News

Palo Alto demands Caltrain upgrades as part of county tax

City officials make a case for grade separation on rail corridor

With a transportation-tax measure speeding toward the November 2016 ballot, cities throughout Santa Clara County have collectively submitted more than 600 projects that they'd like to see funded with the new tax. But while recent polls show strong support for the measure countywide, many in Palo Alto remain highly skeptical about any proposal that does not separate the train tracks that serve Caltrain from city roadways.

The City Council on Tuesday night made a fresh case for why such an ambitious and potentially transformative project should be at least partially funded by the measure, which would raise the sales tax by 1/2 cent and would raise about $6 billion for rail, expressway and road-repair projects throughout the county.

And after hearing the latest update on the tax measure from Carl Guardino, CEO of Silicon Valley Leadership Group, council members took turns making the case for a so-called "grade separation," which would involve building a trench for Caltrain. The project would have an estimated price tag of about $1 billion.

Guardino, whose business group is leading the drive toward the tax measure, had plenty of good news to report about the latest polling numbers. In the latest survey by pollster Jim Moore, 73 percent of respondents said they would support a 1/4-cent tax increase for transportation, while 68 percent they would support a 1/2-cent hike. Guardino said his organization supports the greater increase.

"It's the view of the Leadership Group that if we're going to collectively do anything together in 2016, let's go big or not do anything," Guardino said.

The high polling numbers, driven by a thriving economy and rising traffic congestion, offered high hopes to proponents of the measure. Even more encouragingly, every category of transportation improvements proposed to voters won overwhelming support. According to the poll, 86 percent favored using the tax funds to finish the BART extension to downtown San Jose and Santa Clara; 88 percent supported fixing potholes and maintaining streets; 80 percent supported traffic-relief measures on county expressways (including Foothill and Oregon expressways in Palo Alto); and 84 percent favored improving bike and pedestrian safety near schools.

Caltrain also scored well, winning a 73 percent favorable rating (16 percent opposed using the funding for Caltrain while 11 percent had no opinion). But for Palo Alto, which is bisected by the tracks, no project is more important, city officials argued Tuesday.

Councilman Pat Burt said that the combination of a modernized Caltrain and the proposed high-speed rail system would bring more trains to the Peninsula, to the tune of one train every three minutes. This will happen on rail-roadway intersections that Burt said are "already at virtual gridlock."

"This is what a lot of my colleagues have been really focusing on," Burt said. "On the horizon, we don't have a choice or a preference for grade separation. It's a necessity. And if we don't have it, we're going to choke off the cities that are the crown jewels of the valley and destroy not only our communities but our economies."

Councilman Eric Filseth didn't dispute that extending BART is an important project but painted a similarly grim picture of the Peninsula's future without the trenching of the rail line.

With train frequency on the rise and high-speed rail planning to share the tracks with Caltrain by 2029, traffic conditions will deteriorate further, he said.

"Congestion is going to lobotomize the Peninsula into two long, thin cities," Filseth said.

While traffic flow is one concern, safety is another. Just two days before Guardino's presentation, a northbound train smashed into an unoccupied car on a south Palo Alto grade crossing. The tracks have also been the scene of two separate clusters of teen deaths by suicide since 2009, prompting renewed calls for submerging the rail line as a strategy for restricting people's access to the tracks.

Yet when it comes to upgrading Caltrain, recent tax measures have not gone as far as needed, council members argued. According to an analysis by Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian, about 80 percent of the tax funds from the last two tax measures have gone to San Jose for the upgrade of BART, a project with regional significance but little relevance for most Palo Alto residents and commuters.

This trend, which is reflected in Simitian's report, has made some Palo Alto residents and city officials skeptical about the new tax measure. David Coale, a member of the local groups Carbon Free Palo Alto and Bike Palo Alto, is among them. Addressing the council, Coale summarized his position with the idiom, "Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me."

"Since Measure A passed in 2000, 15 years ago, over 80 percent of our transportation dollars have gone to BART and we have not yet moved one person with this system on the Peninsula," Coale said. "In the meantime, Caltrain, which is the main rail system in the county, is over capacity and in serious need of upgrading."

The recent tendency of tax funds going mainly to south county for BART improvements has also prompted concerns among city officials in the north county and West Valley about VTA's process of soliciting and selecting projects that would be funded by the measure.

Last month, mayors of nine cities co-signed letter to the VTA calling for a comprehensive study to develop a "system-wide plan that integrates future mass investments in Santa Clara County, with connections to other counties, via such systems as Caltrain, as well as community-level systems and 'first/last mile' strategies."

The coalition, which also includes Mountain View, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Sunnyvale, Campbell, Cupertino, Los Gatos and Saratoga, argued that the study should begin as soon as possible so that it can "inform near-term project funding decisions."

In response, the VTA officials agreed to initiate such a study but made it clear that the study would not be used to consider projects for the current tax measure. In a letter to the mayors, VTA board chair Perry Woodward, wrote that he does not agree that waiting for a study to inform near-term decision is a desirable approach.

"As you know, it takes time to accomplish the objectives of these types of studies," Woodward's letter states. "Major investment studies can in some cases, take two or more years to complete. While a comprehensive, major investment study will certainly inform decision making for future projects, our regional needs are immediate and continuous. We don't have the luxury of a pause while we consider future options."

Mayor Karen Holman on Tuesday called the VTA's response letter "disappointing," while Councilman Tom Dubois echoed some of the public concerns about the unequal distribution of transportation funding.

"We haven't seen a lot of benefit from previous two tax measures," DuBois said. "There's serious questions on whether there is support for another sales tax."

Even so, the council stopped short of issuing any ultimatums or conditioning the city's support on the Caltrain's grade separation. Councilman Marc Berman pointed out that no one is denying the importance of finishing the BART project, but noted that Palo Alto and other cities on the Peninsula suffer from "pretty massive congestion."

"Those are challenges that cost more to fix that the funding currently identified," Berman said. "We are very realistic about the fact that this tax measure will not fully fund the problems that currently exist, but I think we do hope and even anticipate that it will be a very important piece to that bigger puzzle."

Guardino stressed that his group supports including Caltrain improvements as part of the package and spreading out the funding in an equitable way across the county's 15 cities and towns. He also told the council that his group would support putting a cap on how much of the funding would be spent on the BART project, possibly at 25 percent. He had made a similar commitment two weeks ago at a meeting of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors, upon request by Simitian, Guardino said.

"We need traffic relief throughout the county, not one portion of the county," Guardino said.

With a collective price tag of about $900 million, Palo Alto's list of 23 projects is relatively modest by comparison with other jurisdictions, Guardino said. Gilroy, for instance, had a list that totaled $1.9 billion, Guardino said.

"They have twice the need, or twice the appetite or twice the imagination that you do," Guardino quipped.

But while the Leadership Group supports Caltrain improvements, it's not clear whether this includes grade separation. Guardino noted that the list of projects submitted by the cities totals about $50 billion, far more than the $6 billion that the tax measure would raise.

And the polling question didn't ask respondents about grade separation but about "improving Caltrain commuter rail service from Gilroy to Palo Alto." What exactly that means is a question that several council members are hoping to see answered in the months ahead.

Comments

11 people like this
Posted by grade separation
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 16, 2015 at 10:17 am

Great to see council members making the case for grade separation. Wise choice. Our streets are unable to support current volumes of traffic and parking. Future growth make the situation untenable. Transportation infrastructure is among government's top responsibilities. Vision and investment are needed to keep Palo Alto moving. Health and safety make the argument more compelling. Grade separation makes sense at a number of levels. Let's do as most great cities have done and bury our traffic problems. Underground it.


14 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 16, 2015 at 10:55 am

For decades, we have been spending too much public money on highways and not enough on public transit. I'm glad that the city is finally trying to reverse that trend.


5 people like this
Posted by train rider
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 16, 2015 at 11:00 am

we are curious why palo alto has fenced the tracks-but, no other city has. what is the purpose and outcome of fencing? we understand in theory, but in reality, what does fencing really do---especially since we are the only city to make this some sort of priority. menlo park/ mountain view


Like this comment
Posted by Robert
a resident of another community
on Sep 16, 2015 at 11:04 am

Perhaps before "demanding" upgrades, Palo Alto should have some kind of idea what upgrades you actually want?


6 people like this
Posted by ReasonForFences
a resident of Palo Verde
on Sep 16, 2015 at 11:40 am

to train rider
Barron Park, eh?
Don't read much local news, do you?
Aren't you aware of the suicides on the tracks? Particularly young people?
That is the primary reason for the fencing.


14 people like this
Posted by Slow Down
a resident of Community Center
on Sep 16, 2015 at 11:41 am

Slow Down is a registered user.

Does Palo Alto really deserve a billion dollars in shared funds for trenching when other cities have already gone with the much cheaper elevation? It's quite an arrogant request.


12 people like this
Posted by Break down the silos.
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 16, 2015 at 11:55 am

As a former regular supporter of transit funding, I want to say that I will not vote for any measure that doesn't have clear language designating a specific sum that will cover the cost of grade separation along with specific language that describes a project will work for Peninsula cities. Thanks Joe Simitian for shining a very bright light on this FAILURE of our transit authorities, especially VTA, to support the north county.

I'm generally frustrated with the transit authorities (VTA, MTC HSRA, Caltrain, Caltrans) who seem to live in an echo chamber. They hear only the voices in their bureaucratic silos. They don't collaborate between agencies and they appear completely deaf to the public's pleas for an integrated, regional net work that WORKS.

Break down the silos and start working collaboratively toward solving problems, then you will get my support for funding. Drop BRT. We don't need a bus system that competes with our train system. We need improved, more frequent train service with grade separation and a bus system that SUPPORTS an integrated regional network. Spend the proposed BRT money on improving Caltrain and improving the regional network.

VTA, LISTEN to us!


13 people like this
Posted by Mark Simon, Caltrain
a resident of another community
on Sep 16, 2015 at 1:01 pm

Train Rider: A few corrections, for the sake of the permanent record. The fencing being installed in Palo Alto is being installed and funded by Caltrain. The city is paying for the removal of the vegetation required to install the fencing, and the city is paying for an 18-inch addition to the top of the fence. In the past decade, Caltrain has installed thousands of lineal feet of fencing throughout the 55-mile right of way. A ride on the train in either direction will show substantial fencing in every community. Our fencing program has called for the installation of this fencing in Palo Alto -- at the city's request and in response to the recent incidents, we have moved up the timeline for these installations. Whether it will be effective in reducing suicides is hard to say. That it is worth the effort is beyond dispute. Mark Simon, Executive Officer, Public Affairs, Caltrain


4 people like this
Posted by Lotsa Luck
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 16, 2015 at 1:12 pm

Good luck trenching the train north of Meadow Drive with all of the creek crossings and water-table issues. The crossings at Oregon, Embarcadero and University would have to be completely rebuilt if this trench is to extend north of Meadow Drive and that would far exceed the $1 billion the project is estimated to cost. If the trench doesn't go north of Meadow Drive, everyone in north Palo Alto will be crying that the trains weren't trenched in their half of town. In addition, the trains would have to be back above ground before they get to the creek where they cross a political boundary into Menlo Park/San Mateo county, neither of which has plans to build a train trench that I know of, so the trench would have to end before the creek and you would have to devise another way to grade separate Palo Alto Avenue/Alma. Really, the trains should come out of the contemplated trench somewhere north of Churchill and south of University. Leave the University avenue underpass intact. The trains would be above ground at the Palo Alto station and on through Palo Alto Avenue and over the creek.

Then, what happens when HSR decides it wants its own set of tracks separate from Caltrain? Will this trench accomodate four tracks for both Caltrain and HSR or just two for Caltrain? That decision would have to be made sooner than later because it would cost even more billions to re-dig the trench to accomodate a pair of HSR tracks. Are city leaders thinking that far ahead? I rather doubt it.

Before they spend millions on consultants and studies, city leaders should go out and have a look around at the right of way itself and the crossings in question, and bring the city engineer along with them. A lot of these problems become apparent just by looking around. I grew up in Palo Alto and am quite familiar with the territory.

Trains in a trench is a nice pipe dream but it would be frightfully expensive to trench them for the entire length of the city, as well as being fraught with difficult engineering problems. $1 billion won't even begin to cover it. Really you only need to grade separate four crossings.


Like this comment
Posted by ODB
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 16, 2015 at 1:23 pm

Mark Simon: as Executive Officer, Public Affairs, Caltrain, you should know that the Caltrain right of way is 77.4 miles from San Francisco to Gilroy, not 55 miles.


4 people like this
Posted by Robert
a resident of another community
on Sep 16, 2015 at 1:29 pm

@ODB

Caltrain doesn't own the tracks south of San Jose, sorry.


1 person likes this
Posted by ODB
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 16, 2015 at 1:34 pm

Who does own the ROW south of San Jose? Union Pacific?


2 people like this
Posted by Jeff Rensch
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 16, 2015 at 2:04 pm

Gennady, I assume you meant $1.9 billion for Gilroy, not $1.9 million?


3 people like this
Posted by gsheyner
a resident of another community
on Sep 16, 2015 at 2:09 pm

gsheyner is a registered user.

Thanks, Jeff. Good catch. Sorry for the slip. I fixed it.

-Gennady


2 people like this
Posted by anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 16, 2015 at 5:34 pm

Vote NO - against this tax on the ballot unless there is SIGNIFICANT funding provided to northern Santa Clara County. And this does NOT mean minor bicycling projects or the terrible bus proposal for the center of El Camino Real. I welcome more details on any proposals concerning Caltrain and highways or country expressways in northern Santa Clara County.


2 people like this
Posted by ODB
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 16, 2015 at 5:46 pm

Gennady -

Excellent job of covering transportation issues over the years. Thank you.


3 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 16, 2015 at 5:49 pm

I am happy that this discussion about grade separation is going on at the county/Caltrail level rather than a city by city piecemeal effort. This has to be done efficiently through the Peninsula to ensure that there is no roller coaster situation. I suspect raising the track will be the best solution although of course that going under San Antonio and then raising above Castro Street may do that.

This is not a Palo Alto issue alone. It is a Caltrain issue. It is a county issue. It is a Bay Area transportation issue.

When we start getting an overall regional transport authority we may start getting a productive solution to traffic and transportation issues in the Bay Area.


Like this comment
Posted by ODB
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 16, 2015 at 6:12 pm

Each county would have to levy its own taxes and decide what to do with the revenue. Santa Clara county does not have jurisdiction over the entire peninsula or bay area.


2 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 16, 2015 at 6:25 pm

ODB - That's exactly what's wrong with the Bay Area.

Too many islands. Too many Berlin Walls. Too many Agencies. Too many counties.

Too many Chiefs, not enough Indians.


Like this comment
Posted by ODB
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 16, 2015 at 7:24 pm

Well, Resident, go off in search of Utopia. When you find it, please let the rest of us know.


3 people like this
Posted by Free money
a resident of another community
on Sep 16, 2015 at 8:06 pm

Silicon Valley corporations and their rich executives will always support a higher tax on anyone else and some politicians just want their cut. Disgraceful.


4 people like this
Posted by Donald
a resident of South of Midtown
on Sep 16, 2015 at 8:53 pm

Palo Alto is in no position to make demands on a countywide ballot measure. If the project list is tilted towards Palo Alto and the majority of the county (read San Jose) votes against it, then Palo Alto gets nothing. We are all in this together and we need to look beyond our city boundaries. Parochial thinking will only doom us to fragmented and unsatisfactory solutions. Yes, we need upgrades to Caltrain but we have other needs in other parts of the county as well.


7 people like this
Posted by relentlesscactus
a resident of another community
on Sep 16, 2015 at 9:05 pm

"Does Palo Alto really deserve a billion dollars in shared funds for trenching when other cities have already gone with the much cheaper elevation? It's quite an arrogant request."

"Slow Down". Palo Alto is arrogant in asking for a trench.

"Lotsa Luck" perfectly outlines the reasons a trench isn't happening for $1 billion, and freight would have to be in the mix as well. This is politicians grandstanding to sink everything into a trench, as bad as sinking it into BART.


2 people like this
Posted by WilliamR
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Sep 16, 2015 at 9:13 pm

Elevating the tracks always seems to be synonymous with 'solid berm' as was done in San Carlos, etc. But I've wondered if some type of elongated arch design would work. I'm not an engineer, but something like that would require less real estate at ground level. The best mental picture I can give is the old Roman aqueducts, but with only one row of arches.


Like this comment
Posted by Donald
a resident of South of Midtown
on Sep 16, 2015 at 9:36 pm

Elevated tracks can be done in a variety of ways. How about if we have a design contest to allow artists/architects propose designs, the way we did for the bridge over 101? It doesn't need to be ugly.


5 people like this
Posted by Ben
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 16, 2015 at 9:43 pm

Seems to me that Silicon Valley Leadership Group is a publicly funded private enterprise lead by Carl Guardino, that has resulted in HUGE financial windfalls to contractors picked to work on the never ending BART projects funded by years of continued taxes. It seems that the fix is already in for the lions share of any new tax to again go to BART, and work on Caltrain grade separations of any form are already being given lip service.

Here is another poll number, I vote NO for more years of taxes to support the pet projects of SVLG. Who put them in charge of Silicon Valley transportation projects any ways?


1 person likes this
Posted by Lotsa Luck
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 16, 2015 at 9:47 pm

Donald makes a good point. If Palo Alto gets $1 billion to trench the trains in this ballot measure and Mountain View, Sunnyvale and Santa Clara have to live with the trains above ground, what do you think are the chances of it passing? Answer: very slim.


5 people like this
Posted by Slow Down
a resident of Community Center
on Sep 16, 2015 at 10:00 pm

Slow Down is a registered user.

FWIW, the berm in San Carlos looks better than the chain link fence bounding the tracks in Palo Alto.


6 people like this
Posted by Lotsa Luck
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 16, 2015 at 10:19 pm

When you elevate train tracks on the S.F. peninsula, seismic issues enter into the picture. Remember how the Cypress viaduct collapsed in the Loma Prieta earthquake? At first blush the solid berms would seem to be the most seismically durable.

I've seen the berms in San Carlos and they look OK to me. Maybe they could be made prettier with some creative landscaping, climbing vines or something.


Like this comment
Posted by Train Neighbor
a resident of Ventura
on Sep 16, 2015 at 11:08 pm

Palo Alto hired the Hatch Mott McDonald consulting firm to analyze grade separations (report: Web Link)

Findings:
"the most expensive alternative is the one percent (1%) grade trench alternative at a cost of approximately $1.05 billion."

"the two percent (2%) grade trenching alternative would grade separate Charleston and Meadow for around $488 million and require zero property acquisitions versus the alternative that submerges the roadway beneath the railroad tracks at Charleston and Meadow and maintains turning movements on and off of Alma which would cost approximately $320 million and require acquisition of 32 full parcels and seven partial parcels."




Like this comment
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Sep 16, 2015 at 11:55 pm

Would trench or berm construction require complete closure of Alma for three or more years? I intermittently watched two miles of trenching Union Pacific's main transcontinental line through Reno, and that needed plenty of parallel real estate to keep trains rolling during the 3-year project. Their trench appears to be an engineering success, but ten years now after opening for traffic, they are still arguing how to pay off the debts. The recession was a complicating factor that we luckily won't have to face (ha!).


2 people like this
Posted by WilliamR
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Sep 17, 2015 at 12:38 am

@ musical--

I don't think they could close all of Alma for the construction, because of the houses and apartments along there, but you would lose at least half of the width, down to 1 lane in each direction, no parking. And all of the trees between the tracks and Alma would have to go. When the built the grade separations in San Carlos, Belmont and San Bruno, they had some vacant real estate to work with; those areas weren't as built-up as Palo Alto.


Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 17, 2015 at 7:50 am

ODB - not a Utopia issue. Just a Governor who looks at the Bay Area as a region not a group of separate counties and entities. A Governor who understands the Bay Area better than someone who wants to pamper to LA.


1 person likes this
Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 17, 2015 at 9:45 am

It is no secret that north county does not come close to "getting back" the tax dollars that are paid into the county bank accounts. I have no issue with our local politicians asking for some balance...of course they won't get it, but at least they are saying something instead of sitting on the sidelines and watching all the tax dollars go south.


Like this comment
Posted by steve eittreim
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 17, 2015 at 10:06 am

The grade separation at Homer is nicely done, not ugly, and the tracks are not upraised to a San Carlos-like berm. It just doesn't accommodate cars or trucks underneath, only bikes and pedestrians. It seems to me that with the addition of a couple of vertical feet, a similar underpass, at Churchill, East Meadow and Charleston would accommodate cars, just not trucks or especially tall SUVs. Signage could direct such vehicles to other crossings.


Like this comment
Posted by Lotsa Luck
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 17, 2015 at 11:14 am

The study commissioned by the City of Palo Alto is incomplete. It examines two trenched solutions and several submerged-roadway solutions. It omits any consideration of hybrid grade separations, whereby the tracks are slightly elevated and the roadway is slightly depressed, viz.: Web Link

This is the solution that has been implemented at Holly Street in San Carlos. Whether it involves berms, which I don't think look bad and could be landscaped more attractively than the ones in San Carlos, or use some design other than berms is a decision Palo Altans would have to make. The city would have to establish a vertical clearance which would accomodate SUV's as well as any truck traffic which may use the crossings. 12 to 14 feet seems to be a common vertical clearance height. The tracks would thus be elevated by 6 to 7 feet and the roadway depressed 6 to 7 feet.

Proper due diligence requires all feasible solutions to be considered. There is no reason for hybrid grade separations to have been excluded from the study. If hybrid grade separations could be implemented at Charleston and Meadow without any property acquisition, creek crossings as described in the study would become a non-issue. It is definitely something worth looking into. Hybrid crossings should have been included in the study, and for that reason the study is incomplete.

The study also does not include any consideration of the future demands of HSR, which may insist on a separate pair of tracks in addition to the two tracks for Caltrain. This is a question best answered sooner rather than later. The study makes no mention of Union Pacific which uses the ROW for freight trains (were the authors of the study even aware of this fact?). The project would doubtless have to meet the approval of U.P. The proposed trenched solutions do not offer grade separation at Churchill, and the crossing at Palo Alto Ave/Alma street was omitted entirely from the study.


Like this comment
Posted by Tim Buck II
a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 17, 2015 at 11:16 am

"I don't think they could close all of Alma for the construction, because of the houses and apartments along there, but you would lose at least half of the width, down to 1 lane in each direction, no parking."

Gotta think out of the box here. No direct RR crossing access from or to Alma; tunnel under it just as with the tracks. Run Alma access traffic on existing adjacent streets.


2 people like this
Posted by Lotsa Luck
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 17, 2015 at 11:23 am

"a similar underpass, at Churchill, East Meadow and Charleston would accommodate cars, just not trucks or especially tall SUVs. Signage could direct such vehicles to other crossings."

Are you serious? We can't even keep cars off the train tracks! Can you imagine the accidents when some hapless out-of-towner tries to drive an SUV through such an underpass and has the roof of the vehicle torn off?


6 people like this
Posted by Steve Ly
a resident of Los Altos
on Sep 17, 2015 at 11:50 am

It's really offensive that rich Silicon Valley companies led by the crony capitalists at the grossly misnamed "Silicon Valley Leadership Group" wants overburdened taxpayers to approve a sales tax increase fund transportation projects, even though California has some of the highest taxes in the country. Don't you find it ironic that these companies want to reduce their tax burden while advocating an increase for the us regular taxpayers? Why don’t the wealthy high-rollers in the “Leadership Group” suggest taxing their rich companies and leave the little guy alone for a change?


2 people like this
Posted by Dan
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 17, 2015 at 1:00 pm

Can anyone tell me what possible benefit most of the residents of Santa Clara county derive from BART extension to San Jose??? Certainly anyone west of the bay derives no significant benefit. I always wondered why Santa Clara county residents were funding Bart extension along the east bay. This seems to only benefit east bay residents and companies/employers who can justify lower salaries if their workers live in cheaper housing and commute farther.


Like this comment
Posted by neighbor
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Sep 17, 2015 at 1:54 pm

There are many comments written with the assumption that HSR is coming to our area. My hope is that it never happens.

In terms of the tax, I will not vote for any tax lacking specifics and accountability built in. Look what happened with the HSR vote. They lied (at least by omission of the true intent)and now Brown continues to grab state money that was never intended for HSR. Without specifics, we have few protections, and risk the money being misspent on pet projects.


Like this comment
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Sep 17, 2015 at 5:28 pm

I suspect any Churchill/Meadow/Charleston undercrossings would need to accommodate fire engine traffic.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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