For Mission Bay, high-speed rail means changes to two intersections, changes that haven’t been clearly outlined as yet.
That made it difficult for the Mission Bay Citizen’s Advisory Committee to ask the California High-Speed Rail Authority representatives questions at a presentation on Thursday evening.
What the committee did understand was some of the four tracks planned – two Caltrain and two high-speed – will probably go along the same pathway as the existing tracks that hug 7th Street.
“The new tracks will definitely be below grade,” said Tim Cobb, a high-speed rail project manager, referring to the other two tracks, for high-speed rail, which will be underground through Mission Bay and stop at the Transbay Transit Center. The Caltrain tracks will probably remain on the surface.
Those Caltrain tracks involve two crossings in Mission Bay, at 16th Street and at Berry Street, both of which were redone in recent years so that the crossings could remain safe at grade, or street level.
That won’t be possible any longer.
“The roadway will either go over the tracks or under the tracks,” said Cobb about train intersections generally between San Francisco and San Jose.
In the case of Mission Bay’s two crossings, over the tracks isn’t an option because of Highway 280 overhead.
The intersections are of particular concern since they are the only outlets that Mission Bay has westward.
Engineers at the California High-Speed Rail Authority have just begun considering options, and the committee asked that all the options for Mission Bay be drawn out and given to them before they provided input again.
The rail project is taking community input from all San Franciscans at a meeting at city hall on June 22. The public is invited to peruse extensive documentation here. The complete report from April can be viewed here.
One commonly asked question is why Caltrain can’t simply remain as the only connection between San Francisco and San Jose. Cobb said that the train, which will hold about 1,000 passengers, would dump them into a commuter train system where each train can hold 5-600, leaving no space for regular commuters.
Mission Bay odds and ends – dicey intersection
After the rail conversation, Jerry Robbins from the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency took community input on traffic and parking complaints, most notably the difficulties some residents have had crossing King Street by AT&T Park and at Fourth Street.
Robbins said the traffic light is on a 100-second cycle, leaving pedestrians 27 seconds to cross several lanes of traffic and the T-Third Muni line. If the cycle is lengthened, pedestrians could have more time, but they’d also have to wait longer for their turn.
He also noted that pedestrians can use the Muni gap in the middle as a refuge.
“That intersection is really a menace the way it is now,” said Toby Levine, a committee member. “They’re not really refuges if you’ve got a baby carriage or you’re an old person, or you’ve got a lot of groceries.”
The committee also discussed how to reduce speeding by cars coming off the highway and onto King Street. The speed limit there is 35 mph now.
Parking along much of Fourth Street in Mission Bay will be changed for the interim from no regulation to two-hour parking to prevent recreation vehicle owners and Giants patrons from leaving their vehicles there for extensive periods of time.
Eventually meters are planned for the street, which was just opened to traffic this year.
Seawall Lot 337
Renee Martin, the San Francisco Port Authority’s media and public affairs manager, initially said an upcoming meeting would begin addressing the plans, but that meeting was canceled and the following meeting on May 11 met over Seawall Lot 337 only in closed session, according to Martin.