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Palo Alto mulls opposing high-speed rail project

Original post made on Aug 31, 2010

Palo Alto may soon take a formal stance against California's proposed high-speed-rail line and begin lobbying state legislators to halt the voter-approved project.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, August 31, 2010, 9:05 AM

Comments (146)

Posted by Bob, a resident of Community Center
on Aug 31, 2010 at 9:13 am

Well, it's about time!! What took this council so long to WAKE UP and stop this politically correct consensus nonsense???. LISTEN TO THE RESIDENTS!! Kudos to Klein and former Mayor Cobb and everybody else working against this disaster. And where has Stanford been in all of this discussion? Not a word - at least I haven't heard one.


Posted by M.C., a resident of another community
on Aug 31, 2010 at 9:42 am

yes!


Posted by resident, a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Aug 31, 2010 at 9:48 am

Our full support to Klein and Cobb to stop this HSR project.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 31, 2010 at 9:49 am

Not all residents are against HSR. Perhaps it is just the more vocal ones - as usual - just like the decision to turn Charleston/Arastadero into 2 lanes. It is, once again, the squeaky wheel.


Posted by Evan, a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 31, 2010 at 10:11 am

Is this for real? What an incredible disappointment, and an incredible lack of leadership. High-speed rail could be one of the best things to happen to Palo Alto, to the Bay Area and to California. And the Council wants to oppose it? Why? Because a few residents are worried about their property values and because the authority doesn't want to spend the billions it would take to put Caltrain/HSR deep underground? It's a real shame they've decided to stand up for California taxpayers, isn't it.

Hopefully this Council will come to their senses. This is a terrible, terrible move.


Posted by Toady, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 31, 2010 at 10:15 am

Lack of leadership, Evan?

Heck, this is showing leadership.

For once, I am with Palo Alto politicians. Amazing.


Posted by Resident, a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 31, 2010 at 10:31 am

This is a great move by Mr. Klein and the council. If properly executed and in support of residents opinions, HSR might be a good thing. Unfortunately, the California HSRA hasn't made the right moves beginning with a rather misleading vote and including a misleading Environment Impact Report and also including a misleading economic analysis. Even worse the CHSRA has paid vast sums of money for PR firms and attempted to stifle open communications. All in all the project is bad. The CHSRA board has privately and publicly been unconcerned with community feedback. Why would we want to put confidence in them, in the process and in the end result?

There's way to much as stake on this project to support it as is.


Posted by Fantastic, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 31, 2010 at 10:34 am

Great news! Go for it!


Posted by Marie, a resident of Midtown
on Aug 31, 2010 at 10:35 am

Marie is a registered user.

Evan,

You clearly have not been following the issue. I am an Alma homeowner near Loma Verde and support responsible rail development and am a strong supporter of Californians for Responsible Rail Development. Whether or not we ever get CAHSR, we need to eliminate grade crossings and electrify Caltrain. Any construction will be very inconvenient for me, but I support it nonetheless. To educate yourself about responsible rail development, please go to

Web Link

What I do not support is a political boondoggle, with an expensive duplicate administration providing patronage for retired politicians. CAHSR is now trying to punish us by implying that if we don't go along with them, they will leave the current untenable (grade crossings etc) situation unless we go along with all their ill-conceived plans. They have the nerve to act like they would be doing us a favor by putting in a bare bones station which would draw thousands of commuters and destroy downtown Palo Alto as we know it with 6 50 foot parking garages, at a cost to Palo Alto taxpayers of $150M - not to mention the extra cost to have a station that is not an eyesore. We are already accepting 3000 extra car trips a day for the new Stanford Hospital, which I reluctantly support. We don't need another 3000. Let Redwood City have it. Enough is enough.

Kudos to Larry Klein and Nancy Shepard for speaking out now! Let's let Joe Simitian know that we want responsible rail development in our community - not politically motivated boondoggles that will never be economically viable. If people had protested back in the 70's, we might have a BART system that was economically viable and a showcase for the nation instead of a system that is a mess, with one of the lowest % of costs covered through fares - and with high fares. I am not against mass transit - rather I am in favor of responsible, economically viable, efficient mass transit.


Posted by Train rider, a resident of Community Center
on Aug 31, 2010 at 10:40 am

Wait a minute...last I heard there was going to a "public outreach meeting" (or two)to hear out the community on whether to "go for" a station, and related issues...What happened to that?


Posted by Boondoggle, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Aug 31, 2010 at 10:43 am

The story leaves out Gail Price's continued support at the meeting for this boondoggle.


Posted by Long time resident, a resident of Southgate
on Aug 31, 2010 at 10:44 am

Good leadership with concern for the future and exposing the fraudulent tactics which have been used by the HSRA.


Posted by Kent, a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 31, 2010 at 10:52 am

I am very disappointed to hear that the City Council is considering opposing the high speed rail project. With four tracks without ground level crossings the Penninsula would not only get better transporation access to LA destinations, but better transportation options to S.F. and the airport. Having lived in Tokyo and used the convenient and remarkably quiet trains there I can see that this rail line would shape the region in a positive way for the next several decades. I'll be remembering the names of those opposing this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity during the next election.


Posted by Train rider, a resident of Community Center
on Aug 31, 2010 at 10:55 am

There's a new book out, a history of the Golden Gate Bridge, by Kevin Starr. Here's an excerpt from a review of it in the NYT: "He reminds us that the bridge, first proposed in 1921, initially encountered vociferous opposition from a variety of interests, including ferry companies...and environmental groups like the Sierra Club....There were also protests...that 'the Bridge was too costly, tolls would prove insufficient to redeem taxpayer-backed bonds, the geological foundations for the south pier were inadequate.'"


Posted by undrgrndgirl, a resident of Midtown
on Aug 31, 2010 at 10:58 am

evan,

i agree with you...high speed rail and having the tracks underground would be wonderful! i live on alma street, too and will be more than "inconvenienced" if the project ever happens (it was awful when they did the rail and station upgrades at the cal ave station a couple of years ago - most of the work was done in the wee hours of the night and on weekends AND their lights right in my windows!) but am totally in support of hsr. all the snobby nimby shallow altons however seem to be winning this one...

this whole thing reminds me of when i was a kid and my dad was mayor of menlo park; he was against the then new dumbarton bridge project...if he and the "concerned citizens" against that project had won out, i can't imagine what the traffic to and from that bridge would be like now...i remember the old bridge and am happy it was replaced when it was!


Posted by Wayne Martin, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Aug 31, 2010 at 10:59 am

Palo Alto City Council
City of Palo Alto
Palo Alto, CA 94301
Cc: James Keene

If quoted properly in one of Palo Alto's local papers, I support City Council Member Larry Kline's recently found "religion"--that the HSR/HSRA is not being managed professionally/effectively, and that he has lost confidence in the process/project (or words to that effect).

While Council Member Klein is a little late getting to the party (not to mention his being a prime contributor to a "Colleagues' Memo" endorsing this project and encouraging Palo Alto voters to do the same with their votes)--it's always better to be late than never arrive.

I would like to suggest that the Council pass a resolution expressing its "non-support" of the HSR project, and to place an e-petition on the City's web-site to allow Palo Altans to identify their support for this resolution. Depending on the support for this e-petition, the City should move to form a coalition of like-minded City governments (statewide) that can marshal financial resources to stage political/legal opposition to this behemoth that most certainly promises to devastate much of what is left of the charm of Palo Alto.

It is very likely that over time, the property values for the property within 1000 feet of each side of the HSR path will decline in value. At some point, it's not inconceivable to believe that the older neighborhoods will fall to the lust of the local property developers, who will replace them with multifamily housing. Farther down stream, this cancer will creep farther and farther away from this 1000-foot zone, taking over much of the Eichler neighborhoods to the east of the tracks.

It is past time to act! Larry Klein seemed to have no trouble getting a "Colleagues' Memo" passed in advance of the HSR election. Let's see if Mr. Klein can find the same energy to work effectively to undo the damage done by his past support of the HSR.



Posted by TrainIsComing, a resident of another community
on Aug 31, 2010 at 11:01 am

Change to the rail line is coming and lawsuits can delay but not prevent change.


Posted by Train rider, a resident of Community Center
on Aug 31, 2010 at 11:07 am

I'm obviously for the HSR, but I'm willing to have reasoned/fact-based discussion and hear out opponents. I'm curious: Mr. Martin, what is your basis for asserting that property values within 1000 feet of the line will drop? And what is the causal link/logic between that assertion and your following one that developers will buy up older neighborhoods and replace them with multi-family housing? Are these two assertions logically compatible?

I would also ask "Marie" to explain her allegations of "political boondoggle". Why is she using this rhetoric? And what is her source of facts for asserting that BART is a failure?


Posted by P.A. Native, a resident of Mountain View
on Aug 31, 2010 at 11:12 am

Still not sure how the anger of Palo Altans is going to prevent a project that was voted on statewide. This isn't a case like Prop 8 where the proposition is taking away the rights of strangers/citizens. This was a collective decision made by the voters of this state to build a high speed rail system. It's not going to ruin the city. It's not going to split the town into two. It's not going to bankrupt the state. And you cannot fool me into thinking it's a boondoggle just because you repeat it over and over again. One thing that disgusts me about my own home town is the right of entitlement that seems to be held by many of its residents. This is a perfect example of that.


Posted by F. Randall Farmer, a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 31, 2010 at 11:14 am

Add my voice to end this boondoggle. Caltrain is cutting because of a shortfall in this millions when HRS will cost tens of billions?

We have efficient high-speed transportation to LA. What we don't have is efficient mass transit throughout the bay area.


Posted by Judith, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 31, 2010 at 11:18 am

Without taking sides on this issue, I would like to point out some anecdotal evidence about elevated trains and property values. In NYC, the trains that run above ground on the east side through Harlem and the low-rent districts, go underground when they hit Park Avenue and the fancy neighborhoods. Whether the quality of the neighborhood preceded the train is immaterial; the result is the same.


Posted by DREAM ON, a resident of another community
on Aug 31, 2010 at 11:23 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff].


Posted by Train rider, a resident of Community Center
on Aug 31, 2010 at 11:23 am

Based on conversations I've had with a friend who's a professional transportation planner--and I'm trying to document these "facts" as well--I'm wondering why more discussion doesn't focus on the possibility that the HSR can simply use existing or slightly expanded at-grade crossings. According to him, the Federal Railroad Administration sets standards, and at-grade crossings are allowable up to 110 mph. Even with aerial tracks, the projected speed of HSR on the Peninsula segment is 125 mph. By sacrificing 15 mph, the HSR could avoid the cost, trouble, etc. associated with new construction and simply use existing grade?
Anyone have different facts?


Posted by Steve, a resident of Evergreen Park
on Aug 31, 2010 at 11:31 am

This is great news! I voted against the HSR from the very beginning because it's a vanity project for politicians. I am all for good rail service but let it grow organically so that there is demand --- the HSR riderships numbers are cooked. Improve the local trains first which can be done with less disruption and less money. And local trains will get rid of far more automobile trips than HSR which will will just offset a few airplane trips (if any).

And the HSR people are just plain silly. Why run it through established neighborhoods....they knew they were going to get alot of opposition, and decades of lawsuits. They should run it over 101.


Posted by RSL, a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 31, 2010 at 11:34 am

Palo Alto, right or wrong, has a long history of opposing regional projects.


Posted by Timothy Gray, a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Aug 31, 2010 at 11:43 am

Where was this leadership last year? Better late than never, but we should be careful in handing out congratulations for being late to the party.

What is missing is that the labor unions support development at any cost to the community, and we all know that some council members owe their election to the Union support. At least Nancy Shepherd is standing up and being a rational voice. Even though she got big funding from the Unions, she is showing her independence.

Supporters of HSR point to the sharing of great community benefits, but there has been no willingness on the part of the HSR authority to mitigate the community cost. They have essentially said to Palo Alto, "Unless your residents pay up $350 million (cost of tunnel), we are going to rip a noisy mega project right through the middle of your town, and destroy your community."

If the Cal Train route was the only option for the greater community good, then the proposed plan might get some sympathy. However, the plan is outright unethical blackmail; i.e. The project will rip a path through established communities just because the project was sold on the basis of a false financial feasibility, and we are being asked to pay out big dollars to bail out a faulty vision.

Yes, Larry, stop the nonsense. Gail, get on board, or take a train.

Best regards,

Tim Gray (former City Council Candidate)



Posted by Wayne Martin, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Aug 31, 2010 at 11:44 am

> what is your basis for asserting that property values within
> 1000 feet of the line will drop? And what is the causal
> link/logic between that assertion and your following one that
> developers will buy up older neighborhoods and replace them with
> multi-family housing?

Point.1—

A couple of articles have been floating around that have begun to bring this data point to the table. There are two areas to consider--neighborhoods around HSR paths (through residential areas), and the same property valuation history for conventional trains.

How many people do you think will buy multi-million dollar homes in subsections where a train runs through the middle of the section?
---
The effect of freight railroad tracks and train activity on
residential property values:
Web Link

This study evaluates the impact of freight railroad tracks on housing markets. A hedonic price model is used to estimate reduction in the sale price of residential properties near freight railroad tracks in Cuyahoga County, Ohio for 1996 and 1999. The findings indicate an average loss in value between $3,800 and $5,800 (5%-7%) for houses under 1,250 square feet located within 750 feet from a railroad track. Larger houses showed mixed results. After substantial publicity about a freight train company merger, freight trip counts showed a negative and statistically significant impact on the sale price of smaller houses, and some larger houses, for each additional daily freight train trip.

Home Sales Hit Buffers On High-Speed Line:
Web Link

People living in the path of a proposed high-speed rail link say their homes are already impossible to sell.
----

While this topic needs a lot more research, given that people "out there in the real world" are writing about problems of property values (homes) around railroad tracks is a real issue if you are a home owner in this 1000 foot zone.

Point.II--

Within the past five years, the City has been involved with rethinking/rewriting its zoning ordinances. A couple of outreaches were held, where some of the ideas that were in play at the time were demoed. One of the ideas was that of a "Transit Oriented Housing" (TOH) zone that would be 1000 feet on each side of an "arterial" (Charleston/Arastradero/Middlefield/Alma/Oregon—just to name a few). In these TOH zones (a swath of 2000 feet here and there around Palo Alto) the consultant proposed multi-family dwelling units (at least 4-family-units, but conceivably more). These ideas were not warmly received by the people at these outreaches, and the zoning rewrite has slipped beneath the radar (or it seems to).

So .. the 1000 foot zone is not frivolously chosen.

Hopefully you will take the time to review these articles, and maybe do a little research on your own. As I said: "It's easy to believe" .. not because I don't want HSR in Palo Alto and California (at least in its current incarnation), but because I've done a little homework and want to pass along what I have found for others to think about.


Posted by Marian S, a resident of Professorville
on Aug 31, 2010 at 11:46 am

I am distressed to see the politicians' Neanderthal attitude on the HSR issue. Do they represent car dealers? Having a station in Palo Alto would be a great boon. It would be a benefit for business and education and would also make it easier to access the cultural offerings in SF. Who wouldn't benefit from fast mass transit to SF and LA? It works in Europe.


Posted by Frank, a resident of Ventura
on Aug 31, 2010 at 12:04 pm

to Wayne -

>How many people do you think will buy multi-million dollar homes in subsections where a train runs through the middle of the section?

About as many as do now - in my neighborhood (Ventura) where a simple tract home backed against the tracks list for 800k to 1.2m; a block from the tracks there might be a 100k boost but this is true now, has always been true. Remember that electrified caltrain + HSR will still be quieter than Caltrain is now (no at grade crossings = no horn blowing; electric engines are quieter and pollute less).

> People living in the path of a proposed high-speed rail link say their homes are already impossible to sell.

People across the nation are finding their homes more difficult to sell. It's taking longer to sell home all over Palo Alto too.

Your links are about Freight trains (which will not change - or which will decrease) in an area with a vastly different housing market.


Posted by Train rider, a resident of Community Center
on Aug 31, 2010 at 12:06 pm

Mr. Martin: I will look at these sources, and consider they're applicability further, but honestly, the effects of a freight train on housing in Cleveland seems to me a different time, place, and situation than what we're talking about here. We already have an existing rail corridor--how much more effect can a slightly larger, etc. one have?


Posted by Daniel, a resident of another community
on Aug 31, 2010 at 12:11 pm

@ Marie

You mam are a hypocrite, you claim to be for responsible rail design, call the current project wich is minimizing costs with elevated's and at grade solutions. Something that is practicle for your area, call it a boondoggle because of it. But surely a tunnel or trench in your community at the cost of California taxpayers isn't a boondoggle, right? Such idiocy's are the actual reason the project would go overbudget. It's convinient for you, so it's the right choice in your mind(s).

Bart is actually the transit that covers most of it's operating costs and thats considering it's the mess you just said it to be. Imagine ridership on HSR. By your logic, it will probably be a success.

You can act like you have veto power over California voters, but you don't. So good luck wasting our time! I hope you know your public image for such idiocy is downgrading your image as a city for being obstructive instead of being creative and constructive on solutions that would work.


Posted by Sean, a resident of Mountain View
on Aug 31, 2010 at 12:14 pm

People don't seem to realize that by 2050 the state's population will be 50 million. 50 million!!! Infrastructure capacity must be added to support this growth in order to keep the economy functioning and running. This is the best way to expand our infrastructure, especially here is the bay area. If we don't build this, then have fun opposing massive expansion of 101, 280, 5, building a new runway for SFO in San Francisco Bay and getting sicker from decreasing air quality. As to the cost - we built highway 1, nearly all the dams in the area, and all the major bridges in the state during the great depression, when the government was even more bankrupt than it is today - point is, long term economic benefits greatly out-number the costs.


Posted by Wayne Martin, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Aug 31, 2010 at 12:22 pm

> About as many as do now - in my neighborhood (Ventura) where
> a simple tract home backed against the tracks list for
> 800k to 1.2m

When the PAUSD pushed their last Measure A thru the ballot process, they quietly justified their claims that there would be no need to raise the property tax rate, because their consultant claimed that the price of PASUD residential properties would increase (actually double) every ten years for the next 30 years [if memory serves]).

Assuming that prices continue to increase, are you saying that these Ventura homes that you cite (in the sub-million dollar range) today, will be commanding $2M-$3M in a couple decades, pretty much as they stand today?

I don't believe they they will. The Ventura is one of the neighborhoods that will likely be the first to see property value depreciation, not only from the HSR, but other, more traditional trends that will likely see it converted to multi-family housing (more than it already is). I've had at least one well-known property developer lay out a sweeping view of "rebuilding" South Palo Alto, based in part on the demise of the Rickey's project. It's really hard to believe that the Ventura will be the same in twenty/thirty years, as it is today.



Posted by jim, a resident of Community Center
on Aug 31, 2010 at 12:28 pm

First, I second Wayne's call for an e-petition on the PA website to see where most people stand.

This train will never be cheaper than a plane fare from North to South. We've been given unsupported projections about the fares.

And ask yourself this. Just how many times per year do you really travel to LA?


Posted by resident, a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 31, 2010 at 12:31 pm

This is a clear case of the few vocal individuals in Palo Alto making enough waves to stop progress. We say we are Green but when it comes to our own needs, we certainly drop the cause to go with what is in our individual interests. It would be such a shame to try to halt something that would benefit the entire state. How selfish.


Posted by Joel, a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 31, 2010 at 12:33 pm

"No confidence" seems a little weak. Just say NO!


Posted by Daniel, a resident of another community
on Aug 31, 2010 at 12:44 pm

@ Jim

"And ask yourself this. Just how many times per year do you really travel to LA?"

See Jim, that's not the point. I could never need nor want to go to L.A, but perhaps I only need to go as far as Bakersfield at least once a month. Do you take into account the we are not building an airplane from point A to point B. We are building a TRAIN that has the capabilities of an airplane and then some (Wifi, phone use, ample leg/walking space, etc.) but also being able to get from point A to point's in between, maybe points C, D, E, F, G, etc, if that makes sense. Everytime I get on BART and see the vast ammounts of people that use the system I wonder how many people would ride HSR across CA. A lot of people will ride it.

What I see with all the Peninsula opposition is a raging crazy person, blood shot eyes and foaming at the mouth hugging their houses holding the State hostage because they are terrified of their wealth dissapearing. It's understandable you are protecting your pockets, what isn't understandable is where the Hell do you get your info from?? It's like everyone here is a freakin' economist, house appraiser, land use professional, and transportation expert. Wich you are not!


Posted by Anonymous, a resident of another community
on Aug 31, 2010 at 1:09 pm

> According to him, the Federal Railroad Administration sets standards

The FRA sets basic standards for grade crossings, and the CPUC (California Public Utilities Commission) sets additional and far more restrictive standards. The CPUC is the regulatory agency with final say-so over any grade crossing. The CPUC also pursues a policy of grade separation.

The likelihood of the CPUC allowing a 110 mph, three- or four-track grade crossing in a dense suburban environment is exactly zero, whatever FRA regulations may be.


Posted by Amused, a resident of another community
on Aug 31, 2010 at 1:23 pm

City council ought to order a high-priced consultant to study the impacts on Palo Alto. By the time the study is done, this council will be gone.

The vote of "No confidence" ought to be in Palo Alto City Council - both the immediate past, and the present one.


Posted by Lucky, a resident of Mountain View
on Aug 31, 2010 at 1:31 pm

Peninsula officials are seeing what a waste of money and time planning this section of the HSR is! We should support HSR between L.A. and San Jose, but connect it to an improved electric baby bullet train on existing tracks to San Francisco. Write and call your elected officials NOW!


Posted by Toady, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 31, 2010 at 1:38 pm

Hey Sean from Mtn. View:

You want to support 50 million? Then fix the local infrastructure to support 50 million residents. HSR does nothing for local transit. Having HSR will not prevent the need to expand local freeways, because no one is going to take HSR to commute to Google.

Don't be ridiculous.

You want infrastructure, support local infrastructure, not HSR. Fix this god-awful mess we have in the Bay Area with uncoordinated transit agencies that all suck.

As for the air quality - we have a larger population than we did back in the 60's, and actually have *better* air quality today. Funny how people seem to put unrelated things together to make an absurd argument.


Posted by bick, a resident of University South
on Aug 31, 2010 at 1:44 pm

This is good news. Immediate new fan of Klein.

How can we get this boondoggle HSR project cancelled? HSR might be a good project, but the state and country can't afford to build it. Sales tax alone is now approaching double figures.

And if it simply travels through the Pennisula without stops, why send it through the Pennisula at all. Stop in San Jose, use 280, or go East bay. Too many problems and disruptions with a project this size.


Posted by DREAMON, a resident of another community
on Aug 31, 2010 at 1:49 pm

Passengers will not change to Caltrain to finish a HSR trip to SF!!! insane!! HSR is going all the way to SF even if its on those current 2 tracks!


Posted by Disappointed in HSRA, a resident of South of Midtown
on Aug 31, 2010 at 2:07 pm

I would like to see the Peninsula portion of the project dropped. I wish they could create excellent connections from a north-south HSR to Peninsula local trains.

We need better LOCAL train service. HSR, as it is planned right now, will negatively impact local train service...and may encroach on Alma St. crosstown auto routes (eliminating one or two lanes...among other impacts). It's too bad they can't take some of the HSR funding and create better local train connections to he HSR line.

This plan has been poorly developed. The process has been a nightmare--deliberately convoluted. HSRA has endless meetings where nothing is accomplished. I think they are completely uninterested in public comment. They just want to record that they held a meeting and wear us down. Their attitude has been arrogant, dismissive, and unprofessional. This FORMER supporter of the project is now a disgusted opponent. The more I study the details, the more angry I get. I regret to say I voted for it, and now wish I could take back that vote. My gigantic mistake.


Posted by Deep Throat, a resident of another community
on Aug 31, 2010 at 2:10 pm

I believe the California Public Utilities Commission standards are (1) grade separations are required for four tracks, and (2) 79 mph speed limit if no grade separation.


Posted by Anon., a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 31, 2010 at 2:19 pm

This is really a no-brainer, the HSR thing up the heart of the peninsula is sheer idiocy from a raving lunatic who knows nothing and should be retired and never heard from again.

I wonder if there is a way to have it go somewhere like around 280, or maybe even along the Bay.

Underground would be nice, but maybe a bit too much for us Americans to bite off and swallow these days in terms of grand engineering feats. For example, look at the boring new Bay Bridge.

I wonder if there is any sense is trying to build a HSR from the Bay Area to Sacramento ... the thought being that the Bay Area itself is the remnant of 200 or more years of encrusted old infrastucture development. The best idea I can think of is to push growth to different areas and try to do something to remove it from the SF Bay Area proper. Sacramento to the East Bay, and then maybe to some ripe for growth areas that are not too far from us, yet would serve as a pressure release from the metropolitan areas.

We cannot keep doing what we are doing, and we are not about to rip everything we have up to fix it or improve it ... so start doing things that moves the center of gravity away so that nice places like Palo Alto can remain nice instead of just a blip on electrical, gas, water, auto, mass transit infrastructure with the same malls and stores as everyone else.

We are ending up developing everything in Palo Alto, the Baylands is a disgrace when it could be a very nice recreational place, and the Foothills are just for a bunch of ostentatious rich jerks to plow over and abuse at this point.

Wake up Palo Alto, this place will be a junkyard with a few nice remote gated communities pretty soon and nothing special in terms of nature or community.


Posted by Dan S., a resident of another community
on Aug 31, 2010 at 2:19 pm

@ Dissapointed in HSRA

"It's too bad they can't take some of the HSR funding and create better local train connections to he HSR line."

That's what Caltrain Electrification, Caltrain Grade Seperation, Caltrain Track upgrade to 4 tracks, welded (no clickity, clack), concrete ties and upgraded service with more train service is about!! Where have you been?? That's the promise HSR on the Peninsula is all about, something Caltrain cannot fund on it's own. I bet if this were a Caltrain project the opposition would be smaller, but since it's the foreign intruder (literally) HSR, then of course in your minds it's "Bad". At this point, anything is better than what Caltrain currently offers.

Too bad for you opponents have also turned proponents because of better information.


Posted by M.C., a resident of another community
on Aug 31, 2010 at 2:23 pm

Well said, Marie.


Posted by Dan S., a resident of another community
on Aug 31, 2010 at 2:23 pm

Look at what China is doing:

Web Link

Web Link

just two of many projects that will take China to lead the world's economy. Something the U.S cannot do because of NIMBY's like you people.


Posted by Toady, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 31, 2010 at 2:23 pm

"That's what Caltrain Electrification, Caltrain Grade Seperation, Caltrain Track upgrade to 4 tracks, welded (no clickity, clack), concrete ties and upgraded service with more train service is about!!"

THIS DOES NOTHING FOR LOCAL TRANSIT. It's like putting a hemi in a Pinto. In the end, you still have a car that blows up when you get rear-ended.

Caltrain is only good for feeding San Francisco. Employers are now spread throughout the Bay Area, and any form of Caltrain doesn't stand a chance unless VTA and Samtrans can make local feeds to Caltrain work for a larger chunk of the peninsula working population.


Posted by TrainIsComing, a resident of another community
on Aug 31, 2010 at 2:35 pm

High Speed Rail is coming on the Caltrain right of way. You can work to get the most out of improved road crossings or sue to delay the inconvience of construction. You can build a station or watch as other cities passengers swiftly ride through reaping the benefits of more transportation options.


Posted by Toady, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 31, 2010 at 2:35 pm

"Something the U.S cannot do because of NIMBY's like you people."

Yeah, that will really win us over. Good job, Dan.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 31, 2010 at 2:41 pm

I really think that if HSR does come through Palo Alto instead of the East Bay then really we will have it made in terms of improving local transit for us all. Nothing else will force a regional authority taking over local transit in the Bay Area. At present we have too many little authorities, Muni, Bart, Sam Trans, VTA and Caltrain all running around in little circles complaining about how they are losing money and need to reduce service to save money. They forget they are supposed to be providing a service, which means serving their ridership. HSR is going to have to force them to work together to provide a service which works.

On top of that, a station in Palo Alto will only work if the riders can get to the station. Saying that means that not only local transit must work, but support services (like a parking garage in the Baylands with shuttles to the station) are the only way to get the passengers to the train without delays from traffic.

For those who live near the tracks or hear the trains at present, myself included, I will be free of the noise, the diesel fumes and the need to be stuck at crossing gates on a regular basis. The swoosh sound of an electric train is much less likely to deter future potential residents that wish to buy property near the tracks than the horns, clanking sound from the trains and the gates and the smell of the diesel.

We should be looking on HSR as being the savior of some of our present problems.


Posted by Steve B, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 31, 2010 at 2:52 pm

I vote to KILL it!


Posted by Robert, a resident of Southgate
on Aug 31, 2010 at 2:59 pm

Finally! It's about time that the P.A. City Council started moving toward standing up to CHSRA's attempt to get away with not listening to the community and to shove a property value-diluting, community splitting, State wallet-busting system running through a built up area (the Peninsula). This thing would be a financial albatross around the necks of generations of Californians and would run at a deficit.

Either put HSR and CalTrain in a tunnel or cut and cover trench, or stop it in Diridon Temple -- excuse me, San Jose -- or improve the roads and airports instead of wasting a tenth of a trillion dollars on a system that will take twice as long as SouthWest to get to LA from SF and there is still no decent mass transit at either end, so car use will still be necessary.

A good idea in principle but THE WRONG ROUTE AT THE WRONG TIME AT THE WRONG PRICE AT THE WRONG SOCIAL IMPACT.


Posted by P.A. Native, a resident of Mountain View
on Aug 31, 2010 at 3:06 pm

"We cannot keep doing what we are doing, and we are not about to rip everything we have up to fix it or improve it ... so start doing things that moves the center of gravity away so that nice places like Palo Alto can remain nice instead of just a blip on electrical, gas, water, auto, mass transit infrastructure with the same malls and stores as everyone else." - Anon.


Oh no!!! Not the same malls and stores as everyone else! Don't they know that it's Palo Alto we're talking about!?! Obviously P.A. is better than that and does not deserve the same stores used by commoners. LOL! Seriously, I can't believe some of you can write this stuff without making yourself cringe.


Posted by Jennifer, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 31, 2010 at 3:20 pm

yes! It's about time!


Posted by Veritas, a resident of another community
on Aug 31, 2010 at 3:25 pm

A dazzling volte face by the Palo Alto City Council! First they are in support. Next, having felt the gale winds of opposition, they are in indignant opposition. All done with great aplomb and skilled public relations. Like that was their position all the time.

A very smooth Council and City manager indeed. Very agile. Very adroit. Palo Alto is a mighty treacherous town beneath that paper thin veneer of propserous gentility.


Posted by Train Neighbor, a resident of Ventura
on Aug 31, 2010 at 3:32 pm

I'm curious if "undrgrndgirl" rents or owns her domicile on Alma.

There is much uncertainty about the HSR vertical alignment so many properties adjacent to the tracks are not selling.

I wouldn't mind HSR if they keep the tracks at grade and not erect a 40 foot tall viaduct forty feet from my home.

I wonder how they'll manage the construction phase while operating Caltrain. How many lanes of Alma will close?

I propose HSR construction be limited to Palo Alto's construction hours (M-F: 8-6, Sat: 9-6, Sundays prohibited).


Posted by Robert, a resident of Southgate
on Aug 31, 2010 at 3:39 pm

To "Evan":

You wrote about the jist of the story with incredulity: "Because a few residents are worried about their property values and because the authority doesn't want to spend the billions it would take to put Caltrain/HSR deep underground? It's a real shame they've decided to stand up for California taxpayers, isn't it."

I regard that as a euphemistic statement that is decidedly lacking in empathy for others. First, it's a lot more than "a few" residents whose property values are at stake. Second, people are much more than "worried." Many people have ALREADY had their property values substantially decreased and many are in a position where they may be unable to sell their homes (without taking a major hit) for YEARS unless this is abandoned or done in a sensitive way. You and/or your family are presumably fortunate enough not to live at some remove from the proposed right of way. Don't minimize or dismiss the harms that others are suffering and would suffer.

As for your other point about "the authority doesn't want to spend billions it would take to put CalTrain/HSR deep underground," the reason why they're trying to go for the financially cheaper above ground options is that they've seriously underestimated the cost (in order to get Prop. 1 passed), probably by a factor of two, and THEY DON"T HAVE ANYWHERE NEAR THE MONEY. They don't care about your and my city of Palo Alto's character and what would happen to it. The position that I and others take on the project depends on what option they are going to try and shove down the throats of Peninsula cities. They have not only nixed a tunnel, they've also nixed a cut and cover trench too. Of the three options left, two would be above ground. Maybe you don't care about an "aerial structure" running through Palo Alto; I and many others DO.


Posted by Disappointed, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 31, 2010 at 3:40 pm

What a sad day... terrible news. But then again, we missed the boat when we rejected BART and now we're going to miss the boat if we manage to reject HSR.

This city is clearly in decline. It will be falling farther and farther behind with its inability to embrace common sense projects. A bit like this country as a whole. The 21st century will clearly not be America's century.

Sigh.


Posted by Robert, a resident of Southgate
on Aug 31, 2010 at 3:52 pm

@ Jim,

First, an "e-petition" online would be exploited and CHSRA would hire e-goons to bias the vote, just as people with vested interests come onto this Website and pretend to be from Palo Alto or presume to criticize people who are against this for personal economic, social, and public financial reasons. Second, it could be that if voting were rigorously and effectively limited to Palo Altans, that more would support it because they are not immediately negatively affected by it in the short term. But a majority has an ethical right to do something that would substantially harm a minority only if that something is a significant consensual community benefit that is necessary, e.g., a school bond issue. I submit that HSR fails that test bigtime on both the "consensual community benefit" and "necessary" criteria. It might be "nice" and "a fun thing" but it's definitely not necessary.


Posted by Finanlly!, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Aug 31, 2010 at 4:05 pm

No to HSR!


Posted by Anon., a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 31, 2010 at 4:06 pm

Just because China is doing something does not mean we should do it, or it makes sense. Look at the Three Gorges Dam ... a huge ecological debacle that the whole world opposed.

Now consider Hetch-Hetchy and Yosemite ... do we need more dams or do we need more environment, and why can't we figure out how to do both. China is an environmental nightmare.

I'll give China one thing ... at least they shoot people who rip off the public, and they are heading in the right direction whether they will make it or not. They have the guts to implement the single child policy. We ought to do the same thing, except we should tax the heck out of children then maybe we would not get so many criminals and deadbeats.

We need change and improvement ... I just do not think HSR makes sense for this part of the US yet. What is the cost, what is the benefit ... does any business or state body even know how to figure that out fairly without skewing the data for or against? What is the cost to Palo Alto ... no Alma? Lots of noise and vibration, maybe an accident or two over its life?

I don't buy it. The already existing trains are a real drawback to living in some very nice parts of Palo Alto.


Posted by P.A. Native, a resident of Mountain View
on Aug 31, 2010 at 4:19 pm

If the train is a "real drawback" to your very nice part of Palo Alto, I suggest you concern yourself with something of greater importance. That train was there before you were born, and it's likely it will be there once you (and I) are gone. You don't own this town or the state for that matter, you simply own a house.


"You and/or your family are presumably fortunate enough not to live at some remove from the proposed right of way. Don't minimize or dismiss the harms that others are suffering and would suffer."


What does fortune have to do with not living near the tracks? Did you buy your house at a fixed price before you got to see where it's located? Of course you didn't. Now you say that you're suffering and nobody cares? Really!?! I don't think you really know what suffering is. If your idea of suffering is train noise that comes and goes in a flash, then you have a really good life and possibly don't even know it.

I'm done. Reading these posts is seriously painful.


Posted by Bob, a resident of Community Center
on Aug 31, 2010 at 4:29 pm

To: Disappointed:

You wrote: "What a sad day... terrible news. But then again, we missed the boat when we rejected BART and now we're going to miss the boat if we manage to reject HSR."

If I remember correctly, WE (meaning Palo Alto and Santa Clara County) didn't even vote on BART. It was San Mateo County - but BART eventually it made it to SFO. Not the rest of the way. Anybody remember?


Posted by Disappointed, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 31, 2010 at 5:02 pm

Bob,

You may be right, In any case, at least part of the Peninsula managed to prevent BART from coming here with the result we know. And now we are repeating this with HSR.


Posted by Council watcher, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Aug 31, 2010 at 5:33 pm

Klein is really attending meetings outside of city council? Finally something got his attention.

Council is so used to saying "What happened?" I thought that would be their collective question, when the HSR rolled by.

Not just Palo Alto is involved with this puppy.


Posted by Train Rider, a resident of Community Center
on Aug 31, 2010 at 6:08 pm

What happened to the "public outreach" meeting(s) that were supposedly to be take place in Sept. It seems Klein et al. have jumped the gun on that and declared Palo Alto before airing this. I don't think it should be decided publicly--i.e., I believe in delegating this responsibility to our elected representatives--but they should have a public hearing and let some community voices be heard. Then declare themselves/the city.


Posted by JT, a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 31, 2010 at 6:09 pm

Let's throw a parade for Larry Klein! I'm serious!


Posted by parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 31, 2010 at 6:19 pm

@disappointed in HSR:

You said exactly what I wanted to say!!


Posted by parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 31, 2010 at 6:20 pm

P.S. I was agreeing with "disappointed in HSR" above, NOT "disappointed"!!


Posted by parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 31, 2010 at 6:28 pm

@ Dan S.
Do you even live here? People aren't against HSR -- they're against stupidly implemented HSR. Our city counsel supported HSR thinking the project would be done intelligently. That clearly won't be happening. This is not China where you can just do whatever you want to whole communities and cities and whatever else is in your way when you want to build a huge dam or train project. If someone could explain that to the rail authority, then maybe they'd work out something we could all live with.

What is the problem with connecting North and south to San Jose and improving the local rail system to San Francisco and Sacramento? Or any of the other options people locally AND our counsel could support? The rail authority would destroy our local communities for it's bottom line. No thank you.

The legislature gave the rail authority too much power, and absolute power corrupts absolutely, as they say. Destroying thriving communities in the heart of Silicon Valley in favor of the most poor implementation of HSR possible is not progress.

Thank you, Mayor Klein, for your leadership!


Posted by Stan Hutchings, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 31, 2010 at 6:33 pm

After reading the comments, from my perspective the negatives outweigh the positives.
Most compelling is the cost that is a ridiculous amount to pay for a state that cannot balance a budget and cuts back on education, health and other public services
Next, the extremely limited destinations would seem to benefit only a lucky very small percent of our state's population, yet we are all going to be heavily taxed for it.
Based on the history of BART and Caltrain, which at least connect numerous cities, I don't believe the HSR will be financially sustainable without huge and increasing infusions of funds, coming from we the people, and most us will get no benefit.
Energy prices as well as salaries are projected to rise; the HSR will not escape rising energy prices and salaries. Already many CA cities are in trouble from overly-generous salaries and retirement benefits. The infrastructure to support the HSR will increase in cost every year.
Rail systems in other countries form a complex web inter-linking many (indeed most) cities, so it is possible to get from many "heres" to "theres" by rail. The HSR is fatally flawed by being limited to linking just a few cities. I don't want to go to LA, SD or Sacto, I want to go to Tahoe to ski several times a season, Yosemite and Humboldt in the spring and summer, as well as Napa/Sonoma/Mendocino for cultural experience (and good wine). Where's my HSR?
Finally I'd like to see a state-wide vote taken whether to proceed or not with the HSR. I'd expect that with full disclosure a great majority would realize they would not benefit, but would actually be penalized by the HSR expenses, even if there is a huge infusion of Federal funds (which we'll underwrite with our Federal taxes, another grossly unbalanced budget). Of course, a few lucky contractors and HSR employees will strike it rich; but not many of us will be among that select few.
I would certainly like to see the Caltrain tracks grade-separated at all existing crossings; and more under/over crossings created. There is already too much traffic disruption caused by trains. This is something that would benefit the whole Peninsula


Posted by Spokker, a resident of another community
on Aug 31, 2010 at 6:54 pm

One critic of the high speed rail project is predicting that Palo Alto residents will engage in civil disobedience if the high speed rail line is constructed. Do you guys really have it in you?


Posted by Dan S., a resident of another community
on Aug 31, 2010 at 8:21 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by TrainIsComing, a resident of another community
on Aug 31, 2010 at 8:33 pm

There seems to be confusion about what sections are proposed to be aeriel and at grade. Two sections passing over cross streets are proposed aeriel. The north section starting south of University going over Embarcadero and Churchill. The south section going over Meadow and Charleston. The Palo Alto and California Avenue Caltrain Stations would remain at grade.


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Aug 31, 2010 at 9:01 pm

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

People whose property value is diminished have the constitutional right to be compensated for their loss. Anyone who suggests NOT closing all grade crossings has little regard for human life.


Posted by parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 31, 2010 at 9:29 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Jim H., a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 31, 2010 at 9:35 pm

Daniel,
OK, then how often will you go to Fresno, Bakersfield or any of the other stops between points A and Z?

Have you read the business plan? Even CAHSR says that 1/3 of the travel between LA and the Bay Area will be from point A to B. In addition, they forecast that for between the Bay Area and points in between( San Joaquin Valley/Central Coast), nearly all travelers, over 85% will continue to drive to their destination., When you include the San Diego-Bay Area route, over half of the travelers will still opt for an airplane.

So, yes, HSR's main advantage is the trip to LA. Shorter and people will drive, farther and people will fly. Just ask CAHSR.


Posted by Dan S., a resident of another community
on Aug 31, 2010 at 9:40 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Disappointed, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 31, 2010 at 9:44 pm

HRS will NOT destroy our community if it is built along the current Caltrain railroad tracks.

Those who say that either are misinformed or speak in bad faith.

There is already a railroad there, HSR won't change that, and will actually improve quite a few things such as no more dangerous railroad crossings and less noise (horns and what not).

It may well impact the home-owners along the tracks but it will NOT destroy Palo Alto.


Posted by Robert, a resident of Southgate
on Aug 31, 2010 at 10:13 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Curious, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 31, 2010 at 10:36 pm

Can somebody explain why a HSR station would be good for Palo Alto?

How many people from around here go to LA? How many people would come to Palo Alto and for what?

Why is HSR a good idea?

If Caltrain can't operate profitably, then why will HSR?


Posted by chris, a resident of University South
on Aug 31, 2010 at 10:48 pm

Curious,

What is your standard?

Do 101 and 280 operate profitably? I haven't seen any toll booths.


Posted by Justin, a resident of Stanford
on Aug 31, 2010 at 11:12 pm

I think having an HSR would be great in the long run; I know I'd use it for SF-LA transportation (have you naysayers made that drive? It's hard to bear). Finally we can catch up with Japan and northern Europe.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 31, 2010 at 11:15 pm

Curious, to answer your question, Stanford. Students, Parents, Professors, Researchers, Guest Speakers, Patients, Doctors, Scientists, Engineers, etc. etc. It makes a great deal of sense to have a station near Stanford, much more so than Mountain View (although Google may be a draw) or Redwood City.


Posted by parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 31, 2010 at 11:28 pm

"Destroying a community would be to propose a new corridor over current homes and neighborhoods, then I would be on the opponents side"

What dream world are you living in that you think it's all just going to be some nice little improvement of the existing corridor that won't change anything?

"Barker said the rail authority fully expects to build a four-track system in the Peninsula,"

This will necessitate enlarging the current two-track corridor so that it takes over current homes, impact our main artery across town (Alma), and/or elevating the train so that it physically and psychologically bisects our town. And that's only if it's kept minimal, much worse has been proposed.

Thank you, Robert of Southgate, you said it for me.


Posted by Spokker, a resident of another community
on Aug 31, 2010 at 11:32 pm

"How many people from around here go to LA? How many people would come to Palo Alto and for what?"

I'm not sure. I'm also curious how many people from around there go to San Francisco, SFO, San Jose, Gilroy, Merced, Fresno, Bakersfield, Palmdale, Sylmar, Burbank, Norwalk and Anaheim (and nearby cities).

How many people go to Palo Alto? Not sure either. I stopped there for a sandwich once.

"Why is HSR a good idea?"

Depends on your value system.

"If Caltrain can't operate profitably, then why will HSR?"

Caltrain operates commuter rail service as a public good. Fares are held at about 50% of operating costs on average in order to entice drivers to the train. The Baby Bullet service loses less money on average because it is faster and attracts more riders.

HSR is more profit-driven. At the very least it'll probably break even. It would offer very fast trip times to many more places than Caltrain. People would pay a premium for this service during peak hours and less so during off-peak hours.

Personally, I don't think Palo Alto is that important. SF-LA will be the bread winner of the new system, of course, but I think LA-Bakersfield is going to show some surprising gains.


Posted by Spokker, a resident of another community
on Aug 31, 2010 at 11:35 pm

"This will necessitate enlarging the current two-track corridor so that it takes over current homes, impact our main artery across town (Alma), and/or elevating the train so that it physically and psychologically bisects our town."

It's wide enough: Web Link

The current railroad already bisects the city.


Posted by Anon., a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 31, 2010 at 11:39 pm

Yes ... meaning that all of our over and underpasses ... University and Embarcadero will have to be rebuilt Alma will have to be narrowed.

Where is the traffic supposed to go?

Cars, bicyclists and pedestrians going across 4 sets of tracks take twice as long. If the train is going faster the intersections will be closed longer. What do you think it is going to be like in terms of vibration when the commuter trains and the HSR run at the same time?

What is the benefit? What does Palo Alto benefit for all of this? Why does this not seem to matter to people?

I'd just like to see an alternate plan. I like the underground plan, but that has been ruled out. I'd like to see that brought back, a 280 route, or a bayside route.

But ... why do we need this at all at this time, with this budget, what is the pressing economy for this?

Why can't we do some pilot project, like some test programs that ring the Bay Area ... like a BART upgrade ... that makes sense. HSR does not make sense.


Posted by parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 31, 2010 at 11:53 pm

Justin,
Many people posting so far, including me, including our city counsel, SUPPORT having HSR in California. We just want it done in a way that creates a transportation system FOR our communities, rather than being superimposed OVER our communities in a way that destroys quality of life and hurts what makes people want to live here in the first place.

Very few are complaining about HSR between LA and San Jose. But the authority insists HSR can't happen unless they run it right down the middle of thriving communities on the Peninsula, and they won't tunnel or do any of the options the communities ask for so that the project is the advantage you suggest and not harming our communities.

I am with one of the posters above, who pointed out that we need a much more functional transportation SYSTEM in the Bay Area, then it would be simple to end HSR in San Jose, make a smooth connection and maybe pick up again in SF to Sacramento, and still everything would work well and fast. You can get from the mountains in eastern Switzerland, narrow gage rail, all the way to Paris (last leg TGV) in ten hours, making connections through a very crowded part of the world, because the SYSTEM works so well.

This isn't a huge city like Los Angeles where it may be par for the course to bring an elevated train through town, and it's not a disconnected suburb where a there might not be a thriving community to disrupt.

Much of the objection to this HSR plan would be dropped if it were proposed in a way that didn't run roughshod over all of these communities, for example, if it were proposed to go up the 101 corridor, you might hear many objections dropped. It brings a new set of problems for the HSR authority, but you'd see a lot more support for it up the Peninsula then. But then you hear the Rail Authority's rationales, which are all about IT'S needs, not the problems they create for the communities.

The Rail authority has too much power to do whatever they want, and they clearly don't have to listen to how it affects our communities. Our city counsel finally got fed up. Better not have HSR at all than have it done in a way that harms our community, period.


Posted by Dan S., a resident of another community
on Sep 1, 2010 at 12:02 am

"Barker said the rail authority fully expects to build a four-track system in the Peninsula,"

Southern Pacific Railroad had the ROW already wide enough for four tracks since they expected growth. It's only narrow in some areas because of the city's encroaching on it with new development.

"it takes over current homes"

You mean peices of backyards? That's not homes, that's extra land, some of it the size of a small park. Besides, you are being compensated at or above market price, it isn't just taken.

"Cars, bicyclists and pedestrians going across 4 sets of tracks take twice as long. If the train is going faster the intersections will be closed longer."

You do know that you will never physically cross the tracks rigth?

"What dream world are you living in that you think it's all just going to be some nice little improvement of the existing corridor that won't change anything?"

Who said it was a little easy upgrade. We're doing it big with this one. It's the ultimate upgrade, and it's for the benefit of the surrounding cities. Something you people will nevery see until it's actually built. People tend to be scared of Changes to their same, dull lives and enviornment. They also fear what they don't understand, that's what's happening here. By the looks of all these random comments from people who think they know even basic transportation common sense.


Posted by TrainIsComing, a resident of another community
on Sep 1, 2010 at 12:04 am

The elevated structure design is just under 80 feet wide supported by pylons allowing pedestrians to walk underneath. The wall like retained fill structure is an eliminated design so it is not correct to refer to a dividing wall. Examples of both are in this video.
Web Link


Posted by sue, a resident of Midtown
on Sep 1, 2010 at 12:25 am

Against this from the beginning. Don't let it happen. How many people would actually use the train anyway?


Posted by parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 1, 2010 at 12:43 am

"We're doing it big with this one. It's the ultimate upgrade, and it's for the benefit of the surrounding cities. "

Palo Alto is surrounded by Los Altos, Mountain View, Menlo Park, Atherton -- none of those cities want the HSR run right through their communities either.

So now we know your beef and why you are making these ad hominem attacks against people who don't want their community destroyed. That's not just the royal "WE" is it?

Please tell us your interest in this project, as several posters have already asked.


Posted by resident, a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Sep 1, 2010 at 12:53 am

I wholeheartedly agree with "parent" and I applaud Klein's opposition to the HSR plan as it currently stands. Anyone who has lived in countries like Japan and Europe will understand that a good local public transportation system is a prerequisite for building a long-distance high speed rail system. For HSR to succeed, ie make profit through high ridership, we first need to focus on builiding a functional, efficient transportation system (buses, BART, Caltrain) that links all communities in the Bay Area (and the same goes for the LA basin). The HSR should connect transportation hubs in San Jose and LA so that once passengers get off the HSR, they have ways to arrive at their FINAL destination. This would the best use for our money and time instead of wasting so much time and money to try to force this project through densely populated communities along the peninsula. Even the bullet train in Japan travels at well below its max speed (perhaps 50% faster than regular trains) through densely populated areas in Osaka and Tokyo. So HSR advocates should stop dreaming about HSR zipping between SF and SJ at 200+ mph. The HSR would probably only save about 15 to 30min of travel time between SF-SJ. Is that worth hundreds of millions of dollars? I certainly don't think so. Spending that money to build a punctual and reliable transportation system for the Bay Area (linking north bay, east bay, Sacramento and other NorCal central valley communities) will benefit more people (ie commuters) and ultimately encourage them (including myself) to start using public transportation more.

I originally voted for HSR, but I'm against it now.


Posted by parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 1, 2010 at 12:55 am

Spokker,
Spoken like a true outsider who doesn't know this community. Your link is laughable. You come through Palo Alto with your little tape measure and tell me there's 75 feet MINIMUM along this cal train corridor through town. And you look at what would be impinged on where it's not. (And what of the MAXIMUM needed?? What's that number?) The percentages are useless. What percentage of the track distance in Palo Alto is wide enough without encroaching on Alma, our essential cross-town corridor, or homes right up against the tracks (with their TINY back yards)?

The existing train tracks do not bisect this town the way elevated HSR or expanded at grade HSR would. Go spend some time around the elevated BART track in Oakland and tell me that's not a physical and psychological barrier in those neighborhoods -- and that's a much bigger, more urban place. It's like you're saying, you already got a papercut, you may as well slit your wrists. Big difference.

Even the tracks as they are get discussed frequently for below grade crossing. We don't need things to get worse.

The city counsel in this town is frequently criticized for being TOO environmentally conscientious. The fact that they are now against the HSR should tell you something.


Posted by parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 1, 2010 at 1:04 am

Lest we get lost in the details here, people reading this who think the rail authority is ramming this down our throats their way, our communities be damned, should contact their legislators!! The election did not endow this authority with all this autocratic power, the legislature did when they set the authority up, and they can undo it.

Absolute power corrupts absolutely. If we can't do HSR right, without hurting the towns at the heart of the silicon valley high tech community, we shouldn't do it at all.

The excuses for why we can't go up 101 instead have been vague and self-serving of the rail authority, with no heed paid for the peninsula communities. The legislature needs to change this autocratic monster they have created before they make a mess of important communities (e.g., the biggest tax base in the northern half of the state).


Posted by parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 1, 2010 at 1:10 am

resident,
You have said exactly what I would have wanted to say. It's been obvious for decades that the bay area needs work on the transportation SYSTEM. It's so hard to get around unless you are going from a very limited number of point A's to a limited number of point B's. No system to speak of like in Europe. This HSR only makes another limited use point A to point B, at maximum cost to our state and communities.


Posted by parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 1, 2010 at 1:24 am

Dan S. says,
"People tend to be scared of Changes to their same, dull lives and enviornment. "

No wonder people who have exciting careers in Silicon Valley are scared you will destroy the community and quality of life they are willing to spend a million and half to live on postage-stamp sized properties for. You still haven't disclosed your interest in this. I think most of us can guess from your disdain.

You wrote: "You mean peices of backyards? That's not homes, that's extra land, some of it the size of a small park. Besides, you are being compensated at or above market price, it isn't just taken."

Once again, you make it clear you know nothing about the local community. NOBODY, and I mean NOBODY in Palo Alto save for maybe Steve Jobs (who knocked down the house next door for his garden) could mistake their small backyard for a "park". Perhaps you are thinking of Atherton? Check your little map again.

This is not Los Angeles. If you take out a row of houses in these small cohesive neighborhoods, you affect the entire neighborhood, not just the people who lose their houses. And those people sacrificed in ways you could never imagine to get those ridiculously priced homes in Palo Alto. Few of them will be able to buy something else in Palo Alto at what eminent domain will pay, and their children will be taken out of their schools, etc.


Posted by parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 1, 2010 at 1:32 am

"People tend to be scared of Changes to their same, dull lives and enviornment. "

Weekly: If Dan S. is connected to the rail authority or HSR in some way, as many have asked (and he has declined to state thus far), that quote there is news.

Even if he isn't, the force of his disdain toward peninsula communities makes his interest in this of interest to us. I challenge you to find out.


Posted by TrainIsComing, a resident of another community
on Sep 1, 2010 at 1:58 am

Where in Palo Alto is the track threatening to take a row of houses? The right of way is less than 80 feet south of Churchill but the houses are closer to Mariposa than the tracks. Peers Park area is a bit narrow but there are no houses.


Posted by Alarmed, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Sep 1, 2010 at 2:29 am

Way to go Klein, Burt and Shepherd! Our state needs to spend the $ on improving regional transit, schools, our decrepit water system, overpopulated jails, etc, etc...Email City Council saying you support their anti-HSR actions, TODAY!


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Sep 1, 2010 at 2:55 am

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

Since Mojave is California's first private spaceport I imagine lots of us will want to zip down for an orbital weekend.


Posted by Robert, a resident of Southgate
on Sep 1, 2010 at 7:42 am

@TrainIsComing,

Which dog in this fight is yours? I have a feeling that you too, like DanS and some other interlopers (aka "residents of another community"), people who are spending a lot of time monitoring and contributing to this debate, may be cloaking the special interest that you're covertly promoting. By the way, the attempt to invoke "inevitability" with your name -- "TrainIsComing" -- is cute but won't work.

You claimed that "The right of way is less than 80 feet south of Churchill but the houses are closer to Mariposa than the tracks." Who supplied you with the maps? Have you walked the neighborhood and measured the distances? I live on Mariposa and have been in the backyards of some of the people living adjacent to the right of way. My impression is that their "houses" (meaning the actual buildings) are at least as close to the tracks as they are to Mariposa Avenue if not closer.


Posted by who cares, a resident of Triple El
on Sep 1, 2010 at 7:56 am

Too funny! This action coming from the same Palo Alto council that urged votors to approve the HSR project even though there was no plan, funding, or even route location. Now the council has changed their minds again after misleading voters and have chosen to write and lobby state legislators using nonsense like declaring " no confidence". Klein even goes as far as to say the project is a "threat to the community..." Really! WOW! Last time I checked there still is no approved plan, location, or funding to complete the project. Maybe the problem is Klein and council members who can't envision the future. I am sure if the HSR project included a train station stop in Palo Alto, council members will again change their minds and urge residents to support HSR (after appointing a blue ribbon committee and hiring outside consultants at taxpayer expense). This dysfunctional council is so "wishy-washy" that any respect or credibility from government legislators has been lost long ago.


Posted by Dennis "galen" Mitrzyk, a resident of Ventura
on Sep 1, 2010 at 9:03 am

Well done PA City Council! It's time to kill this monstrous HSR boondoggle... before it's too late.


Posted by Dan S., a resident of another community
on Sep 1, 2010 at 9:05 am

@ Parent

" If Dan S. is connected to the rail authority or HSR in some way, as many have asked (and he has declined to state thus far), that quote there is news."

Please, my interest is that I live in California and I want a better transportation for me, my family and my kids and their kids. I don't want to live in a world where 1/3 of your life is spent breathing, 1/3 sleeping and 1/3 in traffic. I am a citizen of California, someone who embraces changes for the better.

What are my motivations? Lets see, I beleive in this project about 80-90% because their is still bugs to be worked out. I hate bad information (Wich floods this site) [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Koa, a resident of Mountain View
on Sep 1, 2010 at 9:27 am

Since when did Larry Klein and Palo Alto have veto power over a measure passed by the majority of STATE-WIDE voters??


Posted by John, a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 1, 2010 at 10:39 am

This sounds like a matter for an advisory citizens vote in the November election. The people who bought houses close to the train tracks want the rest of us to suffer for their mistake.


Posted by Neighbor, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 1, 2010 at 10:46 am

No one is talking about the state representatives and the San Francisco politicians promoting HSR in order to "have Grand Central Station West" in downtown SF with the new HSR station there. (a quote from a recent SF Chronicle article)
It is my belief that that's why "San Jose to LA" has been rejected, and all the possibilities for improvements to the current rail lines up and down the corridor to connect to a San Jose HSR station are not being considered.
San Francisco is the city that will profit from jobs, tax income and prestige and have a shiny new terminal with restaurants and other attractions for all those conventioneers and other visitors. San Francisco, Sacramento and D.C. are working hand in glove on this project to make this happen!
And the rest of the peninsula will pay the price in so many ways, not just "shallow Palo Alto". ( I voted for the HSR, btw.)


Posted by resident, a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Sep 1, 2010 at 11:18 am

Dan S. , we live near the tracks and home prices are gone down . Not only that, home owners can not even sell them. But if you feel that we will be compensated for fair market value you can bye all the properties near the tracks and after the 'HSR' comes value will go up and will be reichest man on this earth. Rail athorities even do not want to talk about that.


Posted by Steve, a resident of Menlo Park
on Sep 1, 2010 at 11:53 am

Koa-
You wrote: "Since when did Larry Klein and Palo Alto have veto power over a measure passed by the majority of STATE-WIDE voters??"
If you're so concerned that the will of the voters be observed, perhaps we should put it back on the ballot. I have a feeling that the vote might go the other way if we did. Remember, the margin was only about 2% (ie. if 1 out of 50 had voted the other way, it wouldn't have passed).


Posted by Pat G., a resident of Community Center
on Sep 1, 2010 at 12:03 pm

The vocal opponents of HSR are just a few generations removed from the myopic stance peninsula leaders took with BART 30-40 years ago. We would have had a much better alternative to get everywhere around the bay, rather than CalTrain. Terrible leadership then....much of the same it appears today.

HSR should happen for the benefit of everyone and if there are any enlightened and level-headed leaders out there, please spend time trying to find a compromise solution for how our area can accommodate this major addition to our future transportation infrastructure.

Smart people can and must work together to figure this out......p


Posted by Robert, a resident of Southgate
on Sep 1, 2010 at 12:08 pm

@Dan S:

If you want to improve the traffic situation so you and your family don't spend so much time in the car, then you should be pushing for better LOCAL transportation, not an INTERREGIONAL train that will not alleviate local traffic. In fact, in Palo Alto it would INCREASE local traffic if a station were built in Palo Alto. Sorry, your rationale doesn't add up.


Posted by TrainIsComing, a resident of another community
on Sep 1, 2010 at 1:20 pm

@Robert

I looked at the Caltrain right of way map for the section of Mariposa between Churchill Avenue and Sequoia. Some but not all of the right of way is just over 75 feet. A track structure on pylons would need a 79'6" right of way. Web Link


Posted by Amanda, a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Sep 1, 2010 at 1:57 pm

Fear of change is getting old. Other countries manage to get high speed rail up and running. We just manage to get left behind.


Posted by P.A. Native, a resident of Mountain View
on Sep 1, 2010 at 2:08 pm

@ Steve

"If you're so concerned that the will of the voters be observed, perhaps we should put it back on the ballot."

What??? We already voted Steve. Remember? Your comment makes no sense. BTW, if all of Palo Alto and Menlo Park changed their votes to "No", it still wouldn't be enough to change the outcome. You say 1 out of 50, but how many sets of 50?


Posted by neighbor, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Sep 1, 2010 at 3:47 pm

I continue to be disgusted by those from "another community" who criticize the NIMBYs of Palo Alto. It's always easy to critize the NIMBY argument when it's not your backyard.

As for those who think this would be a "slight" expansion, please do your homework. It would be far from slight and would result in hundreds of families being displaced -- and for what? A financial albatross that will remain around the necks of Californias for generations to come.

"Having a station in Palo Alto would be a great boon. It would be a benefit for business and education and would also make it easier to access the cultural offerings in SF. Who wouldn't benefit from fast mass transit to SF and LA? It works in Europe." A boon??? Are you kidding? And where will the $150 million come from to build the garages? And who will have to lose their business or home to make room for those garages? And how pleasant will it be to spend an hour driving from Stanford to South Palo Alto to accomodate all of those who invade the city to park (especially considering the increase in traffic that is inevitable with the Stanford expansion)? And how "green" will Alma street and neighboring communities be with all that car exhaust?

It works in Europe for reasons that do not exist here. Americans are wedded to their cars, and that is not likely to change. Interestingly, a Japanese friend of mine who went home for a vacation this summer flew city to city because it was cheaper than taking Japan's HSR.Is it possible people are stating things as fact that are not factual about how other countries operate?

Finally, anyone who believes this will not/does not impact property values is dreaming. As any realtor in the area who has been trying to sell properties along the rail corrider -- values have dropped significantly more than the overall drop in values through PA. That's not conjecture, it is substantiated fact. Properties along the corrider are also likely to stay on the market longer (no figures seen on that as yet) than in the past.

CONGRATULATIONS to the City Council -- please continue to advocate for a liveable city.


Posted by P.A. Native, a resident of Mountain View
on Sep 1, 2010 at 4:12 pm

So the question becomes: How do we get the rest of the state to be concerned over your property values?

Answer: We don't.


I'm not sure how families get displaced either. Wouldn't it be their option to leave, or do you know something the rest of us don't know? Are they planning on running trains through the living rooms of the houses along the tracks?


Posted by pat, a resident of Midtown
on Sep 1, 2010 at 5:17 pm

> "How do we get the rest of the state to be concerned over your property values?"

"We don't" is the correct answer. But EVERYONE in the state should be concerned about the financial ramifications of this project. Who will end up paying for it? EVERYONE!


Posted by jim H., a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 1, 2010 at 5:24 pm

P.A. Native - Votes are overturned all the time. Remember Grey Davis? We voted him in, too. Gay marriage? That gets overturned on a weekly basis. According to Joe Simitian's office, all that is needed is enough signatures, and it can be voted out as easily as it was voted in.


Posted by P.A. Native, a resident of Mountain View
on Sep 1, 2010 at 5:48 pm

Yeah, I voted for Gray Davis and my vote overturned through political shenanigans. Oh how it worked out for the state of California too. I'm still angry about that.

Gay marriage is more of a civil rights issue, that's why a judge overturned it and not a re-vote (although I will admit that another vote was only a matter of time).

This vote was to ask whether or not Californians wanted a HSR. They said they do. Not sure how a re-vote is justified in this case. Seems more like obstructionism to me.


Posted by DREAMON, a resident of another community
on Sep 1, 2010 at 5:54 pm

stop the lies about walls and 10s of thousands of ruined and bulldozed homes..this will be the BEST thing for this state since the GoldenGate Bridge and PA wil be just fine and in the future will be thankful for the wonderful HSR and the beautiful station in PaloAlto!!


Posted by who cares, a resident of Triple El
on Sep 1, 2010 at 6:56 pm

We are all sorry you were hoodwinked by your city council into voting for this project. We are sorry you failed to research the proposition prior to your vote approving HSR and now feel your problem is our problem. We are all sorry you feel your home sale profits may drop because voters in your community and statewide voted to approve HSR. Perhaps instead of blaming others for the perceived problem that HSR might have an adverse effect on your community as Mr. Klein suggests, you might research the facts and realities of the project yourself instead of listening to the politicians and media. Too funny that posts congratulating the city council for attempting to stall the project when they were the first to promote it's approval.


Posted by Phil, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Sep 1, 2010 at 7:38 pm

I would like Palo Alto to take a formal stance approving the HSR, and start working toward getting a train station in Palo Alto.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Ventura
on Sep 1, 2010 at 9:27 pm

Hooray for Larry Klein! Glad that he is flexible enough to respond to the new information... hope that the rest of the Council and whole State does the same and kills this expensive, harmful boondoggle.


Posted by jim, a resident of Midtown
on Sep 1, 2010 at 9:28 pm

To against HSR plan is a stupid way for California.


Posted by priorities, a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 1, 2010 at 10:51 pm

There is "nice" to have and "need" to have. Schools, jobs, medical care = need to have. Funky new statutes on California Avenue = (perhaps) nice to have. So many of the reasons why our economy is in the toliet is because people confused their "need" for mega mansions that they couldn't afford and consumption on credit with actual "need." Do we "need" to spend billions NOW on HSR? Really??? Really??? Either way, get it sorted and stop wasting money on endless meetings and future lawsuits. We live in an extremely priviledged society where we have the luxury to debate where our vast resources can be allocated. Now, wake up! Those resources are shrinking and we need to budget. Do you really want to pay for a lawyer rather than a teacher? Do we really need HSR now?


Posted by Parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 1, 2010 at 11:00 pm

Kern County SchoolDistrict now indicates it will bring in the California Department of Education to protect its school from the stupidity of the CHSRA trying to build a high speed rail line in too close proximity to their historic high school campus. PAUSD should contact Kern County School District immediately and find out what they can do to help and partner on this effort. PAUSD also has an historic high school campus to protect.

There ought to be a law. Simitian? Are you there?

Contact your local politicians and tell them you expect them to protect our schools, our neighborhoods, our backyards, our community parks, our historic downtowns, historic landmarks, our canopy, and our rights as property owners and tax payers to define our neighborhoods.

CHSRA makes the important mistake that Prop1A gave them license to redefine and remodel the entire state.


Posted by anon, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 2, 2010 at 5:59 am

To Dan S. Please look at Google Maps and see how wide my husband's brother's back yard is. It is on Park Blvd. close to the utility substation. You will be surprised, it is not a "park" but a very very small strip of land. No room to take more. Watch what you say please.


Posted by Sally, a resident of Midtown
on Sep 2, 2010 at 6:09 am

Question-I'm curious, how many of PA Weekly readers will go to LA on the HSR?
Funny how proponents think we will all jump on the HSR to go to LA. Currently, I can jump on the Caltrain and get to the City (SF) in 1 hour - however, I rarely go. Maybe a big trip to the City around the holidays. That's it! So I really don't think I will go to LA on the train. If I want to take baby to Disneyland, I will fly.


Posted by Sally, a resident of Midtown
on Sep 2, 2010 at 6:13 am

FYI - this meeting was just posted:
---------------------------------------------------------------------
You're Invited!
High Speed Rail and Eminent Domain Presentation
By the Community Coalition on High Speed Rail (CC-HSR) Tuesday October 5, 2010, 7pm
Palo Alto City Council Chambers, 250 Hamilton, Palo Alto

The California High Speed Rail Authority is proposing to build an elevated structure between San Jose and San Francisco along the present Caltrain corridor. If that proposal comes to pass (it's not a done deal yet; CC-HSR and many other concerned community groups are fighting it), the Authority will need to take hundreds of family homes and other properties from private parties along portions of the corridor. Some takings will be permanent — others will be for construction purposes only. Either way, a great many people will be displaced and neighborhoods permanently transformed. There will be other significant impacts to those nearby who may be effected by noise, vibration and traffic that will have an effect on home values. These takings will have major and in some cases devastating impacts on Peninsula homes and businesses.

Eminent domain attorney Andrew J. Turner, Turner, Turner & Turner, B.C., will be CC-HSR's guest speaker. Mr. Turner will provide a brief overview of the eminent domain laws in California. In addition, Gary A. Patton, Of Counsel, Wittwer & Parkin, LP, will provide updates on the Community Coalition's efforts to force the Authority to 'do it right' - or not at all.
The Community Coalition on High Speed Rail is a grassroots, non-profit corporation, based on the San Francisco Peninsula, that is working through public advocacy, litigation, and political action to make sure the proposed California High Speed Rail project doesn't adversely affect the economy, environment, or quality of life of California's existing communities.


Posted by Robert, a resident of Southgate
on Sep 2, 2010 at 11:44 am

@Phil, a resident of the Fairmeadow neighborhood:

From your post, we now know that you "would like Palo Alto to take a formal stance approving the HSR, and start working toward getting a train station in Palo Alto." But of more interest to those wanting to know more than what you personally would like, are the REASONS WHY you take that position. Then we could see if they stood up to scrutiny or are misinformed.


Posted by TrainIsComing, a resident of another community
on Sep 2, 2010 at 11:46 am

@Anon

The Caltrain right of way along Park Blvd near the utility substation is 110'. An elevated structure would take up 80' and four tracks at grade would take 96'. What need is there to take more land? Web Link


Posted by Steve, a resident of Menlo Park
on Sep 2, 2010 at 11:53 am

@P.A. Native
My point makes a lot of sense if you take your ideological blinders off and think about it.
My point was that the will of the people has probably changed since Prop 1A barely passed in 2008. HSR supporters were very cagey to schedule that referendum at a high point in the economy - having postponed it twice because the economy in 2002 and 2006 was weak (the economy was already tanking in Nov. 2008 but most people weren't aware of how bad it was going to be when they went to the polls).
I'm confident that if the issue were put on the ballot this November it would go down in flames.
Bottom line: I don't believe HSR has the support of the majority of California voters anymore. Do you really doubt that?
So why are we persisting in a project that has lost the support of the people? Especially when the state is running a $20Billion annual deficit, firing teachers, and letting its other infrastructure decay even further?
Sounds like your saying that voters,like politicians, aren't allowed to change their minds.


Posted by Steve, a resident of Menlo Park
on Sep 2, 2010 at 11:56 am

Correction:
Sounds like you're saying that voters,like politicians, aren't allowed to change their minds.


Posted by TrainIsComing, a resident of another community
on Sep 2, 2010 at 12:02 pm

The Caltrain station in Palo Alto is the busiest on the line after San Francisco. Caltrain has a deficit and cannot afford the $1.5 billion to electrify the line. Caltrain yesterday spoke in favor of certifying the environmental impact statement for the peninsula. Caltrain sees electrification and improved service increasing ridership and their finances. How would the Palo Alto council pay for the $1.5 billion dollars to electrify Caltrain and more to eliminate grade crossings along the Caltrain line?


Posted by Tom Jordan, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 2, 2010 at 12:10 pm

HSR as a concept is an excellent idea which several European countries and Japan and China have shown can work and be beneficial. No dispute about that. But the issue is not the concept. The issue is the execution of the project by these particular individuals on the HSR Authority, and that execution is totally unacceptable for the reasons set out very well in the paper prepared by Larry Klein for submittal to the Palo Alto City Council. The intelligent discussion should focus on those specific factual statements in Larry Klein's statement to the Council. Any further postings to this item that want to support HSR as it is, should deal with those specifics. At this point we have on the table a target for HSR supporters to shoot at --- Larry Klein's proposed resolution. Those who continue name calling and vague statements should be ignored. Let the HSR supporters speak to the proposed resolution or be deemed irrelevant.


Posted by Rail Supporter in PA, a resident of Green Acres
on Sep 2, 2010 at 12:28 pm

I am heavily in favor of HSR to Palo Alto.

Scenario 1: Visiting Yosemite.
Rail: 58 minutes from PA to Merced;
catch the Yosemite Shuttle to Yosemite.
Car: 4 hour drive

Scenario 2: Attend conference at UCSD.
Rail: 4 hour ride from PA to La Jolla.
Car: 8 hour drive

No contest. I would definitely use it.


Posted by pat, a resident of Midtown
on Sep 2, 2010 at 12:50 pm

For a succinct summary of all the problems with HSR see "Fast train to financial disaster" at
Web Link


Posted by P.A. Native, a resident of Mountain View
on Sep 2, 2010 at 12:51 pm

@ Steve,

I get what you're saying, I do. The problem is, when do we decide that something has been decided upon when everything is still up for debate post vote? If it's all about lawyers and petitions, why bother to vote unless you carry some political weight?


Posted by DeceivedVoter, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Sep 2, 2010 at 2:09 pm

I'm thrilled that our City Council, like Rip Van Winkle, has awaken from its deep sleep to realize that the voters were deceived with Prop 1A. Many voters like myself had NO idea that the authority secretly planned to use the Pacheco instead the more cost-efficient Altamont pass. If there was another vote today, Prop 1A would NEVER pass. In addition, the Altamont pass would have been a cheaper route for HSR, but the politicos on the CHSRA needed to include their fiefdoms on the route.
Gosh, everyone knows that Bakersfield and Fresno are destination cities, right? NOT!!!
It's so funny to me that people keep referring to BART, when in actuality, HSR should run along BART lines, not Caltrain!
In addition, cities like Berkeley have BART tunneled so they don't have to hear it and also don't have to deal with blight along its tracks.
Kudos to Larry Klein for trying to fight this monstrosity!


Posted by Steve, a resident of Menlo Park
on Sep 2, 2010 at 2:18 pm

@P.A. Native -
You ask a good question: "when do we decide that something has been decided"
In this case, it would have been good if the initiative had passed by a solid majority instead of just squeeking by with 2% of the vote.

It would also be more convincing if the voters had been provided with honest estimates of expected ridership (grossly inflated), expected total cost (under-estimated) and ticket prices (grossly under-estimated). Instead the voters were sold a pig-in-a-poke that we can't afford to build and most Californians won't be able to afford to ride.
To my mind, if we see we're headed down the wrong track (no pun intended) we should stop and change course - not just continue because at one point we thought this was the right thing to do.
We need to stop before we waste money that we really don't have to waste.


Posted by The vote, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Sep 2, 2010 at 5:13 pm

I actually thought the vote was for a $9B bond to enable HSR, if a good plan could be achieved and the other funding was supplied by private investment (thus ensuring some analysis resulting in ROI by someone with a stake in the investment).

I did not think the vote was to "build HSR according to Diridon's favorite plan and politic to obtain enough state and federal money as is necessary to do that."

I actually thought that the plan would have to reach a certain standard of sense in order to access even the $9B, and that the state could not directly or indirectly spend more than $9B on the project no matter what.

Did I misunderstand the bill, or are politicians riding roughshod over the law "which is necessary to get anything done around here."


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