Archive for July, 2021

Senator Chris Murphy is the author of various Buy-America bills over the past decade. It is one of his top priorities — and yet he can’t understand why HSR costs are so damn high:

This the same Senator who killed a plan by Amtrak to build a 30-mile bypass around the slow tracks along the Connecticut shoreline. The bypass would have reduced NY-Boston travel time by a remarkable 20%. Amtrak proposed building the route inland through open terrain, so as to keep construction costs low. However, the Senator demanded the route stick to the same curvy ROW where it will be very costly and complex to do any speed improvements.

If Senator Murphy wants to discover the reason US high-speed rail costs are so much higher, he can start by looking in the mirror.

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Some cities do infill-development. Then there is Waltham, MA — which used eminent domain to protect a parking lot:

The city is preparing to take a parking lot between the Boys & Girls Club and the library by eminent domain. The city council approved on Monday spending just under $1.4 million on a parking lot across the street from the Waltham Boys & Girls Club. Mayor Jeannette McCarthy is proposing to take the lot by eminent domain to keep as a municipal parking lot. Although there is a municipal garage within walking distance, the library and the Boys & Girls Club share street parking.

The 12,000 square foot property that fits about 40 parking spaces was listed for $1.4 million in February, according to Realtor.com, which mentioned that condominiums, singles, two families, commercial bays with offices above are allowed by right in that space.

Waltham also took a nearby property at 481 Main St, and will demolish the building there to make into yet another parking lot.

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The revised EIR for the SF-SJ segment has been published, although it hardly changed from the 2020 version. A few observations from both documents:

1. The existing 4th/King HSR station will get fare gates. Page 2-77 states: “The existing 4th and King Street Station would serve as the interim terminal station for the project until the DTX provides HSR access to the SFTC. Station improvements would include installing a booth for HSR ticketing and support services, adding HSR fare gates, and modifying existing tracks and platforms.”

2. Transfers between Caltrain and HSR at Millbrae will be done through the upper concourse. This is similar to the baldy designed transfer currently done between BART and Caltrain at Millbrae. There will be no cross-platform transfers between the express and local trains.

3. The upper concourse at Millbrae is extended all the way to El Camino Real, for no apparent reason. The southbound Caltrain is at-grade, and the west entrance is at-grade, but this diagram suggests these passengers will have to travel all the way up and down the concourse just to go from street to platform.

Click to enlarge

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