High Speed Rail to LAX

Chicago’s outgoing Mayor Daley wants high speed rail from the city’s downtown to O’Hare International Airport. It would be the first of its kind in the United States – meaning that it would be fast, convenient, and far too logical for American politicians to actually build.

Your move, @villaraigosa.

A few years back, I proposed the Metro Flyline – a rail network from Union Station to every airport in the region. It was kind of a joke, in that not many people need to hop a train from Downtown Los Angeles to fly their personal jet out of Van Nuys Airport. But what about a line that did service the major transportation hubs in the region? A high speed TRIANGLE, connecting LAX, Bob Hope in Burbank and Union Station.

Put it all underground. Run the whole thing elevated. Tunnel through every living room in Beverly Hills.

I don’t know where the money would come from. I don’t know ridership numbers. I don’t know environmental impact blahbitty blah. What I do know, is that people would use it. Isn’t that what mass transit is for?

The point here is that it’s time for Los Angeles to start thinking big again. No matter how far-fetched and ridiculous it may seem. Let other cities celebrate highway widenings and Target openings. We’re better than that.

Maybe someday, we’ll have a mayor that won’t mind rolling up his sleeves and putting in a solid 8 hours of work.

Los Angeles Should Start Making Trains

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The state is broke. Unemployment is high. So, why are we still outsourcing production of our rail cars to other countries?

Curbed reports that delegates from 12 Korean companies are on their way to bid on a $45-billion contract for our state’s high speed rail network. I’m sure they’re all fine companies. So are the ones from Germany and Italy. But, what if Los Angeles got into rail manufacturing? The city claims that it wants to be the “clean tech” leader.

Los Angeles is home to the largest port complex in the nation, the world’s fifth busiest airport, the country’s largest municipal utillity, world-class research universities, an unparalleled workforce, and the largest manufacturing center in the nation. From pipe-fitters and electricians to engineering PhDs and Nobel Laureates, the business and labor communities are teaming up to make Los Angeles the most productive place in the nation for cleantech. The City is building on these assets with billions of dollars of investment and attractive incentives to make Los Angeles the destination for the cleantech industry.

Would a clean tech high speed rail network fit the bill?

If Los Angeles, and the state of California want to get back on track, we should start building trains. Here. In our town. California needs them. So does Florida, the Midwest, and the rest of the nation. An American high-speed rail network – made for Americans, by Americans.

We’ve done this before. Why not do it again?

High Speed Rail: Arriving in San Francisco

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When you get on that swanky new bullet train at Los Angeles Union Station for a weekend excursion to San Francisco, here is what your destination might look like.

Curbed SF has the new renderings for the Transbay Transit Center, which will feature “fountains spurting whenever a bus passes by underneath,” and San Francisco’s modern day version of our own Angels Flight (which may, or may not be re-opened by then). Look for it in the simulated animation at 1:32.
Continue reading “High Speed Rail: Arriving in San Francisco”

A Bullet Train from Los Angeles to… New York?

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Today was the official announcement from the White House of a new national high speed passenger rail network. A network of 10 regional corridors, including the California Corridor connecting Los Angeles to San Francisco, Sacramento and San Diego. A network that leaves some glaring gaps on the map.

Now may be a good time for California to start looking even further ahead. As the current plans stand, the California Corridor stands alone, isolated from the rest of the nation. The first logical step would be a connection with the Pacific Northwest Corridor, with its currently planned terminus in Eugene, OR.

But, here is the bigger question. Which route would really fire people up? Which project would generate a national sense of pride, not to mention unprecedented job creation and economic – dare I say it – stimulus?

High speed rail from Los Angeles to New York.

The idea of any major rail network is to connect major destinations. With construction of the planned Chicago Hub Network and the Northeast’s Keystone Corridor, we’re already halfway there. We need to start thinking about how we can connect the California Corridor to the Hub, which is currently terminating in Kansas City. Los Angeles – Las Vegas – Denver – Kansas City.

This marks an exciting day for anyone who travels. A true, national high speed rail network. A network that will probably be completed before the Metro Purple Line even reaches Westwood.