The Caltrain modernization program includes efforts to electrify and upgrade the performance, operating efficiency, capacity, safety and reliability of Caltrain's commuter rail service. Caltrain anticipates the Program will be operational by 2019.
The Caltrain Modernization Program includes the electrification of the existing Caltrain corridor between San Francisco and San Jose; the installation of a Communications Based Overlay Signal System Positive Train Control, which is an advanced signal system that includes federally-mandated safety improvements; and the replacement of Caltrain’s diesel trains with high-performance electric trains called Electric Multiple Units.
Electrification of the Caltrain corridor requires environmental approval under the National Environmental Policy Act and the California Environmental Quality Act. Caltrain released a Draft Environmental Impact Report for Electrification in February 2014. The City of Menlo Park will be providing comments on the DEIR in advance of the public comment period closing on April 29, 2014. The City Council considered a draft comment letter at their April 1, 2014 meeting, recommending the Rail Subcommittee schedule a follow-up public meeting to hear comments before finalizing the letter.
The City Council Rail Subcommittee held a public meeting to consider additional comments on the Electrification DEIR on Thursday, April 24, 2014. Staff worked with the Rail Subcommittee to review the points raised at the meeting, and incorporated the following changes. A final version is posted below.
1. Non-electric alternatives (such as more efficient diesel systems). Response: This will be addressed by Caltrain through response to Jack Ringham’s letter, so it is not reiterated in the City’s letter.
2. Acknowledge the positive impacts on air quality and greenhouse gas emissions Response: Added sentence to cover letter, first paragraph.
3. Consider “community choice aggregation” for power supply Response: This does not affect the EIR, but is a fair comment to Caltrain to consider in their future planning. It was submitted in Adina Levin’s letter, so it is not reiterated in the City’s letter.
4. Whether electrification and HSR should be analyzed as a single project Response: Already included in comment 15, CEQA compliance.
5. Pedestrian and bicycle access to the station Response: Added text to item 1f to note request for enhancing existing access.
6. Include grade separations to reduce traffic impacts and improve safety Response: Added sentence to 1c to note grade separations to be considered to mitigate traffic impacts.
Find more information on Caltrain's program and the Electrification DEIR on Caltrain's website.