Comstock's magazine 0519 - May 2019 - Page 32

n TRANSPORTATION I t’s safe to say Jeffrey Callison never gives a thought to Sacramento area, especially in the past five years,” says the Transcontinental Railroad when his alarm wakes Capitol Corridor spokesperson Karan Bakar. him at 5:25 a.m., even though May 10 marks the TCRR’s 150th anniversary. ALL ABOARD Without it — and the 200,000-plus miles of track Such numbers are ref lective of an ongoing commuter mi- that followed because of it — he wouldn’t be commuting gration that is gaining momentum. to work by train. “The data show us that Sacarameto is the No. 1 place Callison drives from his Lincoln home at 6:40 a.m. to that Bay Area residents move to and that the Bay Area is the catch the 7:02 a.m. train from Roseville Station, which second most preferred market for residents leaving Sacra- delivers him to Sacramento Valley Station on I Street 22 mento,” says Elizabeth Myers, research and strategy man- minutes later. From there, he walks the mile-and-a-half ager for the Greater Sacramento Economic Council. to his job as assistant director of communications for the Last year, 27,116 people moved to the six-county greater California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Sacramento area from the 10-county Bay Area, according to On rainy days, he leaves Sacramento Valley Station and the U.S. Census Bureau. boards a nearby light rail train that drops him a block from But there’s a caveat: During that same time, 17,681 peo- his office. ple moved out of Sacramento and headed to the Bay Area, He repeats the process at the end of the day, catching a net migration to Sacramento from the Bay Area of 9,435. the 5:22 p.m. train back to Roseville. It’s a round trip he’s However, many of the workers seeking a more afford- done for 7 1/2 years. able lifestyle in Sacramento “have “It’s very relaxing, even though maintained their jobs in the Bay the train seems more crowded and Area, as well as their friends, fam- busier than when I first started ily and other connections,” Bakar taking it, as does the parking lot says. “At the same time, traffic [on around the station,” he says. “Still, interstate highways] has gotten I’m glad I don’t have to deal with worse, and people don’t want to the stress of commute driving, deal with it.” which I have done.” Bay Area planning studies in- The biggest change Callison dicate that 125,000 new jobs will has seen is to Sacramento Valley become available in San Francisco Station. “When I started taking in the next 20 years, and they likely Capitol Corridor, the tracks and will be filled by train commuters. platforms had not been realigned, Such an expansion will require up- and the main station building grades. — Karan Bakar, spokesperson, Capitol Corridor hadn’t been refurbished.” “The safety of our passengers is Callison is a veteran among Capitol Corridor’s No. 1 priority,” a growing number of passengers says Capitol Corridor Managing (two-thirds are commuters) who Director David Kutrosky. “Regular regularly travel by rail on Capitol Corridor, the major pas- periodic maintenance is performed on all of the Capitol senger-train path managed by the Capitol Corridor Joint Corridor locomotives, passenger cars and stations. We also Powers Authority and operated by Amtrak. Connecting work closely with our operating partners to ensure that the Sacramento and Placer counties to the Bay Area, it’s a 170- tracks, signals, bridges and other rail infrastructure are in mile, 18-stop journey running through eight counties from state-of-the-art repair to ensure the Capitol Corridor trains Auburn to San Jose. can safely and reliably operate at maximum speeds.” Last year, the train service carried 1.7 million passen- gers (up 6 percent from 2017) and had a 43 percent increase UPGRADING THE RAIL in new riders. This makes it the third-busiest route in the In 2013, the CCJPA board of directors asked its staff to Amtrak system, after the Northeast and Southern Califor- “demonstrate a transformative service for the Northern nia corridors. California Megaregion.” For instance, Kutrosky says new “A big factor that drives our ridership growth is the cars and locomotives will be purchased within two years. shift of people moving out of the Bay Area to the greater The ultimate goal, according to the plan: “A modern rail- “A big factor that drives our ridership growth is the shift of people moving out of the Bay Area to the greater Sacramento Area, especially in the past five years.” 32 | May 2019