TONIGHT: VTA presents analysis of light rail


The Valley Transportation Authority will present its first comprehensive analysis of Santa Clara County's light rail system during a meeting this evening at Mountain View City Hall.

Kevin Connolly, VTA manager of transit planning, will present the analysis, which is meant to guide improvements to the system over the next 25 years.

In Mountain View, the system reaches from the downtown train station through the Whisman area to Moffett Field before heading east through Sunnyvale towards San Jose.

The presentation is Thursday, Nov. 19 at 7 p.m. in the Council Chambers, located on the second floor of City Hall, 500 Castro Street.

— Daniel DeBolt


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Posted by Bruce Karney
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 19, 2009 at 3:14 pm

I think its average speed is about 10-12 MPH when you include all the stops. If they can't find a way to make it go twice as fast I doubt it will ever live up to its potential. Perhaps some lightly-used stations need to be closed, at least during commute hours.

As I recall from the planning sessions I attended in the 1990's, the reason the Evelyn station was built was that it was believed by planners that people would drive to it from South MV, Los Altos and South Sunnyvale, park their cars and take light rail.

There may be quite a few other under-used stations along other parts of the route.

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Posted by dfb
a resident of Shoreline West
on Nov 19, 2009 at 6:18 pm

I agree. It should not take more than an hour to get to downtown San Jose. Ridiculous. My understanding is that all the curves along the line, not to mention its jaunt through residential neighborhoods, has a lot to do with the lack of speed through Mountain View. VTA tried to do too much and reach too many destinations with its initial lines instead of focusing on speed and building adjacent lines to connect the various employment centers.

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Posted by Arthur
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Nov 19, 2009 at 6:34 pm

VTA should consider adding a branch line from the existing track at Ellis Street and Hwy 101, through the new NASA development, across the Stevens Creek waterway, then past Shoreline Amphitheater, past Google and end in the Intuit area. In this way, employees, residents, and concert goers would have a direct link to mass transit, such as the MV train station.

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Posted by Max
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 19, 2009 at 10:26 pm

I found the presentation informative, and the questions from the audience (including members of the Bay Rail Alliance, hosts for the talk) highly informed and sometimes pointed.

If you want to see VTA's presentation, which reviews options and considerations for system expansion, it's online as a PDF link at

I noticed that of five contemporaneous US light-rail systems begun in the 1980s, the data on rider capacity vs. usage showed VTA's as by far the least used, around 23-24% of capacity.

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Posted by ben
a resident of Monta Loma
on Nov 20, 2009 at 1:32 pm

In the nineteen thirties and forties you could get from Mountain View to San Jose by bus almost as fast as by automobile and probably just as fast as Southern Pacific trains.

Today with Rod Diridon’s folly – VTA light rail – we can get to San Jose about the same time as it took stagecoaches in 1909. So much for continual smart growth, good land use and transit planning by county and city politicians.

Now we’re about to have another Diridon folly - high speed rail - foisted on us.

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Posted by curious
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Nov 20, 2009 at 2:57 pm

"Now we’re about to have another Diridon folly - high speed rail - foisted on us. "

LOL. Only in the government does someone get promoted to even more responsibility after screwing up their previous job royally.

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Posted by dfb
a resident of Shoreline West
on Nov 22, 2009 at 12:43 am

I would not say "foisted on us." Remember that a majority of voters said yes to the high speed rail bond, even if we did not.

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Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Nov 23, 2009 at 9:34 pm

Happened to look at a No. county map today - easy to see why only 1/4 of capacity! It was a very bad route design to start.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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