The potential negative impact the High Speed Rail (HSR) running through Atherton will likely cause serious environmental problems for the Town. When ultimately constructed, the HSR will run four trains an hour during the peak time of the day. The plan is to also have six commuter trains per hour during the same peak hours. If you count both directions then there will be up to 20 trains an hour running during the peak.
According to the State Proposition that approved the bonds to build the HSR, it is supposed to travel from San Francisco to Los Angeles in two hours and 40 minutes. To do this it must travel over 100 miles an hour through the Peninsula. This will add up to almost 100 trains a day traveling at over 100 miles per hour. I believe that the additional sound and vibration at that speed from that many trains will devastate and divide the town in half. The rail gates being down a great deal of time each day will impact traffic. It will likely require more than the present two tracks that Caltrain commuter trains are running on. I believe it will require three tracks and probably four tracks to run the speed required and the estimated number of trains.
My solution is to work with Menlo Park, Palo Alto, Caltrains and the HSR Committee to have the HSR built in an open trench below ground, rather than at surface. It would be an open trench that would be covered when running through heavily residential areas like Atherton and the downtown areas in Palo Alto and Menlo Park. These decisions will be finalized in the next year or two. I will continue to work, if elected, with the Rail Committee of Atherton and the Town Council to see this accomplished. I have ben diligently working on the Rail Committee helping resolve this issue, among others, for almost 10 years.