Caltrain Electrification Public Meeting at Washington Park

Caltrain will host a community meeting to discuss the continued construction activities for the Caltrain Electrification project in Sunnyvale.

In the coming months, crews will continue foundation installation and begin the installation of poles along the rail corridor in Sunnyvale. In addition, work continues on the Paralleling Station facility near the Sunnyvale Caltrain Station. The meeting will provide an opportunity for residents to learn more about the project, including the scope and schedule of upcoming construction activities.

Thursday, October 10, 2019
6:00 – 7:00 PM
Washington Park
840 West Washington Avenue
Sunnyvale, CA

The Caltrain Electrification project is a key component of the Caltrain Modernization Program that will electrify the corridor from the San Francisco Caltrain Station at 4th and King Streets to approximately the Tamien Station in San Jose, replacing diesel-hauled trains with electric trains. Electrification will improve Caltrain’s system performance, enable more frequent and/or faster train service and minimize long-term environmental impact by reducing noise, improving regional air quality and decreasing greenhouse gas emissions. Caltrain Electrification is scheduled to be operational by 2022.

For more information, visit www.CalMod.org.

Via: https://www.facebook.com/events/679185935913743/

Caltrain Grade Separation Community Meetings: August 10, 24

(Via Ria Hutabarat Lo, PhD, Sunnyvale Transportation and Traffic Manager)

There are two upcoming community meetings regarding the Caltrain Grade Separation Feasibility Study. This study will assess the feasibility of separating the road and railway at Mary Avenue and Sunnyvale Avenue.

rr-xings

This project is being considered due to safety concerns, congestion delays, pedestrian/bicycle access issues, and noise impacts associated with having active at-grade railway crossings in urbanized communities. Anticipated increases in service frequency along the Caltrain railway line will improve regional access for Sunnyvale commuters but exacerbate concerns associated with railway crossings—if they are not grade separated.

Depending on the selected alternative, the impacts of grade separation could potentially include the following:

  • property acquisitions
  • access modifications
  • temporary road closures

The City of Sunnyvale will hold two community meetings to describe project goals, process, and schedule, and obtain initial community feedback. Each meeting will be tailored to the respective crossing location. Meeting details for each location are as follows:

Mary Avenue Railroad Crossing
6:30 – 8 p.m. Thursday, August 10, 2017
Washington Park Building, 840 W Washington Ave, Sunnyvale
Also: Online Survey

Sunnyvale Avenue Railroad Crossing
6:30 – 8 p.m. Thursday, August 24, 2017
Sunnyvale Library, 665 W Olive Ave, Sunnyvale
Also: Online Survey

High Speed Rail community meetings

The California High Speed Rail Authority is hosting Community Open House meetings on the range of alternatives being considered for the segments from San Francisco to San Jose. San Francisco to San Jose section is part of the first phase of California HSR, connecting communities from San Francisco and Silicon Valley to the rest of the state. The meetings will be identical in format and content. Some of the issues for review include:

  • Vertical alignment for the approach to Diridon
  • Passing track options, including how they will affect service quality for Caltrain
  • A train storage and maintenance yard proposed for Brisbane

The meetings will be held from 5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. with a formal presentation starting at 6:00 p.m.

  • Mountain View – Tuesday, April 11, 2017 – Success Center – 875 West Maude Avenue, Unit 5, Mountain View
  • San Mateo – Thursday, April 13, 2017 – Silicon Valley Community Foundation – 1300 South El Camino Real, Suite 100, San Mateo

If you have questions, the High Speed Rail staff to contact are:

Ben Tripousis, ben.tripousis@hsr.ca.gov
Morgan Galli, morgan.galli@hsr.ca.gov

Via: greencaltrain.com

VTA taking applications for Measure B Citizens Oversight Committee

Do you have a passion for transportation, attention to detail, and a desire to help your community? VTA is taking applications for the Measure B Citizen’s Oversight Committee.

In 2016, the voters of Santa Clara County passed Measure B: a 30-year, half-cent sales tax, to fund transportation projects. The funding is allocated for projects along these lines:

  • $1.8 billion for expressways, highway interchanges and route 85
  • $1.5 billion to extend BART to Santa Clara
  • $1.2 billion to improve and repair local roads
  • $1 billion for Caltrain capacity and grade separation
  • $500 million for local public transportation
  • $250 million for bicycle and pedestrian projects

Per VTA’s website:

With the passage of the sales tax, VTA must develop guidelines for each of the nine program areas as described in the resolution that created the measure. In order to allow for sufficient time to discuss each of the nine program areas, VTA will present the proposed guidelines for three of the programs each month beginning in February. VTA will present the final set of draft guidelines in May.2016 Measure B Implementation Committee Work Plan small

The following VTA committees will be discussing the guidelines as part of their regularly scheduled meetings. The public is welcome to attend these meetings to learn more about the proposed guidelines and provide input. Please click each for meeting dates, agendas and a description of each committee.

The Citizen’s Oversight Committee being formed will also ensure transparency and accountability.

Citizens registered to vote in Santa Clara County can apply online. Applications are due by April 21.

KQED Discusses Caltrain’s Future: Friday Morning at 9:00AM

Residents interested in Caltrain may wish to turn in to KQED’s Forum program, 88.5FM, at 9:00AM Friday morning. From the KQED web site:

Episode airs February 24, 2017 at 9:00 AM
Arguing that the South Bay’s transportation system is breaking down, the urban planning think tank SPUR released an ambitious proposal for the region Thursday. In its Caltrain Corridor Vision Plan, SPUR proposes improvements to Highway 101 and calls for Caltrain to quintuple its ridership, expand service into downtown San Francisco and upgrade infrastructure. The SPUR report follows the Trump Administration’s decision last week to suspend $647 million in funds for Caltrain’s electrification, a move the rail agency says will hinder its ability to make needed improvements. We discuss the future of Caltrain.

The Caltrain Corridor Vision Plan (Spur.org)

Guests:
Ratna Amin, transportation policy director, SPUR
Randy Rentschler, director of legislation and public affairs, Metropolitan Transportation Commission
Seamus Murphy, chief communications officer, Caltrain

Caltrain Electrification Deferred

Background

Due to the success of our local economy, the peninsula’s rail link, Caltrain, has record ridership. Trains are often packed to capacity. The system’s ability to carry passengers is critical to economic growth and to mitigating road congestion.

Caltrain's booming ridership. Source: Wall Street Journal

Caltrain’s booming ridership. Source: Wall Street Journal

The system is overdue for upgrades that would improve its ability to cost-effectively carry passengers. Caltrain has been working to electrify the system since the 1990s. Electrification will allow Caltrain to run trains faster, more frequently, and at lower cost.

In September 2016, Caltrain signed contracts to carry out the electrification work. The contracts are contingent upon Caltrain funding the project by March 1, 2017. Without funding, construction will be postponed and the contracts will need to be renegotiated. Local, state, and regional funding is committed, but the Federal Transit Administration has informed Caltrain that federal funding is deferred until the President Trump’s Fiscal Year 2018 budget.

Current Status

Earlier this Month, California’s Republican delegation asked US Transportation Secretary Chao to deny the funding for Caltrain in hopes of blocking construction of High Speed Rail. The Federal Transit Administration has subsequently informed Caltrain that federal funding is deferred until the President Trump’s Fiscal Year 2018 budget.

Caltrain Modernization would create jobs Across the United States

Caltrain Modernization would create jobs Across the United States

Unless the United States Department of Transportation releases the federal portion of the funding by March 1, the electrification project will be delayed. 9,600 American jobs associated with this work will not be created. Local commuters will continue to pack into overcrowded trains, and our roads will see no relief for another half decade.

Call to Action

Actions you can take:

  1. Sign Caltrain’s White House Petition
  2. Send a Letter to Secretary Chao
  3. Call Secretary Chao and her career staffers:
    Elaine Chao (202) 366-4000
    Matthew Welbes (202) 366-4040
    Lana Hurdle (202) 366-6031
  4. Call Democratic lawmakers and thank them for their continued support:
    Anna Eshoo (650) 323-2984
    Zoe Lofgren (408) 271-8700
    Ro Khanna (408) 436-2720
    Kamala Harris (415) 355 – 9041
    Diane Feinstein (415) 393-0707
  5. If you have friends or family living in Republican-controlled areas of the state, explain this issue to them and ask them to contact their Congressional representative.
  6. Check out http://www.greencaltrain.com/2017/02/top-actions-to-save-caltrain-electrification/

Plan B?

Green Caltrain has a good review of what could happen if the funding does not come through. One prospect is to proceed with the project, but use slower electric locomotives instead of optimal “Electrical Multiple Unit” trains, which would limit the capacity increases otherwise possible through modernization. Our region could and should to follow the examples of Seattle and Los Angeles to pass a transit “megameasure” to fund our own infrastructure, but such an undertaking could not even begin until November 2018. Caltrain could perhaps be combined with BART, privatized, or underwritten by wealthy local tech companies.

UPDATE: Kim-Mai Cutler has published an excellent article on this topic with greater context and a wider call to action.

Take Action: Trump Administration Threatens Caltrain Electrification

California’s Republican delegation has submitted a letter to Federal Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao requesting that she cancel $647 million in funding for Caltrain electrification. The GOP delegation explains their intention to hold back the High Speed Rail project, but these specific improvements are badly needed by Caltrain to improve service for local riders. Bay Area representatives have followed up with their own letter to Secretary Chao explaining the need for this funding to be preserved. This issue is explained in detail on the Green Caltrain site.

Call to Action: Green Caltrain would like as many folks as possible to submit emails to Secretary Chao via this link: http://org.salsalabs.com/o/741/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=21065