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Castro Street Caltrain Ped Crossing Project (Rengsdorf & Mary?)

Original post made by maguro_01, Jackson Park, on Dec 23, 2010

The Caltrain pedestrian crossing project at Castro Street is finally taking shape. The idea of the improvements may have been good, but the actual plan and execution is hostile and bizarre. If this is how they spend $5.8 million, what would they do with a slice of $42+ billion? People I used to deride as Nimby's are now making more sense.

The project puts fences across the sidewalks funneling all foot traffic on both sides of the track on both sides of the street into narrow, yellow steel gates so narrow that they intend that only one person at a time can fit through, around maybe 30 inches with the gate open. Why there is an actual heavy steel, manually operated gate there is not clear. Handicapped access to the VTA light rail station looks to be cut off which is not likely legal. There is a similar, but smaller dual gate between the VTA light rail platform and the northbound Caltrian platform. Someone pushing a baby carriage carrying a bag may need two trips though they may be able to back through the gate with effort. Walking a bike is tight, most people can't lift a bike over their heads to walk through.

This crossing is not one used a few times a day, the foot traffic can be quite heavy especially in the rush hour. They have widened the sidewalk to contain a queue. The question is why the opening is so small and why the heavy steel gate at all? Naturally, the gate has a big sign telling us about a $271 fine for crossing when the overhead crossing gates come down, but that's illegal now.

Is Caltrain the culprit for the detail planning and contracting for this mess or is my information wrong? The sign says it's a Measure A from 2000 project. Again, if this is an example of they spend $5.8 million, what would they do to us with a slice of from $42 billion up to twice that much?

Comments (2)

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Posted by USA
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Dec 23, 2010 at 9:01 am

USA is a registered user.

What problem is this intended to solve? While there have been many suicides involving Caltrain, there have not been that many accidents where people have wondered into the path of an oncoming train.

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Posted by maguro_01
a resident of Jackson Park
on Dec 25, 2010 at 12:07 pm

ps - I was wrong about the gates, they are worse. They don't swing both ways but only outwards away from the track. So the gate is to open into the queue being funneled into it. So it does look like there will be no handicapped access to the VTA light rail station from the downtown side of Castro Street, but there is crossing Central from Moffet Boulevard.

There appears no legitimate purpose in making the gates so narrow nor having gates at the busy opening at all. If someone actually wished to be on the tracks, perish the thought, the Caltrain platforms are only feet away. The sidewalk crossing has been there since the railroad was originally built in the 1800's. If that's not an easement, what is?

Again if that's what they do with $5.8 million in public funding, what would they do with a piece of $42+ billion, projected to double?

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