San Bruno may straighten angled Caltrain crossing
- Published Wednesday, October 4, 2006, by the Redwood City Daily News
City plans to tame tangled crossing
By Kristina Peterson
Like a comb hitting a stubborn tangle, the orderly grid of San
Bruno's streets twists into a complicated snarl where San Mateo
Avenue crosses the Caltrain tracks -- an intersection that officials
say they may be able to literally straighten out to improve safety
at the dangerous spot.
"The tracks cross at a severe angle at San Mateo Avenue and it
confuses people. ... We've lost too many lives at that crossing and
this will help to staunch it," said Alice Barnes, a member of the
Citizens Advisory Committee created in August 2002 to help with the
Caltrain grade separation project.
The proposed safety improvements would create a perpendicular
crossing at the diagonal intersection of San Mateo Avenue and the
railroad tracks between First and Huntington avenues to improve
visibility for drivers. Plans also include installing a pedestrian
gate across the sidewalk and adding street medians "to make it
harder for people to get in the wrong lane while driving," Caltrain
spokesman Jonah Weinberg said.
San Bruno has four at-grade intersections with the railroad tracks
that "must be completely separated" from roads and pedestrian paths
during the grade separation project, according to the city's Web
site. The project will also include constructing a new handicap-
accessible Caltrain station over two crossings.
Though many residents in San Bruno were disappointed in August
when Caltrain announced that the grade separation project would be
delayed for five years, the proposed safety improvements planned
for the interim seem to have softened the blow.
City Council Member Jim Ruane said the reconfiguration of the
intersection was a safety necessity, and one that would fit in
seamlessly when the grade separation is built above it in later
"This is configured similarly to what we proposed with the grade
separation. This will be in place ... and help the safety of those
convoluted intersections for the time being," Ruane said.
Since the targeted street is owned by San Bruno and not Caltrain,
Weinberg said the cost may be shared between Caltrain and the city.
Though Caltrain did receive $7.4 million from the county
Transportation Authority for safety improvements at grade
crossings, Weinberg said that money must stretch across the whole
county. "Though there is nothing else quite as strange as that
particular configuration," Weinberg said.
The projected timeline shows complete designs done by the end of
this year, bids awarded in the first half of 2007 and construction
running from mid-2007 to the end of March 2008, Barnes said. No
official time frame has been finalized.
The Citizens Advisory Committee will meet to discuss drawings of
the plans with city and Caltrain officials on Wednesday, Oct. 11,
at 6 p.m. at San Bruno City Hall, located at 567 El Camino Real.
[BATN: See also:
Road crossing upgrades slated for Caltrain in San Bruno
Meeting on delayed San Bruno Caltrain grade separations
Caltrain OK's 2025 plan, delays San Bruno grade separations