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High-speed rail: Menlo Park resident files suit

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Correction: A previous version of this story referred to Russell Peterson as an Atherton resident. In fact, he lives in Menlo Park.

Accompanied by attorneys Mike Brady and Zachary Tyson, Menlo Park resident Russell Peterson filed a lawsuit against the California High-Speed Rail Authority and Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board in San Mateo County Superior Court Tuesday, Aug. 11.

In the suit, Mr. Peterson asks the court to declare that the High-Speed Rail Authority cannot begin work on the high-speed rail project without the consent of Union Pacific, which retained certain rights when it sold the corridor in 1991.

View the lawsuit (PDF, large file)

In high-speed rail battle, Peninsula residents may have found their Goliath

Comments

Posted by NONIMBYS, a resident of another community
on Aug 11, 2009 at 11:39 pm

HOW about we sue you..the TAXPAYERS of CALIFORNIA for your selfcenter
mean spirted and stupid lack of vision..O I know it "ruins" your property..never mind that it will trasform California..thats not your ID..its ME the Ugly American


Posted by Common Sense, a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Aug 12, 2009 at 12:19 pm

Considering the fact that all other U.S. rail systems are losing money and struggling for ridership, the above comment is completely ridiculous. This isn't about being selfish. It's about using common sense. You are not going to get people to completely change their habits and give up their cars (or planes) using the current proposed system. What confidence do we have that it will be any better than what's there already which is a failure? The high-speed rail system is just a horrific waste of taxpayer money with a huge negative environmental impact. Always look at the risk to benefit ratio: the design of this system will have be a blight on the beauty of our state without any reliable data that it will reduce pollution.


Posted by Marian, a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Aug 12, 2009 at 12:32 pm

Really, all you need to consider about NONIMBYS comment is the complete lack of coherence and the, um, creative spelling.


Posted by Joe, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Aug 12, 2009 at 12:39 pm

I don't think it's correct to call the rail systems we now have a failure. Lots of people ride the train, whether you're talking about Caltrain or Amtrak. I've ridden trains in both systems that were packed. High-speed rail will make it a better experience and one that we can all share, having all paid for it. It becomes part of the commonwealth.

As for the "huge negative environmental impact," if they're using mostly the rail corridors that already exist, how is this negative?

Is it better to build more highways?

Is it better to just give up and keep California as a car culture even though a train culture is better for the environment in the long run?

As for being a blight on the beauty of our state, what is ugly about an aerodynamically designed train rolling down the track? Or trains going back and forth, carrying both freight and passengers? These are much more aesthetic and interesting scenes than a freeway full of cars, I'll tell you that.


Posted by Moe, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Aug 12, 2009 at 2:37 pm

At least one clear thinker.
Joe, your comments are right on the mark and delivered objectively.


Posted by thank you russell, a resident of Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
on Aug 12, 2009 at 5:59 pm

The existing train systems are failures because they lose copious amounts of money. Very few operators can run a train business profitably, and at $55/ticket, HSR is guaranteed to be a money pit.

I like to ride trains and I have paid the extra cost (vs driving)but cannot see them as economically viable.

Fact: trains will not displace the freeways. We will still need them, and more of them as more and more housing is crammed into our already overbuilt area. Most of us are commuting from Menlo Park to Sunnyvale or Fremont, not to LA. HSR will only impact about .01% of trips.

Yes, a beautiful train speeding through the countryside is appealing. The voters bought that image, didn't they? A huge wall that bisects the entire peninsula is a blight on the community, and will have longer-term social and economic repercussions that have not even been addressed by the CHSRA.


Posted by ETIENNE, a resident of another community
on Aug 12, 2009 at 6:58 pm

Had the U.S. continued to develop the bullet train concept after seeing the success of all the countries in Europe and Asia to take on its responsibility to the people of this country and not power mongers whose need for oil became the key to control almost every industry which made money for the rich and super rich, and the reality of the collapse of Wall Street along with the end of the auto industry, the aviation industry, by leaders who created a war which ultimately has made us one of the weakest powers with almost NO hope. Those who object to the most obvious answer because to finally make a move, will ruin the aestheics of some neighborhoods.
WAKE UP.America is not resourceful, it is POOR; it is Hungry, at 10% unemployment approaching the darkest days it has ever known.
Our chidren are uneducated and becoming dependent on computers from which to learn. Finally, we are FINALLY confirming and showing the dead, dying and maimed young people who have died because of what ultimately had but one reason to enter into the longest war in our living history, and for what reason? OIL.


Posted by Jay Tulock, a resident of another community
on Aug 13, 2009 at 1:31 am

The problem is you are all wrong. High-speed rail is a solution, and running it through Atherton, Menlo Park, Palo Alto is a silly route brought on by the King Lord Boofoo Rod Diridon who wants San Jose on the "mainline", because being a terminus unto itself is not good enough.


Posted by @Jay, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 13, 2009 at 9:53 am

"The problem is you are all wrong. High-speed rail is a solution, and running it through Atherton, Menlo Park, Palo Alto is a silly route brought on by the King Lord Boofoo Rod Diridon who wants San Jose on the "mainline", because being a terminus unto itself is not good enough."

Come on. This is ridiculous. Atherton, MP, PA is a silly route because you live there? Do you really think terminating in SJ and not connecting to SF is a reasonable idea? Can you listen to yourself for a minute?

Stop the selfishness!


Posted by more visibility, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 13, 2009 at 6:06 pm

As this monster gets more and more visible, the opposition is growing by leaps and bounds. Why are we spending millions now on this project, and watching our schools, Universities, welfare programs being cut.

What is going on here? Why are we as citizen, not taking on the power brokers, Kopp, Diridon etc?

There will be an election next year at the State level. Brown, Newsom are committed to this wasteful, not affordable project.

Will anyone on the other side, Poizner, Whitman or Campbell have the fortitude to come out against this boondoggle. Or are the trade unions, with the "we need the jobs" motto going to prevail. BTW, most the skilled jobs now will be to foreigners, Japan, Korea, France, Germany... we have no expertise in HSR in this country.


Posted by Jay Tulock, a resident of another community
on Aug 17, 2009 at 4:28 pm

"@Jay" said, incorrectly --

"Come on. This is ridiculous. Atherton, MP, PA is a silly route because you live there? Do you really think terminating in SJ and not connecting to SF is a reasonable idea? Can you listen to yourself for a minute?"

I actually live outside of Vacaville, I never said I lived on the Peninisula. Do not have a NIMBY dog in this race, just want to see HSR built right the first time. And NO I DO NOT think terminiating in San Jose is a good idea, that is if it involves all HSR passengers transferring to Caltrain it is a downright nutty idea. I never said that either. However, twin terminii in San Jose and San Francisco via Altamont Pass (the conclusion of the High Speed Rail Commission, the body that pre-dated the corrupt Authority, and most sane rail transportation planners) makes all sense. Listen to myself for a minute? OK. Slow, steday breathing, 70 beats per minute. Listen to your-self; how did you make two incorrect assumptions from statements I never made or even implied?

Jay Tulock, Vacaville


Posted by more cents, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 18, 2009 at 8:17 am

ETIENNE has a lot right. We need to look at the investment required for HSR relative to other priorities. Hands down for me is to invest in our children and their education. What good will a luxury train do if our country can't compete in the world markets? This is the debate we should have.
The true total costs of the project have not been revealed, in part because the details of the project haven't been revealed. It's time. And those costs need to include land acquisition and ongoing subsidies that always are required for such systems.
It's also time to talk about the best transit uses for the same funds. We have absolutely miserable local transit and that will get worse with all the cuts occurring right now. HSR doesn't help local transit at all. Consider spending a fraction of the HSR costs on local transit in congested areas like the bay area, LA, and see what could be!

BTW - the writer who says HSR can use the current tracks is badly misinformed.


Posted by John McDonald, a resident of another community
on Sep 7, 2009 at 10:34 pm

It is all about priorities. HSR is a wonderful idea, however it is not fiscally practical. In the last six months California fired 26,000 teachers. 60 cents of every dollar in the non-allocated portion of the California budget goes to education - thus in a revenue decreasing California, every dollar spent on HSR takes 60 cents from the state's schools (because as of yet $0 from the feds and $0 from the private sector). Not in line with my priorities. I'll take teachers/kids over pretty trains.

You want to get from LA from SF fast - take a plane. BART to SFO is 40 minutes, security/waiting takes an hour and the flight time is 1 hour 25 minutes = 3 hours, 5 minutes (less if you feel lucky re: security). HSR says it will take 2 hours 40 minutes travel time - thus unless the wait and security time for HSR is less than 25 minutes, that $40-100 billion project that took 20 years to build accomplished exactly nothing. At best it saves you 25 minutes. Spend the money on more efficient airports and security and more environmentally friendly aviation fuel. Remember that for all its lipstick, HSR is still basically 19th century technology, steel wheels on steel tracks. Its not the future, its the past.


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