Monday, August 8, 2011

Hiatus, High Speed Rail in Spain

I'm going to be traveling in Iceland and Spain from August 7-23rd, so Outlook Tower is going to be on hiatus for a bit. I should have some interesting things to say and show when I get back. I get to ride the High Speed Rail in Spain I've been reading about so much.

Development Turnover

"Look forty years ahead, every non-residential structure you see will be replaced". Chris Nelson suggests that we don't notice it, because it happens gradually, but it adds up over time. Buildings have a long useful life, and most building owners like to make money--as the building wears out, modernizing and maintenance costs increase, and the owner decides it is time to junk it and start over. For buildings with a useful life of 50 years, it will be demolished and replaced in year 33. 

Saturday, August 6, 2011

More Chris Nelson

"2/3 of all new homes by 2040 would need to be built in half mile of transit, for the expanded TRAX network, to meet the transit accessibility demand of just the 1/4 of the population that wants to be able to use TRAX". Twenty years of new homes near TRAX..... it's a staggering number.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Chris Nelson on BRT

Crunching data on the EMX in Eugene, Oregon, Chris Nelson just dropped a bomb--doesn't look like BRT does anything to affect location. The EMX, which is a 'good' BRT, with large stations, but minimal guideway. BRT has long been touted as an alternative to rail, which is cheaper but more efficient. This infers that it may be cheaper, but not actually that effective.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


Interesting to finally hear where the lines are going. The talk I had head suggested that there was a great deal of demand between West Valley and the U of U. There are going to be a LOT of trains on the stretch between Courthouse and 2100 South. All three lines use that stretch of track. I assume all three lines are going to run at 15 minute frequency, so that means a train every five minutes. Thirteenth South looks to be a better and better as a TOD site.

I'm pleased to hear they've moved the transfer point away from Gallivan Center. It's a miserable station--cold and windy in the shadow of the Wells Fargo building. I won't miss the Juggaloes either. It is convenient to a number of amenities I'll miss though--an ATM at Wells Fargo, coffee at Sam Wellers, and AJ's convenience store. Still, only a block of walking away. 

From the Utah Transportation Report:

 UTA to launch Mid-Jordan, West Valley TRAX lines Sunday

SALT LAKE— Utah Transit Authority (UTA) will launch its Mid-Jordan and West Valley TRAX lines Sunday (Aug. 7), expanding significantly the region's light rail system.

UTA held opening ceremonies for both lines yesterday (Aug. 2) and will have the lines open today (Aug. 3) from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. to give the public a preview of the new lines. UTA is partnering with the Utah Food Bank for a "Food as Your Fare" food drive today; riders boarding at one of the new stations are invited to contribute a non-perishable food item as their fare.

As part of the system expansion, UTA is moving to a color-coded system for its different lines. The TRAX system will operate as the Blue (Sandy to Salt Lake Central), Red (Daybreak to University) and Green (West Valley to Salt Lake Central) lines.

Under the new configuration, Red line trains will run between the University of Utah Medical Center and Daybreak in South Jordan. Green line trains will run between West Valley and Salt Lake Central Station. Blue line trains will run between Sandy and Salt Lake Central Station.

The primary downtown transfer station between lines will be Courthouse (500 South). Travel between downtown and the University will require a transfer at Courthouse Station. The new Mid-Jordan line runs along the Bingham Branch Railroad corridor in a southwesterly direction branching off of the existing Sandy/Salt Lake light rail line at the 6400 South (Fashion Place) TRAX station and extending west to 5600 West. From there, the line turns south toward Kennecott's Daybreak development in South Jordan.

The West Valley line connects to the current Sandy Line at 2100 South and ends near West Valley City Hall. The line branches off from the Sandy to Salt Lake TRAX Line at the 2100 South Central Pointe station traveling west crossing under Interstate 15. After crossing the Jordan River, the line turns south and then westward to run north of the Redwood Nature Area and the Decker Lake drainage canal. It then travels through the Chesterfield neighborhood along the Cross Town Trail and continues west across Redwood Road to Research Way. After following Decker Lake Drive to 3100 South at the Maverik Center, the light rail line continues west on the south side of 3100 South, then turns south on 2700 West, crossing 3500 South and ending at the West Valley City Hall, across from the Valley Fair Mall.

Detailed schedule information is available at or by calling 801-RIDE-UTA (743-3882)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

"And there is nothing you can do about it".

According to Chris Nelson, to match the ability of the population to pay for housing to the housing supply, every unit of housing built between now and 2020 would need to be a rental. That clearly is not going to happen--but the distribution of prices has to match the distribution of income. So the system will have to reach equilibrium by converting existing owned homes into rental units--either the owner renting it out, or renting out part of the house (joint tenure). 

Further, changing preferences mean we have a massive oversupply of exurban large-lot homes. Massive oversupply, combined with falling demand, and the prices is going to crash. Which means you are going to have a lot of poor people living in the suburbs, despite what they may want."What people want, and what people have to settle for".  Now, all my planning education told me that was the eventual outcome of things--but I didn't expect it to happen so soon. 2020 is a real year, it's coming, I will be alive to see it. The world will be a very different place in my lifetime, and I know what that world will be like. 

Time to buy urban land, I guess.