Monday, October 14, 2013

The (Monday, 10/14/13 latest Caltrain death/slaughter/dismemberment on its tracks of the 16 year old Menlo Park boy north of the Menlo Park Encinal station is the 25th since 1/1/2012, the 13th this year, and 201th since 1/1/1995 which is when I started my Caltrain death count. 

In a tragic irony, on Saturday, 10/19/2013, Caltrain and the Peninsula's nearly all elected Democrat public officials and other representatives will celebrate Caltrain's 150th year at Menlo Park's 1100 Merrill Street Shelter from 9:00am to 3:00pm. Indeed, what more does this irony demonstrate that this Caltrain is now dangerously out of place.  The Peninsula is no longer the very rural area of 1863, nor the suburbia of the 20th century, but now an increasingly urban-densifying region of annual multi-million square foot vertical growth (SmartGrowth, Sustainable Communities, Agenda 21-One Bay Area Plan) increasingly congested area where a surface-level train has become simply too dangerous, congesting, polluting, noisy, and scary to operate in our midst at street-level.These increasing number of Caltrain deaths are inevitable!  Deaths of children, temporarily despondent adults, accidental track crossings, and even stray pets and wildlife that happen on the tracks at the wrong moment.

 A few years ago, a SJMercury News reporter surveyed US train accidents, and, as I recall Caltrain was near the top in number.  With the increasing density of Transit Oriented Developments (TOD) along the corridor, such as the apartments near the latest fatality (no sure if the dead boy lived there or not), deaths will certainly continue, and likely increase.  Will you, someone you love or care about, be the next victim?

So many have died, yet despite my pleas to Palo Alto, Menlo Park, and other city councils in the Caltrain corridor to please work to initiate a study to bring grade-separated, electrified, non-congesting BART down the last 21 miles of the Peninsula to join its future planned station at Santa Clara University.  Imagine the safer regional connectivity--without transfers, to shopping centers, SF, SJ, sports stadiums, our major Bay Area universities and train and air travel destinations...safer!

Caltrain is outdated and ought to be replaced with the far safer, greater reach around the Bay, more frequent service that causes zero parallel and cross traffic congestion (read GHG), is already electrified and must be grade separated by law.  What will it take for the monolithic, Democrat monopoly of elected horizontal and vertical officials from city council level, county, region, state and federal government offices to finally start to plan to replace Caltrain with BART?!!  Every year, 12-20 people die on its tracks, about 40-50% may be suicides, but far fewer die on BART's tracks despite its larger reach. How many more must die before one of these 'caring' Democrats do something to start to plan to extend and fund the last 21 miles of BART to its current planned terminus in Santa Clara at SCU. BART around the Bay (my advocacy blogsite name, too) to over the next 15 years or so (another 160 or so will die on Caltrain tracks during this period, or more if it takes longer to extend BART south from Millbrae). Indeed, all counties are now paying taxes for BART. It is time to close the Bay Area BART gap.

Question to our SF Bay Area all-Democrat politicians:  How many more must die before you act to stop this massacre by this  outdated, dangerous, congesting, polluting, out-of-place train in the midst of our ever-increasing urbanity????  Where is Senator Jerry Hill, or the mayors of Menlo Park, San Bruno, Palo Alto, where most deaths have occurred recently, or Assemblymen Kevin Mullin or Richard Gordon, or Congresspersons Eshoo or Speier (for whom Caltrain locomotive #925 has her name emblazoned on it) to terminate this train track carnage, improvetranist and road mobility, one-seat transit rail reach around the Bay (two way) to educational, shopping, airport and rail destinations, while reducing pollution, congestion, noise, increase frequency and hours of service, and, save precious transit $$ long term?  Where are these caring Democrats?  Why does Jerry Hill make such a grandstand about the 8 who died in the San Bruno pipeline blast, the 5 who died in the horrific limousine fire, but yet refuses to do anything to move to better safer rail transport on BART in the Peninsula/ Why?  Simply because, as a good Democrat who depends on typical Democrat funding and support (high-density developers, labor unions, and the Sierra Club) all of whom support HSR, he must support the Democrat "Caltrain/HSR" cause over the lives of his constituents. Tragic, just tragic and sad.

Please, how many more must die by Caltrain before this train is removed from our danger, at the earliest, in 15 - 20 years?

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