October 1st, 2009

High Speed Train

No Time For Trains

Last night, I went to one of the "Open Houses" that Caltrain and the High Speed Rail Authority are holding to show materials on the various possible ways that the Caltrain line may be rebuilt as part of the California High Speed Rail project. Because I'm packing for SiliCon, I don't have time to write as much as I would like on this, but here are a few observations:

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Some of the suggestions I saw were so crazy that I can't tell whether the people are just clueless or are deliberately trying to make the project so difficult and expensive as to destroy it so that it will Go Away. Folks, it's very likely that the project will cause some individuals a lot of trouble. We must weigh this against the overall good. Letting a relatively handful of NIMBYs hold back the entire state is wrong and I hope the agencies involved are able to resist the naysayers.

Now I admit that I think that strategically, the route selected by the CAHSR is wrong -- I think the Dumbarton-Altamont route made more sense -- but I also say that trying to hold out for the perfect system is a great way to get nothing at all. If the only choices are the suboptimal Pacheco alignment and No System, I'll take Pacheco. I only hope I live to see the day when you can travel by train as easily between the Bay Area and the LA Area as I did between London and Paris.