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ACE expansion meeting draws critics

Original post made on Mar 4, 2011

A new improved ACE train will be faster, cleaner and greener, say representatives from the Altamont Corridor Rail Project. But speakers at Thursday night's public hearing questioned everything about the plans, from the proposed routes to the necessity of the expansion, which will add tracks and stations, disrupting neighborhoods and parklands. Not to mention the expense.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, March 3, 2011, 11:30 PM

Comments (23)

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Posted by Mark
a resident of Valley Trails
on Mar 4, 2011 at 9:33 am

and WHO is going to pay for this expansion? Elevated train right of way in Pleasanton??? Got to be kidding! Plus, no way the California High Speed Rail project will ever get built...DOA. I'll fly anyday over trying to use trains in CA.


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Posted by Go ACE !
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 4, 2011 at 11:00 am

Mark, I agree we must skip the waste of a central valley train. However, I think ACE to silicon valley is wonderful! Considering the existing congestion, that's an economic efficiency that our money should go for.. But. Welfare and 3,000 subsidized housing units in Pleasanton is precisely what confiscated tax dollars should not be used for ..a real crime, government subjective selection of a favored group...that's government redistribution and anti-American. Government should not quarantee residency in ANY specific town...truly twisted thinking. Most of us started wherever be could afford...then 'MOVE UP ". . . IF and WHEN we can. ! That's American. This is something taxpayers should protest.


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Posted by Joe
a resident of Downtown
on Mar 4, 2011 at 11:30 am

Wait a second! I thought the City of Pleasanton bought for several million dollars ($6 million) the abandoned transportation corridor right of way parallel to First Street from Alameda County.

So Pleasanton bought and now Alameda County wants to have a train go through it? Web Link


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Posted by Budget cutting
a resident of Dublin
on Mar 4, 2011 at 12:09 pm

This is a total waste of tax dollars. These are the types of projects we need to exemplify those public workers who are part of the government bloat which needs to be eliminated. Lets see them try to sell this type of business idea in the private sector.


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Posted by SR
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 4, 2011 at 5:10 pm

From these comments it seems Americans will never "get" mass transit. It is truly sad. After traveling the European train system extensively I will never understand why we are still so short sited on this. Maybe $5.00 gas will help people realize we need a different way to get around besides millions of cars with one person in each. But it has become a tradition in this area anyway, that the few who fight EVERYTHING proposed, no matter what it is, tend to get their way and stop most progress or increase the cost of things so much through their opposition that it is ludicrous. Complain about the cost, but fight and litigate until you have contributed to multiplying it. It is a good thing the interstate highway system was built when it was, it would never get done today.


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Posted by David Cannon
a resident of Birdland
on Mar 4, 2011 at 9:11 pm

David Cannon is a registered user.

Just a thought... Why not spend the money on BART and extend it to the Valley. Then you have access to the entire Bay Area, Central Valley and future High Speed Rail. Win for everyone.


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Posted by Fred
a resident of Livermore
on Mar 4, 2011 at 9:57 pm

Putting BART into Livermore would be better. Right now we got the empty bus useless thing call the Rapid.


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Posted by Joe
a resident of Ruby Hill
on Mar 5, 2011 at 1:12 pm

SR -I have also traveled extensively on trains in Europe and it's a great way to go. People don't like the idea of building rail and complain about $5.00, or even $4.00, gas and expect to be able to fly to the East Coast for $250 RT. Airlines have difficulty pushing through $10 and $20 fuel surcharges. When will the US wake up to the fact that transportation is expensive and we've been fortunate enough up to this point to live a lifestyle that isn't punished for excessive energy use. We don't like these types of gov't project, love free-markets, don't want gov't intervention in our lives but complain about oil/gas prices that are driven up by massive market speculation-speculation which should be controlled. Enron all over again.


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Posted by David
a resident of Livermore
on Mar 5, 2011 at 4:48 pm

What the heck is up with people and their complaining? This thing at best will be ready to construct in 2015 if funding is their, here we are in 2011 and gas is going up. Don't you people think we should have a backup plan to get around soon? We got a taste of it when gas was nearly $5 in 2008, at the time it seemed we learned our lesson and that maybe we had a second chance to be proactive in our transportation. Here we are in 2011 and all we think about is cut back, cut back, No, No, No. If it even has a chance of being funded (Personally I do) we cannot delay any Enviornmental documentation since it takes almost as much as construction itself. We need it ready for when gas prices are so far up our ass's that we don't know what to do, we whip out our shovel ready project.

The 1970's was the "wake-up call" for European countries and they decided to go Electric Train, now their better off. We didn't do a dang thing but build Hummers and SUV's. The U.S. is Hard headed at the least.

It doesn't surprise me that Pleasanton is taking a NIMBY stance to this project, they will sacrifice future mobility for congestion that already exists on Pleasanton streets. They should change their main streets to highways already because that's what it looks like, Livermore is smarter. They diverted Route 84 away from downtown and made it walkable. They pressed Bart to downtown and now this Altamont project is set to make Livermore a thriving city where companies will want to move next to train stations. Pleasanton feels it's already perfect and is a smug little town that prides itself in being on a top 100 list. But in time you will have multiple freeways running through Pleasanton.


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Posted by David
a resident of Livermore
on Mar 5, 2011 at 4:53 pm

Oh and to those who for some reason don't know why I said 1970's. I meant the Oil Crisis and Gas shortage that this country experienced.


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Posted by PD
a resident of Livermore
on Mar 6, 2011 at 8:57 pm

California High Speed Rail proponents are simply applying a European model of public rail travel that will not work in the U.S. Compared to the U.S., Europe is characterized by more dense urban populations, cities nearer to each other, greater reliance on public transportation, lesser private transportation (car) ownership, and lower disposable income. Whereas, American society is suburban with lower population density, our cities are at greater distances from each other, we have less reliance on public transportation, and greater use and ownership of private transportation, enabled by higher disposable income. The point is that although we share much in common with our European friends, when it comes to transportation we have very different needs.


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Posted by PD
a resident of Livermore
on Mar 6, 2011 at 8:59 pm

Perhaps foremost of the flawed assumptions put forward by proponents of these new high speed rail plans as they market the idea to the public and build their business case is that of convenience. The "convenience" argument is really tied to a perception that rail travel is safe and therefore HSR can speed passengers onto trains and ultimately to their destinations. This is a false assumption.

The short predicted travel times for HSR (which would serve to entice travelers away from airlines) are predicated on a flawed assessment of risk – that rail travel does not require the same safety measures as air travel. One needs to look no further than the recent terrorist bombings of railways in Madrid (191 killed, 2,050 injured) and London (56 killed, 700 injured) to know that rail passengers are at risk. HSR advocates say that passengers will simply show-up and board their trains without the need for time-consuming security screenings. Marketing HSR as such – both safe, and time-efficient due to a lack of screening – is illogical at best, and more likely both disingenuous and risky.

Further, one can argue that compared to air travel, rail is far more exposed to security threats. The entirety of a railway system (stations plus hundreds of miles of track) is physically large and distributed across the countryside. Whereas airports can be secured (or at least the government can focus its resources on securing these few locations) it is effectively impossible to secure all the track of a railway. So how again is rail travel safer than air travel? How is it that HSR proponents can market "speed and convenience" and do so without explaining that this comes at significant safety risk to passengers and surrounding communities? The air travel industry could easily exceed HSR on speed and convenience measures simply by not employing security screening, just as HSR advocates propose to do. Rail travel safety is a faulty argument and it exposes a fundamental flaw in the HSR business case.


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Posted by Tennessee Jed
a resident of Jensen Tract
on Mar 7, 2011 at 8:21 am

Here's the problem I have with the new train routes stopping in both downtown Livermore and Pleasanton. By running these trains through the downtown sections and providing terminals may seem like a good idea to Mr. Haggerty, but my question is where will people park their cars? And plans for a station right off of Railroad Avenue in downtown Pleasanton. How ridiculous is that. They want to and expect to gain ridership, that would put more pressure on providing parking spaces than there is available real estate in the downtown area to accommodate train parking. The ACE train system is already heavily subsidized as are all public transportation systems. Again, I wonder where do these people think this money is going to come from in the first place, and number two, do you think that the citizens that are affected by the right-of-way are going to tolerate it?

And the fact that the city purchased the old right away, to be used as we the citizens of Pleasanton see fit. Now the county wants it back. I'm getting pretty tired of all these outside agitators in rabble-rousers coming in here dictating things to we the citizens of Pleasanton. In fact I'm getting to the point now where I just want to go tell them to pound sand. I'm mad as hell and I can't take it anymore. I guess I'll go yell at the goldfish now.


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Posted by steve
a resident of Parkside
on Mar 7, 2011 at 9:39 am

SR-we are not in Europe and though some folks wax nostalgic for their time spent on Euopean vacations, their model will not work here, for the reasons PD cited above and more.
Riding on trains sounds romantic, but in reality, the stations will deposit you miles from where you need to go and ridiership will never support the cost of operation.
This means that once built, this infrastructure will become another govt boondoggle, sucking up taxpayer support for years to come. Look at Amtrak as an example.


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Posted by Me Too
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 7, 2011 at 5:47 pm

Joe - yes, people want $250 RT to east coast, but the airlines are stupid to keep offering it if they are losing money. People also want $1/gallon gas, but the oil companies aren't that stupid, they are much smarter, quickly raising prices whenever they can (without running the risk of government). Airlines should charge what they need to make a profit. The market will sort itself out.

PD - my question is why would a HSR need more security than BART? Does the Acela train between DC and Boston have increased security over? Does any Amtrak train have similar security to airports? I don't really know as I haven't ridden on any of these.


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Posted by Me Too
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 7, 2011 at 5:50 pm

David - you may be right about the future of Livermore, but in my experience traffic in Livermore is horrible compared to Pleasanton. I avoid Livermore as much as possible because of this. There are restaurants and things that I would like to go to but every time we try to go there is too much traffic. I guess that's a good sign for businesses in Livermore, but not much of an incentive for me to go there.


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Posted by PD
a resident of Livermore
on Mar 7, 2011 at 8:38 pm

Me Too, to your question re: other rail systems and security: No, they do not have the same degree of security as airports. That is not really the point - the proposed rail line here in California is not being put forward as a competitor to Acela. Politicians and other advocates are trying to gather funding and approvals by comparing it to air travel and saying it would be better (i.e., faster). What I am saying is that this is an apples to oranges comparison that conveniently neglects to mention the lack of safety precautions for the rail system. It is infuriating because it is not only an poor comparison, but it is really the entire basis of the argument for rail in the first place - advocates are on the radio and elsewhere saying how fast and convenient it is. But we all know this is only because safety is being thrown out. So, do you want an unsecured train that is fast? Maybe, but that should be what is explained to the public. We could also propose unsecured planes that are even faster.


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Posted by PD
a resident of Livermore
on Mar 7, 2011 at 8:51 pm

Oh yeah, and in case you thought the consultants gave a sh*@!t about Ruby Hill:

"Housing development southwest of Livermore: Ruby Hill, located at about 0.3 miles from the project track. It is important to note that SR-84 is close to this urbanized area and already causes noise and visual impacts"

Tough luck, you are near a 2 lane rural highway so you're not worth savings; you're screwed too.

It is interesting to read these documents and hear how blase' they are about tearing holes in communities, "impacting" areas, tearing down homes, etc. Gives you that warm fuzzy feeling that this is all being done with great care, doesn't it?

"Individual houses south and southeast of Livermore could be impacted on a segment of about 0.4 miles."

Woohoo! That's me. Glad to see the vast majority of my family's net worth will be flushed down the drain by our benevolent leaders in Sacramento and Washington.


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Posted by PD
a resident of Livermore
on Mar 7, 2011 at 8:57 pm

Here is the link to the doc (via Livermore Patch)
Web Link


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Posted by David
a resident of Livermore
on Mar 8, 2011 at 10:14 am

@ PD

We are not the U.S, we are California. We are a BIG *part* of the U.S and hold the most populated state in the Union. California is at a scale in size and population to European Countries, repeat, California (the State) is equivalent to the size of most European Countries in size and nearly in Population that all have Successfull High Speed Rail lines already in operation.

At this point in time I don't give a Sh*t what the Federal Government want's to throw it's money away on (unecessary Trillion Dollar WARS did it), If they want to cough our tax money back to us and we can build something usefull for us to use, then waste away Washington. I don't want to pay taxes so people out here can be proud we can push other countries around and think we're badass because we are America and because our leaders have personal & possibly secret agendas. I want things that will make my life more pleasant and convinient, HSR could be one of them.

PD -

You state that Terrorists will target HSR, that's B.S. Their is no bang for you buck if your a terrorist and you bomb a train or station. You can't kill enough people to be worth the effort. The reason Airports are high security points is because essentially an aircraft is a "missile" once it lifts off. Now times that by a few hundred at a single time 24 hours a day. For this reason Trains will never have the same kind of security, that is if you let the TSA convince you that you need to forfeit your privacy to give you false security, because that's what it really is. Government is supposed to serve the people (Respect privacy) not bE A police agency that keeps you in-line and in-check so they can get away with murder.


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Posted by PD
a resident of Livermore
on Mar 8, 2011 at 10:28 am

David,

- not sure why your apparent hatred of the prior administrations in DC is coming out

- we are the U.S. and we are all on the hook for our national debt

- this project will not simply return CA tax dollars from DC to CA, it will create on-going operating losses that our state cannot afford (this is not a free train system we get from the feds)

- international terrorists have twice targeted train systems in the West because they are softer targets than airports; I cannot say what they will target next, I am saying that the speed and convenience argument in favor of rail does not fairly represent the fact that rail is not held to the same safety standards as air

- train terrorism has been highly "successful" with spectacular attacks in Madrid and London; the terrorist bombings in Madrid took down the Aznar government


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Posted by David
a resident of Livermore
on Mar 9, 2011 at 5:02 pm

@ PD

No, I'm talking about current, past and maybe future Administrations, they're all the same people with different faces.

The U.S would crash and burn if California ever decided to leave the Union, we feed the rest of the Country and we get the short end of the stick when it comes to our needs, while at the same time other states laugh at us not knowing that we subsidize their states.

The reason I beleive in this system is because I know it can be run profitably, I am sure it's one of the few transportation systems that can do this. It's all about the time and patience. Construction costs, you might not get those back, but considering we will also NEVER get our money back from the Wars, it's chump change. We also get something to show for our expense, infrastructure.

Being paranoid about when the next "terrorist" will hit is silly, the last thing on my mind is a terrorist attack. I'm more worried about where and when the next Big Quake will hit. I am not easily influenced by television.


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Posted by Michael Leonard
a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Mar 13, 2011 at 6:54 pm

Michael Leonard is a registered user.

I've ridden ACE off and on since it started about 10 years ago. While it is a nice service to have it doesn't have a lot of ridership. They cancelled the mid-day train some time back calling out lack of budget. After that I stopped riding it since I can get to work in 35 minutes driving down mid-day and don't need to be held to their limited early morning schedule and endure triple the commute time.

When I read this new plan I was incredulous. Both plans are idiotic. They want to either destroy downtown Pleasanton running the train past the Firehouse Theater and past the park where we have the Concerts in the Park or totally bypass Pleasanton and lose the ridership.

What they should be doing is adding trains to the existing ACE system and they should run BART to Livermore and run it to San Jose. That would provide some options that I might use.

I also rode trains extensively in Europe. It's not the same as here no matter how you spin it given the distances between cities and lack of connecting infrastructure. I don't know what the fate of the HSR will be but if it does get built I might ride it but I'll drive to the station. We don't need a connector rail to get to it.

I hope people will work to stop this ridiculous plan to build a new rail. There are better ways to provide public transportation.


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