Sunday, August 24, 2008

Mountain View's High Speed Future

NOTE: We've moved! Visit us at the California High Speed Rail Blog.

While some cities on the Peninsula waste taxpayer money on lawsuits, others are adopting a more constructive approach to dealing with the impact of high speed rail on their cities. One such city is Mountain View:

To allow the high speed trains to safely flash through the Caltrain corridor means numerous design challenges, some of which residents may not like. Trickiest of all is downtown, where there is little room at the train station for two additional tracks. As for Castro Street, either a grade crossing must be built or the street will be closed off.

"Something has got to give or something has to go up or down," said Bob Kagiyama, senior public works engineer.

That something could be Castro Street itself, which, according to an old city report, would have to be below-grade for half of Castro's historic 100 block if it were to go under the train tracks.

This is the same issue that wealthy homeowners in Menlo Park and Atherton claim as grounds for a lawsuit, but Mountain View is instead trying to plan ahead and open up a public dialogue on what the best solutions will be, that will both integrate high speed rail and Caltrain service with the city's landscape.

Despite all the speculation, city officials say it's way too early to say exactly what will happen in Mountain View.

To have the new rail line tunnel under the whole downtown area is a very expensive solution, Kagiyama said. And going overhead "isn't going to happen."

Also, Rengstorff Avenue and Central Expressway could be lowered to allow cars to pass under both Caltrain and the high speed rail tracks, which would remain at-grade.

The High Speed Rail Authority would likely pay for the expensive projects, which could relieve the city of a heavy fundraising burden for the Rengstorff crossing. But the City Council made the Rengstorff grade separation a top goal earlier this year -- with no talk of high speed rail paying for it -- and funded preliminary studies on the project. The city aims to make the intersection safer.

Kagiyama said the city is anxious to talk to a contractor being hired within the next few weeks by the High Speed Rail Authority. This contractor would do local design work, and the city is eager to begin ironing out local concerns, such as the downtown train station's replica 1887 Train Depot and the light rail tracks, both of which may have to be moved.

The Peninsula is likely to be one of the most expensive parts of the project owing to the grade crossings required, and determining financial arrangements is going to be a central part of the project's politics after November. By starting to think about this now, cities like Mountain View are going to save themselves and the CHSRA time and money - there will already be detailed studies and a public process.

It's especially important that this work start now in order to build public support not just for HSR, but for specific solutions in cities like Mountain View. Such support is best built with frequent consultation with residents and an open planning process. Many hard decisions are going to have to be made about where the tracks and grade crossings will go and a consistent process can help reduce tensions and frictions.

Rather than fight reality and pretend that a 1950s-era urban landscape is tenable, Mountain View is looking to the future, to a sustainable mass-transit future. They're not alone - cities like Fresno are making similar plans. Most cities along the proposed route support the project and some, like Visalia, wanted it so badly that they tried pressuring the Authority into giving them a station. It's good to see that California's cities want a better future, rather than deluding themselves that the past is still viable.

28 comments:

Morris Brown said...

@ Robert

Since the CHSRA has made it quite clear their intention is to build the project they desire and that "they will be over ridden" ( quote from Rod Diridon), why would any city think doing their own study is going to have any real impact on how the tracks are going to be laid?

The whole public process of giving input to the EIR has been one of dis-regard to local objections.

That has certainly been the response of many writing in this blog.

If I might make a suggestion, please note the story that appeared today in the NY Times.

Of interest in near the end the section about the Villages of Laguna San Luis and the 16,000 home development planned there, which is at Los Banos. Is this the reason the Los Banos station was planned?

Brandon M. Farley said...

Morris,
It's not what THEY desire, but, what the guiding objectives and public input have created.

They are building something that is pretty darn close to what I'd like. No, it's not perfect, but well good enough for me.

I taken from your tone that you're in the minority. Or, maybe you wanted a super fast commmuter system that was only productive at peak times monday through friday?

Sorry.

Spokker said...

"Is this the reason the Los Banos station was planned?"

Good to hear they were trying to build housing around transportation access. Living in Los Banos with a high speed rail ride to your job in San Jose every day. Could have been sweet.

Anonymous said...

The only major difference between Mountain View and any other city with HSR service is that Mt. View already understands its design problems and the other cities don't yet.

If HSR is built, this same story will be played out everywhere. There will be ROW issues, tunneling requested, and NIMBY opposition. Which will lead to cost escalations. That is the price of a service to all major urban areas of the state.

Rafael said...

There is still some discussion of whether there should be a mid-peninsula HSR station at all. CSHRA is mulling one for either Redwood City or Palo Alto.

IMHO, Mountain View would be superior to both. True, it is in Santa Clara rather than San Mateo county, but siting the mid-peninsula station there instead would have a number of advantages:

a) the station is already served by Caltrain, VTA Light Rail (into the Golden Triangle), a number of buses plus dedicated bicycle paths - including a pedestrian/bicycle bridge across the train tracks.

b) the station is located close to highways 101, 85, 237 plus Central Expressway and El Camino Real, providing excellent conditions for connecting buses, sharecabs etc. serving a wide area. Access to 280 is provided by either 85 or Miramonte/Foothill and Miramonte/El Camino Real/El Monte, respectively.

c) the downtown area is compact and already heavily frequented by pedestrians, particularly the lunch crowd. Closing off Castro Street and diverting motor vehicle traffic to the existing overpasseses at Shoreline Boulevard and South Whisman/237, respectively, would let the city create a true pedestrian zone with expanded al fresco dining space for the numerous local eateries. Between West Evelyn and Mercy, there would only be a two-way bicycle path in the middle of Castro Street.

Only authorized motor vehicles, e.g. emergency services, sanitation etc. would be permitted to use this bicycle path. Delivery vans would be permitted on both Blossom Lane and Wild Cherry Lane to load and unload. Villa Street would remain open to the above plus public buses, sharecabs and taxis only.

Vehicular traffic would be routed around this zone via a one-way system consisting of West Evelyn, Bryant, Mercy and Hope. From above, the flow would be counter-clockwise.

d) the construction of a multimodal station would make it that much easier to justify moving the VTA tracks to the Central Expressway median, something that will almost certainly have to happen anyhow to make room for the HSR tracks. To accommodate a boarding platform in spite of severe space constraints, the final several hundred feet would have to be single track. Platform access would be via a covered pedestrian bridge with ADA features.

e) this bridge would also facilitate a new bus stop at Willowgate Road for express service to between NASA Ames, the station and the extensive Shoreline business park east of 101.

f) a related but separate express bus service could link Los Gatos, Saratoga, Cupertino and Sunyvale to Mountain View station plus Shoreline business park, continuing via East Bayshore Road, University Avenue (or Willow Road) and the Dumbarton Bridge to Fremont Centerville (Amtrak/ACE) and Fremont BART.

g) perhaps most importantly, the city of Mountain View is already looking at lemonade where others still see only lemons.

Francis said...

Raf - Sounds like a real nice and detailed plan you got. Way to envision the future of MV's downtown, you've covered most of the logistics. Now we just need a budget to go with that plan. Dont forget about parking. Visionary.

BTW: San Diego is considering expanding the airport near downtown SD. If HSR is passed they are thinking about building a large intermodal center connecting airlines, HSR and SD trolley and bus routes (off Pacific HWY if your from SD). I think that pretty exciting. It would be like a SD Grand Central Station (+ Airport), which SD kinda lacks. CAHSR wants to end it at the Qualcomm stadium site but thats gonna be a huge ordeal go get that done. Anyway just so you know what is being talked about.

The two part of this plan is that are most noticeable are 1. SD would be one of the largest airports directly connected to a HSR station. Huge boost in riders and revenue. (Ontario will benefit many times over from the HSR being connected there.) 2) SD is planning for the HSR but hasnt come out to support the project. If you dont support it thats fine, but if you are spending money on consulting firms and engineering firms to plan for HSR access then at least publicly say that HSR has benefits for SD if approved by voters.

Rafael said...

@francis -

thx. I know Mtn View quite well, I used to work there for a number of years.

As for funding, I'm suggesting that the mid-peninsula station be in MV instead of Redwood City or Palo Alto. It's not clear to me why that would break CHSRA's budget. In addition, I'm suggesting that the Castro Street level crossing be closed, avoiding the construction of an ugly and expensive under- or overpass.

The only really expensive part is moving the VTA tracks but, that will pretty much have to be done anyhow to enable HSR service along the peninsula. The state and county will no doubt wrangle over who needs to pay for that.

Money wouldn't be a problem if San Jose abandoned the planned BART extension in favor of a much cheaper BRT network linking Union City and Fremont to the Golden Triangle, SJ Diridon and elsewhere in Silicon Valley.

Note that Santa Clara county already owns the ROW to the old Western Pacific Milpitas Line between Niles Junction and 22nd/East William in San Jose. Modern BRT vehicles use a combination of embedded magnets and all-wheel steering for automated guidance to within half an inch of target. In theory, it would not even be neccessary to pour concrete over the entire width of the ROW - except at turnoffs, four narrow ribbons would be enough. On regular asphalt roads shared with other vehicles, steering would switch back to manual to maintain safety and distribute surface wear. A BRT system could be operated jointly by AC Transit and VTA.

As for parking, two comments:

a) CHSRA has adopted an explicit policy not to facilitate lots of (free) parking near its stations. It learnt from BART that expansive single-level P+R locations generate urban blight. Multi-story structures are more benign in terms of land use but expensive to construct, especially in earthquake country. The impact on local traffic is about the same.

A big part of the HSR concept is therefore pushing the cities served toward transit-oriented development in the vicinity of HSR stations. That means a lot of residential and commercial space should eventually be within walking distance. Bicycles and/or connecting road transit services are supposed to extend the area served. Private motor vehicles will still be able to reach HSR stations for drop-off and pick-up, of course.

b) there is already one multi-story car park close to the existing station, between West Evelyn, Bryant, Villa and Wild Cherry Lane. However, last time I was there, parking was still free.

There are also quite a few level parking lots in downtown MV, including the one along West Evelyn south the station. Any one of these could be turned into a multi-story structure if desired, though I suspect that developers would prefer to build expensive high-rise office towers if MV gets an HSR station.

To avoid a permanent traffic jam, the city could require that developers reserve the basement and lower floors for paid parking or else, that lessees furnish proof they have secured an adequate number of nearby parking spots for their employees, e.g. in a separate structure. Failure to comply results in a fine payable to the city. In practice, discouraging commuting by personal motor car would prompt businesses to adjust their hiring policies and/or compensation packages. Such arrangements are becoming more common in Europe, e.g. in Vienna.

On a related note, the mostly residential area immediately south and east of Moffett and Central Expressway would likely appreciate substantially if there were a multimodal station and a pedestrian bridge to reach it, potentially pricing those on moderate incomes - relative to the local average - out of their homes. The flip side of transit-oriented development is gentrification.

arcady said...

Wait wait. Why do either Redwood City or Palo Alto or Mountain View need a "high speed rail station"? I thought the HSR was supposed to run on the Caltrain tracks from San Jose to San Francisco. Then, wouldn't it just be a matter of stopping the HSR trains at whatever existing Caltrain platform the operating authority found most convenient? Such are the benefits of sharing tracks.

As for Mountain View and their talk of what to do about HSR, it seems to me like a fairly common pattern. Big capital projects come along only once in a rare while, and when they do everyone tries to get money for their own favorite thing, like Mountain View's grade separation at Rengstorff, which they'd need to do even without HSR.

futurebird said...

You're in Denver right? Do you think you could cover this transit event? Folks at streetsblog.org seem to want to know what's going down at this thing:

Sadik-Khan to Discuss Transpo Funding at the Democratic Convention

Sadik-Khan is the head of the DOT in NYC, and we all want to know what she's doing.

Robert Cruickshank said...

Unfortunately I'm not in Denver for the week (or fortunately, as the weather in Monterey is fantastic!). However much of the Calitics editorial board IS in Denver and I will ask around and see if we can find someone to go.

It's going to be an odd panel, given that Ron Sims is going to be on it - he's the King County Executive, and is opposing Puget Sound's transit expansion plan.

someguy said...

Published Friday, August 22, 2008, by the Palo Alto Daily Post

Letters to the Editor

Rail chutzpah

This email is about high-speed rail chutzpah, not about the merits
of high-speed rail. I read in the newspaper that the Menlo Park City
Council is suing the High Speed Rail Authority about something or
other.

But wait. I never read on any agenda, on in any closed-session
announcement, or on any city website that such a suit was
contemplated. This is secretive, uninclusive, politicking at its
worst.

The plot thickens. Who put this item on a closed Aug. 5th agenda --
without even referencing the subject? Was it Mayor Cohen, who was
recused? Couldn't be. And it couldn't be any other council member,
because they are required to conference publicly with all council
members before agendizing any item -- in open session or closed!
So who?

Then the plot thickens more. The Atherton Town Council called an
unscheduled meeting with just one, unannounced, closed subject issue,
on the same night. And both Atherton and Menlo Park joined the law-
suit. Did Atherton and Menlo Park collude secretly in this? That's
not legal, so no.

The City Council's land use policy, including this policy, is
orchestrated, behind the scenes, by the same, unelected shadow
government that killed the Derry Project (which should be housing
seniors and singles by now while contributing millions to city
coffers); is hobbling the Bohannon project on the East side of
Highway 101; and has now prevailed on council to derail high-speed
rail. This group http://derailhsr.com/main/aboutus has been key
in joining forces with Atherton to promote the aforementioned
lawsuit.

I suggest City Council rescind the decision to sue the High-Speed
Rail authority at its next meeting, on Aug. 26; have an open study
session on high-speed rail with Caltrain (and the Transportation
Commission) before any further action is taken; and then sue away
if it still thinks it is the responsible thing to do.

Mickie Winkler
Menlo Park

Brandon M. Farley said...

I enjoy dscusison on station design ideas and what cities are planning to accomodate them.

As for San Diego I have a different take.

The SD Airport Authority is vetting an updated plan for Lindbergh Field. The effort comes on the heels of a 2006 failed attempt to get voter endorsement to pursue a joint use facility at Miramar with the Dept of Defense.

So, at Lindbergh Field they are vetting expanded terminals and additional parking to accomodate planned growth in travellers.

Although, I feel they should revisit their projections in-light of the cost of fuel, planned reduction in flights, change in traveller costs, and very very likely fewer passengers.

With that said...

Originally, the Airport Authority planned for terminal and parking expansion with existing facilities on the west side of runways.

But, the transit system, County Supervisor Ron Roberts, ex-state representative Steve Peace, and SD Mayor Sanders spoke to improved connection to the light-rail system, mitigating traffic along Harbor Drive, improving connectivity to the highway network (I-5), and relocating terminals to the east side of the runways. The discussions included hiring a consultant (not by the Airport Authority), to vet a conceptual design and how things could work.

A tag along to the effort was recognition that HSR is planned to serve the adjacent rail corridor, where also the Trolley runs and would be connected. But, HSR is not the impetus for any of the ideas and the CHSRA has not formally participated in any public meetings.

The CHSRA adopted a preferred alignment and station locations that took it to Downtown San Diego and Santa Fe Depot, and right by Lindbergh Field. Qualcomm is no longer in the plan; that was an earlier idea. Locally, including the CHSRA, agreed that HSR should serve downtown.

HSR stopping at Lindbergh Field is dependant on two things... that the Airport Authority agrees to new facilities on the East side of runways AND that it makes sense (or that there is political power) to have HSR stop there.... which is about 1-2 miles north of the city enter.

I think it is an uphill climb... and does not make a whole lot of sense.

One, people are destined to cities, not airports.

Two, it wouldn't provide a whole lot of benefit for weekday commuters... as they'd be required to transfer to reach downtown destination on a regular basis.

Three, it would do the same for tourists and intermittent users.

One thing going FOR THE IDEA is that much has occurred immediately adjacent to Santa Fe Depot since the CHSRA it as the planned terminal and which would preclude purchasing any adjacent land that may be needed. A 4-platform terminal HSR system can still fit; however, it appears it will take either some minor compromises or some creative design solutions.

Robert Cruickshank said...

That's a very interesting letter, someguy. I'd be interested to hear what the Menlo Park/Atherton HSR deniers have to say about it. That letter makes serious allegations, namely violation of the Brown Act. I'll have to see if any notice was given on the city council agendas.

Anonymous said...

I'm honestly not sold on a mid peninsula stop. First off, I remember reading somewhere that part of the HSR project would be to electrify and grade separate 100% of caltrain. If this happened, Caltrain would get new rolling stock and electric engines that would no doubt be able to to make the run faster than Caltrain.

HSR trains are only going to be running up the peninsula at about half of top speed according to the travel times the authority has published.

I just don't see the cost benefit working out to provide mid peninsula residents with service while not impacting what matters most - the fastest intercity times possible.

As much as I'd love to see HSR to multiple points, the reality is caltrain already serves this corridor very well, and electrification would allow for even better (frequency, speed, comfort) service.

HSR can't be all things to all people. It's an intercity service, not a metro.

Kevin Gong said...

@ 11:02 Anon -

First off, Caltrain has been planning on electrifying their line for some time now, with or without HSR. With ever increasing ridership on the line, capital improvements are always a wise decision.

As for HSR serving any station along that line, I don't think express service would be impacted at all by adding a mid peninsula station, as long as it is a single station that is capable of serving the surrounding communities as well via Caltrain and other services.

Rafael said...

@arcady, anon @ 11:02am -

afaik, CHSRA has based its decisions on which cities along the chosen route will have HSR stations on boarding/alightment projects. I'd be surprised if pressure from local and county politicians did not play a role as well.

All I can tell you for sure at this point is that a station somewhere between Millbrae/SFO and San Jose Diridon has always been part of the plan. However, the authority did defer choosing the exact location until the detailed EIR for the peninsula section gets underway. I'm not sure why, it is the only station siting that has not been finalized. Officially, only Redwood City and Palo Alto are under consideration.

It is still possible that CHSRA will abandon the idea of a mid-peninsula station altogether. To a significant extent, that will depend on how FRA rules on Caltrain's upcoming waiver application regarding off-the-shelf European EMU equipment. This would be crash compatible with off-the-shelf HSR trainsets traveling at comparable speeds. However, at this point Caltrain electrification and HSR are still very much separate projects as far as everyone is concerned - voters haven't even approved HSR yet.

Unfortunately, until and unless they do, there is no prospect of fully merging these separate efforts. It would certainly simplify construction if quad tracks were only needed at each of the Caltrain stations. However, this would also entail a sophisticated integrated service schedule.

Until the regulatory issues are resolved, planners need to assume dedicated HSR tracks will be required and, the problem of what to do with the VTA tracks in Mountain View will remain. These run parallel to Caltrain's existing tracks between Castro and just south of Whisman - a distance of approx. 5250 feet. The simplest approach would be to move this section to the median of Central Expressway. Reducing the curve radius at the turnoff without demolishing any residences would also be difficult. Note that all but the final 1000 feet or so of this section consists of single track.

Raising the VTA track above the future HSR tracks would be very difficult, given the limited clearance of the overpasses at Whisman Road and highway 85. Running it below ground looks more feasible, except that Stevens Creek is a primary storm drain into the Bay. Any tunnel would have to run underneath it, greatly increasing cost and risk. IMHO, three-dimensional contortions are not appropriate for this particular situation - Caltrain, HSR and VTA (5 tracks total) will somehow need to run parallel in this mile-long section.

arcady said...

And once again, it all comes back to my favorite topic: the fact that the HSR is being planned as a separate project from everything else, with no coordination even with the agencies they will be asking for trackage rights or ROW! And I strongly suspect that in the end, HSR and Caltrain will in fact share tracks, because that's to everyone's benefit. There are many places where there's no room to add two more tracks, especially in the places where Caltrain has already built express tracks. And it would make for a much more efficient system if Caltrain and HSR could share their tracks, so that Caltrain's expresses don't get in the way of the locals, and so that one track could be shut down for maintenance during off-peak hours without impacting Caltrain or HSR service.

As for the VTA issue, well, there's definitely the possibility of running the tracks in the median of Central Expressway, or else of shifting both the eastbound lanes of Central and the light rail northward. Or maybe it can even just be left in place. Caltrain has a pretty wide ROW even with the light rail next to it, and it does look like four tracks could fit everywhere except the Mountain View station itself. The light rail platform there would have to be narrowed and shifted over somewhat. And of course, Castro would have to be grade separated somehow. I rather like the idea of a pedestrian underpass: it has the least impact on the surroundings, since it requires less overhead clearance, and it would reduce car traffic on Castro.

Cal said...

Well you can tell that opposing this project is a fun time job for the Menlo Park nimbys...There is a postive story in todays USATODAY
about high speed rail..in thew comments section is OF course Martin of Derail damminf the project without stating his real goals....

Francis said...

Farley -

Did you know about this:
http://www.cahighspeedrail.ca.gov/images/chsr/20080821111416_Sept%2008%20StakeholderLetter.pdf

Your right about the plans for the airport. I guess the biggest issue is what would be better for SD overall. One having the 'Grand-Central Station + Airport' idea or having a read downtown HSR station which also has many benefits. Not both cause they are less than 2 miles apart.

It will be interesting to see what SANDAG's policies will be towards HSR in general as nothing really concrete has been said so far.

Francis said...

My bad, here's the link

Anonymous said...

AB-3034 is finally dead.

From the LA Times is the posting which says:

A deadline has expired for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to sign a bill, AB 3034, that would have put in place financial guidelines for the $9.95-billion bond on the November ballot for a high-speed rail system in California.


Quentin Kopp, the chair of the California High Speed Rail Authority, put out a statement today saying the Authority would adopt most of the guidelines anyway. The statement is after the jump -- the most interesting part, I think, is that he reiterates his promise of the train taking only 2 1/2 hours to run between L.A. and San Francisco.


Nice of Judge Kopp to tell us he will do what is right.

So we shall see if the Governor will support the project without his treasured public / private partnerships. We shall see if groups like the Sierra Club which opposed Prop 1 without the changes that would have been made by AB-3034 are going to "do what is right" by opposing this project.

And, of course, there is the 35 page Transportation and Housing committee report with its 15 points that needed to be addressed. I wonder if Senator Lowenthal is going to support the project as it is now going to the voters?

David S said...

I'm anon @ 11:02 (I'll start signing comments)

I think I was confused by the CT electrification because of the renders on the CHSRA site that feature electric caltrain in several shots. I'm happy to hear they're moving forward regardless (especially as I live 2 blocks from the rails, yet my station - college park - only sees 2 trains a day)

Ultimately, I don't care where they decide to put any stations as long as the benefit exceeds the cost. Constructing stations where exceedingly long HSR trains can be boarded, and bypassed by express HSR and caltrain seems like an enormous cost with little benefit because of how well caltrain can serve the communities involved.

But I live in SJ, so I might be biased or uninformed about the peninsula cities transit needs.

Morris Brown said...

@Robert

Let me address your insinuation that there were possibly Brown act violations with regards Menlo Park joining the lawsuit.

A closed session was noticed on the agenda of Tuesday August 5th.

At least in Menlo Park, closed sessions regarding litigation do not carry on the agenda information regarding the nature of the litigation. There was certainly no Brown Act violation.

Ms. Winkler, a former mayor of Menlo Park is still smarting from being removed from office two years ago along with her then council majority.

I had personally had no idea what was to be discussed at the closed session and I was completely taken by surprise by Menlo Park's action to join in the lawsuit.

The Menlo Park City council has on the Agenda for the Sept 9th, meeting a study session on High Speed Rail.

Ms. Winkler should do her homework before she goes off on a rant. If Menlo Park had waited any longer, it would have been unable to join the lawsuit, since the 30 day time frame, which has been discussed here before, would have expired.

It is interesting to note, that Ms. Winkler some years ago, told everyone that she would never endorse having 4 tracks go through Menlo Park. I would gather from this posting, that she has flipped on that statement.

Brandon in San Diego said...

Francis,

No I didn't know about that. That is good news.. that formal discussions about a downtown station are appearing to kick-off.

It's needed. After all, some cities have already begun looking more closely at station design concepts, or pursued formal development plans; San Francisco, Anahiem, and I believe Fresno.

With that said, I wonder what the presentation will consist of... an actionable item???

I don't believe the Airport Authority is at all onboard with moving terminals to the East side of the runways. And, I didn't know SANDAG had moved on where a downtown local HSR station would be.

Prior to this I had heard stakeholders each agreed that HSR should go downtown.

Hypothetically, could this be a temperature reading? Could SANDAG be seeking funding from CHSRA to study local transportation implications (as if they had any to spare)? These questions make me want to atten... but alas, I cannot due to prior commitment.

btw, I changed my username.

無名 - wu ming said...

anyone want to lay odds on the likelihood that those same people who are fighting not to get a HSR station in their community will be kvetching nonstop a couple decades from now about how the state totally neglected their community needs for a HSR station and wasted their hard-earned tax dollars helping other less deserving communities out, as they drive to mountain view (or wherever) to catch the train?

Pat Moore said...

All this money could be saved on by simply building the HSR system to where the people are.

Go over the Altamont and Mountain View and others are not impacted by HSR.

Rafael said...

@ pat moore -

there are plenty of people in southern San Mateo and northern Santa Clara counties. People who pay a lot of state taxes.

I'd be all for running the trains through Altamont but only if they run around the South Bay, i.e. with a stop in either Santa Clara or San Jose. A new rail bridge at Dumbarton, dual-tracked and up to seismic code, would not only face overwhelming opposition from environmentalists, it would also be very expensive and bypass Silicon Valley. That specific option is off the table and has been for a very long time.

Therefore, irrespective of the route out of the Bay Area, HSR trains will run through Mountain View if voters approve prop 1. This is a reality that particular city is already preparing to cope with.

political-i said...

@ rafael

From what I've seen on the route map, there is a plan to have a stop in San Jose, my question would be is if that segment was constructed and in service before the initial segment was complete, do you believe there would be quite a bit of usage?