The new San Mateo Caltrain Transit Center opened this weekend, just one block north of the old waiting post next to B street's parking garage and ticket office. For months workers have been constructing the $13 million dollar project, funded by the federal Congestion Management Air Quality [CMAQ] and sales tax revenues from Measure A.

The station will house a Police sub-station, retail space, cafe and ticketing office. These services, divided between two different structures, are linked by a covered walking space which will provide riders with shelter from Summer's remaining sun, and Fall's impending showers.

With the completion of the station, San Mateans have also received the added bonus of a brightly painted mural located East of the station: a turn of the century locomotive, replete with barreling smoke, a golden California landscape in the background, and a horse and stagecoach riding by its side.

One man who wished to remain unidentified said, "The other station wasn't up to the test. I like the way this one looks, now it depends if they'll follow through on their plans - that is with the police station, there wasn't much security at the old one. It all depends on how they'll finish."

Located north of downtown, automobile drivers will find themselves waiting at fewer railroad crossing since the new station's location will decrease the number of blocked intersection when the train stops. There is also a new underground parking garage which will offer 130 parking spaces, relieving downtown's already strained parking situation.

The new station has arrived just in time: 1998 ridership increased by 7.6 percent, and continues to rise; this year Caltrain plans to expand train service to more than 70 trains throughout the Bay Area each day, according to the city.

Louis Ehlinger, a chef from San Francisco, was waiting to catch a train North, "I was a little confused at first. I got off the train, and Oh my God, the new San Mateo - got to get the word out about this, San Mateo is up and coming."

There will be a dedication ceremony on Oct. 19th for the new Caltrain Transit Center.

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