Towns reaffirm objections to rail review


Menlo Park and Atherton are poised to reaffirm their objections to the environmental review of the California high-speed rail project, as the cities gear up for a possible second round in the battle over the state-mandated review process.

The California High-Speed Rail Authority, the agency charged with overseeing the project, is working to re-certify the "project-level" environmental impact report for the Bay Area at the request of a Superior Court judge, following a lawsuit joined by Atherton and Menlo Park. The cities are commenting on that document for a second time through that process.

In draft letters, both jurisdictions reiterate most of their complaints about the original environmental review. While the rail agency asked that comments focus only on the sections of the document that were revised as a result of the lawsuit, mostly in areas south of Gilroy, Atherton and Menlo Park both ask the rail agency to revisit the analysis of how high-speed trains would run along the Caltrain corridor.

In Atherton's letter, penned by Public Works Director Duncan Jones, the town argues that the new document does not completely address the court ruling, because it doesn't adequately analyze potential eminent domain takings on the Peninsula, and does not adequately address vibration impacts.

The town calls the document's treatment of land use impacts "half-hearted," asking for more detail. In its letter, Menlo Park asks for an analysis of impacts to properties outside the 50-foot radius considered in the environmental review.

Atherton also attached detailed studies of alternatives to the Caltrain route to its letter, asking that the rail agency reconsider those alternatives.

Meanwhile, the town plans to join in re-filing the lawsuit that prompted the rail agency to revise the environmental impact report, citing new information about the way in which the agency conducted its ridership study.

Menlo Park's City Council will discuss whether the city will join the lawsuit at its meeting Tuesday, April 20. The council could approve the letter to the rail agency at the same meeting.

Atherton's City Council will consider the town's letter to the rail agency at its meeting Wednesday, April 21. At its March 17 meeting, the council unanimously voted to retain a lobbyist who is also advocating for Menlo Park and Palo Alto on high-speed rail issues.

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Like this comment
Posted by Pete
a resident of another community
on Apr 19, 2010 at 4:19 pm

I live in Burlingame very close to existng Caltrain tracks. I think the High Speed Rail is a waste of time and Tax paters money. It will cost over $100 one way to get from SF to LA by HSR. No one is going to pay that when they can fly for $65 one way. I believe The HSR needs to do much more reseach about the cost to the tax payers and the disruption of the many lives of the people all along the Peninsula during construction and after construction. Not to mention the ugly sight of the HSR ripping the Peninsula in half. Thank you

Like this comment
Posted by Wakeup
a resident of another community
on Apr 19, 2010 at 5:08 pm

Enough with the stupid fly price of 65 bucks..what will it be in 10 years or more?? Its YOUR fault you moved next to an active railroad
so how is that disruptive to you?? ITS already there and is very old so this is not like a brand new freeway or something. This bond passed by a wide margin here in the Bay Area and just because someone voted no or does not like it is NO reason to stop this great system for the future of our state. If everything stops because any little complainer cries nothing will ever get done

Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 19, 2010 at 8:51 pm


the voters approved HSR because they were sold a bill of goods. $100 to take the train to LA? Dream on. More like $200. And that is when it is subsidized by tax payers. Get a calculator and do the math. This is just another in a long line of boondogles the tax payer will end up footing the bill for.

Like this comment
Posted by R.GORDON
a resident of another community
on Apr 22, 2010 at 7:48 am

R.GORDON is a registered user.

You REALLY think all of this HSR is about going to LA? Only an idiot thinks that way. To editor, I did not call the unknown person an idiot directly, but rather, to all those who think like him/her.

Like this comment
Posted by R.GORDON
a resident of another community
on Apr 22, 2010 at 7:53 am

R.GORDON is a registered user.

Also, Peter Carpenter should know that even with its vast population, the concentration of people in China is NOT in the large cities.
The idea of building a(n)HSR to LA would begin a program to do what China, which has 5000 miles of HSR already and building an additional 3000 more this year, The U.S. cannot exist with our airline system, our natural world disasters, and our decaying airports and highways.
Get into this Century, and stop giving in to the mindless.

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