http://almanacnews.com/print/story/print/2012/07/11/menlo-park-atherton-still-have-lawsuit-against-high-speed-rail


Almanac

News - July 11, 2012

Menlo Park, Atherton still have lawsuit against high-speed rail

by Sandy Brundage and Renee Batti

The state Legislature may have voted to let the high-speed rail train project keep rolling, but that doesn't mean local jurisdictions jumped onboard.

Menlo Park Councilman Rich Cline pointed out that the city, along with Atherton and Palo Alto, still has a lawsuit on the table. The suit challenges the project's environmental impact report, including ridership projections, the effect of a blended system, and the impact of elevated tracks.

Mr. Cline represents Menlo Park on the Peninsula Cities Consortium. "(High speed rail) has become all that's wrong with politics," he said. "Nobody's looking at the data anymore. They're looking at what their friends are doing and what important people are telling them to do and what the governor's pressuring them to do."

He pointed out that the Legislature's vote does not mean high-speed rail will be financially viable. "The economic plan has never been sorted out. They just kicked that can down the road. Which I understand — why would you want to deal with something that could blow up the entire plan?"

Similar discontent surfaced in Atherton, courtesy of Councilman Jerry Carlson. "I'm very disappointed the assemblymen Gordon and Hill supported this bill," he said. He said that there's no guarantee that even a blended system won't be built with four tracks, because the HSR business plan and the EIR allows for that scenario. That possibility is "a cloud over property owners in the area," who will have to disclose the possibility of rail expansion if they sell their property.

Comments

Posted by Kay, a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Jul 16, 2012 at 12:13 pm

I keep asking this question, never get an answer

Please tell me what "blended" means. The high speed trains will be using the old CalTrain tracks on the SF peninsula? Is that possible?
The same trains which will run at 200 miles per hour down the valley on new tracks? Furthermore, if these high speed trains run regularly from SF to San Jose, all the street crossings must be changed to keep traffic and trains separate...i.e. grade crossings.

So the plan is to build grade crossings for the old tracks, and then eventually, as has always been implied, add the needed set of tracks for the high speed trains. And of course rebuild all the grade crossings?
Or make the grade crossings large enough for 4 tracks to begin with. Imagine this mess at every street crossing the tracks!

What about the condemned properties, thousands of trees downed along the right of way, etc., etc.

How blended? Or do they mean running shuttle trains down the peninsula to San Jose, then changing to board the new High Speed Train? (a reasonable alternative) Then say so!


I don't believe you can run these super fast machines on the old tracks, and alternate high speed trains and commuter trains all day long.


No one has said outright that they mean to run these new "bullet" trains on the old tracks, or what kind of grade crossings are envisioned. They just say it will be blended. How blended?
I wish someone would explain


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 16, 2012 at 7:08 pm

Kay:

I'll try to answer your questions. I am no expert. Morris Brown is far more knowledgeable on this subject than I.

"Please tell me what "blended" means. The high speed trains will be using the old CalTrain tracks on the SF peninsula? Is that possible?"

That's my understanding of what it means. Caltrain tracks are to be electrified. HSR trains will then use those lines from San Jose to SF.

"The same trains which will run at 200 miles per hour down the valley on new tracks? Furthermore, if these high speed trains run regularly from SF to San Jose, all the street crossings must be changed to keep traffic and trains separate...i.e. grade crossings."

Same trains with no changes to grade crossings. Hence the reason HSR is no longer "high speed." It's at best "medium speed." HSR trains will have to slow to the maximum speed currently allowed on the Caltrain tracks which I think is 70 mph.

"So the plan is to build grade crossings for the old tracks, and then eventually, as has always been implied, add the needed set of tracks for the high speed trains. And of course rebuild all the grade crossings?"

No plan for elevated grade crossings. Too expensive, hense the "blended" approach.

Hope that helps.