News

Night safety work planned at Caltrain crossings

Four Palo Alto crossings and two each in Mountain View and Sunnyvale scheduled for upgrades

Eight Caltrain crossings in Palo Alto, Mountain View and Sunnyvale will get safety upgrades within the next year, the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) announced Wednesday.

The work, which started Wednesday and will occur between 8 p.m. and 4 a.m. Wednesdays through Mondays, is designed to make the crossings safer for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists.

Among the safety features are modified railroad crossing gates and new guardrails, fences, pedestrian and emergency swing gates, sidewalks, crossing panels, and warning tactile panels to assist visually impaired persons.

The crossings are at Alma Street, Churchill Avenue, East Meadow Drive and Charleston Road in Palo Alto; Rengstorff Avenue and Castro Street in Mountain View; and Mary Avenue and Sunnyvale

Avenue in Sunnyvale.

Each crossing is expected to take about three months to upgrade, and the improvement project is scheduled to wrap up in late June 2011.

One lane in each direction will be closed during construction and the sidewalk will be closed on one side of the street.

For questions about construction activity call VTA community outreach at 408-321-7575 or visit www.vta.org.

-- Bay City News Services and Palo Alto Online staff

Comments

Like this comment
Posted by why?
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 7, 2010 at 8:58 pm

Making these cosmetic changes at the same time Caltrain is talking about cutting service does not make any sense to me. Is there any evidence that these changes will have any chance at reducing fatalities? Are the existing crossing gates defective in any way?


Like this comment
Posted by MidtownMom
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 8, 2010 at 12:00 am

This will give the crossing-watchers a break. Thanks guys for spending countless hours at the crossing ..


Like this comment
Posted by Donald
a resident of South of Midtown
on Jul 8, 2010 at 7:28 am

I don't know why safety is in quotes in the article. These are real improvements, not just cosmetic. This article is very short on needed information. The article in the Mercury News had important facts that clarify the situation. These changes will bring these crossings up to Caltrain's own published safety standards, so they are necessary and not optional. Also, they are being paid for out of 2000 Measure A sales tax funds, not by Caltrain operating funds. The project is being administered by VTA, and the total cost is $5.8 million.


Like this comment
Posted by HPA
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 8, 2010 at 10:58 am

Here is a link to the Mercury News article.

Web Link

Also, if anyone has a link to drawings indicating how proposed high speed rail plans will impact Charleston and Meadow, please post it here or write to me at hopepaloalto@gmail.com

I am having trouble finding out about how the plan will impact these crossings. Thanks


Like this comment
Posted by A Long Time Comin'
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jul 8, 2010 at 11:09 am

What's annoying about this is that whether these upgrades are "cosmetic" or not, they could have been done years ago. There isn't anything "high tech" in this list. Guardrails, fences and swing gates have been around for a long time. It's just been about a little money, in the long run.


Like this comment
Posted by JM
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jul 8, 2010 at 11:32 am

Is there anywhere I can see the ridership statistics of the train? I seldom see more than a couple people on the train when I have a chance to monitor them.

All of the problems: budget cut, fatality, noise etc, can be solved by shutting down this train service, at least the non-cargo part of it. Trim down service also help. In the end, tell me again, who need this train service?


Like this comment
Posted by train rider
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 8, 2010 at 11:47 am

Every time I get off the train in San Francisco, I see hundreds of other people getting off at the same time. I sometimes see the conductor turning away passengers in Palo Alto because the train is already full. You must be blind if you only see a couple of other people.


Like this comment
Posted by Stanford Commuter
a resident of another community
on Jul 8, 2010 at 12:16 pm

JM--Try using Caltrain around 8am or 5pm. It is very full for those of us that commute to Stanford University. It is a needed form of transportation to cut down on the number of cars commuting to campus.


Like this comment
Posted by A Long Time Comin'
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jul 8, 2010 at 1:00 pm

> It is a needed form of transportation to cut down on the
> number of cars commuting to campus.

Stanford could provide charter buses for people who are living in specific locations. It's also time for Stanford to consider moving some of its operations to other locations, to transportation less of an issue for Palo Alto. Remember too, that much of the capital costs are paid for by the taxpayers, State, County, Federal. Stanford is expecting the rest of us to fund a part of their operations in this indirect way. It's way past time for Stanford to be ponying up $10M-$20M for regional transportation projects that its students/staff/hospital clients use to gain access to the campus.


Like this comment
Posted by Midtown Parent
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 8, 2010 at 1:24 pm

What we really need for the safety of our students is Lights all around the rail road. Guards cannot really see if someone is hiding because it gets very dark at night. Of course they will not do that because it cost a lot of money. Sad, money is first and children second.


Like this comment
Posted by svatoid
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jul 8, 2010 at 1:25 pm

"Stanford could provide charter buses for people who are living in specific locations."
Stanford provides buses that go over to the East Bay. They have carpools from SF and other places

" It's also time for Stanford to consider moving some of its operations to other locations,"
Many of the clinics have been moved to Redwood City. Many of the offices have been moved to Menlo Park.


" It's way past time for Stanford to be ponying up $10M-$20M for regional transportation projects that its students/staff/hospital clients use to gain access to the campus."
Stanford provides workers with passes that are good on many of the Bay Area transportation systems. Stanford ponies up plenty of money for transportation costs.


Like this comment
Posted by carlitos ways
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 8, 2010 at 1:41 pm

What a waste of money.


Like this comment
Posted by JM
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jul 8, 2010 at 3:26 pm

train rider: Sure you are talking about peak hours. I'm talking about non-peak hours. I'm no more blind than you are. Only that I'm asking for ridership statistics, if anyone could provide one.

I bet even the famous "bridge to nowhere" would have some traffic on it sometime. The point is not if the train, or the bridge for that matter, is useful or not. It's about if it could justify it's cost on life/society/budget.


Like this comment
Posted by Frank
a resident of Ventura
on Jul 8, 2010 at 4:19 pm

Jim -

I have seen ridership numbers - but can't tell you where; they come Caltrain itself (they count the passengers on the train once or twice a year).

They have cut back non peak service already. During the peak hours the trains are very full - there's a nice cafe at the Palo Alto station why not spend an hour or so during rush hour enjoying a latte and imagine each person driving their own private car to work through Palo Alto. That is most likely what would happen should the train stop running.

But I also think this is not the complete solution. The controversial issues of the HSR project, raising or lowering the train or the streets to remove all at grade crossings, will still be with us even if HSR never happens because Caltrain should be grade separated through it's entire route. That's the safest thing to do.


Like this comment
Posted by train rider
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 8, 2010 at 4:28 pm

How do you justify the cost of transportation project? El Camino Real or Highway 101 cost a lot more to build and to maintain than Caltrain. Are those projects worth the cost? Some people use them. Some people don't. A large portion of the cost comes from income tax and property tax. Should people that do not use these projects still be forced to pay for them? Highways do not pay for themselves.


Like this comment
Posted by Caltrain rider
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 12, 2010 at 10:12 am

I agree with "why?". This kind of work is meaningless when Caltrain is raising fares and cutting service. Ridership will go down as a result.


Like this comment
Posted by Norm
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 15, 2010 at 5:37 pm

Norm is a registered user.

Just in case the above poster might have been monsterously oblvious, the work doesn't target the passage of trains --- but perhaps I'm the ass for missing the trains as a non-factor.

I routinely walk across at Meadow.

The pavement alignments along the pedestrian paths (I know,sooo toooooootallllly irresponsible to include in a transit discussion) do not align well on the north side. And the rubber laid to deaden noise of vehicles was a nice sheen to it, and is slick as hell even if it is only a foggy evening.

But as a pedestrian in Palo Alto, perhaps this was a waste of time.

We're all in our cars (ain't got one) execept when we're trying to figure out where in our nieghborhood is the walk-able part at eight PM.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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