Town Square

VTA Light Rail Station a Blight on Downtown MV

Original post made by Curious Observer, Jackson Park, on Aug 7, 2007

This morning as I walked to the Caltrain station I took a good look at the VTA station and couldn't believe how run down it has become. If you enter the station from Moffett and Central you'll notice the deplorable landscaping which can barely be called landscaping. When was this last tended to? The plants are barely alive and the ground is littered with cigarette butts. One of the globed-lights is broken. The platform itself hasn't been cleaned for a while. Anything that is spilled on the ground just dries up and stays there until it rains or it's washed by VTA. The final straw is the condition of the gates between the VTA and Caltrain station. They fell apart long ago and have been held together with "caution tape."

Has anyone else noticed the sad state of the light rail station?


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Posted by eric
a resident of another community
on Aug 7, 2007 at 11:01 pm

hardly surprising- how would the VTA have resources to keep up a boondoggle that nobody uses?

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Posted by Curious Observer
a resident of Jackson Park
on Aug 12, 2007 at 11:55 am

Curious Observer is a registered user.

eric: Do you use the VTA or Caltrain? Have you seen these stations during commute hours or do you base your comments on seeing the stations during non-commute hours? Hang out at the stations during the morning and afternoon rush and you'll see a number of people going from Caltrain to the Lightrail and vice versa.

With that said, I admit that the lightrail from San Jose to Mountain View is not as heavily used as it is from San Jose to Santa Teresa. It's been a while, but as a rider from MV to downtown SJ I have noticed the following:

1. I rarely see anyone get on or off at the Moffett Park station. This definitely seems like a wasted station. Same with the Lockheed station. How big is the campus? Can Lockheed employees walk to the station or does Lockheed have a shuttle for them?

2. MV city council continues to promote housing along the VTA route but where and how are these residents suppose to get their basic living necessities? I know of no grocery stores, drugs stores, etc. along the route.

3. Getting from MV to SJ on the lightrail takes too long. I often drive to the park and ride on 1st street but even from there it takes a long time to get to downtown SJ.

Back to my original comments: I've noticed that the gates where repaired this week and the caution tape and bungee cords removed. Still, the gates look bad. VTA just paints over them when they have to. They're just a mess. I love the globed-light fixture held together with duct tape and the chains to keep people from walking through the landscaping have been broken almost from the moment the station was opened.

Do any VTA officials ever look at the conditions of their stations? What about Mountain View officials? I agree, VTA will say they don't have the funds or personnel to maintain the stations the way they would like. Very sad.

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Posted by DG
a resident of Whisman Station
on Jun 19, 2008 at 8:50 am

I hope the City of Mountain View thinks carefully about the problems with VTA while they are updating the General Plan.

For example, it takes an hour to get from downtown Mountain View to downtown San Jose via VTA light rail. By car the same trip only takes 15 minutes. I know a lot of environmentally-conscious people who would love to "spare the air" and commute to work via VTA but it's just not an efficient use of their time.

BART and Caltrain, on the other hand, work extremely well for commuters because the commute time is about the same as by car (or even less if during rush hour traffic) so it actually encourages people to use them.

It's no surprise that VTA ridership is low and that the program is one of the most expensive in the nation to run.

It is no surprise that VTA is losing money

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Posted by Palo Alto resident
a resident of another community
on Jun 19, 2008 at 11:34 am

As someone who has recently spent an hour on my own in the car to get to downtown San Jose for an evening activity, I wished I had used the light rail for one of them (the other may not have worked too well). Sitting in a car for an hour to get to the theatre actually puts me off wanting to go downtown. Maybe VTA should start introducing reverse commute/evening/ tickets and perhaps closing some stations after 8.00 pm or something so that it takes less time to get home. At least on my hour long journeys to downtown by car, I only had a 20 minute drive back!!