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Original post made
on Mar 5, 2009
I think Mountain View should be stop on the high speed rail.
I fully support this.
Mt. View residents and city council should take a VERY close look at the impacts to the city of the high speed rail line itself, before they decide whether to put a station on the table.
There are some pretty serious potential consequences to neighborhood property values if they decide to put this train on raised overhead tracks. It could change or eliminate some of the existing other transit services at that station (VTA Light Rail impacts), it could completely shutter access to Castro, it could create the blight of raised (graffiti magnet) walls or underpass tunnels. It would cut down trees. And it would be years of huge construction impacts for businesses there.
The resulting impacts to business and residential real estate property values (and tax revenues) could be devastating.
The problem is, these things may or may not occur, but the decisions lie completely within the hands of the High Speed Rail Authority - and that boils down precisely to TWO appointed individuals: Kopp and Diridon. They have made their objectives utterly clear, the cheapest route possible through these peninsula towns, whether the towns like it or not. Period.
The City of Mountain View needs to retain their leverage in making sure the high speed rail is done RIGHT, according to the city of Mt. View's needs - not according to prescriptions and definitions of what's good and best for big money big town interested in LA? SF? SJ?
Its great to support high speed rail - most still do. But everyone wants to see it done RIGHT. Please require your city council and the CHSRA to provide MUCH MORE DETAIL about the specific impacts to your town before you invite them to take over your crown jewels.
I think the entire idea of running the high speed train up the CalTrain corridor is a bad idea. It is overly expensive. I will produce huge problems in terms of dividing communities, noise and disruption via its requirement for no grade crossings. It would make much more sense for it to run along 101. A stop at either Moffett Field or Shoreline would serve the Lower Peninsula with good access to traffic from 85 101 & 237 as well as light rail (if at Moffett). There would be much more room to put in parking. There would be much less resistance to an elevated track and fewer noise concerns. Further stops up the Peninsula could be near 92 and SFO.
So many people keep suggesting freeway routes for the HSR, but that is simply not a solution and it's not even on the table. As a matter of fact, it's been rejected numerous times after the decision had already been made to use the CalTrain route. Please don't let our neighboring cities tell us how to run Mtn. View. If they don't want the HSR station, I say we take it. Let them have their tunnel.
As I understand it, this is not a decision about whether we will have a HSR stop or not, but just whether they should study the possibility and potential impact. I think it is premature to rule it out. I supported the HSR and would like to see what the potential impacts are before ruling it out.
Emminent domain anyone? Do we really want a 4 lane train freeway screaming through the neighborhood? Graffittied walls?
I would welcome a high speed rail stop. My mom and my family have to fly out of San Francisco or San Jose to visit my sister in Long Beach. I took the train all over Europe and I welcome the idea of the train and I think it could be good for the merchants downtown. People could walk to Castro and eat in the restaurants, etc. I think the argument that it would increase graffiti is not valid. We need to get cars off of the freeways and this is just a start. I would also love it if they bring back the "Sunshine express" that existed when my mom grew up here...it went from San Francisco to Santa Cruz. We also need to connect the airports to better public transportation as well.
Come on City Council! Ask for a station. Let's be forward thinking. There will be only 24 stops on the entire train line. If Redwood City and Palo Alto don't want it, the stop will go to Visalia unless we speak up.
I think HSR along the peninsula is redundant with Caltrain already there. It makes more sense to have HSR start where Caltrain leaves off in San Jose and go to LA.
The question is "whether to have the Rail Authority STUDY a stop for Mountain View." I want to see that study and then make up my mind. Thank you Mayor Margaret Abe-Koga for giving residents another chance to give our input. Please support the study!
Mountain View Resident seems in the dark.
Palo Alto plans to sue HSR to stop the rail from coming through the Peninsula. Menlo Park and Atherton have already sued.
HSR also has run out of money.
Just because Palo Alto, Menlo Park and Atherton plan to sue does not mean HSR is done or has run out of money. Palo Alto has made it very clear how they feel about the HSR. Just because we're not joining your NIMBY lawsuit does not mean we're "in the dark" in Mountain View. Have you noticed how much wider Alma/Central is in Mtn. View compared to Palo Alto, Menlo and Atherton? Don't punish the rest of the Peninsula because these three cities chose to build as close as possible to the railroad.
Correction: Menlo Park and Atherton have already sued.
Furthermore $8 billion is woefully short of the money needed to build this. There are no private businesses that I know of that have come forward to foot the remainder of the optimistically priced $43 billion needed.
No bank will lend in this economic climate.
Please open your eyes.
Here's another good one. Today the FDIC announced that it would run out of money by the end of this year and was in need of a bailout. If you think people are more interested in funding a speculative dream project such as this high speed rail nonsense than saving what they have in their bank accounts, think again.
Dream on Mountain View for your high speed rail and rail stop. LOL!
Palo Alto Resident,
I will be at the city council meeting on Tuesday and I will be looking for Palo Alto residents pretending to be from Mountain View. See you there?
Palo alto resident is correct. it will be very bad impact on our small cities. Our city leaders are just money succers. Get educated about this HRS . we taxpayers should learn the lessons from todays economic crises.
Money doesn't grow on trees. A $10 Billion dollar bond on HSR means a $10 Billion less money for reservoirs, highway repairs, levees, power grids, parks, and other state infrastructure improvements. HSR will take not just $10B. It will likely take more than $80B, before taking a paying passenger.
Today, California has $53B outstanding GO bonds for all projects combined. HSR alone will dwarf all of them. It will rob financing opportunities for other infrastructure projects for generations to come.
"A $10 Billion dollar bond on HSR means a $10 Billion less money for reservoirs, highway repairs, levees, power grids, parks, and other state infrastructure improvements."
"A $10 Billion dollar bond on parks means $10 Billion less money for reservoirs, highway repairs, levees, power grids, HSR, and other state infrastructure improvements."
"A $10 Billion dollar bond on highway repairs means $10 Billion less money for reservoirs, HSR, levees, power grids, parks, and other state infrastructure improvements."
"A $10 Billion dollar bond on levees means $10 Billion less money for reservoirs, HSR, highway repairs, power grids, parks, and other state infrastructure improvements."
I can't remember a time in my life when the world wasn't going to hell in a hand basket. Economy this and economy that. In other news, the rise of China continues unabated. Good for them. They worked hard and deserve it.
Mr. Spokker, China runs a current account SURPLUS budget most of the time. China is the largest owner of U.S. treasury bonds. One can only wish in wildest dreams that one day California is in the same financial situation.
The SF Chronicle had an article on Friday that the 'fund source' for the HSR is out of money.
If you didn't see the Feb. 6 letter in the Mountain View Voice: Citizens around Palo Alto have spread radical unecessary misinformation. A "six tracks" rumor around Atherton moved south, ahead of the correction that it was fictitious. (Real data are highly public in the HSR environmental impact report and the HSR Authority web site.) Letter: Web Link
A main reason HSR Authority favors Caltrain route's is that its right-of-way is publicly owned, minimizing property acquisition or eminent domain. Simultaneously, Caltrain upgrades (including electrification) would be early beneficiaries.
Caltrain will likely soon assume lead role in Peninsula HSR planning. The locally accountable Joint Powers Board runs Caltrain. Executive director Mike Scanlon has declared he will listen carefully to local issues and concerns before proposing anything concrete.
HSR trains use tracks and electrification slated for Caltrain anyway. They could begin running on Caltrain's line unnoticed, with the same speeds and crossings as Caltrain. Rail improvements (more 4-tracking and grade-separated crossings) support faster and more frequent HSR, but can occur over many years, as HSR use grows.
Mountain View Station is unusual due to limited space, and Shoreline overpass impeding overhead tracks. HSR could run for years on existing Caltrain facilities as I mentioned, but grade separation is logical eventually. One natural scenario sensitive to Mountain View's needs (per Scanlon's pledge) could use one of several short tunnels (already envisioned) to carry HSR under existing tracks. A Mountain View HSR stop then becomes a question of including a station underground too.
I support studying the possibility of having a high-speed rail station here and will be at the Council meeting tonight to express that perspective.
I can understand the concern about the train running through densely populated corridors, and about the expense. I am not 100% sure about the best way to proceed either.
On the other hand, it is disturbing that most of the strongly negative comments are from out of town AND unattributed (though at least people self-attributed as being out of town).
Having a high speed rail network can be very valuable (and enjoyable for the riders), and with track improvements for CalTrain, it may actually end up lowering the noise and other annoyances for people living along the route.
I hope Mtn View Station planning goes forward with at least the studies, to get a better idea of what is possible. Let's have discussions with some more advanced information in hand, rather than a list of all the terrible things that might happen.
Let's think about this. To do that we need the Council to ask the Rail Authority to consider a HSR stop in Mountain View. That stop may or may not be a good idea, but we'll never know if it's not considered.
With regard to the general route, I favor the Caltrain corridor. This is the existing corridor, where trains already run 80 mph. I'd rather have 125 mph trains running in the Caltrain corridor than any imaginable parallel route from 280 to 101 or anywhere in between. And I certainly don't want two separate rail corridors running between San Jose and San Francisco. Even with just the Caltrain trains, this corridor is already overdue for grade separation at Castro/Moffett Blvd and at Rengstorff.
As to the question of whether HSR should be above or below Caltrain or at the same level. I recommend the same level. With all the creeks crossing the Caltrain corridor, I think an underground HSR would be wrong ecologically. An elevated HSR would require rebuilding the Shoreline and San Antonio overcrossings. And the Caltrain level HSR requires acquisition of more right of way, so cost is certainly a consideration either way. We need to find out what the costs would actually be.
In other words, I agree with John Graybeal.
There's always a reason not to do something. But if it's the right thing to do, only those with courage will find the reasons to do it anyway. For HSR to succeed, the state government will have to put severe limits on the NIMBY citizens and cities that would otherwise "derail" the project. The fact of the matter is, all these arguments were heard about BART (I know - I grew up in Berkeley when it was being built!) and now people served by BART wouldn't give it up. HSR is really an investment in the future of California. If you bought a house next to the railroad tracks, you can expect trains to go by. HSR will be a lot less intrusive (vibration/noise) than CalTrain or the freight trains that run down the peninsula twice a day.
So if Palo Alto wants to balkanize itself, let Mtn View show the way to the future. We could use the Mayfield Mall as a HSR dropoff and parking lot, which would kill two birds with one stone :)
Eric, you bring up BART-- while its true that there has been economic benefits to the areas around some (not all, despite BART PR efforts) of the stations, it is also true that there has been a blight cast on those areas bisected by elevated tracks. If elevated tracks are part of the plan, I'll oppose HSR at every available turn.
So what happened last night? I can't get the audio to work for the Council webcast...
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