Caltrain completed the $155-million San Bruno grade separation project, which it says has improved rail safety for the city and for the commuter railroad by elevating the train tracks over San Bruno, San Mateo and Angus avenues.
From 1992, when the Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board took over the operation of Caltrain, until 2010, there have been 11 fatalities on the train tracks in the city of San Bruno. Nine of these occurred at either San Bruno or San Mateo avenues. In 2002, the California Public Utilities Commission ranked San Bruno Avenue as the fifth most dangerous crossing in the state of California.
The project incorporates a new train station with passenger shelters and ticket vending machines on the 800-foot elevated platform. It is accessible to riders via stairs, ramps and an elevator.
In addition to the street crossings, which accommodate vehicles and pedestrians, there are three pedestrian underpasses, one in the vicinity of Sylvan Avenue, one at the new station and another between Euclid Avenue and Walnut Street. A new parking lot with 200 parking spaces and a “kiss and ride” area for dropping off and picking up passengers are located on the west side of the station.
As well as being a major safety improvement for the city, the project is intended to be a catalyst to support San Bruno’s downtown revitalization goals. Landscaping and an archway over San Bruno Avenue that will be installed in the future will help create an entrance to San Bruno’s downtown.
San Bruno Mayor Jim Ruane said, “The city of San Bruno and its citizens have worked closely with Caltrain for more than a decade to bring this project to reality. The result provides not only a tremendous rail safety improvement, but a beautiful gateway to our community.”
According to Caltrain’s most recent ridership count, 532 riders board the train at the San Bruno station on weekdays. This is an increase of nearly 22 percent from the previous year when weekday boardings were 437. System wide, Caltrain is experiencing historic ridership numbers with more than 52,000 riders taking the train on an average weekday.
The construction of the grade separation was funded by $92.4 million in sales tax revenues from Measure A, a voter-approved half-cent sales tax for transit and transportation projects in San Mateo County. Those Measure A dollars were leveraged to attract $55.9 million in state funds and $6.6 million in federal funds.