To: Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board (Caltrain)
Attn: Stacy Cocke, Senior Planner
1250 San Carlos Ave.
P.O. Box 3006
San Carlos, CA 94070-1306
Dear Ms. Cocke,
I am writing with several comments on the Notice of Preparation of an Environmental Impact Report for the PeninsulaCorridor Electrification Project, located at the web address below.
My comments are written from the perspective of a private citizen who is a resident and a property owner in the City of San Jose, as well as in my capacity as the Shasta/Hanchette Park Neighborhood Association (S/HPNA) representative to the San Jose/Caltrain CEMOF Monitoring Committee. I am copying Eloy Wouters, the President of S/HPNA, Chris Tulin, Chair of the CEMOF Monitoring Committee, and Chris Escher, the Arena Neighborhood Association representative to the CEMOF Monitoring Committee.
I read with great interest your Notice of Preparation document dated January 31st, 2013. It is my understanding and hope that the electrification project will contribute to a reduction of impact from Caltrain operations on nearby residential neighborhoods in such areas as noise pollution and diesel exhaust emissions. However, during preparation of the EIR I would like to request that attention be paid to several areas of potential impact that such operations will have on the residential neighborhoods that exist along and adjacent to the Caltrain right of way between the San Jose Diridon Station and Interstate 880 (the boundaries of the S/HPNA and College Park Neighborhoods.)
- How will Electrification and the Blended System with HSR change and impact the operation of the CEMOF facility? Noise levels and diesel emissions from this facility already impact nearby residents at unacceptable levels. Sources of impact include, but are not limited to: diesel exhaust and noise emissions from idling locomotives, bell ringing and horn blasts from trains moving about the yard, noise from the drying fans of the train washer, screeching of wheel sets as trains negotiate a sharp corner North of the CEMOF facility, noise due to federally mandated horn testing, and mechanical grinding noises from wheel set maintenance. Many of these impacts were under-estimated, or failed to be anticipated, in the original MOU and the set of Shared Objectives that were negotiated between the City of San Jose, the JPB, and Caltrain. We request that the EIR include a detailed accounting of all impacts arising from construction and operations at CEMOF. In addition, we request assurance that the associated MOU and Shared Objectives will remain in effect during and after this project.
- How will operation of the electrified trains impact nearby residents at the Diridon Station? Several units of apartments and condominiums are located immediately adjacent to Diridon, and residents are understandably concerned about any increased noise due to expansions of service. Here expansion of service could refer to an increase in the number of trains per hour, changes to the departure/arrival times of the first/last trains of the day, expanded storage of train sets at the facility, and increased traffic due to Hight Speed Rail service.
- How will the installation of the high voltage Overhead Contact System (OCS) lines impact the views and sight lines of the residential neighborhoods adjacent to the right of way? How tall will they be, and will they significantly block pre-existing views of any residents or businesses?
- Will the OCS lines present a electrocution danger to adults, children, pets, or wildlife? Such lines run considerably lower than ordinary high voltage transmission lines.
- From the map on Page 7 of the Notice of Preparation document, it appears that one of the two large Traction Power Supply Substation (TPS) facilities will be constructed just north of the College Park station, and therefore within the boundaries of the College park neighborhood and near Bellarmine College Prep school. Precisely where will the TPS be located? Will it present any noise pollution or light pollution sources that will impact this neighborhood? Will it's construction and operation modify any roads, or otherwise present any access impacts or in other ways inconvenience it's neighbors?
Thank you very much for giving me this opportunity to comment on the Notice of Preparation document. If you have any questions you may contact me at the address below. Please add me to your mailing list for all future communications on this project.
Michael A. Riepe, PhD