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High-speed rail worries Peninsula residents

Original post made on Jan 29, 2009

The state agency charged with building a high-speed rail system between San Francisco and Los Angeles has yet to convince all Peninsula residents about the merits of having electric trains zip through their communities at 125 mph.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, January 30, 2009, 12:00 AM

Comments (7)

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Posted by Martin Engel
a resident of another community
on Jan 29, 2009 at 9:09 pm

Mountain View, you have a wonderful opportunity to take a stand against the deleterious imposition of the rail authority's indifference to the needs and wishes of each of our cities on the Caltrain corridor.

Join with Atherton, Menlo Park, and Palo Alto so that we can all speak with one voice to say truth to power. Consider creating a multi-town
taskforce that negotiates its agenda and produces unified Resolutions addressing all our anticipated problems with the coming of the high-speed train.

Some day, in the future, the Peninsula will become one continuous dense city. The doubling of the population of California will guarantee this.

Is it not appropriate to put both Caltrain and the high-speed train underground, in a tunnel? Most other major cities have their major rail systems underground. Why not do it now? Would that not solve all our problems as well as those of Caltrain, which can continue to operate at ground level until construction is complete? There would not need to be eminent domain adverse takings, no traffic issues, no temporary Caltrain tracks, no ugly and intrusive retaining walls 15 ft. high and 100 ft. wide.

Caltrain wants to switch to electrified EMUs (electric motorized units), which would make it more like a subway system on the ground. Why not put Caltrain underground?

Tunneling is already planned for the section of rail corridor from S.Tomas Expressway to Diridon Station. Also there will be tunneling beneath San Francisco entering the Transbay Terminal. So the idea of tunneling is not out of the ordinary.

All our cities, including Mt. View, should join to speak with one voice to the rail authorities in order that we will be listened to.


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Posted by Matt Raschke
a resident of The Crossings
on Jan 31, 2009 at 7:41 am

Trains underground make a lot more sense than cars underground (see Big Dig in Boston Web Link) ). High Speed Rail is a worthy project, but the impacts to the Peninsula warrant a tremendous mitigation. Putting the system underground along with Caltrain is a great solution. It will be expensive, but now is the time for Federal stimulus to fund a worthy project such as this.

Imagine the awesome linear park that could be created above the tunnel right-of-way. Biking between cities up and down the Peninsula without cars zooming past.

I'm with you Martin!


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Posted by Lynne
a resident of Jackson Park
on Feb 2, 2009 at 3:05 pm

Agreed. It has to be underground. Our "death by train" rates alone justify this.


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Posted by Dave
a resident of North Whisman
on Feb 3, 2009 at 9:56 am

Building a tunnel is hard, and expensive. If you don't do it right, it's easy to undermine surface structures, for example.

Also, keep in mind the water table. If you want to build a tunnel, there needs to be enough space below underground pipes and above the water table for it to fit. If there isn't, you'll constantly be at risk of flooding.

And quite frankly, if you want to convince me that an infrastructure project will be easy, don't use the Big Dig as an example. And don't talk about how Menlo Park is opposed. Menlo Park always says "no" to anything transportation-related.

The HSR will be grade-separated at all auto and pedestrian crossings, and the project will lead to Caltrain being grade-separated as well. That means that the HSR/Caltrain combination will be safer than Caltrain is now. I'm eagerly awaiting HSR.


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Posted by trains, yes; hsr, no
a resident of Rex Manor
on Feb 3, 2009 at 2:37 pm

Everything is expensive, but people build subways all over the world and somehow manage despite geological challenges far greater than those we face. Besides, undergrounding the train would free up acres and acres of land that we could use for parks or other projects that would benefit the public.

Personally, I don't think that running HSR along the peninsula makes any sense, and it's pretty clear that it's only being done to further the careers of a small number of politicians, not for any public interest. But if it's going to happen, it should be done right, and that means undergrounding.

Residents of Palo Alto, Menlo Park, and Atherton are already starting to figure it out. I agree with Martin: Mountain View needs to hop on board this train before it's too late!


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Posted by John
a resident of Shoreline West
on Feb 12, 2009 at 2:47 pm

Hmmm, a tunnel that runs parallel to one or more earthquake faults - sounds good to me...and goodness knows our state has plenty of money to add to this cost.

I was recently in Switzerland, they have high, medium, low speed trains everywhere - cities, countryside up and down the mtns. I must confess I do not know the death rate from train accidents there, but most everyone, including myself REALLY enjoys having them. Seems that everyone traveling to Europe remarks on the great high speed train service but once again when it involves our backyard we seem to have a different view.

Yes, stand together and oppose trains. We can continue to rely on our global-warming, pollution generating cars - after all they don't lead to any kind of death or injury.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Castro City
on Feb 20, 2009 at 7:10 am

A tunnel is the way to go! This is our chance to get a greenbelt with parks, bike and walking paths down the center of our city. Won't more of us want to bike to town if we had a beautiful scenic bike path that we could ride there? Let the Peninsula cities that want the tunnel, get the tunnel. This is the only opportunity to get rid of the tracks and make our city more bikeable, walkable, and beautiful! I do NOT want a 'Berlin Wall' splitting our city into East and West!! Underground is the only way to go!



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