High-speed rail may cut through Alhambra

Location

Ramona Road
Alhambra , CA United States

The planned high-speed train linking San Francisco to San Diego may pass through Ramona Road in Alhambra, potentially forcing residents to move. The train is intended to hit speeds of more than 200 miles in open areas and 100 miles in urban ones, making a complete trip from San Francisco to Los Angeles in just more than two-and-a-half hours. City officials announced the state’s plan at Monday’s City Council meeting. Rather than passing through the middle of the 10 Freeway, as initially planned, the state railroad authority is now considering laying the tracks on the north and south sides of Ramona Road instead.

Representatives of the California High-Speed Rail Authority will be making a presentation at the August 9 City Council Meeting. Another meeting will be held on August 12 at 7pm at Fremont Elementary School. A fact sheet, map, and letter of opposition will be mailed out to the residents on and around Ramona Road by the end of this week, according to the City Manager's office.

2 thoughts on “High-speed rail may cut through Alhambra”

  1. Almost forgot, the scoping report is the one you want to review.
    http://www.cahighspeedrail.ca.gov/images/chsr/20100414084023_Draft%20LA-
    The Land Use Report is also interesting: http://www.cahighspeedrail.ca.gov/images/chsr/20080131150110_Land_Use_Re

    Scoping is the first step under California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and the US National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA). The goal of scoping is to identify all the major and minor affects of the project. After that, the draft, combined CEQA environmental impact report (EIR) and NEPA environmental impact statement (EIS) is prepared. The Draft EIR/EIS for the LA to San Diego segment is in process and will be published about 2012, according to the scoping report. It can break ground once the EIR/EIS is finalized. This situation is exactly why NEPA and CEQA exist and are generally the regulations cited by proponents of development as impediments to projects. The primary goal of both laws is to slow down the process and force decision makers to collect and consider all data before making a decision.

    I expect the system would look something like what is proposed in Fresno.
    http://www.cahsrblog.com/2010/03/fresnos-60-foot-hsr-viaduct-gets-noticed/

    Apparently, to build an elevated structure as proposed down
    Ramona, it requires 50 feet of right of way.
    http://www.cahighspeedrail.ca.gov/news.asp?type=faqs&cat=8188

    If they do go forward with the plan to route the line down Ramona and you are directly affected by the plan (say within a block of the proposed route), you should consult a real estate attorney and demand concessions, from paying for loss of value to sound proofing and vibration monitoring.

    I spoke this morning with Ann-Marie Hayashi, assistant city manager. She told me that the city has very little information beyond what was shared in its web site notice. She also confirmed that the HSR Authority website does not have any specific information about the proposal to route the HSR down Ramona.

    The city was blindsided by the HSR Authority decision to focus on the I-10 corridor. The HSR Authority has 4 alternative routes. The I-10 route is on alternative. Within that route alternative, it has identified 3 options. One option is to build a platform above the Metrolink system. A second alternative is to build the platform along/on Ramona. The city found out about the Ramona option about 3 weeks ago.

    It appears from the tone of language during meetings with the city that the HSR Authority staff prefers and will recommend the authority focus on the I-10 route. They mostly focused on the negatives of the other routes and the positives of the I-10 route. As such, it is expected to recommend that route during the September 2, HSR Authority board meeting.

    City and county leaders from throughout the San Gabriel Valley will be in attendance at the city council meeting. This is the first presentation held by the HSR Authority with regard to technical details about the proposed extension through the area. The city will have seats and a projection screen set up in the lobby of city hall to accommodate the overflow expected.

  2. Please post links to documents for review. It took me quite a bit of digging to find the proposed route is part of the planned segment between LA Union Station and San Diego. The route goes to the Inland Empire and then on to San Diego, apparently down the I-15 freeway.

    Documents relating to the LA to San Diego segment are available at:
    http://www.cahighspeedrail.ca.gov/library.asp?p=8467

    I think the Ramona route is atrocious. I am a fan of HSR and think it is essential for the future of California but the arrogance of the HSR Authority is appalling. Mostly, I’m upset by the lack of communication with the cities and residents affected. It happened in the Bay Area, where it insists its chosen route is better despite legal and policy disputes with cities and counties up and down the SF Peninsula. And it seems to be repeating itself here in L.A.

    I also think HSRA is making its system more expensive than necessary to build out. The costs to improve the rail grade in the middle of I-10 will be considerably less than buying/condemning all the properties along the route. Moreover, it creates more legal barriers to complete by the 2020 date.

    I am directly affected. I live half a block from Ramona and did not receive any notice except from the Chamber of Commerce rag. In addition, less than a week’s notice about community meetings and presentations will only make things more difficult as it provides leverage in any court proceedings. Or, at the very least, it will drag on negotiations with neighbors on adequate compensation. And since my property will likely be one of those purchased, I guess I do not qualify as a NIMBY, just irate. 🙂

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