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Residents demand tunnels for high-speed trains

Original post made on Feb 27, 2009

Anger, confusion and frustration over California's proposed high-speed rail system dominated a tense informational meeting Thursday, where dozens of Palo Altans demanded underground tunnels and one City Council member threatened to sue the state agency in charge of the project.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, February 27, 2009, 6:18 AM

Comments (66)

Posted by Norman Beamer, a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 27, 2009 at 7:42 am

The choice is not limited to a tunnel or a 20' wall. There is also the option of an open trench, or running it at grade level (securely fenced off) with cross streets going over or under.

They made it clear that such choices as running it on 101 or 280 were not being considered.

The option of not doing it at all, or stopping at San Jose, are theoretically on the table, but it seems clear that there is no way that the Rail Authority will ultimately choose those options.

I personally think the most constructive effort should be to oppose the wall.


Posted by musical, a resident of Palo Verde School
on Feb 27, 2009 at 8:14 am

The region under consideration at this meeting was limited to the High Speed Rail Peninsula segment, San Francisco to San Jose. One alternative listed was the NO-BUILD option, presumably ending HSR at San Jose Diridon, for connections to Caltrain and BART, or continuing HSR up the East Bay side. Additionally there is an HSR regional segment through Altamont Pass on the drawing board. Build or no-build for HSR, there is still the Caltrain electrification and service growth through our cities. This may not require 4-tracking the entire route, but given the train frequency, there will be a continued push for grade separations at all crossings, meaning an elevated or sunken railbed regardless of HSR outcome. Or maybe Meadow and Charleston can be over- or underpasses, with extra width to accommodate safe pedestrian and bike passage. The only upside I see in our future is that electrification may result in somewhat lighter and quieter Caltrains, and grade separation means not so much horn blowing or waiting at the railroad crossings. Good news article. Plenty of, uh, audience participation, and I expect much more down the line.


Posted by Blaster, a resident of Stanford
on Feb 27, 2009 at 8:37 am

8 years on the council and all Morton is good for is "blasting" people, projects and things. He recently "blasted" Stanford, he also "blasted" the PA police for daring to investigate Pat Briggs, now it is the HSRA. He is always flying off the handle and cannot be counted on. No wonder his fellow council members denied him the post as mayor. But the question is, how did we elect him to two terms on the council with his attitude of contempt towards the citizens he is supposed to serve?


Posted by itsyourmoney, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 27, 2009 at 8:51 am

HSR's first obstacle in making it to S.J. is getting Union Pacific to allow it to use the right of way between Gilroy and S.J., which it has so far refused to d.


Posted by Jay Tulock, a resident of another community
on Feb 27, 2009 at 9:00 am

Palo Altans-- These HSR Authority meetings will do you no good. You are in their arena; they will listen to you, lie to you, and do what they want.

You must demand your City Council join Menlo Park and Atherton in their lawsuit against the Authority choice of Pacheco Pass, the wrong choice. Trains running via Altamont Pass will avoid the too-narrow corridors of Atherton, Menlo Park, and Palo Alto where residents abut the tracks. Don'believe their lies--there WILL be eminent domain.

Tunnels are impossible -- there isn't enough money in Palo Alto. There are creeks, culverts, El Palo Alto, all of which you would have to build underground, all the while diverting the Caltrain line -- where? -- through your houses while they dig the trench, which they would still have to take your land for.

You cannot play in the High Speed Rail Authority sandbox. These community meetings are their sandbox. You need LOUD obnoxious protests, lawsuits, recalls of council members who don't cooperate.

Diridon / Kopp / Guardino -- all they care about is money and contracts. They aren't lying about all the jobs that will be created -- however, they are lying that these jobs will actually result in a train! These men will suck Palo Alto for all it is worth for their contract buddies and their perceived idea that San Jose is the center of the universe. Kopp spent an extra billion to build a bad BART connection to the SF Airport and still hasn't been jailed for it. Bad judge, bad kopp. Rally your city, make your neighbors aware, make every City council meetings a hell for the council until they agree to sue. You must cut the Authority off at the knees before the $10 billion in bond money is released. At that point they will have so much money/power nothing can stop them.

Be terrified. Be very afraid.

--Jay L. Tulock (International Rail Transportation Consultant, retired), Vacaville


Posted by Sara Armstrong, a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Feb 27, 2009 at 9:34 am

We have a petition to oppose the wall:
Web Link

The URL is www.gopetition.com/online/25328.html

It is written to be general enough to apply to all peninsula cities. Please forward on to your friends and neighbors who are concerned.

Thanks!


Posted by Robert Pulliam, a resident of another community
on Feb 27, 2009 at 9:49 am

Hey folks, if you have taken the time to read or post here on this problem with the rail, then take a moment to view a solution at www.tubularrail.com/ Not only does it solve the grade separation issue, without the need to lay a continous track it cuts the costs by two thirds and is technically a steel wheel on steel rail system which the authority cleverly put in the enabling legislation. Make sure you go to the videos.
Best of luck,
Robert Pulliam
Tubular Rail Inc.
Houston TX
713 834 7905


Posted by Jay Tulock, a resident of another community
on Feb 27, 2009 at 10:24 am

Hey Folks--

Robert Pulliam and his company are famous in the industry. It's a fantasy concept that's never been tested, and we don't want to be the guinea pig for new technology here in California. The one thing the Authority has done right is chosen the right technology. Tubular rail is a investment fraud scheme similar to the flying car company in Davis which now sells almond butter as its main product.

--Jay L. Tulock


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Feb 27, 2009 at 10:27 am

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

I know the trench is viable [see Alameda Corridor and Reno ditch for recent examples] People opposed the freeway sound walls but generally they improved the property adjacent, and South of Oregon seems to thrive.


Posted by Parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 27, 2009 at 10:34 am

There is one more thing we need to be doing. Email, calling, writing, visiting, state and Federal and local politicians.

While hopeful petitions, rallies with pitchforks, angry letters to CHSRA are all fine steps, the REAL clout comes with Peninsula's voters $$$ and VOTES.

The HSR Supporters are very organized in terms of lobbying Sacramento and Washington for their agenda. Much of this has to do with lobbying for the funding.

Sara, can your group help? or are they organzing anyting yet on this front? This is critical Lawsuits and rally's are too easy for the oppostion to dismiss and discount as "NIMBY"ism.

And screaming at Palo Alto City Council is easy for us because its here, and its 'safe', we need to organize the harder thing, which is screaming at state and federal level.


Posted by Jay Tulock, a resident of another community
on Feb 27, 2009 at 10:37 am

The trench doesn't change the width of right-of-way needed, the need to run the railroad on a shoo-fly during construction--where?, nor the fact the cities would have to come up with the billions needed to fund it -- HSRA won't pay. Then there are the engineering issues, how to tunnel UNDER San Francisquito Creek, Oregon Expressway, or re-align the Santa Rita Creek (no longer on the surface) viaduct which parallels the tracks and crosses Oregon in a concrete viaduct. Oregon expressway is pumped year-round for groundwater or it would flood -- the entire trench would need constant pumping. And how does one build either an elevated railway or a tunnel under San Franciscquito Creek, itself already 40 feet deep, and the railroad needing to go 30 feet under that, without destroying El Palo Alto or its park? The citizens of Palo Alto should be up in arms!

--Jay L. Tulock


Posted by Blast2, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 27, 2009 at 10:39 am

Jack Morton's threat to sue HSR was really out of line. It was public grandstanding. His vitriol does not represent the City of Palo Alto.


Posted by Chris, a resident of Midtown
on Feb 27, 2009 at 10:41 am

the reason they don't want a trench or a wall is because they don't want to seperate the already seperate parts of palo alto: east palo alto and the rest. I live in midtown, and i can tell you that it feels like i'm walking into a different city when i cross the tracks. Without those tracks there, i can imagine it would feel more like once city and we wouldn't have the economic segregation we have right now.


Posted by Chris, a resident of Midtown
on Feb 27, 2009 at 10:42 am

also, if bart was able to tunnel under the bay, why shouldn't this be able to?


Posted by Andrew Bogan, a resident of Evergreen Park
on Feb 27, 2009 at 10:48 am

Joining the Atherton/Menlo Park NIMBY lawsuit against the Pacheco Pass route, as advocated above and by our Vice Mayor in an odd outburst last night, would be a major tactical error in our shared goal of getting the best possible HSR train built for California.

Palo Alto should be strongly advocating for the mid-Peninsula HSR Station, which our neighbors up in Redwood City are outspokenly supporting for their town. Studies of the Japanese shinkansen train network have shown that property values rise in cities with high speed rail stations nearby. The economic benefits of a Palo Alto Station would be very large and a huge help in securing adequate funds for the significant additional costs of tunneling (typically 3-5 times the cost of above ground rail).

By far our best hope of getting the HSR put underground in a tunnel (which would solve most residents' concerns about noise and visual blight) is for our community to be seen as a reliable partner in developing the CAHSR that eagerly wants a station in our community. Joining the lawsuit would almost certainly give the mid-Peninsula station to Redwood City and yet still is not likely to succeed in preventing the HSR from being built in light of the strong political support it has in Sacramento and Washington DC. It would be a tragedy for Palo Alto to essentially give up its voice in constructive criticism of the HSR project and end up being perceived as another obstructionist NIMBY opponent of High Speed Rail.

Our City Council should have a simple message to the CAHSRA:

1. We want the Station.
2. We want a Tunnel.
3. We are willing to help pay for it.

The most likely long term outcome of the "just sue them" approach is: no station, no tunnel, and an elevated train. Basically, all the costs and none of the benefits for Palo Altans.


Posted by wary traveler, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 27, 2009 at 10:51 am

"Tunnels are impossible -- there isn't enough money in Palo Alto."
Who says Palo Alto should pay for it, or that tunnels should even be limited to Palo Alto? There are other Peninsula cities that will also be blighted by above ground HSR. Most of them haven't woken up yet. They will, though. And once they do, they'll be insisting on tunnels, too. (Provided they come to the conclusion that HSR via CHSRA through SJ-SF is an inevitable outcome. But that's a different discussion.)

If we must have HSR run through our beautiful Peninsula, this is our chance to do it right.

Paying for (tunnel) solutions is also a social justice issue. It's unreasonable to expect the communities which shoulder the biggest burden to pay a disproportionate share for mitigation. Tunneling should be part of the overall HSR plan.


Posted by Robert Pulliam, a resident of another community
on Feb 27, 2009 at 11:03 am

Mr. Tulock,
Apparently I am more famous in the industry than you as I have never heard of you. I strongly object to your statement as you know nothing about me or the company, the technology or the engineering work that has been done to date. If you have evidence of what you claim, fraud, then you should produce it as well as your address and phone number.
It would seem that new technology could find no better place to be put to the test than Silicon Valley. You stike me as a bitter old man disparaging other's efforts to create economically doable solutions to replace the "old think" that is so prevalent in the "industry"
If you know of actual fraud, then you need to report it to the authorities otherwise you might want to review the statutes on libel.
If I am, as you say, famous in the "industry" then it must be for not tolerating the mentally constipated such as yourself, who devoid of an original thought or creation can only throw stones.
Robert Pulliam


Posted by Curious, a resident of Barron Park
on Feb 27, 2009 at 11:20 am

What kind of ridership do the powers that be project on this high-speed train? Will it be worth it?


Posted by Floyd, a resident of Green Acres
on Feb 27, 2009 at 11:30 am

Robert Pulliam says that Mr. Tulock strikes him as a "bitter old man" because of his views on the HSR planning. I say he's a realist based on my 40 years of experiences with the local authorities, city and county.


Posted by Andrew Bogan, a resident of Evergreen Park
on Feb 27, 2009 at 11:35 am

For those interested in learning more about the history of high speed rail and its economic benefits, there is a good paper by Brian Sands out of UC Berkeley back in 1993 studying the development effects of HSR in Japan, France, and Germany with implications for California at:

Web Link

For those less interested in 65-page academic transportation papers and more interested in Palo Alto property values, here is a quote from the summary:

"The development effects of high-speed rail stations are most clearly associated with a strong regional economy . . . The presence of these factors can help provide the
formation of significant development activity around stations catering to the information-exchange sector, such as offices and hotels, the stimulation of retail activities in the area, and increases in overall land value of approximately 20 percent."


Posted by Robert Pulliam, a resident of another community
on Feb 27, 2009 at 11:40 am

Floyd, I agree with you that Mr. Tulock is a realist concerning the engineering challenges facing conventional high speed rail installation in the built enviroment. My response was to his attack and accusation on me and my company www.tubularrail.com/ If you would be willing to look at this site you might find an alternative approach that addresses many of the concerns raised by those to be affected by the installation of HSR based on European models. If you are not willing to look, then I can only hope the pain of the train is worth it.
Robert Pulliam


Posted by Andrew Bogan, a resident of Evergreen Park
on Feb 27, 2009 at 11:49 am

ON RIDERSHIP:

As for ridership, forecasts are always difficult and none are certain. A good way to get a sense of the potential is to look at the recently opened Taiwan High Speed Rail from Taipei to Kaohsiung.

In the first year of operation, until December 31, 2007, THSRC's trains were 99.46% on-time, had seat occupancy of 44.72%, and carried 15.55 million passengers. In the second year, passenger numbers almost doubled to 30.58 million. (from Wikipedia)

Obviously California (population ~34 million) is not Taiwan (population ~23 million) and population is not the only consideration in HSR ridership, but ridership figures have also been robust on high speed rail in Japan, France, and Germany for decades.

Another relatively new HSR example is Korea's KTX which is only truly high speed on a portion of the route until additional new track gets completed in 2010:

Less than two years after the introduction of KTX service, the market share of rail on the Seoul-Busan sector increased from 38% (2003) to nearly 61% (2005), with air travel dropping from 42% to 25% and road travel falling from 20% to 14%. On January 9, 2006, Korail reported that average daily ridership in December 2005 had reached 104,600, an increase of almost 50%, with daily operating profit up to 2.8 billion won and financial breakeven expected by early 2007. The 100-millionth rider was carried after 1116 days of operation on April 22, 2007, generating an income of 2.78 trillion won. (from Wikipedia)


Posted by Reality check, a resident of another community
on Feb 27, 2009 at 11:50 am


Responding to the ridership question lazy "Curious" raises:

Web Link

More specifically:

Web Link


Posted by Anna, a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 27, 2009 at 11:51 am

Mr. Bogan says we should put a HSR station in Palo Alto to hasten the "formation of significant development activity around stations catering to the information-exchange sector, such as offices and hotels, the stimulation of retail activities in the area..."

Anyone who drives downtown knows that there already is way too much traffic in the area. Do we really want MORE traffic generating businesses there? More hotels? More offices? And consider the traffic generated by the station itself: the HSR is intended to replace much of the current LA/Bay Area air travel with travel by train. How many of the thousands of cars/taxis/buses that currently carry SFO and SJC passengers to and from their LA-bound flights will now be cruising up and down University Avenue so they can catch their planes?

I hope the HSR nonsense can be stopped, but if it isn't let Redwood City have any station that comes with it (along with the traffic and crime).

This HSR will be a disaster for Palo Alto. Why make it worse?


Posted by Andrew Bogan, a resident of Evergreen Park
on Feb 27, 2009 at 12:17 pm

ON TUNNELS:

While building tunnels is wildly expensive, typically 3-5 times the cost of above ground rail and occasionally much more than that, it certainly merits careful study since it would eliminate the considerable costs of removing the at grade crossings and building grade separated ones, not to mention creating a marvelous greenway through our community on the existing Caltrain tracks.

There are high water table issues in Palo Alto, as several posters have highlighted with the Oregon Expressway underpass. However, to assume it's impossible or prohibitively expensive to tunnel the HSR under our community is just silly. Let's do an engineering feasibility study that includes careful cost estimates.

The newest shinkansen line in Japan (Kyushu Shinkansen) is 70% underground in tunnels, although they made a concerted effort to stay above existing ground water levels where possible to control costs. Clearly if the Japanese can build 70% of a line underground and we were able to tunnel BART under the Bay decades ago, we can build a tunnel for the HSR. The question is at what cost and who will pay for it.

Until we get an engineering report out of CAHSRA on the tunneling options, it will be difficult to estimate how much more a tunnel would cost. However, it may still be the best option, like Berkeley's decision to pay to put BART underground in their historic university town in the 1960s. I think most residents of Berkeley today agree that was a good choice, with hindsight despite the costs.

However, we should try to spread awareness of one significant issue with tunneling the HSR under Palo Alto (and maybe part of Mountain View, Menlo Park, and Atherton, too). HSR trains at high speeds create a loud "tunnel boom" when emerging from a tunnel back to ground level. This boom is far louder than and more sudden and disruptive than ambient train noise above grade. This means the design and location of any tunnel exits on the route will be of critical importance in mitigating the overall environmental impact.


Posted by WillowGlen resident, a resident of another community
on Feb 27, 2009 at 12:22 pm

If you guys succeed in the NO BUILD option on the Peninsula, and I sincerely hope you do, that still leaves the San Jose urban area which also needs to go underground under any circumstance. A 20 ft high concrete wall running through San Jose to Diridon Station (where it would stop, if no peninsula option is build) is also unacceptable, and will create permanent BLIGHT in some of the nicer areas of San Jose, it will ruin Willow Glen, where south bay high tech professionals prefer to live, and needs to be opposed.

In our meeting here the extremely evasive and clueless CHSRA reps kept bringing up GILROY and MERCED as if their needs were somehow on an equal footing with Willow Glen and the residential areas of San Jose.


Posted by Robert Pulliam, a resident of another community
on Feb 27, 2009 at 12:22 pm

Mr. Tulock,
I want to congratulate you on your recent promotion for on Jan 22 in the Palo Alto online post of that day, you stated that you were a "recently retired railtrack engineer", certianly an honest and noble profession in its own right, but in today's post it appears fate has been good to you as you are now an "International Rail Transportation Consultant", also retired. It would appear we share a passion for re-invention, in my case, railroads; yours yourself.
Robert Pulliam
Tubular Rail
www.tubularrail.com/


Posted by WillowGlen resident, a resident of another community
on Feb 27, 2009 at 12:31 pm

Way to go UNION PACIFIC for disallowing use of the Right of Way. How can I contribute large sums of money to the Union Pacific LOBBYIST to buy Rod Diridon? At this point the objectors to this train are going to do battle financially with the city councils, and any city councilmember that does not object to this train INTENSELY will be removed from office.


Posted by Andrew Bogan, a resident of Evergreen Park
on Feb 27, 2009 at 12:37 pm

Anna,

The quote you attributed to me was in my post above, but is from Brian Sands' paper on high speed rail from the Institute of Urban and Regional Development at UC Berkeley back in 1993 and was clearly labeled as such. I would not want to misleadingly take credit for his work.

As for traffic, I typically walk or ride Caltrain from my home near California Avenue when I go downtown. Perhaps if you want less traffic when you "drive downtown" you should stop *driving* downtown and walk or ride public transportation instead.

It is inaccurate to assume significant traffic increases in Palo Alto from people switching to HSR from air travel. If they were flying into SFO or SJC to come to Palo Alto in the first place (most air travelers are not headed here, but to SF or other cities), then they probably already drive here by car, taxi, limo, or shuttle. HSR would in fact create an alternative of simply arriving at the downtown Palo Alto Station and walking or taking public transit to an appointment or to their hotel. I share your concern about vehicle traffic in our town, but I encourage you to consider the possibility that an HSR station might help to reduce it.

Also, there is essentially no data I have found supporting your claim that high speed rail stations increase traffic and crime. Please share any studies you have read on this subject.


Posted by WillowGlen resident, a resident of another community
on Feb 27, 2009 at 12:42 pm

Jay Turlock, please post on the San Jose Mercury News which has a wider audience than Palo Alto online.
Web Link


Posted by Anna, a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 27, 2009 at 1:03 pm

"HSR would in fact create an alternative of simply arriving at the downtown Palo Alto Station and walking or taking public transit to an appointment or to their hotel. I share your concern about vehicle traffic in our town, but I encourage you to consider the possibility that an HSR station might help to reduce it."

This kind of blinkered utopian thinking really needs on serious rejoinder. Anyone who thinks putting a major transit hub (along with the hotels, offices, retail...etc his academic enablers say will come along with it) in Palo Alto will reduce, rather than increase traffic is bereft of logic - no matter how many academic studies he claims to rely upon.

The problem with people like Bogan is that they don't seem to understand that people - left to their own devices and preferences - don't behave like he wants them to, or how he predicts they will. His snooty unrealistic suggestion that the rest of us take the train between California and Downtown only amplifies his ideological blindness.

Once he and his ilk find that their similar "suggestions" are shrugged off by a public that likes the idea of being free to go where they want when they want, the 'suggestions' become "mandatory".

But that's just an aside. I that most people - even in this very liberal town - see the world the way Bogan does. They know that HSR - if a way can't be found to underground it - will be a big ugly scar right down the middle of town. And they are under no dreamy illusion that putting a mega-train-station in town will reduce traffic.

It should be obvious that people in town are riled up about this. Let's have a referendum about whether we should build Bogan's train station - and let's vote on how vigorously PA should fight HSR. (I don't think that many people will go along with Bogan's plan to collaborate with HSR bureaucrats in our own municipal desecration and execution.)


Posted by Anna, a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 27, 2009 at 1:18 pm

And if there is anyone else who can't see the obvious without a study to prove it:

On crime and transit:

Web Link

Web Link

Web Link

Web Link

There are none so blind as those who will not see.


Posted by DeReRustica, a resident of another community
on Feb 27, 2009 at 2:02 pm

If I recall correctly, when I took the TGV out of Paris headed for Lyon, the part through metropolitan Paris was all underground. It makes sense for the highly urban part of the trip. The French mastered the technical and financial challenges of getting the fast train out through the city--the same challenges as on the Peninsula--back in the early 80's. Has Palo Alto become such a backward place that the people can't manage decades-old tech? It didn't have that feel when I lived there.


Posted by ellieg, a resident of Palo Verde
on Feb 27, 2009 at 2:09 pm

1. I think the High Speed Train should not be built at all. I voted against the bond because I felt it was too expensive both in money and disruption of the environment. The proposals for a tunnel are both too expensive and environmentally dangerous. A tunnel would kill trees, including El Palo Alto, by damaging the roots. Old trees are very vulnerable to any disruption of their extensive roots including many small feeder roots. The damage may not be immediate but within a few years they will slowly decline and die. Since Redwoods can live for many hundreds of years it is urgent to protect it if we want to keep our namesake tree.

2. The route between Los Angeles and San Francisco is not our main transportation problem. What we desperately need is more and better local transportation such as electrification of CALtrain and modern 'trolleys' on main streets such as El Camino and similar projects.

I have heard of a new electric bus made in France that does not need either overhead wires of expensive tracks. It gets power from an inexpensive narrow slit cut in the concrete which has a wire placed in it. The bower is transferred to the bus by a small 'brush'. It is quiet and safe, with no gas or diesel fumes, and there is a driver to maintain safety. It is a much less expensive option and works very well in France.

Rush hour traffic now is horrendous. It took me over an hour to drive from the California Avenue shopping area to Foothill college at the evening rush hour. The traffic was crawling along all of Foothill expressway. We need alternatives to driving locally for commutes, going to schools, and shopping trips. More clean local transportation would be much more important for both convenience and to reduce our carbon footprint than this expensive and destructive project.


Posted by menloparkarrogance, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 27, 2009 at 2:26 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by enough, a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 27, 2009 at 2:52 pm

"The development effects of high-speed rail stations are most clearly associated with a strong regional economy."

Exactly. That's the whole raison d'etre for HSR -- not because our state needs a high speed route between San Francisco and Los Angeles, but because a few people stand to profit. Those people bought land, for cheap, in the Central Valley, in small towns that otherwise got very little traffic. Now that HSR is going to be routed through those same towns, the land that was cheap is going to be worth a lot more money.

If you look at the HSR route map, you'll notice it makes some interesting zigzags in parts of the state. Some of that is related to topography, but some of it is not. I would love to see a list that shows the owners of property adjacent to the proposed route, and to learn more about their relationship with the HSR backers.

Of course, putting HSR on the peninsula will only add to congestion, to traffic and noise pollution, and will drive down values, not just in the area adjacent to the tracks but throughout the towns. I doubt you will find any studies showing the economic impact of HSR on an already affluent community because no one has previously had the audacity to try to stick HSR in the middle of a city like Palo Alto.


Posted by LaughingAtYouFools, a resident of Menlo Park
on Feb 27, 2009 at 3:03 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 27, 2009 at 3:11 pm

Be clear. The station concept is a MAJOR TRANSPORT HUB, like an SFO. It would need to include major incoming and outgoing busses, shuttles, auto lanes, RENTAL CAR availability, long term parking, etc. Like SFO.

On so many levels that is wrong for palo alto. It makes not even a moments worth of sense to consider drawing massive traffic into the heart of palo alto, off 101. Look around (SFO, SJ, LAX). This kind of transit hub requires space to build the transit infrastructure (not JUST the station), AND it requires easy access to roads - FREEWAYS.

A station would eventually likely mean huge freeway overpasses linking 101 to that station. I have not a moments worth of doubt about that. If you believe their volume/ridership projections, they are saying that the HSR will have more ridership than our local airports do today for trips between SF to LA.

This doesn't solve ANY, not even ONE commute or transportation problem for the local residents of Palo Alto (or the surrounding Peninsula cities) who live and work in these cities. It only draws MORE congestion in, and with it BLIGHT.

HSR doesn't take ONE CAR off the roads for californian's. They'll point you to European cities who use rail instead of auto successfully, those are very dense cities, who have very viable transit systems built up that get their citizens succesfully from door to door. We just don't have that. We ARE NOT dense, and given even the most horrendeous growth projections WON'T BE that dense. WE don't have transit systems to take people to and from stations.

Trains go in STRAIGHT LINES. People will still need their cars. This is NOT good for getting Palo Altan's or Californians for that matter, out of cars, so lets just knock that BS off right now.

Instead of DROOLING all over the station and dense housing acceleration, our city council should be asked the CHSRA to prove some very pointed environmetnal impacts: What much growth in auto traffic? On what roads/ What road changes required and who will pay? When? How are our KIDS walks, bikes and drives to schools impacted? How many parks and trees are cut down? What's the CO2 impact for THAT, where will the tree replacements be planted, how much will that cost and who will pay? How will our parks and field space be impacted, and where will replacement park and field space be provided, and who will pay for that? How much dense housing and retail development will be mandated, required or otherwise expected to result from CHSR, and how many new residetns will that create? How will that impact schools, and where will the new schools capacity come from? Who will pay for that?

How will noise, vibration, wind (from high speed passing trains), dust/particle disturbance, exposure to high voltage electrical lines, visual blight (etc) impact the value of properties that ARE NOT taken by eminent domain. How much will that cost our cities, and who will pay for that?

How will rerouting of traffic flows impact property values all over town? who will pay for that?

How will local citizens and city council retain authority over future decisions related to HSR impacts? (HINT: THEY WONT! Think ABAG Mandates)

Who pays for every last bit of infrastructure changes that are a direct AND indirect result of HSR (streets, roadways, sidewalks, lighting, sewer, electric)? How are impacts from HSR proven (ie: If middlefield traffic all of a sudden is inundated because traffic starts trying to find shortcuts through the city to get to HSR stations - Middlefield is collateral damage. Who's going to be left holding the bag for those impacts?

And specifically how much and exactly where will eminent domain be required? How much will homeonwers be compenstated? How much will surrounding neighbors whose land is NOT taken, but whose property values are decimated, how much will they be compensated? Exactly how much will that cost, and by whom and when? What happens if citizens of Palo Alto refuse to give up public lands (for example El Camino Park for an 800 space parking garage)? Will that be taken by eminent domain too?

And what are the specific additional impacts for ALL this during construction? And under each design scenario?

Before standing up screaming about lawsuits (which absolutely MUST be part of the equation if it comes to that) the first thing that the city council needs to be REQUIRING is DETAILED STUDY of EVERY SINGLE LAST consequence for this city. They need to shed this misguided idea that the citizens of Palo Alto are going to support densification (and utter destruction), and they need to start getting some very REAL and COMPLETE financial quantifications of all possible impacts and mitigations.

I happen to believe that lawsuits are NOT the only way to stop this. When the very arrogant and misguided CHSRA starts to do a REAL study, and starts to put the REAL costs on paper of this route, I believe they will have NO CHOICE but to find a different route.

And by the way, Barton, you are a menace to this town and YOU MUST BE REMOVED IMMEDIATELY. Your days of driving densification into this town, are OVER OVER OVER.


Posted by menloparkarrogance, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 27, 2009 at 4:23 pm

comments removed by the Palo Alto on line staff prove the arrogance of the people here..I pointed out someone that is posting all over the internet as a troll repeating untruths....this same person calls people names and degrades them on this board and because the poster is one of THE GANG on here its left for all to view. SO how is that for fair news and information?


Posted by Andrew Bogan, a resident of Evergreen Park
on Feb 27, 2009 at 6:02 pm

ON TRAFFIC FEARS:

Palo Alto's existing University Avenue Caltrain Station is already a major transportation hub with the second highest ridership of any station on Caltrain (#1 is San Francisco, #3 is Mountain View, and #4 is San Jose Diridon).

We already have large Caltrain parking lots, which tend to be crowded, at the Station and the City has already built several additional large garages nearby to handle existing parking needs downtown.

The Palo Alto main Caltrain Station is already served by a wide variety of buses: Marguerite, SamTrans, VTA, and various public and private shuttles. So in reality, while there could be some more traffic (or possibly less) with a HSR Station, things don't necessarily look very different from how they are today.

Of course, even without HSR, Caltrain plans to massively increase capacity on its existing tracks with much more train frequency in the future, even if HSR gets blocked. So, to the extent that there may be some more traffic at the Palo Alto Station in the future, that possibility is there with or without HSR and is uncertain either way.

With respect to the comparisons to SFO and SJC traffic volumes, it is inconceivable that a Palo Alto HSR Station would ever have the passenger loads of SFO or SJC, two airports that serve destinations around the world.

For example, New York's JFK airport handles ~48 million passengers annually. The Acela high speed train connecting New York to Boston and DC carries ~3 million passengers annually. That's only about 6% of the passenger traffic from a single major airport in the region (like the Bay Area, New York has 3 major airports). Most of that ridership boards at the main terminal stations in New York, Boston, or DC, not at regional HSR stations like New Haven (a university town in Connecticut that is on the line).

A Palo Alto HSR station would principally provide excellent rail service for our residents to SF (~20 minutes), SFO (<10 minutes), San Jose (a few minutes), and LA (<3 hours). It might bring in commuters from neighboring towns, like Mountain View, Menlo Park, and Atherton, but almost certainly not much further than that, since it would be faster to drive to San Jose Diridon for residents of Sunnyvale, Santa Clara, Cupertinio, etc. Many riders from nearby towns would simply take Caltrain one or two stops and transfer at the Palo Alto Station to HSR, thereby not increasing our vehicle traffic at all. Similarly, from Redwood City north most passengers would go to Millbrae/SFO either by Caltrain or by car.

Trying to scare people about traffic in Palo Alto without studying the facts is unhelpful. No one is proposing freeway access from 101 into Downtown.


Posted by Anna, a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 27, 2009 at 6:29 pm

"Trying to scare people about traffic in Palo Alto without studying the facts is unhelpful. No one is proposing freeway access from 101 into Downtown."

And trying to mislead people about the impact of HSR and the associated transit hub against all logic and common sense borders on immorality.

It's also pretty ineffective when one spouts so much nonsense that one is inconsistent from one post to another.

Readers of this thread will recall that this morning Bogan was touting favorably one of his omnipresent academic studies saying that HSR would foster the "formation of significant development activity around stations catering to the information-exchange sector, such as offices and hotels, the stimulation of retail activities in the area..."

And here he is less than half a day later telling us that we can't be certain "either way" whether all this "significant development" will cause "some more traffic" in town.

When is the last time "significant development" did not also come with associated significant traffic?

It gets better: up above he tells us that we need not worry about the traffic impact of HSR because it would be peopled by enlightened souls "simply arriving at the downtown Palo Alto Station and walking or taking public transit to an appointment or to their hotel. "


Then in his most recent bit of misinformation, he tells us that people would be DRIVING to the HSR stations in San Jose. I guess those boobs aren't as environmentally sensitive to the Palo Alto station users who'd all be walking and taking public transportation.

We need to fight against this silly project that if people like Bogan have their way, will fundamentally alter Palo Alto for the worse. One way to start is to forcefully rebut all the misinformation and lies that ideological supporters of HSR like Bogan are using. Bogan's ilk sold the voters of California a bill of goods when HSR passed. Now that people are paying attention, they won't have such an easy time of it.


Posted by Parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 27, 2009 at 6:32 pm

The CURRENT level of traffic is already a problem for Palo Alto. And the CURRENT level of traffic would not be NEARLY enough to support the HSR ridership projections.

If HSR needs their ridership projections to materialize their revenue projections (and they do) then the LOADS of riders need to come through stations. And those LOADS are NOT coming through our stations today - NOT in those VAST MILLIONS per year.

A Station in our town will massively increase transit and auto related traffic through town, from out of town long distance travelers.

Sir, the HSR will take at least 15 minutes to board and will cost 3X or more for a ticket. Short hops will be significantly more expenseive in comparison to caltrain than long trips. HSR is NOT (and CHSRA will be the first to admit) meant to be a replacement for local commute travel.

Stop trying to LIE to people about the benefits that will accrue to Palo Altans.

Palo Altan's on the whole will be paying with their homes and their quality of lives, and their retirement funds (ie: their property values) for Disneyland vacationers as they pass briefly through Palo Alto in their CARS on their way to LONG TERM PARKING LOTS.

Lets get realistic for a minute about why people will ride HSR and where they'll be coming from.

I'd love to see proven factual ifnormation about how many people in Palo Alto travel to LA, and how many times per year. Total number of trips by Palo Alto RESIDENTS to LA per year. Thanks for the good idea for adding to the EIR.

(I'll start: I haven't been to LA for over five years. And I've got three kids, and when I go, I don't take a plane because I can't afford it, and I need a car when I got there. So HSR or no HSR, I'd drive.)


Posted by Palo Alto resident, a resident of Ventura
on Feb 27, 2009 at 6:45 pm

A sound barrier is necessary to run along these tracks anyways. It is too noisy the way it is now. It must be their while construction takes place, so as not to disrupt the neighborhood along the tracks. Don't appose a wall so quickly. if not a tunnel the trench it, with a proper sound walls on both sides.


Posted by friend, a resident of another community
on Feb 27, 2009 at 9:27 pm

There is another way to perhaps force the hand to bury the rails. Make a local ordinance enforcing a buffer zone between active rail lines over a specified speed and housing.

A good article is in LA times on train buffer zones Web Link


Posted by Reality check, a resident of another community
on Feb 27, 2009 at 11:28 pm

The hilariously over-the-top rabidly NIMBY ravings of "Parent" and Anna are great. By their logic, I guess we and world's urban areas should rip out our fixed guideway mass transit infrastructure ... because IT JUST DOESN'T WORK! It will kill us all in our beds while we're not looking. What laugh. These people need to realize that HSR is nothing new ... our economic competitors have plenty of experience with it. These hair-on-fire ravings suggest the rest of the first- (and second-) world countries and cities that can't seem to expand their HSR infrastructure fast enough is somehow crazy.


Posted by VOR, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 28, 2009 at 12:34 am

Well, this is really silly. High speed rail should be there between long haul points, it shouldn't be run up the densely crowded peninsula. High speed rail should be LA to SJ. No one would even be imagining anything else if we fixed the rest of our dysfunctional "system" so that you could get smoothly around the Bay Area with regular mass transit. If we had a real "system", you could get out at SJ, transfer to another train and be in PA or SF faster than driving. The problem is we have such dysfunctional connections, poor on-time performance, etc etc. Forcing high speed rail on peninsula cities will not fix that.

You can get from mountainous Eastern Switzerland (on small gage trains) all the way around the country and to Paris in 10 hours, not just because of high speed French rail, but because the regular (low speed) train connections around Switzerland run so smoothly.

We should have high speed rail. But in context. It's supposed to enhance our communities, not destroy them. Where do people put their brains when they suggest bisecting all these peninsula cities at enormous cost, for no clear benefit?


Posted by Anna, a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 28, 2009 at 5:52 am

"If HSR needs their ridership projections to materialize their revenue projections (and they do) then the LOADS of riders need to come through stations. And those LOADS are NOT coming through our stations today - NOT in those VAST MILLIONS per year."

Parent is right. The HSR Authority projects ridership of 117,000,000 per year. (Showing how silly, misleading and dishonest Bogan's comparison to the east coast Acela train is.)

The Bay Area is the northern terminus of the HSR. There are three stations to absorb the 117,000,000 (or large fraction thereof) who will be embarking and disembarking in the Bay Area. Let's be generous and say 50 percent will be going to San Francisco. And let's similarly assign 30 percent to San Jose.

That leaves upwards of 20,000,000 passengers per year here in Palo Alto. In round numbers, that's 50,000 passengers per day. Think I'm exaggerating? Ok, say I'm off by a factor of 2. How much traffic do you think 25000 more people per day would add to our town?

Yeah, I know, they'll all be walking and taking public transportation so we don't have to worry.


Posted by Jan Curtis, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Feb 28, 2009 at 8:16 am

Palo Alto...at it again...protest, disagree, obstruct. Oh well...


Posted by I Smell an HSR Funded Rat, a resident of Menlo Park
on Feb 28, 2009 at 8:36 am

It's not just Palo Alto who's "...at it again ...", Jan Curtis from Charleston Gardens. People from other cities up and down the proposed boondogle HSR route are FINALLY waking up to the physical and financial disaster that HSR will be if implemented.

So YES, Palo Alto, and every other city and individual taxpayer who stands to be negatively impacted by the HSR fiasco, PROTEST, DISAGREE, OBSTRUCT! And do it LOUDLY!


Posted by Against HSR, a resident of Meadow Park
on Feb 28, 2009 at 10:28 am

What Palo Alto residents don't seem to understand is that this is a done deal. California voters have already agreed to HSR between LA and SF with a route that will take it up the peninsula. San Francisco has far more political clout than Palo Alto and any idea that they would agree to ending HSR in San Jose is pie in the sky.

The only hope we have of changing anything is to join with other cities like Menlo Park, Atherton and a consortium of other peninsula cities in a law suite. Even then I see legal fighting going on for years and years and costing those cities millions. Finally HSR will win out, because California voters have approved the route up the peninsula.

So glad I voted against HSR.


Posted by David Richoux, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 28, 2009 at 10:30 am

In the HSR website FAQ section, I just found this little quote about reasons why the Peninsula route was chosen:
"Both the City of Fremont and the City of Pleasanton are opposed to high-speed train alternatives through these cities because of potential environmental issues, right-of-way constraints, and other logistical issues."
Web Link

So if this, along with many other reasons, was why the HSR plan rejected the Altamont alignment, I think the question of not allowing objections by any Mid-Peninsula town or city to stop HSR is weak.

I agree with many other comments posted here - stop the HSR at San Jose and have a cross-over platform to electrified Caltrain and Amtrak (and eventually BART to the East Bay.) A total re-design of the Diridon Terminal would be needed in any case. I have taken HSR trips in Europe and the slight inconvenience of having to change trains a few times. even with luggage, was not a trip killer.

The problems with electrifying and increased frequency of Caltrain is not a separate issue - the 43 grade crossings still have to be addressed, HSR or not.


Posted by noise abate, a resident of Menlo Park
on Feb 28, 2009 at 11:29 am

withdrawal from the lawsuit was suggested at the last council meeting


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Feb 28, 2009 at 12:35 pm

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

Closing the grade crossings is easy - extend the right of way fences across the roadway and re-stripe street markings. Sell the crossing arms to collectors of vanishing artifacts. Require any groundwater collected to be stored for treatment and domestic use. Sell air rights above the trench or use for new transmission lines into the area from the new nuclear power plants.
And please, fellow engineers, be prudent in public debate.


Posted by Andrew Bogan, a resident of Evergreen Park
on Feb 28, 2009 at 7:36 pm

ON PALO ALTO STATION RIDERSHIP:

The estimate in a post above of "upwards of 20,000,000 passengers per year here in Palo Alto" if we had a HSR Station is wildly inaccurate.

According to the extensive ridership study conducted by Cambridge Systematics (which is included in the City staff report to Palo Alto City Council for the March 2 meeting), the 2030 full system ridership State-wide would be between 74-93 million riders 21 years from now. Of that full system, the estimated ridership into or out of the entire Bay Area Region would be 17.7 million per year. Obviously, a vast majority of those riders would be headed to the much larger destination cities of San Francisco and San Jose. If the above guess of 20% is used (and it is almost certainly much too high to assume 1/5 of all Bay Area HSR traffic would have Palo Alto as its origination or destination) then we would be looking at 3.5 million passengers per year or about 9,700 HSR passengers per day in Palo Alto. In reality it is likely to be less than 1/2 that amount unless Palo Alto suddenly becomes as populous and economically important as San Francisco, Oakland, or San Jose.

In any case, the current 2008 Palo Alto Caltrain ridership is ~4,000 per day with 3,300 of that using the Downtown Palo Alto Station and the remainder at California Avenue. That is up from ~1,000 per day in the early 1990s, which means the existing Palo Alto rail ridership growth rate is ~3-4 times every 15 to 20 years. The current growth rate, without HSR, puts Palo Alto Station at 10,000-13,000 riders per day by 2030 anyway.

So in reality, the ridership forecasts predict that HSR, at full system utilization 21 years from today, would probably add on the order of ~4,000 rail passengers to Palo Alto's station daily. Of course, without HSR, Caltrain hopes to add more than that many to the existing station within 20 years anyway due to population growth, their own electrification plans, and an increase in train speeds and frequencies. The current Caltrain ridership growth is easily on track to surpass that.


Posted by Clem, a resident of another community
on Feb 28, 2009 at 9:37 pm

@Andrew

I think their latest ridership figures (see last page of Web Link ) show closer to 28M riders with some part of their trip in the Bay Area, in the year 2030.

Compare to the 20M airline seats offered in 2009 between the Bay Area and LA Basin (that's about 200 flights a day, each way, about half of which are flown by Southwest Airlines alone!)

@David Richoux: reasons why the Peninsula route was chosen? San Jose. Their civic inferiority complex with SF didn't allow them to be on a side spur. Result: *every* HSR train (including the 2h38 cannonball express) stops at San Jose's future Diridon pan-galactic rail terminal. To add an additional twist, the best right of way from Altamont into San Jose was already earmarked for the $6 billion BART extension. HSR would have conflicted with that, so you can bet the consultant teams and construction companies nixed that option in a hurry.

The sad reality is that the pull from SF, the push from SJ, the huge support from Sacramento and Washington DC, and a horde of salivating civil engineering firms will exert overwhelming political force on Palo Alto-- no matter if Altamont is objectively the better alternative.


Posted by Against HSR, a resident of Meadow Park
on Mar 1, 2009 at 8:24 am

For those that don't remember the sequence of events; the reason the Altamont Pass, peninsula route was chosen over the Pocheco east Bay route was the cost!!!

The HSR authority did not want to pay to tunnel under the Bay from the East Bay to San Francisco. If HSR says tunnelling under the Bay is too expensive, they certainly won't agree to tunnel all along the peninsula.

Also, remember Caltrain lobbied hard for the peninsula route figuring they could get their SJ to SF train tracks electrified and paid for by the HSR Authority.







Posted by Jay Tulock, a resident of another community
on Mar 1, 2009 at 11:11 am

Dear Posted by Against HSR, a resident of the Meadow Park neighborhood, 2 hours ago,

You are factually incorrect. A tunnel was not the only alterntive considered. A bridge at or near the current bridge is feasible at about half a billion to a billion. It could be shared with the Dumbarton Rail project, which will necessarily have equipment that is compatible with and will run on Caltrain, therefore, if high speed equipment can run with Dumbarton equipment on the Peninsula it can certainly share a bridge over the Bay.

The Authority created unnecessary environmental issues and costs by declaring it couldn't share the bridge with Dumbarton Rail. A wider shared bridge would allow shared costs and using an existing right of way. Instead, the Authority chose an environmentally sensitive location with a longer bridge - raising costs. Beleive me, if they wanted to choose Altamont, or at least have an objective comparison, they would have chosen the sanest, cheapest way to cross the Bay.

But if that happened the Sun would stop rotating around San Jose and the gleaming hollowed halls of the Mineta Transportation Institute.

Jay L. Tulock


Posted by Andrew Bogan, a resident of Evergreen Park
on Mar 1, 2009 at 12:32 pm

Clem,

Apologies for my error above and many thanks for pointing it out. It was corrected on another post (see my comments under today's lead train article). Assuming train tickets cost 77% of an airfare to LA, the number of annual passengers appears to be ~23 million into, out of, or within the Bay Area, based on the 2008 update to Cambridge Systematics' estimates that you linked above. The final numbers in my calculations are not much different and my conclusions are little changed, since Caltrain's ridership growth rate over the past 15 years projected out to 2030 is larger than this number anyway if HSR gets stopped.

I'm not clear on where you got the 28 million figure, but the "LA Basin to Bay Area" figures include 6.9 million riders that do not ever come to the Bay Area (like San Joaquin Valley to LA Basin for example).

My original sum was in error as I had accidentally left out Sacramento and San Diego ridership into or out of the Bay Area. My new count of the 77% air fare level ridership was:

LA Basin-Bay Area 6.7 million
Bay Area-San Joaquin 5.6
Central Coast-Bay Area 1.9
SD to Bay Area 2.4
Sac to Bay Area 2.7
within Bay Area 3.5

Total 22.8 million

I rounded it up to 23.5 million for my calculations on my new post, in case anyone wants to roll in some portion of the 2 million Northern California & Sierras to LA Basin riders (I think they would not come through the Peninsula, though). Obviously, no ridership projection will be precise, but the orders of magnitude seem reasonable and the Cambridge Analytics team appears to have made a credible effort.


Posted by neighbor, a resident of Southgate
on Mar 1, 2009 at 3:03 pm

Mr Bogan, as an investor, what do you think of the HSR as an investment?


Posted by skeptic, a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 1, 2009 at 3:30 pm

The HSR ridership projections are predicated on the ticket price being a little over 50% what it costs to drive, i.e. we could take the train to LA for about $50/ticket. But this price is way out of line with the premium prices charged by other high speed rail systems around the world. Why would our HSR charge so much less than Acela or TGV? I'm betting that HSR --if it gets built -- would cost minimum $200/ticket for a trip from the peninsula to LA, and would be heavily subsidized even at that level. If CHSRA ran their models using realistic ticket prices, the ridership would be so absurdly low that everyone, even the least informed voters, would have known better than to consider it a viable option for this state.


Posted by Andrew Bogan, a resident of Evergreen Park
on Mar 1, 2009 at 4:02 pm

As a resident, I think HSR is an important investment for our State, Federal, County, and City governments to make in California's future and in the competitiveness of our State's and Nation's economy.

As an investor, I have no opinion on California's HSR, since any private investment they may seek in the future would be in the form of Public Private Partnerships, in which my firm does not invest. We manage global public equity portfolios.

I find it disturbing that so many of the opponents of HSR hide behind pseudonyms and aliases in this and other forums and are not willing to sign their own names to their opinions.


Posted by Anna, a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 1, 2009 at 4:46 pm

"As a resident, I think HSR is an important investment for our State, Federal, County, and City governments to make in California's future and in the competitiveness of our State's and Nation's economy."

This, of course, is rank nonsense. If HSR were really a good investment, then private investors would be eager to put up the money for it. As it is - especially with the downturn - there is considerable doubt that the private funding of the California HSR project (that its promoters promised us during the bond campaign) will materialize. Since it's doubtful that the state will abandon the $10 Billion it currently is in the process of spending if (when!) private investors take a pass, we'll be on the hook for the entire amount.

The constituency for HSR is goo-goo Utopian environmental extremists (who imagine we'll be able to get rid of cars and airplanes and be more like our European betters), large developers (who hope to profit handsomely from the large scale construction) and Unions (how many HSR jobs do you think will not be union scale?).

Paying the price for this blinkered nonsense will be all the taxpayers of California, and those of us who live along the 800 mile route of this monstrosity (most of whom are just waking up to how disastrous this thing will be for our cities.)


Posted by MBA, a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 1, 2009 at 6:06 pm

Actually, HSR would/will make us less competitive. HSR diverts dollars from appropriate capital investments into a silly boondoggle project.

If you don't have business experience, you may not understand the meaning of "competitive." In simplest terms, it's about finding a better, faster, cheaper way to produce superior goods and services. HSR simply doesn't belong in the same room with "competitive."


Posted by Asha Albuquerque, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 2, 2009 at 2:35 pm

Hi. I'm doing an article on the effects of the high speed rail in the Verde, a newsmagazine at Paly. If any commenters could email me at aalbuquerque10@paly.net, or be willing to talk, I would greatly appreciate it.


Posted by wary traveler, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 2, 2009 at 4:51 pm

Asha, will you be going to the Walk to City Hall tonight at Lytton Plaza? You'll get plenty of vocal opinions there. It formally starts at 6:00 but some will arrive as early as 5:00. The walk will reach City Hall at 7:00 and then we'll stay through the first item, HSR. Hope you can make it - spread the word to your Paly friends (Facebook?) because we'd love to see your generation represented, too.


Posted by No Blasting, a resident of Stanford
on Oct 28, 2013 at 10:40 pm

This is why John "Jack" Morton wasn't reelected and will never hold public office in the community again. Threatening people is no way to accomplish things. Glad the voters saw Jack's behavior for what it was and ousted him. We need government officials with the people's interests at heart - not that sort of pitiful, egomaniacal behavior exhibited by Morton.


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