Menlo Park: How to separate roads from rails

Planning Commission to discuss options Monday

A rendering of what Ravenswood Avenue might look like with the triple-rail separation at Ravenswood, Oak Grove and Glenwood Avenues. The Caltrain tracks would be raised about 10 feet at Ravenswood and Oak Grove Avenues and about 5 feet at Glenwood Avenue. Ravenswood Avenue would be lowered approximately 12 feet, Oak Grove Avenue about 11 feet and Glenwood Avenue about 15 feet at the railroad tracks. (Image courtesy AECOM, city of Menlo Park.)

The issue of where and how to separate roads from rails at Caltrain crossings in Menlo Park comes before the city's Planning Commission on Monday night, Sept. 11.

The commission is asked to recommend to the City Council a preferred option among these two choices:

• Build one grade separation at Ravenswood Avenue, with the roadway tunneling beneath the tracks.

• Build three grade separations – at Ravenswood, Oak Grove and Glenwood avenues – that would involve a combination of lowering the roads and raising the tracks.

With grade separations, vehicles don't stop for passing trains, thus improving traffic flow and safety at rail crossings.

According to a staff report, during community meetings, 85 percent of about 55 attendees favored the triple-separation option.

Those who favored the Ravenswood Avenue-only option said it is a lower cost way to reduce traffic congestion and improve safety at the crossing that has the most vehicular traffic.

Preliminary cost estimates for the Ravenswood-only option are $160 million to $200 million; for the triple-crossing option, the estimates are $310 million to 390 million.

The matter will go to the Complete Streets Commission on Wednesday, Sept. 13, for its recommendation and the City Council for a decision on Tuesday, Oct. 10.

The Sept. 11 Planning Commission meeting starts at 7 p.m. in the council chambers at 701 Laurel St. in the Menlo Park Civic Center.


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17 people like this
Posted by Terry
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Sep 8, 2017 at 8:43 am

Glad to see progress on this front. Glad too that the city is conducting good outreach and eliciting public input. I would expect that the CA High Speed Rail would have their own design criteria yet I don't see any reference to these. Do both designs conform to their requirements?

4 people like this
Posted by really?
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 8, 2017 at 8:50 am

Build The Wall! With that massive railway berm we're going to be just like San Bruno. How delightful.

14 people like this
Posted by relentlesscactus
a resident of another community
on Sep 8, 2017 at 9:19 am

Do it, do it all. You'll beat Palo Alto by a century after they tie an electric cord around their ankles and jump into a pool.

11 people like this
Posted by Yes Really
a resident of Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
on Sep 8, 2017 at 12:42 pm

The rendering looks more like San Carlos and Belmont then San Bruno....

Design it however you like, just do it!

Like the big sidewalks on each side.

8 people like this
Posted by Aaron
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Sep 8, 2017 at 12:46 pm

Would be good to expand the review to include a grade separation at Encinal Avenue...there are school children and parents driving kids to/from school down Encinal Ave, and it would improve safety for our kids by putting a grade separation there as well (though it's in Atherton, so maybe that's the issue). We need a more comprehensive plan for grade separation up and down the Caltrain corridor.

3 people like this
Posted by Ricki
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Sep 8, 2017 at 7:29 pm

Nice. Make it happen.

Like this comment
Posted by Reality Check
a resident of another community
on Sep 9, 2017 at 2:21 am

@Aaron, you are mistaken. Encinal between El Camino and Laurel is wholly in Menlo Park.

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