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A train tunnel to L.A. under UTC

The half billion dollar answer to widening I-5

A rail tunnel would run under Westfield's UTC mall.
A rail tunnel would run under Westfield's UTC mall.

Instead of widening I-5, widen the options for transit. That was the idea behind a lawsuit in 2013 that claimed the proposed freeway expansion between La Jolla and Oceanside would lead to “an enormous surge in greenhouse gas emissions.”

There were better ways to tackle congestion, argued the Cleveland National Forest Foundation's suit against the federal Department of Transportation. The case settled, and last week the fulfillment of its main terms was announced: a feasibility study for a double-track rail tunnel through Miramar Hill (the land under UTC's existing transit stop) in University City.

The two sides had struggled for years before coming together on the analysis, but have finally "worked this out for the common good," says the forest foundation's co-founder, Duncan McFetridge.

Key to the settlement were rail corridor improvements on the busy Los Angeles-San Diego-San Luis Obispo rail corridor. The tunnel, which would cost roughly half a billion dollars, would be useable by both Coaster and Amtrak trains.

While the lawsuit had found the widening project inconsistent with the state's emissions reduction goals, the study shows the tunnel – an existing plan that got sidelined – could reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions by 70,000 to 84,000 metric tons.

Will time and money lure drivers out from behind the wheel?

It turns out that the proposed rail tunnel under Westfield UTC could lop six to seven minutes off peak travel time between San Diego and Los Angeles. A prior federal study found the tunnel, with other corridor improvements, would reduce travel time between San Diego and Los Angeles to two hours.

Bigger savings would come from lower travel costs. The study concluded that taking transit would cost $180 per month, while driving a car would cost $507.

The estimate of additional passengers the tunnel could draw is from 1,300 to 1,700 per day.

A new transit station would be built at the mall, which would include connections to light rail, local bus, and bus-rapid transit, making it easier to get downtown, the airport, and destinations served by the Sprinter light rail system which connects with the corridor at Oceanside.

In recent comments submitted for the draft 2021 regional transportation plan update, the forest foundation, along with Save Our Forest and Ranchlands, urged the San Diego Association of Governments to begin with a climate, housing, transit alternative focused on all the ways to get around that don't increase pollution.

For transit to work, they wrote, it has to include biking and walkable spaces to make sure everyone can get there. The Miramar transit station would have both bike and pedestrian access.

"Because no trip begins or ends on a transit vehicle."

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4

TO THAT LAST SENTENCE ABOVE: "Because no trip begins......."

The trouble is How Few "trip"s begin, from society, on their FEET within their homes. Until those in society access to a "transit vehicle." (and the same theory in returning to home from the transit vehicle) OR ?Are we speaking (departing home) of driving motor vehicles/riding taxis to transit/public parking lots; in continuation of walking to transit station stops??

Unless the INTERMEDIATE bicycle is used; or COMPLETE intermediate WALKING is performed. etc

The trouble is society's ADDICTION to motor vehicles.

May 19, 2020

Places like NYC were designed around mass transit. San Diego, LA, etc. were designed around vehicles. There is no SoCal mass transit system that is able to move people economically and efficiently so people must rely on their cars to get around. Earthquakes aside, a tunnel from SD to LA with, I assume, stops along the way still leaves the problem of how do you get to the station and once at destination getting to where you need to be. Walking is great as is bicycling but we do have inclement weather.

May 20, 2020

In my speaking to the addition of this Pandemic timeline that we area in; public transit is only going to get more messed up, than how it already has been. With the MTS loss of CEO Paul Jablonski. When the followers lose their leader, as the followers already don't aren't doing their jobs correctly over the decades. And the ROOKIES to MTS are only further destroying the quality of the company output. This is already proven from the employees before the loss of the CEO; only worsened by the approached Rookies at the later time. This only further FORKS an additional concern to the quality of public transportation in San Diego County. NCTD is of no lesser concern.

May 21, 2020

That pdf document is of a NCTD brochure outlining many plans for widening and straightening the rails in No County. It shows many tunnels in the area south of Del Mar, and not all of those are planned to be built. It does show the various alternatives that have been proposed.

As to the cost of any of those tunnel projects, the idea that any would cost a half billion bucks is amusing. What I've heard quoted before is in the area of $2 - 5 billion, and even that could be low. So, a feasibility study will cost plenty, but there's no source of that sort of funding now, and not in the foreseeable future either. So, then what does the study accomplish?

One of the most compelling reasons for a tunnel project is to get the tracks off the bluffs in Del Mar. That area continues to erode, and these current efforts to stabilize the area will not last forever. And those efforts don't solve the matter of double tracking the entire corridor. Then there's the steep and twisty route south of Sorrento Valley that the rails climb up to the Miramar summit. So, yes, this all needs to be planned, and the exact route that meets the majority of needs, within the constraints of the terrain and finances should be identified.

Just keep in mind that NCTD has no plan for raising the funds to make that needed improvement, and the amount required would be daunting.

May 22, 2020

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A rail tunnel would run under Westfield's UTC mall.
A rail tunnel would run under Westfield's UTC mall.

Instead of widening I-5, widen the options for transit. That was the idea behind a lawsuit in 2013 that claimed the proposed freeway expansion between La Jolla and Oceanside would lead to “an enormous surge in greenhouse gas emissions.”

There were better ways to tackle congestion, argued the Cleveland National Forest Foundation's suit against the federal Department of Transportation. The case settled, and last week the fulfillment of its main terms was announced: a feasibility study for a double-track rail tunnel through Miramar Hill (the land under UTC's existing transit stop) in University City.

The two sides had struggled for years before coming together on the analysis, but have finally "worked this out for the common good," says the forest foundation's co-founder, Duncan McFetridge.

Key to the settlement were rail corridor improvements on the busy Los Angeles-San Diego-San Luis Obispo rail corridor. The tunnel, which would cost roughly half a billion dollars, would be useable by both Coaster and Amtrak trains.

While the lawsuit had found the widening project inconsistent with the state's emissions reduction goals, the study shows the tunnel – an existing plan that got sidelined – could reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions by 70,000 to 84,000 metric tons.

Will time and money lure drivers out from behind the wheel?

It turns out that the proposed rail tunnel under Westfield UTC could lop six to seven minutes off peak travel time between San Diego and Los Angeles. A prior federal study found the tunnel, with other corridor improvements, would reduce travel time between San Diego and Los Angeles to two hours.

Bigger savings would come from lower travel costs. The study concluded that taking transit would cost $180 per month, while driving a car would cost $507.

The estimate of additional passengers the tunnel could draw is from 1,300 to 1,700 per day.

A new transit station would be built at the mall, which would include connections to light rail, local bus, and bus-rapid transit, making it easier to get downtown, the airport, and destinations served by the Sprinter light rail system which connects with the corridor at Oceanside.

In recent comments submitted for the draft 2021 regional transportation plan update, the forest foundation, along with Save Our Forest and Ranchlands, urged the San Diego Association of Governments to begin with a climate, housing, transit alternative focused on all the ways to get around that don't increase pollution.

For transit to work, they wrote, it has to include biking and walkable spaces to make sure everyone can get there. The Miramar transit station would have both bike and pedestrian access.

"Because no trip begins or ends on a transit vehicle."

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Comments
4

TO THAT LAST SENTENCE ABOVE: "Because no trip begins......."

The trouble is How Few "trip"s begin, from society, on their FEET within their homes. Until those in society access to a "transit vehicle." (and the same theory in returning to home from the transit vehicle) OR ?Are we speaking (departing home) of driving motor vehicles/riding taxis to transit/public parking lots; in continuation of walking to transit station stops??

Unless the INTERMEDIATE bicycle is used; or COMPLETE intermediate WALKING is performed. etc

The trouble is society's ADDICTION to motor vehicles.

May 19, 2020

Places like NYC were designed around mass transit. San Diego, LA, etc. were designed around vehicles. There is no SoCal mass transit system that is able to move people economically and efficiently so people must rely on their cars to get around. Earthquakes aside, a tunnel from SD to LA with, I assume, stops along the way still leaves the problem of how do you get to the station and once at destination getting to where you need to be. Walking is great as is bicycling but we do have inclement weather.

May 20, 2020

In my speaking to the addition of this Pandemic timeline that we area in; public transit is only going to get more messed up, than how it already has been. With the MTS loss of CEO Paul Jablonski. When the followers lose their leader, as the followers already don't aren't doing their jobs correctly over the decades. And the ROOKIES to MTS are only further destroying the quality of the company output. This is already proven from the employees before the loss of the CEO; only worsened by the approached Rookies at the later time. This only further FORKS an additional concern to the quality of public transportation in San Diego County. NCTD is of no lesser concern.

May 21, 2020

That pdf document is of a NCTD brochure outlining many plans for widening and straightening the rails in No County. It shows many tunnels in the area south of Del Mar, and not all of those are planned to be built. It does show the various alternatives that have been proposed.

As to the cost of any of those tunnel projects, the idea that any would cost a half billion bucks is amusing. What I've heard quoted before is in the area of $2 - 5 billion, and even that could be low. So, a feasibility study will cost plenty, but there's no source of that sort of funding now, and not in the foreseeable future either. So, then what does the study accomplish?

One of the most compelling reasons for a tunnel project is to get the tracks off the bluffs in Del Mar. That area continues to erode, and these current efforts to stabilize the area will not last forever. And those efforts don't solve the matter of double tracking the entire corridor. Then there's the steep and twisty route south of Sorrento Valley that the rails climb up to the Miramar summit. So, yes, this all needs to be planned, and the exact route that meets the majority of needs, within the constraints of the terrain and finances should be identified.

Just keep in mind that NCTD has no plan for raising the funds to make that needed improvement, and the amount required would be daunting.

May 22, 2020

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