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Original post made
on Feb 28, 2009
High speed rail station in Mountain View? We have VTA light rail and bus connections, Caltrain and close proximity with major freeway junctions (including highway 85). We have Moffett Field, NASA Ames Research Center, Unitary Plan Wind Tunnel. We are closer to Onizuka Air Force Station than Palo Alto. We have the Shoreline Amphitheatre, with a capacity of 22,000. The silicon transistor was invented and developed here first. With all of these assets, Mountain View seems like a practical location to plan a new train station, but only if the station and route are planned properly.
As far as generating solar power, many experts still believe that solar power technology still uses as much energy as it produces. Solar power may be economically practical in a few years from now, and we should plan ahead for future.
For a discussion of where the mid-peninsula HSR station - if any - might end up, please see my recent post at
In it, I considered Mountain View along with the official candidates Redwood City and Palo Alto. Personally, I suspect Mountain View's chances would be slight because that would give Santa Clara county 3 stations (SJ Diridon, Gilroy and MV) vs. just one (Millbrae) in San Mateo county. The statewide HSR plan calls for either zero or one stations between Millbrae/SFO and SJ Diridon, assuming the preferred route is implemented.
Still, since VTA Light Rail will anyhow have to be moved to make room for the HSR tracks, I figured the option of a MV station was worth exploring. If the city decides to pursue it, the Caltrain/HSR combo station should be integrated with a concept for dealing with existing through traffic on Castro, transit-oriented (i.e. high rise) development, transit service out to Shoreline Amphitheater and across to Union City plus, a new alignment for VTA Light Rail. My map does not consider possible TOD on the far side of Central Expressway, which could be linked to downtown via (a) pedestrian/cycling over- or underpass(es). In other words, an HSR station should only be considered in the context of a larger plan for local development.
Note that it is technically possible to grade separate Castro Street. The real question is, do you even want to retain the through traffic on it?
Why do we need high-speed rail, again? Especially when the State of California is having dire financial problems? If you really need to get to L.A. in a hurry, you can fly there. If you don't, you can take low-speed rail or a bus. Why not spend a fraction of the money to improve traditional train service on existing tracks? Seems like a huge boondoggle whose main purpose is to make California fashionable.
Why does California need a high speed rail? It was approved by voters in state elections on November 4, 2008. Proposition 1A was a California ballot proposition and a bond measure that allocated funds for the California High-Speed Rail Authority. Most Californians seem to think that bond measures are "free money", temporary sales taxes never become permanent and that parcel taxes will never increase. And finally, The time required to reach the proposed speeds and the distances between stops indicates that attaining the proposed speeds would be difficult between the majority of stops, which could result in an extremely overpriced standard speed train system.
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