Wednesday, September 16, 2009

What's Up With the Transbay Terminal?

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

Been meaning to write about this for a few days now, as those that I talked to at the Palo Alto teach-in can attest. As you've probably noticed if you've followed some of the blogs and even local news outlets, there's quite a dispute emerging over the Transbay Terminal project, with Quentin Kopp making moves in recent weeks to push for major changes to HSR's interface with it. One of the best overviews of the matter is over at Eric's Transbay Blog:

So what’s the beef now? Rather than employ the downtown extension alignment and station location previously adopted by the Transbay Joint Powers Authority, the CHSRA would instead like to override the TJPA’s previous efforts and study alternative locations for the San Francisco terminus in its project-level EIR/EIS for the San Francisco-San Jose segment. In particular, the CHSRA has set its sight on another terminal to accommodate its exaggerated capacity requirements — the Beale Street terminal, situated parallel to Beale Street, and stretching roughly from Mission Street to Harrison Street. But this is an alternative that was resurrected from the dead. In the 1990s, a handful of potential Caltrain downtown extension alignments were considered. Most of those, including alignments leading to a Beale Street terminal, were rejected as undesirable or infeasible.


What happened was this: CHSRA obtained a legal opinion from lawyer Duane Morris that claims TJPA is obligated to review the Beale Street alternative under both CEQA and NEPA, under the argument that the existing EIR/EIS was approved on the basis of Caltrain being the primary user of the downtown tunnel extension (DTX). Since HSR's use requirements are different, the opinion goes, a new EIR/EIS is needed that would include the Beale alignment.

As Rafael has charted before, there are legitimate concerns with the design of the train box at Transbay, including the curvature of the "throat." But Eric at Transbay Blog suggests CHSRA is actually motivated by financial concerns:

But it does not seem coincidental that the agency’s temper — presumably largely fueled by, or embodied in, its ever-colorful former chairman, Quentin Kopp — flares up at the exact points in time when the TJPA competes with the CHSRA for access to new pots of funding that are being made available for high-speed rail....California has submitted project requests to the U.S. Department of Transportation, including a $400 million request that, if granted, would allow the Transbay Transit Center’s train box to be excavated sooner rather than later, using a “bottom up” construction approach. Transbay, by virtue of its completed environmental documents, is classified as a “ready-to-go” project, eligible for a Track 1 high-speed rail stimulus grant. In just a few weeks, the Federal Railroad Administration will announce the Track 1 projects that it has selected for grants.

It is this issue that has caused tempers to flare over this dispute. The Federal Railroad Administration is going to decide soon on whether Transbay and the train box will get federal HSR stimulus money. TJPA and the Bay Area transit community are concerned - rightly - that CHSRA's actions will jeopardize that money.

To that end Brian Stanke, Executive Director of Californians for High Speed Rail, has authored the following letter to Joseph Szabo, Administrator of the FRA. It is a detailed argument as to why Transbay Terminal deserves the $400 million, and why CHSRA's claims are invalid and should not be used to withhold that money:

CA4HSR FRA Letter

CHSRA has not offered any official comment on this subject for this post, despite my inquiries. Based on other published reports, including things we have discussed at this blog, we do know that CHSRA has raised concerns about the platform capacity at Transbay. We also know that the relationship between TJPA and CHSRA is very sour. Last December Kopp blasted TJPA's Maria Ayerdi-Kaplan for trying to keep Kopp and CHSRA out of the planning and discussion process. For their part, as Eric noted above, TJPA believes CHSRA has been trying to undermine the Transbay project at almost every turn.

Although the CHSRA may believe any problems with the HSR/DTX project lie with TJPA, it should be quite clear to them they have lost this particular battle in the court of public opinion. Bay Area transit advocates are outraged at the prospect of the Transbay trainbox losing out on badly needed federal funding. The use of development rights - specifically, selling the air rights to build skyscrapers to help pay for the Transbay project - is correctly seen as an innovative model for funding urban transit infrastructure. The DTX and train box are considered vital for bringing more mass transit commuters to the SF urban core - particularly for Caltrain. Proposition H passed by a significant margin in 1999 by SF voters to approve the project, and the project remains popular with San Francisco residents.

We don't yet know if it is too late, but my strong advice to CHSRA is to make peace with the Transbay Terminal project. If the federal funding is denied, it will do nothing to help CHSRA's relationships around the state and could cause a reaction from SF's influential political leadership. If there were enormous flaws with the design then that would be good reason to oppose the funding and redesign the project, but even those who have criticized the design of the "throat" haven't suggested the project be scrapped or that the "throat" design is unworkable (although it is not an ideal design).

I also renew my call for federal intervention. Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senator Dianne Feinstein are extremely well positioned to play a role as mediator between TJPA and CHSRA. We called for this to occur last December when the CHSRA/TJPA dispute first emerged. It hasn't happened and both the Transbay Terminal and the HSR project are worse off for it.

157 comments:

political_incorrectness said...

I will not mind the Transbay Transit Center as long as the throat allows for a Shinkansen set to get through. Otherwise, I think they need to modify the design.

There was at one point talk about issues with platform height between Caltrain and HSR. Are those still valid? Does Caltrain need more than 2 platforms for its future plans? Is there any chance ACE could come to Transbay in the future by Dumbarton and an Altamont overlay?

4 dedicated platforms for HSR should be fine, isn't that the amount they use for Tokaido Shinkansen? I'd say that would be the highest frequency there would ever be out of TBT.

AndyDuncan said...

There doesn't seem to be much disagreement about two points:

1: The current design has a poorly designed station throat and curve radii that will at best cause noise, wear and throughput problems, and at worst restrict the type of rolling stock that CAHSR can run.

2: Six platform tracks with the current throat design will not be enough to serve the projected train volumes of CAHSR and Caltrain.

Joseph Eisenberg said...

Caltrain really should use standard-height platforms instead of low platforms. Caltrain is going to be a "heavy-rail" Metro or MRT, not light rail. And here in Los Angeles, even our street-running light rail trains have "high" platforms. Why does Caltrain need to use lower platforms? Being able to share tracks and platforms with HSR would go a long way to solving this problem, and provide redundancy and flexibility in operations.

Would it be possible to change the curve radii on the DTX tunnel and fix the station "throat" with small changes to the current design, without a new EIR?

Robert Cruickshank said...

Joseph,

That is something Rafael has been exploring in his posts, and I know there are some folks on the TJPA Citizens' Advisory Committee looking into that prospect as well.

This should not necessarily be a "baby with the bathwater" situation.

Dan said...

Yes, it is true to the site is constrained somewhat by tall buildings that are too big to remove. What is not true is the TJPA is somehow diabolically unwilling to design proper turning radii. They are dealing with an urban environment with the aforementioned constraints. However, they have managed to meet and somewhat exceed commonly acceptable turning radii based on international standards. These types of constraints are common around the world in dense environments and they are dealt with successfully. So yes, to operate the TBT terminal will require good management in terms of turn around time. And yes, trains may have to slow down a bit as they approach the terminal than if the radii was a bit wider. But so what? The train is just about to arrive at the station anyway where it must stop. Unfortunately, it appears that many worry so much about perfect designs (that are only possible in a green field where there are no people), that they end up opposing a great project in terms of connectivity.

What is going on here is very transparent. Kopp said in February he wanted HSR to stop at 4th and King. Later, realizing that wasn’t flyng, he suddenly had Authority staff double the capacity needed for HSR after years of it being set at 6 tracks. Then to was the continual increasing of the turning radius standard far above international standards. Finally at the 11th hour, he resurrects an alternative that has long been dead. Doesn’t pass the smell test. It is smoke and mirrors to kill TBT. Please don’t give credence to the notion that the TJPA has designed poor project. I want to emphasize, Kopp has publically stated that he supports a 4th and King terminal. He is obviously biased the against the train going TBT. Of course these last minute demands that keep changing are being used to serve the goal of killng Transbay, not improve it.
The project is sound and those that truly support TBT really need to reject bogus arguments generated from the TBT-hating Kopp. Otherwise it will be 4th and King, excactly what Kopp wants.

lyqwyd said...

It's still not clear to me why it's such a big problem to study alternative station designs. I posted a few comments on transbay saying the same and received a lot of vitriol as a response, but very little legitimate reasoning as to why, other than we might lose $400 million in federal money.

While it would be unfortunate to lose that money, to me it would be a lot more unfortunate to proceed with a bad project, just to get the money.

This blog, transbay blog, and a number of other blogs have pointed out some serious flaws in the current Transbay terminal design.

It seems to me the cart is being put before the horse. The transbay terminal only has value serving Caltrain & HSR, if it does not serve them effectively, there's no reason to rebuild it. Yet everything I've read and heard over the last few years leads me to believe the terminal is being designed without any serious consideration for the rail that it is supposed to serve.

I like the graphics & videos I've seen of the transbay terminal, but if it comes to a choice between the terminal and efficient rail service I will happily sacrifice a pretty terminal and keep higher quality rail service.

It's not even certain that California would lose the $400 million, it could instead be used for the actual construction of the HSR project.

Anonymous said...

anyone else think it's time for Kopp to go? Is he really worth all this trouble?

lyqwyd said...

Dan, a Beale alternative provides better connectivity than a Transbay terminal basement station, as it can be connected directly to Embarcadero BART with a short tunnel, and still connect to Transbay terminal at one end.

Eric M said...

Seriously, Caltrain needs to have trainsets that have the same boarding height as HSR. That would change so many things for the better along the peninsula. Just think, it wont matter what platform for either Caltrain or HSR at all the stations. If there is a problem with 1 track, the 3 others can be used with out a second thought.

Eric M said...

And as for the Kopp bashing, get over it. There are plenty of other members on the authority that need to have ideas or decisions passed in front of before it leaves the room. Lots of people are on the project, not just one.

Alon Levy said...

The Tokaido Shinkansen has 6 platforms. CAHSR should plan on about 4, on a par with the Tohoku/Joetsu/Nagano Shinkansen.

lyqwyd said...

What I really don't understand is why the Transbay terminal is going to be so expensive, if I remember correctly it's going to be $3-4 billion. If I'm wrong please correct me, but if that is the price, what is it about it that is going to cost so much?

James said...

Similar to what Jim and Andy discussed: Use cut and cover to go under Townsend St. to a full radius under Embarcadero running under the bay a little and coming around under Main St. This keeps the cut away from the Bay Bridge anchorage.

The building At Main and Mission appears to be set back with a parking lot making Main and the parking lot quite wide. There may be structure under the strip of parking? Main from Harrison to Mission is more than long enough for the 400m platforms.

This area is empty partially because this used to be the location for the freeway ramps leading to the business district and on the the Embarcadero freeway. You can still see the curve of the old freeway implied in the curving parking lot and building alignments between main and Spear just north of Folsom.

Brandon in San Diego said...

Robert,
I disagree with your post. CHSRA is bound to design a system that supports prescribed service levels. Further, from AB 3034 "...Achievable operating headway (time between successive
trains) shall be five minutes or less. ..."


It doesn't matter one iota what people think about this, CHSRA cannot ignore it.

The Authority is properly asserting its responsibilities on this matter to assure to the best of their abilities that a system meeting the transportation needs of Californians far into the future. We should not expect less of them.

By the way, who the heck is "Californians for High-Speed Rail?" If this is the same group that had a shallow web site from a year ago... they virtually did nothing on this project til now. And, now they support a TBT design that is insufficient to meet future services.

A short google search on Brian Stanke indicates he's related to the BayRail Alliance... a train foamer group.

Anonymous said...

Do you really think tht the same minds that came up with the PA "berm" and the Palmdale detour can do any better with the TBT? Hell, why not build the whole thing to broad gauge? Let's go for the mother of Bechtel boondoggles.

mike said...

Do you really think tht the same minds that came up with the PA "berm" and the Palmdale detour can do any better with the TBT?

Given that the first two things actually make sense, I would have to say, potentially, yes.

Anonymous said...

If they change the location from the TBT, they invite a lawsuit invalidating Prop 1A. It would almost the equivalent of saying to the voters you voted for this train, now we are going to give you not "this train", but another train, or another project or another anything else.

I suggest an investigation of the Gensler firm and who they are working for --- this if very fishy.

Brandon in San Diego said...

^^^

What?

The alterantive site that CHSRA raises is immeaditely adjacent to TBT.

mike said...

but even those who have criticized the design of the "throat" haven't suggested the project be scrapped

Really? I'm pretty sure Richard M. would suggest exactly that (i.e., that the TBT project, as designed, should be scrapped). Even Clem might.

Heck, even I might consider it. I think 4th & King would be definitely depress SF ridership. But a temporary terminus there (and the resulting low ridership) might incentivize the parties involved to actually come up with a sensible, cost-effective extension.

jim said...

CHSRA better watch its step because if they screw sf on the trainbox money, they will be SOL when they turn around and ask to start tearing up the streets of their choice. Our mayor and our board of supervisors are a bunch of crazy MFers - chsra doesn't want to get on the wrong side of them or the train will dead end at the san mateo county line and if they don't think sf politics can produce a world of hurt for chsra, just look at the what city hall has pulled out of its hat over the years.
Don't think a condo project won't suddenly get approved in hsr's hopeful new path.

jim said...

meanwhile our tranbay terminal will move ahead as a stand alone project wiht or without the train box and years from now the chsra folks will have their faces pressed against the window wishing someone would let them in. Tell you what. put the damn thing in oakland. we don't need it, or the grief.

Anonymous said...

4th & Townsend is a crappy location. If they had kept the trackage at 3rd & Townsend 30 years ago it would have been more functional. I think they figured BART would eventually trash what is now Caltrain.

The old freeway onramp at Beale has been considered many times in the past and rejected. Good luck on that one. The Grapevine is a more likely change of plan.

Anonymous said...

This is all Kopp's attempt to kill any downtown extension. He seeks to protect his BART-SFO failure, because Caltrain/HSR from downtown SF to SFO would be much faster than BART.

Kopp has been a plague to effective transit in the Bay Area. May he rot in hell.

dave said...

I second with what anonymous @ 1:21am first said.

This is all politically driven, a connection to BART at downtown SF would take some riders off Bart and on to Caltrain. By them eliminating the convinience of the transfer they keep people on Bart longer to the SFO extension for transfers. Bad Move!

I support CHSRA when they are right and right now they are NOT!

Transbay Terminal was the choice when Prop 1A passed, it stays.

Rafael said...

A member of the TJPA's CAC sent me a copy of the presentation chief engineer Bob Beck gave on the status of the DTX tunnel and train box.

Highlights:

- the TTC project is supposedly too far along to make major changes such as divorcing the railway station from the bus terminal. A Record of Decision has been awarded, re-opening the EIS/EIR would delay the project and almost certainly nix any chance of securing ARRA funds.

Note that a station with 2 or 3 levels terminating at Market/2nd would not suffer the last, tight curve nor require a three-track tunnel. It would be intermodal with BART/SF Muni subway/SF Muni streetcars/future SF Muni Geary BRT. The TTC building could be connected via a pedestrian passage or short people mover under Minna St.

Alas, planners insisted on a very narrow interpretation of "under one roof" so this option was never even studied and won't be this late in the game.

- the northern four platform tracks (#23-26) will now terminate at Main St. TJPA is studying four different alternatives for a dedicated pedestrian connection to BART/SF Muni, but no details were included in the presentation. An underground passage down Main St. to the Embarcadero station's concourse level would serve HSR well enough.

- the southern two platform tracks (#21-22) will be shorter and are still penciled in for Caltrain. There is no mention of platform heights or any effort to harmonize them.

- the presentation mentions that tail tracks for the southern platform tracks will be deferred until operationally necessary but also that Caltrain will need them after all. It's not immediately clear why, every other head-end railway station in the world manages just fine without any tail tracks at all. Sounds like classic rent seeking by "world class consultants" to me.

- the curve radii in the approach to the TTC train box will be 650-670ft at 7th/Townswend, 700-730ft at Townsend/2nd and 550-670ft at 2nd/Minna. Various constraints limit the amount of tweaking that is still possible at this point, given the decision to have the railway station directly underneath the bus terminal.

- TJPA points out that the elevated station in Cologne features a 525ft approach radius and is served by ICE and Thalys trains. Planners there were also constrained by existing infrastructure and available right of way.

A radius of 150m (492ft) is defined as the rock bottom number for HSR interoperability in Europe, but it's obviously not something anyone should strive for.

With the notable exception of Talgo, every manufacturer uses rigid axles. That means the inner and outer wheels in a curve must rotate at the same speed, each stick-slipping on the top of its rail. This is particularly evident in tight corners, causing horrible squealing noises. This is greatly amplified in underground stations, causing severe discomfort for passengers on trains as well as those waiting on platforms.

Unlike wheel flange/side of rail contact situations, squealing due to a speed differential on the top of the rail cannot easily be mitigated by lubrication, especially for EMU rolling stock. Without lubrication, both the running surface of the wheel and the rail eventually suffer from increased surface roughness, increasing rail/wheel noise throughout the entire network as well as track and rolling stock maintenance overheads.

- TJPA claims Japanese shinkansen manufacturers can deal with curve radii of just 500ft

Rafael said...

(part 2)

- TJPA claims the capacity constraint isn't its suboptimal throat design but CHSRA's insistence on dwell times of 30-40 minutes. There's an agreement between TJPA and CHSRA to allow some HSR trains to terminate at 4th & King, not sure if Caltrain is ok with that or if AB3034 permits a second SF station.

In any event, there is absolutely no need for HSR trains to dwell for such extended periods of time in SF at all. Just redefine a single trip as LA/Anaheim-SF-LA/Anaheim and clean/reprovision the trains in SoCal. The TTC is supposed to be a 21st century terminal, not a 19th century terminus. "Grand Central of the West"? No, thank you.

SF should be treated as simply a major way station that happens to involve a change of drivers (not crew!) and a reversal of direction. Dwell times ought to be under 10 minutes.

- Caltrain has penciled in a dwell time of 18 minutes at the TTC, which is way more than is needed to turn around a commuter train. Remember, all EMU trainsets have a fully equipped driver cab at both ends.

- a single loop track via Embarcadero/Main in and 2nd/Townsend out was considered but rejected because TJPA considers CHSRA's dwell time requirement to be the real capacity bottleneck. They did note the solution would reduce Caltrain dwell times to 10 minutes, improving its throughput.

- TJPA advocates sequential excavation for the DTX tunnel and throat, claiming it would be 2 years faster and cost $80 million less than old-fashioned stacked drift. It boggles the mind that they intend to spend several years excavating a 1.4mi tunnel to begin with.

Tunnel boring machines were rejected because one big enough to accommodate three tracks side-by-side would require larger curve radii. TJPA is also concerned about subsidence/earthquake risks to buildings overhead and has concluded that sequential excavation with numerous rock dowels and copious shotcrete is safer in that regard.

Note that each of the tree tracks is connected to two of the six platform tracks. There are switches to improve throughput and deal with off-design conditions but nominally, traffic will apparently alternate in both directions on each of these tracks. In other words, the station throat will extend all the way to Townsend Street, a full mile from the platforms. Only there will trains transfer to and from the dedicated inbound and outbound tracks, separating into dedicated Caltrain and HSR tracks west of the tunnel portal. It's not clear to me why four tracks are needed at all between Oakdale Ave (UPRR's turnoff to the Port of SF) and 4th & King.

The gory details on the planned track layout are here.

Travis ND said...

Might it be possible to construct an auxiliary station under Beale St in the future by boring a bypass tunnel next to the TTC or extending the tail tracks back out to the DTX to make the whole thing a loop configuration?

Rafael said...

@ anon @ 1:21am, dave -

Kopp has moved on beyond BART to SFO. At this point, he probably couldn't care less how southbound passengers prefer to reach SFO.

What the CHSRA board very much does care about is that it is now competing against TJPA for scarce HSR dollars in ARRA. Those funds are needed for grade separations and laying track. If TJPA is successful, expect every city along the way to follow suit. Pretty soon, we'll have lots of architectural marvels and no track for running trains between them.

If CA cities want to seek federal funding to help build their stations, they should look to general block grants, not money specifically earmarked for HSR.

Rafael said...

@ Travis ND -

as discussed above, TJPA did consider a single loop track option, with all trains entering the TTC from the east and leaving to the west. The inbound track would have run under Embarcadero and Main, the outbound one under 2nd and Townsend.

Main is preferable to Beale due to platform length and curve radius considerations. Also, the west anchorage for the the Bay bridge is on Beale.

The loop concept was rejected because at this point, CHSRA's capacity problem is a result of its own excessive dwell time expectations of 30-40 minutes.

There is no need for any auxiliary station under Main, just some common sense at CHSRA plus perhaps, some pedestrian flow management down to and along the three island platforms in the train box. It's painfully obvious that no-one at CHSRA has ever been involved in the day-to-day operations of a modern railway.

Fwiw, Caltrain is currently not a modern railway, it still has to make do with antiquated signaling and rolling stock technology.

looking on said...


CHSRA better watch its step because if they screw sf on the trainbox money, they will be SOL when they turn around and ask to start tearing up the streets of their choice.


Kopp claims thee will be no train money for the TBT. In response to public comments at the Authority's board meeting in Sept., Kopp states that a committee meeting was held and that the minutes of that meeting clearly show that there will be no stimulus funds available for the TBT train box.

The video for the board meeting is now available; the link is on the home page of the Authority's website.

Rafael said...

@ looking on -

of course, no matter how much he huffs and puffs, Quentin Kopp simply isn't in charge of disbursing any federal HSR funds. USDOT Secr. Ray LaHood is and, he could decide not send any ARRA money at all to California if TJPA and CHSRA keep up their very public pissing match.

There are plenty of other HSR projects around the country, many of them likely to have bona fide trains actually running before 2012 (or at least before 2016).

Brian Stanke said...

Brandon,

Californians for High Speed Rail is a grassroots group that has been lobbying Sacramento for the over four years to keep this project alive when no one else cared. We got Sierra Club reengaged in CAHSR in 2006, after it fell off their radar. We loss the fight to get much HSR money in the 2006 bond, but beat back two efforts by the governor to de-fund the project in 2006 and 2007. Ask the professional HSR lobbyists in Sacramento, they know who we are.

Our public outreach has not been too strong. We are working on improving that, but lobbying has been and as our number one focus.

As for Bayrail Alliance, for 20 years they have been the Caltrain advocacy group in the Bay Area. They also are the champions for Dumbarton rail and improved ACE and Capitols service. In 2002 BayRail organization a large event in support of CA HSR. Where you got this "foamer" idea I have no idea.

Bayrail's relationship to CAHSR is a bit strained as the only organization to both endorse Prop 1A and be a party to the lawsuit against the authority. Specifically They wanted Altamont, look like that is lost and over now.

I have been a BayRail member for years and while this lawsuit puts me in an awkward situation for the moment (Californians 4 HSR does not support the litigation) it will be revolved soon and both groups can continue their advocacy of High Speed Rail.

-Brian Stanke

BruceMcF said...

The design is a gross waste of public funds on the premise of "someone else will pay for the expensive bit".

The under-connected throat that unnecessarily blocks parallel movements connects to a three track tunnel that connects to a underground station at 4th and Townsend with two local platform tracks and one bi-directional Express track.

The designs of the 4th and Townsend and TBT train boxes are what requires three tracks down the tunnel - there is no more train capacity in the three track tunnel than two tracks would offer, if there were two express tracks at 4th and Townsend and a well connected throat for the TBT.

That is, the third track is entirely devoted to passing movements due to the fact that passing movements that ought to be possible in the TBT throat and at 4th and Townsend are not possible. It does not support through traffic, so it does not increase total capacity.

Maximum CAHSR service requirements are 5 minute headways, so the terminal network cannot be provided with more than 12 HSR services per hour. If the tunnel tracks are built for three minute headways (and they better be if passing is taking place inside the tunnels!), that is a capacity of 18 services per hour. That means that Caltrain would have six services per hour available - fewer than you would want for a local/express mix, but ample for a single service - that's a service every ten minutes, which is a no-schedule frequency.

While the capacity concern of the CAHSR is quite legitimate, they do not seem to understand what the legitimate capacity concern is. The legitimate capacity concern is that they do not have unconstrained access to the four platforms to keep the trains moving into and out of the train box.

Similarly, providing Caltrain with the tail tracks completely eliminates their platform capacity constraints, in the sense that the poorly design 4th and Townsend and TBT station throat means that one arrival platform and one departure platform can easily cope with the trains they can actually get into the train box. Their limitation would be rather be when they can actually getting the trains into and out of the train box when access to that local platform at 4th and Townsend is not blocked by an Express service that needs to run through.

Clearly, the TJPA simply did not take seriously the mandate handed to them by SF voters to make the TBT train box the HSR terminal. Obviously, a responsible local authority working under that local mandate would have commenced the redesign of the TBT and 4th and Townsend access in November, as soon as the HSR funding passed, so that today instead of trying to pour gravy on a open-faced shit sandwich, they would have a design that would stand up to close scrutiny in the face of a kick from the cash cow they hope to use to get the tunnel built.

Morris Brown said...

Rafael and others:


The video of the Authority's board meeting is now available at:

http://stateofcalifornia.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?publish_id=3

at: 14:00 into the video, Andrew Schwarz, a CEQA attorny for the TBT makes comments -- his message is the Authority will put into jeopardy getting 400 million in track 1 stimulus funds for the train box at the TBT.

at 20:45 Kopp responds stating that a FRA meeting about 1 month before had determined that the train box was not eligible for funding.

I think this about 10 minutes of viewing sheds a lot of light on this issue.

dave said...

@ Rafael

Thanks for snapping me out of it.

TBT should seek those funds particularily because it's the terminus for HSR on the northern part of the project. I know that the funds available are scarce, but we're all hoping and expecting more future funding for HSR right? I doubt after this round that it's done, gone.

They have an obligation to build that TBT extension because it was specifically mentioned in Prop. 1A as well as LA Union Station.

The reason for TJPA's signed agreement with CHSRA was for the fact alone that they will be elegible to receive the $400M for the train box.

dave said...

Off topic:

This group shows us where high speed rail works best. California is at the top!

LINK

dave said...

Sorry,

Here's the LINK.

jim said...

Its up to chsra to figure out how to get into tbt and how to pay for it.

jim said...

If hsr stays at 4th - I still think thats the best place for it - there's no problem. If its mandated by 1A to go to tbt, then they have to tunnel it to tbt and pay for that tunnel.

tbt has to provide space for hsr in the trainbox which they have done.

1A doesn't say anything about tbt being required to have a particular capacity. Just that hsr will serve tbt which it can, under the current plan.

If chsra wants to add a lot of particulars, then they need to pay for those. right? I mean you can't put that extra burden on the city.

and by the way, who is paying for all the other hsr stations? fresno bakerfield merced etc

certain cities, mainly sf, sj,la and ana, already have or had plans for large intermodal stations to which hsr can be incorporated. but the other cities, someone is going to have to build the stations.

will the cities build them or will chsra build them?

AndyDuncan said...

If chsra wants to add a lot of particulars, then they need to pay for those. right? I mean you can't put that extra burden on the city.

But by funding their project with HSR money, the TJPA is essentially asking CAHSR to pay for it without letting them add said particulars.

jim said...

did tjpa apply for high speed rail funds or stimulus arra funds?

jim said...

and does 12 trains per hour mean 12 arrivals and 12 departures or 6 arrivals and 6 departures? I can't in my wildest dreams ever imagine the need for a southbound departure every 5 minutes. The trains would be running empty. The only realistic expectation is a departure every 15 minutes, and even those won't be but half full for at least another 20 years. chsra is dreaming if they think they need a departure every 5 minutes. I mean, hey I'm all for all those extra jobs being created but when the public sees expensive trains leaving empty all day long its not gonna look good. EVen BART is going back to 20 minute head ways now.

Rafael said...

@ Andy Duncan -

that's not quite correct since it's not CHSRA's money to spend as it sees fit. It's CA and federal taxpayer money.

CHSRA's beef is that SF politicians explicitly wrote the TTC into AB3034 as the northern end of the starter line but TJPA has not delivered a design that will permit CHSRA meet other requirements of that bill, including that of a five-minute headway.

Part of that is CHSRA's own fault, because there's simply no operational justification for a 30-40 minute dwell time in SF. Figure out how to bring it down to 20 and four platform tracks gives you enough capacity to run a train every five minutes. Bring it down to 10 and you only need two platform tracks for HSR.

The other part is TJPA's fault for discarding sensible alternatives like the single-track loop option. In a terminal station, dwell time is that spent stationary at the platform plus that spent traversing the throat twice. With run-through tracks, it's just that spent at the platform.

jim said...

if need be for more capacity, all they really have to do is widen the tail track area. There's plenty of room to make the tail track section 4-6 tracks wide so that both caltrain and hsr can move though and make room for the next arrivals as well as allowing for extra dwell time. In fact you could add some space to the tail tracks for light maintenance/servicing and small crew base. That entire tail track area is still open for changes as the temp term will be removed and whatever goes in underground can be incorporated into any new development projects in the pipleine.

jim said...

I want to see everyones face when trains are leaving with 25 passengers every 5 minutes.
every five minutes is an absolute joke.

Anonymous said...

If Palmdale is allowed to dictate a Tehachapis alignment then SF can demand the TBT station and tunnel.

BruceMcF said...

They are applying for ARRA Stimulus funds appropriated for HSR.

So, the answer to "are they applying for HSR funds or ARRA Stimulus funds" is, they are using the support for HSR that they claim to provide as the basis for their funding application. Without the support for HSR that they pretend to provide, they would not qualify for that track of funding.

The TJPA has been under a local mandate for just about a decade now to design the TBT to serve as the San Francisco terminus for HSR, and have been either unable or uninterested in getting it right in all that time. In light of that, it seems highly unlikely that they are going to get it right on their own initiative without getting hit over the head with the proverbial two-by-four.

jim said...

bruce - they ARE providing for hsr. They may not be providing for every ridiculous whim of hsr, but they are providing for it. a tunnel, tracks, two platforms, ticketing and waiting areas, multimodal connections, storage space ( tail tracks,) and have even lengthened the platforms. they have done what they are suppose to within reason.

chsra is simply trying to play games to make sf pay for everything so they can squander arra money on endless battles with PA and endless studies without ever getting anything built.

take it or leave it. or take it to oakland.

AndyDuncan said...

So, the answer to "are they applying for HSR funds or ARRA Stimulus funds" is, they are using the support for HSR that they claim to provide as the basis for their funding application. Without the support for HSR that they pretend to provide, they would not qualify for that track of funding.

Right, and nobody outside of California is going to care whether that money is going to CAHSR, TJPA or Caltrans (who, according to the meeting video Morris posted, are trying to get $2b in High Speed Rail funding), they're going to see it as money that went to California, so $400m out of that chunk is $400m CAHSR could use for other parts of the system

jim said...

san franciscans will not, repeat will NOT be delaying our project and / or paying for more of chsra's whims out of our pockets
we are building a terminal.
we made space for hsr and a reasonable, realistic amount of capacity demands.
and that's the end of it.

hsr can stop on top of san bruno mountain with a blimp connection for all I care.

so far the chsra has failed to do anything concrete. and it looks like, and I say this as a huge supporter, but from what Im hearing from caltrans and management types ( all the folks at division of rail, amtrak california, etc you know, they are all the same pool of folks.) basic its one giant eyeroll when you mention hsr. sort of " not gonna happen in our lifetime" because people involved with these kinds of projects know that its 3 times the time and 4 times the money before you get results and sadly, this project is heading down the same path.

A complete lack of real leadership. An inability to stay on message and keep the public engaged ad excited about moving forward.
Zero communications skills. I mean ZERO communications skills. They look, from the publics perspective, like a bunch of dottering politicians who have never run a toy train set let alone built a real railroad.

Even those were excited about it and voted on it, are now very likely rolling their eyes and figuring its just going to be one more typical california thing.
I can tell you right now that there will not be revenue service on jan. 1 2020.

jim said...

and with or without the 400million, we will have a transbay terminal a development area. what hsr does with that, well, they will be on their own. they can stick their trains in our basement or not.

BruceMcF said...

jim, widening the tail track area would be fine, except its not feasible and it does not accomplish anything.

First, the way that they provided for the longer HSR platforms without going back to the drawing board on their station throat was by eliminating the curve to connect to the tail track and extending the platform tracks straight back. So no matter how many tail tracks are provided, they can only be connected to the Caltrain island.

And in terms of what it accomplishes, there is no real world limit on platform capacity - twenty minutes is ample for a stub terminus with through services - more than ample - and the HSR network can deliver no more than four trains in a 20 minute period, so if four platforms were available, in the sense of any HSR train entering the tunnel being able to access any one of the four platforms, while any HSR train in the train box was able to leave the train box via the tunnel, then four platforms would be fine.

Of course the CHSR has to kick on that platform count, since it imposes a service design constraint on them, and they don't want the precedent established that local authorities can impose a service design constraint on them without any price attached. But that's just the regular argy-bargy between different authorities with different mandates - in terms of system design, four platforms would be ample if the access and egree network had been competently designed.

The truly insane thing is, if they had widened 4th and Townsend to allow two Express passing tracks, then a from the Caltrain platform in the station throat would allow eliminating the access/egress bottleneck which is the actual capacity constraint. Two cross-overs and a two to four fan-out and you can egress any HSR platform and access any HSR platform without constraint.

And if they had included the digging for that Caltrain access dive in the money for the trainbox (it would start within the TBT envelope, so it would be justifiable), then they would eliminate the strongest arguments that the CHSRA could make.

That would also allow increasing the curve radius for accessing the HSR trains. It would also allow the cut and cover from 4th and Townsend to the tunneling, and the tunneling itself, to be trimmed down to two tracks, saving far more money than the dive in the station throat would cost.

But since they are focused on having the CAHSR pay for the tunnel, they have no interest in reducing the grotesque waste of Federal funds involved in digging a three track tunnel to avoid having two Express tracks through an underground station.

Ironically, in pursuing the individual goal of getting the maximum cost shifting to other parties, instead of pursuing the most effective design to meet their local mandate to design an HSR terminus, they have undermined their case for getting the Feds to take one big headache off their budget entirely.

jim said...

The truly insane thing is, if they had widened 4th and Townsend to allow two Express passing tracks, then a from the Caltrain platform in the station throat would allow eliminating the access/egress bottleneck which is the actual capacity constraint. Two cross-overs and a two to four fan-out and you can egress any HSR platform and access any HSR platform without constraint.

And if they had included the digging for that Caltrain access dive in the money for the trainbox (it would start within the TBT envelope, so it would be justifiable), then they would eliminate the strongest arguments that the CHSRA could make.

That would also allow increasing the curve radius for accessing the HSR trains. It would also allow the cut and cover from 4th and Townsend to the tunneling, and the tunneling itself, to be trimmed down to two tracks, saving far more money than the dive in the station throat would cost


ill have to read that 3 more times cuz I don't get what you are suggesting the solution is..

you mean we only need two tracks from 4th to the throat?

Anonymous said...

Just so everyone knows, jim is not talking for all San Franciscans. Many of us want the entire package done right, and will not be screaming if someone pooh pooh's "our" design because it screws the rest of the system.

Rafael said...

@ jim -

by definition, 12tph means 12 trains each way in one hour.

There's never going to be a need to run that many trains out of downtown SF since the city's growth is constrained by water on three sides and Marin county isn't going to see its population explode, either.

If HSR becomes hugely popular with East Bay residents, they will demand a spur from SJ to Oakland. If HSR becomes hugely popular with SF peninsula residents, some trains could terminate in San Jose or perhaps, in Millbrae.

CHSRA is (optimistically?) forecasting 32,000 daily boardings of HSR trains in downtown SF for 2030. They are also forecasting 86 trains a day each way out of that location. Assuming trains will depart SF from 6am to 9pm, that averages out to 5.73tph and 372 passengers/train. During peak periods of the day, HSR traffic volume in DTX tunnel could arguably rise to perhaps 8tph but probably no more.

If e.g. Southwest can profitably spread out its flights to SoCal throughout the day, chances are an HSR operator can do so as well.

No later than when 8tph is actually reached - which may or may not happen by 2030 - any sane HSR operator would deploy full-length bi-level trains, if only to avoid needlessly congesting the DTX tunnel during Caltrain's commute rush hour. It's not unreasonable to assume that by 2030, some vendor(s) will have developed bi-level HSR rolling stock capable of a top speed of 220mph. Today's TGV Duplex operates at 186mph in commercial service.

Ergo, in the real world, the issue isn't reaching 12tph for HSR alone through the DTX tunnel. Rather, it's that AB3034 explicitly requires CHSRA to deliver an infrastructure capable of supporting headways of no more than 5 minutes: if an HSR train leaves at any given time, it must be possible for the next one to follow no more than five minutes later.

In other words, the law requires CHSRA to give the future infrastructure operator a great deal of flexibility in setting his timetable. In theory, he could run one HSR train on the hour, a second one five minutes later and then none at all for the next 55 minutes. Or the rest of the day, for that matter.

The headway requirement was not qualified to apply to any particular section, e.g. Chowchilla-Redondo Junction, so right now it applies in the SF peninsula as well - all the way into the TTC.

Is the law an ass wrt headways? Perhaps, but CHSRA is not at liberty to pick and choose which clauses it will implement. If state politicians are ok with headways of e.g. 7.5 minutes for the underground section in SF, they need to tell CHSRA so in writing.

jim said...

and quite frankly, the current design, which allows for a realistic number of trains, is adequate and all this bickering over it is going to wind up with no trains in 2020. Mark my words. and I will be right here to be the first one, even ahead of the nimby's, to say " i told you so.

these politicians are acting like kids on a playground. they need to get their shit together immediately and come up with a compromise. split the money, compromise on the design, and get on with it.

I didn't vote for 1A so that other peoples great grand children could ride it. I voted on it for me. other wise I want my money back.

Rafael said...

@ anon @ 10:33am -

Palmdale didn't dictate squat. The Tehachapis route was chosen because of lower tunneling cost and risk.

jim said...

Anonymous said...
Just so everyone knows, jim is not talking for all San Franciscans. Many of us want the entire package done right, and will not be screaming if someone pooh pooh's "our" design because it screws the rest of the system.

uh, its not about poo poo ing the design, its about who is going to pay for the delays and changes. If you really do live in san francisco, ( for any real meaningful length of time I might add) then you know damn well this city has bigger problems to spend scarce money on
Take away the 400 million for the train box, and who do you think is gonna replace that 400 million? city hall, out of the city's budget? I don't think so.

do what you want but don't think for a second that the city hall and BOS is gonna go to san franciscans and ask for a bond measure to make up the 400 million dollar difference because the usual politicians have screwed up.

jim said...

I say we give the current tbt a paint job and some new pergo and be done with it and
hsr can use the streetcar tracks on the embarcadero to get downtown.

and Im not supporting hsr anymore.

the 40 billion could be better spent on eliminating grade separations, freight improvement and upgrading all of amtrak california to 110.
and Im gonna tell all my passengers that hsr is dying so don't hold your breath.

AndyDuncan said...

the 40 billion could be better spent on eliminating grade separations, freight improvement and upgrading all of amtrak california to 110.
and Im gonna tell all my passengers that hsr is dying so don't hold your breath.


All it took was someone critiquing the TTT station? Two weeks ago you were defending HSR, now it's dying?

Rafael said...

@ jim, BruceMcF -

the current design has the two-track DTX access tunnel transitioning into the three-track station throat at roughly Townsend and 3rd, immediately east of the underground Townsend/4th station intended to ensure all Caltrain passengers can transfer to the new Central Subway.

In a sane throat design, the transition from two to three tracks would be much further in. A compact arrangement of seven switches (1 left, 1 right, 3 equilateral, 1 left S, 1 right S) including three level crossings would do the trick, albeit without any redundancy.

Note: an S switch branches off a straight track at the inflection point. Above ground, you'd simply use a regular switch followed by a curve but in a tunnel there may not be enough room for that.

The two track fans for a single loop track would not involve any level crossings, but there wouldn't be enough room to give CHSRA the dead straight full-length platforms it covets.

Rafael said...

@ jim -

relax pls. You know as well as anyone here that 110mph isn't good enough to win modal share against the planes clogging the California corridor.

I don't have a problem with TJPA getting $400 million in ARRA funding. I do have a problem with that money coming out of the $8 billion specifically allocated for HSR, given that CHSRA doesn't yet have nearly enough money to lay the tracks etc. Buildings, incl. station buildings, are what the block grant portions of ARRA are for. TJPA needs to grow the HSR pie, not rush to secure a slice of it.

Anonymous said...

@jim

A backbone hsr can still be built: San Jose via Pacheco or East Bay via Altamont down I-5 and over the Grapevine to LA. A state of the art proof of concept over for the moment relatively cheap I-5 real estate. Hold off on the expensive and contentious urban extensions until later.

BruceMcF said...

Yes, Rafeal, "
In a sane throat design, the transition from two to three tracks would be much further in.
".

It would be past the bored tunneling, well after the first curve 90 degree in the DTX after 4th and Townsend.

Mind, since the fan-out for 3rd and Townsend and 4th and
Townsend would in any economically rational design extend into a two track tunnel heading toward the TBT, the design of the fan-out on that side of the DTX is neither here nor there for evaluating the funding application for the TBT train box.

That is, if the TJPA would commit to two unimpeded Express tracks through that part of the DTX, there's plenty of time later to nail down the specifics of the design.

BruceMcF said...

jim said...
"Take away the 400 million for the train box, and who do you think is gonna replace that 400 million? city hall, out of the city's budget? I don't think so."

Yes, that is precisely why the TJPA should have done a more competent job on the design. San Francisco's TJPA is, on the one hand, "pay for the train box for us, we don't have any money to spend on it", and on the other hand, "oh, by the way, that will lock you into an obscene waste of money on the tunnel required to access that train box".

But insisting on a wasteful design undermines the leverage they have. If they were pushing for funding that would reduce the total local cost of the terminal network, they'd have a lot of leverage. But they are pushing for funding that will increase the total local cost, counting on political bullshit to make sure that they are not the ones that have to pay the higher local cost down the track.

After all, getting federal funding for the train box is less money than the extra cost of the third track in the tunnel. In the bored section, remember that adding 40% to the radius of a circle adds 96% to the area. Getting the "free" $400m now can easily mean over $1b extra wasted in the project as a whole.

BruceMcF said...

Anonymous said...
"A backbone hsr can still be built"

Except the approved bond funds cannot be used for that "backbone", and it still faces the much greater cost risk in tunneling in the Grapevine, because a Grapevine alignment has very little local scale flexibility if it is going to avoid passing a faultline while underground.

Rafael said...

@ anon @ 12:01pm -

AB3034 is what it is. It says the starter line must link the SF TTC to LA Union Station to Anaheim. CHSRA is not at liberty to deviate from that mandate without an amendment to the bill, which voters passed directly via prop 1A(2008) last November. The 2/3 majority in both houses of the state legislature merely allowed it to be put to a plebiscite. Changing the bill would likely require a new ballot initiative, not just a vote by state legislators.

The bill as passed doesn't say San Jose, Fresno, Bakersfield and Palmdale must be served in phase I but good luck trying to tell any of these cities they'll be cut out of the starter line. HSR is not just about reducing demand for direct SF-SoCal flights.

Connecting the Central Valley to the Bay Area and SoCal is a central goal of the project, precisely because it is underserved by the airlines. The Antelope Valley lucked out on the geology of the transverse range.

James said...

You want to cut costs?

Instead of a tunnel, elevate the apporach to a terminal between Main and Beale.

Zero millions wasted on the complex and constrained tunnel.

Run elevated tracks down Townsend and curve left over the muni catenaries over Embarcadero, over the water a little, and go over Main keeping just under the Bay Bridge support truss and end up near the trans bay terminal with a HSR terminal at the elevated level.

What a great visual as you approach the city in the HSR!

BruceMcF said...

jim said...
"12 trains per hour mean 12 arrivals and 12 departures or 6 arrivals and 6 departures?"

It means 5 minute headways in the system. If there are five trains in an hour, the network cannot be designed to force them twelve minutes apart ... the network has to allow the fifth to arrive twenty five minutes after the first arrives.

That's the requirement the TJPA has to target if it hopes to get its hand on any of the CA-HSR bonds to help build the DTX.

Twelve trains per hour is the CHSRA spinning out the bond funding language to generate an ambit claim. Failing to provide for 5 minute headways is where the TJPA opens itself to a NIMBY lawsuit testing the use of a dime of Prop 1A bond funding for the DTX tunnel.

Since it has no money of its own for the DTX, its gross irresponsibility that it simply asks for $400m "free money" to lock in the gross waste of an unnecessary three track DTX. And since it has alternatives that would avoid that gross waste of funds and thereby greatly strengthen its bid for money, its also rank incompetence.

What I found odd is the way you you are "backing the TJPA" in the argument despite its efforts to waste public monies on its incompetence, just because its the local SF authority. Its like its some kind of sports team, where I want the Bengals to win, even though I know that they will continue to be the biggest losers in the league until the current owner strokes out or has a heart attack.

jim said...

Rafael said...
@ jim -

relax pls. You know as well as anyone here that 110mph isn't good enough to win modal share against the planes clogging the California corridor.

I don't have a problem with TJPA getting $400 million in ARRA funding. I do have a problem with that money coming out of the $8 billion specifically allocated for HSR, given that CHSRA doesn't yet have nearly enough money to lay the tracks etc. Buildings, incl. station buildings, are what the block grant portions of ARRA are for. TJPA needs to grow the HSR pie, not rush to secure a slice of it.


well I was hungry and had to go eat breakfast. but I see your point. still though, I'm fed up with the authorities inability to communicate the progress and the plan to the public in a way that keeps them engaged, informed, and excited, in other words, keeps them behind the project.

Just like obama/health care/economic recovery, americans ( californians) will grow weary fairly quickly if solid progress and a uniformed front is not presented. This will and is turning very quickly into the usual "oh yeh right, just one more thing that will enver happen cuz the politicians can't get thier shit together" It will sour the public to the point that even when progress is made, they will poo poo that progress as too little too late or too screwed up. Once the public gets to that point, winning them back is impossible.

As much as bart to sfo works for me, clearly, in the eyes of the public including every single one of you here, it will never be redeemed in the eyes of the lord.
Same goes for the bay bridge. While many of us understand what really has to go into such a project, the general public is fed up. the only thing that resonated with them is " its been 20 years and we still have 5 to go, to build "half" a bridge."

So that bridge no matter what,once completed , will never be looked at with anything but suspicion and disdain.

and this is what is going to happen with hsr.

They have spent what public trust they had already. and from here on out, the media nd the public is going to turn on them everytime any issue comes up.

the 8 or 10 people here who support hsr will be the only left who do.

Thats just the reality of how the public thinks. I hate to be the one to have to point it out but the nimby's are going to win in the arena of public opinion and its the fault of the people who f*cked it up cuz they are too busy out pissing each other to get the job done.

They aren't getting my support until they win it back. I won't say a word Ill just sit here and wait.
clock starts now.

jim said...

San Francisco should secede anyway and be like Monaco.

James said...

If they finance it with gambling.

jim said...

James said...
If they finance it with gambling oh we will, with majestic grand casinos on alcatraz and treasure island and old riverboats on the bay and giant wall on the southern border and toll booths to exit the bridge within the country's limits and luxurious yacht service from SFO to the Ferry Building. and the whole of downtown buildings uplit with colored malibu lighting. Then you'll see.

AndyDuncan said...

San Francisco should secede anyway and be like Monaco.

Brisbane is no Cannes.

AndyDuncan said...

Of course if we just scrap the whole thing and work on improving Amtrak, I'll be able to bring my guns with me.

jim said...

yeah i saw that today. that will last until someone gets shot which will take less than a year.

Anonymous said...

OK. Thoroughly CHSRA volunarily lawyering up, to ensure their project is NO WHERE NEAR shovel ready in the foreseeable future. But anyway,

"CHSRA is not at liberty to deviate from that mandate without an amendment to the bill"

yes, which is what makes this so amusing - that CHSRA is challenging TBT funding, when in the end, I they'll they be forced to pay for it with HSR funding themselves anyway. Cutting off nose to spite face? Shooting self in foot?

But secondly, you have the meaning of the bill wrong. It approves BOND FUNDING, and defines those HSR specifics in the context of how bond funds can be spent. But if they don't want the bond funds, and that seems to be exactly what Kopp is positioning for here - a total void/redo on the EIR and the Prop1A bond, then AB3034 is mute. I just wonder if CHSRA has quietly already come around to the mariad of impossibilities set up for them in AB3034, and has abandoned hope for those funds.

What seems to be implied here is that CHSRA is admitting that their program eir is trashed anyway, and that their bond funds are mute anyway, so they're willing to go back to the drawing board and willinly violate terms of AB3034

Its a bizarre tact to take, especially since its likely to piss off lots of folk they need support from, namely SF political crowd, and Caltrain/PJPB. Wasn't their HUGE NUMERO UNO selling point that Caltrain NEEDED CHSR(A) to get their Caltrain stuff done - now here's CHSRA actively undermining Caltrain improvement funding? What's next? you gotta wonder if Caltrain isn't starting to wonder...

With friends like this, who needs enemies?

AndyDuncan said...

Wasn't their HUGE NUMERO UNO selling point that Caltrain NEEDED CHSR(A) to get their Caltrain stuff done - now here's CHSRA actively undermining Caltrain improvement funding? What's next? you gotta wonder if Caltrain isn't starting to wonder...

With friends like this, who needs enemies?


It's actually Caltrain that is getting screwed out of the whole thing. We can argue about how many trains they can get into two platforms, but they were supposed to get 6 platform tracks for themselves at the TTT. TJPA dividing those same platforms between Caltrain and CAHSR is what's causing Caltrain to plan on terminating many of their trains at 4th and king.

jim said...

well all the game traffic is going to get off at 4th anyway.

btw can a caltrain emu travel on muni tracks?

BruceMcF said...

Anonymous said...
"yes, which is what makes this so amusing - that CHSRA is challenging TBT funding, when in the end, I they'll they be forced to pay for it with HSR funding themselves anyway. Cutting off nose to spite face? Shooting self in foot?"

Answer: no. The train box is only as expensive as it is because its in the foundations of such a large building with the building designed first and the train box in the basement tacked on after.

And the tunnel is only as expensive as it is because it is a three track tunnel. And its a three track tunnel with two tracks worth of capacity.

So the design of the terminal network includes lots of waste. If the CHSRA can opt out of that for an option with a lower total price tag, that can offset having to share a higher percentage of the total cost.

And if the CHSRA gets better connection to BART while retaining a reasonable connection to the big bus station, that would also mean that the money is more wisely spent.

AndyDuncan said...

I'm a bit surprised that the reasons given for rejecting the Beale/Main station during the original EIR/EIS were not engineering reasons, but rather that they wanted or were legally required to put the station in the existing TTT footprint.

With regards to AB3034, how much of that could they get around by calling the Beale/Main terminal "TTT Platform B"? The lawyer in the video Morris posted seemed to stretch a little to make sure he connected the definition of "TTT" to the chosen physical location.

AndyDuncan said...

I'm of course referring to the TTT EIR/EIS, not the CAHSR one.

James said...

@James @ 12:28 PM (my post)

The option of an elevated line has been touched on a few months ago.

Can anyone see any technical reasons this cannot work on the Main St. station? Political opposition is likely. Aesthetics may be able to be balanced. Townsend St. would be impacted.

An elevated approach to Main St. would provide a wonderful view of the city, water, and bridge, day or night. A visitor could get their bearings better than in a dark concrete box.

AndyDuncan said...

An aerial would have to be tall enough to go over the bay bridge, or it would need to come back down to street level or below to get under it, there's not much clearance.

Anonymous said...

Are you guys kidding me? After all the work to kill the Emarcadero Freeway and cut back on the Central Freeway, you really expect SF to accept an elevated train?

I think some people need to reread the history on the so-called Freeway Revolt.

Ain't gonna happen.

Rafael said...

@ Andy Duncan -

the beast is officially called the Transbay Terminal Center (TTC).

There is no Beale/Main terminal "B" in anyone's plans.

Divorcing the railway station from the bus terminal might have been possible at one point, but TJPA chose to interpret SF voter intent very literally as "in the same building". Simply running tracks up 2nd as far as Market, with a vertical split into multiple platform levels, would have created an intermodal with BART and multiple SF Muni services. The TTC building could have been connected to the railway station via a pedestrian passage/short people mover under Minna St.

Forcing inflexible heavy rail tracks to run to where the transbay buses will go for historical reasons is the proverbial tail wagging the dog. How many HSR pax will connect via GG Transit/AC Transit buses vs. BART/SF Muni?

Unfortunately, TJPA was charged with redeveloping a piece of derelict SF real estate, not with creating an effective transit hub for the entire central Bay Area.

James said...

Yes I recall the Freeway Revolt. And a station over Main St. would be nowhere near Justin Herman Plaza.

Looking at street view there appears to be enough room under the bracing of the bridge pylon which spans Main St. to clear the elevted track and wires and still leave room for cars and trucks.

And yes, that is why I said technically and not politically. I am just wondering if a station can be built to satisfy the technical requirements, connect to the bus station, Bart, Muni, and the Ferries at a reasonable cost.

Rafael said...

@ James, Andy Duncan -

of course running an aerial over Embarcadero to an elevated station next to the Ferry Terminal would have been the cheap and cheerful solution for bringing both Caltrain and HSR to the downtown area. It's just that SF voters would never allow trains to spoil their waterfront views (and Rincon Hill real estate values).

James said...

Heck the Bay Bridge itself is elevated and goes over the Embarcadero so there is still a freeway over the Embarcadero. (I'm only half kidding)

The Main St. neighborhood has the Bay Bridge. This would be another elevated structure in the same area that already has an elevated structure.

Someone is going to have to compromise somewhere or we will not get the lowest cost.

BruceMcF said...

AndyDuncan said...
"I'm a bit surprised that the reasons given for rejecting the Beale/Main station during the original EIR/EIS were not engineering reasons, but rather that they wanted or were legally required to put the station in the existing TTT footprint."

Why, then, if the tail tracks connect the TBT footprint and the Beale/Main St. footprint, put four Caltrain platforms in the TBT basement and the HSR platforms at Beale/Main, where they have easier connection to BART.

Oh, wait, that's right - the train station in the basement is supposed to be built with HSR funds.

mike said...

san franciscans will not, repeat will NOT be delaying our project and / or paying for more of chsra's whims out of our pockets

As has already been noted, Jim does not speak for all San Franciscans. He only speaks for himself (1 out of 800,000). I also am a San Franciscan, and I disagree with him on this.

Are you guys kidding me? After all the work to kill the Emarcadero Freeway and cut back on the Central Freeway, you really expect SF to accept an elevated train?

Meh, I wouldn't object to a nicely done aerial with good sound insulation above King to Main. A two track railway is far less intrusive than an 8 lane highway. But they'll still tunnel anyway.

Alon Levy said...

If they finance it with gambling.

They don't need to - SF is already as rich as Monaco. As long as the city makes sure to build decent public housing so that it doesn't have so many homeless people, I'm perfectly fine with this.

Anonymous said...

Mike writes:

"Meh, I wouldn't object to a nicely done aerial"

Well Jim may be 1 out of 800,000, you are 2 out of 800,000 if you believe SF is going to accept any kind of aerial.

Just like Menlo Park, Atherton, and Palo Alto are not going to either.

johnnie said...

@ anon 1:16pm

"...What seems to be implied here is that CHSRA is admitting that their program eir is trashed anyway, and that their bond funds are mute anyway..."

The word is moot. mute means "silent", moot means "of little or no practical value or meaning"

If you don't understand the words you use how do you expect anyone to take you seriously?

AndyDuncan said...

Well, I'm not sure an Aerial is going to even be possible anyway. You're not going over the bay bridge, and you'd have to come down from full height over embarcadero to ground-level or below by the time you cross the bridge to get under the supports. You'd need about a 5% gradient or better, or you'd have to cut off embarcadero completely by running near grade.

john said...

So let me get this straight...San Bruno should be redesigned from the ground-up because it was designed 10 or more years ago as a Caltrain only project. In order to be "done right" for HSR it needs to use land not in the right-of-way to straighten the track curve. This is important enough to jepordize stimulus money and a couple of years to conserve about 40 seconds of run-time on express trains... Do I have that right?

Why then does this thread's discourse sound incoherent to that thesis?

TTC is a project designed 10+ years ago as a Caltrain only project with 2 crazy tight curves that may limit choice of rolling stock, a poorly designed "throat" and too few platforms to ensure HSR has sufficent capacity for ridership growth over the next 50-80 years. Beale st was rejected it seems because it isn't on the exact site of the TBT (built about 80 years ago) though it is less than a block away and might have better a BART/Muni connection.

But in this instance Kopp is the villan for threatening ARRA money and we shouldn't even consider the alternative, but hush-up and take the money? Is it just me or is there a cognative dissonance here?

mike said...

2 out of 800,000 if you believe SF is going to accept any kind of aerial.

No, I'm 1 out of 800,000. Not 2. But that's one more than you are.

Just like Menlo Park, Atherton, and Palo Alto are not going to either.

Well then, good thing no one is proposing an aerial in any of those towns.

James said...

@Andy 4:16 PM

It looks like there is room above Main St. and below the cross-bracing of the bridge pylon structure. Here is a view from Embarcadero to get a profile shot at Main St. Again, the street view link may take a 10 or 15 seconds to load.

http://tinyurl.com/llvaxs

Compare the cars on Main St.under the bridge. Cars are about 5 ft high. I cannot yet get a clear idea of the scale from the camera view. Maybe if I scale from the windows of the adjacent buildings. I will post if I can get a better measurement.

AndyDuncan said...

Is it just me or is there a cognative dissonance here?

Well, the stakes here are far higher than the san bruno issue, and the remediation is less straightforward, but I'm feeling it as well.

It looks like there is room above Main St. and below the cross-bracing of the bridge pylon structure.

Yeah I think there's room to go through at street level, maybe a little above. I was figuring on coming down from 25ft-track level (which might not be tall enough, once you figure in structure height, to get over the Muni OCS), it's about a 500 foot run from Beale/Embarcadero to the bridge, so VERY roughly a 5% grade.

What's the max grade for a HSR train again?

One other thing, putting in an elevated structure along there might require almost as much digging and support for the columns as a cut/cover tunnel.

Peter said...

Sorry if this is a really dumb question, but...

Has anyone looked into the option of building a reverse curve out of the TBT that slightly overshoots Second Street, and widening the radius of the curve to line up with the route on Townsend Street?

I'm sorry if this has been hashed out before, but has anyone studied how much extra would this cost? Would this be worth the extra cost? I understand it would mean less cut-and-cover. I also understand that the support columns at the station exit are a problem.

Jon Kaufman said...

Those of us who have advocated the Beale Street Alternative do so because we want the Transbay Terminal to truly be the "Grand Central of the West" and meet the present and future needs of the City. The plan currently supported by the Transbay Joint Powers Authority was designed with Caltrain in mind before High Speed Rail was approved by the voters.

Three platforms and six tracks are simply not enough based on the agencies’ planned train schedules to serve both Caltrain and High Speed Rail. The current design does not include enough room for all the support services associated with a major transit hub.

The Beale Street Alternative is simply a wing off of the planned terminal that reorients the rail lines to provide twice the number of platforms and tracks, more ample room for support services and solve the turning radius and throat problems. Far from killing the Transbay Terminal, the Beale Street alternative fosters more passenger usage for all forms of transportation. Let’s do it and do it right!

--Jon Kaufman

James said...

@Andy 4:54 PM

Scaling off images of the Bay Bridge structure over Main St. I get at least a 60 ft vertical clearance, so an elevated set of rails could be placed over Main St. and transition from over Embarcadero with less than 1% grade.

The elevated could go along either King or Townsend. Townsend may be a better choice so as not to crowd the appearance of the ballpark.

Embarcadero would only be crossed for a few blocks.

The elevated line conflicts with going through to a new trans-bay tube unless the tube starts from near 5th and King.

Anonymous said...

I am beginning to think that some of the posters have been tokeing on the medical maryjane Ain't no way in hell any elevateds are going to be erected in downtown SF. Palmdale would be more likely to agree to relocating the hsr to the Grapevine.

The Beale and Main Sts. location for a train station was looked at decades ago. Too late now as it is now locked in the City Hall mindset as the venue for more tax-generating high rise structures. Personally I think you will be lucky to get any kind of a train station at the TBT. Blame mf Willie Brown as he helped to divert the money for the Caltrain tunnel to Kopp's SFO fiasco. BART is the great spoiler.

BTW a "berm" is above the surface therefore elevated. You will not score any points in PA with such casuistry. Don't treat them like ghetto pushovers, the way Chevron treats Richmond.

James said...

Ok then, elevated up Main St. and put the trains on the Bus level and put the buses on the first level below ground.

Or run the trains underground under Main St. and use a wider larger throat to enter the station from the east side.

Either way the radius would be larger on the east side.

Anonymous said...

As for moot points - here' why HSR in any way shape form or configuration is one:

http://autos.yahoo.com/auto-shows/frankfurt_auto_show_2009/1106/Volkswagen-L1-Concept

If you argue HSR replaces airline traffic - then what the hell is it doing going through suburban neighborhoods. WISE UP people, the jig is up, and apparently even Kopp admits to it now.

Shovel ready - ridiculous. You people might as well be arguing about the next star trek film or something - its just THAT irrelevent.

James said...

@Anon,

Relax, it is just a little engineering trade study. And since we are not the CHSRA engineers we have to settle for scraps.

The general question is what are the options to get a station down town?

Engineers strive for the best solution that is affordable in a reasonable time. Not the absolute best solution, just the best that they can manage to pull off this time.

Politicians want what is in their interest. I have found that engineering and politics are often opposed if the technical solution is not the political solution.

Of course the architect is good create the aesthetics and keep it from becoming an ugly box.

When everybody pulls together we get a great design. When they fight we get crap.

jim said...

@mikesan franciscans will not, repeat will NOT be delaying our project and / or paying for more of chsra's whims out of our pockets

--As has already been noted, Jim does not speak for all San Franciscans. He only speaks for himself (1 out of 800,000). I also am a San Franciscan, and I disagree with him on this.--

well that's a pretty big check you'll be writing all by yourself. You sound just like these new arrivals who think you can just waltz in and do whatever you want. Iwth the current budget problems and muni service being cut, no one in san francisco is gonna even suggest residents fork out money for these changes, let along actually approve it. I mean frankly they can put the train where ever they want, as long as they don't ask sf residents to pay for it. The city is building a perfectly reasonable facility which hsr is welcome to use.

While I wouldn't be automatically opposed to an elevated up Beale or Main, look who lives down there...its all high end real estate, The Millenium is right there, the Infinity is right here, One Rincon is right there, the Watermark is right there, and many smaller projects, all of them "luxury residences" No I don't shed any tears for these corporate new money big wigs who live in those places -- at all -- believe me- but they won't let it happen. so forget it. They'll have visions of the chicago El running past their loft sized windows and glass enclosed health club.

Besides there isn't any problem! helllooooo????
Not every arrival has to go all the way to transbay and the need for more than one arrival every 10 minutes even, is two decades away. and the current design can handle the capacity.
Ok hey, lets redesign the whole thing, re apply for funding later, and maybe the trains will be running by 2040. but since I wont ever see it, I want my money back.

jim said...

you people are just as hell bent on holding this project up as the nimby's are which is why its never gonna get built.

Fred Martin said...

The plan currently supported by the Transbay Joint Powers Authority was designed with Caltrain in mind before High Speed Rail was approved by the voters.

CHSRA's bond was only approved by voters in November 2008, so of course CHSRA doesn't have anything that is "shovel-ready". The Transbay Terminal is "shovel-ready" and in prime position for stimulus funds, and that's what pisses off Transbay Terminal opponents. It's not an ideal design, but it is certainly workable and can be modified and improved. The Transbay Terminal has been studied for decades, and the Beale Street Alternative has been considered multiple times and rejected. Kopp's 11th hour proposal to revisit Beale Street is malign. He simply wants to kill the Transbay Terminal.

The Transbay Terminal was designed with HSR in mind (just look at the decades of EIRs and plans), but for it to already have environmental clearance, it is obviously well ahead of all other CHSRA projects. That's what is pissing its opponents off.

Alon Levy said...

It's not an ideal design, but it is certainly workable and can be modified and improved.

How can the TBT throat be improved to permit higher curve speeds?

Rafael said...

@ Alon Levy -

as long as trains are required to end up directly underneath the bus terminal, there is very little scope for increasing curve radii. You'd basically have to move the DTX tunnel from 2nd to 3rd, which would preclude the 4th & Townsend station and also involve digging under a lot of additional buildings.

Simply staying on 2nd all the way to Market would be the easiest remedy and reduce the tunnel to two tracks, but it would mean a multi-level station connected to the TTC building by an 800-1000 foot pedestrian passage/people mover under Minna St. Caltrain/HSR and GG/AC transit buses wouldn't literally be "under the same roof".

This option would also preclude standard gauge through tracks to the East Bay at a future date, though it's far from clear those would ever make sense anyhow. All the useful right of way there have been used up for BART, so any second transbay tube via Point Alameda ought to be BART-only and terminate next to the TTC in San Francisco.

On the up side, a Caltrain/HSR station under 2nd Street would be intermodal with Montgomery BART/SF Muni and also the future Geary BRT service.

Unfortunately, TJPA isn't going to entertain this idea this late in the game, any more than they would digging a covered trench/tunnel through Mission Bay (before that's developed), under the Mission Creek outfall and around the ball park to get better curve radii.

TJPA is 100% committed to taking Caltrain/HSR to a location at which there are zero connecting rail services. It's the same old SF mentality: get people into the city, not through it. Transbay buses have just a fraction of the capacity of the existing rail services in downtown SF.

jim said...

How can the TBT throat be improved to permit higher curve speeds?

how fast does the train think its going to be going as it pulls into the platform area?

There's no need to increase speed through the curve. The train is slowing down at this point as the platform starts at the other end of the curve.

James said...

@ Rafael

" a covered trench/tunnel through Mission Bay (before that's developed), under the Mission Creek outfall and around the ball park to get better curve radii."

Who said go under the bay around the ballpark to get a better curve? I was talking about Townsend to Main which is just a variation of Townsend to Second but with bigger radii.

jim said...

I mean really ow fast does the train need to be going though that curve as its pulling into the platform area and stopping?

AndyDuncan said...

how fast does the train think its going to be going as it pulls into the platform area?

You keep talking about how the train can just slow down. As clem's article pointed out, It's not about speed, it's about stiff bogies and solid axles leading to wheel slippage, which in turn leads to increased wheel wear, which in turn leads to additional train noise along the other 798.5 miles of the route.

AndyDuncan said...

Well, actually speed is important too, since the DTX tunnel with it's third track acts as part of the station throat, the additional 30-40 seconds it will take to traverse the DTX will directly affect the station throughput.

jim said...

I don't know, it just sounds really picky to me. Have alstom build a train with wheels that aren't like that.

jim said...

I think there is some ulterior motive for being so picky about this curve.

jim said...

this guy has some ideas

BruceMcF said...

jim: "I think there is some ulterior motive for being so picky about this curve."

Yes, sure there is. The more design options the system is compatible with, the greater the range of potential bidders, and so both the lower the likely price of the equipment and the greater the share of the price that is likely to be taken in revenue sharing rather than up front capital costs.

So, yeah, likely to be saving hundreds of millions, maybe billions, and certain to be increasing a share of the capital funding from the authority to the equipment providers ... that's a hell of an ulterior motive there.

Just like the motive for not supporting a three track tunnel just to penny pinch in the design of the 4th and Townsend station and the TBT train box station throat - money. The TJPA is trying to shift costs to the pockets of "somebody else" and if it costs the public billions more in the end, well, that's not a serious concern of theirs.

And the CHSRA is not fighting it because it is increasing the total cost to the public, but because they are the "someone" that the cost is being shifted onto.

If it were a net savings to shift costs in that direction, they'd still have basically the same position, with just slightly different content to the spin. What would change would be which side the DoT ought to back.

BruceMcF said...

jim: "There's no need to increase speed through the curve. The train is slowing down at this point as the platform starts at the other end of the curve."

But remember that the system is designed to have a bottleneck from an HSR train leaving a central island across switches that sit past the end of the station throat in a straight section of tunnel, since the HSR train has to get lined up to get through the 4th and Townsend bottleneck.

For the length of a full speed HSR train, in a system where a bottleneck on one side of the tunnel locks into a bottleneck at the other side of the tunnel, requiring an extra minute to occupy a switch easily cascades into less capacity.

And its already, by design, no more capacity than a two track tunnel - if stretching out the bottlenecks in the system pushes that down further, we are paying for a three track tunnel with LESS capacity than a two track tunnel.

jim said...

well, according to this article I just read.. They never planned to even put the box in in the first place. It was to be added later on, which means that chsra would have been building it. It was the mayor who said it would make sense to build it up front, and the only reason they applied for the funding was to save money in the long run. tjpa never intended to build the train box until hsr was ready to actually come into town and that would have been on their own dime whenever the time came.

jim said...

see its all right here

I mean it sounds to me like the city is trying to do hsr a favor by getting this done in the first phase rather than leaving the whole thing on hsr shoulders to do later on.

jim said...

nobody is trying to steal hsr money, they are trying to save them money later on.

jim said...

I still think better plan would be to use the large parcel of land at 4th, to build a nice euro style hsr station like this WOW
and then have maybe half the trains offer service that continues to tbt. That way, you satisfy the law of tbt service AND the hsr lovers will get their "fancy euro style" train station and won't have to deal with the horror of being on a platform that has support beams.

I like the idea. and just think of having a station like the one pictured at 4th

The design possibilities for a from scratch hsr station at 4th are unlimted! everybody wins.

mike said...

BTW a "berm" is above the surface therefore elevated.

LOL. By that definition, technically the current Caltrain tracks are "elevated" in most places since the ballast raises them above the surface.

"Elevated" generally refers to the old steel truss structures used by elevated railways such as the Chicago L. No one builds those any more...I can assure you that there will be absolutely no "elevateds" anywhere that CHSR trains run.

You will not score any points in PA with such casuistry

It can be annoying to have to deal with facts, huh? There is a huge difference between an "aerial" and a "berm" (by which I assume you mean unretained or retained fill). In particular, an aerial has a much larger visual impact (because it is much taller) and it much larger potential to generate noise (because the track may not be ballasted). AFAIK, CHSRA is not considering aerials through any residential neighborhoods on the Peninsula.

If you want to conflate different structures and pretend they're all the same thing, you are welcome to do so. But then you have no one to blame but yourself when you end up with a sub-optimal solution from the city's standpoint. Why should the state listen to your input if you cannot even be bothered to get the most simple facts straight?

AndyDuncan said...

I don't know, it just sounds really picky to me. Have alstom build a train with wheels that aren't like that.

The whole point was to use off-the-shelf trains. Those bogies are torsionally rigid and long to enhance stability at speed. Making them "not like that" is what happened to the Acela.

AndyDuncan said...

I still think better plan would be to use the large parcel of land at 4th, to build a nice euro style hsr station like this WOW
and then have maybe half the trains offer service that continues to tbt.


Yeah, I liked the SOM TTC proposal better, quite frankly, especially the main gallery. Probably because it actually shows shops, signs, passenger flow, etc. instead of just a big white empty space. The chosen design looks like they never thought about what actually goes in the building they came up with, though I haven't seen anything other than the brochures from the TJPA.

FWIW, the Beale/Main parcel is almost as big as 4th and King, you could build a big, beautiful train shed there as well.

AndyDuncan said...

I mean, even if the throughput isn't any better, this is way nicer of a train box than the Pilla design.

jim said...

you cant build it there cuz its just not going to be an otion BUT you can't tell me that you wouldn't be willing to have some trains go to tbt as planned, and as a trade off, get THIS at 4th... you know you want it! hell , id want it.

and I still maintain that 4th, for a main station, is good due to freeway access, larger space, room for parking and development, rental car space, etc etc and still has muni access.

two for one see. you get bay area service for drivers and dropeers-off airport style, at the bit station at 4th , and downtown and bart service at tbt. now click on that pic and tell yo wouldnt rather have that.

jim said...

AndyDuncan said...
I mean, even if the throughput isn't any better, this is way nicer of a train box than the Pilla design.

yeah but their overall design was not only deemed not functional but the city did not like the aesthetics either.

I swear Im going to start hanging out on the LAtimes blogs and tell angelinos all about how they do everything wrong.

AndyDuncan said...

I swear Im going to start hanging out on the LAtimes blogs and tell angelinos all about how they do everything wrong.

You realize this is a California high speed rail blog, right? Maybe you're confusing it with Clems Caltrain-HSR blog :-) But you're more than welcome to provide feedback on our train system. If we decide that we're going to pick a functionally sub-par LAUS design because it has rainwater recycling and a green roof, I'll be right there with you.

And hey, I lived in the bay a lot longer than I've lived in LA.

jim said...

well, I stay here and I pay here, and Im loyal through the good times and the bad times and If san franciscans want to recycle rainwater and have a new downtown park on the roof then thats what they get, this may be a state hsr project, but its a san francisco transbay terminal project with or without hsr.
San franciscans aren't generally interested in what outsiders think of how they do things anyway. ( unless they are those new arrival Vichy types)


so

obviously, the best thing to do is, put a station at 4th and have some trains continue to tbt
then everyone gets something.

jim said...

anyway id love to stay and explain the franciscan way but its 150 year anniversary of emperor norton and we're having one of our spectacular indian summer days today.

mike said...

san franciscans want to recycle rainwater and have a new downtown park on the roof then thats what they get...San franciscans aren't generally interested in what outsiders think of how they do things anyway.

Jim, you keep on writing as if you were speaking on behalf of most San Franciscans (or even a large portion of San Franciscans). You're not, you're just speaking on behalf of yourself. Just as the Martin Engel is not speaking on behalf of most Menlo Park residents. He's only speaking on behalf of himself and his house on Stone Pine Lane adjacent to the Caltrain ROW.

jim said...

mike-

but as you can see. this is the design that was chosen, per the people of san francisco and their reps. and there was a lot of public input.

so what I said is the truth as you can see by the result. and I know, as someone whos family has been here over 100 years, and from my own 40 years experience with the city, that it is indeed, the prevailing attitude. it just is.

jim said...

that's why so many outsiders get all bent out of shape. but they come around eventually or they leave.

Adirondacker12800 said...

but as you can see. this is the design that was chosen, per the people of san francisco and their reps. and there was a lot of public input.

Fine you want something that doesn't work well and has lots of features that don't improve mass transit, feel free to pay for them. There's no reason why the state and federal government should indulge it.

mike said...

what I said is the truth as you can see by the result

No, your argument is simply tautological:

(a) San Franciscans always get what they want.

+

(b) This is what San Franciscans are getting.

implies

(c) Hence it's what they wanted.

Apparently we also wanted Caltrain to terminate at 4th & King, because it's been doing that forever. I don't know why we're changing our minds now. Must be all those mean outsiders.

jim said...

it is.

Anonymous said...

Just watching the financing workshop from the Sept. 3rd meeting.

Kopp says the TBT is in trouble now, because the main developer has withdrawn from the project, "because of financial conditions"

So they don't have a developer now?

Anonymous said...

@ Mike

The berm would have to be of a significant height, high enough to provide grade separation for tall load trucks and to prevent people from getting onto the tracks. Because of narrow ROW and seismic considerations I would assume this would mean massive retaining walls.

You would still run the risk of liquefaction or subsidence of the fill in a quake or flood and the retaining walls would still have to be highly fenced to keep out trespassers. not to mention the grafitti problem. And we haven't even started to talk about sound walls.

Relocate to 101.

Dan said...

Actually the strategy of using 4th and King as a second overflow terminal in addition to TBT is already the current strategy. Meetings were held between Caltrain, CHSRA and staff a few months ago to resolve the capacity concerns of the CHSRA. There was a general agreement that this arrangement would work fine if the new capacity projects were ever realized and CHSRA for some reason can't do what many other HSR systems do and reduce dwell time. The Authority staff were present and their staff did not protest at this arrangement. It was felt after those discussions that we could move forward in the building the train box with stimulus money.

Then at the 11th hour more bad faith... Most San Franciscans will deeply resent what is going on here when they finally find out how their project was hijacked at the last minute. It doesn't not bode well for the Authority to lose the trust of a powerful partner. With the trust level of many peninusula residents in the trash already, the CHSRA strong arm approach has the potential to sink the HSR project.

I personally want to support he CHSRA with their work. It is just tragic they had to stick a knife in the back of one of the strong bases of support. They couldn't leave well enough alone, and rumour has it this really isn't about transit, but some old poltical scores to settle.

Stupid.

jim said...

DAn is right

Anonymous said...

You can be sure BART is involved in any attempt ot scuttle Caltrain to the TBT. BART resents any competition.

YESonHSR said...

AS any San Franciscan should know this is a classic "city" game here..THE desgin for TBT is wrong for a high
speed rail AND commuter system station..TOO Small..this is the USA
A 3 paltform 6 track station is a major F up waiting to be born..What will happen is Caltrain or HSR wil be looking soon after the opening day for "additional" space..BET on it and then we will see real fighting

Alon Levy said...

Yes on HSR: 6 tracks can turn around 30 tph if Caltrain and CAHSR put their minds to it. With 8 tracks, it's even easier. Since 30 tph is the upper limit of the planned two-track access tunnel to TBT, there's no reason to have more than 6-8 station tracks there.

YESonHSR said...

I sure hope so Alon!! Well after a visit to LA and Chicago bolth of those Union stations had at least 7 paltforms and numerous extra tracks
Yes bolth are very old but as busy as TBT will become and HST will be intercity and that will mean people with luggage and little kids and lots of overseas tourists so its not the average Caltrain rider that has their fav seat already picked out everyday
I dont understand why they cannot widen the platform concourse enough to build 1 or 2 additional paltforms? cant be that hard.

jim said...

any capacity issues can really easily be resolved by just terminating some hsr and some calrain at 4th. tbt need only serve those from bart or those going to and from downtown -- which is not everyone.

many people will drive and 4th is better for them.
the entire southern/eastern part of SF is better served by 4th than tbt.

all of caltrain heavy games traffic is better served by 4th.

all of mission bay, thousands of new units of housing as well as new light industrial and the new university is better served by 4th ( as is the entire eastern neighbohoods plan including the bayview and hunters point redevelopment)

The mission district is ( or will be) better served by 4th with future plans for muni's 16th corridor.

easily half the hsr and caltrain riders are going to prefer 4th to tbt.

there will never be a need for more than 4 hsr arrivals and 4 departures and 4 caltrain arrivals and 4 departures per hour at tbt.

running more than that is just a waste.

thats a train of one kind or another departing every 7 minutes

jim said...

penn station to DC amtrak only has 2-3 departures per hour at rush hour.

BruceMcF said...

Alon Levy said...
"Yes on HSR: 6 tracks can turn around 30 tph if Caltrain and CAHSR put their minds to it. With 8 tracks, it's even easier. Since 30 tph is the upper limit of the planned two-track access tunnel to TBT, there's no reason to have more than 6-8 station tracks there."

There's no way they could turn around 30 tph unless they fix the design of 4th and Townsend, the tunnel, and the TBT station access.

Don't forget that there are local trains stopped on two of the lines at 4th and Townsend, and the central line in between switches back and forth between access and egress. No way to get 30tph past 4th and Townsend = no way to get 30tph through the tunnel.

And if they break that bottleneck, they have to ease the curves to avoid bottlenecks in the TBT station throat.

A clean 2 track tunnel with both access and egress Express tracks through 4th and Townsend, 200m+ curve radii, and a TBT fan-out that allows for more parallel movements and 2.5 minute headways are certainly possible, which would allow 24tph. A Caltrain Express/Limited every 10 minutes and a Caltrain Local/Semi-Express every 10 minutes would use 12 of those slots. With ongoing electrification, any Stockton or Coast Daylight express would slot into one of those. Four platforms would provide flexible support for that and eliminate the absurd tail tracks.

Network maximum for the HSR is 12 services, which can obviously be satisfied with four platforms without substantial operational constraints imposed on the franchisee.

So eight platforms suffice. If it was a through loop rather than a stub terminal, four would be enough.

Of course, three islands for six platforms don't really fit the TBT train box - the side columns are offset toward the outside end of the two side platform islands, and are only properly placed for the central island.

If they built the station throat tunnel for a 2x4 train box, they would only need the top level at the start, and the second tier could be built when needed.

Alon Levy said...

penn station to DC amtrak only has 2-3 departures per hour at rush hour.

Yes, the Acela is crap. What else is new?

jet said...

thats not just acela, thats all trains. and ther is no way california needs more departures than penn station.

jet said...

I want anyone to justify hwy there is a need for more than 1 hsr ever 15 minutes out tbt. that's easily 2000+ peole per hour.

never happen.

BruceMcF said...

jet:

1 non-stop from SJ to LA-US ... since that maximizes secondary demand to/from the San Diego corridor and the Bay, that would be SF/SJ/LA-US/Express to San Diego.

1 express SF/SJ/Fresno/Bakersfield/ not really sure / LA-US / Anaheim.

1 all-stations SF/Anaheim

1 commuter overlay SF/Sacramento

1 SF / Las Vegas

If any of these are full up as single deck, single sets, the first thing to do is to run two an hour, since increased frequency from sixty minute to thirty minutes during peak demand will itself increase market share. The most likely one for duplication during peak SF origin demand would be the Express SF/Anaheim.

So that's six.

Remember that the binding capacity constraint is not per hour - if the commercially strongest morning arrival time at TBT is 8:15 to 8:45, then with a network capacity of one set each five minutes, the platforms should be able to cope with six trains turning around in that half hour, even if that includes four once per hour services and there are only two turning around in the half hour before and half hour after.

To be comfortable on the legal side, if they want to duck out on a rather arbitrary between-service interval by running services through the stub terminal, they should demonstrate an ability to meet the specific network requirement on headways, which is 5 minutes headways for HSR services.

The most legally straightforward way is if the DTX is designed with 2.5 minute headways, with each alternate slot allocated to HSR services.

Two platforms would be ample for when the service first starts, but in the fully built out system, it seems likely that four will be required. It certainly will be an unnecessary obstacle to maximizing revenue when different capacity trains start operating if there's no option to have train A arrive, train B arrive, train B depart, and train A depart.

Since two platforms for HSR and two platforms for Caltrain would do at the outset, and four platforms for HSR and various inter-regional trains and four platforms for Caltrain and various regional trains seems adequate, a four platform layout (two side patforms and two sharing an island) with a second tier below that as required would seem to be a workable compromise. It would allow the Stage 1 train box to be built for less than the original request and reduce the cost to the CHSRA by easily allowing a lower cost two track tunnel.

jim said...

(JET=JIM)

I was thinking that they could angle the station under the tbt by a few degrees and that would fix the curve problem.

As for how many trains per hour. I just can't imagine in my wildest dreams that there would ever need to be more than four arrivals and four departures for hsr at any time of day A 10 car bart train carries 1000 people. a typical 4 car plus lounge san joaquin train will carry 500 in the summer.

How on earth are they gonna fill up to more than 2000 people per hour?

Do you know how many people that is? I mean 500 hundred people every 15 minutes leaving sf?

I mean I want tit to succeed but lets be realistic.

4 arrivals and 4 departures at tbt per hour and 4 arrivals and 4 departures at 4th

thats 8 and 8 total. and a very reasonable plan.

whats that saying about not making the perfect the enemy of something.

people will adapt.

BruceMcF said...

jim said...
"I was thinking that they could angle the station under the tbt by a few degrees and that would fix the curve problem."

That was the other main design which they rejected, AFAIR, because those platforms would not have access to the tail tracks. And now they have abandoned access to the tail tracks for those platforms.

"As for how many trains per hour. I just can't imagine in my wildest dreams that there would ever need to be more than four arrivals and four departures for hsr at any time of day A 10 car bart train carries 1000 people. a typical 4 car plus lounge san joaquin train will carry 500 in the summer.

But there are different services going in different directions, and they each will want to originate at TBT. A 500 passenger train that is 75% full leaving SJ is going to be a commercially viable service. That is 375 out of SJ. If its the all stations, figure 2/5 of those at the TBT, or 150. If its an Express or Non-Stop, figure 3/5 at the TBT or 225. 1 all-station, 2 Express to Anaheim, 1 Non-Stop to LA-US then Express to San Diego, 1 Express to Sacramento, and 1 Express to Las Vegas is 4*225+150=1,050.

This is an HSR service where even at 50% of airfare, the passengers are paying for operating costs plus the capital cost of the train they are riding in plus operational overheads plus some extra for infrastructure capital funding. California does not have the express interurban track legacy that France has, and has much higher driving subsidies, so covering all capital costs is exceedingly unlike, but commercially viable services will clearly cover operating costs and rolling stock capital costs and contribute to infrastructure capital costs.

You could add on top of the outbound passengers from the TBT any SF/SJ tickets they happen to sell ... that is not the inter-regional market.

Now, if the Las Vegas branch is built, there might be only two SF/LV services a day - but they would be at peak demand time of day.

And a time of day for HSR is not "the course of an hour". If the latest workable arrival time for a particular class of passenger is 8:45am, a train arriving at 7:45 will lose quite a bit of that market.

That's why there is a financial cost if the terminal cannot turn around trains at the pace that the network can deliver them. There will be times of day when it will pay to have every slot in one direction take, even if only for half an hour, and an inability to allow those trains to arrive or depart SF as fast as the network can handle is lost revenue for capital expansion.

And the plain fact is, if they build a four platform track train box and shore up ITS foundation for later expansion, that'll likely be no more expensive up front then completely building out a 6 platform track train box up front, and with four platform tracks combined with two Express tracks at 4th and Townsend, all the curve problems and cross-over bottlenecks simply go away and only a two track tunnel is needed, including capacity for the future second tier.