Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Atherton Meet Focuses on High-speed Rail

Source: by Andrea Gemmet Almanac Staff

If it's a hot topic in town, chances are that the Atherton Civic Interest League is working on it. The group's annual meeting, at 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 28, will feature a panel of experts discussing high-speed rail.

The meeting is open to the public, and will be held at the Jennings Pavilion in Holbrook-Palmer Park, 150 Watkins Ave. in Atherton. Atherton officials, and many of the town's residents, have grave worries about the local effects of the state plan to run high-speed trains along the Caltrain corridor that bisects the town. If the high-speed rail line can't be rerouted to avoid the town, Atherton officials would rather have the train run through a trench or tunnel, instead of on an elevated berm.

The scheduled speakers at the meeting are: Mike Garvey and John Litvinger, public outreach consultants working for the California High Speed Rail Authority; John Townsend, executive vice president of Hatch Mott Macdonald, a leading tunnel-engineering and construction firm; Duncan Jones, Atherton's public works director; Gary Patton, attorney and former director of the Planning and Conservation League; and Jim McFall, who will present a digital model of elevated high-speed rail tracks going through Palo Alto.

The meeting kicks off with a roll call and election of new ACIL officers, followed by presentations from the speakers and a half-hour Q&A with the audience. The Atherton Civic Interest League, open to all residents, is a nonprofit organization that aims to improve the quality of life in Atherton and assure effective town governance. It was founded in 1946.

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