The Daily Journal piece on the expansion of Caltrain has something for everyone. It paints a picture of a much larger Caltrain system
Caltrain has unveiled an exceedingly ambitious vision for the future and electrification is only the beginning. That vision entails an up to 300 percent increase in ridership by 2040, expanded all-day service, trains arriving every 10 minutes and service extending to Monterey, to name just a few proposals.
The good news is that electrification is humming along even if the money to do it is the "fruit of a poisonous tree" like high-speed rail.
The expansion being contemplated applies to both the system and service, and it’s all predicated on electrification, the $2 billion project that will replace 80 percent of Caltrain’s current diesel fleet with electric trains traveling between San Jose and San Francisco by 2022.
I'm not sure why only 80% of the fleet will be replaced, but perhaps that will become clear over time. The bad part of the story is that the Broadway station is still a whisper of its previous self. It's been that way for 13 years. I found this quote interesting in that regard
“Right now we take the philosophical viewpoint that ridership drives where we employ service, we don’t forget stations for the most part even if they don’t have vigorous ridership,” Board Member Charles Stone said. “My point is as we go forward let’s keep in mind that the demand we see may not be all the demand, that there’s pent-up demand that’s been created by the system we use right now.”
Let's hope Charles Stone is correct and perhaps one good thing to come out of the huge Anson Apartments on Carolan will be more frequent B'way service. Now for the idiotic. Redwood City council member Jeff Gee was not on my radar screen until this article appeared. Here's Gee's thoughts on Caltrain expansion
“Why are we limiting our physical constraints? In other words, if we are only, in many places, limited to two tracks, what would it take to get to four tracks on the corridor?” he asked. Gee went on to suggest the “constant tension” between the interests of 20 cities along the corridor and service will be the major sticking point moving forward.
“What’s right for a quaint little city on the Peninsula may not be the right answer for the region and so at what point does the agency say ‘thank you very much quaint little city but this has got greater benefits to the corridor’ and how do we bridge that and how do we deal with that as an organization?” he asked.
Gee sounds like the kind of myopic "leader" who has presided over the ruination of downtown Redwood City with block after block of Soviet-style overstuffed buildings creating a soulless wasteland. Thankfully this guy's term is up next month and he does not appear to be running for re-election. Hopefully that means he will be leaving the Joint Powers Board as well. If not, we may have to look to facilitate that before he does more damage to the "quaint little cities" he seems to dislike so much. Kudos to Zachary Clark of the DJ for getting this kind of destructive thinking by a public official on the record.