Dear NIMBY Boneheads,
It was with some alarm that I read a wire-service story about San Francisco Peninsula cities opposing a high-speed rail line through their cities.
With all due respect, and from a person who rides public transit quite a bit, let me just say: screw you.
The last time the Bay Area had a large rail project was when BART--the light rail system that kinda runs through most of the Bay Area--was "extended" out to the airport. Except, well, you know, a little self-interest caused it to not exactly work out cleanly.
In Germany, I'm told, the train runs right into the center of the city. In Paris, there are several stations around the city. How do you get to San Francisco airport from the Peninsula, or the South Bay?
Well, you can take the VTA light rail to a CalTrain station somewhere. Then you take the CalTrain to the Milbrae station. You get off at Milbrae and take the BART one stop north to San Bruno. Then you change trains and take a special BART train one station south to the San Francisco airport stop. Which isn't at the airport; you have to take a "people mover" from the BART station to your terminal. So that's 4 trains rides (five if you have to take the VTA light rail in the South Bay) to get to the airport.
To say this is insane is a mild way of putting it.
Why didn't they have BART just go stright to the airport? Or perhaps have CalTrain go through the airport? NIMBY arguments, along with various constituents such as the cab drivers ("We'll lose money!") and I don't know what-all. So now it's multiple train rides.
Now, the California state government and the federal government are engaged in the planning for a high-speed rail from LA to San Francisco. Having it go up the Peninsula, and perhaps hooking up to a city or two (or the airport!) at appropriate locations on the Peninsua, or linking up with either CalTrain or BART somewhere, would seem to make a lot of sense. Certainly it does to me, the guy stuck making 4 train rides and over an hour to go 25 miles. A guy, further, who has a sister and friends in LA that he would love to see, but doesn't want to deal with driving The Beast (1984 Jeep Cherokee) or taking the plane.
But no. What we have is the NIMBY crowd once again complaining. "Send it over the Altamont pass!" cry some. "It would violate voters intent" in San Jose if it stopped there, bellow others. "It needs to stop short of San Francisco!" say a (totally insane) group.
I just hope the people in charge of planning have some damn balls, because I am sick to death of how poorly public transit works in the Bay Area, and one more public transit project that ends up being crap because no one had any spine is the last thing we need.
Yours most sincerely,
Public Transit User and Stubborn, Opinionated Jerk