Tonight: More funding sought for Santa Cruz Avenue sidewalks, flood protection


Several projects the city of Menlo Park has planned are more expensive than predicted, and the City Council may have to make tough choices. The council will meet tonight, June 1, at 5:30 p.m. at the Menlo Park City Council Chambers (701 Laurel St.) to discuss its options on the following projects.

Santa Cruz Avenue Sidewalks

The city could commit $5.9 million in funding to install sidewalks along Santa Cruz Avenue.

On the north side, the sidewalks would run from Olive Street to Johnson Street, and on the south side, from Olive Street to Arbor Road.

Plans to install the sidewalks were approved in March 2015 and potential options to address logistical complexities of the project were presented to the City Council in February 2016, when earlier plans estimated the budget would range between $3 million and $5 million.

According to the staff report, the project will also

● Replace the in-pavement lighted crosswalks at Cotton Street and San Mateo Drive with flashing signals on the sides of the street.

● Add a 3-inch-wide conduit for future fiber optic cables and pullboxes, making it easier to install traffic signal monitoring in the future.

● Build storm drains at 23 properties.

● Widen some sidewalks to 6 feet instead of 5 feet in front of Saint Raymond's, the corner of San Mateo Drive and "a few properties near Arbor Road." This would mean ripping out some of the existing sidewalks.

● Reconstruct some driveways to connect them to the new sidewalks.

● Repave the bike lane and buffer on the north side of Santa Cruz Avenue.

San Francisquito Creek Joint Powers Authority

The San Francisquito Creek Joint Powers Authority, of which the city is a part, is working on a project to ease potential creek flooding in Palo Alto and East Palo Alto; it involves widening a section of the creek near the Palo Alto Golf Course, building new floodwalls and excavating parts of the bottom of the channel, according to the staff report.

Upstream, an upcoming project is to replace the Pope/Chaucer Street and Newell Road bridges; the city has already set aside about $500,000 to help fund the project.

The project received bids that were about $3 million over what had been budgeted by the agency, so city staff is recommending that the council approve $800,000 in funding, spread over three years, from the city's general fund reserves to pay its share of the added cost. That would reallocate the $500,000 intended for the bridge replacement and add $300,000.

According to a draft of the agreement the council could agree to at its meeting, "The Project directly benefits the City of Menlo Park as its completion is necessary to accommodate future flood protection measures located in Menlo Park, upstream of the Project, which may be constructed in the future."

Work plan update

The council will also review the progress that has been made this quarter on its "work plan," a list of 72 items it designated as important to work on in 2016. See the work plan here.

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Like this comment
Posted by Mark L
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 1, 2016 at 4:18 pm

Why do they need a 3 inch conduit for traffic signal monitoring? You could fit almost 1000 fiber optic cables in a conduit this size. And they plan to spend $500,000 to install an empty conduit they might not even use. Why not 1/2 or 1 inch? Or just go wireless and save a bunch of cash for something useful.

Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jun 1, 2016 at 5:50 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.


1" conduit 3" conduit, there is very little difference in cost. A small increase in material cost, but that's it. The main cost is trenching, placing and backfilling. In my experience, when you have a trench open you take advantage of it. That 3" conduit will allow for plenty of future, unanticipated needs with ease. Put in the small one and then need larger, you're digging up the street again. It's cheap insurance to go large.

Like this comment
Posted by Mark L
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 1, 2016 at 8:43 pm

What are there, maybe 3 traffic signals in this section of Santa Cruz? They could just get 3 DSL lines for signal monitoring from AT&T, total cost maybe $100/month. Or they can spend $500,000 on an empty conduit they may never use. That's equivalent to 5000 months or 416 years worth of DSL service.

Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jun 1, 2016 at 8:56 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.


you're missing the point. The cost isn't in the SIZE of the conduit, its the cost to put conduit in the ground. It doesn't matter is its DSL or whatever else. If you're putting conduit in the ground the size doesn't matter.

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

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