The more significant issue is connecting motor vehicle traffic other than buses, i.e. drop-off/pick-up, taxis, airport shuttles. The variation with the moved depot has a small advantage there and this sort of thing has been done before. The primary benefit is to the developer, because the move frees up a few parcels of downtown real estate.

Still, I'd just as soon they left the depot where it is and routed the motor vehicles around it. There's little point in giving railroad history buffs a reason to delay start of construction with a lawsuit.

jim said...

and the main oppostion to moving that station building is from the rail history folks and the people in sacramento who balk at the cost/ no matter what happens, some one will sue. That what americans do now.

BruceMcF said...

Rafael said...
"re: two-mode locomotives. This is possible for overhead catenaries at 1500V DC.
...
For 25kV AC ... Another option would be an electric tender car with just the pantograph, transformer and rectifier on board. This could be inserted between the locomotive and the unpowered passenger cars ...
"

So it doesn't even have to wait on the roll-out of diesel-electric hybrid DMU rolling stock ... if dual mode electric / diesel-electric hybrid traction is not yet available, it can be done with dual mode electric / conventional diesel-electric traction.

Brandon in San Diego said...

Concerning the Sacramento Station... some one tell the feasibility of constructing a new station closer to the platforms... and the existign could be turned into offices or a railroad history museum... or even a model railroad hobby building.

Is something like that a possibility?

adirondacker said...

Hell, finish the top half of the Caltrain Corridor, and you could be running the SF/Sacramento route terminating at 4th and King

I'm assuming "half the corridor" means doing something about the Dumbarton Bridge. This is all theoretical isn't it? You aren't proposing that passengers destined for San Francisco would do this? So instead of getting off in Emeryville for the bus to San Francisco they would go to Fremont, cross the bridge and go to San Francisco? How much later do I get to SF versus the bus at Emeryville or BART at Coliseum?
One seat rides have their charms but they aren't that charming.

third rail requires grade separation
No it doesn't. Not a good solution but it doesn't require it. Getting approval to do as part of a new system would be nearly impossible.

The Chicago Transit Authority must not have gotten that memo. Same with the LIRR. And all those commuter lines in the U.K. . .

For 25kV AC, this doesn't work because the power electronics cannot accept such a high voltage.

The High Voltage DC power transmission system all over the world must be doing something right.. or wrong or whatever.

even after rectification
Um um. Aren't the power electronics performing the rectification? They aren't carting around mercury are rectifiers, not that anyone makes those any more or using rotary converters, not that any one makes those anymore either.

If they want to run diesels north of Bayshore all they have to do is use the same kind of locomotives that are used on other railroads Lay a few miles of third rail between Bayshore and where ever they are stopping these trains. Empty ones because half the passengers got off in Emeryville and the other half got off at Coliseum....

Andy Chow said...

I could imagine that Stockton would want a downtown HSR station. Stockton once had a thriving downtown but today it is still largely depressed. That downtown has a great potential for mid to high density TOD.

Rafael said...

@ BruceMcF -

of course it's possible to attach a consist to both a full diesel-electric and a full electric-only 25kV AC locomotive and only use on or the other. It's just expensive.

Btw, Tognum MTU is developing a parallel electric hybrid for passenger DMUs sold into the European market. The idea is to recuperate brake energy during frequent stops, but it could be useful for dual-mode operation as well.

The key to success is keeping the vehicle weight within reason, i.e. designing it to sane UIC not insane FRA crash compatibility standards. Passengers are not a special type of freight.

@ adirondacker -

(a) power semiconductors have come a long way, it's possible that there are no devices on the market that can switch higher voltages. However, even if they can handle 25kV, the stator windings on the electric motors almost certainly can't. There's a reason why every electric locomotive and power car designed for 25kV operation has a big honking transformer.

(b) rectifiers (AC->DC) and inverters (DC-->AC) are both power converters, my language was imprecise. The objective of an electric tender would be to feed the inverter already on board the diesel-electric locomotive with 1500V DC power using a suitably beefy cable.

Rafael said...

@ adirondacker -

"there are no devices" -> "there are now devices"

BruceMcF said...

adirondacker said..."I'm assuming "half the corridor" means doing something about the Dumbarton Bridge. This is all theoretical isn't it?"

Theoretical in the sense that the whole project is theoretical ... on the theory that minority opposition from entrenched vested interests can be overcome, you can do it.

"You aren't proposing that passengers destined for San Francisco would do this? So instead of getting off in Emeryville for the bus to San Francisco they would go to Fremont, cross the bridge and go to San Francisco? How much later do I get to SF versus the bus at Emeryville or BART at Coliseum?"

It depends on the transfer delay, doesn't it? The charm of one seat trips on higher speed services are because during transfer delays, you are not moving at all and then after the transfer, you are not moving as fast, so a shorter trip can take as long or longer. And of course, in modeling the effect of a transfer on patronage, we normally treat each minute waiting for a transfer as equivalent to two minute in transit.

And of course, since the Caltrain corridor does not extend across the Bay, a trip to a Caltrain corridor location between the Peninsula and 4th and King would be faster by transferring to Caltrain at the Peninsula station or the quasi-SFO station than by transferring on the east side of the Bay to get to the Caltrain corridor and then a second transfer onto the corridor.

As far as proposing it ... no, certainly not. I don't even have access to a ridership modeling package at the moment. Some of the HSR system routes have a strong enough case so a simple gravity model is enough, but for the kind of infill that the Rapid Rail routes between Sacramento and the Bay will be doing, more specialized tools are required.

""third rail requires grade separation"
No it doesn't. Not a good solution but it doesn't require it. Getting approval to do as part of a new system would be nearly impossible.
"

Leave out grade separation between the third rail and pedestrian traffic and nearly impossible approvals becomes strictly impossible. However, even if approvals were automatic, the cost/benefit analysis will never work out for a newly electrified Rapid Rail or HSR route, so its just included as an option for the sake of having a longer list of options.

BruceMcF said...

JimS said...
"Beet field stations are horrible, horrible ideas. If you're going to drive to the train, why not just drive to the airport instead?

Because ... "The biggest advantage of HSR is its ability to get you downtown without any hassle. Bypasses defeat that."

If you got to the airport, you are stuck with being in an airport at the other side as well. That's why beet field stations in Europe are for stations dominated by originating and returning patronage, rather than for stations with substantial destination patronage.

A state capital, even if it is not a big metro area, is going to have a mix of both, and so getting to the SITC will definitely be worth fighting for. However, as David S, with Sacramento being Phase II, the clout of the two sides will be quite different and, indeed, if Phase II can be built at all, it can be built on the basis of paying UPRR enough to make it worth their while to let it happen.

I mean, obviously, if its more disruptive to UP's operations than to BN's operations to give priority to a fixed schedule passenger service, then an offer that makes business sense to BN can quite easily fail to make business sense to UP, and then the operator that wants to make it happen will find reasons why its viable and the operator that does not will find reasons why its not viable.

For Merced, a beet field station that can serve as an anchor for a local light rail line that will terminate at an employment center, there's some appeal in that in its own right.

A pair of beet field stations for Fresno, each getting half the frequency that a town center station would, that's a pretty crappy result, and to be avoided if at all possible. If there's only so much money available to make it worth UP's while, there's at least a case for focusing it on Fresno.

Rafael said...

@ JimS, BruceMcF -

I'd rather not see any beet field stations, either, but express trains running through at the full 220mph do make a lot of noise - much more than the same trains at 125mph. It may just be a brief pulse of noise every few minutes and its only during the day, but still - the SEL close to the alignment will be significant.

Sound walls, ballast bags, smooth wheels and rails - all of these help keep the rail-wheel noise down, but aerodynamic noise is harder to eliminate. Aerodynamicists are still fiddling with the nose cone shapes with each new generation of trains. Full enclosures would help a lot, but they're expensive to construct through miles of downtown real estate - even if it isn't high value. As a rule of thumb, you want at least 20m (~60 feet) between HSR tracks and the nearest residential building if at all possible.

IMHO, it's pretty risky for CHSRA to just assume that Central Valley towns - both large and small - will accept the noise levels produced by express trains at 220mph, especially where the alignment uses an aerial.

Granted, these towns all want fast connections to other parts of the state and they're hungry for the construction jobs.

However, it would still be prudent for CHSRA to spend some money on scientifically rigorous sound recordings of trains at various speeds, alignment elevations and distances from the alignment, with and without (simulated) sound walls, with and without buildings in the transmission path etc. While those are a little tricky to obtain at 220mph right now, data points at 125, 150, 186 and 200mph would permit some pretty good educated guesses. They should measure vibration as well. What they've been using to date for planning purposes is vague IMHO.

If express trains end up having to slow down every 20 miles to keep the noise down. Top speed is for politicians and marketing departments. Fare-paying passengers care much more about punctuality and line haul time.

It's important to anticipate noise issues because HSR operators in other countries have already run into them. CHSRA didn't focus much on these in the SF peninsula and they're now in a pickle for that and other reasons. They need to learn from the experience and get ahead of the curve as soon as they get some funding.

Anonymous said...

Quentin Kopp's defenders on this site wanna field this one?

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/04/05/BABD16RR2F.DTL

"A major war is going on between former state Sen. Quentin Kopp and the rest of the world.

He has decided that the high-speed rail line should end at Fourth and Townsend streets, not downtown at the Transbay Terminal.

Basically, he thinks the station should be able to accommodate a train every 5 minutes, as if there is ever going to be a train every 5 minutes.

His call for the Fourth and Townsend site is also inconsistent with 25 years of city planning.

But he is the chairman of the High Speed Rail Commission, and that is power."

BruceMcF said...

Anonymouse says: "Quentin Kopp's defenders on this site wanna field this one?"

I don't know enough about the man to defend him, but I think I can answer with a question:

What does this have to do with Sacramento?

Nobody is going to catch the bullet train to Merced to switch to Sacramento, so hints and allegations and hearsay about the TBT debate is neither here nor there. You could drop it in the last Peninsula post, since it enters on the question of where all the northbound Peninsula services will be terminating.

BruceMcF said...

Rafael said... "I'd rather not see any beet field stations, either,"

I didn't say that ... not even close. I have no trouble at all with beet field stations for stations that are provided as origin recruiters. I view the "no beet field stations ever" position as part of the "one size fits all" mindset that constantly plagues the process of designing effective solutions for specific transport problems in the United States.

"IMHO, it's pretty risky for CHSRA to just assume that Central Valley towns - both large and small - will accept the noise levels produced by express trains at 220mph, especially where the alignment uses an aerial."

That's not what I said. What I said was that a central train station in Fresno is worth fighting for. An alternative alignment with a main station on one side of the city and an all-stations station on the other side would be bad enough, but an alignment without a main Fresno station at all is a last resort, hopefully to be corrected as soon as politically and financially feasible, not "Plan B in case Plan A turns out to be a bit tough going".

jim said...

Andy Chow said...
I could imagine that Stockton would want a downtown HSR station. Stockton once had a thriving downtown but today it is still largely depressed. That downtown has a great potential for mid to high density TOD." The plan for stockton to to combine the stockton ace station and the stockton san joaquin station into a new station south of the Y.

Rafael said...

@ anon @ 9:52am -

Sunday's post will be on the Transbay Terminal.

jim said...

Here's where the new stockton station and community is planned. Not sure how hsr sould relate to this. But I would assume hsr would be in the same place.http://www.stocktongov.com/CD/documents/MariposaLakesPlannedCommunityOverview.pdf

BruceMcF said...

Jim, I get a broken link until I squeeze the text down too small to read ... Mariposa Lakes Planned Community (pdf)

No, I think this is a new Amtrak station. Since the existing San Joaquin Street Stockton Station is in town, and on a BNSF alignment, with an ACE station in the near vicinity, it would not be surprising if Stockton would prefer their HSR station in town instead of in a new development on the edge of town taking yet more farmland out of production.

Andy Chow said...

That development is just another typical sprawl with a train station added in. Stockton recently spent a lot of money trying to improve downtown (like what San Jose is doing). A train station at the outskirt won't help.

Unfortunately both train stations are located in the poor part of the city.

jim said...

once the new stockton station is finished it will replace the old station and the ace station and all operations will be there. I don't know where hsr plans to go through town but if its not there then it wont be intermodal, if that matters.

BruceMcF said...

jim said... "I don't know where hsr plans to go through town but if its not there then it wont be intermodal, if that matters."

That matters ... the more intermodal connections, the better it will work as an origin station. Its impossible for an HSR station to recruit the majority of its originating passengers without transfers ... a major reason for trying to avoid transfers within the HSR network itself ... and having the station at the intermodel transfer point substantially increases the opportunity for single-transfer trips.

And patronage running against the dominant flow helps the operating finances of any passenger rail line ... to the extent that there will be Stockton bound patronage, Stockton is trying to create a "weekend events" district in downtown.

Mariposa Lakes is just another farm land to sprawl development, that lies adjacent to the San Joaquin route, so it has the added twist that the developer seems to have decided that having a new Amtrak station as part if the project would make it easier to sell.

jim said...

@bruce - well actually its not the developer who decided to add an amtrak station. Amtrak has long know that since the addition of trains 701 702 703 and 704 on the san san jo routes, ( direct to sac instead of the bus connection at skt) that having the twos current stations, north and west of the wye was not efficient for operations. in addtion to that. most of us won't even work the stockton station (safety concerns) The plan from operations standpoint has always been to move both stations to a new station south/east of the wye ( the location shown next to the development) makingthat "the" (only) stockton station so that passengers won't be transfer by bus to get to LOD and SAC. IF a pevelpment is planned there, its a separate issue after amtrak's decision to move the station are perhaps because of it. So, again if stockton is to have an intermodal connex with hsr at stockton, it would have to be there. Of course stockton may not be pushing for intermodal anyway. In the meantime I just read again, about Kopp and his 4th and king location. I don't know if he's serious or just posturing and playing the "who's going to fund what" game. Also for transbay terminal I was thinking this morning (why do I wake up thinking about this stuff anyway?) What about parking, because when people leave the east bay for instance to get to sfo, they mostly drive, they don't take bart so if they choose hsr instead they will still drive, and there isn't going to be room for any long term parking at 1st and mission is there? if you don't have the parking they are gonna go to the airport instead. I know its all about transit first blah blah blah but you people prefer to drive. Every time I try to get my friends to use bart to the airport when we leave town, they refuse because its gross and tacky. I know a lot of people who just will not do it. Perhaps the 4th and king location has room for a parking garage on top and its also easy freeway access adn the tbt can hae a handful of rush hour "business" trains serving the financial district directly. remember, the sf sation isnt going to serve the peninsula crowd as they will have two of their own stations. It is only going to serve the contra costa/solano/marin/sonoma folks and they will drive. also, amtrak serves 4th and king with the bus connection but there are big issues with serving the new tbt and we may not be there either.

jim said...

There is a design flaw in the new tbt. It's designed for all buses to arrive from the bridge and loop through and never go down to the street. Amtrak buses need to get out of the bus loop and get down to street level to continue the run though town to the other stops. I only know there have been some meetings about that design flaw but I do not know the outcome.

Andy Chow said...

Downtown San Francisco will certainly have parking...at a price. If you expect a park and ride discount, forget about it.

If you want to drive and park at the airport, you can pay a lot more inside the garages, or pay less parking further away and take a shuttle bus. People who want to drive and park at a HSR stop can do so at other stations, and probably don't have to transfer to a shuttle.

The TBT does allow buses from the bridge to get onto to ground level. AC Transit would have to be parked under I-80 during daytime.

jim said...

@andy as for getting the buses down to the street level - the design as it stands would mean that amtrak buses would have to have permission and access through the AC bus portion to access the street and as of my last update, this was one option being considered. amtrak hasnt yet made a decision whether to use tbt verus our current location. Personally i hope we retain our current location as working the tbt will have some major downsides that would make my life hell, of course I don't have any say, but my personal preference is stay out of there.

jim said...

It is possible that the simplest thing they may decide is to just add a mission street bus stop at 1st outside the terminal.

Anonymous said...

Quentin L. Kopp, former senator of California and board member of the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART), will be presenting information regarding transportation, specifically covering 2008’s proposition 1A regarding implementation of high speed transportation throughout the Central Valley at GVC conference called 20/20 Foresight: A View of the Great Valley in a Decade on May 6th. I wonder what he has to say. Here's the link www.greatvalley.org.

Rafael said...

@ jim -

Zoom in on Stockton on the CHSRA Google Map of the route and how it will be implemented. It shows an aerial section through downtown Stockton.

Btw, there are plenty of parking lots near the existing TBT and the freeway off-ramps. Convert some of those to multi-story car parks and you're done. Except that SF wants to revitalize the whole area as a leafy green walkable neighborhood, i.e. "leave your car in the East Bay please".

Btw2, the whole point of the TBT was and is to allow bus operators from other counties to pick up and drop off their passengers in downtown SF without clogging city streets. I'm not so sure that's effective, there basically aren't too many jobs south of Mission Street.

That's why I suggested running a bus from Emeryville into the heart of the Financial District. Will Fremont and 1St Street still run through the new TBT at grade level?

theo said...

Stockton once had a thriving downtown but today it is still largely depressed. That downtown has a great potential for mid to high density TOD.

I'm going to play the skeptic here: it really doesn't.

Stockton's economy is terrible, and it had the biggest real estate bubble north of the Inland Empire. It's going to take a long time to soak up the surplus of greenfield identikit houses.

Once that happens, we'll see about high density TOD.