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Santa Clara County's Desired Expressway Grade Separations

Started by kernals12, January 01, 2021, 02:18:51 AM

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kernals12

Santa Clara County is easily the most pro-highway county in the Bay Area. Where ungrateful people elsewhere chained themselves to bulldozers to stop new freeways from getting built, people in San Jose were lifting their cars onto unfinished interchanges to protest Caltrans not building freeways fast enough. And when Caltrans couldn't find the money to finish the SR 85 Freeway, the county took matters into their own hands, imposing a sales tax to pay for it, which happened in 1994.

And that tradition continues. SCC wants to grade separate a bunch of very congested intersections. Here's a map of them all. Who knows when or if they'll find the money, but these interchanges would significantly improve the livability of the county.


Max Rockatansky

#1
Wouldn't be a Kernals thread without a Bay Area jab would it?  Was it really necessary to write a whole thing about "ungrateful people"  when you could have just linked to some expressway concepts?

sparker

SCC has been yapping about Lawrence Expressway upgrades to a "quasi-freeway" since the early '80's, with the results of all that so far one extra lane (now an outside peak-hour bus lane, which makes right turns really fun!) and some lengthened channelization here & there.  The Pruneridge/Kaiser/Homestead proposed interchanges, being very close together, would probably be best accomplished by a through viaduct and surface lanes on the sides for local access.  I have a friend who no longer is able to drive and who has been in & out of that Kaiser facility for months now; and trying to access it -- particularly since that's one place that has, naturally, seen a big uptick in business since COVID came on the scene.  Two left turn lanes from NB Lawrence -- often backed up onto the left lane these days.  It'll be interesting to see how SCC and their contractors handle the disruption to commute traffic (and I'll bet Gary "Roadshow" will be deluged with commentary once the project gets under way!).  It needs to be done -- but unless they stretch out the construction efforts over a decade or so, it won't be pretty!

But I'm glad to see they're tackling another issue -- Montague Expressway at O'Toole.  That signal, a hundred yards or so away from the Montague cloverleaf on I-880, causes severe backup onto SB 880 regularly, not to mention local traffic coming down O'Toole trying to bypass that same backup (essentially a mutual fustercluck!) during peak commute times.  A separation (given that short distance from the 880 interchange, likely an O'Toole overpass) with a folded diamond west of O'Toole would really provide benefits mostly realized in peak commute hours.  Hope that particular project is prioritized.

kernals12

Quote from: Max Rockatansky on January 01, 2021, 02:38:45 AM
Wouldn't be a Kernals thread without a Bay Area jab would it?  Was it really necessary to write a whole thing about "ungrateful people"  when you could have just linked to some expressway concepts?

Can't you bother someone else?

Max Rockatansky

Quote from: kernals12 on January 01, 2021, 08:48:10 AM
Quote from: Max Rockatansky on January 01, 2021, 02:38:45 AM
Wouldn't be a Kernals thread without a Bay Area jab would it?  Was it really necessary to write a whole thing about "ungrateful people"  when you could have just linked to some expressway concepts?

Can't you bother someone else?

It would be nice if you could divorce your personal bias's when you post about actual potential public works projects.  How are people who protested freeway development decades ago (in your words "ungrateful" ) relevant at all to concept drawings about surface level expressways in modern Santa Clara County?  It was totally lame to say that and doesn't add anything to the topic, so why include it at all?  You don't see any of us on this board doing things like that, it's just you. 

kernals12

Quote from: Max Rockatansky on January 01, 2021, 10:09:19 AM
Quote from: kernals12 on January 01, 2021, 08:48:10 AM
Quote from: Max Rockatansky on January 01, 2021, 02:38:45 AM
Wouldn't be a Kernals thread without a Bay Area jab would it?  Was it really necessary to write a whole thing about "ungrateful people"  when you could have just linked to some expressway concepts?

Can't you bother someone else?

It would be nice if you could divorce your personal bias's when you post about actual potential public works projects.  How are people who protested freeway development decades ago (in your words "ungrateful" ) relevant at all to concept drawings about surface level expressways in modern Santa Clara County?  It was totally lame to say that and doesn't add anything to the topic, so why include it at all?  You don't see any of us on this board doing things like that, it's just you.

Plutonic Panda did it in the thread about the LA River.

seicer

I don't know - you seem to think it's perfectly reasonable to land aircraft and shoehorn a freeway in a river channel.

kernals12

If they do manage to grade separate the Lawrence Expressway from 280 to 101, would it not be California's first Jersey Freeway?

Also, if they were to entirely grade separate the Montague Expressway from 101 to 880, I imagine that would relieve the 101-880 Cloverleaf.

kernals12

Quote from: seicer on January 01, 2021, 10:15:01 AM
I don't know - you seem to think it's perfectly reasonable to land aircraft and shoehorn a freeway in a river channel.

You're just lying. I made it clear during that thread that I thought it was a stupid idea.

cahwyguy

#9
Quote from: kernals12 on January 01, 2021, 10:11:50 AM
Plutonic Panda did it in the thread about the LA River.

Just because someone else does it doesn't make it right. Didn't your parents teach you that? I tend to agree with Max here: If you've followed my site (cahighways.org) since its inception, I try to keep things focused on facts vs. opinion and pejorative comments. There are other cesspools for that, even here on AAroads. This is a site to discuss the roads of the Southwest, not to criticize the denizens of the past who fought freeways in urban areas (or who had freeways driven through their communities without their consent because they were unable to protest), just as we shouldn't criticize the people who chose I-238 for a road nowhere near I-38, or who can't kern signs right, or who fund transit over roads, or ... . Let's focus on the facts and the history and the future.

That said, let's discuss the roads. I read through this expressway proposal wondering how I should incorporate it into my pages (as I have pages on each G route), or if I should. There is precious little information beyond the map. There is no mention of how they might be designed, how the county might acquire any necessary right of way, or funding (although I have a guess on the funding -- some would likely flow through the CTC, as they fund projects off the state highway system when appropriate to improve transportation and the appropriate transportation commission -- like VTA -- requests them).

But the right of way is an interesting question. Almost any intersection improvements would require new right of way, and I'm not sure counties have the funding for those acquisitions. These improvements are going to be a long way off ... and by the time they have the funds, we may be moving to different solutions. If we get past the COVID restrictions, you might see more of an emphasis on transit and bus only lanes as a way to reduce congestion and increase throughput.

Daniel
Daniel - California Highway Guy ● Highway Site: http://www.cahighways.org/ ●  Blog: http://blog.cahighways.org/ ● Podcast (CA Route by Route): http://caroutebyroute.org/ ● Follow California Highways on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cahighways

kkt

Quote from: kernals12 on January 01, 2021, 02:18:51 AM
Santa Clara County is easily the most pro-highway county in the Bay Area. Where ungrateful people elsewhere chained themselves to bulldozers to stop new freeways from getting built, people in San Jose were lifting their cars onto unfinished interchanges to protest Caltrans not building freeways fast enough.

People?  You mean person.

Plutonic Panda

Quote from: kernals12 on January 01, 2021, 10:11:50 AM
Quote from: Max Rockatansky on January 01, 2021, 10:09:19 AM
Quote from: kernals12 on January 01, 2021, 08:48:10 AM
Quote from: Max Rockatansky on January 01, 2021, 02:38:45 AM
Wouldn't be a Kernals thread without a Bay Area jab would it?  Was it really necessary to write a whole thing about "ungrateful people"  when you could have just linked to some expressway concepts?

Can't you bother someone else?

It would be nice if you could divorce your personal bias's when you post about actual potential public works projects.  How are people who protested freeway development decades ago (in your words "ungrateful" ) relevant at all to concept drawings about surface level expressways in modern Santa Clara County?  It was totally lame to say that and doesn't add anything to the topic, so why include it at all?  You don't see any of us on this board doing things like that, it's just you.

Plutonic Panda did it in the thread about the LA River.
I'm sorry but what did I say about the LA River that is comparable to your term "ungrateful?"  I'm posting this comment before I go back and reread what I wrote and if I did make the mistake I'll edit it and apologize. Sometimes I type faster than I think.

kernals12

Quote from: Plutonic Panda on January 01, 2021, 04:17:57 PM
Quote from: kernals12 on January 01, 2021, 10:11:50 AM
Quote from: Max Rockatansky on January 01, 2021, 10:09:19 AM
Quote from: kernals12 on January 01, 2021, 08:48:10 AM
Quote from: Max Rockatansky on January 01, 2021, 02:38:45 AM
Wouldn't be a Kernals thread without a Bay Area jab would it?  Was it really necessary to write a whole thing about "ungrateful people"  when you could have just linked to some expressway concepts?

Can't you bother someone else?

It would be nice if you could divorce your personal bias's when you post about actual potential public works projects.  How are people who protested freeway development decades ago (in your words "ungrateful" ) relevant at all to concept drawings about surface level expressways in modern Santa Clara County?  It was totally lame to say that and doesn't add anything to the topic, so why include it at all?  You don't see any of us on this board doing things like that, it's just you.

Plutonic Panda did it in the thread about the LA River.
I'm sorry but what did I say about the LA River that is comparable to your term "ungrateful?"  I'm posting this comment before I go back and reread what I wrote and if I did make the mistake I'll edit it and apologize. Sometimes I type faster than I think.

Quote
I do think an elevated expressway along the LA River from the East LA area interchange at Santa Fe road should happen to the 710. I also think Santa Fe should have an elevated freeway connecting to the 105 should be a thing eventually connecting to the Alameda freight corridor. But none of those will happen because the city leaders are too damn stupid and incompetent to do anything to improve the city other than their pet projects.

Plutonic Panda

#13
I'd disagree our statements are of the same manner and judging by Max's frustrated response to you this isn't the first time you have made negative remarks about the Bay Area. I'd agree with Max with and say your comments about "ungrateful"  residents were unnecessary even if I would be inclined to agree with that.

I could have chosen my words more wisely but I'm sure not I could have conveyed my thoughts about the matter in question any differently than I did. The city transportation leaders in LA suck. I proposed improvements to help freight movements regarding part of a matter in discussion and acknowledging I am not naive as to why it will never happen. You just added in an unnecessary statement.

The funny thing is though, I wouldn't entirely disagree with you that there were likely people who protested freeways that were built and came to be of benefit to the same protestors and their communities. Much like the situation in South Pasadena. Believe me I've said things about those people, mostly in anger, that could have gone without saying.

Regardless of how much people like cahwyguy want to keep negative remarks out of discussions regarding roads and or lack thereof that isn't always possible. As I said before and I'll reiterate, I've gotten mad and addressed many opposing freeways when I could have just stuck to addressing the road itself.

I may have repeated myself a few times in this reply but again you posted about a subject of Santa Clara County constructing or proposing grade separated interchanges– I don't see what those opposing freeways in the past have to do with anything and if I had to guess Max calling you out has more to do with you consistently injecting negative remarks in some fashion about the Bay Area but I don't want to put words in his mouth. All I know is on the other thread the topic was specifically referring to past ideas about making the LA River a freeway. Since part of the river runs through an incredibly congested industrial area, I injected my idea that involved this small segment of the River and how I'd propose to ease congestion in this area and why it won't happen.

PS, sorry for repeating myself a couple times. Often times I don't articulate my thoughts into words(or anything else for that matter) that well so I wanted to rewrite them in different ways to ensure I'm clear as possible.

sparker

Quote from: cahwyguy on January 01, 2021, 10:23:01 AM
Quote from: kernals12 on January 01, 2021, 10:11:50 AM
Plutonic Panda did it in the thread about the LA River.

Just because someone else does it doesn't make it right. Didn't your parents teach you that? I tend to agree with Max here: If you've followed my site (cahighways.org) since its inception, I try to keep things focused on facts vs. opinion and pejorative comments. There are other cesspools for that, even here on AAroads. This is a site to discuss the roads of the Southwest, not to criticize the denizens of the past who fought freeways in urban areas (or who had freeways driven through their communities without their consent because they were unable to protest), just as we shouldn't criticize the people who chose I-238 for a road nowhere near I-38, or who can't kern signs right, or who fund transit over roads, or ... . Let's focus on the facts and the history and the future.

That said, let's discuss the roads. I read through this expressway proposal wondering how I should incorporate it into my pages (as I have pages on each G route), or if I should. There is precious little information beyond the map. There is no mention of how they might be designed, how the county might acquire any necessary right of way, or funding (although I have a guess on the funding -- some would likely flow through the CTC, as they fund projects off the state highway system when appropriate to improve transportation and the appropriate transportation commission -- like VTA -- requests them).

But the right of way is an interesting question. Almost any intersection improvements would require new right of way, and I'm not sure counties have the funding for those acquisitions. These improvements are going to be a long way off ... and by the time they have the funds, we may be moving to different solutions. If we get past the COVID restrictions, you might see more of an emphasis on transit and bus only lanes as a way to reduce congestion and increase throughput.

Daniel

The ROW issue along Lawrence will be a major factor in the design of the upgrades; flanking the expressway between Kaiser Hospital and the RR overcrossing north of Monroe Street are a number of recently-built multi-unit buildings.  And the City of Santa Clara has a reputation for protecting its housing and being particularly litigious in doing so; if SCC planners don't take that into consideration, this whole thing could end up taking twice as long to implement as SCC calculates -- and not in the form they prefer.  This is why it's likely much of it will involve "going vertical" in terms of bridges and berms carrying through traffic with side/lower lanes handling egress from cross-streets, including the hospital.  That would obviate a level of adjacent property taking that would provoke loud controversy.

kernals12

Measure B is supposed to fund grade separations on the Lawrence Expressway at Homestead and from Monroe to Arques




michravera

#16
Quote from: sparker on January 01, 2021, 06:02:00 PM
Quote from: cahwyguy on January 01, 2021, 10:23:01 AM
Quote from: kernals12 on January 01, 2021, 10:11:50 AM
Plutonic Panda did it in the thread about the LA River.

Just because someone else does it doesn't make it right. Didn't your parents teach you that? I tend to agree with Max here: If you've followed my site (cahighways.org) since its inception, I try to keep things focused on facts vs. opinion and pejorative comments. There are other cesspools for that, even here on AAroads. This is a site to discuss the roads of the Southwest, not to criticize the denizens of the past who fought freeways in urban areas (or who had freeways driven through their communities without their consent because they were unable to protest), just as we shouldn't criticize the people who chose I-238 for a road nowhere near I-38, or who can't kern signs right, or who fund transit over roads, or ... . Let's focus on the facts and the history and the future.

That said, let's discuss the roads. I read through this expressway proposal wondering how I should incorporate it into my pages (as I have pages on each G route), or if I should. There is precious little information beyond the map. There is no mention of how they might be designed, how the county might acquire any necessary right of way, or funding (although I have a guess on the funding -- some would likely flow through the CTC, as they fund projects off the state highway system when appropriate to improve transportation and the appropriate transportation commission -- like VTA -- requests them).

But the right of way is an interesting question. Almost any intersection improvements would require new right of way, and I'm not sure counties have the funding for those acquisitions. These improvements are going to be a long way off ... and by the time they have the funds, we may be moving to different solutions. If we get past the COVID restrictions, you might see more of an emphasis on transit and bus only lanes as a way to reduce congestion and increase throughput.

Daniel

The ROW issue along Lawrence will be a major factor in the design of the upgrades; flanking the expressway between Kaiser Hospital and the RR overcrossing north of Monroe Street are a number of recently-built multi-unit buildings.  And the City of Santa Clara has a reputation for protecting its housing and being particularly litigious in doing so; if SCC planners don't take that into consideration, this whole thing could end up taking twice as long to implement as SCC calculates -- and not in the form they prefer.  This is why it's likely much of it will involve "going vertical" in terms of bridges and berms carrying through traffic with side/lower lanes handling egress from cross-streets, including the hospital.  That would obviate a level of adjacent property taking that would provoke loud controversy.

It looks to me as though most of the right of way has been acquired or that most of the improvements could be done in the existing right of way. That might mean that, in some places, the number of through lanes is reduced or the existing lanes narrowed, but most of the intersections have partial interchanges already. Now, getting the grades separated will require WORK, but maybe not as much right of way as is supposed. Can't the existing partials be blocked off to go to the place where the subducted or elevated roadway rejoin the existing roadway? How much extra room is actually required ?

sparker

^^^^^^^^^
Lawrence does have one of the widest ROW's of any SC County expressway and between Stevens Creek and El Camino Real can be as much as 5 lanes wide/direction.  It's not difficult to imagine a TX-style solution, with the El Camino overpass extended south on a berm down all the way to past Homestead Ave. -- and maybe as far as Pruneridge.  There's already a bridge over Stevens Creek -- but about a third of the SB traffic leaves at that point; likewise, a similar percentage enters NB there as well (a direct shot from WB -- cardinal north -- I-280).  There are some RIRO's along the corridor; not an issue if a frontage/main separation is adopted, with NB offramps from the main lanes at Pruneridge, a combination one for the direct Kaiser entrance as well as Homestead (which also serves Kaiser Hospital along the north side of its campus), with on-ramps north of Homestead.  SB would be opposing ramps, of course. 

What's curious is that the Lawrence "interchange" with the Central Expressway, which has always been a series of streets with right angled RIRO's from each expressway (and industrial buildings within the "loops" created by the streets) could stand a serious revamp; but this doesn't seem to be covered by the plans.  From the plans shown, it appears that the effort on both this and the other addressed expressways is as much about removing obstacles to efficient travel on the intersecting streets as it is to enhance traffic flow on the expressways themselves -- actually a decent idea!  Lawrence can be a slog to cross anytime but in the dead of the night, and traffic patterns over the past 40 years have shifted from the old 80's notion of congestion NB in the morning and SB in the afternoon; it has certainly increased on the E-W streets as new multi-unit housing units have been deployed.   And the new Apple "spaceship" HQ is only a few blocks west of Lawrence, so this pattern change will likely see a "doubling down" of cross traffic over the next few years.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

kernals12

Quote from: sparker on January 02, 2021, 07:58:59 AM
^^^^^^^^^
Lawrence does have one of the widest ROW's of any SC County expressway and between Stevens Creek and El Camino Real can be as much as 5 lanes wide/direction.  It's not difficult to imagine a TX-style solution, with the El Camino overpass extended south on a berm down all the way to past Homestead Ave. -- and maybe as far as Pruneridge.  There's already a bridge over Stevens Creek -- but about a third of the SB traffic leaves at that point; likewise, a similar percentage enters NB there as well (a direct shot from WB -- cardinal north -- I-280).  There are some RIRO's along the corridor; not an issue if a frontage/main separation is adopted, with NB offramps from the main lanes at Pruneridge, a combination one for the direct Kaiser entrance as well as Homestead (which also serves Kaiser Hospital along the north side of its campus), with on-ramps north of Homestead.  SB would be opposing ramps, of course. 

What's curious is that the Lawrence "interchange" with the Central Expressway, which has always been a series of streets with right angled RIRO's from each expressway (and industrial buildings within the "loops" created by the streets) could stand a serious revamp; but this doesn't seem to be covered by the plans.  From the plans shown, it appears that the effort on both this and the other addressed expressways is as much about removing obstacles to efficient travel on the intersecting streets as it is to enhance traffic flow on the expressways themselves -- actually a decent idea!  Lawrence can be a slog to cross anytime but in the dead of the night, and traffic patterns over the past 40 years have shifted from the old 80's notion of congestion NB in the morning and SB in the afternoon; it has certainly increased on the E-W streets as new multi-unit housing units have been deployed.   And the new Apple "spaceship" HQ is only a few blocks west of Lawrence, so this pattern change will likely see a "doubling down" of cross traffic over the next few years.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

And grade separations would make things much easier for pedestrians and cyclists.




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