Saturday, August 8, 2009

Another Peninsula NIMBY Lawsuit

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

Clem has the scoop over on his blog about a planned lawsuit from an Atherton resident opposed to HSR that argues Union Pacific's consent must be given before the HSR project can proceed. From a Palo Alto Daily Post article:

Atherton resident Russell Peterson said yesterday he will file a lawsuit that will attempt to stop the state High Speed Rail Authority from starting any construction without the full approval of the Union Pacific Railroad....

Attorney Mike Brady, a Menlo Park resident representing Peterson, said the suit will ask a judge to require all plans for the bullet train to receive Union Pacific approval before construction begins.


As Clem lays out, this stems from Section 2.7 of the agreement between Caltrain and the UPRR, which seems to indicate that UP has to give its consent before any intercity trains can use the tracks. It is this clause that Peterson is using as the basis of his suit. I would be surprised if a judge finds Peterson has standing to sue using this agreement as a basis - wouldn't that be UP's place to decide whether or not to uphold their contractual agreement?

But as Clem found, there are other parts of the agreement that suggest Caltrain actually holds the cards here:

8.3.(c) In the event that Owner demonstrates a reasonably certain need to commence construction on all or substantially all the length of the Joint Facilities (including User's Cahill/Lick Line) of a transportation system that is a significant change in the method of delivery of Commuter Service which would be incompatible with Freight Service on the Joint Facilities (other than User's Cahill/Lick Line), Owner may, at its sole cost and expense, file no sooner than nine months prior to the commencement of such construction for permission from the ICC to abandon the Freight Service over the portion of the Join Facilities (excluding User's Cahill/Lick Line) upon which the construction is to occur. User shall not object to or oppose such a filing; however, it shall be allowed to participate in the abandonment proceedings.


Clem's interpretation is that the Caltrain/HSR project qualifies under this provision, although both Caltrain and the CHSRA have preferred to work with UP instead of against them. And that makes sense to me.

Peterson's suit will probably not go anywhere, but it does raise the issue of UP, its trackage rights, and how this affects Peninsula HSR planning. As Rafael has pointed out on several occasions, the tunnel that Peninsula NIMBYs prefer for the Caltrain/HSR corridor would almost certainly prevent freight trains from continuing to use the route.

Although it is theoretically possible that a tunnel could be built south of Redwood City and the Dumbarton rail bridge rehabbed to allow the UP freight hauler to continue to use the tracks, no money has been identified for this option, nor has it been seriously discussed. It's also worth noting that this would do nothing to help the cities further up the Peninsula, like Burlingame and San Mateo, that have also been calling for a tunnel. (Of course, I am quite confident that if Atherton, Menlo Park and Palo Alto felt they could solve their own problems by screwing the other Peninsula cities, they would gladly do so.)

If UP wants to continue running freight along the route, they are best off with an above-grade solution, and one has to assume they are quite well aware of this. Caltrain and the CHSRA are designing the route with UP's needs in mind. So why would UP have any interest in suing? No wonder a Peninsula NIMBY has to go it alone.

65 comments:

Clem said...

To be clear, I don't claim to be a lawyer, and my interpretation may not be worth a damn. My basic points are two-fold:

(1) a lawyer will find clauses in this agreement that favor one or the other party. The agreement is a two-way street, and it's not like UPRR has the legal upper hand on Caltrain, although that's the only angle that is being highlighted by litigious Athertonians.

(2) legal action requires a dispute to exist between Caltrain and UPRR, and from everything we know at this point there is no such dispute. Caltrain and UPRR have a good relationship and there is no indication that HSR has changed this equation.

Anonymous said...

Well if you are going to try and cover this item, another link with info is:

http://www.almanacnews.com/news/show_story.php?id=4588

And as mentioned over on Clem's site worry a bit about STRACNET, and whether 8.3(c) can possibly apply. (without almost certainty, it has no bearing)

In any case, getting UPRR to come clean should be welcomed by both supporters and those against this project.

When the suit is filed, visibility will be increased dramatically.

mike said...

No one cares about STRACNET. If the NIMBYs want to waste their time talking about STRACNET pipe dreams, that is their right to do so. The rest of the world will pass right on by.

Clem said...

mike. This is the National Security of the United States of America we're talking about here; to trifle with it is unpatriotic. The peninsula is and will forever be an important pathway for military materiel and to Speaker Pelosi's Undisclosed Location.

Rafael said...

@ Clem -

M1s down Market Street FTW!

BruceMcF said...

Clause 8.3.(c) gives Caltrain standing to pursue freight abandonment with the ICC ... there's no guarantee what the outcome of the abandonment would be.

The DoD participates in the abandonment proceeding when a line is in the STRACNET system.

But since the top boss for the DoD is a big supporter of HSR in general, its highly likely that the DoD would be looking for an outcome that provides the required transport capacity without interfering with the infrastructure for an HSR corridor.

And since the idea that the freight line will have to be abandoned for the improvement seems to be a fiction emerging somewhere from the white noise of controversy, its not clear why Caltrain would have to invoke the clause. Unlike BART, its all standard gauge, so as long as the two "slow" lines are accessible as freight lines, and the loading gauge meets STRACNET standards, its a non-issue.

Some people might try to sound like faux-experts by rattling on about "mixing compliant and non-compliant rolling stock", but even in a worst case regulatory outcome, adopting time-slice division of the slow track between compliant and non-compliant rolling stock would then at most require a handful of compliant sets to keep the passenger network open during the FRA-compliant time slice.

BruceMcF said...

@Rafeal ... sure, protecting against invasion by the Japanese or Chinese would be redundant, since they could just cash in US Treasuries and buy the place, but don't forget the mighty Thai army. And they have an aircraft carrier, too, even if they mostly leave it in harbor because they cannot afford the cost of keeping a Carrier Battle Group out at sea.

If the Thai can get the Ozzies to chip in their amphibious assault capabilities and, critically, can sneak across the Pacific with nobody noticing, why, there's the need for the loading gauge to get M1 tanks up the Peninsula railway.

Very low probability scenario, sure, but speculating about a need to abandon use of the freight line means that very low probability scenarios are on the table.

BruceMcF said...

Anonymous said...
"When the suit is filed, visibility will be increased dramatically."

That is the only certainty here, that the filing of the suit will be used as a vehicle for spreading Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt about the HSR project.

For that, it doesn't really matter whether the suit is finally granted standing or not, since it serves a purpose of distracting from information about the HSR project even if its only noise itself.

Anonymous said...

@BruceMcF:

Of course everything said against the project is noise to you.

flowmotion said...

STRACNET is just another hoop they'll need to jump through. A project this size will already need sign-off from dozens of agencies, what's one more?

(Although I find the idea that President Obama would issues orders pertaining to military railroads hilariously naive.)

The bigger issue is the Port of San Francisco and other entrenched interests that want to maintain freight service. Pelosi, Feinstein, and SF political machine will likely side with the Port.

Nicolas said...

I agree w/ flowmotion. Yeah, it's not a main freight line, but it is used daily, and there are politically powerful parties interested in maintaining freight service. Removing freight service would neither be beneficial in the long-term, nor an appreciable solution to the NIMBY problem.

Anonymous said...

Keeping heavy freight on this short line between SF-SJ increases the NIMBY problem, because it requires more intrusive construction and eminent domain to satisfy the requirements of these heavy freight cars. It also increases the project cost dramatically for very minor benefit.

The SF political machine probably will side with the all-but-dead Port of SF, but that doesn't make it good policy for the viability of HSR.

jim said...

There isn't any problem with keep ing the freight as has been covered before, the freight will only really need to use one of the local tracks, and mostly at night. Caltrain stops running at midnight anyway. The tracks will sit empty. The freights are fairly slow and won't be tearing things up, and the top speed on the peninsula is only 125 for hsr, not 250. So

jim said...

one line on one side for freight access. freightline

BruceMcF said...

Anonymous said...
"Keeping heavy freight on this short line between SF-SJ increases the NIMBY problem, because it requires more intrusive construction and eminent domain to satisfy the requirements of these heavy freight cars. It also increases the project cost dramatically for very minor benefit."

Any backing evidence? Or is it just the chain of loose claims and back of the envelope guesstimates that is suggested by quantity-free "dramatic cost increase"?

Nicolas said...

Come on! The NIMBYs will still complain, freight or no freight. And yes, it makes a difference, but the marginal benefit of removing freight from the line hardly seems worth the trouble, considering that the NIMBYs will still complain about the same issues. You are right that removing freight will make the construction process less intrusive, but in the long term the difference in impact to the communities will be negligible.

While the Port of SF may be "all-but-dead" to you, let me remind you that freight travels the SF-SJ route every day, and multiple locations in San Francisco, and elsewhere on the Peninsula, still use those trains. There can be upwards of 100 cars a day on those lines. The line's light freight use now does not preclude heavier freight use in the future. The Port of Oakland, for example, may not have enough capacity to expand their container facilities in the future.

It is unfair for freight to be kicked off the Peninsula when freight trains have been traversing the Peninsula since before the residents arrived. Allowing freight to be removed would amount to allowing the NIMBYs to gain at the expense of freight users, who have had nothing to do with the debate.

andyduncan said...

Clem linked to the Anaheim-LA alternatives analysis in a previous post, one of the things that stood out for me was this paragraph:


Passby noise levels of an at-grade high-speed train
operating at 125 mph would be approximately 3 dB less than an at-grade diesel operated Amtrak or Metrolink train at 80 mph.


I believe Caltrain is operating similar rolling stock to Metrolink.

andyduncan said...

And to follow up, since the proposed peninsula tracks would be on an elevated embankment, they also state the following:

A high-speed train operating at 125
mph on aerial structure would generate the same wayside noise level as an at-grade diesel operated Amtrak or Metrolink train at 80 mph.

political_incorrectness said...

Caltrain's baby bullet rolling stock is very similar to Metrolink but not the older Nippion Sharyo stock

flowmotion said...

@ Anon 12:14

Removing freight doesn't solve any of the immediate Peninsula NIMBY issues. These people aren't reacting to detailed engineering proposals, and you won't be able to mollify them by claiming the berm will be slightly shorter or whatever.

Plus, in all likelihood, putting additional trucks on the road would create new NIMBY issues that didn't previously exist. And unlike our pals in Palo Alto, residents of industrial areas would be able to make the "environmental justice" argument. People near the Port of SF are already organized around these issues.

Whether the Port of SF is right or wrong is beside the point that CAHSR has to pick their political battles carefully. There's virtuall no upside for removing freight, either politically or economically.

Adirondacker12800 said...

but even in a worst case regulatory outcome, adopting time-slice division of the slow track between compliant and non-compliant rolling stock would then at most require a handful of compliant sets to keep the passenger network open during the FRA-compliant time slice.

But proposing a rational solution isn't any fun! It doesn't involve miles long tunnels or extra deep trenches. Can't raise the boogeyman of BARTifying Caltrain so that it's all local all the time. No ventilation plant the size of basketball court so the steam trains can go to 4th and Townsend... where are the coaling towers in the plans for Transbay btw?

Freight moves on electrified lines right past the passenger platforms all over the world, even using positive train control or whatever you want to call it, in places. Doing that will be more expensive than not doing that on the Peninsula but it's not impossible.

And they do want to keep freight. Might not be that important today but it will be more important in the future. . . they've been talking about a freight tunnel to Long Island for a century. It's finally to the stage of having a preferred alignment selected. Current cost projections are in the neighborhood of 7 billion dollars. Luckily the Port Authority should be able to come up with that kind of money. Cheaper than more bridges and lanes on the Long Island Expressway, cleaner and faster.

Don't design freight into the system now, there's no alternate place to put it. Rebuilding to accommodate it will be very very expensive and disruptive.

Anonymous said...

Re: Noise levels.

Anyone who knows anything about noise levels knows, that 3 db is commonly taken to be the smallest change in volume from a source that will be detected by the human ear. A change of sound level by 3b represents a doubling of the sound pressure, but the human ear receives on a logarithmic scale, so even though this is a doubling of the sound level, it is just perceivable.

You elevate the tracks to an elevated structure, the sounds will have a tremendously longer range, as no foliage or other structures will be in the path to impede the sound level.

(... I'm not even going to address the continuing freight operation which make the situation much worse)

Furthermore, even though they talk about 125 MPH, they might decide to run faster. Nobody near by wants to be in the vicinity of a 4 track elevated train structure --- it is ugly, noisy a property value degrading structure.

Quite frankly I'm tired of hearing that local communities should have to pay for anything over the cheapest way for this project to be built through local communities.

If the CHSRA continues to be pig headed about how the track will be builty, they will find themselves mired in thousand of lawsuits, condemnation and reverse condemnation proceedings. They will end up costing the project more than if they were to agree to sinking the tracks.

If they insist on coming the way described in the program level EIR, then they will have to do it with the tracks sunken and with the local communities approving the design and with CHSRA paying for whatever is decided.

Nicolas said...

If they insist on coming the way described in the program level EIR, then they will have to do it with the tracks sunken and with the local communities approving the design and with CHSRA paying for whatever is decided.

Raised tracks are a standard solution applied around the world, considered appropriate for areas with a wide variety of land uses. For decades they have been shown to be operationally reliable and cost-effective solutions, and CHSRA has made no mistake in proposing them for the Peninsula alignment.

If it is you who requests a premium solution, then you should expect to pay a premium price.

Andre Peretti said...

American freight lines are the only ones Europe is envious about. Freight rail is under-developped in Europe due to different regulations in each country. The EU has now decided to invest billions to unify the system in order to allow freight trains to travel seamlessly from one country to the other, with the exception of the UK whose tunnels and bridges don't allow the passage of European-size freight cars. Taking freight away from roads is considered an environmental emergency.
So, I can't understand how some HSR supporters can advocate doing just the opposite. Freight rail is the future, as is HSR.
Two decades ago, the SNCF abandoned "small" freight lines and replaced them with trucks. This is now considered as an unfortunate lack of vision for a company so proud of its environmental credentials.

YESonHSR said...

The city of San Francisco is 100 percenrt for HSR and the port and will not not stand in the way of the far more valuable HSR system

Anonymous said...

The Port is not standing in the way of HSR. Freight would benefit from upgrades to the line brought by HSR.

andyduncan said...

@anonymous: With regards to the 3 decibel difference, I understand that 3db is not much. I believe that's the point: the noise impact will be about the same as it is now, possibly "barely perceptibly" less. The 3db was for at-grade, while the 0db difference was for a fully elevated platform taller than the raised-berm proposed for the peninsula.

I think most of the anti-nimby-ism surrounding this project comes from the perception that the benefit of grade separations and the electrification of this line will more than offset the impact of increased speed and capacity, and campaigning for something like a trench or a tunnel which aren't just slightly more expensive, but are an order of magnitude more expensive, seems irrational.

You say that the line is planned to be built in the cheapest possible way, but the LA-Anaheim alternatives analysis shows that this is not true.

On a slight tangent, I don't understand the push for a trench. The Alameda Corridor was hardly a neighborhood beautification project, more of a Berlin Moat than a Berlin Wall (if we're going to stick with the loaded phrases).

BruceMcF said...

Anonymous said...
"You elevate the tracks to an elevated structure, the sounds will have a tremendously longer range, as no foliage or other structures will be in the path to impede the sound level."

Unless, of course, there is foliage planted on the "elevated structure" ... in the case of a berm ... or a soundwall at the level of the rail and undercarriage.

Meanwhile, because of the full grade separation, there is no longer any need to sound horns when approaching crossings. And the horns are, as a design feature, substantially louder than "barely perceptible".

So its fairly clear why you decided to post anonymously. If I was trying to slip through such silly nonsense, I would be unwilling to have it connected to my other posts on the site.

Brandon in San Diego said...

I did not read each response above; however... concerning teh threat of a lawsuit... a local resident trying to force CHSRA to comply with UPRR...

There's one very important thing the local resident does not have.... that is standing.

he does not have the legal standing to force any action. If he represented UPRR... then he'd have standing.

Bianca said...

@BruceMcF: Perhaps our anonymous commenter has been watching too much of Jim McFall's misleading video, the one where all the foliage is removed for blocks around, making verdant Palo Alto look like a barren wasteland.

Anonymous said...

Boy! Are the NIMBYS and deniers reaching or are they reaching?!

Bay Area Resident said...

andyduncan,

A high-speed train operating at 125
mph on aerial structure would generate the same wayside noise level as an at-grade diesel operated Amtrak or Metrolink train at 80 mph.


Since Caltrain routinely slows to 35mph through many bay area cities this increase in noise volumes to equate to an 80mph train will not sit well with them.

Bay Area Resident said...

Bruce McF, a soundwall to mitigate the noise problems with an elevated grade would be such a massive eyesore, requiring shadow maps nonetheless, that nobody would go for it.

Come on, admit it, you have a problem here.

Clem said...

Since Caltrain routinely slows to 35mph through many bay area cities

Umm, make that zero mph. That being the whole point.

Bianca said...

a soundwall to mitigate the noise problems with an elevated grade would be such a massive eyesore, requiring shadow maps nonetheless, that nobody would go for it.

Soundwalls don't have to be eyesores. Here's an example from Del Mar, California. Plant some foliage in front of the lower concrete supports and you have a solution that isn't an eyesore and costs a fraction of what a tunnel would cost.

jim said...

YESonHSR said...
The city of San Francisco is 100 percenrt for HSR and the port and will not not stand in the way of the far more valuable HSR system

the port stands in the way of the city doing just about anything that involves the waterfront. The port is pretty autonomous and of course, the jobs involved will take precedence if they are affected.

Its very very unlikely the city hall would get involved in the port/up/hsr issues for the peninsula.

The mayor has no power to intervene, and the BOS doesn't have authority over the port.

The last thing you want to do is stir up a public hornets nest of san francisco poltics on this issue, considering the the power players, the unions, and the surrounding neighborhoods...... forget it... stir that up and we'll be here till kingdom come.

Just let UP and caltrain work it out. There won't be any problem.

jim said...

In 1968, the State transferred its responsibilities for the San Francisco waterfront to the City and County of San Francisco through the Burton Act. As a condition of the transfer, the State required the City to create a Port Commission that*** has the authority to manage the San Francisco waterfront for the citizens of California.*** Although the Port is a department of the City and County of San Francisco, ***the Port receives no financial support from the City,*** and relies almost solely on the leasing of Port property for its revenues

Rafael said...

@ jim -

I fear I've been found out. I admit to stirring up the hornet's nest of terminating freight service in the SF peninsula precisely to show why UPRR has no incentive whatsoever to let some tunnel-seeking NIMBY to file a lawsuit on its behalf.

An above-ground solution with four tracks does have a lot going for it. This is especially true if appropriate measures are taken to minimize rail-wheel noise at source, attractive sound walls are installed and old-growth trees are spared as much as possible.

IMHO, there should be some flexibility on retained fill embankment vs. aerial options. These represent a trade-off between cost, radiated noise and vibration, visual obstruction and land use options (especially new cross roads/paths at grade).

Peninsula NIMBYs tend to discount the blight Caltrain and UPRR already cause today. They assume things can only get worse, but the real picture is more complicated than that - a fact the silent majority that voted in favor of HSR understood in principle, if not in the details.

Anonymous said...

@rafael

Why in the world you would think that UPRR is going to let CalTrain or CHSRA terminate their freight service is beyond comprehension. That is not even on the table.

mike said...

@Clem

My apologies. I will never underestimate the security needs of the Fatherland again. I also hear that BART is being mandated to retrofit the Transbay Tube so that it can accommodate double stack freight trains with variable gauge trucks loaded with Abrams tanks. And MUNI must convert the J-Church line so that it can accommodate flat cars with Bradley Fighting Vehicles. No easy feat with a ROW that looks like this! I can see many scenarios in which we would quickly need to redeploy armored forces from the FiDi to Noe Valley or Outer Mission.

mike said...

Quite frankly I'm tired of hearing that local communities should have to pay for anything over the cheapest way for this project to be built through local communities.

Reality is annoying.

But the "cheapest way" for the project to be built would be to just throw down four tracks and install four quadrant gates at all crossings. There is no FRA rule that mandates grade separation below 126 mph (there are 125 mph grade crossings on the ex-Shore Line portion of the NEC). Let the towns deal with the horn noise and the rush hour back ups. That would be cheaper by far.

andyduncan said...

In scotland at some of the estates, rather than build fences or stone walls to enclose animals in pasture, they excavate portions of the land leading up to the edge of the pasture and then construct a retaining wall that acts as a fence. The end result being that looking from outside the pasture you see no visible fence, just a continuous lawn.

The sound wall doesn't need to be the full height of the train since most of the noise is coming from track-level, most of the diagrams of sound barriers on elevated structures in the CAHSR documents are only a couple feet high to block the sound from the bogies, and would likely be built-into the viaduct. It's entirely possible that short, effective sound walls could be constructed into the berm proposed for the peninsula, essentially running the train in a mini-trench above-grade.

Anonymous said...

The primary purpose of this lawsuit and the others that will follow is to demonstrate to the politicians how profound the local opposition is to this project.

Eventually the machine hacks who are leading the charge for the hsr elevated will turn around and see the only people who are following are a few Bechtel groupies and foamers. The "silent majority" on the Peninsula is against this thing. The typical reaction I find is it doesn't need to go any farther than San Jose.

The primary supporter of hsr north of San Jose is San Francisco. And that is because its portion is either entirely in tunnel, or routed thru poor, industrial areas or next to a freeway. They already got what what the Peninsula is demanding.

andyduncan said...

"The primary purpose of this lawsuit and the others that will follow is to demonstrate to the politicians how profound the local opposition is to this project."

Typically you're supposed to do that by voting.

"The primary supporter of hsr north of San Jose is San Francisco."

And everyone else in the state except the peninsula NIMBYs.

Anonymous said...

The "majorty" voted YES on prop1A
stop the Nimby made up facts !!!YOU dont want it!!!

Bianca said...

The primary purpose of this lawsuit and the others that will follow is to demonstrate to the politicians how profound the local opposition is to this project.

So you are saying that in order to communicate to the legislative and executive branches of government, private citizens are going to the judiciary for relief. That seems a very roundabout way of accomplishing things.

Judges have no interest in getting in the middle of political issues and really don't much care for grandstanding plaintiffs. And, as andyduncan has pointed at, there are more direct ways to communicate with politicians.

And, anecdotally speaking, I know plenty of people who live in Palo Alto and Menlo Park who support HSR. Opposition is not as universal as some around here would like to think.

Clem said...

But the "cheapest way" for the project to be built would be to just throw down four tracks and install four quadrant gates at all crossings.

Even if legal under federal regulations, the CPUC has the final say on whether to grade separate a crossing--and are highly unlikely to approve such an arrangement. The decision isn't up to CHSRA, Caltrain, or even the local communities, although they still need to figure out how to pay for it.

jim said...

@anon The primary supporter of hsr north of San Jose is San Francisco. And that is because its portion is either entirely in tunnel, or routed thru poor, industrial areas or next to a freeway. They already got what what the Peninsula is demanding

when are you going to realize that 1) the peninsula isn't all the important and 2) the peninsula isn't demanding anything, a group of nimbys is demanding things and throwing a hissy fit because they were out voted by their neighbors.

of course SF is getting what it wants. SF is important, unlike Menlo Park

mike said...

The primary purpose of this lawsuit and the others that will follow is to demonstrate to the politicians how clueless the local opposition is...

TFTFY.

Actually, I suspect the primary purpose of the lawsuit is to make money for a high-priced contractor (i.e., lawyer). It's not unlike some aspects of the HSR planning process in that respect!

Anonymous said...

Please keep insisting that the Peninsula residents aren't important.

I wouldn't be surprized if there aren't some advisory votes on the Peninsula before this issue is resolved. Then we'll see the ratio of for and against after the truth of the hsr scheme is fully discosed. The election was a fraud - they promised trenches but now demand elevateds or berms. Of sourse that was done on purpose with the foreknowledge that the Peninsula would never accept the latter.

jim said...

no body promies a trench? i saw the google map long before the election that clearly showed the berms it was available to everyone.

Adirondacker12800 said...

But the "cheapest way" for the project to be built would be to just throw down four tracks and install four quadrant gates at all crossings.

Even if legal under federal regulations, the CPUC has the final say on whether to grade separate a crossing--and are highly unlikely to approve such an arrangement
.

They don't even need four tracks. 20 trains per hour in each direction can be done easily on two tracks. They wouldn't be able to stop anywhere along the two tracks but thems the breaks. And while the grade crossings wouldn't be closed they wouldn't exactly be open either, some of the crossings would have the gates come down 40 times an hour.

john said...

@anon The primary supporter of hsr north of San Jose is San Francisco. And that is because its portion is either entirely in tunnel, or routed thru poor, industrial areas or next to a freeway. They already got what what the Peninsula is demanding

San Francisco also has an average population density of about 17,000 per square mile(including the Richmond and Sunset districts), justifying a tunnel. That is about 100 times more dense than San Mateo County (1570 per sq/mi including Daly City) and about 10 times more than Palo Alto (6700 per sq/mi)

THAT is why it makes since to build a tunnel in SF and not the peninsula.

john said...

Anon @ 1:19pm

Quit Lying! I am from Menlo Park and I looked into the HSR planning before the election, and NOBODY promised you a trench. All last summer and fall the information on CHSRA's website said "retained fill" for Menlo Park/Atherton/Palo Alto.

So please stop lying.

If you voted for somthing you didn't understand, that's your bad. Just be honest.

Alon Levy said...

John, you're making an order of magnitude mistake. SF is 10 times denser than SM, not 100 times, and 3 times denser than PA, not 10 times.

Aaron said...

He can file it, but it'll be dismissed for lack of standing. Only the contracting parties and perhaps an intended third-party beneficiary can sue to enforce a contract, and whoever this guy he, he is plainly neither of those.

What a bizarre lawsuit. I'd love to read Brady's arguments on standing just for the comic relief.

Clem said...

They wouldn't be able to stop anywhere along the two tracks but thems the breaks.

Them's the breaks? For 20,000 people who depend on a rail commute? If that were the proposed solution I would join the terminate-in-San-Jose crowd in a heartbeat.

BruceMcF said...

Bay Area Resident said...
"Bruce McF, a soundwall to mitigate the noise problems with an elevated grade would be such a massive eyesore, requiring shadow maps nonetheless, that nobody would go for it.

Bianca said...
"Soundwalls don't have to be eyesores. Here's an example from Del Mar, California. Plant some foliage in front of the lower concrete supports and you have a solution that isn't an eyesore and costs a fraction of what a tunnel would cost."

See, BAR, you imagine things to fit to your argument, and since your argument is that there are no workable solutions to problems, your imagination falls short of what is possible in the real world.

Or maybe you are thinking of a soundwall for the present sound of horns approaching level crossings. In that case, you are forgetting that the need for horns approaching level crossings goes away with the full grade separation.

Anonymous said...

How come the propaganda showed trenches when we know now there are no trenches planned?

Keep on gloating about how you and Bechtel conned the public. I voted for the boondoggle - I even thought the Caltrain-HSR link was best and also the 99 corridor. Afterwards I thought about it and realized how erroneous was my first opinion. mea culpa. I dunno how I missed the Palmdale corruption. I should have remembered "Chinatown".

Gloat over your "victory". All my friends and I have had the same reaction: we'll never vote for any capital improvement measures again. Period. **** the Peripheral Canal and the Socal growthmongers.

Alon Levy said...

Them's the breaks? For 20,000 people who depend on a rail commute? If that were the proposed solution I would join the terminate-in-San-Jose crowd in a heartbeat.

If the stations and station access areas are four-tracked, local trains will be able to stop without reducing capacity too much. However, to run 20 tph at 200 km/h you need perfect signaling and Japanese schedule adherence.

jim said...

its starting to sound like the health care "conversation" around here.

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BruceMcF said...

Clem said...
QUOTE
"They wouldn't be able to stop anywhere along the two tracks but thems the breaks."

Them's the breaks? For 20,000 people who depend on a rail commute? If that were the proposed solution I would join the terminate-in-San-Jose crowd in a heartbeat.
UNQUOTE

Whether in a cost-benefit assessment or a political evaluation, the suggestion is clearly absurd hyperbole, boiling down to destroying the ability of the corridor to act as a local transport corridor to spite NIMBY's acting against their own self interest.

Its against the interests of current beneficiaries of the Caltrain corridor in all three counties, and will never form the basis of any agreement that the Caltrain board signs onto.