Getting Caltrain station areas ready in 2013 for electrification

Are you ready to help your city, and the station areas you use, get ready for Caltrain electrification? Here’s a city-by-city rundown of station area planning activities on the Caltrain corridor to get cities ready for electrified Caltrain service.

What are we missing in this summary?  Did you participate in these activities in the last year? Share your thoughts and updates in the comments section.

San Francisco has far-reaching goals for the areas around the Caltrain corridor from Transbay, to 4th and King, 22nd Street, and Bayshore.  Stay tuned for news this year.

* The Mayor’s office announced a bold proposal to develop new neighborhoods on land currently occupied by Caltrain railyards and the 280 freeway.
* On Saturday, January 12 there was a community meeting for the Visitacion Valley/Schlage Lock site.

South San Francisco is working on a Station Area Plan for the downtown area near the Caltrain station. There will be environmental review of the plan coming up in 2013.

San Bruno is working on a Transit Corridors Plan and has an Open House on January 7 from 6pm to 8pm to review the plan. The plan calls for higher density, walkable development in the area around the Caltrain station. The plan is scheduled for Council review and approval later in January.

Burlingame is planning to apply for grade separation funding for the gridlocked Broadway intersection, but needs to do more public outreach on the design in 2013.

Millbrae is working on a controversial development near the BART/Caltrain station.

San Mateo is aggressively pursuing grade separation for 25th Avenue .  Construction is under way in the mixed use development at the site of the former Bay Meadows race track near Hillsdale, but an approved Station Park Green development with housing and retail near Hayward Park is on hold in search of financing.

Update: Belmont is starting work on a Downtown Specific Plan, and will begin public discussion toward the end of February.

San Carlos City Council will do its final review of the mixed use office/housing/retail complex at the San Carlos Transit Station on January 14.  The Sierra Club is supportive and has helped the project reduce its traffic impact and environmental footprint with transit incentives, bike paths and bike parking, and more, although the city is still wrestling with how to provide affordable housing.

Redwood City is planning a study session on its Complete Streets projects on February 25, after pausing progress on a Farm Hill Boulevard Lane Reduction, a route from the hill to/from downtown, and moving ahead with North/South bike route improvements downtown helping with bike access to Caltrain.  Meanwhile, more than 800 housing units are being built downtown in line with the 2011 Downtown Precise Plan.

Menlo Park is also interested in applying for San Mateo County grade separation funds, although, like Burlingame, it needs to do public feedback on design and the city’s current policy for grade separations is inconsistent.   Also, the city is reviewing a proposal to build an large, 350,000 square foot heavily medical office complex on El Camino. It is within a half-mile from the train station, but pedestrian and bike access is challenging, and medical patients typically drive.

Update: The Menlo Park Planning Commission will be reviewing the plans for the El Camino development on January 28.

Palo Alto hit the reset button on a big office tower planned near the downtown University Caltrain station, and wants a lot more public feedback on plans for the area, including a major revamp of the transit center.   Also, Palo Alto is studying major changes in Parking, including the potential for transit incentives downtown. The results could encourage heavier use of the popular University station, or promote more driving.

Mountain View held two visioning sessions to get community input on a Precise Plan for the San Antonio are. Neighbors are strongly interested in improving pedestrian and bike connections to the station and through the area, and have a mix of opinions about density, feel the area needs more school capacity.  The results will go to City Council on January 22.  Developer Merlone Geier will resubmit an application for a major project based on the results of the visioning, so watch for next steps!

Also, the  Mountain View North Bayshore precise plan transportation study will go to Council on February 5.  (North Bayshore is where Google HQ is located, in the Downtown MV station catchment area). Based on public feedback, the city is putting more focus on short bike trips and  TDM.  Mountain View is currently taking feedback  for North Bayshore with an online survey.

Sunnyvale has a joint City Council and Planning Commission study session to review plans to improve the currently disconnected and underutilized Lawrence Station Area on January 15.  Friends of Caltrain hosted a walking tour to learn about the plan in December .

Santa Clara has a new developer for the Extreme Networks site near the Lawrence Caltrain station.  Watch for opportunities to participate in the review of the site plan.

San Jose’s plans for the Diridon station, on hold for a while, are expected to come back this year. Update from comments – watch for a draft EIR in late February.

Did you participate in these activities last year? What do you think? Keep an eye out for more action in your city… are there developments or plans coming up in the calendar for your City Council, Planning or Transportation Commissions? Share what you know! Leave comments on this blog post or send an email to

Caltrain is poised to be able to provide your stations with better service – will areas be ready with people living, working and shopping near the station, easy and safe to get to without having to drive, and designs in tune with the community?

Your participation will help.   If you haven’t done this yet, you can sign up to adopt your station in the coming year.