Posted by eric, a resident of another community, on Jun 28, 2010 at 12:49 pm
This council needs to man up and take some action on this-- the long term impacts are clearly more then they care to digest.
First off, they need to oppose the ludicrous idea of closing two main east-west thoroughfares-- that is crazy! Second, they need to squash the idea of an overhead line, which would devastate low-income neighborhoods along the exising Caltrain line (which would also be deeply injured by a closing of Rengstorff.
City council, show some guts and show some concern for lower income citizens without a voice in our community. DEMAND that any light rail near downtown be below grade!
Palo Alto, as ridiculous as their city government is, can at least take decisive action on this issue. When you look more disorganized and feckless than Palo Alto, well...
Posted by J Cierra, a resident of the Sylvan Park neighborhood, on Jun 28, 2010 at 2:51 pm J Cierra is a member (registered user) of Mountain View Online
How can the city council be so late on dealing with this?
Especially silly is Abe-Koga's apparent awakening to the usefulness of being clear to HSR on the being clear about burying the HSR -- when she was holding court in Peet's one day many months ago, I was in line behind a guy who was frustrated in trying to teach her about the HSR and the importance of a trench or tunnel. It was my first time to pay attention to HSR and I learned a lot since then, but Abe-Koga still seems to be naively surprised.
Posted by Laura Macias, a resident of the Blossom Valley neighborhood, on Jun 28, 2010 at 2:55 pm
Correction first, the statement that I am familiar with well done trenched rail systems is true-- in France. traveled there from Paris to the countryside and it was faster, quieter, cleaner than Caltrains in Mtn View. The article says that I mentioned Arizona having a nice example of trenched rail? For all of us scratching our heads on that, nope, I did not reference a "nice" tain example in Arizona. Was talking about the TGV in France.
Second, yup, am happy to "man up" and state a preference for trench or nothing for our city,
Posted by Seer, a resident of the Blossom Valley neighborhood, on Jun 28, 2010 at 3:02 pm
This project seems to stop people from thinking clearly.
1) The project won't be "killed" so let's figure out how to make it fulfill its promises
2) The "low-income" banner is a canard. Most of the land on the rail side of central expressway is commercial property or apartments. Until we know how much additional land is needed for the project, the "devastation" to this land cannot be asserted. In any event, people who live along the rails already made the decision to put up with noise, which will actually be less from HSR than caltrain.
3) Jac Siegel's comments are bizarre. How is a giant hole in the ground less "dominating" than an elevated train corridor with shops under it? It makes me wonder if he actually went to Berlin and saw the structure that was discussed.
4) Burying the train isn't a magic cure-all. Just wait until Mountain View is presented with the bill for demanding it. Palo Alto will be squawking when they see the numbers, and you'll see them reconsidering right quick.
5) How can Ronit Bryant say that "most of BART in our area is underground" when there is no BART in our area, with Santa Clara and San Mateo counties having opted out at BART's inception in the 1950s? In fact, very little of BART is underground, just downtown Berkeley, Oakland, and San Francisco. From the BART website, "There are approximately 37 miles of track through subways and tunnels, 23 miles of aerial track and 44 of surface track (four additional miles of double track in subways and four underground stations for the S.F. Municipal Railway were constructed by BART as specified by the original 1962 plan)"
6) It's interesting how history repeats itself. As a child, I lived in Berkeley and watched how public pressure delayed and expanded the cost of the BART project. Now I'm in Mountain View and the council is eager to make the same mistakes. Again from the BART site, "Prime examples of how public pressures escalated the cost of the system are the Berkeley subway and the Ashby Station. After originally approving a combination aerial and subway line through Berkeley, that city later came to oppose the plan in favor of a subway-only line, which was much more expensive. The new plan necessitated redesign of the Ashby Station from an aerial to a subway facility. Extensive controversy and hearings ensued for the next 2 1/2 years, finally to be resolved by Berkeley residents voting to tax themselves additionally to finance the changes they wanted. Next, a Berkeley City Councilman filed a successful suit to redesign the Ashby Station, yet a second time, asserting the use of skylights in the original plans was not a true subway design."
This is deja vu, all over again. It would really be nice if there was some learning going on here.
The Berkeley situation resulted in a 2 1/2 year delay in subway construction, a 17-month delay in starting Ashby Station construction, and additional costs of $18 million.
Posted by eric, a resident of another community, on Jun 28, 2010 at 4:00 pm
Laura, "stating a preference" and "man up" dont belong in the same sentence. Demand. Palo Alto and cities north are playing the squeaky wheel role. Mountain View will be ignored.
Seer, go hang out in Fruitvale along the elevated track and tell me that the low income arguement is a canard. The area west of Caltrain is dominated by dense residential for a substantial portion of town, and is only across the street in another large stretch.
Posted by James, a resident of the Whisman Station neighborhood, on Jun 28, 2010 at 5:10 pm
The only downside of the trench versus tunnel may be acoustic or vibration. The city should ask some smart person over at Ames to model the shockwave as the train passes thru mountain view in the trench.
Posted by Big Al, a resident of the Old Mountain View neighborhood, on Jun 28, 2010 at 5:29 pm
The mayor and city council just woke up... too late.
The worst we can expect is two lanes of Central Expressway taken away and Castro Street and Rengstorf dead-ending at the tracks causing guaranteed increased traffic on nearly every other street in Mountain View. The next worst we can expect is an elevated option that would, as eric puts it, disadvantage the lower income neighborhoods. Dream on that HSR will invest the funds for digging either a trench or a deep tunnel. It's just too funny to hear these council members think that it's even under consideration for Mountain View when Palo Alto has already beaten us to it. They'll be the ones to get it, we will get the above ground option. There's just no way they'll put a tunnel all the way the peninsula anyway, so some cities are going to lose and in a big way.
BTW, I really am tired of the Euro comparisons. The mayor can move back to France to ride the train for all I care. This is Mountain View, CA, not Paris, France.
Posted by Jay Tulock, a resident of another community, on Jun 29, 2010 at 8:53 am
Mountain View is not asking the right questions. Mountain View is not reading from the right book. The only sane method of fighting high speed rail is to fight the insane idea of running it on the Peninsula south of Redwood City. All the cities including Mountain View should not even be talking about options, as the train should not run through your towns at all. All cities should be demanding Altamont Pass and should not even entertain tunnels or trenches, as to do so is to agree with the insane Authority planners and politicians. This is not BART forty years ago, this is freigh, passenger and high speed rail today. This is not $18 million, this is several billion dollars. High speed rail will not pay. They have stated that. Take the number of miles of Caltrain line in your city, multiply by half a billion dollars, divide by your city population, multiply by the number of members of your family. That is what you will owe to put in a trench or tunnel, each of you, if you are lucky. Reno trench took many years to plan and many years to build, and it is only two tracks wide. During construction the railraod had to continue to opearate, as the Caltrain line will, so rail was laid in a city street and freight trains ran on it for two years. No, Mounatin View will not allow the Central Expressway to have one less lane, and the south county will not allow the Monterey Highway to have one less lane just as they are developing Coyote Valley. The danger is not that the high speed rail line is built, the danger is high speed rail destroys the Peninsula and then runs out of money. That will benefit only Caltrain, and at what cost?
Posted by Realist, a resident of the Cuesta Park neighborhood, on Jun 29, 2010 at 11:18 am
Oh good lord, could someone in authority PLEASE say out loud that the Emperor has no clothes. This HSR is already a tremendous waste of money and will never be profitable. That's right, I said it. HSR will be underutilized from the very start, will never be in the black and will always need subsidizing until finally one day, after BILLIONS are WASTED, they'll scrap it all together. Disgusting waste of money at the worst time imaginable.
Posted by Mike Laursen, a resident of the Monta Loma neighborhood, on Jun 29, 2010 at 12:30 pm
Seer, the project can't be killed, of course, without another statewide initiative. However, once the Authority burns through their current cash, the whole project will die unless it secures further funding.
I'm with Realist. The Mountain View City Council should "man up" and say that this whole project is a boondoggle that is never actually going to be built, and distracts from more practical improvements that could be made to Caltrain.
Posted by Realist, a resident of the Cuesta Park neighborhood, on Jun 29, 2010 at 2:43 pm
thetruth: I drive my car 2 days a week, on the weekends, that's it. I ride my bike the rest of the week, but even if I drove every day, HSR would not change my behavior one iota. Nice try with the "your types" comment, but it landed with a splat in this case.
In any event, HSR will be a colossal waste if it ever even gets built.
Posted by thetruth, a resident of another community, on Jun 29, 2010 at 4:07 pm
Someone calling HSR a colossal waste..is not very forward thinking..bike ridder or not...if anything its the smalltown "real" america types thats against this.. and the over 62crowd...And it WILL be built and will not ruin MountainView as much as certain whinney types in PA/Menlo have been crying..
Posted by LV, a resident of another community, on Jun 29, 2010 at 9:03 pm
The U.S. is already decades behind Western Europe, Japan, and now China (our next competitor) thanks to these "NIMBY" people. Don't you want to see the people in California to have the same kind of technologies that Western Europeans and Japanese have enjoyed for years?
Last time I travelled from San Francisco airport to my home in San Jose using Cal Train and then buses and it took me more than 4 hours. It's a national embarrassment. I used to live in Paris and I regularly made the trip from Paris down to the Mediterranean sea using the TGV and it took me only 3 hours for a distance of more than 400 miles vs 50 miles from SFO to my home in San Jose.
It's hilarious to say that the population density in Mountain View, Palo Alto, Atherton, and Menlo Park is dense that needs a tunnel which increases the construction cost exponentially. If the people in Mountain View, Palo Alto, Atherton, and Menlo Park want the tunnel, they should pay for it themselves. Asking the people in other towns to pay for it is ridiculously unfair. It's similar to the current government bank bailout whereas the poor working people is paying for the billionaires. In France, the TGV actually runs above ground most of the time where the population density is much higher than here and it only enter tunnels after it has entered the city of Paris for the last few miles or so. Even then, if you use Gare de Lyons in Paris, you can see that the TGV actually doesn't even enter any tunnel at all.
Wake up people, do you want the U.S. to be backward all the time like a third-world country? It's embarrassing.
Posted by LV, a resident of another community, on Jun 29, 2010 at 9:26 pm
"I've been to Germany and that elevated train dominated everything around it," said council member Jac Siegel. "It's not very nice. You don't want to be around it very much."
I respectfully disagree. It's no wonder why the U.S. is a third-world country disguised in a veneer of a 1st world.
High Speed Rail can be built so it looks beautiful. You have to remember that the city of Paris has a much stricter rules and regulations regarding building codes than anywhere else because they want to protect the look of the city of Paris and if they are O.K. with High Speed Rail running above ground. That tells you something.
As a matter of fact, when the Eiffel Tower was built, it was described as an "eyesore." Guess what? Now everybody says it's beautiful. Hopefully the people in Mountain View, Palo Alto, and Atherton one day wakes up and see the High Speed Rail that runs through their towns above ground and see the same thing.
Posted by Big Al, a resident of the Old Mountain View neighborhood, on Jun 30, 2010 at 7:43 am
"I used to live in Paris and I regularly made the trip from Paris down to the Mediterranean sea using the TGV and it took me only 3 hours"
Finish the French comparison. The French economy is in shambles. Young people, mostly those ethnically non-French can't get jobs. They are considering RAISING the retirement age to 62. Their soccer team quit the World Cup.
Posted by Mike Laursen, a resident of the Monta Loma neighborhood, on Jun 30, 2010 at 9:35 am
thetruth, I'm not over 62, I don't idealize some small-town "real" America. I think high-speed rail would be cool and futuristic, and give us more cosmopolitan creds like Europeans.
BUT, I look not just at how cool some big public project would be, but at how much it would cost, its likelihood of living up to its promoters' claims, what other projects are being sacrificed, etc. Being responsible with taxpayer's money, as well as one's own money, is just part of being a grown-up.
Posted by LV, a resident of another community, on Jun 30, 2010 at 10:21 am
Finish the French comparison. The French economy is in shambles. Young people, mostly those ethnically non-French can't get jobs. They are considering RAISING the retirement age to 62. Their soccer team quit the World Cup.
We live in Mountain View, not Paris, France."
Who is the pretentious around here? Did you know that Silicon Valley unemployment rate is more than 12% right now which is much more than the 8% unemployment rate in "socialist" France. And you think it's O.K.
"mostly those ethnically non-French can't get jobs"
Oh yeah! What about unemployed over-40-year-old software engineers in Silicon Valley. There are so many of them here. I don't think the Hispanics who live in Redwood city next door to wealthy Atherton is having a job of their lives either.
"They are considering RAISING the retirement age to 62"
In the U.S., our retirement age is already 65 and it's going up to 67 very soon.
I see nothing wrong with emulating the French if it means people having a much more modern transportation system (much faster, quieter, more beautiful). And best of all, it frees America from the toxic addiction to oil.
Posted by LV, a resident of another community, on Jun 30, 2010 at 10:33 am
Actually you know what. Whenever my friends or relatives visit me here 10 years ago (but it is still applicable as it is now). I drove them to East Palo Alto first to show them the "Murder Capital of the U.S." and see how poor it is and then along University Ave to Palo Alto.
Then I took them on Middlefield Road going from Palo Alto via Atherton to Redwood City.
They were shocked at the disparity between neighborhoods that are separated just by a street/freeway.
Posted by thetruth, a resident of another community, on Jun 30, 2010 at 6:24 pm
If you have the mindset of the "we are broke" crowd then we will never have HSR or much of anything here ..And thats the big problem with this Nations thinking..OOO God we cant raise that gas tax 12 cents..It will ruin the nation..Stealing our kids future..on and on it goes thou nobody seems upset with the trillion buck and growing war cost? What could we have done with that kind of money for this nations roads and transit> HSR is going to be built and it will work out and hopefully you will be gald it did in the long run..
Posted by GEORGE, a resident of the Rex Manor neighborhood, on Jun 30, 2010 at 9:03 pm
Dmn... lots of "ink" above..
We just friggin don't need HS Rail..
One can and should in the next 50 yrs, drive to their destinati0n inthe L.A. Area.. (Jeeze, a "2 & 1/2 hr train ride for $$$$, with an hour to get to the train, and a rental car $$$, or company/friend pick up... another 1 + hour to your destinaton... and VOILA... same damn amount of time,, and Billions down the drain..
Crap... either stay home, fly SWA or Drive.... all are so much cheaper..
Posted by Wakeup, a resident of another community, on Jul 1, 2010 at 6:31 am
O yes just drive our cars and Truuuks for the next 50 years and import 95% of the oil...DUHH YES you will still be free to drive ..WE will have HSR for the Millions of people that will enjoy using it!!
Posted by LV, a resident of another community, on Jul 1, 2010 at 8:52 am
"One can and should in the next 50 yrs, drive to their destinati0n inthe L.A. Area.."
"Crap... either stay home, fly SWA or Drive.... ."
Let me see, the logic is a little bit off. Based on his logic, the worst case scenario without HSR is that we will be the same situation as now (importing oil etc).
The best case scenario would be all cars would be electric (OK, I can see that). But we still have millions of cars on the road so we need more roads or airports to handle the traffic. Building HSR costs Billions (I agree). So building more roads and airports Free?????
" (Jeeze, a "2 & 1/2 hr train ride for $$$$, with an hour to get to the train, and a rental car $$$, or company/friend pick up... another 1 + hour to your destinaton... and VOILA... same damn amount of time,,."
What he says is that nobody rides HSR because of the hassle mentioned above. Despite the hassle, people today are flying in drove between N. Cali and S. Cali because they don't want to drive 6-8 hours. It's more faster & more convenient to fly.
With HSR as in Europe, people are traveling downtown-to-downtown, don't have to come to the airport 2 hours in advance (I usually get to the TGV 10-minute before the train leave) and they can work, relax, eat, sleep.
"fly SWA or Drive... are so much cheaper."
I seriously doubt about this assumption. In Europe, most people choose to take HSR between cities less than 500 miles apart because it's much cheaper, more convenient, "greener," and "more relaxing" than flying.
The idea is that Western Europe, Japan, and now China build HSR because they are "socialist" and want to waste their taxpayers' dollars is ridiculous.
Posted by Seer, a resident of the Blossom Valley neighborhood, on Jul 1, 2010 at 2:40 pm
eric: Fruitvale was already a disaster zone before BART put an elevated track through it. Nothing has changed. El Cerrito was middle class, and nothing has changed. You can't blame BART for that.
big al: you may not like the French comparison, but what does it say about you if there's an example of something that works well in a society that consistently rates as happier than ours, and you refuse to look at it because it has a different address?
george says: "One can and should in the next 50 yrs, drive to their destinati0n inthe L.A. Area.. (Jeeze, a "2 & 1/2 hr train ride for $$$$, with an hour to get to the train, and a rental car $$$, or company/friend pick up... another 1 + hour to your destinaton... and VOILA... same damn amount of time,, and Billions down the drain.."
Well, I got news for ya, George. There won't be any oil left long before 50 years is up. Known oil reserves will last at most 20 years at the current rate of consumption. You'll be pushing that car to LA - if it still exists. It may be mentally incomprehensible for you to imagine going back to a 19th century lifestyle, but the facts are there.
Posted by LV, a resident of another community, on Jul 2, 2010 at 11:03 am
Big Al says:
"I would say move to France if you, LV, and the Mayor like it so much. This is the USA where we do things differently and better."
Really??? Let me tell you an observation. I work in Palo Alto near Atherton and they are all "French" secret-admirers. The Palo Alto/Atherton libraries are full of French cooking books, French interior designs, "The art of French living" books, etc.
And people there send their kids to where? French school (Ecole Internationale de Peninsule on Cowper and Laura Street in Palo Alto.
I even suspect that the rich folks in Atherton have their own pied-a-terre in Paris and they regularly take the TGV (HSR) down to their own villas on the French Riviera.
Of course they enjoy the TGV (HSR) but they don't want the people of California to have it because it means the people of California would enjoy the same kind of services as they do. Quelle Horror!
And even worse, the HSR would run through their town that reminds them of this "injustice" everyday.
Posted by Kyle, a resident of the Cuesta Park neighborhood, on Jul 2, 2010 at 11:16 am
Yes, no kidding, Palo Alto and Atherton residents would love to pretend they're living in France. Anything but admit they are just plain old Americans. Such elitism. Try as they may, they just can't admit that they don't live in France. You forgot to mention they even have a May Fete. Hardly a standard to base anything. You just admitted your bias and are now way off the tracks.
Posted by Anne C., a resident of the Rex Manor neighborhood, on Jul 2, 2010 at 12:00 pm
Look, this isn't some tired battle between gas-guzzling tobacco-chomping woman-pinching reactionaries and tree-tickling solar-loving bike-riding progressives. I love trains, trees, bikes, and solar panels, yet I still hate HSR. HSR is badly planned, badly routed, and based on false assumptions. What's more, it will worsen local and regional transit problems, which is where we really need to focus our energies. Let's make it possible for most commuters to take public transit, and that will save more gas and take way more pollution out of our air than piffling around with long-distance travel. HSR is a distraction from our real problem, which is that public transit in the Bay Area is in complete disarray. Fix that! Fix Caltrain, VTA, Samtrans, AC Transit, Muni, BART. And let the damn tourists fly to LA.
Posted by Seer, a resident of the Blossom Valley neighborhood, on Jul 5, 2010 at 7:17 pm
Margaret, you're not thinking too carefully.
1) Taking caltrain from SF to SJ and then HSR to LA would add over 50% to the time to get from SF to LA. It's a sure way to kill HSR ridership, just like the same idiotic "compromises" made with SJs light rail that causes it to be so slow that nobody rides it. The idea of HSR is to offer a lower-cost, faster alternative to air travel, which is exactly what has happened with HSR in Europe, Japan, and China. If it takes 1 1/2 hours just to get to the HSR, people will simply opt to drive to the airport and stand in the TSA lines. THis is really basic "transit 101" - try reading a bit about HSR planning before you suggest something that can't work.
2) Nobody said anything about 300MPH. The speed is projected to be 125MPH. Caltrain moves at a best estimate of 33mph average, or about 1/4 the caltrain speed (both speeds allow for station stops.)
3) Education for kids should come out of existing tax revenues, except they've been diverted to prisons, the useless war on drugs, and other pet projects. HSR comes from a separate source of funding. This isn't an either-or, unless we make it one by letting politicians or other idiots bully us into cutting one essential service to fund another. Prisons and 3-strikes are not an essential service, since they have been shown to have little effect on crime.
4) I can agree with you on this. From the unconstitutional Prop 8 to an HSR referendum that does little to guarantee HSR's availability, referendums simply cater to voters' whims without any nod to reality. In Europe and Asia, the HSR was decided on and built by the governments without catering to every NIMBY along the way. Result? They have a end-of-oil resistant infrastructure, and we will go down in flames when oil runs out.
Posted by Seer, a resident of the Blossom Valley neighborhood, on Jul 5, 2010 at 7:20 pm
::big al: you may not like the French comparison, but what does it say about you if there's an example of something that works well in a society that consistently rates as happier than ours
:I would say move to France if you, LV, and the Mayor like it so much. This is the USA where we do things differently and better.
I think you missed the part where their HSR works and their people consistently rate happier than ours. I'm sure I'd be living in Europe right now, except their policy against illegal immigration works better than ours too :)
Posted by ben, a resident of the Monta Loma neighborhood, on Jul 5, 2010 at 11:36 pm
. High Speed Rail Claim -- 117,000,000 passengers annually – CHRSA (CA High-Speed Rail Authority) predicts. They even paid a consulting firm to come up with those numbers. The high-speed rail people claim 117 million people will ride the system every year. That is over a third of the entire U.S. population. How rational is that? (GOOGLE Martin Engel high Speed Rail. - Web Link - (86 trains/day = averaged out to 3,727 riders on each train – have I make a calculation error?). This is a ridiculous number!
Posted by The Dad, a resident of the Cuesta Park neighborhood, on Jul 6, 2010 at 8:29 am
Ya know, now that we know about the bogus ridership predictions, my vote on HSR would be different today. IMO, now that the facts have been uncovered, HSR is monetarily unsound without constant propping up with taxpayer money. I imagine a well planned law suite would be needed to stop this waste of money boondoggle. Hope it comes soon.
Posted by George, a resident of the Rex Manor neighborhood, on Jul 6, 2010 at 1:29 pm
OK, OK, I'll say it;;;;;;
The Emporior does NOT have any clothes.... Jeeze Council.. wake the heck up.
The Peninsula keeps trying to be important, when it is impotent.
We don't need any BART, We don't need any HRT tracks or service. We don't need our Light Rail. Light Rail = 45 minutes to downtown San Jose (drive it in 18 minutes). We don't need 4 hours to Los Angeles (or three ???).. Add an hour to get to the train, an hour or more on that end to get anywhere... or drive it in 6 hours...
Come on MtnView.. wake up. Be the delightful small town we really are, enjoy it, stop the train (or put it across the bay). Let's quit pretending to be the end all of cities. Remember, next Election, vote NO on all councel folks that continue this nonsense.
Posted by Hardin, a resident of the Cuesta Park neighborhood, on Jul 6, 2010 at 5:13 pm
Like others have intimated, this issue isn't about the French/American struggle, nor the tree hugger/ SUV driver conflict.
I am hopeful that this country will continue to develop green technologies, and more importantly a green philosophy of living not to consume, but to give back to the communinity and to the environment.
But what bothers me with the HSR project is fundamentally the flawed planning and funding models that are being promoted to sustain the project. HSR is but one strategy to achieve a better future, and I'm not convinced it is either the most effective, nor the most cost effective path to take.
Posted by legislation watcher, a resident of another community, on Jul 11, 2010 at 5:57 pm
STOP HSR - by asking your legislator to vote against allowing HSR Bonds to be sold. The state legislature must vote for the issuance of bonds that have been approved by an initiative. If there is no approval - the Controller cannot issue new bonds every year and the $$s dry up. This is sort of a backward way to do it - but that's how this state works!
Posted by Ned, a resident of the Old Mountain View neighborhood, on Jul 15, 2010 at 5:32 pm
"On June 10, Cline, Atherton City Councilman Jerry Carlson, Palo Alto Mayor Pat Burt and Mountain View Mayor Ronit Bryant met with Curt Pringle, chairman of the High-Speed Rail Authority Board, to take him on a tour of the railroad right-of-way in each of their towns.
The tour, preceded by a brief meeting in Palo Alto's city hall, flew under the radar of public attention until a local newspaper reported several days ago that the meeting occurred, and that no public notice was given."
Woops. A violation of the Brown Act. There goes Mayor Bryant flying off the tracks again.