News

Menlo Park kickstarts redesign of Ravenswood train crossing

Grade separation will take years

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.

Comments

16 people like this
Posted by collisions
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 25, 2015 at 12:31 pm

In other parts of San Mateo County, the tracks are elevated to allow roads and sidewalks to safely pass underneath. We really should do this through the entire length of town. In addition to making existing track crossings safer, elevated tracks allow the city to easily create more crossings, especially for pedestrians who otherwise have to walk miles to cross the tracks.


10 people like this
Posted by Old Guy
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Feb 25, 2015 at 12:35 pm

It is about time. I've lived in Menlo for 25+ years. I watched as Redwood City, Belmont, and San Carlos used federal funds to grade separate the tracks in the '90s.

For too long the "don't change anything" crowd has prevented Menlo Park from making similar sensible upgrades.

Just don't forget to make it compatible with the High Speed Rail plans, because HSR is coming. (With luck, within my lifetime.)


7 people like this
Posted by Nike
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Feb 25, 2015 at 12:55 pm

It also makes it tremendously quieter. Fewer whistles, no clanging gates and bells.

Quieter.

Better traffic movement.

Safer.

Just do it.


12 people like this
Posted by Aaron
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Feb 25, 2015 at 1:40 pm

Aaron is a registered user.

OK, let's please not waste another 13 years doing nothing on this. However, we don't need to wait five years to clean up some of the mess that is the Ravenswood Crossing: pedestrians at a flag-waving crossing, drivers making a left turn within inches of the crossing gates, uncoordinated traffic lights on ECR that could instead prioritize decongestion at the crossing. We can clean up a lot of that mess within months, not years, making the crossing considerably safer in the interim while we move steadily toward a grade separated world.

We may have decided on a partially elevated track a decade ago, but is that still the preferred option? With HSR incorporation, where will the third track go? On an elevated track bed, that means a much wider area to incorporate embankments (if it won't run on an elevated track).


10 people like this
Posted by Edward Syrett
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Feb 25, 2015 at 1:58 pm

Edward Syrett is a registered user.

I would respectfully request that "Old Guy" not blame the "don't change anything" crowd for Menlo Park's (and Atherton's, and Redwood City's) failure to follow the sterling example of Belmont and San Carlos in elevating the Caltrain tracks. I've lived in MP for over 45 years and have always opposed ridiculous developments like the Willow Expressway and the Greenheart and Stanford projects. I'm a proud voting member of the residentialist block. But whenever I've had the chance I've supported public infrastructure projects like grade separation. As I see it, they don't get support because they don't generate revenue for private-sector developers who in turn fund the campaigns of the pro-development candidates who have had a fairly continuous majority on the City Council, as they do today although the names and faces change over the years.


7 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 25, 2015 at 2:36 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

If this is done one crossing at a time it will be very expensive, take a long time and result in a dis-integrated design.

Please at least think about a more comprehensive and integrated approach.

Why not see this as an opportunity rather than a problem?

One thought is the put the trains underground, use the surface rights above it for housing in the stretches between stations and use the surface above the stations for transit connections and parking. The surface area of the current right of way is very valuable land - particularly in Atherton - and could generate a lot of the needed capital.

Why not take this as an opportunity to design a multi-dimensional, multi-purpose system that uses the existing right-of-way that includes CalTrain, HSR, utility conduits for telephone and internet cables, surface housing with high density housing around each station. And add pedestrian path and a separate bicycle path on the surface along the entire right of way. And include 3 or 4 12" conduits for the technology of the future.

We should think of this right of way as an integrated multi-modal communications spine for the peninsula.

A piecemeal approach will be very expensive.

Do it once and do it right.

Let's take the big view and come up with a win-win solution.


Like this comment
Posted by come on now
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 25, 2015 at 2:51 pm

Edward, the biggest single contributor, by far, to the council race in this past election was Rich Cline, to his own campaign.


5 people like this
Posted by yes to grade separation!
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 25, 2015 at 3:17 pm

This Council has an opportunity to act right now. Staff is using weasle words like "staff time" and "funding". Let's face it, grade separations have not been a priority. Now is the time, and to expedite it (them, really).

Carpenter's ideas warrant close attention. Cities in Europe put trains underground in prime residential areas. Why can't we?

About funding -- interest rates are very low. The City is considering several projects downtown at the Public Benefit Bonus level. Wasn't the purpose of being able to negotiate Public Benefits to support projects like this?? Funding doesn't have to come upfront from developers when their cash is lowest. It can come along the way, and it can come as in-kind support, too.

How about some creativity and can-do approach?


9 people like this
Posted by Death By Study
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Feb 25, 2015 at 3:24 pm

The city already looked at grade separations, in 2003-2004:

Web Link
Web Link

That would have fixed all grade separations in the city, not just Ravenswood. The problem is that Menlo Park didn't do anything with it! Menlo Park NEVER does anything.

Anyone want to bet whether a victim's family will sue Menlo for sitting on this solution?


Like this comment
Posted by Jym Clendenin
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 25, 2015 at 3:38 pm

I've always favored under grounding the train, at least through MP's 4 existing crossings. Another viable option in my opinion is to elevate the train on steel pole, leaving the area under the tracks mostly see thru as well as travel thru; i.e., not on a tall berm as in San Carlos. I believe at least 3 tracks could be position above this way, and with almost no interruption to existing trains/tracks during construction.
Meanwhile, as we try to figure out how to do the grade separation, how about a sign in each direction at each crossing, something like:

WARNING!!!
LIFE THREATENING DANGER
DO NOT STOP ON RR TRACKS
FOR ANY REASON

Another idea, also doable in near future and relatively cheap: provide a limited space (too small for parking) right beside the track in each direction that a car could pull into enough for the train to clear them.


14 people like this
Posted by collisions
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 25, 2015 at 3:47 pm

The grade separation project was killed 10 years ago by NIMBYs who thought grade separations were ugly. Since then, our population has grown and we now have major employers on both sides of the train tracks and many more commuters back and forth. Now is the time to revisit grade separation. Just do it, even if elevating the train tracks is the only practical design. Commuters easily outnumber NIMBYs now.


2 people like this
Posted by James Madison
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 25, 2015 at 4:14 pm

For the informaion of all concerned, the Menlo Park City Council first took up the issue of separating the RR tracks from Ravenswood (and also a grade separation at Oak Grove) almost 50 years. Plans were prepared by the then contract City Engineer Ed Smith. The project was axed when the alternatives proved to be either unacceptably steep grades or an interchange that went beyond El Camino. For those who want to gain a sense of the grades and sightlines, Smith also designed the Oregon Avenue grade separation in Palo Alto.


8 people like this
Posted by Joseph E. Davis
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Feb 25, 2015 at 4:42 pm

Undergrounding Caltrain is estimated to cost ten thousand dollars per inch. Menlo Park is not yet made of gold, so this is unlikely to be feasible.


6 people like this
Posted by collisions
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 25, 2015 at 4:42 pm

You can't elevate or tunnel the roads here because there are so many roads nearby (Alma, El Camino, as well as Ravenswood). The only options are to elevate or lower the train tracks. Because of the nearby creeks, lowering the tracks is probably not realistic, so grade separation will mean elevating the tracks. Run Ravenswood underneath the tracks at surface level. There are lots of grade separations in San Mateo County with this elevated tracks design.


12 people like this
Posted by Roger Knopf
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 25, 2015 at 6:09 pm

Roger Knopf is a registered user.

I lived in San Carlos in the time leading up to the grade separation. All the fears of ugliness and economic doom turned out to be minimal (and actually the raised grade is a LOT more attractive than what it replaced. The traffic improvements were immediate and huge.

I agree with Peter, doing just Ravenswood makes no sense. There will be a year or so of severe inconvenience but the end result will absolutely be worth it.


20 people like this
Posted by Tired of no progress
a resident of another community
on Feb 25, 2015 at 6:23 pm

I set flowers down today at the make shift memorial by the accident location for the young lady. Not one more life should be wasted because of an outdated system of trains, people and cars. Grade Separation works I live in Belmont, grade separation works just fine. Get this done! I work in Menlo and there are real problems with the RR crossing system arms. As a train pulls into the station the arms come down then reopen after a few seconds maybe 20-30 and traffic is let to flow again for a few cars then the arms come back down and if El Camino lights are red you can find yourself in a bad way. I think the young lady didn't realize that the crossing arms were coming down because an express train was coming from the other direction not the tran that had already entered the station; until it was far too late. What if in the mean time they have arrows indicating which direction the trains are coming from kind of like a blinker. It's an easy temporary fix. Hell we live in Silicon Valley it can't be that hard to get this worked out!


2 people like this
Posted by Aaron
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Feb 25, 2015 at 9:50 pm

Aaron is a registered user.

@Death by Study -- Thanks for posting those links! One thing that is clear from those reports (at least to me) is that Menlo Park needs to work together with the Town of Atherton and with Palo Alto on this. If we are to have grade separation, this would require elevating or trenching the line, and we don't have the space for it. We also should plan ahead for an additional track to accommodate the possibility of HSR.

I know costs likely make this out of the question, but what about tunneling or high elevation of the tracks, similar to the BART system? Once the rail line is electrified, the noise level of an elevated track would be greatly reduced, and having trains deep underground in a subway-type system would free up the surface for development. With elevated tracks, we would have a similar track footprint and keep existing roads and properties relatively unhindered. If we work on this in concert with our neighbors in Palo Alto and Atherton, we can perhaps come up with a solution that would work for all three towns/cities. This needs to be both an intra- and inter-city discussion.


9 people like this
Posted by yes to grade separations!
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 25, 2015 at 10:50 pm

Don't just look at costs of underground option. Look also at potential revenues. The space at ground in Menlo Park is extraordinarily valuable, and the land and buildings can generate ongoing revenue that will increase over time. The costs can be financed at really low rates.

In addition, Menlo Park could gain wonderful north-south bike pathway and safe east-west connectivity. Even some park space in the middle of town.
El Camino traffic should improve greatly because of no need to accommodate train crossings that affect lights on el camino.
It's worth looking at this option seriously.


2 people like this
Posted by Time for Crossing Guards?
a resident of another community
on Feb 26, 2015 at 12:40 am


An elevated grade just makes sense, for several reasons.

There is a significant ground level difference on the each side of the tracks. The ground level grade is significantly lower on the East side of the tracks, well below the level of El Camino. Just drive along Alma Street from Ravenswood to Willow Road. Notice how high the tracks are elevated above the road level of Alma. Yet, standing on the tracks, the track grade is level from Palo Alto to Ravenswood Ave. and North. Level with El Camino Real.

Further, there is a railroad siding between Ravenswood and the bridge over San Francisquito creek. This proves the railroad bed is wide and strong enough to support an elevated construction. A trenched railroad would be prone to flooding. Anyone around during the 1998 creek flood remembers a flooded El Camino and Linfield Oaks area. How would a trenched line respond?

The doubling of Menlo Park's traffic has increased the danger to each of its crossings. None more dangerous than Ravenswood.

Is it time to invest in rush hour "Crossing Guards" until a solution is found? Fours hours each weekday AM and PM. Uniformed staff who can manually control crossing arms and clear cars from the rails ahead of approaching trains. Something Caltrain should fund for Sheriff's transit unit non-deputy crossing guards.


2 people like this
Posted by MP Resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Feb 26, 2015 at 7:24 am

The real, correct, 21st century (and ready for the 22nd) solution would be a 4-track elevated system on a steel structure (not a berm). This would allow for growth in rail transit and usage, easy cut-throughs for automotive / bike / pedestrian traffic, and a very limited impact on the surrounding areas (you would need to elevate the station).

Unfortunately, any chance at a real, forward looking, 21st/22nd century solution was killed by the usual asinine NIMBYs who think they're in a rural farming village somehow magically isolated from what is rapidly becoming the economic center of the world.

So, instead, I propose a pragmatic solution that can be implemented next week: Many of the problems (and much of the unsafe behavior) comes from left turns, often illegal, onto Alma. Install a physical barrier (bollards, jersey barrier, etc) to prevent left terms from Ravenswood to Alma or Merrill. This will significantly improve the overall safety situation at a minimal cost.

As an added safety bonus, move the crosswalk down the block to Noel so that there's a bit more buffer space between the crossing and the crosswalk.

Finally, a pipe dream but - add a question about safe rail crossing to the CA written exam. Make it an automatic fail to get it wrong.


4 people like this
Posted by really?
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 26, 2015 at 8:50 am

I was told that there have been a total of 1 death in the last 50 years of running the Japanese bullet trains. We've had three in the last week. This is a design and structural problem, not a 'free choice vs Nanny State' issue.


Like this comment
Posted by Steve Follmer
a resident of Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
on Feb 26, 2015 at 9:25 am

Steve Follmer is a registered user.

If we want to really think outside the box, could we not just sell/lease Caltrain to Google/Apple, get rid if the inefficient train, and replace it with a corridor for self-driving cars. Silent, green, maybe even free, transportation on demand, rather than waiting an hour for a noisy old behemoth that kills dozens of people a year. They could even keep the rails. Would make the engineering challenges easier too.


5 people like this
Posted by Tunbridge Wells
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Feb 26, 2015 at 9:41 am

Tunbridge Wells is a registered user.

Steve, the train is not inefficient. The train very efficiently carries tens of thousands of people back and forth every day. Those are people not in cars clogging up 101 or 280 or El Camino. Rail is the key to fixing our traffic problems. Getting rid of rail will only make it worse.


Like this comment
Posted by Steve Follmer
a resident of Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
on Feb 26, 2015 at 9:53 am

Steve Follmer is a registered user.

Turnbridge, fair enough, but I'm not proposing getting rid of rails per se, I'm proposing replacing them with self-driving cars, which are the future, and would still carry those tens of thousands of people. Except it could carry more people, you could have a private compartment for your family, and a car could pull up instantly. We could keep the train stations, just use small modular self-driving vehicles. This would be silent, save dozens of lives a year, and could probably even by free and ad-driven (or pay to opt-out of ads). In a later phase the rails could be replaced by pavement, and still later the cars could venture out into nearby neighborhoods. (Surely there are precedents or studies on this. Its basically transportation becoming like packet switching replaced the old phone system where the operators connected lines directly with a plug board.)


9 people like this
Posted by Adina
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 26, 2015 at 11:23 am

Unfortunately, the study that is currently under way only looks at underpass options - it does not look at Belmont/San Carlos style options that have less property impacts, might provide better pedestrian connectivity, and are likely to cost less. That's because the current city policy says that the city will not pursue designs with any elevation, not even "split" part-up/part down designs like Belmont/San Carlos.

I wish we were looking at all of the reasonable options now; and suspect it may take yet another go-round of studies to look at he full set of practical options.


4 people like this
Posted by Westside Trucker
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Feb 26, 2015 at 2:29 pm

I served on the Board during the Belmont, San Carlos, and Redwood City grade separations. If this model is chosen, start immediately because it takes years of planning, and millions of dollars. The funding usually requires a vote.


12 people like this
Posted by Ray Mueller
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 27, 2015 at 7:49 am

Like many residents, I found the horrible accident this past Monday at the Caltrain Intersection at Ravenswood, and the tragic lost of life that resulted, very troubling. On Monday, March 2nd, from 7:00 to 8:30pm, I will be holding office hours at Cafe Zoe in the Willows, to listen to residents, answer questions, and provide information regarding the status of safety improvements to the Ravenswood/Caltrain interchange.

- Councilmember Ray Mueller


1 person likes this
Posted by tragic
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 27, 2015 at 9:59 am

In today's Daily Post, Mueller said there will be officers from the police department at the meeting, and possibly grief counselors as well.


3 people like this
Posted by Roland
a resident of another community
on Feb 27, 2015 at 11:10 am

This technology was developed in Europe after similar accidents and would silence train horns in the entire Peninsula for 1/2 the cost and none of the impacts of grade-separating Ravenswood: Web Link


4 people like this
Posted by peninsula resident
a resident of Menlo-Atherton High School
on Feb 27, 2015 at 11:49 am

> Belmont/San Carlos style options that have less property impacts, might provide better pedestrian connectivity, and are likely to cost less.

I don't believe this is accurate.

1) looking at the Berm-style used in Belmont & San Carlos, the footprint of the berm is larger than the current ROW in Menlo Park, Atherton & Palo Alto, based on what I've seen from drawings showing station redesigns.

2) Building a berm requires a redirection of train traffic (just like a trench would), by building shoefly tracks outside the ROW during the creation of the berm.

3) Any implementation of grade separation (trench or raised) requires coordination with adjacent towns, in this case Atherton and Palo Alto. It's my understanding that trains are generally limited to a 1%-2% grade change. Menlo Park is relatively narrow in the direction CalTrain runs, so there's no way to do either trench or raised without changing the grade in adjacent towns.


If cost and speed-of-implementation are the driving forces to implementing separation of car/pedestrian and train traffic, road&sidewalk underpasses are the way to go (like University/Alma/Caltrain & Embarcadero/Alma/Caltrain in Palo Alto).

At some intersections this is *relatively* easy (I think Ravenswood qualifies as relatively easy), but some of the other intersections would be much harder.


2 people like this
Posted by elevate the tracks
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 27, 2015 at 12:24 pm

Yes, elevating the train tracks only makes sense if this is done to grade separate several intersections, not just one. Menlo Park should team up with Palo Alto to create one solution that works for both cities. Palo Alto does seem interested in grade separations as well and elevating the tracks is the most practical solution to them (tunneling is impractical because of the creek crossings).

Palo Alto has had at least 2 train-vs-car collisions that I can remember in recent years.


2 people like this
Posted by Gern
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Feb 27, 2015 at 12:37 pm

Gern is a registered user.

"The real, correct, 21st century (and ready for the 22nd) solution would be a 4-track elevated system on a steel structure (not a berm)."

I respectfully disagree. The forward-looking solution would be to underground transit rail operations, a al BART (love or hate that system), do away with freight trains on the peninsula, recognizing that heavy industry and the few customers currently served by the Union Pacific will disappear over time, then create a greenbelt stretching unimpeded from San Francisco to San Jose and perhaps points further south, one which might accommodate the nation's best urban bicycle and pedestrian commuting and recreational paths along with a host of retail, office, and high-density housing projects dotting and complementing its length.

Fifty to one hundred years from now that is the gift to posterity which tens of millions of future Bay Area residents will laud, and not a steel rail trestle which merely serves commuters. Just my opinion, of course.

Gern


7 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 27, 2015 at 1:34 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

For the record - Gern and I are in total agreement:

Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 25, 2015 at 2:36 pm
"One thought is the put the trains underground, use the surface rights above it for housing in the stretches between stations and use the surface above the stations for transit connections and parking. The surface area of the current right of way is very valuable land - particularly in Atherton - and could generate a lot of the needed capital.

Why not take this as an opportunity to design a multi-dimensional, multi-purpose system that uses the existing right-of-way that includes CalTrain, HSR, utility conduits for telephone and internet cables, surface housing with high density housing around each station. And add pedestrian path and a separate bicycle path on the surface along the entire right of way. And include 3 or 4 12" conduits for the technology of the future.

We should think of this right of way as an integrated multi-modal communications spine for the peninsula."


6 people like this
Posted by Steve Schmidt
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Feb 27, 2015 at 1:58 pm

Peninsula Resident: The Caltrain tracks in Menlo Park are already elevated on a berm at the Palo Alto border, continuing north past Linfield Oaks. There would be no need to coordinate a design with Palo Alto. That above-grade alignment can be maintained all the way to Encinal on a berm or a structure, which would make grade separations at all four of Menlo Park's street crossings relatively simple. Property takings would be minimized. The tracks would then gradually descend to grade at Watkins and Fair Oaks in Atherton, although grade separating those road crossings (Atherton's choice?) would be simpler if the tracks were even a few feet above grade. Once to 5th Avenue in RWC the train must be at grade. You're right, cooperation and coordination with Atherton would be essential.
Gern: Great to hear from you! Can you confirm conventional wisdom that trenching Caltrain (or extending BART underground) costs approximately double that of an elevated and grade separated Caltrain?


Like this comment
Posted by elevate the tracks
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 27, 2015 at 1:58 pm

I'm all for tunneling the train tracks if it is practical. However, in the past, people smarter than me have pointed out that tunneling will not work in Menlo Park and Palo Alto because of all the stream crossing. In particular, the large creek just south of Ravenswood, which is already flood prone and will only get worse if the train tunnel partially blocks it. Tunneling underneath the creek leads to conflicts with the water table and sea level.

I say we must go ahead with grade separations, even if tunneling is impractical. Elevating the tracks is a method that is proven to work (and is already being done with other parts of Caltrain).


8 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 27, 2015 at 2:11 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" Tunneling underneath the creek leads to conflicts with the water table and sea level."

Drilling a tunnel beneath a stream or below seal level is done all the time. The Hetch Hetchy water system has just completed a 5 mile long 15 ft diameter tunnel under the South Bay.

"The water agency considered several options, including construction of another line circumventing the bay as well as one that would rest on the bay floor. Ultimately, though, the underground route was chosen because it was deemed to be seismically strongest — and less of a nuisance for wildlife."

Web Link


4 people like this
Posted by peninsula resident
a resident of Menlo-Atherton High School
on Feb 27, 2015 at 3:18 pm

> Tunneling underneath the creek leads to conflicts with the water table and sea level.

It's also worth pointing out that in order to get to the fancy-shmancy new Transbay terminal in SF, they want to tunnel. And tunneling under that metropolis is a far more daunting undertaking than anything in the Caltrain ROW on the peninsula.

If they can dig under SF, digging in-or-under the Caltrain ROW is a piece of cake in comparison.


4 people like this
Posted by billions
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Feb 27, 2015 at 4:58 pm

The total program budget is currently estimated at $4.5 billion in year-of-expenditure dollars. In May 2010, the Transbay Joint Powers Authority (TJPA) Board adopted a $1.60 billion budget for Phase 1, which consists of the TTC, bus and pedestrian ramps, and the train box, which is the underground portion of the TTC building that will house the Caltrain and high-speed rail station. 1 Web Link


2 people like this
Posted by yes to grade separations
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Mar 1, 2015 at 4:24 pm

Undergrounding or trenching the train tracks would have less impact on nearby property owners. If done well, either of these options could provide offsetting revenue at and above ground. Aesthetics would greatly improve as well.

Menlo Park should not have to think "cheap". With so much development occurring throughout Menlo Park, there are natural sources of revenue for purposes like this. Long term bonds, and revenue from at- and above-ground uses and development, plus grants and other subsidies, this should be "affordable" to a community like ours.


4 people like this
Posted by John Onken
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 2, 2015 at 12:57 pm

Let's think realistically about grade separation and raising the tracks above ground. For the run-up to achieve 18' separation (so fire trucks can go under) we would do something like San Carlos where there's 8' down and 10' up.

Assuming Redwood City is happy with where their alignment is now, we would start somewhere before Atherton Station (about Garfield School I reckon), then start ramping up at the 1% or 2%. We would have separation at Encinal where the road would dip down underneath, there would no longer be crossings at Fairoaks or Watkins and bye-bye- to Atherton station. We would then ramp down from Ravenswood towards Palo Alto station, and perhaps just make it down to the level of the old creek bridge and the crossing at Alma.

Let's draw this up and pass it around the table, as real plans get real responses and real success or failure.


Like this comment
Posted by Thierry
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Mar 20, 2016 at 10:26 am

It's fantastic to see the positive responses from the community and the strong support for grade separation! I hope that the Menlo Park council members read this. I cannot believe how dangerous and noisy the current unseparated approach is. It's like people think this is still the countryside, although we are living in a very dense area.
I certainly hope that this will lead to action and changes, not just studies and conversations.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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