Posted by Angela Hey, a resident of the Portola Valley: Brookside Park neighborhood, on Apr 13, 2008 at 8:41 pm
I am tremendously excited about the prospect of high speed rail because, even though transportation planners will logically say that its more important what you do when people get on and off the rail at each end than the actual speed of the train, I have seen the change in prosperity it has brought to the north of England.
I am from Leeds, 200 miles north of London. When I was small the puffa train belched steam and coal smoke. Then came diesel. Then they electrified the lines. The fastest trains take 2 hours 6 minutes. They have improved the prosperity, shopping experience, culture and housing prices in Leeds making it and its suburbs fashionable places to live.
There are alternatives - bus, car and air. However, the train is efficient and frequent.
Given the rising cost of aviation fuel, it is prudent to have a fast transportation alternative that can use electricity. The enjoyment of taking a speeding train, even if the end points have lousy access, will boost traveler morale. The cost is huge, but the investment lasts for years, so we need to face change boldly and create a swift rail network.