Council approves $100K for HSR images


In an attempt to ensure that high speed rail doesn't ruin Mountain View's landscape, the City Council on Tuesday decided to pay a design firm $100,000 to create 3-D sketches of high speed rail crossings at Rengstorff Avenue and Castro Street.

Freedman, Tung & Sasaki, a San Francisco firm which designed the redevelopment of Castro Street, will also design several alternatives for the two major street crossings for high speed rail in Mountain View. The city hopes that the California High Speed Rail Authority will take note.

The goal is be able to respond to an "alternatives analysis" scheduled to be released by the Rail Authority in April. That report will analyze the possible alignment of two additional tracks for high speed trains up the Peninsula's Caltrain corridor. The tracks may run in an underground tunnel, a ditch, at grade or above ground on a platform or berm. The city will have a 60-day period to respond with its official comments.

"There are authorities trying to make decisions as quickly as possible," said Mayor Ronit Bryant on Tuesday. "It's not their job to find solutions for Mountain View. If we don't have an analysis of what works for us we will be in a position of looking stupid. To me this is critical."

Of particular concern is Castro Street, where many would like to see the trains run underground or in a ditch. If the tracks are run at-grade, Castro Street would be closed off at the tracks.

Council member John Inks opposed the move, saying that 3-D sketches were not worth $100,000, especially for an "immature" project with serious political and financial challenges.

Mountain View is already paying $100,000 to San Francisco-based firm Van Meter Williams Pollack to advise the city on technical aspects of high speed rail. City staffers say the work of the two firms will complement each other.


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Posted by localmom
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 24, 2010 at 9:04 pm

I'm just wondering if this was subjected to competetive bidding. This sounds like an OUTRAGEOUS amount of money.

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Posted by parent
a resident of Waverly Park
on Mar 24, 2010 at 10:28 pm

Ditto, localmom.

$100K for "sketches" sure sounds like a lot of money spent on consultants, when there are conversations about cutting community services like Deer Hollow Farm, etc.

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Posted by Steve
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 25, 2010 at 2:22 am

Who cares, it's just tax payer money. Note from the article that we are now spending 200k on consultants.

If you ran a company like the goverment is run, you'd be bankcrupt

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Posted by Mountain View Resident
a resident of North Whisman
on Mar 25, 2010 at 11:16 am

What a ridiculous wastage of money! We need to fire these idiots who make such decisions. Lousy bureaucrats will do anything to save their hides. I betcha these blokes would not even know where to begin analyzing the reports even if the conclusions stared them in their faces. Fire these lousy blokes and save money for schools and so many other expenses. No wonder our property taxes keep increasing with such idiots in office.

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Posted by Sad
a resident of Whisman Station
on Mar 25, 2010 at 12:55 pm

A lot of money to spend on something that is so far out there and has so many more problems to get through before it reaches us. Sad to see them spend money like this when they are talking about cutting jobs and funding to services that are in the community instead of something that is just going to go speeding through the community.

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Posted by eric
a resident of another community
on Mar 25, 2010 at 12:57 pm

Ever compared an artist's rendering of a project like this with what actually gets built? The rendering will be a dolled-up, dream world view of what is getting rammed down our throats. It will certainly not show the disruption of residential areas nor the guaranteed mega-density that will be required in downtown as a result of this boondoggle.

$100K to blow sunshine up the collective skirt of the city.

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Posted by Jake
a resident of another community
on Mar 25, 2010 at 3:27 pm

The possibility of this fast train is still in the pipe dream stage... For god's sake, the landscaping is years away (if ever), and the issue of at grade, tunnel or raised is also years away.

Do we need a $100,000.00 study for that ? Of course, below grade (a sunken ditch like Reno did), or raised track (like Bart) is a function of cost. A Grade Street level track is just Nuts... why disrupt that intersection any more than it is now ? I'll make a recommendation for a lot less than $100,000.00.. Send me twenty bucks and I'll tell you my recommendations.

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Posted by Margaret
a resident of Willowgate
on Mar 25, 2010 at 3:40 pm

I would have voted to spend the money on teachers! Glad that my vote for John Inks wasn't wasted.


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Posted by Rodger
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Mar 25, 2010 at 9:56 pm

We are like deer in the headlights here in Mountain View, we should have been fighting for an underground High Speed Rail months ago, now it's way too late.

Like this comment
Posted by Robert
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 26, 2010 at 8:11 am

The City of Mountain View cares more about the "landscape" than it does about its employees and city services. Consider this: in these tough economic times MV has spent close to $20 MILLION on land at Moffett and 101; close to $2 MILLION on a church on Escuela Ave; close to $10 MILLION on a new fire station by Shoreline park; and now $200,000 on high speed rail consultants? We're talking well over $30 MILLION DOLLARS on nonessential items. If this doesn't outrage you I don't know what will. Think about where the real problem lies before you bash city employees. Mountain View's "leadership" want the citizens to believe it's firefighters and police breaking the bank but in reality it's irresponsible spending and backwards priorities at City Hall.

Like this comment
Posted by ryan
a resident of another community
on Mar 29, 2010 at 6:46 pm

budget crises? what budget crises??

Like this comment
Posted by Thom
a resident of Jackson Park
on Mar 30, 2010 at 3:04 pm

Good thing Mountain View is floating in money.

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