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Rail Subcommittee Meeting Today

From: domainremoved <Steve>
Date: Mon, 6 Jul 2015 16:19:22 -0700

City Council Rail Subcommittee & City Council:

Once again I write to remind you to carefully consider the consequences of
your decisions regarding Menlo Park’s Grade Separation Project.

The decision made in 2008 to keep the Caltrain tracks at grade through the
City were made in the absence of understanding the implications of such a
policy. The City has approved in concept numerous development proposals
along the Caltrain right-of-way supported by the Specific Plan. Design and
construction of these projects, including Greenheart, Stanford, Hunter,
Axis and others depend on certainty regarding the grade separation
configurations now being considered.

Design decisions for each of these projects will be severely complicated by
an option that tunnels Ravenswood under the tracks left at grade. Until the
grade separation is actually built, none of these adjacent private projects
can be built without complicated future adjustments to site access.
Tunneling under the tracks at Ravenswood commits the City to the same
design at our other three grade level crossings at an expense unattainable
by the City. If only Ravenswood is tunneled, then Oak Grove, Glenwood and
Encinal will remain dangerous intersections in perpetuity.

In contrast, an option that raises the tracks 15-20’ above grade yields
numerous benefits:

   1. All four MP intersections will uniformly be grade separated at a
   reasonable cost.
   2. Permanently eliminates vehicular conflicts with Caltrain
   3. Permanently eliminates horn noise
   4. Allows a simpler, safer and less expensive bike/ped undercrossing at
   Middle/Burgess and possibly in other locations
   5. Maximizes local benefits of Caltrain electrification, including
   quieter trains, more flexible schedules with passing tracks, fewer service
   disruptions and compatibility with a future HSR.
   6. Gives design certainty for future development; if the tracks are
   elevated the impending projects can proceed without fear of a disruption of
   the existing street grid by roadway tunneling.

The decision that you make should be based on a long-range vision and an
understanding of Menlo Park’s role in approving development along the
Caltrain right of way. It is incumbent on your position as elected council
members to protect the interests and values of those who live here now and
in the future.

Steve Schmidt
Received on Mon Jul 06 2015 - 16:16:25 PDT

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