Almanac

Viewpoint - December 21, 2011

Letter: Unused tracks could help Facebook commuters

I've been surprised to note that the discussion of the impact of Facebook's move to the Sun campus has all but ignored the great untapped resource that is the SP (Southern Pacific) Dumbarton line, which today runs, virtually unused, from Caltrain in downtown Redwood City directly to Facebook's front door.

A light rail line along the existing right-of-way would ease traffic, integrate Belle Haven and other economically challenged neighborhoods into the mainstream of Silicon Valley, promote downtown Redwood City as a transit hub, and have a host of collateral economic and environmental benefits. It would also be dramatically cheaper than most transit projects.

It would supersede the once dreamed of Dumbarton Rail Connection, but that is no great loss, as this was an absurdly expensive heavy-rail-across-the-Bay project that realistically will never get built.

Whether or not light rail is the answer, it remains the case that the Dumbarton line is begging to be developed. Even a bike path along that corridor could substantially mitigate the impact of Facebook's otherwise welcome move.

Bill Kelly, Peak Lane, Portola Valley

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