Electronically Serving Monterey Park, Alhambra, San Gabriel, & Rosemead

High-Speed Rail In Your Neighborhood

High-Speed Rail In Your Neighborhood

Attention Residents of the San Gabriel Valley

The California High-Speed Rail Authority is studying four routes for this train from San Francisco to San Diego via the Inland Empire.

Two of the proposed routes will be along or near the 10 Freeway or near or along the 60 Freeway.

The Alhambra City Council held two neighborhood meetings (August 9 and August 12) for the residents so they could hear the presentation by Jose Martinez, the Regional Manager of the Los Angeles to San Diego section of this project that was voted in by the taxpayers.

The council chambers were packed with the overflow crowd seated in the large entry hall on the first floor.

City Manager Julio Fuentes advised residents that this was a presentation to provide information.  No final decision has been made.

Staff has been monitoring the progress of the project. A study was done with it running down the 60 Freeway and now it has been changed to run down the 10 Freeway or on the North or South side of Ramona Road and not the freeway.

Alhambra residents living on Ramona Road were concerned that this project on the 10 Freeway would take their homes and destroy their neighborhood.

About the California High-Speed Rail Project

1) The California High-Speed Rail project will be the largest infrastructure project ever built in the U.S.-a $40 billion, 800-mile long high-speed train network that will run at speeds of up to 220 miles per hour.

2) The network will be designed to serve commuters between San Diego and San Francisco or Sacramento, with the ability to carry up to 117 million passengers annually by 2030 along with lightweight freight.

3) The CHSRA is considering multiple alignments for the possible route, including options along the San Bernardino Freeway (I-10), the Pomona Freeway (SR-60) and the Union Pacific Right of Way or a corridor adjacent to the Union Pacific Right of Way both of which south of the 60 Freeway.

4) A proposed route will pass through the San Gabriel Valley between Union Station in Los Angeles and the Ontario Airport, and include at least one station (perhaps in El Monte).

5) The proposed design calls for constructing a 50-foot Wide deck set on top of 35-foot high posts placed every 100 feet.

6) The proposal includes building tracks in the center of the San Bernardino Freeway. The California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) is also considering alternatives that would build the tracks parallel to the San Bernardino Freeway along Ramona Road, and may require the acquisition of properties near or along Ramona Road.

7) While total cost is expected to exceed $40 billion, current project funding is split between state, federal and the private sector, including $9.95 billion in general obligation bonds authorized by Proposition 1A, and $2.34 billion in Stimulus Funds with a requirement that one segment be operational by 2017.

8) CHSRA promotes the electric train as a safe, convenient, affordable and reliable alternative to driving and high gas prices, helping to improve California’s economy while reducing air pollution, global warming, greenhouse gases, dependence on foreign oil, and promoting smart growth.

9) Travel times would be less than one-half that of car travel.

10) The project would create an estimated 450,000 permanent jobs by 2035, and generate 160,000 construction-related jobs to plan, design and build the system.

Mayor Steve Sham, Vice Mayor Gary Yamaguchi, Councilmembers Steven Placido, Barbara Messina and Luis Ayala each expressed their concerns about the project being put on the 10 Freeway.

Mayor Sham said while this project is important to the state the residents’ concerns need to be addressed if the 10 Freeway is developed. Councilmember Placido asked the representative several question about the elevated tracks and their plans for safety. This project will disrupt the area. The cities are looking at what is best for the San Gabriel Valley. Councilmember Messina said in 2008 the voters approved a high-speed rail system. The idea has been around since the late 1990s but now it is being pushed.

Rosemead Councilmember Sandra Armenta and several residents expressed the concerns about this project and how it would affect their city. She said that residents of Rosemead would be affected by this project. No information about the 10 Freeway route was on the Agency’s web site. They oppose the project. The state has not advised the residents. They need public input from the cities along the route. They could take property under eminent domain. The project needs to spend the stimulus funds by 2017. We need the truth.

San Gabriel Vice Mayor Dave Gutierrez and Councilmember Juli Costanzo stated their concerns about how this project would affect their city. Mr. Gutierrez thanked the Council for their transparency. He agrees with the Council. High speed is exciting if it is done the right way. It must be well planned at the approved standards. We need to plan it responsibility. There were environmental concerns at the shoreline. The residents didn’t want it. We are no less important. The Agency needs to discuss this project with each city. San Gabriel opposes any condemnations. We need more information.

Twenty-three speakers addressed the issue after hearing the presentation. They were concerned that many residents would lose their homes and businesses to this project.  Their cities and their property values would be destroyed. The trains would be elevated 35 feet over their homes and stores. The fast moving trains could cause accidents at the pedestrian overpasses around the schools. Our environment is just as precious to us as the homes at the coastline that rejected this project in their backyards. This project is being shoved down our throats by the government. The stimulus funds could run out and the project would be abandoned and become an eyesore. The Agency is not being transparent and has not been providing information to the residents. The Agency could not tell the residents how they would mediate the train noise. A resident from South Pasadena said now we know how they feel about pushing the 710 Freeway through their neighborhoods. Since the Union Railway has lines going in the direction of the Inland Empire that would be a better route.  Put the project is a less populated area and preserve our cities.

Council and residents complained that not one of the nine members of the Agency’s Board was on hand to hear the concerns of the residents on this project.

Councilmember Ayala asked the Council to vote to write a letter to the Agency that the oppose the A-B-C plans for the 10 Freeway. They voted to hold up the letter until the residents have a change to voice their opinions at the August 12 town hall meeting.

Council thanked everyone for their attendance and input.

Councilmembers and City Manager have provided a draft of a letter that can be sent to the Agency regarding this project. Please call or write your legislators with your opinion. This will be the best way to affect the final outcome of this proposal.  You can change the name of the city to express your opinions from Alhambra’s sister cities of Rosemead, San Gabriel and Monterey Park.

Curt Pringle, Chairman


925 L Street, Suite 1425

Sacramento, CA 95814

Dear Mr. Pringle:

As an Alhambra resident, my family and I are seriously concerned about the latest proposal by the California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) concerning the possible construction of high-speed rail tracks that would run parallel to the San Bernardino Freeway along Ramona Road.

We are concerned that its approval could potentially affect our homes and our property. Furthermore, the effect of placing such a large structure in my neighborhood could permanently alter the appearance and feeling of community of our neighborhood.

The CHSRA is considering options to build the high-speed rail tracks in the center of the San Bernardino Freeway or parallel to the Freeway along Ramona Road. The proposals would build a 50-foot wide deck set on top of 35-foot high posts placed every 100 feet. Not only could this result in the possible displacement of residents, but there is also the potential for disturbing train noise and the denigration of the aesthetics of the surrounding neighborhoods resulting in lower property values.

These are important reasons why this matter needs more study, including the completion of an Environmental Assessment, before finalizing the route. Because Stimulus Funds are being used in part to finance this project (with a requirement that one segment must be completed by 2017), there is tremendous pressure to begin construction. However, we believe it is moving forward too quickly. We are urging your assistance in the hopes that a more suitable alternative route may be found in the San Gabriel Valley that does not threaten the quality of life in our community.

Very Sincerely,

cc: Assemblymember Mike Eng (49th District), State Capitol, P.O. Box 942849, Sacramento, CA 94249-0049

Senator Gilbert Cedillo (22nd California Senate District), State Capitol, Room 5100, Sacramento, CA 95814

Assemblymember Kevin de Leon (45th District), 360 West Avenue 26, Suites 121 and 122; Los Angeles, CA 90031

Congressman Adam Schiff, 2447 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington D.C. 20515

The CHSRA will be holding a board meeting in early October.  Their local phone number is 909-627-2974 and their website: cahighspeedrail.ca.gov .

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