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High speed rail slowdown: Report rejected

Original post made on Dec 7, 2009

The California High-Speed Rail Authority board last week rescinded its approval of an environmental impact report on a section of the statewide high speed rail project between the Bay Area and Central Valley.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, December 7, 2009, 4:37 PM

Comments (20)

Posted by Special Agent CERT, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Dec 7, 2009 at 5:01 pm

The entire project would create an electrified system of bullet trains that would eventually run from Sacramento and San Francisco down to Los Angeles and San Diego.

This is why the effort will fail and not receive funding. The vision is to narrow and cannot adjust it would appear.

The idea is to create a new rail system, not retrofit the old idea or rail transportation.

such as it is. The Hunters Point Naval Ship Yard area Web Link is an excellent facility for rail systems construction and system operations and sustaining engineering.

However the planners do not think about the Seattle to San Deigo high speed rail system with the San Fransisco to New York High speed rail systems.

Change will come as the inital idea fails.


Posted by pro hi-speed rail, a resident of Waverly Park
on Dec 8, 2009 at 1:04 pm

most of the nov. 2008 ballot issues were voted down, but the high speed rail question got resounding support. it's unconscionable that a few very affluent people would hold up something so important.


Posted by CC, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Dec 8, 2009 at 2:08 pm

The intend for building the HSR is for serving people traveling between Northern and Southern California. The project will have impact to some individual or bussiness no matter what. It is very sad to see taxpayer $ is spent on curt fight rather than on the project itself.


Posted by Reality Checker, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Dec 8, 2009 at 2:21 pm

"The intend for building the HSR is for serving people traveling between Northern and Southern California. "

This is why it is doomed to fail. People will drive or fly once the "Neato" effect of the HSR wears off and ridership will dwindle and we'll all be stuck with the HUGE price tag. The Emperor has no clothes!


Posted by Special Agent CERT, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Dec 8, 2009 at 2:29 pm

The intend for building the HSR is for serving people traveling between Northern and Southern California.
Really?
This type of thinking is why the effort is failing.
Please READ

April 2009
High-Speed Rail Strategic Plan The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act
Web Link
U.S. Department of Transportation
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE Washington, DC 20590
Office of the Secretary of Transportation

Dear Members of Congress:
It is with great enthusiasm that I submit this strategic plan for high-speed rail. In the last century, a
national vision led to the creation of the world's most advanced highway and aviation networks – helping
spur unprecedented economic growth and urban development. Now, President Obama is ready to make
a renewed commitment to the Nation's travelers – not just to upgrade and maintain our aging highway
and aviation systems, but to build a world-class network of high-speed passenger rail corridors.
We face a complex set of challenges in the 21st century – building a robust, green economy, gaining energy
independence, reversing global climate change, and fostering more livable, connected communities. These
new challenges require creative new transportation solutions. A combination of express and regional
high-speed corridors, evolving from upgraded, reliable intercity passenger rail service, has proven effective
in addressing many of these challenges around the world and in selected U.S. corridors. The President is
committed to bringing this successful approach to key travel corridors across America.
We begin that process here, and will further develop and refine it in the coming months through our
budget and policy proposals. Throughout the process of advancing this new transportation vision, the
President has asked me to reach out to you, our State partners, other key stakeholders and the public. We
will, therefore, be seeking feedback and suggestions that help lead us to a successful implementation of
this high-speed rail initiative.
I look forward to working with Congress as we embark on this exciting new journey to transform
America's transportation system.


Posted by Ben, a resident of Monta Loma
on Dec 8, 2009 at 3:06 pm

High-speed rail is going to be crammed into an already developed corridor. San Jose, Mountain View or Palo Alto, Redwood City, and other city stop are in line, but if the train stops at all the cities that are in a straight line it no longer will be high speed–rail.

Why not upgrade the present transit rail system and have it connect to the high-speed rail. The travel trade off between high-speed rail and airlines is that the San Francisco Bay Area has three airports (direct flights) spaced over the region and rail travel is inline (multiple stops). On the Los Angeles metropolitan end the airports spaced over the region and the cities are not in a straight line (no service transit connecting service to most big cities). Big problem if you take high-speed rail to Los Angeles.

Which would system you take?

Since there are no development restrictions in the Central Valley stops it looks like high-speed rail is going to be a commuter rail system to Silicon Valley. The developers can buy up cheap farmland and build house to make a big profit. There has not been any strong effort to save the farms by permanent agriculture only zones. (Or alternatively no stops in the Central Valley – then real high-high speed rail.)


Posted by Ben, a resident of Monta Loma
on Dec 8, 2009 at 3:35 pm

The comment in Special Agent CERT's post: "helping spur unprecedented economic growth and urban development." These types of statements are made by those that do not seem to realize that it will result in the next bubble and bust cycle. They have not figured out that we do not have too few jobs; we have too many people for the jobs necessary to support our civilization.


Posted by Steve, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Dec 8, 2009 at 3:43 pm

I for one am heartened that cities along the peninsula are fighting this total and utter waste of time and money. California tax payers seem to forget that their state is in dire straits as they willy nilly vote for boondoggle after boondoggle. I guess that is what you get in a state full of liberal socialists.

The fact of the matter is that it is ridiculously easy and convenient to get from N. Cal to S. Cal on a plane - and please don't complain that you have to take your shoes off, that is just simple whining. In addition, airports are going to have to increase capacity unless the intention is to run rail service between every major city in the country (it will never ever happen).

Given the abysmal public transportation in the respective localities (no really our public transportation system is a joke), one would hope that any action would first be to improve this infrastructure


Posted by Bruno, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Dec 8, 2009 at 4:01 pm

Steve, turn off the Glenn Beck.

I also find it funny that this state full of "liberal socialists" as you put it, put a Republican governor in office. A terrible one for that matter, who replaced a democratically elected governor voted on by the people. Don't you just hate it when people vote for stuff Steve? You know better. Show us the way.


Posted by Special Agent CERT, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Dec 8, 2009 at 4:06 pm

The fact of the matter is that it is ridiculously easy and convenient to get from N. Cal to S. Cal on a plane

really?

I can drive from MV to Pasadena in less time then it takes to fly from SJC -> LAX then rent a car. 4.5hrs doing 80mph on Hwy 5. The flight with airport time with rental car and driving takes 5.5hrs.

for the HSR effort From Alaska:
Why not stop in SF with connection to the eastbound HSR Oakland then at the SFO airport and SJC airport and that is it until you reach at least 100mile distance. Monterey Local rail express. then onward south.

The line could end at the southern tip of Chile, The Tierra del Fuego—a group of islands at the southern tip of South America, however people just cannot think about this, the effort will fail and then people interested in the effort will takeover.


Posted by NeHi, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Dec 8, 2009 at 4:38 pm

You can ignore reality but you WILL get bit in the end.

We have been talking about upgrading the San JosÚ-San Francisco link for over a century; we need to do it and the locals know the problems and requirements better than anyone.

A Sacramento-LA link makes some sense if there is infrastructure at the LA end to handle the traffic; I'm local to Mtn. View so I can't comment on the LA end. And, I'm assuming that a corridor between the two is available but I'm a bit far from that also.

Then, we need to connect the two which seems to be the present contention. Looks like we are thinking about thinking about the issue.

Yes, many people voted for the $$ indicating plenty of interest but dealing with the reality is the difficult end and this was not a part of the vote. Many people will be "stomped upon" before this is done.

I only took the chunnel train once several years ago but there was security to go thru then but part of the sales job on HSR was based on not having a high level of security.

I have hopes for HSR but nobody said it would be easy.

But they made it sound that way.


Posted by The Dad, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Dec 8, 2009 at 5:06 pm

I think they should use some HSR funds to upgrade Cal-Train's existing service/infrastructure, making it a spur of the HSR, and connect that shiny new Cal-Train to the main HSR line at San Jose and route nit northward from there.
That way the entire east bay area can also access it with ease.
To make it do an Out and Back/Up and Down the Peninsula is ridiculous. Assuming its route continues North via a corridor east of the Bay, it only makes sense to put it on that side and run Cal Train as a spur.


Posted by Special Agent CERT, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Dec 8, 2009 at 6:18 pm

@Ben
"helping spur unprecedented economic growth and urban development." These types of statements are made by those that do not seem to realize that it will result in the next bubble and bust cycle.

Please do not take the statement out of context. You should include this:
In the last century, a national vision led to the creation of the world's most advanced highway and aviation networks –helping spur unprecedented economic growth and urban development.

Note the words "In the last century"
I hope we do not let the folks at AIG insure the activity.

I hope you can find time to read the complete plan. It needs public input not just a few people trying to retrofit Caltrain. However if the big picture can be viewed Dad is correct Caltrain can play a part.


Posted by Catherine, a resident of Jackson Park
on Dec 9, 2009 at 12:01 pm

I am still really confused on how they are going to run high speed rail through downtown mountain view with all the other tracks and roads going on. Sadly, I can't make tomorrow's meeting, but I want to see some bird's eye view maps (not just the one posted that shows where elevated or tunnels might go in terms of intersections). I'm having a lot of trouble picturing it downtown - will the Mountain View train station on Castro (along with Centennial square) need to be removed with an at-grade or raised concept? Would Central Expressway need to be narrowed?


Posted by Ben, a resident of Monta Loma
on Dec 9, 2009 at 2:20 pm

@ Special Agent CERT,

"Note the words "In the last century.""

At the start of the last century, Mountain View had very few people (and California – Total Pop. 1,485,053 Urban Pop. 776,820)

In the 1930's we had better rail and bus transportation for the population because most urban dweller could walk to catch transportation and walk to where they were going in the destination city or us transit like the trolley system in Santa Clara County that went to Congress Spring above Saratoga, Alum Rock Park (East San Jose), thru San Jose and Santa Clara, and to Mayfield in Palo Alto (Stanford and the old Visconna line now the Foothill Expressway).

Mountain View had a "green" rail yard, as many supplies where brought in by train – gasoline, lumber, gravel, food, furniture, mail, etc.).

You cannot grow forever (next century) without insurmountable problems. Once the state is developed, you have a hard time putting in a high-speed rail system or another airport.

As for the comment by Bruno, "when people vote for stuff," does not mean that the people that vote where informed, smart, or understand the overpopulation problems until they run out of water, food from other countries, or energy. (Example of smart voters and there are many - People vote for Sarah Palin even though she praised a black Pastor that drove women out of an African village for being witches and having devil babies. I guess the Alaskan voter were as smart as the Pastor.)


Posted by Special Agent CERT, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Dec 9, 2009 at 3:23 pm

@Ben

Thank you
The U.S. Federal Railroad Administration is in talks with a number of countries with high speed rail, notably Japan, France and Spain. On 16 May 2009, FRA Deputy Chief Karen Rae expressed hope that Japan would offer its technical expertise to the United States. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood indicated interest in test riding the Japanese Shinkansen in 2009.[15][16]

You may find this of interest
I have ridden the Green Nozomi car many times. Hi!
T˘kaid˘ and Sany˘ Shinkansen
Nozomi
Web Link)
Shinkansen
Web Link
Technology
To enable high-speed operation, Shinkansen uses advanced technologies compared with conventional rail, and it achieved not only high speed but also high standard of safety and comfort. Its success has influenced other railways in the world and importance and advantage of high-speed rail has been revalued consequently.

Routing
Shinkansen routes are completely separate from conventional rail lines (except Mini-shinkansen which goes through to conventional lines). Consequently, Shinkansen is not affected by slower local or freight trains and has the capacity to operate many high-speed trains punctually.

It uses tunnels and viaducts to go through and over obstacles rather than around them, with a minimum curve radius of 4,000 meters (2,500 meters on the oldest T˘kaid˘ Shinkansen).
The Shinkansen system is built without road crossings.
Tracks are strictly off-limits with penalties against trespassing strictly regulated by law.

Challenges encountered
Noise pollution
Noise pollution concerns mean that increasing speed is becoming more difficult. In Japan, the population density is high and there have been severe protests against noise pollution of Shinkansen, and now the Shinkansen noise is regulated less than 70 dB in residential area.[9] Hence, improvement and reduction of pantograph, weight saving of cars, and construction of noise barrier and other measures have been implemented. Current research is primarily aimed at reducing operational noise, particularly the "tunnel boom" phenomenon caused when trains exit tunnels at high speed.

Earthquake
Because of the risk of large earthquake disaster, Urgent Earthquake Detection and Alarm System (UrEDAS) (earthquake warning system) has been introduced since 1992. It enables automatic braking of bullet trains in the case of large earthquakes.


high-speed rail system will work, it will take time and energy and the idea of running along Caltrain tracks it just ignorant. I can hear the tunnel boom as the HSR runs past Mountain View Station.

Why not run along the Bayshore and to SJC via the creek side. Keep the Gaijin home, LOL...
Here, gaijin also means an outsider/stranger or an unknown/unfamiliar person


Posted by Bruno, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Dec 9, 2009 at 4:06 pm

Ben,

Are you comparing my vote for 1A to a vote for Sarah Palin? Whaaaaaaat? Seriously??? Don't call me or any other voters who voted in favor of HSR "uninformed". I actually read up on the HSR plans before I voted and was well aware that the Pacheco Pass route had been chosen. If you were uninformed you should blame yourself.


Posted by Ben, a resident of Monta Loma
on Dec 9, 2009 at 4:24 pm

@ Special Agent CERT,

It sound like you are overzealous mouthpiece for Ron Diridon and cannot look at the negatives of high-speed rail. Negatives like, it will not support itself cost wise, will destroy the farms (CA and the US food source) and possible use more energy to build that it will save for many, many years.

Creek side is not a strait line for high speeds. High-speed rail is not door-to-door transportation and need connector system. This is what an upgrade of CALTRAIN would do for transit.

Rail is a one-dimension system, buses are a two-dimension system and airplanes are a three-dimension system. I will not explain all the engineering decision and consequences related to servicing dispersed and/or dense populations that the different system face. Rail has some advantages, but it also has many disadvantages. Transit has one disadvantage that cannot be overcome, compared to the auto. The more stops (service), the slower the service. (Note the one post of travel time to LA and you still have your own wheels when you get to where you are going.) Is it not strange that rail did not improve travel time over the years as the automobile system has done?

California is not like Japan or Europe in land use (cities around transit) and what people are brought up with. Look at the old Mountain View stag coach stop (near Grant Road); then the city moved to the train stop (Castor St.); and then scattered to hell and gone with the auto.

A glorifying viewing high-speed rail as wonderfully fast from point A to point B does not address al the problem and the negatives. Who would have guessed and view as negative that the 1950's big automobiles were a problem – smog?

High-speed rail enthusiasts never address the problems; they only live in a fantasy world!




Posted by Special Agent CERT, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Dec 9, 2009 at 6:40 pm

@ben gaijin-san
It sound like you are overzealous mouthpiece for Ron Diridon
who the heck is Ron Diridon. You appears to be opposed to Leland Stanford.

Creek side is not a strait line for high speeds. It is not at high speed as an SJC approach. It is very clear you are not a pilot or have a boat and understand navigation or geospatial geometry. One two or three dimensions. You do not have to explain engineering or physics to me.

will destroy the farms (CA and the US food source) and possible use more energy to build that it will save for many, many years.

you are dreaming take a look at the (CA and the naip images) Web Link

High-speed rail is?

It is still in formulation, it is clear you did not read the plan from the DOT as the the President directed be developed.

If you do not want part of it, fine. It does not make a difference to me.


Posted by Leonard Okoth, a resident of another community
on Jan 20, 2010 at 10:06 pm

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