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The Community Site for East San Carlos Residents

EIR Meeting

EIR Meeting

A big thank you to everyone who attended last night’s meeting!  It was great to hear so many voices from the community speak so clearly about their issues and concerns.  I’m especially grateful to those who stayed and listened to all of the issues and concerns that were brought up.

I was however, particularly distressed by the paid consultants who showed up to state that they supported the project but clearly hadn’t looked at the particulars.  It was a shame that those same folks left immediately following the first short break probably getting into their cars and not taking public transit back to San Francisco.  Shame on them…

The meeting has already generated some press and blogging!

Transit village plan worries residents

Plans for the San Carlos Transit Village Debut at Planning Commision Meeting

Also this article is of great interest:

Development Oriented Transit

As a matter of fact this post is so spot on that I’m going to paste it right here:

In San Carlos, plans are afoot to build a so-called “Transit Village” on a strip of vacant land adjacent to the train station. The land, owned by Caltrain and SamTrans, the county transit agency, was acquired for construction of the grade-separated berm (see Focus on San Carlos).

The Draft EIR for the Transit Village project is currently open for public comment.

The plans are remarkable for their amazing lack of coordination with the high-speed rail project.

The Transit Village FAQ dismisses the issue in one fell swoop:

How will the project affect the proposed high speed rail service?
The project will not affect the proposed high speed rail service because the project site design already incorporates the necessary space for the future high speed rail service.

A recent article in the San Mateo Daily Journal, highlighting concerns about the project, failed to mention the high-speed rail issue even once.

Meanwhile, HNTB, the engineering firm in charge of the peninsula rail corridor, is actively considering several design alternatives that would widen the corridor to well over 100 feet at the San Carlos station. One of these alternatives is to run a pair of HSR tracks west of the existing station, right where the Transit Village buildings are planned. Perhaps this is a game of who gets there first, but no matter which way you slice it, four tracks plus platforms are going to exceed 100 feet in width.

The project EIR includes several site sections, an example of which is reproduced above superimposed with one of the HSR configurations currently under consideration. (Click for the complete diagram, drawn to scale, without any utility easements–i.e. as narrow as possible). If the railroad right of way is not expanded eastward into Old County Road and the adjoining East San Carlos neighborhood, then the required rail corridor will quite literally overlap with the planned buildings as shown in the figure. Short of an actual overlap, even close proximity would be unacceptable from an interior noise standpoint, and would preclude emergency vehicle access to the rear of the buildings. The inescapable conclusion:

The project will very much be affected by HSR, quite possibly up to eminent domain and demolition.

Anyone who says otherwise is trying to sell you a Transit Village. Who will pay for this egregious lack of foresight? Probably the suckers who buy the residential units, and the suckers who pay taxes to fund needlessly expensive right-of-way acquisition. Remember, this little soap opera will take place on land that is currently owned by Caltrain and SamTrans!

Why pull another San Mateo? Have Caltrain and SamTrans learned nothing about sacrificing valuable railroad right-of-way on the altar of cities’ pet projects? Is somebody in Sacramento going to wake up and knock some heads together? Or is it on us to foot the bill after the mess is made?

Wow, what a great and insightful post! Thank you Mr. Tillier for telling it like it is!

I wonder what the BATN Google Group guy is going to rename the SM Times article?

Oh my goodness here it is:  San Carlos NIMBYs decry towering TOD between ECR, elevated Caltrain

The actual article is titled Transit Plan Worries Residents.  But the person who moderates that group who feels the need to call community activists names is completely anonymous.  How courageous!

I wonder if they were one of the people who left before actually hearing the residents legitimate concerns?  Perhaps it’s an automated BOT that whenever it see’s Residents it renames them to Nimby’s?

In any case I sent them an email and I’ll be interested to see if there is any response and I promise not to waste any more time on this.

Once again thank you to all residents of San Carlos for coming out and voicing your opinions!


  1. Pat,

    I honestly think you are missing the point here. You can bet that Samtrans and Legacy would not tear down the buildings that they just invested in, but one could certainly make the claim that eminent domain proceedings would occur in our neighborhood and Old County Road would be used for HSR if there was no space because of the Transit Village. This is already the case in San Jose as we found out after talking with the Sierra Club.

  2. Who would exercise eminent domain against Cal Trans? Not the RDA, they don’t have the power. High Speed Rail v. Transit Village is Cal Trans v. Cal Trans, so that doesn’t make sense, and I don’t think they have the power of eminent domain anyway.

    Regarding “the suckers who buy the residential units,” who would that be? These are rental units owned by Legacy on land owned by Cal Trans.

    You may not like Legacy, but do you think they’re stupid enough to build a development that will be torn down as soon as it’s built? This is a very successful business. If they were that stupid, they wouldn’t be so successful.

  3. One or two of the consultants stated at the meeting that they lived in S.F.

    Pretty much any text that is blue is a link. You can tell it is a link when your mouse pointer goes over the text and the text becomes underlined.

  4. Thanks for the link. I read the article and still didn’t find the paid consultants from SF. HLC and the Sierra Club, as well as the Silicon Valley Foundation, are all local. They are all non-profits, and I wouldn’t call any of them consultants.

    There are many advocacy organization that are pushing Transit Oriented Development throughout the US.

  5. Who is “I personally” when the post says it is from GESC?

  6. Click on the link “paid consultants” in the post.

  7. Who are the paid consultants from San Francisco?


  8. Thanks for spreading the word. I sent the city a detailed DEIR comment letter that points to specific rail clearances and dimensions for Caltrain and the high-speed rail project (a big thanks to Nadia Naik of CARRD for prying the specs & drawings for HSR out of the Authority’s clenched hand…). I figured there’s nothing like specific page, paragraph and figure numbers to prevent them from waving their hands and claiming nothing is known yet.

    If you’d like a copy, drop me an e-mail.

    Under CEQA, they can just pay lip service to this issue (as they have so far) and certify their final EIR. The only way to keep them honest and force them to address the issue head on, as provided for by CEQA, is a lawsuit. I sure hope y’all are prepared to file one when the time comes.

  9. I personally think this is inexcusable and is a deliberate omission in the EIR. It seems very clear that there is a full court press on to do this development no matter what harm it does to HSR, San Carlos, and the east side in particular.

  10. Wow, they are racing to put up the Transit Village, because they don’t want the tracks to go there. This means Old County Road would be closed for years if the building goes up? What about our houses? Eminent domain?

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