News

Simitian's patience running out on high-speed rail

State senator from Palo Alto says new audit of the rail project legitimizes Peninsula cities' concerns

Joe Simitian, the state Senator from Palo Alto who has consistently expressed support for "high-speed rail done right," warned this week he is running out of patience with the controversial project and may withdraw his support unless there are some high-speed changes.

Simitian, a former Palo Alto mayor and Santa Clara County supervisor, expressed his frustration about the $43 billion project during Tuesday's informational hearing on the project, which has generated intense opposition in his home town and at other Peninsula communities.

The Tuesday hearing focused on a recent report by the State Auditor's Office that identified a myriad of flaws in the California High Speed Rail Authority, the agency charged with building the 800-mile rail line's initial phase between San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Simitian said the audit, like previous reports from state agencies and watchdog groups, underscored to him that the complaints from the Peninsula are substantive issues, not isolated concerns.

The audit concluded that the rail project has suffered from poor planning, inadequate risk assessment and a flawed business plan -- mistakes that could result in major delays, cost overruns or even an incomplete system.

"At some point, folks need to come to grips with the fact that this isn't just the case of isolated concerns or misguided complaints or rampant NIMBY-ism," Simitian said.

"They are real and legitimate concerns and they need to be addressed sooner rather than later."

"We are getting very close to a point where if there's no significant changes and improvements in the way business is done, I will no longer be able to call myself a supporter of 'high-speed-rail done right,'" Simitian added.

"Once members start to back away in such a way, I think it puts the project in great jeopardy."

The Senate committee, which also includes senators Alan Lowenthal and Bob Huff, gave the authority 60 days to bring back more details about the rail authority's financial contracts. The three senators were troubled by the auditor's findings that the authority frequently approved payments to contractors without verifying that the work was completed.

The authority's program manager, Parsons Brinckerhoff, is charged with providing monthly reports to the agency's board of directors. The auditor's office found that many of these reports contained erroneous information.

"We saw that those monthly progress reports were inaccurate and that inconsistent information was being sent to the authority," State Auditor Elaine Howle told the committee.

Howle said her office reviewed 22 invoices and found that 20 had problems of some sort. She said her office was very concerned by the authority's process for keeping track of invoices.

"When you sample 22 invoices and you have concerns about 20, that's huge," Howle told the committee. "Usually, you'd expect an error rate that's very small."

All three senators voiced disappointment about the facts uncovered by the state auditor. Huff, the lone Republican in the trio, said if the rail authority doesn't provide good answers in 60 days the agency would see his tone change as he becomes more adversarial to the project.

Lowenthal said he will continue to push the authority for more information before releasing funds for the voter-approved project.

"Anybody who has read this audit report cannot help but be disheartened by the authority's mismanagement, or at least some folks' mismanagement, of scarce public resources," Lowenthal said.

"The litany of poor management practices identified by the audit is actually astounding."

Simitian asked authority officials how much time they need to resolve a list of ongoing issues, including flaws in its business plan, inadequate community engagement and questions over the legality of its plan to guarantee revenues to investors in the rail system.

Carrie Pourvahidi, the interim executive director of the authority, said she will submit a report within two weeks setting out a feasible timeline.

"It feels like we have to drag this information and improvements out of the authority in painful increments, one after another after another," Simitian said.

Comments

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Gerald Fisher
a resident of Community Center
on May 13, 2010 at 9:27 am

There is a good solution to most of the mid penninsula high speed rail issues. Select different path. Why not the 280 corridor? It could be at ground level and save billions. It wouldn't need public transport at interconnection and the local traffic will be better served by private natural gas powered vans/cab services with luggage handling. It would retain Caltrain and eliminate the complications/expense of interference with Caltrain electrification plan and the Union Pacific issue.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Tyler Hanley
digital editor of Palo Alto Online
on May 13, 2010 at 10:22 am

Tyler Hanley is a registered user.

The following comment was moved from a duplicate thread:

Posted by by Charlie, a resident of the Charleston Meadows on May 13, 2010 at 10:10 a.m.

"HSR official not available to comment." We all have seen that line, or something equivalent, in virtually every news report where the press or some official like you, Joe, is legitimately seeking clarification of one HSR claim or another. Try this, Senator Simitian. Compile a list of all your unanswered HSR questions. Ask a few friends in your district for help, they will jump at the opportunity. Take a few days to make your collective list as complete as possible. Now look at your list objectively. How much do you trust HSR from here for credible answers? Where will you get credible answers? What other questions will come up based on the early answers you get? What is the trend line for questions and answers? Trending better, or worse? How much time will getting credible answers take? Buy a clue, Joe. There are not enough credible answers to put lipstick on this pig so he/she can fly. HSR is a political railroad job. While HSR makes it look like it has been on the drawing board with political oversight for a decade, in reality, the two-man king-for-a-decade team of Quentin Kopp and Rod Diridon have quietly pulled virtually every political string to get HSR to where it is today. Grossly flawed. Remember the king with no clothes? What we are witnessing now is HSR claims being slowly disrobed in public. Good questions, alarming answers, not a pretty sight. Pretty soon, it will become an ugly picture with a giant price tag tied to its toe. Coming to light are the hopes and dreams of two politically savvy masterminds built on unrealistic HSR assumptions that simply do not hang together. Not even close. That is why, when important HSR questions are asked by you and others, Joe, no credible answers come back, ever. Time to cut bait, Senator, before fishing gets real expensive.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Prophet
a resident of Southgate
on May 13, 2010 at 1:34 pm

"...mistakes that could result in major delays, cost overruns or even an incomplete system."

What would an incomplete system look like? It for sure won't be an invisible unused high-tech rail line up the central valley. It will most likely be a Caltrain on steroids from SF to SJ. That section is the most visible and a huge gloat of victory over the project's most nettlesome opponents.

When somebody pushes a project that makes no rational sense, suspect ego.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Douglas Moran
a resident of Barron Park
on May 13, 2010 at 1:59 pm

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

Nothing better illustrates why California is in such difficulty.

1. Simitian and his fellow legislators put the HSR bond on the ballot without doing even basic due-diligence. Anyone with modest political connections would have found the involvement of Rod Diridon as a major red flag, both by his pattern of conduct and the status of the local light rail system, which is "his baby". That system is worst in the nation by a large margin, both in usability (ridership) and cost.

2. Our US Senators, Feinstein and Boxer, got billions of federal dollars allocated to this project long after it had been demonstrated that the project could not come up with a credible business plan after multiple tries and that the project was structured to create a "sunk costs" trap to force commitment of public funds - both capital and operational - contrary to what the shills were claiming. According to published reports, our senators claim that they and their staff were unaware of this, despite it having been front page news for some time.

3. The studied naivete of the Palo Alto City Council, who claim that they were deceived by Diridon and other HSR advocates. One of my long term frustrations with City Council members has been how much they want to believe what they are told by the establishment, and how resistant they are to asking obvious questions that might discomfort this elite.

4. The fiscal irresponsibility of California voters. When this bond passed, the state was at an impasse, with an unresolved budget deficit of tens of billions of dollars, and growing, and a massive structural deficit. How were we going to pay for this? When I presented the case again the bond measure to a range of friends, the response I got was that they were going to vote for it nonetheless because it was more important to "send a message" of support for such projects.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Merrill Inman Roe
a resident of Professorville
on May 13, 2010 at 3:07 pm

To Douglas Moran:

Impressive comment!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Neal
a resident of Community Center
on May 13, 2010 at 3:27 pm

I was amazed to read that there is a plan to guarantee revenues to investors. HSR was supposed to get major funding from private investors and I couldn't imaging why any private investor would invest in a public transportation project when every public transportation system loses vast sums of money. Now I know. This legally questionable quasi private investment scheme is another black mark that just goes to show you can't trust these folks.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by John
a resident of Crescent Park
on May 13, 2010 at 4:09 pm

Kill it, complete BART to the South Bay and continue to help Cal Train survive. It is so obvious that this is all about money and has nothing to do with sound public policy or ration systems of public transportation. The HSR will not get anyone out of their automobile.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Les
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 13, 2010 at 4:35 pm

It is not logical to take this high speed train down the middle of the residential area. I agree with Gerald, run it along the 280 corridor. That was my thought before I read Gerald's comment and I see others agree. It can cut over where 380 intersects 101 and then along the freeway to the existing train station depot. Or run it along the 101- NOT down the center of every city on the peninsula!!! I guess some things are just too logical to do.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Reality Check
a resident of another community
on May 13, 2010 at 4:47 pm

SF-SJ Preliminary Alternatives Analysis Report Appendices
Appendix A - US 101 and I-280 Alignment Analysis
Web Link


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Reality Check
a resident of another community
on May 13, 2010 at 4:50 pm

Caltrain+HSR Compatibility Blog: Why They Chose the Caltrain Corridor
Web Link


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jay Tulock
a resident of another community
on May 13, 2010 at 5:02 pm

Mr. Moran, your comments are my comments. If you are ever in my neighborhood, we should have a beer at the Elmira Cabin. To others, this man speaks the truth. Listen to him.

Jay Tulock, Vacaville


 +   Like this comment
Posted by hmmm
a resident of Midtown
on May 13, 2010 at 5:27 pm

"When somebody pushes a project that makes no rational sense, suspect ego."

Where contractors are involved, suspect payola.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by BUILDIT
a resident of another community
on May 13, 2010 at 5:59 pm

He is FOR HSR unlike some of the visionless posters and nimbys on this board..certain litte loud groups are probally hounding him all the time ..so he has to show some kind of "woory" We are GOING to build HSR here in Cali!!!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mike
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 13, 2010 at 6:09 pm

The HSR is a huge waste of money before it's even operating, and heaven forbid it proceeding, will continue losing money. Most people love the idea of it, but the reality is a mess already highlighted by many posts above.

Shame on you politicians!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Dan.
a resident of Southgate
on May 13, 2010 at 6:50 pm

If the "Heart" of the cities on the peninsula is on I-280 an 101 then build it their. If IT IS NOT, then HSR will HAVE TO go to your city center. If that's the Caltrain Corridor then your screwed, deal with it. HSR only works if you put it in city centers, not to mention it brings life to those city centers and if you oppose it now when your scared you'll regret it later when you find out it's not so bad, but it's too late to route it into your towns.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by common sense
a resident of Midtown
on May 13, 2010 at 8:00 pm

Dan,

HSR only needs to be in the city center where it will have a train station. There is no HSR station in Burlinggame, Menlo Park, San Carlos, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara, Palo Alto, etc. You get the idea. No one is getting on or off any of these cities. People in all these other cities will need to go to SF or SJ to get on.

Having HSR go through the residential neighborhood of these cities is like deciding to put a 4 lane highway - it doesn't make sense. The two main proposed train stops in San Franscisco & San Jose could just as easily be connected by putting HSR along Highway 101 or 280.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Dan
a resident of another community
on May 13, 2010 at 10:26 pm

common sense

You get HSR when you have Caltrain electrified and serving it's current stations and 4-5 new ones. Just because caltrain won't have pointy nose (HSR) EMU's on it's line doesn't mean that you won't get the high level of service around the clock from clean, lighweight, fast equipment that real HSR can bring to the Caltrain corridor. That's the big picture.

People will be getting off in Palo Alto/Redwood City, Millbrae and transfer to Caltrain to get to a smaller station. It doesn't make sense to you because you have a self interest to keep them away, but they make sense to transportation-wise.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by common sense
a resident of Midtown
on May 14, 2010 at 7:32 am

Dan,

Caltrain is in a death spiral that HSR won't solve. HSR could be built without Caltrain, but they can't find the funding can they?

A station in Palo Alto? where's the parking and road network that will support that? HSR has a history of dreams not grounded in reality, and thoughts of a station in Palo Alto is just another case of that, just like the cost to build, cost to operate, and the fantasy ridership figures.

Plenty of audits, and comparisons to existing HSR systems to show that the current business plan is unreal.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by galen
a resident of Ventura
on May 14, 2010 at 8:38 am

I'm delighted to see that Senator Simitian is finally learning what those of us sane, reasonable citizens of the Peninsula have known all along: that this HSR boondoggle is a fiscal, environmental, and aesthetic disaster in the making.

Diridon and Kopp belong behind bars for all of the illegal shenanigans they've orchestrated, including the election fraud that got people to vote for this bond measure in the first place.

As more and more people remove the rose-colored glasses that have been stapled to their heads by the smarmy political operatives behind this unconscionable scam, i'm confident that reason will prevail and this HSR will be stopped in its tracks before it's too late.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by galen
a resident of Ventura
on May 14, 2010 at 8:38 am

I'm delighted to see that Senator Simitian is finally learning what those of us sane, reasonable citizens of the Peninsula have known all along: that this HSR boondoggle is a fiscal, environmental, and aesthetic disaster in the making.

Diridon and Kopp belong behind bars for all of the illegal shenanigans they've orchestrated, including the election fraud that got people to vote for this bond measure in the first place.

As more and more people remove the rose-colored glasses that have been stapled to their heads by the smarmy political operatives behind this unconscionable scam, i'm confident that reason will prevail and this HSR will be stopped in its tracks before it's too late.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by BOB2
a resident of another community
on May 14, 2010 at 8:50 am

This is an interesting response to the CHSRA choice of new management. There are some of the usual rail haters and nimby's who don't want anything but "drill baby drill" who are using this issue for their agenda, but much of the valid criticsim of the CHSRA has come from supporters of high speed rail, and is due to the culture of waste, fraud, and abuse at the CHSRA....

We need a fully integrated, cost effective, system of regional, intercity, and high speed rail, not some gold plated consultant driven ego trip for Quentin Kopp-so clean it up and do it sensibly. If the problem is the hoggish direction and culture of the vendors, consultants, and the political payoffs, then the newly hired management at CHSRA had better start showing that they are competent and accountable to the taxpayers, by firing some of those people?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by bill
a resident of Barron Park
on May 14, 2010 at 8:53 am

I've not seen an estimate of the size and cost of building a station in Palo Alto or Redwood City. Like BART it would have to have a huge multi-story parking garage as well as many acres devoted to automobile access. Think of the traffic.

To get to any one of the few stations along the way people would have to drive and park their cars. Walking more than 1/2 mile to a station is not an option nor is biking 5 or more miles with baggage.

Didn't the bond measure stipulate that no public California funds could be used? Where is the money coming from? If it were a viable project, private investors would be leaping to "get aboard".

Every HSR in the world is heavily subsidized by its government with the exception of one line in Great Britain. After many years of losing money a private company began to run it, and it has become slightly profitable. The rest of the lines are still losing money.

The proposed California HSR will become a never ending sink hole of taxpayer's money unless drastic changes are made in its management. Even then it might never cover its costs.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Paul
a resident of Downtown North
on May 14, 2010 at 9:50 am

"Where is the money coming from?"

I think our city council could easily be persuaded of this project's prestige value. And don't forget the rivalry factor: if Palo Alto "wins" the station selection, it means Mountain View and Redwood City lost.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by gbell
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 14, 2010 at 10:20 am

Can you muster up the strength to continue your effort and support? We need another option for transport. Our air quality this week shows it.
Many thanks for doing your near impossible job.

If the peninsula HSR fails, I'm certainly in favor of San Jose downtown to LA, in fact, as the first leg built and best initial option.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Person
a resident of Gunn High School
on May 14, 2010 at 2:39 pm

I'm not an engineer, so correct me if I'm wrong, but if the track is elevated, and a 5.0 earthquake causes the track to become a tiny bit misaligned, wouldn't that cause the train to go flying off the track and land on top of about ten houses?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by trans-planner
a resident of another community
on May 14, 2010 at 6:17 pm

PA has a rich history of fighting smart growth, density, and even forcing urban rehab projects onto the ballot when city council members wouldn't cave to residents NIMBY paranoia.
HSR isn't an option, it's a necessity, and it will save money in the long run. Have PA citizens never travelled to Europe or Japan and experienced using HSR? Do you not consider that you will have far fewer SFO to LA-area flights circling above your heads?
I hope Redwood City, which has a much more progressive and greener downtown plan then PA, gets the mid-peninsula station.
Citizens of PA can continue to live in their auto-bound strip-mall suburbia. You can sit in traffic on your way to work, or take the slow train. Maybe the tables at Starbucks will afford a nice view of the HSR trains as they whiz through town at 150 MPH without stopping.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on May 14, 2010 at 7:18 pm

Clearly the unions and potential contractors have vested interest in promoting the fantasy HSR boondoggle--

Which has

No market

No viable business plan

No hope of private money

As it is now under litigation the testimony under oath will cut the the PR and hype-- the prospect of jail time for perjury tends to do that.


HSR may have made sense in the past for areas with population densities way above 10,000 people per square mile-- like the Tokyo corridor 35 million, or that between NYC and DC. DC has about 10,000 people per square mile.

The population density per square mile in California is around 200 people, our communities were built around the automobile, unlike Japan and Europe, which were built around public transportation.

Comparisons between Japan/ Germany and the US are also irrelevant because all the major cities and towns in those 2 countries were completely destroyed in WW2 and rebuild around mass public transportation in the 50s ,60s, and 70s,

Do the math-- HSR in CA between LA and SF will never happen because it would be a huge waste of money in a state already on the brink of bankruptcy.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Native Palo Altoan
a resident of Professorville
on May 14, 2010 at 8:35 pm

Mr. Simitian has done so many positive things. I hope that he will change his mind after fully grasping the financial, environmental, and private property disaster this is- for the whole state and especially cities by the tracks.

His office is by the tracks. He will need to move if they 'eminant domain' this area of T&C?
He can see that, except commute time, the trains are basically empty!
HSR would be empty also plus destroy many people and businesses financially and damage the environment.

Mr. Simitian, please help save us from this, not contribute to it.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Think, please
a resident of Community Center
on May 14, 2010 at 9:26 pm

"HSR isn't an option, it's a necessity, and it will save money in the long run. "

No. I've lived in Japan, and they have good local transit to facilitate use of fast trains. Without it, the fast trains would be an absurdity. Almost all passengers rely on local mass transit at both their departure and destination stations. We don't have it.

HSR is not a necessity. At this point, with the clear (and finally disclosed) requirement for substantial government subsidy, and the money problems of the state of California, it's not even a realistic option. It is an absurdity.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Dan
a resident of another community
on May 14, 2010 at 10:40 pm

"HSR is not a necessity"

Of course it's a necessity, it was in the 80's and it still is. Have you people even seen this series?

Web Link


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Rich in Palo Alto
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 14, 2010 at 11:07 pm

HSR will be largely obsolete and a market failure if built as a result of technologies from Silicon Valley.

The bulk of the targeted HSR travel between Northern and Southern California will be business travel for business meetings - just as this is the nature of jet travel on these routes today.

As Internet speeds and video quality go up and cost down - tele-presence video conferencing replaces the need for most of the North-South business travel - saving business and people time, increasing productivity (a weeks worth of face-to-face meetings in a day). Many large businesses have already dramatically cut back on business travel by using this technology. Widespread adoption by businesses and people from home will be pervasive in 10 years - before the first major HSR lines could be built.

The resulting collapse of the business market for HSR will saddle California with massive subsidies for HSR, HSR will be very expensive even with the subsidy, while HSR's construction and operation damages the enviroment for people, urban spaces, suburban spaces, agricultural land and open spaces


 +   Like this comment
Posted by neighbor
a resident of Greenmeadow
on May 15, 2010 at 11:16 am

Dan,

Echoing others, HSR is NOT a necessity, nor could it come without great cost to the taxpayers (ALL HSR rail systems have), cost to residents directly affected, and costs to neighborhoods. People don't live on the peninsula because they want their city centers to develop into a transportation hub complete with unmanageable traffic, pollution, parking problems, and higher crime. You may see that as a positive, but I don't most residents on the peninsula would agree. Have you driven on Alma St. lately at commuter hours?

It's interesting that you are a member of "another community" -- very easy to support something that won't impact you in any negative way and then call it NIMBYish when residents want to protect their quality of life.

Finally, I agree that it will be obsolete before it gets off the ground - commuting for sales meetings, etc. is expensive and inefficient; technologies are decreasing the need for the business travel that carries the greatest potential ridership on a HSR system.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by BUILDIT
a resident of another community
on May 15, 2010 at 3:43 pm

You already HAVE a railroad running thru the town in case you did not notice..ITS not an 18 lane freeway to be built for Gods sakes! it an upgrade with grade free streets and quite electic trains..and yes I dont live too far from caltrain tracks and very near that freeway many of you nimby/anti-hsr types think is just fine for others to live by with its 10 times more noise and 24hour traffic


 +   Like this comment
Posted by John
a resident of Meadow Park
on May 15, 2010 at 4:24 pm

Come on Joe, save us from this insanity!











 +   Like this comment
Posted by Casey Jones
a resident of Midtown
on May 16, 2010 at 2:59 pm

@trans-planner, I agree with you except for the putting the Peninsula station in Redwood City. It would be great to have the station in Palo Alto. The NIMBY-ism so prevalent in this town needs to take a back seat to common sense.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mark E.
a resident of Atherton
on May 16, 2010 at 4:07 pm

@BUILDIT:

You're right, I don't want this in my backyard.

But guess what, without a viable plan, and without the HSR Authority being honest and open in their presentation of the project's details, I don't want this in YOUR backyard either.

So stop with the NIMBY-this and NIMBY-that and try pursuing an intelligent argument for once.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by ODB
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 16, 2010 at 5:47 pm

If HSR met its (fanciful and overinflated) ridership projections, throngs of travelers would be taking it. Imagine those throngs getting off at University and Alma where there is really nothing in the way of long-term parking, car rental and lodgings. These things are expected by travelers. Can you imagine SFO, SJO or OAK without them? There is a reason they exist at the airports. If I'm traveling from L.A. to the peninsula and my options are to fly into SJO (faster than HSR) where I can rent a car and drive to a nearby hotel, or take the train and get off at Palo Alto and be left standing on the platform, which do you think I'm going to choose? This is just one example of how ill-conceived HSR is.

I think HSR is bad on so many levels and needs to be stopped entirely, but if one wanted to build a multi-modal transportation hub which would serve both rail and air, one would build out the existing Santa Clara train station which is right in the back yard of SJO and could share many of the above-named services with the airport.

I agree that teleconferencing will put a big dent in the need for businesspeople to travel, throwing the HSR ridership projections even further off kilter.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on May 16, 2010 at 6:28 pm



There has been a huge growth in telepresence business conferencing in Europe because of the ash cloud from Iceland.

The good thing for us is that the main players in this technology are right here-- HP and Cisco.

HSR is obsolete --- but China and Japan are keen to sell us their obsolete technology-- good try-- but no cigar

We can lead the world in Telepresence via Cisco, HP and other local companies and built the wealth here.

HSR has no market, no private money, no future-- it is dead in the water and sinking fast-- lucky we are getting out of it in time!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by BUILDIT
a resident of another community
on May 16, 2010 at 9:08 pm

@ Mark E start with the fact that you moved next to or near this railroad ..unless mommy and daddy gave you it..and for that matter they did..nobody forced you to move into such a location..just as I did when I moved in to my house .I could hear the freeway and Caltrain horns..So now after living here for years I should have the power to close this freeway down because now I dont like it?? Well hell no and nor should you..sorry you dont like the NIMBY lable but thats just what your midset is..


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Parent
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on May 17, 2010 at 3:54 pm

Buildit - know anything about this this railroad row? Here's some info. Spent 2 hours last week at Peers Park (any idea where that is, how big, how close to the tracks how many people per day use that park or for what purposes? No of course you don't) 5:30-6:30 PM. (Yes, Rush Hour.) Counted a total of 45 SECONDS worth of trains passing by the whole hour - counting ALL the trains that passed. And No horns. Zero. No Crossing gate bells. Zero. Why??? Can you guess? Because there's a heckof a lot of line in the 7 miles that is Palo Alto, that is not at the crossings. Level of train traffic MINISCULE.

So, to say in your oh so under informed way that people who already live next to the tracks deserve a TRAIN FREEWAY there, because there are already trains there - is like saying you deserve to have your house turned into the city dumps because you already have a garbage can there. Or to say you deserve to have your driveway turned into a 10 lane freeway because you already have a car there. This 'you already bought near a hundred year old train track' argument - is pure and utter crap. Yes, it is a 150 year olds - and precisely because of that is completely integrated into a peaceful neighborhood setting -with hundred years worth of work to keep in non-impactful to the community. So to suggest that deserves to be mowed over by concrete walls and overpasses, hundreds of high speed trains per day - just utter pure uneducated BS. You don't know what you're talking about. Get educated.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by NONIMBYS
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 17, 2010 at 6:13 pm

OHHH theres "parent' once again crying...What are you ranting about now??? So there is not enough trains?? I cant even make out all that whinning..NO NIMBY you moved next to those track so shut up!!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on May 17, 2010 at 7:05 pm



The fact is that California Tax payers will not pay for an obsolete project---HSR-- just because the unions and contractors want a big hand out. Good luck with that now-- how is that ACORN scam working out for you?

It does not matter whose back yard it would go through

HSR has no market, no need, no future and consequently no private money

It is dead in the water and politicians are leaving the sinking HSR ship in droves

It was the ultimate -- Train to Nowhere-- now it is dead-- good


 +   Like this comment
Posted by common sense
a resident of Midtown
on May 18, 2010 at 6:10 am

Dan - did you see the latest article: Web Link

Caltrain now wants some of the federal money to electrify, and that's separate from HSR... so Caltrain upgrade is a separate issue from HSR, and HSR doesn't need to use Caltrain right of way.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mark E.
a resident of Atherton
on May 20, 2010 at 1:14 pm

@Parent,

Thank you for that excellent set of analogies. You've captured the nuisance part of the issue clearly and succinctly, not that it will do anything to sway BUILDIT/NONIMBY to sincerely listen or respond in kind.

I figure BUILDIT/Whatever works for the HSR Authority. They have a similar style of argument -- anything you ask or point out in good faith is deflected to another topic.

Where else in the world can you find such a naturally occurring anomaly as having whatever you shout echo back "No Nimbys?"


Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Email:


Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields

It Can Wait
By Cheryl Bac | 4 comments | 2,811 views

Easy Living
By Sally Torbey | 11 comments | 2,341 views

I Told My Mom She's Dying
By Chandrama Anderson | 10 comments | 2,081 views

Grab a Bowl of Heaven soon in Mountain View
By Elena Kadvany | 0 comments | 901 views

Campaign Endorsements: Behind the Curtain
By Douglas Moran | 1 comment | 163 views