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Rail Policy Change -- Deleting protections for South Palo Alto

Original post made by Timothy Gray, Charleston Meadows, on Jun 24, 2013

The Consent Calendar for the June 24 City Council has revised Rail Policy Change that seems to weaken the "Equal treatment for all of Palo Alto" language.

After repeated observations of the City selling out the protections for South Palo Alto, I am alarmed by the following being DELETED from the Palo Alto Rail Policy:

From the consent agenda:
"Deleted: <#>All neighborhoods in Palo Alto affected by HSR/Caltrain should be treated with equal consideration with respect to vertical alignment impacts.¶"

True, there is substitute language that sounds like protection, but the end result is that the Rail Committee, which has no South Palo Alto representation, seems to abandon the "One City, one Policy -- One for all, all for One," policy, and substitutes language that would allow the weighing of other mitigating factors in weighing the above ground and below ground High Speed Rail options.

More directly stated: the policy is being changed to allow a political justification for going underground in the north and implementing the highly divisive and neighborhood wrecking above-ground option in the South.

This is Trojan horse language that will allow the North to be protected with an underground solution and the South to be sacrificed in the case where budgetary constraints will allow a solution for only half of the City.

This is deceptively placed on the consent calendar for the Monday June 24 City Council so that it can pass without any public discussion.

One for all and all for one is the only acceptable policy, and we must demand an "all or nothing" underground route for any future rail configurations.

Best regards,

Timothy Gray 650 493-3000

Comments (6)

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Posted by Timothy Gray
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jun 24, 2013 at 2:16 pm

The following is a link to the revised Rail Policy that removes the requirement that any High Speed Rail configuration be underground vs. elevated.

Web Link

Instead, the wording states: "When examining the potential impacts of vertical rail alignments equal attention shall be given to all Palo Alto neighborhoods. Adopted mitigation measures should be proportionate to the impacts identified in the studies."

While it may sound similar and equitable on the surface, the wording would allow a political argument that the mitigation costs for the Northern portion of the tunnel are proportionate to the impacts identified in the studies, but the tunneling for the south was not proportionate to the impacts identified in the studies.

It opens the door to depart from the commitment that all of Palo Alto deserves the same treatment, and clearly moves away from the notion of One Unified solution for Palo Alto.

I'm sure there is no connection, but the entire Rail Advisory Committee is made up of North Palo Alto residents. Unless the residents speak up, it is clear that a path is being set for a two class rail solution for the HSR route. Residents need to speak up and stop this manipulation.

Best regards,

Tim Gray

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Posted by William Cutler
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jun 24, 2013 at 3:42 pm

For grade separations at the Charleston and Meadow rail crossings, the ONLY acceptable configuration is train-in-trench or tunnel. The other options, Charleston and Meadow on overpasses or underpasses, while slightly more costly, are unacceptable on the basis of property takings, closure of side streets, and particularly, regarding safety of school children making the crossing on foot or bicycle. Consider the hazards for children going to the top of an overpass or bottom of an underpass, crossing Alma St., and then returning to grade.

Bill Cutler
4114 Park Blvd.

Like this comment
Posted by William Cutler
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jun 24, 2013 at 3:45 pm


In my previous comment, I meant to write that overpasses or underpasses at Charleston and Meadow rail crossings are slightly LESS costly than train-in-trench or tunnel.

Bill Cutler

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Posted by Parent
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jun 24, 2013 at 10:09 pm

equal attention shall be paid during the examination. and the mItigation proportionally measured how - in dollar terms? (meaning much more expensive mitigations paid in the north vs the south - because property impacts will have higher market values?

In other words - a bunch of pure unadulterated BS. The city council is AGAIN pulling a fast one, more than likely their developer friends who are all about rezoning and densifying are not far behind the curtain on this one.

Like this comment
Posted by Timothy Gray
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jun 25, 2013 at 8:40 am


You are right on target.

I presented a request for a public discussion to the City Council last night, as I urged that a short public discussion would go a long way towards transparency.

With the exception of Greg Schmid, they thumbed their collective noses at the request, and it was clear that my observations were "inconvenient" to their agenda.

Others followed and also urged the council to adopt some "One solution for one city" language. Even though they got caught "with their hand in the cookie jar" they proceeded to eat the cookie in front of us.

It was just a simple request for a minute of discussion and explanation, but to no avail. Another data point.

Tim Gray

Like this comment
Posted by tell me it isn't so
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 26, 2013 at 1:51 am

This does not surprise me but it sure does sadden me to think that elected officials voted in to protect our city and all of the neighborhoods seems to be trying to divide the city rather than make an overall plan to improve Palo Alto moving forward.

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