City explores ways to pay for revamped Caltrain intersections

Palo Alto Weekly – by Gennady Sheyner / November 29, 2017

Rail Committee considers new studies on rail-crossing alternatives, financing

Despite years of discussions about the need to separate the Caltrain tracks from the local streets that intersect the rail line, Palo Alto leaders are still struggling to figure out what the project would look like and how it would be paid for.

On Wednesday morning, the City Council’s Rail Committee considered two new studies in an effort to make some progress on both of these fronts. But while the studies provided insight into the scope of the problem, the council’s discussion indicated that Palo Alto is still many months away from getting to real answers.

Guest Opinion: Exploring creative options for underground train tracks

Palo Alto Weekly – Guest Opinion by Tom DuBois / October 1, 2017 

City holding next grade separation workshop on Oct. 21

Palo Alto is planning perhaps the most critical infrastructure in its history: the separation of our roads from the rail line that bisects the city.

The desire from the community is clear. We need to exhaustively investigate creative approaches to put the train underground and evaluate whether it is possible to do it across town or across a portion of it. Past councils, past rail committees, past community groups and our current community engagement process have all shown a preference for this approach. We need to get serious about how to underground the train and how to pay for it.

Lawsuit blocks Measure B funds

Mountain View Voice – by Mark Noack / August 30, 2017

Local transit projects delayed by legal challenge

Santa Clara County’s new Measure B sales tax has already collected tens of millions of dollars for a multitude of transportation upgrades, but that money is now embargoed from being spent.

An appellate lawsuit filed by Mountain View attorney Gary Wesley on behalf of Saratoga resident Cheriel Jensen is blocking the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority from spending any of the $6.5 billion in revenues expected to come from the new tax. For local communities, this means a series of crucial projects — such as plan for Caltrain grade separation and new bikeways — could be on hold for up to two years before the suit is resolved.

How to avoid a train wreck – doing grade separations right

cartoon

Palo Alto Matters – Guest Commentary by Pat Burt / September 1, 2017

Former Mayor of Palo Alto

The city council is scheduled this Tuesday to decide on the process for designing railroad grade separations across Palo Alto, but the current plan for the decision-making runs a high risk of running the project off the tracks. While debate over “process” can make most folks eyes glaze over, how we come to agreement as a community on the design for this very complicated and expensive project is critical to its success.

Committee recommends no stakeholder group in rail redesign

Palo Alto Weekly – by Linda Taaffe / August 17, 2017

City staff directed to look at other options for public input

Palo Alto could move ahead with plans to transform its rail corridor without a formal community stakeholder group to provide feedback on the project if the City Council approves its Rail Committee’s recommendation, which runs counter to what the city’s Planning and Transportation Commission supported last week.

Push to redesign rail corridor tests ‘Palo Alto process’

Palo Alto Weekly – by Gennady Sheyner / August 9, 2017

Some planning commissioners fear new stakeholder group could slow city down in race for cash

As Palo Alto moves ahead with plans to transform the rail corridor, city officials are struggling to reconcile two seemingly competing goals: catching up to other communities in a race for Santa Clara County funds and engaging in the type of prolonged deliberative process that has long been synonymous with City Hall culture.