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San Francisquito Creek Preservation and Flood Protection

From: domainremoved <Steve>
Date: Fri, 14 Feb 2014 16:13:10 -0800

February 14, 2014


To: the JPA Board, Santa Clara Valley Water District,

cc to City of Menlo Park, City of East Palo Alto, City of Palo Alto

San Mateo County Public Works, Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian:


From: Steve Schmidt Former Mayor of Menlo Park

Central Ave, Menlo Park. One block from Chaucer St. Bridge


No living local resident has experienced a 100 yr. flood event. Today's
scientific forecasts for California suggest a future of worsening drought.
These projections suggest that the likelihood of a 100 yr. flood will
become even more remote. Nevertheless, in good faith, we participate in
this process and we respect the judgment of those who seek solutions to the
1% chance of a damaging flood.


Our recommendations to the JPA and the SCVWD are as follows:


 1. All efforts by the JPA or any other agency to contain the 100-year
flood within the existing Creek channel should be stopped. The creek should
not act as the sole solution to 9,000 CFS flows coming from the hills. The
environmental damage of this approach would be too severe.


 2. The Pope/Chaucer Bridge should be replaced with one that accommodates a
5,000 CFS flow without flood walls or headwalls. Any changes proposed to
the Pope/Chaucer bridge must alleviate conditions that contributed to the
flooding experienced in 1998 which was measured at 7,200 CFS.


 3. Flood protection beyond the 50-year event can be achieved through a
combination of engineering approaches such as:

   1. an in-street culvert upstream of the Middlefield Bridge down Willow
   to the bay,
   2. an in-street culvert upstream of the Pope-Chaucer St Bridge at Seneca
   and down Hamilton to the bay,
   3. an in-street culvert upstream of the Pope-Chaucer St. Bridge down
   Channing Ave. to the bay,
   4. a diversion culvert downstream of the Pope-Chaucer St Bridge down
   Woodland with a return upstream of HWY 101
   5. upgrades of existing storm drains in Palo Alto and Menlo Park.
   6. upstream detention of high flows.


 4. Every option that enhances and preserves the riparian woodland and
stream habitat of the Creek must be pursued. The use of rip rap should not
be considered anywhere in the creek.


We live within the FEMA Flood Zone. We share the concern of residents in
Menlo Park and neighboring cities who suffered damage during the 1998
flooding, which was close to a 50-year episode. Once the Palo Alto Golf
Course levee and the Bayshore-101 culvert projects are complete, the
flooding problems suffered by East Palo Alto & parts of Palo Alto will be
eliminated. The existing Pope-Chaucer bridge contributes to upstream
overflows of the creek into Palo Alto and Menlo Park during high flows. We
agree with the January 23, 2014 comment of JPA Chair Kirsten Keith on the
future of the Creek, "Flood walls are a non-starter."


We object to the piecemeal approach of seeking solutions to creek flooding.
We want a comprehensive study that has at its foundation, detention ponds
and culverts upstream of the Middlefield Bridge and/or the Chaucer-Pope St.
Bridge. The goal of any scenario should be that the flow of the creek be
reduced to 4,500 to 5,000 CFS before it approaches the Pope-Chaucer bridge.
This approach will eliminate the need for floodwalls and the resulting
destruction of hundreds of trees along the banks of the creek in both Palo
Alto and Menlo Park.


While the cost of culverts may be greater than for floodwalls and 100-yr
designs for Middlefield, Pope-Chaucer and Newell St bridges, we are willing
to be included in an assessment district to pay for flood protection that
preserves the integrity of San Francisquito Creek.


Current work on the Environmental Impact Report being conducted must
include consideration of the above recommendations as well as an analysis
of the impacts of removing the Pope/Chaucer Bridge without replacement.


The replacement bridge should not allow for any future upgrade or expansion
aimed at increasing in-channel flow capacity. We expect minimal impact to
existing trees and vegetation with preservation of the aesthetic appearance
of the bridge area.


Flood protection utilizing flood walls or other enlargement of the Creek
channel is not acceptable nor is either of the two bridge options presented
at public meetings on January 15 & January 29, 2014.


Our view, shared by many residents in both cities, is that improved flood
protection is needed and can be achieved without damaging this wooded
riparian corridor that we value as an integral and essential part of our
neighborhoods.



Steve Schmidt, Former Mayor of Menlo Park

Brielle Johnck Former Menlo Park Environmental Quality Commissioner

Central Ave. Menlo Park
Received on Fri Feb 14 2014 - 16:12:34 PST

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