Almanac

News - January 22, 2014

Menlo Park: No change in city's 2-track rail policy

by Barbara Wood

The Menlo Park City Council did not change its rail policy at its Jan. 14 meeting, but not because council members voted to retain it.

Instead, the council was told that San Mateo County Transportation Authority officials are no longer requiring the policy change before the agency will fund studying ways to have Ravenswood Avenue cross over or under the railroad tracks.

The city had been told by the transportation agency that a grant of $750,000 sought by the city to study building a "grade separation" at Ravenswood Avenue and the tracks depended on the city's leaving the option open to someday considering a third set of tracks in the city. The set of passing tracks could support future development of high-speed rail.

A position statement adopted by the council in October 2012 specifically rules out a set of "passing rails" through Menlo Park, and it was that policy the council had been asked to consider modifying.

Several speakers had come to the meeting to urge the council to retain the existing policy.

Once the study has been done, the city can decide if it wants to apply for construction funding to make the grade change.

Councilwoman Catherine Carlton said the study is "to make the intersection safer. It's not about high-speed rail."

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