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California High Speed Rail Project Menlo Park Rotary Club May 26, 2010.

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Presentation on theme: "California High Speed Rail Project Menlo Park Rotary Club May 26, 2010."— Presentation transcript:

1 California High Speed Rail Project Menlo Park Rotary Club May 26, 2010

2 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

3 California High Speed Rail Project November Prop 1A authorized State Bond Funds – plan, construct and operate a High Speed Train system from San Francisco to Los Angeles/Anaheim 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 – Peer Review Committee 8 appointed members (5 of 8 so far) No staff, no meetings Update: budget allocated

4 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)

5 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

6 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

7 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

8 Bay Area to Central Valley Program Level analyzed two routes – East Bay via Altamont – Peninsula via Pacheco Pacheco Route along Caltrain Corridor Selected – Litigation challenged the decision. – EIR decertified and re-circulated.

9 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.

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

11 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 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 ~ ft Grade Separations – (Watkins), Encinal, Glenwood, Oak Grove, Ravenswood, (Alma) Caltrain Station reconfiguration


16 Alternatives for Menlo Park

17 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

18 TypeDesign Width approxCost Above GradeAerial Viaduct X base At Grade (Road over/under pass) Highly variable Below Grade Open Trench X base Cut & cover (trench) X base Bored tunnel X 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 Process How we got here & how you can help

26 Getting Involved With HSRA – Officially via comments to the Environmental Review process – As a CSS Stakeholder With your community – Grassroots groups – City of Menlo Park – County, State and National Legislators – Talk to your friends

27 Upcoming Menlo Park Meetings June 1 st – Alternatives Analysis Meeting – 6pm in this room June 22 nd – Menlo Park City Council Meeting on HSR discussing citys response to Preliminary AA

28 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

29 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

30 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

31 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

32 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

33 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

34 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

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:

37 Context Sensitive Solutions Steps

38 Altamont Corridor Project

39 CARRD Californians Advocating Responsible Rail Design – Grassroots volunteer organization – Process focus – Engage community and encourage participation – Watchdog for transparency – Do NOT advocate for a particular implementation or route 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: –

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