California is a great place. Living in California is also great, provided you work in or within three miles of your home. I was a Los Angeleno for five years. But eventually decided I didn’t want to spend my existence in a car, so I moved back to Colorado. Now I can bike most everywhere, can afford to fly out and VISIT my friends there, and with the leftover cash somehow stumbled into buying a house back when they were giving out loans to any misfit that wandered into a bank. (Surprise surprise – I still have my house.)
This project may alleviate what was the source of misery for myself and still is for many others: traffic and congestion. I spent some time poking around the site of the California High Speed Rail Authority. First time I’ve seen this – its a beautiful, sexy look at what “tomorrowland’ might bring us. The plan is to connect the urban areas of San Diego, Los Angeles/Orange County, and San Francisco and Sacramento by high speed bullet trains which will travel on grade separated routes at upwards of 200 miles per hour.
This site is chock full of extreme detail including routes, trip lengths and planners, station architecture and videos a plenty. It asks and answers almost every question about high speed rail in this region – from city selection to seismic concerns, and touts the benefits high speed rail has brought to countries around the globe. (As if we need to be told.)
The animations are enough to make any train geek (like me) salivate. Imagine riding from downtown L.A. to San Francisco in 2 hours and 40 minutes – speeding through the central valley farms and whizzing in and out of mountain tunnels. Imagine living in South Orange County and being able to maintain a job in downtown L.A. without sitting on the 5 freeway three hours each way. The interurban possibilities alone are amazing, and while not mentioned I see many opportunities for sprucing up connecting regional rail and improving transit inside of these metro areas too.
The good news is that this is one step closer to reality. In last week’s election voters approved Prop 1A, which will start funding for the project. This will be in the best interest given California’s current population of 37 million and the projections for future growth.
Here’s the general project video. Skip ahead since the first two minutes just goes on about how great California is. You can find more animations at cahighspeedrail.ca.gov Best part of the video: The guy clearly explaining “This is NOT Amtrak.”
Rather than wait until 2020 when projected to be complete, I think I would have quite the happy life just living Matrix style in this sexy urban virtual animation world created by Newslands and Company – the group behind these amazing video realities. So long as that hypnotic female voiceover follows me around.