Palo Alto Council decides not to litigate Caltrain electrification, but Atherton might

Near midnight following a brief closed session, Palo Alto Mayor Karen Holman announced that Caltrain was working well with the cities on issues that were of concern to the city, and the city would not be pursuing litigation.

The issues that had been publicly discussed by Palo Alto Council were the location of an electric station (Caltrain included Palo Alto’s new recommended location in its documents, but hadn’t finished the technical approval of it), and additional traffic mitigation measures for intersections that would be affected by the more frequent electric train service.  While some local residents hoped that litigating electrification would help $500 to $1Billion materialize to trench through three at-grade crossings, the Palo Alto Council thankfully did not act on this hypothesis.

Today, the town of Atherton will be considering litigation in an 11:30 am closed session. Atherton’s issues are different; the removal of trees, and the concern that because Caltrain electrification will eventually be of use to High Speed Rail, that the environmental report should have studied the full High Speed Rail project.   Caltrain’s reasonable explanation is that the electrification project is a standalone project; it will be operating for years before any high speed trains arrive.

Update: tonight Menlo Park will be holding a closed session on whether to litigate as well. The question is whether to join Atherton’s lawsuit.