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Thursday, October 08, 2009

Caltrain Mission Bay Drive crossing opens

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The new Caltrain Mission Bay crossing in San Francisco opened Oct. 7. The crossing will provide access to Mission Bay residential neighborhoods and eventually, to the UCSF Mission Bay campus from the west side of The City. The grade crossing is wider than most because it crosses three tracks instead of the usual two tracks. There is a pedestrian crossing on the south side of the grade crossing that includes safety gates with emergency swing gates, tactile warning strips, sidewalks and pavement markings. There is no pedestrian crossing on the north side of grade crossing.

Caltrain operates in "push-pull" mode. The locomotive usually pulls southbound trains. On northbound trains, the train is "pushed" from behind by the locomotive with a passenger car leading the train. Despite their size, trains can be difficult to hear, especially in the "push" mode. And, because of their size, it is easy to underestimate the speed of the train.

Pedestrians and drivers are urged to follow basic safety rules when using the grade crossing:

• Remember, trains can run on any track, in any direction, at any time.

• The gate means wait. It is never safe to go around a lowered gate.

• Drivers should allow enough room to drive through the crossing without stopping; it is never safe to stop on railroad tracks.