On Tuesday, February 23, 2016, San Franciscans received their first look at City Hall’s heretofore secret RailYards Alternatives/I280 Boulevard Study (RAB). The revelations were eight months late in coming and yet still contained no engineering analysis, no traffic congestion figures and no cost estimates. In fact the presentation was limited to the same set of fanciful Mission Bay rearrangements that were floated by the Lee Administration early last year.
What was presented at the Potrero Hill Recreation Center last week was billed as concluding the first of a five-phase planning process that is expected to take at least “7 to 10 years”.
“Completely unacceptable!” said Dr. Robert Bob Feinbaum of the DTX Coalition * “San Franciscans should not tolerate a developer-driven so-called “planning” process that stretches on for many years, blocking a badly needed rail connection into downtown San Francisco in the process”. The planning and design of the downtown extension of Caltrain (DTX) project has been under way for almost 20 years. Thousands of hours of public outreach have been conducted. San Francisco officials have had multiple opportunities to register their concerns. The DTX project has been planned, designed, environmentally certified, approved by all relevant local, regional, State and federal agencies, and cleared for federal New Starts funding of $650 million or more.
Feinbaum adds: “The indifference of the Lee Administration to DTX and its unwillingness to back the project, designated by MTC as the Region’s highest priority transit project, with political support and a reasonable local funding commitment, is now regarded as the No. 1 obstacle to moving the project forward”.
City Hall’s head-in-the-sand approach puts the Caltrain extension on ice while it sorts out various ways of bringing Mission Bay to “full buildout”. But Silicon Valley isn’t waiting. In stark contrast to San Francisco’s apparently lack of interest in high quality rail service, the South Bay is working furiously to secure the federal and other funding needed to build its mammoth proposed Diridon Station in downtown San Jose. Feinbaum adds that “unless City Hall gets serious about bringing the Caltrain trains into downtown San Francisco, the South Bay will soon be the Bay Region’s most important transit hub. This is completely avoidable. If the Board of Supervisors would honor the will of the voters, as expressed in SF Proposition H on November 2, 1999, the final design and construction of DTX would soon be underway.
The DTX Coalition is dedicated to extending Caltrain into San Francisco’s Transbay Transit Center without further delay. The coalition is comprised of: Railpac, TRAC, Transdef, BATWG, Bay Rail Alliance, SaveMuni, Coalition for San Francisco Neighborhoods, San Francisco Tomorrow, the Mission Bay Alliance and the SF Transit Riders.
Media Contact: Bob Feinbaum
Phone: (510) 534-7008