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Re: Menlo Park grade separations viaduct

From: domainremoved <Adrian>
Date: Fri, 2 Jun 2017 18:29:18 -0700

Just FYI ...

Gilroy Citizens Group "Gilroy Growing Smarter
<http://www.gilroygrowingsmarter.org>" chooses HSR viaduct over berm:


*Guest Column: Build the High Speed Rail Above Downtown Gilroy
<http://www.gilroydispatch.com/news/guest-column-build-the-high-speed-rail-above-downtown-gilroy/article_b8605a6c-47d1-11e7-b107-eb37b6d98d77.html>*


Downtown Viaduct Alternative – Would be about 30 feet above street level on
posts allowing for visual access. The land underneath could be used for a
park, bike path, farmer’s market, or parking. Construction would be much
less disruptive. Both downtown alternatives would provide the most
connectivity by locating the station just east of our Caltrain station.

At our May 23 meeting more than a dozen members of Gilroy Growing Smarter
met to consider this issue. After much discussion, we voted nearly
unanimously to support the downtown viaduct (aerial) alternative for
Gilroy’s High Speed Rail alignment. We reached this conclusion primarily
from the information contained in the May 15th report.

This alternative best supports the objectives of Measure H: preserving
farmland and stimulating economic activity downtown. We felt it was
important to take the long term view, knowing that the construction period
would be difficult, but that the expected result would generate increased
demand for office space, retail uses and housing within walking distance of
the station.

On Wed, Apr 5, 2017 at 7:50 AM, Adrian Brandt <adrian.brandt_at_(domainremoved)
wrote:

>
> As I expected, it appears the most likely passing track alternative to be
> chosen will span San Mateo to Redwood City. If Menlo can keep the viaduct
> to 2 tracks, it will be that much easier and more viable.
>
> http://www.smdailyjournal.com/articles/lnews/2017-04-05/
> high-speed-rail-plans-unveiled-agency-plans-peninsula-meetings-on-
> alignments-6-mile-passing-track-from-san-mateo-to-
> redwood-city/1776425178337.html
>
> Passing tracks could have the greatest impact in San Mateo County. The two
> alternatives are to either not create a new set of additional tracks, or to
> add nearly 6 miles where high-speed rail trains could pass Caltrain
> vehicles that are slower and make more frequent stops. The proposed passing
> tracks — the only in this northern San Jose to San Francisco segment —
> would span from about Ninth Avenue in San Mateo to Whipple Avenue in
> Redwood City, Alley said.
>
> That stretch includes the cities of Belmont and San Carlos.
>
> - See more at: http://www.smdailyjournal.com/articles/lnews/2017-04-05/
> high-speed-rail-plans-unveiled-agency-plans-peninsula-meetings-on-
> alignments-6-mile-passing-track-from-san-mateo-to-
> redwood-city/1776425178337.html#sthash.FJphSx8i.dpuf
>
>
> On Sunday, April 2, 2017, Adrian Brandt <adrian.brandt_at_(domainremoved)
>
>> Adina, thanks for forwarding that excerpt (highlighted in yellow
>> below) from the latest Ravenswood staff report.
>>
>> Regarding 0.5-0.6% maximum grade the most recent staff report cites
>> <https://www.menlopark.org/DocumentCenter/View/13307> in ruling out a
>> viaduct ... let them show their calculations, assumptions, and constraints!
>>
>> Some distances measured from San Francisquito Creek Bridge where the
>> tracks *are already many feet higher than Ravenswood* crossing ... which
>> is easy to see as both the tracks (and even part of Alma) are on a
>> downslope nearly the entire distance from the creek to Ravenswood:
>>
>> • 2,000 feet to the nearest point of the crossover approximately even
>> with Burgess Drive
>> • 2,300 feet to the furthest point of the crossover (i.e. the crossover
>> is 300 feet long)
>> • 3,700 feet to Ravenswood
>>
>> Even if you keep to the most conservative 0.5% grade across the entire
>> 3,700 feet, you can only rise (or fall) 18.5 feet (from level) across 3,700
>> feet. This means to get tracks 25 feet over Ravenswood, you'd have to duck
>> the road down 6.5 feet. HOWEVER, I'm almost certain the tracks at San
>> Francisquito are ALREADY at least 6.5 feet higher than they are at
>> Ravenswood. Voila! So even with a 0.5% grade, you can now easily get the
>> tracks up to 25 feet over Ravenswood ... without even dipping the road!
>>
>> If any part of that 3,700 feet can be 0.6% as the staff report suggests,
>> achieving the 25-foot track height over Ravenswood becomes even easier.
>>
>> And, failing all of that ... it's also possible the crossover could be
>> moved at a nearly insignificant cost of the entire project budget) since
>> tracks will be under major construction anyway.
>>
>> Staff and/or Caltrain can confirm how many feet lower the tracks *already
>> are* at Ravenswood with respect the San Fracisquito Creek Bridge.
>>
>> So far, it seems anyone genuinely interested in pursuing the
>> feasibility of a viaduct could easily make it work. If, as I suspect, it's
>> political kryptonite, then it naturally becomes quite easy to seize on and
>> allude to one or more "technical" reasons why it's impossible. Much easier
>> that way.
>>
>> Regards,
>> Adrian Brandt
>>
>> On Sun, Apr 2, 2017 at 11:09 AM, Adina Levin <aldeivnian_at_(domainremoved)
>> rote:
>>
>>> https://www.menlopark.org/DocumentCenter/View/13307
>>>
>>> Previous grade separation studies conducted by the City of Menlo Park
>>> have analyzed the feasibility of a range of grade separation options
>>> including trenching or tunneling the railroad tracks and raising the
>>> railroad tracks into a viaduct. The previously completed 2003-2004 grade
>>> separation study narrowed the feasible PAGE 4 Staff Report #: 17-079-CC
>>> City of Menlo Park 701 Laurel St., Menlo Park, CA 94025 tel 650-330-6600
>>> <(650)%20330-6600> www.menlopark.org options and found the
>>> trench/tunnel and viaduct options to be infeasible within the City limits
>>> without having hybrid variations at multiple crossings. This was due to
>>> Caltrain’s required design criteria (which accommodate rail freight
>>> operations in the corridor), which limit grade changes to a maximum one (1)
>>> percent.
>>>
>>> However, the current study has further explored grade changes in the
>>> corridor and has found that the existing rail infrastructure within the
>>> project area, including crossover track equipment near Burgess Park and the
>>> Menlo Park Station platforms, further limit railroad grade changes. The
>>> preliminary concepts prepared for this study show grade changes to be
>>> limited to a maximum of between 0.5 and 0.6 percent in the area of and due
>>> to these physical constraints, well below Caltrain’s current design
>>> requirements. This eliminates the feasibility of a trench/tunnel and
>>> viaduct options within Menlo Park.
>>>
>>>
>>>
>> On Thu, Mar 23, 2017 at 1:15 PM, Adrian Brandt <adrian.brandt_at_(domainremoved)
>> wrote:
>>
>>> 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)
>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>> 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 Fri Jun 02 2017 - 18:34:14 PDT

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