At our November General Meeting we learned about progress in the electrification of Caltrain and about the revised plans for the north block of Hillsdale Mall.
Casey Fromson, Caltrain’s Government Affairs Officer, reported that 62,000 riders, including 6,000 bike riders, use Caltrain daily, with 60% commuting northbound and 40% travelling south. Usage
has increased significantly since 2010, and Caltrain has purchased additional cars, which will help alleviate some of the over-crowding. Federal regulations require that improvements to prevent human error and enhance safety through a smarter gate system be completed in 2016, and Caltrain is on track. 2020 is the deadline for going live with new electric trains, which will attain 79 mph, allow six trains/hour per direction, and start and stop faster than the current diesel trains, permitting more stops as well as more trains.
Bob Webster, President of Bohannon Properties, provided an update on the Hillsdale Mall Project, which was first considered more than nine years ago. Two major goals for the current Hillsdale Mall plan are sustainable design and the creation of a community that cannot be found on the internet. Consequently, a major focus will be entertainment and food. There will be a Luxury Cinema, a bocce ball/bowling alley venue, and a fitness club. Plans also include four or five full service sit-down restaurants and a central plaza with outdoor dining and a fountain.
The traffic situation will be improved by a roundabout instead of the five-way stop that is now at 31st and Edison. 31st Avenue will be narrowed into one lane each way, and the sidewalks will be widened. Green features will include a grey water system, solar system, LED lighting, high efficiency HVAC, and electric vehicle charging stations.