Published Wednesday, October 4, 2006, in the Peninsula Examiner
Safety upgrades slated for Caltrain tracks
By Tara Ramroop
SAN BRUNO -- The city might be six years away from its coveted grade
separations at the Caltrain tracks, but the transit agency says it
will be able to provide interim safety improvements promised months
Despite a postponement of work on a grade separation originally
scheduled to start this year, Caltrain officials say they will
complete an interim safety improvement project along the tracks at
Scott Street and San Bruno, San Mateo and Angus avenues by early 2008.
This project, which Caltrain spokeswoman Rita Haskin said is needed to
prepare for the large-scale grade separations work, would involve
straightening out the streets at that intersection so they don't curve
at an angle and confuse drivers.
Other improvements include fencing and safety medians that will almost
completely block a driver's ability to drive around a lowered crossing
arm that alerts drivers of oncoming trains. Similar barriers for
pedestrians -- which Haskin said present a bigger safety problem than
drivers -- are also in the cards.
Resident and CAC member Alice Barnes fears that the interim
improvements severely impact First Avenue residents. Councilman Ken
Ibarra, meanwhile, is concerned that the safety improvements might
stop with these interim fixes.
"We hope this is definitely just phase one of the project," Ibarra
Caltrain, which bought the former San Bruno Lumber building in 2002,
will demolish the structure as part of the temporary improvements.
Ibarra said the area has a number of empty buildings, and he looks
forward to it finally realizing its economic potential after the
safety and resulting circulation improvements are complete.
"It hasn't gotten better and if anything, it's gotten worse," Ibarra
said. "Our primary motivation is safety -- we don't like being the
fourth most dangerous at-grade crossing in the state."
[BATN again reminds readers that grade separation of Caltrain at San
Bruno and San Mateo avenues in the mighty City of San Bruno was
supposed to have been undertaken as part of the construction of the
BART extension to Millbrae, yet BY THE CHOICE OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF
SAN BRUNO this was not done. The result, of course, was a more
expensive BART project -- which of course fulfilled the ultimate and
true aim of the undertaking, namely maximal pork and minimal benefit
-- and a much worse situation for Caltrain -- ditto. It is unclear to
BATN why anybody should ever pay attention to a single word said by
any of the lunatic citizenry of San Bruno on any subject every again,
let alone pander to the City Council's new-found concerns about a
grade crossing which exists solely because of its own actions.]
Construction on grade separations -- which separate the train tracks
from the street at certain intersections -- in San Bruno and South San
Francisco were scheduled to begin this year.
But in August, Caltrain announced that work would be posted to start
in 2010 and finish in 2012. Officials said a number of system-wide
upgrades were a higher priority than grade separations including
repairing and replacing old infrastructure like the nearly
100-year-old overcrossing bridges along the line.
It has been six months since San Bruno's Citizens Advisory Committee
the grade separations met. They'll reconvene on Oct. 11 to discuss
these improvements, Haskin said. The meeting starts at 6 p.m. in City