Letter: Get rid of Caltrain and bring in BART | January 4, 2012 | Almanac | Almanac Online |



Viewpoint - January 4, 2012

Letter: Get rid of Caltrain and bring in BART

Regarding last week's excellent guest opinion by my colleagues Jim Janz and Mike Brady about Caltrain's survival, while I agree with their several premises, I don't agree with the most basic one. Caltrain has no business surviving, with or without high-speed rail.

What should survive is an effective commuter rail service on the Peninsula rail corridor. That can best be achieved without the Caltrain/JPB organization.

Malcolm Dudley, with whom I agree, has recommended that the existing corridor rail service be folded within the Capital Corridor Joint Powers Board, which includes BART, thereby achieving economy of scale and a coherent commuter rail transit network that is Bay Area-wide.

Commuter rail on the Peninsula is a Bay Area-wide problem and requires a Bay Area-wide solution. What we now have is mismanaged and inappropriate. Caltrain only cares about its salaries and hardware, not about the commuter. They need to change their business model and we should help them.

Martin Engel

Stone Pine Lane, Menlo Park


Posted by Reality Check, a resident of another community
on Jan 4, 2012 at 4:02 pm

Despite Caltrain's flaws -- and there are many -- their ridership has been climbing for 16 straight months according to this story:
Web Link

Posted by Reality Check, a resident of another community
on Jan 4, 2012 at 4:14 pm

Oh, and BART's custom über-costly technology is a disaster. So while a management takeover could make sense, installing BART's cu$tom oddball track gauge and 1kV DC 3rd rails (forcing full grade-separation) in place of the existing Caltrain standard-gauge tracks would primarily benefit BART's construction contractors. Even with overhead electrification, Caltrain's design and tracks make grade separation optional, and do not require massive pedestrian-hostile battleship-sized stations floating in a sea of parking.

Posted by Observer, a resident of another community
on Jan 4, 2012 at 11:31 pm

BART along the peninsula is a wonderful idea. The thought of a 10 car train chugging along a 30-ft elevated railway along El Camino brings tears of joy to my eyes. Station stops would include Valparaiso Ave BART, Santa Cruz Ave BART, and Menlo Ave BART, Sand Hill Rd BART, University Ave BART, and many more. You can never have too many station stops. Of course we'd need parking for all of the BART commuters. I'd propose building a 50,000 spot capacity parking structure above Stanford University. In fact, we could just enclose the campus completely inside of a parking structure.

Naturally, we'd need a connector to Palo Alto Airport, so we'd have a cable-drawn mini BART run along elevated railway from Stanford BART over to the airport. It should get at least 1 or 2 riders a day.

That's our starting point, but I'm certainly open to future improvements, such as an EPA to Fremont under water tunnel, widening the BART track gauge to a more sensible 10 or 15 feet, slowing the absurdly high max speed of 80 to a more sensible 55, and replacing the seats with giant sponges soaked in urine.

Yes, BART and the Peninsula are a match made in heaven.

Posted by Michaeltug, a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Jun 6, 2017 at 9:40 am

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