News

Public meeting on Dumbarton Rail Corridor project to be held Monday

SamTrans seeks input on conceptual alternatives for proposed public-transit route connecting Peninsula, East Bay

The Dumbarton rail bridge as seen from East Palo Alto on March 8, 2019. Photo by Magali Gauthier.

The San Mateo County Transit District (SamTrans) will host a virtual public meeting to discuss the Dumbarton Rail Corridor project on Monday, March 15, starting at 6 p.m.

The project envisions creating an approximately 18-mile route between Redwood City and Union City for a new transit system that would connect Caltrain to BART. Transit stops would be located in Menlo Park, East Palo Alto, Newark, Fremont and Union City. An estimated 24,000 riders could use the system every day, according to a February 2020 projection by SamTrans.

The Dumbarton Rail Corridor effort kicked off in 2018, when SamTrans entered into an agreement with Facebook and the Plenary Group, a public infrastructure investor and developer. Their partnership, called Cross Bay Transit Partners, was formed to facilitate the necessary state and federal environmental impact analyses, as well as a fiscal impact analysis, to determine if it would be feasible to rebuild the defunct transbay rail line for the new cross-bay route.

Although Facebook announced last May that it was reconsidering its commitment to pay for the analyses, citing the need to redirect its resources because of the pandemic, it later clarified that it would remain in the partnership until the pre-environmental analysis work was completed.

That early phase is currently underway with the development of conceptual alternatives. The partnership hopes to finalize the alternatives this spring.

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Monday's community meeting will take public input on two potential routes and four transportation options: commuter rail transit, light rail transit, bus rapid transit and autonomous vehicle transit. Commuter rail typically operates on traditional train tracks, while light rail generally requires its own track system with overhead electricity lines. Autonomous vehicle transit is an emerging technology that uses independently operating pods to transport small groups of riders.

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This map shows where two potential rail lines across the Dumbarton rail bridge might run. The blue line would be used by commuter rail transit, should that mode be chosen for the new route. The red line would be the route if either light rail transit or bus rapid transit or autonomous vehicle transit were chosen. Courtesy SamTrans.

The end goal of the project is to provide crossbay transit service that could connect Caltrain to ACE, BART, Capitol Corridor and, eventually, California High Speed Rail, the project website states.

Funding for the potentially $3 billion project remains a bit of an unknown, although transit leaders say that the project is eligible for public funding under the recently passed Regional Measure 3 (bridge toll tax) and San Mateo County's Measure W, as well as Federal Transportation Administration Capital Investment Grants and other US Department of Transportation programs.

The original Dumbarton rail bridge opened in 1910 but fell into disrepair and was heavily damaged in a fire in 1998. SamTrans bought the rail right-of-way in 1994 but hasn't had funds to redevelop it, though several studies on potential rail projects have been completed over the years. The current Dumbarton road bridge lies to the north of the rail bridge and, before the pandemic, was routinely clogged with commuting drivers during weekday rush hours.

Local transportation leaders have said that the Dumbarton Rail Corridor project could significantly relieve that traffic congestion by providing a much-needed commute alternative.

The public can attend the virtual meeting, which is scheduled for 6-7:30 p.m., by going to bit.ly/DRCMeetingMarch2021 or calling Zoom at 669-900-6833 and entering webinar ID 968 8464 7203.

Almanac Staff Writer Kate Bradshaw contributed to this report.

Follow Palo Alto Online and the Palo Alto Weekly on Twitter @paloaltoweekly, Facebook and on Instagram @paloaltoonline for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.

Public meeting on Dumbarton Rail Corridor project to be held Monday

SamTrans seeks input on conceptual alternatives for proposed public-transit route connecting Peninsula, East Bay

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Sun, Mar 14, 2021, 9:10 pm

The San Mateo County Transit District (SamTrans) will host a virtual public meeting to discuss the Dumbarton Rail Corridor project on Monday, March 15, starting at 6 p.m.

The project envisions creating an approximately 18-mile route between Redwood City and Union City for a new transit system that would connect Caltrain to BART. Transit stops would be located in Menlo Park, East Palo Alto, Newark, Fremont and Union City. An estimated 24,000 riders could use the system every day, according to a February 2020 projection by SamTrans.

The Dumbarton Rail Corridor effort kicked off in 2018, when SamTrans entered into an agreement with Facebook and the Plenary Group, a public infrastructure investor and developer. Their partnership, called Cross Bay Transit Partners, was formed to facilitate the necessary state and federal environmental impact analyses, as well as a fiscal impact analysis, to determine if it would be feasible to rebuild the defunct transbay rail line for the new cross-bay route.

Although Facebook announced last May that it was reconsidering its commitment to pay for the analyses, citing the need to redirect its resources because of the pandemic, it later clarified that it would remain in the partnership until the pre-environmental analysis work was completed.

That early phase is currently underway with the development of conceptual alternatives. The partnership hopes to finalize the alternatives this spring.

Monday's community meeting will take public input on two potential routes and four transportation options: commuter rail transit, light rail transit, bus rapid transit and autonomous vehicle transit. Commuter rail typically operates on traditional train tracks, while light rail generally requires its own track system with overhead electricity lines. Autonomous vehicle transit is an emerging technology that uses independently operating pods to transport small groups of riders.

The end goal of the project is to provide crossbay transit service that could connect Caltrain to ACE, BART, Capitol Corridor and, eventually, California High Speed Rail, the project website states.

Funding for the potentially $3 billion project remains a bit of an unknown, although transit leaders say that the project is eligible for public funding under the recently passed Regional Measure 3 (bridge toll tax) and San Mateo County's Measure W, as well as Federal Transportation Administration Capital Investment Grants and other US Department of Transportation programs.

The original Dumbarton rail bridge opened in 1910 but fell into disrepair and was heavily damaged in a fire in 1998. SamTrans bought the rail right-of-way in 1994 but hasn't had funds to redevelop it, though several studies on potential rail projects have been completed over the years. The current Dumbarton road bridge lies to the north of the rail bridge and, before the pandemic, was routinely clogged with commuting drivers during weekday rush hours.

Local transportation leaders have said that the Dumbarton Rail Corridor project could significantly relieve that traffic congestion by providing a much-needed commute alternative.

The public can attend the virtual meeting, which is scheduled for 6-7:30 p.m., by going to bit.ly/DRCMeetingMarch2021 or calling Zoom at 669-900-6833 and entering webinar ID 968 8464 7203.

Almanac Staff Writer Kate Bradshaw contributed to this report.

Comments

felix
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 15, 2021 at 8:04 am
felix, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on Mar 15, 2021 at 8:04 am

This is inadequate notice by SamTrans to the public on this important matter. Not seen online or newspaper ads.

Thank you pa online for posting this last night, but shame on SamTrans. I hope some people will know to show up.


Marianne Phillips
Registered user
University South
on Mar 15, 2021 at 8:16 am
Marianne Phillips, University South
Registered user
on Mar 15, 2021 at 8:16 am

Relieving the commute traffic between Union City and East Menlo Park (Willow Road/Dumbarton Bridge) is a good idea providing people actually use the transit service.

Hopefully there will not be any nutty eco-related objections like 'save the clams' or swamp/wetlands preservation.


Parker Stevens
Registered user
Menlo Park
on Mar 15, 2021 at 8:46 am
Parker Stevens, Menlo Park
Registered user
on Mar 15, 2021 at 8:46 am

"Hopefully there will not be any nutty eco-related objections like 'save the clams' or swamp/wetlands preservation."

There is nothing out there, just a muddy salt marsh.

People so inclined to pay homage to mud can simply go to the PA Baylands for that kind of experience.


R. Cavendish
Registered user
another community
on Mar 15, 2021 at 9:16 am
R. Cavendish, another community
Registered user
on Mar 15, 2021 at 9:16 am

quote:

People so inclined to pay homage to mud can simply go to the PA Baylands for that kind of experience.

Or head up to Calistoga and bathe in it.


Mark Dinan
Registered user
East Palo Alto
on Mar 15, 2021 at 12:48 pm
Mark Dinan, East Palo Alto
Registered user
on Mar 15, 2021 at 12:48 pm

I am looking forward to this meeting tonight and I hope many people from East Palo Alto can attend. Getting a Caltrain or BART stop in EPA would be a game changer, and will be essential for the new business developments which will employ tens of thousands of people if built as imagined on 1990 and 2020 Bay Road, the Bloomhouse site, and other areas nearby. Additionally, it will relieve rush hour traffic, and enable EPA residents to commute regionally without a car. A final reason to support it would be to encourage local business development around a stop, something that is found at all CALTRAIN stops in Palo Alto, Menlo Park, and other nearby cities.


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 17, 2021 at 1:46 pm
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
Registered user
on Mar 17, 2021 at 1:46 pm

YEAH - best idea ever. RWC is the last deep water port and has manufacturing type jobs and a bay side business center which houses Google and others. We need a lot of commute type efforts in that area. There will be a ferry that goes from RWC to other ferry terminals in the bay. We need to add a lot of choices in that section.


Danny Walters
Registered user
College Terrace
on Mar 17, 2021 at 2:00 pm
Danny Walters, College Terrace
Registered user
on Mar 17, 2021 at 2:00 pm

° YEAH - best idea ever. RWC is the last deep water port...

No one uses barges anymore to transport stuff around the bay.

Why not simply fill the bay in gradually and add more housing?

Foster City was once part of the SF Bay and concerned nature lovers can simply wander over to the PA Baylands Preserve...unless Palo Alto restricts future visitation from outside residents/guests.


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 17, 2021 at 3:34 pm
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
Registered user
on Mar 17, 2021 at 3:34 pm

DANNY = why don' t you go to the Port of RWC blog and find out what is going on at the port. Major ships come in from China because there is a metal consolidator at the port. There is going to be ferry service taking people up to SF and Oakland. Those decisions have nothing to do with PA. This is a San Mateo County effort - not a Santa Clara County effort. As to bay fill the Cargill company just lost their law suit about building homes there.


R. Cavendish
Registered user
another community
on Mar 18, 2021 at 8:16 am
R. Cavendish, another community
Registered user
on Mar 18, 2021 at 8:16 am

quotes:

"Why not simply fill the bay in gradually and add more housing?"

"Major ships come in from China because there is a metal consolidator at the port."

Both are valid points...so assuming that: (1) if the United States were to suspend buying the bulk of its steel from China, then, (2) there would be no primary need for a RC deep water harbor with steel consolidation, (3) some of the area could be landfilled for future housing, and, (4) an advanced hovercraft could possibly be utilized over the remaining water for Oakland/SF ferry services?


Bystander
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 18, 2021 at 8:39 am
Bystander, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on Mar 18, 2021 at 8:39 am

This sounds good to me.


Becky Lawrence
Registered user
Community Center
on Mar 18, 2021 at 10:09 am
Becky Lawrence, Community Center
Registered user
on Mar 18, 2021 at 10:09 am

Interesting. By boycotting steel purchases from China, we can allocate more land for housing in the bay area.

Let's do both.

The Ports of Oakland and Long Beach are sufficient for anything else being shipped from Asia.

A Redwood City deep water port could be put to better use. One hundred years ago, Mountain View and Alviso had deep water ports for transporting lumber.

Today both ports are gone and nobody misses them.


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 19, 2021 at 9:55 am
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
Registered user
on Mar 19, 2021 at 9:55 am

People - Go to the Port of Redwood city homepage. Better - take Seaport Road to the end. You will find a huge business Park in which Google has some offices, along with other Internet companies. Then visit all of the new housing that is in the whole business tringle. Marinas, food, housing, a hotel - Courtyard, business. It is all there. And you can take sailing lessons. As to the rail bridge the right of way is already there so many of the complications relative to other rail projects is not there. The USGS has a ship that uses that harbor. The area is a flood zone that is covered at times with water so housing in that specific area is not able to resolve legal issues for the use of the bay.
Connecting the east bay to the west bay by rail is a super idea. FB is going to build a "village" on Willow east of 101 that will have a huge amount of housing. That is already on the planning boards and will benefit from the rail crossing.


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 19, 2021 at 10:14 am
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
Registered user
on Mar 19, 2021 at 10:14 am

This whole project is in San Mateo County. Santa Clara County will benefit via Caltrain. SU's second campus is in RWC and they are in a big building phase. SU will directly benefit, Google will directly benefit, FB will directly benefit. The big money is there.


James Jeffries
Registered user
Crescent Park
on Mar 19, 2021 at 10:20 am
James Jeffries, Crescent Park
Registered user
on Mar 19, 2021 at 10:20 am

Whatever happened the idea about situating an older luxury liner on the bay to house the homeless?

Could the same concept be used to reduce the RV transients on ECR?

If RC has a that noteworthy a deep water harbor, boarding passengers/tenants and supplying a large ship with the necessary provisions should not pose a major problem and the ship could simply cruise throughout the bay to free the port for other functions as needed.


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 19, 2021 at 10:50 am
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
Registered user
on Mar 19, 2021 at 10:50 am

There is an RV show on TV where they are selling a concept. One of the advertisers for the show is Progressive Insurance for RV's and boats. Add to that the DMV registration each year. All in all not a cheap ticket. Once the investment is made then the person is stuck with it - unless they can rent it out or find a place for free storage (ECR). These people are not candidates for housing on a ship.

However the people who live in tents are good candidates. That would be closer to the streets of SF or SJ. Those people who live on the Guadalupe River in SJ would be good candidates. Check out the SFC listing daily of the Maritime log - it is telling all the ships arriving, from where they are arriving, and when they leave - where are they going to. SFO, OAK, Benicia, Stockton, Sacramento, Redwood City - has a ship from Mexico there right now. Huge amount of traffic on the bay.

Yes a good idea but port out of SF - let them absorb the cost.


ariel fleming
Registered user
Downtown North
on Mar 19, 2021 at 11:32 am
ariel fleming, Downtown North
Registered user
on Mar 19, 2021 at 11:32 am

A 'Love Boat' for the homeless and displaced RV transients?

What a novel idea.


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 19, 2021 at 12:25 pm
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
Registered user
on Mar 19, 2021 at 12:25 pm

Talk about displaced? RV's used to be parked in EPA on Bay Road. Now Bay Road is under major construction with a new building and more building in process. There are no RV's on the streets of EPA because they have good signage for street cleaning, etc. I suspect that some of those displaced RV's are now on ECR.

Every time a city updates their policies and puts in signage then the ECR RV traffic increases. Signage on ECR is spotty. Signs that said no parking on game days are gone. That lane needs to be clear because all of the people who are parking in the lots are clearing out after the games. They are making a right hand turn into the lane.

Back to the train - just think of all of the people that would come over by train - and get Caltrain in RWC down to the game. That would be a real game changer for all of the traffic that comes in via University and Embarcadero.
I used to take the train up to the AT&T park in SF - that was so much fun.


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 22, 2021 at 7:49 pm
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
Registered user
on Mar 22, 2021 at 7:49 pm

Becky - get in your car and go up to the port. Your dismissive comments have no applicability to reality. Reality is that major ships do come into the commercial side of the port. A ferry service is being worked on. The port is growing - not shrinking.


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