Residents may have their last big chance to weigh in on a high speed rail stop for Mountain View on Tuesday, as the issue will appear on the City Council's consent calendar.
Two weeks ago the council voted to send official comments to the California High Speed Rail authority on several issues, but a straw vote on whether to have the Rail Authority study a stop for Mountain View failed 3-3 with one abstention.
Palo Alto appears to be the Rail Authority's preferred location for a centrally located stop between San Jose and San Francisco Airport. But public fury over high speed rail's neighborhood impacts is boiling over in that city, with residents going so far as to stage protests. Palo Alto City Council members have suggested that they may file a lawsuit with the Rail Authority if it does not study alternative routes for the train that would remove it from the Peninsula's Caltrain corridor entirely.
At a recent Mountain View City Council meting, the Rail Authority told council members that if Palo Alto rejects plans for a stop, the authority would begin looking to Redwood City and Mountain View as potential stops.
When it comes to those two cities, council member Tom Means thought the choice was clear.
"Why would anyone want to stop in Redwood City?" he said. "You can go east or west from here, there is bus and light rail, Highway 85 and 280 -- we're a perfect spot."
State voters passed a $10 million bond measure in November that has jump started efforts to design the $45 billion, 800-mile train line from Los Angeles to San Francisco. The trains would travel up to 225 miles per hour through the Central Valley and over Pacheco Pass, and drop to speeds of 125 miles per hour through the Caltrain corridor, which would be fenced off with numerous grade-separated street crossings.
The rail-stop item will appear on the council agenda's consent calendar Tuesday night as part of its final approval of its official comments about high speed rail. A council member or member of the public can pull the item for discussion at the beginning of the meeting, and the council could change or clarify its position about whether to study a Mountain View stop.
But if the comments being sent to the Rail Authority lack a request for such a study, the idea may never proceed.
"I'm sure it will get pulled and we'll take another look at it to make everyone happy," Means said.
Also on tonight's agenda is an update on year-long efforts to clean up Rengstorff Park, which neighbors say is a stomping ground for local gangs.
The council also will discuss a proposed study of the city's Commercial Service zone on Old Middlefield Way, which could identify whether a broader range of uses should be allowed in the neighborhood of auto shops and specialty hardware and supply stores.
The City Council meeting is Tuesday, March 10, beginning at 6:30 p.m. in council chambers at City Hall, 500 Castro St., second floor. Click here to see tonight's council agenda.