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Pope Chaucer bridge replacement

From: domainremoved <>
Date: Fri, 14 Feb 2014 13:41:31 -0500

To Whom it May Concern;

I have resided in the Willows neighborhood of Menlo Park for 34 years, in 3 different dwellings. All 3 of those properties are currently in flood zone. None of them have actually flooded over that time period.

I count myself fortunate not to have suffered the difficulties that neighbors in Menlo Park, Palo Alto, and East Palo Alto have had with repeated flooding over that same time period. I recognize that the existing bridges over San Francisquito creek contribute to the flood risk and as such need to be redesigned. I love the creek and the bridges as they currently exist but accept that some change is necessary.

Having said that, I find none of the currently proposed alternatives for the Pope Chaucer bridge replacement to be acceptable alternatives. The creek as it currently exists is one of the few wild places still untamed amongst the concrete, asphalt, and sculpted gardens that surround it. I can't imagine mountain lions using the proposed creekbed redesigns as a pathway to the bay as they do now and wonder how many possoms, racoons, skunks, racoons, salamanders, and fish will be displaced by what is proposed.

I vote a strong "no" on the raised bridge with extended floodwall solution. I would prefer to see a design that allows as many as possible of the existing trees to remain. I would also prefer to have a solution that allows as much shade and tree cover over the bridge and creek as possible, rather than the barren expanse detailed in the existing drawings. I recognize that new landscaping will be provided but saw little coverage given to what exactly would be provided in either of the public meetings other than some sketched in generic trees and shrubs.

My first vote would be to remove the existing bridge and replace it with a bicycle bridge, leaving as much of the existing fauna and topography in place as possible. Having served 8 years on the transportation commission in Menlo Park, I suspect that idea will be a no go. Failing that I would like to see a modified design, with more focus on nature and far less concrete and stone.

I believe it was Frederick Law Omstead, the landscape architect behind Central Park in New York City, who said that one should design with a 100 year vision. That vision needs to include a lot more than just concrete barriers to water.

Lastly, any plan to avoid a 100 year event that does not factor in climate change and the accompanying rise in sea levels is an exercise in idiocy and unlikely to be successful in getting the neighborhoods out of the flood zone requirements. I expect by the time any such plan is actually executed FEMA will have redrawn the boundaries and raised the requirements.


Rhoda Alexander
406 Central Ave.
Menlo Park, CA 94025
Received on Fri Feb 14 2014 - 10:41:07 PST

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