26 February 2012

Will BART Bust a Move?

The unfortunate reality of Bay Area transit politics is that twenty-eight agencies compete for funding and ridership with very limited coordination.   At the top of this pile is BART, the biggest of them all.  Not so much BART the transit operator, but BART the expansion-thirsty transit-industrial complex (functioning somewhat like the military-industrial complex), as facilitated by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC).  (photo at right by cplbasilisk, modified with permission)

With recent developments in the peninsula high-speed rail story, it's worth taking a step back and imagining BART / MTC's next moves in this slow-motion game of political chess, assuming for a moment the following motivations:
  • Expand as much as possible, constructing the most new infrastructure in the most corridors using the most consultant engineering and "craft hours" of construction labor
  • Soak up as much federal, state and local funding as possible
  • Take over high-ridership corridors, even at the expense of other agencies
  • Ring the San Francisco Bay with BART, as initially planned in the 1950s
The resulting exercise can either be viewed as a crackpot conspiracy theory, or as a simple thought experiment rooted in recent history.  Where MTC and BART have successfully assembled billions of dollars for the Millbrae/SFO and San Jose/Santa Clara extensions, Caltrain has repeatedly floundered: no downtown extension, no electrification, no Dumbarton rail, and the list goes on and on...  Supposing this historical pattern were to be sustained, what specifically would be BART's logical next moves?

Move #1: Drop Support For Pacheco HSR.

The long-running Pacheco-Altamont controversy over the Bay Area HSR alignment, still simmering in the courts, is driven on one hand by not-in-my-backyard sentiment in communities impacted by the Pacheco alignment (notably Palo Alto, Menlo Park, and Atherton) and on the other hand by transit activists who argue that the Altamont alignment makes far more technical sense to serve the immediate transportation needs of the Bay Area in a coordinated and sustainable way.

BART and MTC were firmly in the Pacheco camp because of the need to preserve for BART a key piece of rail right of way between Fremont and San Jose (the former Western Pacific line, purchased by VTA in 2002).  This right of way would almost certainly have been claimed by HSR under any reasonable Altamont scenario.  Worse, a blended HSR/commuter rail project could have undermined the very purpose and need for BART in that corridor.

Today, this concern has been overcome by events, and the BART extension to San Jose is a done deal.  Pacheco HSR no longer plays a role in defending this important BART turf, and thus may no longer garner the same level of support from BART and MTC as it once did.


View Larger Map

Move #2: Promote Altamont HSR with a BART Connection at Livermore.

The BART board recently approved a more detailed study of a future extension to Livermore, along I-580.  While this extension is a waste of money on its own merits (as are most BART extensions), and is still far from becoming reality, it could be sold as a key enabler for a phased implementation of HSR, especially under a budget-constrained environment.

Livermore as a BART-HSR transfer point has been considered before, if only discreetly, as part of the half-hearted "Altamont overlay" that the CHSRA has been studying in addition to the baseline Pacheco Pass alignment--always with the insistent disclaimer that the Altamont corridor serves a completely different "purpose and need" than the high-speed rail project.  Meanwhile, MTC suggested as recently as 2007 that HSR terminate at Livermore BART, absorbing all HSR ridership into BART (see comment L017-8).

As an interim phasing opportunity, Livermore BART would actually work quite well:
  • Earlier and quicker HSR service to downtown San Francisco and the greater Bay Area
  • Earlier and quicker HSR service to Sacramento (quicker than the Amtrak Capitols)
  • Cheaper construction with less tunneling to achieve "Bay-to-Basin" connectivity
The Livermore BART extension would be routed south along Vasco Rd. or Greenville Rd., past the Laboratory, to terminate just south of Livermore at a new BART/HSR interchange station on the outskirts of town.  This station would be located on an Altamont HSR alignment proposed by outside groups but studiously ignored by the CHSRA.  This Altamont HSR route is known as the SETEC alignment, after the French HSR consulting firm that performed the preliminary engineering.  The SETEC alignment is noteworthy in that it avoids major residential property impacts to Livermore and Pleasanton, one of the main arguments used by the CHSRA to select Pacheco in the environmental study process.

Here is a rough point-by-point comparison of Altamont/Livermore and Pacheco/Gilroy interim scenarios:




Altamont HSR to Livermore Pacheco HSR to Gilroy
HSR Trip Time, from Fresno


0:48 Fresno - Livermore0:39 Fresno - Gilroy
Continuing Trip to San Francisco  0:57 on BART

Livermore to Embarcadero
1:45 on Caltrain
Gilroy to SF (electrified)

Fresno - San Francisco CBD~ 2:00 (40 minutes quicker)
including transfers
~ 2:40
including transfers

Fresno - Oakland~ 1:50 (50 minutes quicker)~ 2:40

Fresno - San Jose ~ 1:50 (10 minutes slower)
assumes BART to SJ
~ 1:40
HSR Track Length 140 miles (25 miles more) 115 miles
Phase 2 HSR to Reach Sacramento

60 miles (50 miles less)110 miles
HSR Tunnel Length (interim)about 4 miles (6 miles less)about 10 miles


Using the money saved by tunneling only 4 miles to Livermore instead of 10 miles to Gilroy, the additional 25 miles of track to reach Livermore are easily paid for-- and then some, since 50 miles of track will already have been built to reach Sacramento, as opposed to zero for Pacheco.

Move #3: Dangle the Carrot of a PAMPA Subway.

The Palo Alto Weekly recently published an article headlined "Four-track design back on the table for high-speed rail," apparently implying that it was once off the table.  That seems to be the crux of a major disconnect between the city and the high-speed rail Authority.  The blended Caltrain / HSR plan, as proposed in recent months by Simitian-Eshoo-Gordon and currently being analyzed by Caltrain, was always viewed by the CHSRA as an intermediate phase, a stepping stone to the immutable objective of a four-track high-speed railroad through PAMPA (Palo Alto - Menlo Park - Atherton).  This viewpoint is borne out in the 2012 draft business plan.  Palo Alto, on the other hand, views the blended plan as a final state of the peninsula rail corridor for the foreseeable future, and believes that the four-track plan should no longer even appear in the program EIR.

BART's best move here is again to promote Altamont HSR.  For PAMPA, the advantages are thus:
  • No four-track HSR grade separations, ever
  • No additional right of way (a.k.a. eminent domain) needed, ever
  • No HSR traffic on top of commuter rail traffic (only 6 trains per hour per direction)
  • Future opportunity for a two-track BART subway, considerably cheaper to construct than a four-track high-speed corridor.  A two-track BART tunnel box is four to five times smaller, in cross-sectional area, than a four-track HSR tunnel box.  This makes it remotely feasible to have the cities participate in the financing of a subway, much as was done in Berkeley in the 1960s, to further enhance property values.
For BART itself, the main advantage of Altamont is of course to preserve the future possibility of ringing the bay by connecting Santa Clara BART to Millbrae BART.  The argument that BART can make in pleading this case is that all existing infrastructure north of Millbrae (i.e. fresh grade separations in San Bruno, and existing tunnels to San Francisco) would be dedicated exclusively to HSR, thus mitigating the astronomical cost of accommodating Caltrain detailed in the 2012 business plan.

As billions of dollars slowly coalesce for a possible blended HSR / Caltrain plan on the peninsula, time will become pressing for BART to bust a move.  If the motives that underlie the above narrative are remotely true, then any attempt to electrify the peninsula corridor shall be thwarted, just the same as it has been in past decades.

36 comments:

  1. Interesting. I know this is based on BART's top-dog status, but an Altamont route for HSR would make great sense combined with a Caltrain overlay shuttle from Redwood City to San Jose. SJ-bound passengers could thus transfer at Redwood City (to Caltrain) or Fremont (to BART).

    It seems like Jerry Brown and some of the new crowd at CHSRA are willing to cut through some of the bullsh*t. Hopefully that includes the huge pile left by Diridon and his ilk.

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    1. There's no need for a dedicated "shuttle" from Redwood City to San José. All you need to do is coordinate southbound CalTrain locals with northbound HSR at Redwood City (and vice versa). Actually, it makes sense to coordinate northbound CalTrain with Northbound HSR at RWC as well, but that might require a lot more tracks.

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  2. This is all fine and dandy Clem, but I feel there's an assumption that some type Dumbarton rail crossing (new bridge or tunnel) is secretly being planned. I haven't heard or read anything of the sort. As far as we know, any Altamont HSR alignment will stretch from Stockton to San Jose. Not really redundant with BART from Fremont to SJ because both systems would serve different purposes (one regional transit, the other intercity rail). As far as Caltrain between SJ-SF, blended/two-track seems reasonable for the foreseeable future, but complete grade separations have to be a must. Why on Earth grade separations apparently need to be avoided (especially in PAMPA) is beyond me. The system will serve future generations and will outlive the current crop of NIMBYS so against progress and modernization. Better to build the system right than placate the few.

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    1. "Not really redundant with BART from Fremont to SJ because both systems would serve different purposes (one regional transit, the other intercity rail)"

      Bizarre!

      That's like saying Hwy 680 can only serve sedans, not SUVs as well, so we need two parallel highways.

      Where do people get these crazy ideas?

      With at the very most 4 High Speed and 4 local trains each hour, with the High Speed Trains cruising at about the same top speed (not 200mph!) as local trains between Fremont and San Jose, there would have been no problem at all using the same tracks for two purposes ... and saving tens of billions of dollars.

      If BART to SJ happens, then everybody in the country owes it to him and herself to work as hard as possible to avoid wasting a huge pile of money on redundant HSR to SJ. If they want a pair of shiny rails from Fremont so badly in San Jose, and if they insist on wide gauge rails above and before everything else, then they can hop on the wide gauge train in Fremont and enjoy the 3 stop ride. Just like people going to Oakland or Berkeley or Walnut Creek or Daly City of the SF Mission district. Big deal. Suck it down. Ride the subway, just like in a real city.

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    2. 680 analogy very bad and has no relevance to this discussion. Besides, I'm talking about reality here, not opinion: current planning for Altamont HSR calls for Stockton to San Jose service AND BART to SJ. Its difficult to argue against reality my friend. By the way, based on your attempt at analogy, SF wouldn't even need direct HSR service because folks could simple transfer to SF -bound BART in Livermore, saving billions!

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    3. Adirondacker1280027 February, 2012 12:08

      What anonymous said. Or to put it another way, they'll already have rail service.
      If you are going to argue that it's California's third biggest city, well metro Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton is Pennsylvania's third largest metro area. They don't have any rail service at all. Or Cleveland-Columbus-Cincinnati. Or Albany-New York City. Albany-New York City makes a lot more sense than Fremont-San Jose. You get New York City Schenectady and NYC-Syracuse and NYC-Rochester and NYC-Buffalo and toss in NYC-Toronto as a bonus. Makes NYC-Montreal faster once they get around to building Albany-Montreal and Boston-Albany. Boston-Albany gets Springfield-Boston and Springfield-Albany and Hartford-Boston and Hartford-Albany and Hartford-Syracuse and Worcester-New Haven and... Fremont-San Jose gets you Fremont-San Jose a few minutes faster than the subway.

      SF wouldn't even need direct HSR service because folks could simple transfer to SF -bound BART in Livermore, saving billions!

      Then extend BART all the way to San Diego! There's going to be a big expensive bus terminal hovering over the train platforms in San Francisco. A block away there's two subways. Makes a lot more sense to drag the train to the bus terminal than to San Jose.

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    4. AD,
      again, the reality of what's being planned/built at this time, not our opinions of what should be built. That's all I'm saying. By the way, why always question direct HSR service to San Jose/Silicon Valley but never say anything about a connection to Frisco. I'm betting much more folks want to get from Central Valley to HP, Google, Yahoo, Cisco, eBay, Adobe, Apple, etc than some tourist in LA who wants to ride a cable car for the day.

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    5. This is all fine and dandy Clem, but I feel there's an assumption that some type Dumbarton rail crossing (new bridge or tunnel) is secretly being planned.

      No secret, there have been plans for over a decade to build a new commuter rail crossing south of the Dumbarton bridge, but funding has never materialized (BART probably ate it all). A quick glance at Google Maps will show the existing single track crossing complete with a permanently open swing bridge. It looks well beyond rebuilding, and any new crossing would need to be double tracked. The water is fairly shallow, the main problem is that there are still occasional cargo ship movements through there, requiring a high span, drawbridge, or tunnel.

      This would allow HSR through to SF, while avoiding Palo Alto and Atherton. It would still cut through Menlo Park, but the alignment could be carefully routed through the industrial and poorer sections of town into Redwood City, which the PAMPAs don't seem to much care about...

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    6. No business traveler headed for HP, Google, Yahoo, Cisco, eBay, Adobe, Apple is gonna want to transfer to BART, because BART will never have stations within walking distance of these companies. Instead they will want to rent a car at the HSR station and drive. If that HSR station is too far away from their destination, they will fly to SJC instead. San Jose needs a HSR station under any viable HSR plan.

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    7. (Okay, I'll give you Adobe. But that's it. Everything else is too sprawly.)

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    8. Some real world objective data per MTC.

      Inter-regional business travelers into the SF Bay Area (don't worry about the units, they're relative):
      680: 4
      Far North Bay: 1
      Fremont:: 1
      North Bay: 7
      Oakland/Berkeley:5
      Peninsula: 6
      SF: 25
      SJ/SC 5
      Tri-Valley: 3
      Other: 1
      Total: 58

      SJ/SC is peanuts, and in no possible way could ever justify a dedicated line, either through Fremont or through Los Banos. (A shared line through Fremont, maybe, but they blew that off. Screw them.) 10% of the regional total. BFD! Maybe it might justify a $50m spend, but no way could anybody justify the multiple billions that SJ demands for its HSR ghost stop.

      Moreover, there is nothing in "downtown" SJ other than Adobe. Fremont and Redwood City (Fremont+Peninsula+SC beats SJ) are as close or closer to the action. (Look at a map, people. Look at aerials.) Cars can be rented in places other than Diridon Intergalactic. And not only will "downtown" have its own Big City Subway, but it's chock-full of empty parking lots and crossed by a pile of elevated freeways. I'm sure the eleven annual Adobe visitors who'll be taking HSR from Fresno will be able to find their way from some other station, somehow or other.


      In case you're interested, the much larger "non-business" inter-regional numbers are far worse for the Capital of Silicon Valley:
      680; 23
      Far East Bay: 27
      SJ/SC: 28
      SF: 121
      North Bay: 46
      Oakland/Berkeley: 36
      [some other peanuts we won't bother with]
      Total: 346


      It would make more sense to build a dedicated tourist HSR line to Napa for than for business to SJ!

      SJ/SC (remembering that SC is easy to get to from either Redwood or Fremont) is less than 8% of the inter-regional travel total.
      Oakland/Berkeley spanks it with over 10%.
      The 7x7 miles of SF? 36%


      Get real. The business travel need to greater SJ is as more imaginary than real, and the demand to "downtown" is completely fictitious.


      Look at the numbers before forming opinions.

      NB: for years I thought SJ was some sort of deal: not a big deal, but non-negligable. I mean I had to go there for business sometimes, so that must indicate something, right? Wrong.
      I advocated SJ-Tracy as the very first state-wide HSR section, consistently, for a decade.
      But then I looked at the numbers... Oh man. What a total waste. Forget it. It's a basket case.

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    9. Marc said "No secret, there have been plans for over a decade to build a new commuter rail crossing south of the Dumbarton bridge, but funding has never materialized (BART probably ate it all)."

      Indeed, the Warm Springs BART project took Regional Measure 2 (bridge toll) money that had been planned for Dumbarton Rail. http://www.bart.gov/about/projects/wsx/

      In theory, RM2 money was supposed to "fund various transportation projects within the region that have been determined to reduce congestion or to make improvements to travel in the toll bridge corridors". http://www.mtc.ca.gov/funding/RM2/index.htm

      I'm as surprised as anybody to learn that a BART extension from central Fremont to southern Fremont is in a toll bridge corridor. But this does illustrate Clem's opening assumptions.

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    10. It's kinda hard to make any sense of your "real-world objective data" when you don't provide any units or definitions or link to a reference source.

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    11. Dear Jon,

      Do your own damned homework.

      For just once in you life.

      I've never once seen anything form you but random fact-free assertions and reflexive contradictions based on nothing more than your typing ability.

      Love,
      Richard

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    12. Check out Figure 3 of this document for a better overview of Bay Area employment. Admittedly, employment density does not directly correlate to inter-regional business travel, but two things jump out at me from this map:

      1) A lot of medium-density employment exists in north San Jose, Sunnyvale and Santa Clara
      2) HSR stations at Fremont and Redwood City would not effectively serve these areas
      3) Silicon Valley BART will not go near these areas, so relying on a transfer to BART at Fremont would not work either
      4) The planned Altamont HSR overlay (see page 18) would serve north San Jose much better than Silicon Valley BART, both for commuters and inter-regional travelers, who would transfer at Fremont HSR station (Altamont scenario) or San Jose HSR station (Pacheco scenario.)

      Therefore, my fact-based opinion is:

      1) For either Pacheco or Altamont scenarios, an upgraded commuter service through north San Jose is highly desirable
      2) If you are going to use Altamont for the HSR mainline, it is worth the extra investment to extend HSR and commuter service from Fremont to downtown San Jose, via north San Jose
      3) Silicon Valley BART is not required and will not achieve high ridership, but I don't believe in making transportation decisions out of spite- just because Silicon Valley BART is a waste of money it doesn't mean that San Jose should get no more transportation investment ever again.

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    13. I'm not asking for you to do my homework. I'm asking for a basic level of integrity in what you write, so that other people reading your comments can check your assertions. A basic level of civility would be nice as well.

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    14. @ Jon: that's not research, and there aren't any data. What you linked to is a cartoon.

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    15. Any data for actual workers, vs suit wearing business folk (ie people actually commuting on the highway)? By the way, ever see the traffic flowing into SJ/SC via 580, 680,880? Enough said.

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    16. Fremont ponders future of Warm Springs [BART]

      FREMONT -- It's not often you get the chance to decide the future of a half-empty swath of land the size of downtown San Francisco.

      For Fremont officials, that opportunity comes as they plot a development strategy for an 850-acre industrial area in the south of the city that includes the Tesla factory and the future Warm Springs BART Station, which is scheduled to open in 2015.

      [...]

      Dutra and Councilman Bill Harrison said the residential development likely will need to happen first to kick-start the area.

      "The BART station is going to open in a few years, and they (BART passengers) are going to get off and they're going to see an underutilized commercial building, some empty warehouses and empty fields," Harrison said. "I don't think that exactly says, 'Welcome to Silicon Valley.' "

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    17. If the SF Giants a$$hole ownership group is successful at keeping the A's out of San Jose, they could always build a ballpark at Warm Springs with easy access to BART.

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    18. Way to justify a billion dollar subway line to a dead car factory.
      81 baseball games per year.
      Go go go Silicon Valley A's.

      PS You're welcome to stage the America's Cup there also. Please. PLEASE.

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  3. I'm curious whence the supposed BART "take over the world" mantra derives. My limited experience talking to BART planners has been one of low moral in the organization, which makes sense given that they had to cut the 15 minute off-peak service right after they implemented it, along with the other recession related problems. Also, the BART extensions, though often unpopular with transit groups, are practical long-term investments that took decades to achieve. Why shouldn't BART usefully go to SFO and San Jose or reach sprawl in the Tri Valley that was caused long ago by bad car and freeway subsidies? The ridership seems solid now, and we don't have an alternative mode in the East Bay to do the job. BART has now correctly moved to an infill strategy--I expect to see new lines within Oakland, San Francisco, and a second tube discussed rather than looping the bay.

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    1. You're right that it isn't BART-the-agency-that-runs trains that is the problem. Train Operations people loathe the extensions with a passion, because they mean they can't do a good job. Most people, even at BART, prefer doing a good job to doing a bad job when they go to work every day.

      What's killing the region is that BART-the-funding-conduit is a closed shop. The same small cabal of companies that conceived and promoted the system in the 1950s have been feasting on sole source, non compete, politically juiced contracts ever since. Same guys every time, including the San Jose extension. (Operations hates this turkey way more than anything that's been forced down their throats before, but nobody can say anything. Ask us on the QT next time you're visiting the BARTplex.)

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    2. In case it's not obvious why BART operations people hate extensions: it's because extensions take operating resources away from where they're actually needed the most, which is in the core of the system. Transbay is obviously the biggest market, but intra-SF and inner East Bay markets also have pretty high ridership, whereas the outer ends of the lines have pretty empty trains, especially off peak. Because of the way the BART system is laid out, there always a tension between having enough frequency to adequately serve the core, but not wasting too much money on hauling air around at the outer ends of the lines. Extensions to Millbrae and San Jose add a second complicating factor, namely outside agencies funding the operations, which makes for conflicting goals of them wanting to save money by running shorter trains, since there's not much ridership on their section of the line, whereas BART wants to run longer trains to adequately serve the core, since the same train runs all the way through. Perhaps this can be fixed to some extent with more strategically placed turnbacks, but to some extent this tension is inherent in BART's design as a hybrid of commuter rail and urban metro. It may even be inherent to some extent in the whole S-Bahn concept, as the Berlin S-Bahn also suffers from this to some extent, though higher service levels and less branching make it less of a problem than on BART.

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    3. By reaching out to the Tri-Valley to serve sprawl, BART is enabling existing and further sprawl. If it took decades to achieve that level of sprawl, and if we all come to the table with the understanding that sprawl is bad, why should we be building infrastructure to maintain it? If it's not sustainable, why try as hard as we can to sustain it?

      If right now people think "I can live in Livermore and drive to BART in Dublin/Pleasanton and get to my job in the city in x amount of time," then building BART to Livermore, shortening that commute to x-10 minutes (theoretically; I don't know or care how long, exactly, this commute is), then what's to stop people from saying "I've saved 10 minutes! Now I can live 10 minutes outside of Livermore!"? You're just extending the commute shed.

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  4. If this is going to happen, the most pressing issue to resolve is the Irvington BART station, which as planned is just half a mile south of the logical location of a Fremont HSR station, where the SETEC alignment crosses the BART tracks. This station will likely be under construction in the next couple of years.

    Other issues include- How will you get across the bay at Dumbarton? Will there be a separate HSR alignment from Fremont to SJ, or will SJ (like Oakland) be accessible only by BART? How will you build 4 tracks (2 BART + 2 HSR) through downtown San Mateo? If BART builds from Santa Clara to Palo Alto as Phase 1 of ring-the-bay, how will Caltrain continue to operate, when their CEMOF is located near Santa Clara?

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  5. The Dumbarton rail idea is far from idea, the Alameda County Transportation Commission has included first phase funding for in a proposed sales tax measure for this fall. It's never made very much sense as a commuter rail corridor running a proposed 6 trains a day, but it might have a purpose if High Speed Rail went across it.

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  6. My wife found a couple of dead birds on the front door step today. I am going to assume it was the neighborhood cat...

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  7. By the way Clem, when are you going to change the intro to your blog? "Reconstruction of the railroad that runs BETWEEN SAN JOSE and San Francisco" sounds more accurate than what is currently stated. Respectfully.

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  8. Not going to happen. BART is concentrated on San Jose and the East Bay, not the Peninsula. If, and only if San Mateo county joined BART could this happen. But this would include having additional taxes with less local control, all of which is not really liked in San Mateo County. Moreover, the staggering cost of building BART from Millbrae to Santa Clara would not be accepted, despite the price tag of updating Caltrain. Therefore, in the short-term, don't expect BART down the peninsula. In the mid-term, it is less probable that BART would be expanded down the Peninsula. In the long-term, perhaps 30 years from now when population densities are much higher, it still probably won't happen given the lack of space and even higher cost of building a system like BART.

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    1. I wouldn't be so sure. There is nothing staggering about the cost of BART from Millbrae to Santa Clara, compared to what is now being proposed for the peninsula. Remember they've got something like $5 billion in the HSR business plan attributable solely to keeping Caltrain around. I agree that BART wouldn't happen right away, and that the only thing we would see in the short term is a "brick wall" preventing Caltrain modernization.

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    2. That would be the brick wall that has successfully prevented Caltrain modernization for the last 30 years.

      No need for any new construction. It's solidly built, and should last another couple decades, easily.

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    3. Clem, how do you get to that $5bn without including blatant bat-shit like spending almost a billion to preserve a $100mn station?
      Citing that CSHRA figure, after you yourself have pointed out the absurdity of it, is dishonest.

      Didn't you want to have an _adult_ conversation about BART?

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    4. Don't get me wrong. I'm using their numbers for a reason, because they lead to a certain outcome (BART + HSR) that I do not support. I am a strong advocate of a blended Caltrain / HSR solution, but I can still try to imagine the thought process of parties who might not share this view. Again, this is a thought experiment, not a manifesto.

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  9. Hey, thanks Clem! You Da man! FWIW, I personally would have no problem with BART running up the peninsula between SJ/SC and Millbrae, even becoming a (gulp) subway through PAMPA. At the same time however, I'd want to see HSR serve both SJ and SF via Altamont (a Y in Fremont). But again, I don't see any official planning for this, so I can't harp on it to much. For now, the reality is Pacheco Pass, BART to SJ, and fully blended HSR/Caltrain on the peninsula.

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  10. Seems like a lot of moving parts in this where any one part going awry leave BART doing a face plant rather than getting the applause of the crowd.

    Why wouldn't BART, in pursuit of its own interests, prefer a Eastbay BART/HSR intermodal to be along the Sacramento HSR corridor ~ say, Tracy ~ supplanting rather than supporting the BART-competing Altamont commuter overlay?

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