Groundbreaking ceremony held, celebrating construction of new tunnel near Caltrain
November 10, 2016
Last week, a crowd gathered near the Santa Clara Caltrain station united by one goal: celebrate a crucial project that will increase access to public transportation for South Bay residents.
The Nov. 2 groundbreaking ceremony was for a new tunnel that will improve pedestrian and cyclist access to Caltrain, ACE Rail and Capitol Corridor platforms. The project aims to enhance commuters’ travels and ensure their safety.
The existing 60-foot station tunnel will be extended 80 feet to run under three Union Pacific Railroad tracks, and add a 250-foot open-air ramp to connect Brokaw Road to the tunnel. Community members agreed that this effort to improve access to public transportation for pedestrians and cyclists is worth the $14 million dollar price tag.
Many people played significant roles in initiating the project, including Santa Clara County Supervisor Ken Yeager. He is a longterm member of the VTA and Caltrain board, as well as a biker himself.
“This new infrastructure improvement will allow people to have a real choice to not make every trip a car trip,” Yeager said.
Nanci Klein, the assistant director of the San Jose Office for Economic Development, spoke at the event and emphasized the crucial public-private partnership that fostered the project. She brought Deke Hunter of Hunter Properties to the stage, who added that while it is “easy to talk about these projects, they’re actually quite hard to do.”
Without the help of people like Hunter, Santa Clara City Vice Mayor Teresa O’Neill and Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition Director Shiloh Ballard, the project would likely not have been possible.
Santa Clara VTA’s General Manager and CEO Nuria Fernandez highlighted the importance of “connecting two vibrant quarters” and doing it the right way. She spoke about the gravity of “making decisions of where we want to go and how we want to get there” and the environmental impact those decisions have.
“When we want to get something done, we do,” she said.
Following remarks, the first shovels full of dirt were uprooted from the future site of Santa Clara’s newest pedestrian and cyclist tunnel. The undercrossing will be complete and ready to use by summer of 2017.
“There finally is going to be light at the end of the tunnel,” Fernandez said.
Contact Meghan McLaughlin at firstname.lastname@example.org.