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Rail policies and passing tracks

From: domainremoved <Adina>
Date: Wed, 18 Mar 2015 10:06:10 -0700

Dear City Council,

This evening, the Rail Committee will reviewing the City Council's
policies, particularly with respect to grade separation options. There is
tremendous community support for increasing safety at the rail
intersections and it is important to be studying grade separation options
that would provide the most benefit and least harm for Menlo Park.

Based on the staff reports from 2003/4, the staff-recommended split option
had the best benefits for connectivity and preserving property, and should
be brought back to consideration. This will require changing the policy
prohibiting any elevation of the tracks.

Passing tracks - of benefit to Menlo Park?

There is another city policy that makes sense to review as well. Current
city policy prohibits passing tracks in Menlo Park. Based on recent
indications, passing tracks might be of benefit not only to long-distance
travellers taking HSR between SF and LA - *but to Peninsula Commuters
travelling in the corridor between SF and SJ. *

In the Caltrain/HSR passing track studies, there are no 4 track options
that would traverse Menlo Park, only a 3 track option that Caltrain has
stated might be fit into the current right of way.

Caltrain faces ongoing expected ridership growth and capacity needs.
Electrification and longer platforms with level boarding will deliver a
substantial boost in capacity but there is likely to be a need for more
commute capacity in the 2020s following the extension of the Caltrain
tracks to the San Francisco Financial District with the Downtown Extension.

The next phase of blended system planning with HSR (starting this summer)
is likely to discuss options to use the passing track capacity to provide
more Peninsula commute service with more frequent trains.

* If passing tracks will benefit Menlo Park by providing more Peninsula
commute rail capacity - helping our commuters, and reducing traffic for our
drivers on 101 - we would be harming ourselves by making it more difficult
to add passing tracks?

* Can Menlo Park's planning process confirm with Caltrain and HSR that if
there are to be passing tracks, that they would add to Peninsula rail
commute capacity?

* Can Caltrain confirm that a 3 track solution would not require
additional Right of Way? Or if it requires any additional right of way, how
much and specifically where?

In summary, passing tracks have the potential to benefit Menlo Park. The
impacts and benefits should be analyzed. Because of the potential benefits
the policy should be changed to not reject them categorically. The policy
should be changed to study the impacts and benefits of passing tracks
rather than rejecting them.

Thank you for considering these policy issues that are important for
quality of life, effective transportation, and the environment in Menlo
Park and the region.

- Adina

Adina Levin
650-646-4344
Received on Wed Mar 18 2015 - 10:01:38 PDT

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