News

Study: High-speed rail could slow down emergency responders on Peninsula

New environmental analysis indicates High-Speed Rail Authority plans to rely on gates — not grade separations — to limit collisions between cars, trains

This conceptual rendering shows a high-speed-rail train moving through the Pacheco Pass in south Santa Clara County. Rendering courtesy California High-Speed Rail Authority.

Despite a decade of delays, funding uncertainties and political hurdles, California's embattled high-speed rail project continues to slowly advance, with plans to complete the section between San Francisco and Los Angeles by 2033.

On Friday, the effort hit a milestone of sorts when the California High-Speed Rail Authority, which is charged with implementing the project, released an environmental analysis that describes the latest proposal for the Peninsula segment and lists some of the impacts — both good and bad — that communities along the rail line will experience once the project is in place.

The draft Environmental Impact Report identifies about a dozen impacts that are "significant and unavoidable" and, as such, would require a statement of overriding consideration from lawmakers before the project can proceed. Some of these involve disruptions to bus routes during the construction period, while others deal with noise and vibrations relating to rail operations. The new document also suggests that emergency responders in the Peninsula area may face significant delays in crossing the tracks once the new train system is up and running.

Consistent with the rail authority's prior plans, construction is envisioned in two major phases, with the first part of the system stretching between San Francisco and Los Angeles and subsequence expansions to Sacramento and San Diego. The rail authority has already been constructing a portion of the line in the Central Valley, with the goal of ultimately connecting this segment to San Francisco and Los Angeles.

The new environmental document focuses on the northernmost segment of the first phase. It analyzes two similar alternatives for the segment between San Francisco and San Jose. Each would rely on the "blended approach," with high-speed rail and Caltrain sharing the same two tracks on the Peninsula.

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The most notable differences between Alternative A, which is the agency's preferred alternative, and Alternative B, are that the latter calls for adding another set of passing tracks in San Mateo County and a dedicated viaduct for high-speed rail in the southern part of the segment, near San Jose. As such, Alternative B would involve more construction, great impacts and higher costs, according to the environmental document.

The system described in the EIR would operate at speeds of up to 110 mph on the Peninsula, with high-speed rail and Caltrain operating on a "coordinated schedule" and with high-speed rail trains having the ability to pass Caltrain trains at the existing four-track segment in the Millbrae station (as well as a new passing track, if Alternative B is adopted).

The main goal of the new system, according to the EIR, is to decrease traffic congestion, lower greenhouse gas emissions and support the California economy. The current statewide and regional transportation system "has not kept pace with significant increases in population, economic activity and tourism in the state, including in the Bay Area," the EIR states.

Currently, the trip between San Francisco and Los Angeles takes between four-and-a-half hours and 11.5 hours, the document states. The completion of Phase 1 of high-speed rail would allow for travel times between the two cities of less than three hours.

The construction plan calls for building two lines — one in the Central Valley (between Madera and Bakersfield) and one in the Bay Area, and then connecting them through the Pacheco Pass tunnel to create what the document calls a "Valley-to-Valley connection," with continuous service from San Francisco to Bakersfield.

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"After that portion of the system is built, it is anticipated that the system would be extended to complete all of Phase 1 and ultimately Phase 2," the document states.

The 49-mile section between San Francisco and San Jose would have three high-speed rail stations in San Francisco, Millbrae and San Jose.

Even though the rail authority has abandoned its earlier plan to build a station or a set of passing tracks in the Midpeninsula area, the document indicates that the rail system will create some problems for local jurisdictions. While cities along the Caltrain corridor are exploring ways to separate the tracks from local streets so that they no longer intersect at grade crossings (a realignment known as "grade separation"), the new document suggests that the California High-Speed Rail Authority has no immediate plans to assist with that effort, which is widely seen as necessary to both ensure safety and prevent heavy congestion around intersections.

The rail authority's plan for preventing collisions between cars and trains is not grade separation but the installation of four-quadrant gates that would extend against all lanes of travel, blocking cars from entering the tracks.

"These gates would prevent drivers from traveling in opposing lanes to avoid the lowered gate arms," the document states. "Pedestrian crossing gates would be built parallel to the tracks and aligned with the vehicle gates on either side of the roadway."

While these gates would discourage cars from getting on the tracks, they also will result in greater delays at rail crossings. The document states that the increase in "gate-down time" from the added high-speed rail trains would "result in potential delays in emergency vehicle response times for fire stations/first responders in San Francisco, Millbrae, Burlingame, Redwood City, Menlo Park, Palo Alto, and Mountain View." While cities like Menlo Park, Mountain View and Palo Alto have been trying to mitigate the impacts of train-related delays by planning for grade separation, the rail authority lists the potential disruptions to emergency responders as a "significant and unavoidable" impact.

The document also found that additional traffic near the three new high-speed rail stations would result in "potential delays in emergency vehicle response times for fire stations/first responders," the report states.

Most of the other "significant and unavoidable" impacts pertain to specific locations along the line, including sites near the proposed stations where land-use patterns would have to be altered to accommodate the new system. Some are limited to the construction period. These include impacts of construction on air quality, noise and vibration.

The new line could also bring "continuous permanent impacts" on emergency access and response times in Menlo Park and Mountain View, unless these two cities opt to construct and operate "emergency vehicle priority treatments" east of Ravenswood Avenue and adjacent to Rengstorff Avenue, respectively.

The document estimates that the 49-mile segment between San Francisco and San Jose would cost between $4.3 billion and $6.9 billion. According to the rail authority's business plan, the estimate for the entire Phase 1 segment between San Francisco and Los Angeles is about $77.3 billion.

While the rail authority is planning to complete the system by 2033, progress to date has not gone as planned. Since California voters approved $9.95 billion in 2008 for the high-speed rail line and related transportation improvements, the cost of the new system has ballooned and the project has been subject to intense scrutiny and criticism from state and local leaders, as well as scathing audits from California's state auditor and from the U.S. Department of Transportation's Office of Inspector General.

The EIR notes that in identifying its preferred alternative, the rail authority chose the option that balanced "the adverse and beneficial impacts of the project on the human and natural environment."

"Taking this holistic approach means that no single issue was decisive in identifying the Preferred Alternative in any given geographic area," the analysis states. "The Authority weighed all the issues — including natural resource and community impacts, the input of the communities along the route, the views of federal and state resource agencies, and project costs — to identify what both agencies (the rail authority and the Federal Railroad Administration) believe is the best alternative to achieve the project's Purpose and Need."

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Study: High-speed rail could slow down emergency responders on Peninsula

New environmental analysis indicates High-Speed Rail Authority plans to rely on gates — not grade separations — to limit collisions between cars, trains

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Sun, Jul 12, 2020, 8:15 am

Despite a decade of delays, funding uncertainties and political hurdles, California's embattled high-speed rail project continues to slowly advance, with plans to complete the section between San Francisco and Los Angeles by 2033.

On Friday, the effort hit a milestone of sorts when the California High-Speed Rail Authority, which is charged with implementing the project, released an environmental analysis that describes the latest proposal for the Peninsula segment and lists some of the impacts — both good and bad — that communities along the rail line will experience once the project is in place.

The draft Environmental Impact Report identifies about a dozen impacts that are "significant and unavoidable" and, as such, would require a statement of overriding consideration from lawmakers before the project can proceed. Some of these involve disruptions to bus routes during the construction period, while others deal with noise and vibrations relating to rail operations. The new document also suggests that emergency responders in the Peninsula area may face significant delays in crossing the tracks once the new train system is up and running.

Consistent with the rail authority's prior plans, construction is envisioned in two major phases, with the first part of the system stretching between San Francisco and Los Angeles and subsequence expansions to Sacramento and San Diego. The rail authority has already been constructing a portion of the line in the Central Valley, with the goal of ultimately connecting this segment to San Francisco and Los Angeles.

The new environmental document focuses on the northernmost segment of the first phase. It analyzes two similar alternatives for the segment between San Francisco and San Jose. Each would rely on the "blended approach," with high-speed rail and Caltrain sharing the same two tracks on the Peninsula.

The most notable differences between Alternative A, which is the agency's preferred alternative, and Alternative B, are that the latter calls for adding another set of passing tracks in San Mateo County and a dedicated viaduct for high-speed rail in the southern part of the segment, near San Jose. As such, Alternative B would involve more construction, great impacts and higher costs, according to the environmental document.

The system described in the EIR would operate at speeds of up to 110 mph on the Peninsula, with high-speed rail and Caltrain operating on a "coordinated schedule" and with high-speed rail trains having the ability to pass Caltrain trains at the existing four-track segment in the Millbrae station (as well as a new passing track, if Alternative B is adopted).

The main goal of the new system, according to the EIR, is to decrease traffic congestion, lower greenhouse gas emissions and support the California economy. The current statewide and regional transportation system "has not kept pace with significant increases in population, economic activity and tourism in the state, including in the Bay Area," the EIR states.

Currently, the trip between San Francisco and Los Angeles takes between four-and-a-half hours and 11.5 hours, the document states. The completion of Phase 1 of high-speed rail would allow for travel times between the two cities of less than three hours.

The construction plan calls for building two lines — one in the Central Valley (between Madera and Bakersfield) and one in the Bay Area, and then connecting them through the Pacheco Pass tunnel to create what the document calls a "Valley-to-Valley connection," with continuous service from San Francisco to Bakersfield.

"After that portion of the system is built, it is anticipated that the system would be extended to complete all of Phase 1 and ultimately Phase 2," the document states.

The 49-mile section between San Francisco and San Jose would have three high-speed rail stations in San Francisco, Millbrae and San Jose.

Even though the rail authority has abandoned its earlier plan to build a station or a set of passing tracks in the Midpeninsula area, the document indicates that the rail system will create some problems for local jurisdictions. While cities along the Caltrain corridor are exploring ways to separate the tracks from local streets so that they no longer intersect at grade crossings (a realignment known as "grade separation"), the new document suggests that the California High-Speed Rail Authority has no immediate plans to assist with that effort, which is widely seen as necessary to both ensure safety and prevent heavy congestion around intersections.

The rail authority's plan for preventing collisions between cars and trains is not grade separation but the installation of four-quadrant gates that would extend against all lanes of travel, blocking cars from entering the tracks.

"These gates would prevent drivers from traveling in opposing lanes to avoid the lowered gate arms," the document states. "Pedestrian crossing gates would be built parallel to the tracks and aligned with the vehicle gates on either side of the roadway."

While these gates would discourage cars from getting on the tracks, they also will result in greater delays at rail crossings. The document states that the increase in "gate-down time" from the added high-speed rail trains would "result in potential delays in emergency vehicle response times for fire stations/first responders in San Francisco, Millbrae, Burlingame, Redwood City, Menlo Park, Palo Alto, and Mountain View." While cities like Menlo Park, Mountain View and Palo Alto have been trying to mitigate the impacts of train-related delays by planning for grade separation, the rail authority lists the potential disruptions to emergency responders as a "significant and unavoidable" impact.

The document also found that additional traffic near the three new high-speed rail stations would result in "potential delays in emergency vehicle response times for fire stations/first responders," the report states.

Most of the other "significant and unavoidable" impacts pertain to specific locations along the line, including sites near the proposed stations where land-use patterns would have to be altered to accommodate the new system. Some are limited to the construction period. These include impacts of construction on air quality, noise and vibration.

The new line could also bring "continuous permanent impacts" on emergency access and response times in Menlo Park and Mountain View, unless these two cities opt to construct and operate "emergency vehicle priority treatments" east of Ravenswood Avenue and adjacent to Rengstorff Avenue, respectively.

The document estimates that the 49-mile segment between San Francisco and San Jose would cost between $4.3 billion and $6.9 billion. According to the rail authority's business plan, the estimate for the entire Phase 1 segment between San Francisco and Los Angeles is about $77.3 billion.

While the rail authority is planning to complete the system by 2033, progress to date has not gone as planned. Since California voters approved $9.95 billion in 2008 for the high-speed rail line and related transportation improvements, the cost of the new system has ballooned and the project has been subject to intense scrutiny and criticism from state and local leaders, as well as scathing audits from California's state auditor and from the U.S. Department of Transportation's Office of Inspector General.

The EIR notes that in identifying its preferred alternative, the rail authority chose the option that balanced "the adverse and beneficial impacts of the project on the human and natural environment."

"Taking this holistic approach means that no single issue was decisive in identifying the Preferred Alternative in any given geographic area," the analysis states. "The Authority weighed all the issues — including natural resource and community impacts, the input of the communities along the route, the views of federal and state resource agencies, and project costs — to identify what both agencies (the rail authority and the Federal Railroad Administration) believe is the best alternative to achieve the project's Purpose and Need."

Comments

William Johnson
Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Jul 12, 2020 at 2:39 pm
William Johnson, Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Jul 12, 2020 at 2:39 pm
16 people like this

Unfortunately, we all have to live with trade-offs and so we need to recognize acceptable casualty ratios as a byproduct of HSR. What is missing from the EIR is just how many deaths the longer waits will generate. We also need to estimate the number of people who will suffer permanent paralysis because their treatment for stroke were delayed. What I find interesting is that Cal Train simply decided to increase crossing delays by tripling the number of trains without any thought about the consequences.


Martin
Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jul 13, 2020 at 11:03 am
Martin, Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jul 13, 2020 at 11:03 am
Like this comment

Yes, 4 quadrant gates increase downtime, but as they say "Safety is our utmost priority". Preventing injuries always the right focus since it saves lives and costs in the end.


Bob
Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jul 13, 2020 at 11:15 am
Bob, Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jul 13, 2020 at 11:15 am
22 people like this

Do we really still need HSR?
I'm sure there will be more delays and lawsuits so by the time it gets built, if ever, it will be so far over budget that's there will be no way to ever pay for it.

I say de-fund the project and fix existing transportation systems already being used.


Reality Check
another community
on Jul 14, 2020 at 2:27 am
Reality Check, another community
on Jul 14, 2020 at 2:27 am
2 people like this

@Martin is incorrect: while adding more trains (and therefore crossing gate activation cycles), 4-quadrant gates do not increase gate downtimes whatsoever.

As seen in this clip of the 4-quadrant gates at Atherton's Fair Oaks Lane (installed to allow for Caltrain's first and only "train horn quiet zone"), the gate downtime is no longer than necessary: Web Link (also note: no horn blasts!).

@Gennady: the HSRA has been saying for years now that it didn't need to and therefore wasn't planning to pay to grade separate Caltrain's line ... so that's not new or surprising news. And as far as increased gate downtime and associated vehicle delays go, the Caltrain 2040 Business Plan (Web Link), which was being finalized and well-publicized last year, envisions running far more trains through Peninsula grade crossings (and sooner) than the HSRA does or will.

What is news (and flying under the radar) is that Caltrain's current constant warning time (CWT) grade crossing predictors are incompatible with electrification. And that Caltrain has quietly decided to replace them with non-CWT circuits that will dramatically increase gate downtimes for trains moving at substantially less than the maximum authorized speed of 79 mph.

More about CWT: Web Link.


Iris
Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jul 14, 2020 at 8:56 am
Iris, Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jul 14, 2020 at 8:56 am
2 people like this

@ Bob "Do we really still need HSR?"
Good question, especially along the San Jose to San Francisco corridor.

There really should be a calculation of the value and total cost of building HSR from San Jose to San Francisco. What is the cost per transit minute saved? And what is the cost of just improving Caltrain for the same distance and passenger load? I imagine HSR costs would be astronomical in comparison. We shouldn't have to guess or be bamboozled. This should be public information, and the basis of decisions.


new guy
Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jul 14, 2020 at 10:15 am
new guy, Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jul 14, 2020 at 10:15 am
Like this comment

Ha, of course we don't need it, BUT we already built the SF terminal for it, so there is that. Reminds me of the Simpson's episode (monorail). The terminal needs those shinny new trains in it!!! Oh, I forgot we also did not build any tracks to connect that to caltrain yet, oh well. AND if it were built those tracks and new tunnel and caltrain and HSR used it, BTW, it does not have enough tracks to service the number of trains they already state in tha Caltrain plan for all those new trains. Funny huh.


Reality Check
another community
on Jul 14, 2020 at 1:15 pm
Reality Check, another community
on Jul 14, 2020 at 1:15 pm
1 person likes this

@Iris, apart from some minor adjustments to tracks and signals, and some new platforms at the only mid-Peninsula stop at Millbrae (SFO), HSR will not be "built" between SF and SF because it will use Caltrain's existing (and soon to be electrified) tracks.

As for whether HSR is "needed" between SJ and SF ... yes, reaching/serving SFO and downtown SF with a one-seat (transfer-free) ride is an essential part of the business case for CA HSR. And as any student of worldwide HSR "best practices" and learnings can tell you, service to city-center stations is a key attribute to the success and competitive convenience of HSR systems. Reaching SFO and SF (and other) downtowns is critically important to the long-term success and viability of the complete systems (after all sub-phases/segments are complete).


Menlo Voter.
Menlo Park: other
on Jul 14, 2020 at 6:36 pm
Menlo Voter., Menlo Park: other
on Jul 14, 2020 at 6:36 pm
4 people like this

HSR SJ to SF is a joke. There are no plans for grade separations which means the HSR trains cannot run at full speed. They are limited to 79 mph which is what Caltrain runs at. That makes it low to medium speed rail at best. 100 billion dollars for a train that will never run at full speed. Such a deal.


Peter Carpenter
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Jul 14, 2020 at 9:12 pm
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Jul 14, 2020 at 9:12 pm
2 people like this

HSR has become irrelevant. By the time we have dealt with the current pandemic there will not be any funds to spend on "nice to have" projects. We will be scrapping to fund existing essential services.


neighbor
another community
on Jul 15, 2020 at 11:17 am
neighbor, another community
on Jul 15, 2020 at 11:17 am
Like this comment

Lots of creative/wishful thinking among hi-speed rail opponents constantly looking for new arguments to stop the project. High speed rail is the way regions all over the world manage a significant part of their transportation. It's going to happen here too.


nearby neighbor
another community
on Jul 15, 2020 at 11:21 am
nearby neighbor, another community
on Jul 15, 2020 at 11:21 am
Like this comment

Wishful thinking among hi-speed rail opponents always creating new arguments to stop the project. High speed rail gets more expensive as the stalling continues. But high speed rail is the way regions all over the world manage a significant part of their transportation. It's going to happen here too.


Randyw
another community
on Jul 15, 2020 at 11:32 am
Randyw, another community
on Jul 15, 2020 at 11:32 am
Like this comment

The gate time issue is the typical logical double standard that always benefits cars over mass transit. The gates are down at a train crossing for 10-25 minutes an hour in the worst case projections. At every road to road level crossing they traffic is blocked for more than half of the time. No one is demanding that every traffic light along El Camino be replaced with overpasses.

Each train however will carry 600 people (caltrain) or 1200 (HSR) through the intersection per cycle with no pollution. Count how many people pass an intersection per cycle in a car? Probably less than 1/10th. If the train passengers were in cars the increased traffic would delay everyone (including firetrucks) much more.


Reality Check
another community
on Jul 16, 2020 at 12:18 pm
Reality Check, another community
on Jul 16, 2020 at 12:18 pm
Like this comment

@Menlo Voter is mistaken on a couple of points. As seen around the world, HSR is almost never run at full speed through densely populated suburban areas. And so CA HSR was never supposed to run at "full speed" on the Peninsula approach to its SF terminus, and, is in fact planning to run at 110 mph (not Caltrain's current maximum speed of 79 mph). While Caltrain has no immediate plans to run that fast, its sleek new state-of-the-art Swiss electric trains (now under construction) were specified to be 110-mph-capable, and will be tested at that speed on the FRA's TTC test track in Pueblo, CO.

For more info and photos of Caltrain's new electric fleet, see: Web Link


Reality Check
another community
on Jul 16, 2020 at 12:22 pm
Reality Check, another community
on Jul 16, 2020 at 12:22 pm
Like this comment

@Menlo Voter: also, per federal regulations, railroad grade separations are not legally required until train speeds exceed 125 mph.


Jake
another community
on Jul 16, 2020 at 2:58 pm
Jake, another community
on Jul 16, 2020 at 2:58 pm
2 people like this

We do not need high-speed virus trains storming down the tracks on the Peninsula. A waste of money, A burden on communities. An invitation, by the way, to attacks. Will you ride HSR after one train is derailed by a terrorist or criminal or a lunatic or a foreign operative who simply damages the track ahead? Always ask: who stands to make money from this?Maybe HSR would be useful at Disneyland - to quickly evacuate Covid-19 victims.


Reality Check
another community
on Jul 16, 2020 at 6:03 pm
Reality Check, another community
on Jul 16, 2020 at 6:03 pm
Like this comment

@Jake, it sounds like most Americans, you (understandably) don't have much knowledge or personal experience with HSR. I'd encourage you (and others) to spend a few moments to educate yourself. Have a look at the CA HSR project factsheets: Web Link

• Phase 1 of the California high-speed rail system will connect 6 of the 10 largest cities in the state.

• In blended/shared corridors, trains will be slowed to 110 miles per hour, as required by regulations. However, in other areas speeds will top 220 miles per hour.

• It will be all-electric all the time. Like electrified Caltrain, High-speed rail in California will run on 100% renewable energy.

• Other countries with high-speed rail systems service 1.6 billion passengers per year. Amtrak’s California corridors are among the busiest in the nation, with 5.7 million Californians riding trains last year.

• Providing the same capacity as high-speed rail from San Francisco to Los Angeles would require 4,300 new highway lane miles, 115 additional airport gates, 4 new airport runways costing more than $158 billion with a 50-year maintenance cost of more than $132.8 billion.

• California’s population is projected to grow to more than 50 million by 2060. $28 billion is lost each year in time and wasted fuel due to traffic congestion. Los Angeles, San Francisco and San José already rank among the top five most gridlocked cities in the nation.


Menlo Voter.
Menlo Park: other
on Jul 16, 2020 at 9:39 pm
Menlo Voter., Menlo Park: other
on Jul 16, 2020 at 9:39 pm
3 people like this

Reality check:

and they told us it would only cost a few billion. Wait, 15 billion. No, wait, 30 billion. No, sorry, 60 billion. Sorry again, probably going to be more like 100 billion. HSR was sold on a pack of lies. It needs to be killed.


Jake
another community
on Jul 16, 2020 at 10:21 pm
Jake, another community
on Jul 16, 2020 at 10:21 pm
2 people like this

@Anonymous poster "Reality Check" I did look at your link to the project propaganda sheet. How many passengers (aka virus patients) can be crammed into your high speed rail trains? At what cost to them and to the public? Where on the Peninsula would your trains stop? What tracks will be used? When a train is derailed or otherwise unable to proceed, how will passengers on the line get to their destinations? Would they call Lift drivers? Climb aboard electric scooters? Can you find some other public relations job when high speed rail is finally defunded? Sure you can. But get a honest job instead.


Reality Check
another community
on Jul 19, 2020 at 7:29 pm
Reality Check, another community
on Jul 19, 2020 at 7:29 pm
Like this comment

@jake, many more than on a bus or plane and far more comfortably and safely (and at much safer "social" distancing) ... but if you've been keeping up with world news, it (happily) turns out that even on transit, COVID transmission appears unlikely when everyone is wearing masks properly. Many huge (overseas) transit systems have continued to run at near capacity levels throughout the world in countries that have reduced their new COVID case rates to the single digits or less per week.

HSR systems are major infrastructure, and compares favorably with BART at $1b per mile (see VTA's 6-mile, Phase II of the SJ BART extension), or the Bay Bridge east span project which escalated over 6.5x from under $1b to about $6.5b, CA HSR costs have only escalated from around $34b (in 2008 $) in 2008 when Prop. 1A (a downpayment in the form of a $9b bond) was passed by CA voters to well under $100b (in 2020 $) ... so less than 3x in 2008 $ ... not too bad given the numerous and seemingly endless cost-escalating project delays (see: inflation, escalating cost of materials, land and labor costs in our until-recently-red-hot-economy) largely if not entirely caused by naysayer lawsuits and GOP opposition, the cost-escalating NIMBY appeasement and endless micro-management.

Among other countries, Morocco conceived of, designed, built and placed into operation a state-of-the-art HSR system during the time since CA HSR was placed on the CA ballot ... joining the club of countries smaller and/or poorer than California who are now enjoying HSR with a world safety record (despite a relatively tiny handful of mishaps) that beats any other comparable transportation mode.

Most if not all HSR detractors would do well to dust off (or first obtain) their passport and get some first-hand experience before showcasing their insular and parochial ignorance of something that the rest of the world has long understood and is enjoying the benefits of.


Reality Check
another community
on Jul 19, 2020 at 7:40 pm
Reality Check, another community
on Jul 19, 2020 at 7:40 pm
Like this comment

Time-sensitive public service announcement regarding the SF-SJ HSR segment:

The San Francisco to San Jose Project Section Draft Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement (EIR/EIS) evaluates the impacts and benefits of introducing high-speed rail service in the Project Section. The document was released on July 10, 2020 and will be available for a minimum 45-day public review period ending August 24, 2020.

The California High-Speed Rail Authority (Authority) created this Online Open House to provide enhanced access to the Draft EIR/EIS in response to health and safety directives concerning the novel coronavirus. We recommend using a computer browser for the best viewing experience. This Online Open House will be available throughout the public comment period.

For a live discussion with staff, join us July 20, July 30, or August 5 (between 4:00 and 7:00 pm) during Q&A Webinars (Web Link).

You may also make a phone appointment to speak with staff during Office Hours.

For more info and live-links to the above-mentioned webinars, info-sessions, etc., see: Web Link


Menlo Voter.
Menlo Park: other
on Jul 19, 2020 at 9:14 pm
Menlo Voter., Menlo Park: other
on Jul 19, 2020 at 9:14 pm
3 people like this

Reality check:

yes, HSR is major infrastructure. The problem in this case is that the project was sold to voters by lying about it. The project will cost far more than sold. Ticket prices will be far more than sold, even after accounting for inflation. Or, they will be subsidized. And if they are subsidized (likely), that will be another lie. There wasn't supposed to be any subsidies required. Businesses would be lined up just waiting to invest in this wonderful and profitable mode of travel. Guess what? There isn't a business interested in HSR. Because there's no profit in it.

Like I said. Nothing but lies. You may not have a problem spending 100 billion taxpayer dollars and then providing never ending subsidies, but I and plenty of other voters in this state do. In fact, the majority of voters in this state would not vote for HSR again knowing what they know now.

If the pols running this state weren't beholden to labor unions and large construction firms this boondoggle would have been killed long ago.


Check Plus, Reality Check
Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jul 20, 2020 at 3:21 pm
Check Plus, Reality Check, Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jul 20, 2020 at 3:21 pm
Like this comment

@ Reality Check -- You are 100% correct. This project never made sense. Even early supporters have turned against. Gavin Newsom wanted to cancel until learning that federal funds would need to be returned. The project should be killed.


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