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Palo Alto residents not sold on local rail station

Original post made on Oct 11, 2010

High-speed rail officials seeking to gauge Palo Alto's interest in a local rail station received an unambiguous message from the community Thursday when not a single resident voiced support for the idea. The station also received a cool reception in Mountain View last month, with a majority of the City Council saying they wouldn't support building it because of its impacts on the downtown.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, October 11, 2010, 10:37 AM

Comments (10)

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Posted by Electrocutioner
a resident of Castro City
on Oct 11, 2010 at 12:51 pm

The hearts and minds of locals all up and down the peninsula have been lost wrt this particular HSR plan.

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Posted by Matt
a resident of another community
on Oct 11, 2010 at 1:01 pm

I live in downtown Palo Alto and I say yes to HSR on the peninsula and a station at University Ave! I believe these meetings are attended by the vocal minority, and that the bulk of Palo Altans want this.

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Posted by Martin
a resident of another community
on Oct 11, 2010 at 1:35 pm

If CHSRA is serious about this project, they need to be more conscientious about integrating it into the fabric of communities. No one wants their towns and communities destroyed, by an oversized industrial project.

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Posted by Old Ben
a resident of Shoreline West
on Oct 11, 2010 at 2:21 pm

We can't afford this scam.

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Posted by Majority Member
a resident of another community
on Oct 11, 2010 at 2:21 pm

No Matt, you cannot claim "The bulk of Palo Altans want this" without at least some sort of presence at these meetings. Just because you want it to be true, doesn't make it true. The feeling of the majority has been voiced for a while now while now. If there's a massive group of people who really want this, they musty live underground and have had their tongues removed.

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Posted by Chucky Sneeze
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Oct 11, 2010 at 3:12 pm

One terminus in SF would be excellent. Ending in downtown San Jose would also be good. Treat it like a plane. One destination. From there, take local transport. For those who want downtown SF, any stops along the way are delaying nuisances. Make the service very valuable for LA-SF traffic, and it might attract enough to justify it. Try to please everyone and you'll please no one.

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Posted by Don McPhail
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 11, 2010 at 3:25 pm

The last thing Palo Alto needs is a high speed rail station. From a transportation standpoint, it does nothing to improve life for its citizens, who can fly to LA airports from both SFO & SJC. Economically, it does nothing except cost local residents money they need not spend, reduce property values along the projected path, and totally disrupt quality of life with major construction. Politically, state officials need Palo Alto support more than PA needs their influence. The same applies to Mountain View, Menlo Park and other Peninsula cities.

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Posted by Jarrett
a resident of Castro City
on Oct 11, 2010 at 4:36 pm


Since HSR is competing against airlines it must have some kind of advantage against airlines. It obviously can't compete with the in the air speed of the plane, so it thrives on accessibility. That means terminals must be located in major urban centers, not on the periphery. As soon as stations are located outside cities, and transfers are forced, you might as well fly.

Remember, HSR will operate a mix of expresses and all stop locals so if you want to skip all stops, you can get on a train that does that. This is HSR service is done around the world.


Maybe Palo Alto residents are tired of spending 2-3 hours of pre-boarding travel, parking, and security checks before actually stepping foot on a plane. I know I won't miss that when HSR is built up the peninsula. Perhaps properties will become more desirable if they are close to a HSR station? Not to mention, the new HSR/Caltain electric trains will be quieter than the bloated Caltrain diesels. No more blaring horns and no more exhaust. The status quo will do nothing to enhance property values.

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Posted by curious
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Oct 12, 2010 at 9:29 am

Jarrett: "Maybe Palo Alto residents are tired of spending 2-3 hours of pre-boarding travel, parking, and security checks before actually stepping foot on a plane."

What makes you think this will be different for the High Cost Rail (HCR)? The "authority" consultant in the piece says the parking will be away from the station and you have to take a shuttle-that adds an hour to taking the train. Also, you can put bombs on trains just like airplanes-imagine a high speed train de-railing as it rockets down tracks that are across the street from residential houses. So everyone will have to go through the same searches, etc as on planes.

Once they get in the open, these trains are 1/2 to 1/3 the speed of airplanes at cruising speed. So the trip on the train itself will take much longer.

Finally, the "authority" now states that tickets will cost the same as airplane tickets. At that is with a taxpayer subsidy.

This HCR scheme has no advantages and will never be built. We do not have the money. So let us kill it now and not waste the $10 billion the voters foolishly authorized (and are now getting bigtime buyer's remorse).

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Posted by Jarrett
a resident of Castro City
on Oct 12, 2010 at 5:35 pm


HCR? What about expanding the runways for the barely-profitable short haul flights at LAX and SFO? That's not cheap and the airlines would rather operate more lucrative long distance flights; especially if fuel costs rise like they did in 2008. Remember when they started canceling SF-LA flights and started charging for bags? Airline travel isn't the dreamy solution that you make it out to be. It has serious drawbacks because of congestion, infrastructure infeasibility (building runways in the bay), costs associated with fuel and accessibility.

Accessibility– sure, there will be satellite parking lots at the stations. But maybe someone can drop you off? Maybe taking transit to the station isn't the dreadful experience that you make it out to be? Maybe you can take a short taxi ride because the station is much closer than the airport? On many HSR systems, the security theater is nonexistent. If it's there, it's extremely minimal and not the full cavity search that you experience in airports.

When I went to Japan, you could access the high speed trains just like we access BART today. You go to a ticket machine, get your ticket, and go through a faregate. Easy. I often did this minutes before departure.

Safety- HSR has a rock solid safety record around the world. The Shinkansen in Japan has logged 7 billion miles without a single passenger fatality. There has been one derailment, but the design of the coupling system prevented the train from leaving the tracks and there were no casualties. In France, the TGV was bombed and 2 people died, but again, the coupling system prevented the train from leaving the right-of-way. Explosions on trains simply don’t create the dramatic images of terror and helplessness that airline bombings do.

No Advantages– Go ride Eurostar, the Shinkansen, or even the Acela. You'll understand why HSR is being built around the world.

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