SamTrans to keep HSR on existing two Caltrain tracks in Millbrae
- Published Wednesday, December 19, 2007, by the Peninsula Examiner
Millbrae salvages downtown development plan
By Mike Rosenberg
Millbrae's $250 million downtown development plan near the
BART/Caltrain station, endangered by California's proposed high-speed
rail project, appears to have been saved.
The 10-year-old development, dubbed Site One by officials, is
projected to bring in hundreds of condos right by the Peninsula's
transit hub, along with a movie theater and retail stores.
The Pacheco Pass, one of the proposed routes for the high-speed rail
line, was set to stop at the Millbrae station to connect with BART
and Caltrain. City officials originally believed the train would
require two extra tracks, a parking structure and security fencing.
Under that alignment, the city would have to rethink its
redevelopment plans or scrap them altogether, Community Development
Director Ralph Petty said at the time.
The city has worked with the San Mateo County Transit District since
late October, however, and has worked out a situation in which the
high-speed rail, which would zip riders between San Francisco and Los
Angeles in just more than 2-1/2 hours, will use existing Caltrain
right-of-way tracks as it passes through Millbrae, City Manager Ralph
Jaeck said. [BATN notes SamTrans already pinched Caltrain through-track space down to two as part of BART-Millbrae boondoggle. Now promising to limit all future Caltrain, HSR and whatever other train services may come to the existing two-track station bottleneck seems breathtakingly shortsighted and irresponsible.]
As a result, the city's redevelopment plans should not have to
change pending an investigation by a city-hired engineer, he said.
The solution is particularly important as the High Speed Rail
Authority decides today on a route for the $40 billion train: the
aforementioned Pacheco Pass or the Altamont Pass, which cuts from
the Central Valley to the East Bay.
But the city's plans are not completely saved yet. Developers need
to acquire two-thirds of the land around the station by buying out
surrounding businesses before construction can begin. Developers, who
have already been given multiple deadline extensions, are expected to
purchase the property before they meet with the City Council in
January, Jaeck said.
If the land is not acquired by the deadline, the city would change
its plans, find other developers, or give another extension, Jaeck
Developer Dan Rogers declined to comment on the status of the
property acquisition after he said in October that he had 40 percent
of the land purchased.
By the numbers
* Eight acres of land; development on five acres
* 231 condominiums
* 105,000 square feet of retail
* 131-room hotel
* Six-screen art-house cinema
* 40,000 square feet of office space
* 900-space, two-story underground parking garage
* Station square community area
- Source: City of Millbrae
[BATN: See also:
Millbrae fears adding HSR tracks to train station will derail TOD
... and the dozens of related "See also:" stories referenced therein.]