Sunday, November 8, 2009

CHSRA Initiates Statewide Land Use Planning Effort

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

San Francisco Chronicle architecture columnist John King writes today of an ambitious state planning project known as Vision California. The project is intended to provide a holistic, statewide model of growth scenarios, with an emphasis on how high speed rail will change the state's growth and land use patterns. It is co-funded by the California High Speed Rail Authority. As King explains:

The official action is modest, a $2.5 million contract to devise a set of detailed growth scenarios for California, from classic suburban sprawl to compact development focused on older cities. The goal is to produce a single "preferred scenario" - one that conceivably could be used to prod local governments to accept or reject new construction.

This sort of top-down planning would alter politics in California, where cities and counties for decades have deflected any initiatives that might crimp their autonomy. The difference now: legislative efforts to reduce the state's carbon emission levels, and voter support of a high-speed rail system that could put now-distant portions of the Central Valley within commuting distance of Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Proponents say there's no way to make wise long-term decisions without data to gauge the impact of different patterns of growth when it comes to matters such as energy or water use.

This is a long-overdue and much-needed effort. High speed rail in particular is going to reshape California's urban geography, and will produce significant shifts in population movement and growth sites. It makes perfect sense to evaluate this on a statewide basis - how would high speed trains produce growth in Fresno? What kind of growth might happen? And how would that affect land use in the older coastal metropolitan areas? How would that impact water and energy usage?

It is very good to hear that this effort is being undertake and that the CHSRA is playing a role. Given California's numerous and converging crises, from water to environment to economy to energy usage, we need to start considering statewide planning to solve those crises without one region's solutions undermining those of another region.

As King explains, this isn't the first time such an effort has been tried. Governor Jerry Brown initiated such a study in the late 1970s, around the time he promoted a high speed train for California:

For instance: If townhouses and bungalows are built instead of large single-family homes, how much agricultural land will be saved? If new housing is placed near existing jobs and shopping, rather than in distant subdivisions, what will be the effect on a household's transportation expenses?

"By showing people the results of different futures, you create a different political climate," Peter Calthorpe said. A founder of the influential Congress for the New Urbanism, Calthorpe was working for the Office of Planning and Research in 1978 when then-Gov. Jerry Brown released "Urban Strategies for California," the last serious statewide planning push...

Despite Calthorpe's optimism that things will be different this time, there's another scenario: Things stay pretty much the same.

After all, the sense of looming crisis is nothing new; "Urban Strategies" decried how sprawl chews up "air, water and other natural resources," but the proposals never translated into a formal plan.

It's worth noting that Governor Brown's late '70s efforts didn't just die. They were killed. As I've argued before, the 1978 tax revolt was driven in part by a desire to preserve 20th century suburban sprawl from a perceived attack by Governor Brown. Although Brown recognized the need for a denser California, he ran into a massive amount of opposition from the beneficiaries of the 1950s and 1960s model of land use, opposition that in 1978 wrote itself into the state constitution. Ever since, what I have described as a homeowner aristocracy - a specific group of people who were able to buy homes in the last few decades of the 20th century and who seek to preserve their property values and obsolete concepts of the urban landscape at the expense of everyone else - have fought every effort to produce a smarter, more sustainable strategy for economic growth and land use. Their successful determination to preserve the late 20th century model has left California economically weak, dependent on overuse of water, and vulnerable to soaring oil prices. Their refusal to embrace new solutions, which won't actually cause them much if any personal or economic harm, is a major impediment to proper planning for California's future.

Vision California is not just a useful exercise to help build a more prosperous and sustainable 21st century state. It's a way to ensure that high speed rail does not get used to promote sprawl. Many anti-HSR conspiracy theorists claim, against the evidence, that the CHSRA is nothing more than a vehicle for developers to pave over the Central Valley. They should then be the biggest champions of the Vision California project:

The project has three phases and will continue for about 18 months.

The first phase includes the formation of a working group to set parameters and decide how far into the future the projections should go. Data would be compiled and measurement standards defined.

Phase two would develop a base-case scenario that extends past trends forward - and alternative scenarios that give greater emphasis to mass transit and higher-density development patterns. The scenarios would be tested on "targeted groups of key stakeholders."

The final phase would follow the release of the alternative scenarios with a "preferred vision" - coupled with an outreach campaign to show how the chosen path "can most effectively impact the development of state, regional, and local policies aimed at meeting state climate change and other key goals."

In other words, limiting sprawl and promoting urban density, transit-oriented development, and mass transit connectivity are explicit goals of this planning process, something CHSRA is signaling it is willing to abide by once it is in place.

This is a welcome development, and I wish the Vision California project well. Let's hope it is matched with further statewide legislation in the vein of AB 32 and SB 375 to complement local efforts to change the longstanding local government preference for sprawl. HSR is a major tool in the effort to limit sprawl, but as we've always said, that has to be matched with regulatory changes in land use policy. Vision California is a necessary step in that direction.


looking on said...

Robert you may welcome state control of local land use decisions, but I certainly don't and this movement is going to go nowhere.

Just keep piling on with your far left viewpoints on issues like this, and the support for HSR will erode even faster than I ever thought possible.

missiondweller said...

While there is no pleasing a certain group that will always be dedicated to no growth/no planning, what we learned in Portland when I lived there was that you cannot stop growth, but if you plan well you're more likely to get the kind of growth you can live with.

This is a brilliant idea. I only wish the Bay Area had a similar concept to bind together the cities and counties to some reasonable golas and coordination. Yes, there is some, but not enough.

Anonymous said...

Robert posted:

"HSR is a major tool in the effort to limit sprawl ...."

Obviously you know nothing about land use and planning. Nothing could be further from the truth, as HSR will seek to make new bedroom communities where open no exists and land is cheap.

This is one of the major arguments against HSR, don't try and turn it upside down.

Anonymous said...

@looking on - LOL, you're talking about Robert's far left viewpoints when you yourself (based on comments repeatedly made here) are several steps to the right of Reagan? LOL.

Robert Cruickshank said...

Thanks for the reminder about Portland, missiondweller. Portland's urban planning process has successfully stopped limited sprawl in the Multnomah-Washington-Clackamas county area because they understood the need to promote infill density connected with passenger rail.

Both Oregon and Washington have state planning and land use guidelines that create a framework for local governments. Counties still have some latitude, and their decisions are not micromanaged.

That's what Vision California is aiming at, though with more integration and foresight than, for example, Washington's Growth Management Act. HSR means we need to start thinking about statewide planning systems and guidelines, because it will more than any other transportation system create interregional planning needs.

We have already crossed the rubicon; local planning decisions are going to be made with respect to state guidelines according to both AB 32 and SB 375. Vision California would bring coherence and integration to the process, ensuring that we have sensible growth that meets everyone's needs.

Surely the experience of the 2000s, where the Bay Area dumped its growth into an uncontrolled and unplanned San Joaquin Valley, producing a massive and unsustainable housing bubble that has destroyed the California economy, would be an indication of the need to be smarter about growth.

But instead the usual suspects chime in to say "do nothing," as if there were no crisis.

Anonymous said... should be FoxNews "looking on " with your right brain thinking..Mccain type

Rafael said...

It might be a good idea to focus the development strategies in the 1/2 mile radius centered on HSR stations plus selected neighborhoods with existing local transit links to the future HSR stations. Densification is an alien concept in California, it needs to prove itself before it will find a broader audience.

In particular, the one thing that homeowners don't want is for HSR to encourage too much in the way of long-distance commuting, as that would represent a threat to the value of their own properties, which has been propped up for decades by low-density zoning laws that has kept residential real estate artificially scarce.

Transit-oriented development doesn't mean maximizing transit usage, it means minimizing miles traveled by private automobile. Fresno and Bakersfield should therefore seek to develop local jobs in their TOD zones (e.g. green tech R&D) instead of using them merely as inexpensive bedroom communities supporting distant Silicon Valley and LA, respectively.

In this context, each city on the HSR route should play to its strenghts. The risk of earthquakes is virtually zero in Sacramento. There's plenty of water in Stockton. Palmdale will have cheap solar electricity. San Francisco, LA and San Diego are major tourist destination. Merced is the gateway to Yosemite. Etc.

The hard part is that developers will try to maximize indoor area in the TOD zones at the expense of public spaces, including pedestrian and bicycle facilities. CHSRA's involvement in this planning effort isn't altruistic, it wants the cities and counties served to contribute a total of several billion dollars to its own budget. Money talks, BS walks - visions of walkable neighborhoods could get in the way of raising funds to build the tracks.

Moreover, the asphalt lobby is used to building roads with far more lanes for motor vehicle lanes than are compatible with walkable neighborhoods, topped off with oodles of free at-grade parking. All of this impedes architectural approaches to mutual shading and to some extent, the creation of pedestrian shopping zones in downtown commercial areas. In downtown areas, cars belong in multi-story car parks, preferably for a fee.

Retail business owners are often extremely fearful that curbing access for cars will eat into their bottom line. While that it true for business that sell bulky or heavy goods, the reverse is true of cafes, restaurants, clothing stores etc. Every European city that has created pedestrian zones has seen foot traffic and retailer revenue increase there.

Cars gave planners the freedom to put down transportation infrastructure more or less wherever developers wanted to construct buildings, leading to sprawl. HSR turns that on its head, it creates high-density development opportunities in established city centers, but that is a disruptive concept.

Alon Levy said...

Portland's urban planning process has successfully stopped limited sprawl in the Multnomah-Washington-Clackamas county area

Really? So the facts that urban sprawl there has already hit the projected growth boundary for 2040, and that per capita CO2 emissions in Portland are higher than in San Diego, signify urban planning success?

Anonymous said...

CHSRA is funding Land Use Planning? REally? Is that a legal use of Prop 1A funding?

Spokker said...

HSR is just another option for a transit orientated community. It won't work without bus and rail service designed for daily travel.

What I imagine happening is that the HSR station becomes the city's largest transit hub and attracts other bus and rail links. Transit Coalition member "nickv" has posted a series of maps depicting connecting transit for some of the Inland-Empire HSR stations.

HSR will become the top tier service level in California. It means nothing without connecting transit. People who never use the HSR may benefit from new rapid bus and light rail routes that connect to HSR.

It's wishful thinking, I know, but so are dreams of no-growth boosters as is future dependence on the personal automobile.

As for developers pushing HSR to line their pockets, meh. Henry Ford II was pimping highways like nobody's business. A former GM CEO said that the needs of the country align with the needs of GM, a dubious claim, in order to lobby for highway construction. Hell, if we really wanted to see HSR in this country, some of its boosters would steal a few ideas from highway lobbyists.

Anonymous said...

Is this a private project? Or a state government project? Who are the other funders?

Is this within the legal charter of CHSRA?

Anonymous said...

"what I have described as a homeowner aristocracy - a specific group of people who were able to buy homes in the last few decades of the 20th century and who seek to preserve their property values and obsolete concepts of the urban landscape at the expense of everyone else"

Yes how many million upon millions of families from all walks of life became homeowners in the last few decades, who wish to preserve their home values. How dare they make an investment and then try to preserve the value of that investment. And how dare those millions (or billions) of homeowners and their dirty filthy property taxes pay for our public school systems. And how DARE the Obama administration try to continue to stimulute private home ownership with stimulus tax credits for first time home buyers. Its disgusting.

Wow, this is like the Rush Limbaugh of extreme radical left wing at work on this blog. And apparently, CHSRA is now in the business of remodeling our entire state - so I guess that's all part of what we voted for on Prop1A as well, right?

And I voted for Obama and donated to the DNC, and have voted 100% democrat since I could vote (30 years or so). I don't even recognize the garbage you are spewing.

Anonymous said...

^Anon - repeal prop 13 and the problem fixes itself, but the extreme right wing won't do that.

Brandon in California said...

No growthers and sprawl hawks... something to keep in mind... Every jurisdiction in California, county and cities, are bound by state law. They serve at the will of the state.

As of right now, each jurisidction is required by state law to adopt plans that accomodates their fair share of statewide population growth projections. They do not have a choice.

Water shortage? Find and secure it.

Insufficient land? Allow more density.

Insufficient public infrastructure, like sewer and trash? Make plans and pursue their expansion.

Vision California... without examining the details... is a vision document. Its intent will be to illustrate what is possible.... to be a planning tool for local jurisdictions. Not a hammer or one plan fits all situations.

Richard Mlynarik said...

"... development strategies in the 1/2 mile radius centered on HSR stations ..."

How exactly does a non-lunatic reconcile this greenwashy sloganeering with a belief that 350kmh operation through the middle of those same cities poses no sort of problem?

I like trains as much as any of you. I've spent as much time hanging around stations and track side watching high speed trains as the most pathetic of you. I've spend entire vacations riding on train after another. But I'm under absolutely no illusion that a Flight Level Zero airline is anything that anybody should be forced to or will put with living next to.

Get real! Get out and visit the real world -- which doesn't mean Google Maps and Youtube videos of trains -- and report back. "TOD" and 200mph are simply incompatible ... as, for that matter, you'll find it is with 200kmh.

I promise you that high speed trains don't belong in people's back yards. You can bitchily and tiresomely call them "NIMBYS" all you like -- and clearly nothing will ever stop you -- but the fact is that wretchedly bad engineering engenders quite legitimate opposition.

Anonymous said...

The CHSRA with its newly appointed PR firm at $1.5 million per year will apparently try to take on all tasks. I guess they hope to become the new central planning and enforcing agency on land use in the state.

If you object, they will send out the storm troupes to squash the objections. Diridon has laid down the law and the rest of the board follows.

How much longer are California voters going to put up with this rubbish. The first thing we need to do is to get rid of Steinberg as leader of the Senate, repeal SB-375 and let local communities control their own destinies.

One yardstick will be if the voters are wise enough to reject Jerry Brown, so the state doesn't have to endure more years of his incompetence.

Anonymous said...

Brandon, the issue here is whether the CHSRA has been legitimately chartered to spend tax payer dollars on 'visioning' California land use policies. I think not.

And furthermore, its not CHSRA's charter to 'prefer' a future land use scenario either, nor to "PROD" local governmental into accepting new construction based on CHSRA's vision.

If find this immensely objectionable. Seriously, it all of a sudden makes Limbaugh and Hannity and Combs and all those other conservative whack jobs who were screaming about socialism during the campaign, look like they might have actually been right.

This Vision California company's website lists CHSRA as the customer on this project. Who else is funding this? Robert you say its co-funded by CHSRA - who else is co-funding?

There are already regional agencies, by the way, like ABAG, which are studying land use planning, and 'preferring' visions of their own, AND already "prodding" local governments into compliance with their dense building quotas.

Anonymous said...

how can a plan that calls for HSR stations to have massive parking structures stop sprawl?

People will continue to move where land is cheap and then drive to the station and park their car.

If HSRA was serious about stopping sprawl - it would use limited parking or none at all.

Calthorpe's idea of TOD is Smart Growth neighborhoods - while HSRA's idea of TOD is just the D of development of retail, hotels and restaurants - they don't care about the housing - which is the essential piece in Calthorpe's work.

Going 220 mph through a downtown is not going to encourage housing near transportation - it will do the opposite

Spokker said...

"I promise you that high speed trains don't belong in people's back yards."

Force it through. The current owners move out. New home buyers will take advantage of the lower prices. Everybody wins!

I mean, isn't that why the original home buyers moved next to railroad tracks in the Central Valley in the first place?

"Hey maw! Them there house is only 50k on account of the choo choo whistle! What a bargain it is!"

See, Cletus knows what I'm talking about.

Spokker said...

If we can't build high speed rail because some people will be annoyed, then we can't build anything. New freeways, new airports, new rail lines. Can't do it. Because where ever you go you're going to find people because of sprawl. People just filled up all of the available land so that even when you're in the middle of nowhere, there's people and sprawl.

For example, Gilroy residents will no doubt complain about noise and make attempts to force the train to slow down. Wait a second. Why the hell is there anybody in Gilroy in the first goddamn place? If there's so much land out there, why did anyone move next to the railroad tracks? Why was anyone allowed to move next to the railroad tracks? Wouldn't you say, "Hey, you never know. This rail line might be upgraded to something faster in a few decades. Maybe we should keep people from moving there and save ourselves a bunch of headaches in the future."

In a way, sprawl has a built-in defense system. It's a self-feeding cycle of homeowners behind on their mortgages and opposition to anything that could serve the common good, be it a freeway, an airport, a power plant or a high speed rail line.

I guess we'll have to wait a little longer for the extinction of cheap oil and our failure to get an affordable electric car out on the market to take care of these "communities" for us.

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't it be ironic if hsr construction along seized freight railroad routes creates such a corridor of blight that new freeways end up being constructed parallel?

The newly created hsr linear slum finds mitigation by urban removal wherein not just the best use but the only use is a freeway. So in effect the CHSRA and the highway lobby are one and the same.

無名 - wu ming said...

i the only one who finds the phrase "storm troupes" utterly hilarious?

Anonymous said...

wow a simple idea that maybe one of the worlds largest economies should have some kind of cohesive guideline for managing its massive population growth potential and valuable, limited, critical resources is met with cries of lunacy and outrage. The train is leaving the station and the retards are still wondering around the lobby looking for the payphone.
geez, I have been waiting for decades for some one to wake up and say " hey this isn't some backwater where muddling along is acceptable, we need to get on the same page and get serious about managing things"

people,.if you can't handle being part of a big league state, then you need to move over to idaho, or new mexico, or mississippi, or someplace simple and less frightening and intimidating for you.

Anonymous said...

The sprawl problem is not just about housing- the issue is in the Central Valley sprawl happens into the most fertile land California has for farming. In addition, the Central Valley has access to dependable water - this is why there is such a push to protect sprawl there.

Anonymous said...

looking on--

"Robert you may welcome state control of local land use decisions, but I certainly don't and this movement is going to go nowhere.

Just keep piling on with your far left viewpoints on issues like this, and the support for HSR will erode even faster than I ever thought possible."

You may welcome the nation's worst highway congestion (Texas Transportation Institution), air pollution, and the huge transfer of revenue from US taxpayers to petrodictators such as Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela that residential sprawl and the mismathc of housing and jobs causes.

Just keep piling on with your rabid libertarian views and you'll look like even more of a shill for oil companies than the Reason Foundation.

Alon Levy said...


How dare they make an investment and then try to preserve the value of that investment. And how dare those millions (or billions) of homeowners and their dirty filthy property taxes pay for our public school systems.

This is just rent-seeking. Yes, it's heinous when people make an investment, and then pass laws that deprive governments of money in order to raise the investment's value. In the private sector it's called market manipulation and is illegal. In the public sector, it's called a taxpayer revolt and is encouraged.

The homeowners paid property taxes for schools in the 1960s, too. Back then, California was among the top states in both per capita student funding and school performance. Nowadays, with Prop 13 on the books, it's near the bottom in both living cost-adjusted school funding and performance.

Rafael said...

@ anon @ 6:45am -

"In addition, the Central Valley has access to dependable water - this is why there is such a push to protect sprawl there."

Not any more it doesn't. A federal judge recently forced California to reduce the volume of fresh water pumped uphill in Tracy by 1/3 in order to protect the Delta smelt, an endangered species. This drives conservatives crazy, but it's a decision made to enforce federal law. It wasn't a political decision by California lawmakers or the governor.

It's no different than building a new Dumbarton rail bridge vs. the saltmarsh harvest mouse. Endangered critter wins every time.

When you transport fresh water out of the Central Valley, you change the salinity of the intertidal region. Treated wastewater isn't fit for human consumption, but it is still fresh (as in: not saline). Future population growth needs to happen where the water flows naturally, even if that means farmers will no longer have enough water to grow rice and alfalfa in the desert. Yes, the west side of the Central Valley is fundamentally a desert, as is the Los Angeles basin.

As for the push to curb sprawl to protect agricultural land, one look on the map will tell you that whatever policies have been pursued in the past have utterly failed: Sacramento, Fresno and Bakersfield are all low-density agglomerations, even though there is little earthquake risk in the Central Valley.

Time to to try a different, high-density approach to future development.

Rafael said...

@ wu-ming -

make that storm toupés.

Richard Mlynarik said...

"It's no different than building a new Dumbarton rail bridge vs. the saltmarsh harvest mouse. Endangered critter wins every time."

Dear Rafael,

Try, just once, to make just ONE correct statement.

All the environmental groups (starting with the Sierra Club) and all the environmental agencies (state, federal) opposed HSR via Los Banos.

Please leave your "environmental" arguments where the sun don't shine and just come out honestly and say "whatever PB says is good for them is good enough for me."

HSR via Los Banos was and is about the truckloads of money to be made building BART to San Jose (a project that would have evaporated if the more environmentally desirable alternative had even benn considered) and almost nothing else. It certainly has NOTHING to do with ecological habitat preservation.

I'm happy for you if everything that CHSRA does appears perfect to you. That must be a happy candy-land to inhabit. But just lay off the most egregiously blatant and outright lies about environmental impacts, OK? Stick to what you've at least taken the time to Google.

Peter said...

@ Richard.

If I recall correctly, those environmental groups all opposed Pacheco because they were opposed to sprawl in Los Banos.

That problem was solved in AB 3034, after which all that opposition appeared to vanish.

If that was the last obstacle for Pacheco vs. Altamont for the environmental groups, then I don't see what the big deal is...

Rafael said...

@ Richard -

how about you say something accurate for once? There was massive environmental opposition to building a tall new bridge through the Don Edwards National Wildlife Refuge as well as opposition to going through the grasslands and a station in Los Banos.

There is always environmental opposition to doing anything at all, ever. Except for pouring more asphalt, that's apparently always ok.

Anonymous said...

Its like a broken record with the bart haters.

John D. said...

I'm afraid there may be truth to what Richard says. While it my be cynical to point out just how shady BART is anyone concerned should read this 1973 investigative piece by the Guardian about Bechtel's hand in the genesis of BART.

While i wish that things had improved in the Bay Area in the last 40 years, i fear that a lot of these same players are just sitting behind bigger desks today planning a yet bigger ($$$) scheme.

Why else are Bart's SJ/SC plans the only un-funded, future-maybe projects already set into the early HSR planning?

I'm not making an argument for Altamont here, far from it. I think that the parallel upgrades the SF-SJ corridor will receive from the construction of HSR alone is worth Pacheco (lets face it that even Caltrain 2025 would be a pipedream without HSR, much less full grade sep.)

In the long run this might also finally forever spare the rest of the peninsula from that menacing pair of BART tracks staring down from Millbrae.

Anyway, the way this project turns out will influence at least a generation of HSR/transportation planning in this country. We cannot afford to let this become Bechtel's new baby.

Anonymous said...

did I post this yet ACE

As for bechtel and the others eh, I just can't ge excited or bent out of shape over it. The system as planned does what it should do. My only concern would be hiring contractors who can get the job done on schedule.

Andre Peretti said...

Development vision:
Will the VLA kill the VFT?
According to John Leahy, Airbus' chief commercial officer, the Very Large Aircraft, not the Very Fast Train, is the future.
He just makes an exception for cities like London and Paris which have very good transit networks. Otherwise, he considers laying new tracks is a waste of public money. He also says that future non-fossil fuels will do away with airplanes' emissions, thus depriving the train of its environmental advantage.
Leahy's vision is a bit frightening: fast links between megacities with lesser ones totally ignored, or left with no other solution than pouring more asphalt.
He is American and he knows how to talk to US deciders. Remember he is the man who managed to sell "French" Airbus planes in Boeing's home market, which is no small feat.
Let's hope people will realize his vision is nothing philosophical. It just boils down to trying to sell 850-seat A380s for short-haul flights.

Rafael said...

@ Andre Peretti -

Ironically, it's actually high speed trains that can bring sufficient numbers of people to hub airports for the A380 hub-to-hub concept to make sense.

Outside of Asia, I don't see anyone contemplating that big bird for routes shorter than thousands of miles.

Peter said...

@ Rafael

Agreed. Ever since Tower Air shut down operations, no one has shown serious interest in flying even coast-to-coast in 747s or larger.

The FAA would like to move away from the hub-and-spoke airline system. Hence the Boeing 787-3 (I think that's the short-range version). Also, hence the NexGen air traffic control system concept.

Spokker said...

Will homeowners living near the track embrace 110 MPH European-style operations and upgrades?

Spokker said...

Also, the big complaint with BART is that it was all proprietary technology. The CHSRA wants to use off-the-shelf trains running on standard gauge tracks. Sounds like *some* lessons were learned if the same people behind BART are behind HSR.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Joey said...

The point is, HSR can help to encourage sustainable growth, but just HSR, in itself, may not be able to do so. The point of the study is to determine how best to use that potential to promote sustainable growth. HSR, when combined with effective land-use policies, may be able to do this in a way that just one or the other would not be able to.

Rafael said...

@ anon @ 1:19pm -

your comment was deleted because it contained an f-bomb. Please keep the conversation civil.

Peter said...

@ Joey

I think the term you're looking for is synergism.

Caelestor said...

Wow, there's so much vitriol today. Can't keep track of all the anonymouses.

Anonymous said...

interesting to read the overwhelmingly negative comments on SFgate with regard to the original John King article.

lyqwyd said...

has there ever been anything but negative comments on any sfgate article?

dave said...

You Nimby's are mad that your home values are being transfered away from you and to the hands of Central Valley homeowners. For that, maybe you had it coming to you, fools.

Anonymous said...

The hsr is Bechtel's baby. The Palmdale scam and the Palo Alto berm are the mark of the beast.

Joey said...

Would you get over Tehachapi already? Seriously, if you took off your foil hat for a minute you'd realize that most of the decisions made thus far have been competent an technically-driven.

Peter said...

Wouldn't Palo Alto be getting a tunnel if the idea was to feed "the beast" (Bechtel)?

Morris Brown said...

View Diridon's Rotten Apples comment directed at us (deniers) on the peninsula.

Rotten Apples

(from the Nov 5th board meeting)

Not a single other board member of the High Speed Rail Authority, objected to his dictates.


The full text is:

(Diridon dictating to Ogilvy PR firm (hired for $9 million / $1.5 / year) what he wants done and done now)

Second is, and I’ll use as an example again one area, but I have an idea that its occurring in other areas too, miss-information is causing serious media relations problems in the mid-peninsula – Atherton, Menlo Park, Palo Alto area especially. That miss information coming sometimes from in-advertently our own staff, but then again its being presented by opponents, blatantly providing false information to the media and then having no correction. No information being provided that would counter that miss-information and I think you related to that earlier.

So would you relate to those two examples, not those two specific cases but those examples as kind of in the weeds detail, that you really need to be on immediately, so that it doesn’t , the kind of thing are like a sore that festers, or the rotten apple in the barrel , if you would like to use another example. And you got to get that apple out of the barrel immediately and please figure out a way and let us know at some time in the future and call us individually or give us a report on how you would be creating kind of flying squads of emergency response to nip those problems in the bud. You want to avoid them if you can but if you can’t avoid them you need to have a way of countering them immediately so that , miss-information isn’t allow to float around, its corrected . So please consider that as early tasks.

Bianca said...

Morris Brown said:

View Diridon's Rotten Apples comment directed at us (deniers) on the peninsula.

Again, Morris? We've already discussed this. Diridon didn't call you out by name, nor did he say that all of the opposition is spreading misinformation.

I can attest that misinformation is indeed being spread here on the Peninsula. And it's entirely appropriate that CHSRA would want the record corrected when incorrect information is reported as fact. And a PR firm is precisely who you employ to make sure that the public gets the correct information. Why would you expect anything different?

Anonymous said...

Watch out for those "flying squads of emergency response"!!

flowmotion said...

Transit Oriented Development is essentially a proxy issue here. It has very little to do with HSR itself, and instead is a more general enlightened anti-postwar suburban vision.

Nobody has justified HSR from a TOD perspective based on ROI. (The ridership model is based on air travel, for one.) And the arguments that attempt to do so sound a whole lot like the old Underwear Gnomes thing.

On the other hand, if you're from the construction lobby...

Well, a lot of people here haven't reconciled their desire for a Cadillac system at Chevrolet prices.

Alon Levy said...

The Cadillac is a GM-made car. I sincerely hope CAHSR won't look like it. Just get a Renault system, or a Honda system.

Anonymous said...

A lincoln or a cadillac would be nice. Lots of comfy roomy luxury.

Anonymous said...

I'm trying to not be insulted by your NIMBY comments, however, I moved to Burlingame and bought small home with a steep cost so that I could walk to shops, take the train to work; and use SFO for my frequent work related travel.

I'm upset that this will rip through my community and cause me to be unable to walk to shops, schools, etc. Not to mention the noise. The people who live in this community will not benefit as I see it.

Personally I see this as a waste of money at a time when the money could be put to better use.

Anonymous said...

its not going to rip through your community its going thru jsut like the train curretnly goes throught and why would is stop you from taking the train to work and walking to shops? Its not a human eating alien sea monster, its just another train.

Anonymous said...

gawd people are freakin weird.

NONIMBYS said...

SO its YOU that thinks it not needed!! OK stop the train!! classic stupid self-centerd thinking NIMBY!! Now that train is going thru on that 140 year old railroad you moved near and it wont be much different than now GESS!! and you work for an airline??