Caltrain to launch strategic plan update starting in October

At its upcoming October 4 board meeting, Caltrain will kick off  a process to update its strategic plan, last updated nearly a decade ago.   Rail Transportation Director Michelle Bouchard mentioned the upcoming update at last Wednesday’s Citizen Advisory Committee meeting.  The updated strategic plan will include a long term vision, including future capital and operating funding.  The process is expected to take about nine months and will involve community feedback.

The guiding principles of the 2004 strategic plan were:

1) Satisfy passengers and build ridership
2) Invest wisely in system improvements
3) Promote regional connectivity and cooperation with other transportation providers
4) Partner with communities and broaden communications with the public
5) Develop a solid financial foundation that ensures long-term sustainability

Ridership has doubled over the last decade, so Caltrain has done well on the first goal (though Caltrain is not doing as well keeping its aging diesels running reliably.  But Caltrain still does not have stable funding, and overall regional fare and schedule connectivity leaves a lot to be desired.

Now that electrification is moving forward (and assuming that the funds remain available), there is a need for a more focused capital plan, including eliminating the remaining 25% of diesel trains to run between San Jose and San Francisco (initial electrification plans to replace 75% of the diesels); ideally moving toward level boarding; eliminating more at-grade crossings; and completing the downtown extension to Transbay Terminal. A focused medium-to-longterm capital plan would help bring support and funding to these goals.

What would you like to see in Caltrain’s updated strategic plan?