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Re: Menlo Park grade separations viaduct

From: domainremoved <Adrian>
Date: Thu, 8 Jun 2017 00:37:14 -0700

RE: Nikki's message about Encinal

Rather than leave Encinal just as is, here are some other options:

• Make Encinal quiet zone (to at least eliminate the increased horn-blowing
from increased train traffic)
• Close Encinal at the tracks after Glenwood grade separation is complete
• Figure out how to include it anyway! It's a little over 1,600 feet away
from Watkins (see image below), which allows an elevation change of 16 feet
with a 1% grade (and unlike Encinal, the tracks are already a bit higher
than grade by a few feet at Watkins ... that's why there's a "hump" in the
road to cross there). If the maximum allowable grade, which is set so low
solely for freight, is eased to, say, 2%, then an elevation change of 32
feet becomes possible. Even with only 16 feet track elevation, Encinal
would only have to be dipped down maybe only 8 or so feet, depending on the
rail overpass design thickness. That might still be workable (mitigable)
for the 2 homes between the tracks and Felton.

[image: Inline image 1]

On Thu, Jun 8, 2017 at 12:09 AM, Adrian Brandt <adrian.brandt_at_(domainremoved)

> 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)
> wrote:
>> 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)
>>>> wrote:
>>>> 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)
>>>> 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 - 00:42:19 PDT

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