by Kim McCarthy
“Sometimes when we try to make things better, we make them worse…” This statement by Council member Laura Freese during a recent City Council meeting was in reference to yet another City-created debacle, the Del Obispo Railroad Crossing just past Camino Capistrano.
Cost to SJC taxpayers: $1.1 million to “upgrade” it with a signal that creates major congestion. Apparently the signal was added because the City thought it was required in order to establish a “Quiet Zone Crossing”… until the Councilman Derek Reeve asked at a council meeting whether the signal at the railroad track was required for a Quiet Zone. The Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) representative answered “no” and went on to say, “The [OCTA] project team never made that recommendation because of the concerns about traffic”. My first thought was, “then why the heck did we pay to put it there?”
Councilman Sam Allevato offered the following observation, “…the Quiet Zone was the most important thing…I understand that people might experience a slight delay…”. A “slight delay”? Really? He must not drive to the other side of town much. In his typical tone-deaf manner, he also referred to the “Ghost Train” as “…a slight irritant.” Probably because he’s a retiree with grown children who lives East of the freeway, the Ghost Train traffic is out of sight out of mind for Sam. He isn’t one of the many parents who shuttle their kids to school or the Sports Park, or one of the thousands of residents who live in neighborhoods off Del Obispo who sit in bumper-to-bumper traffic daily, thanks to the domino effect generated by this mess of an “improvement”. You can thank him at the ballot box in November.