Residents demand tunnels for high-speed trains
Original post made
on Feb 27, 2009
Anger, confusion and frustration over California's proposed high-speed rail system dominated a tense informational meeting Thursday, where dozens of Palo Altans demanded underground tunnels and one City Council member threatened to sue the state agency in charge of the project.
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posted Friday, February 27, 2009, 6:18 AM
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Posted by Parent
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 27, 2009 at 3:11 pm
Be clear. The station concept is a MAJOR TRANSPORT HUB, like an SFO. It would need to include major incoming and outgoing busses, shuttles, auto lanes, RENTAL CAR availability, long term parking, etc. Like SFO.
On so many levels that is wrong for palo alto. It makes not even a moments worth of sense to consider drawing massive traffic into the heart of palo alto, off 101. Look around (SFO, SJ, LAX). This kind of transit hub requires space to build the transit infrastructure (not JUST the station), AND it requires easy access to roads - FREEWAYS.
A station would eventually likely mean huge freeway overpasses linking 101 to that station. I have not a moments worth of doubt about that. If you believe their volume/ridership projections, they are saying that the HSR will have more ridership than our local airports do today for trips between SF to LA.
This doesn't solve ANY, not even ONE commute or transportation problem for the local residents of Palo Alto (or the surrounding Peninsula cities) who live and work in these cities. It only draws MORE congestion in, and with it BLIGHT.
HSR doesn't take ONE CAR off the roads for californian's. They'll point you to European cities who use rail instead of auto successfully, those are very dense cities, who have very viable transit systems built up that get their citizens succesfully from door to door. We just don't have that. We ARE NOT dense, and given even the most horrendeous growth projections WON'T BE that dense. WE don't have transit systems to take people to and from stations.
Trains go in STRAIGHT LINES. People will still need their cars. This is NOT good for getting Palo Altan's or Californians for that matter, out of cars, so lets just knock that BS off right now.
Instead of DROOLING all over the station and dense housing acceleration, our city council should be asked the CHSRA to prove some very pointed environmetnal impacts: What much growth in auto traffic? On what roads/ What road changes required and who will pay? When? How are our KIDS walks, bikes and drives to schools impacted? How many parks and trees are cut down? What's the CO2 impact for THAT, where will the tree replacements be planted, how much will that cost and who will pay? How will our parks and field space be impacted, and where will replacement park and field space be provided, and who will pay for that? How much dense housing and retail development will be mandated, required or otherwise expected to result from CHSR, and how many new residetns will that create? How will that impact schools, and where will the new schools capacity come from? Who will pay for that?
How will noise, vibration, wind (from high speed passing trains), dust/particle disturbance, exposure to high voltage electrical lines, visual blight (etc) impact the value of properties that ARE NOT taken by eminent domain. How much will that cost our cities, and who will pay for that?
How will rerouting of traffic flows impact property values all over town? who will pay for that?
How will local citizens and city council retain authority over future decisions related to HSR impacts? (HINT: THEY WONT! Think ABAG Mandates)
Who pays for every last bit of infrastructure changes that are a direct AND indirect result of HSR (streets, roadways, sidewalks, lighting, sewer, electric)? How are impacts from HSR proven (ie: If middlefield traffic all of a sudden is inundated because traffic starts trying to find shortcuts through the city to get to HSR stations - Middlefield is collateral damage. Who's going to be left holding the bag for those impacts?
And specifically how much and exactly where will eminent domain be required? How much will homeonwers be compenstated? How much will surrounding neighbors whose land is NOT taken, but whose property values are decimated, how much will they be compensated? Exactly how much will that cost, and by whom and when? What happens if citizens of Palo Alto refuse to give up public lands (for example El Camino Park for an 800 space parking garage)? Will that be taken by eminent domain too?
And what are the specific additional impacts for ALL this during construction? And under each design scenario?
Before standing up screaming about lawsuits (which absolutely MUST be part of the equation if it comes to that) the first thing that the city council needs to be REQUIRING is DETAILED STUDY of EVERY SINGLE LAST consequence for this city. They need to shed this misguided idea that the citizens of Palo Alto are going to support densification (and utter destruction), and they need to start getting some very REAL and COMPLETE financial quantifications of all possible impacts and mitigations.
I happen to believe that lawsuits are NOT the only way to stop this. When the very arrogant and misguided CHSRA starts to do a REAL study, and starts to put the REAL costs on paper of this route, I believe they will have NO CHOICE but to find a different route.
And by the way, Barton, you are a menace to this town and YOU MUST BE REMOVED IMMEDIATELY. Your days of driving densification into this town, are OVER OVER OVER.