Text of JPB resolution supporting Caltrain system improvements passed August 7, 1997

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Limited success was achieved in the August 7 decision by the Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board on whether to complete studies for the downtown extension. Politically the Caltrain extension is still essentially dead. However, the JPB did pass a resolution, included here, to complete the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) prepared for the extesion, but with emphasis shifted away from the actual extension in favor of electrification and system upgrades.

The portion of this resolution appearing in bold, a clause near the end, was offered as an amendment and voted on separately before the entire resolution was approved by a unanimous vote. Rick Hills, the SF Mayor's Office representative on the JPB, cast the lone dissenting vote on the inclusion of the amendment.

The significance of the amendment is that is makes more explicit the goal of completing the studies. Nowhere does the resolution specify that further work be done on the tunneled extension to the Transbay Terminal site. However, the resolution specifies the completion of studies of other improvements contained in the downtown extension EIS/EIR. Also noteworthy is the fact that the EIS/EIR was considered to be 90% complete as of its release for public review in March.

Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board
Resolution in Support of Caltrain System Improvement Projects

WHEREAS, the City and County of San Francisco has indicated its opposition to completion of the Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the proposed Downtown Extension Project in San Francisco; and

WHEREAS, the project was proposed to increase ridership by making the Caltrain service more convenient; and

WHEREAS, findings exist that the single improvement that would generate the highest immediate increase in Caltrain ridership is reduction in running times; and

WHEREAS, the Market Demand Study conducted in 1996 reported that a 35 percent improvement in Caltrain running times would increase ridership by 9,400 weekday patrons, or nearly 40 percent over current levels; and

WHEREAS, faster running times could be achieved through a variety of improvements, including (a) more efficient acceleration and deceleration at station portals; (b) scheduling increased express trains; (c) reduced dwell times; and (d) higher track speeds; and

WHEREAS, these improvements could be accomplished through means such as (a) system electrification, Diesel Multiple Unit (DMU) vehicles, or advanced technology; (b) escalated track capacity and increased schedules; (c) station design and operating policies; and (d) right of way improvements, third track elements and updated centralized controls; and

WHEREAS, the City and County of San Francisco has expressed its willingness to study the feasibility of extending future Caltrain Light Rail Vehicles onto the Muni Metro right of way, thereby creating downtown access for Caltrain; and

WHEREAS, the JPB wishes to make the best and most timely use of available Federal, State and local funds to continue to improve service for its customers;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Board directs JPB staff to prepare a work plan to examine the improvements necessary to lower running times throughout the Caltrain system, with particular attention to those elements of the Draft Downtown Extension EIS/EIR including electrification (2.3, "Full System Electrification") and planned improvements and upgrades (3.1.3 and 12.4.4); assessing the concept of extending Caltrain into downtown on the Muni right of way; and to recommend priorities for implementing these improvements; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the JPB goes on record in support of the completion of necessary studies required to implement the system improvements; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the JPB anticipates that the funding plan for these improvements will be predicated on Caltrain's position as the region's designated Rail Modernization Project in MTC Resolution 1876, and Federal, State or local funding accruing from said designation will be utilized for investigation and implementation of said Caltrain improvement projects.

Regularly passed and adopted this 7th day of August 1997, by the following vote:

AYES: Bierman, Della Santina, Figueroa, Hills, Johnson, Lloyd, McCown, Nevin, Cruz

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Last updated: August 8, 1997

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