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Staring down the high speed train

Original post made on Jul 31, 2009

A few weeks ago the contractor/developer for the proposed housing portion of Alma Plaza in Palo Alto announced that he had pulled out of the deal because of "economic hard times." But I'm wondering what contractor in his right mind would want to be selling housing along the high speed rail right-of-way when by law he would have to disclose the prospect of an elevated railway in the corridor in front or beside the residences.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, July 31, 2009, 12:00 AM

Comments (14)

Posted by MVFlyer, a resident of Monta Loma
on Jul 31, 2009 at 3:34 pm

Personally, I'm a big rail fan and believe that high speed rail will be a huge boon for the state. That said, I agree that the Caltrain alignment isn't a great idea. Tunnelling isn't the answer--it too is very messy and can tie up traffic. Why not look at an alignment along 101? Many commuter rail lines put their tracks in the middle of highways--why not HSR? We'd get the benefits without worries for noise.

Normally, I don't support the whiners who complain about rail noise in their neighborhoods--the reality is that the tracks have been there since the late 19th century, and their houses haven't. In this case, however, I agree since the proposed traffic from HSR will greatly exceed anything seen in the past (although I don't believe it will hit what the HSR folks are saying), so they have a strong argument.


Posted by Katherine, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 3, 2009 at 4:28 pm

If we want to really get it done, high speed rail should start at San Jose, not SF. Too complex taking it up to SF.


Posted by Bury it I say, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 4, 2009 at 7:04 pm

They should do like they did in Reno....Bury the railroad. Reduces sounds, traffic and is so much safer. Of course the passengers wouldn't get to look at much except a wall.


Posted by Crossings Resident, a resident of The Crossings
on Aug 5, 2009 at 6:45 pm

Relocating Cal Train track along 101 would be a brilliant move!


Posted by MVrez, a resident of The Crossings
on Aug 6, 2009 at 8:54 am

I like the idea of putting the HSR by 101, maybe elevated to inspire freeway commuters who are stuck in traffic to reconsider public transportation. We've really gotten out of the habit of public trans here in California.

Underground seems to me like a bad idea in earthquake territory, especially in areas with sandier soils - please don't do that!


Posted by curious, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Aug 6, 2009 at 10:17 am

All reasonable ideas are falling on deaf ears at the California High Speed Rail Authority. They are hell bent on forcing the southern route, which makes no sense. With this route they have to build a long spur to reach Sacramento that is parallel to the part that goes to San Francisco. The Altamont Pass route not have this duplication.

The Mtn View City Council decided they did not want to join other cities in opposing this ridiculous route.

There is still a chance to stop this. One way is to attend a High Speed Rail Town Hall Meeting on Wednesday, August 26th at the Menlo Park City Council Chambers, 701 Laurel Street, Menlo Park, from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. The HSR has been trying to paint opponents as a fringe NIMBY group and we can show them that the public is opposed to this idiocy.


Posted by Hugh Jardonn, a resident of another community
on Aug 6, 2009 at 11:52 am

There needs to be regime change at the California High Speed Rail Authority. They are the ones pushing the Pacheco alignment even though Altamont Pass route is far superior and would mean that a future spur to Sacramento would be less expensive. The CHSRA needs to go back to the drawing board.


Posted by Andrew, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 6, 2009 at 12:17 pm

I for one am looking forward to HSR coming via the Caltrain corridor to San Francisco. I live a few blocks from the train tracks and don't mind at all, even if Mountain View ends up without a station (although it should!).


Posted by Bruno, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 6, 2009 at 3:00 pm

I wonder if people will still be arguing for a 101 or 280 route once this thing is completely built?


Posted by Jack, a resident of Shoreline West
on Aug 6, 2009 at 9:05 pm

So there's no money for school kids, blind folks, state parks; our local bus routes and train schedules are being slashed while fares rise--but somehow there's 25 billion for this ridiculous boondoggle? This just typifies the joke our State is becoming, thanks to people like Diridon shoveling cash into the coffers of Central Valley developers.


Posted by Dave, a resident of North Whisman
on Aug 7, 2009 at 8:51 am

To all the people complaining about the alignment: where were you when this was being discussed, for, basically, this entire past decade? The HSR authority put out various plans, held meetings, and took plenty of public comment, for _years_. After all that, they settled on the current plan, put it before voters, and it passed.

And only then did the residents of Atherton, PA and MP find reason to complain.

I'm sorry, but the fact is that, for something like this, you can't just ignore it for years, and then come running it at the last moment, frantically waving your hands, and then--after budgets have been determined, voters consulted, bond measures passed, and applications for federal money have been made--just veto the will of the rest of the state.

And the fact that you cannot do this does not mean that you're being oppressed by Big Evil Government. It means that you should have started paying attention when the rest of us did.


Posted by Agree with Dave, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 7, 2009 at 11:28 am

Well said, Dave!


Posted by Paul, a resident of Waverly Park
on Aug 7, 2009 at 2:32 pm

We're missing a truly creative solution here. Why don't they just do what they do in Europe. Run at high speed in the rural areas and just slow the train down in urban areas. They could run at 200MPH in the central valley and run at 77MPH on the CalTrain tracks, just like the baby bullets. Then it can run at grade level and we won't need tunnels or elevation or anything. It becomes just another commuter express between SJ and San Fran. Who cares if it takes 2:30 or 2:45 to get to LA. Not to mention it would save billions of dollars.


Posted by Rodger, a resident of Sylvan Park
on Aug 8, 2009 at 5:53 pm

Currently the people in charge are arrogantly trying to force their solution down our throats and must be stopped, they don't care about the people living in the path of High Speed Rail.

I think the best solution is for High Speed rail to end in San Jose with an upgraded Cal Train used to get to San Francisco including an extension to Market street in San Francisco of course. This would avoid super costly construction and later degradation of quality of life caused by high speed trains running through our cities.

The second best and next least costly would be down highway 101 from San Francisco to San Jose. This would save little time over the solution above but might be workable and make the high speed rail people happy.

If a tunneled path along the Cal Train right of way is forced the tunnel should be under Mountain View as well as the cities directly to the north of Mountain such as Palo Alto. The tunnel should end/begin in San Jose of course.

The construction of an overhead rail or even surface rail down the Cal Train right of way should be blocked by a lawsuit.

At any rate we have been sold on a project that will cost $42 billion but I doubt that anyone believes this super low ball number, probably $100B would be a better guess. Whatever the final construction cost ends out being this number will be more than doubled once interest is paid. Don't forget operating and maintenance costs as ticket sales never cover these cost and must be paid for from tax money.

At any rate we all ready have a high speed connection to LA from San Jose, air travel is here now, it's faster, just as safe, and much much cheaper. Private business competes for our business with no costly operating subsides, except for the airport, and little or no government involvement.

Rodger


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