By Bay City News Service
Engineers and program managers from the California High-Speed Rail Authority held a community meeting in Redwood City Thursday night, Oct. 13, to discuss the possibility of building a station for the proposed rail system in the city's downtown district.
Peninsula Rail Program representative Bruce Fujuki presented more than 50 community members with the potential benefits and drawbacks the city could face if its residents and politicians agree to become one of more than 20 stops on the $43 billion high-speed train system's 800-mile route between Sacramento and San Diego.
The proposed station would be built in the general vicinity of Caltrain's Sequoia Station and function in concert with the local commuter system, Fujuki said.
The station would be about 67,000 square feet and include train platforms around 1,410 feet long, compared to Caltrain's 680-foot platforms, Fujuki said.
The tracks and platforms would be elevated and lay alongside Caltrain's.
Planners forecast that by the year 2035, the station and surrounding streets, parking facilities, businesses and ground transportation systems would likely accommodate more than 15,000 passengers arriving and departing from the area on a daily basis.
As the only Midpeninsula stop, Redwood City could enjoy increased recognition, revenues and development in its city center, Fujuki said.
"It's really about bringing activity to downtown centers," Rail Authority Regional Program Manager Dominic Spaethling said. "This has to be balanced with what the community wants to have."
Community members who spoke at the meeting had mixed reactions to the station proposal.
Daniel Marroquin, a student at Canada College, said he and other young people thought a high-speed rail stop could be an opportunity for Redwood City to become a "premier city" on the Peninsula, bringing jobs, development and investment.
Debra Holvick of Atherton used the meeting to disparage the idea of high-speed rail in cash-strapped California rather than address the station proposal, heatedly saying it was like buying a Lear jet for a homeless person.
The meeting was a first of two to address the Redwood City station proposal. The second is scheduled for Nov. 3.