Grade separations postponed to 2010

Caltrain officials Thursday released a tentative timetable for system-wide upgrades to the commuter-rail system through 2025, officially postponing long-awaited grade separations in some cities until 2010.

The Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board readily endorsed the Project 2025 plan at yesterday’s meeting, setting a rough timeline for the capital projects outlined in a 2004 strategic plan, San Mateo County Supervisor and JPB board member Jerry Hill said. The 2004 plan estimated about $4.9 billion in capital projects through 2023, Hill said.

Construction on grade separations separating train tracks from streets at certain intersections in San Bruno and on South Linden Avenue in South San Francisco was scheduled to begin this year.

Though the grade separations have been postponed, Caltrain does plan on making some grade crossing improvements at San Bruno and San Mateo Avenues in San Bruno within the next few years. This work would involve straightening out the streets at that intersection, so they don’t curve at an angle and confuse drivers, SamTrans chief engineer Stephen Hill said.

Higher priorities in the next five years will be repairing and replacing old infrastructure such as the nearly 100-year-old rail bridges up and down the line, said Robert Doty, SamTrans director of rail transportation, engineering and construction.

So-called “quad gates,” which would prevent people from driving around the lowered crossing arm, are also planned system-wide in the next five years as a precursor to the grade separations, Hill said.

Police in June cited a man who survived after he drove under a crossing arm in Redwood City and was hit by a train.

Last month, a Caltrain slammed into a car after its driver, who also survived, inadvertently drove around the crossing arm near San Bruno and San Mateo avenues, one of the intersections for which a grade separation is planned. City officials said then that the accident underscored the need for safety improvements at that intersection.

San Bruno Mayor Larry Franzella told the board he understood the postponement but wanted significant safety improvements in the next five years. Councilman Ken Ibarra echoed these concerns, saying he hoped something would be done for safety at the rail crossings.

SamTrans staff are scheduled to present a more solid plan to the board by the end of the year, which will include a funding analysis and timeline.

tramroop@examiner.comBay Area NewsLocal

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Anti-police protester sues over arrest at 2019 Pride Parade

A protester whose arrest at San Francisco’s 2019 Pride Parade intensified pressure… Continue reading

Veritas offers to forgive unpaid rent, but tenants are wary

Calls for rent forgiveness have been answered, but with some caveats. The… Continue reading

Dozens gather for candlelight vigil to honor victims in Beirut explosion

Dozens of people gathered at Rincon Park on Thursday evening to show… Continue reading

School district, teachers reach tentative agreement on distance learning

With less than two weeks until the start of the school year,… Continue reading

Boudin, Gascon defend NFL in controversy over Stephon Clark video

Public service announcement prompted pushback from California prosecutors association

Most Read