After holding a meeting with an estimated 45 Belle Haven residents concerned about the dusty piles of ballast rock stored near the Chilco Street railroad tracks, Caltrain said it would provide an update and possible solutions by Friday, April 3, according to the city of Menlo Park.
The Peninsula Conflict Resolution Center facilitated the March 23 community meeting. Caltrain representatives told residents that it would take about two years to move the rocks to an industrial site in Redwood City.
Caltrain started storing ballast, or railroad rock, in piles next to the tracks and near Chilco Street in Menlo Park in 2008. The rock provides a bed for railroad tracks. But left sitting in piles, it sends dust into the air that may be a health hazard, according to the residents who live nearby.
According to a meeting summary provided by the city, there are several options to explore in an attempt to minimize the dust: continuing to water the piles; covering the piles; and planting trees around the site to provide a barrier.
Residents said that watering doesn't happen often enough to control the dust, and when it does happen, the puddles attract mosquitoes. They asked for greater transparency during upcoming discussions between the city and Caltrain, as well as a direct line of communication to the rail agency.