No ACE Train and Niles Canyon flooding

Usually it ends up being  a joke when we do weather stories because there’s never any real weather in these parts.

But not today. 

Altamont Commuter Express already  has cancelled Friday service.

And on Niles Canyon Road, wider shoulders would have come in handy.  Here’s a photo from Gerry Mooney.

niles canyod flood

Matt Artz


  1. It appears that picture was taken maybe 2/10ths/mile or so off Mission Blvd. East bound from the looks of it.

  2. And despite the flooded road, CalTrans wants to lower the road even more as part of their idiotic and unnecessary $80 million project to widen the road and put in retaining walls and cut down hundreds of trees and ruin the creek. If they prevail, the road might become a swimming pool in years like this.

  3. Caltrans has kept its EIR in hiding and is now pursuing an illegal process that, unless suspended, will result in lengthy and expensive litigation. Best solution would be to redirect most of the remaining $80 million toward something more useful…play ball!

  4. Hi Matt,

    I’m afraid your conclusion is incorrect. If Caltrans fills in sections of the creek to accommodate wider shoulders that water still has to go somewhere. Instead of a lower, slower, wider flow, the creek will rise in the narrow sections (and the flow will speed up) until it reaches equilibrium (i.e., until the road floods). Since Caltrans is planning to expand into the creek bed by up to 20%, and to lower the road over by the bridges (where flooding already occurs), we can expect more flooding, not less.


  5. P.S. The expected increase in flow speed will have a commensurate increase in erosion that will affect both natural and man-made structures. This means additional sedimentary run-off (bad for water quality), and undermined bridge piers (the piers of all three railway bridges in the canyon were built in the 1800s, and are on the National Registry of Historic Places (go to Wikipedia, check out the entry on the Niles Canyon Railway, and find the section titled, “Niles Canyon Transcontinental Railroad Historic District” to verify my data about the bridges).

    On a slightly different topic, as I have stated earlier, we can expect more roadway flooding, which will result in more roadway pollutants entering our water system. Keep in mind that “Virtually all of [the Alameda County Water District’s] local water supply (which comprises 40% of our total supply) originates in the Alameda Creek watershed” — go to the ACWD’s website, then click on “About ACWD” –> “Sources of Water Supply”.

  6. P.P.S. For verification about my initial claim that water will rise if it is displaced, just cast your mind back to high school physics class, and Archimedes’ bathtub.

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