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Thursday: Menlo Park meeting on bike-pedestrian rail crossing

The city of Menlo Park invites the public to a community meeting from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Thursday, May 4, to discuss a proposed pedestrian and bike crossing – either under or over the tracks – at Middle Avenue in Menlo Park.

This city project would be adjacent to a large public plaza proposed by Stanford University as part of its planned 459,000-square-foot, mixed-use development along El Camino Real.

The meeting will be held at the Menlo Church Social Hall at 700B Chestnut Lane in downtown Menlo Park.

People are invited to state their preference for an overcrossing or undercrossing of the tracks, and to ask questions and comment on the proposed design.

The crossing is a city project, but the university has agreed to make a significant contribution toward the cost of construction. The Menlo Park City Council has appointed two of its members – Peter Ohtaki and Ray Mueller – to a [subcommitteeto negotiate the terms of an agreement with Stanford.

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In March, the city agreed to a $541,000 contract with engineering consultant AECOM to work on preliminary designs. Much of the money comes from a San Mateo County grant, funded by the Measure A half-cent transportation sales tax. The city will contribute $210,000.

AECOM is also working on a city study of "grade-separation" projects that would separate roadways from the rail lines at Ravenswood Avenue and possibly Oak Grove and Glenwood avenues.

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Thursday: Menlo Park meeting on bike-pedestrian rail crossing

Uploaded: Wed, May 3, 2017, 9:49 am

The city of Menlo Park invites the public to a community meeting from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Thursday, May 4, to discuss a proposed pedestrian and bike crossing – either under or over the tracks – at Middle Avenue in Menlo Park.

This city project would be adjacent to a large public plaza proposed by Stanford University as part of its planned 459,000-square-foot, mixed-use development along El Camino Real.

The meeting will be held at the Menlo Church Social Hall at 700B Chestnut Lane in downtown Menlo Park.

People are invited to state their preference for an overcrossing or undercrossing of the tracks, and to ask questions and comment on the proposed design.

The crossing is a city project, but the university has agreed to make a significant contribution toward the cost of construction. The Menlo Park City Council has appointed two of its members – Peter Ohtaki and Ray Mueller – to a [subcommitteeto negotiate the terms of an agreement with Stanford.

In March, the city agreed to a $541,000 contract with engineering consultant AECOM to work on preliminary designs. Much of the money comes from a San Mateo County grant, funded by the Measure A half-cent transportation sales tax. The city will contribute $210,000.

AECOM is also working on a city study of "grade-separation" projects that would separate roadways from the rail lines at Ravenswood Avenue and possibly Oak Grove and Glenwood avenues.

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Kate Bradshaw

Comments

Dana Hendrickson
Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 3, 2017 at 12:59 pm
Dana Hendrickson, Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 3, 2017 at 12:59 pm
17 people like this

This city effort needs to be expanded to include an analysis of how bicyclists can reach the track crossing from the intersection of Middle and University as there is likely too little space for bike lanes. Middle narrows to 37 feet in the section between El Camino and Kenwood Drive - a width that can support up to two vehicle 9-foot lanes in each direction and no room for even a single lane. And a bike route with sharrows would have limited appeal due to the heavy traffic at the Safeway Plaza entrance. No sense building a track crossing if most bicyclists will not use it. A bike network design consultant needs to identify possible options.


Enuff
Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 3, 2017 at 5:18 pm
Enuff, Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 3, 2017 at 5:18 pm
Like this comment

Does the city plan on doing an earthquake study of the proposed tunnel and bridge? Could be some unintended consequences in the offing.
It might prove to be safer for people to just use the crosswalk at street level; perhaps the city can add a button at the crosswalk for people to push that would give pedestrians and bicyclists more time to get across the intersection.


george fisher
Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 3, 2017 at 5:57 pm
george fisher, Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 3, 2017 at 5:57 pm
Like this comment

Any study should include predictions on volume and origination and destination flow of bicycle and pedestrian traffic reasonably expected to use such a proposed RR crossing. Without major structural changes, El Camino Real will be a Bicycle and Pedestrian Blockade at Middle Ave.

There is a big difference between a RR crossing to and from Stanford's property east of ECR, which is only a convenience to the Stanford Tenants, and A RR crossing to and from Middle avenue and other points further west.


dana hendrickson
Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 4, 2017 at 1:26 pm
dana hendrickson, Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 4, 2017 at 1:26 pm
3 people like this

IF it is not possible to reconfigure the section of Middle between El Camino Real and Morey Drive (east of Nealon Park) so bike lanes could be added to Middle from University to ECR, then the city should evaluate using Roble instead. It offers a number of benefits: wide street, light vehicle traffic, existing stop light and crossing to a parking lot, and it's closer to the north-south center of El Camino. Creating a safe bike facility that crosses the parking lot and the train tracks and adding separate bike path along Ravenswood to Laurel would be much less expensive than a bike/pedestrian tunnel and could be available much sooner. And this solution could easily be modified IF and WHEN a new Ravenswood underpass were built. This is just another example of why the city cannot afford to evaluate individual projects on a piecemeal basis.


Location?
Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 4, 2017 at 2:35 pm
Location?, Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 4, 2017 at 2:35 pm
Like this comment

Why is a City of Menlo Park community meeting being held on church property? Seems odd and inappropriate.


Rick Moen
Menlo Park: University Heights
on May 4, 2017 at 9:45 pm
Rick Moen, Menlo Park: University Heights
on May 4, 2017 at 9:45 pm
3 people like this

I find that I concur with Dana about the problems of Middle Avenue's first block for cyclists. (Kenwood Dr. is the intersection a block from ECR, just after Safeway Plaza. It then loops back to Middle as Morey Drive.) Cars manoeuvring on-off ECR and in/out of the Safeway Plaza lot make this block one where cyclists must (figuratively ;-) ) be on their toes.

And yes, Roble is an excellent alternative for exactly the reasons Dana cited. In the other direction, so is College Ave, if I recall correctly, but that has the disadvantage of being further from downtown.)

Rick Moen
[email protected]


ECR Crosser
Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 4, 2017 at 10:39 pm
ECR Crosser, Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 4, 2017 at 10:39 pm
3 people like this

First block on Middle is not only dangerous for cyclists, but also for pedestrians. Safeway on one side, Gas station on the other. Loong crossing across ECR.

Drivers in a rush to get in and out. Bad mix.

Every time I had actually walked in that area (such as between Safeway and Menlo Velo), I felt like taking my life into my hands...


Robert Cronin
Menlo Park: The Willows
on May 4, 2017 at 10:46 pm
Robert Cronin, Menlo Park: The Willows
on May 4, 2017 at 10:46 pm
1 person likes this

Any competent cyclist should be able to handle the Middle-ECR intersection. It is no worse than any other ECR crossing. More importantly, a railroad undercrossing at this location would be a boon to residents east of ECR who shop at Safeway and who now have to ride on ECR either north or south in order to cross the tracks.


steve schmidt
Menlo Park: The Willows
on May 5, 2017 at 8:33 pm
steve schmidt, Menlo Park: The Willows
on May 5, 2017 at 8:33 pm
3 people like this

An under-crossing near Middle will be great for Bob’s grocery shopping at Safeway and for getting Stanford’s housing and office tenants to the library, tennis courts, skate park, gym, recreation center, sports fields, Team Sheeper’s pools and the kid’s play area.

Stanford’s development probably won’t be paying property taxes to the City, so to be fair, Stanford should pay for constructing the Middle Plaza under-crossing. It would be the neighborly thing to do.

A second under-crossing should be built by the City at Willow/Alma connecting to El Camino at Cambridge for the benefit of Hillview Middle School students living in Linfield Oaks, the Willows and other residential neighborhoods east of Caltrain as well as for MA students in much of Menlo Park south of Santa Cruz Ave. An under-crossing combined with a route through the quiet Stanford Park & Allied Arts residential neighborhoods would extend the long-established Willow Road bike route from Facebook to Sharon Heights.

Once these two infrastructure improvements are completed Menlo Park will have fulfilled one of the Specific Plan’s major goals: to improve east-west connectivity for all Menlo Park residents seeking viable options to driving: Congratulations would be in order!


Robert Cronin
Menlo Park: The Willows
on May 5, 2017 at 10:06 pm
Robert Cronin, Menlo Park: The Willows
on May 5, 2017 at 10:06 pm
1 person likes this

For some time Steve Schmidt has been advocating for the railroad crossing to align more or less with Willow on the east and Cambridge on the west. It seems to me that the utility of this location, as well as the proposed location aligned with Middle Ave. would be increased if there was a path parallel to the railroad tracks such that users crossing the tracks could easily cross El Camino at either Middle or Cambridge, depending on their origin or destination. In that case the location of the undercrossing itself would not matter so much.


Name hidden
Atherton: West of Alameda

on Sep 24, 2017 at 9:52 pm
Name hidden, Atherton: West of Alameda

on Sep 24, 2017 at 9:52 pm

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?


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