Roadshow: Light rail down median of Highway 85? Not likely

Q Gary, what happened to plans to run light rail down the middle of Highway 85? … You wrote that 85 will become an eight-lane highway from Interstate 280 to Highway 87 through Los Gatos and Saratoga. How can they do the expansion since the median was for mass transit?

Roy Robinson and Lis Lacey

A This has become a serious bone of contention, with the VTA wanting to widen this stretch of 85 with a second carpool lane and convert the existing carpool lane into a toll lane from Highway 101 in South San Jose to 101 in Mountain View. An agreement signed in 1989 with West Valley cities said 85 would be a six-lane freeway with the 46-foot median reserved for mass transportation. Most people thought that meant light rail.

But the agreement doesn’t specifically mention light rail, and the VTA says mass transportation includes buses as well as rail, heavy or light. “Implementation of express lanes supports mass transit in the corridor by providing additional capacity for varied bus service as well as revenue to reinvest in the corridor,” said Colleen-the-VTA-Spokesperson.

Q The proposed addition of a second carpool lane on Highway 85 between 87 and 280 ONLY in the West Valley is ridiculous, as everyone knows that the real bottlenecks during commute hours are at the 280 and Highway 237 interchanges. The potential for increased noise and pollution in the widened section with no relief at these bottlenecks should be obvious to everyone.

K.R. Kummerer

Saratoga

A Today is your opportunity to sound off. The VTA is wrapping up its environmental review, and Saratoga will host a workshop on the express lane project at 6:30 p.m. in the Joan Pisani Community Center Room at 19655 Allendale Ave.

Q A second carpool lane would be a second empty carpool lane on 85.

Jim Williams

A But …

Q As someone who frequently drives in the carpool lane, there is quite a bit of congestion. In fact, on parts of 101 and 85 the carpool lanes are slower than the regular lanes.

Natalie Mathison

A On Tuesday, we’ll talk about major changes on 85 north of I-280.

Q Are there any green carpool stickers still available or have all 40,000 been issued?

Mary Rollins

A Going, going and almost gone. As of last week, more than 39,000 decals had been issued.

Q I’ve been getting a good laugh at the lit construction sign on Highway 152. It states: “No left turn lovers.” I didn’t realize that it meant at Lovers Lane. I thought construction crews were being funny. I had to do a double take last time I looked at it. Good for a real chuckle.

Leigh Crutchfield

San Jose

A And for more laughs from a few years ago …

On a sign outside of a nursery on the road leading into Half Moon Bay: “Naked Ladies, $3.”

A sign on the outskirts of Salt Lake City: “Honeymoon Motel — Group Rates.”

Closer to home: “Welcome to Redwood City: Palo Alto without the attitude.”

Contact Gary Richards at mrroadshow@mercurynews.com or 408-920-5335.