Oblivious Palo Alto NIMBYs now question HSR Caltrain route to SF
- Published Thursday, February 19, 2009, by the Palo Alto Daily Post
Train route questioned
High-speed rail backers picked Caltrain route
By Ian S. Port
Daily Post Staff Writer
Palo Alto residents who oppose plans to run 125-mph trains along
their back fence are wondering whey the high-speed rail project can't
run along Highway 101 or Interstate 280 instead.
The residents say they weren't told that the bullet trains could run
along the Caltrain alignment last year, when officials were deciding
a route for the state high-speed rail project. But rail officials say
it's now too late to pick a different route between San Jose and San
"We were kept in the dark," said Tom D'Arezzo, who lives on Palo
Alto's Mariposa Avenue, directly next to the train tracks. "Living
along the Caltrain right of way, w would have been sensitive to it
if we had known about it, but we were not notified."
D'Arezzo's views were echoed at a community meeting on the project
Tuesday night, where residents said they weren't told that a decision
was being made to run the train near their homes. But Rod Jeung, an
engineer with a consulting firm that worked on the report, said that
while he was dismayed to hear that so many residents were upset about
a decision that they weren't aware of, nothing can be done about it
Palo Alto's views left out
The report declares that running the trains up the Caltrain alignment
through the middle of Palo Alto, Menlo Park and other Peninsula cities
is the best route between San Jose and San Francisco. But while the
more than 3,500-page document mentions the opposition of Menlo Park,
Atherton and "some members of the public" to the Caltrain route, it
doesn't mention Palo Alto's views on the plan. (Menlo Park and
Atherton have since filed lawsuits against the environmental report.)
As for running the train up Highway 101 or I-280, an appendix to the
environmental report says that both of those routes would be extremely
difficult and pricey to build.
"The U.S. 101 alignment alternative would require many sections of
high-level structures to pass over existing overpasses and connector
ramps, resulting in high construction costs and constructability
issues that would make this alignment alternative impracticable,"
the report says.
The document is similarly dubious of running the train along I-280,
noting the environmental impacts of running through nature preserves
in Palo Alto and Woodside, and the difficulty of connecting the
route to San Francisco International Airport.
Dan Leavitt, an official with the California High-Speed Rail
Authority, said that the Caltrain route was simply the best way
between San Jose and San Francisco, because building an elevated
rail line along the freeway would be extremely difficult.
"There were major construction issues and practicability issues
in terms of right of way, or lack of right of way to be able to
construct a new structure," Leavitt told the Post.
In other words, the Caltrain route wouldn't require the purchase of
as much property as a 101 or 280 alignment.
Not enough publicity
But that's little comfort for residents like D'Arezzo.
"The city did not do a good job in announcing that this was going
on," he said. "Atherton and Menlo Park did a much better job."
[BATN: See also:
HSR may kill Palo Alto's historic namesake "El Palo Alto" tree
Burlingame council questions SF HSR station, favors tunneling
HSR officials extend SF-SJ comment period 1 month until April 6
Atherton wants HSR underground -- prepares 28-page letter
Column: HSR and Peninsula NIMBYs
Palo Alto HSR NIMBYs to march on City Hall
Palo Alto Prop 1A backers horrified to learn HSR may run near them!
Letter: NIMBY Palo Alto HSR foes spreading misinformation
Column: Peninsula NIMBYs raise the alarm over HSR
Palo Alto NIMBYs fear HSR eminent domain
Palo Alto NIMBYs raise alarm on HSR eminent domain fears
Comment: Caltrain meets HSR -- what implications for Palo Alto?
Peninsula residents skeptical about HSR
HSR officials meet with locals in Menlo Park, San Carlos
Nearly 150 attend first SF-SJ HSR EIR scoping meeting
Menlo Park starts HSR negotiation campaign, to continue lawsuit
Questions abound over HSR specifics for Caltrain, Peninsula cities
Prop 1A bond would launch plan for HSR along Caltrain corridor
Cities divided; HSR may help Caltrain electrification
Comment: Undergrounding Caltrain in Palo Alto an old idea
Comment: Lone HSR backer on Menlo Park council explains why
Letter: Anti-HSR cities misguided -- HSR offers many benefits
Editorial: Undergrounding Caltrain, HSR tracks worth exploring
Palo Alto leaders propose putting Caltrain, HSR underground
Menlo Park, Atherton vote to oppose Prop. 1A HSR bond
Menlo Park council member: why I'm against Prop. 1A HSR bond
Comment: Come hear HSR get NIMBY-whipped at Atherton meeting
Atherton council to hold HSR study session on Sept. 24
Editorial: Can NIMBY Menlo Park, Atherton stop HSR juggernaut?
Menlo Park, Atherton join lawsuit to invalidate HSR EIR
Menlo Park, Atherton join suit against Pacheco-biased HSR EIR
Menlo Park, Atherton join suit challenging HSR EIR
Atherton, Menlo Park councils blast high-speed rail plans