High Speed Rail to DESTROY Bay Area Single Family

Perhaps the greatest irony in this campaign to promote the High Speed Rail is that the most dysfunctional, corrupt and expensive infrastructure project in California history is being fashioned into a siege engine aimed at the greatest expanse of single family neighborhoods in the state, in an attempt to undo some of the neighborhoods most symbolic of “The American Dream” in the nation.

Using the Google Headquarters high-speed rail station as a gateway, the California High-Speed Rail Authority’s plans for the San Francisco Peninsula would include the running of high-speed trains through the predominantly single family residential heart of the Silicon Valley with two stations at San Jose and Millbrae serving the fifty mile route between San Jose and downtown San Francisco, and serve as a Trojan horse in the planned assault on California suburbs.

I thought you may be interested in sending my anonymous critique of these plans in the form of an open letter to Tom Williams, the City Manager of Millbrae, who has joined a legal effort to challenge the Draft EIR on the proposed Millbrae HSR station. Without directly challenging Google’s plans for the massive high-speed rail oriented transformation of central San Jose, the letter could serve as a warning to the Silicon Valley and community of San Jose to “Beware of geeks bearing gifts”.

High Speed Rail to DESTROY Bay Area Single Family

Written by NOT Eric Garcetti,  Exclusive to the California Political News and Views,  11/9/20 

Dear Mr. Williams;

Your well founded objections and challenges to the California High-Speed Rail Authority’s plans to develop and extend high-speed rail services into Millbrae and the heart of the Silicon Valley reveal a deeper and more fundamental flaw in the entire transportation planning process concerning the fifty-mile transportation corridor between San Jose and San Francisco. Anchoring mass transportation hubs to century-old train tracks and station locations under the guise of Transit Oriented Development (TOD) would distort and perhaps preclude development of adaptable feeder and innovative transit systems capable of integration of advanced transportation systems including autonomous vehicles, on-demand shuttle and ever expanding ride share and ride hailing services with the predominantly single family neighborhoods and communities of the Silicon Valley, while the transit oriented developments proposed at Millbrae and San Jose may serve as trojan horses for the introduction of high density development into existing single family community settings.

Among facts and basic characteristics of high-speed trains seemingly glossed over or given obscure reference in the HSR EIR is that the average length of a high-speed train is 1,200 feet, that would require HSR stations to be a quarter mile in length, while the proposal to build only two HSR stations to serve the fifty-mile area between San Jose and San Francisco would over concentrate Silicon Valley commuter trips on the two HSR stations and necessitate the building of large parking facilities in place of transit oriented development adjacent to the stations. Potential downplaying and obscuring of the impacts of high-speed trains on their track rights-of-way and adjacent properties, land uses and community settings along the length of high-speed operations could lead to an unrealistic assessment of the effects of 150-220 mile-per-hour trains passing near existing single family homes and neighborhoods over a fifty mile swath of the San Francisco Peninsula. Data and measurements of the impacts of high-speed train operations in any of a wide range of international high-speed train systems, that are generally confined to open space, rural and agricultural settings, should be applied to the specific low density residential settings of the Silicon Valley.

The apparent failure or default of local and regional bay area transportation agencies and authorities to produce coherent and appropriate plans for the largely single family suburban communities of the Silicon Valley have given way to the introduction of wholly inappropriate and potentially damaging high-speed rail facilities and services that would not serve the interests or needs of the communities anywhere along the high-speed rail route between San Jose and San Francisco. As proposed, the high-speed rail stations located in Millbrae and San Jose present little or no improvement or advantages to the needs of Silicon Valley commuters, businesses or communities, while posing extensive and pervasive negative impacts on the nearby and extended residential settings along the entire route of the high-speed rail service.

Location of high-speed rail facilities that are appropriate only for dense urban settings of major cities or wide open spaces in the low density, primarily single family suburban communities of Millbrae and San Jose would violate every tenet and prudent standard of transportation planning for the communities that would be minimally served or benefited by the intercity, or at best, regional mass transportation system. Furthermore, the two proposed high-speed rail stations located 35 miles apart would provide no significant service or advantage to any of the communities of the Silicon Valley beyond their immediate station areas, while the high-speed rail resources could be much more effectively applied to comprehensive Silicon Valley transportation corridor planning and implementation. The counterproductive effects of concentrating massive station and rail resources in only two locations, thirty five miles apart and well outside the only dense urban setting in the region, would create a primary, or first stage commute to the HSR stations across the Silicon Valley that would likely spread traffic congestion and commute time delays well beyond the existing Bayshore Parkway -101 Freeway corridor, while funneling community-wide traffic into congested station approaches and parking facilities. Residents of Foster City, San Mateo and Redwood City seeking access to the Millbrae HSR station would have to engage in a 10-15-mile commute to and from the station, while residents of Mountain View, Sunnyvale and Santa Clara would have to travel 10-15-miles in a southeasterly direction, away from any northern destination, in order to board the high-speed train at San Jose. Home to station commutes could require 20-50-minute drives to simply access the HSR system, followed by a high-speed train trip to their end destination. HSR travel time between San Jose and San Francisco at an estimated average speed of 120 miles per hour, with a stop at Millbrae, would take a minimum of 35 minutes, while mitigation measures requiring reduced top speeds through the residential communities of the Silicon Valley could increase travel times to 45-60 minutes. Locating six to eight stations of a lighter, more efficient mass transit system at 8-10-mile intervals between downtown San Francisco and San Jose would significantly reduce the times and distances commuters would have to travel to stations nearest their homes and neighborhoods, while a new,  substantially more efficient and environmentally benign form of mass transit operating at speeds of 60 to 100 miles-per-hour could be built along the 101 Freeway corridor, that would shift the focal points of commuter trips and parking away from the historic train stations and commercial centers of San Jose and Millbrae into the predominantly commercial and industrial properties of the freeway corridor.

If the California High-Speed Rail Project ever makes it to the bay area, it should not extend beyond San Jose, but give way to Silicon Valley-centered comprehensive transportation and transit plans that are integral parts of the regional, community and neighborhood plans for the entire San Francisco peninsula.

About Stephen Frank

Stephen Frank is the publisher and editor of California Political News and Views. He speaks all over California and appears as a guest on several radio shows each week. He has also served as a guest host on radio talk shows. He is a fulltime political consultant.

Comments

  1. The intended purpose of Gov. Newsom and CA’s Democrat Party’s High-speed Railway is to provide commuter service for those ejected by pricing constraints from Bay Area cities, pushed outwards to, especially, the southern reaches of the Central Valley. Super Lefties love the cache and the views of, say, San Francisco, but as we have seen growth radically during the Covid-19 shutdowns, many of the poorest in that city are repellant litterers. So, it must be the American Dream of Democrats that SF become like Detroit with vast swathes of uninhabited properties which can be “bought” through condemnation by that City-County, demolished and refashioned as parks and such. Meanwhile, the dejected and ejected poor, working poor and Middle Income folks will be led into renting, buying seemingly low-cost places to live after all farmers are curtained by high taxation and bad-mouthing from the Lefties in Sacramento and San Francisco.

  2. What has been one of the draws in the Hose area? Simple Single Family Housing with yards and grass.

    What did Slick Newsom state after being elected to office? “California High-Speed Rail is a dead project.”

    Once again he proves why he needs to be removed from office.

    Oh and do not forget a month after that statement he decided to double down on Moon Beam Brown $3 Billion from the gas tax for bike paths. That is right he has directed $6 Billion that should be fixing roads and highways.

    Did you vote for him? If so, why?

Speak Your Mind

*