Originally Posted by Mountain View Voice
Published Thursday, April 8, 2010, by the Mountain View Voice
HSR may cut into Central Expressway
Rail Authority: there will be no berms or "Berlin Wall" in Mountain View
By Jocelyn Dong and Daniel DeBolt
Mountain View Voice Staff
Should high-speed rail come to Mountain View, it will not sit atop a massive Berlin Wall, as some rail opponents have feared. But it may mean the loss of two
lanes on Central Expressway, according to a report released Thursday by the California High-Speed Rail Authority.
Though a berm may not happen, the 125-mph trains still could zip along on an aerial viaduct, in an underground tunnel, through an open trench or at street level, according to the report.
The Authority's report <http://tinyurl.com/HSRA-SF-SJ-AA-report>, a "preliminary alternatives analysis", identifies ways that the 48 miles of tracks between San Jose and San Francisco could be configured. It also eliminates options it deemed unfeasible due to factors such as geology, various cities' regulations, negative
effects on traffic, the need to protect natural resources and more.
Some methods will be significantly costlier than others. In Mountain View, theRail Authority reports a cost of $155 million for at grade tracks, $344 million
for an aerial viaduct, $615 million for an open trench and $1.4 billion for a covered trench. Yet the Rail Authority did not eliminate any option solely on
cost, according to the report.
The report also notes that the width of at grade and below grade alternatives may require a loss of two lanes on Central Expressway north of Rengstorff
Avenue. An option for an aerial platform is narrower, but would require that San Antonio Road overpass be removed and the road rebuilt at grade level across the
Caltrain right of way.
Between San Antonio Road and Castro Street, the report notes that "the berm option does not enhance connectivity and mobility as well as an aerial viaduct
option or trench or tunnel option. The aerial viaduct, at grade, and open trench options may result in the loss of two traffic lanes on Central Expressway north
of Rengstorff Avenue. A stacked configuration (2 tracks over 2 tracks) couldminimize right-of-way requirements and possible relocation of the VTA (light
rail). The aerial viaduct option requires converting the San Antonio Road and Shoreline Boulevard overpasses to at grade configurations."
Between Whisman Road and the Sunnyvale Caltrain station, the report points out a similar problem. "The aerial viaduct, at grade, and open trench options may
result in loss of one to two traffic lanes on Central Expressway or Evelyn Avenue. A stacked configuration (2 tracks over 2 tracks) could minimize right-of-way requirements."
The overall rail line, which would stretch from Los Angeles to San Francisco, received voters' approval for $9.95 billion in funding in November 2008.
Since then, rancorous debate and considerable grass-roots activism has occurred in some peninsula cities, along with city-organized lawsuits and lobbying.
Opponents, some protesting the rail line altogether and others advocating for a plan that will not harm residents' quality of life, have questioned the state agency's processes, calculations and receptivity to public input.
But holding fast to its prior plans, the Authority states that its analysis "reconfirms that four-track, grade-separated, shared Caltrain and High-Speed
Train system is feasible and the preferred ... alternative between San Francisco and San Jose on the Peninsula."