Letter: Time to assess hidden costs of rail projectThe Dec. 28 Viewpoint article "Caltrain can survive without high-speed rail" is very welcome.
I see many problems with the high-speed rail project and have found it depressing that Caltrain has latched on to it. I suppose it is because Caltrain hopes to fund major changes which will not be of great benefit to Caltrain riders.
I wonder if the high-speed rail enthusiasts factored in the cost of taking down thousands of old growth trees, probably including the old Palo Alto redwood grove along the tracks. (I remember what it cost to take out a single Monterey pine on our property a few years ago!) And the cost of the certain demolition of many long-established businesses, office buildings, maybe the Stanford Park Hotel, apartment houses, railway stations along the Peninsula, reimbursement to the owners and communities affected, not to mention private homes which will be lost!
Did they ever decide if they would build the new tracks on the east or west side of the Caltrain tracks? And how to manage the redirection of traffic now using the major arteries affected — Alma Street and the Central Expressway?
The stopgap plan to use Caltrain tracks first, and then later build the required high-speed rail track is absurd. They would have to build "grade crossings" at every street crossing the tracks, and to build them only for one set of tracks, and then later redo each crossing to accommodate the second set is a no-brainer. So the destruction of existing businesses, structures, and so on at each crossing would be the same even if the high-speed rail could use the old Caltrain tracks, which seems unlikely to me.
So I thank Mr. Janz and Mr. Brady very much for their article.
Kathleen Djordjevich, Waverley Street, Menlo Park