Thirteen years ago, Menlo Park decided to look at separating the railroad track crossings at Ravenswood, Encinal, Glenwood and Oak Grove avenues from the street, so that cars and pedestrians would no longer have to travel directly over the tracks.
Now, the city finally has a $750,000 grant from the San Mateo County Transportation Authority to finalize the design for the Ravenswood crossing. The tracks would be raised and the roadway depressed, according to the city.
In light of a fatal collision on Monday, Feb. 23, when a bullet train struck an SUV on the tracks, killing the driver, the council has asked to make the project a priority. However, that still means a long wait.
"We are actively working with Caltrain to kickstart the design for Ravenswood in the coming months with the intention of moving this project forward to final completion as soon as (construction) funding and staff capacity becomes available," Public Works Director Jesse Quirion said.
"Due to the size and magnitude of this type of project it is likely that the design will take around two years to complete and depending on the availability of funding for the construction and staff capacity, the earliest that we could see anything completed would be in the five- to seven- year range."
More information about design options can be found on the city's project website.
Caltrain spokeswoman Christine Dunn said that collisions between trains and cars "are actually quite unusual." There have been eight fatal vehicle collisions on the agency's tracks since 1992, she said, including Monday's crash.
At the Ravenswood crossing, another collision occurred in April 2012, when a train clipped the rear of a car; both passengers survived, according to Ms. Dunn. A train also knocked the bumper off a car at the crossing in November 2014. No one was injured.