In 2008, Caltrain started storing ballast, or railroad rock, in piles next to the tracks and near Chilco Street in Menlo Park. There the rock has lingered, much to the chagrin of residents living nearby.
Ballast provides a bed for railroad tracks. Left to sit in piles, it provides a fine source of dust in the air, according to the neighbors.
A community meeting to discuss the problem is set for 6:30 p.m. Monday, March 23, at the Menlo Park Senior Center, located at 110 Terminal Ave. Caltrain representatives, city officials and members of the community-led Belle Haven public safety action team are expected to attend.
Among the questions expected to be raised:
■ Who gave permission for the rocks to be stored there, and how long are the piles going to stay?
■ Can something be done to deal with this blight and still allow trains -- as well as cyclists and pedestrians -- to safely move through the area?