SF to San José Draft Scoping Report Available

Jun 30th, 2009 | Posted by

Find it here: Draft SF to SJ Scoping Report (PDF). I haven’t had a chance to look at this closely yet, but it apparently includes 950 letters from Peninsula NIMBYs – I love the way SFist described it:

The report includes over 950 letters from assorted cranky Peninsula NIMBYs, hippies, and Howard Jarvis looking Ayn Rand worshippers demanding that the high speed rail project be squashed underfoot like a pesky insect. That, or the rail authority should put the train in a tunnel all the way down the Peninsula from San Francisco to San Jose, because, you know, that would be like cost effective and practical and everything.

So, have a look at the document and post your thoughts in the comments. I’ll have a fuller analysis on this either tonight or tomorrow.

  1. Matthew Melzer
    Jun 30th, 2009 at 12:39

    My favorite tidbits:

    P. 58 (of the pdf): Amtrak in its comments requested accommodation of future Coast Daylight service, described as "two round trips daily" (isn't it supposed to be one?).

    P. 62: "Home Owners Against Loud Trains" made the completely sensible requests to "stop horns" and "eliminate diesel trains," plus other sound mitigation requests, all of which seem de rigueur anyway. As I asked in a previous thread, why are other groups of Peninsula residents summarily attacking the very Caltrain corridor improvements that will save lives and improve the quality of life near the corridor? You can argue against HSR while still credibly demanding safety and environmental improvements. Kudos to this group for participating productively.

    P. 68: The lawsuit plaintiffs asked CHSRA to reconsider the Altamont Pass alignment.

    P. 69: More specific concerns from UP.

    Hopefully someone with more time and patience can comb through the comments from the cities.

  2. Anonymous
    Jun 30th, 2009 at 15:02

    950 out of how many millions living between SJ and SF? Just plain ridiculous!

  3. Matthew Melzer
    Jun 30th, 2009 at 15:32

    Anonymous, how is 950 responses ridiculously low (as I think you're implying)? The response rate is much better than it often is for other agencies. In terms of average civic participation, Congressional offices generally count each correspondence as representing 10,000 constituents (or at least that's the DC lore I remember). If 1 out of every 10,000 residents of Santa Clara, San Mateo, and SF Counties submitted comments, there would be about 335 responses. That's being charitable, since if we counted just residents near the Caltrain corridor, the number would be much lower. So, 950 responses is pretty impressive and shows a high degree of community interest in this issue. I think we can all agree that's a positive thing.

    In any case, we get the government we deserve. If the CHSRA made all the proper outreach notices through multiple media in multiple languages, and nobody showed up or submitted comments, whose fault would that be?

  4. YesonHSR
    Jun 30th, 2009 at 15:40

    Many of the comments are from cities and towns, not just a person
    and they are not opposed to HSR they just stated their ideas

  5. jim
    Jul 1st, 2009 at 00:30

    speaking of that interactive map – you know the benefits of this project are everywhere, look, there's a travel time of 27 minutes from the san fernando valley to anaheim. any one who has ever been to LA knows that you can't even cross the street to the 7-11 in 27 minutes let alone get from the valley to the OC in 27 minutes. I can't wait to do it just to be amazed.

  6. timote
    Jul 1st, 2009 at 09:09

    My favorite (pg 53): "Relocate residents during construction phase."

    Although this one is pretty good too (pg 64): "HSR will increase crime"

    Or maybe (pg 69): "Avoid eminent domain through tunneling"

  7. jim
    Jul 1st, 2009 at 12:08

    Here's a good one;

    "Allow citizens of affected counties to vote on HSR proposed, including no build." and

    "Include implementation of the electrification plan and quiet zones as part of the no
    project alternative."

  8. jim
    Jul 1st, 2009 at 12:11

    the humane society says "Allow animals on trains."

    Who in the hell do these people think they are?

  9. Devil’s Advocate
    Jul 1st, 2009 at 13:12

    A question for those of you who might know. Assuming the HSR gets built according to plan, with 4 tracks on an elevated embankmement or elevated structure or whatever. How do they plan to assure continued service of Caltrain during the construction phase? Do they plan to shut down Caltrain for the duration of the construction and replace it with some sort of bus shuttles up and down the peninsula? Does anybody know what the plan is? Or there isn't one yet? Does anybody know?

  10. Ben
    Jul 1st, 2009 at 13:47


    The MOU between Caltrain and CHSRA says that there can be no interruption of service during construction, HOW they do it is a question that there probaly won't be an answer to for a while

  11. Anonymous
    Jul 1st, 2009 at 14:02

    I never knew that San Jose was accented.

  12. Andy D
    Jul 1st, 2009 at 17:42

    I like this gem by Burlingame Councilwoman O'Mahony (p.23) – "Alignment – propose underground alignment through the entire peninsula (San Jose to
    Millbrae, Millbrae through San Francisco) or elevate sufficiently to keep heavy congested
    areas serene."

    Define "elevate sufficiently"…

  13. jim
    Jul 1st, 2009 at 22:35

    They'll build everything in sections and move things around the same way they do it when they re arrange freeway lanes, the new bay bridge for example. It not hard, there's room in the row, and it just takes a huge amount of planning and good execution.

  14. swing hanger
    Jul 1st, 2009 at 23:26

    @Andy D
    Yes, that truly is a gem. I may add, isn't "to keep heavy congested
    areas serene" an oxymoron?? Peninsula residents have a delusion that their unremarkable suburbs are "serene".

  15. Clem
    Jul 2nd, 2009 at 08:33

    @Ben, I wouldn't put much stock in that MOU. It is completely unenforceable.

  16. timote
    Jul 2nd, 2009 at 10:31

    @Andy D

    Ya, I was wondering about that myself. How is whatever occurs with HSR going to magically convert a heavily congested area into a serene one?

  17. Bay Area Resident
    Jul 2nd, 2009 at 17:08

    bwahahahhaha! This has to be my favorite of the scoping comments,

    Home Owners Against
    Loud Trains

    January 29, 2009

  18. Bay Area Resident
    Jul 2nd, 2009 at 17:13

    the individual comments are in the appendices.

    Just opening up one of those PDFs will lock up your system. This is obviously a HUGE response to an EIR, the formal document only published the "government agencies".

  19. Anonymous
    Jul 3rd, 2009 at 12:20

    You don't need to relocate anybody – simply relocate the hsr to the 101 corridor. Spread the costs over a longer period as a transfer to Caltrain in San Jose will suffice in the short term.

    There is no really pressing time imperative to improving inner Bay Area lines as evidenced by all the recent service cuts.

    The entire emphasis should be on an San Jose to LA line via I-5 and the Grapevine. Its striking success at sustained express high speeds will ensure all the rest of the network will come on board eventually. Keep the costs as low as possible by using land adjacent to I-5 while it is still relatively cheap. Forget tunnels on the Peninsula – use the money instead to mine the Grapevine.

    You already have a railroad thru the Tehachapis. You don't need another one unless you plan to use the new alignment for freight as well

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