News

Tonight: Water restrictions; trial changes to Ravenswood rail crossing go before Menlo Park council

 

Customers of the Menlo Park Municipal Water District will see new water restrictions if the Menlo Park City Council votes to approve a more stringent response to the statewide drought tonight (May 5).

The proposed restrictions include limiting landscape watering to two days a week; requiring pool covers and prohibiting newly built pools from being filled with municipal water; and not allowing new construction projects to install "single pass cooling systems" that circulate water once before draining it, such as air conditioners.

The council will also consider a six-month trial run of changes to the Ravenswood Avenue and Alma Street intersection to improve safety at the railroad crossing. The trial changes include installing barriers to prohibit left turns from Alma Street and right turns from Ravenswood at that intersection.

Also on the agenda:

■ A report on non-resident fees for the city's recreation programs.

■ A consent calendar item to give the staff permission to negotiate with Menlo Swim & Sport for renewal of its contract to manage the city's swimming pools.

The complete agenda and associated staff reports is available on the city's website.

The regular meeting is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. in the council chambers at the Civic Center (701 Laurel St.) It will be streamed live online.

Comments

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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 5, 2015 at 11:42 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"A 400 square foot residential pool without a cover loses about a quarter of an inch of water each day by evaporation, which equates to about 62 gallons per day, or 435 gallons per week."

I question this assertion. We have turned off our automatic refill on our pool and it loses far less than an inch per week.

Also I would encourage policy makers to encourage the use of floating mono film "covers" which require much less energy and non-renewable resources to produce than do solid covers.


5 people like this
Posted by Willows resident
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on May 5, 2015 at 12:05 pm

I have serious doubts that these restrictions will help Menlo Park meet the state reduction targets. I would not be required to reduce my water use at all under this proposal. It makes no sense to limit watering to two days per week if the homeowner can simply double the time for each watering. And who is going to be checking the number of days per week? Until usage limits are set, we'll continue to rely on altruism to meet targets, and based on the green lawns I see, that won't be effective.


12 people like this
Posted by Keep the Ped Xing!
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on May 5, 2015 at 12:27 pm

So if you read the fine print of that turns business, they are trying to sneak in removing the pedestrian crossing at Alma/Ravenswood in the name of safety -- apparently motorists find it surprising that they might have to stop there -- even although the authors concede pedestrian traffic at that point is high. Is it safer if people dash across the road there? MP needs more consideration for pedestrians, not less. I wonder if the person who drafted this ever gets out of their car and walks around town...


3 people like this
Posted by Sandy Bardas
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 5, 2015 at 12:29 pm

As a frequent and dedicated participant of the programs offered by Menlo Swim and Sport, I urge the council to renew this contract. Menlo Park should be proud and grateful for this superb organization. In addition to high quality instruction and supervision, Menlo Swim and Sport is creative and imaginative in its outreach and sustainability.


3 people like this
Posted by jmir
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 5, 2015 at 1:05 pm

Regarding the Menlo Swim and Sport renewal. Their offerings for lap swimmers are excellent. With few exceptions, I have been able to go for lap swimming at a time that works with my schedule.

What they offer open swim, however, is not enough and they don't come close to meeting demand. It seems that the money making swim classes take scheduling priority over open swim most of the time leaving open swim to very limited time slots (i.e. rarely possible after school). They also close relatively early in the evenings during the summer, when there is still significant demand for pool use. The limited open swim hours are often overcrowded because of small roped off areas and because everyone is forced to come during the same short time windows. Children and adults can't learn to swim during lessons alone, some free water time is really needed as well.

Given that the pool itself was constructed and paid for by the taxpayers, I'd like to see a requirement in the contract that Menlo Swim and Sport keep the pool open for longer hours making it available in the community. I'd also like to see more equitable sharing of the instructional pool for both lessons and open swim.


Like this comment
Posted by In depth coverage?
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on May 5, 2015 at 1:41 pm

What this article omits is that tonight the Council will decide whether or not to change the City's policy regarding the train tracks. The question is whether the tracks must stay atgrade (ground) level or can they be elevated. This is no small matter. Our City has been stuck with this policy for the last 4 years. By elevating the tracks, the city could enjoy easy and safe passage from one side of the tracks to the other. Cars would not have to wait for passing trains. There would be no need for a ped/bike undercrossing at a $10M price tag. The Stanford project plaza could open up to Alma for access to the Civic Center. Safe, no horns, easy flow for cars, pedestrians and bicyclists!

It would have been interesting for this reporter to have asked Stanford their opinion of this idea. It would have been interesting to hear what council members Cline and Keith feel about their giving up on their at-grade policy. Readers of the Almanac deserve more information.


7 people like this
Posted by Deep Throat
a resident of Hillview Middle School
on May 5, 2015 at 3:47 pm

"The question is whether the tracks must stay atgrade (ground) level or can they be elevated. This is no small matter."

Agreed, this is no small matter.

The proposed policy change will include language that will potentially allow "elevated structures"; that's more than allowing a berm, we're talking about complying with adding a train viaduct through Menlo Park. If you don't know what a viaduct is, think "bart train raised tracks", like this, going through Menlo Park: Web Link

Menlo Park residents should be very, very concerned about this part of the change in language.


Like this comment
Posted by language
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on May 5, 2015 at 5:56 pm

Funding for grade seps will never be made available unless the language is changes to support looking at all options.

People that want Caltrain in a tunnel under all the creeks should get there KickStarter campaign going. You'll need about a billion dollars.


Like this comment
Posted by Sandy Bardas
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 5, 2015 at 6:04 pm

The original proposal for rebuilding Burgess pool was overruled as being too large. In hindsight, I guess those objections represent a poor decision based upon the current popularity of the swim and sport program. If you build it, they will come. If you build it too small they will still come.


7 people like this
Posted by Deep Throat
a resident of Hillview Middle School
on May 5, 2015 at 6:17 pm

"Funding for grade seps will never be made available unless the language is changes to support looking at all options."

The change in language does more than support "looking", it enables the construction of a viaduct if it "is specifically requested by a local agency" (<--- that is exact language from the proposal), regardless if local communities object.

By "local agency", that can mean the MTC for example, or numerous other agencies, that would love to install a bart-like viaduct through Menlo Park: Web Link

If you allow this unchallenged, you get this: Web Link




2 people like this
Posted by unchallenged
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on May 5, 2015 at 8:05 pm

Deep Throat, do we really get BART? Was that the photo you expected to post?

Caltrain's preferred option for Menlo Park is something like San Calros: Web Link


4 people like this
Posted by Deep Throat
a resident of Hillview Middle School
on May 5, 2015 at 9:19 pm

> do we really get BART?

That was just 1 example of a viaduct, the kind that the proposal can allow.

Here are other examples of viaducts that can be approved with the change in language in the proposal:

Web Link

Web Link

Web Link

Web Link

Web Link


Like this comment
Posted by Tunbridge Wells
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on May 5, 2015 at 9:25 pm

Tunbridge Wells is a registered user.

Deep throat, instead of pulling up photos from all over the country to sew fear, uncertainty, and doubt, how about considering what Caltrain has actually built, in San Carlos and Belmont. And keep in mind that Caltrain won't be imposing a design on us, this is something that Menlo Park will participate in. Meanwhile grade separations are critical for improving safety and efficient circulation, particularly as Caltrain usage continues to grow.


4 people like this
Posted by Deep Throat
a resident of Hillview Middle School
on May 5, 2015 at 10:13 pm

"pulling up photos from all over the country to sew fear, uncertainty, and doubt"

Wrong, I pulled up photos of examples of other viaducts because people were confused and thought I was proposing that Bart was coming through. I have clarified their confusion by providing additional examples of viaducts.

"considering what Caltrain has actually built"

The proposal doesn't say "caltrain", and it doesn't say "berm". Any elevated structure, including a viaduct, is permissible if requested by any "local agency" because of the proposed change in language. That's not sewing "fear, uncertainty, and doubt", that's a statement of fact.

Here is one sample of the change in language, verbatim from the proposal. Not opinion, a statement of fact:

"No aerial or elevated structures will be utilized on the Caltrain alignment between San Jose and San Francisco unless such an elevated structure is specifically requested by a local agency, for an area within their jurisdiction."


4 people like this
Posted by Deep Throat
a resident of Hillview Middle School
on May 5, 2015 at 10:16 pm

"Meanwhile grade separations are critical for improving safety and efficient circulation, particularly as Caltrain usage continues to grow."

The existing pre-proposal language doesn't stop grade changes. The only reason to change the language is to make it easier to implement a type of grade change that is not in the best interest of Menlo Park.


Like this comment
Posted by No Easy Solutions
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 5, 2015 at 10:30 pm

The proposed test plan for the Ravenswood and Alma intersection will probably lead to higher jay walking and more traffic gridlock at Ravenswood and Middlefield, especially during school hours.

Would recommend that the city try out the Ravenswood barrier first by itself, before moving the pedestrian crosswalk down to Noel.

Timed traffic signals at the Ravenswood and Alma intersection is more expensive, but the best option for pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists.


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

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