Caltrain planning station renovationsBy Ethan Fletcher
Residents will get a peek at Caltrain's proposed renovation of Burlingame's two train stations today.
The first of two meetings will be held at 7:30 p.m. at the Burlingame Public Library on Primrose Street, where Caltrain officials will present their plans for giving the Burlingame station a long-awaited makeover. A presentation on the Broadway station will be held at 7:30 p.m. next Tuesday, Aug. 3, at the Burlingame Center.
The meetings give members of the public an opportunity to see Caltrain's plans, their projected schedule and a chance to chip in with ideas of their own. After the meetings, Caltrain will present its final design to the Burlingame City Council for approval.
The planned changes should be good news for commuters in cars, representatives from the Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board's Capital Project division told the Burlingame City Council at a July 19 meeting. Caltrain plans to place boarding platforms on the outside of the northbound and southbound tracks in both stations, eliminating the center platform. This move, officials say, will decrease the "down time" of crossing gates by 50 percent at Broadway Avenue and by 32 percent at the Burlingame station.
"The project is two-fold," said Al Fung, a senior engineer for Caltrain who is working on both projects. "It will greatly improve traffic flow along those stations and will improve the scheduling times for Caltrain."
Fung said that the Burlingame projects are part of Caltrain's effort to eliminate delays caused by the so-called "hold-out rule." That rule stipulates that when a train is boarded from a center platform only one train can be at the station at the same time, due to the danger of hitting pedestrians crossing the tracks. Boarding trains from the outside and placing a pedestrian safety gate between the tracks would eliminate the need for the hold-out rule.
The same changes were made to stations in Redwood City and Menlo Park, and are planned for several other Peninsula stations.
For several years, Caltrain has been in discussion with Burlingame about renovating the stations to improve traffic flow. However, it was only recently that the funding could be put together for the $6.9 million project, Fung said. The money will come from bonds as well as sales tax revenue earmarked for transportation projects.
The Broadway station, located at 1190 California Dr., will have staggered platforms on either side of Broadway Avenue, including a brand-new northbound platform north of Broadway. The Burlingame station will receive a new northbound platform, along with new custom waiting shelters that will be architecturally compatible with the existing historic building. Both stations will receive upgraded amenities, including a visual message system, public address amplifier and lighting.
At the July 19 meeting, Councilmember Joe Galligan recognized Mayor Rosalie O'Mahony for her tireless work over the years to upgrade the stations.
Caltrain plans to go back to the City Council with a final presentation in September and have the design completed by December. Officials estimate that construction will take around 10 months for the Burlingame station and six months for Broadway. Fung said Caltrain hopes to begin construction in fall 2005.
Copyright ©2004 Peninsula Examiner. Published 07/29/2004.