Meeting Announcement: Rail Authority Board meeting in downtown L.A. on March 3 @ 9:00 a.m.

The California High Speed Rail Authority Board will hold its regular monthly meeting for March in downtown Los Angeles at the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) Headquarters. Metro Headquarters is at the backside of Union Station.

The L.A. to San Diego line is on the agenda (posted below). The contractors responsible for that line will present their preliminary alternatives analysis report. That report is expected to recommend that the Rail Authority board consider only the I-10 freeway and SR-60 freeway routes for the high speed rail project between Union Station and the 605 freeway. It will also recommend the board withdraw routes that use and run adjacent to the Union Pacific right of way. The report is expected to be released a few days before the board meeting.

Public Comments

Public comments are taken at the very beginning of the meeting, at 9 a.m. If you would like . . . → Continue reading: Meeting Announcement: Rail Authority Board meeting in downtown L.A. on March 3 @ 9:00 a.m.

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City of Alhambra’s February 1 letter to the Rail Authority

This post is a follow-up to my posts a few weeks ago:

Recap: Alhambra City Council to send letter opposing high speed rail project through the city More detail: Routes to be dropped, 75 foot high viaducts, and budget woes Letter to the Rail Authority

The City of Alhambra web site provides the City’s latest letter to the Rail Authority. It reminds the Rail Authority that the city opposes an elevated platform (aerial structure) and any project plan that would impact the quality of life of its residents. It also asks the Rail Authority to explore putting the trains in a trench like the Union Pacific trains that traverse the city along Mission or a tunnel like Metro and Caltrans are considering with regard to the 710 extension between Alhambra and Pasadena.

Draft Letters

That letter was chosen from among three letters drafted by city staff. The . . . → Continue reading: City of Alhambra’s February 1 letter to the Rail Authority

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710 freeway gap closure: Scoping meetings start…. NOW!

Metro and Caltrans have restarted the environmental study and review (EIR/EIS) process for the 710 freeway. They intend to complete the freeway. Meetings start this week in South Pasadena, Alhambra, and other area cities. Some meetings will be webcast.

Metro has a web site it will use to share information: http://www.metro.net/projects/sr-710-conversations/

Series 1: Transportation where have we been? Where are we going?

Tuesday, February 15, 6-8pm Jefferson Middle School 1372 E Las Tunas Dr San Gabriel, CA 91776

Wednesday, February 16, 6-8pm Alhambra Civic Center Library – Reese Hall 101 S First St Alhambra, CA 91801

Saturday, February 19, 2-4pm Lake Avenue Church 393 N Lake Av Pasadena, CA 91101

Wednesday, February 23, 6-8pm South Pasadena High School 1401 Fremont Av South Pasadena CA, 91030

Thursday, February 24, 6-8pm Los Angeles Christian Presbyterian Church 2241 N Eastern Av Los Angeles, CA 90032

Saturday, February 26, 2-4pm Glendale Community College 1500 . . . → Continue reading: 710 freeway gap closure: Scoping meetings start…. NOW!

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Prop 1A Ballot Language Lawsuit

The California State Legislature recently lost an appeal in the California Court of Appeal regarding the ballot language used for Prop 1A, the November 2008 proposition that provided a down payment for the high speed rail project.

Despite the State losing the lawsuit, there is no actual impact on the high speed rail project. The court did not look at the language of the ballot in issuing its ruling. Rather, it only looked at whether the Legislature violated the law when it demanded the Secretary of State use a particular ballot title and summary.

California law requires the Attorney General to draft an impartial title and summary to ballot propositions. The Superior Court ruled in 2008 that the Legislature had violated the law by requiring the Secretary of State to use a specific ballot title and description. The Appellate Court agreed with the Superior Court. “Simply stated, the Legislature . . . → Continue reading: Prop 1A Ballot Language Lawsuit

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Confirmed: No Funding for L.A. to San Diego High Speed Rail Project in State Budget

Governor Jerry Brown’s budget does not include funding during the 2011-2012 fiscal year for the L.A. to San Diego segment of the high speed rail project. See page 4 of the Entire High-Speed Rail Authority Budget (PDF)(Google Docs)(also embedded below).There is no money allocated under the 2011-12 column in the Summary of Projects table.

SUMMARY OF PROJECTS

State Building Program Expenditures 2009-10 20010-11 2011-12 20 CAPITAL OUTLAY Major Projects …. 20.60 Los Angeles to Anaheim $- $11,085 $8,350 …. 20.70.010 Los Angeles to San Diego $- $3,700 $-

This means that the Rail Authority will not have any money to allocate toward design, engineering, or outreach for the L.A. to San Diego segment of its project during the fiscal year 2011-2012. The new fiscal year begins July 1. In all likelihood, little will be done after the March 3 Rail Authority board meeting in which the staff/contractors will present the . . . → Continue reading: Confirmed: No Funding for L.A. to San Diego High Speed Rail Project in State Budget

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Proposal to Allow States Limited Power of Eminent Domain over Railroads

I recently asked our Congressional representatives, Adam Schiff and Judy Chu, to modify eminent domain rules over freight railroads. Without reforming eminent domain rules, the Union Pacific route will be eliminated. According to the Rail Authority engineers I spoke with, there are a number of reasons why the Union Pacific route is ideal compared with building high speeed trains along the 10 or the 60 freeways. For example, the trains will need to go slow to make a sharp curve south of Union Station to reach the I-10 freeway route. In contrast, it would make a more gentle curve at high speeds to reach the Union Pacific route. The Union Pacific route is also more straight, which will allow the trains to maintain speeds more than a route that uses the more curvy I-10 freeway route.

Goals Such legislation to modify eminent domain rules over freight railroads has several goals:

. . . → Continue reading: Proposal to Allow States Limited Power of Eminent Domain over Railroads

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Recap: Alhambra City Council to send letter opposing high speed rail project through the city

The Alhambra City Council discussed the high speed rail project during last night’s regular council meeting. It decided to send a letter opposing the California High Speed Rail Authority’s plans to send its high speed trains through the city. City staff will draft the letter and present it to the Council next week.

As reported earlier, Jessica Keating, Assistant to the City Manager, told us that she, other city staff, and Councilman Placido recently learned that the Rail Authority will continue to study routes along the I-10 and SR-60 freeways. She further added that Rail Authority staff will recommend that it drop the two routes that use and are adjacent to the Union Pacific right of way. Jessica also informed us that the high speed trains will fly by on elevated structures that average 75 feet or more in the air and at times are over 100 feet above the . . . → Continue reading: Recap: Alhambra City Council to send letter opposing high speed rail project through the city

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More detail: Routes to be dropped, 75 foot high viaducts, and budget woes

This follows-up my last post. Alhambra city staff will present an update to the Alhambra City Council and residents during the next city council meeting on Monday at 7pm. Staff will tell us that it recently learned that the Rail Authority will continue to study routes along the I-10 and SR-60 freeways. Rail Authority staff will also recommend that it drop the two routes that use and are adjacent to the Union Pacific right of way. City staff will also inform us that the high speed trains will fly by on elevated structures that average 75 feet or more in the air and at times are over 100 feet above the ground. Representatives from the Rail Authority will not be in attendance. The city has been asked to send a letter of formal support or opposition to present the Rail Authority board at the March 3 meeting.

In addition, . . . → Continue reading: More detail: Routes to be dropped, 75 foot high viaducts, and budget woes

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Meeting Announcement (MONDAY): Alhambra City Council meeting

This is short notice, but an update regarding the high speed rail will be given at the regular Alhambra City Council meeting — on MONDAY.

According to the city web site, the Rail Authority staff will only recommend one route to its board — the I-10 freeway. We already knew it would drop the routes using and adjacent to the Union Pacific right of way, but now it appears the SR-60 route will not receive further consideration either. In addition, the trains will run on an elevated platform that averages 74 feet above street level through Alhambra (I’m not sure about the other cities). I called and emailed the Rail Authority’s outreach contacts as well as the City Manager’s office for clarification.

So attend the meeting to hear an update and give comments. And tell your neighbors, family, friends, and anyone else you think will be interested.

Monday, January 24, . . . → Continue reading: Meeting Announcement (MONDAY): Alhambra City Council meeting

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Recap of 2010 and what to expect in 2011

Happy new year! I want to recap what happened in 2010 and identify what to expect in 2011 with regard to the California High Speed Rail Authority’s proposal to put its trains through Alhambra and our neighboring cities. We have a busy year ahead of us.

UPDATE: Some of this is apparently is now outdated. The day after I made this post, the City of Alhambra announced that its next City Council meeting (Jan. 24) would address the Rail Authority’s staff decision to recommend only the I-10 route and placement of an elevated platform 74 feet above street level.

Recap 2010 1. Alhambra and neighboring cities in the cross hairs

In August, we learned that the California High Speed Rail Authority is talking seriously about sending high speed trains at speeds up to 150 miles per hour through residential neighborhoods on either the north or south sides of the . . . → Continue reading: Recap of 2010 and what to expect in 2011

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