Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Let's Think This Through

The big item on my calendar today is the High Speed Rail Authority's presentation on the Alternatives Analysis. The meeting is at City Council Chambers 200 S. Anaheim Blvd. That is the building on the east side of the street where you go for Building Permits, not the one on the west side where you pay the utility bill you forgot. Park in the covered parking structure behind City Hall, take the covered walkway bridge to the 2nd floor, and down the elevator or stairs to Council Chambers, you never get wet, so not showing up for the rain is no excuse. They will have the information for us Open House style from 5 to 7 pm, with a presentation at 5:30.

The issues I see with this plan are that first and foremost we need to be included in the process as citizens. The State has known for a year that they could not use the shared track they originally pitched to us, and they would have to build either an expensive tunnel or take homes, businesses, and public space to make it work. Why wait so long to share that with us, and then only because I threatened to go to the press?

The other issue is the route chosen. I have spoken to people in many areas of the City, even those not immediately affected, and nobody (other than Spokker the ghost blogger) wants this thing running At Grade through the middle of our town. Curt's tunnel may be doable, and if it is the only answer then I can live with it, although I am reluctant to pay for it.

Why not somewhere else? Why does it have to remain along a rail line that was designed and laid out 100 years ago, for the needs of those residents in the Victorian era? If we must remain At Grade for the sake of cost, why not run it where there is already open space? The 5 Freeway would allow it to run from San Diego to the top of California, conceivably even into Oregon, Washington, and Canada if need be. Curt Pringle could have a truly international rail system, with only Cal Trans to battle instead of every Mayor up and down the rail line who are already pissed off.

I do not think we are being unreasonable to say that High Speed Rail is a good idea in theory, but the concept of building it at all costs, no matter the expense or the disruption to communities, is not what we want. Now let's take a step back, breathe, and work together to do a great project. If we miss the deadline we miss the deadline. Shoving through a bad idea just to beat a dot on the calendar is how Obamacare is being ramrodded, and folks do not like that either.


Spokker said...

Here it comes.

"Why wait so long to share that with us"


"then only because I threatened to go to the press?"

Delusions of grandeur.

"other than Spokker the ghost blogger"


You fit the profile perfectly.


"The 5 Freeway would allow it to run from San Diego to the top of California"

Where in Orange County are you going to find people that will go along with the idea of taking lanes away from cars for trains? We have 10 lane streets in Orange County and yet they can't reserve one for buses so the rest of us poor dregs can get where we need to go.

Also, freeway alignments are restrictive. You either have the station in the freeway median (which is uncomfortable for riders, you seem to forget that freeways are loud and blighted) or it still has to divert off the freeway to get a station closer to a desirable location. You don't generally find people willing to use trains or buses on or near freeways. They are not good alignments.

"but the concept of building it at all costs, no matter the expense or the disruption to communities,"

The French bullet train TGV was built on the idea that you have to avoid NIMBYs in order to get things done. Today they have what are called beet field stations in the middle of nowhere that do not live up to their full potential.

For high speed rail to be successful, it needs to get into town. It needs to get to Angel Stadium. It needs to get close to Disneyland. It needs to go where people are already riding trains. It needs to connect to existing commuter rail, bus, light rail and subway infrastructure across the state. You put it in the middle of nowhere and fewer people will ride it.

colony rabble said...

Spokker, WHEN did they share this with us before? Even Curt told us last night this is the first time the Alternatives Analysis has been presented.

Has it occurred to you that the 5 freway runs past the Stadium? If this was built above the median, it could run all the way along the freeway, swoop into the stadium based ARTIC and pop out again without disrupting homes and businesses. I know nothing about rail, I am the first to admit it, but even I know this thing does not belong in neighborhoods!

Were you even there last night?

Spokker said...

"Even Curt told us last night this is the first time the Alternatives Analysis has been presented. "

This is the first time the *current* alternatives analysis was presented in a public forum. However, anybody with an Internet connection or a library card could go online and read the updated report prior to this meeting. Anybody would an interest in this issue could have easily Googled "California High Speed Rail" and easily been updated on what's going on.

Prior to this, there were meetings in Anaheim, Norwalk and Los Angeles. That was when there were four alternatives on the table. Now there are two.

"Were you even there last night?"

I was there, and the righteous indignation by homeowners was entertaining.

"Has it occurred to you that the 5 freway runs past the Stadium?"

Where would you put it once you cross the OC-LA county line? The Golden State Freeway is only 6 lanes wide.

There happens to be an active railroad right of way to the South of the 5, but it also travels past many more houses than the LOSSAN corridor between LA and Anaheim. And once you get to the Alameda Trench, I don't know where the high speed trains would be put.

I wouldn't be surprised if they studied it and rejected it. I should go back and read the old studies again.

Spokker said...

I am working on a Google map that will illustrate the impacts in Anaheim according to the 2008 alternatives analysis. If it still bothers you and your fellow homeowners, we can argue some more.

Spokker said...

Here's my map. Let me know what you think. If you find anything wrong with it let me know and I'll add it in.

I'll call them "colony rabble notes" ;)

colony rabble said...

I do not think the system allows images or attachments to post in comments. I do believe in seeing all sides of a story, which is why I am asking if other routes were considered. If you would like to email the map directly to me, I will post it to the blog.

As far as the disclosure, you need to understand a few things.

A) Few people in Anaheim speak fluent rail. So when the powers that be say that they are running this on the LOSSAN corridor, the general impression is that this is a name HSR has given to whatever path they will choose. I have spoken with both current and former Council members, Planning Commissioners, and people who LIVE ON the LOSSAN corridor, and none can recall the HSR folk explaining that this is an existing line. Had they made it clear that the LOSSAN corridor is the existing Metrolink-Amtrack line, a lot of confusion would have been avoided. When you see the presentations from HSR, the maps are generic with no geographic frame of reference to tell you where precisely the LOSSAN corridor is in the city. I now understand that due to restrictions in CEQA and the whole inverse condemnation thing they are forbidden from being too specific about what might be affected, which is nuts but I get it. I am getting more info from a CEQA expert so that I can learn more about how the system works, and will share with others as soon as I understand more of it.

colony rabble said...

Excuse the typo. My email is

Send me the map and I will post it in an effort to understand all sides.