Friday, September 18, 2009

Deputy AG Letter Supports CHSRA's Transbay Position

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

Yesterday the California Attorney General's office responded to an August 21 letter from the Transbay Joint Powers Authority. The TJPA letter argued that it is "legally improper" for the CHSRA to study any alternatives to the Transbay Terminal as the San Francisco terminus. Deputy AG Christine Sproul, writing on behalf of AG Jerry Brown, explained the AG office's position that CHSRA is entirely correct to study other alternatives. The letter is reproduced below:

Deputy AG Transbay Letter to CHSRA ED 91709

I have to run and catch a train here in Sacramento, but I wanted to get this up there for everyone on the blog to read and react to. Obviously this means the dispute between CHSRA and TJPA is not going away anytime soon. I continue to believe that political leadership, particularly from San Francisco's powerful federal representatives, is desperately needed to bring CHSRA and TJPA to the table to develop a workable solution.

209 comments:

1 – 200 of 209   Newer›   Newest»
Anonymous said...

San Francisco's "powerful federal represenatives" will also ensure high-speed rail and upgraded Caltrain from SF to SJ (aka The Peninsula).

Evan said...

To Anon:

As a long-time Peninsula resident, I sure hope so.

Peter said...

Sooo. Who'd to lose their station in order to maintain the maximum of 24 stations if SF has two stations?

Anonymous said...

Palmdale

Peter said...

Hehe, my thoughts exactly.

lyqwyd said...

I've gone back and forth about this a couple times.

In general I support looking at alternatives for the following reasons:

1) It's generally a good idea to look at alternatives
2) It seems TJPA is trying to rush things to get the $400 million (given the broad opinion that there are major flaws in the current design)
3) If the $400 million is spent on the station, that's $400 million less to be spent on the actual rail project.
4) Transbay terminal only has value by serving the trains, otherwise there's no reason to rebuild it
5) I agree with jim that a 4th & King station would be perfectly viable and has a number of benefits over the current transbay location (although there are also disadvantages to 4th & King)

The one thing that I've been told that makes me reconsider my support for studying Beale is that I originally thought it would get the train station much closer to the Embarcadero BART station, perhaps close enough that they could essentially be 1 big station, but I've been told that is not the case, and that the Beale alternative being looked at would get the trains no closer to BART, which I consider to be very unfortunate.

The reason I support a 4th & King station is that it actually provides better connectivity to the rest of the city, as the MUNI metro is right across the street, and once the Central Subway is finished will get you closer via transit to both the Financial District and Union Square (Given that a quick walk across the street is preferable to many people than a 2 block walk).

I think it is very important to remember that that $400 million is specifically for HSR, and giving it to the TJPA is shrinking the available pot for the actual construction of HSR rail lines.

Peter said...

Btw, from what I gathered from my environmental law professor regarding the remedy to the insufficient EIR, they will likely be able to circulate a supplemental EIR addressing the problems. They won't have to redo the entire EIR.
The main problem, from what I gather, will be the preliminary injunction ordering a halt on other environmental review until the Supplemental EIR is circulated.
At that point, though, the parties normally quickly settle.
There's no actual way to STOP the project entirely using NEPA or CEQA.

mike said...

There's no actual way to STOP the project entirely using NEPA or CEQA.

Shhhh...don't let the NIMBYs know that... ;-)

Peter said...

Hey, does anyone know what happened to the other dumb lawsuit? The one where the plaintiff was trying to get UPRR involved to assert its rights?

Bianca said...

Peter, the Case Management Conference in Peterson v. CHSRA is scheduled for December 18, 2009.

Peter said...

Thanks!

jim said...

The way I read this letter is that my plan of having a nice, true, hsr station a la europe, at 4th and king is what makes the most sense, and some trains can continue on to tbt.

again THIS would look fantastic at 4th

Peter said...

Cool, Jim. Looks like you could land an airplane on it. Maybe multimodal with an airport, too? ;)

Rafael said...

While CHSRA may have the legal authority to study alternatives, it is going to run into a brick wall with the city of SF and its residents if it is perceived as actively undermining the decade-long planning effort to build the TTC. If USDOT were to decide, based on the current brouhaha, that the TTC is in fact not a shovel-ready project, there will be bad blood for years to come.

To a large extent, this spat is plain old bureaucratic infighting between two organizations that taxpayers rightfully expect to work together. As a general rule, the precise location of an HSR station should be a local/regional matter, so it is in fact appropriate for TJPA to be the lead agency.

In the special case of the SF TTC, however, there are two complicating factors:

First, SF is much further along in its station planning than anyone else. TJPA did pay lip service to the possibility of HSR service long before the 2008 election, but the uncertainty that it would ever actually happen meant TJPA ended up with a design optimized for regional commuter traffic into SF.

The catchment area for the HSR station in SF spans most/all of SF, Alameda and Contra Costa plus Marin and Sonoma counties. What CHSRA needs is a downtown SF station that can be called intermodal with BART/SF Muni rail services while keeping a straight face. A 500ft walk on city sidewalks might be ok for Amtrak, but California HSR needs to attract ridership that is 1-2 orders of magnitude greater.

Transbay and city buses will never be more than a nice-to-have supplement, they just don't offer sufficient capacity nor punctuality.

Between this fundamental issue of the TTC being in the wrong location for HSR and the throat/tunnel cost/throughput/squeal issues, TJPA is wide of the mark if it thinks stretching a few platforms is going to be good enough.

SF will be the single most expensive station in the entire HSR network, by a very large margin. State/federal taxpayers are not simply going to roll over and pay through the nose for a fundamentally poor concept just so TJPA and SF real estate tycoons aren't inconvenienced in any way.

Second, CHSRA's SF representative is a stubborn old alpha male called Quentin Kopp. Insisting on dwell times of 30-40 minutes because "world class consultants" claim that is required demonstrates a complete lack of lateral thinking. Other railways around the world achieve HSR dwell times of less than 10 minutes in their remaining head-end stations, taxpayers rightly expect CHSRA to learn from their operations.

There are plenty of good reasons to be highly critical of the TJPA design, but rejecting it for the wrong reason is seriously undermining CHSRA's own credibility. To regain it, the authority needs to articulate credibly and publicly why what TJPA already has in the works is inadequate and, why changes to the planned infrastructure and/or train operations cannot make it so. Only then is there a basis for exploring other options.

It is CHSRA's job to formally make that case, not the blogosphere's.

Rafael said...

@ jim, Peter -

is that the 8am Zeppelin from Larkspur under that blanket or are you just happy to to be talking about trains?

Anonymous said...

Isn't the AG's office, the legal representation for the CHSRA? I think I read that in the previous discussion on the atherton lawsuit, somewhere.

So attorney supporting its client's position?

jim said...

yeah, cuz if they don't wanna go into tbt, the city will never in a milion years let them go anywhere else else downtown. all the land is accounted for and if they think PA nimby's are a pain just wait till they come up against SF nimbys when they try to put hsr somewhere else. yikes. don't do it Im telling you, for your own good, it won't be pretty.

jim said...

@rafael LOL

Peter said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
lyqwyd said...

I don't really think that many people in San Francisco other than us transit geeks are really aware of the Transbay terminal at all, and many of those that are aware don't really care that much.

If you live in SF there is very little reason to ever go there, There's nothing of any particular interest there, and most SF residents that take buses that end at the transbay get off before it gets there. It's most useful for People commuting to work by bus in to SF.

I would much rather have the HSR trains & Caltrain have good connectivity with BART & Muni Rail than the transbay terminal.

AndyDuncan said...

The catchment area for the HSR station in SF spans most/all of SF, Alameda and Contra Costa plus Marin and Sonoma counties. What CHSRA needs is a downtown SF station that can be called intermodal with BART/SF Muni rail services while keeping a straight face. A 500ft walk on city sidewalks might be ok for Amtrak, but California HSR needs to attract ridership that is 1-2 orders of magnitude greater.

I really think that's the key point. The TTT is quasi-intermodal with BART and Muni. The 4th and King station is intermodal with Muni. A future BART connection could make it intermodal with the new BART line, but that's a big "If" and a bigger "when".

I think you really need to get it intermodal or walkably intermodal with the market street BART stations.

jim said...

tjpa is on tv right now - the lady siad they are continuing to work with hsr and catrain on design.

- and I can not believe people are worried about walk one block through a pedestrian tunnel to get to bart... its shorter than most aiport terminals

jim said...

tjpa-they expect to hear from FRA about the track1 thing on october first. and they have their sacramento and washington lobbyists currently working in their behalf.

wait they're still hearing testimony....... now theyre talking about beal and main and 4th an king......

jim said...

the tjpa maintains that for hsr to study these options is an abuse of their authority.

beale/main and 4th are illegal. ( according to the guy on tv)

wow this is like a soap, the nortorious supervisor chirs daly isn't having any of this.....

they have their claws out....
yikes!!! its going to be a smackdown between tjpa and chsra....

jim said...

tjpa is referring to chsra as being "confused" lol

stay tuned

Peter said...

Is it WWE or a real sport where they have doctors on the sidelines?

jim said...

beale street is physically and technically infeasable and has been soundly rejected. It is not an option and will not be allowed by the city of san francisco.
according to the guy on tv

jim said...

Peter said...
Is it WWE or a real sport where they have doctors on the sidelines?

Oh, they're gonna need emergency response standing by for this one.

Peter said...

Damn, I wish I could watch it.

jim said...

and judgin by their looks, words and tone, they are gonna rip chsra to shreds.
Unilke the folks at chsra, these city hall folks have commincations skills. and the tbt development may be the only thing in 8 years that both the mayor, and his arch enemy supervisor daly, agreed upon alog with the rest of the BOS.

They're gonna have Kopp hangin by his boxers from Queen Wilhelmina's windmill.

jim said...

now they're talking about pedestrian circulation to maximize retail sales. on the mezz. there's gonna be retail all over the place. apparently this thing is also a going to double as a new mall.

they guys speaking now has worked on all these things like that pancreatic station in london and DC wterfront development.. talking about "enhancing the brand" blah blah blah... apparently the buzz word for today is "vibrant" as he's used it 26 times.

ok off to the beach.

Peter said...

WTF? Double as a new mall? So that the mall patrons can block the train passengers from getting to and from their trains? That doesn't sound like such a great idea.

mike said...

California HSR needs to attract ridership that is 1-2 orders of magnitude greater

1 order, not 2 orders. Amtrak CA already attracts ~5 million passengers/year. Don't mean to nitpick, but we are talking about orders of magnitude here...

jim said...

ok heres somehting good before I go.... one more thing... this is what they are doing..

they are talking about "operations" but not rail operations... but the whole place is going to have a master leasee - a mjor operater of retail and events. the focus being on the park and the retail, in a high denstity envronment, lots of focus on entertainment, and retail. advertsing, branding, interactive ads and interactive art and the list goes on.

This tbt is actually going to be a major city venue. much much more than a train station or bus station. They are discussing finding the right operator with large scale entertainment experience and high density retail experience.

they are talking about westfield, yes, the mall people. thats just one name being thrown around.
I vote for bill graham. concerts in the park woo hooo

AndyDuncan said...

WTF? Double as a new mall? So that the mall patrons can block the train passengers from getting to and from their trains? That doesn't sound like such a great idea.

Meh, most of the train stations I've been to in Europe have a large amount of dining and retail co-located with them. It's actually really nice to be able to get good food when you're waiting even just a few minutes for your train. American Airports and Train stations could learn a lot from Europe in that regard.

We've Got No Money for Toys said...

You're just a bunch of dreamers. Show me the money for all these plans. Why do you need a transbay terminal in SF if the money you have will be barely sufficient to build the test track between Tulare and Bakersfield? You'll be well in your 90's still blogging about this pipe dream and nothing will have happened. A suggestion to all of you: don't sell your cars just yet.

BruceMcF said...

jim said...
"beale street is physically and technically infeasable and has been soundly rejected. It is not an option and will not be allowed by the city of san francisco. according to the guy on tv"

And we all know that the guy on TV never spins a "its not because I say so" "preferred alignment" decision into "physically and technically infeasible". The "physically and technically infeasible" part needs to be cold hard facts in the EIS/EIR, not spin after the fact from a suit.

Peter said...
"WTF? Double as a new mall? So that the mall patrons can block the train passengers from getting to and from their trains? That doesn't sound like such a great idea."

Only if they design the pedestrian access to/egress from the mezzanine to the ground floor so that it runs down the axis of the mezzanine, rather than cutting across to provide convenient access to multiple entry points around the building ...

... oh, wait. Yeah, you're right, mall customers can get in the way of rail passengers.

Of course, if the train station is next to the mall, as one of Westfield's (where have I just heard that name) main properties in West Sydney is directly across the street from Parramatta Station, or the way that Town Hall in Sydney City connects underneath a street with the Queen Elizabeth Building shopping center ... why, that would be ...

... oh, yeah, the Beale Street option.

jim said...

a day without "toys" is like a day without sunshine.

BruceMcF said...

@ Rafeal, what was the physical obstacle to running an alternate BART subway alignment to 4th and King and back to the main BART alignment? That would get four way intermodal at 4th and King and reduce platform congestion along the existing BART downtown lines.

We've Got No Money for Toys said...

@AndyDuncan:
Good food in European train stations? Who's ever heard of people traveling to Europe to enjoy "Haute Cuisine" at the stations' restaurants? You act like a bunch of liberal elitists but maybe you've seen Europe only on TV and magazines. I've served in the Army in Europe, and for many years (and not that long ago)! All they have inside stations is nasty fast food. The last place I would want to have a real meal before catching a train. Those places at most are good for a quick bite on the run. It should be the Europeans who should learn from us. At least there are some good restaurants inside SFO.

AndyDuncan said...

a day without "toys" is like a day without sunshine.

At least his/her argument is evolving, instead of trying to come up with technical reasons why the line won't work, now it's simply a funding complaint. That should be easy enough to settle, either CAHSR will get the money, or they won't. We'll see.

Peter said...

Yes, all those stations in Europe are built as train stations first, with retail and dining as additional opportunities to make money. They aren't branded as malls with an add-on train station.

The new Berlin Hauptbahnhof is crazy on the interior with all the shops and cafes. But it's marvelously functional as a train station. I forget how many tracks they have, not including the S-Bahn
tracks.

And Pittsburgh (I think) has a mall inside the airport. But AFTER security. So the only patrons ARE passengers.

Peter said...

What technical arguments has Toys ever advanced? It was always just right-wing propaganda/flatulence. This last post just didn't call trains communist/fascist or refer to Arabs with a wonderful racist term.

AndyDuncan said...

At least there are some good restaurants inside SFO.

SFO is definitely better than most US Airports, especially the International terminal. And there's that Anchor Brewing Cafe between the American and United terminals, which has good beer even if the food sucks. Even with all that, the food at SFO is still not at the level of most French or even German train station and airports.

And fast-food is exactly what I'm referring to. Their train station fast food is better than our train station fast food. Something as simple as a ham and cheese baguette can be wonderful or terrible, depending on who's throwing it together.

I'll give you two guesses as to whether LAX or charles de gaulle has the better to-go food.

Peter said...

Oops, so much for Toys not using insults.
Toys, go back and listen to some more Rush Limbaugh/Glenn Beck.

Rafael said...

@ jim -

the only credible alternative to a train box underneath the TTC building would be a multi-level train station underneath a city street (e.g. 2nd), connected to the TTC building via a pedestrian passage/short people mover.

Also at least theoretically possible: a distributed station with 2 platform tracks under each of 3 adjacent city streets, e.g. Beale + Main + Spear via King/Embarcadero. The tracks under Beale could branch off the ones under Main at Folsom, skirting the TTC bus ramp and ending in a slightly curved platform tracks for Caltrain to use. This would avoid tunneling next to the Bay Bridge anchorage at Beale.

A tunnel under 7th would be short, straight, cheap and easily connected to Civic Center BART/SF Muni. However, it would raise environmental justice issues and require the transbay bus routes to be completely re-worked. Basically, virtually all the planning TJPA and others have been working on for a decade would go into the trash can.

4th & King has 12 platform tracks but even with the addition of the Central Subway, it remains well removed from the high-capacity kahuna: BART. Granted, East Bay passengers could use Millbrae but thanks to 11 intermediate stations it takes an additional 34 minutes to get there from Embarcadero - a ridership killer. A transfer from BART to the Central Subway to HSR is equally unattractive.

That said, there is at least plenty of room for a large multi-story car park above 4th & King once the tracks are electrified.

Peter said...

If we're already blowing all this money on a tunnel, and want to connect to BART, why not dig a BART stub line from 4th and King to link up with the main BART line?

We've Got No Money for Toys said...

@AndyDuncan: The only technical reasons that I will give you why HSR won't work as well as you think, it's because of the following:
1. Those who today drive between the Central Valley and LA (or SF) will continue to do so. If I need to travel from the Central Valley to LA or SF (and viceversa) it's just as fast to drive. By the time you get to the station, ride the train, rent a car or hire a taxi once you get there, I've already arrived there with my truck several times over, and without even going over the speed limit. And I bet I spent much less money than you did in train and taxi fare.
2. Those who today drive from the Bay Area to LA because they can't afford to fly, will continue to do so even if there is a train, because trains won't be cheaper than flying.
3. Those who today fly between LA area and SF Bay area MIGHT take your train. But only if prices are competitive, and they live (or need to go) to a destination near a HSR station. If someone is in Oakland and needs to go to Santa Monica he'll continue to fly Southwest to LAX, even if your choo choo train gets built.
That's my technical reason: the volume of passengers will be much lower than you think. You'll get only a small portion of those people who fly today, and an even smaller portion of those who drive.
Unfortunately nothing will convince you. Because when you've been brainwashed by the liberal media, there is no hope for you. You'll believe anything your immigrant president will tell you.

Bianca said...

When oil goes back up to $170/barrel, all of those arguments fall apart.

Not if. When.

Hey, if you want to spend $6/gallon for gas to drive your truck around the state, no one is going to stop you.

We've Got No Money for Toys said...

@Bianca: Always coming up with that $200/gallon oil B.S.
Oil went to $150/gal. last year because of financial speculation, not because of some kind of oil shortage. Once the bubble burst, it went right back to where it belongs. So I wouldn't count on another spike like that any time soon. And even if it happens, there might be alternative energy sources that might fuel my truck. I'm not married to oil or gasoline. You give me a truck that runs on batteries, propane gas, corn oil, or even olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and I don't care. I'll still prefer it to a train that gets me only to the station, rather the EXACT place where I need to be and that requires me to rent a car once I'm there. I'll take your train to LA only if it's cheaper than flying and if I need to go to a place closer to Union Station than to any of the airports.
And everybody else will do exactly the same.
You obviously have never gone to Europe, or, if you have, you were drinking too much to realize it, but in Europe cities are very dense and compact. The train station is downtown and very close to practically everything, often just a walk or short bus ride away. BUT NOT HERE IN AMERICA. Everything in LA is hundreds of miles away from everything else. There is NOTHING a short distance away from Union Station. There is NOTHING a short distance away from the Amtrak station in Fresno. There is NOTHING a short distance away from the Amtrak station in Sacramento. Except for maybe within the city of San Francisco, you'll need a car everywhere else you go. But then why not drive there in the first place? And if it's too far to drive, then maybe I'll take your train + rent a car, but only if it's faster and cheaper than flying+rent a car.

Anonymous said...

"When oil goes back up to $170/barrel,"

Nominal or real?

Even if $170 in nominal terms, if the poverty line is $80K, it doesn't matter.

Anonymous said...

Train won't get built -- at least as it is currently proposed. If tiny South Pas can halt I-710, you better believe Atherton, Menlo Park and Palo Alto will be able to halt HSR unless it comes to terms with a design those cities can live with.

Hahahahaha.

We've Got No Money for Toys said...

I know you guys missed my comments. Without me putting some sense in your wacked reasoning, you'll never come down from the liberal clouds and plant your feet firmly on the ground. WAKE UP DREAMERS! STOP FANTASIZING ABOUT THIS TRAIN. Just because something makes sense in Europe or Japan doesn't mean it makes sense everywhere else. If you love trains so much just move to Tokyo or Paris, but just don't ask us American taxpayers to subsidize your toy.

BruceMcF said...

We've Got No Money for Toys said...
"@AndyDuncan: The only technical reasons that I will give you why HSR won't work as well as you think, it's because of the following:
1. Those who today drive between the Central Valley and LA (or SF) will continue to do so.
"

Some will, some won't. Some are driving because they prefer to, some are driving because they have no viable alternative, some value the time able to watch a movie, read a book or do something on the laptop/netbook, some don't, some trips will end up being faster door to door HSR, some trips will end up being faster door to door by car.

All stereotype arguments based on, "all drivers are like me" are always proved wrong when a viable alternative becomes available. Both the stereotype, "everyone will still drive" and the stereotype "nobody will still drive" will be proven false in the event.

On the points (2) and (3) about flying, that's why rail dominates air when rail trips of 2 hours are available between two large cities and rail is competitive with air when rail trips of 3 hours are available.

And of course there will be new trips made when the new alternative with its own distinctive advantages becomes available, so the total passenger-miles are not limited to passenger-miles captured from driving and flying.

Finally, And of course as Bianca notes, that is under current conditions. An oil price shock and there is a mode shift to rail on top of the new division of the transport market following the availability of a new choice to potential travellers.

BruceMcF said...

Rafael said...
"@ jim -

the only credible alternative to a train box underneath the TTC building would be a multi-level train station underneath a city street (e.g. 2nd), connected to the TTC building via a pedestrian passage/short people mover.


Why is the original Beale St. station proposal not credible? I missed that - the only failing that I have seen noted is that it would be across the street from the TBT with the access to the TBT mezzanine being under a city street rather than having the platforms themselves in the basement.

john said...

"I'm Toys do what I say, I know ALL. You are just a bunch of foamer commie-nazis, god-bless freedom; now do what I say or else"

I wish i could just make shit up and call it true. Sure is alot easier then, you know, research and edumacatin' n' stuff.

...Actually according to Richard you might be qualified to head the rail division of PB/Bechtel

john said...

Serious question though Toys...

If we are just a bunch of deluded commie dreamers with no popular support for our project and no chanace of actually building it as you suggest in your posts; why are you commenting here?

No, really. Why give a shit? Why does this discussion threaten you? Are you just some internet tough guy? Do you have nothing better to do and they already blocked you at DailyKos? Did your daddy smash your model trainset when you were a kid?

We've Got No Money for Toys said...

@ BruceMcF: Can you guarantee that the volume of passenger traffic will be sufficient not only to pay for the operating costs, but also to repay for the huge initial capital investment required by the construction of this line? No you can't! That's why the CHSRA exaggerates their volume projections. Even the European lines aren't profitable once you factor in the cost of the initial capital investment. And they have big big advantages over California:
1. gas there is very expensive and freeway tolls high.
2. parking in cities is expensive and not plentiful. Most city centers are closed to car traffic.
3. cities are compact and most people in a city live within minutes from the central station rather than in spread out suburbs, whereas airports are not as close as the central station to where most people live.
4. Europeans are more willing to be taxed than Americans for public works projects and other public causes

Rafael said...

@ jim -

the whole discussion of the mall above the train box etc. just underlines that TJPA doesn't understand at all just how different HSR is from Caltrain.

What CHSRA needs is an intermodal with BART/SF Muni rail services to achieve sufficient ridership. It really couldn't care less about retail outlets and restaurants.

As for "I don't understand what the big deal is walking a block and a half", please accept that your experience with Amtrak has biased you in favor of figuring out how to make do with scraps off the table.

Taxpayers aren't going spend $33 billion on the starter line of a brand-new HSR network and then ask passengers hailing from the East Bay to hoof it across city streets with kids and baggage in tow. Given that TJPA has extended the HSR tracks to Main Street, an attractive underground pedestrian passage to Embarcadero BART/SF Muni, with moving walkways and security staff to keep out the riff-raff, is basically the absolute minimum they can hope to get away with.

Who pays for that? Well, if TJPA gets $400 million in ARRA funds reserved for HSR, they do. The state of California could chip in some of BART's share of the $950 million reserved for connecting transit in prop 1A(2008), though MTC and VTA probably have that penciled in for the extension to Santa Clara already.

Note that long walking distances were one reason why the grotty old King's Cross Thameslink station in London was closed as soon as the new St. Pancras Int'l station was completed. Commuter/regional trains run on a level below Eurostar there. Details in this video.

@ BruceMcF -

what was the physical obstacle to running an alternate BART subway alignment to 4th and King and back to the main BART alignment?

There's the minor matter of the SF Bay: branching off the existing line isn't feasible due to construction issues, curve radii, you name it. Any future second transbay tube for BART would most likely use Franklin Street in Oakland, the north shore of Point Alameda and Mission Street in SF to improve not just capacity but earthquake resilience.

Also, note that SF Muni subway trains dive underground just south of Howard to end up a level above BART along Market.

Adding an SF Muni streetcar service between 4th & King and Fisherman's Wharf looks like it would be easy enough, the tracks are already there and modern ADA-compliant ultra-low floor (ULF) rolling stock is readily available on the market.

However, a new streetcar service would hardly compensate for the lack of an intermodal connection between HSR and BART in downtown SF.

mike said...

If tiny South Pas can halt I-710, you better believe Atherton, Menlo Park and Palo Alto will be able to halt HSR

Wow, if the PA NIMBYs are so clueless and disorganized that they think the S. Pasadena case has much relevance to the Caltrain case (hint: there is no existing ROW in S. Pasadena - just house after house after house), then they're going to be even less of a force than I had originally imagined.

But don't worry, Anna Eshoo - the Good Witch of the East - will ride to the rescue to stop the state from meanly taking away those loud, clanky, polluting diesel trains that are preserving your property values!

We've Got No Money for Toys said...

@John: "why are you commenting here?"

Because I'm a concerned citizen, and liberals like you are threatening my lifestyle with your requests for subsidization of your dreams. We, lovers of freedom, can't let these liberal blogs like this one go unchecked. Today is a train, tomorrow is socialized medicine.

Ok, I'm leaving now. My lunch break is over. If I have time I'll debate with you tomorrow.

Peter said...

@ Toys

"cities are compact and most people in a city live within minutes from the central station rather than in spread out suburbs, whereas airports are not as close as the central station to where most people live."

I don't know about you, but most European cities I've been to are pretty damn spread out. From the downtown in the western side of Berlin where I used to live, it still takes over half an hour to get to the Hauptbahnhof.

All those cities have large suburbs, too, like American cities. The main difference is, you can in fact get around efficiently by public transportation there.

Peter said...

Again @ Toys

Taxes are what make pretty much everything people take for granted tick. Without taxes, we wouldn't be able to maintain the roads you love to drive your truck on. We wouldn't be able to pay for emergency services. We wouldn't, and, in case you haven't been following the news, haven't been able to fund our public education system. We pretty much wouldn't be able to do ANYTHING without taxes.
This anti-tax mania seriously needs to go away so that we can solve our systemic governance problems.

BruceMcF said...

Toys said..."@John: "why are you commenting here?"

Because I'm a concerned citizen, and liberals like you are threatening my lifestyle with your requests for subsidization of your dreams. We, lovers of freedom, ...
"

Ah, I see. You view it as a defense of your free ride as a motorist - a level playing field for a mode of transport that does not require operating subsidies would risk having too many people in the electorate that question the operating subsidies given to the car transport system.

The irony, of course, is that as the share of motorists rise in the population, the net benefit from taking free rides on various public and private budgets drops, because there's a smaller number of non-motorists to provide tribute to the Auto-Uber-Alles system.

Or else you might believe that cars do not suck up massive capital and operating subsidies, but it would be rude to simply assume basic ignorance on your part at the outset.

Rafael said...

@ BruceMcF -

Why is the original Beale St. station proposal not credible?

Beale Street is the location of the western Bay Bridge anchorage. For good reason, Caltrans isn't going to let anyone tunnel there.

A tunnel under Main Street would still be tricky but probably feasible.

It would also have the advantage of being easier to reach from Embarcadero. There is a box sewer along that road that any tunnel would have to cross under, though.

Main Street is also where the Caltrain tail tracks, if any, would end up. TJPA considered Townsend/Embarcadero/Main for the inbound leg of a single shared loop track that would have turned the entire TTC train box into a run-through station. The outbound track would have used 2nd and Townsend. This would have eliminated all throughput issues related to the throat at a stroke.

The ends of the HSR tracks would have been curved, but CHSRA's bottleneck is anyhow between their ears: that 30-40 minute dwell time again.

If TJPA were to capitulate and abandon plans for the trainbox at the TTC building, then tunnel tracks under either 2nd or Main could be extended to Market to create an intermodal station with BART.

For now, TJPA is aggressively defending its poorly-conceived notion of cajoling the train tracks to where the bus ramps happen to already be. It's all about the foot traffic for the shopping mall, you see.

lyqwyd said...

It sounds to me like the TJPA are putting the train station last.

"Lets rebuild the transbay terminal...
Lets make it really cool!
Lets put a park on top!
Lets put a lot of green features in it!
Lets put a mall in it!
...
What? You say this is supposed to be a train station to?
...
Uh... we'll put it in the basement somewhere... we'll work out the details later...
Now give us $400 million for the train!"

The more I hear from the TJPA the less support I have from them. And I started out very excited and a strong supporter of the transbay terminal.

lyqwyd said...

Oops, I meant

The more I hear from the TJPA the less support I have FOR them.

Peter said...

@ lyqwyd

I'm beginning to agree with you. It's looking not so much like a turf war, but like a trench war (tunnel war?). Both CHSRA and TJPA are totally wedded to their mutually incompatible plans, and neither side seems to be willing to actually discuss the options with the other.

BruceMcF said...

@Rafeal: "Beale Street" does not imply that the cut and cover uses Beal Street - its the street on the TBT side of the block that the CHSRA has raised as an option to be studied. As in, the topic of the blog post?

As far as the TJPA capitulating, they are begging for money from other people to build a Caltrain terminus that they were required by SF voters to design as the SF HSR terminus but seemed to have figure if it ever came time to meet their responsibility, they could just bluff it with PR and spin.

So it is more what the FRA decides than what the TJPA decides - if the FRA funds the train box, everything is probably locked into the ten year old design that was not really designed with HSR in mind, if the FRA does not fund the train box, it'll be up in the air or at an impasse until somebody puts together permission to go ahead with money to go ahead.

Anonymous said...

Liquid, save your support for PRT. The Transbay Terminal doesn't need support from PRT hucksters.

Dan said...

A mezzanine-to-mezzanine underground pedestrian path between TBT and BART/Muni Metro stations will work just fine and is certainly multi-model. Give me a break. Thousands of people already walk that route every workday with no problem (and with no cushy ped tunnel).

Another poor argument is that we should not do the TBT because of of few seconds of scretching wheels as trains approach the terminal. So let's destroy 15 years of planning to avoid that (which btw will likely be figured out anyway with various technologies). This is really getting to a level when I just feel that maybe it the US we really just can't built damn thing anymore.

Do folks realize that without the train box now we are 85% likely to get only 4th and King. When you destroy 15 years of planning, it is very likely that people will finally throw up their hand and say screw it. People seem to think that it will be no problem to start over. Wrong! It will be darn near impossible. BTW, I'll say it again, the redevelopment is going to move forward and Beale will become physically impossible, unless the Authority wants to spend hundreds of millions to buy out the TJPA for the land because that is what it will be worth due to the already approved TJPA EIR. Can we stay in the real world and stop fantasing that Beale is a real altenative at this point. It is quite simply a tool for Kopp and others who hate transbay to kill it and create the 4th and King Terminal. Kopp has already said publicly that 4th and King is is prefence. Folks leaning anti-TJPA and TBT need to acknowledge this point about the bias of the Kopp. And Kopp is driving this at the Authority because it is his domain. I have yet to see an acknowledgement of these out-in-the public facts.

NOTRUCKS said...

TOYS where did you live??

Peter said...

@ Dan

From what I gather, it's not just the wheel squeal, it's what is associated with the wheel squeal: the increased wear and tear on the axles, wheels, and cars themselves, which in turn leads to greater wear and tear on the entire system, and greater operating costs overall.

AndyDuncan said...

I thought the interesting part of the AG's letter was that not only is the CHSRA legally allowed to study alternatives, they are, under CEQA, legally required to do so.

If they don't give a serious look at the other alternatives, a SF Resident could, similar to the Atherton NIMBYs, file a lawsuit against CHSRA alleging that their decision making process was corrupt, and that they had a predetermined outcome.

The CHSRA, even if they decide to go with the TTC as-designed, needs to even-handedly evaluate the other alternatives.

As the AG states, they can reject them, and they can use the work the TTC has done so far to do so, but they have to at least look at them.

Anonymous said...

"All stereotype arguments based on, "all drivers are like me" are always proved wrong when a viable alternative becomes available.

And all the pro arguments are based on all people are like me and will want to ride a choo-choo train to southern california if it's available.

In any case, if HSR stops at 4th and King, it might as well be in Millbrae for most of San Francisco. The N-Judah sucks ass -- and for most of San Francisco, it will require multiple transfers just to get there...

... not to mention that South of Market will remain a condo ghost town for the foreseeable future. Who wants to pay $600+/month just for HOA fees?

Peter said...

That's an interesting question. If in fact CAHSR is constitutionally mandated to end at Transbay Terminal, then can they legally arrive at a preferred alignment decision that is NOT Transbay, if such an alternative is preferable after a required CEQA analysis?
I'm assuming here that the constitution trumps CEQA...

AndyDuncan said...

Also, the TJPA saying that a Beale alignment was rejected is technically true, but what they studied is actually an alignment that none of us have been suggesting.

In Chapter 2 of their final EIS, they outline the options they rejected (PDF link, page 2-49).

They rejected a terminal contained wholly under beale and stretching from market to howard streets.

They give the following statement for rejecting that alignment:

"The Caltrain terminal at Market and Beale Streets was ultimately withdrawn from further consideration because of the narrow right-of-way available on Beale Street, requiring construction of a multi-level train station between two historic structures."

If the CHSRA is studying a station on the land between Beale and Main, the TJPA is being misleading when they say that such an alignment was studied and rejected. As far as I can tell (and there of course may be other docs out there refuting this) they studied and rejected a Beale alignment, but not that Beale alignment.

Rafael said...

@ Dan -

at this point, there is NO commitment to any mezzanine-to-mezzanine connection between the TTC building and BART/SF Muni.

TJPA is reportedly "studying" four separate options for one, but it's completely unclear who would fund the construction of such a pedestrian passage.

What you don't seem to realize is that a trainbox designed to meet Caltrain's needs doesn't automatically meet CHSRA's as well. Gov. Schwarzenegger twice delayed to HSR ballot initiative and put CHSRA on a starvation budget in 2007. This is why TJPA now has a super-expensive but "shovel-ready" design for the TTC that's now only barely good enough for Caltrain and simply not good enough for HSR - though for reasons other than those being advanced by Quentin Kopp & Co.

Anonymous said...

The 710 freeway through Pasadena wasn't approved by the voters of California. Also, huge difference between upgrading an existing ROW and destroying hundreds of homes/neighborhoods. Think 280 through San Jose in the early 70's.
Nice try NIMBY!

lyqwyd said...

putting the HSR/Caltrain station under Beale does not invalidate the transbay terminal.

It can be connected via a short pedestrian tunnel to the transbay terminal.

I'd also like to point out that they originally planned not build the train-box as phase 1 of the terminal until the HSR funds appeared.

I have heard some say the Beale alternative being considered does not get any closer to BART, which I think is very stupid. If you are going to put the train station on Beale, you might as well bring it all the way up to Market (unless there is some serious technical issue that I am unaware of) and connect directly to BART.

Another thing, I tried to find the exact wording of prop 1A, and I found one PDF that said the HSR station needed to "connect" to the transbay terminal. Now I'm not sure what I found was the official language, but if it is, then connect is a very vague word, and could potential be interpreted that the train station does not need to be a physical attachment of the transbay terminal, and one could argue that a pedestrian tunnel could provide the "connection". Of course that sort of thing is one for the lawyers. I'm sure many people would find that interpretation as ridiculous, and I wouldn't fault you for that.

The exact wording is:

"to develop and construct a high-speed train system that connects San Francisco Transbay Terminal to Los Angeles Union Station and Anaheim"

and my source is here

Again, I'm not sure if this is the official language, and I'm sure somebody else is more informed than me on this issue, so I would not be surprised to be proven wrong about this, just thought I'd put it out there.

Ultimately I don't care all that much where the exact location of the platforms is, I'd prefer the best reasonable location, I don't think that is the transbay basement as currently designed. But at the end of the day, it will still probably be OK.

AndyDuncan said...

I have heard some say the Beale alternative being considered does not get any closer to BART, which I think is very stupid. If you are going to put the train station on Beale, you might as well bring it all the way up to Market (unless there is some serious technical issue that I am unaware of) and connect directly to BART.

There seems to be confusion over what CHSRA is looking at, no doubt because they haven't said what they're looking at, and all we have to go in is the TJPA's complaints and the mention in the Chronicle.

Supposedly what they're looking at is the rectangle bordered by: Mission, Main, Harrison and Beale.

I think it's reasonable to assume that they're looking at a station contained within that rectangle, and not one on the borders of it.

The "Market & Beale" (what TJPA calls it in their EIS) station would be entirely under the roadway of Beale. That is the alternative that was rejected for the reason I posted earlier, as well as the fact that you would need multiple levels to get to 6 platform tracks. If CHSRA is looking to increase capacity from 6 tracks to 8 or 12, I think it's safe to say they are not looking at a stacked option 4 to 6 stories deep.

But that says nothing about the rectangle between beale and main, which is where it is rumored that CHSRA is looking to site a station, other than the TJPA does mention that the Bay Bridge support "raising issues regarding the effects of cut-and-cover construction on this major structure" with regard to tunneling on beale itself.

Since they didn't look at an alternative that comes in under main, there's nothing I can find in there about potential problems with a tunnel under main, or between beale and main.

It seems to me there's a pretty strong argument for looking at a station sited on the rectangle that CHSRA is rumored to be looking at. I think given the AG's interpretation of the Alternatives Analysis section of CEQA, they would be remiss to not look at it.

Rafael said...

@ Andy Duncan -

your link is to chapter 5 of the FEIS.

---

As for CHSRA looking to build a station of its own in-between Beale and Main, I haven't seen any map of exactly where that would be. The distance between the north-east side of the PG&E building and the south-west side of the one on the opposite side of Main is 125 feet (incl. sidewalk). As indicated earlier, tunneling up Beale is not possible due to the bridge anchorage.

Five tracks plus two island and one side platform would require ~120 feet of width. For additional platform tracks, they would either have implement a second platform level or knock down several tall buildings. Idem if they wanted the tracks to run right up to Market rather than stopping ~150ft south of it.

However, it's not clear HSR even needs more than four dedicated full-length platform tracks in SF. CHSRA needs to rethink its operations concept to bring the dwell time of HSR trains incl. two traversals of the throat - if any - to no more than 20 minutes.

---

Under CEQA, CHSRA is legally obliged to respond to all public comments it received during the comment period. One such comment was from Duane Morris, who argued for a Beale Street alignment for the HSR station. If CHSRA were to dismiss this suggestion without looking into its technical feasibility, it could open itself up to another lawsuit.

However, just because CHSRA is studying a suggestion doesn't mean they are going to accept it in the end. The letter from the AG clarifies that CHSRA is participating in TJPA's planning process, aware of the reasons why TJPA rejected a Beale Street station for Caltrain and that it must comply not just with CEQA but also prop 1A(2008) and other applicable laws.

AB3034, the law enacted by prop 1A(2008), explicitly requires that Transbay Terminal Center be the San Francisco station on the starter line. The only wiggle room left is the definition of "Transbay Terminal Center". Does CHSRA have to roll over and accept TJPA's vision of a train box immediately underneath the bus terminal, regardless of how well that meets CHSRA's requirements or, is there scope for a more liberal interpretation?

Richard Mlynarik said...

"What you don't seem to realize is that a trainbox designed to meet Caltrain's needs doesn't automatically meet CHSRA's as well."

The hopelessly unprofessional and utterly incompetent, throughput-minimizing, cost-maximizing, flexibility-killing "design" from the TJPA and their consultants meets nobody's needs ... besides those of contractors who seeks to start spending $4 billion of public money ASAP, outcome be damned.

It isn't Caltrain that has driven the "design" of this fiasco, that's for sure.

The bad news is that an alternative that would have met every need with capacity to spare -- Caltrain, HSR, future Bay Crossing, high-capacity through station, extra plaforms, significantly wider curvature, fully flexible station throat -- was rejected by the unprofessional and technically incompetent TJPA in 2003.

This alternative ("Refined Second to Mission") was simply never studied, because it was not generated by the highly skilled and highly professional team that was working for the TJPA but rather came for outside the organization via the white-wash "scoping" process. (The parallels with CHSRA scoping are, well, blindingly obvious.)

Two years after, after being made painfully aware of the consequences of their actions, staff engineers admitted that this rejection was a disaster for the project, but by that time the 301 Mission building was going ahead and the alternative was dead.

So if you want to understand the quality of rail engineering and quality of alternatives analysis and understanding of post-19th-century rail operations upon which the TJPA relies (via Parsons Transportation Group and allied consultants, as well as in-house experts like Bob Bock), well this is a good guide.

So that's the bad news. The ideal and readily constructable alternative was torn up and burned by the TJPA.

So what's the good news. The good news is that a rail alignment that can serve both all HSR needs (4-5tph, not 12tph fairyland) and all Caltrain needs (6-7tph, not 12tph fairyland) -- barely -- is still feasible at the Transbay site in a single shared facility.

Higher train throughput, complete service flexibility, significantly less excavation for the train box, hugely less excavation under Second Street, a superior station at Mission Bay, and all Caltrain service running to Transbay, as the voters were promised (not terminating in useless Siberia and eating up two full developable city blocks for a Caltrain storage yard) ... what's not to like?

The highly skilled and highly professional TJPA and CHSRA engineering experts are, of course, simply not even considering such a thing.

Full speed ahead, right into the iceberg.

"You know that alternative we didn't even look at two years ago? Gee, we should have, because then we wouldn't be so completely f*cked now. Oh well. I guess Caltrain stays at 4th&Townsend and CHSRA uses Transbay as a $4 billion parking lot for out-of-service trains. It's the best that can be done."

spence said...

If a Beale Street alignment for an underground train station can be proven to be either more cost effective and/or more functional than the current TTC alignment, then I'm all for it. Those two locations are literally next door to each other and both would feature close connections to Market St, BART, the many Muni Metro lines on Market, the countless buslines at the TTC, etc.

There's nothing wrong with studying alternatives as long as it doesn't jeopardize the entire project. While losing out on stimulus funding would be a shame, I think doing this thing the right way is more important.

My only concern is that if a Beale Street alignment is ruled out for whatever reason, will Kopp just choose another reason to oppose the TTC station? I question his motives and his ability to work towards a mutually agreeable solution in good faith. We already know that he prefers the 4th/King station to be the HSR terminus, so I don't see that he has any incentive to make any other station location work.

Jay said...

Just getting off work;
We've Got No Money for Toys does make a decent point about about the urban-ness and walk abilty of SoCal.
When this HRS gets built, there really needs to be a lot of though put into TOD.
not the crap we have now. We need to make every station a destination with retail shopping/office towers/Cultural attractions/entertainment and the like.
I feel that there is to little attention paid to this.

BTW We've Got No Money for Toys;
Where in Europe were you stationed?
I was in Vilsec,DE with the 94th ECB(H) from 00-04 and also in KFOR 2B and OIF 1.

AndyDuncan said...

@Rafael: whoops, here's the link to chapter 2

Five tracks plus two island and one side platform would require ~120 feet of width. For additional platform tracks, they would either have implement a second platform level or knock down several tall buildings. Idem if they wanted the tracks to run right up to Market rather than stopping ~150ft south of it.

I'd guess that they're planning on a large, 12-platform-track station that takes up the entire width between beale and main starting southeast of the Beale street grill (Is that the PG&E Building?), complete with a big-ass architectural train shed to make Jim happy. This would, by anyone's measurements, be more capacity than they would need for the peninsula-bound trains, but it would offer future capacity for a transbay tunnel bringing in trains from sacramento and the east bay.

AndyDuncan said...

It would also allow them to use the existing 4th and King station as a maintenance yard for both caltrain and HSR, solving the Brisbane issue and drastically shortening the dead head distance.

spence said...

@ liquid, you said:

1) It's generally a good idea to look at alternatives
2) It seems TJPA is trying to rush things to get the $400 million (given the broad opinion that there are major flaws in the current design)
3) If the $400 million is spent on the station, that's $400 million less to be spent on the actual rail project.
4) Transbay terminal only has value by serving the trains, otherwise there's no reason to rebuild it
5) I agree with jim that a 4th & King station would be perfectly viable and has a number of benefits over the current transbay location (although there are also disadvantages to 4th & King)


1) Agreed.
2) Perhaps, but the TJPA has a project timeline that is already in effect. There are very serious financial consequences if construction is delayed. The stimulus funding is also on a timeline, and it's not going to wait for them.
3) Disagree. The trainbox is for rail facilities. It is no less a part of the HSR project than buying ROW or laying track in the central valley or tunneling thru Tehachapi. The TTC funding for everything above ground (everything except for the rail) is already in place. Folks outside of SF seem to be willfully ignorant of this fact. Please make a note of it.
4) Not sure where you are coming with this opinion. Have you been to the existing Transbay Terminal? It is an old, run down, terrible bus station, so rebuilding it is a very worthy goal, even if it ends up not serving trains. If there are no trains, it will just end up being a very nice, very expensive bus station, which would be very unfortunate.
5) Generally agree. But you could say the same thing about HSR, as in, if it ends up never being built we will all live on and society will not collapse, but it doesn't mean that HSR is not a superior development for California, just like HSR and Caltrain to the TTC would obviously be a major step forward for transportation and mobility to/from the Bay Area. Failure to bring rail into downtown SF would be a *HUGE* missed opportunity.

AndyDuncan said...

It would also be big, expensive, provide excess capacity, so I think Richard would agree that's probably what they're planning.

However, it might not be that much more expensive than the TTC if they put a proper station throat in and only have to twin-track the tunnel coming in.

Rafael said...

Here's a MAP of a hybrid idea that just might work:

"Revert to the original TTC plans for Caltrain only and accommodate HSR with platforms under 2nd out to Market."

Details:

- reduce HSR dwell times to 10 minutes by foregoing light cleaning/housekeeping in SF

- do change drivers, don't change rest of staff

- have cleaners board and alight in San Jose, take care of restrooms, trash, spills en route.

- reduce DTX tunnel to two tracks terminating at 2nd/Market

- full-length island platform for HSR between Market and just south of Howard. Intermodal with Montgomery BART/SF Muni, but no option to extend beyond SF. Intermodal with SF city + GG Transit buses at 2nd/Mission. Option for intermodal with Amtrak shuttle bus to Emeryville (CC trains to Sac).

- double track turnoff toward TTC at Tehama

- two sets of switches to get from two to six platform tracks for Caltrain in TTC trainbox

- TTC platform tracks end at Beale

- no tail tracks at the TTC

- crossover switches connecting platform to inbound/outbound tunnel tracks between Tehama and Folsom

- optionally, inbound-only station for Caltrain at 4th & Townsend via short three-track section there

- optional pedestrian passage between TTC building and HSR station under (or enclosed above) Minna St. between 1st/Fremont and 2nd.

- unless the Brisbane yard becomes available, overnight parking for HSR would be limited to the 2nd Street station (4 trainsets) plus 4th & King (4+ trainsets) plus San Jose Diridon (4+ trainsets). Limited additional parking might be available in Gilroy, Merced or Fresno. Any trains parked south of Brisbane would make revenue runs early in the morning and late at night.

- strict HSR vs. Caltrain split not needed if platform heights are harmonized. TTC platforms could only accommodate trains up to ~1000 feet long unless extended to Main.

- IFF a second transbay tube for BART is ever built to support a relief line under Mission, that could cross under the HSR tracks at 2nd. A station with side platforms between 1st and 2nd would be intermodal with both HSR and Caltrain (via short pedestrian passage to TTC under 1st)

Dan said...

@Rafael,
You are correct that there is no commitment yet for an underground connection. But the strong intention is there to provide it along with the rail extension. It will get done if we are successful in getting Transbay done.

AndyDuncan said...

My google map kung fu is not as good as yours, but here's a beale/main option for a big station.

The platforms are longer than necessary, so depending on clearances in the throat and whether you could take the building on the southeast side of harrison, you might still be able to fan out from the north side of the station to the south side and have some 1200ft platforms along that north side, with smaller platforms along the south side.

AndyDuncan said...

Here'sthe short option to try to avoid taking the building southeast of harrison. Not sure if it's possible, it would be tight to fit 1400ft platform tracks in there, Though you might be able to put the four 1400ft platform tracks under main and thereby extend them up main and around the foundation of the PG&E building

Rafael said...

@ Andy Duncan -

not sure where the Beale Street Grill is.

The PG&E building skyscraper is located immediately north of Mission in-between Beale and Main.

There's a similarly tall tower across the street on the other side of Mission.

Good luck to anyone advocating those buildings be purchased just to tear them down.

AndyDuncan said...

The Beale Street Bar and Grill is right underneath that tall tower, so I'm saying stay away from that. The foundation of that building was causing constraints for the tail tracks of the TTC. The building also houses the Federal Highway Administration, so despite the lovely irony of tearing it down, I can't see that happening :-).

Here's an option where the 1400ft HSR tracks are moved under the streets of Beale and Main (8 platform tracks total) and caltrain gets 8 more in between.

Rafael said...

@ Andy Duncan -

the short option would at least avoid messing with the Bay Bridge supports any more than absolutely necessary.

Still, the concept is badly flawed in that it doesn't create an intermodal station with BART/SF Muni, either. User-friendly connections to all of the existing high capacity local/regional rail services are critical to achieving the desired ridership levels. Buses are no more than the cherry on top.

CHSRA claims that TJPA isn't providing enough platforms but that's bogus IMHO. They have their head in the sand regarding dwell times because they are still thinking in terms of a 19th century terminus ("Grand Central of the West"), not a 21st century terminal.

For example, Deutsche Bahn manages to turn its ICEs around in Cologne in under 10 minutes because they treat that station as a way point, not as a final destination. It may bruise Quentin Kopp's oh-so-fragile ego, but CHSRA should think of SF the same way it thinks of San Jose or Fresno. Those are through stations where HSR trains will dwell just 2-4 minutes. SF will have greater ridership and there's a need to change drivers, so figure 10 minutes. Definitely not 30-40.

If the city of SF wants to build itself an architectural temple to celebrate the greater glory of Caltrain plus AC/GG Transit buses, that's its prerogative - as is paying for that extravaganza.

CHSRA doesn't need an architectural temple to provide the required transportation service to SF and neighboring counties. It needs two tunnel tracks out to Market Street, one island platform and some crossover switches. That's also all it should pay for.

TJPA/PCJPB would be welcome to piggy-back off this tunneling effort to branch off the throat tracks needed to bring Caltrain to the TTC building. The train box would also be theirs to fund.

AndyDuncan said...

@Rafael: I rejiggered the Big Option. I think that one, since you would need to take both buildings on either side of Harrison, actually has the least issues with the Bay Bridge. The short and Straddle options, as they try to avoid taking those properties, need to come in under the main street support.

AndyDuncan said...

Still, the concept is badly flawed in that it doesn't create an intermodal station with BART/SF Muni, either. User-friendly connections to all of the existing high capacity local/regional rail services are critical to achieving the desired ridership levels. Buses are no more than the cherry on top.

True, although It's as intermodal with BART as the TTC. I'm not sure you could get four tracks from embarcadero to main without taking that building on harrison, so the Big Option might be the only one that has a station throat large enough to fill up it's own platform tracks.

Anonymous said...

Here's the appropriate solution -which saves billions...

terminate HSR in San Jose, use/upgrade Caltrain as an entirely appropriate express ride between SJ and SF. create a station in SJ that provides a simple transfer no more difficult than a walk across the platform

Think simpler boys - otherwise you'll all be reading fantasy bedtime tales of the glorious day in the not-too-distance-future of fabulous-HSR-in-California, to your great grandchildren

AndyDuncan said...

@anon, apart from platform sharing issues, it doesn't really matter, in the context of the TTC, whether those trains are Caltrain or CAHSR. If you were to force a transfer, you'd just need to have space for that many more Caltrain trainsets, and your peninsula corridor would be handling the same number of trains.

Well, actually, that's not quite right, since the level of service would be worse, and less people would ride it. So you'd be able to deal with capacity constraints by making it suck.

Rafael said...

@ Andy Duncan -

MAP of Main St. station with 7 full-length platforms and a short throat. It would be easy enough to implement 5 full-length and 4-5 short platforms instead.

Neither the PG&E tower nor the one across the street would be impacted, just some parking lots.

Just for kicks, the map shows how tracks could run via Mission Bay instead of Townsend. Both options are possible, but only if CHSRA/TJPA act quickly. Developers are already erecting new buildings in certain parcels in Mission Bay. Once they're up, Townsend would be the only remaining option.

Mind you, I still think CHSRA can make do with just two platform tracks under 2nd, terminating at Montgomery BART/SF Muni. That would involve the least amount of changes to TJPA's existing plans and give CHSRA a way to minimize its financial risk by pulling out of the TTC building altogether.

Anonymous said...

A cost effective and positive solution to the problems on the peninsula, like going to San Jose and transferring to CalTrain, just doesn't play with the purists here.

I find it amazing that a 4 page letter of legalize from a deputy AG, can complete ignore AB-3034 and the requirement that the TBT be the terminus. If such is the case, than the train under similar logic could just end at San Jose.

Certainly nobody should have to worry about mandated times route times.

The bandits at the Authority, seem to be able to do just what they want. I now wonder if the lawsuit ruling will have any teeth at all.

Anonymous said...

Yes because we know there are millions of people who need to ORIGINATE in the city of San francisco proper, for travel to LA. No, actually there aren't. They'll originate from somewhere else first, have to schlep into the city, to get on HSR.

Numbsculls - realize this - the SF Southbound HSR ridership they're counting on are people who need to GET INTO san francisco first to catch a train there. There's no good reason to try to draw "millions" of people into the city FIRST to get on HSR. What an utter LAME idea in the first place! They can just as easily (MORE easily) catch a CALTRAIN connection at any of multiple MUCH more convenient, much more accessible, much less crowded locations along peninsula. The idea of putting a major transportation HUB in the middle of the city - what an utter headache. There's a reason why SFO sits well outside the city - who in their right mind do you think will go deep into the city FIRST to catch HSR?

BruceMcF said...

Anonymous said...
"A cost effective and positive solution to the problems on the peninsula, like going to San Jose and transferring to CalTrain, just doesn't play with the purists here."

What problems does it solve?

(1) Grade separations on the Peninsula - they'd still have to go ahead

(2) Expresss/Local tracks on the Peninsula - need them all the same if there's a platform transfer at San Jose, since it increases the need for Caltrain Express services

(3) TBT train box - Caltrain doesn't have the money to build the tunnel and train box designed for it - if the HSR doesn't go to somewhere in the vicinity of the TBT via a subway, Caltrain cannot get there.

So, what was the problem you were "solving" with your cost effective and positive solution?

BruceMcF said...

Anonymous said...
"Yes because we know there are millions of people who need to ORIGINATE in the city of San francisco proper, for travel to LA. No, actually there aren't. They'll originate from somewhere else first, have to schlep into the city, to get on HSR."

A large number of the people leaving from the central San Francisco station will be who are on the return leg of their journey. These are not airplane, remember (since some keep forgetting), they are trains - it would be commercial insanity to provide only suburban origin stations and neglect the transport opportunity of bringing passengers into an urban destination where rail has the strongest competitive advantage against both air and road transport.

BruceMcF said...

@AndyDuncan said...

"@Rafael: I rejiggered the Big Option. I think that one, since you would need to take both buildings on either side of Harrison, actually has the least issues with the Bay Bridge. The short and Straddle options, as they try to avoid taking those properties, need to come in under the main street support.

Then a people mover / underground arcade from Embarcadero BART under Main to the end of the platforms (or a mezzanine with ramps up and down to the ends of platforms if they are stacked), to the TBT Mezzanine.

If the train box is sized for two tiers, and without having to carry the support columns for the TBT through the train box, it would only need the first tier populated at the outset.

jim said...

@rafael That said, there is at least plenty of room for a large multi-story car park above 4th & King once the tracks are electrified.


yes and the thing is--- they are going to dirve to it. they arent gonna take bart to hsr any more than they are taking bart to sfo.

Anonymous said...

You will notice that the AG opined that they can study it. The AG did not say whether or not they can use bond money to build the station elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

Stopping at San Jose, means they don't have to run 4 tracks down the peninsula. They don't have to grade separate all the intersections. They can drop off at 4th and King.

Is that enough reasons? That is way this a good idea?

Alon Levy said...

Anon: what you're saying is that if HSR trains stop at San Jose, they can force people to transfer to trains that take 57 minutes versus 30 for HSR, and that drop people off at a less convenient location. There we agree. We disagree in that I don't think it's a positive.

Clem said...

Regardless of the actual design:

The FRA holds the stimulus purse strings... now who's better buddies with the FRA?

Should federal HSR funds be spent first on a 25 mph terminal?

The damage has been done: the TJPA has reacted vociferously, exactly as the CHSRA bureaucrats intended. If the TTC looks like a controversial project, look for the HSR stimulus funds to be showered elsewhere.

2 pigs feeding at one trough.

Adirondacker12800 said...

There is a box sewer along that road that any tunnel would have to cross under, though.

how old is the sewer and when should it be replaced?

unless the Authority wants to spend hundreds of millions to buy out the TJPA for the land because that is what it will be worth due to the already approved TJPA EIR.

They develop buildings over railroad stations all the time. You might recognize this station , the skyscraper in back of the station is over the tracks. Here's another view of the skyscraper from the north side. All of the buildings in the shot are over the tracks at least partly.
Here's a pic of another of set that were over a train station.

have cleaners board and alight in San Jose, take care of restrooms, trash, spills en route.

Sounds great, where do the passengers go while they are cleaning? The cleaners are going to love all that deadheading back to San Jose too.

Mind you, I still think CHSRA can make do with just two platform tracks under 2nd, terminating at Montgomery BART/SF Muni.

Gotta love you some BART there. My relatives live in Sonoma County. When I have things to do in San Francisco I use Golden Gate Transit to get there. ( Silly northeasterner that I am I use buses, trains, trolleys, ferries the odd funicular in Pittsburgh and the Roosevelt Island Tram now and then. ) How much is the taxi fare from the Second Street station to the Transbay Terminal? I suppose the people in the East Bay would have a similar question. Because if I have a 40 pound suitcase with me I'm not going to walk that far, Life's short taxi's aren't that expensive.

They can just as easily (MORE easily) catch a CALTRAIN connection at any of multiple MUCH more convenient, much more accessible, much less crowded locations along peninsula

Caltrain doesn't go to Marin or Sonoma or Alameda or Contra Costa or....Golden Gate and AC do.

AndyDuncan said...

How much is the taxi fare from the Second Street station to the Transbay Terminal? I suppose the people in the East Bay would have a similar question. Because if I have a 40 pound suitcase with me I'm not going to walk that far, Life's short taxi's aren't that expensive.

It's about 1200 feet. That's less than the width of the main gallery of the international terminal at SFO, and also less than each of the international concourses.

Any one of the alignments we've been talking about, including the TJPA-selected alignment, would be closer to BART than all but a handfull of jetways at SFO.

Throw in a moving walkway down the pedestrian tunnel and it's a non issue.

I do agree with you, however, that Bus access is also important. Any of these options, apart from 4th and King, would be close enough to the TTC that it shouldn't be a problem. Obviously being directly below the bus terminals is even better.

James said...

@ Adirondacker12800

"Silly northeasterner that I am I use buses, trains, trolleys, ferries the odd funicular in Pittsburgh and the Roosevelt Island Tram now and then."

Good for you. Bravo!

You may have noticed that the western states are not laid out like the northeast.

Richard Dana left Boston for a two year tour as a sailor two hundred years after Boston was founded. When he arrived in San Francsico in the early 1830s there was *nothing* there but a run-down presidio, mission, outpost, and scattered ranches. He came back after the gold rush in the 1850s and had his choice of hotel, restaurant and church service. But only in the city. Out of the city there was still nothing. Towns were just beginning to be established in the late 1800s. Each town a days ride apart. 8 miles apart in all directions. Not very walkable. As with many other parts of the U.S. every sizable California town had an electric trolly by the 1920s. The trolleys were systematically dismantled just after WWII. Over the past 60 years a lot of effort has been put into freeways and secondary highways just to get decent access to the rural areas like Sonoma County (I lived there from 1967 to 1982). Golden Gate transit is great, if you are heading downtown. Rural bus systems are spotty at best. So, over the past 60 years if you wanted to get anything done in a reasonable time and cross the county putting 40 miles on the car in three directions, you drove. No one had time to sit and wait for whatever remnant of a bus system will take you to the next town.

Silly westerners have to cover a lot of territory. The HSR is a big step in the right direction.

Anonymous said...

Caltrain doesn't go to Marin or Sonoma or Alameda or Contra Costa or....Golden Gate and AC do.

Yes and those masses of people who suddenly find themselves in dire need of traveling to LA ALL THE TIME (which CHSRA says will suddently happen) - can just drive into the middle of SF and catch a caltrain, for a connection to HSR. (or stay on the freeway, and catch the much more accessible, parking convenient, and faster SFO.

I for one hope with all my heart that Kopp is successful and CHSRA decides they like some other SF station location better - that in turn blows utterly out of the water the excuse that row through the peninsula is the only option because AB3034 says so. Blows all the travel time excuses for poor design out of the water. Blows the bond funding out of the water. Gone. poof.

Midwest high speed rail proponents must be rolling on the floor laughing right now.

James said...

Yes I wish the western states had better buses, ferries and trains. I visited Washington D.C. for a week and London for two weeks without renting a car. Connected transportation is great. The bay area has a bus system but the majority of people still drive to get where they need to go, even if there is a bus that goes there. Too often the next leg of the trip does not have a connection.

Existing transit systems will grow connections to a new HSR trunk-line. This will inspire further transit development. Hopefully people will get used to using a more connected system. For now when you want to be sure you can get where you need to go, the easiest sure-bet is your car.

Anonymous said...

James, if a bus won't work for you, then you certainly don't deserve an expensive train. Rail snobbery and delusion at its best.

The Bay itself was the main means of regional conveyance for most of the 19th century, and towns developed at ferry harbors all around the Bay. Your understanding of transportation history is very poor.

James said...

Out of necessity to handle the crowds and to help reduce the impact on the environment, Yosemite Park, especially in the valley, has established a connected transit system. If you drive to Yosemite you park you car and take transit for almost everything else. The buses take you to a trail head to go on hikes and walks or get you from Cury to the village etc. Transit can be done, even by silly westerners. Even further west, you can go all over Hawaii and not rent a car.

Adirondacker12800 said...

You may have noticed that the western states are not laid out like the northeast.

The big empty spaces in Wyoming, no they aren't. Towns are spaced where the the trains had to stop for water for the steam engines.

But the Peninsula is frighteningly like railroad suburbs all over the world. Lots of the East Bay too. Only difference I see between lots of the Peninsula and eastern Queens is the palm trees...

James said...

Anon,

The bus worked fine for me in Washington D.C., London, Amsterdam, Vancouver, Hawaii, Yosemite.

We had a trolley system before 1945. Before the bridges we had ferries. Seattle and the sound are too big for bridges and still have a thriving ferry system because they have no choice.

No, 98% of the time, the bus or train does not 'work for me' in the bay area. Yes we need better transportation in the west. We need the HSR. As it gets better, and the price of gas goes up, more people will use it. I take the train to SF about half the time I go to the city. Call it what you want. It is the reality of the majority of the westerners that the car gets the job done. Maybe the answer is a gasoline tax and use the money for transit.

I will take the HSR to visit LA. Where I will either get picked up at the station by someone in a car, or I will rent a car.

I don't know what else to tell you. That is how it works here.

Alon Levy said...

Only difference I see between lots of the Peninsula and eastern Queens is the palm trees...

That, and Eastern Queens is about 6 times denser, features mixed-use major streets, and has a transit modal share that doesn't embarrass.

Rafael said...

@ adirondacker12800 -

here's some actual ridership data:

GG Ferry 2008: 6000 daily transbay boat pax (50% each way)

GG Transit 2008: 9000 daily transbay bus pax (50% each way)

AC Transit 2007: 12,000 daily transbay pax (50% each way)

BART 2008: 36,000 weekday exits at Embarcadero + 34,500 at Montgomery (same number the other way)

SF Muni 2007: 1300 pax at Embarcadero, 1100 at Montgomery, 270 at 1st (~50% each way. Data averaged for F, J, K/T, L, M and N lines. No cable car/city bus ridership included.)

---

Unsurprisingly, the data shows that BART is the big kahuna in terms of ridership into and out of the downtown SF stations closest to the TTC site.

However, the Embarcadero and Montgomery BART stations get really busy during rush hour, pedestrian flow is constrained. HSR passengers hailing from the East Bay or west SF might decide to avoid connecting via BART during those hours unless pedestrian flow capacity there is improved.

BruceMcF said...

Anonymous said...
"Stopping at San Jose, means they don't have to run 4 tracks down the peninsula."

Precisely. They don't have to run four tracks down the Peninsula, Caltrain has to do it for them.

"They don't have to grade separate all the intersections."

Precisely, they don't have to grade separate all the intersections, Caltrain has to do it for them.

"They can drop off at 4th and King."

This is not a point in favor of the argument - if they have the freedom to stop the HSR in San Jose, they have the freedom to stop the HSR at 4th and King, allowing Caltrain to take the Caltrain service through 4th and Townsend to the TBT trainbox that Caltrain does not have the money to build.

"Is that enough reasons? That is way this a good idea?"

Those reasons are precisely why it is not a good idea.

The second one is particularly silly - 'grade separations bad'. As Caltrain electrifies, as it needs to do, train frequency is going to increase. Increasing train frequencies means more and more delays at level crossings.

So grade separations on the Caltrain corridor was already the plan - they just were not sure how they were going to pay for them.

With the CHSRA on board the project, there is a wider range of design options available than ever would have been on the table from Caltrain alone.

looking on said...

There is a major difference between what CalTrain can achieve and what the CHSRA can achieve.

4 tracks down the peninsula, at grade or above grade is not acceptable, period. CalTrain doesn't have eminent domain authority. CalTrain can't just push whatever they want regardless of local opposition. CalTrain is governed by representative from the 3 counties.

CHSRA, is state mandated, with eminent domain, the only real elephant bigger than them is UPRR.

The peninsula cities will get along with CalTrain. They won't get 4 tracks, unless the cities approve, regardless of whether funding is available or not.

CalTrain made a major blunder by agreeing ever to partner with CHSRA. Only now are they starting to realize what a hole they have made for themselves.

Rafael said...

@ looking on -

my understanding is that any eminent domain in the SF peninsula would be exercised by SF Muni, SMCTA or VTA (as appropriate) in response to a request from PCJPB.

I could be wrong about this, but I don't believe CHSRA even has ED authority in the Caltrain corridor.

Legally, PCJPB is a consortium of three counties. Individual cities don't have a formal vote in its affairs, including how it chooses to develop its ROW. They do, however, have a say in the context of the project-level EIS/EIR currently being conducted.

Politically, PCJPB is going to have to be sensitive to reasonable concerns raised by peninsula cities. However, those do not include blanket refusal to co-operate in an upgrade with local, regional and statewide transportation benefits paid for mostly by non-county actors.

jim said...

@toys Ok, I'm leaving now. My lunch break is over. If I have time I'll debate with you tomorrow.

Oh good. We can all look forward to that.

looking on said...

@rafael

What do you know about the developer for the TBT pulling out, as mentioned by Kopp, due to current market conditions?

jim said...

@rafael However, the Embarcadero and Montgomery BART stations get really busy during rush hour, pedestrian flow is constrained. HSR passengers hailing from the East Bay or west SF might decide to avoid connecting via BART during those hours unless pedestrian flow capacity there is improved

its not just pedestrian capacity, its BART capacity that is also lacking. And now they are cutting service to every 20 minutes per line.

As for are embarcadero and montgomery, Montgomery is the much larger station with corridors that lead in different directions and would be the better choice for the hsr pedestrian tunnel.
Embarcadero was planned with less capacity and I believe also has a more narrow platform. ( it also did not open when the rest of downtown sf bart stations went into service but was finished later)

The plans I have seen for a pedestrian tunnel, ( on sfgtv) show the city prefers Ecker Place, from the west end of the tbt, where there is currently a parking lot and existing pedestrian pass through via Ecker to monte station. eckerplace

BruceMcF said...

looking on said...
"There is a major difference between what CalTrain can achieve and what the CHSRA can achieve.

4 tracks down the peninsula, at grade or above grade is not acceptable, period.
"

And yet, the proposal to "solve" a problem that requires four tracks is "let Caltrain do it". Which means "let Caltrain do it" is not an effort to solve problems, its an effort to fail to solve problems.

And in terms of property values over the next twenty years in the Peninsula, it would be a massive blunder, since the local areas best positioned to weather the coming series of oil price shocks will be those that offer the broadest range of transport alternatives to petroleum-fueled transport - when petroleum-dependent regions are handing over a larger share of income to bleed away out of the area, and indeed out of the national economy altogether, the regions with energy independent options available will recirculate a larger share of their transport dollars in their own local economies.

Insisting on "let Caltrain do it" in hopes that Caltrain will be incapable of doing it is getting so tied up with invidious distinctions in relative property values that the higher priority goal of protecting absolute property values has been totally forgotten.

jim said...

by the way are we all over looking a simple solution that would solve the curve problem and still keep the trains in the transbay terminal?

Just reverse the approach and the tail tracks.

Look bring the tunnel up main, as it comes up main there is wide open space to curve towards the terminal in a much broader fashion.

then put the tail tracks with the sharper curve at the west end.

problem solved, everybody's happy.

Rafael said...

@ looking on -

the developer pulling out of the TTC project was news to me as well.

@ jim -

well, if Montgomery is the larger station anyhow, then all the more reason to take HSR to 2nd and Market.

With a station concourse under 2nd Street, a pedestrian passage/people mover along Minna between Fremont/1st and 2nd would provide the desired pedestrian connection between the TTC building and the TTC HSR station. Same distance (taxicab geometery), therefore no need to mess with narrow Ecker Place.

jim said...

yes but that doesn't solve the problem that chsra is going to have with the city.

whereas reversing the approach to tbt and coming in with a wider curve from the east side does because it keeps hsr in the tbt where the city wants it and will have it.

jim said...

by the way can someone tell me how you are drawing lines on google maps?

is there a program for that?

BruceMcF said...

jim, get a google account (you may already have, if you use google groups or gmail), then when signed into your google account, maps.google.com has a "My Maps" option. That has the line drawing tools.

jim said...

wow I do have a google account... and all this time ive been trying to figure out ho to get a map and draw on it to no avail...

Rafael said...

@ jim -

exactly which problem is CHSRA going to have with the city of SF?

Instead of tail tracks down Main, there would be one level of two tracks under 2nd. That's right: just two platform tracks for HSR, because with a little lateral thinking they can get dwell times down to 10 minutes.

Depending on the specifics of the design, it may or may not be necessary to rip up part of 2nd Street. If so, temporary bridges would keep traffic flowing along Howard and Mission, perhaps other cross streets.

Plus, there would be no need to extend any of the TTC platform tracks east beyond Beale.

Moreover, CHSRA would commit to funding a two-track tunnel under Townsend and 2nd that Caltrain would be permitted to leverage to get its trains into the TTC train box.

The TTC building would revert to the Caltrain station + transbay bus terminal it was designed for. The HSR portion would simply be a related, additional EIS/EIR process.

---

Re Google Maps: log in with a Google Account -> My Maps -> Create New Map. Go nuts with lines, icons etc.

Use the "Link" button on the right hand side to grab the URL for exactly the view you've selected so you can paste it into a regular HTML anchor tag, e.g. in a comment on this blog.

Adirondacker12800 said...

Eastern Queens is about 6 times denser

Well, the more suburban parts of eastern Queens and the denser parts of the Peninsula. They like to think they are very very special. They aren't, it's a long string of railroad 'burb. Bayside versus Burlingame. Paramus with palm trees. South Orange with lousy train service not that the train service in South Orange is stellar. . . though Bayside and South Orange have had modern train service for 100 years. :-)

I haven't been in Palo Alto or Bayside in a long time. It's partly perception, Easterners build two story single family houses for many reasons and Californians wedge ranches onto tiny lots. As you pointed out things get a lot denser in Queens, especially around the stations, than they do on the Peninsula. I expect three story garden apartments on the main streets with an elevator building or two or three near the station. But take a typical street of single family housing in the Northeast or around Chicago or Cleveland or Toronto and compare it to places in the Bay Area the differences are much less than the similarities.

Unsurprisingly, the data shows that BART is the big kahuna in terms of ridership into and out of the downtown SF stations closest to the TTC site.

Because BART gets people there fast in reasonable comfort. The current bus terminal is a parking lot with nicely landscaped bus shelters. What's going to happen when the buses terminate in a decent bus terminal? What happens when someone comes up the bright idea to have exclusive bus lanes to make the bus more attractive? How many people are using the slug lines from the East Bay? Would the slug lines survive a new terminal and an XBL?

Ideally in 1906 Southern Pacific would have taken the opportunity to build a terminal right on Market Street, they didn't. There's blocks of parking lot right across the street from the bus terminal. Lots of options there to put things all in the same place. Or you can have the bus terminal a block away from the train station which is a block away from BART and MUNI on Market....

jim said...

@rafael

the city want the train in the terminal period. personally I dont care where it is, but Im just telling you, that starting another fight, with yet another city along the route, especially with san francisco, is a bad idea. you are never gonna see this train in your lifetime, if all hsr does is pick fights with every single city and agency is wants to push around. you really do not want to get into it with sf

here is my solution that solves the problem of a wider curve, and stil keeps it in the terminal.

map

jim said...

by the way why is there all the fuss about the curve going into the tbt but not the equally sharp curve departing 4th to 2nd? if one is a problme then arent both problems?

jim said...

I read a comment somewhere that said the beale option was just a distraction with Kopps actual goal to end up staying at 4th. to make a big fuss about the whole thing, then after getting out tbt, and then making it so hsr wont pay for a beale station, and then winding up with a 4th st terminus after all is said and done. very sneaky.

Tim said...

On a tangent ... why doesn't SF already have a bona fide train station a la LAUS or SD SAN? Other than the TBT that was served by the Sacramento line, did SF ever have a major station? What happened to them and their rights-of-way?

Anonymous said...

The CHSRA should set up a list of priorities in case the money runs out. The access to SF may have to be delayed.

An I-5 Grapevine alternative should be costed out.

Anonymous said...

The reason that housing differs so much between the two areas is that the development of the burbs in Queens predates the domination of the car and those out here post date it.

Brandon in San Diego said...

Anon at September 18, 2009 8:19 PM:

Regarding:

I find it amazing that a 4 page letter of legalize from a deputy AG, can complete ignore AB-3034 and the requirement that the TBT be the terminus. If such is the case, than the train under similar logic could just end at San Jose..
.
My apoligies if this duplicates a previous response... I notice there are 143 posts so far on this posting! Several since you opinned your nonsense.

The optional location to be studied is immediately adjacent to the TBT. Hence, it's AT the TBT. It therefore should satsify the parameters outlined by AB 3034.

jim said...

personally id still rather see this at 4th and be done with it.

i mean wouldn't you rather have that than an underground platform on 2nd? 2nd street is very narrow and there isn't actually room for more than a couple tracks and center platform with zero ecoutrements.
boring.

Brandon in San Diego said...

Re:

"...unless the Authority wants to spend hundreds of millions to buy out the TJPA for the land because that is what it will be worth due to the already approved TJPA EIR....".
.
That is interesting. I suppose that could be an option worth considering. The value of the property should consider the development rights and requirements of the parcel development. However, it would give the Authority the ability to design and construct the TBT as it should be developed... correctly.

It would also provide the Authority additional revenue streams beyond rider fares.

I think that is an interesting propsition.... one worth vetting a bit more. Is it worth a blog post... Robert?

jim said...

However, it would give the Authority the ability to design and construct the TBT as it should be developed... correctly.

No. I don't think so. That's ridiculous people. You not suggesting the approved transbay design can be thrown out.

No. You're crazy. When hell freezes over will chsra come into san francisco and tell them they are changing the transbay transit center design.

please.

Rafael said...

@ jim -

TJPA actually studied the idea of a loop track via Townsend/Embarcadero/Main inbound and 2nd/Townsend outbound. Presto, six run-through tracks.

Caltrain said that would reduce its dwell times from 18 to 10 minutes. However, CHSRA stuck to its ridiculous 30-40 minute dwell times so TJPA concluded the loop would not resolve CHSRA's (fake) issue.

Another fly in the ointment was that the straight sections of the northern four platform tracks were not 1320 feet long. More like 1200, actually. Considering that modern distributed traction HSR designs can get as many or more passengers into 14 cars (incl. 2 with cabs and 1 for the transformer etc.) as previously required 16 (incl. 4 tractor units), it's not clear that would necessarily be a dealbreaker.

Btw: just because the city of SF is mustard-keen on its super-expensive TTC doesn't mean state and federal taxpayers are required to pay for it, especially if it does a comparatively poor job of serving HSR passengers and operators.

Brandon in San Diego said...

Disscussing HSR trains stopping in San Jose is pointless for anything other than academic purposes.

AB 3034 says HSR San Francisco. Californians want HSR to San Francisco. The fact that some peninsula residents don't... is insufficient to alter the mission.

I'd prefer this site remain grounded and focused on the mission and not academic pusuits... but that is just me.. and I am not an admin here.

For those that don't... then I suggest they pursue an AA at the local JC in political science. And, it does not need to be an acreditied institution.. basic knowledge is all that is needed.

jim said...

sf doesn't have to put the train box in at all and therefore doesn't have to have the 400 million. The train box was never gonna go in until phase to, likely at the expense of calrain and chsra anyway.

chsra is welcome to pull out of the tranbay if it wants but that doesn't mean the city will let them just start tearing up streets wherever they want.

So if they piss off tjpa, then come back to the city with a station and tunnel proposal for a different location, what kind of reception do you think they are gonna get.

again. chsra is showing a pattern of pushing its wight around and starting to pick fights with every single community along the route.

jim said...

@rafael, so isn't my reverse approach/tail track map workable to eliminate the tight curve? what did I over look?

jim said...

It sound like people don't want to use tbt just for the sake of being difficult and not because there is any real problem that can't be solved.

chsra had better learn that it is going to have to cooperate with cities and agency along the way.

Richard Mlynarik said...

"by the way why is there all the fuss about the curve going into the tbt but not the equally sharp curve departing 4th to 2nd? if one is a problme then arent both problems?"

All the curves are a problem -- a self-inflicted problem due entirely to TJPA rank incompetence -- but the final curve is the worst of them all and so receives the most attention.

The "design" produced by the USA's finest professional rail engineers at Parsons for the DTX feature
* a two-track (only, where 4 are desirable and feasible) 199.3m radius curve (where 250m is desirable and feasible) from Seventh to Townsend (after crossing Sixteenth and Common streets at grade!!!!);
* a three track (cost plus tunnelling, where 2 tracks are operationally adequate and vastly cheaper) 218.5m radius (where 250m is desirable and feasible) curve from Townsend to Second; and
* the pièce de résistance, a state-wide-limiting, crippling, unnecessary, operationally damning, stupid set of 152.4m radius curves (190m is possible, with 200m on all but one track) from Second to their shoot-self-in-the-foot operationally crazy train parking lot under the Big Bus Stop In The Sky.

Nobody in the world designs in mainline, revenue-service curves with 150m unless a gun is held to their head, which despite the deliberatel misrepresentation of the TJPA "engineers", is not the case here. They're shooting us in the foot for no reason at all other than stupidity and intransigence

It's possible to do much better, of course; but that would require a level of technical aweness beyond that needed to lay out corn silo sidings off some freight line in Nebraska.

They're building a minimum-possible-throughput, minimum-flexibility, maximal-constraint train parking lot, not a passenger station. There are no excuses for doing so.

jim said...

well then. put the damn thing at 4th and leave it there. then they can do as they damn well please.

Brandon in San Diego said...

Jim, I am finally caught up with reading all the posts through this AM.

Re:

No. I don't think so. That's ridiculous people. You not suggesting the approved transbay design can be thrown out.

No. You're crazy. When hell freezes over will chsra come into san francisco and tell them they are changing the transbay transit center design.
.
.
Don't be so narrow minded; the design can be retained... just redo the station box location/designs... as currently being discussed here. If the CHSRA had ownership... the State/CHSRA would have much more leverage.

lyqwyd said...

@Tim

San Francisco's train terminal was the original transbay terminal. There used to be rail tracks across the bay bridge (which carried more passenger on 2 rail lines than the entire bridge today carries via auto, by the way). The rail tracks were ripped out sometime after WWII if I recall correctly and converted to auto lanes. Once they were taken out, the transbay terminal became a bus station.

AndyDuncan said...

You can leave the TTC where it is and bring the Geary Subway and new BART line to the basement. Arguably those are better intermodal connections for the basement of a bus terminal than HSR is.

map

That's a purely hypothetical BART line down Howard instead of Mission, purely hypothetically going up Van Ness.

BruceMcF said...

But jim, 4th and Townsend offers even worse connections with BART than the downtown bus station does.

jim said...
"It sound like people don't want to use tbt just for the sake of being difficult and not because there is any real problem that can't be solved."

There are real problems. While they can be solved, they cannot be solved as long as TJPA as a matter of pure political gamesmanship is refusing to admit that they exist.

A two tier train box, island and side platform, would solve the offset columns problem and reduce the row of support columns through the trainbox from three to one, and those centered on the island. The four Caltrain platforms would eliminate the artificial "need" for tail tracks, which would offset much of the cost. The reduction in the horizontal cross section of the throat would allow all tracks into all platforms to have 200m curve radii. A two stage fan-out, top and bottom tiers and then the four in each tier, would eliminate the crossing bottleneck in the TJPA switch diagram.

Then all that is required is to commit to two express tracks through 4th and Townsend, and the tunnel can be two tracks, which allows further easing of the other curves.

So the existing TJPA design could be bandaged to mitigate, if not eliminate, the problems of the original design - but not if the TJPA thinks they are going to solve the problems by just bluffing their way through with suits and slick PR.

lyqwyd said...

@spence

"@ liquid, you said:

2) It seems TJPA is trying to rush things to get the $400 million (given the broad opinion that there are major flaws in the current design)
3) If the $400 million is spent on the station, that's $400 million less to be spent on the actual rail project.
4) Transbay terminal only has value by serving the trains, otherwise there's no reason to rebuild it
5) I agree with jim that a 4th & King station would be perfectly viable and has a number of benefits over the current transbay location (although there are also disadvantages to 4th & King)"


then spence said:

"2) Perhaps, but the TJPA has a project timeline that is already in effect. There are very serious financial consequences if construction is delayed. The stimulus funding is also on a timeline, and it's not going to wait for them.
3) Disagree. The trainbox is for rail facilities. It is no less a part of the HSR project than buying ROW or laying track in the central valley or tunneling thru Tehachapi. The TTC funding for everything above ground (everything except for the rail) is already in place. Folks outside of SF seem to be willfully ignorant of this fact. Please make a note of it.
4) Not sure where you are coming with this opinion. Have you been to the existing Transbay Terminal? It is an old, run down, terrible bus station, so rebuilding it is a very worthy goal, even if it ends up not serving trains. If there are no trains, it will just end up being a very nice, very expensive bus station, which would be very unfortunate.
5) Generally agree. But you could say the same thing about HSR, as in, if it ends up never being built we will all live on and society will not collapse, but it doesn't mean that HSR is not a superior development for California, just like HSR and Caltrain to the TTC would obviously be a major step forward for transportation and mobility to/from the Bay Area. Failure to bring rail into downtown SF would be a *HUGE* missed opportunity."


2) TJPA's timeline did not even include the trainbox until the HSR stimulus fund were available, they originally planned to do it sometime in the future.

3) What I really mean by this one is that the rail line is more important than the individual stations, and should thus have funding priority. A station is totally worthless without the rail line, but the line does not technically need a station. Amtrack has stations where all they are is a spot where the train stops and they put out some steps to get off the train, no actual station infrastructure at all (see Berkeley station). While certainly not ideal, it points out that the line can still be valuable without an actual station.

4) I guess what I should have said is that a complete rebuild of the transbay terminal from the ground up only has value if it serves the rail lines. A simple rehab of transbay would suffice if there is no rail, and would save several billion dollars.

5) I guess what I mean is that I don't think 4th & King will have a major impact on the success of HSR. I don't think there will be many people who decide not to take HSR because it doesn't go that last 1.5 miles, particularly considering that there is a direct Muni rail connection there. I think the transbay is more important to Caltrain and will have a pretty sizeable boost to ridership, since I expect Caltrain to have the majority of the daily commute traffic.

Adirondacker12800 said...

A simple rehab of transbay would suffice if there is no rail, and would save several billion dollars.

The whole point of new terminal was that rehabbing the old one would have cost more than tearing it down and building a new one. It wasn't a matter of some new paint and better lighting, the building itself was unsound.

Rafael said...

@ jim -

entering the TTC from the east via a tunnel/throat along Townsend/Embarcadero/Main would indeed permit more generous curve radii and straight full-length tracks stretching to well west of the TTC building.

However, total tunneled length would be greater than the current plan of entering the station from the west, with the HSR platforms terminating at Main. Basically, going up Main only makes financial sense in a single loop track concept.

2nd street is very narrow and there isn't actually room for more than a couple tracks and center platform with zero ecoutrements.
boring.


Functionality first, then you can add accoutrements (sic) if you've got room and cash to spare. Frankly, I'd rather CHSRA skip the shopping mall and fancy above-ground architecture in favor of a proper intermodal with a BART station. It's not as if the dour architecture of the TTC trainbox were anything to write home about, thanks to "world class consultants" insisting on a full concourse level.

It sound like people don't want to use tbt just for the sake of being difficult and not because there is any real problem that can't be solved.

The failure to provide proper connectivity to BART/SF Muni is a real problem and TJPA hasn't solved it yet. Hand-waving won't cut it any longer, they need to accept that CHSRA is their customer and actually meet that customer's needs.

The three tight corners are a real problem because of squeal and maintenance overhead issues.

The extra-long throat and associated throughput issues are a real problem, even if CHSRA is currently too preoccupied with platform track count to see the forest for the trees.

And to top it all off, adding a third tunnel track has forced engineers to abandon a conventional TBM in favor of much slower (= much more expensive) sequential excavation. TJPA is spending lavishly on the above-ground portion of the TTC and expecting HSR funding to pick up the tab for virtually everything under the ground.

From CHSRA's perspective, the cost/benefit ratio of San Francisco's TTC extravaganza is totally out of whack.

Meekly going along to get along would merely encourage every other city along the route to follow suit. We'd end up with 24 transit temples and zero miles of tracks to connect them. If that means ruffling some feathers in SF for a while, so be it.

jim said...

I'm just trying to get people to acknowledge the fact that, sf is difficult place to do any kind of business or development to begin with, even if you are on the best of terms with the mayors office, the BOS, the planning commission, the sfmta, and the assorted neighborhood groups, and any self styled wacko activist with a bus pass and an opinion, you are still gonna have a hard time. No imagine stepping on all the toes of the above and then coming back and saying you want to develope such and such at location X.

I mean regardless of any other facts, the above creates a real problem for chsra. that's just a reality that they will have to face if they don't find a way to get along with tjpa.

jim said...

and if it weren't for the aestheticly pleasing design and the park, there wouldn't be a new terminal at all. It took that to get residents sold on the idea otherwise they would have shut the suggestion down from the gate.

jim said...

you're lucky they didn't insist the trains come with bay windows.

lyqwyd said...

@adirondacker

That might have been the case originally, but I find it hard to believe a complete tear-down and rebuild of the existing building would cost $4.185 billion (which is the projected cost, although phase 1 is about $1.2 billion

As far as I'm concerned the temporary terminal is good enough if it's only serving buses, it's already a major improvement over the existing building. The temp terminal can't cost more than a few hundred million.

Rafael said...

@ jim -

this is California, lots of cities are going to be difficult for CHSRA. If TJPA wants ARRA funding for HSR, it needs to deliver a solution that actually works well enough for HSR. Right now, that's not the case.

jim said...

okay well good luck.


meanwhile heres my other plan that uses an elevated pedestrain parkway down minna that connects the tbt elevated park the current yerba buena center elevated park - the begining of an elvated parkway network downtown that makes a parks in the sky thing.

Samsonian said...

@ Brandon in SD

Thanks for pointing that one out, I must have missed it.

Apparently the anon Peninsula NIMBY doesn't realize there's a massive difference between stopping in SJ and SF's Transbay area. Over 50 miles in fact. ;)

As you said, and the Deputy AG (on behalf of the AG) said, HSR doesn't have to actually in inside TBT to meet AB 3034. CHSRA has a lot of discretion to make routing alignment and station decisions.

Being adjacent to, and connected to, the TBT and being part of the TTC project area, is likely within the scope of the project. And as others pointed out, it could result in a better, direct connection to BART and SF MUNI (which is critical).

SF pols getting butt hurt over it, is another matter.

--

That doesn't mean everything in AB 3034 is as subject to interpretation. There are strict performance requirements in it (and rightly so), including: 220+ top speed, non-stop express line haul times, and (particularly in this case) at least 12 tph/5 min headways or less.

The rest of system should be able to meet that capacity/throughput, except the TTC as "designed." It would be the bottleneck in the system, limiting capacity/throughput even below the state required minimum. Capacity and operational flexibility seems to be the biggest problem with it (in addition to the numerous other problems demonstrated by others).

Samsonian said...

The whole point of new terminal was that rehabbing the old one would have cost more than tearing it down and building a new one. It wasn't a matter of some new paint and better lighting, the building itself was unsound.

I find this a bit of a stretch, considering this whole rebuilding project is north of, what now? $4 billion? And that only really pays for the bus terminal. I don't think anyone can say with a straight face, that a $4 billion dollar bus terminal is a good project.

It kind of reminds of the ridiculously expensive rebuilding of the Eastern Span of the Bay Bridge. That always seemed unnecessary to me, it could have had extensive retrofitting for far less (and I thought they did). Not to mention they went out of their way to exclude rail from their expensive stupid design.

jim said...

here's the rest of the elevated pedestrian parkway its like the thing they have in minneapolis only outdoors.

Samsonian said...

Clem, Rafael, Richard and others have shown a number of ways to either fix TTC or create an adjacent and connected station/terminal.

The current location can be salvaged (though hardly ideal or cheap). But only if CHSRA is realistic about demands (30-40 min dwell times!), TJPA admits there are serious flaws (too numerous to list), and both are willing to negotiate in good faith over needed changes and funding them.

Also any design changes shouldn't screw CalTrain. The principle purpose of rebuilding the TBT and the DTX project was to get all CalTrain trains downtown, as they would have had all 6 platforms and potentially a loop back. HSR and 2nd Transbay tube was very distant. Isn't that what SF's Prop H was about?

Several things need fixing regardless: 4 tracking the 4th & Townsend station area with 2 express tracks. After that it can be reduced to 2 tracks for the major tunneling. The curve radii of the tunnels can and should be increased.

After that there are various options. Including a (fixed) shared 6 track in TTC with loop-back; a 2x4 trainbox in TTC with long platforms for HSR on bottom, and loop-back for CalTrain from top (currently one of my favorites so far); or 6 track in TTC with or w/o loop-back for CalTrain, and HSR down 2nd with intermodal Mont. BART and MUNI like Rafael suggested (I like it, but think HSR will need at least 4 station tracks though; 12 tph/5 min headway capability is a system requirement).

In any case there's a lot of alignments/options. I'd recommend Clem and/or Rafael to make create a new detailed blog post, examining all the potential options for this massive conundrum. If only the officials leading this effort would work as hard as the blogosphere.

jim said...

I saw one suggestion that stacked the tracks 4 tracks for caltrain and 4 tracks for hsr ( total 8 instead of six) under the tbt in 4 over 4 rather than 6 wide. that seems like it could work

AndyDuncan said...

here's the rest of the elevated pedestrian parkway its like the thing they have in minneapolis only outdoors.

That's fine, but I want it designed as a habitrail.

jim said...

wouldn't this be a solution

Rafael said...

@ Samsonian -

the $4 billion number does include the train box, station throat, DTX tunnel and Caltrain station at 4th & Townsend.

Of that, phase I of the project is now defined as the empty train box plus all above-ground work. That comes to about $1.2 billion.

The remaining $2.8 billion are for outfitting the train box, digging the tunnel, laying tracks, installing signals, constructing the 4th & Townsend station, remodeling 4th & King to accommodate the tunnel portal and tracks into it etc.

lyqwyd said...

@Rafael

Are you sure the $1.2 Billion includes the train-box? I feel like that was the number they were quoting even before the train-box was part of phase 1.

lyqwyd said...

@jim

I like the elvated walkway idea, especially if it had moving sidewalks... but what is that extension way to the SW between 5th & 6th?

AndyDuncan said...

wouldn't this be a solution

Without adjusting the location of the platforms to allow for a larger Radii coming in, it adds capacity for caltrain but makes the radii tighter by moving the HSR tracks towards the inside of the curve.

Assuming this diagram is looking northeast, you'd need to put the tracks on the outside of the curve to avoid making the radii problem worse than it is now.

see here.

That makes the solution only as good as the current train box, except you get two more caltrain tracks.

jim said...

theres another neighborhood park there.

the soma area is one the few places left where smaller scale new developemnt and new parks can be added or have been added. - that one is a bit of a stretch though, but I wanted to show the potential.

Alon Levy said...

re: Queens:

The density I figure for Eastern Queens is the average for community board 13, which straddles the eastern border of the borough. It was developed around the car. It has no subway service, 3 LIRR stations serving 200,000 people, and hardly any multifamily housing. And it averages 6,000 people per km^2, barely lower than in San Francisco, and 6 times more than in Palo Alto and Menlo Park.

re: TBT:

It's okay for train stations to be boring. Transportation should come before public works programs for unemployed architects. If commuters don't mind the boredom of Times Square, Chatelet-Les Halles, or Shinjuku, intercity travelers shouldn't mind the boredom of TBT.

Rafael said...

@ jim -

there is no need for more than six platforms, it's a myth stemming from CHSRA insistence on dwell times of 30-40 minutes. If they brought it down to just 20, then 4 platform tracks for HSR would be good enough, forever. Get it down to 10 and just 2 will do nicely.

Let's get away from the tyranny of the goddamn bus terminal and figure out where to site an HSR station that meets the functional requirement of 5 minute headways (after redefining SF as a way station in the middle of the route), minimum two dead straight 1320 foot platforms and a true intermodal connection to BART/SF Muni in the downtown area.

I like your idea of an above-ground walkway along Minna and across 2nd instead of the more expensive underground passage I had in mind. Connecting it to the side HSR platforms at level -2 would just about be possible via ramps as wide as the parking line, with street level exits along the way. In addition, there would have to be an elevator on both sides of the street for ADA compliance.

However, those parking lanes are very narrow, a moving vehicle could easily damage the ramps and street-level exits in a collision. If possible, it would be preferable to narrow 2nd Street to a single-lane one-way street southbound between Market and Mission. Between Mission and Howard, two of the four traffic lanes could be retained.

Sacrificing traffic lanes would create more width for pedestrian access structures to the platforms (Minna St would only be one of several). In-between, there would be room for extra-wide sidewalks, perhaps some kiosks or landscaping. Few if any parking spaces would be sacrificed.

The advantage is that sewers and other infrastructure at level -1 could be left in place. There wouldn't be a concourse level below ground. If one is desired, the pedestrian passage above Minna could be extended above 2nd all the way across Market.

It's all a bit cramped but functionally adequate - just.

Rafael said...

@ lyqwyd -

what I read earlier today is that a forthcoming $171 million TIFIA loan would cover 14% of the phase I cost. Since phase I was redefined to include the empty train box, I assumed that the $1.71m/0.14 = $1.22b figure did include it.

For reference, the entire remodel for St Pancras Int'l, with underground tracks to a new commuter train station, the Eurostar platform level and all the accoutrements Jim so craves came in at around GBP 850 million.

I realize seismic safety makes everything super-expensive in California, but still.

jim said...

well if you can convince the mayor and the bos and the tjpa and the planning commission to go along with and adjacent station then fine.

I just don't think you quite grasp sf politics.

this is not la.

I mean id like to have it on 7th and market at my house.

jim said...

in the basement

jim said...

new 2000 units project

lyqwyd said...

@jim, definitely like the overall idea, and an aerial covering that entire area probably would be cheaper than an underground tunnel just from transbay to BART.

My one suggestion would be to have the connection go to Union Square via the Bloomingdales mall since that is already connected directly to Powell St. Station.

Adirondacker12800 said...

The density I figure for Eastern Queens is the average for community board 13

Yep, all those houses out there have driveways at the least if not garages. If you wanted to pick someplace in Queens that is stereotypical Queens single family neighborhood that's it.

But Palo Atlo isn't Cambria Heights. If I was comparing Palo Alto to someplace in Queens I'd be thinking more like Little Neck or Bayside. Or Scarsdale NY 2,685/sq mile, Maplewood NJ 2393/sq mile or Lower Merion PA ( Bala Cynwyd ) or Millburn NJ 2,106/sq mile... versus Palo Alto's 2,475/sq mile. ... Well you can't really compare Millburn to Palo Alto. Millburn has had electric train service since 1931 on a railroad that was grade separated 100 years ago. And a mall where the anchor stores are Bloomingdales, Macy's, Saks, Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom.

How does San Mateo's density of 8,569/sq miles compare to Rosedale...

It's Queens, they can try to tell themselves it's not but it's Queens or western Cook or lower Westchester or northern Union.. with palm trees and Spanish Colonial Revival instead of some other flavor of Colonial Revival with maples and oaks.

Anonymous said...

@Brandon

Quoting:

"The optional location to be studied is immediately adjacent to the TBT. Hence, it's AT the TBT. It therefore should satsify the parameters outlined by AB 3034."

You sound just like Judge Kopp, who claimed the route from SJ to Gilroy, wasn't really meant to imply only the UP corridor, but for use in the EIR, rather a general possibility, and therefore the lawsuit had no merit. The Judge Kenney decided otherwise.

Now you move the terminus from the TBT to 4th and King or Beale St. and that is supposed to be ok? Really! Another lawsuit? So again, the AG office writes up 4 pages saying all is ok. Sure to be challenged and most like challenged successfully.

Its not my posting that is non-sense, and that's for sure.

BruceMcF said...

Rafael said...
"@ jim -

there is no need for more than six platforms, it's a myth stemming from CHSRA insistence on dwell times of 30-40 minutes.
"

Of course there is. Caltrain's acquiescence in just locals running through to the TBT is because they don't have any way to fund what they need other than to get someone else to do it, so they have not choice but to hand over platforms they were originally slated to have.

But that does not mean that two Caltrain platforms is desirable. It ought to be four, at least, with at least some of the Express routes running through to the TBT as well.

That's how I arrived at eight ... the stacking of tracks into the TBT, easing of all turns to 200m or more, and the two express tracks through 4th and Townsend are the essential elements of providing for effective five minute headways for HSR, expanding Caltrain from two long platforms with trail tracks to four long platforms with central switchovers provides far more operational flexibility for a regional rail service than two platforms and the tail tracks can do.

AndyDuncan said...

Sure to be challenged and most like challenged successfully.

As the AG's letter states the CHSRA is required to look at alternatives. If they don't, they would be opening themselves up to a lawsuit similar to the Atherton suit which accused the CHSRA of not evaluating the alternatives in good faith (an accusation that was, as you know, rejected by the judge).


As a rather extreme example, Prop 1A, I think we'll all agree, legally requires them to build a HSR system, and yet one of the things the CEQA requires them to study is the "no build" alternative.

By your logic, we could sue the CHSRA for even looking at such an "illegal" alternative.

Anonymous said...

@Andy duncan

This kind of nonsense goes on and on.

The Authority, through Diridon and others, stated many times, the certification of the program level EIR, precluded any further study of Altamont --- Pacheco was the route, end of story.

Now the Authority, though its attorney, in this case the deputy AG of California, says, even though the program level EIR and AB-3034 say the TBT is the terminus, it is ok to study other alternatives. They want it both ways.

With the lawsuit ruling now almost certain to result in de-certification of the program level EIR everything comes back on the table anyway.

Anonymous said...

@Andy duncan prints:

"By your logic, we could sue the CHSRA for even looking at such an "illegal" alternative."

That's not my logic, but rather the logic of the attorney representing the TBT.

AndyDuncan said...

The Authority, through Diridon and others, stated many times, the certification of the program level EIR, precluded any further study of Altamont --- Pacheco was the route, end of story.

The program level EIR excluded it because it was thoroughly and even-handedly evaluated as a realistic alternative, and subsequently rejected (and the Judge agreed). So yes, the EIR properly excluded that alternative after it had already been investigated.

I don't recall the CHSRA stating that they couldn't look at Altamont because 1A said they couldn't. In fact 1A explicitly gives them the leeway to do just that, should, say Pacheco turn out to be made of cotton candy.

The CHSRA is required to evaluate alternatives for station placement. For example, the other half of the sentence you refer to in 1A is : "and Los Angeles Union Station".

Does this mean that the train has to go to the existing Los Angeles Union Station with no modifications to the station? Of course not. In fact one of the alternatives that the CHSRA is looking at is moving the station to the east. There are lots of reasons why that's a good and bad idea, but the authority is at least required to look at it.

AndyDuncan said...

And I think you're confused as to the scope of the Program and Project level EIRs. The purpose of the Program Level EIR was to determine large-scale routing decisions, like whether to route the train to Oakland or San Francisco, or whether to go over Altamont or Pacheco.

The project level EIRs are the ones that concern more detailed decisions like exact station placement and configuration.

The authority is under no less obligation to evaluate station placement alternatives in the project level EIR than the TJPA was in their EIR.

AndyDuncan said...

If the TJPA's alternatives analysis was thorough and is still applicable to the CHSRA's project-level EIR, then they should be able to just cut and paste the whole damn thing and come to the same conclusion that the basement of the TTC is the best alternative.

If it was not, then not only are they legally required to evaluate the unstudied or improperly rejected alternatives, they should study those because it's the right thing to do for the project.

lyqwyd said...

@rafael

Yeah, I read that two, but it's still not clear to me that phase 1 cost of $1.2 billion includes the train box. This article describes the $1.2 billion required for phase 1 as "For the Transbay Terminal, Phase 1 is fully funded at roughly $1.2 billion. Phase 1 constructs the Transbay Transit Center including the shoring walls for eventual excavation for a train box to accommodate High Speed Rail and Caltrain".

Note the last part about "shoring walls for eventual excavation for train box".

The article seems to be from before they even decided to try and include the train box in phase 1.

Alon Levy said...

But Palo Atlo isn't Cambria Heights. If I was comparing Palo Alto to someplace in Queens I'd be thinking more like Little Neck or Bayside.

Okay... Bayside and Little Neck are in CB 11, which has 5,000 people per km^2. And that includes Alley Park, which is 10% of the CB's land area. The reason I didn't bring CB 11 up is that it sits on the Port Washington Line. But in terms of demographics, it's just Menlo Park with worse weather.

Brandon in San Diego said...

Anon at 3:38...

I suggest you read-up on the proposal. I am not speaking to 4th & King. But, to a location that IS IMMEDIATELY adjacent to the TBT. Hence, they share a boundary. Hence, the TBT footprint could be enlarged to include the area without taking any land between the two.

It's very much unlike your example... apples to oranges.

Anonymous said...

@Brandon and Duncan:

The whole pitch that Diridon and others, including Domonic Stheling, top dog on the EIR for the Bay area, is:

The program level EIR chose Pacheco; no further study of Altamont will be done; the program level has excluded that route.

Kopp, says many times 4th and King is far enough --- now says Beale street shouuld be studied.
Apparently you two are here reading or listening to only what is going on on this blog?

Anonymous said...

Sorry --- I apologize to Dominic Spaethling, vp of Parson Brinkerhoff, for badly miss-spelling his name in the post above.

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