04 September 2011

Development Oriented Transit, Again

Protecting the peninsula rail corridor right of way from crowding or outright encroachment, whether by private developers or other agencies, has evidently not been a high priority for Caltrain.  Examples abound: a movie theater built right next to the tracks in San Mateo, a "Transit Village" planned right next to the corridor in San Carlos, a Millbrae station that constricts the number of tracks.  All of these examples complicate the task of outfitting the corridor for high-speed rail service, and may add tens to hundreds of millions of dollars to the cost of doing so.

Here we go again!

Depot Circle, a large residential/commercial development authorized by Redwood City's recently updated Downtown Precise Plan, threatens to encroach on a vital piece of station real estate in Redwood City.  The city recently released a Request for Qualifications that outlines the project and describes its role as a future focal point for Redwood City's downtown.

Here's the problem: the railroad right of way is only 60 feet wide in this area, but the station is nearly certain to be expanded to four tracks with two island platforms to accommodate the following likely operational scenarios:
  • the mid-peninsula high-speed rail stop, since neither Palo Alto nor Mountain View seem likely to welcome a station, and also because Redwood City has the best freeway access of all three corridor locations under consideration;
  • Dumbarton commuter service, long planned but unlikely to be left with sufficient track capacity to continue beyond Redwood City under a constrained "blended" Caltrain + HSR plan--thus forcing passengers to transfer at Redwood City, hopefully across a common platform;
  • a mid-line overtake location, where Caltrain express trains could exchange passengers with Caltrain local trains, across a common platform.  One of the most promising mid-line overtake scenarios now being considered under Caltrain's corridor capacity analysis assumes that four tracks would be built right through the Redwood City station.
The Depot Circle RFQ asks prospective developers to address the rail corridor issue only tangentially, without offering specific design constraints: "Describe your strategy for dealing with the potential widening of the Caltrain railroad to accommodate High Speed Rail. In particular, explain how far, if at all, would you set the project structures from the current railroad, and any other site design strategies that might be employed to minimize effects of a potential future widening of the railroad."  What are developers supposed to know about railroads?

Here are some specific constraints, which are based on detailed HSR technical requirements and Caltrain engineering standards:
  • A four-track elevated station with two island platforms will be at least 125 feet wide (if built as narrow as possible), more than 200 feet wide (if built to the CHSRA's elephantine station design standards), and over a quarter mile long.
  • A four-track underground station, however unlikely to be built because of the astronomical price tag, would need even more space to accommodate temporary shoo-fly tracks during construction (30 feet), space outboard of the trench walls for construction equipment movement (15-20 feet each side), as well as clearance for trench wall tie-backs that can't interfere with nearby building foundations.
  • Even if the station were moved north or south from its current location, away from Depot Circle, the tracks would still need to spread apart gradually (in conformance with the track alignment standards) and would occupy a wide swath well before and after the station itself.
The upshot of all this: including reasonable building setback clearances, a prospective developer should make an allowance of at least 150 feet for the future expansion of the rail corridor.  A 150-foot corridor is shown overlaid on the Depot Circle parcel map in the graphic at left (see also overlay on original map, 1.1 MB PDF), and takes a significant bite out of the parcels now offered for development--including the project's namesake traffic circle.

If Redwood City wants to become what Palo Alto could have been, it's time for the city, Caltrain, and developers to make the station itself the focus of downtown, provide it with enough land, and build it to be as architecturally striking as the elevated Amsterdam Bijlmer Arena station.  If there isn't enough vision to do that, please just avoid hemming in the rail corridor.


  1. The plan I recall hearing from a few years ago was to move the station to the north side of Broadway, and build a four track elevated station. Unfortunately I don't recall where I saw this plan or what ever happened to it. Also, I think the last attempt that Redwood City made at this redevelopment involved them giving some land to the developer for free, with the developer then taking out a mortgage on it, paying themselves handsomely, and going bankrupt without building anything. So I'm not sure how much of an actual threat any of this really is.

  2. If you dig into the development regs for this "transit village," you find that it's not even that transit-oriented – it has parking minimums (.pdf) of 0.75 spot per studio, 1 spot per 1BR, and 1.5 spots for each 2+BR. They also have maximums, but these are so high that it's hard to see them impacting developers at all – obviously nobody's going to want to build 1BRs with more than two friggin' parking spaces!

    They also force developers to hide the parking or bury it, which will make it look nicer, but will also make the parking more expensive (a lot more expnsive if they end up burying it).

  3. It doesn't matter (except trivially) whether the station platforms are located (as they very probably should be) north of Broadway.

    To align tracks to carry trains alongside those platforms, for track serving anything faster than streetcars, requires a considerable and only very slowly tapering width either side of the station itself. And then there's the fact that such a station wouldn't be symmetrical around the centre of the 60 foot narrows behind the Safeway anyway, which means more space to sweep curves in.

  4. Clem writes:

    "the mid-peninsula high-speed rail stop, since neither Palo Alto nor Mountain View seem likely to welcome a station, and also because Redwood City has the best freeway access of all three corridor locations under consideration;"

    I don't know how you came to the conclusion Redwood city has the best freeway access, but the fact of the matter is none of these stations has good freeway access.

    Why don't you just say they all have lousy freeway access?

  5. A Clean Sheet Design:
    When asked to completely rebuild a system a designer should not consider a warmed over version of what currently exists especially when competition, passenger travel patterns and expectations, and especially possible practical technical innovations have moved far beyond the conditions that gave rise to the present system. For example if the entire San Francisco to San Jose Line is completely grade separated running many short driverless trains per hour would be affordable throughout the day even if total ridership only doubled. (Note: A Vancouver, B.C. driverless commuter train, called the Sky Train, covers all its operating costs from fares.) Therefore the maximum number of passengers at any given time would be low. Since automatically run trains must have platform-edge screens separating passengers from moving trains almost the entire platform width would be available for passage. Center platforms could be quite narrow. A FSSF track configuration with a narrow constant width center space between the local tracks, permitting 17 foot platforms, may be affordable and would certainly permit easy future infill station additions and allow for gap train storage on a center track between stations.
    We live in an era where most future tickets will be bought on-line or at TVMs distributed along the platform length. Wheeled travel bags and $50 airline baggage handling fees are training the current generation not to use any station center baggage handling service. If traffic grows beyond current capacity longer trains at longer platforms with a corresponding increase in entrances are the solution. Using current train separation standards with dwell times approaching close-up times doubling train length will produce approximately an 85% increase in train boarding capacity. Also stretching stations along the line is likely enable a shorter walk to their destinations for most passengers. Finally long and narrow stations have a greater chance to confine their expansion to present Caltrain property limits.
    Instead of worrying about whether Redwood City can accommodate a CHSR station let’s improve Caltrain service sufficiently so that a 3,000 car parking lot for CHSR riders at Palo's University Station is not necessary. BART’s most heavily used outlying stations close to large Universities such as Downtown Berkeley (11,738) and Balboa Park (11,334) have no BART sponsored parking listed. A large parking lot at a frequently served Woodside Road Station (at least every 10 minutes) for a fast Palo Alto connection would work better for freeway users than driving to Downtown Palo Alto during the rush-hour.

  6. @Morris: the least lousy freeway access. Try it sometime.

  7. John Bacon writes:

    "Instead of worrying about whether Redwood City can accommodate a CHSR station let’s improve Caltrain service sufficiently so that a 3,000 car parking lot for CHSR riders at Palo's University Station is not necessary."

    Well the Simitian/Eshoo/Gorden "blended" plan for HSR plus CalTrain, allows for at most 6 CalTrain trains plus 3 or 4 HSR trains per hour during rush hour. Right now, CalTrain, is providing, at least to many stations, poor service and to some, presently, no service at all.

    That plan is brain dead; another plan conceived by politicians. We have yet to see any kind of timetable as Clem as pointed out, yet full speed ahead by the politicians trying to gear up support.

    Certainly all of the promised better commuter service promised by CalTrain to be delivered when they get electrified would be lost by having to accommodate HSR on the corridor in the blended plan.

  8. Developers Vying for Depot Circle Space
    Twenty-five developers have put in a request for qualification to the city.

    (note: the article includes Clem's diagram showing pink swath representing 4-track station footprint across Depot Circle drawing)

  9. Redwood City seeks developers to build 'last great downtown on the Peninsula'

    Proposals should include an "urban landmark" on the Depot Circle lot that would include "an elegant traffic circle, in the tradition of Paris and Washington, D.C.," along with some sort of monument to help create "a grand and welcoming entrance to Redwood City," according to the city's request.

    "The project should take advantage of its prime location by placing a mix of uses on the site that will result in a surge of additional pedestrian activity in downtown and will bring new amenities to the area," the request states. "The project will almost certainly include the tallest structures in the vicinity and should therefore fit well into the existing architectural context of Downtown Redwood City."

  10. A grand and welcoming entrance? We're doomed.

  11. The "better service" Caltrain promised with electrification was in fact 6 tph. If they can fit that and 4 tph of HSR through the corridor, then that should be good enough to last a while, especially since HSR might not even need all those schedule slots, leaving more for Caltrain. Electrification would allow for better service by reducing the time it takes to make a stop, allowing Caltrain to run more trains with more stops without sacrificing end to end runtime. Ideally, there'd be two trains per hour at every stop on the Peninsula under the new timetable.

  12. Electrifying and upgrading only the present Caltrain tracks in order to use 110 mph 25 kw/metric ton, level-boarding EMU’s, applying a 307E-9 wind constant, and a 0.1% rolling resistance while determining power limited acceleration phase time and distance calculations with a 27 sec average dwell time with a 3.33% schedule pad produces a 70 sec delay due to a stop estimate. The basic equations used for power limited acceleration are Pt = (m/a)v2 where the power available for acceleration (P) is attenuated by rolling and air resistance according to P = Po(1 − (.001v + 307E-7v3)mg). Separated by a four-aspect 2,000 feet block length signal system, and a 2.2 ft/sec2 safety brake standard 6 hsr and 12 Caltrain runs per hour could be accommodated without interfering with each other’s maximum performance. However an all stop local not interfering with the other 17 trains per hour could not be scheduled as is the case for the present Caltrain rush-hour service – a major undesirable limitation.

  13. Having to mix commuter service and high-speed service can either be viewed as a "major undesirable limitation" or simply as reality.

    Your analytical calculations are nice, but you might consider our service pattern generator which is built on a more sophisticated treatment (numerical integration) of the equations of motion of several common train types. If you can show us a workable schedule, then we might begin having a useful conversation... anything short of that is just mathematical pedantry.

  14. John Bacon, Nice analysis, what kind of stopping patterns are you using for the 12 Caltrains per hour?
    What stopping patterns are you using for the 6 HSR trains per hour?
    Is an all-stop local in the mix of 18 trains/hour?
    Will there be any overtakes?
    Will Caltrain reach 110 mph before having to slow down for the next stop?
    The current Caltrain schedule does have significant service gaps in a number of station pairs.

    Clem, the service pattern generator is a bit unwieldy for a novice such as me, although I consider myself well versed on Caltrain schedules, as I have been studying/analyzing them and the ridership for the last 25+ years.

    Why do you call the Baby Bullet service patterns “bizarre?”

    The current schedule has many drawbacks, however it may be the best they can come up with considering the draconian design of the current system, (single doors with high steps, low platforms, turn of the century operating practices, etc.)

  15. Adirondacker1280011 September, 2011 15:29

    Will Caltrain reach 110 mph before having to slow down for the next stop?

    That depends on the stopping pattern. The sweet spot for local service is top speed of around 70.

  16. What would it take to stop any more encroachment of the Caltrain ROW?

    There should be an ordinance/law passed to prevent ANY loss of the existing Caltrain ROW. Unfortunately it is unlikely that any peninsula politicians would spearhead such a measure, as they have succumbed the small number, but vocal, Nimbi’s here on the Peninsula.

    As Clem points out, there have been a number of instances where Caltrain has given away parts of the ROW, San Mateo, Millbrae, Redwood City, and they have talked about TOD in San Carlos also. Prior to Sequoia Station there was more room at the Redwood City Station. Now this ‘Depot Circle’ threatens to take even more valuable ROW from the corridor, further constraining Caltrain/HSR expansion. There must be a stop put to this lunacy. Who can help…? Quentin Kopp… any other pro HSR politicians?

  17. "Why do you call the Baby Bullet service patterns 'bizarre?'"

    Because they're skip-stop, instead of a simple schedule in which all BB trains make all BB stops.

  18. Clem: I presented only the basic building blocks, basic equations, for determining power-limited range acceleration performance without specifying a solution method so that for those not familiar or comfortable with the most convenient solution method, integral calculus, would not be dissuaded from using the most intuitive approach; a piecewise linear summation. Looping 35 times through a dozen calculator program steps, which requires about a minute to complete, will give the same answer to four significant digits as a near exact numerical integration for the same function that takes less than two seconds to perform. Either approach will work but a piecewise linear summation is the most intuitive approach and only requires a knowledge of arithmetic.
    My intent is to enable the reader to discover for himself which performance factors increase capacity or average speed the most and which have little effect. For example incorporating a high power to weight ratio in rolling stock can be expensive. Increasing that power/weight ratio by 50% from 20 kw/ton to 30kw/ton for a 110 mph cruising speed train will reduce the delay due to a stop by 8.4 seconds or 11%. Could resources spent for greater power instead achieve a greater run time reduction by implementing level boarding and flat panels in front of each train doorway stating where the train is going or which car is the least crowded? (Not considering dwell-time differences the stop delay change between a 5-car 5.0 kw/metric ton Caltrain and a 21.1 kw/metric ton BART train is 52 seconds. Extreme power to weight reductions plus a maximum acceleration rate reduction forced by long locomotive hauled trains will produce serious run time increases.) Using a fully grade separated right-of-way with passing tracks at every station at least a dozen per hour automatically driven trains throughout the day and evening could become affordable and not interfere with hsr runs. Under these conditions a planner could sensibly schedule at least 12 mostly express trains skipping half the stations between San Jose and 22nd Street. Thirteen minutes saved which is equivalent to a 25% run time reduction could be achieved using 25 kw/metric ton 110 mph express trains between these two points.
    A competent new rail car buyer is likely to aware of many choices as to mechanical power outputs, electric power inputs, probable maintenance costs etc which can be easily understood and checked by a layman with an 8th grade math education. I urge everyone to try arithmetic or numerical integration along with the convenience of an EXCEL spread sheet in order to check the performance numbers above.

  19. Jeff Carter: Considering a no passing without mutual interference 18 tph schedule. Using the assured braking rates and block signal arrangement for 110 mph running mentioned in my 9/10/2011 comment with the lead train running at a constant 110 mph this train separation scheme should accommodate one train per minute.
    Divide the 18 tph into groups of six every 20 minutes. A non-stop hsr plus a two intermediate stop hsr start one minute apart from Diridon, then two Caltrain expresses with more stops than any hsr, the final two trains 5 and 6 minutes after the first train and as little as 13 minutes in front of the next hsr should have no more than eleven stops each to cover all stops not served by the first two expresses plus most major stops. If No. 5 or 6 is late it could hold at Bayshore or Millbrae in order to avoid interfering with either following hsr.
    Adirondacker 12800: A 25 kw/metric ton EMU train should be able to accelerate to 110 mph and then brake to a stop in less than 1.7 miles (8,828 feet). Yes, peaking to 110 mph for the 1.7 distance between California and University Avenues would not be worth the power cost even with energy recovery from a dynamic braking system. But even for local runs the 4.1 mile stretch between So. San Francisco and Bayshore and the 3.3 mile segment between Bayshore and 22nd Street where Caltrain runs at or near their maximum load points 110 mph running should significantly speed-up service for most users.

  20. There does not exist any 30 kW/ton revenue train. There do exist 25 kW/ton trains, but very few, and all are high-speed; I don't know of any other than the Talgo 350/AVRIL and the N700-I. The mass-market regional trains have at best a little more than 20 short-term kW/ton (FLIRT), and the bilevels Caltrain wishes to run have at best a little less than 20 (KISS).

    If you want to see how a FLIRT performs, look on YouTube for videos of its acceleration profile, plot a time-speed diagram, and numerically integrate. The FLIRT loses 24 seconds accelerating from 0 to 160 km/h, a speed it takes 2 km to reach; it loses 13 seconds accelerating from 0 to 100.

    And there does not exist a signaling system that allows one-minute headways. There exist systems that allow 80-90 seconds, but only at the low speeds and with the loose schedule adherence of a metro, and all but one are driverless. (The one that isn't, the Moscow Metro, doesn't even have timetables.) There exist mainline signaling systems with two-minute headways, or at best a few seconds less; Clem is practically begging Caltrain to install one of them.

  21. Alon Said:

    "Why do you call the Baby Bullet service patterns 'bizarre?'"

    Because they're skip-stop, instead of a simple schedule in which all BB trains make all BB stops.


    One of the parameters of Baby Bullet was to make the SF-SJ trip in less than one hour. The first generation of BB trains accomplished this. There was a desire to provide BB service to additional stations, so Caltrain implemented the second generation of BB service serving a few different stations while still keeping the SF-SJ run time under an hour and then serving Tamien. Adding the additional stops to all BB’s would have increased the run time to over one hour, therefore downgrading the selling point of BB service. Not bizarre at all…

  22. Alon: the limiting factor in headways on Metro systems is dwell time at stations. If your trains never stop (as John Bacon is assuming), you can run them that much closer together. If you take the Moscow Metro headway of 90 seconds, and subtract a 30 second dwell time, you get 1 minute. The other thing you need is some slack in the timetable so that a slightly delayed train doesn't delay the train behind it and cause a cascade of delays down the whole line. By the way, who told you the Moscow Metro doesn't have a timetable? It most certainly does, but headway management is more important than exact adherence to the timetable (to within its precision of, I think, 5 seconds). As for its driverful status, I suspect that's because, until very recently, automated systems just weren't quite as good at stopping trains at exactly the right place as humans. If the less optimal algorithm used by the computer loses you 2 or 3 seconds per stop, that doesn't really affect anything... unless your headways are already bordering on the infeasible, as they are in Moscow, and saving those 2 or 3 seconds means an extra 1 tph.

  23. Adirondacker1280012 September, 2011 11:16

    The FLIRT loses 24 seconds accelerating from 0 to 160 km/h, a speed it takes 2 km to reach

    Which really pisses off the passengers expecting to board or alight at the station 2 km away.... pesky passengers...

    And there does not exist a signaling system that allows one-minute headways.

    Not a concern if you are running your trains inside a graphing calculator. A place where they never break down, where nothing ever falls on the tracks, passengers never delay it at the station etc.

    If your trains never stop (as John Bacon is assuming), you can run them that much closer together.

    If you don't mind them colliding once in a while. Pesky real life trains stop unexpectedly now and then. Very very rarely they stop abruptly unexpectedly.

    And those pesky passenger expect them to stop now and then, At stations close to their origins and destinations. Without sloshing their coffee while accelerating or decelerating.

  24. Arcady: the highest frequency on a nonstop non-metro track that I know of is 32 tph in the combined RER B/D tunnel, and that's at fairly low speed. Not having any stops doesn't let you cut headways all that much (the RER A peaks at 30 tph), since moving the switches consumes a few seconds and requires more schedule precision than simple headway management.

    At higher speed, you can still squeeze good frequency out of very good signaling. Switzerland famously runs trains at 110-second headways at 200 km/h using ETCS 2. But Richard tells me it's not an actual 32 tph frequency, but just two 7-minute periods per hour with 4 trains each, and the low headway is required by making connections elsewhere rather than by high frequency.

    I think I read that the Moscow Metro has no schedules on Wikipedia.

  25. Is the Peninsula simply full of crazy people?

    Apart from everything else mentioned, the developers think a TRAFFIC CIRCLE -- car mixing bowl -- is a "grand and welcoming entrance". I don't think you can get more obsessively car-fanatical than that, and they don't even notice it.

  26. re: the hyperbole regarding "traffic circle"- just more developer speak to sex things up. In the rest of the world, it's a place where you "pick up and drop off" people, kind of like how "railway station" is transformed into a "multi-modal transportation center" or "MMTC"- another acronym to add to your powerpoint presentation for an expert effect.

  27. Arcady and Adirondacker 12800: How could two people construe from a recent description of a close together series of trains leaving from multiple exit track station where each following train makes its first stop before its leader’s first stop implies they could never stop if you wished to maintain the no mutual interference stipulation? This interpretation is a non-sequitur; an inference that does not follow from the premises stated in my last comment. If the first hsr northbound from San Jose runs non-stop to San Francisco, the second hsr train’s first stop is Redwood City, the first Caltrain run’s first stop is Mountain View, the second Caltrain run’s first stop is Sunnyvale, the third Caltrain run’s first stop is Lawrence, and the fourth Caltrain run’s first stop is Santa Clara a single track can initially accommodate this series without any train delaying another. This scheme is definitely not a new concept. The Southern Pacific’s1957 zone express service out of San Francisco and at least seven commuter train routes leaving Chicago today exibit service patterns similar to what has been described above. Arcady: In the past you have written some particularly thoughtful articles on this and on your own blog posts. What is going on now? Is there something in the water up there?
    The 1996 TCRP Report 13 on Rail transit Capacity on page 172 lists the Newark Penn Station single track in each direction minimum operated headway as 1.0 minute and the Manhattan Bridge duel track in each direction line’s minimum headway as 0.5 minute. The same TCRP Report on page 149 says: “Dr. Vukan R. Vuchic’s 1981 text: Urban Public Transit Systems and Technology calculates that BART’s way capacity is 185 trains per hour”. This is not correct. Using the highest throughput position detection system, moving block, and allowing 5 seconds for a diverging switch to be realigned and verified to be locked plus one second deceleration rate transition delay time only 108 ten car BART trains per hour at 80 mph could be operated within BART’s current separation standards through the Trans-Bay Tube. Of course in order to obtain maximum service improvement from such a high trans-bay throughput diverging tracks must be installed before any station at either end.

  28. A conservatively designed block signal system requires the lead train to be protected from a following train by at least two red signals one block length apart. A four aspect system 110 mph system allows a following train to proceed at full speed until it approaches a flashing yellow signal. At that point it must assume a deceleration rate sufficient to enable the train to approach the following signal at 90 mph. If the second signal is a constant yellow indication the second train is obliged to continue braking at rate sufficient to reduce speed to 63mph when approaching the next signal. Beyond the first red signal the following train is obliged to stop well before the second red signal.
    Since 1947 till the present time there has been a four aspect 4,360 ft per block 110 mph signal system on what is now called the BNSF line between Chicago and Aurora. Using the total braking distance (S), velocity (v), and braking rate (b) the relation S = (1/2b)v2 gives the required braking rate in order to stop within three blocks from 110 mph as 0.99 ft/sec2. Considering the sum of train length (L) plus minimum safety distance (s) plus four blocks divided by 110 mph = 161 ft/sec) allows a 117 sec plus 4 seconds reaction time yields a 120 second headway. This low required braking rate makes sense for an era when long locomotive hauled trains with a slow long train air brake reaction time and friction brakes prone to lockup were endemic. (I once observed 5 engines hauling a 22 cars some of them heavy-weight rolling at 110 mph past the midpoint of this line.)
    Future peninsula rolling stock would probably consist entirely of EMUs with electronically initiated dynamic brakes governed by an anti-lock brake rate control system. The rapid equal between cars braking rate increase that electronically initiated braking action can provide, the inherent reluctance for dynamic brake to completely lock up, and the ability of anti-lock brake systems to prevent wheel tangential velocity from differing significantly from the rail car’s track speed can assure that the rail-wheel couple maintains a rolling coefficient of friction.(Note: Rolling friction can support a higher braking rate than sliding friction). These modern brake system improvements are particularly important when attempting to maintain a reasonably high assured braking rate in spite of potential leaves plus oil mixed with water track surface contamination. BART’s 2.2 feet/sec2 track exposed to rain water safety brake rate standard up to 80 mph might be reasonable even if extended to 110 mph. A four aspect 2,070 foot per block 110 mph signal system would require an average 2.10 foot/sec2 average braking rate across 3 blocks. The time required to travel across four 2,070 foot blocks plus a train length plus minimum separation distance (L + s = 1280 feet) would be 59.26 seconds. Allowing 0.74 seconds delay for a braking rate increase would permit a 60.0 second headway.

  29. The 1996 TCRP Report 13 on Rail transit Capacity on page 172 lists the Newark Penn Station single track in each direction minimum operated headway as 1.0 minute and the Manhattan Bridge duel track in each direction line’s minimum headway as 0.5 minute.

    The minimum headway on any part of New York City Transit is 2 minutes.

    You're still punting on the fact that a mainline rail system with the headway you propose doesn't exist - and not for lack of places that need the capacity.

  30. Today, 9/19/11 the shortest headway I found on the New York City Subway website was 2 minutes in the 60th Street East River Tunnel with a pair of tracks for the N, Q, and R lines running at 6 minute intervals for each line. The Manhattan Bridge carries the B, D, N, and Q lines at 6 minutes per line intervals on two pairs of tracks This results in a 3 minute headway per track. A 2003 version of The Tracks of the New York Subway by Peter Dougherty shows only the Manhattan Bridges southern pair of tracks active with only the Q line. The same publication shows tracks and switches, and stations in place on both the Brooklyn and Manhattan ends of the Manhattan Bridge that would allow three independent station track pairs to funnel traffic over the Manhattan Bridge. The New York subway system has been able to achieve an average 55 second close-up period for most of their stations. Adding a 45 second average dwell period would result in an average 67 second headway on the four track Manhattan Bridge. The 1996 TCRP #13 report data could possibly have been taken when more traffic was directed over the Manhattan Bridge than today’s schedule indicates.

  31. We'd love to hear your thoughts on Zócalo's latest piece on California's proposed high-speed rail system, "Why Not Blow $9 Billion on a Cool Train?"


  32. Adirondacker1280020 September, 2011 13:49

    The minimum headway on any part of New York City Transit is 2 minutes.

    And there's many things to consider when crossing the bridges besides headways.


  33. The piece on Zocalo is bullshit from a historian who doesn't know what he's talking about. The lack of references is one tipoff; the fact that the references he has are on record as being biased is worse. Notably he hasn't actually got the numbers right. CAHSRBlog shredded it already.

  34. RWC Council Candidates' forum (all but McCarthy are incumbents):

    Here's the part about transit, Caltrain & HSR:

    How do we improve the rail and bus systems?

    Pierce: You've got to have more transit with more ridership. Strategic investments, where to have what kinds of services. Smaller businesses is where much of the employment is.

    I think the other things we can do, with the downtown plan, is people close to the rail line. The Baby Bullet [on Caltrain] has drawn people to work here. Commuting from SF to RWC, thanks to the baby bullet. Working with the transit agency to keep that. Should High Speed Rail come, it should be positive. Also working with alternate on Dumbarton rail to get people from Eastbay to downtown is key.

    Aguirre: We can't ask for more services if we don't have the ridership. We do have other services like shuttles and ferries to look at too. Transportation, when I think of it, I think of all the options we have.

    What we can do the water ways? If we don't have ridership, it is tough to make it a wise investment.

    Bain: We have two shuttles that we operate. I was a skeptic at first. But I came around. I support electrification of Caltrain. I hope it can be combined with HSR. I support it if it doesn't further divide our community. The train tracks are a barrier in town. The elevated structure would do more harm than good. I don't want to pay for the same thing twice.

    McCarthy: Caltrain is a huge asset for us. Building the city around the Sequoia transit hub is a great idea. I know we don't have control over the agencies, but we can influence how they run. When they created baby bullet, SF is now a very simple place to go. Its a matter of time, not distance. That's why we rely on our cars. When transit proves itself more efficient, I think it will blossom here. Electrification makes it cleaner, more efficient. I support Caltrain, and support development around the transit center.

    Foust: Samtrans runs busses, and JPA that runs trains through the that counties. We work collaboratively with our partners. We are a self-help county when it comes to transit. We've joined with the topic of HSR to see about how we can work together on the issues, such as saving Caltrain. Electrification can increase it, and a blended system is possible. If HSR comes, it stays in existing right of way. I love transportation ... it is very exciting.

  35. (continued from prior message)

    What is your opinion of High-Speed Rail through the Peninsula?

    Aguirre: I am so excited about the option of having HSR on the peninsula. I like electrification. What a great way to move up and down the state without our cars. I think it would be the best option for us. I want RWC to be a major stop. I'm a proponent as far as looking at the existing Caltrain tracks, and not building HSR in isolation: the Simitian, Gordon, Eshoo effort. I don't want to divide communities. We want to bring a good thing to this community.

    Bain: I have mixed feelings. I voted for it, but the devil is in the details. Like how many tracks does it run on? I like it on 2 tracks, not 4. There's less emminent domain that way, and reduced costs.

    I'm in favor of HSR done right, but very skeptical about a station in RWC. Some want a midpeninsula stop, but Palo Alto and Menlo Park don't want it. With the costs and impacts of a station, I became increasingly concerned about the impact. There's a very, very, very high cost to parking spaces downtown.

    McCarthy: It is unsustainable. It will suck money from the state 'til it is shut down. If you are gonna get a train at 80-100 miles, you need an elevated track, and you don't know how many grade separations you will need. We had one on Jefferson a while ago.. Are we gonna do that up and down the Peninsula? I think if we electrify caltrain corridor, it will work very well. Boston-NYC works well. Great alternative with existing infrastructure.

    Foust: When HSRA came into being, they didn't realize how to run a project of this magnitude. There were probably 10 staffers. It's now changing its focus. If you go talk to airports, they don't like the short-haul flights. They clog the skies. Money is an issue.

    The business plan for HSR will come out Nov. 1, and it will allow the discussion to take place about how feasible it is. Caltrain has a 40% farebox recovery. No transit agency can pay for itself. We have to find a way. BART has a higher rate, for example. We have to get electrification and see if it can exist on a blended system with Caltrain.

    Pierce: I think having sat on airport roundtable, there are great impacts to short flights. Airports are excited about it. Especially with cost of fuel going up. We want to see the new biz plan. Thre is no one easy way to go up and down the Peninsula. We will have to work on the details. There's enough shared interest along the corridor. I know we'll put a lot of effort on that it comes to RWC, we'll pay a lot of attention on it.

  36. One opportunity that is being missed in RWC's proposal is requiring that the developers incorporate an underground space that could be converted into a train box in the future.

  37. Why should the RWC station be underground in the first place?

  38. Replies
    1. Your Mercury News link is dead. Here's three that were alive on 31 Dec. 2012 :
      "Hunter/Storm, Lowe vie for Redwood City project"  (BizJournals.com, 22 Dec. 2011)
      "Hunter/Storm beats out competition for Redwood City land"  (BizJournals.com, 25 May 2012)
      "Redwood City’s downtown seeing sunny days"  (BizJournals.com, 24 Aug. 2012)