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Re: Recommendations For Initial Menlo Park FEGS Study

From: Mueller, Ray <"Mueller,>
Date: Fri, 4 Jan 2019 22:30:07 +0000

Hi Dana,
Happy to meet. I believe Drew would be happy to join as well. Please propose some dates and times, preferably during non-work weekday hours.
From: dana hendrickson <danahendrickson2009_at_(domainremoved)
Sent: Friday, January 4, 2019 11:58:18 AM
Cc: Henry Riggs; Adrian Brandt; Steve Schmidt; mickie winkler; dana hendrickson; Steve Pierce; Chase Rapp; Scott Norton; Dehn Fran; Mike Forster; Tony Carrasco; Adina Levin; Batti, Renee (Almanac External); Nadia Naik
Subject: Recommendations For Initial Menlo Park FEGS Study

Menlo Park residents deserve a politically unbiased evaluation of fully elevated grade separations (FEGS) so all can judge the FACTUAL trade-offs between this alternative and the Ravenswood-only underpass approved by the previous City Council. To that end, the design of the FEGS study – and on-going evaluations - must reflect a genuine interest in identifying a FEGS solution that best accomplishes the following objectives.

• Improves vehicle traffic circulation and safety
• Improves east-west bike and pedestrian connectivity (convenience, safety)
• Improves the vitality of the up-and-coming Train Station Area Business District
• Minimizes the amount and duration of negative effects caused by construction
• Mitigates negative impacts on nearby neighborhoods
• Secures sufficient state and county funding
• Completed in the shortest possible calendar time, e.g. 2030, not many years later

Unfortunately, the scope of an initial FEGS study proposed by staff at the December 4, 2018 does NOT reflect this attitude. A group of residents believes city staff has artificially constrained the technical feasibility evaluation of rail profiles, and thereby, eliminated potentially desirable, practical FEGS solutions. This fact is clearly known by city staff and puts the very objectivity of the study scope into question.

“A track profile analysis to determine the maximum grade needed to provide sufficient elevation to avoid roadway excavation at Glenwood Avenue (span completely over the street); while simultaneously avoiding impact to Encinal Avenue. (Source: Staff Report: December 4, 2018)

A positive approach requires the City Council and staff to abandon its “traditional” negative attitudes towards elevating tracks above existing grades. These were formed with insufficient (a) facts about actual trade-offs and (b) informed feedback from current residents. Our city council must ensure that residents have a clear and sound understanding of practical solutions, and their voices are heard.

The first step should be the completion of an initial FEGS study that evaluates the three primary areas of concern repeatedly raised by residents.
• The technical feasibility of various possible fully elevated rail profiles
• The noise implications of these profiles versus existing conditions
• The aesthetic impacts of these profiles

We believe the initial study should determine whether a FEGS solution could be designed that meets the following criteria:
• Fully elevated grade separations at least at Ravenswood and Oak Grove
• Some type of separation at Glenwood, either fully elevated or hybrid with minor street lowering
• Built entirely within Menlo Park city boundaries
• Have maximum grades acceptable to Caltrain, greater than its standards.
• Acceptable visual and noise impacts on south end and north end neighborhoods
• Encinal might be closed to vehicle traffic only; pedestrian and bicyclist crossings would be provided

In addition to the proposed noise analysis, the study deliverables should include the following:
• Rail profile designs that use 1%, 1.25% and 1.5% maximum average grades
• Elevation drawings and CAD images for the most promising rail profile (s) that illustrate
o Train bridges
o The northern and southern grades
o A fully elevated structure that connects Ravenswood and Oak Grove.
        Note: All elevation drawings should include “ghost tress” (current and planned) that visually screen the elevated structure and train electrification equipment.
• A preliminary layout for train station area
• Comparative matrices for Alternative A, C and FEGS similar to the ones in the enclosed document with clear explanations for all technical ratings.
• Project cost estimates assuming grades can be either viaducts or stabilized embankments

Finally, this study should also identify all potential impacts to south end and north end neighborhoods and suggest design mitigation alternatives

We encourage you to revise the scope and deliverables for the FEGS study and ensure its completion in the shortest possible time. We believe an FEGS alternative MIGHT be far superior to Alternative A, and our city should be well prepared for this outcome to avoid additional project delays.

We have spent at least a hundred volunteer hours in our efforts to assist our city during the past year, and we continue to welcome opportunities to discuss our findings with the Rail Subcommittee and other council members. Our invitation remains open.
Received on Fri Jan 04 2019 - 14:27:04 PST

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