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Council: Please save San Antonio train station

Original post made on Mar 3, 2011

The City Council decided to send a letter to the Caltrain board of directors on Tuesday that expresses "deep concern" about Caltrain's proposal to slash train service and shut down San Antonio train station in Mountain View.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, March 3, 2011, 11:56 AM

Comments (21)

Posted by Anti-Radiation_Activist, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 3, 2011 at 12:12 pm

Google, please chip in and save the station!

Posted by Linda, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 3, 2011 at 1:14 pm

Well I for one live right near the Train Station at San Antonio and have brothers that come from San Francisco to visit me at the San Antonio Station.
I believe it would really hurt Mountain View alot to close down the San Antonio Station. People come from different areas already to shop at Walmart, Kohls, Sears. Yes on the train.

Posted by Steve, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 3, 2011 at 3:12 pm

Only 500 riders a day. Shut it down

Posted by Sabrina, a resident of The Crossings
on Mar 3, 2011 at 6:26 pm

How much money would Caltrain actually save from this cut? I can't believe they are even considering it.

Posted by Paid by the hour, a resident of The Crossings
on Mar 3, 2011 at 9:18 pm

Yeah, well I'm one of the ONLY 500 people a day who arrive and depart from San Antonio. How selfish can you be to just say shut it down when many of us have built our lives, jobs, and children's school schedules out of an existing transportation system. Do you think a couple of months notice is a sufficient enough time to suddenly come up with more money to buy a car or find a different job and daycare?

You just don't care about 500 other people because they are not you. Just shutting it down means a great deal to us who use this train. Are you going to buy me a car or what? Should I just take two hours on the bus to get to daycare and then work or should I quit my job near the San Antonio Station so you can pay for me to be on welfare? I should just get food stamps right and stay home with my kid because now my job impossible to get to. I've been working at the same job for many years and make a halfway decent pay, but not enough to pay super hyped rent and then also a car, gas and insurance bill. A $120 a month train pass was actually a workable thing for me.

That is the reality for some of the people who take caltrain. Not everyone is working at a tech job. Somebody has to ring up your purchases at Beverages and More or watch your neighbors kids or ring up your prescription meds at the pharmacy. You can afford to live the way you do because we cannot. So don't be so quick to prevent us from getting around in our lives.

Posted by Anti-Radiation_Activist, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 3, 2011 at 9:36 pm

Google should donate a car to all those affected by the closing of the station and don't have any other means.

Posted by phm, a resident of The Crossings
on Mar 4, 2011 at 9:23 am

Paid-by-the-Hour, I love you.

Posted by lindaloo, a resident of The Crossings
on Mar 4, 2011 at 10:06 am

Proximity to the San Antonio station was a huge selling point from me when I moved here. Within a few years I'll likely not be driving anymore (will be much safer for the rest of you out there - trust me). I plan to rely on the train to get to medical appointments at PAMF & Stanford. Shutting down public transport for an aging population - really, for any of us, is the wrong way to go.

Thank you, council, for trying to save it.

The other piece of this is that I am so looking forward to a pedestrian-friendly San Antonio shopping center - which it seriously isn't at present. If that's in jeopardy, we lose two ways.

Posted by GoogleHead, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 4, 2011 at 1:58 pm

lindaloo said, "(will be much safer for the rest of you out there - trust me)."
Are you threatening us?

Posted by lindaloo, a resident of The Crossings
on Mar 4, 2011 at 2:43 pm

For GoogleHead, NoNoNo I'm certainly not threatening anyone.

On the basis of observations I've made over the years of elderly drivers (over 80), i.e., numerous collisions and near misses, I've made a conscious decision to give up my driver's license if/when I reach the age of 80.

Having public transportion available as a viable option to driving might encourage more seniors to do the same, rather than be in denial and continue to be a hazard to themselves and others.

Yes, I know I'll catch some flak for this. Too bad. I've had more than one good friend killed or seriously injured by an aged driver.

Posted by PH, a resident of another community
on Mar 5, 2011 at 8:05 am

I want good roads, others want the train. Some one has to pay for these things. At some point when we don't get the things that are of priority to each of us, we focus on our needs and tend to become selfish and uncaring about others. If the train will make the San Antonio center more profitable, then Wal-Mart and the other retailers will make more and the government makes the tax money, but it won't off-set the cost of the train. The world's largest retailer could save the train without even feeling the cost and they are not the only business to benefit from public transportation. They should become better public entities and put some money into the train if they will benefit from it. It is not the public's responsibility to provide transportation to and from these businesses so they can make a profit. These large companies pay low wages and offer poor benefits that leave the rest of us to subsidise their employee's cost of living, which in turn leaves those same employees without the options to choose how to get places and many of them have to rely on public transportation. It is a downward spiral that eats public funds at an alarming rate and a solution needs to be found, but it has to be affordable to both the user and the tax payer. The government can't go on endlessly putting public money into projects that are said to bring more profits to private business, while the business makes money, and in theory contrbutes more taxes, and we are led to believe the tax money will solve the problem. It doesn't work and the cost doesn't justify the means. While businesses profit, we bear unsustainable costs. Government needs to be more effecient and responsible. We have people who need services and they should get them, as not all of us have the means to live as we would like, but it is certainly not fair to keep on asking those with decent incomes to pay high gas prices and other related costs of driving, while subsidising a rail system they can't use. Our politicians need to change the way they work and do the public service they say they will. If they are so dedicated to our well being, then they should make the sacrifices to help out instead of cutting the services to the public. They are, after all, people who don't have to worry about the basic needs of every day life and could afford to take the hits for the good of everyone.
The future is always filled with tough choices and we will always have to face them. When we get it right, we show our ability to be great, but so many times we become selfish, self interested and short-sighted, with poor results and higher costs down the road. We've got what we payed for, and though we really should have had BART, we need to find solutions today while planning for the future. It is a fact of life that things change and it is harder these days to live in a place based on our transportation needs. I have always lived where the commute is not too far as I feel that it is better to cut out the road time and expense, but it keeps me from owning a home in this outrageous market and renting here is very expensive. Others commute to try to live their dream and the cost is also great. Then we have the less fortunate who don't have these options. While I don't like to pay more for things I can't use, I can't help but feel we should always understand that those who have the means should help those in need. Doing the right thing is many times not easy, but it is the only choice if we intend to be a truly good society.
Saving the train and its associated stations is just one of the good things we should do for everyone, it just needs to be done right this time as the tax payers are tired of throwing money away only to be asked for more.

Posted by Garrett, a resident of another community
on Mar 5, 2011 at 1:34 pm

We all want to good roads, we all want good transit, yes someone has to pay, but when it comes down to the nitty gritty NIMBY, the SA center area can take on more growth it is needed. We are stuck in a single or 2 story mindset with a sea of parking.

Posted by Seer, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 7, 2011 at 2:14 pm

The train is falling apart because we as a society repeatedly fail to take into account externalized costs. Save a dollar by shutting the train down, and it costs $2 somewhere else that isn't on the balance sheet. Problem is, as "Paid by the hour" points out, that someone actually has to pay that cost, and eventually it comes back to us taxpayers as an even larger cost. The societies that have realized this equation have invested heavily in HSR, Light Rail and streetcars and have booming economies. It's no coincidence.

Posted by CC, a resident of Shoreline West
on Mar 7, 2011 at 3:24 pm

Shutting down San Antonio Station is a short term fix for the budget problem. It is good for one year --on the expenses of 500+ riders. Next year, the Cal train executive will likely see a big drop in revenue (500X2X365X4 =$1,460,000). Are we going to slashing more stations? Someone needs to help me out here because I just don't get it.
Looking at the dollar figure of the Caltrain executives' salary & benifit, I question the intelligent of such proposal. By reducing 10 of the directors & VPs, the 10 proposed- to- be cut stations could be saved. Caltrain has management issue, and spending problem. If the root causes are not fix, tax payer will be picking up the bill. Yes, I am speaking about you and me
Population will increase in the future, and the traffic will get worse. MV residence need the train station more than before. Redevelopment of San Antonio shopping center & the rundown neighborhood needs the station to be making sense. The shutdown is unacceptable.

Posted by steve, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 8, 2011 at 3:02 pm

@Paid - read your post. It is all about you and your needs so how about being a little less hypocritical in calling me selfish.

Understand this: Society does not owe you anything, and your sense of entitlement is indicative of one of the main problems effecting this state and its finances.

It is apparent that you are over-extending yourself by living on the peninsula. I understand this. It is very expensive here. But if you insist on living here, then yes, I suppose you'll have to take the bus. But I think the solution might be to do what millions of Americans do every year, and that is to move to a more affordable location

Reality is a harsh thing. Fact of the matter is that Caltrain is clearly inefficient and unprofitable and It serves just a small percentage of the population. As such it is failing and should be optimized to serve as much of its ridership as possible. If this is not economically viable, then it should be shutdown.

Finally, let me assure you that I did not attain my lifestyle because of you. The fact of the matter is that I am and have been funding your lifestyle by paying absurdly high taxes so that you can live in a place in which you clearly cannot afford to live.

Posted by phm, a resident of The Crossings
on Mar 9, 2011 at 11:26 am

I wonder if the Caltrain powers-that-be have readjusted their fare estimates based on $4+/gallon gas? Last time the cost of gas went over $4, more people took the train.

Posted by Angela Hey, Mountain View Voice Blogger
on Mar 9, 2011 at 4:23 pm

Angela Hey is a registered user.

Train platforms are incredible pieces of real estate - could be used to generate revenue (think airport shops) - Caltrain needs to start serving coffee, putting ads everywhere, renting out space on its platforms, renting bikes, storing property. Turn the stations into office space for mobile commuters, offer services on platforms.

In addition, electrify the line, replace the track, remove the level crossings, make places for the trains to pass - then you can run a high speed rail network on existing track and provide a decent service for all.

Posted by Angela Hey, Mountain View Voice Blogger
on Mar 9, 2011 at 4:27 pm

Angela Hey is a registered user.

CC is absolutely right - when Dr Beeching (Web Link) axed 4000 miles of railways in the UK track was pulled up and stations shut down. Now with high gas prices you can't find a place to park a car in some commuter stations and trains are the only viable way to get to work quickly. It's extremely short-sighted to shut stations. An organization in financial trouble needs to use its capital equipment and assets to the max, rather than cutting back.

Posted by EMM, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 9, 2011 at 8:32 pm

That train station is fairly new and was expensive to put in. The expectation was that the abandoned HP property across the street was going to become reasonably dense apartments and condos, sort of like the Crossings next to the station. The city council at the time, aided by a huge neighborhood effort in the surrounding residential area shut this idea down by pressuring the developers to make it less and less dense until it was economically unfeasible.
If people then had been willing to try something new: a little change, a little density, we might have more than 500 riders today and wouldn't have this problem.

Posted by DCS, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 11, 2011 at 9:05 am

I wish Caltrain would be replaced by high-speed rail so that people will not lose their backyards. The only exception I would like is that the train would stop at all the major Caltrain stations. This would be sweet! We would have one really good train to commute up and down the bay area.

Posted by curious, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 11, 2011 at 10:40 am

It is interesting how the Voice never mentions this very pertinent fact. Much of the Caltrain deficit is due to the employees' unions bargaining with managers who do not defend the taxpayers. Does this sound familiar?

Here's the fact: according to the San Jose Mercury-News "The engineers, conductors and other employees ... cashed raises totaling nearly 40 percent in the past three years, even as the commuter rail line has been speeding down a path toward fiscal ruin. The average rank-and-file employee who works for Caltrain earned $68,307 in the fiscal year that ended in September, up from $49,862 three years prior," And that is before their fully paid for medical insurance and cushy retirement (Web Link)

We need to follow Wisconsin and stop these unions from raping the rest of us. Just let the Caltrain employees have the same unions that the Federal employees get i.e. NONE. Government workers' unions are not the same as private sector unions. California did not allow them until Jerry Brown pushed it through in his first terms. Now he and the rest of us are reaping what he sowed.

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