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Re: Menlo Park grade separations viaduct

From: domainremoved <Adrian>
Date: Thu, 8 Jun 2017 00:07:22 -0700

Of course, you can have whatever blend of viaduct and berm is wanted or
desirable, and many designs and materials are possible ... but to aid the
imagination, here's a double-track viaduct in the middle of Paris ...
imagine a nice open structure like this spanning the downtown station area
from south of Ravenswood to just north of Oak Grove:

[image: Inline image 1]

On Wed, Jun 7, 2017 at 11:09 PM, Adrian Brandt <adrian.brandt_at_(domainremoved)

> Hi Mickie and all,
> As mentioned, I was unable to attend tonight's meeting ... I'm back home
> now and upon seeing your email, I checked the "Watch Public Meetings
> <http://menlopark.org/694/Watch-public-meetings>" area of the
> city's website, but didn't see video there yet. Maybe it's too soon, so
> I'll check back in a day or so.
> You mentioned you heard it was not possible, for reasons that are unclear,
> for the tracks to be on a viaduct across Ravenswood. Those reasons need to
> be laid out clearly in printed form with basic diagrams and elevation/slope
> calculations along with whatever assumptions or constraints are being
> claimed to apply.
> As you know from my prior emails, I see no reason why or how this would be
> since there are just over 3,700 feet (see image below) between the San
> Francisquito Creek bridge and Ravenswood, which is significantly lower than
> the creek bridge (it's easy to see that the tracks actually slope downward
> from the creek toward Ravenswood). Even if the track was perfectly flat
> between the creek and Ravenswood, a 1% grade would allow the tracks to rise
> to 37 feet.
> There was mention of a crossover starting about even with Burgess Drive
> and extending about 360 feet toward Ravenswood. Even if that area had to
> be level (which it doesn't), that would still allow the track to rise to
> about 33 feet at Ravenswood.
> But as mentioned, and plainly visible to anyone casually surveying the
> area, the tracks at San Francisquito are *already* significantly higher
> than they are at Ravenswood ... so getting the tracks up high enough for a
> full viaduct without changing the grade of Ravenswood, Alma, Oak Grove,
> Merrill or Derry Lane should easily be possible even with only a 0.5%
> grade!!
> (As a matter of choice, the best option may still be to only raise the
> tracks enough to allow the bike/ped paths/sidewalks to remain at grade and
> dip the roads down a few additional feet to cross under the tracks in order
> to keep the viaducts just a bit lower, and yet still keep Alma and Merrill
> and Derry at wholly or mostly at-grade in the vicinity of the crossings. A
> matter TBD.)
> [image: Inline image 1]
> As for why a handful of Felton Gables residents are being allowed to
> dictate or foreclose certain alternatives is not a technical issue, so I
> will only say that makes no sense because this is a decision for the entire
> city and everyone who travels in and through it for the next century or
> more.
> Regards,
> Adrian
> On Wed, Jun 7, 2017 at 8:34 PM, mickie650 <mickie650_at_(domainremoved)
>> Steve
>> I did not see council members, but they might have come after I left.
>> Nikki attributed the decision not to grade-separate encinal to Felton
>> Gable's objections--not to Atherton--although Atherton might still be a
>> stumbling block.
>> I am told that the participants at tonight's discussion would be asked to
>> weigh in on whether Ravenswood and Oak Grove should be cut off, or whether
>> one lane should be open to during construction. Keeping one lane open
>> delays construction time. Did not stay to hear how long construction would
>> be. What a terrible--AND UNNECESSARY--choice. If the tracks were completely
>> raised as they obviously should be, we would be spared the expense and
>> disruption of lowering roads.
>> The argument for: *Completely raising the tracks.*
>> · raising the tracks with an aquaduct style construct will improve
>> our city.
>> · It will open up access between two sides of town.
>> · It is the least disruptive alternative, no need to lower the
>> roads. This is a big deal.
>> · And not only does it benefit the City, it is by far the least
>> expensive way to go.
>> · Allows encinal to be grade separated which Felton Gables AND
>> Atherton should want. Otherwise they don’t separate and get to keep the
>> train noise.
>> Mickie Winkler
>> 650-473-9722 <(650)%20473-9722>
>> 650-335-5540 <(650)%20335-5540> cell
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Steve Schmidt <menloparksteve_at_(domainremoved)
>> To: mickie650 <mickie650_at_(domainremoved)
>> Cc: Adrian Brandt <adrian.brandt_at_(domainremoved)
>> city.council_at_(domainremoved)
>> <arobeso_at_(domainremoved)
>> Richard Cline <rcline_at_(domainremoved)
>> clem <clem_at_(domainremoved)
>> Sent: Wed, Jun 7, 2017 8:11 pm
>> Subject: Re: Menlo Park grade separations viaduct
>> 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-o
>> n-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-age
>> ncy-plans-peninsula-meetings-on-alignments-6-mile-passing-tr
>> ack-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.
>> [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 Jun 08 2017 - 00:12:17 PDT

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