Saturday, November 21, 2009

CA4HSR Submits LA-SD Scoping Comments

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

Yesterday was the deadline to submit scoping comments to the California High Speed Rail Authority for the Los Angeles to San Diego project segment. Californians For High Speed Rail submitted the following comments to the CHSRA regarding the route and station choices. You can read the whole document here, and below I excerpt the main elements.

CA4HSR - Los Angeles to San Diego Scoping Comments

Note that the first part of the comment letter are planning guidelines that emphasize station locations should be considered with respect to walkability of surrounding area, opportunities for transit-oriented development (TOD), and easy connectivity to existing and planned mass transit. These principles guided the comments on stations and alignments.

Inland Empire

  • All corridors from LA to Riverside County should be studied, except Metrolink corridor from LAUS to Ontario Airport. City of Industry station should be considered for elimination - not a good site for TOD nor is it easily walkable for residents. Locate Ontario Airport HSR station adjacent to air terminal.

  • Continue to study stations in downtown San Bernardino (Santa Fe Depot) and downtown Riverside, due to surrounding population, TOD opportunities, transit connectivity.

  • Do not further study I-15 alignment/Corona Station due to lack of large urban centers, higher population along I-215 alignment. Do not further study March AFB station due to lack of walkable, dense, TOD opportunities.

San Diego

  • Study both Escondido options (city center and I-15). For I-15 alignment, however, move transit center and Sprinter station to I-15 adjacent location and promote TOD around it.

  • Do not further study or include station in University City along existing Rose Canyon rails. Consider University Towne Center station, and consider a bored tunnel under it to bypass Rose Canyon. However, also consider eliminating this station due to 24 station limit.

  • Consider new alignments to bring HSR from I-15 to I-5 corridor, including SR-56, SR-163 to SR-52, and SR-163 to I-8.

  • Qualcomm Stadium should only be studied if it is part of an alignment to downtown San Diego (Santa Fe Depot), significant TOD at Qualcomm Stadium, and elimination of possibility of sending trains to Tijuana via I-805. This would basically be another route to downtown, and downtown SD is the key in these comments.

  • Opposes ending HSR at airport terminal. Instead proposes "dual stations" - one at airport and one downtown (Santa Fe Depot); or just downtown SD without an airport stop.


Anonymous said...

these sound like good recommendations. I like the downtown SNB and RIV ideas, may as well toss the University Cuty thing due to the environmental issues of that canyon, SD downtown is superior to Airport,

Anonymous said...

just do this

Rafael said...

By "Metrolink line", I presume you're talking about the SCRRA-owned right of way currently used for the San Bernardino line. It is indeed unsuitable for many reasons: no run-through tracks at LAUS, too narrow for anything but single track in many places, too far from Ontario airport.


ONT currently has three terminals, spaced far apart on an east-west axis parallel to the runway. Ideally, the HSR station would be elevated above the parking lot and integrated into the design of a new terminal 3, to be located in-between the existing terminals 2 and 4. Air-conditioned enclosed passages with moving sidewalks should connect the three buildings.

There may also be value in running special airport shuttle trains between LA and San Diego that allow passengers to check and possibly even pick up their bags at those two downtown train stations. This premium service would require sidings at all three stations to meet FAA security requirements for handled baggage.

The alternative would be a fast people mover or LRT system linking the three existing terminals, long-term parking and the new HSR station, preferably all in a single line. If CHSRA settles on a lateral alignment at some distance from the airport terminals, e.g. in the I-10 median, connecting transit is essentially the only option in any case.

Either way, additional analysis is required regarding express bypass tracks at Ontario airport. Through trains that do stop there may need extended dwell times to allow large numbers of airline passengers with bags to board and alight.

Equally important: airlines will only ramp up service at ONT and even vacate LAX and SAN if passengers can easily purchase plane + train combo tickets using familiar sales channels for airline tickets. This includes whatever charge there might be for connecting transit (HHNN, this goes for BART between SFO and Millbrae as well). By convention, airports and train stations can share IATA codes if and only if they are co-located. Passengers are more likely to accept one transfer than two.

Summarizing, LAWA and CHSRA need to come up with a joint concept for an superior customer experience between the HSR station and the terminal buildings at Ontario airport. Otherwise, it will never provide effective relief for LAX, never mind Lindbergh Field.

The devil is very much in the details here.


In San Diego, the idea of tunneling all the way from University City to downtown is a non-starter on cost alone. The HSR tracks need to be elevated above the existing ones for FRA-compliant rolling stock.

As for a station at Lindbergh Field, that airport needs relief not additional passengers. The distance between it and Santa Fe Depot is far too short to justify two HSR stations. This is true even if the station ends up near the convention center. The revamped airport will have a trolley stop.

CHSRA has no mandate to plan a network extension to Tijuana at this time, though a stabling/maintenance yard near Imperial Beach might be an (expensive) option.

There might be value in using the CA-163 right of way if a suitable downtown station can be reached via an elevated structure in the I-8 corridor or else via a short tunnel.

However, it is imperative that the issue of where to site the required stabling yard be integral to the decision on the route south of Escondido.

Anonymous said...

I really think they should try to grab up that san bernadino market too thought. lots of people over there for just a few added minutes.

Alon Levy said...

Rafael, airports use people movers all the time. Newark has one to get you from the terminals to the NJT/Amtrak station, but Continental still codeshares with Amtrak there. JFK has a 20-minute AirTrain connection to the LIRR. Zurich only has a direct rail connection to one terminal - getting to it from the other terminal requires getting on a people mover.

Alon Levy said...

Jim, SB can connect to an LA-Phoenix line.

It can also connect directly to LA with an RER-style service; the way Metrolink is set up creates some prime opportunities for fast regional service, including SB-LAUS, LAUS-LAX and Sylmar-LAUS-Anaheim. Such services require some eminent domain when the land is too narrow for two tracks, but this becomes a lot more acceptable when the line isn't just an airport express, but a rapid transit line providing service to the neighborhoods it passes through.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the SNB and PSP areas just need upgraded metrolink speeds and service then.

Its unfortunate that downtown SNB is just a scoche out of the way to be on the mainline.

I still think SAN should be approached via a more easterly route eat and south of downtown.

Matthew Fedder said...

@Jim: I challenge you to come up with a more detailed alignment through mission valley that doesn't a) encroach on the San Diego "river" parkland, b) the shoulder-to-shoulder condos, c) the elevated trolley line snaking back and forth, d) the existing freeways, without making the Qualcomm lot undevelopable.

@Rafael: I don't think they were suggesting tunneling all the way from UTC to DownTown by any stretch of the imagination. I think this map might come close to what they were suggesting, with the lighter-blue areas being their suggestions for tunnels.

Rafael said...

@ Jim -

the route for the whole section between Ontario airport and Temecula is still very much subject to discussion. For example, it's not at all clear how tracks would cut across from I-10 in Fontana to UC Riverside and I-215 south of there.

San Bernardino would be very difficult to reach in that context. Would elevated tracks above either Fontana or Bloomington Ave ever be accepted? Curve radii are a huge deal in HSR and those are the only transportation corridors in the area that run at a favorable angle. High speed rail means just that, sharp right angle turns are not acceptable except immediately next to stations that will anyhow be served by virtually all trains.

Another option might be to turn south at I-15 just east of the airport and then east again near the CA-60 interchange. A station at UC Riverside would be fairly easy, an intermodal with Metrolink very hard to achieve.

Rafael said...

@ Matthew Fedder -

your maps shows alternatives involving tunnel sections 4.5 to over 6 miles in length. That's still way too expensive.

Cutting across via a combination of the CA-56 median, the SDNR right of way and the I-15 median at grade would likely be cheaper and also avoid Rose Canyon entirely. However, part of the route of the planned SD Trolley extension to UCSD would have to be changed, e.g. via Gilman Dr.

Alternatively, forget about University City and figure out how to get from the CA-163/I-8 interchange into downtown and on to a stabling yard. The HSR station doesn't have to be at the airport or at Santa Fe Depot, but it does have to be downtown.

Anonymous said...

hold on Ill fix it all. brb

Brandon in California said...

I had been drafting comments; but, unfortunately had a death in the family and was unable meet the deadline. I am gratified to see that my comments were similar to the "Friends of HSR"; with the following exceptions:
- no support for San Bernardino Station... too far out of the way, and
- include a speicific data request that would have illustrated support why a downtown San Diego station location should be pursued.

Other than that, I feel relieved.

Matthew Fedder said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brandon in California said...


I see the same thing you do, except, it's not over 4.3 miles.
True, anything under University City would need to be tunneled.... could follow any alignment so long as it's deep.

Once joining back up with the Coater/Amtrak/Frieght corridor, it could resume at-grade level... provided sufficient ROW were available. I am not aware that there is not.

Points south of the San Diego River appear the most congested and strapped with cross-streets.... an all above or all below grade alignment will have the most sense.... with my preference being below grade once downtown so-as to not block view corridors that are considered to be very important to San Diegans downtown.

Matthew Fedder said...

@Rafael: The Nobel tunnel is 2 miles, and the BNSF is 3. You must have been looking at the total length of the line (which extends a long way before and after the tunnel).

Robert Cruickshank said...

The scoping comments CA4HSR submitted go into more depth on the UTC tunnel concept. What we (note: I am Chair of CA4HSR; though the letter is signed by Dan Krause and Brian Stanke, I support all of its points) envisioned being studied was something very much like what Matthew describes - under Nobel to I-5, and then open-air along I-5 to the LOSSAN corridor.

CA4HSR isn't saying that we want a tunnel under UTC - just that CHSRA ought to study it. We also said that the UTC station should be considered for deletion if found to be unnecessary, since it is #25 out of a legally-mandated 24 station system.

Regarding downtown San Bernardino, the reason we feel it should be studied is that the population numbers there would seem to be worth the time used to get there. If the studies reveal the tradeoff is too high, so be it, we're not insisting a downtown SB station be built.

Anonymous said...

okay, so from the ontario airport, I use this existiing row I found, i dont know who;s it is, but the station can be on the souther side of the airport with people mover to terminal, then you follow this ample row and get to a split where you can either use a route to reach downtown, or the other route to go via CUC Riverside, from there, its on the 215 row all the way to san diego, staying east via the state rt 15 to the state rt 94 to where 94 ends, then you tunnel via broadway, to downtown. a staion downtown and a station at the 8/215 interchange, which captures all the inland revenue by giving them an option that is much close to them than the airport.

Anonymous said...

oh yeah heres' themap

Anonymous said...

Im just adamant about this eastern approach being better.

The folks on the west side are simply going to be far to big a pain to deal with, whereas the vast inland working class population of san diego would appreciate and benefit the most from an easterly approach.

Bob said...

The elephant in the room is Las Vegas (tourism benefit: obvious, metropolitan population: 2 million). Let's grow a pair of balls and build HSR over the Cajon Pass in the median of I-15. This alignment is far superior to the Palmdale/Victorville nonsense. The Cajon Pass serves LA, SD and the Empire far better. That can connect San Bernardino to CHSR (between Riverside and Victorville). I'm still all for letting DesertXpress build the Victorville-Vegas link.

Brandon in California said...

Las Vegas is the elephant in the room??? I beg to differ.

If there is an elephant any where to be found.... it's internal... the project management team and if they are equipped to complete environmental review and deliver design drawings.


Matthew Fedder said...

@Jim: Since both alignments would end in the same place, I don't think anyone would benefit much more than anyone else. Those along the 15/94 corridor might instead complain about how "those anglos always tear up our neighborhoods for their toys" or something like that.

And if I were you, I'd be a bit wary about casting aspersions on hundreds of square miles of a city I'm not particularly familiar with.

And again, don't forget that the 15 climbs 400 feet in about a mile. If the train tracks are to be kept to a 1-2% grade, we're talking about miles of aerials reaching high into Mission Valley - about 4 miles, on a 2% grade. Using that same 2% grade, the aerials would be 150 feet high as it passes by Qualcomm, 10 stories in the air!

Brandon in California said...

The I-15 or I-805 do that now.... elevated super high over Mission Valley. Amazing! I think they are over 10-stories tho.

Matthew Fedder said...

The 805 is high in the air (about 8 stories above ground, based on Google Maps - I'll have to bring my GPS next time I go over it), but the 15 is at ground level.

Brandon in California said...

Yes, the 805 is high. Diff in our estimates are nominal.

James said...

An alternate route between Quallcomm and the Santa Fe Depot down town.


Anonymous said...

@james, I like yours. As for building things up high, my experience with most of southern california is that when it comes to concrete, the sky is the limit, Ive seen interchanges that are quite literally works of art that would make the Romans jealous.

Pour baby pour is the socal mantra. I love driving in LA. its all so "jetsons-esque"

James said...

Or a variation that hugs the edge of the Mesa.


Matthew Fedder said...

@James: I was thinking along the same lines (going under Mission Hills to get from Mission Valley to the 5), with the exception that it would stay along the median of the 8: A Very Similar Map

Anonymous said...

yes but either way as you can see here, the area near qulacom and that interchange with i-8 would put a station almost perfectly central the most people in greater sd area.

Look if folks out on the 91 and the 8 have to drive all the way downtown they may as well go to the airport, but put an hsr 20-30 minutes closer to them and theyll use that instead of having to drive downtown.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Matthew Fedder said...

@Jim: That's the idea of a downtown station: You can take one trolley downtown to catch a train no matter where you live, whether it's mission valley (Green Line) or along the 8 (Orange Line). A downtown station makes a Qualcomm station unnecessary; the reverse is not true.

Matthew Fedder said...

@Jim, part 2: By the way, your link doesn't work.

Anonymous said...

or theres this tijuana-la jolla option that puts coastal residents within easy reach of their undocumented help. Im sure they won't mind an elevated along the silver strand.

(^^doesn't like uppity rich folks

Anonymous said...

MAtthew, here is is again great sd

Yes but why would i ride a trolley for an hour from el cajon to downtown to catch hsr if I could just drive and park 10 mintues away at qualcom and be on my way north - look at the shaded area and see how a central location serves the most people. In san deigo, which is mostly suburban, people are going to drive to the hsr station, park, and make thier trip and most of thoe people live east of downtown.

Alon Levy said...

Matthew, HSR is capable of climbing 3.5% grades, and even 4% at lower speed. So the length and height of the els you say are necessary should be cut by half.

Matthew Fedder said...

@Alon: Yeah, that's better - I don't know why 2% was stuck in my head. At 3.5%, that's 3.25 miles. Qualcom is about 1.65 miles from the top of the hill, taking care of 305 feet of vertical climb, leaving the train about 75 feet in the air, or about 5 1/4 stories in the air. Not as bad -- but still not particularly convenient for a Qualcomm stop. (Or maybe it will be? That could put it at the top of a parking garage on the redeveloped site).

Anonymous said...

and again, as you can see by the blue lines representing roughly the access suburban san diegans would have, a qualcom stop is closer to two thirds of the pop. while the downtown station is more convenient to the other third.

Unknown said...

@Bob, I don't know about it serving LA "far better". It's about 20 miles shorter from LAUS than going through palmdale. Since people from the anaheim trunk (norwalk/northridge and ARTIC stations) will have to transfer at LAUS or their train will turn roughly downtown, it's probably about 20 miles shorter for them.

For people in the SFV, a cajon pass route is equidistant or longer, depending on the station.

For everyone else in the system the cajon pass is much longer. With a mojave-barstow connection and a 220mph DX train (faster than what they originally proposed, but certainly doable), routes like San Jose-Vegas and Sacramento-Vegas get down under 4 hours, bringing them into competitive range with flying. For routes like Fresno-LV and Bakersfield-LV, the mojave alignment would be very competitive.

It's really only the people east of LAUS and San Diego that would be served "far better" with a Cajon pass alignment.

Given that the rest of LA is more or less a wash (marginally faster for parts, marginally slower for others), the question is: is making the vegas connection faster for the inland empire and san diego worth making it slower for travelers from the north, and is that net improvement worth the billions more it will cost to drag lines over cajon?

I think we should connect the trains from Mojave to Barstow, which will add a little bit of time to the LA-LV run, but make the runs from the rest of the state competitive, and then start planning a Cajon connection as well to be completed when the demand from SD and the IE support it (and/or when the trunk line from merced-la is getting crowded).

With that in mind, connecting from palmdale to victorville might be suboptimal, as it would be only marginally faster than Mojave for people coming from LA and much slower than Mojave for people coming from the north. I think Mojave with a planned Cajon is a better idea than palmdale-victorville.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree 100 percent with Andy. Absolutely.

And speaking of transbay terminal, ( that is the topic right?) This development info tidbit is floating around today showing the bigger pic

As I said on the blog there, the only part that will be problematic is the proposed heights.

Matthew Fedder said...

@Jim: Closer doesn't mean more convenient. Suppose your goal is to maximize the number of riders taking public transit to the HSR?

I think a lot of San Diegans will be willing to take a trolley to the train stop - but not a bus (slow, never on time, short operating hours, poor weekend availability), and not as likely if they have to transfer trolleys. So if you're looking at how well the station integrates with the rest of San Diego's infrastructure, which of these stations do you thing will bring in the most riders on public transit?

neroden@gmail said...

Jim: "Im just adamant about this eastern approach being better." (Regarding 3:19 PM map)

The trouble I see is west of I-5 in downtown San Diego. Running elevated over Broadway is a non-starter, and running under it is fantastically expensive. What are you thinking to solve that problem?

WAIT -- I have a better idea. Turn *south* at I-5 and terminate at the 12th & Imperial Transit Center rather than the Santa Fe Depot Lots of land to build on, and arguably even more central than the Santa Fe Depot. A faster drive for most people and still connected to the same Trolley lines (better connected, really).

If needed Amtrak can be extended back to there, too, although I don't really see a lot of Amtrak/HSR interchange given that both head north and Sprinter should interchange Oceanside to Escondido. (Maybe Solana Beach customers?).

This would involve extremely few blocks of elevated construction over city streets, and in places mostly occupied by parking lots.

Anonymous said...

Matthew, I realize where the trolleys go, but the vast make up sd's population are people who aren't going to spend an hour on the trolley to get to the station for the typical hsr trip. They are going to drive. Even downtown san diego is a fairly suburban area. I know If I lived in el cajon, santee, or even hillcrest, Im driving and parking just like I would at the airport.

SD is not SF.

Its 45 minutes on the trolley from santee to old town plus a transfer to downtown and the airport for a total trip of an hour or more versus a 19 minute drive from santee to qualcom.

just as an example.

San diego is a giant suburb and they will drive to the station

Matthew Fedder said...

@Neroden: By gum the green line is supposed to go all the way to Imperial and 12th, in the not-to-distant future. For some reason, I always assumed it would end at Santa Fe Station. I suppose the Mid-Coast will go there, too.

Anonymous said...

as for the airport, its just under two miles, in fact walkable, from the terminal to santa fe. so, what makes most sense rather than an airport station is a waterfront people mover from the terminal to downtown that way you serve, flight arrivals and departures, airport to downtown, and high speed rail connections, as well.

Matthew Fedder said...

@Jim: It largely depends on parking. Will parking be free at the HSR stops? I think people will drive to their neighborhood trolley stop if that's the only way to get free parking. (I predict a lot more trolley trips to the airport as well, once it stops directly at the terminal.)

Matthew Fedder said...

@Jim: I have walked those two miles from downtown to a restaurant near the east end of the airport (and back... jury duty). It's not bad for a young person of only moderate obesity with just a backpack on.

I wouldn't do it with my carry-on bag.

I'll just think of the trolley as the people-mover you envision. (There used to be a special discount downtown-only fare... it looks like they've changed their fare structure since the last time I rode)

Anonymous said...

Well again, its the time consideration. If Im using hsr for a regional or intermediate type of trip ( which will be the vast majority of trips) say SAN to RIV

SAN to LAX etc, then a 45-60 minute trolley ride to the train station defeats the whole thing, In an hour I can just drive to Riverside.

Its just too far across the city by trolley and eats up too much time. People will drive downtown and will expect airport type parking. and if if isn't provided, they will choose the airport instead. A qualcom station has room for a very large parking short term and long term parking structure.

Im all for transit, but down there, you are being too optimistic thinking they'll use it that way. The students and hippies will use it and the poor people will use it, but the huge middle class suburban population will not. Its not the bay area, its suburban/republican san diego county. I was just down there and I rode the trolley. Unlike SF where everyone uses muni, in SD all I saw on board public transit were the typical downtrodden and elderly.

Anonymous said...

and they need to make the trolley actually go to the airport terminal then. usually its the private operators who lobby against it. ( am I right LA people?)

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

@Jim: Destination Lindbergh already calls for a trolley/coaster stop at SAN.

BTW - kind of off topic, but here's another option for a station at SFD - which includes yard space (albeit elevated yard space) for up to 14 400m trainsets or 28 200m ones.

James said...

If the route goes over the Cajon pass then make LA a stop on the branch line to Santa Barbara.


Matthew Fedder said...

@Joey: Everything between Pacific Highway and Harbor Drive has already been spoken for, for future development.

Matthew Fedder said...

P.S.@Joey: Downtown San Diego Redevelopment Map

Joey said...

@Matthew Fedder

Oh well. So much for that one.


I don't think Santa Barbara doesn't make a whole lot of sense for HSR. Sure, it has a decent population, but the coast between Carpinteria and Ventura isn't exactly easy terrain, and the line doesn't lead to any big cities. The central coast would be much better served by upgraded (double tracked and possibly electrified) Surfliner service. By the way, the Cajon pass, if built, would not be instead of the Soledad canyon line, but in addition to it (though I don't think it makes a lot of sense anyway).

Anonymous said...

To make it worth my while, I need a trolley stop in front of the terminal, as in walk out the door from baggage and there it is. otherwise Im just grabbing a cab. Of course most of the san diego hotels already have free airport shuttles.

per mojave I think there should be a two pronged approached, a connection at mojave and one over cajon. DX can fund one, CA can fund the other. Id suggest CA incorporate bfd-moj-bar as our portion and dx can build bar-cajon-ona.

eventually, they'd work out reciprocal contracts for each others trains to operate on each others tracks so that cahsr can operate direct to lvs and DX can operate direct to sf and la, uner different liveries.

Matthew Fedder said...

@James: I'm with Joey: I'd put Santa Barbara in the "we can think about it once we see if the main line lives up to its capabilities" column... Or more likely, I think Santa Barbara will have to be satisfied with the improved Pacific Surfliner routes (which should get faster service between LA and San Francisco, with fewer freight delays, in the relatively foreseeable future).

Matthew Fedder said...

@Jim: That is pretty much what they're proposing: Moving check-in and parking to the north side.

Anonymous said...

well, okay if they have this whole destination thing that they wanna do who am I to tell san diego how to do it. I just don't want them to try running trains through sensitive areas like canyons and heavily republican enclaves so as to avoid the predictable anti transit fit-throwing by the privileged.
just choose carefully thats all.

( for some reason san diego always conjours up viions of slightly overweight middle aged white men in golf clothing and their pearl encrusted nancy reagan-esque wives with hairsprayed up do's and padded shoulders, dining on surf and turf at restaurants with names like "the fox and hound" or rusty duck". don't ask me why, but I don't see them riding a trolley)

Matthew Fedder said...

"I just don't want them to try running trains through sensitive areas like canyons and heavily republican enclaves" made me chuckle :)

I've spent the last 10 years as student and staff at UC San Diego, so my perception is probably skewed a little too heavily towards students, professors, nurses, and doctors.

Unknown said...

SB (and the rest of the surfliner destinations) would be incredibly expensive to bring up to 220mph speeds. The geography is non cooperative, to say the least. However, the distances are short enough from SLO-LA and SLO-SF, that 125-150mph tilting trains would be plenty fast enough to be competitive.

Wether or not the cost of even that level of investment is worthwhile, I don't know – the populations just aren't there.

However, fast, tilting, electrified metrolink to ventura or even SB might be worthwhile. That route is one of the federally designated "high speed rail" corridors, but I'm pretty sure they mean "emerging" HSR.

Anonymous said...

@mathew, I remember being young and idealistic and thinking that everyone was on board for the future, then reality sets in and you realize people don't like change, they don't like anything that upsets their precarious hard earned balance, and change is usually seen as threat. And any kind of public transit says to well to do white people " this is a way for the people we've kept out, to get in" I mean people may not say it, although some will, but thats always the real reason.

Thats why it took decades of changing demographics to finally approve rail transit in marin and sonoma counties. its also why the peninsula long ago said it prefers its own caltrain to bart ( bart would mean direct access from oakland.)

yes we still live in that world.
It also goes for most of california north of sacramento, "we don't want all those southern california and bay area folks (ie gang bangers, foreigners and liberals) coming up here"

I've heard it my whole life. progress is still a generation or more away up there.

Matthew Fedder said...

@Jim: First of all, I'm not sure quite what in my posts your little "when you get older" speech is trying to relate to.

If you're referring to ridership: I'm not so sure I'm as optimistic as you want to paint me. But at least with transit in San Diego, although I definitely see that type of classism in regard to busses, I don't see it applied nearly so much to trolleys/Coaster.

That's part of why I think it's so important for the HSR to hook up with as many trolleys as possible - because a lot more middle-class will take trolleys than busses.

(Why do I always spell 'busses' with an extra S?).

If you're referring to the rose-canyon routing: This particular group has a long history of canyon restoration and activism, so I doubt that's got anything to do with classism, racism, or out-of-towner-ism.

Bob said...

I agree with the responses to my comments advocating a two-pronged Vegas approach. Cajon Pass is still the superior option for everyone in LA county and south--not building it would be silly. At the same time, an alignment north of the forest makes sense for Central and Northern California. All ABOARD! suggested that DX pay to build over Cajon--but DX says they won't do it. CHSRA is probably reluctant to fund the project, as well. I just see the obvious demand for these 50 miles of track, but I can easily see nobody building it. It ruffles my feathers because I just can't see anyone wanting to travel from SD county to Vegas by going north through the Empire, west across LA county and north and east to Palmdale before changing to another train to get back on the I-15 corridor.

Rafael said...

@ Bob -

let's get the LA-San Diego leg built first and then see if there's enough demand for SD-IE-Vegas to justify running HSR tracks through Cajon Pass.

High speed rail infrastructure is seriously expensive. A relatively cheap connector between Mojave and Barstow would connect not just the Bay Area and Central Valley but also Orange and LA counties to Las Vegas. The drive from Riverside/San Bernardino to Victorville isn't all that long. And San Diegans will still have the option of flying to Lost Wages.

There has to be an appropriate cost/benefit ratio to HSR proposals. I'm not yet convinced that tracks through Cajon Pass would make the cut if there's already a connector between California HSR and DesertXPress up in the High Desert.

PeakVT said...

@ Rafael - you're right that a line through Cajon Pass could not be justified in the near future. But as it's one of only two outlets from the LA basin to the north, it most likely will be built at some point. So LA to SD routing should take that into consideration, along with a line to Palm Springs and beyond.

The situation is the same in San Diego. CHSRA may not have a mandate to extend the line to Tijuana, but it's hard to image not doing so. It may even be something of a freebie depending on where the storage yard is located. So the siting and design of the station should not make for a dead end.

Brandon in California said...

San Diego trolley plans can and do change, but as I understood them the following was the likely evolution of the Trolley:

Phase I:
-Green Line extended from Old Town to Sante Fe Depot after stations are retrofitted to accomodate new low-floor LRVs.

-Blue Line terminates at Sante Fe Depot.

Phase II
-Green Line extended from Sante fe Depot to 12th & Imperial along the Harbor/Bayside corridor after additional stations are retrofitted.
- Blue Line (up for discussion) terminating at America Plaza.
- Orange Line (up for discussion) terminating at America Plaza.

The hanging chads on this involve America Plaza's ability to safetly process/turn at least 12 per hour.

Phase III - Mid-Coast Extension
- Orange Line (up for discussion) the Orange Line is extended to serve the new alignment; essentially then running from Gillespie Field (short of Santee) and up to University City. This would extend the line from 19 miles to 32 miles in length. A very long line for something that has a lot of in-street running and at-grade crossings.

In my opinion, San Diego should pursue shifting the downtown alignment from C Street to Broadway and underground. And, terminate the Blue & Orange at the base of sante Fe Depot for an easy transfer to the Green Line and a new Mid-Coast Line running from UTC down to 12th & Imperial.

One thing has changed in the past year that could change thinking here... MTS is pursuing the purchase of shorter 80-foot low-floor LRVs. Prior to this, only 91-foot ones were on the market.

This would enable 3-car trains to run up and down C Street without blocking cross streets when stopped. The 91-foot low-floor LRVs operated by MTS now only run on the Green Line (b/c that's where the stations are that can accomodate them.) But, if C Street stations, and other appropriate ones are retroffitted to serve them, the Green (or Mid-Coast) could turn to serve C Street and the core of downtown.

then, the challenge involves the ability of C Street to carry all those trains. Right now it is in-street running with numerous signalized cross streets. Theoritically it can only accomodate 15-17 trains each hour in each direction. Practically, it's lower.... 12-14. They now run 12 each hour. So, there is basically no ability to run more there than what they are now.

Oh, this is fun.

All that said, lots of people ride the Trolley. It is a very successful system. It's also complicated to run because of all the shared track.

Brandon in California said...

Destination Lindbergh...

It was my understanding that the SD Airport Authority adopted a plan that expanded their existing facilities and parking.... rather than relocating terminals to the northeast side of the runways.

Perhaps they postponed a decision based on a CHSRA decision; however, that would effectively eliminate teh merits of a SD airport HSR stop.

The Trolley, on the other hand, has some merit in extending to the airport. The only question then is, where and how does it run. Is it a separate & new line? And, where does it go?

Peter said...


VTA presented the Preliminary Results of its Light Rail System Analysis. Some good stuff in there if anyone is interested. Some obvious improvements studied, such as an intermodal at Great America with CC and ACE.

Light Rail System Analysis

Anonymous said...

@Matthew, its just my general pessimism about anything getting done in california. And you are right to point out coaster etc, I had forgetten about that, not too mention surfliner, duh.
I'm going by my recent visit where it seemed there was the coronodo san diego and the bus riding san diego. And while there is opposition to things in the Bay Area, generally, the bay is more willing to there than southern cal. So Im just worried the system in so cal, will run into a combination of opposition and general disinterest.
And if you're already my age, and you still have youthful optimism and ideals, good for you. Me, Me, meh, I can't get my hopes up. Ill be satisfied to see a test track.

Joey said...


The trolley/coaster stop at Lindbergh would be along the north side of the airport, where the tracks are already. The plan is to locate all the transportation facilities (including drop-off and parking) to that location and having a people mover connect to the terminals on the south side.

Brandon in California said...

There's already a stop there... it's named Middletown.

Another study effort is afoot to re-examine a trolley extension into the airport.

It's alluded to at teh canplan website... under 5+ years.

However, I have doubts anything will become of it.

Brandon in California said...

I see a lot of maps done using Google Maps. And, I see that those maps can be exported to Google Earth.

The question, anyone know if there is a method to export from Google Earth to Google Maps?

Joey said...

Save as KML. When you create a new map in Google Maps, there should be an import button, which will allow you to select a KML file off of your computer.

Rafael said...

@ Brandon in San Diego -

Apparently, there is a simple way to display a Google Earth file in Google Maps (at least the portion of the 3D data that can be displayed in a 2D app). Haven't tried it myself, though.

Rafael said...

O/T -

Deutsche Bahn has signed a $25 billion deal with Qatar Diar to construct a rail network in the country, ultimately to include an HSR line across to Bahrain. The first phase is the construction of a subway in Doha, a later phase includes a rail link between the downtown area and the airport. The entire project is expected to take 15 years.

Considering Berlin's S-Bahn has just suffered yet another derailment (albeit of an old empty train in a yard), Qatar's decision in favor of DB is uhm, interesting.

Peter said...

@ Rafael

As long as they don't blindly take DB's advice on how to operate their network, they should be fine. Just use, ahh, well, safer maintenance intervals.

Peter said...

Wow, speaking of S-Bahn Berlin, they are eating some serious crow. They are offering an "Entschuldigungspaket" (Apology Packet) for the meltdown. Free monthly passes for students, free travel in December for yearly and monthly ticket holders, etc.

Supposedly they are nearly fully up and running again. They say they should be back at normal operations by mid-December.

Jesus, I'm happy I moved away. First time I ever said that, I think.

Peter said...

Sorry should have included the link. Sorry, it's only in German.


Anonymous said...

speaking of safety and performance I think we all know these guys do it best, but I did find this interesting article on hsr as it pertains to airports as I know some of the plan here is to have airport connections.....

Matthew Fedder said...

@Brandon: I would be interested to see where all that was reported.

Tunneling under broadway seems like a very convenient way to expand trolley capacity, and CCDC certainly has the cash to afford it. But it's still expensive enough that it's hard to imagine it happening soon.

I don't remember ever reading about the orange and blue lines terminating at 1 America Plaza, although it makes some sense. It would "be nice" if you didn't have to cross Kettner.

Have you heard something about Destination lindbergh being passed over that I missed? I don't see anything on the SAN newsroom. Last I heard, it was the main long-term plan under consideration - and it involves moving ALL passenger ticketing/securitycheck-in/parking/car rental facilities to the north side, with a direct walkway to rail facilities, basically where the existing trolley is (I think, about halfway between middletown and Washington).

If that plan is carried out, I would hope the blue line would continue to run as far as the airport - one less transfer for a lot of people.

Anonymous said...

Good! I am so glad that they want to get rid of this idea to use teh Airport as San Diego's main station. Santa Fe Depot is a great location.
Most people would never take a plane to San Diego only to take the High Speed train to Los Angeles anyway.

Additional regional trains will need to follow with the new high speed rail in order to draw and serve people from the surrounding metropolitan areas. It would take too much time to go from e.g. La Mesa to Downtown San Diego via bus and/or trolley.

I was thinking about trains similar to the Sprinter that stop only at major locations.

We cannot serve high speed trains with our current infrastructure. In fact, most systems evolved from light rail->subways->suburban trains->regional trains->long distance trains->high speed trains.

Now we have a light rail->high speed trains system which means the gaps need to be filled by at least one additional train that has fewer stations than a light rail, but closer stations than a high speed train.

Anonymous said...

An extension to Tijuana would be an excellent idea in the long term, which I hadn't even thought of until now. It's a pretty big city, with over 1 million people, and a very busy border crossing with San Diego, with the Blue Line of the Trolley serving Tijuana at least as much San Diego. An HSR extension probably wouldn't go very far into Mexico, and would probably follow the existing railroad ROW. It would be nice if the tracks could be shared with Surfliner/commuter trains, and immigration and customs should be done on entrance to/from the station, with the station and ROW suitably secured. It's very unlikely that would be significant through service, since the only railroad from Tijuana goes eastward and back into California.

Unknown said...

While a connection to TJ might make sense, I can't imagine CHSRA even mentioning the possibility in any of their route discussions. As with a Vegas connector via Palmdale or Mojave, any appearance of using CA taxpayer money to fund even a study of trains to Vegas or TJ would be seized upon by opponents and beaten on until dead (and probably thereafter), regardless of the technical merits or benefits.

That said, it should be expected that the Authority designs the system with future connections in mind, whether or not they are politically charged today. I think that includes a line to TJ as well as Vegas, Phoenix and a new transbay crossing at Dunbarton, SF, or both.

Unknown said...

@AndyDuncan: of course I mean within reason, there's no reason for CHSRA to put a wye in to a deadend track, but given two roughly equivalent solutions, I would hope they would choose the one that makes future connections more feasible.

Andre Peretti said...

The situation in France is a bit particular. Paris CDG is an international hub and has few local flights. So, having a TGV terminal there makes sense as it allows passengers from America or Asia to continue to their final destination by HSR. 4 million riders/year use this service.
Paris Orly, on the other hand, has mostly French internal flights. If someone wanted to go from Nice to Strasbourg, would they take a flight to Paris Orly and then wait for a train to Strasbourg if there was a station? The SNCF thinks they'd rather take a Nice-Strasbourg non-stop flight.
Of course, regional airports all want a TGV terminal but the SNCF thinks they don't have enough long haul flights to justify it.
The US is a big country, and things are probably different.

Qatar and DB
Is it a consequence of the Palestinian boycott of French rail companies for their involvement with Israeli railways?
The organisers of the boycott tend to claim as successes of their action all the bids lost by Veolia and Alstom, including in France.
So far, their only reported success is in Dublin where the tram drivers' union has threatened to go on strike if Alstom used Dublin Citadis trams to train Israeli drivers.
The organisers say they acted too late in Saudi Arabia where Alstom (jointly with a Chinese company) got the contract for building the HSR line, but they promise it won't get the contract for the trainsets.
Time will tell.

Anonymous said...

I don't know why there's all these small cities need HSR stations.

Can't they just use electrified commuter rails for these cities and leave HSR only for a direct LA to SD station? I don't know, but it doesn't make sense to have stops at University Center, SD Airport, and downtown. It'd be much better to just have a direct LA-SD HSR, get off at SD and take a commuter train backtrack to the airport and University Center.

Brandon in California said...

My summary of Trolley plans depart from something solid where 1) I inserted "up for discussion" and 2) stuff after the phase III that I listed.

Putting the Trolley underground along C Street or Broadway comes up from time to time. The CCDC C Street Master Plan effort spurred the latest interest. I believe the wikipedia MTS or Trolley article links to additional information... that's where I found it once before.

The CCDC C Street Master Plan was supposed to be a revitilization effort of the street... from India all the way to City College. Almost 1 mile. That is where the Trolley runs; however, CCDC never quite completed the plan b/c they failed to grasp many realities involving downtown light-rail service; lots of people use it to go to the core of downtown. It hasn't helped CCDC that they've had a lot of important positions turnover during the same period. It looks like they've dropped plans for the time being.

Unknown said...

In regards to the proposed alignments for the San Bernardino station, the city's new multimodal terminal, which is currently in design, has been deliberately situated in a place that is convenient for high-speed rail. There shouldn't be much additional land acquisition required.

High-speed rail would use the Santa Ana River, East Twin Creek, and the Pacific Electric Redlands Subdivision.

The question is whether or not the station is placed off the main line. Doing so would allow express and limited trains to bypass the section entirely, but securing airspace rights over several industrial parcels in Colton would be necessary in that scenario.