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Re: Opposition to JPA bridge and flood wall plans along San Francisquito Creek

From: Keith, Kirsten <"Keith,>
Date: Tue, 28 Jan 2014 16:46:16 -0800

Dear Ms. Sloo,

Thank you for your email. I have asked the Santa Clara Valley Water District to talk about other alternatives, such as Culverts and upstream detention, at tomorrow night's meeting. There are many options for us to discuss, not two. This is the time to gather public input and I am glad to have yours. Thank you.


Kirsten Keith
Council Member & Former Mayor
City of Menlo Park
701 Laurel Street
Menlo Park, CA 94025

On Jan 28, 2014, at 4:21 PM, "Alaina Sloo" <alaina_at_(domainremoved)

Dear City Council,

I am very, very opposed the current plans of the San Francisquito Joint Powers Authority for a new bridge at Pope Street and 7' concrete flood walls along Woodland Ave.

Although I understand the concerns of the Menlo Park, Palo Alto, and East Palo Alto residents who their homes to be safe from floods, the JPA hasn't acted, in my opinion, with the best interests of the community as a whole in mind and I urge you to oppose the current bridge + huge concrete walls plans the JPA is currently proposing and encourage them to consider other options.

1) The JPA has presented us with only two options for bridges, when there are clearly other options, such as a less aggressive bridge combined with underground flood diversion, which has been successfully used in other places.

2) The JPA is planning to vote on a bridge plan alone, yet they say the purpose of the proposed bridges is to protect the area from a 100-year flood and to actually achieve that goal they will also have to build huge (7' ) concrete walls along the creek in both directions and on both sides. YET they are planning to vote on the bridge before doing any kind of environmental impact study on the bridge and the walls, even though those concrete walls will undoubtedly have a negative impact on the wildlife corridor, quite possibly a significant one.

The San Francisquito Creek is an amazing resource for Menlo Park and, as the last natural riparian corridor from the mountains to the Bay left in the area, a precious one that we should protect at all costs. Not only is it important to many local residents who value its beauty and the character it gives to our neighborhoods, but we're told it's one of the last remaining viable steelhead trout corridors (a federally listed threatened species in California). The creek system also supports several other special-status species. The JPA believes the concrete walls won't affect these animals and perhaps they won't. But we've already seen how the belief that the oaks wouldn't be harmed by construction of the Performing Arts Center turned out to be false and now several years later the oaks are dead. Before I'm willing to believe that the riparian corridor won't be harmed by these plans, I think we need to see a thorough EIR. And I don't think anyone should be voting on a bridge before that.

3) The JPA has not consistently been forthright in their communications with local residents so far. This may be unintentional, but the result is the same. At least some of the Willows residents who own property extending down into the creek and would be affected have never been officially notified about any of these bridge and concrete wall meetings held by the JPA. The JPA has also told people that that the owners of the properties affected by the raised bridge proposal (Bridge Alternative 1) support the plan, when in fact at least one of the two Menlo Park property owners they spoke with says he made it very clear he is vehemently opposed. So I guess we don't really know what the rest think.

4) While the JPA's bridge & wall plans address the the flood impact on some local residents' homes, they ignore the impact of huge concrete walls on the character of our neighborhoods. People live in the Willows in part because of the natural areas of the creek. Those 7' concrete walls will change the character of our neighborhoods permanently -- not just once every one hundred years. And not in a positive way. What families will want to live by concrete walls?

It's also worth noting that this is not a disagreement between people in the flood zone and people outside it. At a recent neighborhood gathering to discuss the bridge and flood wall proposals, plenty of Willows residents who are in the flood zone and pay flood insurance now were opposed to the new bridge and concrete wall proposals.

I hope the City of Menlo Park will instead urge the JPA to:

A) Postpone a decision on a bridge until an environmental impact study can be done on whatever FULL solutions they are proposing, and

B) Consider alternate proposals that don't require huge concrete walls, such as a bridge with 35-year flood capacity combined with future upstream diversion to address the issue of the 100-year flood in the long-term.

Thank you very much for your consideration,

Sincerely yours,

Alaina Sloo
1143 Woodland Ave
Menlo Park, CA 94025
Received on Tue Jan 28 2014 - 16:45:41 PST

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