Scoping Comments for Merced to Bakersfield Segments
Yesterday afternoon, Californians for High Speed Rail submitted the following comments to the California High Speed Rail Authority for the Merced to Fresno and Fresno to Bakersfield segments.
As you can see, the comments follow the general principles Californians for High Speed Rail have laid out for the HSR project. The comments call for stations to be built in downtown Merced, downtown Fresno, and downtown Bakersfield, accompanied with rules to promote transit-oriented development and to prevent sprawl. For example, in Merced, owing to several factors, the comments included possible alignments around the town of Merced with non-downtown stations. Even in those cases, the stations would involve selection criteria and mitigation measures designed to limit sprawl, such as considering the “Amount of transit-oriented development (TOD) the locality has committed to planning for within a half mile radius of the station site” and “Growth management policies the locality has adopted or is committed to adopting that would direct growth into the half-mile radius of the station site.” In Fresno and Bakersfield, the comments recommend against any non-downtown alignment. The comments for both segments include recommending not only those factors be applied to the possible Merced stations, but to all possible stations, as well as using automobile trips generated (ATG), instead of level of service (LOS) to determine impact on automobiles.
Additionally, the comments call for a Merced station to be fully compatible with Amtrak service, so as to enable a quick and easy 5-minute transfer from a high speed train to a waiting Amtrak train to continue to journey north to points along the San Joaquin routes to Oakland and Sacramento. They also support “further examination” of a station in downtown Hanford, but recognize that this station is a low priority and should not be built at the expense of building another station elsewhere in the system. The comments support a strictly defined examination of a Hanford station at the junction of state routes 43 and 198 just east of town, but only with strict TOD and anti-sprawl considerations. The comments do not endorse any station near Visalia. And finally, the comments call for using the BNSF right-of-way between Fresno and Bakersfield, and not following the UPRR ROW, owing to the BNSF alignment’s better positioning of the preferred downtown Bakersfield station.
Here are the complete letters:
Californians for High Speed Rail will be submitting comments for other segments in the coming days, promoting our vision for a high speed train that promotes both intercity passenger service alongside transit-oriented development and mitigates against sprawl in each community it serves. You can submit your comments as well on the following corridors (note the due dates) to firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Bakersfield to Palmdale: due November 2
• Los Angeles to San Diego: due November 20
• Altamont Corridor: due December 4
We’ll try and keep you apprised of other comment deadlines as they approach.