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cart before the horse?

From: domainremoved <Patti>
Date: Mon, 5 Dec 2016 14:41:43 -0800

Dear Planning Commission
Thank you for your recent focus on the need to improve Menlo Park's
transportation and transit infrastructure before approving additional
growth that would further exacerbate the terrible congestion in our city.
Planning and identifying funding for infrastructure and transit would help
put the cart behind the horse -- as it should be.

I am writing to highlight yet another cart before the horse problem, which
is making decisions about much-needed grade separation AFTER - not before -
approving major projects that could have their circulation greatly
affected. Each of the three grade separation alternatives would lower the
east-west roadways fully or partially below grade, affecting some or all of
the intersections of Alma, Merrill, and Garwood with Ravenswood, Oak Grove,
Glenwood, and Encinal.

An example project is the Greenheart Station 1300 project that has its
Final EIR coming in front of the Commission next week. Its circulation
could be profoundly affected by which grade separation alternative is
selected. Lowering the east/west roadway(s)
could affect greatly the intersections of Garwood and Oak Grove and Garwood
and Glenwood, each of which is projected to carry most of the considerable
new traffic to/from the project's underground garage.

The Greenheart project FEIR assumed at-grade intersections at Oak Grove and
at Garwood, which appear to be invalid assumptions. In fact, it is possible
that motor vehicle and/or bicycle connectivity would be greatly impaired if
not blocked (e.g., with a fully depressed east-west roadway and at-grade
train tracks), depending on the grade separation alternative selected.
Traffic diverted from Garwood to El Camino Real would further affect
congestion on one of the worst sections of El Camino.

Another cart-before-the-horse project example is the potential
bike/pedestrian undercrossing near Middle. It makes no sense to spend funds
on designing or building anything there until the grade separation plan is
determined. Each of the alternatives could have a major impact on the
elevation of the tracks, and on any undercrossing's design and costs

Decisions need to be made now about grade separation plans and related
impacts on circulation before these projects and their impacts are fairly

I encourage you to ask probing questions about the potential impacts of
each of the grade separation alternatives on vehicular, bicycle, and
pedestrian circulation at each of the potential intersections - not just
Ravenswood - and all affected east/west and north/south roadway segments. I
also encourage you to recommend that the City Council put the cart and
horse in the right order for these major projects that will affect our
entire community for decades to come.

Thank you.
Patti Fry
Menlo Park resident and former Planning Commissioner
Received on Mon Dec 05 2016 - 14:45:58 PST

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