FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
On Tuesday, February 23, 2016, San Franciscans received their first look at City Hall’s heretofore secret RailYards Alternatives/I280 Boulevard Study (RAB). The Department of City Planning’s RAB announcement was eight months late in coming and yet contained no engineering analysis, no traffic congestion figures and no cost estimates. On the contrary it 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 Bob Feinbaum of the DTX Coalition (organized to get Caltrain into San Francisco’s Transbay Transit Center without further delay). “San Franciscans should not tolerate a development-driven “planning” process that blocks a badly needed rail connection into downtown San Francisco”
The DTX project has been studied for more than 25 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 Lee Administration to DTX and its unwillingness to back the project, designated by MTC as the Region’s highest priority transit project, with a reasonable local funding commitment, is now regarded as constituting 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 building out Mission Bay. But Silicon Valley isn’t waiting. In stark contrast to San Francisco’s lethargic approach, the South Bay is working vigorously to secure the federal and other funding needed to build the Diridon Station mega project in downtown San Jose. “Unless City Hall gets serious about bringing Caltrain into San Francisco’s new Transbay Transit Center, the South Bay will soon become the Bay Region’s only transit hub” according to Feinbaum. This is completely avoidable. If the Board of Supervisors elects to heed the will of the voters, as expressed in SF Proposition H on November 2, 1999, implementation of DTX can soon be underway. It’s time to start building what’s needed to get the trains up and running in the new Transbay Transit Center.