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Chaucer Street bridge project comment

From: domainremoved <Naomi>
Date: Mon, 27 Jan 2014 17:11:21 -0800

To: City Council

For consideration by the City Council and Menlo Park residents attending Wednesday night's workshop on the Chaucer Street Bridge project, I would like to make several points:

The SCVWD mailing indicates that they have settled on two bridge replacement alternatives to reach the goal of flood protection. According to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), all feasible alternatives need to be presented (including the no-action alternative) in the Environmental Impact Report so that the public can comment on them. The SCVWD has not demonstrated that two alternatives presented at the June 2013 meeting (upstream retention ponds and diversion conduits) are infeasible. Perhaps some elements of those alternatives, combined with bridge replacement, would provide adequate flood protection without walling in the creek.

The two bridge replacement alternatives favored by the SCVWD will require up to a half-mile of flood walls on either side of the creek to provide 100-year flood protection, but it appears that the SCVWD has split the bridge and walls into separate projects that would involve preparation of two separate Environmental Impact Reports. This is not right. All current and future impacts associated with the bridge replacement need to be considered together, even if funding for the second phase is not available.

Any project that involves modification of the creek banks, whether for bridge construction or flood protection, has to contend with a host of issues that need to be raised at the workshop:

* Erosion control - portions of the project area on the Menlo Park side have no remaining bank available for construction, and Woodland Avenue is already too narrow for two lanes of traffic.
* Sound and graffiti abatement
* Loss of trees and wildlife habitat
* Access to the creek for recreation, emergency response and debris removal

I recognize the need to find a solution to the flooding problem sooner rather than later. Doing nothing is irresponsible when you realize that 1998 was only a mid-size flood which would be expected to happen a few times a century, and every year there is about a 10-15% chance of some flooding at the bridge. However, it's not clear to me that walling in large stretches of the creek is the only feasible alternative. Let's get creative.

Naomi Goodman
Received on Mon Jan 27 2014 - 17:11:20 PST

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