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Rail agency analyzes underground option

Original post made on Oct 1, 2009

Peninsula residents crowded around tables, examined maps, shared their opinions and asked questions of officials representing the High-Speed Rail Authority on Wednesday evening at the SamTrans headquarters in San Carlos.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, October 1, 2009, 11:51 AM

Comments (16)

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Posted by Earle Jones
a resident of Portola Valley: Ladera
on Oct 1, 2009 at 12:25 pm

I appreciate the conflicting issues that high-speed rail service brings to a populated community. Personally, I would love to see almost anything that would contribute to public transportation and take a few automobiles off the roads. But I also sympathize with people whose interests would be affected by nearby trains.

I lived in Tokyo for about eight years and did not own a car. Japan is a big modern country that could not exist without its public transportation system. It is extremely reliable and safe. The San Francisco-to-Los Angeles corridor is very similar to the Tokyo-to-Osaka corridor -- same large population centers and just about the same distance.

If the rail system is underground in high-density populated areas, I believe we could solve most of the other problems. The cost will be high -- the savings will be higher. I would be very happy to have a tax increase that would contribute to a better public system.


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Posted by Alan Miller
a resident of Atherton: other
on Oct 1, 2009 at 12:35 pm

I am extremely disappointed to hear that the tunnel option was only considered for "a trench or tunnel south of Charleston Road in Palo Alto, emerging just north of the Atherton train station at Fair Oaks Lane". The tunnel option should be for the entire Bay area, not just a small portion. Anyone who has ridden on both the Washington D.C. subway and also the Chicago elevated train understands that the tunnel is a clear winner. Think of the next 100 years and the land conflicts and safety issues of having trains above ground.


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Posted by Amanda Miller
a resident of Atherton: other
on Oct 1, 2009 at 4:11 pm

Having good public transportation would be great. Unfortunately, a big difference between the US and other countries is the lack of urban transit -- intercity transit doesn't help if intracity is inadequate.


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Posted by MOE
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 1, 2009 at 5:27 pm

Earle's comments make a lot of sense! Amanda also has a point but if we are really serious about solving environmental problems we WILL eventually solve the intracity public transportation challanges.
High Speed Rail is a visionary investment in the future that I believe has the potential of high return.


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Posted by R.GORDON
a resident of another community
on Oct 1, 2009 at 6:09 pm

Go to "CALIFORNIA HIGH SPEED TRAINS" and ignore this negative piece of badly presented snobbism.
NOBODY is interested in your sound problems.......look at what a bunch of really unimaginative replies and attitudes this group from these areas have.
We aren't talking interrupting a garden party, we are talking about California's future.


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Posted by Gomez, the gardener
a resident of Atherton: Lloyden Park
on Oct 2, 2009 at 5:56 am

Gordon, the future of California is hispanic.


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Posted by Frank
a resident of another community
on Oct 2, 2009 at 8:46 am

I second Alan. If people prefer a tunnel and HRSA decides to go with it, it shouldn't only be the communities that complained the loudest that get the benefit of tunelling.


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Posted by Jym Clendenin
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 2, 2009 at 12:59 pm

Someone with the appropriate skills, authority and responsibility should do a cost comparison of the underground with the various above ground options. The cost advantages of undergrounding potentially include: 1) construction within the present right-of-way with no interruption of commuter service during construction; 2) both commuter and high-speed tracks placed underground, eliminating noise, community-dividing over- and under-passes, and freeing up surface land for other uses including residential, commercial, and recreational uses. Of course the construction aspect of undergrounding is clearly the most expensive construction technique, but let's look at the larger picture. Assuming undergrounding still comes out more expensive (and that's not assured at this point), can we live with the cost difference?


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Posted by ruth
a resident of another community
on Oct 2, 2009 at 3:21 pm

It would seem that Mr. Gordon has 'tunnel vision' in his opinions. I live 20 miles away from the sounds, etc. of his so called 'snobby' area. It would be nice if Mr. Gordon and some HSR board members would try to respect the feelings of people whose homes and businesses may be taken away by another bullet train in their area.

Why do we need duplicate bullet trains on the peninsula? And how is a 'btoke' California going to match funds coming from the federal government?


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Posted by R.GORDON
a resident of another community
on Oct 3, 2009 at 7:37 pm

Jym Clendenin has obviously not seen how bullet trains fit right into the topogrophy of very rich cities across the world and have improved the lifestyle of all humans and caste systems because the HSR MAKE money unlike the auto and airline industry have failed America or Americans in their quest for bigger and better with the help of rich lobbyists.
The money WILL be there as it would be for pot holes, freeways,crumbling highway systems and everything they aired on PBS stations last week practically making a joke of those who criticized the "inconveniences" which were non existent.One of the documentaries was almost 20 years old and outdated but still outdid any plans we have on paper today.
As for "Gordon" (muy Espanol), if he is speaking for the Latino community all by his lonesome self, I would remind him that his kind of personality would go with the Spanish culture like Velveeta in a Chili Relleno.What an absurd remark he makes from his probable home in Woodside.
Is there something about the Almanac readers who fail to include the Asian and Latino populations among its citizens in, say, 50 years?
Let's make that 25.
It's sort of like forgetting that there are a LOT of us who want to get on with this first year of Obama and get things done, so that we can deal with the crimes and misdemeanors of our last administration.
I still have my suit in a guest room waiting for the beheading day of the archvillains none of you talk about.
The ones who force Americans to print money for a war that is rarely mentioned even though it has killed nearly double the amount of male and female soldiers died since the TWIN TOWERS collapsed.
California could have a HSR system with the money spent in two weeks of the travesty in the Mid East.WWII was over in half the time.


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Posted by Tristan
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 3, 2009 at 9:53 pm

$108 roundtrip SF to LA 380 miles each way. Yeah right! Its 410 miles Paris t0 Marseille and the roundtrip 2nd class ticket is $292 plus $30 for seat reservations (check out the EuroRail site). London to Paris 215 miles, roundtrip 2nd class full fare $582 and discount fares average when available $200 plus $12 premier train fee. Someone needs to redo their math at HSR. It's always nice to lie about the facts to get your way. Politicians do it when they're running for office all the time and Diridon and Kopp are just old school politicians who want their names in lights. They could care less about the true needs of the state. The only folks who are going to benefit are the ones who own the land on the rail route and those who build it - friends of D&K? Oh and don't forget the HSR will need security akin to airport security - the Paris London train requires arriving at least 30 min early for security each direction.

Better that we spend the $40 billion plus dollars on education pre-school thru college. Our education systems is currently one of the worst in the nation. Improving our ed system will go much further in improving the economics and quality of life in California. And that improvement will last much longer than a few thousand short-term rail jobs that only help a small portion of the states present and future businesses and employees. Our health system could use some money also.

Pres Obama please refuse the stimulus money for Calif HSR and instead put into our education system where it is really needed and will do the most good for the most people!


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Posted by HAnk Lawrence
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Oct 4, 2009 at 7:24 am

Tristan is spot on. The NRE is too high, the construction costs are too high, the O&M is too high, and the cost of a ticket will ensure these trains will be way under capacity resulting in an abysmal revenue stream. The HSR is the perfect storm for a fical fiasco.

Education is a far better investment.


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Posted by Joseph E. Davis
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Oct 4, 2009 at 10:25 am

This is another boondoggle. Save gas, save money, save the environment - don't build this train!

If we spent a fraction of the $40 billion on high speed internet, then far fewer business meetings would need to take place in person. That would be a huge win for everyone concerned about the environment, not to mention the long-suffering taxpayer.

Someday, we will wake up to the fact that we can no longer afford such wasteful extravagance as this high speed rail. Hopefully that day will not be too late.


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Posted by R.GORDON
a resident of another community
on Oct 5, 2009 at 5:52 pm

I HAVE to assume that some of you here with the most insanely naive responses all of a sudden, being interested in education...where have you been while a lot of us, maybe not quite as old as you, have been trying to make education primary in California?
"Business meetings", lunches, and free trips are a thing of the past.
Too many people watching you.
That junk can all be done on the regular old land line and no need to play a round of golf or become a lobbyist in order to get on in life. Twitter. Call by phone. But please, do not give me that merde about meetings in person. Apart from flying to some which were necessary for eye contact and interpreters in Shanghai,Amsterdam,and the Slavic countries, I managed quite well in the past 20 years without your idea of "business".Otherwise, you are in the wrong racket or looking for family vacations.....those days are OVER.
Of all of you who responded, how many of you feel your kids got a great education. I stress "great" or else, it is pitiful that our sophomores in college today have the same aptitude as a junior in high school 20 years ago...Google facts.....
As for Joseph E. Davis goes..How the hell do you intend to fix the more than million miles of highways with bridges, tunnels, and decaying towns to serve the "salesmen"? Just WHAT do you think the cost will be for just the bridges? Again....into the 50 billion mark for just those.GOOGLE.As for the repaving of a million miles at THREE million a mile, is...well, YOU do the math.
With all the comfort in your unknowing lifestyles, you have failed to look at the realities and I think you are as typical as the average American today.
When I DO travel, I spend a lot of time speaking witht the people.You might read the NYTimes today to see what they think all over the globe about OUR medical-welfare system. They somehow have not been swallowed into the vortex of greed and how to get your kid into Harvard or Yale.Again read the ethnic breakdown and not many from Menlo Park are enrolling because of multiple reasons. Grades is one of them.


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Posted by Manny
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 6, 2009 at 12:43 am

Wow R. Gordon you really got up on the wrong side of the tracks yesterday.

Until you live here in a town which could be drastically impacted by HSR you might want to reconsider your holier than thou attitude. By the way we will still need our roads. And we can use that HSR money to fix them all in Calif, thus helping everyone not just a few rail riders.

Oh and we thank you from the bottom of hearts that you are, a "resident of another community."


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Posted by R.GORDON
a resident of another community
on Oct 6, 2009 at 4:53 pm

Well Manny, you did everything but run down the street naked and on fire to avoid answering my questions.
As for where I live, it is embarrassingly opulent and huge and in one of the towns.That is, the one in this county and not in Europe.
Menlo Park would not be affected by the engineering and quiet of the HSR today, and as for our roads,they are obsolete and would cost 10 times to repair, widen and really cause havoc in your "hamlet". You do not travel from your knowledge of rail vs. highway.China is going to complete another 3500 miles by the end of this year.
My house and land are being sold and the profits are all going to the Habitat for Humanity and mostly in Africa.
Have a field day with that one.


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