Speeding Up Trains and Improving Traffic Safety in San Jose

At-grade light rail has a hard time safely and efficiently traversing Downtown San Jose on Second Street. A new pilot project will look to improve the situation.

July 3, 2018, 2:00 PM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority

Sundry Photography / Shutterstock

Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority trains traveling through San Jose have some of the slowest travel speeds of any light rail system in the country. Trolleys travel 7.5 miles per hour in downtown, with a maximum speed of 10 miles per hour.

"Now the Valley Transportation Authority is launching a $900,000, six-month pilot project to speed up the trains and erect barriers to funnel pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers to certain areas for crossing," reports Gary Richards.

The pilot project will take place on Second Street between San Fernando and San Carlos. "The VTA will test railings and street lights to delineate the sidewalk from the track," according to Richards. "The railings will have breaks for driveways and the Paseo de San Antonio crossing. The agency will also include crosswalk improvements and better warning signals for vehicles entering and exiting the Pavilion Garage."

Speeding up the trains aren't the only potential benefit of the pilot project. VTA trains have been in 125 incidents with automobiles, pedestrians, and people in bikes in the past eight years—so the project is expected to improve traffic safety as well.

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