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March 29, 2006



Thank you, Madame Mayor, City Manager Jim Nantell, City Council and City Staff for a well-run meeting last night. It was informative, respectful and results-oriented.
The "net-net" for those who weren't able to make it:
The pedestrian pathway is a pretty much a dead deal as well as keeping South Lane open. The new platforms will run over 600 on either side of the tracks from a little south of North Lane (by the Donut Shop) to Howard Avenue. Although this is a big loss to those proposing either the pedestrian crossing or a Centennial Plaza that followed the original historical footprint, there were some big advances made last night, including:

CalTrain's original plans called for 3 chainlink fences to run the entire 600+ feet of the track -- one down the middle and two on either side of the platforms. It appears after last night's meeting that CalTrain will work with the community and find a way to use landscaping so that only one fence will be necessary -- that running down the middle of the tracks -- and that fence will be made of something more attractive than chain link(e.g. rod iron).
CalTrains original plans called for fencing on either side of the tracks just south of North Lane with cobblestone or some rough material in the fencing. It is difficult to describe this proposed fenced off area without seeing the model, but I thought it looked a lot like a dog run being placed on either side of the tracks. CalTrain's purpose in fencing off these areas was to prevent people from running caddy-corner across the tracks to the other side to catch a train (in the northern most area where the middle fence would have to stop in order to allow car traffic across North Lane). Last night CalTrain seemed amenable to making these "dog runs" substantially narrower -- so that they coincide with the platforms and filling them with landscraping and trees.
CalTrain's original proposal called for a cement median on North Lane and some fairly narrow sidewalks. After last night, I believe the North Lane sidewalks will be substantially widened (perhaps to as wide as 20 feet on the south side). The median strip will be a planting strip and there will also be low iron fences and planting protecting the pedestrians from the cars. There was some talk that the sidewalks may not be able to be too wide because the City has only a 50 foot wide easement from Cal Train to work with -- however, CalTrain should be reminded that the City is giving up its South Lane easement in these plans...so certainly a little trade-off would be appropriate!
CalTrain's plans (or perhaps it was the City's revised plans) called for 12+ angled parking spots on the east side of the railroad tracks. After last night's meeting, I believe the consensus was that when one faces east from the train station (looking down towards the East extension of Burlingame Avenue and the Tennis Courts) it would be better to see a wide pedestrian path and attractive landscaping hooking up the train station with the East side of town. As a result, the six or so parking spaces directly in that line of sight would have to go (these spaces are basically north of the "Candy" Shop -- the brick building on Burlingame Avenue and East Lane that houses the classic car collection - and across from the other small little parking lot). The other angled parking spots (6-8) that are directly across from the Candy Shop on East Lane would stay. Mike Harvey opposed the elimination of the six in front of the Tennis Courts because he needs them, but from the body language of most of the City Council/Staff I got the impression that most of them seemed to think that these six spaces could be eliminated without a huge problem.
Howard Avenue pedestrian crossing would be made wider and better to help compensate the East Siders for their diminished lack of access to downtown caused by the removal of the pedestrian access through the train station and South Lane.

All-in-all a very productive meeting.


The Howard Ave. walkway may help open that area up to more traffic and more business. People are alway hoping to revitalize that area maybe this will help.

That is a very good point


The Howard Ave. crossing could definitely be a lot better. I hope this plan helps.

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