San Jose Council Unanimous on Massive Mass-Transit Plan

PUBLISHED FEB 5, 2020 12:00 A.M.
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The blue line in the center shows the planned location of expanded rail service.

The blue line in the center shows the planned location of expanded rail service.   Illustration courtesy City of San Jose.

After years of planning and months of controversy, the San Jose City Council unanimously decided Tuesday that new rail lines associated with the dramatic expansion of Diridon Station will use existing rail corridors.

In doing so, they rejected a much more expensive proposal to build a viaduct over I-280 and Highway 87—a plan favored by residents of the North Willow Glen and Gardner neighborhoods. Maggie Angst of the Mercury News reports that those neighborhoods “have historically born the brunt of the city’s large-scale road and rail projects.”

Mayor Sam Liccardo, along with Councilmembers Raul Peralez, Sergio Jimenez, Maya Esparza and Dev Davis, issued a memo stating that the viaduct plan “would consequently sandwich the Gardner neighborhood between two rail corridors, and detrimentally impact the underserved Guadalupe-Washington and Tamien neighborhoods. Opting for a viaduct option would also divert already limited resources from quality future mitigations in the existing corridor.”

San Jose Inside reports that officials with the city and the agencies co-managing the project—the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority, Caltrain, and the California High Speed Rail Authority—recommended at a council study session last week "that the new railways align with existing north-south corridors to build on the current infrastructure and reduce impacts on nearby neighborhoods."

The Diridon Station expansion results from the imminent arrival of BART and California High-Speed Rail. The expanded station, expected to be completed by 2030, will continue to serve Amtrak’s Coast Starlight and Capital Corridor, the Altamont Corridor Express to Stockton, and bus lines. The Merc reports that it is one of the largest public works projects in San Jose history. The expansion, along with the Google Project, is part of the Diridon Station Area Plan, which also involves Caltrain, VTA and the California High-Speed Rail Authority.

Read “Here’s where leaders plan to run new Diridon Station tracks through San Jose” on the Mercury News.

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Built in 1935 and renamed for former county supervisor Rod Diridon in 1994, San Jose Diridon Station is set to become one of the busiest intermodal stations on the West Coast.
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