The city of Palo Alto, Calif., wants to rule on grade separation alternatives before the years is over, but Caltrain and the California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) are getting in the way.
Caltrain is now facing financial hardship, and its future is dependent on Measure RR, an eighth-of-a-cent sales tax that will be on the November ballot. Caltrain is looking to move forward with a study of all 42 at-grade crossings along the commuter rail’s right-of-way, including grade separations. The process is expected to take a couple of years. City officials also expressed concerns about getting Caltrain approval to allow 2 percent below-grade track south of Palo Alto.
CHSRA and Caltrain also are looking into a four-track segment that will run through Palo Alto. Palo Alto City Council members said the CHSRA has failed to analyze the impacts of a four-track segment. The city sent a letter to the rail authority this month that was critical of the EIR to explore grade separations as a mitigation for the increased number of trains.
With these factors in mind, many city council members believe looking at grade separation alternatives should be put on hold.