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High-speed rail, loan on Menlo Park council agenda

Original post made on Jan 14, 2014

Menlo Park's City Council will consider whether to reverse a policy designed to keep high-speed rail out of the city; consider loaning up to $3.5 million of city funds to a developer building low-income housing on the Veterans Affairs property; and possibly confirm a decision to keep the city's current logo despite spending $30,000 to develop a new one, when it meets on Tuesday night

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, January 14, 2014, 9:24 AM

Comments (7)

Posted by Martin Engel
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Jan 14, 2014 at 5:55 pm

You do understand that this issue of seeking $750K of funds for a study about improving the Ravenswood train crossing follows on the heels of a similar study conducted ten years ago by BKF. At that time, the consideration was for grade separating all four Menlo Park crossings, including Ravenswood. This time, it's somewhat more complicated because the city, to its credit, has taken a stand against increasing the number of tracks on the rail corridor from the current two.

In order to be eligible for that 3/4 of a million dollars, the city would have to back down from its constraint of the two-track limit, allowing for more tracks in the future; three, four, whatever.

Now here is the hard truth. It's not about train tracks. It's not about high-speed rail. It's not about anything related to public transit. IT'S ABOUT THE MONEY. Our City Administration has never seen a study opportunity it did not like. It's free money. It justifies, by creating, an additional work-load for the Transportation Department. It will add to staff resumes as one more accomplishment.

To understand the city administration better, it must be understood in terms of an organism; that is, a bureaucracy, which depends upon its budget for its life-blood and must constantly seek additional funding, both internally and externally, to justify it's survival. With ever more studies to keep the occupied, the organization (organism) creates the need for increased staff. That's the inherent nature of organizational -- or call it organismic in our metaphor -- growth. Grow or die. It's not about the trains or rail corridor; it's about the money!

Now, tonight the City Council will have to choose between keeping to the two-track limit, or obtaining the $750K for an unnecessary study. I only hope I'm wrong in my forecast.

Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 14, 2014 at 6:07 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

I am concerned that the proposed housing project at the Menlo Park VA facility may not give absolute preference to veterans. The proposal simply states "The primary mission of the project, from inception, is to serve Veterans who are homeless or are at risk of homelessness."

Absent a guarantee that veterans will always have priority for this housing the justification for the VA's gifting of the land for the project might be called into question.

Posted by member
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jan 14, 2014 at 7:20 pm

$30,000 to develop a new logo… really? another waste just like the squirrel suit!!!

Posted by Louise68
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jan 14, 2014 at 10:13 pm

Re: High-speed rail through Menlo Park: Martin Engel is right! It is all about MONEY! It is most emphatically *not* about better transportation, but about taking our hard-earned tax dollars and wasting them on a useless project that will never carry anyone but the 1%. We do *not* need any more studies about HSR through Menlo Park.

to the City Council: Just say *NO* to HSR!

Posted by old timer
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jan 15, 2014 at 6:55 am

Of course Martin is correct with the "its all about the money motive".

Why did the City Manager allow this to come to council? Is it because he is an empire builder? We have seen that before.

Then at the end, we see Vice_mayor Carlton complimenting city staff for at the last minute negotiating a retraction by the TA to the demand the City change its 2 track only policy.

What is wrong with her. The City Manger and City Staff should have been "dressed down", for promoting this nonsense. Who is running the City?

Seems here City Manager and City Staff making policy. Unacceptable. The voters should not have to rise up to protest an event like this. It should have never happened.

Posted by peninsula resident
a resident of Menlo-Atherton High School
on Jan 15, 2014 at 9:33 am

So what the result from the meeting?

Editor's note: Check the home page for updates, including this:
Web Link

Posted by stop studying and do
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jan 15, 2014 at 9:40 am

Menlo Park deserves grade separated train crossings. Now.

The Specific Plan included them. These can greatly help traffic congestion in town, although making things worse while under construction.

Just do it. Stop doing expensive studies.

And oh by the way, how about creating actual bike lanes and routes through town at the same time?

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