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California High Speed Rail Project Palo Alto Chamber of Commerce May 27, 2010.

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Presentation on theme: "California High Speed Rail Project Palo Alto Chamber of Commerce May 27, 2010."— Presentation transcript:

1 California High Speed Rail Project Palo Alto Chamber of Commerce May 27, 2010

2 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: – email:

3 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

4 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

5 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)

6 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

7 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

8 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

9 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

10 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

11 San Francisco to San Jose Caltrain Corridor Caltrain + HSRA = Peninsula Rail Program Caltrain and Freight will continue operations during construction

12 Structural & Operational changes CurrentProposed Commuter + FreightCommuter + Freight + HSR Diesel engines, manual controlElectric trains w/ PTC (freight trains remain diesel) 2 tracks; passing tracks; freight spurs 4 track system, freight spurs 47 grade level crossingsFully grade separated 12 trains/hr peak20 HS trains/hr peak + 20 Caltrains/hr peak 79 mph max speed125 mph max speed SF – SJ via Baby Bullet: 57 minSF – SJ via HSR: 30 min


14 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

15 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

16 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.

17 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


19 Aerial Viaduct

20 At Grade (Cars can NOT go over like they do today) Highly Variable based road and property configuration

21 Trench

22 Cut and Cover

23 Deep Bored Tunnel – High Speed Rail ONLY


25 Palo Alto Alternatives Carried Forward

26 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

27 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

28 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 – County, State and National Legislators – Talk to your friends

29 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.

30 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

31 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

32 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

33 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

34 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

35 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!

36 Thank You! For more information:


38 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

39 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

40 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.

41 Context Sensitive Solutions Steps

42 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

43 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

44 Altamont Corridor Project

45 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.

46 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

47 Menlo Park Alternatives

48 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


50 Alternatives for Menlo Park

51 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

52 Mountain View Alternatives

53 Mountain View Additional 2 tracks – Minimum 79 feet of ROW Grade Separations – Rengstorff, Castro Potential HSR Station – Station design options – Local requirements & contributions – Selection Process

54 Mountain View Alternatives

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