Grade seps: Burlingame Broadway revamped with elevated design; Mountain View progress

The latest plans to separate Caltrain tracks from the busy Burlingame Broadway intersection has a changed design, with the tracks fully elevated above the road, rather than partly elevating the tracks and partly depressing the roadways.  The changed design would save at estimated $26 million from the previous design, avoid an extended road closure during constructions, and provide additional bicycle and pedestrian connections under the tracks as documented in Caltrain’s recent capital project presentation. Total cost is currently estimated at about $316 million.

The Burlingame City Council had previously decided on the split design back in 2016 based on the perception of the Council and community members about the relative esthetics of the design choices.  But facing the challenges of getting these expensive projects paid for, and updated information about the costs and construction timeline, the City Council shifted course.  The busy roadway serves about 30,000 drivers largely heading to and from the highway.

Mountain View makes progress at Castro, delays at Rengstorff

Meanwhile, projects in Mountain View are moving forward. Mountain View’s Castro project is expected to issue a contract for final design in the middle of 2022, with construction estimated to be complete by 2027.  The concept was approved by City Council in 2017 – close Castro Street at the tracks, build an underpass for cyclists and pedestrians, build a ramp for drivers on Evelyn connecting to Shoreline, and provide better access for connecting shuttles on the north side of the tracks.   

The Council decision to close the first three blocks of Castro Street to cars and open the street for pedestrians and dining, a longtime vision with pilot implementation catalyzed by the pandemic, has reinforced the plan to permanently close the Castro crossing of the tracks. 

Mountain View’s other grade separation project at Rengstorff Avenue cals for a full underpass of the roadway underneath the train tracks.  The Rengstorff project is delayed (pdf page 13), with the 35% design now scheduled for March 2022 (this month). The preliminary cost estimate is now about $280 million.

Caltrain intends to do a full corridorwide grade separation study of the 42 remaining at-grade crossings with the potential to create efficiencies in design patterns, construction and funding plans that could benefit the whole corridor.  This program has been deferred since Measure RR passed in 2020 as Caltrain wrestles with 3-county governance, and getting the electrification project completed.