Weekend Roundup: Kings County Gives up HSR Fight, BART Closures, Caltrain Bike Registration

A few words about the latest train stuff of note to the Bay Area

HSR construction in Kings County. Photo: CaHSRA
HSR construction in Kings County. Photo: CaHSRA

A few Streetsblog train tidbits to start out your weekend:

Last Legal Obstructions to HSR Melt Away: 

Kings County has been fighting an expensive and fruitless battle against high-speed rail for many years now. But after losing ruling after ruling, they finally threw in the proverbial towel and settled with the state.

From Thursday afternoon’s statement by the California High-Speed Rail Authority and King’s County:

The Authority and the Kings County Board have reached a settlement that will result in the dismissal of the final pending California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) lawsuit against the Authority for the Fresno to Bakersfield Project Section Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement (EIR/EIS). The Final EIR/EIS for the Fresno to Bakersfield section of the high-speed rail project was adopted in 2014 and identified the high-speed rail route from Fresno to Bakersfield.

The Authority and the Kings County Board also signed cooperative agreements related to coordinating ongoing construction efforts in Kings County, and the maintenance of several grade-separation projects crossing Kings County roadways.

There are currently 65 miles of rail under construction in an area that stretches from East American Avenue in Fresno County to one mile north of the Tulare/Kern County line, according to the release. High-speed rail construction will build a dedicated line spanning over 119 miles in the Central Valley. This spine will connect to the Bay Area via existing and future alignments.

BART Shutdown this Weekend Between Orinda and Walnut Creek:
C35map 8_5 update
This weekend marks the first of six planned shutdowns on the Antioch line to replaced aged tracks and other infrastructure.

During the work, according to BART’s statement, the agency will:

  • Replace 5,000 linear feet of rail.
  • Replace six track switches. Switches are to a railroad what intersections are to cars, helping redirect trains from line to line.
  • Install 320 new electrical insulators to support and keep electricity confined to the third rail.
  • Replace nearly 10,000 feet of train control cable.
  • Remove and replace 2.8 million pounds of rock ballast, which is used to support the trackway.

Replacement bus-bridge service will be provided during the closures. Once the work is complete the noise level of trains will drop, says the BART release, and passengers will experience a smoother, safer, and more reliable ride.

Caltrain Promotes Bike Registration

A Caltrain bike-car. Photo: Shirley Johnson
A Caltrain bike-car. Photo: Shirley Johnson

Streetsblog has had the displeasure of carrying a few stories about bikes getting pilfered from Caltrain’s bike car. In response, Caltrain Rail Operations and the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Department are encouraging bike riders to register their bikes in partnership with Project 529, a community service database that connects bike serial numbers to their rightful owners.

From Caltrain’s release:

This app-based system allows bike owners to input identifying information about their bike and report theft. San Mateo County Sheriff’s Department, which contracts with Caltrain to serve as the agency’s Transit Police unit, has access to the 529 database for both Caltrain and several other bike communities already registered with the program in the event that a bike is reported stolen in the area.

To promote the bike-registration program, Caltrain is hosting three free bike registration events on the following days and locations:

  • Palo Alto Caltrain Station, Tuesday, August 20, 3:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
  • Redwood City Caltrain Station, Wednesday, August 21, 3:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
  • San Francisco Caltrain Station, Thursday, August 22, 3:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

You can also, of course, register your bike online.

  • Taurussf

    Caltrain is a bunch of idiots. Instead of fixing the problem by making sure that the cars are designed so that cyclists can watch their bikes, they offer a useless solution for maaaaybe getting your bike back after it gets stolen.

    But that’s only going to work if the police, or whoever buys it from the thief, checks the serial number. And since this particular registration is some kind of off brand startup rather than something like bikeindex that people actually know about and might check, it’s even more stupider.

  • thielges

    One simple way to deter theft is to lock the frame to the wheels. That way the thief will know that they will have to awkwardly carry the locked bike our of the train and away from the station. Plus there’s the additional task of cutting the lock off of the bike. Even better is if your bike is on the inside leaning against the rack, just lock it to the rack. Or if you are traveling with someone else, lock the two bikes together.

    Usually a little deterrence is enough to prevent theft. Thieves will look for an easier target.

  • Taurussf

    Thank you for the 101 level suggestion.

    Locking a bike to itself only works if you’re able to chase the thief. If they get off the train with your bike just as the doors close, you’re done.

    The reality is that Caltrain staff once again floated a design that puts cyclists in a separate compartment from their bikes. This design has been rejected in the past, but somehow keeps coming back like a bad penny.

    It’s as though Caltrain as an institution doesn’t want bikes on trains, but because it’s such a popular option with their customers, they can’t just terminate the program so they do the next best thing by deliberatly finding ways to make it unpleasant in the hope that cyclists will just quit using it.

  • claudiagold

    So, Kings County… glad you wasted everyone’s time and money (including your own)? Justice won out here, and you nimbys got exactly what you deserve, which is zero.

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