THE BERNAL CUT: A BUILT ENVIRONMENT
The road to climate change has been paved with good intentions and the Bernal Cut is no exception. The story began in 1863 when the San Francisco ~ San Jose Railway Company blasted a 25 foot wide passageway through the hillside to create a safe and efficient railroad service between the two cities. The new tracks enabled passengers to be able to make the trip in just 3.5 hours instead of the previous 8 hour journey by steamboat and stagecoach.
By 1930, ‘the Cut’ was widened to 117 feet across to accommodate car lanes, railway lines and eventually electric streetcar tracks.
1964 brought the I-280 freeway and ‘the Cut’ became a major thoroughfare for cars traveling between San Francisco and what would become Silicon Valley. Today, the road running through the Bernal Cut is called San Jose Avenue, and at peak commute times almost 2,000 cars per hour use it to enter the city. As we welcome people to our city, we invite all citizens to consider their environmental impact on this land.