Burlingame to seek funding for grade separation, not yet sure what design

Last week the Burlingame City Council voted 3:1 to pursue funding for grade separation at the Broadway crossing using San Mateo County’s Measure A funds, without yet deciding on the design.

A 2009 study described in the staff report covered a variety of options ranging from keeping the street at grade and elevating the rail tracks ($179 million), partially elevating the rail and partially depressing the street ($214 million), and a trench for the tracks ($500 million). Broadway has the worst traffic congestion of Burlingame’s six at-grade crossings, since it is on the route to Highway 101, and grade separation has been under discussion for decades.

Councilwoman Nagel wanted to seek further funding for the more expensive option. Mayor Deal and Council Member Brownrigg thought lower-cost options were more likely, but agreed that further public discussion was needed. Vice Mayor Ann Keighran dissented and Councilwoman Cathy Baylock was absent.

San Mateo County has issued a call for applications for $225 million in funds for grade separations.

Caltrain is in the process of analyzing the traffic impact of the modernization project, to help cities decide whether and when they want grade separation for their at-grade crossings.

One option is raising the tracks and depressing the street, as in Belmont and San Carlos. Another, more expensive option would involve


option of elevating tracks and depressing the street.

Six options are suggested to start the conversation. They range from keeping the rail at-grade and creating a street overcrossing for $114 million to a depressed rail with the street remaining at-grade for $500 million, according to a staff report by Public Works Director Syed Murtuza. Those numbers are from a 2009 study by the San Mateo County Transportation Authority, the agency that allocates Measure A money.