A Word About This Site

Important Note: This site is designed to be a one stop shopping place for information relevant to the HSR project, the potential impacts to our communities and how to participate in the process. Since this is an all volunteer effort, a lack of funding relegates us to using the freeby sites. With no perfect fit available, this site is being treated like a hybrid blog/website. Like a blog, it is not stagnant, but like a website, information is categorized. Therefore one should not treat it as a blog by always looking for only the latest entry, yet periodically refer back to older posts for updated information. To make it easier, HSR-PREP has a newsletter designed to be used in conjunction with this site. If you wish to be notified of new information appearing on the site, it is recommended that you sign up for the HSR-PREP Newsletter. Another way is to create an RSS link on your homepage.

Spread the word. Be informed. Get involved.

Spread the word. Be informed. Get involved. If you have any issues at all with the high speed rail project as it exists, if you say and do nothing, it means you agree 100%. We are all busy in our lives. This cannot be used as an excuse later. If you have issues, you must participate in the process or forever hold your peace. Call, email or write your legislators. It takes 15 minutes using their websites. Participate in the public input opportunities with the High Speed Rail Authority (HSRA). But don't wait.
Spread the word. Be informed. Get involved.

What Could it Look Like

Story Poles. The City of Burlingame, in an effort to show people what the scale might blook like, erected story poles near the Caltrain station. The 30' wide orange netting represents the cross-sectional thickness (not the full width of 79' (straightaways) -126' (Caltrain-only stations)) of the deck the trains will ride on. This representation does not include the expected 3-12' sound walls, either. The total height of 59' to the top represents the height to the top of the poles which will carry the catenary wires for electrification. Interestingly, Caltrain and the Federal Rail Administration (FRA) had a problem with the safety of the poles, requiring around the clock security guards be posted, which in turn prematurely sucked up Burlingame's budget for this outreach project, thus ending the display early. One might ask how they are fine with a major HSR construction project along the tracks, when they are not with a well engineered display? See Channel 7's report here.

Update August 5, 2010. The HSRA narrows the Alternatives down for the Peninsula. This article by Mike Rosenberg for the San Mateo County Times was one of the first out and includes an excellent visual map. For greater detail see this link for the HSRA's Supplemental Alternatives Analysis August 2010 and appendices.

I say what COULD it look like because no one really knows since the HSRA has not given us much to hang our hat on. So, we have to use what technical memos and limited drawings they have provided along with a little bit of imagination to piece something together. Probably the most representative of the alternatives can be found in this HSRA video simulation showing Alma Street in Palo Alto. You have to understand that certain things are not shown such as the houses east of the right of way (ROW) that needed to be demolished in order to construct this model, but the scale is fairly accurate. Note also the retaining wall for the cross streets when the cross road is dipped under the rail in a split design. Likely the retaining wall cuts off a driveway or two. Perhaps more important than what it might look like is to understand the scale. It is truly industrial scale.

Station, Elevated 4-Track , Burlingame.

The HSRA Alternatives Analysis (AA), Appendix C released on April 8, 2010 shows various conceptual cross sections. This illustration shows a typical Caltrain-access only (HSR on center two tracks, Caltrain on outer tracks) raised station at 139'4" wide. A narrower center island design shrinks the width to 112'6". Note: From the face of the Burlingame Station to the curb at Carolan is only 120'.

A cut-and-cover trench style station is shown at 137' 2", but roughly half of that could be hidden under the street or existing station, or even stacked with HSR running underneath Caltrain, limiting the opening to between 77'8" (outboard platforms) to 80'2" (center platform).

Scale. Recall, for a sense of scale, the Millbrae overpass is 100' wide at the BART station. I highly recommend you plant yourself under it and look up.

Stand under the 100' wide overpass at Millbrae Ave (click on the picture at left) and you will begin to understand the scale around a station. Outside of the stations, the width is expected to be in the range of 79' (103' for construction, all per AA April 8, 2010), unless the trains are stacked whereby it will be closer to 55' and much taller. Because legally they must, the HSRA maintains that all alternatives are being considered, yet there is good reason to believe that the alternative has already been determined - namely due to the lack of funding. I hope I am wrong, but I have yet to see any evidence to the contrary. So far, the only images Burlingame has seen for mockups from the HSRA are of elevated structures - both grossly misleading in their scale and shown in a wonderful light (who knew the sun could shine from underneath an overpass?). Stay tuned. I am working with a local business on a properly scaled mockup. For now, I recommend the image at right created by Burlingame's Don't Rail Road Us group. While not very creatively styled, the height at the station and mass are fairly accurate.

In Burlingame, as with many towns, we are wondering how HSR might change the character of our town? The Burlingame station is a centerpiece of our town. It was no accident that Burlingame Avenue was laid out to highlight the front of the station. An elevated structure would forever change this view.

Germany's Elevated 4-Track system into Berlin. Similar to that proposed for the Peninsula, it is made up of a commuter rail (Berlin Stadtbahn1) and a high speed rail (ICE).

The Vertical Alternatives. A look at the various vertical alternatives, elevated (berm and viaduct), at grade, and underground (open trench, cut-and-cover trench and tunnel)

Transition Areas. The April 8 release of the Alternatives Analysis revealed further details as to how the vertical alternatives (i.e. elevated, at grade, trenched, tunnel) might rise and fall along the Peninsula. Take a look at the profiles in Appendix B of the Alternatives Analysis.