by David Lewis, OMVNA Community Liaison
VIEW the illustrations of High Speed Rail in Mountain View HERE.
Video visualizations of High Speed Rail. Click HERE.
California High Speed Rail Authority’s web page: Click HERE
Californians Advocating Responsible Rail Design: Click HERE
Peninsula Cities Consortium: Click HERE
Caltrain-HSR Compatibility Blog: Click HERE
The elevated tracks would be about 30′ high at the tracks, and about 40′ high at the top of the towers for the power lines above the tracks; the elevated tracks would be about 100′ in width. If you want to see something similar look at the CA-85 overpass at Evelyn that is about the same height and width. An elevated track would require converting San Antonio and Shoreline to at-grade intersections with Central with signals.
For the at-grade track alignment, Castro would run through an underpass about 20′ underneath the tracks, and Central would have to be lowered to match the height of Castro. The lowering at Castro would begin at Villa or before on the MV side; the cross-section drawing shown is for the middle of the 100 block of Castro. An at-grade track would also require rebuilding of the Shoreline and San Antonio overpasses to provide more vertical clearance for the high speed rail. The changes at Castro and Rengstorff would have major impact on the businesses close to HSR. With the Caltrain tracks, HSR tracks and VTA all at grade level, either the Tech Farm office buildings would have to go, or we would lose a couple of lanes from Central Expressway.
For the trench configuration, Castro might have to be elevated a bit (7′ or less) because of grade restrictions, but otherwise things wouldn’t change much; the trench alignment, with a partially covered trench, would permit a linear park (greenway) running from Castro to Rengstorff, and would permit some additional retail or other space adjacent to Castro over the covered part of the trench. The trench alternative would undoubtedly produce the least noise, though HSRA refuses to provide any noise figures. The consequences for Rengstorff are similar to those for Castro but there wouldn’t be any elevation of Rengstorff required.
Some other issues–no one knows who will pay for extra work and land acquisition outside of the Caltrain right-of-way; it’s not clear how Mountain View can get the HSR authority to build something we can live with, and whatever we do has to be compatible with the designs in Palo Alto and Sunnyvale.