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New California high-speed rail plans unveiled

New, revised California high-speed rail plans have been unveiled for the San Francisco to San Jose section. The revision includes changes to the Millbrae station and the reconfiguration of various areas along the infrastructure. After this project section began moving toward construction, an environmental process began to study and identify the infrastructure needed on top of the electrification to add high-speed rail service in the corridor, as well as including safety modifications. In the summer of 2020, the California High-Speed Rail Authority published its draft environmental document for this project section looking at the needed infrastructure and modifications at the Millbrae station.

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However, after receiving the stakeholders’ feedback and concerns, the authority looked at another option called the Millbrae Station Reduced Site Plan Design Variant or RSP Design Variant. The RSP Design Variant preserves the design of the high-speed rail tracks and platforms but reconfigures station facilities, parking, and station access. This will reduce impacts on existing and planned development, and reduces the footprint on the west side of the station. It differs from the design of the Millbrae Station evaluated in the previous draft, by eliminating surface parking lots on the west side of the alignment that would have served as replacement parking for displaced Caltrain and Bay Area Rapid Transit parking spaces, relocating the new high-speed rail station entrance hall, eliminating the California Drive extension north of Linden Avenue to El Camino Real and eliminating lane modifications to El Camino Real from the project.

“Their entire comment period is while we have no council meeting during that time. There’s a likelihood that we’ll have to have a special town hall meeting on this in August. At a time when everybody’s kids are going back to school or they’re finishing up on vacation. You couldn’t have timed this release of the draft variant at a time more intended to not get a viable comment,” said Mayor Ann Schneider.

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