Caltrain underpasses topic of public meetingBy Edward Carpenter
City officials tonight plan to ask residents to consider three Caltrain underpasses for vehicles in the city to improve safety.
The underpasses are estimated to cost at least $10 million each, officials said.
One city crossing, San Mateo Avenue, is dangerous enough that the state Public Utilities Commission ranks it fifth in funding importance in the state, officials said. The San Mateo Avenue crossing has had several accidents and fatalities in the past, officials said.
"Obviously, they would like to fix the worst first," said Scott Munns, San Bruno public works director, referring to the San Mateo Caltrain crossing.
The plan to add three underpasses, basically separating trains from traffic and pedestrians, would go in at San Bruno, San Mateo and Angus avenues, officials said.
The three-underpass proposal is estimated to cost between $30 million and $70 million and would eliminate the Scott Street Caltrain crossing in San Bruno. Residents would be rerouted to the South Linden Avenue crossing in South San Francisco, officials said. Caltrain hopes to install an underpass at Linden at some point in the future, officials said.
The cost for the project won't fall on the city's shoulders though, according to officials. That will be left to the San Mateo County Transportation Authority, Caltrain and the state, officials said.
The transportation authority already has about $200,000 to get started on design work for the project and could fund up to 50 percent of the total cost, said Jayme Maltbie, Caltrain spokeswoman. The state could match local funds, but how much is unclear at this point, officials said.
Adding the underpasses would eliminate traffic congestion and train noise, as well as facilitate the construction of a new station, according to officials.
Six alternatives, including a "no build" alternative are being considered.
Alternative one would put the track underground, close Scott Street, and construct Sylvan Avenue train station, officials said. That alternative has all but been ruled out, though, because of conflicts with BART, which runs adjacent to the Caltrain in the area, and the high cost, which is probably too prohibitive, officials said. Underpasses would be at San Bruno, San Mateo and Angus avenues, officials said.
Alternative two proposes raising the tracks, closing Angus and Scott and constructing a Sylvan station. Underpasses would be built at San Bruno, San Mateo and Angus avenues.
Alternative three calls for raising the tracks, adding underpasses at San Bruno, San Mateo and Angus avenues, closing Scott and building a Sylvan Avenue station.
Alternative four calls for raising the tracks, adding underpasses at San Bruno, San Mateo and Angus avenues, closing Scott and building an Angus Avenue station.
Alternative five calls for raising the tracks, adding underpasses at San Bruno, San Mateo and Angus avenues, closing Scott and building a San Bruno Avenue station.
Alternative six is the "no build" proposal, which would keep everything as is.
The city is holding a public meeting to gather opinion from local residents tonight at the San Bruno Senior Center at 7 p.m. After receiving public opinion on the plan, they will take a recommendation back to the full council at their Aug. 13 meeting for a vote, officials said.
Copyright ©2002 San Mateo Daily News. Published 07/17/2002.