Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Council to Discuss Plans for Fairfield/Vacaville Train Station

Article Last Updated: Saturday, Sep 10, 2005 - 12:12:41 am PDT

Council to Discuss Plans for Fairfield/Vacaville Train Station
By Barry Eberling

FAIRFIELD - Fairfield is planning not only a Fairfield/Vacaville train station near Peabody Road, but what will be built around it.

The city wants development in the area to fit in with the proposed train station. Capitol Corridor trains stopping there could take commuters to jobs in the Bay Area and Sacramento.

Apartments and townhouses within walking distance of the station seems likely. So does a mix of business. Such developments have become increasingly common around BART stations.

"Transit-oriented development" is the buzzword. Fairfield is trying to figure out what the term means for it.

The Planning Commission will discuss the issue when it meets at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the City Council chamber, 1000 Webster St.

Fairfield wants to build a train station at Peabody and Vanden roads. It plans to spend more than a year coming up with a plan for the private land within about a 10-minute walking distance of the station site.

"The plan is essentially going to be a blueprint for the private landowners, for the kinds of uses to be built on their land, what the essential character of the buildings will be like, what the road pattern will be like," city planner Dave Feinstein said.

Fairfield faces some challenges. One is making a pedestrian-friendly development along busy Peabody and Vanden roads.

"We'll have to be creative how we work through that," Feinstein said.

Another challenge is the wetlands and possible endangered species in the area.

Fairfield for several years has been working with Union Pacific to get permission to build the train station. Union Pacific owns the railroad tracks and uses them for freight, though the Capitol Corridors use the same tracks.

The city is looking at building an elevated crossing at the tracks for Peabody Road. Right now, autos on Peabody Road drive over the tracks. Crossing arms fall and stop traffic when trains go by.

Railroad companies prefer to separate busy roads and tracks when possible for safety reasons.

"We've come to the conclusion that Union Pacific will not authorize the construction of that station without the overcrossing," Feinstein said.

Fairfield plans to build the station in phases. Phase one is to include a parking lot and a boarding platform at the tracks. It could open in 2010, a city report said.

A station building, businesses at the station and a parking garage would come later.

The city has posted information on its train station plans on its Web site. Go to www.ci.fairfield.ca.us/7113.htm to view.

Reach Barry Eberling at 425-4646 Ext. 232 or at beberling@dailyrepublic.net.

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