The Palo Alto City Council approved a Memorandum of Understanding on August 24 between the City and Caltrain regarding the funding and schedule of the vegetation removal, fence installation and new camera technology that is part of the City's efforts to limit access to the rail corridor. The agreement sets out an updated timeline and schedule for the work which is set to begin on September 1.
Caltrain will be installing 8’ welded wire fencing between Oregon Expressway and San Francisquito Creek on the east side of the corridor at a cost of $420,000 (paid for by Caltrain). In addition, the City has asked Caltrain to install additional 18" three-cable angled winglets on top of fencing on the east side of the corridor between San Antonio and San Francisquito Creek to make the fences more difficult to climb at a cost of $108,000 (paid for by the City).
Vegetation removal needed to install the new fencing will be done by Caltrain’s vendor with new fencing to be installed as quickly as possible following the removal. The City’s landscape architect and arborists are working closely with the vendor to ensure as much vegetation screening as possible is maintained. The work is expected to begin on September 1, and it is estimated that both the vegetation and fencing installation will be completed by the end of October. The City will pay the $168,000 cost for vegetation removal.
The City is also piloting an intrusion detection system that uses thermal infrared cameras that can detect objects via heat sensors more than a mile away. The pilot cameras will be installed at the Meadow Avenue crossing in mid-September for a 60 day trial and evaluation period. Since this is a pilot, there will be no cost to the City during the trial period. The cost to permanently install and purchase the system is $172,000.
For more information about the City’s rail corridor safety initiatives, go to www.cityofpaloalto.org/rail.