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Alternatively you can look at NJTs RiverLINE for proof that you need more than a rail line for TOD.

What is it with the RiverLINE? From a comfortable distance to be fully ignorant, I assume that a line connecting one ghetto rust bucket (Trenton) to another ghetto rust bucket (Camden) lacks the usual compelling business case for a commuter line -- reasonable housing to plenty jobs. Is there more or less to the problem?

 

(Wildly off-topic. LOL. If the answer is provocative, the mods will need to move the discussion.)

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You got it. That is why I won't respond here ;) If you wish to get a perspective on it, send me a PM.

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It has 4 basic problems. The main one is that it is connecting Camden and Trenton, which are as you suggest, via the garden scape of such gems as Palmyra, Riverside, Willingboro, Burlington, and Bordentown (the only town I can think of on the line thats even remotely nice). Its second problem is that to use it to go to Philly, you have to get off the train in Camden at Walter Rand, or go way the heck out of your way heading to Trenton.

 

Its third problem is that the fare is so low, you can't argue the fare is too high, yet its farebox recovery is under 10%, which precludes any and all further investment in the thing.

 

Finally, service ends at 9:30, making it risky for commuting into New York City, and useless for excursions into NYC. It is so useless, though I live on the line- walking distance - I haven't rode it in years, and when I am heading into NYC, I park at Hamilton.

 

My point is that transit lines CAN produce TOD and urban revitalization. It has to be reasonably quick, frequent, properly priced, reliable, and operate a sufficiently appropriate number of hours. If you can justify the investment, it seems to help if it runs on steel rails. But it also has to go from a given place A to a given place B that has at some attraction on the line.

 

It doesn't work if you just connect one dead industrial city with another dead industrial city through a riverscape of superfund sites. (I live surrounded by one of them, which is how I got my house so cheap.)

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It has 4 basic problems. The main one is that it is connecting Camden and Trenton, which are as you suggest, via the garden scape of such gems as Palmyra, Riverside, Willingboro, Burlington, and Bordentown (the only town I can think of on the line thats even remotely nice). Its second problem is that to use it to go to Philly, you have to get off the train in Camden at Walter Rand, or go way the heck out of your way heading to Trenton.

 

Its third problem is that the fare is so low, you can't argue the fare is too high, yet its farebox recovery is under 10%, which precludes any and all further investment in the thing.

 

Finally, service ends at 9:30, making it risky for commuting into New York City, and useless for excursions into NYC. It is so useless, though I live on the line- walking distance - I haven't rode it in years, and when I am heading into NYC, I park at Hamilton.

 

My point is that transit lines CAN produce TOD and urban revitalization. It has to be reasonably quick, frequent, properly priced, reliable, and operate a sufficiently appropriate number of hours. If you can justify the investment, it seems to help if it runs on steel rails. But it also has to go from a given place A to a given place B that has at some attraction on the line.

 

It doesn't work if you just connect one dead industrial city with another dead industrial city through a riverscape of superfund sites. (I live surrounded by one of them, which is how I got my house so cheap.)

 

This

 

Also, it helps if you serve locations that produce high ridership.

 

One of the new lines in New Orleans serves the Superdome. The first line in Houston served a hosital complex and two major university sites.

 

Many light rail lines that are built on the cheap utilize abandoned railroads. Of course that's much cheaper than building from scratch. But typically they thus serve only the type of place that you would find along an abandoned railroad.

 

In other words, build on the cheap and you will get something cheap. Get some proper funding and build something proper and the results will show.

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I think the thinking is that if you put in fast and frequent high capacity corridors, that those corridors will atract development and high denisty residential and commercial developments will estbalish themsleves around the stations. Thus in addition to serving structures that are already there (which is very difficult iof they are spread out) you are also catalyzing future development which will be more transit frienldy.

 

 

Government doesn't get it. You buy up the vacant land or buy options on it in secret around where you are going to put up the stations and pay for the transit with the profits when selling/leasing the land. Government announces where they are putting things then after everyone has bought up the land, they pay the inflated price for it. And if they do happen to own the land, the politicians make them change the location so their buddies make the profits. Brightline is probably buying the land nowaround their future stations on the way to Orlando or selling the information to local community insiders in exchange for certain rights, easements, or other considerations. [Cynicism off]

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the thinking is that if you put in fast and frequent high capacity corridors, [they] will attract ... high density residential and commercial developments ... around the stations. ... catalyzing future development which will be more transit friendly.

Government doesn't get it. You buy up the vacant land or buy options on it in secret around where you are going to put up the stations and pay for the transit with the profits when selling/leasing the land. Government announces where they are putting things then after everyone has bought up the land, they pay the inflated price for it. And if they do happen to own the land, the politicians make them change the location so their buddies make the profits. Brightline is probably buying the land now around their future stations on the way to Orlando or selling the information to local community insiders in exchange for certain rights, easements, or other considerations. [Cynicism off]

[Cynicism on] Story is told that plans were released for a new airport NE of Austin. Soon after, due to the end of the Cold War, the Defense Dept offered the surplus Bergstrom Air Force Base to the city of Austin. It had long concrete runways, hangers and other facilities, everything but a new terminal building. All conveniently located SE of Austin. The talk was that a number of insiders took a big loss on land they'd acquired NE of the city. Just sayin'.

Edited by WoodyinNYC

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True story Woody! It was mostly Politicians and the Wealthy movers and shakers in Austin and Texas that took a bath on the rumoured Manor Location for the new Austin Airport.

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The problem is that the LA area probably needs an insane amount of investment into its transit systems. What they have is nice, and the medium-term plans for more cross-connecting lines and the like are useful, but the area is so spread out that getting reasonable-frequency two-seat or three-seat rides between various locations is a very real problem (while having more than two transfers in a trip is going to weigh against using transit). The Bay Area is a bit better off (if only because development is awkwardly jammed into various corridors) but in the long run there's going to need to be much more expansion of the feeder networks in the LA area to really make CAHSR useful.

 

I think the thinking is that if you put in fast and frequent high capacity corridors, that those corridors will atract development and high denisty residential and commercial developments will estbalish themsleves around the stations. Thus in addition to serving structures that are already there (which is very difficult iof they are spread out) you are also catalyzing future development which will be more transit frienldy.

 

You can observe in places as diverse as New Orleans or Houston how a lot of stuff is being built or refurbished near light rail stops but a couple of block further away all is much more static. If you project a continuation of this develoment into the future, the percentage of people served by light rail will grow organically, even if you don't add further lines. But the adding of lines becomes necessary as the existing corridors run out of usable plots.

 

That's generally the idea, and very often it works (look at the DC Metro or the Vancouver Skytrain for examples). In the LA area, however, no small part of the problem is that there's only so much you can really hope to condense into some of these areas...and then you get into "around your ASCII to get to your elbow" situations where you have two parallel lines but no way to get between them [1], at least for a long time [2]. There's also the fact that unlike DC and some other cities, there's not a single "easy" downtown area to point to in the LA area on the (relative) scale of some other cities.

 

 

[1] In most cases, a high-frequency bus option would probably be the shorter-term winner, but that's probably not a permanent solution in many cases.

[2] e.g. the Sepulveda Pass project presently does have a connection to LAX coming...in 2059.

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Actual HSR test operations are closer than we think. On a just released schedule is shows the Authority in the next quarter will begin procurement of Track and System and Trainsets for initial engineering tests. First track installation in about 24 months. The first actual train on rail tests in about late 2022.

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The New York Times "teed-off" Today with a "not exactly" optimistic article on the state of CAHSR. In fact, with its biggest proponent, Gov. Brown, not standing for election, his successor - even the Democrat Lt. Gov - could well "cut losses" and scuttle the entire project:

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/30/us/california-high-speed-rail.html

 

Fair Use:

 

Mr. Brown's enthusiastic backing has been crucial to the projects advances. Gavin Newsom, the Democratic lieutenant governor and the leading contender to succeed Mr. Brown, has offered conflicting views of the project over the years; he has at times come close to opposing it outright, though in this campaign he has said he supported it, while expressing concern about costs and engineering challenges. By contrast, his Republican opponent, John Cox, has pledged unequivocally to abandon the project if elected

Edited by GBNorman

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Like I said in another post, if worst comes to worst, they will probably finish up the central valley portion and it becomes a very expensive but dedicated passenger rail line for the San Joaquin.

 

https://www.fresnobee.com/latest-news/article213920609.html

 

I do agree with the article. Get the central valley part finished and run trains on it wether it be the San Joaquin or HSR. The red/purple line was once considered a boondoggle and stopped but after years of use, people feelings change and now construction has begun on the west side extension. Even if the state purchases more Chargers Siemens railcars a la Brightline instead of ICE 3/TGV would be an improvement.

 

I know its a long shot, but even if they can get one train over the tehachapi loop and into LAUS would probably build lots of political capital towards finishing up the entire line. Maybe even with the diesel, get one or two over the Altamont Pass.

Edited by seat38a

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Like I said in another post, if worst comes to worst, they will probably finish up the central valley portion and it becomes a very expensive but dedicated passenger rail line for the San Joaquin.

 

https://www.fresnobee.com/latest-news/article213920609.html

 

I do agree with the article. Get the central valley part finished and run trains on it wether it be the San Joaquin or HSR. The red/purple line was once considered a boondoggle and stopped but after years of use, people feelings change and now construction has begun on the west side extension. Even if the state purchases more Chargers Siemens railcars a la Brightline instead of ICE 3/TGV would be an improvement.

 

I know its a long shot, but even if they can get one train over the tehachapi loop and into LAUS would probably build lots of political capital towards finishing up the entire line. Maybe even with the diesel, get one or two over the Altamont Pass.

Well, since the state is already about to wind up with a fleet of those anyway (thanks to the N-S contract being transferred) this would make a lot of sense. As to getting over Tehachapi, I agree...but then again, Lancaster-Bakersfield (in a pinch, LA-Lancaster could have been covered by converting one of the nine Metrolink trains on the route...either the 1345 or the 1817 would work here; if you can patch through to Via Princessa, you go from 9x/day to 15x/day to pick from) should probably always have been the first segment since that's the "big hole" in the system.

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