Presentation on theme: "California High Speed Rail Project Palo Alto Chamber of Commerce May 27, 2010."— Presentation transcript:
California High Speed Rail Project Palo Alto Chamber of Commerce May 27, 2010
CARRD Californians Advocating Responsible Rail Design Founders – Nadia Naik, Sara Armstrong, Elizabeth Alexis, Rita Wespi – Palo Alto base, State wide focus We are not transportation experts, we are not lawyers Contact info – website: www.calhsr.com – email: firstname.lastname@example.org
CARRD Approach Process focus – Collaborative, open, constructive approach – We do NOT advocate for a particular implementation or route Engage community and encourage participation – Wisdom of crowds, creative solutions – Tools for self-advocacy Watchdogs for – Transparency – push to get more information public – Accountability – demand professionalism, accuracy – Oversight – encourage State Senate, Peer Review
California High Speed Rail Project 1980s – California begins researching HSR 1993 – California Inter-City High Speed Rail Commission 1994 – Federal High Speed Rail Development Act creates five national HSR corridors 2002 – First bond measure proposed but delayed 2004 – Statewide system studied 2005 – Ridership surveys and studies 2008 – Bay Area to Central Valley EIR November 2008 - Prop 1A authorized State Bond Funds – plan, construct and operate a High Speed Train system from San Francisco to Los Angeles/Anaheim
HSR System 800 mile network Electric powered trains via overhead contact wires Maximum speed of 220 miles per hour Fully grade-separated, dedicated track alignment Automated safety systems (Positive train control)
California HSR Governance High Speed Rail Authority – 9 appointed Board members – less than dozen state employees – 4 tiered web of consultants / contractors do the bulk of the work Legislature – controls State bond funds – Senate Transportation & Housing - Lowenthal – Senate Budget Subcommittee 2 – Simitian – Legislative Analysts Office Peer Review Committee – 8 appointed members (5 of 8 so far) – No staff, no meetings (yet). Update: budget allocated Federal Agencies – FRA, FTA
Funding Plan Backbone System Cost: $42.6 billion – Federal Grants $17 - $19 billion – State Bond Funds $9 billion (Prop 1A) – Local Contributions $4 - $5 billion – Private Investors $10 - $12 billion Awarded $2.25 billion stimulus funds (we only get it if we make the deadlines) Plan calls for $3 Billion in Federal funding every year for 6 yrs
Environmental Review Process Mandated by California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) Administrative, linear process Applicant studies impacts, mitigations, alternatives Lead Agency certifies the studies Responsible for enforcing CEQA: you! You must participate in the process to have any recourse if you dont like the final decision
Ridership Study / Analysis / Model San Francisco - San Jose Tiered Approach to CEQA San Jose - Merced Bay Area - CentralValley 2008 Merced - Fresno Fresno - Bakersfield Bakersfield - Palmdale Palmdale – Los Angeles Los Angeles - Anaheim Statewide EIR 2005
Bay Area to Central Valley Program Level analyzed two routes – East Bay via Altamont – Peninsula via Pacheco Pacheco Route / Caltrain Corridor Selected – Litigation challenged the decision. – EIR decertified and re- circulated. Altamont corridor will be an overlay to main HSR line
San Francisco to San Jose Caltrain Corridor Caltrain + HSRA = Peninsula Rail Program Caltrain and Freight will continue operations during construction
SF – SJ Build Costs &Timeline Project Costs – $6.14 B in Year of Expenditure $ – ARRA award set up $400M for Transbay Terminal Timeline – Dec 2010 - Draft EIR – Jul 2011 – Final EIR – Sep 2011 – Record of Decision – Winter 2012 – Begin construction – Summer 2019 – Revenue Service
Palo Alto Track Configuration – 2 additional tracks needed – Constrained right of way widths near Paly/Southgate Grade Separations – Alma, Churchill, Meadow, Charleston Potential HSR Station – Station design options – Local requirements & contributions – Selection Process
Palo Alto Right of Way* Peers Park Meadow Charleston San Antonio University Embarcadero Alma Cal Ave 96 ft 85 ft 79 ft *Approximate – not perfectly to scale. Not official diagram.
TypeDesign Width approxCost Above GradeAerial Viaduct 80-1053X base At Grade (Road over/under pass) 95-105Highly variable Below Grade Open Trench 1003.5X base Cut & cover (trench) 100-1405X base Bored tunnel 70-1157X base
Palo Alto Alternatives Eliminated Berm/Retained fill eliminated – Where: throughout Palo Alto – Why: community objection Open Trench, Closed Trench, Viaduct – Where: Alma – Why: El Palo Alto & San Fransisquito Creek, Historic Train Station Underground Station & deep tunnel Caltrain – Where: corridor wide – Why: cost constraints
Mid Peninsula Station One or none of – Redwood City, Palo Alto, Mountain View Palo Alto has second highest Caltrain ridership (followed by Mountain View) Station designs currently being studied Local requirements – Parking, transit facilities – Funding support City of Palo Alto has not taken a formal position
Getting Involved With HSRA – Officially via comments to the Environmental Review process – As a CSS Stakeholder With your community – PAN and other grassroots groups – City of Palo Alto Palo Alto HSR Subcommittee meetings (1st & 3rd Thurs 8:30 am) – Peninsula Cities Consortium www.peninsularail.com – County, State and National Legislators – Talk to your friends
Tips on writing a good comment Be Objective and Specific – Whenever possible, present facts or expert opinions. – If not, provide personal experience or your personal observations. Don't just complain Separate your concerns into clearly identifiable paragraphs or headings. Don't mix topics.
Areas of Study Air Quality Noise / Vibration Traffic and Circulation Land Use, Development, Planning, & Growth Biological Resources Wetlands / Waters of the U.S. Flood Hazards, Floodplains, and Water Quality Visual Quality & Aesthetics Parks & Recreational Facilities Historic / Archeological Resources Hazards and Hazardous Materials Community Impacts / Environmental Justice Construction Impacts Cumulative Impacts
Catalog community assets Identify sensitive areas – Historic Resources – Natural Resources Open space, trees, wildlife, wetlands/creeks – Sensitive areas Schools, hospitals, places of worship, funeral homes Parklands – Business Interests Describe community values
Identify Impacts & Mitigations Identify the specific impact in question Explain the significance of effect Consider ways to avoid or reduce severity – Describe additional mitigation measure(s) needed – Recommend changes in proposed mitigations Support your recommendations Quantify your concerns whenever possible
Suggest Alternatives Offer specific alternatives Describe how they meet the requirements of the project Can be on specific alignments, operations, financing, etc Suggest different analysis methodologies
Help provide accurate record Point out any inconsistencies in the document or the data Point out outdated information or Errors in logic Focus on the sufficiency of the information in identifying and analyzing the possible impacts of the project on the environment
Remember Dont be overwhelmed You know your community – just write about it The burden of proof is on the Authority – not you! If you dont offer ideas, we miss a chance for Best Practices Democracy is not a spectator sport!
Thank You! For more information: www.calhsr.com email@example.com
Context Sensitive Solutions Collaborative approach – Involves all stakeholders – Works by consensus – Balance transportation needs and community values Proven Process Adopted by Peninsula Rail Program for SF-SJ – First time it is being used on a Rail Project – Toolkit to collect community information
Climate Incredibly ambitious & complex project – Technical, funding, political, environmental, procedural challenges – Recognized benefits – Tremendous costs Bunker mentality Community Skepticism – Extent of impacts – Lack of specificity – Change is often painful Economic meltdown, budget crisis
Grassroots Landscape Groups throughout the State – each with their own focus Common theme: Serve to educate elected officials & public on the issues Act as watchdogs for process – request information and access to data used for decisions Speak publicly at Senate, Assembly, City meetings, etc.
Context Sensitive Solutions Collaborative approach – Involves all stakeholders – Works by consensus – Balance transportation needs and community values Proven Process Adopted by Peninsula Rail Program for SF- SJ – First time it is being used on a Rail Project – Toolkit to collect community information
CSS Toolkit Available at Caltrain/Peninsula Rail Program Website Seeks community feedback on all alignment options Serves as a framework – Do not feel confined by the template – you can elaborate – You can write your comments too! Early participation is the best way to ensure your ideas and concerns are incorporated
Bay Area to Central Valley Issues Cumulative Impacts – Altamont + Pacheco Ridership Claims – May 6, 2010: legal action seeks to reopen Courts decision New Altamont route proposal Union Pacific Position – no part of the high-speed rail corridor may be located on (or above, except for overpasses) UPs rights of way at any location. To the extent the Authority ignores this position, its revised EIR is deficient.
Example – Noise Pollution Provide inventory of sensitive areas – assume most impactful alternative 900 feet on either side of tracks 1/4 mile radius from Stations Be Specific – document location, population, hours, layout – reference standards (City, Federal, WHO, etc) – request specific analyses and mitigations – Identify any omissions, inaccuracies and errors in the document
Menlo Park Track Configuration – 2 additional tracks needed – Right of Way width < 100 ft thru most of City Wakins ~ 85 ft Encinal ~ 75 ft Glenwood – Oak Grove ~ 60 ft South of Station ~ 80-100 ft Grade Separations – (Watkins), Encinal, Glenwood, Oak Grove, Ravenswood, (Alma) Caltrain Station reconfiguration
Menlo Park Alternatives Eliminated Berm/Retained Fill – Where: throughout city – Why: widespread community opposition Open Trench – Where: border w/ Palo Alto – Why: San Francisquito Creek & El Palo Alto Deep Tunnel for Caltrain – Where: corridor wide – Why: excessive cost