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High Speed Train Through Downtown Pleasanton? `Over My Dead Body' Councilman Says

Pleasanton City Council members say they're against the idea of allowing high speed train service to pass through the city.

Pleasanton City Council members on Tuesday said they're against an idea to have high speed trains whizzing through downtown Pleasanton.

The California High Speed Rail Authority gave a presentation to the council at the Tuesday night meeting  about the possibility of having a passenger rail project from Stockton to San Jose pass through Pleasanton.

Will Gimple, regional manager for the Altamont Rail Corridor Project, said the goal is to develop regional service in this corridor to better connect regions of Northern California and to feed into the high speed rail lines that are going to be developed elsewhere. 

Possibilities include having the rail line go through downtown Pleasanton through tunnels or on elevated tracks.

Councilman Jerry Thorne said he strongly opposed the idea.

 “It’s basically over my dead body,” Thorne said.

City Manager Nelson Fialho said that there is no railroad corridor in downtown Pleasanton available for such a use. The area proposed currently accommodates parking, the , Lions Wayside Park and 250 single-family homes.

“I can’t be more strong in my objection to having it go through downtown Pleasanton,” Vice-Mayor Cheryl Cook-Kallio said. “It seems that there’s a misunderstanding of what’s there.”

 Councilman Matt Sullivan wanted to know who would have the authority to approve a plan to have a railway go through Pleasanton without the city’s approval.

City attorney Jonathan Lowell responded that the city would contest such an action and would go to court to stop it.

“I can’t fathom under any circumstances putting this alignment through downtown Pleasanton,” Cook-Kallio said. “I just, in the strongest terms, want to indicate to you all that universally, we will be extremely difficult and lengthy in terms of dealing with us, and would use every option at our disposal to ensure that it goes somewhere else.”

Cook-Kallio said it would make more sense to put the tracks along Interstates 580 and 680, an idea that has also been raised by Livermore residents concerned about the project, which is in the early stages.

Rail project supporters want to narrow possible routes so the project can move forward with an environmental impact report.

Officials first brought the rail project to the public in November 2009 to introduce and gather comments. They plan to unveil station designs and hold public workshops next winter.

A draft environmental impact report is expected to be completed in June 2012. Officials then would hold public meetings to review the report.

Cost for the project, which spans 110 miles, will be up to $7 billion. There is no funding source yet, but the project may be eligible for high-speed rail bonds.

It was decided that a meeting with Pleasanton residents needed to be organized to discuss the issue further.

In other business, the council approved allocation of the Housing and Human Services Grant and Community Grant Program funds for fiscal year 2011-12.

Two proclamations presentations were held during the meeting, designating April 30, 2011 as Mormon Helping Hands Day and the month of April 2011 as Month of the Young Child.

A moment of silence was shared during the meeting in honor of Army Specialist , a Pleasanton resident and army medic who died in Afghanistan on March 29. The meeting was adjourned in Lindskog's honor.

Robert April 20, 2011 at 06:37 PM
To add to my comment....I'll have to say that the chance that we'll even get a high-speed train in this area any time in the next 25 years is about as likely as Livermore getting a Bart Station in the next 25 years, and I don't see that happening either. I'll be honest, I'd love to see both systems, but I'll probably be either too old and frail by the time either happens so actually I don't care!
Jason L. Tulock April 20, 2011 at 09:16 PM
ACE has the lowest ridership of any commuter system in the country. Taxpayers should spend $7 billion plus to upgrade it? Why? Why was ACE given special privileges to obtain high speed funding from the feds when no other commuter system was? Follow the money and find the crooks. That is your mission, weed hopper. Jay L. Tulock, Vacaville
LocalYocal April 26, 2011 at 05:29 PM
Califonia has a pretty ideal population distribution for such a system in my eyes. We have large population densities on the edges of the intended system to support it with ridership, but low enough population density through most of the middle that actually building it is feasible. If you hadn't noticed, track through higher population regions (like Pleasanton and the peninsula) tends to be harder and much more costly, while track through areas like Fresno and Bakersfield are pretty much completely uncontested. Providing such a route between an area that will have ten million people by the time of completion and an area that will have twenty million people by the time of completion, when most of the intervening space can still be provided cheaply, definitely seems like a good idea.
Elizabeth April 27, 2011 at 07:52 AM
They said the same "over my dead body" about Stoneridge Drive being extended and becoming a parallel freeway route to I-580. Then they changed their mind.
local May 10, 2011 at 04:13 AM
It's not a good idea to have a high-speed train (in fact, any train) going through downtown. There are people, high school kids, cars, etc. It does not make sense. "Over my dead body" is just an expression, and I understand it. Relax. Let's say there is an accident, a train carrying oil derails, the entire zone will be affected and it will be impossible to clean. Not gonna happen? Ha, you wish...and then you'll be sorry.

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