Say "restaurant reviews".
Say "restaurant reviews".
So we set out a more reasonable hour, by foot and by scooter. There are no busses in our neighborhood on weekends, so we rolled and strolled a mile or so down to El Camino. But once we got that far, we agreed that a train would really be more fun than a bus, and pushed on to Atherton CalTrain, where trains still stop on weekends, if only hourly. All in all, that was a trek of 2.2 miles.
We timed it well, bought a child ticket (my monthly pass lets me go anywhere I want on weekends), and headed north for San Mateo and lunch at Mr Pizza Man. Seriously, if you are in San Mateo and want pizza, I'd recommend Pizza My Heart across the street, or North Beach Pizza two blocks away, but Mr Pizza Man is sort of a tradition of ours.
Refreshed, we moved on to San Mateo's Central Park, where the little kiddie train was running:
The Park's very nice Japanese tea garden, which we always seem to hit on the wrong day, or when it's rented out for a wedding, or something, apparently was closed for renovation as of last weekend and won't reopen til August. Gah!
We were determined to get a peek:
This is what we saw:
Daughter exercised restraint:
Dad did not:
From the park we returned to San Mateo CalTrain, via the world's greatest toy store, Talbot's Toyland.
I also took a few pictures of street scenes along the way. As you may know, I collect Vintage Postcards featuring Trolleys, and one of my favorites is a scene from San Mateo, on B street, right where I've walked many times between CalTrain, Talbot's, Central Park, and Mr Pizza Man dozens of times:
Here's what the same location looks like today--look for two interesting roof lines on opposite sides of the street, and then flip the image mentally, and since I unfortunately was facing the opposite direction:
Back on CalTrain, we went to San Carlos, and did some pottery painting at Laurel Street Arts. We will return for our new cat water dish and other knick knacks next weekend.
At this point we were pretty tired, and moseyed to the very nice San Carlos Library, where we could find some books and a couch and lounge around a bit til Mom came and picked us up.
We took it easy on Sunday.
LightRailNow.org has posted a new article analyzing the reasons for the high cost of light rail, and reporting on a few cities success in keeping costs in check: Rapid Streetcar: Rescaling Design and Cost for More Affordable Light Rail Transit.
Overall, much of the expense is due to overengineering. Here are some examples:
In a similar vein is the issue of vehicle performance. As speeds increase, there seems to be a point where costs snowball and go up dramatically. Light rail vehicles that travel up to about 45 mph, about what traditional streetcars like PCC's could typically do, can be built lightly and relatively cheaply. Design them to go faster than that, and:
Ironically, many light rail systems, due to stop spacing or street running, give their high-performing LRV's so little opportunity to really book it, that the effect of being able to run at 65-75 mph on actual trip times is next to nothing.
A few cities, notably Portland, and perhaps in the future Sacramento, have taken these observations to heart and had success augmenting heavy light rail lines built for high volume, higher-speed, suburb-to-downtown travel with simpler lighter and cheaper, honest-to-goodness streetcar lines.
Some interesting trackwork in Zürich, Switzerland.
There are 29 more pages.
Surprisingly, the bid instructions specify not to provide samples.
Actually the VTA has pulled this from their site--thanks to the good folks at BATN for nabbing it first!
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Adventures in Transit!
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