A fledgling plan to bring high-speed rail (HSR) service to the Pacific Northwest region of the United States and parts of southwestern Canada is moving closer to becoming a reality. The Urbanist reported that this week, the Washington State Legislature introduced legislation that would create a new interstate high-speed rail authority for the region that could begin to take the first steps toward making the Cascadia Rail plan a reality. According to The Urbanist, the new rail authority would be in charge of coordinating high-speed rail efforts across Washington, Oregon, and Canadian jurisdictions while also setting requirements for contracting operations and other issues. The authority would also be responsible for ensuring that the trains and routes selected for the project could deliver service at 250 miles per hour, a key stipulation for making the project economically viable across the region. The authority would also provide a singular contact point for communities along the proposed routes and would handle the preparation of environmental impact reports at the federal and local levels. A preliminary plan for the Cascadia Rail service was unveiled in 2018 that proposed a coastal line connecting Portland, Oregon, with Vancouver, Canada. The plan includes an eastern spur connecting Spokane, Washington, with Seattle. The plan has support from the Washington State business community as well as a growing set of local officials who see the prospect of reliable, high-speed rail service as a key way of reducing automobile traffic along Interstate-5 while also helping to address growing transportation emissions across the region. Several high-speed rail plans are making progress around the country, including in California, where the nation’s first true high-speed rail network is currently under construction. After years of planning and partisan bickering, the controversial plan is finally in full-swing and a line running through central California between Bakersfield and Madera is expected to open by 2022. Along the Florida coast, the privately owned Brightline route made its debut this year connecting West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale. Though the train is not truly a high-speed rail corridor—it runs at top speeds of roughly 80 miles per hour—the train has cut travel times between the two cities by over an hour. The line is expected to expand to serve Miami and Orlando by 2020. All Aboard Florida, the company that owns and operates Brightline, is also moving toward a second train venture connecting Las Vegas, Nevada, with the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area. The company recently purchased XpressWest, a struggling venture that was aiming to deliver service between the two cities following the Interstate-15 corridor, Urbanize.LA reported. Like the Florida line, however, trains will not exactly run at high speeds; projected service is expected to begin in 2022 and will run at around 92 miles per hour. This might sound like a good bit of progress—and it is—but recent rail development in the United States pales in comparison to the many ambitious rail projects under construction around the world. China, for example, plans to build over 2,000 miles of true high-speed rail lines in 2019 alone. That’s enough track to connect Philadelphia to Phoenix.
Posts tagged with "Pacific Northwest":
Robert Hull, FAIA, founding partner of The Miller Hull Partnership, has died from complications following a stroke. Hull, who was 68, was on sabbatical in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. He is survived by his wife and two sons. Hull earned a bachelor of architecture from Washington State University, where he met his long-time business partner David Miller. From 1968 to 1972 he served in the U.S. Peace Corps in Afghanistan. There he designed and built the headquarters for the National Tourism Agency, helped establish an architecture program at Kabul University, and designed more than 100 sustainable schools. Upon his return to the United States, Hull worked in the New York office of Marcel Breuer. He joined Rhone and Iredale Architects in 1975 and, with David Miller, opened the RIA Seattle office. Miller and Hull established The Miller Hull Partnership in Seattle in 1977. Hull’s design credits include projects throughout the Pacific Northwest and in San Diego, notably The Open Window School, Epiphany School, Bertschi Center, and The Bush School, all in Seattle, Conibear Shellhouse at the University of Washington, Seattle Pacific University Science Building and University Center for Performing Arts, Discovery Park Visitors Center, and Fisher Pavilion at Seattle Center, Tillamook Forest Center and Yaquina Interpretive Center in Oregon, The Wharf and Pier 32 in San Diego, and a number of private homes throughout the San Juan Islands. Hull had recently returned to Afghanistan, where he was at work on both a health clinic and a girls' school. Hull and Miller jointly received the AIA Seattle Medal of Honor in 2010, seven years after their firm earned the 2003 AIA National Firm Award for sustained design excellence. The pair were also awarded the Washington Alumni Achievement Award in 2006. Hull was an accomplished public speaker and a mentor to many younger employees at Miller Hull. “Hull was regarded for his natural ability to grasp the essence of a project and translate it into an inspired physical manifestation of client values,” the firm said in a statement. “His buildings fit amazingly well in their setting—urban or rural—and were extremely comfortable to occupy, but most of all, they were beautiful.” Hull’s family held a private funeral service in Cape Town, South Africa on Sunday, April 13, 2014. The date for a public Seattle celebration of Hull’s life will be announced soon.