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Old November 4th, 2011, 06:30 AM   #281
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Originally Posted by bayviews View Post
Retail lags at Pleasant Hill-Contra Costa Centre BART transit village
Lisa P White. Oakland Tribune. Oakland, Calif.: Oct 8, 2011.

Developers recently jump-started a long-delayed plan to build a $100 million transit village at the Walnut Creek BART station. The project includes up to 600 luxury apartments and 22,000 square feet of retail and commercial space.


Jose Carlos Fajardo/Staff
I think these plans fall short -- especially under present economic conditions -- with their emphasis on luxury apartments. People in the market for this type of housing will also have the means of choosing more desirable locations in less far-flung parts of the Bay Area. Transit villages don't have to be little oases of upscale goodness to be attractive and financially viable.
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Old November 4th, 2011, 07:09 AM   #282
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I think these plans fall short -- especially under present economic conditions -- with their emphasis on luxury apartments. People in the market for this type of housing will also have the means of choosing more desirable locations in less far-flung parts of the Bay Area. Transit villages don't have to be little oases of upscale goodness to be attractive and financially viable.
True, the economy & housing market has taken a beating since the original plans, which tend to take about a decade from initial plan to implementation.

However, as for Walnut Creek, you won't find many places in the BA that can match it when it comes to desirability!
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Old November 8th, 2011, 04:43 AM   #283
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CITIES HOPING AIR, WATER CAN MIX EAST BAY LOOKS TO HOVERCRAFT FOR FERRY SERVICE; Transit agency looking at hovercraft as option to carry passengers to S.F.
Contra Costa Times. Walnut Creek, Calif.: Nov 2, 2011.

Copyright Bay Area News Nov 2, 2011

By Tom Lochner and Paul Burgarino

Staff writers

Air-cushioned hovercraft vessels, long popular in Europe but little used in the United States, could be the answer for a trio of East Bay cities that long have sought ferry service to San Francisco.

Although a number of bureaucratic, political and physical hurdles remain, the Bay Area's water transit agency is exploring whether hovercraft are a viable option for ferrying passengers from Hercules, Martinez and Antioch, among other cities.

The vessels are appealing for several reasons: They are touted as more fuel-efficient than traditional catamaran ferries and as fast as the most advanced catamarans. Hovercraft also can navigate in shallow waters, even onto beaches and landing platforms, allowing them to reach areas that catamarans can't and respond to emergencies and provide service to cities saddled with shallow shorelines. Hovercraft travel on a cushion of air created by downward-thrusting air jets, while propellers mounted above deck provide forward propulsion.

Technological advances also have reduced concerns about noise and comfort that plagued hovercraft when they were introduced in Europe decades ago.

But to establish themselves in the Bay Area, hovercraft need to overcome a fundamental presumption shared by mariners and watercraft builders alike -- including a leading hovercraft manufacturer.

"As a general rule, if you can make all the connections you need using a (conventional) boat, without going around extended areas of shallow water -- use a boat," said Richard Box, a former hovercraft pilot and hovercraft operations consultant for Griffon Hoverwork Ltd. of Southampton, U.K.

Hercules sees hovercraft as the panacea for a shoreline of mud flats -- extending more than a half-mile into San Pablo Bay -- that would require costly dredging for traditional ferry service. Martinez also could require dredging, and Antioch looks to the speed of hovercraft to get passengers quickly to San Francisco, although experts, including some hovercraft specialists, say newer models of ferry catamarans match hovercraft's speed.

Antioch's and Martinez's interest in an idea fueled primarily by Hercules' lack of docking facilities addresses one crucial concern of the San Francisco Bay Area Water Emergency Transportation Authority -- that a "radical change" to hovercraft be justified over multiple routes.

It would require incorporating San Francisco into a baywide hovercraft system -- a daunting prospect at an Embarcadero terminal already busy with surrounding heavy marine traffic, and where space would need to be set aside for a hovercraft landing ramp.

Michael Bernick, a lawyer who has worked on the idea as a consultant for the East Bay cities, says a recent feasibility study completed by the water transportation authority shows the potential of hovercraft in the Bay Area.

"My own view is that it's doable," said Bernick, a former BART board member. "There are legitimate questions, but I think they can be addressed."

Questions include creating a separate or hybrid maintenance facility for hovercraft and conventional ferries and a docking facility in San Francisco. A memo written earlier this year by transportation authority officials acknowledged that hovercraft "would require wholly different operations practices and materials, as well as different docking facilities and maintenance berths."

But state Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord, agrees that those challenges could be overcome.

"After seeing the study, hovercraft seems like a very feasible option," said DeSaulnier, who heads the Senate's transportation committee.

Bernick says the cost of operating hovercraft would be similar to traditional ferry vessels, and he noted that they would offer advantages in responding to emergency situations, an integral part of the transportation authority's mandate.

"The (transportation authority) board has been very open to the idea of a system with both (types of) vehicles," Bernick said.

The hovercraft's emergency capabilities, along with ecological advantages, make it an attractive prospect for the Bay Area, agreed Keith Whittemore, president of Seattle-based Kvichak Marine Industries, which built a hovercraft used in Alaska and the newest catamaran ferries in the Bay Area.

"From an emergency standpoint, you can pick people up from a downed bridge or a downed airplane and drive them onto a beach," he said.

Whittemore also noted that hovercraft are more fuel-efficient than catamarans at high speed but generally come with higher maintenance costs.

Unlike other existing or planned Bay Area ferry stops under the jurisdiction of the transportation authority, Hercules has no deep-water dock, nor any deep water where it could build one, that could accommodate conventional, deeper-draft boats -- a predicament apparently largely overlooked when the agency's predecessor, the Water Transit Authority, put together its expansion list starting in the early 2000s.

Dredging a deep-water harbor in Hercules for conventional ferries would cost "upwards of $17 million" initially and about $3 million in maintenance dredging every two to three years thereafter, according to the June 2 transportation authority memo.

"For Hercules, that makes a hovercraft financially more viable," Whittemore said.

Nevertheless, he says landing hovercraft at the San Francisco Embarcadero is fraught with challenges.

"You've got winds, tides, traffic -- that would not be a simple thing. That needs to be very carefully studied."

Hovercraft also could save Martinez dredging costs, Mayor Rob Schroder said.

The city's shoreline requires dredging on a regular basis, he said. Consultants from the transportation authority are studying the depth of the waters along the Martinez shoreline to locate a possible ferry terminal site. One of the potential locations is an old fishing pier, which likely would not require dredging.

The April feasibility study commissioned by the transportation authority estimated that travel time between Antioch and San Francisco could be cut to a little more an hour -- or about 30 minutes faster than traditional ferries used in the bay.

"That time reduction makes (the hovercraft) pretty competitive and a lot more appealing," Antioch Councilman Gary Agopian said.

But experts say technological advances in conventional watercraft have largely nullified hovercraft's erstwhile speed advantage.

The newest high-speed ferry from Vallejo to San Francisco, put in service in 2004, has a service speed of 34 knots fully loaded and a maximum speed of 38 knots, according to the website of Baylink, the route operator. By comparison, hovercraft envisioned for that crossing would travel at 40 to 45 knots, according to the feasibility study.

Hovercraft's greater susceptibility to headwinds could reduce any speed advantage, said John Sindzinski, the transportation authority's planning and development manager.

One possible obstacle to popular acceptance of hovercraft in the Bay Area, Sindzinski said, is the notion that they are noisy.

Paul Edwards, Griffon's director of business development, traces that perception to a previous generation of hovercraft that used noisy turbines for propulsion. Those craft have been largely phased out, he said.

Advancements have also allowed for a smoother ride. A Kvichak-built hovercraft ferry based on a Griffon design connects King Cove on the Alaska Peninsula to an airport eight miles across a bay, weather permitting.

"I was on it when the wind was 35 knots, and I stood the whole time," King Cove Mayor Henry Mack said. "You can walk around."

For local leaders, the choice is simple. They want whatever vessel will at last make ferry service a reality for their cities.

"We're going to favor which ever option gets service to Martinez faster," Schroder said. "At the same time, Martinez will work together with Hercules and Antioch to find the best option for the region."
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Old November 10th, 2011, 10:24 PM   #284
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Flying cats more consumptive than hovercrafts? Then what about hydrofoils? Moreover, the Bay area's really hilly, I can't see much shallow water, plus it's not like dredging would be problematic ...
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Last edited by trainrover; November 11th, 2011 at 06:08 PM. Reason: more consumptive, not less (I muddle my negatives and positives)
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Old November 12th, 2011, 07:14 AM   #285
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Flying cats more consumptive than hovercrafts? Then what about hydrofoils? Moreover, the Bay area's really hilly, I can't see much shallow water, plus it's not like dredging would be problematic ...
Despite the fact that the Bay Area's really hilly, The Bay itself isn't all that deep. Though you some really deep areas near the Golden Gate, the average depth of the bay is just 4 feet. So a hovercraft would be ideal for the large sections of shallows we have out here.
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Old November 12th, 2011, 07:24 AM   #286
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Despite the fact that the Bay Area's really hilly, The Bay itself isn't all that deep. Though you some really deep areas near the Golden Gate, the average depth of the bay is just 4 feet. So a hovercraft would be ideal for the large sections of shallows we have out here.
So I can walk from one side of the Bay to the other?
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Old November 12th, 2011, 07:47 AM   #287
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So I can walk from one side of the Bay to the other?
No, there's shipping channels that've been dredged out in the past to better connect communities around the bay in the days before the bridges crossed the bay. Wading and swimming across in a shallow south bay segment would be plausible, though because the bay is really cold, I wouldn't recommend it.
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Old November 12th, 2011, 06:25 PM   #288
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a hovercraft would be ideal
Not only would the machine consume more fuel but the tranquility'd be screwed for miles around ... that article's merely babbling.
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Old November 13th, 2011, 05:10 AM   #289
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Not only would the machine consume more fuel but the tranquility'd be screwed for miles around ... that article's merely babbling.
Did I mention that the Bay itself is actually quite wide for a good chunk of it's length?
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Old November 13th, 2011, 05:19 AM   #290
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So I can walk from one side of the Bay to the other?

I suppose so long as your at least five foot tall. I think you'd want to have a least a foot above the water line.

But I wouldn't recommended it. You never know. Your legs might become a tasty meal for one of those hungry seal lions, if not a shark!
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Old November 13th, 2011, 08:45 AM   #291
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I suppose so long as your at least five foot tall. I think you'd want to have a least a foot above the water line.

But I wouldn't recommended it. You never know. Your legs might become a tasty meal for one of those hungry seal lions, if not a shark!
I'm 6'2 ....hmmm I wasn't aware that Sea lions attack ppl or that there were sharks in the bay...
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Old November 13th, 2011, 09:02 AM   #292
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I'm 6'2 ....hmmm I wasn't aware that Sea lions attack ppl or that there were sharks in the bay...
You probably right.

But why take any chances?

I'd rather just take the Hovercraft!
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Old November 13th, 2011, 09:51 PM   #293
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Did I mention that the Bay itself is actually quite wide for a good chunk of it's length?
Maybe just to those who needn't be uprighted.
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Old November 16th, 2011, 08:52 AM   #294
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Muni quickly scraps 25-cent transfer fee

Rachel Gordon, John Cote. San Francisco Chronicle. San Francisco, Calif.: Nov 15, 2011.
(C) San Francisco Chronicle 2011

Faced with projected deficits of $34 million next year and nearly $46 million the year after that, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency commissioners said Monday that all revenue options must be explored.

"Everything now has to be on the table," said Bruce Oka, who serves on the governing board.

Well, almost everything. Commissioners moved quickly to scrap the idea to charge Muni riders 25 cents for transfers, saying it would run counter to the setup of the city's transit system that takes into account the need for some people to ride two or more lines to reach their destination.

Other than that, the agency's governing board gave the executive team approval to explore a host of other revenue options, including extending parking meter operations to Sundays and into the night in commercial districts where street parking is scarce; raising parking citations by $3; charging Muni riders 25 cents to pay a cash fare instead of using the Clipper fare card; and making more money off of taxi medallions.

Other ideas call for charging businesses an annual $1,000 fee for each parking space in courtesy lots; raising the cost of monthly Muni Fast Passes to keep pace with inflation; imposing a $200-a-year parcel tax on local property owners; and making drivers who use disabled placards pay for metered parking. Some proposals would require voter approval or an OK from the state Legislature to proceed.

Agency staff will spend the next few months analyzing the potential benefits and shortcomings of the various moneymaking options and whittle the list for consideration by the board of directors early next year. The board is set to vote on a new two-year budget in April.

Board member Joel Ramos said the budget going forward needs to better reflect the city's Transit First policy, which discourages the use of the private automobile and promotes transit, walking, biking, car sharing and taxis. "It's time we let go of subsidizing parking and driving," he said.

He and others said San Francisco has to get serious about finding sustainable revenue sources to make Muni more reliable. What the board isn't eager to do, said member Leona Bridges, is to "nickel and dime" people to death. Instead, she and several colleagues said they would prefer higher-impact solutions, if feasible.

Their comments came during a special session Monday that included extended briefings on the upcoming budget cycle and the agency's draft strategic plan.

Transportation chief Ed Reiskin also revealed a proposed "vision" for the agency, in effect, a new motto. "San Francisco: great city, excellent transportation choices." Maybe Muni should stencil that on T-shirts to sell around town for extra income.

- Rachel Gordon
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Old November 24th, 2011, 01:01 AM   #295
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Regional Update:

Transportation projects to be judged on benefits vs. costs; IN BROADER MEASURE OF PROJECT BENEFITS, MTC GIVES HIGH RATINGS TO BART, SOUTH BAY SMART HIGHWAYS

Gary Richards. San Jose Mercury News. San Jose, Calif.: Nov 21, 2011. pg. B.1
Copyright Bay Area News Nov 21, 2011

No longer is a speedier commute the primary way to assess the benefits of 90 of the most expensive transportation projects being considered in the Bay Area over the next 25 years.

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission is looking at factors often ignored when assessing whether it is financially worthwhile to pay millions to widen highways and expand trains. Road fatalities and injuries, emissions reductions, the cost of owning and operating a car and even the health effects of physical inactivity are being considered in the Project Performance Assessment study now under way.

The MTC allocates state and federal funds to the nine Bay Area counties, and without that money some projects rated highly by local agencies could be scrapped -- among them light-rail extensions in Santa Clara County, more Caltrain service to San Francisco, and a BART link to Livermore.

Money will be scarce. More than $180 billion worth of projects is on the wish list in the Bay Area through 2035, while $70 billion may be available.

"Talk to any business person about not having a benefits-vs.-cost discussion and they'll say, 'Duh, you mean you don't do that?'" said the commission's executive director, Steve Heminger. "They insist on it, but in the transportation profession it is not all that common. ... This levels the playing field."

Transit and toll lanes rise to the top of the financial benefits for every $1 it will cost to build, operate and maintain a project.

"This is groundbreaking analysis that could call into question some of the biggest transportation projects," said Stuart Cohen of TransForm, an Oakland-based public transportation advocacy group. "For projects that have a score under 1, or lead to greenhouse gas increases, it will -- and should -- bring on intense scrutiny."

BART's plan to run express trains and more frequent trains is the highest rated project, with a $60 to $1 benefit/cost ratio.

Next is a project many may have never heard about -- Treasure Island congestion pricing, at $59 in benefits per $1 in costs.

This would impose a toll of around $5 per trip on all private vehicles registered to Treasure Island residents that enter or exit the island during morning or afternoon commute times. Revenues from the toll, along with the required purchase of transit passes by new residents, would be used to fund Treasure Island transit improvements, including bus service and new ferry service connecting the island to the Ferry Building in San Francisco.

Running express buses through Oakland on the Grand-MacArthur street corridor came in next at $18 to $1. Maximizing the efficiency of the existing freeway network in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties through ramp metering, traffic signal improvements along adjacent roads and transit signal priority upgrades had benefits of $16 to $1.

Anything over $7 to $1 in benefits is considered a high-performing project, while those with a $1 to $1 ratio or less are rated poorly.

The BART-to-San Jose extension through the downtown area had $5 in benefits to $1 in costs.

"We've recognized that as a region, we don't have the resources to build every transportation project that we'd like to build, and scarcity requires us to adopt a more principled approach to prioritizing projects based on needs and objectives, rather than on logrolling and backroom politicking," said Sam Liccardo, a San Jose council member and MTC commissioner. "I wasn't terribly surprised by the results.

"The cost-benefit analysis confirmed what the voters of Santa Clara County have long believed: The benefits of BART to Silicon Valley heavily outweigh its considerable costs, and it performs extremely well on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and transportation costs."

But at risk are light rail and express buses through the South Bay, the Dumbarton commuter train from the East Bay to the Peninsula, and extending BART to Livermore. All had a benefit/cost ratio of $1 or less.

"One of the clear losers in the assessment was light rail in Santa Clara County," Cohen said. "Most of the potential extensions would go through low-density areas and would have low ridership.

"But the most hideous loser is BART to Livermore. This $4.2 million boondoggle shows almost no benefit," said Cohen, "and it would suck up billions needed to keep BART from falling to pieces."

The report will be presented to the MTC board next month and voted on early next year.
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Old November 24th, 2011, 07:44 AM   #296
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I suppose so long as your at least five foot tall. I think you'd want to have a least a foot above the water line.

But I wouldn't recommended it. You never know. Your legs might become a tasty meal for one of those hungry seal lions, if not a shark!
Hahahhah Good one
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Old November 24th, 2011, 07:46 AM   #297
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I'm 6'2 ....hmmm I wasn't aware that Sea lions attack ppl or that there were sharks in the bay...
There are plenty of them and you never know if they are interesting on you or not.
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Old November 24th, 2011, 07:11 PM   #298
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Well, I wonder if it be a matter of west-coast ones, coz that sort always ducked (along this coastline):


clickable...
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Old November 29th, 2011, 06:37 AM   #299
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The museum of SF-cablecars:

[IMG]http://i52.************/rhq0i9.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i55.************/20santk.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i53.************/n6roua.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i51.************/5as16p.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i54.************/2v96hbr.jpg[/IMG]


Getting back on track, lets review some of the transit pics!
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Old November 30th, 2011, 02:40 AM   #300
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Impressive and charming
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