Revisited: Will California’s second-tier HSR cities reap big-city rewards sans certain big-city headaches?

Construction of America’s newest and first true high-speed rail (HSR) line is expected to get underway this summer. It has been a long time coming – since 1996, I think. The rail line is to link Los Angeles and Anaheim with San Francisco (via California’s San Joaquin Valley and San Jose) with eventual extensions to San … Read more

Will California’s second-tier HSR cities reap big-city rewards sans certain big-city headaches?

At the California Progress Report, in “City, County Growth and High-Speed Rail Development a ‘Two-Way Street,’” I wanted to know if the California high-speed rail project was going to affect growth – development, land use, transportation – around stations and, if it is going to, how. I wrote: “In search of answers, I consulted the … Read more

Cleaning up the San Joaquin Valley’s ‘low down and dirty’ air

It is obvious I have done quite a lot of writing on air quality matters in the San Joaquin Valley. The Valley is where I live and, sadly, it is among this nation’s most notorious or worst offender areas for polluted air. Both childhood and adult asthma numbers here seem disproportionately high compared to other regions. These … Read more

eMission control – Focus: Airways

Global air travel is not receding. In fact, in several places triple-digit percentage increases are not uncommon. Katherine Rowland in OnEarth magazine in “Infographic: Flying the Friendlier Skies,” writes: “In emerging economies, the growth has been dramatic: between 2007 and 2010, passenger volume in China increased by almost 50 percent — another 84 million fliers. … Read more

CATS: Diesel-electric versus pure electric train operations – pros and cons

Number 10 in the Clean Air Technologies Series. When it comes to powering a locomotive, electricity wins hands down, or does it? Before going any farther, a brief review of 20th century U.S. transportation history is in order. I was born in the age of the diesel loco. Steam as locomotive propulsion power, although reaching a zenith right around … Read more

California high-speed rail looks to renewable resources for electricity supply

In “Trains prove their worth in helping improve air,” I offered, “In the final analysis if the growth in passenger train ridership is to continue, then additional service will be necessary. ….Electrified California high-speed rail service, on the other hand, expected to break ground later this year, when built and operational, will provide a viable alternative to meet … Read more

Trains prove their worth in helping improve air

In “CATS: Decline in smog-forming emissions from California cars a bright spot,” I credited improvement in state motor vehicle smog-forming emissions to “initiatives such as the state’s Smog Check and other programs.” California’s Smog Check Program, by the way, went into effect in 1984. Moreover, noted in “Planning for a Better Future: California 2025: 2010 Update,” a Public Policy … Read more

Beyond Oil/Sierra Club ‘Smart Choices, Less Traffic’ report gives transit the green light

By the time the mid-20th century rolled around, the American streetcar had seen far better days. But for this inspiring institution, it was neither the end of the road nor the end of the American electric street railway story. Yes, the near-total disappearance of the once-mighty and utilitarian trolley network is sad, but it’s also profound, though … Read more