David Benton wrote:What has skyscrapers in New York got to do with CAHSR ?
In the post-WWII years cities in the US began to be regarded as outmoded, and commercial activity spread out into the countryside. Prior to that the terms "greenfield site" and "last mile" were not yet in the language. For example, in the 1960's practically all activities in the New York metropolitan area concerned with imports and exports (steamship lines, railroads, truckers, custom-house brokers, and international freight forwarders) were located south of Chambers St. in Manhattan, and most of those were south of Wall St. One skyscraper, 17 Battery Place, was almost entirely filled with such companies; anybody in the business could meet with almost anyone else in the business by walking a few blocks, or meeting them for lunch nearby. By the 80's, they were In office parks scattered all over New Jersey (and one on Staten Island) and it became a real undertaking to arrange a meeting. This dispersal played a part in the reduced attractiveness of rail travel, since people then had to arrange for "last mile" or "first mile" transportation, or both, and often ended up just driving where they needed to go. From many of those office parks you couldn't go to lunch without a car. If some sort of re-concentration takes place, high-speed rail travel will become more possible for more people, and that should be the case in California as well as New York.