Dumbarton study options includes better buses, managed lanes, long-term rail – more detail upcoming week

Samtrans’ Dumbarton study is looking in the short term at improvements to bus service and a bike/pedestrian trail, and in the longer term, managed lanes and BRT or rail options, according to a short report at the SamTrans board meeting this past week.   More detail will be presented at two upcoming meetings this week in Newark and Redwood City.

Bus improvements being considered in the short term include more frequent DB Express service, and new transbay routes from Union City BART to Menlo Park/Redwood City and from Union City to Mountain View/Sunnyvale.   Other short term improvements include transit signal priority and queue jump lanes for buses and improved park-and-ride service.

In parallel with potential bus improvements, Facebook is funding a study of a 4.5 mile bicycle/pedestrian trail along the rail corridor from Facebook HQ to North Fair Oaks near Redwood City.  According to presentations earlier this year, the trail could be built in 2018/19.

In the longer term, improvements for buses include direct access ramps for carpoolers, dedicated lanes for buses or managed lanes. SamTrans is considering several ways to create the managed lanes, including a contraflow lane in the median with a movable barrier, or a reversible managed lane with a fixed barrier.  A managed lane would serve buses, carpoolers, and possibly drivers paying higher tolls according to the definition; no detail was provided about what lane access options would be considered. 

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While the “managed lane options” were considered in the “long-term” category, which is roughly “2030 or later”, we don’t understand why it would take 15 years to bring in jersey barriers to add a bus/carpool lane.   Study manager Melissa Reggiardo said that the dates were very rough, and more detailed schedule options would be available early in the coming year.

Long run transit options include Bus Rapid Transit or rail service over a rebuilt rail bridge. Interestingly, the board presentation said that rail options being considered include service that would cross the bay to Redwood City, and then turn right and follow the Caltrain tracks to San Francisco, also providing more capacity on the Caltrain main line.

Also for consideration in the long term are roadway grade separations. There isn’t detail in the slides, but there’s been high level mention of separating University and/or Willow from 84, and even turning Bayfront into an elevated freeway in front of the bay, over cross streets Chilco, Chrysler, and Marsh.

Which roadway capacity increases are under consideration are good questions to ask at the meeting, including any options for capacity increases available to all drivers. Most drivers across the Dumbarton bridge head up University or Willow toward Palo Alto, and those roadways are clogged at rush hour, so your blogger is unclear on how enabling more vehicles to cross the bridge will help matters.

The various options will be evaluated for ridership, cost, and funding options including public/private partnerships, with options to be presented in January and recommendations in February of 2017.

More information will be presented, and staff will be able to answer questions at these two meetings this coming week. If you’re able to attend, please share in comments, or send email to friends@friendsofcaltrain.com

Monday, September 12, 2016, 7-8pm
Newark Library
6300 Civic Terrace Ave, Newark

Wednesday, September 14, 2016, 7 – 8 p.m.
Fair Oaks Community Center
2600 Middlefield Rd, Redwood City