Bakersfield Was Right In 1999

May 29th, 2014 | Posted by

Last week the Bakersfield City Council voted 6-1 to sue the California High Speed Rail Authority over its choice of a downtown station. The irony is that, as the Bakersfield Californian explains, the CHSRA chose a downtown station because that’s what Bakersfield asked for:

On June 30 of that year, the Bakersfield City Council unanimously approved Resolution No. 97-99 “supporting a downtown location for the high-speed rail station.”

On a 7-0 vote, the council challenged the California High-Speed Rail Authority’s recommendation to locate the station about seven miles west of downtown.

Among its 13 whereases, the resolution noted “a station located on the outskirts of town will have a negative impact on the City’s uniform growth patterns … ” — but a downtown station could be easily reached and “have greater accessibility to government and other public service facilities.”…

The next week, then-Mayor Bob Price testified at an CHSRA meeting July 20-21, 1999.

Price told the CHSRA board he believed “downtown locations are key to the success of high-speed rail,” according to meeting minutes.

Price was and remains right. A greenfield station on the edge of town would bring much fewer economic benefits to Bakersfield. They’d lose out on jobs, tax revenue, and income at downtown businesses. Fresno gets it and is moving ahead with their downtown station. Bakersfield should follow suit.

The main reason Bakersfield has changed its mind is because of the disruption that a downtown station – and more to the point, the tracks connecting to it – would bring. But that disruption is not major, and its impacts can be mitigated easily. After all, some of the concerns are not very persuasive:

The train will be elevated during much of its journey through Bakersfield, according to Planning Director Jim Eggert, who pointed out it will have to cross such landmarks as the Westside Parkway on its journey southeast to downtown.

The train’s current alignment will cut through significant city and private properties including McMurtrey Aquatic Center, the city’s Municipal Services Corporation Yard, Bakersfield High School, Bethel Christian School and Mill Creek.

So? Tracks cross landmarks all the time. All those properties can have the impact mitigated, and the CHSRA has gone out of its way to address community concerns about the effect on Bakersfield High School – where, it’s worth remembering, the tracks will go along the edge of the campus.

From its intensive care units and operating rooms, doctors and nurses at Mercy Hospital downtown could one day be at eye level with bullet train ticketholders, according to CEO Bruce Peters.

“It is elevated at the height of our ICUs and our ORs,” Peters said. “It will be 88 feet from our door. Eighty-eight feet is barely to the — it’s short of the 30-yard line on a football field. Can you imagine a train coming by at over 100 miles per hour, the noise, the vibration?”

You mean like this?

View Larger Map

That’s BART running next to Oakland Children’s Hospital. It works just fine. Hospital operations are not negatively impacted.

Unfortunately, some folks have lost sight of the wisdom of their decision in 1999:

Ward 6 Councilwoman Jacquie Sullivan was on the council in 1999 and is its only member to have voted both times.

She said 15 years ago, the bullet train was just a concept, one the council thought could help a struggling downtown.

Tandy agreed in a recent interview and said in 1999 the train wasn’t funded and “was kind of a phantom.”

With downtown reviving, Sullivan said, the council has changed its mind.

“We don’t need it and now we don’t want it,” she said. “Things have changed and now we need to protect our downtown.”

Here’s the problem: Bakersfield’s downtown is still vulnerable. Its revival will falter if it remains dependent on people driving there from all over the place. As downtown HSR stations around the world prove, Bakersfield’s downtown will see a huge boost from having a station of its own. It will attract businesses and housing developers. New workers and new residents will support existing and future businesses. Land values will rise. And those who live and work downtown will remain deeply invested in making sure that it remains a great neighborhood. All of that is far less likely without a downtown station.

And that’s something the Downtown Bakersfield Association understands:

Another local agency, Bakersfield’s Downtown Business Association, supports having a bullet train station downtown — but Chairman Kevin Bartl said it’s a difficult choice.

“In a perfect world, the downtown would be your ideal location, but that being said there’s already structures here. There’s not vast tracts of open land,” Bartl said. “We would like that seriously to be downtown, but we think there has to be a plan to make up for the work that’s going to be done and what it’s going to take out.”

His suggestion is fair, there does indeed need to be a plan for those things. I’m sure the CHSRA is interested in creating such a plan. Bakersfield should continue working with them to get it done and make their downtown thrive for the rest of the century, rather than wasting taxpayer money on a lawsuit.

  1. JB in pa
    May 29th, 2014 at 23:11

    My wife teaches preschool. I have heard many stories of this level of whining. People sometimes need to let go and try something new.
    If A and B then oh no I have to complain. Waaa

  2. synonymouse
    May 30th, 2014 at 00:34

    Some ugly sucker stilts and I would not use Oakland, the Bay Area’s crime central, as an example of anything positive.

    Hell, even MTC, stilt-meister, won’t stay there.

    PRE Reply:

    Always stay classy. Wouldn’t expect anything less.

  3. John Burrows
    May 30th, 2014 at 00:42

    It’s the construction, not the operation, that may give Mr. Peters reason to whine. From my own experience it’s the ground vibration that really gets you. When drilling begins for those viaduct support columns Mr Peters is likely to feel the vibrations as much as he will hear the noise. And if they need to drill through much rock, he may feel it even more.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    It doesn’t bother him when they do the same for the freeways they are building all over town.

    Emmanuel Reply:

    It wouldn’t be a problem if it was a mall, or an office building blocking the view for hundreds of homes, casting shadows over their heads for the rest of their lives. But, if it’s a silent state-of-the-art project that doesn’t have his name on it, they complain.

    Let’ face it they just want to protest and have a say so that they can go back to their constituents and claim they made a change ala “We showed Sacramento that they can’t shovel this down our throats yada yada”

    Jamescc Reply:

    I live in Bakersfield, the arrogance of Robert Cruickshank and the high speed authority is the problem. Robert do you live in Bakersfield? Things have changed since 1999 that was 15 years ago. We don’t want a downtown station, what part of that don’t you get? The reason they are getting sued is they won’t listen to our ELECTED officials, who have heard from Bakersfield citizens that we don’t want a downtown station. Our city is different from other cities, they can go west of the city and be near the airport, bus station, freeway, a central hub for all transportation needs. It is a better route, a faster route, a cheaper route for the high speed rail authority, what part of that don’t you get?

    Mac Reply:

    Jamescc.. he doesn’t seem to get any part of it. He wants to make a mockery of Bakersfield for whatever reason. I guess he thinks it’s fun.

    joe Reply:

    The joke is thinking a City is in control. No City can block a State project because it can change its decision into the process. No such power exists.

    Gilroy started their HSR project because the City cannot dictated and wanted to recommend to the Authority while it has a chance. Stated in the City Council meeting as fact. So we got on baord pro or con we got on board to make recommendations before it was too late.

    Where does Bakersfield want the train to run? Nothing proposed. No agreement within Kern Co where to run the train.

    20 years of Tandy as City Manager and the City procrastinated and decided to say NO and without an alternative route.

    So sue the EIR and CA will fix it and build the train as proposed. Consequences of sitting it out, procrastinating and complaining without constructive participation.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Au contraire, LA is in control, total control.

    That is how we got stuck with the DogLeg.

    synonymouse Reply:

    LA is directing Adirondackers mind rays on Jerry Brown.

    synonymouse Reply:

    And LA is indeed getting ready to steal Hetch Hetchy water.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    You are talking to yourself again. Have the orderly loosen the foil.

    synonymouse Reply:

    CPUC informed SFPUC to get ready to give Hetch Hetchy water to others as of today’s news reports.

    Clem Reply:

    Silent. LOL

    John Burrows Reply:

    We can do Mr. Peters one better in that our front door is 70 feet from the Diridon VTA Station. During commute, eight VTA trains per hour stop at the station. With double pane windows closed I cannot hear the trains even though they are decelerating and accelerating as they make their stops.

    I don’t know how the noise made by an electric train stopping 88 feet from your front door
    would compare with the noise made by that same train if it were going by your front door at 100 mph, but with the windows closed, assuming they are of insulating glass, I wonder if Mr. Peters will even know that a train is passing by unless he looks out the window.

    Amanda in the South Bay Reply:

    I used to live about a hundred feet from the Fair Oaks light rail station, and yes, I could hear the trains.

    JB in pa Reply:

    Just moved from 600 ft from Caltrain to 500 feet from Tasman. Light rail is 10 times quieter.

    synonymouse Reply:

    resilient wheels

    synonymouse Reply:

    What BART does not have nor any resiliency incorporated into the trucks, AFAIK..

    Old hands say all steel wheels plus tapered wheel contour would reduce noise. But BART brutalists celebrate noise.

    Mac Reply:

    Thank you Clem, you are the voice of reason here.

    Emmanuel Reply:

    Relatively speaking. The speed limit will be low in urban areas. It will never produce the noise pollution of a highway and any noise produce is mostly due to bad track design. Maybe it’s because I live next to a hospital with a helicopter pad, but to me, living next to a HSR sounds as quiet as it gets in the inner city.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    The speed limit will be low in urban areas.


    It will never produce the noise pollution of a highway


    any noise produce is mostly due to bad track design


    I live next to a hospital with a helicopter pad

    Possibly correct.

    living next to a HSR sounds as quiet as it gets in the inner city.


    Emmanuel Reply:

    The permanent noise level that is created by a highway is far worse than having a train pass by every 15 minutes. Lemme rephrase that then. What is the exposure to that noise level? Maybe 3-5 seconds at 80 dB before it blends into the other noises of the city? Meanwhile the highway is a constant rumbling 70 dB. You cannot seriously tell me that a train approaching and leaving a station is worse than the noise of a highway. I have seen ICEs come and leave since the 90s in Germany and they have gotten quieter and quieter. I can’t speak for TGV or Shinkansen but ICEs are quiet. The stations are not louder than the cars and all the other traffic surrounding them. Of course the station causes all this noise in the first place by drawing people towards it. That’s why it should be in Downtown. A place that was designed for business, noise and commerce. Although you could make a case for building a station at an airport.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Freeways are incredibly noisy and an environmental abomination but limousine liberals like Barbara Boxer love them too and have found money to add lane upon lane.

    But BART is way noisier than it is supposed to be. May the Bechtels and BR Stokes rot in transit hell.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    You’ve not seem ICEs “approaching and leaving a station” — without stopping — at 350kmh.
    Because that doesn’t happen “in Downtown.”

    California isn’t getting a German rail network. Sure, it would be nice it it were, and it must be pleasant to live in your imaginary world where it is. But the reality is that what PBQD is designing is nothing more or less than a Flight Level Zero airline that, in order to maximize construction costs, runs through “Downtown”, at maximum speed.

    Eric Reply:

    “I have seen ICEs come and leave since the 90s in Germany and they have gotten quieter and quieter.”

    Or maybe you’ve just gotten older :)

    agb5 Reply:

    Unlikely they will hit bedrock, which is thousands of feet below the surface in Bakersfield, more likely they will be drilling into loose alluvial sediments, using the latest generation of low emission drills, which are designed to operate in downtown environments.

  4. Emmanuel
    May 30th, 2014 at 01:51

    I just don’t understand why there’s still debate. State law should trump local government shenanigans without any debate. Especially if said law was passed by a voter referendum. The mandate is so much bigger than any of the talking heads and trolls of the Bakersfield city council. Eminent domain that shit if I may say so.

    joe Reply:

    State Laws does trump City Gov’t. The City thinks there’s a debate but it’s all in their heads.

    They decided to not participate and thought that not participating in the design and alignment planning was a strategic advantage.

    The city has local knowledge and resources to plan and suggest changes or even propose a new alignment for the authority to study but there’s no alternative or suggestions offered. They sat it out and de facto allowed the authority to design the ROW without constructive input. Now the City Gov’t thinks not participating is a strategic advantage in an EIR lawsuit. They’re going to argue their willful ignorance about the alignment, the impacts means HS has to stop; the EIR is too big and too confusing, poorly constructed and unfair.

    Alan Reply:

    Actually, the state could argue that the city, by refusing to participate, failed to exhaust its administrative remedies before filing suit, as required by CEQA. Or, since the STB has asserted jurisdiction, the state could simply play the preemption card–NEPA preempting CEQA.

    joe Reply:

    I don’t think the failure to participate puts Bakersfield at much of a disadvantage in court with a CEQA lawsuit.

    The EIR needs to be complete. I’m sure they’ll find things – but the onus is on Bakersfield to be coherent and present deficiencies.

    The standard for completeness isn’t that the EIR is too big to read or whether the City Gov’t understands the EIR or if the EIR can fit into City Manager Tandy’s brain. That whole line of argument is contradictory – “we need more information and it’s already too big!”

    I’m skeptical that NEPA will triumph CEQA – recently argued in the PAMPA appeal. While ironic and laughable that opponents opened this way out of CEQA lawsuits, the long term solution is to fix CEQA, not invalidate it.

    Zorro Reply:

    US Law trumps State and Local laws, so NEPA will trump CEQA, cause of the Supremacy Clause of the US Constitution(Article Six, Clause 2) as adopted in 1789 by the original 13 states and as adopted by California in 1850 upon California becoming a State of the USA.

    Oh and I think Bakersfield is full of it, by not acting in good faith and acting on behalf of its citizens to help guide the EIR through Bakersfield, they have no one to blame beyond themselves.

    The Supremacy Clause is the provision in Article Six, Clause 2 of the U.S. Constitution that establishes the U.S. Constitution, federal statutes, and U.S. treaties as “the supreme law of the land”. It provides that these are the highest form of law in the U.S. legal system, and mandates that all state judges must follow federal law when a conflict arises between federal law and either the state constitution or state law of any state.

    The supremacy of federal law over state law only applies if Congress is acting in pursuance of its constitutionally authorized powers.

    Nullification is the legal theory that states have the right to nullify, or invalidate, federal laws which they view as being unconstitutional; or federal laws that they view as having exceeded Congresses’ constitutionally authorized powers. The Supreme Court has rejected nullification, finding that under Article III of the Constitution, the power to declare federal laws unconstitutional has been delegated to the federal courts and that states do not have the authority to nullify federal law.

    joe Reply:

    It’s like CA’s stricter air quality standards. CA cannot relax Fed standards but CA can go further than federal standards.

    I think the court will treat CEQA as a superset of NEPA and allow it’s application as long as CEQA does not interfere with NEPA compliance.

    Bakersfield, once in litigation, will find itself down a dead end path. Eventually CAHSR will pass court review and then the City will have NO leverage.

    Alan Reply:

    Just the other day, I was looking at Judge Kenny’s 2013 ruling in the Atherton cases, where he released the CHSRA from his writs regarding the Peninsula Program EIR. The issue of participation did come up, although IIRC the judge ruled that the PAMPA plaintiffs did participate, thereby exhausting their administrative remedies. Bakersfield may be different. They whined about not having 6 months to make their comments, but that didn’t stop their planning guy from submitting a massive document full of more whining. In comparison, Fresno submitted a much more thoughtful and coherent set of comments with constructive suggestions. And they’re getting a lot of what they asked for.

    I agree that CEQA needs fixing, and I think it’s in everyone’s best interest if CHSRA continues to follow the CEQA Guidelines, but if preemption gives them a “get out of court free” card, well…thank you, Jeff Denham!

  5. Eric
    May 30th, 2014 at 02:21

    “That’s BART running next to Oakland Children’s Hospital.”

    So HSR will run at BART speeds? I guess synonymouse was right to call it “AmBART”.

    Alan Reply:

    Looks like the hospital is roughly a half-mile or less from the Amtrak station, which is next to the site of the HSR station. So I’d guess that the majority of HSR trains will either be decelerating on approach to the station, or accellerating on departure, bringing the speeds passing the hospital somewhat closer to the BART range. Express trains, of course, would be faster, but IIRC it’s yet to be determined how many trains would actually skip Bakersfield.

    And in terms of vibration effects, I’d surmise that there’s a heck of a lot more vibration from BNSF freight movements that there would be from the much lighter HSR trainsets.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Yeah, the Cheerleaders are finally accepting BART as the closest model or template to PBHSR. Not a perfect match, as hsr will use more conventional tech(we hope), but the best available in California.

    The most grievous analogy is the management model, which in BART’s case, is atrocious. PBHSR will also be government owned and operated with some sort of public(either appointed or elected)board of directors who will be hopelessly politicized and know next to nothing of railroading. Revolving door managers ala Crunican, Dugger, Nathaniel Ford It will end being run for the benefit of militant unions just like BART and Muni.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    It’s not late for IOS North! Hopefully the GOP doesn’t rally behind Bakersfield because they are the one obstacle that could take the project down. Forget PAMPA or Palmdale or even the Tea Party. This is the last, best hope opponents have is to once construction begins, sabotage Bakersfield.

  6. joe
    May 30th, 2014 at 03:29

    Audio Only of the may 23rd appellate hearing
    May 23, 2014
    California High Speed Rail, 3rd District Appellate Court hearing, Bond validation and Tos et al.

    By way of

    Alan Reply:

    Listening to the audio, it’s obvious that Flashman was way, *way* out of his league. What the “calwatchdog” blog conveniently omits is that the justices grilled him for not being able to cite a single case–not one–which supports his view that the bond committee acted improperly or without sufficient evidence. He even admitted that if Bill Lockyer had walked into the bond committee and said in effect, “I know a lot about money stuff, and this looks good”–that would be sufficient. He also screwed his “co-counsel” from Jarvis and UP by leaving them crumbs of the allotted half-hour. Not that it would have mattered anyway. It seems pretty clear that the justices will overturn Kenny on the bond validation.

    The blog also whines that Asst. AG Moody got his full 30 minutes. Well, so did the opposition. Flashman did a p***-poor job of allocating and using the time, but he knew the rules going in. Flashman was like a kid with a broken pitching arm trying to strike out Barry Bonds.

    joe Reply:

    At one point Robie, who challenged many of Flashman’s points, said the lawyer “was trying too hard.” – See more at:

    Flashman started off with risk in spending the money. He compared the risk in HSR to the Apollo Project and Apollo 11.

    Judicial rebuttal was the State water project was successful with far less controls than those in Prop1a.

    Also brought up the Laurel & Hardy mistake: They only put their challenge to the Appropriation in the reply rebuttal and are now arguing it.

    synonymouse Reply:

    PBHSR is a conservative establishment developer pet project. This is just political theater, just like global warming bs.

    Alan Reply:

    Justice Robie was absolutely right. Flashman was trying too hard, and appeared totally flustered and uncertain. He was in way over his head. The justices and the deputy AG handled things in a calm, professional manner. Flashman didn’t, and it showed.

    synonymouse Reply:

    strictly political theater, going thru the motions for the stakeholders and clients.

    The real determinant is how worried the party hierarchy(Newsom, etc.)is about this thing blowing up in their faces after Jerry is pushing daisies. Queretaro solution.

    I’d say one of both sides will appeal whatever develops.

  7. Amanda in the South Bay
    May 30th, 2014 at 04:52

    I live about a mile from Fremont BART, and I can definitely hear the trains coming into and leaving the station all the time.

    Alan Reply:

    I live about a mile from an active freight railroad, and I can hear trains coming and going. So what? Sound carries through the atmosphere.

  8. 202_Cyclist
    May 30th, 2014 at 08:30

    Another reason to invest in high speed rail and transit.

    Staggering toll: Car crashes cost $871 billion a year

    By Larry Copeland
    May 29, 2014

    “Highway crashes create an enormous economic toll on the lives of Americans, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says in a new study. The annual price tag for those crashes: $871 billion in economic loss and societal harm in 2010.

    The total includes $277 billion in economic costs – nearly $900 for each person living in the USA – and $594 billion in societal harm from the loss of life and the pain and decreased quality of life because of injuries…”

    StevieB Reply:

    There were over 34,000 deaths caused by automobile collisions in the United States in 2012 which is the last year reported. It is difficult to calculate the dollar cost of that many deaths but it is not insignificant.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Last rumor on saw on the internet is that the insurance companies use 5 million dollars as average claim when there is a death. Not automobile deaths but deaths in general. At a million per automobile death that’s 34 billion a year.

    202_Cyclist Reply:

    The US DOT uses $9M per fatality for cost/benefit analysis. Of course, there is also the tragic emotional cost as well as the economic cost. In 2013, there were just under 33,000 auto fatalities. The cost of the fatalities is $297B. I think the article stated that there were 3.9M auto-related injuries in 2013 as well. There is also the congestion costs that auto accidents cause on the roads and highways, and the cost for emergency responders to attend to the vehicle crashes

    202_Cyclist Reply:

    Economic Values Used in Analyses

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    It’s no unsual for half of the police budget to be traffic enforcement…. and for traffic violations to have their own separate court(s).

    John Burrows Reply:

    About the same number of deaths as there were in 1934 and 1935. When it comes to automobile safety, we must have been doing something right the last 80 years.

    Eric Reply:

    Great. We’ve managed to make an inherently dangerous mode of transport somewhat less dangerous. How about we start considering switching to inherently safe modes of transport whenever possible?

    Alon Levy Reply:

    And about four and half times the per capita death rate of the EU.

  9. jimsf
    May 30th, 2014 at 10:38

    So the qualification now, for being elected to public office, is to be an idiot.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    It’s been that since Saint Ronnie was governor.

  10. jimsf
    May 30th, 2014 at 10:38

    how does a two track railroad take up “vast swaths of land”

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    It does if you think it’s going to let those evil city people shed cooties all over you.

    In nice round numbers a 100 foot wide right of way takes up 12 acres per mile. An 800 mile system would take up 9,600 acres. A lot of it already being used for transportation. How many McMansions on one acre lots have been built in the past few years? How many on half acre lots? How many acres would a alternate mode of transportation use? If they end up running 12 500 passenger trains an hour that’s 6.000 people. Or one lane of highway with 3 people in every car. Driving is slow so those 6,000 people spend twice as much time on the road.So you need more lanes. How many acres are in a smallish airport?

    EJ Reply:

    Can you ever respond to anything without being nasty? You’re like Richard M. after a lobotomy.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Do you ever have anything to say other than “Mommy he’s being mean” ?

    EJ Reply:


  11. Mac
    May 30th, 2014 at 11:33

    I’m sorry Robert, but this blog is simply insulting. Using the Bakersfield Californian as your “source” for factual information is a joke. In this blog, you have minimized the impacts so much it is comical.
    I love the idea of a silent high speed train that is imperceptable at 88 feet too. The Downtown Business Association supports the idea of a downtown station, but they do not support the recommended alignment. In fact they elected NOT to attend the Fresno Board meeting to offer support. I think you need to do a higher level of research before you represent your “opinions” to be “facts”.

  12. nslander
    May 30th, 2014 at 12:17

    “I’m sorry Robert, but this blog is simply insulting. Using the Bakersfield Californian as your “source” for factual information is a joke.”

    Please identify any factual inaccuracy cited by that source.

  13. Mac
    May 30th, 2014 at 12:27

    It is elevated at the height of our ICUs and our ORs,” Peters said. “It will be 88 feet from our door. Eighty-eight feet is barely to the — it’s short of the 30-yard line on a football field (Californian)
    That’s BART running next to Oakland Children’s Hospital. It works just fine.

    Mac Reply:

    nslander..Robert’s analysis and comparison to Bart is laughable.

    nslander Reply:

    IOW, you had no reason to impugn the “source”.

    Mac Reply:

    If the source put in the meatier facts and comprehensively laid out the concerns of Kern County…it wouldn’t be so easy for this blog to start throwing rocks at what is reported.. If one wants the true facts..they should be looking at the FEIR, the poor mitigations and the documented impacts. It’s all in there. The point being…use more than one source when you generalize how an entire county stands on an issue.

  14. Mac
    May 30th, 2014 at 12:33

    “The main reason Bakersfield has changed its mind is because of the disruption that a downtown station – and more to the point, the tracks connecting to it – would bring. But that disruption is not major, and its impacts can be mitigated easily.” (Robert).
    Impacts cannot be easily mitigated —therefore prepared statement of overriding considerations (source FEIR Fresno-Bakersfield )

    Mac Reply:

    The problem with the Bakersfield California references is that the newspaper does not report the full detail of impacts….it tends to interview people and then edit comments or print them out of context. If people are relying on the Californian as a good source of how people/local agencies etc view the local impacts, they need to think again. If anything, the California helps to project that problems are minimal due to their LACK of investigative reporting. Frustrating to locals, but a reality.

  15. EJ
    May 30th, 2014 at 12:40

    Why does it matter? If they don’t want it downtown, then don’t build it downtown. It would most likely be cheaper to build the station on the outskirts anyway.

    In 1999 nobody was talking about building a giant 100 foot viaduct, and Bakersfield was desperate for something, anything to be built downtown. The reality is that HSR matters very little to the future of downtown Bakersfield; its revival is due to local patronage, not out of town tourists.

    Mac Reply:

    agreed. In general locals in 1999 were not aware of the extent of the viaduct work if the BNSF route was chosen… most were thinking that the route would parallel the UP up highway 99 or possibly HWY 5. (This was before Prop 1A and the 2005 EIR) . The City Council is a part time, all-volunteer council. They assumed (wrongly) that they would have the ability to re-visit station location choices once the adverse environmental impacts were known. Even in 2003, as the EIR was in the works, they were clear with the HSRA, that they had not made a definitive decision ( documentation available on KCOG website).
    As EJ says…why does it matter so much to those of you who don’t even live in the area? If Bakersfield doesn’t want it downtown–then your conclusions as to why they “should” probably aren’t accurate. It appears that this blog doesn’t really care what Bakersfield’s needs are…so why belabor this?

    EJ Reply:

    Not to mention a suburban location could be straighter, so non-stopping trains wouldn’t have to slow down.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Mac’s argument is undercut by the destruction being wrought by the Centennial Freeway project as we speak. Bakersfield will plow the whole City under to get I 40 extended to the 5, but won’t do anything for a train that reduces reliance on fossil fuels.

    synonymouse Reply:

    You do not need an Amalgamated chauffeur to ride.

    And soon, maybe, maybe, driverless and electric. More likely than DogLegRail not needing a substantial subsidy to run any trains to Mojave.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Motorist don’t have to pay fares based on these salaries:

    “Actual Examples of BART Station Agent Salaries and Job Description

    Olivia Spicer – $175K (head station agent for A-line)
    Christin Nicholas -$153K
    Maria Burrell – $149K
    Raymond Chueh – $149K
    Chris Manalo -$159K
    (The list is deep)


    According to the public job description and salary information, the job only requires a high school diploma and 2-3 years of public facing customer service.

    In 2012 she made $159K, AS IN $159,000 for a job that requires a GED/HS Diploma and three years of working at a 7-11.”

    Drawn from a blog during the BART strike

    joe Reply:

    Bitter old man left complaining about people’s salaries and ripping Oakland and SF BART stations.

    synonymouse Reply:


    synonymouse Reply:

    They want to run thru downtowns because this is AmBART. PBthink – commute ops not genuine hsr.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Mac, you are running up against PB’s instinctual drive to hollow-core pour. It is compulsive, like Peter Sellers’ Dr Strangelove with his left arm beating down his right arm which keeps trying to give the sieg heil salute. The only way to suppress this delinquent behavior is to keep coming at PB hard and fast over and over. The way PAMPA did. Of course, it really helps to be filthy rich and connected, like aforesaid PAMPA and the Tejon Ranch.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    El meu aerolliscador està ple d’anguiles

    joe Reply:

    No excuses allowed. Fresno isn’t having the same problems.

    BEFORE Gilroy recommended the downtown alignment we paid for a study and outreach effort to show the options and have residents get involved with the envisioning of the city and impacts.

    AFTER the study and outreach finished, the City used the results and voted to recommend the downtown station alignment.

    The RECOMMENDATION is not final – CAHSRA will to do a more detailed study of the impacts so the city can decided if they want to keep or move the station. The City will get a grant o do it’s won work.

    Bakersfield made choices in 1999 and had years to revisit them, to ask for information or do their own damn homework. Bakersfield has had the SAME CITY MANAGER for 20 years. One guy owns this and it’s the City Manager who is delaying the project with an EIR lawsuit and NO PLAN to offer as a alternative.


    Paul Dyson Reply:

    I agree with you joe. A city the size of Bakersfield has the resources and has had the time to work through this.

    joe Reply:

    Thanks. Eventually they’ll stop and get involved. Tandy’s going to demand money for the City to pay for staff (as Fresno got) and he’ll get it, declare victory and they’ll save face.

    Same in PAMPA – the residents want to plan for improved grade crossings and connectivity along the Caltrain corridor but HSR opponents fear any planning or proposal for local infrastructure money would weaken their steadfast opposition.

    Palo Alto for example
    Map here
    Study is here

    Generate a community vision for land use, transportation, and urban design opportunities along the Caltrain corridor, particularly in response to improvements to fixed rail services along the tracks through Palo Alto. The study may address some High Speed Rail (HSR) issues in a timely manner, but it is not limited to the HSR effort and would provide a vision and context for other rail improvements (even without HSR)
    and the City’s land use, transportation and urban design
    response to those actions.

    synonymouse Reply:

    “Bakersfield has had the SAME CITY MANAGER for 20 years.”

    How many years has Heminger been on the throne at MTC?

    Mac Reply:

    First of all, I applaud Gilroy for their efforts. It is not disputed that this was a wise move. However I see that you too have been told that “CAHSRA will do a more detailed study of the impacts, so the city can decide if they want to keep or move the station”. I hope you are right–you may run into problems if the CAHSRA does not think the impacts are as bad as you do..

    As for Fresno. Bear in mind that Tom Richard from Fresno has been a Board Member for years, owns lands hundreds of feet from the current station…. He has been in the trenches making sure all the “ts” are crossed and “i’s” dotted. Fresno has had twice as many meetings as the rest of the south San Joaquin Valley cities. Of course, they have fewer problems. Makes sense.

    joe Reply:

    As for Fresno. Bear in mind that Tom Richard from Fresno has been a Board Member for years, owns lands hundreds of feet from the current station….

    That’s unfair to suggest Fresno has special insight or treatment. You are right that Fresno’s been engaged sooner and longer which is why they are further along. It’s simply a difference in style and IMHO not being combative as Tandy seems to be by reflex.

    Tandy doesn’t complain he can’t get a meeting or their ideas are being ignored. He has no ideas and no interest in meetings until the Authority’s information meets his standards. It’s that ridiculous.

    Gilroy is trying to focus the CAHSRA alignment and State studies to places where the City finds desirable. Noise and vibration are going to be major issues and we may decide to recommend the station be moved out of town but we’ll know what we are choosing between, why we changed our recommendation and trade offs with sprawl/development.

    datacruncher Reply:

    Mac, don’t forget that Kern County’s Fran Florez was a Board Member from 2002-2010. Tom Richards has only been a member since 2010.

    Mac Reply:

    Point well taken. Fran continues to support the BNSF route as it is the only one that intersects Shafter (her home town) and would allow for a possible heavy maint. facility within its city limits. If she was aware of the extent of elevated viaducts and the large number of environmental impacts to urban Bakersfield, she was keeping it close to the vest so to speak. The HSRA had been using the enticement of a “likely” HMF to many areas in the south valley to sell the BNSF route (everyone later found out after comparing notes..after the fact. Promises, promises :)

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    No she very likely had a reasonable expectation that the people whose job it is to look at things published will look at them.

    Mac Reply:

    The UP route along HWY 99 was still an alternative in that most people still thought would be chosen. The UP route is the superior route, but politics wins again.

    Mac Reply:

    I take that back.. Hwy 5 through Tejon is the superior route…but I know better than to poke that bear lol

    datacruncher Reply:

    The Shafter city limits extend east to 99 and the UP. There is about 4 miles of land running along the UP that is under the control of the city of Shafter.

    That also means a UP/99 route still held the potential for Shafter to be the site of the HMF. That city was in a good situation with either route choice.

    So based on that I still don’t see why Fran Florez would have withheld info from the city of Bakersfield.

    Michael Reply:

    Next to UP through Bakersfield could work with BNSF from Fresno by cutting over to it north of the city.

    Trains could blow through along the UP because the UP alignment is a big arc and land use is mostly industrial.

    The station would be at the north end of downtown. You would get a nice N-S axis with the convention center on the south, near the existing Amtrak station, and a new north anchor along wherever the station would be on the UP. I don’t venture a guess for “the best spot” because I’ve only ever been to the Amtrak station in Bako.

    The line could continue to Tehachipi, or turn due south, running about mile mile east and parallel to 184.

    Of course, UP won’t have it, so we’re where we are now.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Just because they thought another route would be picked doesn’t mean it’s their job to look and comment on other proposals. Or at least comment on some of the proposals. Apparently reading htem was too much work for them. It’s not the State’s job to hold their hand and make them do their jobs.

    datacruncher Reply:

    But the BNSF route could have been used to drop straight south from Shafter toward either Tejon or south then east to Tehachapi, and it also could route north of Bakersfield then along the east side to Tehachapi, avoiding downtown Bakersfield either way. So there would have been no reason for her to withhold info about downtown impacts since a BNSF route meant Shafter would still be on the route with or without downtown Bakersfield.

    Mac Reply:

    In 2010, the UP route could have been chosen over the BNSF route also. That would have left Shafter out of the equation. Kern County would have likely fought to have the UP remain on the table had it been widely known how adverse the impacts would be on the BNSF route. Instead, they took it off the table before the draft EIRs were released.
    I don’t know what it has been like in other route sections…but the HSRA did not/would not respond with specific environmental impact info prior to the draft EIR release. They stated we would have to wait until the EIR came out. I know this from personal experience. The meetings and public open houses that the HSRA sent their contracted people to were an absolute joke. I was absolutely shocked at how little they knew..or were willing to say. One person actually said in private that he was not able/allowed to answer the impact questions ..or even give a professional opinion until the actual EIR came out. Yet they say this was a collaborative effort and the public was included in the process of choosing the alignment? NOT. That is not possible if facts are withheld—for WHATEVER reason.

    datacruncher Reply:

    As I point out just above, Shafter controlled land along the UP also. So they would not have been left out of either route choice.

    joe Reply:

    The lame excuse is Bakersfield and Kern Co managers and engineers were helpless until a detailed EIR was released.

    Shafter, Bakersfield and Kern Co can’t come to an agreement about an alignment which is why there were NO Alternative alignments proposed for the CAHSRA to study.

    Kern Co claims they proposed the CAHSRA avoid the downtown with a discussion on moving the ROW but did not even have a crayon line on a map to show what they were suggesting and of course no coordination with Bakersfield since Tandy subsequently companied to a reporter he didn’t know any such suggestion was made.

    I was absolutely shocked at how little they knew..or were willing to say. One person actually said in private that he was not able/allowed to answer the impact questions ..or even give a professional opinion until the actual EIR came out.

    Why is this shocking ?

    Employees are obviously not allowed to discuss the EIR until it is released. If they make a statement then they’ll be sued if it’s misunderstood and their statements would be included in any EIR lawsuit.

    Alan Reply:

    There’s no way that the staffers or contractor’s employees at one of those meetings can answer with absolute accuracy any possible question about a project as large and complicated as HSR. Better that they take the question and promise an answer from the person with appropriate expertise, than to give a bad answer.

    Mac Reply:

    There was no HMF proposed on UP

    Mac Reply:

    I am sure that there are other reasons Fran favored/favors the BNSF route… I’m sure she would be glad to discuss them with you. It doesn’t really matter now anyway, does it?

    Mac Reply:

    I suspect another big factor was that the UP was pushing back a lot harder than BNSF with regard to protecting their interests/ROW at the time.

    datacruncher Reply:

    Lets think about that.

    The request for expressions of interest was issued in Summer 2009. Responses were due January 2010. But no area proposed a HMF site south of Fresno along the UP. Here is a map of locations proposed.

    You have said several times that people still thought in 2010 that the UP route could be chosen. But KernCOG (which Bakersfield is a part of) and the other areas south of Fresno focused on BNSF for HMF site proposals. No proposals at all along the UP from any area. That does not indicate that local leaders thought UP could still be chosen.

    By 2009 Kern County (and Bakersfield) leaders knew to focus on BNSF. If the public did not know that info then it again indicates a disconnect between what the regional leaders knew and what they shared with the public.

    Again, I understand local frustrations. But I see lots of indications that Kern County/Bakersfield leaders knew information that apparently they were not sharing with the public.

    Some of the local frustration needs to be turned on those local leaders who had information and were making decisions.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    dc, two days ago his story was that no one told nobody nothing. Yesterday his story was that nobody thought that anyone was thinking about what has been proposed. Today he’s arguing that in super duper secret meetings the stalwart leaders of Bakersfield presented their superior plans.
    The process has a progression, the leaders in Bakersfield are aware of that process because they get great big gooey gobs of money for things other than HSR. They choose to ignore the process. Too bad.

    Mac Reply:

    Joe, I would really like to know how you know that “Tandy doesn’t complain he can’t get a meeting or their ideas are being ignored”. and that “he has no ideas and no interest in meetings until the Authority’s information meets his standards”. Seriously, I would like to know your source on that. I am not trying to be adversarial here.

    joe Reply:

    Joe, I would really like to know how you know

    Because he says exactly that in his public comments and newspapers quotes if you follow what he’s saying precisely. He’s never mentioned them refusing to meet with his staff or failing to respond to a city alignment proposal.
    Morales has also commented on Bakersfield not offering any alternatives to study.

    What stunned me was that Tandy didn’t tell the city a counter offer was made on an alignment and made no effort to respond because the CAHSRA wasn’t specific enough – to his arbitrary standard of specificity. The newspaper busted him and he had to apologize.

    Mac Reply:

    Wow Joe, I thought you actually had a reliable, more thorough source. I thought you may have actually talked to the man..or been in a meeting and heard him actually say some of the things you stated that he said. I totally get the point on the reaction re: apology for not telling the council in a more timely fashion about the discussion about a possible “hybrid” alignment.
    That was disappointing. I do believe that the hybrid alignment had not been put on paper yet officially by the HSRA… According to some on this blog, that means it didn’t yet exist. In that same vein…because a bypass route is not currently officially on paper…it does not exist and was never discussed.

    joe Reply:

    An Official apology letter from Tandy to the City of Bakersfield is far better sourced then your speculation.

    1) he received a counter proposal from the CAHSRA for a alignment change when Tandy objected to the original
    2) he did nothing
    3) he continued to do nothing and withheld that offer from the city council until he was busted by the newspaper.
    4) he apologized to the city council for withholding the information after he was busted in a newspaper article.
    5) his excuse was the proposed alternative was not detailed enough for him to reply to the authority so he admitted to not even responding.

    We have this apology on official letter head.

    You are not better sourced.
    He’s not responding to the authority, he has arbitrary standards before he’ll respond (his excuse) and he’s not communicating with the city and clearly not the county when the Authority gave him this proposed alignment adjustment.

    I think Tandy will fold for some money to pay for city staff. If they go to court he’s lost all leverage since a victory means the Authority can go ahead and Tandy be damned.

    It will be hilarious to listen to any recorded arguments on how unfairly they treated the City and I bet some funny quotes on how HSR is tyranny and unfair to the City.

    1) Ker Co discussed – chatted – about a non downtown alignemn t wh

    joe Reply:


    More here:

    Morales sums up the incompetence in Kern Co.

    “If we have credible, third-party proposals from elected officials or governmental agencies, somebody takes the time to put together a proposal, I think we have a responsibility to take a look,” said Morales, the rail authority’s CEO.

    This is de facto saying that no governmental agency or city has offered a different route.

    What was offered?

    Kern COG had discussed different alternatives to avoid the disruption a downtown path would cause. Although it never gave the rail authority a proposed route map, one of the agency’s ideas involved running tracks along the city’s west side over open land already earmarked for future transportation projects.

    Executive Director Ahron Hakimi said the idea was to swing south of the metropolitan area, then turn north to join eastbound Highway 58 toward Tehachapi and, ultimately, Palmdale, where the rail authority wants to build another station. He said this would have allowed for a station somewhere in Bakersfield.

    “If they have looked at (that proposal), they haven’t consulted with us in detail, certainly, what they’re doing,” he said. “We would’ve welcomed a chance to be part of that analysis.”

    What proposal? No route map – no proposed station location. Ideas and talk uncoordinated with the City. Here’s Tandy blaming HSR for he and Kern Co not coordinating.

    In interviews Monday and Tuesday, Tandy said he was unaware a bypass study actually existed, despite repeated conversations with high-speed rail officials about the city’s desire that the alignment not go through downtown.

    Kern Co talks about putting a station somewhere in Bakersfield along a unspecified route and City manager Tandy is unaware of the Country’s “proposal” and the County doesn’t think to ask Tandy if their “proposal is even acceptable to the city.

    How can CAHSRA respond in detail to vague, uncoordinated jabber?

    Mac Reply:

    Are we reading the same article? :
    “The CEO of the California High-Speed Rail Authority, Jeff Morales, said in an interview Tuesday that the bypass alignment now is “not under active consideration.”He would not discuss the proposal in detail or say why the rail authority rejected it in favor of the current plan to cross downtown. The agency declined to provide a copy of the proposal. News of the proposal’s rejection disappointed Bakersfield City Manager Alan Tandy and transportation planners at the Kern Council of Governments.
    “If we have credible, third-party proposals from elected officials or governmental agencies, somebody takes the time to put together a proposal, I think we have a responsibility to take a look,” said Morales, the rail authority’s CEO. But, he added, “it does not change what we’re doing” on the project’s Fresno-to-Bakersfield section.”

    Sounds to me that they stated they had a responsibility to look at least meet and listen to the proposal.. and then promptly rejected the idea. They wouldn’t be able to revise the EIR and still meet the deadline for the Federal funds.
    What you didn’t note is that the Californian (Jan 17 2014) put in a records request to see the report generated from that meeting. They wanted the HSRA to provide a copy of the study that led the Authority to dismiss a proposal to bypass central Bakersfield to the west instead of crossing through downtown. The CAHSRA responded by citing an exemption in section 6254(a) of the CA Government Code. The agency did not state why it thought withholding the study outweighed the public interest in disclosing it or who made that determination.

    synonymouse Reply:

    “The CAHSRA responded by citing an exemption in section 6254(a) of the CA Government Code. The agency did not state why it thought withholding the study outweighed the public interest in disclosing it or who made that determination.”

    What is the justification for that? National security? Or job security.

    I suppose they would take the same tactic on I-5 and Tejon proposals.

    RICO time, if you ask me.

    joe Reply:

    “The CEO of the California High-Speed Rail Authority, Jeff Morales, said in an interview Tuesday that the bypass alignment now is “not under active consideration.

    It’s too late now. Don’t you get it?

    Nothing was ever proposed as an alternative.

    We’re arguing over how Bakersfield screwed itself out of influencing the alignment.

    Tandy’s belligerence and sitting on a counter offer and not replying didn’t stop the HSR Authority for doing it’s mandated job.

    If they can find ways to adjust the alignment to straighten it out , that is benefit the Project, the Project will take the time and expense to study the proposals. Accommodation time is over.

    Tandy now has to decided if he’ll sue on the EIR and lose his last bit of leverage of if they fold and get funding to staff city employees to do their part to plan how the city will adjust it’s infrastructure to the project.

    William Reply:

    @EJ, please take a look at the satellite picture of Bakersfield from Google Map, Bing Map, etc… the north-east bypass would go through oil-field, the south-west bypass would impact many more residential properties and a much longer route…..

    Joey Reply:

    The southwest bypass can swing around any meaningful development. The route is longer, but it’s also not through an urban area, meaning that travel time and cost would be comparable to or better than the downtown alignment – remember the viaducts and 115mph curve.

    joe Reply:

    Bakersfield and Kern Co haven’t proposed any acceptable alternative so it’s a problem where ever they put HSR. Moving the alignment out of town doesn’t stop opposition – it solves nothing but further delays the project. Moving HSR doesn’t stop a lawsuit or alignment opposition.

    Bakersfield Commerce wants HSR downtown and the modeled ridership and revenue will be higher (any doubts?) with a downtown location which is important to the State.

    The State has the power to put HSR downtown. It will exercise that power and when Tandy and crew realize it they’ll ask for and be given money to help plan and declare victory.

    Joey Reply:

    I was talking about technical feasibility and cost of a bypass – if you take Tehachapi as a given then the downtown alignment makes sense given other criteria, though as far as opposition goes there aren’t as many people to complain on the bypass alignment.

    joe Reply:

    Take Tehachapi as a given. There’s a state plan in place and draft plan in circulation.

    Lawsuits require one person such as Tos. Opposition will be there either in or out of the City. Moving doesn’t fix the EIR lawsuit. We have an EIR. it’s been reviewed for comment.

    Bakersfield has no proposed fixes or adjustments. No reason to incur more costs so go ahead as planned and fix the EIR if necessary.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Tehachapi is a diktat.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Not longer if you proceed to Tejon.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    but if they go with Tejon they won’t be able to build MegaLevittown in Mojave so that worker bees can commute to their jobs in Silicon Valley using the train station that won’t be there.

    datacruncher Reply:

    Actually the discussions of a downtown Bakersfield station way back when included that an elevated route would be needed.

    I’ve found documents that date back a decade or more that show those discussions were happening. There are probably other docs like Council or County Board meeting packets, workshop documents, etc that date pre-1999 showing info that was available to Bakersfield/Kern County leaders.

    A few I have found include this 1994 study prepared for the KernCOG
    and this 2001 paper from the Kern Transportation Foundation
    plus the 2003 KernCOG study I mention below.

    The Bakersfield and Kern County leadership including Tandy and Hall knew many of the impacts that might result from a downtown station, maybe they kept it secret from the public but they knew downtown meant an elevated route and other impacts.

    For example, Kern County COG did a 2003 study
    that mentions a 3 mile viaduct would be needed to serve a downtown station. That study’s reference was the “Draft High Speed Rail Corridor Evaluation Report – December 30, 1999” as its source for a viaduct. So discussions that downtown Bakersfield required an elevated route date back to at least 1999.

    That same KernCOG 2003 study even included a proposal for an elevated route that included a triple stack with BNSF at ground-level, HSR in the middle and the Centennial Freeway on top.

    In the comment summaries of that 2003 study, on pdf page 107, the Downtown Business Association (DBA) pointed out that cons to a downtown station site included “require HSR to be elevated” and “noise impacts to local land uses, such as churches, schools, places of public assembly, courtrooms, council chambers, library, hotel and BHS; potential costly mitigations”.

    I understand that Bakersfield residents have concerns, but I find it absurd that they still allow local leaders to pretend they didn’t know until recently about potential impacts.

    joe Reply:

    Tandy was city manager starting about 1992.

    All this was on his watch. What a squandered opportunity to let HSR move ahead and not try to use the construction to help Bakersfield. Yelling from the sidelines as if he’s been powerless to influence the project.

    Mac Reply:

    Thank you for putting the links out again. I am familiar with these. As you note on page 107, elevation is briefly mentioned. However you must admit that there is little if any detail about it. These reports were likely not widely circulated–in looking at who the “stakeholders” are determined to be. Not many were internet savvy in 1999..and who knows when KCOG had the reports available online.

    Much of the data, assumptions for light rail placement and highway routing never occurred or are way outdated— some completely irrelevant since written 1999-2003. You wouldn’t know that unless you lived in the community or worked in some planning aspect for this community.
    The cost was set at $25 billion for the entire HSR system–that would be completed by 2016. The plan stated that the train speed would not exceed 70-100 mph in urban areas. It wasn’t determined if steel-wheel or mag lev would be chosen. Tehachapi v. Tejon had not been decided. UP v BNSF was undecided. Each of these variables would be important to know before an appropriate site could be intelligently chosen. They had up to several sites outlined, each potentially a reasonable site (depending on which variables were decided upon). When pinned down to make a decision, they chose what seemed to be a safe choice. However, I really doubt that they thought NO other location would be studied. Given that it has taken almost 15 years to uncover the impacts of those then unknown variables, it is reasonable that an alternative station location would be a better fit now. All alignments proposed in the EIR draft for the Fresno-Bakersfield segment (first available in 2011) were within a few hundred feet of each other, all elevated..all with a downtown station. Therefore Kern rightly protested. The slight tweek to a hybrid alignment was the best the HSRA said they could offer in the FEIR, but in reality that was likely done to skirt a lawsuit by the Kern High School District.

    Once the race began to get the few billion $ in federal funding (and have it spent before it expires Sept 2017)….the HSRA would not/will not consider any station change–even if Tandy paid for a study out of his own pocket and had it blessed by the Pope. Yes, there were errors in judgment and problems with communication…but it wasn’t as one-sided as this blog tends to portray.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    If downtown was so awful why didn’t they object and suggest a suburban/exurban station back in 2011.

    Mac Reply:

    Citizens did. The HSRA didn’t listen. By the end of 2011 the City of Bakersfield officially adopted a resolution to oppose the current project as proposed. The County of Kern followed

    joe Reply:

    No they did not suggest an alternative site.

    No credible counter-proposal was offered. No map with crayon drawings to show where the authority can study a new alignment.

    Kern Co’s suggested bypass ( verbal arm waving without even a crayon on map line) didn’t specify where the new station location within Bakersfield would be placed. They didn’t even run this idea pass the City.

    lem? NADA.
    No suggested alternative and limited funds to study alternatives so ANY route was going to be opposed.

    They even had the hubris to stall on responses to alignment

    joe Reply:

    Each of these variables would be important to know before an appropriate site could be intelligently chosen. They had up to several sites outlined, each potentially a reasonable site (depending on which variables were decided upon). When pinned down to make a decision, they chose what seemed to be a safe choice. However, I really doubt that they thought NO other location would be studied.

    Amazing that it CA’s problem to find a place for a HSR station in Bakersfield using random guessing.

    The City is responsible to propose other places to study station locations since each study costs CA money and because the State has the power to put a station exactly where it says it is going to put a station.

    Observer Reply:

    One difference between Fresno and Bakersfield is that Fresno has a strong mayor form of government whose city manager works for the mayor; and Fresno’s current mayor is passionate about HSR – understands its benefits and those of a downtown station. I take it that Bakersfield has a council/city manager form of government – it is obvious. Actually I give credit to Mr. Tandy and to Bakersfield for having the same city manager for 20 years. Fresno used to have a council/city manager form of government, and it was lucky to have a city manager last even 2 years back then. Fresno has had some very mediocre council members; but now it has a strong mayor form of government to make up for that. I aways thought that in a council/city manager form of government that the city manager was suppose to take policy direction from the council. I do not live in Bakersfield and do not follow their city business. My question is where has Bakersfield’s city council been since 1999? They need to own up and start giving Mr. Tandy some policy direction. Ultimately it is on Bakersfield’s city council.

    jonathan Reply:

    It’s hard to give HSR “policy direction” to your City Manager, when that City Manager is lying-by-omission about what CHSRA is doing and saying to Bakersfield.

    Mac Reply:

    You are right, Observer. The City Manager takes direction from the City Council. That is a difficult position to be in when your council is a volunteer/unpaid part-time council.

    Mac Reply:

    They could have studied at least one of the other sites previously discussed in those earlier studies–they would not.

    wdobner Reply:

    Just ten minutes after posting this you lectured Jonathan for ascribing motives to Bakersfield’s City Manager for which you feel there is no evidence. Where is there any evidence that the CHSRA “would not” study alternatives to the downtown Bakersfield alignment? Is there even evidence that the CHSRA was aware that there was an official push away from downtown Bakersfield? Given that the City Manager was not doing conveying information between the CHSRA and City Council (a documented fact), who was there to inform the CHSRA that a change in alignment was desired?

    Your desperate NIMBYism does not give you a pass to make demands of other posters which you are not going to abide by.

    Mac Reply:

    Wdobner… I am not lecturing, and I am not desperate. I chuckle at your comment that I “make demands?” Is that what you call “asking questions”? It is your opinion that my problem is NIMBYism. Perhaps you simply don’t like what I am saying? I am happy to answer your questions.
    There have been multiple meetings in Bakersfield with the CHSRA . FRA representatives were even here. The City of Bakersfield has stated in these meetings that they would like an outside station. They have documented in their comments in the FEIR (which is available online) The resolution that was delivered to the CAHSRA in 2011 is a document as well. The City Council minutes will outline the discussions about preparing lawsuits if talks with the CAHSRA continue to stall. These topics were also discussed at Kern Cog and documented. City Council members sit on the Kern Cog Board, as do Supervisors.
    Morales and Richard have been asked directly. They know. As noted previously,the Bakersfield Californian formally requested the HSRA to provide a copy of the study that led the Authority to dismiss a proposal to bypass central Bakersfield to the west instead of crossing through downtown. The CAHSRA responded by citing an exemption in section 6254(a) of the CA Government Code. The agency did not state why it thought withholding the study outweighed the public interest in disclosing it or who made that determination. . I guess you’d have to sue them to get that information.

    joe Reply:

    The City of Bakersfield has stated in these meetings that they would like an outside station.

    Where? No one can point to the preferred location because there is none.

    The resolution that was delivered to the CAHSRA in 2011 is a document as well.

    … without any suggested alternative site.

    CAHSRA is coming to Bakersfield along the agreed alignment. The city has no power to stop it.
    If Bakersfield or Kern Co wants a different station location then please tell us all where that alternative site(s) is/are.

    Instead of fighting over moving HSR to the preferred location (none exists for the City and County) CAHSRA is accused of hiding secret alignment studies. Benghazi!

    jonathan Reply:

    All alignments proposed in the EIR draft for the Fresno-Bakersfield segment (first available in 2011) were within a few hundred feet of each other, all elevated..all with a downtown station. Therefore Kern rightly protested.

    CHSRA asked the city of Bakersfield for feedback on possible alignments. The city of Bakersfield – i the person of Mr. tandy — arbitrarily and capriciously refused to reply, Deciding on new alignments — even new alternatives — is an iterative process. CHSRA offerexd very broad-brush alternatives, and asked Bakersfield for feedback on which to pursue (or amend), at the next, more detailed, round Mr. Tandy reused to participate in such a process.

    From the press reports at the time, it seems such behavior is Mr. Tandy’s SOP. that may work when the City of Bakersfield has the upper hand on what is done within its city limits. But not in this case.

    The City of bakerfield protested at the downtown route. CHSRA tried in good faith to negotiate a non-downtown route. Next, the City of Bakersfield opted out of negotiating alternate routes which didn’t go through downtown. Now the City of Bakersfield is suing, because non-downtown routes were no considered. How do you think _that_ will turn out, in a civil suit juged on the preponderance of evidence? Perhaps Bakersfield will have to pay a big chunk of the cost of developing and studying new routes, and issuing a revised EIR? If it does, you have Mr. Tandy to thank for it.

    Mac Reply:

    I ask you Jonathan…did you personally witness..or did one of your colleague witness Mr.Tandy refuse to reply, discuss or participate in the process of coming up with an alternative alignment?
    You are stating these accusations as facts and I only see you note that this is what it “seems” like is going on per old press reports?

    synonymouse Reply:

    Perhaps the UP and BNSF will help to pay for a Bakersfield civil suit. Their interests intersect.

    datacruncher Reply:

    Bakersfield really pushed the downtown route and station for years.

    There is a 2-page letter from Harvey Hall dated November 26, 2001 in the statewide EIR/EIS docs talking about downtown being the superior location and a North Bakersfield site as being less desirable. North Bakersfield referred I believe to the County’s preferred airport area site.

    There is a September 27, 2001 letter from Paul Rojas, then Public Works Director, in the same document package saying downtown was the “preferred” site.

    There are comments at CAHSRA Board meetings from city representatives over the years also continuing to promote a downtown station site over other local sites.

    If city leaders had thought more than one site should be evaluated they sure played it close to the vest. Battling with the County over downtown vs. 7th Standard Road as a site sure didn’t indicate they were open to studying multiple sites, instead they wanted the site that they thought would benefit the city more.

    I think city leaders knew what was needed to route to a downtown station. But once the BHS controversy hit in 2011 those same leaders appear to me to have started trying to protect their local political lives by pointing fingers elsewhere.

    Mac Reply:

    I don’t doubt there was some self-interest involved in this process clouding the issue…there always is, isn’t there (on both sides of the issue) ? Again 2001 was 13 years ago. Kern County is a different place. Had they done the draft Fresno-Bakersfield EIR soon after 2001, alternative sites would likely have been investigated. Keeping the plan on hold for a decade while a city grows exponentially and then only studying alignments that essentially parallel each other and have similar adverse impacts doesn’t seem reasonable or logical. The controversy hit in 2011 because this was the FIRST time the public was hearing of the severity of the impacts. Sadly, for some of the councilmembers it was a wake up call too.

    Mac Reply:

    The draft EIR was released in August 2011

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The process is well defined, we’ve spent the last 40 years or so defining it. The people responsible for assuring the city’s participation know how the process works or they wouldn’t be getting all that lovely highway money. if they choose not to participate there’s nothing the rest of the state can do about it.

    datacruncher Reply:

    Wasn’t the Bakersfield Vision 2020 plan a public process? They claim on this web page that over 13,000 people participated, I would assume at least some were involved with the transportation component.

    In the original plan published in January 2001, one of the transportation component goals was “Adopt a location for the high speed rail station”.

    In the various Vision 2020 updates since 2001 they tout that a downtown station location was adopted. In the 2005 update it says “The City, County, and KernCOG have reached consensus on a downtown location for a high speed rail station. The High Speed Rail Authority adopted the recommended downtown station location and routing through Palmdale.”

    Even at the 2010 update it still touts that consensus had been reached for a downtown station.

    Why did controversy wait until 2011? There were public workshops and documents before that showing the route was going to follow the BNSF into downtown Bakersfield, other possibilities had already been eliminated. For example, here are the boards from an August 19 2010 public workshop in the South Valley. They show the route superimposed over photo maps with landmarks clearly marked.
    Several slides show potential route impacts on BHS. Shouldn’t local leaders have had a concern then that they took to a wider public instead of waiting until 2011?

    As I said originally, what I see is a political leadership that made decisions that turned out to be unpopular with a larger citizenry. Yet 3 years after the outcry and those same leaders have suffered no political consequence?

    It makes me wonder if for all of the public blustering and finger pointing at CAHSRA, that maybe these same political leaders still in private prefer the station to be downtown no matter what. When all is said and done they can say “we tried” but bear no blame for what they wanted done anyway.

    Do any of the political leaders involved in recommending downtown own land within a few blocks of the proposed station (like you mentioned Richards does in Fresno implying it influenced things)? Maybe that should be looked into.

    joe Reply:

    “Even at the 2010 update it still touts that consensus had been reached for a downtown station.”

    The downtown business association still supports a downtown station. I’m not sure the City is against HSR. They’re confused right now. Residents don’t understand the project or impacts.

    This seems to have soured as the project advanced.

    The City failed to re-engage (or keep engaged) with residents on the project status and feedback to the HSR recommendations based on informed citizenry and city planning.

    Unable to answer questions and with no consensus on alternatives, they started to blame the HSR Authority for not spoon feeding them answers or providing Bakersfield with detailed alternatives in absence of guidance or acceptance criteria.

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    “Once the race began to get the few billion $ in federal funding (and have it spent before it expires Sept 2017)….the HSRA would not/will not consider any station change” (citation needed)

    joe Reply:

    The quote is found in the Bakersfield Californian.

    What’s not said nut obvious by omission is that City and County did not propose an alternative Station Location.

    Clearly they didn’t say the CAHSRA ignored the X-Y Location station Bakersfield proposed.

    They are complying that the opportunity to start from scratch without any good faith effort tot cooperate is over.

    They are expecting the Authority to spend more money and time to create new, detailed options for them consider without a commitment to support any one of the alternatives.

    The Authority is done wasting money on ambitious suggestions and in absence of serious participation, they’ve finished and moved on.

    State has always had the power to impose a solution on the City.

    synonymouse Reply:

    LA has the power to impose its will on the State. Always.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    That’s the way democracies work.

  16. Richard Mlynarik
    May 30th, 2014 at 14:37

    Bakersfield was right in 1999?

    Kewl. So does that mean CHSRA was right in 1999, meaning Altamont and Tejon, because that’s where we were before PB cooked the books for their own profit.

    William Reply:

    Bakersfield was right in 1999, so is San Jose in 1999…..

    William Reply:

    And LA in 1999…..

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Is that an endorsement of TransBay?

    The difference between 1999 and today is that transit is now popular and the darling of developers. It make sense to build tracks where as much of the State as possible can access it.

    EJ Reply:

    HSR isn’t “transit” any more than airplanes are “transit.” It’s for long distance intercity travel. It *can* attract a small population of long distance commuters who live near the stations, but it doesn’t have the same effect on development as transit.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    PB’s long term strategy is to sell every metro on the HSR line a mini-BART system. HSR puts the focus back on the urban core. Sure it is not “transit” but it’s transit’s best friend.

    Alon Levy Reply:


    That said, HSR to intercity travel is in many ways like rapid transit to local travel. The advantages and disadvantages are similar, but on a larger scale: high construction costs, low operating costs, high capacity; especial strength at serving linear corridors; symbiosis with strong centers.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Not low operating costs with $150k/yr station agents and $200k/yr platform employees. Amtrak is “low operating costs”?

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Who died and made Amtrak HSR?

    But if you look at the California HSR business plan, the operating costs there are low. Most of the ticket fare goes toward paying fixed cost like construction.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Adding 50 gratuitous miles of double track and catenary to be energized no matter how few trains are operated?

    The BART management model shows just how expensive PBHSR will be. Detours for subsidized commute ops torpedo any hope of hsr being in the black. A Veolia would be no match for an Amalgamated directly connected to the patronage machine by payola. Bloated payroll.

    You’re looking at a fiscal albatross. Queretaro redux. And that is without the threat of automated highways and electric motor vehicles. The noise and pollution of freeways would be greatly reduced, blowing out the environmental argument. And if Jerry’s real estate developer pals see they can sprawl just as well with freeways as rail there goes the muscle behind the DogLeg deviation.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The self driving electric cars aren’t going to be able to make it in 2:40. Building the highway to have every one use their self driving electric car will cost more than building a train that can get you there faster. And faster than flying. All those problems would go away if the car cabal hadn’t suppressed the jet pack things they demo’d in the 60s.

    synonymouse Reply:

    neither will the self driving electric fixed guideway Bombardierbahnwagons meandering their way to Mojave.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Normal people won’t care when it takes 2:38 instead of 2:40

    Eric Reply:

    “All those problems would go away if the car cabal hadn’t suppressed the jet pack things they demo’d in the 60s.”

    Are you serious? Look how much people pay for gasoline now. Imagine if they also had to constantly burn fuel to keep from falling to the ground for the duration of their trips. There’s no way to make jet packs affordable.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Nah, they’d be nuclear-powered jet packs.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Fusion powered like Dr. Brown’s DeLorean

    Alon Levy Reply:

    “Catenary to be energized no matter how few trains are operated”? How expensive do you think electrification maintenance is, anyway?

    synonymouse Reply:

    In this instance overhead is literally overhead. Minimize it, just as with all static costs. It costs just to be connected to the grid(PG&E will demand a minimal charge for sure)plus some current loss, load or not. Plus depreciation.

    Muni ripped down trolley coach wire on the #33 with route changes. They figured it was too expensive to mothball. I would have retained it against the future, but they wanted to reduce infrastructure.

    Queretaro. Milwaukee Road.

    EJ Reply:

    Please identify for us any railroad in the developed world – freight or passenger, transit or inter-city- that does not use union labor.

    synonymouse Reply:


    What’s wrong is when public transit unions buy politicians with campaign contributions and the public is left out. Amalgamated needs to learn it can lose a strike; they can get fired. There are many out there who will work as station agents for half of $150k/yr and be thrilled.

    Amalgamated and TWU have become too greedy and out of control. The BART directors are afraid of them. HSR handicapped with a backwoods detour will fare the same, requiring substantial and perennial subsidies due to over the top payroll and incompetent management.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    “Frank Wilner, national spokesman for the United Transportation Union, which represents many FEC workers…” (link)

    joe Reply:

    “There are many out there who will work as station agents for half of $150k/yr and be thrilled.

    There are people who would retire with half of your retirement and be thrilled.

    synonymouse Reply:

    That would put them in the poverty level. Mine is a little better than Social Security plus Medical.

    I could not afford to live in the Bay Area if it were not for Prop 13.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    There are ways to let senior citizens stay in their houses other than giving Union Pacific enormous tax breaks along with Walmart and office building owners and malls and….

    synonymouse Reply:

    No, there are not in California.

    These business interests are way too powerful. They always get their way, precisely like PAMPA and the Ranch and Palmdale real estate exploiters. Prop 13 was not intended to reduce the taxes on the humble classes. So far they have not been able to prevent that – but killing Prop 13 would. The gist, their plan, is for the bottom to pay for everything. Amalgamated’s $150k/yr. station agents.

    Prop 13 turned out to be a blessing in disguise, accidentally benefitting the hoi polloi. But that probably won’t last as California has become a sandbox for the super-rich. Limousine liberals. Non-wunderkinders nor inherited elite will have to decamp to Texas, etc., whether they like it or not.

    EJ Reply:

    Also there’s nothing inherently wrong with the idea of locating the terminus in the transbay terminal. It’s just the execution that’s questionable.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Yes, there is something inherently wrong – it is not IBG. Just ask Heminger, Kopp, Willie Brown.

    Otherwise we would have had it 20 years ago.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    In 1999, they hadn’t yet built the towers that made a DTX-Transbay Terminal-second tube alignment impossible. They also hadn’t yet built the Dumbarton water tunnel, so that advantage of knowing Dumbarton geology well did not yet exist. I suspect that even today, were it possible to build HSR to SF through Oakland without major SF CBD demolitions, it should be done instead of Dumbarton, as it is a few minutes faster for intercity trips to SF and much better in terms of regional rail capacity than any alignment that uses the Caltrain corridor.

    Emmanuel Reply:

    Can we build Tejon without violating Prop 1A that requires a station in Palmdale?

    Clem Reply:

    Yes, with Palmdale on the spur to Las Vegas

    Mac Reply:


    Zorro Reply:

    That would be more expensive, so forget a spur & Tejon, since all planning these days looks at Tehachapi specifically at a Bakersfield to Palmdale EIR, I found this here that discusses this Here and several alternatives in the Tehachapi pass…

  17. PRE
    May 30th, 2014 at 16:54

    Livermore doesn’t want BART downtown, Bakersfield doesn’t want HSR downtown. Why is this state filled with such morons. Has ANYONE ever left the US and ridden a train in a civilized country? Having Rockridge BART within walking distance adds at least 30% to the value of homes compared to similar neighborhoods. Short-sighted F-tards shouldn’t get to make decisions like this that end up limiting everyone in the future. And, yes I can hear BART and Amtrak and freight trains and street traffic and the freeway from a lot further than 88 feet. So what?

    synonymouse Reply:

    Do 16th and Mission BART station or 8th & Mkt increase adjacent property values?

    Honestly I don’t know, but bums loitering cannot be gentrifying.

    Lewellan Reply:

    The Altamont corridor is better suited to HSR.
    A Fremont trainstation from BART to HSR Altamont electrified.
    Anyway, just butting in with a Washington State memo:
    Sue me if it’s too much bother.
    I LOVE THAT MAN. I love you man. You’re my hero Mike McGinn.\read on:
    Corporate giant Costco fails as a marketing model in terms of transportation. A single Costco induces 10x the fuel combustion compared to neighborhood stores or district shopping centers, while putting these out of business. Amazon and Boeing similarly fall short in these terms of transportation costs and impacts. A progressive carbon tax would bankrupt these (low-cost?) corporate giants.

    Meanwhile, Wsdot consistently constructs absurdly substandard highways. Seattle transit agencies fall short of national standards, nevermind world standards. BNSF plans to dedicate its rails to fossil fuel transport through the Pacific Northwest. Seattle’s economy is more dependent upon diesel-spewing global trade than any US port. Yeah, we could address global warming, but the subject of transport is too far down the list of concerns Seattlers hold dearly, never f’kn mind competent discussion among peers. So says this Oregonian.

    ODOT was finished with Wsdot boys in 2008. Wsdot guys also misled Port authorities about rail oval track spurs and what’s called a “Spagetti ramps” hazards on Hayden Island.
    Washingtonian advice in transportation matters is no longer accepted south of thee Columbia River.

    Bertha must not proceed, period, end of story, damnit.
    Drill-Fill Sea Fence? Not a good idea, period.
    MercerWest QueenAnne Truck Route? How f’n dare they?
    Check out the WsDOT angle for retaining Battery Street Tunnel.
    Do not reject/neglect its study. Study it or shut up. Michael McGinn for Governor!
    Are you listening? What is it with Seattlers? Goodgod.
    Help us get Bertha out of there, done, stopped now.
    No pretense of repairs and finishing.
    BOX Cut-cover Tunnel/Seawall option instead.
    The drill-fill “sea-fence” is poorly-advised.
    Goodgod, what mistakes!
    So there you go. Altamont Electrified to Sacramento. SanFran-to-Sac HSR
    Stockton station electrified to Merced, not further south 1st Phase.
    There goes the IOS. Just fix the old tracks first.
    Tejon route would affect a Bakersfield Station Spur
    to Lancaster/Palmdale, different frequency/type.
    just sayin, worth some thought perhaps?
    Nah, you guys just wanna make calculations.
    220mph calculations, decibel calculations,
    grandiose stations calculations.
    Einstein said “Faster is Slower”
    And you guys prove it.
    A slower train will get built sooner,
    or get built at all. Calculate that.

  18. PRE
    May 30th, 2014 at 17:23

    Have you checked out property values near 16th and Mission lately? You know much less about what you bloviate about than you think you do.

    synonymouse Reply:

    For 30 years it was blighting. What happens when Twitters, etc. go bomb as in dotbomb?

    Oh, I know, the market can only go up.

    joe Reply:

    You sure were smart not buying property in that bums-ville mission district.

    synonymouse Reply:

    I used to live a few blocks away, near 18th and Mission. Great place in the mid sixties – go to Hunt’s Donuts late at nite after work and get some just made. All the cops would be there. Good times.

    joe Reply:

    Great place now. You just don’t like the way people look.

    synonymouse Reply:

    say what?

  19. PRE
    May 30th, 2014 at 17:31

    And just for the record, I usually ignore what you and adirondaker “contribute” to this site but your juvenile Oakland bashing got the better of me. I’ll be sure to completely ignore you in the future.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Oakland natives bash the place on the morning tv news just about every day complaining about Quan and crime.

    So if every square inch of SF has the property values exploding that means that the wondrous diesel bus yard in Dogpatch must be worth plenty now. Kinda kills the argument for selling off Presdio Yard-Geary Carhouse to friends of the regime. Tough world where there ain’t no cheap place to house your diesels amidst all that great noise and smell. I guess TWU 250A is blithely ignorant of Amalgamated’s plan to poach all those #38 jobs.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Don’t you remember the scene in “Canadian Bacon” when the President asks why Canada had so few black people and the advisor said, “No slavery, sir..” Oakland had a much larger hill to climb via gentrification than SF could dream of.

    Lewellan Reply:

    Altamont Electrified to Sacramento. SanFran-to-Sac HSR
    Stockton station electrified to Merced, not further south 1st Phase.
    There goes the IOS. Just fix the old tracks first.
    Tejon route would affect a Bakersfield Station Spur
    to Lancaster/Palmdale, different frequency/type.
    just sayin, worth some thought perhaps?
    Nah, you guys just wanna make calculations.
    220mph calculations, decibel calculations,
    grandiose stations calculations.
    Einstein said “Faster is Slower”
    And you guys prove it.
    A slower train will get built sooner,
    or get built at all. Calculate that.
    Calculate Altamont Electric
    Apply study results to Oakland.
    Collect paycheck.

    Lewellan Reply:

    Altamont 1st Phase:
    Best electrification results.
    Electrify to Sacramento – 3rd HSR ROUTE
    Trainset type chosen.
    Peninsula corridor station-type.
    Talgo XXI 125mph is still in the works somewhere.
    MADE IN USA – Circa 1940’s-50’s during WWII.
    Nah, we want Bombardier stuff, goes fastur…

    Alan Reply:

    “just sayin, worth some thought perhaps?”


  20. Eric
    Jun 1st, 2014 at 05:45

    Construction of a single ground-level infill metro station is expected to cost $209 million to $493 million:

    This country is crazy.

    swing hanger Reply:

    Indeed. Quick check of planned stations in Japan (a high cost country), showed one in Iwata City, on the Tokaido Line, to be built as a level station to serve an adjacent Yamaha factory, as well as a nearby soccer stadium. Cost- equivalent of 48 million USD, completion by 2020.

    artist rendering:

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Wow. And I thought West Haven – $120 million to build a station strategically away from West Haven’s main connecting bus route – was a sticker shock.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Wikipedia says 25 million of it was property acquisition and design work. How much of it is parking is for parking?

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