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High-Speed-Rail Authority extends deadline

Original post made on Feb 19, 2009

The state agency responsible for building a high-speed rail system has extended its deadline for comments after requests from Palo Alto and other communities.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, February 18, 2009, 4:03 PM

Comments (11)

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Posted by Martin Engel
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Feb 19, 2009 at 4:06 pm

This is no longer a matter of concern to merely a handful of us NIMBYs in Atherton and Menlo Park. It has now been raised to a high priority issue for cities from Burlingame to Mountain View. It should concern every resident on the Peninsula to form grass-roots organizations and require their city representatives to become pro-active to get a "seat at the table" with the HNTB and PB representatives who are designing the alignment options for the rail corridor. We should insist, collectively, that we want the trains "out of sight." This is no longer an argument between pro- and anti-high-speed train supporters. That train has left the station. This is a matter of inflicting the least harm possible on the Peninsula and to each of our cities through which this hugely expanded rail corridor will run.


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Posted by SanMateo yeson1a
a resident of another community
on Feb 19, 2009 at 11:45 pm

And you can also figure out how to "Pay" for getting the trains "Out of sight" on that 120 year old railroad you moved next to. A local
property tax for 30 years should do the trick for your 9 miles of tunnels


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Posted by WhoRUpeople
a resident of another community
on Feb 20, 2009 at 2:18 pm

To all who think the answer is to put the tracks under ground--if you know anyone who is a builder, ask them about the magnitude that going underground adds to the cost of any project. If you don't know a builder, visit the AEA website and use the FAQ page. The added costs for labor, shoring, studies (engineering, environmental and historical) is mind-boggling-especially in a seismically active region such as ours. Personally, I do not favor HSR and did not vote for it because I don't think it is necessary nor that it will be used significantly, but if it is to be--then don't make it 10X as expensive as it needs to be. The voters voted, the die is cast, spending the next 5 years wasting taxpayers money with lawsuits aimed, not at killing it but rather at getting it to go somewhere else, or requiring billions more be spent to prevent a few unwilling people from having to be paid a fair price for their property is just plain wrong.


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Posted by Istanbul
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Feb 21, 2009 at 12:16 pm

I can't wait for HSR! This is a forward-thinking project.


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Posted by not so fast
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Feb 21, 2009 at 12:51 pm

Hey, Istanbul, what's it like there in 1900?


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Posted by Reality check
a resident of another community
on Feb 21, 2009 at 1:17 pm

The problem with the hsr voter approval has to do with Arnolds timing. It was a calculated move to wait until the day AFTER the election to say that the state was in such bad shape and a "temporary" sales tax increase is needed... Wasn't income tax supposed to be temporary, same with the tolls to cross the bridges... There is no such thing as a temporary tax. I feel it was negligent of Arnold to allow voters to pass numerous bond issues (hsr) being one of them while witholding information that would probably have changed the outcome of many bond issues. Is this the way we should be governed?


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Posted by like undergrounding
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 21, 2009 at 6:07 pm

We should look at the total costs and potential benefits of various scenarios for hsr, including the long term. From what I can tell, the hsr folks' estimates do not include all the grade crossings that Menlo Park requires, the costs of eminent domain and legal fees. These can be estimated. Undergrounding has some exciting potential for use of land over the tunnels. Quite a few of the land uses could generate revenue year after year.
There is zero chance hsr will stop in Menlo Park so we get little direct benefit locally unless we can negotiate creative deals like this. Yes, going underground is not cheap but neither are other scenarios when all costs are taken into account - and the other scenarios have no revenue associated with them.


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Posted by Hank Lawrence
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Feb 22, 2009 at 9:19 am

HSR speeds should be limited to 79 mph from San Jose Diridon to the terminus in San Francisco. That way we won't need grade separations.
Besides HSR speeds at 300KM/HR creates vortices that sound like a tornado going through. It is also dangerous for people on the platforms. You can literally be knocked down if a train passes through your station at that high a speed.


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Posted by Jake Brake
a resident of Portola Valley: Ladera
on Feb 22, 2009 at 1:22 pm

underground,

Don't mention costs and Menlo Park in the same sentence. Menlo Park spends about $370k on two employees... the city manager and his assistant.

The city manager and his assistant are getting rich doing a public job.


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Posted by Rail Station?
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Feb 23, 2009 at 4:06 pm

My question is, has anyone been in an HSR train before? I have been in them in Japan and Korea, and the biggest "whoa" I saw, was the size of the train stations themselves. Where the heck are these things going to be located in Palo Alto, or Redwood City? Are they going to be the size of airport terminals, as I had experienced? They are outrageously large, and plus you now have the issue of parking, and parking garages. I don't think this line is intended for quiet suburban use. Large city? Rural area where you can have a large terminal built? ok, but NOT a quiet suburb like ANY on the peninsula.


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Posted by Martin Engel
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Feb 23, 2009 at 4:41 pm

@ Rail Station?

The mega train-stations in Europe are the largest in the major cities. They serve not merely high-speed trains, but all trains. Both Penn Station and Grand Central Station in Manhattan are also enormous due to the volume of both commuter, regional and intercity train traffic. I'll get back to that point in a moment.

I have been saying for a long time that those who persist in comparing Europe and Japan with California need to compare the entire picture, not merely the whizzy train. It's apples and oranges. Europe and Japan are rail cultures the way we are a car-and-plane culture. For these overseas countries, the high-speed train is the icing on a well-established and comprehensive rail network. It's the first-class, luxury end of the services they provide.

What is being proposed here is all icing; no cake. No one is saying we are going to build a comprehensive rail system in California that meets commuter needs, which are the most pressing, as well as add high-speed intercity luxury service for those that can afford it. No, we are building a high-speed train, period. Strange that there should be over 24 train stops which, if all were to be used, would make the high-speed train very slow. Which is to say, they are not leveling with us. (So, what else is new!)

Actually, if you take the TGV from Paris south, you will come to train stops that are quite modest in scale. There is no reason or room for a grand station in PA or RC.

However, we are dealing with egocentric, ambitious empire builders. Diridon's station, still on the sketchpads and computer-generated videos, is a crystal palace that puts Ancient Rome to shame. They have stated a budget of $2 billion for the station alone, intended to rival not only the Transbay Terminal (no modest effort that!) but also Grand Central Station in NYC. Some bloggers call it the intergalactic, universal, grand mother of railroad terminals.

Of course, any high-speed train station, no matter how large or small in scale, will have to have platforms that are 1/4 mile in length, be straight and level and have a platform height appropriate to the HSR cars, and therefore may be different than the Caltrain car requirements. If PA became such a station, the platform would cross San Francisquito Creek into Menlo Park.






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