The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority is proposing to extend the existing Mountain View to Winchester Boulevard light rail line by 1.6 miles by way of the Vasona Light Rail Extension Project.
The extension would begin at the existing Winchester Station in Campbell and continue within the VTA right-of-way to Los Gatos.
VTA has prepared a Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Assessment (SEIR/EA).
In accordance with current state and federal environmental laws and guidelines, the Draft SEIR/EA presents design changes to the project that was previously approved in 2000 while also disclosing the environmental impacts of those design changes.
On Tuesday, Dec. 4, a meeting will be held 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Campbell Library to discuss the project. Members of the public are encouraged to attend to review the SEIR/EA, speak with staff about the project, and provide comments.
The original Vasona Corridor Project proposed light rail service from downtown San Jose through the city of Campbell to the Town of Los Gatos.
The first portion, downtown San Jose to the Winchester Station in Campbell, opened for revenue service on Oct. 1, 2005, adding 5.3 miles and eight stations to VTA’s 36.9-mile light rail system.
“As the fourth major light rail extension since 1999, the line to Campbell has provided a convenient and economical travel option for West Valley residents, given VTA customers direct access to the multi-modal San Jose Diridon transit hub, and doubled light rail service along North First Street in San Jose,” said Los Gatos Councilman Joe Pirzynski and VTA board vice chairman.
Pirzynski also served on the Vasona Corridor Advisory Committee from 2001-2005.
“I am encouraged to see the extension project moving through the environmental process which gets us one step closer to becoming eligible for federal funding,” he said.
The project is one of several approved by voters in 2000 with Measure A.
"It's a comprehensive transit improvement project," said VTA Spokeswoman Brandi Childress.
Projects associated with the measure include:
- bringing BART to San Jose,
- bringing/extending light rail to East Valley,
- developing new light rail corridors,
- finishing off what was started in Campbell to Los Gatos,
- improving service to bus corridors along El Camino, Stevens Creek and Alum Rock,
- improving connections to Highway 17 shuttle,
- purchasing low-floor light rail vehicles.
"This is one of many projects that are in the measure," Childress said. "We are vetting each with voters to make sure it’s a viable project."
The proposed extension will be implemented in two phases based on funding availability.
"We are essentially in the very early stages of project development," said VTA Spokeswoman Brandi Childress. "We don’t have a timeline because we don’t have a dedicated funding source."
Project features in phase 1 include:
- construction of a double set of light rail tracks at the Winchester Station;
- expansion of parking capacity at the Winchester Station;
- and a new Vasona Junction Station along with a park and ride lot.
Phase 2 would construct a new Hacienda Light Rail Station with an optional park and ride lot.
The cost of the project is estimated to be $175 million.
Individuals who cannot attend the meeting can also view copies of the document online and at the following locations:
- Valley Transportation Authority building, B-Lobby / 3331 North First St., in San Jose.
- Campbell Public Library, 77 Harrison Ave.
- Los Gatos Library, 100 Villa Ave.
Comments are requested by 5 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013 and will be accepted at the meeting or by postal mail, facsimile, or email to VTA Environmental Programs/Resources Management Department, attention Ann Calnan, 3331 No. First Street, Building B-2, in San Jose. Fax: 408-321-5787, or firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information, visit the Vasona Light Rail Extension Project page on VTA’s website or contact VTA Community Outreach at 408-321-7575.
To stay current on project updates, sign up for automated emails or text alerts by clicking the blue envelope on the VTA website at www.vta.org.
-Mayra Flores De Marcotte contributed to this article
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