Wednesday, March 18, 2009

NIMBYs versus Realists on the Peninsula

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

After what had been a somewhat slow news week, yesterday brought a lot of HSR news, so you all will get two posts today instead of the usual one. I know, shocking! First up is an emerging split among Peninsula cities trying to draft a "Mayors Letter" to the California High Speed Rail Authority regarding the HSR project. Whereas Palo Alto appears to be moving inexorably toward outright HSR denial alongside Atherton, Menlo Park, San Mateo and Redwood City are resisting such destructive tactics.

The letter will apparently include:

The consortium's letter asks the authority to consider whisking its bullet trains through the Peninsula via tunnels, below-grade trenches and other non-disruptive options. The letter also requests the authority to evaluate a "hybrid" option in which the high-speed rail line would end at San Jose and become a Caltrain baby bullet express line north to San Francisco.

I don't know if the "non-disruptive" term comes from the letter itself or from a biased reporter, but anyone who thinks tunnels and trenches are "non-disruptive" is nuts. Even if the tunnel is bored there will be a lot of disruption in these communities due to the construction process.

It's also unfortunate to see those drafting this letter endorsing the anti-HSR concept of terminating trains at San José. It must be repeated that this is an extremely bad idea that will bleed the system of riders. Intercity travelers are NOT going to transfer to commuter trains at San José that do not have the same amenities, including luggage storage, that the HSR trains offer. Either the people drafting this letter do not know that, which calls into question their basic familiarity with the project, or they DO know this, in which case their letter should be seen as a deliberate attack on the project as a whole.

To make my position clear - it is perfectly justifiable for these cities to advocate for a tunnel. But it is not appropriate to suggest that the system be fatally compromised just because these cities are unhappy. That turns a legitimate disagreement into a desire to kill the entire system - a distinction that some cooler heads on the Peninsula recognize:

But opponents such as San Mateo and Redwood City fear being linked with cities such as Palo Alto, Menlo Park and Atherton, whose leaders are completely opposed to the train. Menlo Park and Atherton have sued the state to stop the rail from going through the Peninsula.

"Why would high-speed rail be open to an agreement with two cities that have filed a lawsuit against their ability to do what they're supposed to do," said Redwood City Mayor Rosanne Foust.

San Mateo Deputy Mayor John Lee agreed, saying, "I'm not going to go to a group that says, 'I hate high-speed rail.' "

Exactly. John Lee nails it here by seeing right through what leaders in Palo Alto, Menlo Park, and Atherton are trying to pull - using overwrought and often baseless concerns from a vocal minority to try and undermine the entire high speed rail project. San Mateo has not been silent about its own concerns, but alongside Redwood City they represent the realist faction on the Peninsula - people who genuinely want high speed rail to work for both the state and their communities.

In contrast, Palo Alto, Menlo Park and Atherton appear to be primarily motivated by classic NIMBYism - a stance taken usually by prosperous white homeowners that says they alone have veto power over any project that they do not like, even if it is tailored to their needs. This interpretation is bolstered by the fact that those three cities seem uninterested in actually giving a voice to all cities in the region:

A third group of Peninsula cities farther from the Caltrain tracks — such as Foster City, East Palo Alto and Los Altos — have had little discussion about the project and apparently will not be asked to join the group.

East Palo Alto is a racially diverse, working class community that may be located across the freeway from Palo Alto but is in a very different economic universe. They would benefit immensely from high speed rail, especially a station at Palo Alto. HSR and an upgraded Caltrain would reduce traffic on 101, and thus reducing pollution. It would help emancipate working-class residents from dependence on the automobile and the airplane. HSR would, in short, be a huge boon to a community that really needs it.

And yet Palo Alto doesn't want to invite them to their group. Why does this not surprise me?

HSR supporters have given Palo Alto numerous opportunities to advocate for this project in good faith. Unfortunately that city's leadership, which unanimously endorsed Prop 1A last year in full knowledge of how it would affect the community, is now siding with conservatives and HSR deniers against Californians and their less fortunate neighbors, against environmental improvement and efforts to fight global warming, and against mass transit.

Kudos to San Mateo and Redwood City for their more reasonable stance, and let's hope that their vision prevails over the regressive and reckless stance of some of their more privileged neighbors.

Later today: What's the future of the California High Speed Rail Authority?

37 comments:

Rafael said...

@ robert cruickshank -

this "Mayors' Letter" suggests that HSR trains operate in Caltrain baby bullet mode north of San Jose. There would be direct service using bullet train equipment to SF, but it would be much, much slower than the 125mph express train service envisaged by CHSRA.

I'm not sure what it will take to disabuse local officials of the notion that a baby bullet train constitutes high speed rail service. Not even close. It's merely a commuter train that is still limited to 79mph but doesn't stop quite as often.

Forcing HSR trains to duplicate Caltrain's commuter service would add at least 25 minutes to the SF-LA line haul time, making it uncompetitive with short-haul flights. It basically condemns HSR to being an unprofitable enterprise forever, which would mean the spurs to Sacramento and San Diego would never be built.

HSR trains can be up to 400m (1320ft) long, much longer than the platforms at Caltrain stations. Therefore, HSR trains would not only clog up Caltrain's own line, only a subset of their cars could even open their doors at stations like Tamien or Hillsdale.

Finally, there is the definitely non-trivial issue of FRA approval. It's one thing for non-compliant bullet trains to share track with non-compliant Caltrain EMU equipment. It is quite another for bullet trains to share 50 miles of track with FRA-compliant legacy Caltrain and UPRR freight trains.

If FRA requires HSR trains to be beefed up to Amtrak Acela Express levels, essentially to accommodate the wishes of small cities along the SF peninsula, that kills the entire HSR project in terms of financial viability. California is not the NEC, its system could not support such pure concentrated regulatory nonsense and still turn an operating profit.

Conclusion: forcing HSR trains to duplicate Caltrain "baby bullet" commuter rail service in the SF peninsula would break both operators' business models. It's a hare-brained idea designed by a committee of politicians with zero expertise in passenger rail technology or operations.

---

As for the rest, I agree with you that both trenching and tunneling are disruptive construction techniques, something these communities may well underestimate. I believe, however, that they are referring to the long-term impacts to their cities, e.g. in terms of visual clutter, noise and changes to established road traffic patterns.

A technical solution that minimizes both construction and permanent impacts can be found, but there will be a funding gap relative to CHSRA's original cost estimates. The authority simply cannot allow construction costs to escalate to placate those who approved prop 1A in November - including cost estimates based on specific and published implementation strategies - and have now changed their mind.

Atherton was the only city in the peninsula to vote against HSR. Menlo Park explicitly asked for a trenching solution to be considered well before Nov 4. CHSRA will therefore need to take a different negotiating position with these two cities than with Palo Alto.

Hare brained indeed said...

Wow, I find your blatant racism insulting. Palo Alto is 69% white, compared to 74% US average.

Palo Alto is 32% Asian, compared to 4% US average.

Foreign born 31% versus 12% US Average.

Palo Alto has 35% language other than English spoken at home, compared 20% US average.

But what they DO Have is smart people.

High school graduates: 97% vs 84% US average. Bachelor degree or higher 77% versus 27% US Average. (You might want to consider how that drives 'rich'ness you refer

Robert, you better go out and buy yourself an f'n clue. You don't know what you're talking about.

yeson1a said...

I have read that once the Caltrain line is electrified and new trainsets are in service the speed limit will be raised to 90mph might
help somewhat but NOT 125. We might
have to deal with it IF nonsense wins some kind of restrictions. I dont think it would kill HSR at all.
The AcelaExpress takes almost 2hr50mins and its very full. HST still might be able to travel at higher speeds though parts of the Caltrain
leg.

NONIMBYS said...

AND Palo Alto voted YES on 1A

Rob Dawg said...

Wow.

"Palo Alto, Menlo Park and Atherton appear to be primarily motivated by classic NIMBYism - a stance taken usually by prosperous white homeowners..."

Reference, cite, data?

Hare brained indeed said...

Its pretty well been established by Clem on his blog that HSR on the Peninsula is barely going to squeek out an average 100mph, due to significant curves and such that will slow HSR down well below 100mph in many places. The incremental improvement in time of HSR vs Caltrain from SF to SJ is not worth the massive cost and widespread value destruction that HSR would bring. You have also envisioned a mass of humanity from the Peninsula that needs to get from Peninsula to LA on some regular basis. Fact is the airport traffic around here is serving a broad swath of northern california. Few of those will venture deep into the Peninsula neighborhoods, to get on a train. (What as they drive miles and miles past the airports to get deep into Peninsula suburbs to catch the train... right.)

Peninsulan's need to cmomute to work, not to disneyland.

By the way, Caltrain when it electrifies, will need to buy new trains. How hard will it be to buy trains with some amount of luggage racks? So much for that lame excuse.

The suggestion has been made repeatedly that HSR along the 101 corridor would hit all the same Peninsula markets, would be less environmentally impactful, and actually directly HELP East of 101 communities like EPA, which are severely economically depressed, to build much needed jobs and infrastructure revitalization. However, by putting it directly through Peninsula neighborhoods, about 2 miles west of 101, and bordered by sparsely populated hills on the west, what you actually accomplish is destruction of high value tax base productive residential and commercial property values (not to mention some serious impacts on directly abutting schools) - which damages BAsic Aid funding for that school district which, by the way, voluntarily serves hundreds of EPA students in its VTA program (even though they are not required to -EPA is in San Mateo County, PA in Santa Clara County)

EPA racially diverse working class community? As opposed to Palo Alto which is what - not racially diverse? or not working class?

Robert 64% of Palo Alto is in the labor force, compared to 64% US Average.

by the way, EPA is 55% White, FYI.

The system IS fatally compromised alright, but not by suggestion that it needs to terminate in SJ. That's the LEAST of CHSRA's problems. For fatal flaws, look no further than its shoddy EIR/EIS and its arrogant and crooked leadership

Anonymous said...

Bay Area Native, tired of posting under that name, so now you chose another, Hair Brained Indeed. I think you need to open your eyes a bit further. There are also some very influential people that live outside of your little cities that support this project. We have far more resources and deeper pockets to make sure this project is completed to the fullest extent. Your group does not have a leg to stand on with your lawsuit (you would know that is you did a little research).

Only people who continually refer to the money that a city or their citizens (such as yourself) possess, have much less than you think and talk loud to make up for there shortcomings. Hence, you. Have a nice day.

Jathnael said...

I enjoy reading your blog but this quote
“In contrast, Palo Alto, Menlo Park and Atherton appear to be primarily motivated by classic NIMBYism - a stance taken usually by prosperous white homeowners that says they alone have veto power over any project that they do not like, even if it is tailored to their needs.”
ticks me right off.

I am a prosperous white home owner, and I am for High Speed rail in CA and the USA. In fact when we get the stations nailed down, I will be hopefully buying a condo near one of the HSR/Caltrain stations.

So please bring the tech but keep the racist bullshit out of this blog.

Bay Area Resident said...

oh yes, the Peninsula voted yes on 1A- well that settles it doesn't it? WELL NO- it does not actually. Because Prop 1A was a scam and I suggest Diridon and friends start to act more responsibly here before 1A is challenged in the courts as misrepresentative (and fraudulent). Where exactly in 1A did it say the route was already chosen with no appeals process?

Bay Area Resident said...

Anonymous, if your position is that myself "Bay Area Resident", and somebody who posts as "Bay Area Native", and somebody else named "Hair brained" are the same person, wake up. There are literally hundreds of people attending EVERY city council meeting and neighborhood meeting on this issue all the way up and down the Peninsula all the way to San Jose. The only people voicing strong views FOR this train are students who don't vote. Everybody else is a very strong NO!!. These people with similar anti HSR views are posting on various blogs and you are way outnumbered.

Tony D. said...

San Mateo and Redwood City Rock! But let's not forget that those two city's also represent the many residents of Palo Alto, Menlo Park and Atherton that support HSR/voted for Prop. 1A.

B.A.R.,
Can you explain how Prop. 1A was a "scam"? I assume you've done a county-wide San Mateo survey of all those who voted for Prop. 1A. Can't wait for your citations/proof of the "scam." Again, a small minority trying to thwart the will of the vast majority, plain and simple.

theo said...

I agree that Robert should keep the self-trolling "white NIMBY" stuff to a minimum.

But come one people, the difference between Palo Alto and East Palo Alto is stark.

Palo Alto City Council
6 white, 1 Asian, 1 Hispanic.


East Palo Alto City Council
:
2 black, 3 Hispanic.

That's who's making the decisions about the cities' HSR policy. And in Palo Alto, they're almost all white. And NIMBY.

NONIMBYS said...

Only in your "Mind" BAR are hundreds marching and protesting..well you and the 3main
PA nimbys and there kids...SO you beacuse you dont want its not gooing to happen...your royal highness

Hare said...

Robert, Pray tell us how HSR would "emancipate" working class residents from their automobiles?

How would working class folk residents get to HSR stations?

Where would they be going once they got on the HSR?

How would they get around once they got off the HSR?

How much would an HSR trip cost them, relative to their cars? relative to Caltrain?

Really Robert, I'd love to see you actually go past your ridiculous inflamatory rhetoric, and explain exactly how HSR emancipates even a single (one single) working class resident in the Peninsula from their car.

Maybe you mean it frees them from the slavery of having to get in their cars for their trips to Disneyland?

What a joke.

Hare said...

Right - and where in my post did I make a reference to rich influence? Uh, no, actually my post was exactly the opposite. YOUR (and Roberts) were the posts all about 'rich influence'. Why am I not surprised the points went right over your head.

AND, I'M certainly not trying to compare PA to EPA. That's Robert's gig. My post was to prove that Robert is a racist by suggesting that HSR opposition in Palo Alto (or any other Peninsula city) is all about a bunch of rich white people. I'm certainly not going to try to argue that PA is same in socio-econimic demographic to EPA.

IN fact I've suggested that its too bad that CHSRA politicians have greedily set its sights on the 'richest' target market area it can possiblyl sink its slathering greedy hooks into, without regard to actually trying to help some of the neediest socio economic areas that could really use the infrastructure revitalization investment.

And Robert has the nerve to suggest that Peninsula residents want to kill the project to their detriment, invoking racist rhetoric like "emancipate".

By the way, I'm relieved and glad that Peninsula cities are NOT coming together in some kind of a pact. Not a good idea. CHSRA is compelled to answer to each and every single city impacts individually, and we need to keep it that way. Definitely better to take each issue, each comment, each negotiation, each lawsuit, each battle separately. Way more coverage of issues, from every possible point of view, and way more opportunity for delay, confusion and mangling of the whole thing by CHSRA hacks.

Peninsula cities definitely should NOT boil their issues down to a single voice to make things easier and more streamlined for CHSRA. That's the LAST thing in the best interest of Peninsula citizens. EAch city needs to retain its own voice and its own recourse path.

Anonymous said...

Hare, do some research:

How would working class folk residents get to HSR stations?

Drive of take public transit. This will cut the time one spends in an automobile with regards to total trip.

Where would they be going once they got on the HSR?
How would they get around once they got off the HSR?


Same as you would as if you were to fly, rent a car or take public transit. Hell, walk a little.

How much would an HSR trip cost them, relative to their cars? relative to Caltrain?

Go to the CAHSR website and find the documents that show relative fares to distance (estimate).

You do realize the bay area to LA basin is one of the busiest corridors in the world? Do some research and quit expecting to be spoon fed. You come to conclusions before doing reading.


As for Bay Area Native, take a look at this OFFICIAL map of voting results for Prop 1A:

http://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/sov/2008_general/maps/returns/props/prop-1a.htm

Or look at this one:

http://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/sov/2008_general/57_65_ballot_measures.pdf

Loose the notion that only non voting students support this. Find your county and look at the results!!

I think it is time to start taking what Bay Area Resident (and some others) says with a grain of salt. These people can't back up their claims with hard facts, only their opinion or articles by other peoples opinion (Reason Foundation) which lack supporting facts. Just ignore them!

Bay Area Resident said...

Oh please. Quit posting "results" of prop 1A. Huge numbers of people voted for it that did not know what they were voting for, and the only people who really had all the inflammatory information at their fingertips (deliberately I am sure) are train wonks like those that post on this blog.

If you want to read the type of complaints surfacing from people that actually *VOTED* for 1A, I will point you to the Palo Alto HSR blog, simply search for 1A and enjoy. Start about here.
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Palo_Alto_HSR/message/77

Alon Levy said...

First, PA is 17% Asian, not 32%.

Second, the Asians there are still quite wealthy. The median household income in PA is $119,046, as of 2007. As of 2000, 2% of the population is black, 5% is Hispanic, and 5% is poor. The comparable statistics for EPA are $45,006, 16%, 73%, and 16%.

Robert Cruickshank said...

I'm sorry if the truth hurts. But the most ardent NIMBYs tend to be white and prosperous. That is NOT to say all white people are NIMBYs, or that all prosperous people are NIMBYs. But there is a class and race element to this, as there is to so many things in American politics, and I'm not going to ignore it.

Because as anon @4:12 pm said (and I would ask everyone to pick a username, even those of you who agree with what I say), high speed rail is going to be a big boon to those Californians who are in the most dire economic need, including people living in East Palo Alto - whose needs are not being considered at all by the Palo Alto NIMBYs.

Palo Alto NIMBYs are arguing that their aesthetics are more important than providing tens of thousands of jobs to the Bay Area, helping to produce energy independence, helping to cut down on pollution and traffic, and helping people travel to work or to visit family and friends more cheaply.

The wealthy homeowners can afford to mitigate all of those problems. The average East Palo Alto resident cannot. But the NIMBY doesn't care about that, because they don't think the average East Palo Alto resident's needs - or those of anyone else in California - matter as much as their own personal vision of what a community should look like.

If you think I'm going to ignore the social and economic and environmental justice aspects of Palo Alto NIMBYism, you're quite mistaken. Californians are going to hear about how Palo Alto is going to block high speed rail for the entire state all because they're whining about what it'll look like.

I know some think that calling out the Palo Alto NIMBYs like this will only harden their positions. My assessment is that as with all NIMBYism, their position has already been hardened, and that the Palo Alto City Council has made a major mistake by enabling it.

So to me the right move instead is to discredit and marginalize the NIMBYs. They do not have any meaningful role to play in the high speed rail process - so long as they cling to the belief that their own personal tastes are more important than the needs of the state as a whole.

Eric said...

Funny how Bay Area Resident has to change around the topic when there is a direct rebuttal to an arguement, supported by facts. This happens time and time again from BAR, along with unsupported claims and blatant scare tactics with name calling. Pathetic.

Besides, why would anyone want to go to your blog and listen to a few whining people who do not constitute the majority of voters. Typical, only what interests them. Well, its time for sacrifice Palo Alto whether you like it or not because this project is for the greater good. Not a few.

Bay Area Resident said...

Eric says,
This happens time and time again from BAR, along with unsupported claims and blatant scare tactics

And then,
listen to a few whining people who do not constitute the majority of voters. Typical, only what interests them.

Well lets see, Prop 1A passed with a blistering majority of 51%. That would be the highly deceptive version of Prop1A, you know, the thing that didn't mention that this was going to ram through the peninsula on what are essentially streetcar tracks in todays scheme. The only way Prop 1A made it through is by counting on gullible peninsula voters who vote for anything green as long as it is backed by the Sierra Club and not offensive to them. But oh- WAIT!~ The Sierra Club barely supported this and the actual implementation is, as it turns out VERY OFFENSIVE to bay area voters. You got your dinky 9 billion but the rest of this thing is DOA. The bay area will vote it down hard.

Rafael said...

@ BAR -

AB3034, the bill behind prop 1A, is complex but to call it deceptive lacks any basis in truth. All of the information was published on the web and easy to find if you made any effort at all.

1. preferred route, including Caltrain ROW - finalized mid-2008 after 12 years of study and numerous public hearings up and down the state

2. rough first cut at implementation - published 2007 in an appendix

3. implementation details all along preferred route - published early 2008 in Google Maps view of preferred route

4. cost estimate based on selected implementation - published 2000, updated Nov 2008 due to delay in CA state budget (but $30-$35 billion figure for starter line incl. $4.2 billion for peninsula available earlier)

5. state and federal environmental impact statements - approved late 2008

Besides, if you or anyone else had asked any of us for specific information regarding what CHSRA had already published, we would have at least tried to point you to the appropriate documents.

The now-defunct DerailHSR web site run by Morris Brown and Martin Engel in Menlo Park was also active in ferreting out documentation details.

Don't blame us activists on either side because you and/or others in the peninsula went into the polling booth unprepared. In a democracy, it's up to each voter to make an informed decision. HSR is only the single biggest infrastructure project in state history.

And for what it's worth, 52% constitutes a simple majority, which is all that was needed in this case. At this point, there is no plan to put HSR to another vote, so I'm not quite sure what you have in mind.

Owen E said...

My oh my, after a week or so of civilized discource on this blog we get back to the ugliness in a hurry.

I really do think that a solution that is tolerable or amenable to most parties involved can be found without catastrophically breaking the budget. The final solution will probably involve some combination of at-grade, split grade, landscaped sloped embankment, plus trenching where the ROW is narrow and residential. The CHSRA might design the trench such that it can be covered if the cities along the way choose to pay for it.

The cost will go up. This isn't the first and it won't be the last unanticipated cost escalation, but the project is still worthwhile.

But if they're talking about trenching in Burbank then it can probably be done for a few miles on the peninsula, too.

I also disagree with pulling out the race card. If anything it's much more about income than it is about race, as the cities and neighborhoods protesting the loudest, also seem to have the highest proprety values and the highest incomes. But regardless, I think the author should have taken the high road and he did not.

Anonymous said...

No Rafael, stuff published in websites (and random blogs) and in appendices of 1200 page documents is exactly the definition of deceptive - its fine print. And its ALL of questionable source and accuracy, once you need to move past the wording of the law. (example "Nimby's versus Realists on the Peninsula" - are you suggesting we should have asked Robert for the unbiased truth? Puleeze!) Just read the wording of the law! which is what voters would have done. There is nothing about route, in fact OTHER routes are stated as viable options within the wording of the law, including Altamont. Voters read the voter materials, some go as far as to read the wording of the law.

You can't legally trick and bind consumers with fine print, and you can't trick voters with fine print. We'll you can try, but that doesn't make it justice. And it certainly does make it challengable.

Anonymous said...

"And yet Palo Alto doesn't want to invite them to their group. Why does this not surprise me?"

Maybe because the HSR ISN'T GOING THROUGH THEIR NEIGHBORHOODS? What a stupid inane comment.

無名 - wu ming said...

robert - as an aside, i think it is a bit of a pitfall to use the city names as shorthand for a minoritarian batch of cranks and a few city councils, given the supermajority support of most of the peninsula counties' voters for HSR. i know it's awkward to spell things out every time when making a political argument, but i think you may be unwittingly abetting the false impression the denialists are trying to construct of this being a battle between high speed rail and the people of the peninsula, instead of between the majority of the voters on the peninsula and a cranky, affluent but vocal minority faction.

Spokker said...

"Wow.

"Palo Alto, Menlo Park and Atherton appear to be primarily motivated by classic NIMBYism - a stance taken usually by prosperous white homeowners..."

Reference, cite, data?"

There's some NIMBYism from poor, black residents in South LA with regards to the Expo line, but other than that I can't think of another example in California.

Much of my knowledge of NIMBYism in California stems from observing Orange County NIMBYs. There was a spat with John Wayne Airport which forced the facility to make some concessions to reduce noise. There was the backlash over the proposed Centerline Light Rail project fueled by Irvine. There was opposition to a Metrolink station in Placentia.

I would say that based on what I've seen, the stereotype fits, but I'd be open to hearing challenges to that stereotype.

Tony D. said...

Anon 8:21,
Nice reach! You sound like an alcoholic blaming a liquor store for all his woes.


Anon 9:03,
You know what's "stupid inane"; Just coming to the realization that you live next to a railroad that's been in existence over 100 years. What, you've never heard/felt the loud, lumbering Caltrain and freight trains before?

Spokker said...

"I also disagree with pulling out the race card."

I'd agree that it's more about class than race. But then if he had pulled only the class card, he'd be accused of inciting class warfare, so you can't really win.

Spokker said...

In any case, I think this is a great, entertaining post. I love the controversy and it really drives readership. To say that class and race do not come into play is simply putting your head into the sand and ignoring the real conflicts that exist between whites and blacks, whites and Hispanics, Hispanics and blacks, poor and rich, middle class and poor, and just about everyone else against the poor.

It reminds me of a near riot at a high school in Los Angeles. Every single TV news station but CBS/KCAL shied away from the fact that the fight was between black and Hispanic students. We may not want to hear things like that, but these conflicts still exist, and they are very much a part of the debate over mass transit in this country, whether it's the local bus or a bullet train.

無名 - wu ming said...

the fact that merely mentioning the racial/class correlates of the kind of entitled busybodies that tend to be NIMBYs sparks such immediate outrage amongst the NIMBYs is quite telling IMO.

i would be quite surprised if anyone throwing a fit over this line or robert's rather pedestrian claim deviates much from the stereotype. i haven't been to the city council meetings or protests on the peninsula, to be fair, but i'd be surprised if it wasn't the usual suspects.

after all, it's not a secret that race and class have driven much of california politics, esp. urban planning, taxes and transportation for the past 3 or 4 decades at least. why would this be any different?

but we'll get to see how this all plays out as the HSR planning makes it through other communities less affluent and white than atherton and palo alto.

jim said...

Bay Area Resident said...
Oh please. Quit posting "results" of prop 1A. Huge numbers of people voted for it that did not know what they were voting for" So in other words you are enlightened and intelligent and every one else is too stupid to figure out what they were voting on.

jim said...

As for the "white nimbys" comments being racist and so on. Remember, just because something is true doesn't mean you are allowed to say it.

Eric said...

There's some NIMBYism from poor, black residents in South LA with regards to the Expo line, but other than that I can't think of another example in California.

It's not called NIMBYism when there are poor minorities involved. It's the same thing, but it's known as "Environmental Justice." Sheesh, dude, get your terms straight.

Alon Levy said...

Eric, well, there's NIMBYism, and there's NIMBYism. In New York, the Upper East Side and Upper West Side have few NIMBYs - the city already works for them. The real problems come from the outer borough middle class, which has scuttled the idea of running the subway to LaGuardia because it would've run elevated. Usually you can identify them by their claim that "local infrastructure can't handle it," which they make even in areas that have half the population they used to have.

The poor, as well as residents of more urban neighborhoods regardless of class, have other issues. Usually the concern is eminent domain and large scale bulldozing of residences, rather than the end result. I don't think anyone in Manhattanville objects to having Columbia buildings near his home; the main objections are to the city's use of eminent domain to give land for Columbia's private use, and to the shady deals involving Columbia, city politicians, and local slumlords.

jim said...

As for running trains through wealthy versus poor neighborhoods, guess what, put the tracks and station in east palo alto and let those folks reap the the huge economic benefits from the project, the tax revenues, the jobs, the infrastructure improvements etc and make sure there are no under passes in the "berlin wall" so that PA and MP can't get their hands on any of those benefits.

The Engineer said...

Hooray for this blog.

Screw all the Palo Alto NIMBYists who think they have a god-given right to screw the state and the globe because they fear their property value dropping by a couple percent.