By Tracy Seipel
Mention the words "high speed rail'' to some San Jose residents and business owners, and the image of an ugly aerial track comes to mind.
The elevated track -- from 20 to 60 feet high, not including the 25-foot-tall overhead electric system -- would only run about three miles. But because it crosses the heart of downtown, that section -- more than any other part of the 20-mile high speed rail corridor in San Jose -- has attracted the most controversy and sparked fears of a permanent eyesore.
Initial renderings from the California High Speed Rail Authority, which is building the state's first high-speed rail line, show an elevated concrete bridge supported by massive columns.
"If done poorly, it would not only divide the central city with a barrier of abutments and trestles, it could be a laughingstock,'' said Scott Knies, executive director of the San Jose Downtown Association.
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