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-   -   SAN DIEGO | Boom Rundown, Vol. 2 (https://skyscraperpage.com/forum/showthread.php?t=126473)

IrvineNative Jan 6, 2022 6:49 PM

Another thought: it's great to see all this high density residential TOD proposed for a neighborhood outside of Downtown, like Mission Valley. A big Downtown is great, but for optimal transit ridership you want multiple satellite Downtowns. Otherwise you'll have full trains in one direction during rush hour while the opposite direction has trains that are mostly empty.

Which is why the Blue Line has so much potential. You have a lot of commuting not just from University City to Downtown but also vice versa. So you'll have busy trains in both directions. And it won't just be during rush hour, because UCSD classes are spread throughout the day, not just rush hour.

The only problem is during winter break, when literally no classes are in session, and trains will run empty.

But remember, the other end of the Blue Line is anchored by another major destination, the busiest border crossing in the Western Hemisphere. Which means the Blue Line from Downtown to the border rivalled LA's popular Expo Line in terms of ridership per mile despite the Blue Line passing through sprawling industrial complexes while the Expo Line ran through the middle of dense neighborhoods. Pretty remarkable.

Once we get the airport hooked up to the Blue Line (via APM, hopefully), the Blue Line will get crazy good ridership. But please build an APM, not a trolley, to the airport.

IrvineNative Jan 6, 2022 6:57 PM

And another point about TOD: office TOD is much better than residential TOD. Oh sure, 4600 units being built right next to Stadium Station is great, but the real ridership driver will be those classrooms, offices, and labs at SDSU Mission Valley.

Why? Think. Cubicles/lab benches are far smaller than a studio apartment. You can fit much more people in a million square feet of office space than in a million square feet of residential space.

Also, in apartments, you'll have some people teleworking, you'll have retirees or kids living there who seldom travel outside of the apartments. But with office space, everyone has to commute there, because no one lives at the office.

Most u/c and proposed San Diego TOD is residential. We really need more commercial TOD like IQHQ's RaDD. But oh well, with one of the highest corporate taxes in the nation, California isn't going to attract too many corporate relocations, you know, the kind of mega corporation like Amazon that would build a 600-foot tall office tower right next to a light rail station*.

*This is actually happening in Bellevue, WA. Just not in San Diego.

SAN Man Jan 6, 2022 9:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mello (Post 9492296)
Is anyone surprised that the lot behind Petco where the pedestrian bridge ends has never been developed or had any proposals. I remember way back in 2002 to 05 the CCDC website had a tower listed that was supposed to be built there. It is a large triangular shaped lot with great access to the bay seems like a no brainer.

Hard to say. I would love to see that lot built on. Now that Ballpark Village is built out and open, the pressure on that lot to remain a surface parking area has got to be huge. I think something will pop sooner than later at this point. The last ten years have been all about a Chargers downtown stadium and Convention Center expansion, I would think that that lot must've been in play for all of that speculation?

Imperial Ave corridor is REALLY bad just half a block east of Ballpark Village, outside of 12th/Imperial transit center and the Greyhound bus station.

Atlas Jan 7, 2022 10:47 PM

SLC forumer here. I visited your beautiful city this week and had a great time. When I went to the USS Midway this morning, I noticed a big project happening across the street. There's lots of activity, multiple cranes, and a huge hole in the ground! Some Google searches lead me to think it's the "Manchester Pacific Gateway" project. I have to say that I really dig the new US Navy headquarters tower. It has a very clean design.

Here are a couple shots of that taken today:

https://i.imgur.com/bP4213Ih.jpg

https://i.imgur.com/HKEc4PDh.jpg

And a misty shot of my hotel from the path on the bay:

https://i.imgur.com/6kYqB3Kh.jpg

SamFlood Jan 8, 2022 1:35 AM

here's another of the IQHQ RADD development

https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/...8cbec933_h.jpg

here's 800 Broadway
https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/...00ddd5a4_h.jpg

JerellO Jan 8, 2022 10:48 AM

I can’t wait to see the old navy headquarters built up :) also what’s the word on the seaport village project? That area is desperate need of redevelopment, just as much as the midway district

Will O' Wisp Jan 10, 2022 7:49 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by IrvineNative (Post 9481082)
I agree that the air rail link ridership numbers are overly optimistic. They assume that NAVWAR Alternative 4 will be built (it won't) and that the HSR will be completed to San Diego (it also won't).

That said, all else equal, the APM is superior to the trolley, simply due to higher frequency and the fact that APMs are better designed to handle luggage.

We need an APM from Middletown to the airport. But an APM to Trolley transfer doesn't take billions to build.

Have you read Alon Levy's work? He and his colleagues at the Transit Costs Project do excellent work explaining that new US subway stations are extravagant, with full mezzanines, compared to subways in Europe and Asia. Along with burdensome regulations, US construction design causes US subways to at least be 4x-5x as expensive per mile as similar subways in Spain, Sweden, and South Korea.

Sorry for taking so long to reply, went on vacation after a very long year.

I have read a bit of Levy's work! He's an extremely intelligent engineer, but he lacks a core understanding of how US transit politics work. But to be fair, most people don't.

The fact is most transit in America isn't built to transport the greatest amount of people for the lowest cost. That would mean spending money on the poors, and we don't do that sort of thing here. It's a dirty little secret in infrastructure planning that even pre-COVID transit as a percentage of commutes has been declining since about 2014. This includes cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego (although SD's had a small bounce in 2019).

Chart of SD transit ridership:
https://ca-times.brightspotcdn.com/d...mowfnoi-01.jpg

This decline has almost entirely been driven by decreases in bus ridership. Yes, rail ridership is up but this has been more than erased by losses in buses. Transit agencies nationwide have been neglecting their bus networks in favor of building expensive light rail projects in areas everyone makes already enough money to own a car. The only real exception has been Seattle, which has made major improvements in its bus service and has seen the largest transit usage increases in the country.

Levy always misses the forest for the trees on this. Sure we could save money by making subway stations smaller, but the whole point is to make them look like a fancy-shmancy place that the rich people living nearby will feel comfortable using.

IrvineNative Jan 11, 2022 5:37 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Will O' Wisp (Post 9498115)
I have read a bit of Levy's work! He's an extremely intelligent engineer, but he lacks a core understanding of how US transit politics work. But to be fair, most people don't.

The fact is most transit in America isn't built to transport the greatest amount of people for the lowest cost. That would mean spending money on the poors, and we don't do that sort of thing here. It's a dirty little secret in infrastructure planning that even pre-COVID transit as a percentage of commutes has been declining since about 2014. This includes cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego (although SD's had a small bounce in 2019).


This decline has almost entirely been driven by decreases in bus ridership. Yes, rail ridership is up but this has been more than erased by losses in buses. Transit agencies nationwide have been neglecting their bus networks in favor of building expensive light rail projects in areas everyone makes already enough money to own a car. The only real exception has been Seattle, which has made major improvements in its bus service and has seen the largest transit usage increases in the country.

Levy always misses the forest for the trees on this. Sure we could save money by making subway stations smaller, but the whole point is to make them look like a fancy-shmancy place that the rich people living nearby will feel comfortable using.

Levy is actually a mathematician, not an engineer.

Yep. Seattle is doing it right. Beefing up your business network will also beef up your rail network.

The main transit advantage Seattle has over San Diego is that around 12% of Seattle MSA employment is in Downtown while less than 4% of SD MSA is in Downtown. Downtown employment share, not residential population density, is the leading driver of ridership.

Fancier stations will not increase ridership, though. As an upper middle class person I'd rather have lots of spartan, frugally built stations with trains every 5 minutes than a few extravagant stations with trains every 15 minutes.

San Diego needs to build as much office TOD as you can. A million square feet of office space will hold a ton more workers than a million sq ft of condos will residents. Also, many condo residents might telework or be retirees, while with offices all occupants will be commuting there. So offices generate more ridership than residential does.

San Diego also needs to grade separate the Purple Line as much as possible to maximize speed and frequency. Frequency is even more important than speed in driving ridership, because a minute spent waiting for the train feels longer than a minute spent on board the train.

San Diego also needs to tunnel future rail lines through Mid City, Western Chula Vista, and other dense, low income neighborhoods, instead of building along the freeway or along old freight ROWs, because employment and residential density along freeways and freight ROWs is very low.

I actually think San Diego can still get great rail and bus ridership if it builds a frequent, fast transit network that attracts only the poor, students, the elderly, travelers, and the occasional yuppie millennial. Rich people taking transit would be nice but it's far from necessary for high ridership.

HurricaneHugo Jan 12, 2022 8:32 AM

Talking about the Purple Line, is that actually in the works or do they have to try to pass a vote on it again?

SAN Man Jan 12, 2022 2:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Will O' Wisp (Post 9498115)
Chart of SD transit ridership:
https://ca-times.brightspotcdn.com/d...mowfnoi-01.jpg

This decline has almost entirely been driven by decreases in bus ridership. Yes, rail ridership is up but this has been more than erased by losses in buses. Transit agencies nationwide have been neglecting their bus networks in favor of building expensive light rail projects in areas everyone makes already enough money to own a car. The only real exception has been Seattle, which has made major improvements in its bus service and has seen the largest transit usage increases in the country.

Levy always misses the forest for the trees on this. Sure we could save money by making subway stations smaller, but the whole point is to make them look like a fancy-shmancy place that the rich people living nearby will feel comfortable using.

The decline in bus riding transit numbers coincides with the growth of ride share.
I think many people that had no other option but to take the bus before Uber and Lyft hit the market have decided to take ride share once it was widely and reliably available for their commutes. And now we have remote work, hybrid work schedules that have taken quite a toll on bus and trolley rider numbers.

Streamliner Jan 12, 2022 8:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by IrvineNative (Post 9488544)
I took the Mid Coast Trolley Sunday. The Costa Verde Center has no signage at all hinting a mall renovation. I don't know, is their office project just going to be delayed to death? They were supposed to break ground 2nd half of 2021.

According to a post on reddit, Bristol Farms is closing at the end of the month, hopefully as a sign that the renovation will start shortly?

202_Cyclist Jan 12, 2022 9:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SAN Man (Post 9500490)
The decline in bus riding transit numbers coincides with the growth of ride share.
I think many people that had no other option but to take the bus before Uber and Lyft hit the market have decided to take ride share once it was widely and reliably available for their commutes. And now we have remote work, hybrid work schedules that have taken quite a toll on bus and trolley rider numbers.

Uber and Lyft are no longer cheap, however. Many of these shared mobility companies kept prices low in their early years to build membership but have since dramatically increased prices.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/at-uber...ay-11633345381

IrvineNative Jan 12, 2022 10:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Streamliner (Post 9500984)
According to a post on reddit, Bristol Farms is closing at the end of the month, hopefully as a sign that the renovation will start shortly?

I hope, but then again many other stores at the mall have gradually closed through recent years, so we're really crawling towards a new Costa Verde Center.

San Diego does have a way of sneaking construction projects in and out, though. 7050 Friars Road has excavators and banners announcing a new apartment complex, but you can't find any info about it online.

Then there's Tailgate Park, which ain't going good at all. If the Padres and the city don't wrap up the deal by the end of this month, the proposal will be canceled.

IrvineNative Jan 12, 2022 10:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 202_Cyclist (Post 9501067)
Uber and Lyft are no longer cheap, however. Many of these shared mobility companies kept prices low in their early years to build membership but have since dramatically increased prices.

Exactly. In 2019 I visited DC with my family. It was actually cheaper to buy DC Metrorail week passes for the four of us than to take uber. Seems like uber would only break even with DC Metrorail week passes if you have a party of ten to split the uber costs with you, which is impossible because even minivans don't carry ten people...

If your transit is losing riders, it's not ridesharing's fault. It's yours, for having crappy 15 minute rush hour frequencies, high crime, and high homelessness.

IrvineNative Jan 12, 2022 10:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SAN Man (Post 9500490)
And now we have remote work, hybrid work schedules that have taken quite a toll on bus and trolley rider numbers.

True, but do you know which US light rail system (except for maybe some tourist streetcar) saw the least COVID-related ridership declines (percentage wise) and the quickest rebound in ridership?

San Diego Trolley, which at one point was carrying more riders than BART!

Meanwhile, Seattle's Link fell off a ridership cliff.

Why? 'Cuz while Seattle Link has a ton of affluent choice riders who switched to remote work, SD Trolley has mostly low income captive riders who are deemed essential workers.

San Diego Trolley also has another advantage: high farebox recovery ratios and low operating costs. The Trolley's fiscal solidity relative to other light rail systems is likely the reason it was able to restore pre-pandemic service as early as Sept 2020 (including all day, M-F 7.5 minute frequencies on the Blue Line!) while less fiscally sound agencies were forced to cut service.

SAN Man Jan 13, 2022 5:02 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 202_Cyclist (Post 9501067)
Uber and Lyft are no longer cheap, however. Many of these shared mobility companies kept prices low in their early years to build membership but have since dramatically increased prices.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/at-uber...ay-11633345381

Speaking of cheap, do you remember a small ride share company called Sidecar? When they started up they had $5 rides in San Diego. They didn't last too long, Uber and Lyft devoured the market.

Streamliner Jan 13, 2022 8:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by IrvineNative (Post 9501253)
True, but do you know which US light rail system (except for maybe some tourist streetcar) saw the least COVID-related ridership declines (percentage wise) and the quickest rebound in ridership?

San Diego Trolley, which at one point was carrying more riders than BART!

Meanwhile, Seattle's Link fell off a ridership cliff.

Why? 'Cuz while Seattle Link has a ton of affluent choice riders who switched to remote work, SD Trolley has mostly low income captive riders who are deemed essential workers.

San Diego Trolley also has another advantage: high farebox recovery ratios and low operating costs. The Trolley's fiscal solidity relative to other light rail systems is likely the reason it was able to restore pre-pandemic service as early as Sept 2020 (including all day, M-F 7.5 minute frequencies on the Blue Line!) while less fiscally sound agencies were forced to cut service.

This is really interesting. Do you have links to ridership stats/articles that describe these patterns?

202_Cyclist Jan 13, 2022 8:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SAN Man (Post 9501598)
Speaking of cheap, do you remember a small ride share company called Sidecar? When they started up they had $5 rides in San Diego. They didn't last too long, Uber and Lyft devoured the market.

Do any of you remember Car2Go (RIP), which operated in DC, Portland, San Diego, and a couple of other cities? This was the best deal around. You could rent the vehicles for about 50 cents per minute. In DC you could pick the vehicles up and drop them off at any legal parking spot. San Diego had electric Smart cars.

https://live.staticflickr.com/8299/7...6f24edb4_b.jpg

SAN Man Jan 13, 2022 9:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 202_Cyclist (Post 9502450)
Do any of you remember Car2Go (RIP), which operated in DC, Portland, San Diego, and a couple of other cities? This was the best deal around. You could rent the vehicles for about 50 cents per minute. In DC you could pick the vehicles up and drop them off at any legal parking spot. San Diego had electric Smart cars.

Oh yeah I remember those! They were very popular in the beach areas and Hillcrest to downtown. Thanks for the reminder, I forgot about that.

IrvineNative Jan 14, 2022 1:12 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Streamliner (Post 9502425)
This is really interesting. Do you have links to ridership stats/articles that describe these patterns?

The 2020 Q4 APTA ridership report:

https://www.apta.com/wp-content/uplo...rship-APTA.pdf

San Diego's low operating costs:
https://www.voiceofsandiego.org/topi...s-opportunity/

A bunch of (older) sources show San Diego Trolley (and SDMTS in general) has an unusually high farebox recovery ratio. The farebox recovery ratios remained quite steady all the way up until 2020, so unless other transit agencies have dramatically improved their fare box recovery ratios, San Diego is still tops among US light rail.

https://www.sdmts.com/inside-mts/new...administration

See p. 128 of following for SDMTS fare box recovery:

https://www.sdmts.com/sites/default/...acfr_final.pdf

And for fiscal year 2020 annual ridership by route, look at pp. 7-9 of following:

https://www.sdmts.com/sites/default/..._rev061521.pdf

For fare box recovery and ridership statistics for each fiscal year, go to the following link:

https://www.sdmts.com/about-mts/repo...s-and-policies


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