Monday, May 4, 2009

Wee Hours Linkage

I'm kind of a night owl and its sometimes nice because the next days news comes out right before I go to bed. It's also bad because the next days news comes out right before I want to go to bed :)

Apparently the TA really likes BRT on Geary. Whatever. After riding the bus on the HOV/BRT lane from LAX to Union Station I realized why the rubber tires just don't cut it. I couldn't read the news on my Iphone without getting seriously ill. I feel bad for the people who will have to ride that bouncefest in from the Richmond every morning. Sure it will be a faster bouncefest, but a bouncefest nonetheless.

The next sick part though, the completely ridiculous cost estimate of $5 billion dollars for surface subway. If it really does cost $100 million a mile and it's a ~6.5 mile line with ~2 miles of subway, why the hell would 2 miles cost $4+ billion dollars???!!! And why does it cost $100 million a mile on the surface? It's not like the T-Third with drawbridge retrofits. Someone at the TA is a little too close to those medical hash dispensaries. Plz to have new engineers!!!

I guess it really doesn't matter. The Richmond is never going to get a Metro, BART or otherwise. I'm sorry guys, you've been deemed second class citizens to the TA and Muni. Well maybe third class, because everyone who rides Muni is already second class.
And we wonder why a ton of suburban roads get built?
The city of Charlotte has 75 percent of Mecklenburg's population, but only has 1 of 9 voting members on the MTC.
I think we need new engineers in the bay area. All these cost estimates are insane. The airport connector is just another example of it. If there is one place I would like to see intelligent design, it's here. And 80 foot buses? Come on Transform, you know thats not possible. The Orange line had to get special permission from Caltrans to run 65 footers, just five feet longer than the usual artics.
If Microsoft wants a light rail extension so bad, why can't they pay for it. It's thier own fault that they located so far away from the center of the region. Job sprawl has consequences, one of them being high capital cost for extensions. Papa Gates should foot the bill for this one.
Does the Peninsula want to pay for a tunnel? I'd be interested in seeing a poll on the issue of a tunnel. I wonder if the NIMBY's would get rejected for thier high cost plans.


arcady said...

It's a fairly well known fact that San Francisco is only 7 miles across. So their subway-surface option is an average of $700 million per mile. Which is absurd. It reminds me of the estimate inflation they used to keep rail off the Bay Bridge replacement span. For comparison: the Gold Line Eastside Extension in LA is 6 miles long including a 2 mile tunnel, a viaduct over a freeway, and a couple of bridge reconstructions, and cost $900 million. The Geary line would need more underground stations (4 or 5), and quite a few more surface stations, and you'd have to do something about the underpasses at Fillmore and Presidio/Masonic. But even double the cost would still be a whole lot less than their estimates.

Winston said...

The Oakland Airport Connector is just about the worst idea imaginable. Right now the AirBART buses are just as fast as the connector would be and actually make an operating profit. Why spend $500 million for a system that will cost users twice as much and be no faster. It seems a much better approach would to spend $50-60 million on queue jumping lanes that would make the bus service more reliable on the day before thanksgiving and spend a few bucks on better signage and nicer bus stops. These improvements would also make the AC Transit line that runs to the airport run better.

ChiefJoJo said...

In Charlotte, the MTC has weighted voting, so it's not a true 1 to 9 ratio. IIRC, if the city & county both agree, they only need one more entity to back their item and it passes.

Something like the city gets 3 votes and county 2 or 3, and all others get one. I'm surprised they didn't mention that in the article.

It is funny how the guy from N. Meck argues that it's an open & shut case for CR and not the pricier LRT. Well, not if you factor in land use impacts, ridership (~23k to ~6k) & the good chance that FTA will fund the Blue line extension. Twice the local cost might be money well spent.

Alon Levy said...

SF is more expensive than LA, though - I believe it also has more seismic issues. The comparison I keep using is subways in Manhattan, none of which seems to come in under $2 billion per mile.

Pantograph Trolleypole said...

It's not like LA doesn't have seismic issues as well. The 94 Northridge quake took out a whole freeway interchange.

So freakin expensive. Anyone want to dig with me on the weekends?

Anonymous said...

Stick the guys from San Quentin in the hole at Geary & Stockton, hand them shovels, and tell them they can go once they hit Van Ness. :)

Pedestrianist said...

Forget the guys from San Quentin. Stick the SFCTA members in that hole...

arcady said...

LA definitely has at least as many seismic issues as SF. Northridge is within the city limits, as is Sylmar, the epicenter of the 1970s quake. In NYC, the conditions are fairly unique for a few reasons, starting with the fact that they're drilling deep tunnels and stations through solid granite, and ending with the power of the local unions and construction industry. Also, the stations are by far the most expensive part of any subway.

Jay Heikes said...

In Charlotte's the MTC has no authority over where roads go. They more or less oversee CATS. The authority over roads rests within MUMPO or the CDOT. In my opnion the MTC is rahter usless, all they do is say yea or neigh on transit projects.

Even then, the majority of rads built are still within Charlotte itself. For example, 220 million Norhern section of 485 will be entirely in the city limits.

Matt Fisher said...

What makes them think BRT on Geary is a good idea and better than what would at least be LRT? Apparently, they think cheaper is always better. These estimates drive me so f**king insane!!!

I do stay up late a lot before I get my sleep. :)