Letter: Challenging 'bizarre' claim regarding track-elevation option | February 27, 2019 | Almanac | Almanac Online |


Viewpoint - February 27, 2019

Letter: Challenging 'bizarre' claim regarding track-elevation option

It is so unfortunate that bad information still circulates about the options for Menlo Park's Caltrain grade separations. Marcy Abramowitz (Guest opinion, Jan. 30, The Almanac) repeats the bizarre claim that the fully elevated scheme (over downtown only) would be "at 50 feet ... the tallest structure west of 101." Huh?

As is clear in the staff reports, the track elevation will top out (downtown only) at 20 feet up, leaving 15 feet underneath for vehicles — including fire trucks — to pass easily below at existing grade. (The track elevation is essentially unchanged at Felton Gables and at Linfield Oaks.)

Importantly, the 15-foot clearance allows full access to pedestrian, bikes and vehicles throughout downtown, where currently we have iron fencing, roaring trains and only three portals to cross. Additionally, the properties and walkways — civic and private — can remain undisturbed, particularly at intersections.

The boogieman of 50 feet was invented by former councilman Rich Cline to argue for the "deep dip" option A. This is by adding in the height of the new power poles — spaced as far or farther than telephone poles — to the height of the "structure."

Back on Earth, the option of a fully elevated (through downtown) rail is not perfect — no solution is. But it has the fewest downsides, and by far the best upsides. Readers need to take their own view.

Henry Riggs

Callie Lane, Menlo Park


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