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Re: Menlo Park grade separations viaduct

From: domainremoved <Adrian>
Date: Thu, 23 Mar 2017 13:15:24 -0700

Here's a bit more on why if Encinal is either closed (or dipped under
tracks "hybrid style") a viaduct alternative appears imminently feasible —
even with a 1% maximum grade.

Of course, if the maximum allowable grade is increased, everything only
becomes easier and cheaper due to the resulting shortened minimum necessary
ramping distances.

Measuring out the "ramping distances" between Atherton and Glenwood is
simple for anyone using the measure distance tool in Google Maps
<https://support.google.com/maps/answer/1628031?hl=en&co=GENIE>.

Measuring northbound along the tracks from Glenwood Ave., anyone can easily
confirm it's:
• 1,000+ feet to Encinal Ave.
• 2,100+ feet to nearest edge of Holbrook-Palmer Park
• 2,500+ feet to the Atherton city limit line
<https://goo.gl/maps/RSRXU3wkqWp> (red line in image below)
• 2,700+ feet to Watkins Ave.

Sloping down at 1% toward Atherton from 25-foot high tracks over Glenwood,
you'd be down to:
• 15 feet high at Encinal (25 ft - (1,000 ft * 1%))
• 4 feet at nearest edge of H-P Park (25 ft - (2,100 ft * 1%))
• 0 feet (at-grade / ground-level) at Spruce Ave and northward to Watkins

So this perfectly satisfies the constraint of returning the tracks to
"at-grade" (ground level) within Atherton's city limits.

Since the tracks are 15 feet up across Encinal, you can either close
Encinal or just be duck it down a few feet and, voila!, you have
grade-separation #4 and a 25-foot viaduct over Glenwood, Oak Grove and
Ravenswood without any re-grading of any approaching or surrounding streets
or sidewalks.

Adrian

[image: Inline image 1]


On Thu, Mar 23, 2017 at 1:05 AM, Adrian Brandt <adrian.brandt_at_(domainremoved)
wrote:

>
> Regarding Caltrain and CA HSRA's requirement that your project designs do
> not preclude the future addition of a 3rd track: it appears that only 1 of
> the 4 passing track alternatives under consideration involves Menlo Park (see
> "*Middle 3 Track*" on page 28
> <http://www.hsr.ca.gov/docs/programs/statewide_rail/proj_sections/SanFran_SanJose/San_Francisco_CWG_PPT_020217.pdf>, and
> depicted below).
>
> It is my understanding that HSRA will choose only one of the 4
> alternatives in the near future. Provided they do not choose "Middle 3
> Track", then it's quite possible you may be relieved of this requirement.
>
> *PASSING TRACK ALTERNATIVES UNDER CONSIDERATION*
>
> [image: Inline image 1]
>
> On Thu, Mar 23, 2017 at 12:32 AM, Adrian Brandt <adrian.brandt_at_(domainremoved)
> wrote:
>
>>
>> Honorable Councilmembers,
>>
>> I am just now watching the recorded video of your February 7, 2017, study
>> session on the Ravenswood Grade Separation Project
>> <http://www.menlopark.org/169/Ravenswood-Avenue-railroad-crossing-proj>
>> 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
>> <http://trn.trains.com/railroads/abcs-of-railroading/2006/05/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)
>>
>>
>>
>> [image: Inline image 1]
>>
>>
>> [image: Inline image 2]
>>
>>
>


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Received on Thu Mar 23 2017 - 13:18:47 PDT

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