Friday, March 6, 2009

High Speed Rail

High Speed Rail
Rendering of high speed rail car passing electrified Caltrain along Brisbane Lagoon

I just fired off a letter to the editor of the Palo Alto Daily News.

A loud vocal objection has been voiced to the impact high speed rail will have on quality of life. However, the proposed alternative is always that the would-be passengers will stay peacefully at home. To the contrary, if they aren't on the train, they'll be flying or driving. Flying requires valuable land for airport expansion, and more planes roaring overhead. More cars on the road? 101 and 280 are incredibly disruptive on communities, on local access, on noise, on air quality, on public safety, and on aesthetics. I experience this every day, living close to 101 and 280. I far, far prefer investment in rail to dumping more precious resources into inefficient automobile or air infrastructure.

Transportation investment is always a matter of damage mitigation, whether it is in walking or cycling trails or in projects of this magnitude. There are always those who claim to bear an excessive burden. But as long as people feel the need to move around, transportation decisions will be a question of "either-or", not the "yes or no" rail opponents prefer to engage. Given this, I urge readers to continue to support high speed rail for California: it's the best approach.

Will anyone be swayed by my small voice? I suspect not. But it's important to engage in the process.

1 comment:

Yokota Fritz said...

I suspect that current transportation growth formulas are probably overly optimistic. True, HSR opponents see HSR (and other forms of transit) as something that will generate traffic, but I don't think we'll see SFO expansion anytime soon.

It would be wonderful if 101 & 280 could be downsized when HSR comes along....