People living near the I-10 freeway in Alhambra were blindsided Monday after finding out state officials have quietly rerouted the proposed high-speed train route to cut through the city’s neighborhoods that border the freeway.
California’s High-Speed Rail Authority representatives acknowledged they’re seriously considering a new route that will result in a wide swath of homes being torn down in Alhambra as well as other cities bordering the I-10 freeway during an Alhambra City Council meeting Monday.
It was standing room only as a couple hundred people filled two floors of city hall to hear details about the new proposed route which until now, has been shrouded in secrecy.
The Alhambra route is part of the state’s larger $40 billion project to build a high-speed rail between San Diego and San Francisco. The project was approved by an initiative on the ballot.
According to state officials, trains will barrel through the neighborhoods at 150 miles per hour on For a total of four hours a day, the trains will run every ten minutes.
Officials explained the high speed trains will be louder than regular trains and the increased noise will be heard blocks away. The railway will stand 35 feet high – taller than a three story building – well above the existing freeway sound wall.
Residents said they are upset about the proposed train route because it will tear down homes and force people to move away.
One resident at the meeting said five generations of her family have grown up in her house – a house that might be torn down if the proposed train path goes through.
Another resident in the impacted area said his neighbors are mostly hard-working immigrants who have bought homes and are living the American dream.
That dream, he said, is what the California High-Speed Rail Authority is trying to take away as they plan a route that will demolish those homes and force people to find a new place to live.
Residents up and down the blocks bordering the freeway also said they were worried about the increased noise and vibration that would come with the 150 mile per hour train. Property values will drop as well, they said.
Additionally, residents at the meeting said the high speed train would be dangerous to the hundreds of children attending the two elementary schools and two high schools near to the freeway. In order to get to school, children will have to walk beneath the railway as the 150-mile-per-hour trains speed over their heads.
Along with Alhambra city Councilmember Steven Placido, other residents at the meeting questioned why the train – which is to connect San Francisco to San Diego — was suddenly being rerouted east along the I-10 freeway instead of taking other more direct north-south routes.
State officials would rather make the train take a more circuitous route in the southern half of the state and drop the train into the path of the working class neighborhood in order to avoid routing the train through wealthier enclaves along the Orange County coast, residents explained.
Furthermore, residents along the proposed route said they were angry about the secrecy surrounding the new proposed train path that threatens to demolish their homes and neighborhoods.
The state is hoping a working class neighborhood such as ours won’t put up a fight, residents said.
But, they added, they’re in for a surprise.