My apologies to the Marx Brothers.....As a cyclist heading into downtown San Jose from the west on the Alameda how do you deal with the highway 87 underpass? Do you find it dangerous, inconvenient, or a cold reminder of the priority of autos?
What would you think of another barrier to downtown, an elevated train track? This week's San Jose Mercury News published an article about the California High Speed Rail Authority's plan to give up on a tunnel and build a viaduct through the Diridon Station area.
Poor soil structure and the difficult water table below most of San Jose's downtown, as well as the need to tunnel the BART system, make this project costly. Engineers also state that the need for four tracks, the need to have switches between those tracks, and the long platform length would make a tunneling and an underground station option prohibitive. To put this in perspective - two miles of track is the distance from the Trader Joe's in the new Coleman Ave. shopping center to the overpass over highway 87. If you have ever seen a northbound Amtrak train pull into Diridon, you realize just how long the Amtrak train is compared with Caltrain's coaches.
Engineers with the CHSRA have given figures of $2 billion for the cost of the two mile long tunnel. No costs were given for the possible nine-story tall overpass near the intersection of highways 280 & 87. One other possible above-ground alternative is along existing Union Pacific tracks, just south of Bierbrach Park in the Greater Gardner neighborhood in Willow Glen.
Come and learn more about the progress of high speed rail in San Jose at an upcoming meeting this Tuesday, January 12, in downtown San Jose.