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VTA may scrap plans for light rail on Highway 85

Original post made on Jul 11, 2019

Elected leaders throughout Santa Clara County rejected last week the idea of constructing a light rail line along Highway 85, calling it an expensive endeavor that would fail to alleviate traffic woes on the congested corridor.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, July 11, 2019, 9:56 AM

Comments (11)

16 people like this
Posted by Katie
a resident of Waverly Park
on Jul 11, 2019 at 2:53 pm

For folks that do like in a 1-10mile radius of their job, why don't we prioritize making biking more safe? We live in an incredibly flat area with an amazing climate that lends itself to biking. Cities in Europe have adopted infrastructure, wjy can't we do the same?

10 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 11, 2019 at 3:01 pm

I agree that we need safer and more direct bicycle routes, especially along the Hwy 85 corridor and also the El Camino Real corridor. Why don't we have a safe and direct bicycle route from Google to Apple right now?

9 people like this
Posted by Yes
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jul 11, 2019 at 3:24 pm

We all need to bike, so when we get to our destination, we will all smell like sweat.

5 people like this
Posted by Rossta
a resident of Waverly Park
on Jul 11, 2019 at 4:05 pm

Rossta is a registered user.

Lets use the center strip of Hwy85 for a bike expressway. Ramps up/down to/from each street overpass for access. Non-stop while you are on it. Then develop more of the trails that cross perpendicular to Hwy85. This could be the spine of an amazing biking network!

I rode Hwy85 on bike the weekend before it opened all the way down to Blossom Hill Rd and back. It was a nice and memorable ride.

But on the topic of public transit, we keep arguing against using it because nobody uses. And nobody uses it because all we have is a piece-meal system that doesn't work for more people. Eventually we have to have some confidence in our actions and build the missing pieces. Maybe light-rail is inherently flawed - can't go fast enough - I don't know. But introducing yet another, different and incompatible system to our Caltrain, Light-Rail, BART, bus system just leads to more transfers and more time lost and inconvenience for users. Let's pick one for long-haul and one for local and expand it so it works. Maybe local is bikes and the long-haul (I'm looking at you, Caltrain) is friendly to those bikes.

10 people like this
Posted by Funny
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jul 11, 2019 at 5:05 pm

All these same problems were brought up with the BART extension.

Funny thing is that VTA has no problem funding that pig that is sucking all the transit dollars from bus, community shuttles, bikeways, Caltrain, and light rail.

For the past 20 years, every non highway project has had to beg for the pennies left after the BART pig has fed at the trough

4 people like this
Posted by Dan Waylonis
a resident of Jackson Park
on Jul 11, 2019 at 7:09 pm

Dan Waylonis is a registered user.

This seems like a non-starter given the recent Grand Jury report that the current VTA management of the existing Light Rail is a disaster: Web Link

2 people like this
Posted by Don Keedick
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 12, 2019 at 7:42 am

Odd, council turns down opportunity to secure more graft from Feds. They must really hate the Orange Man

1 person likes this
Posted by Ken Pyle
a resident of another community
on Jul 12, 2019 at 5:05 pm

The Winchester Neighborhood Action Coalition has been advocating for a regional "freeway within a freeway" network that takes advantage of the huge rights-of-way we already have, such as highway 85. At strategic intersections, "caps" would be added and the land immediately around and over the freeway would be used for mixed-use, relatively dense, mixed-use housing, retail, parks and transportation nodes.

The concept is that people living on those nodes could hop on a frequent, electric bus (public or private) that they are within a 1/4 of a mile. For people who live in the traditional suburbs, there would be low-speed shuttles and personal mobility options, so they could ditch the single passenger car. As mentioned above, bike lanes at the edge of the freeway would be included to provide additional transportation alternatives.

Web Link

1 person likes this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 14, 2019 at 7:13 am

What is up with the double HOV lane at 101 right were it branches off into 85. This thing is such a disaster. I see 3 lanes at a standstill, while the two HOV lanes are flying. A lot of people try to escape the jam by jumping into the fast HOV lane which is super dangerous. This shouldn't have ever happened. Honestly they should get rid of HOV lanes, period. But that would cut into their revenue too much... why else does an HOV violation carry a $500 fine?

The myth that the "single-occupant vehicle" is something bad that can be fixed if we make enough hov/light rail/bicycle lanes is officially over.

3 people like this
Posted by Joe
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jul 14, 2019 at 1:15 pm

What S Clara county needs is a train along the highway but without smog inhaling stations on the highway (and no need to eminent domain the houses), an express light rail without highway stops, and i stress, very high density housing like SF downtown, at both ends, in very limited locations. That high density housing cannot be everywhere because well, some people dont want to "ruin" their suburbia. This satisfies both YIMBYs and NIMBYs. In other words, if people in their cars see the train zipping along a corridor, without idling here and there, they might think, hmm, this actually makes sense. Let's focus on high density point A to high density B, not low denisty everywhere to low density everywhere.

2 people like this
Posted by Kevin
a resident of another community
on Aug 28, 2019 at 12:44 am

I commuted from 2005 to 2018 between Almaden and north of bayshore. At this point the problem of traffic on 85 is probably best solved by improving the distribution of jobs around the south bay, and reducing the need to bring everyone into one place in MV. Google is an internet company, and most internal meetings at Google now take place over videoconference anyway. I think that building high density near the light rail might salvage the thing, but putting it down the middle of 85 is going to kill that possibility. The light rail was terribly planned from the beginning, as evidenced by the fact that there is a lot of employment north of downtown san jose, and a lot of housing south of downtown san jose. Taking light rail between the two unfortunately requires going through downtown at a snail's pace in order to satisfy the political goal of propping up downtown. If the downtown part had been planned as a spur from a faster elevated line that paralleled 87, then it might have gained a lot more ridership.

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