Health risks are high within one mile of rail yard

This was emailed to me late yesterday.

Tracking Harm: Health and Environmental Impacts of Rail Yards

3) … The California Air Resources Board (ARB) created land use guidelines that include  “Avoid siting new sensitive land uses within 1000 feet of a service or maintenance yard.”12 The guidelines also stated that: “Within one mile of a rail yard, consider possible siting limitations and mitigation approaches.” Thus, the state agency recognizes that within one mile of a rail yard, the health risks are high. These guidelines should become mandatory – and should work in “both directions.” That means that a new rail yard should not be allowed to be sited within one mile of sensitive receptors.


Click Here for my story in today’s paper, which includes reaction from a homeowner who lives not too far from the northeastern edge of the Union Pacific site.

Matt Artz


  1. Marty #50,
    Are you talking about yourself Marty ?

    I have to agree that Marty was/is harmless. Some would call it ineffectual.

  2. Post #24 here lies one of the many problems that Fremont has. I live in Niles not Fremont HA HA I have news for you Niles people YOU LIVE IN FREMONT and the railroad tracks come right through Niles so it is also your problem. Marty you seem like a smart guy why not focus on the real problem (W-ASS-ERMAN, CITY COUNCIL) and stop putting the blame on other people.

  3. Fair enough, West. Take an inventory the successes of my positions verses those of the FCN, add the petulance of those who feel obligated to respond to me and you’ll find that I am pretty damn effective for one man.

  4. @Worble you really should go back and read my post and what i really said about baseball in Fremont. I would have rather seen a stadium or a another shopping center with the condo’s compared to a rail yard.

  5. #54 – it ain’t a matter of whether you get a rail yard OR something else – – you folks need to examine the activity that’s been going on all around the NUMMI perimeter (and throughout Fremont) for decades.

    Several hundred acres of rail sidings, idle cars, and associated loading/off-loading activities have existed. In the NUMMI heyday – – this activitity was SIGNIFICANTLY greater than more recent history.

    Recent acquisition will likely increase this activity – – – or not – since we dont know what the activity and development will include, speculation about what this means (along w/pretty pictures of the Roanoke, VA yard) do nothing except to fan the flames of . hmmmm. . normally, I’d call it “debate” but, that would infer a level of credibility that many participants herein do not seem interested in sustaining.

    Maybe we can “discuss” this once our reporter and City Management get some solid understanding of what UP has planned – – as opposed to generic handouts which are non-specific to anything that might occur in Fremont.

    Next non-issue please . . . .

  6. – and I am certain that BANG very much appreciates your efforts, Marty.

  7. Box, I have no idea what “BANG” is. But if you wrote it, it must be another brick laid upon the culmination of civil discourse.

  8. Marty, you are seriously deluded. You are nothing but a troll who uses rude and mean language to get people to argue with you. It’s sad that you have to resort to such behavior to get attention. In your twisted mind this is being ‘effective’.

    Your just jealous because FCN did something real in Fremont politics while you can do nothing but rant on a bulletin board. Your behavior is so bad you can’t even come out in public and talk to people face to face. Sad, very sad.

  9. Piter, the FCN really didn’t do much other than collect an email list. Let’s give the back patting a rest.

    Thanks for the fee psychoanalysis -I’m sorry we disagree, but that’s pretty much as deep as it gets, chap.

  10. FCN organized the Warm Springs residents and got about 1,000 people to come out and protest the ball park at Weibel. Another rally at city hall got about 800 people. You couldn’t get ONE person to come out to anything because you can’t show your face in public. FCN was very involved in the last election. One of the candidates they supported nearly got elected.

    Whatever one thinks of FCN at least their out there trying to do what they think is best for Fremont. To claim that your doing something positive for Fremont by attacking everyone who posts here is ridiculous.

  11. We’re both arguing two sides of this Piter. So, the FCN’s work did influence the fate of the ballpark? Can we just get a consensus so we can all move on?

    Did the FCN have an effect or not? I say yes they were an important factor. Not the determining factor, but a big piece of the pie. And now that a rail yard will be installed in it’s place, those 1000 protesters owe the rest of Fremont an apology.

  12. Piter and Robert, welcome to the club. Many of us have walked that path before. To our chagrin, you just can’t fix mean and obtuse. If anyone requires further proof, see what is posted in response to this.

  13. Marty, you failed to mention the significance of the local retailers and employers that were opposed to Mr. Wolff’s plan as he pointed out in this article.

    SF Gate – 2/25/2009
    Oakland Athletics owner Lew Wolff said Tuesday he backed out of plans to move the team to Fremont because he was daunted by the opposition from local residents, retailers and employers.

    Merchants at the adjacent Pacific Commons shopping center and officials at the nearby Nummi auto plant protested the plans, saying the increased congestion on game days would severely harm their businesses.

    When the A’s considered another site, near the proposed Warm Springs BART extension, neighbors complained about the inconvenience of parking and traffic problems, as well as the potential for crime.

  14. VOR – I said it before, but I don’t think mega-corporations should dictate the image of Fremont. I feel that Kohl’s and Lowes would have to make a few sacrifices to have access to 200,000 consumers.

    My ultimate theme through this who debate is that a rail yard was exactly to be expected. It’s land next to an auto factory for christ’s sake. A ballpark was not ideal, but it was the only way anything interesting would ever be developed on that land, and thus should have been investigated. It may have turned out to be best for Fremont to pass.

    But the FCN mob made sure a dialogue was never initiated. In that respect, it is satisfying that Bacon and McDonald lost the election and WS is getting a carbon belching rail yard. I will not apologize for that, as many of us warned that this was coming.

    (I obviously realize the perceived irony in not wanting mega-corps dictating the image of Fremont while being open to Wolfe Corp coming in to develop. The key is being open to the discussion, not submitting to it).

  15. Marty is baiting you fellow bloggers, you should no better then go up against a Master Baiter

  16. In my opinion, the project was dead when the land owners at Pacific Commons said no. Trying to continue with the ball park was a futile exercise that even Wolf got sick of quickly. FCN protested against a hastily conceived plan that was full of problems.

    As for Kohl’s and Lowe’s, it is all Catellus’ land and they didn’t want to do it. Are you now arguing for eminent domain?

    FCN owes no one an apology. You are buying (or pushing) the line that there was some utopian project just on the horizon that was stopped by the evil FCN. Please explain how things would have happened all for the better if FCN had never existed. Make sure to include the part about NUMMI happily giving the necessary land over to the city to build something they didn’t want right next to their factory.

    You are caught in a blatant contradiction:

    #50 – … “I have to agree that the FCN was/is harmless. Some would call it ineffectual.”

    #63 – “Did the FCN have an effect or not? I say yes they were an important factor. Not the determining factor, but a big piece of the pie. … those 1000 protesters owe the rest of Fremont an apology.”

    #66 – “But the FCN mob made sure a dialogue was never initiated.”

    If FCN is ineffectual and harmless why do they owe Fremont an apology? If they were able to stop the dialogue all on their own that is pretty danged effective.

  17. There’s another player in this story, the MLB sanctioned commission that was reviewing Oakland’s proposed new sites, the Fremont/NUMMI site and downtown San Jose. The commission never reached a decision. The Fremont/NUMMI proposal was on the table and MLB didn’t bite. They’re inability to make a decision is just as much of a factor in what went down after Toyota decided to shutter the plant. The FCN was one of many players in this saga. My personal opinion is they were not the force majuere that killed the deal.

  18. Piter, I realize the contradiction. That’s what I meant when I said we’re arguing two sides of the issue. Just as you facetiously stated that…

    Then a few FCN members spoke at a council meeting and killed the entire project.

    …followed with your hailing of the Weibel protests as a tour de force.

    Regardless, I think it is conceivable that a rail yard wouldn’t be in Warm Spring’s future had the FCN never existed. I obviously believe FCN was a major player, or I wouldn’t have started a blog critical of them.

  19. Wonder if Marty get’s paid to sit on this blog 24/7? What do you think?

    He’s talked about his living in Niles and that he has kids. So, is he a stay at home dad? Or, a paid lobbyist? What do you all think?

  20. Thanks for admitting that your contradicting yourself. I never argued (except as a joke) that the FCN protests stopped the ballpark. My point was that FCN built a real movement of many Fremont citizens. I’m glad you agree that they are a ‘major player’ in Fremont politics.

    You say “it is conceivable” that FCN is to blame for the railyard. Yet you can’t explain how the ball park idea would have worked because you know it was unworkable. Please tell us some of the details like how they would have acquired the land.

    One thing I know for sure is that this discussion will not change anything in the real world. Your blog is a petty, vindictive rant. To think you have any influence over a single person is laughable. You bait people into arguments and somehow think that makes you important. That’s just pathetic.

    I’ll leave you to be the boss around here. I’ve had my fun for now.

  21. Well, thanks for playing then, Piter. Let’s take an inventory of this thread-

    We both contradict our opinions on how influential the FCN was.

    Both FCN candidates lost the election, Kathy got her ass handed to her, and her ego likely cost Vinnie the election.

    The FCN in it;s present form is a half dozen housewives sharing an iMac.

    There will be no ball park.

    The risk of lung cancer for Warm Springs residents is about to increase by a magnitude.

    And, I live in Niles, where all the redevelopment money has gone.


  22. Since you admit to being contradictory would you care to go back and tell us which of your statements were true and which were false? How can we trust anything you say if you admit to contradicting yourself?

    You were the only one who contradicted himself. Can you give an example like the one below? (My post #35 was obviously sarcastic.)

    #60 – “Piter, the FCN really didn’t do much other than collect an email list. Let’s give the back patting a rest.”

    #70 – “I obviously believe FCN was a major player, or I wouldn’t have started a blog critical of them.”

    The reason you were caught contradicting yourself is clear. You want to attack FCN anyway you can. You want to say they are weak and can’t do anything and also want to say they have done all sorts of bad things. For you being mean comes before keeping your story straight.

  23. Piter, you obviously don’t have much capacity upstairs. I’ll attempt this one more time for the sake of closure-

    In post 35 you infer (with sarcasm!) that the FCN was harmless. Then in post 62 you infer that they were a force to be reckoned with.

    We’re doing the same thing, chappy. The only difference is that like all the other hypocritical puds who’ve come before you, you only take issue with these argumentative caveats when they don’t work in your favor.

  24. #47 …West, again do YOU have ANY REGRETS that Fremont is getting a RAILROAD YARD instead of a BALLPARK? Would you agree the FNC mob use intimidation to to get their way? Since you will not answer my questions maybe one of the 800 to 1,000 FNC mobsters would care to comment/answer? I am tired of YOU dodging the question. Fremont deserves an answer!

  25. I started to respond to your questions and then realized I couldn’t since I didn’t qualify. There weren’t and aren’t any mobsters in FCN nor did FCN intimidate anybody.

  26. #77 R BLUE.. Can you please answer the question? Are you saying you have NO REGRETS about opposing the ballpark in retrospect? The railway yard is most certainly the consequence of the ( FNC intimidation. You got your way and stopped the ballpark alright! Now Fremont is going to get the” tremendous impact” of toxic railway yard.

  27. The originally proposed location of the ballpark in Warm Springs, after the PacCommons deal fell apart, was on the vacant property sandwiched between I-680, Warm Springs Blvd. and S. Grimmer Blvd.

    The NUMMI site was not in the plan. Toyota then announced the plant closure and COF came up with the alternate location for the stadium on the north corner of the NUMMI lot.

    If the stadium had been built on the original WS site we could have wound up with both the ballpark AND the rail yard.

  28. I think the most hypocritical comments Here are by Marty. He spent over a year attacking Vinnie Bacon, Kathy McDonald, and FCN going as far as writing a blog about them. Now he says FCN is defunct and ineffective. Marty loves to argue to try to show how smart he is, but when opportunity presents itself (improv), he hides at home.
    Truth be told – FCN is an interest group in town and has some relevance in local politics. People like Marty gave FCN too much power while simultaneously vilifying them. They were never that powerful, and they are not ineffective now.

  29. I cannot believe that when Fremont residents get together to protest something that is important to them, that they are attacked, called a mob.
    I call it Democracy in action. I am so proud of what FCN did.
    There are people who sit on there asses and complain, criticize and do not contribute a damned thing.
    We all know who I am talking about.
    The bitterness shown by some people, who supported the Ball Park, is borderline mental illness.

  30. I cannot believe that when … residents get together to protest something that is important to them, that they are attacked, called a mob. I call it Democracy in action.

    What are your thoughts on the Tea Party?

  31. Sootless said: “The railway yard is most certainly the consequence of the FNC intimidation”

    That’s a lot of non sequiturs in one sentence.

    As VOR pointed out, the original WS ballpark land is NOT the land that UP bought from NUMMI.

    Also, NUMMI opposed the original WS ballpark location, back when NUMMI was still making Toyotas, and saw a stadium traffic as incompatible with NUMMI’s operations.

    Meanwhile, the funding for the ballpark (residential development at Pacific Commons) evaporated with the financial meltdown. The opposition from NUMMI and FCN was moot.

    All of this provided convenient cover for Lew Wolff to pursue a San Jose ballpark, which is what he wanted in the first place.

    Pretty much all of this was outside the control of Fremont government and Fremont residents. We were all just pawns in a much larger game.

    Remember, Lew Wolff is a real estate developer. The stadiums are just a mechanism for convincing local governments to rezone his land in a way that increases its value.

  32. MikeTeeVee #83,
    Very well put, but you have some idiots here that refuse to look at the facts, so it is not worth reponding to those people, with hate distorting there thinking, such a shame. I wonder if they even voted?

  33. Didn’t read through all the comments, so I apologize if I’m being repetitive…

    I was frustrated at FCN for opposing the ballpark. Their response was pretty much immediate after it was announced that the alternative Warm Springs ballpark site would become the preferred site. Still, I could somewhat understand where they were coming from. The ballpark was going to be in their backyard, not mine.

    With UP setting up shop on the same site, we’re going to have lots more trains rolling through town and Fremont needs FCN to step up and oppose this project with the same, if not more, vigor as they opposed the ballpark. Seems like a no-brainer. The fact that they are taking a wait-and-see approach and their leader is saying she doesn’t see a problem with the railyard leaves me scratching my head. Putting the blame of the ballpark issue aside, the big question is why such a different response to the railyard? I am somehow not understanding the motivation of this group.

  34. John10, the railyard is not on the same site as the ballpark proposal. The WS ballpark was going to be alongside 680, about 300 feet from the nearest house.

    The new railyard is about half a mile away, the same distance as the existing railyard and factory. Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t?

    Who would FCN complain to? The city is coming out against UP, but with no power to do anything about it.

  35. The new railyard is about half a mile away

    From the title of this blog post:

    Health risks are high within one mile of rail yard

    What could FNC do? Off the top of my head… How about organizing a protest? How about a story on the FCN website explaining the health hazards to local residents? How about at least expressing concern about the railyard when giving quotes to the press?

  36. A very nice case study in how incomplete information masquerades as “news” and is fanned by emotional rants into a wonderfully blazing hot mechanism for generating increasing numbers of “eyeballs” and maybe a little Google Adsense revenue. . . .

    In the meantime, our City fathers continue on unchallenged on multiple fronts.

    Facts as to what is planned and what will occur in our community are largely non-existant. Involvement or lack of involvement by our civic leaders is largely ignored. Opinion, inflammatory commentary, and anecdote rule the dais.

    Who could possibly benefit by a debate of such interminable duration ?

    Who would benefit from the redirecting of thought away from certain facts (if there were any) to fears imagined and the calumniation of various discussion participants ?

  37. Historically railroads have been impervious to municipal, county or even state complaints. They just point to their federal shield and claim government protection. I think FCN folks are intelligent enough, though some would disagree, to understand that. It would be, excuse the expression, like pissing into the wind. Could the federal government intervene? Possibly, and from what Martz has reported the COF is considering that move. It’s really the only card that can be played. UP holds a pretty good hand.

  38. VOR #75, Mike #85, I believe the two of you are wrong.

    I’m pasting a link from Marine Layer’s blog with a pic of Fremont’s conceptual plan. You will see that the ballpark was to be located at the corners of Grimmer and Fremont — precisely the same north lot UP just purchased.


    You’ll find Matt’s map (pdf) linked below, where he described the land UP bought as the land within the blue borders north and south of NUMMI. It’s the same land.


  39. If there is one common theme among grass roots organizations, it’s that if a fight is going to be tough don’t bother. Especially when the issue at hand is something as trivial as the health of local residents. Maybe FCN disagrees with the CA air resource board?

  40. Marty, It’s a sign of defeat when you have to resort to calling your opponent stupid. Real men stick to logic and reason. “not much capacity upstairs”, “hypocritical puds”? Why do you always have to be so mean and derogatory?

    It’s not contradictory to say that the NUMMI site ball park project (especially the post-NUMMI plan) was doomed from the get go and that FCN became a significant player in Fremont politics.

    I’m just happy to have you admit that you contradicted yourself. That totally discredits everything you write. When your only defense is “Well you did it too!” your really floundering. Your goal is simply to attack attack attack. If being hypocritical helps you attack more you have no problem being hypocritical.

    Charley, I don’t have the time (or the interest) to address your question at length. Two quick points. 1) FCN has a constitutional right to express their opinion about a ball park. You and Marty both act like speaking out against your local government is a crime. I’m sure Marty would be up in arms if they tried to put something in Niles that would hurt his property values. 2) Your assuming that a ball park would have been good for Fremont’s economy. It’s quite possible that a ball park would have really hurt our city’s finances. There are many stories of ball parks becoming financial nightmares. (Have you ever heard of Mt. Davis? The county is still paying for that mess.)

  41. Sorry Marty, but the site from Marine Layer is not the original location proposed. It was the still vacant lot east of Warm Springs Blvd. right next to I-680. That is why FCN got involved due the proximity to single family housing directly across the freeway. They even had a slide presentation up showing its location. When Toyota closed NUMMI Fred Diaz had city staff draw up a new proposal at the cost of $100K on a rush basis. It used property north of the NUMMI plant and that is the plot plan Marine Layer had up. There were actually several variations of the same piece. Gus Morrison had suggested this piece prior to Diaz’ proposal as a way of moving it farther away from housing and possibly appeasing FCN.

  42. Marty, re: Matt’s map. The original ballpark site is situated inside the yellow NUMMI Site Project Area. It is the vacant lot to the right of the BART station.

  43. Piter, if that was a requisite for being a “real man”, then the Tri City Beat commentariat is filled with women (or fake men).

    I’d say that a real man exhibits the same actions he expects from of others, and is man enough to admit when he has taken a misstep. I have succeeded at both of those concepts while you have failed miserably. In that respect, you fail not only to be a “real man”, but a human all together. More appropriately, a weasel. That is you.

  44. VOR, I don’t remember the FCN contributing to the discussion of where within the NUMMI site the ballpark should be located. Rather, they just opposed the whole damn thing. Nor do I remember them backing off once it was slated for Fremont and Grimmer.

    Nevertheless, MikeTV’s statement of the park being located “300 feet” from his home is and had always been fear-mongering fiction, and unfortunately was much of the basis on which the FCN was operating.

  45. The basis for my original comments in #70, was if the ballpark had been built on the original site proposed for Warm Springs the UP rail yard was still a possibility. It was not a case of we get a rail yard or a ballpark. There could have been both based on the property originally considered for the stadium. It didn’t have anything to do with NUMMI land north or south.

  46. NO Rail Yard Facility at NUMMI!!!! Sign the Petition!!!!


  47. Marty, I don’t live in Warm Springs, and I’m not a member of FCN.

    I was responding to John10’s comment about the “same site” and why FCN might be responding differently to the ballpark on one site vs. the railyard on a different site.

    I used the Google Maps Labs Distance Measurement Tool to see how far it was from the westernmost Warm Springs house across the freeway to the land where the WS stadium was originally proposed (shortly after the 2008 election). It’s about 300 feet.

    I used the same tool to measure to the NUMMI property. It’s about a half mile.

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