Sea Level Rise + DTX (Downtown Caltrain Extension)
1. New Research: Sea Level Rise Getting Worse Faster
2. DTX to Transbay Center Needed Now.
3. DTX Advocates Speak Out
NEW RESEARCH: SEA LEVEL RISE GETTING WORSE FASTER
An over-abundance of caution is now necessary—rather than pushing costs, pain and tragedy to the next generation. Today, old assumptions of sea level rise seem relatively benign (1’-4” by 2050 and 4’-7” by 2100) because new data shows horrific models of sea level rise:
· 8 feet by 2100 (flooding by storm surge).
· 10 feet in 50 years (Dr. James Hansen, leading climatologist).
· 55 feet in decadal time frames (new report by Dr. James Hansen and other scientists).
BCDC SEA LEVEL RISE MAPS: OUTDATED.
Old BCDC Map of Sea Level Rise at San Francisco and northeast waterfront.
Legend: Light Blue = 16-inch sea level rise; Dark Blue = 55-inch sea level rise.
BCDC: New Surging Seas Map Tool (ten feet is highest setting)
A holistic infrastructure plan is needed to address sea level rise and storm surge for the entire waterfront—like surge barriers, floodgates, pump stations, levees, seawalls, supplemental piers, coastal restoration, retention areas, elevated structures, “sacrificial” ground floors…. New waterfront projects need extra mitigations—looking perhaps more like sloped hilltowns. Coastal roads and highways will be flooded. It is not cost effective to build train tunnels or subterranean subways at the waterfront. Instead of rerouting the Caltrain tunnel along the Embarcadero, delaying DTX for decades, the City can improve “landside” alignments between 4th/ King Streets and the Transbay Terminal. Instead of a subway to the waterfront, the City can create a surface transit network that can adapt to sea level rise and storm surge.
PUBLIC PRESS: “Major S.F. Bayfront Developments Advance Despite Sea Rise Warnings”
Builders plan to invest more than $21 billion in offices and homes in flood prone areas, where waters could climb 8 feet above today’s high tide by the end of this century.
“Now is the time to look seriously at what will happen 50 or 100 years down the road,” said Gary Griggs, who directs the Institute of Marine Sciences at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and contributed to the National Research Council’s most recent report on sea level rise on the West Coast. “What is the value of making a development, housing project or mall if we know it will have to be removed later, except for some short-term temporary gains?”
In recent years, researchers in many disciplines have mapped detailed projections for potential flooding as sea levels rise. And, importantly, these models now mostly agree. The Public Press compared these models against local and regional policies and with recent building permit data. The research reveals that billions of dollars worth of planned development could be threatened by rising waters within a human lifetime.
CNN TV: “Dr. James Hansen gives his idea to curb climate change on Fareed Zakaria GPS”
Hansen’s hypothesis on sea levels rising as much as 10 feet within 50 years:“ Not only would it be 10 feet, but it would imply that in the next decades after that it would be even more. Because where this water is coming from is the west Antarctic ice sheet, and then there’s another part of the east Antarctic ice sheet which also has several meters of sea level rise in its ice. So what that would mean is coastal cities would become dysfunctional. Parts of the city would still be above water, but it wouldn’t make sense to try to rebuild them partially because they know the water is going to keep rising. So we can’t let it go unstable. We would lose all the coastal cities in the world, and that’s enormous a cost, which would affect everybody, whether they’re living on the coast or not.”
HUFFINGTON POST: James Hansen: “Disastrous Sea Level Rise Is an Issue for Today’s Public—Not Next Millennium’s”
For example, a recent ice sheet model sensitivity study finds that incorporating the physical processes of hydrofracturing of ice and ice cliff failure increases their calculated sea level rise from 2 meters to 17 meters and reduces the potential time for West Antarctic collapse to decadal time scales.
My conclusion, based on the total information available, is that continued high emissions would result in multi-meter sea level rise this century and lock in continued ice sheet disintegration such that building cities or rebuilding cities on coast lines would become foolish.
CLIMATE PROGRESS: “Study Reveals Scary New Facts About Sea Level Rise”
Hurricane Sandy Subway Flooding: Storm surges, as well as sea level rise, can flood underground stations and tunnels. Subterranean waterfront construction is expensive and inefficient—prone to flood, structural and electrical damage. The Embarcadero already floods with storm surges.
YOUTUBE: Hurricane Sandy Subway Flooding. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SCSJdKe1LWM
YOUTUBE: High Tide on the Embarcadero. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DmLd57dDiOQ
Not Cost-Efficient: Waterfront train tunnels and subway stations. Instead, allocate all funding to accelerate DTX and futuristic surface transit—to bypass flooded coastal roads and highways.
DTX TO TRANSBAY CENTER NEEDED NOW
DTX (Downtown Caltrain Extension) to the Transbay Terminal is the highest transportation priority. Downtown’s upzoning and dense development were predicated on sustainability and DTX. Instead, the Transbay Center’s design has been cut back—with curved glass walls eliminated, high-speed escalators eliminated, roof garden delayed…. And DTX is delayed, despite its voter mandate with Proposition H in 1999. Without DTX, new surging population will overload streets, sidewalks, traffic, Muni, utilities and quality of life. The Transbay Center is projected to add 27,000 workers, 8,000 residents and 15,000 visitors—50,000 more people per day downtown. Without DTX, thousands of new car trips and traffic congestion will clog the city.
DTX ADVOCATES SPEAK OUT
ACCELERATE DOWNTOWN CALTRAIN EXTENSION (DTX) TO TRANSBAY TERMINAL
Upon hearing rumors that the long-awaited DTX might be delayed yet again (for decades) by new projects in the Mission Bay area, representatives of over a dozen local, regional and state organizations decided to hold a press conference on the steps of City Hall. Here is what they had to say:
YOUTUBE: Speakers at DTX Rally, City Hall Steps
SaveMuni (Bob Feinbaum):
This is a project [DTX] that’s been 30 years in the making. We call upon the political leaders in San Francisco, the peninsula and East Bay to rally around this project and to push for its full funding and full completion at the earliest possible time.
Livable City (Tom Radulovich): “
I worked on the campaign in 1999, called Proposition H, that made it a city priority to bring Caltrain downtown. This is the smartest single transportation investment we, as a region, can make. Keep this one of the region’s and the City’s top transportation priorities and let’s get this extension built.
TRANSDEF (David Schonbrunn): “
We had a vision of an integrated regional transit network that connects all the major transit systems of the Bay Area. The only piece that is missing from our vision is the link to the peninsula. The DTX is the most important Bay Area transit improvement to come along since the original BART program in the 1960’s.
RailPAC (Paul Dyson): “
Isn’t it about time that we got to downtown San Francisco? And isn’t it about time we got there with modern, pollution free, fast, electric trains instead of diesel clunkers that we’re using at the moment? Let’s get behind this project. Let’s get our politicians behind this project.
Friends of Caltrain (Adina Levin):
It’s essential for the High Speed Rail project. And therefore, it’s essential to have the project funding nailed down and the project completed as soon as possible. Caltrain ridership has more than doubled over the last decade. It’s the fastest growing transit service in the Bay Area. And that ridership is expected to continue to grow.
Sierra Club (Howard Strassner):
We want Caltrain to accelerate the design and planning for the extension. And then we want San Francisco to find and earmark funds—that they pay their share—not only for the extension but also their share down to the peninsula. It’s time to get the Caltrain [DTX] back on the track and running.
Transit Riders’ Union (Peter Straus):
In order to have a thriving local system for riders, we need a thriving regional system. It was agreed by the City and the region that the next major project to receive funds and the commitment to construction should be the DTX. Now is that time!
Train Riders Association of California (Gordon Osmundson):
San Francisco has been waiting 100 years to get the peninsula commuter service into downtown. TRAC believes this project will do more to increase rail ridership in California than any other current project. So we advocate that it be completed without further delays—not be held up for various developer projects that could take decades.
SaveMuni (Howard Wong):
DTX will alleviate traffic gridlock and pollution because a projected 320,000 daily car trips will be coming into the City from the southern peninsula—more than the car trips on the Golden Gate Bridge and the Bay Bridge combined. We need a transit hub that unites all the regional transit modes in one place.
Coalition For San Francisco Neighborhoods (George Wooding):
CSFN represents over 40 neighborhood groups in the City, and we voted unanimously to keep the DTX and Caltrain to go all the way to the Transbay Terminal.
BayRail Alliance (Andy Chow):
Back in 1999, the passage of Proposition H turned the game around. The establishment of a TJPA (Transbay Joint Powers Authority) helped ensure that there’s an agency that will lead the project all the way. And since 1999, not only has the project secured funding to build the terminal and also environmentally cleared the project—the tunnel segment and terminal segment—now the project is underway with the money to get the train box built. So, we’re almost there. So, what we need is the City’s continued commitment to build the tunnel all the way.
Mission Bay Alliance (Alex Doniach):
Today, we’re calling on the Mayor to be transparent about the motives behind the sudden change of tune—even after the voters overwhelmingly approved the DTX extension.
Bay Area Transportation Working Group (Jerry Cauthen):
Caltrain is a 78 mile long, existing, very well-run and increasingly popular commuter rail line. It needs a 1.3 mile extension to complete the project—which you’re heard has been talked about since the early part of the last century. With Silicon Valley to the south and downtown San Francisco to the north and many important destinations in between, it’s pretty obvious that this will be a huge benefit to the peninsula, to the West Bay, to San Francisco and the entire region.
San Francisco Tomorrow (Jane Morrison) [95 years old]:
Well, I will admit that I did start it. I thought it would be useless if people would have to come in on Caltrain [4th and King Station] and then spend 30 minutes or more getting to their job down on Market Street.
TED TALK: “James Hansen: Why I must speak out about climate change”
Contact: Howard Wong, AIA
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