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Road crossing upgrades slated for Caltrain in San Bruno

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  • 10/4 Peninsula Examiner
    Published Wednesday, October 4, 2006, in the Peninsula Examiner Safety upgrades slated for Caltrain tracks By Tara Ramroop tramroop@examiner.com SAN BRUNO --
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 4, 2006
      Published Wednesday, October 4, 2006, in the Peninsula Examiner

      Safety upgrades slated for Caltrain tracks

      By Tara Ramroop
      tramroop@...

      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
      before.

      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
      said.

      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
      <http://www.caltrain.org/sb_grade_separation_cac_meetings.html> on
      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
      Hall.
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