Facebook to fund $1 million Dumbarton corridor study


Facebook will fund a $1 million study by the San Mateo County Transit District to explore potential improvements to the Dumbarton corridor, SamTrans announced Jan. 6.

The study will cost $1 million and will focus on exploring improvements to the State route 84/Dumbarton Bridge, the Dumbarton rail corridor, and arterial and highway networks that connect to the bridge.

SamTrans said the project will analyze the corridor between Alameda and San Mateo counties, including the impact on the cities of Menlo Park, Redwood City, East Palo Alto, Newark, Union City and Fremont.

Facebook will offer funding necessary to study rail corridor alternatives, an analysis that was put on hold in 2014, the announcement said.

The Dumbarton rail corridor was purchased by the San Mateo County Transportation Authority (TA) in 1994. Plans to transform the original rail bridge into a commuter rail line by 2012 were derailed in 2008 when $91 million of funding intended for the transbay project was reallocated to BART to extend its East Bay route southward to Warm Springs in Fremont.

Currently, the Dumbarton Express, a bus administered by AC Transit on the East Bay, is the sole public transportation option to cross the bridge between the East Bay and the Peninsula.

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3 people like this
Posted by Dawn
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Jan 7, 2016 at 12:18 pm

Please, oh please, oh please find a way to incorporate a ped/bike path along the route. It seems crazy that with all our traffic gridlock, there is an unused strip of land running from our food desert to a market, but no one can use it because....

Well, I don't really know why. Petaluma is doing it - surely we're at least as clever as they are.

Web Link


2 people like this
Posted by Alan
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Jan 7, 2016 at 12:34 pm

I've been interested in this for awhile ... the options considered go all the way from bike path, to Bus Rapid Transit, to Light Rail, to making a Caltrain Spur. I tend to favor Bus Rapid Transit, as that could make for an economical, flexible system (they'd use existing surface streets one they get to Middlefield, possibly have stops at Fair Oaks and Costco); they'd need to tear up a lot near Sequoia Station to accomodate light rail. A route that accomodates buses could be used as a bike route as well; without replacing the existing rail bridge over US-101, I'm not sure how you would accomodate a bike bridge as well. (You can always use the Ringwood bike bridge). Let's see what the study says.

6 people like this
Posted by pedestrian
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jan 7, 2016 at 12:35 pm

There already is a popular ped/bike path across the Dumbarton Bridge, which connects to the Bay Trail in Menlo Park and the Alameda Creek Trail in Fremont. I'm curious about what additional ped/bike facilities are being considered in this study?

1 person likes this
Posted by Alan
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Jan 7, 2016 at 12:49 pm

Pedestrian - while this study might consider a rail line crossing the bay, it's much, much more likely to simply enhance connectivity from Belle Haven/Facebook to Sequoia Station in downtown Redwood City. The existing rail bridge across the Bay would have to be replaced, at a cost estimated 10 years ago of $700 million. It was rated as the least cost effective transit project being considered for the Bay Area a few years back, given the number of people who might use it. More frequent Dumbarton Express Buses may be the most people can hope for.

However, making use of the rail right-of-way between Belle Haven and Sequoia Station could be a bit more economic ... but a light rail line might still be in the $100 million range, according to a conversation I had with a city official at an Connect Menlo event. Given the expansion of Facebook, and an increase in housing in the Belle Haven area, that actually might be justified. But I'd still be content - possibly happier - with a simple BRT line.

1 person likes this
Posted by Michael Stogner
a resident of another community
on Jan 7, 2016 at 2:32 pm

Why should Facebook pay for this?

9 people like this
Posted by Stop the Trolls
a resident of another community
on Jan 7, 2016 at 3:08 pm

Michael Stogner -- "Why should Facebook pay for this?"

Why should it matter to you? Last time I checked, Facebook has the right to spend their money on studies like this.

5 people like this
Posted by SteveC
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jan 7, 2016 at 3:31 pm

SteveC is a registered user.

I agree. What difference does it make if Facebook wants to fund the study?

5 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jan 7, 2016 at 4:20 pm

@Michael Stogner - Facebook offered to pay for this because they want to help their employees get to work. Makes sense to me.

4 people like this
Posted by caldwell
a resident of another community
on Jan 7, 2016 at 4:41 pm

Hooray for Facebook, keep on helping the Earth we all live and work.

2 people like this
Posted by Big picture
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 7, 2016 at 8:53 pm

The best use for this vital rail corridor is to rehabilitate the line between Newark and Redwood City, then, in partnership with the Altamont Corridor Express, run trains from Stockton to Refwood City or San Francisco.

The Central Valley is, after all, where cheaper housing is and where many commuters come from. Moreover, Altamont Corridor Express is planning to expand with trains from Modesto and Merced. Their Stockton-San Jose service is already quite successful.

Caltrain could also use the line for service to/from the Peninsula.

Heavy rail with a regional focus outweighs any local busway or service to just Redwood City

1 person likes this
Posted by LA
a resident of Atherton: other
on Jan 8, 2016 at 6:56 am

I hope it was an oversight to have left Atherton off the list of cities included in the impact analyses. The only 2 surface streets connecting cities west of 101 to the M2 area are Willow and Marsh. The traffic increase on Marsh and Middlefield has been significant and it was already a problem

2 people like this
Posted by Alan
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Jan 8, 2016 at 11:03 am

Almost certainly the Facebook funded study would be more focused on the short rail line between Belle Haven and Sequoia Station, and not the old rail bridge across the Bay. Here's a relatively new 2010 study about alternatives to cross the Bay:

Web Link

3 people like this
Posted by Dagwood
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jan 10, 2016 at 10:21 am

I agree with Alan, that the study will likely focus mostly on the east PA to Redwood City connection, which could be developed in lots of great ways in pretty short order. As to why Facebook is proceeding, development of this corridor is a key piece of the draft revised Menlo Park General Plan. Facebook is a major landowner and developer in their area, and so their interests are direct.

Like this comment
Posted by Richard Vaughan
a resident of another community
on Jan 11, 2016 at 3:36 pm

Once again, we see the impact of poor transit planning. Considering the horrendous traffic on the 84 approach to Dumbarton, this is a much needed project. Having spent 45 minutes just trying to get from 101 to the Dumbarton bridge on a Friday afternoon, I pity anyone waiting for an ambulance in that section of town. At this point, I simply refuse to go to that part of town during certain hours of the day.
My suggestion would be to add a second bridge over 101 (there are already the footings for it) and make this a pedestrian, bike & emergency vehicle access road. The rail bed is already in place. They could connect the rail lines.
A Disney-esque monorail to the Menlo Park train station could also be cool - just run it up Willow

But before any other thing is done, I would also call for a moratorium on all building in the area of North Menlo Park that includes housing until our transit infrastructure needs are better planned. We have enough cars on the road stopped in traffic jams. Time to have some visionary moments.

I look forward to seeing what Facebook comes up with.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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