Blogging Bayport Alameda

August 8, 2008

I want to love you (P.R.T)

Filed under: Alameda, Alameda Point, Development, Election, Measure A, Transportation — Tags: — Lauren Do @ 7:19 am

Has everyone already been to the USS Hornet before?   If not, I would highly recommend it, it’s a pretty awesome and awe-inspiring site.  But, I was absolutely not prepared for the hike to actually get to the ship itself and how cold it was inside, but I digress and you all want to know what happened at the SunCal meeting last night right?

Where to begin, ah yes, how about my first impression as I walked in.   I was a little late, only 10 minutes or so but all 20 tables (of about 9 – 10 people) were packed with folks standing in the back as well and milling around the appetizer display.  Of course, no one can resist free food right?   The representative from SunCal was standing in front of a massive American flag and the first thought that popped through my head was, “did I walk into a political rally?”  In fact, when it was time for Peter Calthrope to take the stage he expressed similar thoughts about feeling as though he was launching his political career.   

So after Pat Keliher, VP of Operations for SunCal finished speaking he handed the microphone over the Peter Calthorpe who began his portion of the presentation which began with the goals of his design company and a reminder of what he tries to accomplish with each project he works on.  Then he began talking about the need for new development to be sustainable for the future, here is where he might have lost a couple of people that probably were not “with him” anyway from the start as the rest of the presentation was predicated on the notion that (1) you believe that there is a climate change crisis and (2) that it is the onus of everyone to do something to help stem the tide.   Of course, you could go into not buying into point one or two and still be a wee bit impressed with the numbers that were being presented. 

There were two options that Peter Calthorpe talked about in vague terms at first a Sun Cal plan A and plan B.   He used a traditional suburban development that would happen, say out in Tracy or Livermore as a baseline, then a Bay Area Infill development as comparison, then Plan A, and Plan B to show the savings in things like carbon emissions, vehicle miles traveled per household etc…  What was impressive was to see how, if SunCal is able to build what they want to build, how they have attempted to seriously reduce the environmental impact of this development for Alameda and regionally.

He then talks about the two plans in a little more detail, Plan A is the one they want to go for, but if they are able to offer a more comprehensive transit alternative, they will push toward Plan B.   He then presented the transit alternative they were looking at, PRT (Personal Rapid Transit).   Of course, he mentioned, that they were not completely committed to the idea, but rather that it would serve the purposes to offer another method of transit that would, ostensibly, also get folks on and off the island without having to use their cars.   So what is PRT, you may be asking, I’m glad you did, because thanks to the folks at Alameda Currents*, you can check out the video that was shown last night:

For those having visions of the Jetsons and visceral reactions that this is just too space age for us, remember that any development at Alameda Point is at least 15 years out and by then hopefully there will have been a lot more applications for transit technology to choose from.   And, the interesting thing is that this technology has been around since 1950 without any real world application.  But for a real live working example, you’ll have to head over to London’s Heathrow airport in a few years, as they are working on installing the PRT system for use.  A few questions you might have that I’ll try to answer, the PRT is an elevated system, so there will be no competition for street space.   It’s run on electricity, so no competition for precious gas.   The rail it runs on is apparently pretty inexpensive (inexpensive in terms of transportation systems) to install.

So that was the only major flashback to UWI I think folks had last night.

But down to the nitty gritty, there are two plans that are pretty much the same, only the Plan B would only be able to roll out IF SunCal can come up with an alternative tranportation solution like the PRT to get folks out of their cars and on to transportation.  Otherwise the two plans are pretty much the same.  Same acreage of open space, two school sites (one close to Encinal High school, so I think we could be seeing a long deserved high school makeover), same square footage of commercial space, etc…   The only difference is the density of the two plans.   But first, let me say, neither of the plans are Measure A compliant.

Yep, you read that right.

Neither of the plans offered by SunCal are Measure A compliant, which, if you believe the hard core Measure A supporters in town, would have sent folks off into a tizzy with fainting people left and right, but honestly, while there was some under the breath mumbling from some people, no one started screaming or yelling as one would expect.

In fact, a lot of the tables, with the exception of four (as reported by Stop Drop and Roll) were really supportive of the plans, and Plan B, the higher density one.  One of the four tables that didn’t like either plan, during the report out was a bit confused as to who was actually master developing the property, blaming it yet again on Catellus, even though the word “SunCal” was emblazoned on every single powerpoint slide and documentation in front of her.  

So bottom line, the big difference between Plan A and Plan B are:

  • Plan B would have a PRT or other transportation option
  • A solar powered generator thingie (okay so I didn’t write down what it was called, I’m doing this all from memory) that would pipe the heat generated from the solar power to heat the homes
  • Plan A would have 4000 units of housing
  • Plan B would have 6000 units of housing

What I liked about SunCal, they didn’t pussyfoot around the whole, let’s try out the PDC plan thing.   Apparently at the last meeting, the majority of folks did not like the PDC plan, so they scrapped it.  Right now for SunCal it’s go big or go home for them and a lot of this will hinge on whether they can get a Measure A exemption on the ballot (probably not for this November) and get 50% + 1 to say, this could work.  

I’ll probably talk more about the SunCal plans once they have some visuals up, but that’s all that rose to the top of my head this morning.

Speaking of elections, today is the last day to file for City Council, City Treasurer and City Auditor.  It looks like we may only have a four person race, unless someone pulls a miracle and pulls papers and manages to file in the next 8 hours.

_____________________________________

*”This video was made available by Alameda Currents – TV for Alameda, Produced by Alamedans.
View the full SunCal presentation next Thursday, August 14, 2008 7:30 p.m. on AP&T Channel 31 or www.tvalameda.com.”

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133 Comments

  1. So, assuming Measure A stays right where it is… why is Suncal wasting everyone’s time? Why isn’t there a Plan C?

    Comment by Jack B — August 8, 2008 @ 8:10 am

  2. Just a point of clairfication, a lot of the tables made very clear that as long as there was a “firewall” around the Point and the exemption would be for the Point alone would they consider a Measure A exemption for Alameda Point.

    Comment by Lauren Do — August 8, 2008 @ 8:22 am

  3. Comment by AlamedaNayTiff — August 8, 2008 @ 8:34 am

  4. Was the cost of the Pricey Reckless Toy discussed at all?

    Comment by dave — August 8, 2008 @ 8:56 am

  5. Well, I wouldn’t count on that. At various times, HOMES has suggested that Measure A be done away with completely, and I know people who have heard it from the lips of people at city hall. There will be wheeling and dealing on that score, you can count on it.

    Comment by E T — August 8, 2008 @ 8:57 am

  6. Everyone sings the monorail song…

    Comment by Jack B — August 8, 2008 @ 9:06 am

  7. Comment by AlamedaNayTiff — August 8, 2008 @ 9:23 am

  8. Remember Cybertran, the other wacky futuristic transportation gadget proposed for Alameda?

    http://www.cybertran.com/

    Check out the video on the Cybertran site.

    Comment by Avidor — August 8, 2008 @ 9:42 am

  9. E T, really, you heard it from a friend who heard it from a friend? C’mon. How is putting a plan on the ballot for voters going to be wheeled and dealed at City Hall. Enough with the conspiracy talk that is never backed up by anything other than soundbites from people in the community who’s track record on accuracy is dismal.

    Comment by Johnknoxwhite — August 8, 2008 @ 9:46 am

  10. They didn’t talk cost, but the BBC article has a price for the first rollout at Heathrow.

    Also, Cybertran was proposed by UWI, one of the development companies that pulled out early on in the process.

    Comment by Lauren Do — August 8, 2008 @ 9:47 am

  11. In case you didn’t notice, click on Avidor’s handle and you get http://www.roadkillbill.com/PRTisaJoke.html

    Comment by Jack B — August 8, 2008 @ 9:54 am

  12. And since we’re posting videos:

    and

    🙂

    Comment by Lauren Do — August 8, 2008 @ 10:04 am

  13. I’m not really into conspiracies and it’s nearly impossible to know anyone’s true motives. Better to be guided by expectations.

    Now, since PRT’s are complete b.s. (anyone want to argue this?) as an Alameda solution, am I the only one who is going to be extremely skeptical with anything else Suncal has to say?

    Why do they think we are such suckers?

    Comment by Jack B — August 8, 2008 @ 10:18 am

  14. This is intriguing but you can forget about it since our Transportation Commission is opposed to such things.

    Comment by Michael Rich — August 8, 2008 @ 10:24 am

  15. For more on Personal Rapid Transit in California, everyone’s welcome at our website: http://www.prtstrategies.com.

    Comment by PRT Strategies — August 8, 2008 @ 10:37 am

  16. PRTStrategies, let us know when you have some PRTRealities.

    Comment by Jack B — August 8, 2008 @ 10:48 am

  17. I’ve always thought that Alameda had a Disneyesque quality…

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-5008148320876934763&ei=FYucSOXQA5TWqwP6wMAs&q=monorail&hl=en

    Everyone sing along:

    “Eyes like cameras move their lenses
    Take this dream I offer you
    Johnny, riding on the monorail…”

    Comment by Susan — August 8, 2008 @ 11:19 am

  18. “talk that is never backed up by anything other than soundbites from people in the community who’s track record on accuracy is dismal.”

    That is your voter consitituency, young man. Remember that if you ever try to run for office.

    Wheeling and dealing, as I recall, led to the extra levels of the garage that make it taller than Twin Towers church, which it was never supposed to be. How can engineers get it that far wrong? Measurements are measurements; a centimeter is only a centimeter. They got it wrong by design, in other words.

    So, say what you will. There has been and continues to be a lot of “that was then; this is now–I don’t remember ever saying that…” talk.

    But, despite the fact that ours is a distracted society, there are people who can remember things correctly for longer than five minutes, and there are note takers, where personal memory might fail.

    And, there are people who have hard copies of HOMES news letters on file. They count, too.

    Comment by E T — August 8, 2008 @ 11:26 am

  19. Pls scan & post those newsletters, they will come in handy next time HOMES says it’s not interested in overturning MA, as they do here:

    http://www.alamedamagazine.com/media/Alameda-Magazine/July-August-2008/The-Measure-A-Debate/

    Comment by dave — August 8, 2008 @ 11:43 am

  20. Are those the same people that have the Planning Board members all on tape saying they also wanted to overturn Measure A? I’m still waiting for those to turn up…

    Comment by Lauren Do — August 8, 2008 @ 12:00 pm

  21. What Helen wrote was this: “Exempting Alameda Point from Measure A is not a goal of HOMES—it is a byproduct of fulfilling the community vision.”

    Are we reading these articles closely and examining the rhetoric?

    Comment by E T — August 8, 2008 @ 12:10 pm

  22. Let me ask it this way.

    Who would volunteer to have one of the elevated guideways go down their block?

    How much of your personal savings would you be willing to invest in PRT?

    Instead, I would rather invest in one of these and would not object when one goes down my street.
    http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2218/1634551075_0cbe45a77d.jpg?v=0

    Comment by AlamedaNayTiff — August 8, 2008 @ 1:53 pm

  23. It is time to overturn Measure A.

    Comment by Tay Tay Shaniqua — August 8, 2008 @ 2:01 pm

  24. ET, I’m less cynical about Alameda residents I guess. I think that they try hard to understand issues and learn to trust those people who consistently present facts rather than rhetoric. Luckily, the number of people who continue to go back to poor sources is small.

    I’m still unclear how a HOMES statement from years ago, one that I’m personally willing to acknowledge might exist, about Measure A translates into wheeling and dealing about what goes on the ballot, or how voters might be duped into what they are voting for. Again, I guess I give Alamedans credit for having brains. I’m crazy glass-half-full that way.

    Are there people out there who want to change measure A for the whole island? Absolutely. Does that have anything to do with talking about measure A at the Point? Only if you’re concerned that the project will be so successful and well loved that voters will be clamoring for more.

    Sounds like a logical conundrum: argue that the plan will be terrible but then it’s unlikely measure A would ever be changed anywhere or argue that people will want to change measure A for the rest of the city because the Point is so well loved.

    Comment by Johnknoxwhite — August 8, 2008 @ 2:07 pm

  25. As the cybertran guy pointed out, we have all ridden in a version of the PRT and it is called the elevator. I can remember when elevators had elevator operators! Now that seems totally ridiculous.

    The problem to me is, if these PRT’s go 35 mph, and only hold about as many people as a car, WHY NOT USE CARS? Right on Webster Street, you can buy a personal electric vehicle and go anywhere in Alameda you want, because those cars go faster than the speed limit anywhere here.

    If you want to decrease the number of actual vehicles, we could promote a Zipcar or City Car franchise using primarily electric vehicles.

    For an unmanned rail alternative, why not investigate the existing Airtrain that SF International Airport built– it stops at every stop, but it whisks people around fairly rapidly and people seem to like it. But I am unconvinced that the PRT idea is really viable because it is so infrastructure heavy and each vehicle carries few passengers.

    Comment by Kevis Brownson — August 8, 2008 @ 2:19 pm

  26. Another idea, low tech, for crossing the estuary: Why not just make the existing ferry go Alameda-Oakland-San Fransico and San Francisco-Oakland-Alameda instead of the current configuration so that one could go from Alameda to Oakland without having to go to San Francisco? Or just add a ferry going between the two ferry terminals?

    Comment by Kevis Brownson — August 8, 2008 @ 2:28 pm

  27. PRT is infeasible. The Feds won’t fund it:

    http://prt.blip.tv/file/787526/

    It’s sad to see Peter Calthorpe has become a pod person.

    Comment by Avidor — August 8, 2008 @ 2:33 pm

  28. #26, take ferry to jack London and then what?

    Comment by jack b — August 8, 2008 @ 3:08 pm

  29. Re: PRT, I think it might just work. Lighten up folks and give chance a chance, to quote the original ad for the iPod shuffle 🙂

    Kevis, you can take the ferry from Alameda to Oakland, without having to go to SF … here are a few options:

    http://www.eastbayferry.com/when/aopm.html

    http://www.eastbayferry.com/when/sfpm.html

    http://www.eastbayferry.com/when/aoweekends.html

    http://www.eastbayferry.com/when/sfweekends.html

    Comment by alameda — August 8, 2008 @ 3:28 pm

  30. Re: PRT, I think it might just work. Lighten up folks and give chance a chance, to quote the original ad for the iPod shuffle 🙂

    Kevis, you can take the ferry from Alameda to Oakland, without having to go to SF … here are a few options:

    http://www.eastbayferry.com/when/when.html

    Comment by alameda — August 8, 2008 @ 3:29 pm

  31. Forgot to add: many of the existing ferry schedules do run Alameda-Oakland-SF!

    Or as they say, RTFM 😉

    Comment by alameda — August 8, 2008 @ 3:31 pm

  32. “never backed up by anything other than soundbites from people in the community who’s track record on accuracy is dismal.”

    +

    “I’m less cynical about Alameda residents I guess. I think that they try hard to understand issues and learn to trust those people who consistently present facts rather than rhetoric.”

    =

    Flip Flop

    Comment by E T — August 8, 2008 @ 3:53 pm

  33. JKW #24- You think Alameda should allow SunCal to build 4,000 – 6,000 just to see if it would work well for our community or not?

    You must really assume we are extremely stupid – but I guess for you – nothing is too stupid to say.

    Comment by duuuhhh-ok john — August 8, 2008 @ 3:54 pm

  34. #1 – Why is it, do you think, that both of the Suncal plans are non Measure A compliant? The obvious assumption for the average Alameda citizen to make is that Suncal does not expect to be beholden to Measure A. Where might Suncal get this idea?

    Is it too cynical to suggest City Hall? ARRA? PB?

    COME ON! “Consistently presented facts rather than rhetoric”, eh?

    If Suncal had thought Measure A would be part of the picture, they would have had a plan to offer up that was Measure A compliant.

    Comment by E T — August 8, 2008 @ 4:05 pm

  35. #33

    Sell the Sizzle.

    Comment by AlamedaNayTiff — August 8, 2008 @ 4:35 pm

  36. #34 LOVE IT!

    So, do you think the sizzle is the PRT?

    Seems to me that was the problem with the Dot Com debacle: all that was for sale was sizzle and there was neither steak nor cow…

    We do have two choices in this scenario: Non-Measure A compliant-1 and Non-Measure A compliant-2.

    Which one is your favorite?

    Comment by E T — August 8, 2008 @ 5:00 pm

  37. Re. #32. Huh? I don’t see any flip-flop there. Thinking that there’s a small group that’s spouting conspiracy theories is quite compatible with having with having faith in the wisdom of the people at large. Nice try but calming down and applying a little logic thought might help you.

    Comment by Phone Home — August 8, 2008 @ 5:11 pm

  38. http://homesalameda.org/newsletter/0506news.html

    Earlier play for ballot initiative.

    Look for it, coming back soon!

    Comment by E T — August 8, 2008 @ 5:16 pm

  39. What’s wrong with a ballot initiative? That’s how Measure A was put on the books, and if there is to be an exemption for Alameda Point, I would assume that would be how people would want it to happen as well.

    And I would assume that since SunCal is only proposing non-Measure A compliant plans that they are not going to wait for HOMES to spearhead an initiative.

    Comment by Lauren Do — August 8, 2008 @ 5:22 pm

  40. #38 people in the community ARE residents, are they not? I am not talking about conspiracy theory. As illustrated by the garage, the results manage to fall, somehow, outside the plan. That is why I said, a centimeter is always a centimeter, so how is it that the garage is taller than the plan called for?

    After the fact of the too tall garage, what then? Deconstruct the garage? Tear down one or two levels?

    Of course not. It is implicit that we will have to live with the results, after all the money has been spent (pardon me, BONDED INDEBTEDNESS has been taken on in the name of the citizens).

    Comment by E T — August 8, 2008 @ 5:28 pm

  41. # 40 That is my assumption, also. 😉

    Comment by E T — August 8, 2008 @ 5:29 pm

  42. In comment #13, Jack B wrote:
    “Now, since PRT’s are complete b.s. (anyone want to argue this?)”

    Yes, I do. PRT is being pursued aggressively in Europe and elsewhere as a solution for transit in CITIES. They are starting small (see the pilot at Heathrow Airport, the proposal for Daventry UK, and several ongoing projects in Sweden and Poland) but they are also thinking big (see Masdar City, UAE).

    I’d be curious what you think is “b.s.” about PRT – specifically. I’ve followed PRT development for 3 years now and the only “b.s.” I’ve encountered is from people who religiously oppose it (several of whom have appeared on this thread). PRT is more efficient than transit, more city-friendly than automobiles, and more accessible than any form of transportation. It is relatively cheap to build and dirt cheap to operate. It is clean and green. Its time has come.

    So, bring it on Jack B – you want to argue your position, let’s hear your arguments.

    Comment by A Transportation Enthusiast — August 8, 2008 @ 5:42 pm

  43. (By the way – I just “got” the title of this blog entry – it’s a reference to the old Michael Jackson tune, right? Am I dating myself? ;-))

    Comment by A Transportation Enthusiast — August 8, 2008 @ 6:04 pm

  44. 29- Alameda-
    Please reread the ferry schedules. The ferry goes straight from Alameda to SF! Does not stop in Oakland. Thus, not a good way for folks to commute between Alameda and Oakland to connect to train or BART.

    Comment by Kevis Brownson — August 8, 2008 @ 6:04 pm

  45. At the August 5 CIC meeting, Mayor Johnson indicated that she felt it was presumptuous of Warmington to assume that they automatically would be granted a Guyton exemption to develop the Island High site. It appears equally presumptuous/arrogant of Suncal to assume that there’s no possibility they will be required to create a development that conforms to city law. Maybe they have nothing to lose; perhaps they could put the development on permanent hold if they don’t get their way. –Their San Clemente project just was placed on hold.

    http://www.sanclementetimes.com/index.php?mact=News,cntnt01,detail,0&cntnt01articleid=1177&cntnt01dateformat=%25B%20%25d%2C%20%25Y&cntnt01returnid=99

    …and so was their Big Bethel Island project.

    http://www.contracostatimes.com/ci_9915143

    …or they could always default and abandon the project, as just happened with their McAllister Ranch project in Bakersfield.

    http://www.bakersfield.com/137/story/517698.html

    P.S. I find it ironic that SunCal has put the Big Bethel Island development on indefinite hold and yet is selling high density at the Point as our only hope for saving the exurbs from slavering developers.

    Comment by Susan — August 8, 2008 @ 6:06 pm

  46. Kevis (#45):

    1. The weekday 10:50AM run is via Oakland.

    2. Every ferry run on the weekdays (PM) is via Oakland.

    3. Most (if not all) weekend runs are via Oakland.

    What am I missing?

    OTOH, AC Transit offers convenient connectivity to BART!

    Comment by alameda — August 8, 2008 @ 6:31 pm

  47. Yes, I have been following the Suncal problems and wondered if they weren’t “gathering up their tents and stealing off into the night.” or something like that…

    They did just get under the wire with that payment to the City, a few months back.

    Thanks for those welcome observations, Susan!

    I think I posted on another entry here that I wondered why Alameda is dealing with a company that is (1) up to its eyeballs in litigation and (2) seemingly is in financial trouble.

    No one responded, at that time, but I would be curious to hear what others feel on that.

    Comment by E T — August 8, 2008 @ 6:34 pm

  48. Also, a couple of the weekdays AM runs from SF are: SF-Oakland-Alameda, if folks wish to commute to Alameda.

    Comment by alameda — August 8, 2008 @ 6:34 pm

  49. #40
    “What’s wrong with a ballot initiative?”

    Nothing is wrong with a ballot initiative, but where is it? Is the whole SunCal show just a coming attraction? I would actually be for a Measure A exemption for the old base, but the way this is playing out smells of hubris on the part of the developer. The whole PRT thing is just suckering the local rubes. Just put the Measure A exemption on the ballot and I would probably vote for it. The Feed-them-some-food-on-the-Hornet -and show-them-a-CGI gambit insults the intelligence.

    Comment by AlamedaNayTiff — August 8, 2008 @ 6:53 pm

  50. #6

    Here’s the complete Monorail episode. Forget Mayberry, Springfield is Alameda’s sister city.
    http://watchthesimpsonsonline.com/movie/185-The_Simpsons_412_Marge_vs_the_Monorail.html

    Comment by AlamedaNayTiff — August 8, 2008 @ 7:08 pm

  51. ET, Thanks for posting the newsletters from HOME, I am always worried that not enough people read them, but your posting will surely enhance our readership. I say “our” because I serve on the HOMES board. HOMES position, since I began serving on the Board has categorically been to focus on creating a sustainable development at Alameda Point, and recognizing that measure A prevents that AT ALAMEDA POINT. We are not, do not, will not promote changing measure A for the rest of the island.

    Comment by Doug Biggs — August 8, 2008 @ 7:15 pm

  52. Don’t worry everyone … our fine city will soon run SunCal off like it has the other suitors and we will be, once again, left with nothing 🙂

    Comment by Tay Tay Shaniqua — August 8, 2008 @ 7:33 pm

  53. #41. You’re missing my point. I’ve no idea whether we should take a floor off the garage or add one. All I’m saying is you’d help whatever point it is you’re trying to make by being a toning down the vindictive rhetoric and being a little calmer and more rational. That’s all.

    Comment by Phone Home — August 8, 2008 @ 8:40 pm

  54. #43 A.T.E., I’m game. First, please indicate if you are local to Alameda or not so I know how to frame my argument. Thanks.

    Comment by Jack B — August 8, 2008 @ 8:49 pm

  55. #55 Jack B – no I am not local. I look forward to debating the issue with you. 🙂

    Comment by A Transportation Enthusiast — August 8, 2008 @ 9:06 pm

  56. Okay, so it’s understood my original comment was:

    ….are complete b.s. (anyone want to argue this?) as an Alameda solution.

    How this system works in super-dense action like London’s airport, I have no idea. But my argument goes something this:

    – Geography/Oceanography – tracks have to lay out over estuary water, where other crossings are either tubes or draw-bridges (w/ tenders in the towers) and tubes. Earthquake country, we aren’t exactly solid rock and we ride low. The is traffic on the estuary. Tracks would have to go up very high.

    – Who’s gonna pay for it? The 6000 new families?

    – Like Kevis says, why tracks?

    With me so far?

    Comment by Jack B — August 8, 2008 @ 9:24 pm

  57. We all know that the only solution to the transportation issue is another tube … and that just ain’t gonna happen 🙂

    Comment by Tay Tay Shaniqua — August 8, 2008 @ 9:32 pm

  58. Tay Tay, I think it should be all about boats.

    Anyone else trying that live olympics feed via internet? the LIVE control panel rocks, watching biking and wrastlin’.

    Comment by Jack B — August 8, 2008 @ 9:36 pm

  59. URL please 🙂

    Comment by Tay Tay Shaniqua — August 8, 2008 @ 9:41 pm

  60. http://www.nbcolympics.com/

    >> watch now.

    put on some music. you can watch complete events w/out commentary.

    Comment by Jack B — August 8, 2008 @ 9:43 pm

  61. you need to reg and download the player… you can have a big window and 3 small ones going at once… LIVE… w/ and you actually hear the grunts of the mens bikers going on now. you also have the option of watching the tv version w/ commercials and all, highlights, etc.

    Comment by Jack B — August 8, 2008 @ 9:48 pm

  62. the aerial shots are fantastic. transit enthusiasts dig that giant roundabout! and the then through those castle gates. also note… it works on our pc but not on mac, fwiw.

    Comment by Jack B — August 8, 2008 @ 10:05 pm

  63. Yeah … I’m on a mac 😦

    Comment by Tay Tay Shaniqua — August 8, 2008 @ 10:13 pm

  64. it’s a microsoft/ge thang.

    Comment by Jack B — August 8, 2008 @ 10:39 pm

  65. #57: responses to Jack B:

    >> “How this system works in super-dense action like London’s airport, I have no idea.”

    The initial pilot is small, but they plan large expansions once the pilot is complete. There is a common misconception that PRT doesn’t scale because it uses small vehicles. But moving a 180-passenger train every 3 minutes (3600 per hour) is the same as moving a 1-passenger vehicle every second (3600 per hour).

    One second separation of vehicles is quite realistic (and safe) in an automated system. We’ve all experienced 1-second separation (or “headway”). If you’re driving 1 car length behind another automobile at 20mph, that’s 1-second headway. Same with 3 car lengths at 40mph, or 5 car lengths at 60mph. We all drive in those conditions regularly, and without the benefit of the millisecond reaction times of automated control.

    >> “Geography/Oceanography – tracks have to lay out over estuary water, where other crossings are either tubes or draw-bridges (w/ tenders in the towers) and tubes. Earthquake country, we aren’t exactly solid rock and we ride low. The is traffic on the estuary. Tracks would have to go up very high.”

    Yes, that is certainly a challenge. But the Calthorpe video seems to show the initial crossing point near the Posey/Webster tubes. Perhaps they are planning to run the elevated track within the tube itself – perhaps in the center where the circumference of the tube might provide the needed clearance above the roadway (probably only about 8 feet would be required), or along the sides above the walkways.

    Drawbridges might be OK for PRT, I don’t know. But I’ve never seen one proposed. I think tubes would be more likely.

    But any transit system you build for the island (including more roads) would require more tubes or drawbridges, and the amount of space required would be greater for those other systems. PRT’s low cross-sectional profile actually makes it more attractive in such space constrained corridors. In fact, Heathrow Airport chose PRT partly because they needed to route vehicles through a tunnel, and they found that four ULTra tracks (arranged 2×2) could fit in a tunnel where only a single train would fit. PRT would actually allow them to build more capacity through that small tunnel than a train would.

    >> “Who’s gonna pay for it? The 6000 new families?”

    Well, that’s the million dollar question for any transit project, isn’t it? 🙂 PRT capital costs are on par with trains, but more expensive than buses (mainly because the bus “guideway” is already there). But PRT operating costs would be much lower than either buses or trains (for several reasons which I will gladly detail if you like). Most PRT proposals suggest that fares of $1-2 will cover operating costs, leaving only construction costs. But when you consider how much people will pay for the convenience of a taxi (tens of dollars per ride), even $5 per ride could realistically generate significant ridership – at $5 per ride, PRT could likely pay back much or all of its capital costs too. But most systems assume $1-2.

    How much would you pay for a taxi-ride to work every day? Even if you had to drive your car to a local park-and-ride station, wouldn’t it be worth $2 per ride to avoid congestion and parking hassles, not to mention gas prices?

    >> “Like Kevis says, why tracks?”

    Because tracks enable automation, which allows for more efficient use of space and reduced congestion. PRT guideway provides the capacity of a freeway lane in the cross-sectional area of a pedestrian crosswalk. It does this by automatically routing vehicles for maximum efficiency. With PRT, there are no traffic signals, traffic jams, or gridlock. And, I might add, no traffic-halting accidents.

    And while car sharing might work for the consumer, it doesn’t necessarily work for the city, because shared vehicles are rented for the entire round trip and therefore must consume a parking space for the entire duration. PRT drops passengers off and then returns to get more passengers, meaning that fewer vehicles have to park in the city. If a typical PRT vehicle makes 6 trips during a weekday rush period, that’s 1/6th the vehicles that are deposited in city every morning – and even the PRT vehicles that remain are out of the way in elevated stations.

    So PRT could realistically enable the reclamation of valuble city space that has been lost to parking.

    PRT is also safer, more accessible, cleaner, and greener (ULTra PRT already achieves the Kyoto emissions standard for 2050)

    >> “With me so far?”

    Yes. You present good, solid arguments. I can already see that you’ve come to this decision from a thoughtful angle, and I respect your skepticism. But I still don’t agree with your conclusions. Crossing the estuary is certainly a challenge, but not an insurmountable one.

    Comment by A Transportation Enthusiast — August 8, 2008 @ 11:24 pm

  66. #47
    Alameda-

    OK, so starting at 10:50, the ferries run from Alameda to Oakland. Now, how do you get back on the ferry without taking a detour to SF?

    I am well aware of AC Transit’s connections to BART as I use that every day. For some reason, people do not feel that will be enough for the new development and want to build rail systems to assist. I have nothing against them except for the high cost for low numbers of people, plus we have the experience of going with a new and untested system (BART) before and having it take years to get the bugs out of it. I would much rather think in terms of systems that are already in use somewhere else.

    Comment by Kevis Brownson — August 9, 2008 @ 1:07 am

  67. The old base is mainly toxic marshland. If the city buys it, it will bankrupt the city and drain the equity from our homes and savings from our bank accounts. The public will end up being the deep pockets for every mistake that is made along the way. Once the city buys the land, we’ll be forced into a series of increasingly poor choices.

    SunCal seems unwilling to settle for the profits from a Measure A compliant development. We’ll be told that we’ll have to amend Measure A or suffer bankruptcy.

    I think that the electro-pods is just a gimmick to sell the rubes on Plan A or Plan B. (See, Mr and Mrs. Alameda, you do have a choice.) But for me, the electro-pods are a reason not to amend Measure A. I do not want those pods whizzing by my bedroom window. I do not want to get into a pod with three young men in hoodies and sunglasses. I do not want to be in a pod when three young men in hoodies and sunglasses enter. If you think that cameras are a deterrent, then ride an AC or Muni bus and see the type of graffiti and vandalism takes place with both a live driver and security cameras present.

    We are getting prepped for the big swindle. If you think that city staff operates in the public interest, then re-read the memo from the city manager to the council regarding Warmington:
    http://www.ci.alameda.ca.us/archive/2008/attachments/cc_sub_1296.pdf
    Everything was signed, sealed and ready to go if it weren’t for some very vigilant community activists. We can’t maintain that level of vigilance 24/7 and the developers know it.

    Frankly, I am beginning to see why some in the community are opposed to any change in Measure A.

    Comment by AlamedaNayTiff — August 9, 2008 @ 7:51 am

  68. #68: AlamedaNayTiff writes:

    >> “I do not want to get into a pod with three young men in hoodies and sunglasses. I do not want to be in a pod when three young men in hoodies and sunglasses enter.”

    All PRT trips are private. You get your own vehicle and are not required to share with anyone.

    Comment by A Transportation Enthusiast — August 9, 2008 @ 7:59 am

  69. Hi ANT:

    Actually, the City would not be responsible to pay for the cost of the land, it will be the requirement of SunCal to pay for it. Which is why they are currently in negotiations with the Navy to renegotiate the terms of the agreement made initially with Alameda Point Community Partners.

    And from what I understand about the PRT system, the pods are private cars for each individual or group, akin to a taxi. In essence making the transition from car to public transit easier for people uncomfortable with riding “mass” transit.

    I wasn’t at the meeting previous to the one at the Hornet, but from what I understand, when given the options of the PDC plan with tweaks (Measure A compliant) and the other non Measure A compliant plans, 13 out of 20 tables chose the non Measure A compliant plans.

    Comment by Lauren Do — August 9, 2008 @ 8:14 am

  70. #70

    I’m more concerned as to what happens when the land fails or disease or illness results from conditions at the old base. There is also the cost of providing city services. What happens when the developer goes bankrupt or ceases to exist?

    Politicians and city staff come and go. The only deep pockets are public funds.

    Years ago, when BART was approved, voters in Berkeley voted funds to underground BART in Berkeley. When BART emerges in Albany and El Cerrito, it is a blight (and the linear park under it a crime magnet). If we are truly talking about 4000-6000 homes, then just put in a new bus line. It isn’t whiz bang, but it works… as do bicycles.

    Let the transit enthusiasts test the PRT system in another community for 10-20 years and let’s see what happens there.

    Comment by AlamedaNayTiff — August 9, 2008 @ 8:41 am

  71. Re cost: According to this article,
    http://www.evworld.com/article.cfm?storyid=1494
    The 18 car pilot project at Heathrow weighs in at 25 million pounds (48 million in US dollars.)

    “Phase one of the £25m project will consist of 18 battery-powered, driverless shuttles vehicles operating on a 3.8km guide way linking the Business car park to Terminal 5…”

    Comment by Susan — August 9, 2008 @ 8:48 am

  72. 70. So what you are saying, if I understand you, Lauren, is that Suncal will own the Point, not the city of Alameda?

    If that is the case, I would much rather see the property be part of a Land Trust, such as this one (but there are others).

    http://www.landconservation.org/

    54. There was no vindictive rhetoric there. Calm facts. A centimeter IS a centimeter, not larger or smaller, n’est ce pas? What could be more logical and rational than pure measurement? What we were told we were getting for the garage elevation is not what we got, and now we cannot go back. This is a pure statement of fact. Was that an honest mistake? I don’t think so, and I doubt many people do.

    Comment by E T — August 9, 2008 @ 8:58 am

  73. ANT – We all know that the PRT is a GREAT idea that will not happen with the Point project in Alameda. However, buses will not help with all of the traffic generated by new point residents. As I have said before, the only viable solution is another tube. Otherwise, Posey gets saturated to the point of uselessness.

    Comment by Tay Tay Shaniqua — August 9, 2008 @ 9:00 am

  74. As for the PRT, I would imagine such a project would be eligible for Federal Funding, as it is Transportation and would be connecting up with other transportation solutions, particularly if it is a pilot project in a planned development (which would then be the example other communities might follow, a feather in the cap of Alameda!).

    However, I also have to say, to respond to another persons post, that having elevated tracks is liable not to make the skyline look so hot.

    And if the little personal cars got as thrashed inside as the inside of BART cars, that might not be too lovely or inviting, either.

    But it does sound like a good idea for the Estuary, with a feed to BART, one to the airport, another to Oakland JLS and city center

    Comment by E T — August 9, 2008 @ 9:13 am

  75. ANT,

    The presentation and discussion last night was almost exactly what you describe. The ~4,000 proposal would be buses, more frequent, with queue jump lanes, etc. and include better service for existing residents. Just like you describe it.

    The 6,000 number would be conditioned on the implementation of a large transit solution (meaning more than just more buses, could be a bus bridge, prt, skytram, who knows. PRT was shown because calthorpe is intrigued and excited by it. It’s not the sole solution, just something to talk about.

    PRT has many issues before anyone should approve a project based on the promise of implementation. There are few actual running systems and so people should be very skeptical of it. That said, there are PRT projects being built that will be completed before the shovels hit the dirt at the Point, so there will be some real-life, non-theoretical projects to look at as the planning for the Point moves forward.

    PRT (or something like it) is probably where things are headed, the timeline however is unknown and Alameda should make sure that if the voters were to approve a project the scale of the 6,000+ concept, that conditions on the project are written to avoid the intention of implementing solutions that don’t pan out.

    Ken Avidor’s skepticism is well heeded, but A.T.E.’s analysis and enthusiasm shouldn’t be tossed out either.

    Comment by John Knox White — August 9, 2008 @ 11:52 am

  76. #76 JKW: Your open-minded “wait-and-see” attitude is *exactly* what I would advocate if it were my city. I’ve never said “you should build PRT” here; I’ve only presented objections to the summary rejection of PRT based on mistaken preconceptions.

    Certainly PRT carries risk, but it also holds great promise, and ULTra PRT is one of the leaders in the field. You should keep an open mind as you watch developments unfold in Europe, and be careful to avoid rejecting it just because it’s unfamiliar and “whiz-bang”. Remember, just a decade ago the Internet was considered a futuristic “whiz-bang” thing, and now we can’t live without it. 😉

    Comment by A Transportation Enthusiast — August 9, 2008 @ 12:56 pm

  77. #66
    We can build roads without intersections– they are called roundabouts. And maybe you could implement one way car shares for electric vehicles with parking lots where the stations would have been. I just don’t relish the thought of more elevated tracks running around everywhere. Because of course you DO need to park the PRTs when they are not in use– this is done with double tracking (more columns and tracks overhead). And freeway speeds over so small an area are really not necessary, do you think?
    I thought it said in the movie they average 35 mph.

    As far as getting over the estuary, I don’t know which would be more expensive, the PRT system or an additional tube, but neither are going to come cheaply.

    Comment by Kevis Brownson — August 9, 2008 @ 2:53 pm

  78. The future looks bright.
    http://www.shoutfile.com/v/1sHYMUEN/Magic-Highway-USA.html

    Comment by AlamedaNayTiff — August 9, 2008 @ 3:15 pm

  79. duckboats are the answer.

    Comment by jack b — August 9, 2008 @ 3:30 pm

  80. #79 Kevis:

    No, PRT vehicles are not stored on the guideways. They are parked in empty station slots (waiting for passengers) and excess vehicles are stored in depots. But the depot can be located anywhere – in an out-of-the-way unused building, for example.

    Even if PRT vehicles had to be parked in the cities, it would be 1/6th the vehicles that had to be stored. And PRT vehicles are smaller and can be stacked tightly together for storage, so the same number of PRT vehicles could be stored in less than half the space, meaning that PRT would require worst case 1/12th the space for parking than autos require.

    The storage depot could be as simple as second-floor space in an existing building. Each PRT vehicle would require perhaps 60 sq ft (remember, all PRT vehicles are the same, so no parking lanes would be needed for individual vehicle access) meaning a 6000 sq. ft space would hold 100 PRT vehiles; if each vehicle makes 6 trips with one passenger each, that’s 10 sq.ft. of parking space per person. Compare to auto parking spaces, which require 150sq.ft. for on-street parking, double that for off-street.

    As for elevated tracks, that is the biggest drawback of PRT; but it’s a small tradeoff if we can reclaim our streets. We have accepted an amazing amount of disruption for automobiles (think of all the kids that are killed every year trying to cross busy streets) so a tiny bit of visual intrusion might be the price we have to pay. And it IS tiny – less visual intrusion than even a pedestrian walkway would be.

    Comment by A Transportation Enthusiast — August 10, 2008 @ 7:55 am

  81. It’s fun to fantasize….

    ATE, are you talking your book or pumping your stock? PRT would be insane for Alameda to take on. Try to sell it to Oakland… they are developing much higher density along the estuary (Oak to 9th project). For Alamedans to get anywhere on PRT you’d have to include Oakland anyway.

    And you can’t gloss over my #2 from earlier… who will pay for it?

    Comment by Jack B — August 10, 2008 @ 8:14 am

  82. #83 Jack B

    You started a nice debate, I responded with intelligent points, and now this? Have you run out of reasonable arguments?

    For the record, no I do not own one share of PRT stock and I’ve never made a single penny off PRT. Give me the name of a local reporter who can guarantee confidentiality and I will gladly reveal all my personal information and affiliations. I’m nobody.

    My interest is academic, and my goal is to set the record straight when ignorant people reject PRT as “fantasy” even as very intelligent people are building it. There are certainly reasonable objections to PRT and I can respect those objections; however, I will always speak against empty-headed arguments like “it will never work” or “it’s an anti-transit conspiracy” or “it’s fun to fantasize” – that’s the kind of ignorant hyperbole that got us into the current mess we’re in (paralyzed by our endless thirst for autos and oil).

    As for “who will pay?” – let me ask you: if they don’t build PRT, who will pay for the the new bridges and tubes that will inevitably be required as the island is developed? Nothing is free – any new solution will require transporation infrastructure improvements.

    The PRT solution appears to use space in the existing tubes, which could avoid the cost of a new tube or drawbridge. So for the cost of a new tube to support auto traffic, you could perhaps build a reasonably dense starter PRT network that handles the added traffic without having to build more access to the island.

    So, yes, PRT will require a significant startup cost, but it can perhaps save a lot by avoiding the construction of another tube, and with reasonable fares might even pay for itself over the life of the system. I believe this compares favorably (financially) with any other trasport option – including buses and vehicles which will inevitably require more bridges/tubes and better roads to support the density.

    You may scoff at the idea of PRT paying for itself, but the 1970s-era Morgantown PRT (West Virginia) covers half its operating costs with $0.50 fares, despite the fact that Morgantown was a piss-poor 1970s-era design with big inefficient vehicles and guideway prone to freezing. A modern, well-designed PRT would do much better, that much is indisputable, and a reasonably dense system could very likely cover construction *and* operating costs with fares alone. Show me another transit system that can come close to that.

    Comment by A Transportation Enthusiast — August 10, 2008 @ 9:26 am

  83. What part of my argument is un-reasonable? That I say it’s “insane”?

    PRT’s might work for an airport w/ millions of visitors per year. We are talking about serving the remote end of an island for just a few thousand families. The chance that the other folks in Alameda would want to have anything to do w/ funding it IS fantasy. Any politician who claims otherwise will be laughed out of town.

    But more to the point… PRT crosses estuary and then what? Will it take them all the way to BART? A far less costly way of getting commuters from Alameda Point to a BART station in Oakland would be duckboats. Make that a hydrogen-powered Van Hool… it could come around, pick up people like a bus does… cruise across the estuary… then ride to the BART station (which is a ways further) and drop them off. All we’d need is a couple of these and a couple of ramps. That’s far less fantastical and costly than PRT, even if it seems goofy. In the face of fiscal realities, it’s far less goofy.

    The idea that these elevated tracks would ever go through Alameda proper is indeed fantasy — or should I say nightmare if you are like many in Alameda who are proud of our architectural heritage.

    Comment by Jack B — August 10, 2008 @ 9:39 am

  84. #82
    “so a tiny bit of visual intrusion might be the price we have to pay. And it IS tiny ”

    #84
    “As for “who will pay?” – let me ask you: if they don’t build PRT, who will pay for the the new bridges and tubes that will inevitably be required as the island is developed?”

    The island is developed. Exactly what is being communicated to developers as to expectations? What new bridges and tubes? How many elevated tramways are being planned for Alameda? Why is it the price that “we” will have to pay?

    Very disturbing language.

    Comment by AlamedaNayTiff — August 10, 2008 @ 9:50 am

  85. #86 ANT:

    I am not a resident and I was only speculating as to what expansion might cost based on earlier concerns raised by Jack B. Don’t read anything else into it – I have no knowledge of any further expansion. 🙂

    Comment by A Transportation Enthusiast — August 10, 2008 @ 10:36 am

  86. #85 Jack B

    Jack, you asked who would pay for it, I responded that it could perhaps pay for itself, yet here you bring up cost again.

    I don’t know specifics of the Alameda proposal (or even if it’s even gotten to the point of a full proposal), so of course I don’t know first-hand what the economics would be. But I’ll say that it is not outside the realm of possibility to say that a PRT *could* pay for itself fares. As I said, Morgantown PRT serves a similar low density, and it covers half its operating costs with $0.50 fares despite its grossly inefficient design (by modern standards) – it’s not unreasonable to believe that a modern well conceived network could cover both operating costs and capital with fares alone.

    Now I fully acknowledge that such a claim would have to be studied in detail with a skeptical eye, and it may not be feasible for your particular application – but realize that the idea of a financially self-sustaining PRT network is possible due to the automated, ligtweight, energy efficient, on-demand design. And also realize that this possibility will be tested in the next few years as real world PRT systems are deployed.

    So as I said before, you should approach it with a skeptical but *open* mind.

    As for the asthetic/architectural argument – I really can’t argue with that because it comes down to personal opinion. For me, nothing destroys the aesthetic of a neighborhood more than automobile gridlock, so the idea of a raised low-profile guideway is fine with me if it helps clear the streets of noisy, dangerous, polluting cars. But that’s just my opinion and you obviously differ. I can respect that.

    Comment by A Transportation Enthusiast — August 10, 2008 @ 10:56 am

  87. This PRT system is just a horzontal elavator. It is a cart system like grocercy carts. This would be ok in a campus setting or connecting downtown building together or airports. But for comutter rush and crosscountry travel forget it. In main corradors These PRT will need to stand aside for the next age of transportation; the Personal owned Glideway capable hybread EV; thus giving this nation the freedom of travel at a price we all can aford. Yes PRT can fill their nitch but UPGS is the transportation system we need to bring about for the electrical energy standred to happen by 2018 Set your google alerts for UPGS.org

    Comment by Founder UPGS — August 10, 2008 @ 1:47 pm

  88. YEO MAN !
    IF THOSE PRT COME TO MY PART OF THE CITY WE WILL OWN THEM IF YOU WANT A CLEAN ONE THAT WE HAVE NOT PEE IN IT BE COSTING YOU EXTRA. WE RULE THE SUBWAYS ON MY HOME TURF BACK HOME WE MADE MONEY JUST TO BE GOOD

    Comment by The Bloods — August 10, 2008 @ 2:08 pm

  89. Citing the Morgantown project as anything to emulate is damning with very, very faint praise.

    The Motown PRT cost over 120MM dollars, more than 10X its original budget. And that’s 1970’s dollars btw, approx triple that in current dollars. After that massive investment it still requires a 50% subsidy?

    Morgantown is not our model, the Emery Go Round is, to echo Jack B. It’s not cool, it doesn’t get wonks excited, but it’s cheaper, it’s far more flexible and it’s also POSSIBLE.

    Comment by dave — August 10, 2008 @ 3:49 pm

  90. People are forgetting that this is California. While a PRT is a great utopian concept, people here want their cars and will continue to drive them. A PRT will not significantly reduce the traffic that will result from 4,000 new homes. The only solution is another tube or bridge …

    Comment by Tay Tay Shaniqua — August 10, 2008 @ 5:35 pm

  91. Transportation Commission member Michael Kruger said there are only 4 ways to reduce traffic congestion.

    Which would you choose for Alameda?

    From Kruger: Yes, Mr. Kirwin, I agree that there are only a few things that will actually limit traffic congestion:

    1. Restrict growth so that the existing capacity of roads is never exceeded. I don’t know if this strategy has ever been employed with real success; as I am sure you’re aware, it is extremely hard to stop growth. Furthermore, because the trend is for vehicle miles traveled (VMT) to increase even in the absence of growth (the same people drive more), even a zero-growth policy would not prevent congestion forever unless it is combined with one or more of the other strategies below.

    2. Widen existing roads and add new roads to keep pace with growth and increase in VMT. This eventually results in the degradation of neighborhoods and the destruction of buildings, trees, and open space. This is what’s going on in the Central Valley, and it is what carved huge portions out of the heart of Oakland’s neighborhoods.

    3. Charge money for the use of roads. This could take the form of new toll roads, converting existing roads to toll roads, or imposing congestion charges on those who drive in certain areas. London has taken this approach.

    4. Ban or restrict the use of cars. Beijing has taken this approach, but it flies in the face of the values of capitalist democracies. In such places, heavy-handed bans or restrictions are unlikely to fly anywhere outside historic city centers or a few isolated pedestrian or transit malls.
    or transit malls.

    While TC member Krueger thinks slowing or reducing development is difficult, I think it is the ONLY way to respect the traffic concerns of our island.

    Banking on a dream like UWI’s, or now, PRT as presented by SunCal, would be a terrible investment for our community.

    It makes a lot more sense to not exceed our transportation reality with new development.

    Sadly, some of our mayor’s appointment’s hang off the loopy end of the reality scale;
    John Knox White favors charging drivers for use of the road – like making all roads into toll roads, or as would be easier to do in Alameda, just make our islands roads so jammed with traffic, that drivers would consider mass transit ‘more convenient’.

    More sadly, he believes this – despite that local history strongly suggests otherwise. – Who 20 years ago thought we would put up with the traffic we have today? Who thought we would still drive so much, or in such large gas-consuming cars? Yet this is reality. Kruger points out that we even drive MORE now, despite traffic and gas costs. The cost of gas in the U.K is now equivalent to $18/gallon. The daily stopped freeways in the Bay Area means more air pollution, more wasted time.

    Most sadly some of the mayor’s appointments to our transportation Commission want to push their dreams rather than admit they live in our reality and by doing so they are certain to make the reality of our traffic concerns worse.

    Comment by David Kirwin — August 10, 2008 @ 6:42 pm

  92. I fail to see what is “off the loopy end of the reality scale” about having drivers pay to use roads. Although there may be technical limitations that make it difficult, the concept is very sound economics. Urban road space is a huge economic anomaly: an incredibly scarce resource whose direct cost to the users is zero.

    Although I’m very skeptical of PRT, I’m a big believer in public transit in an urban setting because I have seen it work and work well. I have yet to see a city that has been successful at stopping growth without becoming either a ghost town or a tourist enclave. Even the tourist enclaves have traffic congestion: For example, ever try to find parking in charmingly growth-limited Carmel-by-the-Sea?

    I find it humorous that some write off public transportation as a pipe dream, yet cling to the idea that a city can realistically prevent traffic congestion by stopping growth.

    Comment by Michael Krueger — August 11, 2008 @ 10:21 am

  93. #94, Who’s writing off public transit as a pipe dream?

    Comment by Jack B — August 11, 2008 @ 10:40 am

  94. After I wrote my comment above, I realized that much of the dismissal of public transit hasn’t occurred right here, in these comments, but rather in other venues like the Don Roberts Show. However, I did get a similar vibe from comments like these:

    “People are forgetting that this is California. While a PRT is a great utopian concept, people here want their cars and will continue to drive them. A PRT will not significantly reduce the traffic that will result from 4,000 new homes. The only solution is another tube or bridge …” [Comment #92]

    “Banking on a dream…would be a terrible investment for our community.” [Comment #93]

    Just to be clear, I acknowledge the distinction between writing off PRT as a pipe dream (it may well be…as I said, I’m a skeptic) and writing off all forms of public transit as a pipe dream. I’m sorry if I have mischaracterized anybody’s remarks here.

    Comment by Michael Krueger — August 11, 2008 @ 11:26 am

  95. #76, I seem to recall that your objection to the CyberTrans proposal that went along with UWI’s proposal for the Point was based in large part on aesthetic considerations (elevated transit running through the center of town), which won’t change regardless of the technical viability of PRT. Can you explain your apparent openness to PRT given your previous opposition to CyberTrans? Also, for those who are asking who will pay for it, remember that UWI offered to pony up $100 million, but that is water under the bridge, I suppose.

    Comment by Michael Rich — August 11, 2008 @ 1:32 pm

  96. Hey Mike, I think you are confusing me with Michael Krueger who wrote extensively about the aesthetic considerations of CyberTran. He has recently posted a similar, consistent critique of PRT on Stop, Drop and Roll.

    I remain skeptical of the technology, but open minded as to future possibilities. If anything, I may have written about how Alameda should be careful adopting a new technology that requires a regional network to be worthwhile. I continue to hold these concerns.

    Comment by Johnknoxwhite — August 11, 2008 @ 2:47 pm

  97. From #93:

    Which would you choose for Alameda?

    From Kruger: Yes, Mr. Kirwin, I agree that there are only a few things that will actually limit traffic congestion:

    1. Restrict growth so that the existing capacity of roads is never exceeded. I don’t know if this strategy has ever been employed with real success; as I am sure you’re aware, it is extremely hard to stop growth. Furthermore, because the trend is for vehicle miles traveled (VMT) to increase even in the absence of growth (the same people drive more), even a zero-growth policy would not prevent congestion forever unless it is combined with one or more of the other strategies below.

    2. Widen existing roads and add new roads to keep pace with growth and increase in VMT. This eventually results in the degradation of neighborhoods and the destruction of buildings, trees, and open space. This is what’s going on in the Central Valley, and it is what carved huge portions out of the heart of Oakland’s neighborhoods.

    3. Charge money for the use of roads. This could take the form of new toll roads, converting existing roads to toll roads, or imposing congestion charges on those who drive in certain areas. London has taken this approach.

    4. Ban or restrict the use of cars. Beijing has taken this approach, but it flies in the face of the values of capitalist democracies. In such places, heavy-handed bans or restrictions are unlikely to fly anywhere outside historic city centers or a few isolated pedestrian or transit malls.
    or transit malls.

    While TC member Krueger thinks slowing or reducing development is difficult, I think it is the ONLY way to respect the traffic concerns of our island.

    Banking on a dream like UWI’s, or now, PRT as presented by SunCal, would be a terrible investment for our community.

    It makes a lot more sense to not exceed our transportation reality with new development.

    • I forgot to include that some members of the TC have other goals, such as re-defining how an “acceptable delay” at traffic lights is defined by Alameda City Staff. By changing such definitions we can all wait longer at lights, or trying to get through the tube, but the increased development will be defined as not ‘exceeding’ acceptable delays.

    Slick game, eh?

    Hey TC members – Did this part already go through?

    Comment by David Kirwin — August 11, 2008 @ 4:26 pm

  98. […] Alameda’s Naval Air Base reuse plans appear to hinge on how to get folks from the West End of Alameda to downtown Oakland without clogging traffic too much. A Personal Rapid Transit system, like that tentatively proposed for the Oakland Army Base, has been suggested, but widely derided. […]

    Pingback by Downtown reading file « The DTO — September 12, 2008 @ 11:08 am

  99. Here is a way we could discard the PRT concept and not worry about traffic considerations from Point development:

    My son, is 11 years old, a boy scout, and an involved citizen. He was looking for additional ways our family could be more “green”, and when on the web he learned about “Earthships”; they are truly environmentally sustainable homes that cost less than $100 per year for utilities, and require little or no infrastructure. He started explaining that concept to me a few days later, and I was sufficiently intrigued to go to some of the websites he sent me when he told me that he got an email reply after trying to contact the architect. The architect’s name is Michael Reynolds, and Jonah, his son who works with him, made the initial reply to Bobby. My wife asked her father, Bob Sommer, about Reynolds, and I learned he feels more aligned with Sim Van Der Ryn than with Reynolds. (Perhaps because they worked together in the past.) I was somewhat surprised when I learned the Sim had collaborated on a book with Peter Calthorpe. I began to realize that what Calthorpe is designing for Alameda Point may have more to do with the demands of his employer than what he believes is the most environmentally sound plan he could design for that location. While I am not at all against high density, an absolute prerequisite must be the availability of mass rapid transit. Because Alameda lacks MRT, it will remain largely auto centric, and our island cannot support the significant traffic impact that high density development at the Point would bring.

    Therefore Alameda Point, if developed residentially, should be lower density, and perhaps affordable housing should be the primary price range. Alameda needs more affordable housing, and has strongly supported the ‘green’ bandwagon, yet SunCal claims only high density will allow for a solar farm or PRT. (Personal Rapid Transit seems like a contradiction in terms to me if we are trying to move the masses from autos onto public transit.)

    I conclude that Alameda needs more affordable housing not simply because recent home design trends have been ‘oversized homes’ (over-sized, over-designed, and over-priced), but also because many of our island’s small, modest, ‘starter’ homes have been customized with expansions or additions, modified with central heating and cooling and other upgrades inside and out which raises the value of the house and changes the dynamic of percent of homes in the lower cost ranges.

    While I am not entirely sold (or knowledgeable) on the “Earthship” concept or form, it does seem to address all the environmental , density , and infrastructure cost issues .

    That said, let me ask a few questions. Are you familiar with Reynolds and his concept and construction methods of ‘Earthships? http://www.earthship.net/ or
    http://edition.cnn.com/2007/BUSINESS/08/29/skewed.earthships/index.html

    What does “sustainability” mean to you? (Something more than insulated windows to keep the air conditioner on, I hope)

    Although the Point’s soil may be too polluted, too toxic, for Earthship cisterns, if viable this would be an infrastructure-free method of development would allow individual lot development like the older established alameda neighborhoods. Hence there would not be a dependence on ‘master developers’ and as a side benefit, there would not be a single target for toxic liability lawsuits. Individual lots could be auctioned off just as the ranch lands were originally sold to Alameda’s first home builders.

    Comment by David Kirwin — September 13, 2008 @ 6:04 pm

  100. Ha, ha! I absolutely love this idea. What a fitting project for the future of Alameda. Kinda like blunting the Point. Skip the developer, bring back individual ingenuity and recreate the past by counter pointing the phony 19th century Victorian era with 21st century earth constructed dwellings which replicate the original earth dwellers of this area. Truly an endeavor for the times and the place.

    Sign me up for the first selling plot!

    Comment by Jack Richard — September 14, 2008 @ 9:50 am

  101. DK,

    At his first public presentation in Alameda I believe Mr. Calthorpe related his history with Mr. Van Der Ryn back in the days of Gov. Moonbeam.

    “While I am not at all against high density,…” DK, to use one of your favorite exclamations of incredulity, GIVE ME A BREAK! Or to make it my own, GIVE US ALL A F-ING BREAK!!

    Did you perhaps mean to say you are not against high density anywhere but in Alameda? Haven’t you spent countless hours on this blog haranguing us about the destructive evils of density regarding our priceless quality of life? or maybe I am just too obtuse to understand the subtlety of your arguments.

    Comment by Mark Irons — September 14, 2008 @ 11:30 am

  102. MI,
    “While I am not at all against high density,…”

    Maybe he meant it this way: “While I am not against all high density,…”

    Comment by Jack Richard — September 14, 2008 @ 11:50 am

  103. This whole discussion is frightening — who would believe in any of these dingbat notions? I see so much detailed analysis on this blog, and I see so much sheer nonsense as well. For starters, the cost for any kind of major “transportation improvement project” would greatly exceed the benefit where public officials are concerned. Rt.880 is a total mess, bridges are collapsing in Minn., and no, they are not going to fund a highly expensive project for an island of 70K — if that’s the wrong number, Islanders, I don’t care. Get a clue. There’s never going to be any light rail, no bridges over the estuary, and no third tube either. I’m the one who’s the perpetual uninformed newcomer and even I know that the first tube was built in the late 1920’s — I’m guessing that it was cheaper then (!!). (And as often happens, ANT’s comments here are the most relevant and to the point.) I know this discussion has gone on for years, but you’d think some things could be resolved by now — based on facts, not true believer zealotry and planning dogma. Here’s a radical notion: have someone simulate the impact of a new development on the morning commute, based on what’s been observed from other recent developments. In other words, would would this mean in reality, all pod-car fantasies aside?

    Comment by DL Morrison — September 14, 2008 @ 1:21 pm

  104. Mark Irons – If you finish reading the whole paragraph, you will see that I wrote “While I am not at all against high density, an absolute prerequisite must be the availability of mass rapid transit. Because Alameda lacks MRT, it will remain largely auto centric, and our island cannot support the significant traffic impact that high density (residential) development at the Point would bring.”

    Yes, you are correct. I am very much against developing Alameda Point in a way that will significantly increase the overall density of Alameda, and I have posted about the insanity of creating problems for our whole island and all our inhabitants for the sole benefit of developers. Even if they were all built, our city could not afford to maintain services for them. It would be a loss for everyone. The set of accompanying traffic problems is one of the reasons I am against the acceptance of the new proposed Transportation Element of our city’s General Plan. The proposed changes of the TE would allow such development on Alameda which would result in: (According to the accompanying draft EIR), traffic problems the EIR defines as “Cumulatively Considerable” and “Significant and unavoidable” which is the antithesis of community desires. We don’t want to adopt a plan that will take us in the wrong direction, and according to the EIR all of the bridges, not just the tubes, would be impacted with what the EIR process defines as “Cumulatively Considerable” and “Significant and unavoidable”, which is the worst rating possible in the EIR process.

    John Knox White’s statement on this is that such traffic should just be accepted as a by-product of development; – but obviously less residential development on the Point will create less of a traffic problem. The only “Personal Rapid Transit” that is going to exist in Alameda in our lifetimes is the automobile. Crowding our roads with more automobiles will not make bicycling more attractive to bicyclists.

    BART has stated the expansion thru Alameda is not projected until after 2050, if ever.

    When we have ‘rapid mass transit’ in Alameda – that would be the time to plan for higher density in Alameda. To now plan to develop beyond the limitations of efficient roadway use by autos and bicycles is worse than ‘simple bad planning’; it is a recipe for an environmentally disastrous, irreversible and un-mitigatable set of traffic problems.

    There are some people however who cherish this idea as the only way to get people out of their vehicles and onto a bus, with the thinking that if everybody does that, then our near-bankrupt state will suddenly find the resources for Bay Area public transit improvements. Of course there is no guarantee that any of that would happen once our city has gridlocked traffic like we see in other areas in the Bay Area, where people still don’t give up their cars, no matter the price of gas or the long delays of stopped traffic sitting in their ‘personal transit vehicles’ pumping poisonous gasses into our atmosphere.

    High density development simply does not work everywhere. Even in the 1800’s, development followed the ability for efficient transportation, not the other way around.

    Conversely, it does not take high density to have good public transit. I lived in Santa Cruz County for over 8 years without owning a car. I lived in Ben Lomond, Aptos, Capitola, Freedom, and downtown Santa Cruz, and was well serviced by the County bus system in all locations. By comparison, AC Transit is less convenient despite the much higher density.

    Comment by David Kirwin — September 14, 2008 @ 1:59 pm

  105. Or put differently, why is it that fantasies, one after another, are put forth like facts, which then have to be disputed? Why not prove that the fantasies make sense instead, in real life terms, eg:

    Q: Will congestion stop commuters from driving? A: No, see the Bay Bridge for example (or any other bridge or freeway around here.)

    Q: Will transporting commuters to BART via teleportation or any other means have an impact on traffic? A: No, not unless the commuter can use BART to get to work.

    Q: If commuters aren’t currently using BART, is it because they can’t? A: Not likely, the Fruitvale BART has plenty of parking.

    Q: Are there alternatives to untried and/or highly expensive projects like PRT and BRT? A: Yes, for example, a park and ride lot w/ a free shuttle to BART.

    Q: Is there any simple solution when transit access is via bottlenecks like bridges and tunnels, short of taking a different route? A: It doesn’t seem likely.

    Q: Is there any real means to prevent people from driving? A: No.

    Comment by DL Morrison — September 14, 2008 @ 2:10 pm

  106. Transit takes near billion-dollar budget hit
    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/09/20/MN3Q131AJJ.DTL

    Comment by AlamedaNayTiff — September 20, 2008 @ 9:39 am

  107. DLM,

    I started a long response last week to your post about Richard Bangert having the common sense that Calthopre supposedly lacks. I have saved the draft and may post it below, but I first need to respond to 107.

    If you are concerned about the rising tide at Alameda Point you are capable of considering the long view and big picture. Transportation solutions are like that. In terms of human history but more so natural history, think of the compressed history of the automobile and it’s tremendous effect on habits, infrastructure, landscape, environment etc, in that incredibly short window.

    Yet you tick off this list challenging change. Can this happen? can that happen? the answer being no, no, no, no.

    Simple fact checking. Q Does Fruitvale have “plenty” of parking? I actually don’t know. They have the new mult-level lot, but how full is it, how convenient? how costly? West Oakland BART lot and surrounding private lots are FULL, FULL, FULL.

    Q: Are there alternatives to untried and/or highly expensive projects like PRT and BRT? The problem with park and ride as an option is that people have to drive to a lot and the lot has to be large. This was one problem with the viability for the gondola. In my mind that’s a half solution with it’s own drawbacks.

    I also have to add that PRT is potentially no different than the early automobile in terms of it being untested and impractical. As it turns out the auto is far less impractical and more costly than we are even willing to admit. I would hope that as PRT is tested at places like Heathrow and if it does catch on that the mistakes of the auto will not be repeated, but my point is that I think you presume far too much because you have largely made up your mind.

    That is the bone I was trying to pick with you and AD over on the Active Listening thread. I find that AD is especially inclined to take up a line of debate and will say whatever she needs to in order to bolster one of her pre-existing opinions about a subject or a person without regard to it’s veracity. To me, that makes both she and her point of view very unsympathetic, but personal interaction is another topic and here I’d like to stick to discussing transportation solutions.

    Your last Q:- Is there any real means to prevent people from driving? Your A: No. An alternate A: expensive gas, has already gotten people out of their cars. Also, perhaps fear of environmental disaster for those who are open to that discussion. In the larger context of human history I am sure we can grow the list of answers.

    Way back at the first Measure A forum at Kofman where the Planning Board spent the day impassively transfixed on stage listening to hours of 3 minutes speeches from the public, I heard a number of people get up to testify to the intransigence of humans around their auto habits, “People just won’t give up there cars!” I didn’t accept that then and said so in my 3 minutes late in the day.

    We’ve heard the “if we can put a man on the moon, then surely….blah-blah-blah”, many times is many contexts. It’s worn, but that’s my answer to chronic negativism about transit and transportation solutions. We can and must find them.

    I haven’t weighed in at all in the specific PRT discussions but I will try to finish my draft and post it.

    Comment by Mark Irons — September 20, 2008 @ 12:53 pm

  108. Hi,

    I come to this discussion as someone who’s interested in PRT as a form of public transit that COULD get me out of my car.

    I live in Sacramento, about 2 miles from a Light Rail station. Does it get me out of my car? No. Why? It takes too much time and/or doesn’t go where I need to go.

    To get to the Light Rail station & leave my car at home I would have to take a bus. My two choices for a bus leave from different stops & run at 30 minute intervals, even during rush hours.

    If I’m trying to get to work in the morning, I better be at the bus stop on time (or early). God help me if I should miss the bus, because it’ll 30 minutes before the next one shows up.

    Once I get in the bus, I have sit in traffic, wait at stop lights & watch all the cars go whizzing by while the bus stops at all the intermediate stops between me & my destination.

    Finally, about 10 minutes later, we get to the Light Rail stop (that’s right – it takes about 10 minutes to go 2 miles in morning traffic). Now I get to rinse & repeat at the Light Rail station. Pay my fare & get a ticket, wait for the train (or slow burn as I watch the train roll out just as I step off the bus). Get on the train – stop at the next stop, and the next stop, and the next stop … ad nauseum … ’til we finally get downtown – about 1/2 hour to travel 10 miles.

    Now I have another choice, do I wait (up to) 15 minutes for another bus or do I walk 15 minutes to my final destination, because that’s as close as the Light Rail station gets me? If I walk, all the way there I’ll be anticipating the bus going by, if I don’t I’ve rolled the dice on adding another 15 minutes to my trip. Take a taxi, you say? Right, this isn’t New York City or San Francisco – you dont just hail a cab, you call for a cab & it get there in 10-15 minutes. If it doesn’t, you call again.

    So, I finally arrive at my destination, an hour or so, maybe more, after I started – stressed to the max over making all the connections and I ge to look forward to the same mess going home. If it’s the summer, it’s 80 degrees in the morning & 112 in the afternoon.

    Why would I use this system? I’m not stupid.

    With PRT, the system is designed so that there is at least 1 station within a 5 minute walk (and Alameda Point is designed so that the entire development has stations no further than 5 minutes from a PRT stop – the main station is at Atlantic & Ferry, downtown, the same place that BRT would run from if you have to settle for that), no farther than a Bus Stop.

    The Stop is on a sidetrack from the main track & the track is elevated, at 2nd floor level. It might be inside a building or a free-standing station. There will typically be two or three cars waiting on the side track, in front of their own separate boarding gates. If the station is full and a car pulls in, the lead (empty) car will automatically leave the station to make room.

    When you get there you walk up a set of stairs & a PRT “podcar” (or two or three) is waiting to pick you up – you didn’t have to call it, the system tries to always have cars waiting at every station & the system is smart enough to know where heavy demand is & send cars there from stations where demand is light. (At worst, you might have to wait a minute while a car is summoned from another station.)

    You walk over to an ATM-like machine & select your desintation from a map display. (Your rider pass might be a RFID card that you never take out of your pocket, or it might be an ATM-like card, or something else but it’s not cash.) The machine directs you to your boarding gate (if you’re the only one iat the stop, it’s boarding gate 1 – if it’s busier, it might be 2 or 3, etc). At the gate, you push a button (or the gate detects the RFID pass in your pocket) and the doors open.

    If the car smells bad, has a spill in it, or is dirty or defaced, you can reject it by pushing a button & it’ll be sent to the maintenance barn to be cleaned. Further, since people pay for their rides by methods that allow them to be identified, and there is a video camera in the car – someone who despoils or defaces a car can be identified & appropriate action taken.

    If everything is OK, you get in the car – verify your destination on the screen & hit GO. Now sit back & relax – you’re not stopping for anything until you get to your destination. You’ll travel at 35-40 mph, mildly accelerating or decelerating to allow other cars from other stations to merge.

    Read, use a laptop, listen to your ipod, talk on your cell phone, snooze, do whatever – your time is your own. There are a few things you won’t be doing – you won’t be driving, you won’t be cut off by some jackass with a lead foot, you won’t be stuck behind some Sunday driver, you wont be stopping at a red light or worrying about somebody else running a red light, you wont be stuck in a traffic jam, and you won’t be waiting for a drawbridge.

    If you’re taking the Alameda Point PRT to BART, you’ll be there in about 10 minutes. And you’ll be thinking “Sucker!” about all the poor schlubs that have to drive their cars thru the tube because BART doesn’t go near enough to where they work & they have to drive.

    Comment by Sidewinder — September 20, 2008 @ 4:20 pm

  109. Sidewinder – wake up and smell the coffee. Despite the fact that you want to stay in your cozy dream, you have to face reality. PRT is infeasible for Alameda. It is a herring to dangle to distract from the real traffic problems affecting the Point. (And avoiding the rising waters, and poisons in both the dirt and water, the unstable nature of the soil, etc.)

    Still just looking at traffic alone, the level of service TODAY, 2008, from the west end of Alameda to 880 in either direction is rated an “F”. This is not my opinion – it is a fact. It was in the CC packet Tuesday night! It is why the county is forking over $1.1M to study the problem. BTW what did we learn from the recent $220k study for a bicycle estuary crossing? The only thing I learned by attending one of those meetings is that even in a tight economy the city and other gov’t agencies are still willing to throw money away.

    Mark – the problem with the gondola was not the parking, it was the right-of-way which was unobtainable. -That is another fact, regardless of parking- and there is still plenty of room for parking on the Point’s north shore which as a flood plain can be used as parking but not for housing. We just can’t increase the crossings, nor can we get people to give up the convenience of their cars. The only solution to the carbon footprint of Alameda commuters is a change of fuel type – the electric car. The only way to avoid traffic flow problems on our estuary crossings is to limit the need for Alamedans to cross the estuary. At this point that means a real limit on housing units on Alameda’s (west end especially) – it’s obvious, it’s not good news for developers, but it is reality. Wishing it weren’t so doesn’t fix it. Ignoring facts doesn’t help our city, and helping our city is the responsibility of our staff and officials.

    Comment by David Kirwin — September 20, 2008 @ 7:10 pm

  110. “Funding for roads and highways remains intact, but money for mass transportation takes a big hit. ”

    “Transit users could be riding dirtier and more crowded trains, buses and ferries, enduring less-frequent service and paying more for it.”
    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/09/20/MN3Q131AJJ.DTL

    I think that those that want to increase housing density at Alameda Point with the hope that transit will follow are naive. Every household will have one or more cars. When times are tough, transit will be cut and traffic will rise. You cannot force people to ride dirty and inconvenient transit. The few times that I have taken local transit the bus was dirty and filled with young people cursing into their cell phones. Why would someone want to give up their car for something worse? Why would someone who lives in Alameda want to approve a massive new development that will create problems for them while increasing profits for developers? We should have learned by now that when things go wrong, the average taxpayer is the one who pays the bills. The rich just take the money and run.

    Comment by AlamedaNayTiff — September 20, 2008 @ 8:28 pm

  111. DK – It sure looks feasible to me, and, over the next few years I expect that will proved to you too.

    What I also know is that your only other transit option – buses – while proved “feasible”, have also been proved “ineffective”.

    They don’t run often and they share the road, & the bridges, & the tubes with cars. They offer no hope for a BETTER transit solution. They are guaranteed to keep people in their cars. But, they are your only alternative.

    Comment by Sidewinder — September 20, 2008 @ 9:34 pm

  112. SW:

    How does PRT possibly look feasible?

    How How How?

    It has never been tried – they are only now building the first system ever. It is behind schedule, over budget, and only planned to operate at Heathrow airport – to a parking lot, and will only have about 16 ‘cars’, and only about a mile and a half long.

    That is not even close to being a comparison to moving people to Bart from Alameda. Heathrow’s PRT didn’t have to deal with right-of-ways, cross a shipping channel, deal with the unstable soil we have at the Point, or conform to Ca’s extraordinary building codes. When was the last time Heathrow Airport had an earthquake?

    How many people per hour will the Heathrow system move with a maximum travel distance of 1.5 miles? Since we know PRT will not get its own estuary crossing west of Coast Guard Island for reasons same similar to the cheaper, more efficient gondola proposal, (required heights of crossing, travel distance on both sides to maintain required grades rising to height and all the right of ways involved in that alone)

    The Calthorpe concept is not even what PRT is designed or marketed for – the PRT marketing video promotes it use on single business parks or shopping centers (from the parking lot?)

    How can you possibly think Calthorpe’s PRT suggestion is feasible? Can you even guess how many cars such a system would need to match the needs of 6,000 homes? Give me a ‘guess’ for the number of ‘cars’ needed, the miles traveled for each trip to Bart (Fruitvale), the number of people moved per hour. Remember all the cars cycling around the loop, coming back empty to pick up another commuter will effectively double energy used for ferrying each rider to BART

    As I reminded in an earlier post, the level of service TODAY, 2008, from the west end of Alameda to 880 in either direction is rated an “F”. This is not my opinion – it is a fact. It was in the CC packet Tuesday night. This is why the only formally city-accepted PDA for Point development has a maximum of 1800 homes and even there the developer was expecting high public transit use. Face it – rebuilding Alameda Point may not be a financially feasible nut to crack in the ordinary (over)development schemes presented so far.

    Comment by David Kirwin — September 21, 2008 @ 9:15 am

  113. Rather than develop a whole new transportation system, why not work with the already installed base of roads and private vehicles and provide financial incentives to maximize its efficiency?

    Whenever I leave Alameda by tube or bridge, most of the vehicles I see carry only the driver. Why not provide financial incentive to maximize this resource? For example, institute a negative toll that pays both drivers and passengers for carpooling during commute hours. This could be done with transponders and software and would be far cheaper to implement than PRT. Each time a vehicle with two or more passengers exits Alameda, the driver and passengers receive a credit. Software could prevent fraud by limiting paid exits to one a day. Spot checks could be performed to verify that passengers accompany their transponders. In any case, the details would involve currently available technology and require only minor hard infrastructure changes.

    This is just one idea. I am sure that there are others that would make use of current infrastructure with small modifications.

    Comment by AlamedaNayTiff — September 21, 2008 @ 9:49 am

  114. Has anyone ever seen a map of the existing rails already cris-crossing the base?

    Comment by RR_Fan — September 21, 2008 @ 10:22 am

  115. #109: I have a great deal of respect for the people who have followed these issues for years on end, especially for their level of knowledge. But it’s frustrating to me that when it comes to responsibly addressing the very legitimate concerns that we have about traffic gridlock at the tubes/bridges, the density proponents are never really willing to give a straight answer. JKW once said, about commuter traffic, to paraphrase: “It’s just one hour out of the day” — this doesn’t respect the real concerns that people have about getting to work. He also suggested that people take a local bus to BART — a bus trip that would add another half-hour each way to my commute.

    Maybe I react this way because I saw the same discussion in Berkeley for years on end — people referring to cars as “evil metal monsters” (seriously) and claiming that we could all get around on bikes, never mind terrain, weather, safety — you feel like you’re arguing w/ a college sophomore who has no real sense of what they’re saying, and that a real discussion is impossible.

    I understand perfectly well that the discussion on PRT’s etc is about looking into the future — but the thing is, nobody really knows where we’ll be then, and we have to make a decision now about a 6,000 unit development based on nothing but “forward looking conjecture”. That’s not factual reality, it’s guessing. Also, there’s going to be a near future long before that distant one, and my concern is that in the near future we’ll be dealing w/ an unmanageable traffic mess, all for what is largely a Planning 101 approach to an uncommon and difficult traffic situation. (I’ve given up saying “It’s an island” because that doesn’t seem to matter.)

    So yes, I wish that people who are pro-development would just address these issues. And as for the questions: Just provide some proof that your assertions have some basis in fact, that’s all. For example, I recently read the Transportation Element and the DEIR, and recognized another unfounded assertion: that people will stop driving (“switch to other transit modes”), if driving becomes inconvenient. I guess my question would be: What if they CAN’T? I think we need more info before making such a blind assumption: For example, a poll asking local commuters where they work, how they get there, and whether drivers would be likely to use public transit under certain conditions. Then we’d have information (!!), not academic conjecture.

    With gas going up, we have a chance to see what it takes to “incent” drivers, but guess what, the tube is still slow. If the price of gas doesn’t stop ’em, that should tell you something.

    In sum: I see too many know-it-all theories, and too little respect for it what really takes to make a transition like this. We need to recognize local conditions rather than apply a whole set of boilerplate assumptions.

    Comment by DL Morrison — September 21, 2008 @ 2:07 pm

  116. DL,

    Would you mind providing the source and context of your paraphrase of me? I’m not sure I’ve ever said any such thing regarding increase commute times. I fear you are presenting my thoughts inaccurately, or out of context.

    As one who also detests “black and white” discussions, I’m sure we can both agree that context is important in these types of conversations.

    Also, I’d be really interested in how you read the TMP & DEIR as saying “that people will stop driving (”switch to other transit modes”), if driving becomes inconvenient.”

    I hope you’ll submit your concerns as comment on the DEIR, the comment period closes tomorrow.

    Comment by John Knox White — September 21, 2008 @ 6:06 pm

  117. Whatever is decided today can be overturned tomorrow. If transportation fee is assessed to the new 15,000 residents of Alameda Point, they may decide not to pay and to elect councilmembers to do their bidding. If transit stops are installed and bus service is terminated, they may decide to widen all of the east-west streets in the west end by eminent domain. The developers will take the money and run. Those who own homes here or live here will have to deal with the fallout. In the end, this will come down to a vote on amending Measure A. Why isn’t this a replay of the vote to landfill Southshore?

    Comment by AlamedaNayTiff — September 21, 2008 @ 7:05 pm

  118. How does PRT possibly look feasible? How How How?

    It has never been tried –

    A commercial system that is true PRT has not yet been built – that is correct. But test tracks have been built, scale models have been built, algorithms & control systems have been built & exercised. Much of this stuff has been known and sucessfully implemented in other operations since the ’70s. The Morgantown GRT (Group Rapid Transit) system has been in continuous operation since the late seventies with a perfect safety record, financing 50% of its operating revenue from a $0.50 fare. It is not ‘true’ PRT – the cars seat up to 20 people (and, as a result, the guideway is huge compared to true PRT) but it has automatically driven cars, is electrically powered, runs on-demand & has stations that are on a sidetrack. Talk to anyone from Morgantown & they’ll tell you how proud they are of their “PRT” system

    ” … right-of-ways, …”, “… unstable soil …”

    While the Heathrow system may not have to deal with right-of-way, that topic has been looked at for PRT systems in general. Since PRT systems run on an elevated guiderail, right-of-way needs only be acquired for the footing, which is only about 36″ in diameter. Your soil conditions may require special footings – maybe you can tell me what special requirements must be met for the footings on your houses. An additional benefit of certain PRT designs (not necessarily ULTRA) is that provisions can be made to run telephone, cable TV & even power cables inside the guideway, significantly cleaning up your skyline.

    “…cross a shipping channel…”

    From what I’ve read, it seems unlikely that any new spans will be allowed across the estuary. That means that the PRT guideway would have to share the tubes with car traffic. Looking at Google maps of the tube entrances, it appears that you have two 15′ wide traffic lanes & a bike lane in the each tube (please correct me if I’m wrong). I assume that the tubes have clearance for trucks, say 14′ high. The Skyweb Express cars are 6′ wide, the guideway is 3′ wide. The car & guideway are approximately 6′ high. To accomodate such a a guideway, I would appropriate 3′ from each traffic lane & run the guideway right down the middle, with appropriate concrete reinforcement to prevent damage from out-of-control motor vehicles & screening to minimize driver distraction.

    ” …or conform to Ca’s extraordinary building codes.” I don’t know of anything in CA’s building codes that would be a deal killer – give me an example.

    ” … earthquake? …” The performance of any building or structure depends on several factors in an earthquake, as I’m sure you know. I’ve been through a few over the years – the bigger ones being Olive View, Whittier & Northridge when I lived in LA. I missed your ’89 quake, but – if memory serves – a big piece of roadway on one of the bridges collapsed & a car drove right into the gap; no one was killed, fortunately. And another big section of freeway in San Francisco pancaked onto a lower section & several people WERE killed. PRT cars & guideways will perform better than that. There are safety features that provide for detection of obstacles on the track, such as tree branches, phone poles, debris, etc that stop the 1st car and all cars behind. These systems even detect a break in the track. The Skyweb Express system (which was designed by an American engineer, Dr Edward Anderson of Minnesota, & is particularly good IMHO) runs cars in a “Body over Bogie” design. The cars are captured by the guideway & cannot derail.

    ” …How many people per hour will the Heathrow system move … ”

    I think what you are trying to asking is “What is the maximum number of people the system COULD move in an hour?” Any transit system, PRT, BRT, even the automobile moves people per hour per direction based on speed, occupancy & headway. The proposed BRT system for Alameda Point has a headway of 15 minutes (from the published schedule). If we can assume that all four busses leaving the transit center can actually make it across the tubes in an hour, then maximum BRT capacity will be the maximum passenger load times four. For PRT, the same rules apply but the PRT doesn’t share its guideway with other vehicles & the control algorithms guarantee a slot for every vehicle on the guideway. If headway between vehicles is set for 1 second, then 3600 vehicles (60 per minute times 60 minutes per hour) can be moved across a given point per hour. PRT systems estimate 1.1 passengers per vehicle (ie most vehicles have 1 passenger, some have 2 or 3 for an average of 1.1) So theoretically, at 1 second headway, 3960 passengers per hour could be moved by a PRT system. BTW, what kind of distance is 1 second headway? If the car is traveling at 35 mph, the headway is 51′. If you are driving at 35 mph & there is 51′ between the nose of your car & the nose of the car ahead of you, there will be angry drivers behind you.

    “The Calthorpe concept is not even what PRT is designed or marketed for – the PRT marketing video promotes it use on single business parks or shopping centers (from the parking lot?)”

    Look at the video again, it specifically talks about one use of the system being a feeder to Light Rail. That said, the video notwithstanding, PRT is designed to replace Buses & augment or replace Light Rail. It is faster (by virtue of being non-stop to destination), cheaper (than light rail anyway because of its small cars & small guideway), safer (by virtue of grade seperation) & more available (24/7/365 on-demand operation) than busses or light rail.

    Can you even guess how many cars such a system would need to match the needs of 6,000 homes?

    The plan says the 6,000 housing units would have approximately 2.5 residents apiece, so 15,000 residents. Some questions I’d have would be how many of those people would be working? 1/2? 3/4? more? less? And how many of those workers are filling the 90,000 or so jobs that are supposed to be coming in on the development? Lets assume the worst case: that each & every new resident needs to cross the estuary in one hour and that 16% of them use the PRT system (remember, PRT is NOT meant to completely replace the automobile). That’s 2400 people, and assuming 1.1 passengers per car, thats 2181 trips. (in reality, the numbers will be smaller – there will be children, not everyone will work, not everyone will leave the island to work) The distance from the ‘downtown’ Atlantic & Ferry station, to the Oakland BART is about 3 mi – at 35 mph, the trip takes about 5 minutes + another 5 minutes for a car to either deadhead or carry passengers back. So, an individual car could make 6 trips per hour. That means 365 cars would be required to meet that demand.

    Now I’ll ask you – how many busses would be required to service the same demand? If the busses are running at 15 minute intervals (four per hour), is there any hope at all of moving 2400 people thru the tubes in 1 hour? Assuming 60 passengers per bus, you’d need 40 busses – one leaving every 1-1/2 minutes. Could you even load them that fast?

    “… for each trip to Bart (Fruitvale), … ”

    No one from Suncal has promised you a connection to Fruitvale – Calthorpe said they would run the PRT across the estuary to Oakland. Maybe he had the plan I described above in mind, maybe he thought a span could be built, I haven’t heard anything on that.

    “Remember all the cars cycling around the loop, coming back empty to pick up another commuter will effectively double energy used for ferrying each rider to BART”

    This is good point – PRT designs typically allow for 1/3 of cars to be running empty, as they are circulated around the system to meet changing demand patterns. Alameda Point is projected to bring 90,000 jobs to Alameda & not all of those will be filled locally, so we can expect some utilization of the PRT system by incoming passengers, as well as outgoing passengers. Who knows what those numbers will be, so let’s go with your 50% empty figure. While this will decrease the efficiency of the PRT system relative to itself, PRT systems are much more energy efficient than busses or Light Rail & still well within margins.

    “… the level of service TODAY, 2008, from the west end of Alameda to 880 in either direction is rated an “F”. …”

    Level of service for what? Busses? Cars? I don’t doubt that you are correct in what you say, but the conclusion that I would draw is that, having just the two tubes at the West End, your best expansion option is no expansion at all. Service is so bad that you can’t afford to bring any new jobs, much less residents, to the Island, & should consider kicking out some of both that you already have. I don’t think that is what you want either.

    The point is that PRT is a good solution to your transit problem, whose biggest real problem has been resistance from the entrenched automotive & bus & light rail transit interests. Everyone know that the current solutions dont work in 95% of the applications. Busses take too long, but are cheap – light rail is only light in the number of passengers per car (it aint light on infrastructure, right-of-way or $$).

    Check out the Skyweb Express website here to see what good old Yankee ingenuity can come up with: http://www.taxi2000.com/

    Check this out to see a scale model system from the 70’s: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N6wFacwBMZE

    In closing, I’d just like to say thanks for giving me the opportunity to discuss this with you. You’ve got a tough nut to crack over there & I wish you the best of luck.

    Comment by Sidewinder — September 21, 2008 @ 7:33 pm

  119. […] NYT has an article on how Ithaca is considering deploying the very same pod cars that are under consideration for Alameda Point. Perhaps SunCal might want to exchange notes with the folks at […]

    Pingback by Hello Ithaca! « Alameda Musings — September 21, 2008 @ 8:02 pm

  120. Ithaca takes a hard look at pod cars

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/21/nyregion/21podcar.html

    Comment by alameda — September 21, 2008 @ 8:03 pm

  121. Sidewinder – you are wrong with so much of your information I don’t have time to respond to all, so I’ll stick with the deal killers.

    The tubes to downtown BART are full – there is not even sufficient room for proper bike lanes – bikers have to hold their bike over the handrail to pass oncoming bike traffic. PRT will not replace an auto lane. The County congestion management studies rate the current connection to 880 from west Alameda (where the Point is) as a service level F. Transportation alone writes off the kind of development Sun Cal is dreaming of.

    The freeways that pancaked in the ’89 quake was not in SF – it was in Oakland, right outside the tubes and was exactly on the ‘young bay mud’ which is also prevalent on Alameda Point under where Sun Cal wants to build.
    PRT would have to go to Fruitvale, a 10 mi trip, so factor your costs, required number of cars etc…

    Let me rephrase the question; Given SunCal’s limit of $90M for the system, What is the maximum number of people the system will move in an hour from the Point to Fruitvale, almost 7 miles away? Obviously you don’t know construction costs…. give a best/worst scenario.

    Models aren’t reality, PRT has never been tried.

    Right of ways include more than 36″, aside from construction, people will NIMBY the sight, sound, shadow, vibration, hours of operation, even the magnetic flux of the system.

    SunCal will never get support of community for this type of development. Citizens will not allow those kinds of numbers and will not vote an exception to Measure A for Sun Cal’s plan. By current law a max of 1800 homes can be built at the Point.

    I agree it is a tough nut, and job creation is going to be easier on the tubes than residences because it would be “reverse commute”. Transportation-wise we really can’t afford more residential growth, yet today’s ‘experts’ are telling the city staff they need residential growth or jobs won’t come. I think that might be true of a lot of the retailers, but those are not the quality jobs we want to grow.

    Comment by David Kirwin — September 22, 2008 @ 12:07 am

  122. Kirwin, where did Suncal say they had a limit of $90M for the project?

    Comment by notadave — September 22, 2008 @ 9:14 am

  123. PRT is a Disco-era concept:

    Comment by Avidor — September 22, 2008 @ 3:21 pm

  124. #124 – Was the $90M # for all transportation issues?

    Comment by Dave Kirwin — September 22, 2008 @ 4:23 pm

  125. Okay I re-checked – #90M did not include PRT? Although it is a moot question – How much would developers pay for PRT to add 1500 market rate units and 500 subsidized units, and install a solar farm and water recycling plant and all the other (empty) promises?

    Comment by David Kirwin — September 22, 2008 @ 4:42 pm

  126. “… PRT will not replace an auto lane. …”

    I never said it would – I suggested narrowing the two lanes in each tube from fifteen feet wide to twelve feet wide & using the space gained to run the narrow PRT guideway. (see page four of this pdf for a depiction of the Skyweb car & guideway http://www.oki.org/pdf/loop_study/loop4.pdf ) On reflection though, I think that a minimum of 12′ would be required to allow clearance for the car, screening & egress from the cars in case on emergency.

    ” … Transportation [I think what you really mean here is “moving automobiles thru the tubes”] alone writes off the kind of development Sun Cal is dreaming of. …”

    Yeah, and yet Measure A dooms you to being a low-density, “suburban”, auto-centric community. Even the reverse commuters that you mention further down in your post, who would come in for jobs in the morning, would have to leave in the evening.

    ” … The freeways that pancaked in the ‘89 quake was not in SF – it was in Oakland, … ”

    Thanks for the correction, I wasn’t aware of that – all I remember was trying to drive thru San Francisco & having to detour around a section of freeway that was “closed because of the Earthquake”.

    ” … on the ‘young bay mud’ … also prevalent on Alameda Point under where Sun Cal wants to build. …”

    Yeah, I’ve seen the maps – to their credit Suncal seems to have located most of their housing, in the denser plans, to the south of the young bay mud.

    ” … PRT would have to go to Fruitvale, a 10 mi trip, so factor your costs, required number of cars etc… …”

    That isn’t what Calthorpe & Suncal are proposing, so I haven’t considered it.

    ” … Models aren’t reality, PRT has never been tried. …” Morgantown has been running since the mid-70’s. It is successful, accident free, pays half of it’s operating costs from a fifty-cent fare and is the pride of its community. As I said in my previous post, it is not true PRT in that it’s cars have a 20 passenger capacity & you don’t have a choice of riding by yourself (or of stopping only at your stop), but it implements many of the principles of PRT including elevated guideway, electric operation & off-the-main-line stations.

    ” … Right of ways include more than 36?, aside from construction, people will NIMBY the sight, sound, shadow, vibration, hours of operation, even the magnetic flux of the system. …”

    Right of way issues & NIMBY issues are two separate things. Some people will pick any chance to argue things – there is currently an initiative to require electric cars & hybrids to MAKE MORE NOISE so that blind people will be able to hear them. This tendency for people to turn non-problems into problems is something we’ll always have to deal with. I’m sure the same people who are so concerned with magnetic field issues are voicing their complaints to all their friends via cellphone – putting that little 1 watt microwave transmitter right up to their head & leaving it there for 10 minutes.

    ” … SunCal will never get support of community for this type of development. Citizens will not allow those kinds of numbers and will not vote an exception to Measure A for Sun Cal’s plan. By current law a max of 1800 homes can be built at the Point. …”

    I’m not sure that Suncal (or anyone else) will be willing to do the infrastructure & cleanup in return for the opportunity to build such a low density development. I think that is what they are trying to tell you with these higher density plans. But then again, I’m not Suncal.

    ” I agree it is a tough nut, and job creation is going to be easier on the tubes than residences because it would be “reverse commute”. Transportation-wise we really can’t afford more residential growth, yet today’s ‘experts’ are telling the city staff they need residential growth or jobs won’t come. I think that might be true of a lot of the retailers, but those are not the quality jobs we want to grow.”

    Yeah – if the housing is intended to be provided for the benefit of the people working at the new businesses, how are they set aside for that purpose? Is that even legal? But, I think you will agree that, if businesses locate on the island, it would be highly desirable that islanders work there – both from a community-benefit perspective & from a transportation perspective.

    PS – I’m going to be on High St in Oakland tomorrow on business & I’m going take the opportunity to drive across & see your fair city first-hand, if only for a short while. I’m going to leave thru the Posey Tube – wish me luck!

    Comment by Sidewinder — September 22, 2008 @ 8:25 pm

  127. … PRT would have to go to Fruitvale, a 10 mi trip, so factor your costs, required number of cars etc… …”

    That isn’t what Calthorpe & Suncal are proposing, so I haven’t considered it.

    What Calthorpe and SunCal said was “as clear as mud” as somebody else said – perhaps you can clarify where they “plan” to put the PRT?

    Transportation [I think what you really mean here is “moving automobiles thru the tubes”] alone writes off the kind of development Sun Cal is dreaming of. …”
    -Yes we will continue to need the tube for our cars, hopefully they will all soon be running on converted solar power.

    Yeah, and yet Measure A dooms you to being a low-density, “suburban”, auto-centric community. Even the reverse commuters that you mention further down in your post, who would come in for jobs in the morning, would have to leave in the evening.

    And yea – That’s a “doom” we dig, low density is a value we cherish for family style living. Your preference may be a 4th floor condo, and there are plenty of places in the east bay that can offer that for you, but there will not be any more built here.

    You of course understand that if workers come to work in the non-commute a.m. direction they will be going home thru the tubes in the p.m., and that would still be the non-commute direction.
    I also hope your claim about them bringing 90,000 jobs was a typo!
    (that would be 3x the number of jobs held on our entire island.

    Right of way issues & NIMBY issues are two separate things….
    -Funny how issues affect each other, -you must be an engineer if you think that all life’s ‘details’ are in tight little separate packages.

    I’m not sure that Suncal (or anyone else) will be willing to do the infrastructure & cleanup in return for the opportunity to build such a low density development. I think that is what they are trying to tell you with these higher density plans. But then again, I’m not Suncal.

    If the only plans are plans Alamedans don’t want because of the density impacts, it will not be built. If the DOD ever finishes the cleanup there are low infrastructure opportunities which could be a better benefit to our community than choking half the island with immobility.

    Yeah – if the housing is intended to be provided for the benefit of the people working at the new businesses, how are they set aside for that purpose? Is that even legal? But, I think you will agree that, if businesses locate on the island, it would be highly desirable that islanders work there – both from a community-benefit perspective & from a transportation perspective.

    uhmmm yea sure – and why don’t you make the same suggestion to the people traveling in both direction on all the freeways – just have ’em turn around and trade jobs with each other so they don’t have to travel in opposite directions…ok?

    Good luck on High St, it will be easy and pleasant for ya here in the ‘burb; just respect our speed limit, we like to ticket newbies until they ‘get it.’

    Comment by DK — September 23, 2008 @ 2:33 am

  128. Once over the High St Bridge take the 45 degree right onto Gibbons. Go 4 stop signs & take another 45 degree turn onto Central. You’ve just seen some of the Fernside neighborhood.

    Continue on Central 3 blocks to Park St. This is “downtown” Alameda. Stop & park, stroll around a bit, have a meal at Pappo or Burgermeister if the time is right.

    Get back on Central & go approx 1 Mile to Grand St & hang a left, then a right on San Antonio. Get out & walk the neighborhood, it’s the beautiful Gold Coast.

    Then back on Central approx 1.5 miles until it ends in a large right-hand bend into Main. Continue North on Main. The old Navy Base will be on the left, Bayport on the right. Just as Main breaks left is Rosenblum Cellars. Hit the tasting room and bring home something good. Exit and return South on Main, left on Appezato (Atlantic) then left into the tube.

    Enjoy your visit to our fair city. Maybe you’ll see why PRT is a tough sell.

    Comment by Tour guide — September 23, 2008 @ 5:28 am

  129. ” … What Calthorpe and SunCal said was “as clear as mud” as somebody else said – perhaps you can clarify where they “plan” to put the PRT? …”

    At one of the community meetings, Calthorpe provided a map showing where the proposed PRT system would be routed in Alameda Point, showing the crossing to Oakland at the location of the tubes & showing a “Phase 2″ buildout, in red lines, for the rest of Alameda, which Suncal would NOT be responsible for building.

    ” … Yes we will continue to need the tube for our cars, hopefully they will all soon be running on converted solar power. …”

    Yeah, I’m a big proponent of smaller electric automobiles also, & will certainly get a plug-in when they become available. But the fact remains that, as long as cars are driven by people there is going to be massive congestion & slaughter on the roadways. High speed driving in congested conditions is not something we are good at.

    “… You of course understand that if workers come to work in the non-commute a.m. direction they will be going home thru the tubes in the p.m., and that would still be the non-commute direction. …”

    If there is big discrepancy in traffic flow in the two directions then you might consider reconfiguring the tubes to use “reversible” lanes to provide three lanes in the direction of heavy traffic & one in the direction of light traffic.

    ” … I also hope your claim about them bringing 90,000 jobs was a typo! …”

    Oops! Yeah, I misread the report – now my face is red!!

    ” … Funny how issues affect each other, -you must be an engineer if you think that all life’s ‘details’ are in tight little separate packages. …”

    Well, you don’t fix a tire by working on a water pump & vice versa. All of the issues may have to be solved, & the total solution has to be good & pleasing but you can’t do that by working on the wrong problem(s).

    ” … uhmmm yea sure – and why don’t you make the same suggestion to the people traveling in both direction on all the freeways – just have ‘em turn around and trade jobs with each other so they don’t have to travel in opposite directions…ok?
    … ”

    Heheh – yeah, I don’t live that close to where I work (30 mile commute each way) & almost never have in my 30 year career – of course, it has always been catch-as-catch-can wrt to housing & job availablity – taking new opportunities at new companies for advancement or better pay or the company relocates their offices, etc means that you well-planned 5 minute commute goes right out the window.

    I’ve read some posts here suggesting that Suncal believes that businesses want housing located nearby – they (Suncal) ought to be questioned more thouroughly on the basis for that belief.

    ” … Good luck on High St, it will be easy and pleasant for ya here in the ‘burb; just respect our speed limit, we like to ticket newbies until they ‘get it.’ …”

    Don’t worry about me – i’m a good driver, at least until it gets close time for Wapner, then I get a little errratic. 😉

    PS – thanks tourguide for the tips.

    Comment by sidewinder — September 23, 2008 @ 7:55 am

  130. […] anyhow. Bus service is simply more important to smaller developers, who can’t afford to build fantastic monorails or even subsidize shuttles, than to large […]

    Pingback by Why are developers split over the Oakland City Council candidates? « FutureOakland — September 24, 2008 @ 6:22 pm

  131. […] anyhow. Bus service is simply more important to smaller developers, who can’t afford to build fantastic monorails or even subsidize shuttles, than to large […]

    Pingback by Why are developers split over the Oakland City Council candidates? – FutureOakland — January 25, 2010 @ 10:58 pm


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