San Jose Downtown Association Executive Director Scott Knies commented against the proposed high-speed rail aerial alignment at the City Council study session about the Diridon Station / regional rail project on March 30.
Here are his comments to Mayor Sam Liccardo and the City Council:
“Let’s be clear about one thing here. From the very first minute that the high speed rail authority stepped foot into the city limits of San Jose, their preferred alternative was an aerial alignment.
“They figured that in San Jose they could save a bunch of money for the peninsula, San Francisco and LA by building a Central Valley viaduct through San Jose. That’s what’s being proposed here.
“You heard Ben (Tripousis, Northern California regional director California High Speed Rail Authority) say the deck of the aerial is at 60 feet. Think about that when you get everything on top of the deck.
“ It’s a seven-story building tall viaduct.
“No matter what aesthetics you give it, if you put lipstick on a pig this big it will still be a big pig.
“Think about the underpasses, the bridges, the trestles, the abutments you have in your district. What goes on beneath these facilities, particularly in the downtown? Not only do they divide the community and prohibit development adjacent to them, they become a no-man’s land for crime, graffiti and homeless encampments.
“What can you do? You can start with what a lot of you have been talking about and halt the preferred alignment deadline.
“Does anyone really think that high-speed rail is coming to San Jose from the Central Valley in eight years? We have time. There’s no rush. Let’s do some independent analysis and real engineering on the alternatives, including the underground option with the BART station and integrate into it.
“Let’s also do some real community outreach and daylight these options to the community because we’ve been sleeping and we need to start punching our weight as a city.
“High-speed rail needs San Jose more than San Jose needs high-speed rail.”