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Atherton stunned high speed rail may take property

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  • 5/7 Palo Alto Daily
    Published Friday, May 7, 2004, in the Palo Alto Daily News Locals land eyed for train plan By Jean Whitney Daily News Staff Writer Atherton residents were
    Message 1 of 1 , May 7 1:20 PM
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      Published Friday, May 7, 2004, in the Palo Alto Daily News

      Locals' land eyed for train plan

      By Jean Whitney
      Daily News Staff Writer

      Atherton residents were stunned to learn last night that bringing
      high-speed rail through town would require taking property from
      residents' backyards for more tracks.

      Chuck Harvey, chief operating officer for Caltrain revealed high-
      speed trains need two more tracks during a presentation at the
      Atherton Civic Interest League annual state-of-the-town meeting
      in the Holbrooke [sic] Palmer Park Jennings Pavilion. Harvey was
      standing-in for state transportation officials who couldn't attend.

      "It's scary when they are talking about taking property," said Mayor
      Kathy McKeithen outside the meeting. "There's [sic] obviously thing
      [sic] we haven't thought about."

      The Atherton Caltrain right-of-way -- which the high-speed line
      would likely use -- is too narrow for more tracks, according to
      Harvey. Caltrain only has two now on the right-of-way.

      City Council member Jim Janz, who heads up a town committee on
      train transit, main it clear nothing definite has been decided yet.

      However, Harvey insisted that high-speed rail was seen as necessary
      statewide to cope with a projected population increase statewide by
      2020.

      "I think it's important to understand that it's coming," Harvey
      said. "They would have to take property."

      The plan would have the trains running by 2014 and cost $25 billion
      to build. A trip between San Francisco and Los Angeles would take
      two-and-a-half hours. A bond would fund the building of it. Trains
      would run up to 300 miles-per-hour by some estimates and about 120
      miles-per-hour through more [sic] cities.

      While transit committee member Greg Conlon praised high speed trains
      he used in Europe -- eating lunch in Paris and dinner London -- he
      asked for clarification from Harvey on seizing property for high
      speed rail through town.

      Outside the meeting, other residents question the likelihood that
      high speed would be welcome in town.

      "It would change the community," said John Shenk. "I think the idea
      is good. But will it work, coming through residential communities?"
      Atherton has no commercial property and any expansion would be at
      the expense of residents' land.

      High speed trains are not to be confused with "Baby Bullet" express
      trains that Caltrain is set to launch June 7 which will skip station
      stops but travel at current speeds -- simply making trips shorter by
      saving time.

      Another resident, Denise Kupperman, said she liked the notion of
      high-speed rail combing the state with the population predictions.

      "It's difficult to implement in a suburban corridor," Kupperman
      said. "But ultimately it will happen."

      More immediately, the town is in talks with neighboring cities over
      removing the center platform at the Caltrain station and putting
      platforms to the outside at a cost of $2 million, for safe operation
      of the "Baby Bullet" trains. However, the changes would be ripped up
      again for grade separations between tracks and streets, in the event
      high-speed rail came up the Peninsula.

      "How do we make sure high speed rail doesn't destroy communities
      like Atherton? We have a lot of work to do there," Harvey admitted.


      [BATN: See also:

      Atherton meeting to focus on Caltrain, high-speed rail
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BATN/message/17722

      Atherton eyes CEQA to block Caltrain service plan
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BATN/message/17033

      Atherton cites CEQA in bid to fight Caltrain plan
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BATN/message/16910

      Caltrain "reality" not pretty for Atherton
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BATN/message/16209

      Atherton residents: axe Caltrain Bullet, hike fares
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BATN/message/16208

      Atherton to hold meeting on Caltrain service plans
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BATN/message/16033

      Atherton fights to avoid any Caltrain service cuts
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BATN/message/15867

      Atherton newsletter on proposed Caltrain schedule
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BATN/message/15866

      Atherton fights Caltrain cuts to little-used stop
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BATN/message/15860

      Atherton lobbies to keep its Caltrain service up
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BATN/message/15829

      Atherton panel says "we deserve" Caltrain service
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BATN/message/15652

      Petition opposes Atherton Caltrain service cut
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BATN/message/15630

      Editorial: Caltrain should give Atherton a break
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BATN/message/15384

      Atherton panel gears up to protest Caltrain plans
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BATN/message/15378

      Caltrain schedule proposal concerns Atherton
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BATN/message/14860

      Caltrain may slash Atherton service; input sought
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BATN/message/14781

      Caltrain may sharply cut Atherton service
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BATN/message/14657

      Letter: Atherton wrong to oppose high-speed rail
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BATN/message/14658

      Atherton to create panel to fight high-speed trains
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BATN/messages/14417

      Atherton puts Caltrain grade seps on its wish list
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BATN/message/12669

      Atherton officials vow to fight high-speed rail
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BATN/message/11840

      Atherton residents oppose Caltrain corridor plans
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BATN/message/11561 ]
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