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Old 10-03-2014, 09:27 AM
 
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This may be my wet dream here, but in the medium term (5-10 years) how realistic is this? Especially given that UC Davis is considering putting an extension campus in The Railyards and that in general, the city of Davis and UC Davis is very isolated from the Sacramento region, even though UC Davis is considered Sacramento's UC Campus.

Say we have a new line, lets call it the red line, that starts from 7th and K, goes west with no stops until West Sacramento, where it has two stops, then goes over the yolo causeway and has maybe 2 stops in Downtown Davis and 1 or 2 University stops.

Maybe another streetcar network in Davis around Downtown can supplement the lack of RT stops, that way the light rail can be a relatively "express" train to Sacramento from the UC Campus.

Pipe dream?
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Old 10-03-2014, 10:23 AM
 
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In the medium term, we will have a new streetcar line operating between West Sacramento's civic center/city hall and 19th & K Street in Midtown, with stops at the edge of Old Sacramento via the Tower Bridge, the Railyards via the Sacramento Valley Station, the new arena at 7th and K, and the Convention Center/Community Center. That should be operating by 2017-2018.

A light rail line between Sacramento and Davis is a huge undertaking, and very expensive because it couldn't run along the ground, it would have to be on an elevated trestle like I-80 and the Union Pacific main line because that area is a massive weir--it is a runoff channel for water from the Sacramento Valley. The only time it doesn't flood is during really bad droughts. Because that area is a weir, it will never be developed, so you won't have passenger stops long the way and never will have them. Generally, light rail costs about $20 million per track per mile (the same as two lanes of highway) assuming it's on the ground--but an elevated structure probably costs 3-4 times as much. So it's a whole lot of expense that will probably never justify the cost with passenger traffic.

Trestles also cause other problems--during floods, debris gets caught against them and they impede the flow of water. The old Sacramento Northern trestle between Woodland and West Sacramento is planned to be removed because of its impeding effect on flood water. The SN was an electric interurban, basically the equivalent of "light rail" 100 years ago.

A better alternative might be increasing the number of Capitol Corridor trains, which run all the way to San Jose and currently allow almost-hourly service between Sacramento and Davis. They use the existing trestle, so no great increase in infrastructure expense. Passengers in West Sacramento and Midtown can take the streetcar to the station, while those in East Sacramento and Rancho Cordova can take light rail--and once the 7th & Railyards station opens on the Green Line and there is pedestrian access via the Railyards, Green Line passengers have their own way to get to the depot. In Davis, in-city shuttle buses, bike-share, or a streetcar loop to campus could facilitate moving people around in Davis and to the campus. You can carry all the passengers and get all the utility for a lower price--and spend the money where it is needed building streetcar and shuttle bus networks to get people to the heavy commuter rail depots. Capitol Corridor also has other amenities that light rail doesn't have--like Wi-Fi, bathrooms and a cafe car.
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Old 10-03-2014, 10:58 AM
 
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Cap Corridor is going to be 125MPH service within a few years. I think it is the clear answer.
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Old 10-03-2014, 11:36 AM
 
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I see it a bit differently then you guys.

First, a lead time of 15 minutes is a lot better than 1 hour, even if the trains are slower.

Second, this is more about a "regional connectivity issue" that is lacking in Davis right now. See SACRT in Davis I think would go a long way in getting rid of the mindset that some long time Davis and Students have that Sacramento and Davis is "separate"

There was an article awhile back (or maybe it was a radio broadcast?) about this, the disconnect between UC Davis and the Sacramento region as a whole.
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Old 10-03-2014, 11:47 AM
 
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http://www.davisenterprise.com/local...racks-with-it/

Kind of a bummer, really, as the Sacramento River Train is a pleasant tourist train and an overlooked fun activity.

But since that obsolete trestle is a hazard, oh well. It probably makes more sense to reroute the Sierra Railroad and California Northern freight routes than to modernize the trestle.

On a related note, since "transit oriented development" is supposedly so chic, it always struck me as odd how the Clarksburg (Southport) route of the Sacramento Northern was so easily abandoned, rather than reserving it for a potential light rail line into Southport, and even a possible extension of the "Gold Line". It runs close to Raley Field already.
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Old 10-03-2014, 01:44 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Majin View Post
First, a lead time of 15 minutes is a lot better than 1 hour, even if the trains are slower.
Right now they're hourly during much of the day. They could theoretically be increased to multiple trains per hour--maybe not 15 minute intervals, but more often and running later, with a much higher seating capacity and the aforementioned higher level of comfort, speed and amenities. Enough to make it fairly simple to just go over to the depot and be confident that another train will be along within 30 minutes or so--and you can grab breakfast or a drink on the way.

Quote:
Second, this is more about a "regional connectivity issue" that is lacking in Davis right now. See SACRT in Davis I think would go a long way in getting rid of the mindset that some long time Davis and Students have that Sacramento and Davis is "separate"
SACRT doesn't have jurisdiction in Davis--the proposed Riverfront Streetcar will be the first Sacramento/Yolo County transit collaboration since Sacramento Northern initiated streetcar service to West Sacramento. And because Capitol Corridor is run by Amtrak and Caltrans, and already have expansion plans, the administrative support is already in place.

There are other ways to help dissolve that mindset that Davis and Sacramento are separate to each other. First, in the same way that Sacramento State students can use RT for free, allow UC Davis students to use the Capitol Corridor between Sacramento and Davis for free--and the Sacramento RT network too. This requires funds from the university, but would offset the expense of building more parking garages and promote UC Davis' already strong bike oriented transportation design. Second, building the satellite food-studies campus in the Railyards gives students and faculty yet another reason to move back and forth between Sacramento and Davis via Capitol Corridor--plus they can also use the Gold Line to get to UC Davis Medical Center, the existing UC Davis campus in Sacramento. Mobility and access build transit habits--and new mental maps of the region.

Quote:
There was an article awhile back (or maybe it was a radio broadcast?) about this, the disconnect between UC Davis and the Sacramento region as a whole.
Sactown Magazine had an article about this a while back, I didn't agree with the conclusion then for basically the same reason I don't agree with it now. There's a time and a place for light rail, but Downtown Sacramento-Davis is unlikely for many reasons--and there are much more efficient transit solutions using existing resources.

Last edited by wburg; 10-03-2014 at 01:53 PM.. Reason: Added link
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Old 10-03-2014, 02:32 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wburg View Post
Right now they're hourly during much of the day. They could theoretically be increased to multiple trains per hour--maybe not 15 minute intervals, but more often and running later, with a much higher seating capacity and the aforementioned higher level of comfort, speed and amenities. Enough to make it fairly simple to just go over to the depot and be confident that another train will be along within 30 minutes or so--and you can grab breakfast or a drink on the way.
How close is the amtrack station to the actual campus? And I'm assuming there is only 1 Davis stop. If it were light rail, there could be one or two stops in Downtown Davis, one stop directly at the University common area(s) for very easy access to the rail line. Plus 1 or two stops in West Sacramento, near Raley Field for the Rivercats/River District. Plus a direct line to 7th and K right in front of the Arena and the K street mall.

You even have to admit, that is MUCH different that a 100% commuter amtrack rail line. They serve two vastly different purposes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wburg View Post
SACRT doesn't have jurisdiction in Davis--the proposed Riverfront Streetcar will be the first Sacramento/Yolo County transit collaboration since Sacramento Northern initiated streetcar service to West Sacramento. And because Capitol Corridor is run by Amtrak and Caltrans, and already have expansion plans, the administrative support is already in place.
So what? Just like in West Sac, we just make a regional partnership, case closed, that should not impede progress

Quote:
Originally Posted by wburg View Post
There are other ways to help dissolve that mindset that Davis and Sacramento are separate to each other. First, in the same way that Sacramento State students can use RT for free, allow UC Davis students to use the Capitol Corridor between Sacramento and Davis for free--and the Sacramento RT network too. This requires funds from the university, but would offset the expense of building more parking garages and promote UC Davis' already strong bike oriented transportation design. Second, building the satellite food-studies campus in the Railyards gives students and faculty yet another reason to move back and forth between Sacramento and Davis via Capitol Corridor--plus they can also use the Gold Line to get to UC Davis Medical Center, the existing UC Davis campus in Sacramento. Mobility and access build transit habits--and new mental maps of the region.
Ok I agree, free ridership and a new campus in the railyards will help, definitely. But I think there just needs to be better branding and more exposure inside of Davis. Seeing "SAC RT" trains all over the city of Davis, along with lots of guide says "Take this train to Raley Field" or "Take this train to the Kings Arena", or "This way to the K street mall".

There is just a overall lack of exposure. I don't spend too much time in Davis anymore, but I used to 4-5 years ago. There is really *NOTHING* in that town that says "We are part of the Sac Metro", a very different feel then West Sacramento, or even Roseville.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wburg View Post
Sactown Magazine had an article about this a while back, I didn't agree with the conclusion then for basically the same reason I don't agree with it now. There's a time and a place for light rail, but Downtown Sacramento-Davis is unlikely for many reasons--and there are much more efficient transit solutions using existing resources.
Going to have to agree to disagree.
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Old 10-03-2014, 03:05 PM
 
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I would agree that light rail is different from a commuter line.

But with a finite amount of resources going to transit projects, I'd also put it pretty low on the list. Thinking about it another way, the capital costs to put in light rail (which is relatively cheap to operate, but very expensive to install) could fund a lot of improvements for commuter rail, fund their operation indefinitely, as well as better bus service between Sac and Davis that does a better job connecting universities and amenities, rather than just commuters (and the current buses are mostly are pretty slow, as they journey through West Sac and different parts of Davis).

As a slight aside, the Capitol Corridor vision plan is pretty interesting. http://www.capitolcorridor.org/rail_advocacy/Capitol%20Corridor%20Vision%20Presentation%20April %202013.pdf Top speed is slated to grow to 110 mph within 5-10 years, but the biggest time savings will be longer term, like eliminating the super slow sections in the Benicia area. Getting to Oakland in an hour and San Jose in 90 minutes would be huge.

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Old 10-04-2014, 01:46 PM
 
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UC Davis is only 2,000 ft from the station so I think a small streetcar system might be best to get students between the campus and the station.

Also Caltrain works very well on the peninsula. Cap Corridor needs some improvements I expect when track straightening and higher speed is in place, it will become a heavily used service
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Old 10-04-2014, 03:16 PM
 
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Capitol Corridor is already a heavily used service and one of the busiest Amtrak regional routes. The track on our end is already pretty straight, the next step is a third track between Sacramento and Roseville.
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