Wednesday, September 30, 2009

SF Peninsula Alternatives Analysis Open House TONIGHT

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

by Rafael

as we let you know on Sep 20, CHSRA will hold the first of three Alignment Analysis Open House sessions in the SF peninsula this evening.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009
SamTrans Auditorium
1250 San Carlos Avenue – San Carlos
6:00 – 8:00 pm

The other two will be held on Oct 9 in Sunnyvale and on Oct 13 in San Francisco, respectively.

The general process of how Alignment Analysis works is explained in this primer. CHSRA has also published exhibits, a set of slides detailing the alternatives under consideration in the SF-San Jose segment. These will be explained in more detail during the Open House sessions.

Some observations:

  1. Slide 1 shows an overview of the segment. In sections with more than one colored line, multiple options are still being considered at this stage. Obviously, only one will be implemented.

    The slide does not show which - if any - rectifications of tight curves in the corridor are planned, nor the track order, nor the location of UPRR freight spurs. The freight rail operator has - unreasonably, IMHO - asked for full grade separation of the associated turnoffs against the HSR tracks.

  2. Slides 2, 3 and 4 describe variations of how Transbay Terminal Center and 4th & King facilities in SF could be utilized for HSR (focus on bottom 1/4 of each slide). For example, slide 4 shows the option of an HSR station either at or below grade at 4th & King only.

  3. Slide 5 shows the option of a Beale Street terminal instead of the TTC train box, with a tunnel not under but north of Embarcadero (i.e. under lots of buildings), apparently to avoid an 18 foot box sewer (PDF p42) identified by TJPA (h/t Andy Duncan).

    The map below shows a staggered variation of my own that would cross under it twice but avoid tunneling under any buildings. Two full-length platform tracks would be intermodal with Embarcadero BART/SF Muni, another three would terminate within 300 feet of it. The thick red line indicates a two-track tunnel under Main Street, the TTC building would reduce to just a regular bus terminal, connected by pedestrian passages either above or below ground. This is just intended to illustrate one of many possible refinements of the Beale Street terminal idea - assuming it will be refined at all.


    View SF Main St station in a larger map

    Note that under CEQA, CHSRA is required to study a reasonable range of options, though it could be argued it already did so at the program level. The Beale Street terminal option was included in response to a comment received during the public comments period for the program level EIS/EIR, but the Transbay Terminal was eventually retained as the preferred option. CHSRA evidently considers it close enough to the TTC building to satisfy the AB3034 mandate that the SF station must be at the "Transbay Terminal".

    It's not immediately clear if a station anywhere other than in the TTC train box would invalidate the Record of Decision that TJPA has already secured or its $400m application for HSR stimulus funds. Perhaps CHSRA ought to seek a compromise rather than invite the wrath of an entire city.

  4. Slide 6 shows the option of dedicated HSR tunnels all the way from 4th & King to Bayshore. Since HSR trains will be traveling at modest speeds in this section of the PCJPB corridor, it's worth asking if they shouldn't share tracks with Caltrain in tunnels #1 and #2 in the interest of saving money - even if that means modifying or closing Caltrain's 22nd Street station. UPRR's northernmost turnoff toward the mighty port of SF is at Oakdale Ave, just north of tunnel #3. An agreement to limit freight traffic north of Bayshore to nighttime operations would mean HSR and Caltrain could share all four of the old but serviceable existing tunnels, resulting in additional savings.

    Sharing just two tracks north of Bayshore would be contingent on regulatory relief and high throughput signaling/timetable integration. It would not be possible further south, where the speed differential between Caltrain locals and HSR express trains is high.

  5. Slide 7 does not show UPRR's South San Francisco yard, where consists are assembled/disassembled during the day for transport down to San Jose and Fremont in the evening/at night.

    Note that FRA-compliant heavy freight trains are limited to gradients of 1% whereas non-compliant HSR trains and Caltrain EMUs can tackle up to 3.5%. That makes a huge difference in the run length required for vertical transitions.

  6. Slide 8 appears to imply four tracks side-by-side through downtown San Mateo, either above or below grade. The PCJPB is currently just 51.5 feet wide between 2nd and 3rd Streets. Widening would require acquisition of adjacent land via voluntary transactions or eminent domain.

    It's not clear to me if the expensive(!) potential alternative of two elevated plus two tunnel tracks is being considered as well. Including legacy tracks in elevated grade separation works that are will be used for HSR makes a lot of sense, but CHSRA arguably has no mandate to construct completely separate works for Caltrain alone.

  7. Slides 9 through 12 show that tunnel options are being considered for Redwood City, Atherton, Menlo Park, Palo Alto, Mountain View and even Sunnyvale. Several underground Caltrain stations are shown, implying tunnel sections with not just two but 3-4 tracks. Christmas must be coming early and very often this year.

    Note that Mountain View is in the running for the mid-peninsula HSR station. The VTA light rail tracks already there are not shown as a potential conflict.

  8. Slides 13 and 15 illustrate the options of extra-high aerials and extra-deep tunnels in Santa Clara and north San Jose, to clear existing road overpasses and the future BART alignment, respectively. Because absolutely everything has to make way for BART, of course.

    The massively cheaper at-grade option would probably require elevating the Santa Clara and College Park stations, though that option is not articulated. There are already six five tracks under I-880 right now, it's not clear the support columns there would permit a sixth even if the others were moved. Caltrain's CEMOF facility would need to be scaled back to make room for HSR tracks at grade.

    Fwiw, the right of way maps for mile posts 44 through 47 indicate that 95-100 feet of width are already available in most places.

    Confusingly, the option for an at-grade HSR station is shown but tracks leading to it are not. Slide 15 indicates the option of a deep underground HSR station at San Jose Diridon is also now under consideration.

66 comments:

lyqwyd said...

OT

There's a meeting coming up to protest the Oakland Airport Connector You can even win a prize for attending.

jim said...

Perhaps CHSRA ought to seek a compromise rather than invite the wrath of an entire city"

whatever you do, don't invite the wrath.

Rafael said...

@ lyqwyd -

This is indeed off-topic but IMHO a worthwhile heads-up.

The 12-month running average of demand for flights in and out of OAK is currently down 25% relative the same time last year and down 35% relative to the all-time-high.

There is no capacity bottleneck in the existing Amtrak shuttle bus service that would make a grade-separated people mover from Coliseum to OAK a top priority.

The old SamTrans shuttle bus from Millbrae to SFO was way better than the clunky BART connection via San Bruno that Caltrain passengers understandably refuse to use.

BART should instead invest in upgrading pedestrian flow capacity in the downtown SF stations, including across to the future TTC.

Oakland City Council
1 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza
City Council Chambers
Tuesday, October 6 at 7:00 p.m.

Fred Martin said...

Rafael, it wasn't a SamTrans shuttle bus from Millbrae Caltrain to SFO. It was a shuttle provided by the San Francisco Airport, and the fare was free. The service was vastly superior in that it was timed to connect precisely with Caltrain service at Millbrae and went directly to all the airport terminals. BART-SFO screwed it all up for $2 billion in transit funds wasted.

SamTrans has always cowered away from providing good bus service to SFO, even though it would be easy to do.

Rafael said...

@ Fred Martin -

thanks for the correction.

AndyDuncan said...

Glad to see that their Beale station alternative is on the space between beale and main like it was in the "big" option I was speculating about.

I wouldn't worry too much about those "big buildings" their line goes through on the drawings, or the fact that it's "north" of embarcadero. the drawings aren't to scale after all.

Adirondacker12800 said...

Cleverly arranged tracks under Main St. Passenger tracks I assume. Where are the pasengers going to get on the train after picking up their ticket? Or lounge around for 20 minutes while they wait for their trains to announced? Ya know, the station....

lyqwyd said...

@Rafael

Yeah, sorry to kind of hijack the thread, but I do think it's important that we let our voices be heard about the OAC. I think it's an even worse project than the SFO project was, and has similar potential to spin out of control cost wise, and result in similar budget issues as the SFO project during construction and during operations after. It's already quadrupled in construction cost, and doubled or tripled (can't remember) in projected fare prices, while ridership & performance projections have dropped precipitously. It's now basically $550 million for a more expensive, less convenient 3 mile trip.

It is, in my opinion, the worst transit project ever conceived in the Bay Area.

now, back on topic, thanks for the very informative post.

I do wonder why the slide 5 shows a curve going under a bunch of existing buildings (which I think are mainly condos), I definitely like your version better. It is hard to believe that dealing with a sewer could be more expensive and difficult than eminent domain on potentially hundreds of condos, although perhaps they can bore under the buildings without

lyqwyd said...

continued...

Perhaps they can bore under the buildings without disturbing the existing buildings. If that is possible, then it might make sense.

AndyDuncan said...

Perhaps they can bore under the buildings without disturbing the existing buildings. If that is possible, then it might make sense.

I don't see where Rafael is getting his info that the alignment is even remotely meter-scale or that they are purposefully going north of embarcadero simply to avoid said sewer.

Rafael, do you have links to docs where they talk about the sewer and their intention to go under these buildings?

I think they'll have to take two of those buildings, they can likely leave the newer one south of the bay bridge.

If you look at the line it's a perfect radius, I think someone just drew this out on a map for the purpose of the slide.

These are stamped "NOT TO SCALE" after all.

Rafael said...

@ Adirondacker12800 -

the tunnels would have to be bored anyhow because SF city prop H(1999) requires it. Bored tunnels need sufficient overburden, so the platform tracks in my Main Street station map are located just as far down as those in the TTC train box would be, i.e. 40-50 feet below grade.

There would be room above them for a full concourse level, including ticket machines, waiting rooms, a food court, shops, child care by the hour, restrooms etc.

If desired, there would even be room for an above-ground structure hugging the eastern bus ramp near Howard/Main. It could form an architectural ensemble with the bus terminal, though I hasten to add that the overall spending priority should be on transportation functionality.

Rafael said...

@ lyqwyd -

boring tunnels under buildings in an earthquake zone is tricky at best.

@ Andy Duncan -

I call 'em like I see 'em. Their drawings had better not be that much "not to scale", otherwise what are CA taxpayers paying them for.

There is an 18' foot box sewer along Embarcadero (PDF pp40) as well as some storm drains.

Chapter 2 of the same doc, PDF p42:
"The King Street alignment segment was withdrawn from consideration because it would have caused severe traffic disruptions during construction, e.g., baseball games at Pacific Bell Park. Moreover, construction of this alignment would have meant tearing up the newly constructed southbound lanes of King Street and would have been complicated by a large box sewer line located adjacent to this alignment."

Note that at the time, TJPA was considering cut-and-cover construction in spite of propH(1999).

Any bored tunnel under Embarcadero would have to dive deep enough to avoid messing with the sewer and then climb back up again. The proximity to the Bay would complicate excavation but from a liability perspective, it might still be preferable to jeopardizing the foundations of existing buildings along the waterfront. The decision would depend on detailed analysis of the local meter-scale geology.

Rafael said...

@ Adirondacker12800, lyqwyd, Andy Duncan -

lest I forget, there's another big box sewer under Mission. It should be possible to run platform tracks as far north as possible, but the underground concourse level might have to be interrupted at Mission. Inclined moving walkways would transport passengers up to a level above the street and down again on the other side en route to Embarcadero BART/SF Muni at Market Street.

If the pedestrian passage along Mission and Beale were elevated, that would at least make some architectural sense as well.

Adirondacker12800 said...

the tunnels would have to be bored anyhow because SF city prop H(1999) requires it

Prop H is local ordinance. The State and Federal government can examine it closely and ignore it. If San Francisco passed an ordinance banning automobiles they'd still be able to use I-80 and 101. If San Francisco passed an ordinance that gave everybody free ponies they could do it. It doesn't mean the state and federal government have to comply with it.

Box sewers.. how old are they and when are they due to be replaced? Shove a few high rises into SoMa, are they adequate?

dave said...

While we are talking about the OAC. I want to point out that I've chosen to return to the Bay Area from a flight at SFO mainly because Bart was right there. I chose SFO, (being further from my home) than the Oakland Airport just because of the convinience of walking directly from the terminal to BART. I have avoided OAK. Airport because of that. Unless I had a direct ride from a family member I would rather take Bart to SFO. Just my two cents.

Peter said...

@ Dave

I think the problem with the OAC is that is too expensive for what it is trying to accomplish. I believe the same result, terms of transportation efficiency, could be achieved with BRT, at much lower cost.

AndyDuncan said...

@Rafael:

We'll they're not showing the outline of the train box or tunnel throats either, so I don't think these docs are meant to illustrate who's foundations are going to be affected. Hopefully they'll release more docs before the alternatives analysis is complete (which should have meter-scale drawings for the alternatives, illustrating things like sewers and building foundations).

@Peter I think the problem with the OAC is that is too expensive for what it is trying to accomplish.

I also take BART into SFO because I hate flying into OAK, it's typically more expensive from LAX, and the AirBart bus trip times vary.

I'm not a fan of BRT (in any of it's definitions), but I agree, the OAC is overpriced. If it was a spur or extension of an existing LRT line, then maybe, but as a half-tram-half-LRT along that corridor, it doesn't make much sense to me.

Speed it up and take out the stops and it might work.

lyqwyd said...

the OAC, as currently planned is going to cost $12 each way, you could take a cab from the Coliseum BART station directly to your terminal of choice for cheaper than that.

It will probably wind up being even more expensive as costs overrun as every BART project does.

The Oakland Airport Connector, brought to you by the people who rebuilt the Bay Bridge for under $1 Billion.

Joe said...

Regarding the exhibits, the elevated and trench/tunnel diagrams use a symbolic 45 degree slope for the rise or fall of the tracks. The diagrams therefore don't really show the true extent of the profiles as limited by the 1% grades.

AndyDuncan said...

@Joe:

Yeah, and if you look at the two slides of the Diridon station options, the underlying satellite image has been stretched for one of them. I think these are really just more for discussion than anything, still hoping they release better docs before the final AA. Maybe they'll have them at the meeting.

r. motorist said...

If all this public outcry actually manages to stop OAC, does that mean we can stop BART to San Jose and Pacheco HSR as well?

OAC seems like chump change compared to BART to San Jose.

Rafael said...

@ r.motorist -

that's why there's at least a snowball's chance in the hot place of stopping the OAC.

Peter said...

@ r. motorist

Unlikely, given that the construction for BART to San Jose has already begun.

Also, given that there currently is no reasonable (note the word "reasonable") way to get to Fremont BART from San Jose, it does serve a better purpose than the OAC.

I'm not saying there wouldn't be any better ways of connecting San Jose to Fremont BART, but at least this one has SOME reasoning behind it.

Rafael said...

@ adirondacker12800 -

"Box sewers.. how old are they and when are they due to be replaced? Shove a few high rises into SoMa, are they adequate?"

Dunno. Pretty much all of the sewer systems in the Bay Area, especially the one in SF, have some seriously old pipes in them. As in Gold Rush vintage, leaking and clogged with roots.

The box sewers are probably a lot newer, but when a winter "storm" moves in and dumps a lot of rain in a short time, it gets into the sewers and the volume flow of liquid can go up a factor of 15. If the treatment plants can't handle that, sometimes diluted but untreated sewage has to be released into the Bay.

The digesters are decades old as well, but fixing the whole system would cost many billions. It's precisely the sort of thing that's best funded via a stimulus bill in a recession, but politicians have a hard time getting over the yuck factor.

AndyDuncan said...

@Rafael: I think, given all this talk of box sewers, that you might want to modify the article to be clear that the CHSRA hasn't said they're trying to avoid a box sewer. This line:

with a tunnel not under but north of Embarcadero (i.e. under lots of buildings) just to avoid an old box sewer.

makes it sound like there's something in the docs that says as much.

Peter said...

Ok, here's a crazy idea.

Let's assume they build BART to San Jose, but without the subway, terminating it at Berryessa.

As a temporary solution until Santa Clara County can scrounge up the funding for the subway, what about running a Caltrain route up to an intermodal station with Warm Springs BART. Toss in an intermodal station at Great Mall with VTA Light Rail. Maybe a couple of other stations as well, not sure where. That way San Jose would still be efficiently connected to BART in the East Bay and avoid the super-costly subway for now.

Would it make sense, ridership-wise to have both BART to Berryessa and Caltrain up to Warm Springs?

Anonymous said...

While we are talking about the OAC. I want to point out that I've chosen to return to the Bay Area from a flight at SFO mainly because Bart was right there. I chose SFO, (being further from my home) than the Oakland Airport just because of the convinience of walking directly from the terminal to BART. I have avoided OAK. Airport because of that. Unless I had a direct ride from a family member I would rather take Bart to SFO. Just my two cents.

Dave, that's great. Now, consider this - how many times a year do you have to make this choice. Wouldn't you rather have a more useful BART line somewhere, or better local transit? BART to SFO cost more than a billion dollars and continues to erode local transit, as well as service on the rest of the BART system.

Do you really think that spending half a billion dollars for something that will cost you $12 to ride is worth it? Wouldn't you rather have a few more BART stations that might be useful for other things?

(BTW - I do the exact opposite of you - I always pick OAK over SFO in spite of SFO being a tad closer. AirBART may be a bus, but it's never taken me longer than 20 minutes, and it drops me off right at the terminal, rather than a 20 minute walk away like BART to SFO. That, and OAK has FAR, FAR, FAR fewer delays in and out than SFO. I basically just use SFO for cross-country and international flights. If BART was more useful to me - cough, down Geary, cough, I would probably use SFO more, but BART seems to think that spending half a billion or so on connecting to an airport is more important than connecting to other places that people go EVERY DAY)

flowmotion said...

BART to the airport is one of those World Class City(tm) issues that's done mainly for prestige factors rather than strict economic benefits. Similar to bidding for the Olympics or building football stadiums or the numerous other silly things regions like to do.

And BART works great for occasional SFO trips. The main issue isn't the airport at all, it's that the line as a whole sucks for commuters for a long list of reasons.

(And honestly, no I don't think we would have better local transit minus SFO. We would likely have the Warm Springs extension instead.)

Rafael said...

@ Andy Duncan -

fine, I've reformulated the sentence you felt was objectionable.

Rafael said...

@ flowmotion -

I wouldn't have as much of a problem with spending as much as BART is estimating for the OAC if it actually got BART trains all the way to the terminals.

If you have to transfer anyhow, you might as well transfer to a bus.

Caelestor said...

My problems with this routing is:

1. the station is too near the waterfront and isn't necessarily at the direct center of Downtown

2. no possible extension through a second Transbay tube (I think that given growth estimates, there will be need for a second tube in the future).

AndyDuncan said...

@Rafael, thanks, I think that's better.

Now, I really don't mean to be a dick, but the paragraph you link to is referring to a king street alignment, not the townsend/embarcadero alignment.

Without seeing diagrams, it's difficult to know, but they refer to issue with the sewer box when talking about tracks along the sound side of king:

"The King Street alignment segment was withdrawn from consideration because it would have caused severe traffic disruptions during construction, e.g., baseball games at Pacific Bell Park. Moreover, construction of this alignment would have meant tearing up the newly constructed southbound lanes of King Street and would have been complicated by a large box sewer line located adjacent to this alignment."

While the beale/embarcadero alignment was rejected due to the fact that using cut and cover near the BB support was deemed risky. They mention that cut and cover would also be objectionable to the surrounding population, and that a "mined" tunnel was evaluated, they don't say why it was rejected, perhaps due to the proximity to the bay?

I wonder if CHSRA's embarcadero-ish solution would also have to involve cut and cover.

Rafael said...

@ Peter -

for anyone trying to get from the Hayward/UC/Fremont area to San Jose Diridon, there's a perfectly good commute alternative to the whole BART extension that is available today: Amtrak Capitol Corridor. Simply running some extra trains just between Oakland Jack London Square and SJ Diridon could be useful, especially if bus service and/or bike infrastructure near the stations is improved.

Even better, a new J line: negotiate trackage rights with UPRR and Caltrain to allow a limited number of Amtrak CC trains to use the Milpitas line instead of the one through the salt marshes. Stops: Oakland JLS-Oakland Coliseum-Hayward-Fremont WS-Milpitas (new station)-SJ Ryland Park (new station)-Santa Clara-Sunnyvale-Mountain View-Palo Alto-East Menlo Park (new station at western end of Dumbarton). Throw in an FRA quiet zone through San Jose, EPA Tier 3/4 diesel engines, perhaps a new VTA light rail stop at Ryland Park.

The Dumbarton road bridge and CA-237 are parking lots during rush hour, so I reckon there may well be considerable latent demand for such a service, especially if there's WiFi on board.

The biggest fly in the ointment is that this wouldn't be expensive enough. Must.pour.concrete.

Rafael said...

@ Caelstor -

which routing are you referring to?

A second transbay tube may indeed become necessary at some point, for BART. This would end up deep under Mission (level -3) in SF and deep under Franklin in Oakland.

In the near term, the network's primary issue isn't earthquake resilience but demand for ever-longer lines directly into SF and, pedestrian flow bottlenecks in BART's downtown stations - especially Embarcadero - during rush hour.

There are ways to address that (e.g. adding side platforms or even a new station at 1st) that would be way cheaper than constructing a new tube.

Improving SF-Sac line haul time depends first and foremost on upgrading Amtrak CC. There's already a shuttle bus to Emeryville.

Rafael said...

@ Andy Duncan -

Embarcadero and King are two sections of the same street. I'm guessing the box sewer is on the side most of the buildings are on.

It's quite possible to use TBM's with liquid-supported mixshields to tunnel through relatively soft rock with a high water table.

Cut and cover isn't necessarily better or cheaper in that context, though it is possible to use GPS-guided backhoes, marine concrete and divers to construct tunnel inverts in pools of standing water (cp. new high speed line through lower Inn valley in Austria, video in German)

This type of decision is what consulting engineers get paid the big bucks for.

AndyDuncan said...

It's quite possible to use TBM's with liquid-supported mixshields to tunnel through relatively soft rock with a high water table.

Fair enough, I was trying to give the JPBA the benefit of the doubt, because otherwise it looks like they arbitrarily picked undesirable construction methods for an alternative they wanted to reject for other reasons.

Of course, they didn't study the station between beale and main that CHSRA lists, anyway, nor did they study your option.

Embarcadero and King are two sections of the same street. I'm guessing the box sewer is on the side most of the buildings are on.

I'm aware of that, as I'm sure the JPBA is as well, so I figure when they said King, they meant the portion that is called king, not the portion that is called Embarcadero.

Adirondacker12800 said...

Bored tunnels need sufficient overburden, ...There would be room above them for a full concourse level,...

What happens when you remove the overburden to build a concourse? So you would end up building a cut and cover station from the bottom up instead of from the pavement down? Sound lots more expensive to me.

Embarcadero and King are two sections of the same street. I'm guessing the box sewer is on the side most of the buildings are on.

Depends on when they were built and why they built it. If it was put in 1880 to stop sludge floating past the Ferry Building while the tide was ebbing it might be near the buildings. If it was built in 1917 to connect the sewers that had been dumping stuff directly into the bay, it might be parallel to the bulkhead line, avoids going around the water mains, gas mains and anything else that is near the buildings. It's lower than the floor of the buildings basements. How ever old it is they managed to build it with out GPS guided backhoes, divers etc.

lyqwyd said...

@r. motorist

The OAC is an inherently bad project, it is actually worse than doing nothing, and much worse than much cheaper alternatives. There is no benefit to it except for construction companies.

The BART to San Jose is an arguably bad project, it's super expensive, and the numbers are questionable, but on the other hand, SJ is quickly growing, and trying to densify, so who knows, maybe someday it will turn out to be useful.

HSR is an inherently good project. It solves a number of real problems, and will improve the lives of millions of Californians.

lyqwyd said...

Hey, did anybody see Judge Kopp being interviewed by Ross McGowan this morning? Nothing of any particular interest, and I don't remember all the details. Just wondering.

It is interesting watching him, and I can certainly understand why people would get upset by some of the stuff he says.

Clem said...

Well, I attended the meeting in San Carlos and thought it was very underwhelming. If you read the PDF, you didn't miss much.

Anonymous said...

You are not going to stop either the OAC or BART to San Jose. BART is a sacred cow, revered and nurtured by the Pelosi political machine. End of story.

Anonymous said...

"objectionable to the surrounding population"

CHSRA actually uses this terminology? Interesting.

arcady said...

I-880 is not a problem actually. There is considerable space between the support columns, and you could probably fit two more tracks in there if you really tried.

morris brown said...

The San Jose Mercury has just put out the following article

http://www.mercurynews.com/breaking-news/ci_13455760?nclick_check=1

covering the Alternatives Open House.

KILLMENLO said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
jim said...

Okay stopped on the way home and did some research. I use embarcadero station everyday so I took a walk through and went t down to the Beale end of the station and back up to the street, paced the street to measure it, and noted where, on the mezz level of emb station an hsr pedestian walkthough would wind up and if there's a place for it.

Here's the deal.

If hsr is situated under beale. with a connection to the bart/muni mezz level, the street meets the mezz in a good spot where there are the metal panels ( which usually indicated a spot for future pedestrian tunnels in those downtown stations. beale lines up perfectly with that spot.

BUT, beale is a narrow street , with highrises and their basements and foundations immediately on each side.

So hsr will be limited to a total usage width of about 55 feet.

How many side by side tracks and platforms can you squeeze into 55 feet?

well if you figure 7 feet per track and 12 feet per platform width you can get 4 tracks each with a center platform. ( two platforms)
12 foot wide platforms though - don't know if that;s gonna cut it.

you could put the turnstiles at the head of the walkway, followed immediately by two sets of escalators up and down to the two, 2 - track platforms.

This is a tight fit for all the capacity that is supposedly needed.
In fact it provides no more capacity than tbt in either track / platform space, and pedestrian movement. ( far less0

Then, the other big complaint about the "basement like feel" of tbt will be even worse under beale street.

All you have to work with there is a 55 foot wide 2 block long box with a street on top. it will be just like a typical subway station and no more.

So other than getting rid of the dreaded curve radii issue, there is no other improvement.

It can be done. But youre still gonna be tuck in a dark concrete box.

jim said...

rafael -A second transbay tube may indeed become necessary at some point, for BART. This would end up deep under Mission (level -3) in SF and deep under Franklin in Oakland.

BArt doesn;t want to go to franklin, it wants to go via Alameda via the ex military base that is being converted to development.

jim said...

here is the beale street station.

jim said...

BART to sfo is great. you don't have to walk far... as two of the best airlines for flights within california - jet blue and virgin america are actually located in the new international terminal which by the was GORgeous. and bart takes you to just steps from the tickets counters. no airtrain involved.

To go to OAK first you have to worry about whether you'll get shot at the coliseum station. Then you have to worry about getting shot through the window of the rinky dink bus ride through the ghetto.

Then you have to take your flight out of a rinky dink third world lookin airport.

No thanks. Even with a new connector Im still using SFO. SFO is nice OAK is a dump.

Anonymous said...

Jim...nobody is "listen" execept me..

jim said...

just note the difference betweenSFO
andoak

Michael said...

The exhibits do not reflect the most recent horizontal alignment adjustments, and even if they did it would be very hard to tell what the impacts will be given the scale of those pictures. This was probably done purposefully as the ROW takes have not been fully studied/determined and the CHSRA really wants to avoid an eminent domain scare.

Rafael said...

@ KILLMENLO -

I deleted your comment because it was an ad hominem attack threatening violence.

If you want to have a civilized argument with Morris Brown or any other HSR opponent on this blog, go right ahead. This was beyond the pale. Also, please switch to a different handle.

Rafael said...

@ adirondacker12800 -

the tunnel would be excavated underground, the station would have to be excavated using cut-and-cover. Same as for the TTC train box.

The overburden reference was merely intended to clarify why the platform tracks need to be deep to begin with.

Btw, I'm no great fan of concourse levels, they deprive the platform level of the height needed to create an impressive space. But I have to admit that concourse levels are functional.

@ jim -

TJPA did look at a station under Beale Street and concluded it was too narrow. There are also a couple of old buildings in the Market-Mission block whose foundations they were none too sure about.

Your estimates on the required widths are too tight. Depending on the manufacturer, car bodies are 10-12 feet wide. Island platforms need to be 15 feet wide minimum, Caltrain just widened the one in Palo Alto to eliminate a stop order that prevented more than one train pulling into the station at the same time.

In the context of HSR in downtown SF, you'd probably prefer at least 20 feet of width for an island platform. Beale is ~80 feet wide incl. the sidewalks, so it could support three platform tracks fairly comfortably. Four would require narrow island platforms and even then, it would be tight.

TJPA concluded it would need to construct a multi-level station if it were to use Beale Street alone and eliminated the option from further consideration. I'm not sure if the desire to reserve level -3 along Mission for a future second BART line was a factor in the decision.

A single level of platform tracks under Beale plus either Main or Fremont was not considered.

Btw: in a project of this magnitude, where BART anticipated future pedestrian connections in its station design isn't the primary consideration for where the platform tracks should go. It is a useful data point for selecting the best place to put a pedestrian passage between the TTC and BART/SF Muni.

Btw2: the Bay Bridge anchorage is at Beale. I don't think it's a good idea to dig a two-track heavy rail rail access tunnel under Beale street itself. Half a block over or under Main, ok.

Rafael said...

@ jim -

I figured Point Alameda might be fair game, but running tracks all the way through/under that city is "ambitious".

There's an abandoned railroad right of way through Alameda, but somehow I don't think the locals would be keen to see BART reviving it. Besides, built this way the second BART tube would offer only partial earthquake resilience, because it doesn't connect to the lines to Richmond and central CC county.

See MAP for details.

jim said...

@rafael

Alameda most likely doesn't even want bart. They are an island and they want to keep it that way. There's always been an issue with alameda trying to keep oakland out. even by making the bridges one way out only.

I just brought up the bart line because it another one of those things that ive read over the years... bart as you know has its own vision of the world according to bart.
I believe that alameda line was part of their long range ( 2050) plan.

Personally, I think, and I know everyone will disagree, but I think it should be a tube between the airports.... look at the bart map, look at the terminus at sfo is, then look at the drawing of the proposed bart oak connector.... then draw a straight line between the two ( remember, trains can only go in straight lines lol)

bart has a tendency to make subliminal suggestions with its maps, such as the way the santa clara extension aims right at the millbrae line. and the richmond line terminates pointing north east towards san rafael, ( when in reality it does not ) and so forth. Its their way of quietly nduging the public to think " gee they should fill that gap, it looks so obvious"

They are very sneaky. Bu the map to which I refer, I can't find, it used to be on the trains, and it showed l the proposed extensions.

Now they have changed the map again. back to the way it was in the 70s.

jim said...

in this article it sounds like peninsula hsr is moving along with no problems.

Robert Cruickshank said...

Definitely not a fan of the new BART map. I liked the ones they've been using since about 2000 or so.

jim said...

I like the clarity of the new bart map but it looks like something I would with a ruler and pencil on scratch paper.

jim said...

if you don't like that one you'll really hate this one

Anonymous said...

No thanks. Even with a new connector Im still using SFO. SFO is nice OAK is a dump.

Clarification - the international terminal at SFO is nice. The rest is a dump.

Terminal two at OAK (the Southwest terminal) is very new and MUCH nicer than the domestic terminals at SFO. Not sure what makes a brand new terminal with several restaurants, bars, and coffee shops "third world". Perhaps you haven't been to OAK in awhile?

flowmotion said...

jim: Personally, I think, and I know everyone will disagree, but I think it should be a tube between the airports....

Just FYI, there's a (very) long range plan for a new bridge crossing between the two airports. Nobody's really talked about it since the new Bay Bridge cluster-f, but I wouldn't be surprised if public discussion came back up in the 2010s.

jim said...

A midway crossing would alleviate traffic because so many people who have to pass through sf are not actually going to sf.

jim said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rafael said...

@ flowmotion, jim -

if all you need is fast transfer service between SFO and OAK, consider fuel-efficient hoverwing shuttles with clean diesel engines. This type of craft actually becomes more efficient and better able to cope with high surf with increasing size (cp. "Caspian Sea Monster", Boeing Pelican concept).

Civilian hoverwings could be scaled up to at least 200 seats and are classified as boats rather than planes, even though they do fly. That means they wouldn't add to the air traffic control load.

In theory, hoverwings could also be used for premium ferry services throughout the Bay Area and even up to Sacramento. Avoiding large ships and conventional ferries wouldn't be a significant problem, since there are few of them and hoverwings are highly maneuverable. All it takes is a radar.

In practice, it's the numerous sailing boats and windsurfers north of the Bay Bridge that would preclude actually flying just above the water at 90 knots. South of the bridge, there are far fewer of them, so it might be possible.

Anonymous said...

"How many side by side tracks and platforms can you squeeze into 55 feet?

well if you figure 7 feet per track and 12 feet per platform width you can get 4 tracks each with a center platform. "



Trains are 10' wide and typically a platform with a track on each side totals 45-60'+. So 2 tracks.