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It is possible to tunnel

From: domainremoved <Rich>
Date: Tue, 2 Apr 2019 19:33:16 +0000

Hello Council and Happy Spring Break.

I attach the most recent article re: Palo Alto tunnels. (Link below)

Its what is possible if we don’t let our own lack of knowledge become a default rejection of a transformational idea.

For years I’ve met with each and every person or organization I could about tunnels in Menlo Park and through out the peninsula. I even left voicemails for Elon Musk and asked anyone of status with Elon to pass him a note.

As you know, our community like most has a very vocal minority share of voices via motivated residents with time and money and just enough information to form a radical offshoot of angry elevated rail advocates. I never understood why they have to be so bitter and angry about transit concepts but whatever.

This group created a website and branded itself as some pseudo official Menlo Park downtown vibrancy specialist. It has recruited many angry white men and rejects the idea of tunneling outright. The group tops it off by ridiculing any person and any underground concept as nefariously impossible or uninformed.

Meanwhile, in Palo Alto...

https://paloaltoonline.com/news/show_story.php?id=52177

I know the commitment of you and most resident to be informed is there - our current Mayor has reached out in the past to learn from PA officials about transit tunnels.

Speaking for myself, I never really felt like anyone really believes in tunneling as a reality until it reaches a point where it can be visualized and has some tangibility. At the onset it looks like too many rocks to push up a hill. I get it.

But we can’t fall prey to atrophy of vision.

Why do we let obstructionists like Dana Hendrickson or Henry Riggs or Steve Schmidt and their cronies of well-intentioned but misinformed seemingly convince our community to keep its heads in the sand when it comes to underground transit ideas? Why don’t we force obstructionists to disprove the bold idea as much as we do force idea (in this case tunnels) proponents to prove its efficacy? It seems one sided and heavily favored against taking bold steps and resistant to leading from the front.

Fear of the unknown is a dangerous weapon and you five know this more than most. Try talking about affordable housing or homeless shelters and about land acquisition and locations and see how fast some people rage through “facts” that say it’s too costly, it’s too risky or it will take too long and it won’t get support and it is just a momentary blip thing and it’s not fair to people who don’t need it...etc.

Try talking about equity or education and see how many times one idea of reform is ignored and replaced by another seemingly well intended idea and then that one replaced by another and so on until nothing gets done...which is always the goal of obstructionists. Seductively shutting down progress by cutting out the inspiration and vision of big ideas and replacing it with so-called “realistic proposals” that won’t transform our communities and won’t solve the problems that are only multiplying in future years.

Please join PA and build relationships with the organizations who build tunnels.

Don’t over analyze right now. Finding a way to say no is easy. We elected you to find a way to say yes to the bold and transformational ideas. To say yes to modern transit that includes pedestrian tunnels under major roads connecting people to transit and freeing up dedicated commuter roads. Say yes to the capturing of land values and the prospects of future development of houses for all economic classes if rail and roads are underground.

Politics alone around this current one or two or three grade separations debate will take years as it is.

Imagine if we committed way back, as some like me requested, and we seriously accepted the prospect of tunneling transit 10 years ago.

Perhaps we’d be with other future-oriented cities and projects going forward. Perhaps Menlo Park would have partners like Musk and others and our community would be able to see how it could be realized.

We can still start today and collect all the current data from LA, Seattle, Chicago and DC (all have plans or completion of new transit tunnels).

Believe it or not, tunneling cars from downtown (Ravenswood and ECR) to 101 or Dumbarton is not as crazy as one assumes.

Do me one favor. At some point this week, take a moment when kids are in bed and work is done, grab a glass of wine or something and do a web search for “tunnel projects” and follow links to stories in so many other regions. It’s happening. It’s real.

We can’t accept talking about putting 40 ft of concrete and steel in the air a viable option only because it’s cheap.

We can do better without looking deranged. It’s actually happening.

I always admire your courage council. I am here to help and I am proud to have you five leading our city.

Cheers,

Rich Cline
‘Advocate for the application of new ideas onto old ways of doing business.’
Received on Tue Apr 02 2019 - 12:28:44 PDT

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