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Archive for July, 2018

Normally I avoid these kinds of apples-oranges comparisons, but it is hard not to benchmark California against Morocco for HSR projects. Both California and Morocco started their respective projects in 2008. While California is stuck doing property acquisitions and environmental studies, it is full-steam ahead in Morocco:

Morocco will debut its first high-speed train by the end of this year. Testing has started on the French-made double-decker train cars that will reach speeds of 320km/h. The trains will carry passengers from the northern city of Tangier to Casablanca and cut travel time by half. Funded by governments in Morocco, France, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates, the project costs $2 billion.

According to ONCF, tests occurred on several kilometers of the new line with gradual increases in speed, and it was determined that the line is suitable for traffic at 320 kilometers per hour. In May, the test train reached a speed of 357 km/h linking the cities of Tangier and Kenitra, so it is expected to connect the two cities in only 90 minutes.

The Morocco project is 220 miles, similar distance as an initial operating segment in California. Morocco is also upgrading a conventional line to 140 mph.

oncf

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The City of Berkeley Zoning Board has turned down an infill housing project near the Ashby BART station, in order to preserve a gas station:

It had no residential car parking, but 48 bicycle parking spots and six commercial spaces for a planned ground-floor café. The site is less than a half-mile from the Ashby BART station.The application statement said in part: “3000 Shattuck will provide an essential combination of pricing affordability, an amenity-rich neighborhood, and easy access to public transit — key considerations for the modern workforce renter.”

“This is a way to actually get it built and provide the city with close to a million dollars into the affordable trust [affordable housing fund]. That’s the choice. Or the city can continue to have a gas station.”

It is worth noting that the South Shattuck Plan specifically calls for pedestrian-scale mixed infill development on underdeveloped lots. So once again the city doesn’t follow its adopted plans.

gas_station

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