Friday, October 18, 2013

Posted on the Palo Alto Patch, "Speak Out" board, Friday, 10-18-13:

on Saturday 10/19/13 Caltrain will hold a nice 150 yr celebration of its trackway at the Merrill St station area from 9:00am to 3:00pm, per the MP Almanac/PA Weekly.  Caltrain has served its purpose well from inception in the very rural, pre automobile, pre-light bulb, pre-telephone, pre-paved road era, but now the Peninsula is burgeoning with growth, especially high density housing (Transit Oriented Development) such as the apartments near where the latest Caltrain street-level fatality occurred, the 13th this year, 42nd since 1/1/2011, 201st since 1/1/95...5 of those died in Palo Alto in the last year, and this is the 4th in Menlo Park in the last 2 years.  The Caltrain carnage must stop. Who's child will be next? The MP and Palo Alto city councils and state legislators (Gordon, Hill) and federal rep's (Eshoo, Speier) have done nothing.  Caltrain has tried to reduce fatalitites, but more growth will induce more deaths, suicide or accident. Caltrain is simply out of date. Electrification will not help. Grade crossings have not stopped fatalities at other corridor sites. I have urged the local MP, PA, MV, Sunnyvale city councils to please start investigating bringing BART south (after the strike ends!) because BART must be elevated or below street level at intersections (as each city determines the design with BART). BART has fewer suicides, is safter, cleaner, quieter, electrified, and has a greater reach around the bay to reduce inbound auto commute congestion--but will save lives.  No effort has been made by the (sorry to say) all-Democrat elected officials because, as Jerry Brown (and Rod Diridon Sr tax-funded rail and HSR advocate) admitted in media last year, that they have been "working to bring High Speed Rail to California for 30 years". This is exactly coincident to when the passenger train up the Peninsula was taken over from SP by California then the Caltrain Board. The Gordon/Eshoo/Speier/Hill "Blended Solution" for two -tracks (which is very dangerous for 4 train types to all operate on together won't be allowed ultimately, only 4-tracks are safe). So, although this ought not be political, the fact is that Caltrain is blocking BART discussions to come down the Peninsula to greatly reduce these deaths, because HSR and Caltrain can share the same (very dangerous) track width. BART's are wider and only for passenger travel.  That is the background.  The key here is that 12-16 people are killed by Caltrain, especially the 75mph Express Mini-bullet (tragically named) trains. More trains will mean more deaths on this outdated system. It will take 15-20 (160-240 more deaths) years to bring BART down the last 21 miles from Millbrae, past Hillsdale, to Stanford then to BART's planned station at Santa Clara University.  So far, Caltrain, as the HSR placeholder in the Peninsula, has superceded my pleading to PA and MP and other councils, all Democrat controlled, do to this Democrat and Sierra Club backing of Caltrain HSR. Human, child, stray pets, of so many deaths simply don't rate against the Dermocrat HSR agenda.  Will you, your child, or someone you know, be next to die on these long-since outdated urban Caltrain tracks. Please attend Saturday's event (politiely) to urge a study to close the gap to bring far safer, cleaner, non-traffic congesting BART down the Peninsula the rest of the way to make BART Around The Bay loop a safe and better reality for us. Whose child will be next? We have to put a stop to this carnage/slaughter/dismemberment of people who happen to be on the tracks when monster, million-pound, "unstoppable", inflexible Catrains roar through at street-level, endangering anyone nearby. 

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