How many rail crossings should Menlo Park separate from the Caltrain tracks?
The Menlo Park City Council will discuss that question and others on Tuesday, April 4, at a meeting that starts at 7 p.m. in the Menlo Park Senior Center at 110 Terminal Ave. in Belle Haven.
The council will be faced with three options:
● Option A: Tunnel Ravenswood Avenue under the Caltrain tracks.
● Option B: Combine elevating the tracks with lowering the roads at the Ravenswood and Oak Grove avenues crossings. The tracks would be raised about 14 feet at Ravenswood Avenue and about 6 feet at Oak Grove Avenue. Ravenswood Avenue would be lowered about 8 feet and Oak Grove Avenue would be lowered about 15 feet.
● Option C: Adds the Glenwood Avenue crossing. According to a staff report, the tracks at Ravenswood and Oak Grove Avenues would be elevated about 10 feet, and about 5 feet at Glenwood Avenue. Ravenswood be lowered about 12 feet, Oak Grove, about 11 feet, and Glenwood Avenue, about 15 feet.
The council previously discussed the matter, but told staff it needed more information before it could make a decision.
One of the biggest question marks about the current study is how seriously the city needs to consider the possibility of a third rail track through Menlo Park. The city has a policy that it does not support adding a third rail line, but the study was funded in large part by the San Mateo County Transportation Authority, which made it a requirement that Menlo Park factor in a potential third line in its plans.
While Caltrain representatives have said that a passing track would be useful for its own operations, such a track could also be used for high-speed rail, if the California High Speed Rail Authority decides to cut through Menlo Park as part of its route from San Jose to San Francisco.
The rail authority has proposed six possible routes through the Peninsula, one of which would cut through Menlo Park. The rail authority is expected to make its recommendations this summer, according to a staff report.
The council could also decide whether the theoretical third track should be on the outside of the existing rails, or in the middle. Staff recommend that the city consider a center-loading station platform, with the possibility of adding a third track to the east side.
The council could also vote to approve, without discussion, some changes in the city's staff salary schedule. First, it would add the positions "senior accountant" and "enterprise applications support specialist." These are in response to the results of an IT master plan, which senior accountant would have a salary range of $94,022 to $113,221 and the enterprise applications support specialist would have a salary range of $89,498 to $107,888.
In February, the council agreed to allow the city's administrative services department to hire more people to work on information technology as part of a plan to continue staff support and upgrade technology programs.
The position of sustainability manager would also be increased to a salary range of $110,963 to $138,704, up from a salary range of $92,114 to $111,081.