On the other hand, it's hard to argue that places like Tracy, Stockton, Modesto, and Sacramento aren't already in the gravitational pull of the Bay, or Lancaster and Palmdale aren't already in the commuter belt for LA. Desirability in these places is likely to rise with the option to trade a long car commute to a shorter P+R train commute.
The toss-ups are Bakersfield and especially Fresno. These are metros far removed from others, can't significantly interface daily commuters with others, so their housing and job markets stand on their own. But for the same reasons, among California metros they're also the least subject to existing affordability crises. If their access to the Bay and LA improves, this will change -- and already-sprawling, already-transit-poor Fresno and Bakersfield can hardly distribute this rise in demand evenly in their grid.
EDIT: 'Organic' affordable housing has always been greenfield, because it's cheap to turn peripheral land to inexpensive dwellings. But HSR will serve built-out city centers, where expensive redevelopment is required if one wants to satisfy demand. And if the demand is there, the asking price will reflect that.
And miss the point that the way real estate works in Japan is fundamentally different from the US.
In Japan, land ownership doesn't really help build wealth, so people are happy to densify.
I can only speak for Tokyo, but it basically means that if you buy land for $400k and build a house for $200k, the value of the second will slowly approach zero, while the price of the land does what it does.
In Tokyo this appreciates a bit, so your wealth remains more or less the same.
If you go outside of Tokyo though, where the ratio becomes more like $50k land, $100k house, it’s easy to see that it’s not something you do as an investment. Land won’t increase in value there either as everyone is leaving for Tokyo.
It's possible this could change somewhat going forward as newer homes have much better construction. This would still depend on the country figuring out how to grow the population though.
A better transit investment would not be high speed rail, but expanding city-wide rail/metro combined with zoning that allows denser housing to be built around stations.
Renting sure. But purchasing house means a lot more than "this is my square". Amenities, schools, the community are all directly tied to what your house is worth and it is an investment.
If I'm putting down a million dollars on a house and you decide my local gov. elected representatives are going to be superseded on local governance I'm not going to be very happy.
(2) "You can't build a lot in the bay area without affecting people who have a large personal stake in the housing market" ->Tons of people with a large personal stake in the bay area are being displaced by rising rents. Do they suddenly not count because they do not own a home?
2. I don't know about suddenly, but that would otherwise probably be an accurate assessment of the situation. At least relative to those who do.
Is there any western city, or a political party, who have intentionally lowered property values in the last decade and been awarded for it by voters? Has anyone even tried?
I identify as a liberal democrat, it makes me sad that a city that has been under the control of my preferred political ideology for decades is so completely dysfunctional.
It makes me wonder if there just aren't enough people who share my values but actually have skill in governance.
The people who come in with skill in governance and are in a highly-visible local government like SF rapidly move up and out of local government.
For that matter, term limits mean they move out even if they don't move up.
> I identify as a liberal democrat, it makes me sad that a city that has been under the control of my preferred political ideology for decades is so completely dysfunctional.
SF hasn't been under liberal democratic control for decades (at least by any single coherent definition of “liberal democrat”, which has two opposed uses—it can refer either to the center-right neoliberal or center-left progressive faction of the party, and the two have been back and forth in SF.)
Some people say that the definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing in the same way, while expecting different results.
However in America I only get to vote for one of two sides and I still think mine is the lesser of two evils.
The $2.2B shiny new Transbay Terminal shuts down after less than 2 months? The Chinatown subway boondoggle? The Eastern Span going from $250M to $6.5B and still having seriously troubling defects? Where are the adults in charge?
Then you have Reds and Blues, I’m not going to dignify them by referring to them by what they consider themselves to be because their “leadership” are both a bunch of filthy liars. When the Blues control the national government, the Reds are all about them States’ Rights. When the Reds control the national government, it is up to the Blues to resist! That is to say, there isn’t a coherent political ideology to be found here.
So zoom back in to San Francisco for a bit, and the controlling ideology isn’t one singular ideology, it’s a Board of Supervisors that is largely working for the benefit of property owners and corporate interests. The progressives have done more to shore up property values and the moderates have done more to attract and retain businesses. Neither of them gives a damn about large scale infrastructure. Neither of them gives a damn if we who are from SF actually get to make a life here.
The controlling interests are in no way completely dysfunctional, they are accomplishing their objectives by making it more difficult to actually increase residential density or expand infrastructure to accommodate the influx of residents.
Sacramento has a similar only slightly more diverse set of players, and most California cities, particularly around the Bay, are playing the same game of shoring up property values while trying to attract businesses. Actual residents get left out in the cold, or convinces to vote one way or the other because this or that faction is slightly more agreeable than this one over here, and are willing to throw a few bones their way on some generally fairly unimportant issues.
We spend more time debating the merits of plastic straws or selling fur than we do figuring out how to run safe needle exchanges to keep needles out of the streets, staff and clean some public restrooms with showers to keep piss and shit out of the streets and build some damn apartments to keep people out of the streets. Ironically the Board of Supervisors has done a bang up job of keeping scooters out of the sidewalks in the most ham fisted manner they could muster.
We can have high quality nuanced debates all we want about whatever bourgeois bullshit comes down the sewer, but we can’t get behind the simple idea of building the infrastructure we actually need so kids who grow up here, their schoolteachers, and our neighbors can find an affordable place to live here in this damnable city. Maybe our ideologies aren’t the issue here, maybe it’s just that We the People actually suck.
The problem predates prop 13, which was enacted in response to the housing problem back in the late 70s.
In the Californian model, you decide in committee where people ought to go (which is everywhere represented by committee members) and design something too big and expensive to succeed.
They are both the largest population centers in California by any metric. This is not "decide in committee where people ought to go".
The particular station locations is much more complicated but still based on population centers but a whole host of NIMBY action pushed a lot of those into less favorable locations.
(Don't get me wrong. I love Shinkansen. That made my Japan trip so much more pleasant than anywhere else I have been. Not a single plane trip within the country. No need to pre-plan. Just buy a ticket and hop on. In California though, I know very few - they do exist - who regularly commute between LA -> SF. Regularly ~ a few times a month for a few days at a time)
It seems like the train should aim to replace a route served (poorly) by daily vehicular traffic.
If you want commuters to use HSR, you have to make it easy for people to use. This means the line from SF to Sac/Roseville being placed directly along the 80 corridor with frequent stops for locals as well as dedicated express trains. This requires sidings at all tops in both directions to enable passing, something not currently envisioned for 90% of the stops (iirc).
The biggest problem with CAHSR imho is that they started grading the RoW and laying track in the central valley before they had started on crossing the Tehachapi mountains. The highest long-term value to HSR is going to be the LA-SF route. The one piece with the longest build and highest cost is the route over the mountains (the existing route owned by the UP and with BNSF having trackage rights is 2/3 single track and completely at capacity, with speeds of less than 30MPH average).
There is no way that HSR will be long term viable without that route in place. Until they build that and rationalize the routes, it will be nothing but a faster and vastly more costly replacement for the San Joaquin corridor passenger trains.
I want it to be a success. I'm very pessimistic about that in the current state of affairs.
This would require an additional crossing of the California Coast Ranges (crossing the Diablo Range somewhere between Oakland and Fairfield), and a new tunnel across the bay between SF and Oakland. Both would be $$$$$ megaprojects.
Isn't the easing of japan's housing prices due to japan population stagnation/decline and nearly 30 years of economic stagnation?
Also, didn't japan's housing prices rise dramatically in the first 25 years of their high speed rail's existence before crashing in the early 1990s?
Japan's population growth since 1990 has been pretty much 0%. California's population has increase nearly 50% since 1990.
Intercity trains will come with an intercity price tag, which is more than most people are willing to pay for without a subsidy. There's a reason very few people in Europe use ICE trains for their daily commute.
That being said, high-speed rail is often seen as a ploy for other things.
The best example I can think of is during the Obama administration the attempt to build a High Speed rail link between Manhattan and Washington DC. Bringing Wall Street closer to DC is the last thing the world needs, and shows how out of touch the rail planners were at times.
As I remember they had some other great plans like in Florida that were sadly rejected, but I never got a clear explanation for some of those real dumb proposals that made everyone suspicious and tanked the project.
Overall, California's population is leveling off. So is the US. The US hit "peak baby" several years ago and population growth is below replacement rate.
Look at the charts here https://www.bayareamarketreports.com/trend/bay-area-real-est...
There are some 30 million people living in the greater Tokyo metro area, depending on where you draw the line, of which 14 thousand have Shinkansen commuter passes:
That's 0.047%, a negligible drop in the bucket, and that's despite Tokyo having last-mile transit options infinitely better than California's.
Note for fairness: this does exclude the considerable numbers of salarymen who effectively maintain two homes, namely a tiny bachelor pad in Tokyo and a larger family household elsewhere, and "commute" by Shinkansen to return on the weekends. This is common enough that there's a Japanese term for it, 夫婦別居 fuufu bekkyo, literally "husband and wife living separately" but lacking the separation-before-divorce connotation that carries in the West.
However, California is notably lacking in affordable bachelor pads and stay-at-home moms financially able and psychologically willing to tolerate this.
I think the global warming angle is a much more compelling reason for HSR.
I feel like San Francisco and Mountain View would get far bigger bang for their buck if SFMTA and the Planning Commission could coordinate to build bus-centric high-density transit developments around the existing freeway off-ramps. Just add another pedestrian/bike/transit-friendly bus loop connected to the freeway (like the Salesforce Transit Center, although maybe not on stilts). Facebook, Google, Apple, etc already pay for operating the buses, and would add more if the buses achieve high enough utilization.
The real winners will be Fresno and Bakersfield to SF or LA. Lower living costs, and tying those economies into the Bay Area. Having an office of your startup out there becomes just as reasonable as doing one in Fremont or Pleasanton.
The actual Fresno<->Bakersfield link itself (from one terminus to other) I think will be less likely -- the drive is boring but most likely you're not going from city center to city center and the local transport is limited. So I'd probably still drive down 99.
Apparently 1% of the total traffic in LAX in 2015 was for connecting flights to SFO . Assuming this ratio didn’t change much in the following two year... considering LAX’s total traffic for 2017 was 84M  this means 840K people transferred from LAX to SFO. During 2017 3.5M people traveled from LAX to SFO. This means about 24% of the traffic to SFO from LAX was for transferring flights. My numbers are clearly estimates because I couldn’t find a good record of every passenger itenary in the US which is what would be required for more the most accurate data. This also doesn’t cover passengers using SFO as a transfer station to LAX.
Interesting enough JFK to LAX has recently become the most traveled route in the US with 30K more passengers a year than LAX to SFO, which contradicts my previous statements.  It’s possible LAX to SFO has more total flights, if you assume shorter flights use smaller airplanes.
One of the arguments I did read that was convincing is that Bay Area and LA basin airports are near capacity. Diverting passengers from the LA to Bay Area route would free up capacity for long distance flights. Thus alleviate the need to expand those airports. In the discussions I've had it's come up that expanding airports in built up areas is massively expensive. They want to add a third runway to Heathrow at a cost of £14 billion. That's 25% of the projected cost of CHSR.
 When you die, no matter if you go to heaven or hell you'll transfer through Atlanta.
However when I did fly I occasionally went to a client in LA. Would fly in the morning and fly out same day usually. Back then from home in SJ to client in LA was about 2-3 hours all things included. If I had to do it via high speed rail probably would rent a hotel in Palmdale and ride the rest of the way in the morning. Then straight back the next evening. Unless ticking made that $$$
They've been trying variants on this for two hundred years in the UK. It's always ultimately self defeating. The only way you fix it is dispersing industry.
Also, Unlike japan where stations can also be commercial spaces resulting in both revenue and making the transit location super popular, in the us transit locations of course have to be public land and government can’t be seen profitable leasing out said land (unless it’s for a sports team :p)
We are building a trolley line in San Diego to alleviate car traffic along a main freeway artery (Downtown -> UTC). There were several lawsuits along the route from property owners. A complaint which surfaced again and again was: "building a trolley station near my house will cause a decline in the neighborhood because there are homeless people and druggies near the trolley stations."
Never mind that a multi-million dollar train line is being built right in your neighborhood. If you own property in San Diego, you will never take the train. Because the train is for homeless people and drug addicts.
You'd think CHSR proponents would've noticed that comparison with Japan makes little sense not even because of density, but because Japan already (and had when they started building the Shinkansen) an extensive local rail and other transit network -- you can actually get to the train and get to where you actually want to go from the train.
Other than that, getting anywhere using transit worked great; but the Shinkansen is a very small piece of the puzzle.
Public infrastructure of all sorts, quality, quantity, and affordability of housing, healthcare, and handling the social issues of the less fortunate are all different facets of larger issues in the US. Addressing them properly requires a comprehensive, national-scope of effort (but with local tweaks), approach that would eliminate or consolidate the right parts of red tape, incentivize desired results across large geographic regions. It would need to steamroller over entrenched local politicians, NIMBY housing owners who want a magic wand to freeze time at the highlight of their lives (cost to anyone else be ignored), and transcend both gerrymandered political areas and voters with too little time, education, and wisdom to start on the enlightened path.
However, it is also about culture. The American Dream, one of prosperity for all, is at odds with the other american dream, "making it big". A pipedream usually enabled mostly by having the right social connections thanks to rich parents and a private safety net that allows taking big risks until one pays off.
Building CHSR alone will price out people who live close enough to train stations, but without all the supporting infrastructure it is very unlikely to actually do anything for the housing crisis.
The last proposed plan would have the HSR running over 100 MPH less than 100 feet from my bedroom window.
Another negative is that this will accelerate gentrification in the newly expanded commute zones.
Imagine taking, say, $50B that gets dumped into the quagmire that is Afghanistan and using that instead to modernize and expand the current rail system so that it can handle even more freight as well as performant passenger service.
The US freight rail network is the most efficient in the world for ton/mile/dollars. It crushes long-haul trucks for bulk/unit loads, manifest, intermodal...the list goes on.
It is in no need of nationalizing, and if you did that you'd end up with a vastly slower network built for something entirely different than what you're talking about.
Build a totally new network on better alignments/grades with higher speeds for passengers only. Leave the freight railroads to their work.
Right of ways are challenging. It's not about pushing freight off of existing lines, it's about investing in the rails we have now so that capacity and speed can be enhanced.
My own point: the freight rail system is optimized for freight. Nationalizing it does no good. Build a totally separate passenger rail network with different loading gauges, requirements and signaling that is designed for passenger trains.
moving all the freight to something less efficient would 1) have significant environmental impacts and 2) raise the cost of all consumer goods, disproportionally harming the poor.
Yes, it takes a back seat to freight and it should. Freight is very important to the US and a disruption of our freight system will have some seriously nasty effects. The current rail system serves this country quite well. It might go unnoticed by most people, but its important. Frankly, the under appreciation of how good the US logistic system (rail, truck, air, vessel, and barge) is a real shame.
> expand the current rail system so that it can handle even more freight as well as performant passenger service.
I never suggested sacrificing freight traffic in any way, actually the opposite.
Things like Positive Train Control (which is erratically and incompletely implemented), investing in parallel tracks to allow more interleaving of service and in more rigorous (but sensible and properly funded) safety measure are all relatively modest investments that could put a lot more cars on the rails.
> The private freight carriers are doing a fine job
Yes they are, for freight and they have zero incentive to share. If the costs for making it painless for them to share are mitigated, then everybody wins.
My original point is we're flushing money down the toilet in foreign lands and if it was redirected into an investment like this would be money better spent.
We're never going to have proper high speed rail, but at least we could have medium speed rail...
No everyone loses when you add cost because you want to add some passengers to a system that is expressly hostile towards passenger train needs. Cost add affects everyone including the poor who won’t benefit.
Do it new and stop trying to take from someone doing a damn good job.
I was arguing to make the system not need to be hostile to passenger needs by improvements of the existing infrastructure.
The other point that I failed to emphasize is that I'm working with the primary assumption that getting the necessary right of ways would prohibitively expensive and in some cases close to impossible.
They deserve it for encouraging the urban sprawl that created this mess in the first place.