County Route G6 (California)

Infobox road

alternate_name=Central Expressway
maint=Santa Clara County Expressway System

terminus_a=Alma Street in Palo Alto
junction=jct|state=CA|SR|85 in Mountain View
jct|state=CA|SR|237 in Mountain View
jct|state=CA|CR|G2|county1=Santa Clara in Sunnyvale
jct|state=CA|CR|G4|county1=Santa Clara in Santa Clara
terminus_b=De La Cruz Boulevard in Santa Clara

Santa Clara County Route G6, which comprises Central Expressway and part of Alma Street in Palo Alto is signed as a 12.3 mile long, east-west route in the western portion of Silicon Valley, California. This designation is a bit odd as Central Expressway parallels US 101, El Camino Real (SR 82) and I-280, all of which are signed north-south. This route is part of the Santa Clara County Expressway System.

Route summary

Route G6 actually begins in the west at Oregon Expressway as Alma Street in Palo Alto. In Palo Alto, G6 remains a major surface street with four lanes of traffic and a center turning lane to service the many driveways and turnoffs available. At the Palo Alto – Mountain View border at San Antonio Road, G6's character changes, removing the driveways and frequent intersections and adding a center divider, and is renamed Central Expressway. Central continues east as a 4 lane road through the city of Mountain View. Through this section Central Expressway has more at-grade intersections than is typical for a designated expressway. This section's intersections are primarily at-grade with cross streets controlled by traffic lights, although there are some overpasses, such as for San Antonio Road, Shoreline Blvd., Whisman Ave, SR 237 and SR 85.

Up to this point, the road parallels the Caltrain rail line, which limits the intersections and driveways on the south side of the road.

After crossing under SR 85, Central Expressway takes on a very freeway like appearance (which is not typical for most county roads) for several miles through Sunnyvale. Through this section Central Expressway has a wide center divider and a sequence of several separated grade interchanges with main cross streets and no turnoffs or driveways. The final in this sequence is at Lawrence Expressway. East of Lawrence Expressway, Central Expressway resumes at grade intersections along with sporadic HOV lanes at the approaches to intersections. Central has one final separated grade interchange with San Tomas Expressway. Central reaches its end at De La Cruz Blvd in Santa Clara, just outside the north end of San Jose International Airport. Route G6 makes a turn on to De La Cruz for a few hundred feet until it reaches US 101, which serves as the route's eastern terminus.

History and legislative status

Central Expressway was first designated in 1962. Central Expressway was a vital route through the western Silicon Valley in the days before US 101 and I-280 had been widened as an alternate route. Central Expressway still acts as an alternate route to US 101 through the west valley, however usage has declined as both freeways are now much larger and more direct routes. Construction was completed in 2007 near the eastern terminus widening Central Expressway to accommodate an HOV lane and a reconfiguration of the intersection with Lafayette Street.

Central Expressway is currently signed as G6 sporadically along its entire length.

In 1980, the prohibition against bicycle traffic using Central Expressway was lifted. Pedestrians are still prohibited, though.

Landmarks & points of interest

* Mineta San Jose International Airport (located just off the eastern terminus of Central Expressway)
* Fry's Electronics the original store in the chain located on E Arques Avenue in Sunnyvale just north off of Central.

Major cities

* Palo Alto, California
* Mountain View, California
* Sunnyvale, California
* Santa Clara, California

Exit list

The entire route is in Santa Clara County.

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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