Capdiamont\’s Weblog


NCRA
Thursday 25 Jul 2013, 09:30
Filed under: Humboldt, NCRA, Northwestern Pacific Railroad, Railroad, trails | Tags: , ,

Wow, what a lot of rage over nothing. Where was this rage when it was not done legally in the first place? Nope, nothing. Lets get things clear, NCRA directors had nothing to do with this, the Humboldt Mayors did. In order to correct this, there was a revote of the issue. More put in their voice as tends to happen in democracies, and they decided on a better person. I don’t see it as a knock against trails simply because Director Marks is on record wanting trails and trails has been approved long before either one of these two got on board. The two I can think of is Healdburg, the the other is Arcata to Bracutt. Oh yes, most of the A&MR RR to be converted long ago to a trail. Yet these articles and editorials attempt to sell you Stillman would of brought fresh new ideas. Not buying that one.

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Rail and Trail around Humboldt Bay

I admit being nervous how the committee process would go.  As I told NCRA at their last meeting, what they came up with was very smart. Now we have a rail with trail process around the bay. This gives our area the political capital and economic benefits we need to implement the plan a single way could not. I knew that not all the ties needed to be replaced, and the rail did not need to be replaced, yet you naysayers would not listen. We can finally move forward now that the “squeeze” folks have quieted down. For those who continue to doubt normal maintenance can raise the rail-bed effectively for sea level rise, please understand NCRA already has done this as part of the rebuilding process. They raised the trestle down in Novato. On either side the track needed to  be raised to match the bridge.

I am a part of this process. I do not have a problem with putting a trail along side the rail. I do have a problem with removing the rail for a trail in these vital areas. We need the tourist train. The tourist train is about diversification of our economy.

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Nearly a year since the post on THA and Mr. Wilson
Tuesday 16 Oct 2012, 07:26
Filed under: harbor, Humboldt, Samoa, THA, trails | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

The last post done in Nov of last year on this subject. Think about it, nearly a year has gone by since I got so frustrated with how long it was taking to build the fence and lease negotiations. There was even an article in the Times Standard before my post. The fence needs to be repaired to protect what the Harbor District calls the oldest Roundhouse on the West Coast. There is only three roundhouses on the West Coast. You would think the Harbor District would want to work quickly to protect these buildings. The notice for the fence was put up nearly a year ago. My other post on the subject. There is something seriously wrong when you cannot build a fence by now.

Long term lease is still up in the air. Both lease negotiators are trails folks. My opinion is by encumbering Timber Heritage Association, it makes THA look like they cannot carry out enough to need the Arcata to Eureka right of way(ROW). Thus speeding up their trails. Either that or the Arcata 805/08:05 club is pulling strings.

 

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Unanimous Support to Continue East – West Rail Study
Wednesday 29 Aug 2012, 09:59
Filed under: Humboldt, North Coast Railroad, Railroad, trails

With one hundred percent of the public speaking in favor of the study, the Supervisors did the honorable thing and unanimously approved going forward with supporting the study yesterday. With a broad base of support, this is good news.

According to the presentation the study would also resolve land use questions. However Supervisor Lovelace had to bring up land use questions, making me wonder if he listened to the presentation at all.

In an alternate universe, the back room dealing folks are unhappy that democracy happened.

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Problems with the local rail banking idea

There is many issues here.

The rail to trail from Arcata to Blue Lake has yet to turn a shovel.
The rail with trail within Arcata and to Bracutt has yet to turn a shovel. Both were submitted to NCRA board and approved long ago. There has been no plan for a trail from Bracutt to Eureka that was brought to the NCRA board for a vote. With no plan submitted, it cannot be approved. NCRA is not the bad guy here. There are proper ways to do things. The trail folks have not done so.

The four million mentioned in the plan is not the true cost of converting the rail to trail. There is an unbroken string of federal court cases stating rails to rails/rail banking is an unconstitutional taking of land. So in each court case, the government had to pay fair market value of the land for a new trail easement as though the railroad was never there, plus interest. Those costs have not been added to the 2007 plan. Link: http://www.mainjustice.com/2012/02/17/railbanking-flopping-in-the-courtroom/

The prism of the railroad is not a levee. It was not designed to hold back any water, and it will not do so. It was only designed to hold up the trains. There has been no costs added to the 2007 plan to make it a levee. Again those are added costs, and time to do so.

The short run for the tourist train from Samoa to Arcata is too short for the proposed Dinner train. It will also leave out the packed Fourth of July passenger train runs between Arcata and Eureka. Those runs brought our communities together with alternative transportation.

The East side of highway 101 might be a better place. I know you have to cross Indianola, various businesses, etc. However you open yourself up to whole new possibilities. It would then be cheaper to add in the old railroad right of ways to Bayside, Old Hansen Rd area, Freshwater, and the north side of Eureka. Indianola was a Railroad right of way. This way you have the main connecting trail, plus more to get people off of old Arcata Road. It allow for better access to the the wildlife refuge. It is more protected from the wind coming off the bay.

Rail banking is unneeded. The operator filed a notice of intent to use the railroad, and that alone preserves the right of way from reverting to private hands. The public was told the railroad has not been used for fifteen years. That is incorrect. There has been the movement of the railroad passenger car, and various groups of speeders. All that usage qualifies as railroad usage, preserving the right of way.

Now there is proposed usage of the railroad as a shortline in the intern, with eventual connection to the outside. With the proposed usage, the Surface Transportation Board will not the abandoning of the railroad. Rail banking requires abandonment of the railroad. Thus no rail banking will be allowed, even if the NCRA wanted to do so.



There is no plan for railbanking of Humboldt railroad
Monday 25 Jun 2012, 12:50
Filed under: Arcata, bicycle, Eureka, Humboldt, NCRA, Northwestern Pacific Railroad, Railroad, trails

Tomorrow, our county Supervisors will be voting on a railbanking  committee for the railroad. Judy Hodgson wishes you to believe there is a plan that everyone has agreed to. There is no such plan. Instead she uses her bully pulpit to bash the railroad. We also have a supervisor, Clif who has acted shamefully, by not putting the restoration of the railroad first and foremost as part of the railroad board.

There is no danger of losing the right of way to land owners. There has been no case of the land reverting back to land owners without the railroad deliberately abandoning the line. We own the railroad, so this will not be the case. Converting the railroad in to a trail requires going through the abandonment process. If an agreement is not reached with whomever takes over, the land will revert back to the land owners.

We, the public do not own most of the land, instead the railroad has an easement, that is literally stated in deeds as, “for railroad use only.” A trail is not a railroad use. There is an unbroken string of federal court cases stating exactly this. This means the lowball figure for trails given is wrong. An entirely new easement must be bought at fair market value, as though the railroad never existed. Otherwise it is an unconstitutional taking of land.

Further the usage figures have been overstated. The figures given are higher than a newly built trail in Marin, between to large population centers. How can this be?

We have yet to hear, how the maintenance of the trail will be paid for, or how much.

Also trail advocates understate the usage of the railroad.



Troll Season?
Monday 14 May 2012, 07:59
Filed under: Humboldt, Railroad, trails

Oddly enough, it happened same night as being accused(falsely) by MB of being a troll. I am sure the fireworks would have cause some bodily harm if used as they said.



Railbanking/Rails to Trails suffers major setback in court rooms
Sunday 19 Feb 2012, 01:33
Filed under: Humboldt, Mendocino, Railroad, trails

Sixteen court cases have all decided converting railroads in to trails is an unconstitutional taking of land. When the easements were granted, land owners never granted an easement to make a trail. Each court case pointed out a trail is not a railroad. That means in order to make a trail, the land owners must receive fair market value for the new easement. Expect millions of dollars to be added to the cost of trails.

Article



A letter in NCJ print, not online

Somehow my, and another letter about the rail failed to appear online at the North Coast Journal.

 

Rees Hughes makes a mistake by assuming all rail travel is more expensive than trails in the “A Walk on the Wild Side.” The problem is a matter of the weight of the rail travel exerting forces on the track. Speeders, hand cars, and rail-cycles do not weigh as much as a train. They are not classified by the Federal Railroad Administration as a train. All of these can run on the rail as it is today with the only exception is a little clearing of trees. The Arcata & Mad River Speeder Crewcar has traveled from the Arcata Marsh to the last crossing North of Eureka. Those washouts are minor, and I have lawfully walked that path, because of volunteering with the Timber Heritage Association. The costs are only that of clearing and inspection of the track. The reason that side is not regularly used is political, not physical. The mistake is assuming costs are all the same. So minimal costs versus millions of dollars to make the trail. The speeder clearly is the lowest cost version.

Another mistake is the thinking the speeder crewcar/hand cars would not attract many people. Already thousands of people have ridden the speeder on trips given by the Timber Heritage Association. Many of those people are from out of the area, enhancing the local economy. Last year twelve thousand people showed up for the annual one event called the Handcar Regretta, at the Santa Rosa Depot. I would describe that event as a Steam Punk sculpture race on the rails. Rail based transport is hugely popular.

Might I suggest we do a serious look at rail based passenger transport? I suggest we look at DMUs  SMART will be using in Sonoma and Marin counties.

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RepealSMART died last Monday

3rd editorial on the utter failure of RepealSMART

Not enough signatures to even bother with the verification of votes. They needed 14,9xx votes plus thirty percent per RepealSMART. They turned in 14,5xx signatures even after paying people to get signatures. They cannot even go to court over that amount. That is six months worth of effort.

There is talk of a second attempt at repeal. Even if successful, it will accomplish nothing. The money will be released soon for construction, committing the money to the project.




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