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By Paul Bendix

Do We Need Rail?

Uploaded: Oct 12, 2013

Perception does count in transportation planning. So I'm curious about reaction to a couple of recent posts.

One resident, Felton, pointed out that we lead in highway engineering, so why not leverage that knowledge base? He describes trains as a 150-year-old technology and suggests we would better apply dollars in developing buses, smart roads and so on.

I do recall a speech by California's Director of Transportation, circa 2000. He said that the state's rising population, coupled with its rising property values, meant that highways were no longer cost-efficient. We'd invest in improvements – but building new freeways was not prudent.

I'd like to hear thoughts on roads and their role in our transportation future.

I'm glad that Margaret, another Menlo Park local, supports Caltrain. I do wonder if she has taken the rush-hour baby bullets or expresses. The latter can reach San Francisco in about 35 minutes. As for the old rattling cars, I'm afraid they'll be with us until Caltrain electrifies in a few years. It's worthwhile looking at the line's plans for electrification.