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Pope-Chaucer Bridge Replacement

From: domainremoved <Robert>
Date: Wed, 12 Feb 2014 15:33:19 -0800

There seem to be several alternatives under consideration for the replacement of the Pope-Chaucer bridge:

1. Raise bridge road bed 4 feet, with some flood walls
2. Raise bridge road bed 2 feet, with some flood walls
3. Flat road (at level of the banks), no flood walls
4. Bike bridge only
5. Remove bridge
6. Leave things as they are.

Id like to go on record as being opposed to alternatives 1 and 2. San Francisquito creek is a local treasure. This is the last natural creek on the peninsula. Paving it over and killing oaks to handle the nonexistent risk of a 100-year flood is a terrible idea. (The 1998 flood is the highest on record, and the last 150 years the wettest on record. But things are clearly getting drier now.) These oak-killing, creek-paving and wall-building proposals seem to be out there primarily to enrich people who bought cheaper property in the flood plain, at the expense of those of the rest of us who would not only have to pay for it, but also lose the benefit of the natural creek, and to keep the Santa Clara water district authority busy.

Alternatives 3-5 are all fine with me. A wallless, flat road, one level with the banks (or one rising a few inches above the banks) would remove any complaint that the bridge is causing flooding. Removing the traffic bridge and replacing it with a pedestrian bridge, or no bridge at all would certainly be more economical than building an auto bridge, and should also satisfy those worried about flooding. Doing so would also divert cut-through traffic through our neighborhoods, an additional advantage.

I believe there is considerable feeling that the Pope-Chaucer bridge was responsible for the 1998 flood, but the conditions were such that Palo Alto would have flooded even without this bridge. Menlo Park missed most of the 1998 flooding. Much of that was because Menlo Park had improved its storm drain system. Improving Palo Altos storm drains and providing a water overflow path (perhaps under Hamilton Avenue) would be better mechanisms for flood control than damaging the creek.

Alternative 6 is a choice heavily constrained by external economics. I understand that the bridge has been turned into the scapegoat for the 1998 flood (even though we would have had a flood without it), that the municipalities have been legally bludgeoned into doing something about the creek and that the money is available to do something now. So while it would otherwise be fine with me to leave things the way they are, I understand the imperative to do something. I just believe that something should be one of choices 3, 4 or 5.

Robert Filman
1293 Woodland Avenue
Menlo Park, CA 94025
650-321-8624
Received on Wed Feb 12 2014 - 15:33:50 PST

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