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Thursday, September 24, 2020

SLOCOG to host virtual meeting on commuter rail transit study

Posted By on Thu, Sep 24, 2020 at 3:41 PM

There hasn’t been a study on the feasibility and necessity of commuter rail services on the Central Coast in 28 years. But now the San Luis Obispo Council of Governments (SLOCOG) and the Coast Rail Coordinating Council (CRCC) are teaming up to do just that and more.

In March, SLOCOG and CRCC started work on the Coast Rail Corridor Study, which is aimed at identifying viable ways to increase and improve rail transit options across the Central Coast.

click to enlarge ALL ABOARD On Sept. 30, the San Luis Obispo Council of Governments (SLOCOG) and the Coast Rail Coordinating Council (CRCC) are hosting a virtual meeting on the Coast Rail Corridor Study. - FILE PHOTO BY DYLAN HONEA-BAUMANN
  • FILE PHOTO BY DYLAN HONEA-BAUMANN
  • ALL ABOARD On Sept. 30, the San Luis Obispo Council of Governments (SLOCOG) and the Coast Rail Coordinating Council (CRCC) are hosting a virtual meeting on the Coast Rail Corridor Study.

“To explain our study in the simplest terms, we have two areas of focus,” SLOCOG Project Manager Anna Devers told New Times. “One will coordinate intercity bus and rail service so that long-distance travel through the Central Coast area is more seamless and provides better options for connecting throughout the state. And the other will look at whether implementing a regional rail system in SLO County and Northern Santa Barbara County is feasible.”

The “regional” portion of the study will evaluate the feasibility of improved commuter service between work hubs like Paso Robles, San Luis Obispo, and Santa Maria, which Devers said could help relieve congestion on Highway 101 at peak travel hours, an effort that will prove more important as the region continues to grow. Needed technologies, service levels, schedule options, necessary rail infrastructure and equipment, and potential funding sources will all be evaluated in the study.

The study—which is being funded by three grants that add up to $650,000 total—is just in its beginning stages and Devers said it should be completed by next summer. Now, SLOCOG and the CRCC are looking for public input on the project.

An online survey will be open until Oct. 2, and at a virtual meeting on Sept. 30 from 5:30 to 7 p.m., the Coast Rail Corridor Study project team will discuss intercity and commuter rail service options and gather feedback from the community. To attend the meeting, please register at: bit.ly/SLOCOG_CRCS_Public_Meeting. ∆

—Kasey Bubnash
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