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Re: Menlo Park grade separations viaduct

From: domainremoved <Adrian>
Date: Thu, 8 Jun 2017 00:09:18 -0700

A more futuristic "Jetsons" look ... this one from Dubai:

[image: Inline image 1]

On Thu, Jun 8, 2017 at 12:07 AM, Adrian Brandt <adrian.brandt_at_(domainremoved)

> 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)
> wrote:
>> 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 <arobeso_at_(domainremoved)
>>> nhnagaya_at_(domainremoved)
>>> Keith <kkeith_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)
>>> Mickie Winkler <mickie650_at_(domainremoved)
>>> nhnagaya_at_(domainremoved)
>>> Kieth <kkeith_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 - 00:14:28 PDT

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