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Re: Ravenswood/Alma Intersection and Railway Crossing Concerns

From: domainremoved <Allison>
Date: Fri, 12 Jun 2015 15:23:58 -0700

Thank you Kirsten. I'd like to add that again, there was no warning that
work would be done today to install the rest of the median on Ravenswood.
Traffic was down to one lane and it would've been nice to know, even a day
ahead of time, that there would be roadwork being done. We also weren't
aware that there would be no u-turns allowed at Noel Drive.

Will the surrounding businesses and community be informed when the next
meeting will be held to make decisions on this intersection? As we
mentioned in our email, as a business that has been here for almost 20
years, we have a lot invested in the area and want to be involved in the
process to make it better for everyone.

Thank you for your time and consideration.



On Thu, Jun 11, 2015 at 2:01 PM, Kirsten Keith <kkeith_at_(domainremoved)

> Dear Scott and Allison,
> Thank you for your thoughtful email and for having your business in Menlo
> Park for almost 20 years. I appreciate your concerns and comments. This is
> a trial and I will evaluate all input when this comes back to council. We
> are always trying to make the roadway safer and these were ideas presented
> to us to try. Clearly, if this idea does not make it safer, I will ask for
> changes.
> Best regards. Kirsten
> On Wednesday, June 10, 2015, Allison Allen <aallen_at_(domainremoved)
>> Dear Council Members,
>> We are writing to express our concern and disappointment regarding the
>> project at the Ravenswood/Alma intersection. As the Owner and Managing
>> Director of AXIS Personal Trainers, which has been located at this
>> intersection for almost 20 years, this directly affects our business and we
>> are intimately familiar with the dangers in this area.
>> First, in the last week since the median was put in place, there has
>> definitely been an increase in traffic. By taking out options to turn left
>> or right on Alma, all traffic must continue east on Ravenswood. This has
>> caused longer backups when the Laurel St. traffic light is red which has
>> lead to more cars backing up close to or on the train tracks. This is an
>> even bigger problem when pedestrians are crossing Ravenswood. The crosswalk
>> has always been the biggest danger, both to the pedestrians, as well as to
>> the drivers who often get backed up onto the tracks. Now with more traffic
>> going through the intersection, it has become more dangerous than ever.
>> Just to give a few examples of what we have seen in the past week; not only
>> are cars backing up to the tracks, we have seen people try to go around the
>> median via u-turns at the alley, we have had several cars turn left into
>> the alley and cut through our parking lot by going around the barrier we
>> have in place. We have also seen people doing u-turns on the train tracks
>> in order to go east.
>> We do realize that there will always be a bit of chaos when changes are
>> made. We are frustrated with the lack of communication that we had about
>> these changes, which directly affect traffic to and from our business. We
>> were not sent a letter about any meetings and we were not given an
>> opportunity to voice our concerns prior to this change. Even a few days
>> prior to the median being put in, we had a hard time getting any
>> information when we went to the City of Menlo Park. We finally were put in
>> touch with Jesse Quirion who was helpful in giving us the correct
>> information. We have read through pages and pages of information on this
>> issue and it is our hope that the City Council will come up with a proper
>> long term solution to make this area safer for everyone. It seems that the
>> median was put up to satisfy the public, to make it seem as though
>> something was being done, after the most recent fatality in the tracks.
>> However, this does not solve the real problem, and has seemingly made it
>> worse.
>> Data collected by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) shows that in
>> the last 10 years, 5 incidents have occurred at the Ravenswood Avenue
>> crossing, 2 of these resulting in fatalities. Being right outside our door,
>> we were first responders in both of these horrible accidents. In the most
>> recent fatality where the young woman's car was struck by the train, she
>> was heading westbound. The only thing that could've prevented that tragedy
>> was possibly a traffic light before the train tracks, or if she had paid
>> better attention to the traffic ahead. The median would not have saved her,
>> nor would it have saved the pedestrian who committed suicide awhile back.
>> The idea of putting up a barrier to ease traffic seems like a band-aid that
>> isn't even working! It's frustrating that traffic to our business is being
>> re-routed now, which will cause more issues in other areas, and it's not a
>> solution at all.
>> We do understand that this is a trial and more decisions will be made.
>> Being witness to the fatalities that happened here and the daily vehicle
>> and pedestrian traffic, we are of the opinion that the barriers should be
>> removed. Moving the crosswalk further down will not solve the problem
>> either. We feel that a traffic signal at the intersection of Alma and
>> Ravenswood is the best option. It would allow traffic to move freely on the
>> side streets to get to and from businesses on Alma and Burgess Park, the
>> library, etc. It would also free up the increased traffic through the
>> Laurel St. neighborhood. And most importantly, it would allow pedestrians
>> to cross the street with the light.
>> A good example of this is in San Mateo where the train runs street-level
>> through a very busy downtown, with many pedestrians and vehicles at all
>> times of the day. The train is timed with the traffic lights and it works
>> really well. Why can't the City of Menlo Park and Caltrain work to make
>> this happen at the Ravenswood/Alma intersection?
>> Lastly, we would like ask that the surrounding businesses and the
>> community be informed on the progress as this project moves forward. we
>> were not informed at all of what was happening and this directly involves
>> our business and the safety of our community. We would very much like to be
>> a part of the solution.
>> Thank you for your time.
>> Scott Norton, Owner
>> Allison Allen, Managing Director
>> AXIS Personal Trainers
>> 550 Ravenswood Ave
>> Menlo Park, CA 94025
>> 650-463-1920
>> snorton_at_(domainremoved)
>> aallen_at_(domainremoved)
Received on Fri Jun 12 2015 - 15:21:09 PDT

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