In our endless quest to find the perfect solution to the conundrum that is high-speed rail, I think the city is overlooking an obvious alternative: low-speed rail.
This little-known, easygoing technology, which is slowly catching on in cities across the globe, is low-cost, friendly to the environment and non-disruptive to communities' quality of life. While HSR is estimated to cost California $65 billion (and climbing), low-speed rail costs a whopping $50,000 (contingency fees included).
Why spend massive amounts of tax-payer dollars for underground tunnels, elevated tracks and property-taking? Low-speed rail -- which is basically a handcar, though it looks a lot nicer than the ones from the 1800s -- can operate on existing Caltrain right-of-way. No need for government subsidies, endless pleas to reluctant private investors, trying to sell air rights or launching the project in obscure Central Valley towns so as not to raise a ruckus.
And the timeline? Forget 2035. Heck, we could get it going tomorrow! As usual, I think Palo Alto is overthinking the thing. Low-speed rail: It's the right thing to do.
(Oh, and APRIL FOOLS!)