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Mis-designed San Bruno Caltrain grade sep may be deferred

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  • 1/27 San Mateo Journal
    Published Friday, January 27, 2006, in the San Mateo Daily Journal New train station may face delays By Heather Murtagh A sneak peak of a new San Bruno train
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 27, 2006
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      Published Friday, January 27, 2006, in the San Mateo Daily Journal

      New train station may face delays

      By Heather Murtagh

      A sneak peak of a new San Bruno train station and updated downtown
      debuted to rave reviews Thursday as Caltrain officials dampened the
      dream, saying the project could be delayed another five years.

      Drawings of the grade separation, construction that would either lower
      or raise the tracks and the road, and train station donning a large
      arc was accepted by the majority of the citizens advisory committee
      Thursday. Caltrain representatives dropped potential bad news,
      however, since the assignment for construction may need to be pushed
      back up to five years or not at all.

      [BATN notes that this "rave review" design by Caltrain's grossly
      incompetent engineering consultants includes such features as a
      permanent 60mph limit and effectively precludes overtaking tracks from
      ever being built. But it has a nice arc, and a community park. Hooray!]

      "It is a great disappointment to hear that our grade separation could
      be delayed up to five years. I've been working on this already 10
      years and I thought we would be cutting a ribbon next year. Now we
      are opening 2009. With five more years, 2014 is another eight years.
      At one San Bruno railroad death per year that might be another eight
      angels. Unacceptable," said Alice Barnes, who served on the

      The committee was shown one option for the actual train station
      including an arch spanning 120 feet and raised about 50 feet above the
      ground, said Rick Phillips, director of urban design for HNTB. The
      archway will surround a pedestrian bridge that runs parallel to and is
      connected to the train station. The bridge will have a set of stairs
      on one side and elevator access on the other.

      "We decided to create an arch over San Bruno. Something you could see
      from a long way away, but also when you get close has a presence.
      This has a meaning in overall and a function as well," he said.

      All but one person enjoyed the design.

      Phillips also showed the committee how the train station wall on
      Huntington Avenue could be used with an overhang with benches or small
      businesses down the road.

      "Questions have been circling about what architecture we were going to
      see. ... It has structure and design to it. The arch has visibility
      and probably the best you can do for that span on that scale," said
      San Bruno Councilman Ken Ibarra.

      The committee also saw options for a downtown gateway sign over the
      intersection of Huntington and San Mateo avenues. The project,
      estimated between $165 million to $190 million, is currently scheduled
      to begin construction in early 2007 finishing in mid 2009, said Steve
      Minden, Caltrain program manager of grade separations.

      Ian McAvoy, chief development officer for Caltrain, said Caltrain is
      currently putting together a master schedule for upcoming construction
      and maintenance. The San Bruno construction will be worked into the
      plan, but may be pushed back a bit. McAvoy estimated he would know
      have an estimated time delay around April.

      Reach Heather Murtagh at heather@... or (650) 344-5200 x105
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