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Downtown Railroad Crossing(s)

From: domainremoved <Jym>
Date: Fri, 25 Jan 2019 10:46:43 -0800

Re: City Council Rail Subcommittee Special Meeting 1/31/2019

Superiority of Fully-Elevated Option

It is difficult to evaluate the full cost to the public of Options A, C
and the tunnel alternatives, but the extended disruption during a
lengthy construction period for these alternatives is mind-boggling. By
contrast, a fully-elevated option could be built with virtually no
disruption to either train or vehicle traffic. Here is how I perceive
this option being constructed:

     From south of Ravenswood to north of Glenwood, the new tracks would
    be 12 or more feet about the earth surface, supported by columns,
    allowing pedestrian and bicycle access if desired underneath this
    entire stretch. By using support columns rather than an earthen
    berm, the effect of a "wall" dividing the city east-west is minimized.

    Support columns could be placed next to the outside edge of the
    existing pair of tracks at regular intervals. These could be
    installed with minimal disruption to existing train service. At the
    street crossings, a support column-pair might be necessary (or at
    least desirable to save cost) in between the traffic lanes, which
    presumably could be done with minimal disruption to traffic flow.

    Each new track would be placed directly over a line of columns with
    station walkway in between the 2 new tracks; i.e., over the present
    tracks. Once the trains are operational on these new tracks, the old
    tracks can be removed and stairs/elevators for the new station
    walkway built. Obviously a temporary stair/elevator would need to be
    installed in advance to be in place while the permanent ones are
    being built.

    Access to the in between-walkway can easily be made from each side
    of the affected streets (Ravenswood, etc.), effectively and cheaply
    providing a safe way for pedestrians and bicycles to cross over
    these streets.

    The platform for the new rails should be designed to minimize train
    wheel-noise at ground level.

    Although the new tracks could be high enough to require no dip in
    the roadways underneath, it would make sense to lower the roadways
    as much as easily doable with the goal of the tracks being at least
    12 feet above the normal earth surface. The idea is a height that
    allows pedestrians and bicycles--but not necessarily vehicles--to
    readily pass underneath the tracks anywhere. Of course, the deeper
    the roads have to dip, the more disruption to vehicular traffic the
    construction will cause. But construction of a dip of even 10 feet
    is not nearly as disruptive as a complete underpass. The vehicle
    connections to Alma Street can be maintained easily if the dips in
    Ravenswood and Oak Grove are modest.

Given the advantages of the fully-elevated option, I think its
additional dollar costs, if any, would be justified.

James E. "Jym" Clendenin, Ph.D. (physics)
1075 Windsor Drive
Menlo Park, CA 94025-5011
Cell: (650) 862-1130
Website: sites.google.com/site/jclenhome
Blog: clenblogger.wordpress.com
Received on Fri Jan 25 2019 - 10:43:27 PST

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