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Input to Grade Separation Discussion

From: domainremoved <Marcy>
Date: Tue, 10 Oct 2017 13:32:30 -0400

Dear City Council Members,

I am a 20+ year resident of Felton Gables, and am writing with regard to tonight’s grade separation decision since I will be unable to attend the meeting and share my views during the public comment period.

As I have expressed at various meetings over the years, I believe that the best long-term decision for grade separation in Menlo Park is to put the tracks below ground. Grade separation should be viewed as a 100 year investment, and not a one-time expenditure. The benefits of submerging the tracks, and the possibility of putting the land above them to good use have been well articulated. One need only consider the dramatic increase in property values in our city over the past 20 years to envision what they may look like over the next 100. Future generations will be grateful for the foresight of today’s decision makers if the tracks are submerged.

With the regard to the two grade separation options being considered, I believe that under both scenarios a third passing lane should be vigorously opposed. Menlo Park is a residential city, with an ever-increasing number of homes, condos and apartments adjacent to the train corridor. A third track would bring faster speeds, and more train congestion, noise and safety issues to our community. It would also increase the train footprint within the right of way, and decrease property values all along the corridor. In sum, Menlo Park would incur excessive costs, and receive no benefits.

Additionally, I believe that under both options, the City should expand the project scope to include quad gates at the remaining crossings. Quad gates would increase safety at the non-grade separated crossings, and also make them eligible for quiet zone status. Quiet zones would increase quality of life and property values, two tenets of the City’s rail policy. The incremental cost of adding quad gates to the grade separation project would be minimal, and the funding process would be simpler than as stand-alone projects.

Finally, in light of recent proposals to elevate the tracks on a viaduct, I must express my firm opposition. One need only look to the recent past in San Francisco, specifically the Central and Embarcadero Freeways, to see how overhead transit destroys the areas around it. When these freeways existed, the neighborhoods beneath them were blighted and crime-infested; these areas have now been transformed into some of the most beautiful and lively in the city. The idea of constructing a wide aerial structure that would support tall trains and even taller catenary wires in as wonderful a setting as Menlo Park defies logic. I hope you will reject this option outright.

Thank you for your consideration.

Best regards,
Marcy Abramowitz
Received on Tue Oct 10 2017 - 10:37:41 PDT

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