Plan to close 25th Avenue meets dissent

Closing 25th Avenue — a street that runs over the Caltrain tracks in San Mateo’s Hillsdale neighborhood — is absolutely not an option, residents and businesses told a Caltrain official at a joint meeting of the City Council and Planning Commission on Tuesday night.

The meeting was held to provide feedback about a long-planned project to route 25th, 28th, and 31st avenues either under or overthe tracks.

The three entities involved in the project are Caltrain, which controls the tracks, the city, which controls the roads, and the San Mateo County Transportation Authority, which will likely fund most of the projects.

The meeting heard a presentation by Ian McEvoy, a representative of Caltrain and the Transportation Authority.

Though everyone says the reroutes are needed, the question remains how to do it.

City officials also reaffirmed they still want Caltrain’s Hillsdale station moved a few blocks north of its location at Hillsdale Boulevard — a plan that Caltrain and the county’s Transportation Authority have been reticent to endorse because of its cost.

The price tag for these projects is likely to run in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

Also, they’re not likely to even begin being constructed until 2014.

To possibly save some of these expenses, Caltrain and the city’s Public Works Department pondered closing 25th Avenue. As it stands, 25th Avenue crosses the railroad at a grade — meaning it runs right over the tracks. This type of crossing is being phased out by Caltrain as a safety hazard, McEvoy said.

But businesses owners from the 25th Avenue area said that would kill their business. Warren Chapman, owner of the Swinging Door restaurant on 25th, estimated that some 75 percent of his business comes from traffic along the road.

kworth@examiner.com

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