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Re: Menlo Park grade separations viaduct

From: domainremoved <Steve>
Date: Wed, 7 Jun 2017 20:11:15 -0700

Hi Mickie,
I agree with your two concluding thoughts and with Adrian's thinking that
promotes examples of viaducts.
With limited vertical clearance Encinal could be a bicycle under-crossing.
A bigger question might be why does Atherton's provincial attitude dictate
a half-measure design for Menlo Park with 5 times Atherton's population?
Were Rich and Kirsten at tonight's gathering?
Thanks for your thoughts.
Steve

On Wed, Jun 7, 2017 at 7:20 PM, mickie650 <mickie650_at_(domainremoved)

>
> Dropped in but did not stay for Grade Sep presentation at the Rec Center.
> Heard that:
> There is some reason why full grade cannot be achieved over Ravenswood
> from the creek. not clear.
> No grade separation or closure is planned at Encinal.
> HSR has said it does not want 3rd track in MP, but noone is sure where
> Caltrains stands on this.
> Drop down construction is fast but more expensive. The consultant talked
> to her own firm on this.
> Aquaduct concept is a matter of design and will be discussed in the
> future. Is the expense justified if there is only 10-foot high clearance?
> don't know.
>
> *My thought: *
> *The city council must go to felton Gables and demonstrate why grade seps
> will reduce noise, especially with a noise buffer.*
> *The city council has to say to staff: We want a fully separated system.
> Show us how we can get it. *
>
> Mickie Winkler
> 650-473-9722 <(650)%20473-9722>
> 650-335-5540 <(650)%20335-5540> cell
>
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Adrian Brandt <adrian.brandt_at_(domainremoved)
> To: city.council <city.council_at_(domainremoved)
> Cc: Adina Levin <aldeivnian_at_(domainremoved)
> arobeso_at_(domainremoved)
> Winkler <mickie650_at_(domainremoved)
> Rich Cline <rcline_at_(domainremoved)
> Clem Tillier <clem_at_(domainremoved)
> Sent: Fri, Jun 2, 2017 6:29 pm
> Subject: Re: Menlo Park grade separations viaduct
>
> 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)
>
> 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)
> 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 Wed Jun 07 2017 - 20:15:32 PDT

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