Redwood City very disappointed by HSR alternatives report
- Published Wednesday, August 11, 2010, by Redwood City
Redwood City Responds to High Speed Rail Supplemental Alternatives Analysis
Last week, the California High Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) unveiled its Supplemental Alternatives Analysis describing how the Authority plans to build the system through the peninsula. In Redwood City, the CHSRA has decided that the new rail line will generally be "above grade" on an aerial support system, similar to an aqueduct.
"We're disappointed in the Authority's perspective that other, more desirable configurations won't be considered," said Council Member Barbara Pierce of the Council's Ad Hoc Committee on High Speed Rail. "Despite that, our intention is to continue to work with the Authority on constructive solutions that will be more suitable for our community." To do this, Redwood City intends to engage in a localized engineering and economic analysis, and bring forward its own ideas for alternatives which are more consistent with the vision for the future of the community.
With its own data in hand, the City intends to work in partnership with the CHRSA to find potential common ground for moving forward. Among the issues to be analyzed are:
* The long-term impacts of the aerial configuration on Redwood City's downtown and neighborhoods, particularly in the context of the draft Downtown Precise Plan.
* How the aerial configuration would interface as it comes out of San Carlos, and at Woodside Road and Redwood Junction.
* How the aerial option will affect consideration of a potential high speed rail station.
* Identification of alternatives to the aerial alignment and their feasibility (for example, a trench).
* The economic and community impacts of the aerial configuration, versus other feasible alternatives that are identified.
The aerial configuration that the CHSRA has settled on would require a structure standing approximately 30 feet high, and up to 80 feet wide to accommodate two high speed rail tracks and two Caltrain tracks. The tracks would then, by necessity, be "at-grade" (surface level) to the south of Redwood City, at "Redwood Junction" where freight trains interface with the Caltrain tracks. This configuration is not consistent with the City's stated preference for the tunnel or trench option.
Redwood City will be communicating this week with the CHRSA, to outline its plans to bring in outside engineering and economic advisors to closely analyze the aerial configuration, with an eye toward feasibility of alternatives that are more consistent with the City's Downtown vision.
The CHRSA is planning on holding two community meetings in Redwood City in September to outline the general scope of a potential high speed rail station in Redwood City. Lacking adequate information thus far, neither the community nor the City Council have discussed or expressed a preference for a station in Redwood City -- this would be the first information provided by the Authority on what a station might encompass in Redwood City. At those meetings, the Authority will also be seeking community input on the possible station in order to include this information in its upcoming Environmental Impact Report for the potential stations (the CHRSA has indicated that a station may be desired at Redwood City, Palo Alto, or Mountain View).
Following those CHSRA meetings, Redwood City intends to hold one or two community workshops to discuss both the vertical alignment issues and the potential station, after which the Council will communicate the community's overall perspective and desires to the CHRSA. Redwood City provides an informational page regarding High Speed Rail at <http://redwoodcity.org/HSR.html>.
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Chu Chang, Director
Building, Infrastructure and Transportation Department
[BATN: See also:
Redwood City "disappointed" in HSRA plan for aerial viaduct
Redwood City unhappy with aerial HSR plan; prefers tunnel or trench
Four mid-Peninsula cities to consider formally opposing HSR