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Town Square

Council Considers Grade Separations -- AGAIN!

Original post made by Martin Engel on Nov 12, 2012

After ten years of fighting off both Caltrain corridor development and high-speed rail -- which would pay for Caltrain development -- I've given up. That's why whatever the City Council decides about grade separations in Menlo Park is pretty much irrelevant to my way of thinking.

The reason the subject has come up is the possible availability of funding. Not enough to pay for the grade separation of a single grade crossing, mind you, but enough to pay for further studies.

Studies, as we all know, are the bread-and-butter of the city administration. As former Councilman John Boyle put it, the city likes to do studies in order to avoid making decisions.

Also, it keeps city staff occupied, off the streets and out of mischief. By now, after ten years, I am more convinced than ever that: It's not about the trains; it's about the money.

Also, I've learned -- painfully -- that the most cynical interpretation of any political situation invariably turns out to be the most accurate.

So, with renewed anticipation about grade separations, we'll blow more taxpayer dollars on more studies, but it will be a very, very long time before the back-hoes, bulldozers and dump trucks show up.

Did I mention that a single grade separation project on any of Menlo Park's four grade crossings will cost upward of $100 million?

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