June 7, 2005 > Editorial: A train runs through it
Editorial: A train runs through it
The 1992 Robert Redford film portrayal of novelist Normal Maclean's book, A River Runs Through It, depicted the early days of the author in rural Montana. The story centers on the pervasive influence of a river (and fly fishing) on his life, his family and those around him. In the next several years, something just as momentous and influential will take shape in all three Tri-Cities - the Dumbarton Rail Corridor.
Although many parts of our community will not feel the impact of this service for many years, planning is happening now. Stakeholders include municipalities and service providers from within the Tri-Cities AND beyond our borders since this train is scheduled to travel from Union City, through Fremont and Newark and across the bay joining the CalTrain corridor along the peninsula.
Many may feel that a trained staff, adept at planning will make the right decisions along the way. Unfortunately, right and wrong are usually lost in a tangle of decisions that have no definitive answer, simply seek to provide a balance between competing priorities. What is "good" or "right" for one geographical area, may be unfavorable to another. When something this pervasive is in the works, it pays to know what is happening before the rails are set.
Residents of the Riverwalk development in Fremont are well aware of the Dumbarton Rail Project and the effect of Union City's Intermodal Passenger Rail plans since direct impacts are already anticipated from a so-called "Shinn Connection." Increased vibration, noise and environmental impacts are among the complaints along with a suggested change of a Dumbarton Service Layover Yard. This service area originally sited north of Union City's BART station near Hayward has now appeared on maps near BART tracks in Fremont south of Quarry Lakes.
At this point, plans are simply ideas that will be discussed, probably amended and in many cases, discarded. However, this is the time for citizens of all communities to pay close attention to this new service. The advantage of a new connection across the bay is undeniable, but as is often said, "The devil is in the details." City officials have been attending planning meetings and making their own plans about hardware and paths for passenger and freight traffic for quite a while. Hopefully, advance planning will provide an improved method of transportation and more efficient movement through our communities. In order to make sure rail decisions are in accord with your city, now is the time to let your government officials know that progress reports are vital even this early in the process.