Menlo Park eyeing project to streamline Bayfront Expressway connection between Dumbarton Bridge and U.S. 101

Open house on city's Transportation Master Plan tonight

A preliminary diagram of what might have to be changed to turn Bayfront Expressway into a highway. It'd require a number of grade separations. (Image courtesy city of Menlo Park.)

Since 2017, the city of Menlo Park, consultants, committee and commission members and the public have been working and reworking a list of more than 150 projects that will make up the city's ambitious Transportation Master Plan.

The city has released an online open house here with an interactive map of the projects where people can weigh in on the projects and how they've been prioritized.

In addition, the city hosted an open house on Sept. 17 at the Arrillaga Family Recreation Center for the public to learn more about the project.

The city also plans to have pop-up events to answer questions and collect input on the plan next week:

● On Sunday, Sept. 22, city representatives will be at the Menlo Park Farmers' Market between 9 and 10:30 a.m. on Chestnut St. between Santa Cruz Avenue and Menlo Avenue.

● On Wednesday, Sept. 25, at Belle Haven Elementary School at 415 Ivy Drive between 12:30 and 2:30 p.m.

● On Wednesday, Sept. 25, at the weekly Off the Grid food truck market held at the Menlo Park Caltrain Station, from 5 to 6:30 p.m.

A bold idea

The biggest project in that list could transform how traffic moves along the city's Bay side.

It would be a complete revamp of Bayfront Expressway to turn it into a highway between U.S. 101 and the Dumbarton Bridge.

The project as envisioned in a very preliminary concept plan would involve connecting Bayfront Expressway to U.S. 101 at Marsh Road, removing the existing traffic signals, adding grade separations where the expressway currently intersects with streets, and adding a shared carpool and toll lane in each direction.

It's also a project that would be more expensive than what the city could pay to build, noted Menlo Park Senior Transportation Engineer Kristiann Choy. "It's definitely a long-term vision," she said.

It would definitely need the support of Caltrans, she added, which has jurisdiction over the expressway.

The project was initially explored in the 2008 "2020 Peninsula Gateway Corridor Study" by C/CAG, the City/County Association of Governments of San Mateo County.

According to the city, preliminary research has found that even if a separate enormous project – the reactivation of the Dumbarton rail line – moves forward and is implemented, given current regional traffic projections, it is still expected to take 20% to 70% longer on Bayfront Expressway during the peak commute periods in the future. On Willow Road, travel time would not increase; conditions would remain gridlocked at peak periods.

On the other hand, if both Dumbarton rail service and a reconfigured Bayfront Expressway were implemented, travel time could decrease by 40% to 60% during the peak commute periods, travel time along Willow Road would decrease by 20% and the expressway would have the capacity to move about 40% more people through its corridor, the city reports.

Master Plan

This is just one of more than 150 projects proposed in the city's massive Transportation Master Plan, a comprehensive document that's already been in the works for more than two years aimed at creating a list of all of the transportation projects needed citywide to improve safety, promote sustainability, give people transportation options other than solo driving, and manage congestion.

Another significant project on the list is construction of a bike and pedestrian bridge over U.S. 101 near Marsh Road between Independence Drive and Scott Drive, Choy said.

The plan, which has been workshopped extensively by the 11-member Transportation Master Plan Oversight and Outreach Committee, and heavily discussed by the city's Complete Streets Commission, is now on a timeline for potential City Council approval sometime in 2020.

People are encouraged to submit their opinions on the projects in the master plan and how they've been prioritized here.


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Like this comment
Posted by Martin
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Sep 18, 2019 at 11:41 am

What about the poor 101 commuters who will now be victims of unthrottled Dumbarton traffic?

Don't they get a say in this?

10 people like this
Posted by Andrew
a resident of another community
on Sep 18, 2019 at 12:06 pm

For real Martin, that is just dumb.

Like this comment
Posted by Mike
a resident of another community
on Sep 28, 2019 at 7:54 pm

I live in North Fair Oaks. I am not sure of the cost to make Bay Front a freeway and fix Marsh rd overpass., but bay front and marsh road overpass were poorly designed, probably by Calrans. Its is odd that the state of California and Caltrans are spending $500 million to install toll lanes on US101 but overlooked the Bay Front Marsh road overpass mess.
East Palo Alto and Menlo Park should have pushed for a surface or elevate freeway from us101 via Willlow rd Menlo Park or us101 University ave EPA to the Bayfront Dumbarton Bridge.;

Like this comment
Posted by LEX
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Oct 3, 2019 at 6:45 pm

When you have Facebook backing you up on any of your plans that benefits them menlo park city will make it happen all they need is a "donation" to move it forward they don't care what the Belle Haven community or surrounding cities thinks

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