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Menlo Park grade separations viaduct

From: domainremoved <Adrian>
Date: Thu, 23 Mar 2017 00:32:34 -0700

Honorable Councilmembers,

I am just now watching the recorded video of your February 7, 2017, study
session on the Ravenswood Grade Separation Project
with staff project manager Angela Obeso and consultants from AECOM.

Councilmember Carlton asked a question on behalf of an unnamed "a former
mayor" as to why the fully elevated (i.e. viaduct) alternative was
eliminated from consideration.

The answer provided was that due to the 1% maximum grade limitation, there
was insufficient ramp-up distance from the Palo Alto side to achieve a
25-foot track elevation at Ravenswood. And that, similarly, there was
insufficient ramp-down distance between Glenwood Ave. and Atherton to
return the tracks to ground-level. (Atherton opposes any track elevation.)

As per this article on railroad grades and curves
a 1% grade exists when a track rises (or falls) 1 foot per 100 feet. This
means for a track to rise or fall 25 feet at a 1% grade requires 2,500 feet
(1% of 2,500 feet).

The track distance from the San Francisquito Creek bridge to Ravenswood
Ave. is over 3,600 feet, and the distance from Glenwood to Atherton's
Watkins Ave. crossing at over 2,700 feet.

So, clearly, there *is* more than enough "ramping" space to grade-separate
Ravenswood, Oak Grove and Glenwood with a 25-foot high open viaduct while
returning the tracks to ground level at Holbrook-Palmer Park in Atherton to
the north and at the San Francisquito Creek Bridge to the south.

Note that the foregoing means that tracks will be sloping low across
Encinal (the least trafficked Menlo Park grade crossing), which must
therefore either be closed or dipped down a bit ("hybrid style") in order
to provide a fourth grade separation there too.

This is an exciting possibility worthy of further study because it
functionally provides a high degree of openness and connectivity across
(under) the elevated tracks for much of its length ... allowing for
landscaping and/or bike/ped paths alongside or underneath ... while also
eliminating *all four* of Menlo Park's at-grade crossings and eliminating
the need to change road or driveway elevations in the vicinity of
Ravenswood, Alma, Merrill, Oak Grove or Glenwood, thereby allowing for
maximum bicycle/pedestrian friendly and safe streetscaping.

The historic Menlo Park station can stay right where it is, as occurred
with the historic San Carlos station during their multi-street grade
separation project in the 1990s.

Respectfully and with kind regards,
Adrian Brandt
Redwood City (Menlo Park native)

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Received on Thu Mar 23 2017 - 00:35:41 PDT

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