Speeding Down the Tracks

by David Lewis, Community Liaison

High-speed rail (HSR) is coming to Mountain View.  You may or may not like the consequences.  Following is a summary of some of the key points from a meeting of the Mountain View City Council HSR subcommittee on April 19.  If you have sentiments regarding the possibilities, let your City Council know—they have to draft a response to the HSR folks very shortly.

First, what happens in Mountain View depends to some extent on what happens with our neighbors. If Palo Alto gets a tunnel for HSR, then it will be impossible to have an elevated system through Mountain View. If the localities are expected to chip in for HSR, then the wealthiest communities may get the most favorable deals (tunnels are the most expensive options). If Mountain View is unable to come up with the funds, we may be stuck with the least expensive and possibly most undesirable option.

Second, some of the alternatives for track locations (tunnel, trench, at-grade, elevated) have significant consequences.  An at-grade track at Castro means that Castro would cross the track via an underpass, with the loss of 4-6 blocks of the business district. An elevated track at Shoreline would mean that Shoreline would be lowered to grade level with a signalized intersection with Central (no more overpass). An at-grade or elevated track at Rengstorff would mean an underpass at Rengstorff with the loss of four to six blocks of businesses along Rengstorff.

An elevated track at San Antonio would mean a grade level, signalized intersection of San Antonio with Central (no overpass). A grade-level, four-track system south of Stevens Creek would result in the loss of lanes from Evelyn or Central far into Sunnyvale. An elevated track with a Mountain View station for HSR and Caltrain would stand about 35-40 feet high where the present Caltrain station sits. An elevated track through Mountain View might present very significant noise and vibration issues, with the source of the noise elevated 20-25 feet, and trains running at perhaps 125 mph. If you would like to see some pictures of what HSR might look like, check out the website,

Publications: Reports, Letters, Presentations

Here are a few simple things on which you could express your opinions to the City Council:

  1. Do you want an HSR station in Mountain View?
  2. Would you prefer HSR in a tunnel, a trench, at grade level or elevated through Mountain View?
  3. Would you be willing to pay more taxes to pay for a tunnel for HSR
  4. through Mountain View?
  5. Would you be willing to put up with at-grade, signalized intersections of Shoreline and San Antonio with Central Expressway?
  6. Would you be willing, for HSR, to sacrifice several blocks of the business districts at the intersections of Castro and Rengstorff with Central Expressway?

If you have views on these issues, contact your City Council (Ronit Bryant, Laura Macias and Tom Means are on the HSR subcommittee) and let them know; you can also attend the upcoming public meeting on May 3, 5:30 p.m. at the Senior Center on Escuela to learn more about HSR and express your views.

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