Guest opinion: On Caltrain's 'downward path' with high-speed rail | August 19, 2015 | Almanac | Almanac Online |

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Viewpoint - August 19, 2015

Guest opinion: On Caltrain's 'downward path' with high-speed rail

by Morris Brown

A look at history reveals the downward path which Caltrain is now headed since its involvement with the California high-speed rail. (HSR).

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Morris Brown is a longtime resident of Stone Pine Lane in Menlo Park.

Comments

44 people like this
Posted by Reality Check
a resident of another community
on Aug 18, 2015 at 5:48 pm

Reality Check is a registered user.

It's rather amusing how rabidly anti-HSR NIMBYs like Mr. Brown fought the 4-track concept, and now that in response to their vehement opposition the "blended plan" has been adopted instead ... they appear to be complaining that Caltrain (and everyone else) who is going along with the pragmatic blended plan is "weak" and should be fighting it as not being "true HSR" as Prop. 1A promised.

The not-so-veiled truth is that Mr. Brown and his ilk would like nothing more than to see the entire project killed, and will never be happy until it is.

How ironic that Mr. Brown appears to want us to join him being upset over the blended plan that he and his anti-4-track NIMBYs caused to be adopted. One is reminded of a man pleading for mercy during his sentencing for the murder of his parents because he is now an orphan.

It is also true the world over that HSR is commonly and very successfully blended with non-HSR trains at lower speeds to access stations buried in the heart of densely populated areas where it is often impractical or otherwise prohibitively costly or difficult to add a separate set of HSR-only tracks. Even if HSR were to have its own set of tracks along the Peninsula, speeds would likely be barely be higher than on the blended (shared) tracks due to environmental and operational issues when passing through such densely-populated corridors.

So Mr. Brown is, as usual, finding whatever excuse he can find to moan and complain about HSR, because in truth, he really is totally opposed to HSR passing by his Menlo Park trackside home regardless of what track configuration is planned.


10 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 18, 2015 at 7:32 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

reality check:

the problem is four tracks or not,without grade separation, HSR isn't "high speed." At best it is medium speed, so what's the point? HSR is a huge boondoggle which will not produce anything that was promised. It won't be "high speed". It won't only cost $50 to go from SF to LA, it will cost far more than promised and it will not be cost neutral; no one is interested in investing. That should be a HUGE tell to anyone that knows anything about business. We will end up subsidizing it in perpetuity. Not to mention no one knows how it will be financed as there is ZERO financing in place beyond what's been committed.


45 people like this
Posted by Clem
a resident of another community
on Aug 18, 2015 at 10:11 pm

The blended system is limited to only 110 mph, instead of the 125 mph originally planned for the four-track system. It wasn't "high speed" even in 2008.

We will subsidize it in perpetuity like we do with our other transportation infrastructure. Where were all those private investor groups when we added lanes to 101? What is the return on investment from a new freeway interchange? How much profit does I-280 make? Oh, zero, right!

The usual double standard applies.


46 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Aug 19, 2015 at 12:56 am

I assume that the anti-Caltrain NIMBYs are secretly buying stock in construction companies since their endless stalling is just driving up the costs that we taxpayers are going to have to pay (sooner or later) for an improved Bay Area transportation system.


8 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 19, 2015 at 6:44 am

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

clem:

when they were building freeways and adding lanes they weren't promising the voters that there would be outside investment like they did with HSR were they?

HSR was sold to the voters with a pack of lies.


14 people like this
Posted by pogo
a resident of Woodside: other
on Aug 19, 2015 at 7:13 am

pogo is a registered user.

1. More expensive construction than projected.
2. Slower than promised.
3. Fewer riders than promised.
4. No private investors as promised.
5. Higher fares than promised.
6. Longer travel times than promised.

It is the ultimate California government project.

I predict that it will never be finished and that those "tracks to nowhere" between Bakersfield and Merced will become an unofficial monument to government ineptitude and greed.


15 people like this
Posted by grateful
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 19, 2015 at 10:14 am

Thanks to Morris for keeping reality in front of us. Our community needs a robust Caltrain, but has lost service so far. We need grade separations, which should help ease our local traffic congestion that is aggravated by crossing gates. HSR will not EVER serve Menlo Park.
Menlo Park needs to take a firm stand that grade separation of both Caltrain and HSR are needed -- and undergrounded. The costs can be amortized over time with today's low interest rates. The benefits include revenue-producing uses closer to where the tracks currently are. The construction phase would not totally jam up our town as any other plan would. We can even get great north-south bike routes and avoid paying the costs of undergrounding bike and pedestrian track crossings. How about some leadership?


6 people like this
Posted by pogo
a resident of Woodside: other
on Aug 19, 2015 at 10:34 am

pogo is a registered user.

If California were truly interested in improved transportation for people, they would have started this project by improving the busier San Francisco/San Jose and San Diego/Orange County/Los Angeles corridors. If the project is never completed, at least the most populous regions would benefit.

Starting this project in the middle of nowhere is beyond absurd; it is criminal.


11 people like this
Posted by Robert
a resident of another community
on Aug 19, 2015 at 11:48 am

"Berlin Walls" anyone? All these issues were brought up 5-6 years ago, and even with that knowledge the blended system was devised to placate some very vocal peninsula residents. If you're looking for someone to blame, which you may be in a few years when you're dealing with crossing gates down 12-20 times an hour, it should be the people fighting *against* grade separations and a complete rail system (Simitian et al), not those who were for it.


11 people like this
Posted by Joseph E. Davis
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Aug 19, 2015 at 12:24 pm

HSR is a fantastic demonstration of the low accountability of government projects. It will take you nowhere slowly and expensively sometime around mid-century.

Founded on lies, it serves no purpose other than funneling appropriated money into the pockets of the connected.


38 people like this
Posted by lower drive W
a resident of Atherton: Lloyden Park
on Aug 19, 2015 at 1:03 pm

Take the "concern trolling" of the usual anti-growth NIMBYs with a grain of salt.

Build it.


9 people like this
Posted by pogo
a resident of Woodside: other
on Aug 19, 2015 at 1:22 pm

pogo is a registered user.

I fly from SFO to Burbank on JetBlue for $101. It's convenient, comfortable and the flight takes a bit more than an hour. Even with the extra 30 minutes for airport security (versus no security at a train station, at least for the moment), I make it up by avoiding a car trip from downtown LA where the train lets everyone off. Few travelers to LA have downtown as a destination.

It usually takes me 3 hours to get from my home to my meeting in Burbank. $101 from a very competitive private company.

Yes, I need the government and taxpayers to pay $100 billion to provide a 3+ hour train service from downtown SF to downtown LA for $275 at which point I'll have to rent a car or take a very long cab ride. Take JetBlue and save us all a bundle.


5 people like this
Posted by Joseph E. Davis
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Aug 19, 2015 at 1:58 pm

Uber is a far more significant transit advance for the average citizen than HSR ever could be: orders of magnitude more important, and entirely privately financed.

Progressives oppose it every step of the way because it operates counter to the government-entrenched taxi cartel. There you have it in a nutshell. If you want something expensive, unreliable, dirty, and stagnant, by all means, get the government involved. Somehow this is supposed to be in the name of progress.


33 people like this
Posted by Stop the Trolls
a resident of another community
on Aug 19, 2015 at 3:33 pm

Joseph E. Davis -- "If you want something expensive, unreliable, dirty, and stagnant, by all means, get the government involved."

Never mind, of course, that private enterprise does that on a regular basis. And if some commenters had their way, and got the government out of regulating businesses, it would be "The Jungle" all over again...


21 people like this
Posted by Clem
a resident of another community
on Aug 19, 2015 at 4:40 pm

What's interesting is how quickly the comments devolve into libertarian claptrap, instead of actually debating the merits of the blended system. HSR nihilism is a tribal badge of honor, which can interfere with reasoned debate.

The question isn't what was promised in 2008, which could very well indeed have involved unicorns and rainbows. The question is, as always and ever, what to do from this day on. What should be the future of the peninsula rail corridor, and how should it fit into larger questions of development and modernization in our region? I know one thing: we shouldn't be riding old, slow, polluting, loud, inefficient diesel trains... and yet these are packed to the gills, which ought to tell us something.


12 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 19, 2015 at 5:12 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

"The question isn't what was promised in 2008, which could very well indeed have involved unicorns and rainbows."

Oh, in that case lets go ahead piss away over 100 BILLION dollars. Great idea.


21 people like this
Posted by Robert Cronin
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Aug 19, 2015 at 5:30 pm

High Speed Rail has been constructed, and is now operating successfully in other countries. If you have ridden these trains, you would want something like them here. The question is, if we can't build a HSR system that works in California, does that mean that we are incompetent?


7 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 19, 2015 at 5:44 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

Robert:

No, it means we don't have the population densities along rail lines that other countries do. Sometimes a project doesn't make sense. It doesn't mean we're incompetent, in fact quite the reverse. We're competent enough to know when a project isn't worth doing.


10 people like this
Posted by pogo
a resident of Woodside: other
on Aug 19, 2015 at 6:07 pm

pogo is a registered user.

If it's such a good idea, then why did proponents have to mislead voters about the cost of construction, speed, ridership projections, travel times and passenger fares?

I won't hold my breath waiting for an answer...


26 people like this
Posted by Stop the Trolls
a resident of another community
on Aug 19, 2015 at 7:01 pm

Joseph E. Davis -- "Uber is a far more significant transit advance for the average citizen than HSR ever could be: orders of magnitude more important, and entirely privately financed."

Yeah, let's just overlook the fact that Uber has some *major* issues:

Web Link


2 people like this
Posted by pogo
a resident of Woodside: other
on Aug 19, 2015 at 7:23 pm

pogo is a registered user.

Yes, because calling dispatch and waiting for a taxi is so predictable, the taxis are always so clean, and taxi drivers are always so dependable and honest.

If I willingly want to hire a neighbor who willingly wants to drive me in their own car to my destination, why should anyone even care?

Of course, Uber is a bit of a diversion from this thread about rail. But inferring that taxis are somehow wonderful and safe is absurd. I have a family member who was assaulted by a taxi driver.


16 people like this
Posted by Stop the Trolls
a resident of another community
on Aug 19, 2015 at 7:27 pm

Didn't actually READ the article, right, pogo?

Or are you yet another of those über-libertarian types, who want government out of everything? Remember, Davis' point was about government mucking up everything.


15 people like this
Posted by Clem
a resident of another community
on Aug 19, 2015 at 7:46 pm

100 BILLION dollars is quite a small amount on the scale of the California economy. It *is* a great idea. It's a once in a century investment that you could compare to a century of road spending, which in California would be on the order of TWO TRILLION dollars (15 billion a year and inflating...)

Right now I'm doing that Dr. Evil pinky gesture.


4 people like this
Posted by pogo
a resident of Woodside: other
on Aug 19, 2015 at 7:50 pm

pogo is a registered user.

I absolutely did read it and this story was all over the news tonight (it led Channel 5 news). You stated that we "overlook" problems with Uber. I pointed out that Uber's regulated competition is hardly without fault.

I have previously stated that I am VERY libertarian and think government should do things that people cannot (or more accurately cannot do easily) for themselves. Defend us. Build and maintain infrastructure. Adjudicate disputes. There's more of course but unfortunately government can't seem to do even these basic functions very well.

But this thread is about rail. If you wish to discuss Uber, taxis or libertarian views, I suggest you start a new thread. No government permit needed to do that, at least not yet.


24 people like this
Posted by Robert
a resident of another community
on Aug 19, 2015 at 8:16 pm

Well all that road and highway infrastructure uber uses, they build and pay for that too? Or is that subsidized by the taxpayer and built by government? Sorry, the libertarian card doesn't work here. As Clem stated, this is about transportation and funding priorities going forward, but take a look around Mission and Fremont in San Francisco, the discussion of whether or not we should be putting money into our rail system is moot.


7 people like this
Posted by Ben
a resident of another community
on Aug 19, 2015 at 8:24 pm

The CA HSR project is a fraud, likely a several hundred billion dollar fraud after all the dust, and decades of bond repayment are done. I do not believe that any of the promises in the 2008 ballot measure are valid any more, all conveniently ignored by the HSR Authority, or just out right lies. What's it for? Best I can tell it's so Jerry Brown has something to stroke his ego about because moving lots of people quickly and efficiently does not make the list of attributes of the current HSR plan. Calling people who point these inconvenient and persistent realities of HSR "Nimbys" is, well, stupid. Just like the HSR plan. By the way, it's not just those pesky Nimbys that will be paying for this, the whole state will. $200B/35 million people in CA is about $6,000 per person, every person in the state, not just tax payers. Have something better you would rather spend that on?


45 people like this
Posted by Robert
a resident of another community
on Aug 19, 2015 at 8:55 pm

Ben, its unfortunate you feel that way, but the questions now are of "how to" implement the system, engineering wise and politically. The "should or shouldn't we" question was resolved back in 2008.


Like this comment
Posted by Joseph E. Davis
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Aug 19, 2015 at 9:27 pm

Clem, using your spending numbers, this century of HSR spending is 1/20th the amount of road spending during that time. I submit to you that the benefit to the average Californian of using the roads is on the order of a million times or more than the benefit of using HSR will be.


Like this comment
Posted by Bob
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Aug 19, 2015 at 11:22 pm

While I agree with the comments that this project is a complete boondoggle -- here's another reason to add to the list of bad ideas.

Anybody driven in the LA area lately? I was there recently and spent way too much time in traffic. Flying gives me the option of more than one arrival points, and driving gets me point to point. But if I take this train, I will still have to endure LA traffic to get to my destination. Depending on the time of day, I could spend almost as much time in LA traffic as the train ride.

I'll stick with flying......


4 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 19, 2015 at 11:28 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

HSR: a 19th century solution for a 21st century problem.

For those that say "it's approved so let's build it." How are you going to fund it? The feds have already said they have no interest in giving the state 100 billion, so where's it going to come from?


9 people like this
Posted by Menlomaniac
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 20, 2015 at 7:49 am

It would be far more prudent to invest in regional transit and forget the HSR issue altogether. On a daily basis far more people travel intra-metro area than go from city to city. Airplanes adequately provide the inter-city travel function. Flying may be irritating but it is cost effective. The HSR would be so expensive that you could give out free airplane tickets in perpetuity from the Bay Area (3 airports) to the Los Angeles Area (5 airports) and financially be way ahead of the game.

The San Francisco Bay Area is the third most congestive metropolitan area behind New York and Los Angeles. By improving regional transit, with commuter rail service going from Livermore to San Jose, and from Salinas to San Jose as examples, we could greatly alleviate the housing crisis in the Peninsula.


4 people like this
Posted by pogo
a resident of Woodside: other
on Aug 20, 2015 at 8:16 am

pogo is a registered user.

Bob - you are exactly right. VERY few people (other than some lawyers) want to travel from downtown San Francisco to downtown Los Angeles. People travel from Walnut Creek, Cupertino and Santa Rosa to Thousand Oaks, Pasadena, Burbank or Disneyland. Going downtown is actually a major inconvenience. It's congested and expensive.

Today, you can travel from one of three Bay Area airports to more than a DOZEN Southern California airports. As I pointed out in an earlier post, you can do this for about $100 and an 80 minute flight time. No $100 billion investment required.

Robert - "Well all that road and highway infrastructure uber uses, they build and pay for that too?" ABSOLUTELY! The company pays city, state and federal taxes just like you and me. Their drivers pay gasoline and income taxes - probably more than you do. So yes, they certainly do.

And, as I said earlier, one of the things government SHOULD do is build and maintain infrastructure that we cannot easily do ourselves. California's highways - once a crown jewel - would be my Exhibit A for government's failure to perform this ESSENTIAL function. Based on how well they have done with CalTrain, I'm sure a $100 billion slow train will be no problem for them.


7 people like this
Posted by Robert Cronin
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Aug 20, 2015 at 5:44 pm

Menlo Voter, Population density along the rail corridor is not particularly relevant. France, which has a very successful HSR system called the TGV, is not a densely populated country, on average. What it does have, like California, is a few metropolitan areas, such as Paris, Lyon, Marseille, and Bordeaux, and these are connected by very fast trains. I can testify that riding the train is far more pleasant and convenient than flying. One of the distinguishing characteristics of the TGV, aside from great speed, is that the trains do not stop between major cities. Therefore the sparsely populated countryside is irrelevant to the operation of the TGV.


2 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 20, 2015 at 6:13 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

Robert:

that sounds dandy, yet again, that's not how it was sold. In France you're talking shorter distances and the fact remains that there, they can actually run at high speeds. This system won't allow that. It won't allow it because after the voters were sold a pig in a poke they had to figure out how to actually get the system built. Of course, they can't and that's why it's a huge boondoggle. Without grade separation up the peninsula (which is cost prohibitive, especially in the HSR fantasy land) HSR isn't "high speed." It's medium speed at best.

HSR is a huge payoff to organized labor by the Democratic party of this state. It is a public works project which means it is subject to prevailing wage. Prevailing wage is based upon union labor rates. The only place union labor remains "competitive" is in the prevailing wage arena. Hence the payoff to union labor. So these billions go to the labor unions. That's just brilliant. Just take a look at who in our government approved this nonsense. (hint - it's Democrats)


2 people like this
Posted by Carrie
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Aug 20, 2015 at 6:35 pm

Get rid of the project. I is a big boondoggle dropped on us.


4 people like this
Posted by Ben
a resident of another community
on Aug 20, 2015 at 7:18 pm

@ Robert:

Are you a HSR pr person? The idea that the tax payers of this state should simply knuckle under, accept, and more importantly pay for a boat load of very expensive lies, deceptions, and political dealing to satisfy Jerry's geriatric ego is absurd. That Caltrain is now joined at the hip to the CA HSR project in a very poorly planned electrification project that completely ignores the need for a fully grade separated rail corridor to safely accommodate the increased rail traffic and faster trains is a very sad development.

The question should not be how to enable and implement the costly HSR boondoggle, but rather, how to dismantle the politically driven swindle machine before CA wastes one penny than absolutely necessary.

I'm sorry you drunk the HSR koolaid, obviously without reading the label. There so many better and more beneficial things CA could spend a few hundred billion dollars on than a medium speed train that may very well go from nowhere to nowhere.


4 people like this
Posted by pogo
a resident of Woodside: other
on Aug 21, 2015 at 7:10 am

pogo is a registered user.

Another reason that rail is more popular in Europe is that people tend to live and work in the metro downtowns.

I traveled extensively in Europe for business and I rarely went to the suburbs to the extent they even exist - they don't for the most part. Most activity in Paris, Brussels, Antwerp, Dusseldorf, Cologne and Amsterdam is in the metro area.

Except for New York, that's not true in the United States where sprawling suburbs have more businesses and population than downtowns. There is remarkably little to do in downtown Los Angeles in proximity to Union Station.

But you can go ahead and spend the $100 billion and run the experiment.


38 people like this
Posted by Tunbridge Wells
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Aug 21, 2015 at 8:35 am

Tunbridge Wells is a registered user.

"There is remarkably little to do in downtown Los Angeles in proximity to Union Station."

That is a ridiculous standard. Because by that same yardstick, there is remarkably little to do in proximity to SFO or LAX.

It also overlooks the fact that there is an enormous amount to do in proximity to the Transbay Terminal in San Francisco.

The arguments that people are making about HSR in California are the exact same arguments people made about the Golden Gate Bridge.

The skies are overcrowded- look at all the complaints about Surf Air adding flights out of San Carlos. Surf Air would face stiff competition from HSR on their flights down to Burbank.

But no, people would rather complain about 101 being gridlocked, rant about noise from airplanes traveling overhead, and grumble about investing in transportation infrastructure.

[Part removed. Please make your point without negatively characterizing other posters.]


4 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 21, 2015 at 9:46 am

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

Turnbridge:

I don't complain about any of the things you mention. I do complain about my tax dollars being dumped down a rat hole as payback for political favors. It would be one thing if it was going to do ANY of the things it was supposed to do, but it won't. It's a complete waste of money and frankly, I'll be surprised if it ever actually gets completed since there is no known funding stream. Even the pro HSR folks on this blog can't answer the question as to where the funding will come from.


9 people like this
Posted by pogo
a resident of Woodside: other
on Aug 21, 2015 at 10:26 am

pogo is a registered user.

Turnbridge:

There is a big difference between people commuting WITHIN a metroplex and those traveling long distances across the state. In the former, you actually want a central location within the city (like the Ferry Building or Union Station) because that is where people are actually going (to work, shop, etc.). But when people travel across our large state, they have very specific destinations that more often than not are not DOWNTOWN LA.

Other than going to the Staples Center for an event, I can't think of a single reason to even be in downtown LA. Seriously. So when you are going to visit family in Pasadena, or on a trip with the family to Disney or Magic Mountain, vacationing in Laguna Beach, downtown LA is the last place you want to start your trip.

As I said, there are more than a dozen airports in Southern California. I am suggesting that in most cases those airports will be FAR more convenient to a traveler's destination than Union Station (which is about as inconvenient as it gets). Additionally, you can fly in about an hour for $100... no $100 BILLION boondoggle required.


2 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 22, 2015 at 8:27 am

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

Still waiting for someone that supports this boondoggle to explain how it will be funded.


Like this comment
Posted by Joseph E. Davis
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Aug 22, 2015 at 6:26 pm

Look in the mirror.


2 people like this
Posted by Moving to Arizonia
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Aug 23, 2015 at 1:41 am


The HSR Authority I say as "I gag", is like the cigarette company's CEO's telling congress tobacco is not addictive nor harmful. Is there anyone without a financial gain to be had that actually believes this system will work?

This is worse than the Bridge to no where,

Google it.


7 people like this
Posted by lower drive W
a resident of Atherton: Lloyden Park
on Aug 23, 2015 at 8:58 am

Gosh, so sorry you are moving to AZ. Meeting up with the Bridge to Nowhere supporter?

This one: Web Link

Hypocrites.

Don't let the door hit ya, where the good L........


Like this comment
Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Aug 24, 2015 at 12:05 pm

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

Morris Brown, I applaud you. Keep up the good fight.

And to those who use the libertarian label in an attempt to attack credibility, I am proud to have my name associated with libertarian thinking.


Like this comment
Posted by grateful
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 24, 2015 at 12:14 pm

The only "downward path" this should be on is to underground Caltrain. Add HSR there, too, if it can ever provide a valid business plan and comply with the ballot measure's wording. BTW - if HSR cannot comply with the 2008 wording, then the matter should be put back on a ballot.


5 people like this
Posted by Thx Morris
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Aug 24, 2015 at 4:01 pm

Many of us voted against Prop 1A because we found the proposition ill-conceived. One flaw that was apparent to many of us on the Peninsula was the profoundly negative impact a 4-track raised track would have on our suburban neighborhoods. Of course, there were many, many other problems with the proposition, such as financing and the total travel time threshold.

The measure passed in our local communities, but was opposed by 48%of voters, so arguments that those opposed are NIMBYs is without merit. Time has proven the arguments of those originally opposed to 1A to be overwhelmingly correct. That said, the proposition passed, and the law is the law, and the State needs to abide by the measure as passed. Morris' argument is rock-solid. Caltrain needs to proceed thoughtfully.


Like this comment
Posted by Celia
a resident of Portola Valley: Los Trancos Woods/Vista Verde
on Aug 25, 2015 at 12:31 pm

What about this HSR is safe at all in earthquake country? I say leave the rail system alone, we can't afford this boondoggle, nor should we even try to "go faster" by train with all the damage to the area it entails. Can't we expand on a system like Stanford's Marguerite shuttle system instead, to include Portola Valley an Woodside?


12 people like this
Posted by maximusgolden
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Aug 26, 2015 at 2:53 pm

Pogo's comment ignores the trend among younger people to more urbanized environments both in SF and LA and somewhat surprisingly in other cities in California.

While the older generation tended toward sprawling houses in the suburbs, younger generations want to move close to downtown. To say that no one now or in the future will want to travel between urban hubs is ridiculous, especially if these urban hubs are well integrated into local and regional transportation networks. Look at the trends in automobile ownership and the future of car fleets controlled by robotics and the cloud. Look at the increases in bicycle commuting. Consider carbon emissions. And for those who protest planes flying overhead, consider noise. Look at the huge demand for housing in SF, particularly SOMA, and the redevelopment of the acreage around Union Station as a transportation hub and residential/commercial area.

Let's start to invest in infrastructure to support future generations of Californians. We've invested enough in the old ways of getting people around.


5 people like this
Posted by office
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Aug 26, 2015 at 3:05 pm

Earthquakes as an argument against infrastructure? Really?

Diablo Canyon, maybe, but trains? Guess we should have never built BART. Or Caltrain. Or met in Provo 150 years ago.

The NIMBYism is strong with this one!

Build infrastructure. Keep California strong.


Like this comment
Posted by pogo
a resident of Woodside: other
on Aug 26, 2015 at 3:20 pm

pogo is a registered user.

"To say that no one now or in the future will want to travel between urban hubs is ridiculous." Yes, that's ridiculous - because NO ONE SAID THAT.

The point is that you don't spend $100+ billion - especially when our state can't fund schools, roads, prisons, water transport/storage - all that are needed TODAY! There is already a healthy, competitive transportation system in place run by the private section. There are a lot of airlines available to fly you to more convenient points of departure much faster, much easier, and a lot cheaper than a slow train. And those people moving or living in urban locations can use them just as easily as the 90% of people in the LA and SF metroplexes that DO NOT live in the city.

There is no need to spend $100+ billion.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.