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San Mateo moves toward major grade separation project
September 17, 2013, 05:00 AM By Bill Silverfarb Daily Journal

Separating the train tracks from the streets near the Hillsdale Caltrain Station in San Mateo is a priority for the city as it is a necessity to help complete the vision of the Rail Corridor plan and the Bay Meadows Phase II development currently under construction.

The city has pledged a total of $12 million to help pay for street connections in the area including at 28th and 31st avenues.

Last night, the council authorized the submittal of an application for $3.7 million of Measure A Grade Separation Program Funding from the San Mateo County Transportation Authority for preliminary engineering and environmental work for the 25th Avenue project. The city will commit $1 million of the $12 million set aside for the overall project for this preliminary work.

The city has invested more than a decade of planning within the Rail Corridor.

“All of this planning envisioned a raised rail alignment with a grade separation at 25th Avenue and new street connections at 28th and 31st,” Public Works Director Larry Patterson wrote the Daily Journal in an email.

The Bay Meadows Land Company has also committed money toward the project, said Councilman Jack Matthews.

“The 25th project is the first piece of the puzzle to make it happen,” Matthews said about major improvements planned in the Rail Corridor. “In the longer term, it will be a real boon for the city as it will allow the full buildout of Bay Meadows.”

New linear parks or more parking or other developments might also be realized after the grade separation is complete, Matthews said.

The elevated rail alignment in the segment south of State Route 92 has unanimous City Council support and is the only alignment considered in the High-Speed Rail Authority Alternatives Analysis, according to a staff report.

In 2004, county voters reauthorized the Measure A extension of the half-cent sales tax for transportation improvements through the year 2033. A provision of the expenditure plan provides that 15 percent of the sales tax revenue be allocated to eliminate at-grade rail crossings through the Grade Separation Program, according to the staff report.

“San Mateo needs grade separations throughout our city and the 25th Avenue request is a step in the right direction,” Deputy Mayor Robert Ross wrote the Daily Journal in an email. “Grade separations are a necessity to stay competitive, productive and maintain a optimum quality of life for San Mateans.”

San Mateo has a total of nine candidate grade separation projects listed in the 2004 Transportation Expenditure Plan, and the City Council identified separating the 25th Avenue crossing as its first priority.

The improvements will ultimately help increase east-west connectivity at 28th and 31st avenues and will help ease traffic congestion, Mayor David Lim wrote the Daily Journal in an email.

“I am excited to see this project move into this very important next phase,” Lim wrote.

The estimated cost to complete the proposed scope of work for the first phase of the project is $4.7 million. Staff has applied for $3.7 million in Measure A funds. The $1 million the city is contributing toward the project is an effort to make the project more attractive to the selection panel, according to the staff report.

“Combined, the grade separations will also provide important connections to Franklin Parkway and Saratoga Avenue, which will mitigate traffic in the surrounding area and significantly alleviate the current heavy traffic on Hillsdale Boulevard,” Councilwoman Maureen Freschet wrote the Daily Journal in an email. “I believe the community will be pleased with the positive impacts they will experience once the planned grade separations at 25th, 28th and 31st avenues are completed.”

The item was on the City Council’s consent agenda and was approved unanimously with little discussion.

(650) 344-5200 ext. 106



Tags: grade, project, million, avenue, wrote, separation,

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