Alma Street/Churchill Avenue Safety Improvements Project

  • Project typeTraffic and Transportation
  • Project value$3,996,000


Project Description

The California Department of Transportation Division of Rail, in cooperation with the Peninsula Corridor Joint Power Board (JPB) and City of Palo Alto (City), has proposed a railroad crossing improvement project at Churchill Avenue and Alma Street in Palo Alto to enhance safety. A diagnostic team comprised of staff from the City, California Public Utilities Commission, and Caltrain analyzed the existing conditions at the intersection for vehicular travel, bicycle travel, pedestrian pathways, and rail traffic, and developed recommendations to enhance safety. Improvements will be designed and implemented by the City in the City’s right of way, and by the JPB in the JPB’s right of way. 

This project is separate and independent from the on-going rail grade separation conversations and addresses more immediate safety concerns at this crossing. Council approval of concept plan is expected in Spring 2021 and construction to begin in 2022.

This crossing was identified for possible funding of hazard elimination and safety improvements through Section 130 funds. The Section 130 program is a federally funded program, administered by the states, for the elimination of hazards at at-grade highway-rail crossings. Section 130 funding will reimburse the actual and direct costs of the design and construction of the improvements.

Scope of Work

Some of the design elements include: 

  • Installation of a pre-signal 
  • Traffic signal modifications
  • Street lighting improvements 
  • Roadway resurfacing 
  • Sidewalk realignment and/or widening 
  • Drainage improvements 
  • Utility relocations 
  • Signage and striping

Project Status

Planning and Transportation Commission (PTC) discussed the two concept plan alternatives for improvements to this intersection at its March 31, 2021 meeting.

City Council approved Concept #1 on May 3, 2021, and staff has developed final design plans based on Concept #1. These final design plans were shared at Community Meeting #2 on November 16, 2021.

City staff is currently preparing the final bid package for construction which is expected to be released in February/March 2023.

Project Timeline

  • Fall 2020 – Selection of Design Consultant
  • 2021 – Development and Approval of Concept Plan(s)
  • Spring 2021 – Begin final design (up to 65% plan)
  • Spring 2023 – Complete final design plan and approval of construction contract
  • Summer 2023 – Begin construction 


Project Documents


Alma St and Churchill Ave, Palo Alto, CA   View Map

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