Transportation headlines, Friday, April 12

Here is a look at some of the transportation headlines gathered by us and the Metro Library. The full list of headlines is posted on the Library’s Headlines blog, which you can also access via email subscription or RSS feed.

ART OF TRANSIT: Bullet trains in China in a 2010 photo. Photo: kwramm, via Flickr creative commons.

ART OF TRANSIT: Bullet trains in China in a 2010 photo. Photo: kwramm, via Flickr creative commons.

Gov. Jerry Brown wants China aboard California’s bullet train (L.A. Times) 

The Governor also talked to the Chinese about possibly investing in the California high-speed rail project, which is about $55 billion short of funds needed to complete the San Francisco-to-Los Angeles segment. “People here do stuff,” the governor said. “They don’t sit around and mope and process and navel-gaze. The rest of the world is moving at Mach speed.” There’s a short video — the Chinese trains are certainly sleek looking.

Garcetti, Greuel are positive, specific in their first debate of runoff (L.A. Times) 

KABC-TV showed the debate live but good luck finding the video on their cluttered website. I tuned in and the candidates got the “what will you do about traffic?” as the second question of the night. Both were supportive of more mass transit, with Garcetti in particular calling for a Sepulveda Pass rail tunnel to connect the San Fernando Valley to the Westside.

Some quick background: A transit project spanning the Sepulveda Pass was included in the list of projects to receive Measure R funding. The Sepulveda Pass project is due to get about $1 billion but under Metro’s long-range plan would not be finished until the late 2030s. For that reason, Metro is exploring public-private financing that would both fully fund the project and possibly allow it to be built faster. Here is a post from last year about the concepts being studied; a rail tunnel is among them.

Transforming L.A. into a world-class place to live (LA 2050) 

The activist group Angelenos Against Gridlock is competing for one of the 10 $100,000 grants to be handed out by the Goodhirsh Foundation as part of its LA 2050 plan initiative to help make the region a better place. The group is seeking money to build a campaign to persuade the region to build out its rail system. From their proposal:

The biggest challenge to building the housing supply that will meet demand and lower costs, and to making areas with affordable housing accessible, is our traffic and lack of adequate mobility options, which causes citizens to block new housing construction.

Can’t argue with that. The reason that so many developments become big battles is the fear — sometimes well-founded, and often not — they will bring unbearable traffic to neighborhoods where driving is the only option.

BART extension to San Jose; heavy lifting about to begin (San Jose Mercury News)

Heavy construction of a 10-mile segment of BART from Frement to downtown San Jose is expected to begin. The project has a scheduled completion date of 2018 but officials are trying to beat that goal by a year. When done, the BART line will mean that San Jose is connected to San Francisco directly by the existing Caltrain and will also have a rail connection to the many cities in the East Bay.

8 replies

  1. Here is some information on the High Speed rail line in reference to my point above @Larry P.

    It appears that a coalition of California/Texas Engineering firms won the bid for the initial segment, and, ………IT IS UNDER BUDGET!

    Winning bidders: Tutor Perini/Zachry/Parsons, a consortium made up of Tutor Perini Corp. of Sylmar, Zachry Construction Corp. of Texas and Parsons Corp. of Pasadena.

    Steve, maybe this should be headline on Monday.

  2. I think what LA needs to work with real estate developers and business both big and small. I think everyone is just in denial that LA is a dense city. We like to think that there’s still some way of building homes and living a lifestyle of getting around by the car. But LA fails at this because you don’t have everyone working together to solve a problem that’s only going to get worse.

    How about changing how businesses use parking lots? For example, Costco owns the huge parking lot they have in front of their store. They use that land space for shoppers to come and buy stuff at their stores. How about convincing Costo to convert some of those parking lot spaces to a high rise condo instead? Bring the people who shop at Costco right next to Costco.

    What we need is this. Our lifestyle has been centered around driving to places and businesses expect people to drive to their stores. How about we change our thinking to instead, bring the people who shop at these stores right next to them? You bring the people to live right next to Ralphs, Vons, Albertsons, Walgreens, CVS, Costco, Walmart, it solves everything. And it makes life so much convenient. Now you don’t need a car to go to grocery shopping; all you need is a few steps of walk from your condo and you’re already there.

  3. Due to funding, the BART station will NOT go to Downtown San Jose, until AFTER the Berryessa Extension Phase is complete, which is 2018.

    Unfortunately, the Downtown San Jose BART is UNFUNDED, but will be built by 2025.

    Time for Santa Clara County to pick it up, when it comes to infrastructure.

    No fiber optic here in Santa Clara County, yet Long Beach has it, and VTA sucks, compared to Long Beach Transit.

    Everything Long Beach Transit has, VTA SHOULD have had.

    Currently, the Sales Tax in MOST of Santa Clara County is 8.75%, compared to most of Los Angeles County, which is 9%.

    Any chance to get move out of “Silicon Wasteland,” I will take it, and move to Long Beach, and I won’t miss where I lived for over 20 years, unless fiber optic and the Micro Center comes back, but I don’t think both will happen.

  4. American engineers are complete novices when it comes to building high speed rail. We’re good at building highways, bridges, cars, airplanes and rockets. We’re totally inexperienced in building trains and high speed rail at that. Even Acela, the closest thing we have to high speed rail was built as a French-Canadian venture.

    If high speed rail is to be built, we can’t build them on our own. We are complete novices at it to understand all the fine detail to safety that has to go to running trains that is able to carry 500 passengers at 200-300 mph.

    Safety is a major concern. And sorry, I don’t buy that the Chinese do much to value human life or put the effort into safety as we do.

    The only place trustworthy is Japan. They have a proven track record of keeping them safe and running even in a 9.0 earthquake. You can’t get any better than that when it comes to a proven track record in running trains in an earthquake prone place like California.

  5. It will be American engineers planning and building the rail line. If the Chinese wish to invest in it, great.

  6. Steve,

    Thanks for that article, yes it was that one.

    And yes, that article describes everything why we should not work with them.

  7. Didn’t China recently had a major problem with their high speed rail system which caused deaths and injuries, and they just buried the entire train along with the dead into a ditch?

    I’m sorry, I don’t trust the Chinese to help build our high speed rail system.

    Now if it were Japan then yes. They have a proven track record of keeping their trains running safe even with a 9.0 earthquake struck their country. We’re earthquake land too. Why don’t we work with the Japanese instead?