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Old 07-26-2014, 08:46 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by memph View Post
Even if you're advocating for a combination of HSR-oriented greenfield suburbs and infill though, I don't really see it. I mean, what would this development in Gilroy/Hollister look like?
We both need to step away from arbitrarily choosing commute lengths. We're making assumptions about the hypothetical cruising speed of a fictional HSR system. It's enough to say that HSR makes even an end-to-end run a reasonable option in terms of time. Higher speeds or shorter commutes only make it more so.

Now, let's talk numbers about what outward development could add. The 95123 zip is typically suburban for San Jose. Yet, it's pop. density is only 7500 ppsm. For comparison, a rowhouse-dominated zip like SF's 94116 sits at 17k ppsm. NY's 11201/Brooklyn sits a 36k ppsm.

Hollister, at 7.3 sq miles, has a population dens. of 4800 ppsm. Just bridging that gap between Hollister and a suburban San Jose zip would add near on to 20k people. So, "a few thousand people" is a bit unfair to say.

The 95126 zip in San Jose, by no means a sweltering hot house of people packed in like sardines, sits at 9600 ppsm. And it includes a lot of SFHs, albeit in former trolley suburbs. So we're not talking about endless rows of big apartment blocks. Bringing Hollister's average to that would add near on 35k residents. While this is all hypothetical, it's also nothing to sneeze at.

Going a step further, bringing the full Morgan Hill/Gilroy/Hollister region, at 36.318 sq miles, to an average of 6000 ppsm would add 97k. At 7k ppsm, 133k people. At the 95125 density, it would add 150k. At the 95126 density, 228k.

So, yes, outward growth could be a huge ROI, even at relatively low densities.

Now, responding to the idea of infill, if San Jose could get to an average of 7000 ppsm from 5600, we'd have added 235k residents. Getting the whole of Santa Clara county to share the load and go from a lowly 1400 ppsm to a measly 2k ppsm? 780k newbies. At 3k ppsm, its 2m new residents. And, admittedly, if the county and its cities weren't so opposed to infill and density, even at relatively low levels, that would be the answer to growth right there.
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Old 07-27-2014, 08:16 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darkeconomist View Post
...The 95126 zip in San Jose, by no means a sweltering hot house of people packed in like sardines, sits at 9600 ppsm. And it includes a lot of SFHs, albeit in former trolley suburbs. So we're not talking about endless rows of big apartment blocks. Bringing Hollister's average to that would add near on 35k residents. While this is all hypothetical, it's also nothing to sneeze at.

Going a step further, bringing the full Morgan Hill/Gilroy/Hollister region, at 36.318 sq miles, to an average of 6000 ppsm would add 97k. At 7k ppsm, 133k people. At the 95125 density, it would add 150k. At the 95126 density, 228k.

So, yes, outward growth could be a huge ROI, even at relatively low densities.
Who is making the "investment" and who is getting the "return"? What is the return?

Quote:
Originally Posted by darkeconomist View Post
Now, responding to the idea of infill, if San Jose could get to an average of 7000 ppsm from 5600, we'd have added 235k residents. Getting the whole of Santa Clara county to share the load and go from a lowly 1400 ppsm to a measly 2k ppsm? 780k newbies. At 3k ppsm, its 2m new residents. And, admittedly, if the county and its cities weren't so opposed to infill and density, even at relatively low levels, that would be the answer to growth right there.
Not sure which question this is supposedly answering.
As noted by Patricius, "economics and personal desires for living arrangements" encourage people to be away from the environment you are envisioning. There are lots of folks that do not want to live like hamsters nor do they want to pay a premium for doing so. It may not be long before San Jose is using what is affectionately known as "poo water" in other countries: California drought: San Jose's new high-tech water purification plant to expand recycled water use - Santa Cruz Sentinel. Maybe it's better to live closer to where those resources are instead of trying to densify a place that simply does not have them.
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Old 07-27-2014, 12:21 PM
 
Location: Thunder Bay, ON
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patricius Maximus View Post
Arguably NYC and Los Angeles are at this point right now; the Hamptons are well over 100 miles away from the other edge of the NYC metro, and Oxnard is 150 miles away from Palm Springs. There is little meaningful direct interaction between one end and the other, yet they are considered part of the same metropolitan area because they are all part of a discrete web of connected local economies that is urban in form. This produces a situation where cities take the same role as species in a ring species or languages in a dialect continuum, where they are all part of a discrete group, interact with neighboring populations within it, but do not interact with the opposite ends.
Well the CSA definitions can be a bit ridiculous. Carbon County, PA is rather distantly removed from Manhattan, but is considered part of the New York CSA. Including the Hamptons or Oxnard is not as unreasonable though, they're basically outer suburbs/satellites.

If you defined a Toronto CSA using US Census Bureau methodology it would be 180 miles across. Port Hope to Beamsville (125 miles) might be more reasonable though, or even Bowmanville to Grimsby (95 miles). Commuting ties between St Catharines-Niagara and Hamilton are actually pretty weak even though the QEW between the two has ADT numbers around 70-90,000.

Also sometimes these far out exurbs are too remote to benefit much from the urban economy. Toronto's exurban townships of Erin, Brock and Adjala-Tosorontio actually lost population from 2006 to 2011.

Do you know how connected Palm Springs really is to the rest of the Inland Empire? I mean the closest major community (Hemet) is already 42 miles and it looks mostly residential with the closest major job centre being San Bernardino at 53 miles.

I think congestion plays a role though, or cost to have no congestion, in terms of limiting size of urban areas. I mean for penurbia to work on a metropolitan scale (rather than just having 5% of the metro's population) you'd need high speed roads, and you'd have a low population base to pay for them. The average household might have to pay $5,000-$10,000 per year just in infrastructure costs, on top of the $10,000 per year for gas. Now maybe for some people that's ok, but how about the people working the minimum wage service sector jobs? You'd probably have to hike minimum wage by about $5/hour to cover that.

Also I think it's not just about commuting. Lets say you need a population base of 250,000 for a regional mall. At 250 ppsm that means you need 1000 square miles or about 35-40 minutes driving distance vs maybe 15 minutes in a conventional suburb. My area has 4 Home Depots for 450,000 people, instead of the average resident being within a 12 minute drive, now it's a 30 minute drive. Instead of the grocery store being a 5 minute drive, it's a 12 minute drive. Instead of your kid's soccer practice being a 10 minute drive, it's a 30 minute drive. Also, school bus service would be pretty impractical. Interaction with neighbours would be minimal, which some people might like but certainly not everyone.

If you're a company looking to set up shop, you'd have a labour pool of at most 500,000 vs a couple million for conventional suburban densities. The 10 MSAs closest to 500,000 people had an average growth rate of 2.8% from 2010 to 2013, compared to 3.7% for the 10 MSAs closest to 2 million. Looking at what size cities are growing fastest, the ideal size is about 5 million.

So now this penurbian city has about $15,000/year in extra costs per household for gas and infrastructure, consumer goods cost 50% more due to higher minimum wage, you have to spend an extra 30+ min per day driving even if commute times are the same, and probably salaries will be lower because the low density makes for smaller labour pool and less competitive companies. Suddenly all that extra space is looking a little expensive... And note this is compared to conventional suburbia, not dense cities.
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Old 07-27-2014, 12:25 PM
 
Location: Thunder Bay, ON
2,610 posts, read 3,762,451 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IC_deLight View Post
Who is making the "investment" and who is getting the "return"? What is the return?



Not sure which question this is supposedly answering.
As noted by Patricius, "economics and personal desires for living arrangements" encourage people to be away from the environment you are envisioning. There are lots of folks that do not want to live like hamsters nor do they want to pay a premium for doing so. It may not be long before San Jose is using what is affectionately known as "poo water" in other countries: California drought: San Jose's new high-tech water purification plant to expand recycled water use - Santa Cruz Sentinel. Maybe it's better to live closer to where those resources are instead of trying to densify a place that simply does not have them.
Maybe not everyone wants to live in those environment, but clearly a lot of people DO and ARE willing to pay a premium, otherwise housing wouldn't be so expensive.
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Old 07-27-2014, 12:32 PM
 
Location: Thunder Bay, ON
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darkeconomist View Post
We both need to step away from arbitrarily choosing commute lengths. We're making assumptions about the hypothetical cruising speed of a fictional HSR system. It's enough to say that HSR makes even an end-to-end run a reasonable option in terms of time. Higher speeds or shorter commutes only make it more so.

Now, let's talk numbers about what outward development could add. The 95123 zip is typically suburban for San Jose. Yet, it's pop. density is only 7500 ppsm. For comparison, a rowhouse-dominated zip like SF's 94116 sits at 17k ppsm. NY's 11201/Brooklyn sits a 36k ppsm.

Hollister, at 7.3 sq miles, has a population dens. of 4800 ppsm. Just bridging that gap between Hollister and a suburban San Jose zip would add near on to 20k people. So, "a few thousand people" is a bit unfair to say.

The 95126 zip in San Jose, by no means a sweltering hot house of people packed in like sardines, sits at 9600 ppsm. And it includes a lot of SFHs, albeit in former trolley suburbs. So we're not talking about endless rows of big apartment blocks. Bringing Hollister's average to that would add near on 35k residents. While this is all hypothetical, it's also nothing to sneeze at.

Going a step further, bringing the full Morgan Hill/Gilroy/Hollister region, at 36.318 sq miles, to an average of 6000 ppsm would add 97k. At 7k ppsm, 133k people. At the 95125 density, it would add 150k. At the 95126 density, 228k.

So, yes, outward growth could be a huge ROI, even at relatively low densities.
My argument wasn't about whether there's enough land there for a significant amount of people, but whether the HSR would be enough to facilitate all those people moving there. Again, how are you getting all those people from their homes to the HSR? And if you're saying they don't have to commute all the way to San Francisco but can just stop in Silicon Valley, the problem is that the employment in Silicon Valley (unlike SF) is spread out and low density, making it difficult to serve by HSR.
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Old 07-27-2014, 12:32 PM
 
2,553 posts, read 2,005,466 times
Reputation: 1348
Quote:
Originally Posted by IC_deLight View Post
Who is making the "investment" and who is getting the "return"? What is the return?



Not sure which question this is supposedly answering.
As noted by Patricius, "economics and personal desires for living arrangements" encourage people to be away from the environment you are envisioning. There are lots of folks that do not want to live like hamsters nor do they want to pay a premium for doing so. It may not be long before San Jose is using what is affectionately known as "poo water" in other countries: California drought: San Jose's new high-tech water purification plant to expand recycled water use - Santa Cruz Sentinel. Maybe it's better to live closer to where those resources are instead of trying to densify a place that simply does not have them.
The investment is made by the tax-paying public, with the return going to everyone who feels the pressure of high property prices. As I said before, artificially high property prices are, effectively, a tax on residents and employees. And it is a tax amounting to billions of dollars across the region. And the long-term future viability of the region is in the balance, as other regions/cities are competitive tech centers at a much lower cost.

To your other point, it frustrates me when people talk about density as if it necessarily means dense (and we all define high density differently), and talks about any kind of densifying infill as if something terrible is being forced upon people. That argument simply doesn't make sense when a low density suburb--we're not even talking about rowhouse neighborhoods at that density, and certainly not San Franciscan or higher densities--is 5-7k ppsm and the region as a whole is way, way down at 1500 ppsm. Tracy, CA, no mecca of urbanity, is only 3700 ppsm. Moving Santa Clara county to a still very low average of 2k ppsm would be hugely valuable to the region by holding down CoL growth and most neighborhoods would hardly notice that anything happened.
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Old 07-27-2014, 12:53 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by memph View Post
And if you're saying they don't have to commute all the way to San Francisco but can just stop in Silicon Valley, the problem is that the employment in Silicon Valley (unlike SF) is spread out and low density, making it difficult to serve by HSR.
Clearly, such a commute wouldn't work for everyone. In truth, that's going to be the case for any region, that some commutes are more viable than others. But, it is a choice that each person is faced with. And there's enough employment density along or within a quick shuttle's jaunt of CalTrain's route that, in terms of getting to work, it would be a reasonable option for tens or hundreds of thousands of tech workers. Take a look at the job density heat map for Santa Clara County on page 13 of this report from a local planning advocacy group http://www.spur.org/sites/default/fi...om_to_Move.pdf
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Old 07-27-2014, 01:02 PM
 
Location: Thunder Bay, ON
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darkeconomist View Post
The investment is made by the tax-paying public, with the return going to everyone who feels the pressure of high property prices. As I said before, artificially high property prices are, effectively, a tax on residents and employees. And it is a tax amounting to billions of dollars across the region. And the long-term future viability of the region is in the balance, as other regions/cities are competitive tech centers at a much lower cost.

To your other point, it frustrates me when people talk about density as if it necessarily means dense (and we all define high density differently), and talks about any kind of densifying infill as if something terrible is being forced upon people. That argument simply doesn't make sense when a low density suburb--we're not even talking about rowhouse neighborhoods at that density, and certainly not San Franciscan or higher densities--is 5-7k ppsm and the region as a whole is way, way down at 1500 ppsm. Tracy, CA, no mecca of urbanity, is only 3700 ppsm. Moving Santa Clara county to a still very low average of 2k ppsm would be hugely valuable to the region by holding down CoL growth and most neighborhoods would hardly notice that anything happened.
Well... most of Santa Clara's built up area is around 4000-12000 ppsm, with the least dense neighbourhoods around 2000 ppsm. The San Jose urban area has probably passed the 6000 ppsm mark now. The reason for the lower density at the county level is areas that are not built up. But you could certain go denser without being like Manhattan.

Higher density SFH would get you to about 10,000 ppsm. Something like this: https://www.google.ca/maps/@43.68838...Qs0AJQk8Ng!2e0

Mix in some higher density urban multi-family, which many people DO like even if it's not for everyone, so a mix of urban MF and SFH, and you might get to 15,000 ppsm.
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Old 07-27-2014, 01:52 PM
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Location: Long Island / NYC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by memph View Post
Well the CSA definitions can be a bit ridiculous. Carbon County, PA is rather distantly removed from Manhattan, but is considered part of the New York CSA. Including the Hamptons or Oxnard is not as unreasonable though, they're basically outer suburbs/satellites.
The Hamptons aren't really suburbs of NYC, they're beach / resort communities for the region. Not many residents work in jobs far from the immediate area (eastern Suffolk County) and the land to the west is semi-rural away from the ocean (pine barrens and farmland). Only reason the Hamptons are included is that it's in the same suburbs as actual suburbs part of the NYC urban area. My parents live in what I'd consider an outer suburb of NYC, by both distance and time, their house is closer to Manhattan than the Hamptons in the eastern part of the county.
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Old 07-27-2014, 02:07 PM
 
Location: Thunder Bay, ON
2,610 posts, read 3,762,451 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darkeconomist View Post
Clearly, such a commute wouldn't work for everyone. In truth, that's going to be the case for any region, that some commutes are more viable than others. But, it is a choice that each person is faced with. And there's enough employment density along or within a quick shuttle's jaunt of CalTrain's route that, in terms of getting to work, it would be a reasonable option for tens or hundreds of thousands of tech workers. Take a look at the job density heat map for Santa Clara County on page 13 of this report from a local planning advocacy group http://www.spur.org/sites/default/fi...om_to_Move.pdf
That's not that dense. Most of Silicon Valley seems to be around 5000-10000 jobs / sq mi, with just 4 small nodes topping 32,000 jobs/ sq mi and mostly not mixed use so it doesn't increase much when you add residents. It's enough for bus service through most of silicon valley and maybe LRT and BART stops for the densest spots but HSR? You'd need numerous stops in Silicon Valley (with bus shuttles), plus stops in San Mateo county and SF. That would slow things down considerably making infrastructure that allows HSR speeds a waste. Something like BART would make more sense.

Anyways, my point is that if this HSR commute doesn't make sense for most of those people you're proposing to move to Gilroy, etc, then this HSR is not going to be serving 250,000 people, but maybe, I dunno, 20,000 people. Now, I don't know how much it would cost, I went with $5 billion but that's probably low-balling it. I'd also argue that you want ideally under $25,000 in capital investment per daily rider, and anything over $50,000 / rider is definitely too much.

For example, around here, the Hurontario LRT is supposed to get 100,000 daily riders so that comes out to $16,000 per rider for the $1.6b project. For the Kitchener-Waterloo LRT, it would be $30,000/rider on opening day but it's expected to fall to half that with infill by 2031.

At $5 billion in HSR costs, you'd want around 200,000 daily users, and at $10 billion you'd want 400,000. Hate to say it but if you want to develop the Gilroy area, it probably makes more sense to widen the Santa Clara Freeway. That, or improve bus, LRT, streetcar and BART service in the Inner Bay combined with infill.
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