Chinese Tourism to U.S. Cities Takes a Hit From Trade Wars

author Linda Poon May 31, 2019

Tensions between the United States and China appear to be taking a toll on Chinese tourism to America, according to new data from the National Travel and Tourism Office.

Customs data collected by the American agency show that the U.S. received 2.9 million Chinese visitors in 2018, down 5.7 percent from the year before. It’s too early to predict the impact on individual cities in the long term, says Tori Barnes, vice president of public affairs at the U.S. Travel Association, but that trade organization has been warning that a prolonged trade war could “bleed into the travel arena.”

The economic impact for popular destinations could be significant. The average Chinese visitor spends 18 days and $7,000 per trip to the U.S., according to the U.S. Travel Association.

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Caltrain forecasts 25% ridership boost from Downtown Extension


Author :Friends of Caltrain Blog

Caltrain’s modeling of demand for rail service by 2040 predicts that the completion of the Downtown Extension of the tracks from 4th and King to the Salesforce Transbay terminal would increase system ridership by 25%, adding more than 25,000 daily riders when complete.

There were more jobs within walking distance of the Salesforce Transbya terminal than the rest of the line combined, according to analysis of data from the last census, suggesting the potential for a major ridership boost; not to mention the regional transit connections to BART and buses. Caltrain’s modeling supports these logical arguments for lots of ridership.

The major ridership benefit of completing the DTX project hasn’t (yet) gotten much attention, among the wealth of detail revealed by the business plan analysis and in the flow of discussion about ridership, passing tracks, grade separations and schedule options.

For transit supporters and policymakers, this forecast about the potential for DTX ridership sparked by seems worth more attention than it’s been getting.

DTX is common thought of as a “San Francisco project” that provides value mostly to SF. But another 25,000+ transit riders would be beneficial for all the other cities where those riders come from and go to, and would help notably relieve congestion for the corridor as a whole.

As the Caltrain board, local policymakers, and community members think about the big picture of investments in the Caltrain business plan, the regional benefits of DTX are worth considering.

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Friends of the Alto Tunnel

Author Rick Coates

I had some time yesterday before the well attended (250 people) Friends of the Alto Tunnel event to walk from the San Rafael SMART station to the Larkspur SMART station and check out the construction of the extension.  All of the track, save that at the San Rafael transit center is in and switches are being installed.  Ballast has been laid but is not yet even with the top of the ties.

The rails for the 2nd Street crossing have been attached to ties and the assembly is sitting on top of the already laid rails through the Transit Center ready to move to the roadway which will be closed over the weekend.  Ballast will then be added to the rails in the Transit Center and made even with the ties.

The Larkspur Station appears complete except for communications and vending machines and connecting roadways, parking and pedestrian walks.

The bicycle path is nearly complete and connected at Anderson Ave. to the existing trail to Larkspur.

When the construction is complete, signal and PTC testing will still need to be done.  Nonetheless it seems likely that the project will be completed as scheduled by the end of 2019.

I also walked Anderson Ave.  It has a wide sidewalk and unprotected bike lanes on each side.  Traffic is heavy and moving at 30 to 40 MPH.  Death trap.  Bicyclist tend to use the sidewalk.  Anderson is walled on each side forming an urban canyon that traps the auto and truck fumes making for an unpleasant and unhealthy walk or ride.  Traffic engineers should be required to walk or bike to work every day.

The Friends of the Alto Tunnel event featured a talk by Bob Ravasio, Mayor of Corte Madera who suffered serious injuries when a driver forced him of the edge of the road recently.  Six months in the hospital.  Opening the Alto Tunnel would connect to very long sections of bicycle trail from Sausalito to San Anselmo and avoid the present curvy, steep and dangerous “Bike Route” over Camino Alto.  The event also featured a film promoting an open Alto Tunnel which will soon be posted on the websites of Friends of the Alto Tunnel, the Marin County Bicycle Coalition and EcoRing.


Hiking or Camping? Take the Bus to the Trail This Summer


Allan Kafley spent most of his childhood in a refugee camp in Nepal. His father told him about traveling through jungles, mountains, and forests in the family’s native country of Bhutan. “But those things were a fantasy because I was growing up in a refugee camp,” says Kafley. “I knew nothing about that.”

In 2008, Kafley moved to Seattle, where he now works as the multicultural outreach manager for ECOSS, a Seattle-based urban environmental nonprofit. There, he often leads trips for people who are like he once was—new to this country, new to English, new to outdoor recreation, and without a reliable way to get to a trailhead. This summer, though, the local transit agency, King County Metro, is launching its second year of seasonal service, allowing anyone to get to a trailhead the way Kafley once traveled around Seattle: by bus.

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Road Action Alert Let’s Close the 2nd Street Gap in West San Rafael

Anyone who has biked between San Rafael and points west has likely experienced the horror of riding 2nd Street, a heavily-traveled one-way street.

The quarter-mile stretch between West End Ave. and Miramar St. is the only location between Fairfax and San Rafael where people bicycling do not have a calm side street on which to ride.

The City of San Rafael is set to move forward with plans to redesign this stretch of Second Street, but critical, long-planned bike improvements have been omitted. Read More