Will SF Tear Down That Freeway? 280 Removal Study for HSR Moves Forward

The Caltrain tracks under I-280. Photo: Troy Holden

The San Francisco Examiner, in typical tabloid fashion, picked up on a story this morning that we first reported nearly a year ago. The city is seriously studying demolishing the northernmost segment of Interstate 280 to accommodate four tracks for high-speed rail, and prevent the depressing of several city streets, including 16th Street, which Mission Bay residents and institutions fear would further divide and isolate their neighborhood.

The freeway would be replaced with a boulevard running along the path of the current freeway, and could include a park at the mouth of Mission Bay as well as a bike path on the eastern edge, according to our sources. It could also set the stage for a future freeway-to-boulevard conversion southward to Chavez, or even farther.

While the idea sounds exciting, the city is still far away from a fully developed design. However, it does seem likely the city will propose it as one of the track alignment alternatives to be considered in the High-Speed Rail Environmental Impact Report due out in 2012. City planners have been working with the California High-Speed Rail Authority and Caltrans on advancing the concept.