Train station sees safety revamp

A $21 million renovation to the Burlingame Caltrain station — the "heart of the community” — will continue with a 55-hour construction project this weekend.

The overall project will reconfigure boarding platforms to the outside of trains to maximize safety. That will also allow two trains to be at the station at the same time, which will prevent roads at crossings from closing for trains waiting to enter the station.

It will also increase pedestrian access from downtown to the Washington Park area, add parking and improve landscaping. Additionally, the station will be accessible to the disabled for the first time.

After the project is complete, which is expected to be in June, Caltrain will do similar work on three other stations and then be able to increase train stops, spokesman Jonah Weinberg said.

This weekend, crews will rebuild and refurbish the tracks by pulling up the rails, replacing railroad ties and performing realignment work, Weinberg said.

It will also replace timbers and install signals at the intersection of North Lane.

One direction of the tracks will be shut down, but trains in both directions will use the remaining track and run as usual, Weinberg said.There will be construction noise and backup signals that people may hear throughout the weekend, he said.

The construction will take place just north of the station, between Oak Grove Avenue and North Lane. It will begin today at 8 p.m. and end Monday at 5 a.m.

“The station is the heart of the community and it’s where the city was born and expanded from,” Councilmember Cathy Baylock said.

The station serves Burlingame 62 times each weekday.

The project started with community planning three years ago, Burlingame Program Manager Jane Gomery said. The project should improve the look of the area and help during commute hours for the nearby high school, she said.

The Burlingame City Council originally denied Caltrain’s proposal by a 4-1 vote in 2006, said Baylock, who was mayor at the time. Caltrain had originally proposed four rows of cyclone fencing and a parking lot on a pedestrian throughway.

The council held a town hall meeting and eventually approved a plan with two barriers and a public garden area where the parking lot would have been. Construction began in June.

The next step in the project will be adding a new platform on the northbound side, which should happen by the end of the year, Weinberg said.

mrosenberg@examiner.com

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