Almanac

Viewpoint - August 18, 2010

Letter: No need for two sets of tracks on the Peninsula

I very much appreciate Menlo Park Mayor Rich Cline's stance on the high-speed rail project and agree with his guest opinion published in last week's Almanac.

As it stands now, there are not enough riders on Caltrain to pay the costs, and there's talk about reduced service and eliminating weekend service. To add a second set of tracks along the Peninsula seems like a total waste, whether above ground, in trenches, or in a tunnel.

Why can't high-speed rail go from Los Angeles to San Jose — and just upgrade and electrify the existing Caltrain tracks between San Jose and San Francisco? If people want to ride from San Francisco to L.A. they can take Caltrain to San Jose, and transfer to the high-speed rail which would take them to L.A. Why subject the Peninsula to two sets of tracks, running side by side and essentially serving the same communities?

Originally high-speed rail was promoted as an express, but all this talk about numerous stops along the Peninsula really negates the need for two sets of tracks. Caltrain already runs numerous express trains between San Jose and San Francisco, and if improvement were made to the existing Caltrain tracks, they could easily get riders there and back quicker.

Increased noise, loss of land, and homes along the Peninsula can be avoided if the new high-speed rail ended in San Jose. Or just retire Caltrain entirely and have the high-speed train replace it. It's totally unnecessary to have two sets of track along the Peninsula. I urge the City Council to stay on track and try to talk some sense into the planners who don't seem to see the forest for the trees.

Nancy Wagner, Morgan Lane, Menlo Park

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