October 12, 2010 > Letter to the editor: Underground all rail traffic at Dixon landing Road
Letter to the editor: Underground all rail traffic at Dixon landing Road
I wish to alert my fellow residents of the areas north of and at the Milpitas-Fremont border on a pressing matter, important to their daily lives. We now have, at least for a short time, a great opportunity to alleviate the very long-standing and constantly worsening traffic congestion on Dixon Landing Road.
To do this, we must "shine a little light" (if not some "heat") on the decision-making process by Milpitas' City Council. This specifically involves the planned extension of BART, south to San Jose, which creates a great one-time only opportunity for us.
BART is using the rail road (RR) rights of way for its line and wants its trains to run on tracks beneath Dixon Landing Road. In doing so, the engineers provided the city with a design option that would allow BOTH the RR freight and BART passenger cars to tunnel UNDER this road, thereby totally alleviating the massive daily delays and back-ups now (and for years) that we've suffered because of freight tracks at grade.
For reasons best known to themselves and totally without any public input or hearings that we can find, Milpitas has, at least tentatively, opted for BART to pass below grade and for freight to continue to travel at grade. However, we have good reason to suspect this has something to do with preferential interests that object to minor ingress/egress modifications this change would necessitate to their commercial use.
Since BART funds for the project would pay for this underpass, regardless of which option is selected, it certainly can't be a financial and/or tax use issue.
Two other major points to consider: First, once the decision to finalize the currently selected option is made, there is no provision for "do-overs." Engineers confirm it is not a situation for correction if, in the future, cooler heads prevail. We are thereby locked into this traffic nightmare "from here to eternity."
Second, state "sunshine laws" should be in effect for such determinations; you have the right to question how/why the preliminary decision was reached, as well as insisting that any remaining time be used for public discussion and input.
If readers need to use this heavily traveled route - for daily commutes, business or otherwise - I strongly urge you to take action while you can, to make your daily drives much easier in the future.
Remember, there is still time to make your voice heard and to have some input on initial decisions but the remaining time in which to do so is limited.
Forthcoming municipal elections offer a good opportunity to demand the kind of transparency and openness our state "sunshine laws" require.