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Website traffic congestion through Santa Clara County is maddening. A person of our most congested county streets is Capitol Expressway, an artery that connects Evergreen and South San Jose commuters to highways 87, 101 and Interstate 280/680.

From 2013 to 2018, I served on the Valley Transit Authority (VTA) Board, the county’s transit and congestion management company. I have generally believed that we should really conduct a research just before we dedicate to generating any substantial expenditures, so I voted to review a proposed extension of gentle rail that could maybe assistance ease the commute on Capitol Expressway. The challenge would extend light rail by 2.3 miles and join gentle rail from Alum Rock to Eastridge Mall. This challenge was 1 of quite a few transit improvement tasks proposed in Evaluate A, the 30-year half-cent product sales tax authorized by voters in November 2000.

When the 2018 research came back to the VTA Board in 2019, I was no extended on the board. The VTA Board voted to commence with the extension of the undertaking, in spite of opposition from some of the extra fiscally minded board users, this sort of as previous Mountain See Mayor John McAlister. The first price estimate was $377 million. It now stands at $599.6 million — a 60% increase.

Quite a few article content have been created about the absence of VTA ridership and the charge to run gentle rail versus buses. What we actually need to check with, though, is if this challenge will make improvements to visitors congestion on this effectively-traveled expressway or will it flip the commute into a nightmare? What the general public is not knowledgeable of is that in buy to build this 2.3-mile extension, Capitol Expressway will get rid of a person lane of traffic in every single way.

Let’s look at the quantity of people today presently getting moved on the current two visitors lanes (that will be misplaced) to the projected ridership predicted to use new light rail stations.  In accordance to the report executed in 2018, the new stations are projected to have 2,980 every day passenger boardings in 2023 and 4,534 each day passenger boardings by 2043.

Gentle Rail only operates at a maximum of 18 hours per day and has the potential to transfer, at ideal, 4,534 travellers all working day. On the other hand, according to published reports from planning specialists, the theoretical utmost saturation move fee per lane is 1,900 cars and trucks per hour. So if we only rely the persons moved in the course of the eight typical commute hours of 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., we can shift 15,200 automobiles. If every single car or truck experienced only one passenger, we currently move roughly 10,600 extra commuters over the system of eight several hours than the new extension can go all working day. In addition, commuter lanes are readily available 24 several hours a day. VTA’s very own visitors analyze admits vacation time along the proposed 2.3-mile corridor extension will increase from around 5.53 to 8.28 minutes, turning this hard commute into a nightmare.

What is even more puzzling is that the VTA Board in 2018 voted to abandon the Almaden Valley extension from Ohlone-Chynoweth due to the fact of cost vs . ridership. The Board voted to do so mainly because it was substantially more cost-effective and a lot quicker to run a bus route.

This politically billed extension will under no circumstances exceed shifting a lot more people today than the two traffic lanes it normally takes absent. This Capitol Expressway Mild Rail Project will also squander millions of tax bucks and make everyday living depressing for the commuters dwelling in Evergreen Valley and South San Jose. VTA need to set a cease to this undertaking and glance for “solutions that will move us”.

Johnny Khamis, a former San Jose town councilman, is a District 1 prospect for the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors.

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By Kelli