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Merced residents get their first look at plans for downtown high-speed rail train station

For the first time Merced residents have been capable of view what the long run high-speed rail station might look like downtown and have been capable of hear a attainable timeline of when building might start on the long-awaited challenge.

Officials from the California High-Speed Rail Authority held an open home at the Merced Senior Community Center to debate the challenge on Thursday night time that drew a big crowd, together with many City of Merced officers.

People have been capable of look at artist renderings of the long run Merced station, which shall be situated alongside fifteenth Street between O and R streets. People have been capable of ask questions and go away options for what they’d prefer to see within the design of the station.

“Tonight is a great opportunity for us to hear from the community and to have a conversation with them about what’s important about the design of the California High-speed Rail station here in Merced,” mentioned Margaret Cederoth, the director of planning and sustainability for the High Speed Rail Authority.

When will we have the ability to experience the trains?

Merced is considered one of 4 bullet-train stations being constructed within the Central Valley, together with stations in Fresno, Bakersfield and on the outskirts of Hanford.

The California High-Speed Rail Authority hopes to start carrying riders on its 171-mile preliminary working line between Merced and Bakersfield by 2030.

Cederoth says the plan is to finish design work by mid-2026, which might permit them to hopefully start building in 2027.

“I think it was clear this evening the High-speed Rail Authority is laser focused on the Merced to Bakersfield operating segment,” Cederoth mentioned.

The Merced station will function viaducts on which elevated tracks and boarding platforms will sit, with entry plazas and concourses at floor stage. Merced’s station can also be being designed as a hub for a number of passenger rail companies: high-speed rail, the present Amtrak San Joaquin service, and a future southern terminus for the Stockton-based ACE Rail trains.

“It makes Merced, at least once that initial operating segment is complete, in a lot ways the Northern California, Central California railroad hub,” mentioned Merced Mayor Matthew Serratto.

Impact on Merced

“It’s a huge development opportunity for us as well with all the underutilized vacant properties, especially in the downtown core,” Serratto added. “If we do this right — so everything is linked together — in a way that people can feed into the station, it just creates so many opportunities to develop our core as well.”

Merced Director of Economic Development Frank Quintero says the long run high-speed rail station has already introduced thousands and thousands of {dollars} to downtown Merced.

“If you look at the development of downtown, a lot of it was based on people expecting high-speed rail to come in,” Quintero mentioned.

Quintero mentioned traders from The El Capitan Hotel, The Mainzer and The Tioga have been all “focused on how high-speed rail was going to be able to benefit their investments.”

Station options

People have been requested to provide their suggestions on the design plans of the Merced station and residents posted loads of options on sticky notes on the renderings.

People requested for protecting bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure at the station. Some folks requested for parking buildings and never simply parking heaps. Others requested to create a neighborhood house and for easy accessibility to downtown.

Peter Sokoloff, who’s the principal in command of the design crew of Central Valley stations, says they need to hear from folks what makes Merced particular.

He mentioned their aim is to make the station a snug place for passengers to take pleasure in their touring expertise.

“Hopefully, we go away, we come up with a vision and come back in six to eight months when we’ve had time to cook things a bit more and share what we’ve done and hopefully explain how we’ve taken the ideas that we’ve learned and adapted them put them into a station design,” Sokoloff mentioned.

Justin Barnard, who lives in Mariposa County, says the challenge has been helpful to native workforce. Barnard is a enterprise agent for Operating Engineers Local 3 Union, who’ve had 400 folks engaged on the challenge within the Central Valley.

“It’s a tremendous boost for jobs,” Barnard mentioned. “There’s multiple, multiple different work opportunities for multiple contractors and different things so we’ve had apprentices start on project.”

“It’s a huge boost in money where our people work, where our people live and they spend money,” Barnard added. “They’re buying homes, they’re buying cars, they’re buying soccer cleats, they’re buying everything. We’ve had a lot of great Christmases because of this project.”

Serratto says the considerations he hears in regards to the challenge at the native stage are the identical folks have at the state stage. The greatest considerations are the associated fee, the challenge delays and can folks experience the trains?

This challenge has been within the works for over 15 years. California voters handed a $9.9 billion bond measure to assist improvement of a statewide high-speed rail system, in November 2008.

In 2010, the U.S. Department of Transportation pledged the first of a number of installments of federal grants to assist pay for planning and building of the challenge within the San Joaquin Valley.

After the first building contract for work to be within the Central Valley was awarded in 2013, a proper groundbreaking was held in Fresno in 2015.

Serratto says for folks to see the plans and to listen to the timeline will assist get folks excited in regards to the challenge.

“It’s a huge help,” Serratto mentioned. “If you can start to touch it, feel it and you know there’s progress.”

A north-facing cross-section view of a future high-speed rail station in downtown Merced shows how it wills serve not only high-speed passenger trains and Amtrak San Joaquin trains on elevated tracks above a concourse, but also a future southern extension of Stockton’s ACE Rail passenger trains at ground level, near the Union Pacific Railroad freight rail tracks.A north-facing cross-section view of a future high-speed rail station in downtown Merced shows how it wills serve not only high-speed passenger trains and Amtrak San Joaquin trains on elevated tracks above a concourse, but also a future southern extension of Stockton’s ACE Rail passenger trains at ground level, near the Union Pacific Railroad freight rail tracks.

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