Posted by Roxie, a resident of the Menlo Park: University Heights neighborhood, on Dec 15, 2007 at 12:53 am
Gentle Caltrain BS,
Train conductors are not monkeys blowing their horns for no reason. Because Menlo Park does not have grade separations federal law requires this at train crossings for good reason--safety. Under certain circumstances a community can create double-gated crossing systems and, if the traffic will permit, this can allow the community to petition for an exception to the federal law. Given the high volume of traffic at Menlo Park's intersections though, and the difficulty of installing the proper gate systems, I personally don't think this is a good idea. Grade separations will be safer and alleviate the whole whistle blowing problem, because there will not be any more crossings.
The railroad existed when the people complaining about caltrain bought their homes, they knew what they were getting into. Luckily for them, they can always sell out at enormous profit, given the appreciation in house values in Menlo Park, and find a quieter place to live.
I'm glad Caltrain is adding more trains. Flexible scheduling encourages new ridership. I used to ride the train when I worked in San Francisco, but was often disappointed in how long I had to wait for a Menlo Park bound train. Also, you can't tell just by looking in the window of the train that it is 3/4 empty--a lot depends on how many stops the train has already made, how many additional pickups it needs to make, etc. and a lot of people slouch down in their seats.