Guest opinion: Rail funds could give Caltrain a chance to electrify on two tracks | March 23, 2012 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

Spectrum - March 23, 2012

Guest opinion: Rail funds could give Caltrain a chance to electrify on two tracks

by Yoriko Kishimoto and Adina Levin

Last spring, Congresswoman Anna Eshoo, state Sen. Joe Simitian, and state Assemblyman Rich Gordon put forth a vision to implement a "blended system" for Caltrain enabling high-speed trains to operate on two Caltrain tracks. The proposal came after the High-Speed Rail Authority's original proposal for a four-track system was widely rejected on the Peninsula as expensive, disruptive for our historic downtowns and walkable neighborhoods, and excessive for likely rider demand.

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Yoriko Kishimoto and Adina Levin are co-founders of Friends of Caltrain. Yoriko is former Mayor of Palo Alto and currently a director on Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District. Adina is a co-founder of Socialtext and the Drive Less Challenge. They can be reached at and


Posted by yes yes yes, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 23, 2012 at 10:51 am

Caltrain is using shamefully out-of-date technology, despite it being the major form of public transit in Silicon Valley. The amount of money they are talking about is very small compared to the benefits of reduced pollution, reduced car traffic, and reduced need for new roads and new parking lots. Please get this done as soon as possible. Thank you.

Posted by no no no, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 23, 2012 at 1:47 pm

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.] This entire disaster will be a burden on California for decades to come...even if it is cancelled immediately, which it should be.

"Emissions will drop by 90 percent"

What a crazy statement. It shows the fundmental misunderstanding of science. Coal will be used to generate the electrcity, and the CO2 will not be reduced. We will just be exporting our emmissions to some people who live next to the power plants.

BTW, we already have an electrfied Caltrain. Diesel-electric locomotives are driven by electric motors. They just carry their own generators with them.

HSR fails on so many levels. Just kill it now, before it kills us.

Posted by Adina Levin, a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 23, 2012 at 4:02 pm

Actually, in California coal is a very small source of electric power generation. The top sources are Natural Gas, Hydro, Renewables, and Nuclear. Coal accounts for only about 1% of electric power generation.

Web Link

Posted by no no no, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 23, 2012 at 4:15 pm

"Actually, in California coal is a very small source of electric power generation"

Another piece of disinformation. California sucks up the non-coal power sources, thus forcing other states to use coal. Electricity is fungible, in terms of the national markets and the grid. Coal is the major electricity generating source of electric power in this country. Any additional base load will come from coal, unless nuclear is unleashed. Solar and wind are not base load, as any aware engineer could attest.

How much longer do we need to listen to this nonsense? Fool us once, shame on the promoters of HSR, but twice is on us.

Posted by time to retire, yoriko, a resident of Palo Alto Orchards
on Mar 26, 2012 at 10:47 am

does anyone really care what Kishimoto thinks now? In herlast election more than 70% of the voters voted against her. She spent 8 years on the council complaining about non-existent traffic problems and lectured us on phony green issues. SJe talked "Walkable neighborhoods" but let Alma and Edgewood plaza fall into disrepair.
Do we want her spearheading anything given her sad track record? I think not

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