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by Bryan Goebel
Since when did Union Pacific rule against allowing HSR to use the ROW? I totally missed that.
The Merc and Almanac articles are complete spin–the judge did not side against HSR by requiring them to re-study Altamont and go up 101 or 280 (the NIMBYs’ two big goals), he only said that they would have to edit certain portions of the EIR. Yes, there will probably be some delay on this segment as HSR has to go back and rework some technicalities, but it was definitely not an all-out victory for the NIMBYs.
@Daniel: Until we find out the required remedies, it is too early to tell whether this is a minor paperwork issue, or fatal flaw. Resolving noise/vibration issues in the impacted communities could turn out to be incredibly expensive. Moreover, it still isn’t obvious how the UP issue will be resolved. UP clearly prefers an Altamont solution (as do the environmentalists, of course).
@bikerider: Why do you the environmentalists prefer the Altamont solution?
to say that “environmentalists” prefer Altamont is totally bogus and giving too much credit to the peninsula NIMBYs by calling them “environmentalists.” They are nothing more than selfish NIMBYs, and have a very myopic,self-centered, microcosmic view of the “environment,” which is to avoid any disruption of their privileged lives that would screw the entire state’s environment and the most important transit investement this state will ever see, not to mention jeopardizing the pending multiple billions of dollars of federal dollars about to be handed to California to jumpstart the investment. Yes, there are a few “environmentalists” would blanche at the notion of running the train over Pacheco through state park lands, but they are a minority of the broader environmental coalition that supports the project, including the SJ-SF peninsula alignment. All infrastructure and alignment decisions have pros and cons. A decision needs to be made, and it was already made to go with Pacheco, which had more pros. People need to get over it. You can always find people to oppose even the best projects. In this case the small number of upset people have lots of resources to file frivolous lawsuits in the hope that something sticks. It’s really ashame how bloody selfish rich people are.
@Huh: I would hardly categorize PCL (Planning Conservation League), Sierra Club, Transdef, Bayrail alliance as mere nimbys.
To answer the question why Altamont is preferred:
1. 1hr faster travel time between Sacramento and the Bay Area via Altamont compared to Pacheco
2. Faster travel time between SF-LA via Altamont
3. 60 miles less track (i.e. less maintenance, faster travel times)
4. No need for $1 billion train “box” at the Transbay terminal (because some trains will terminate at San Jose instead).
5. Altamont provides service to the East Bay and Trivalley regions (both of which have population greater than San Jose).
6. Obviates the need for expensive BART extensions to San Jose and Livermore.
7. A new transbay rail crossing is desperately needed, to take pressure off BART transbay tube.
8. Altamont only requires 3 tracks along Caltrain corridor (instead of 4), making it easier to accommodate existing freight service.
Environmental groups would normally be the strongest proponents of a HSR project. So clearly things have gone “off the rails”.
@bikerider: “No need for $1 billion train “box” at the Transbay terminal (because some trains will terminate at San Jose instead).”
you’ve really drunk the kool-aid. First of all, the train “box” is not $1billion, it’s at most $400 million, which is what the TJPA has requested from the feds from the ARRA. If you want to make an argument, fine, but don’t spew cockamamy made-up figures.
Second, are you suggesting that not only should HSR not come to downtown, but Caltrain should also not be extended downtown, and that all trains–HSR and Caltrain-in SF should terminate at 4th/King and that there should be no downtown train extension? Because the incremental cost of making the downtown extension work for HSR is negligible once you actually build the extension and the station for Caltrain.
If you want to honk your horn about killing a downtown train extension from 4th/King, go right ahead, but you’re wasting your time.
And by the way, Sierra Club at large nor individual chapters do not oppose HSR on the peninsula and they were not party to the lawsuit. The major concern of the Sierra Club over Pacheco was concern about a station in Los Banos and potential sprawl-inducing development. Since there will be no station there, no point is moot and SC have strongly supported HSR, and is even touting the potential for attractive “sound walls” and “embankments” for grade separation on the peninsula. See http://lomaprieta.sierraclub.org/TheLomaPrietan.asp?q=2009070101
@Huh: The CHSRA has said that the planned train “box” as part of DTX is insufficient for their all-trains-terminate-at-SF needs. Realistically, that means one or more of the following: digging a second level with substantial incremental cost, extensive trail-tracks, or simply having some trains go only as far as 4th & King.
BTW, Los Banos developers are already working on overturning the prohibition against a station there.
@bikerider: you need to keep up with the news. CHSRA and TJPA are in agreement that the proposed station meets HSR needs.
and the notion that one alignment will have more sprawl inducing effects than another is preposterous. HSR service via altamont to livermore, tracy, manteca and beyond where there simply are no effective growth controls already, will simply mushroom once they get service, which is guaranteed.
@Huh: The “agreement” concocted likely means the following: Not all Caltrains can continue on to TBT. Moreover, it is unlikely 4th/King stop will be possible for outbound Caltrain locals from the TBT. So the agreement is great for HSR, but not Caltrain passengers (who will make up the bulk of trips).
HSR, incidentally, will also lose precious minutes travel time due to sharp *scrreech* curve to accommodate 3 underground tracks into TBT.
With regard to Trivalley: the population is bigger than that of San Jose. That population grew up along traditional rail travel corridors. Your point about growth controls is well taken, but first and foremost new train service should reinforce existing growth patterns.
“I have a sinking feeling we're all going to learn once again that hindsight is 20/20, and that all this caving to merchants' unfounded fears will result in an entire generation of lost opportunity to make our streets safer and more lively.”
– Upright Biker
In response to "SFMTA Cuts Block of Polk Bike Lane Fought by Visionless Mayor's Optometrist"