San Francisco Considers Tearing Down Interstate 280 Extension for High Speed Rail, Caltrain - NBC Bay Area
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San Francisco Considers Tearing Down Interstate 280 Extension for High Speed Rail, Caltrain

The planning department said removing the freeway extension would free up space for housing and offices.

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    San Francisco is considering tearing down the Interstate 280 extension to get Caltrain and high speed rail into downtown. Jean Elle reports. (Published Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2016)

    San Francisco is considering tearing down the Interstate 280 extension to get Caltrain and high speed rail into downtown. City officials said that portion of the freeway would turn into a boulevard, while tracks are built underground.

    Residents opposing the plan jam packed a meeting late Tuesday in Potrero Hill to share their concerns. Some residents call the I-280 extension north of Mariposa Street a "vital line" that should not be torn down.

    Planners said the idea is part of the "Railyard Alternatives and I-280 Boulevard Study." The focus of the study is how to get high speed rail and Caltrain into downtown.

    "We're not making a proposal, we're just saying it ought to be studied as part of the project," said Gil Kelley with San Francisco's planning department.

    Many who attended Tuesday's meeting want the option to tear down the freeway extension off the table. Residents also said the I-280 extension is already jammed with commuters, baseball fans driving to and from AT&T Park, and patients and staff at the new UCSF medical center.

    "I'm an anti-freeway person, but I-280 has become more valuable than it ever was when it was first built," former San Francisco Mayor Art Agnos said.

    Planners said replacing the freeway with a boulevard and shrinking the Caltrain yard would open up land for new office space and housing.

    Down at 4th and King streets there is support for the idea.

    "I do recall the Embarcadero freeway being taken down after the earthquake," San Francisco-resident Larry Bardoff said. "If it's similar, I'm in favor."

    The planning department said a final decision on the future of the I-280 extension is months away.

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