Caltrain representatives presented information on the upcoming San Bruno grade separation project in a community meeting at Belle Air elementary school. The meeting, aimed at providing information regarding the project’s timeline and scope, allowed for feedback and questions from the public.
San Mateo County Transit District community relations manager Todd McIntyre and grade separation project manager Raphael Bolon made a presentation detailing the timeline and scope of the proposed project. The presentation also included project phases and artist renderings of the completed project.
Starting in the spring of 2010, the project plans to move the current San Bruno Caltrain station closer to downtown at the corner of San Bruno and Huntington Avenues. The above ground station will have all the latest and enhanced amenities including handicap access, bike friendly amenities and drought tolerant landscaping. In the process Posy Park will also be completely renovated with enhanced amenities.
“We have been working closely with San Bruno city council, and they have been very clear with us on their desire for enhanced features,” said Bolon.
The project is currently in the construction contract procurement period and is slated to break ground in May of 2010 with underground utility work. By spring of 2011 a temporary shoofly will be built to allow the trains to continue while the new above ground platform and station is constructed. The project is scheduled to finish in the summer of 2012.
While the presentation was informative, many citizens voiced concerns regarding the project. Many had been present during the BART construction project and wanted to ensure some of the same mistakes were not being made.
Many who spoke had questions regarding the amount of noise that would be created by the new station during and after the construction. Others were concerned about the school children who use the safety crossing at the current train station to make their way to Belle Air elementary.
“Caltrain has completed a comprehensive noise and vibration study as part of the project,” said Colon. “Noise is reduced as part of the project.”
According to Colon, reduced vibrations are due to the use of lightweight back fill that has vibration dampening qualities. Because the station is elevated, there will be reduced train horns at the crossings. While the horns will be reduced, they cannot be eliminated.
“Federal law requires that a horn sounds as the train approaches the platform,” said McIntyre.
While Caltrain has planned the project with as little impact to the neighborhood as possible, there will be inconveniences to the surrounding areas. A temporary train station will be built approximately 500 feet south of the current location, meaning that the children who use the station to cross will need to foot the extra distance to get to Belle Air school. Additionally, road closures can be expected on San Mateo and San Bruno avenues starting in the fall of 2010. Finally, trees and landscaping on both sides of the tracks, which aid to buffer residents from noise, will be removed while the project is in progress.
“The trees will be replaced,” said Colon. “You will get more trees than you had before”.
Caltrain is in the process of negotiating management agreements with city’s government to determine who is responsible for ongoing maintenance and upkeep of the station. Once the agreement is negotiated is should be clear who will be maintaining the landscape and fixing wear and tear.
Caltrain will be holding another community meeting once the construction contracts have been awarded. Further questions and comments can be directed to the Caltrain Office of Public Affairs at (650) 508-7726 or by email at [email protected]
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