A Menlo Park City Council subcommittee made up of members Drew Combs and Ray Mueller will meet tonight (April 22) to iron out the city's formal policy on the proposed Dumbarton transportation project and Caltrain's efforts to craft a new business plan.
The subcommittee may weigh in on whether to change the city's rail policy statement. The statement, which guides the city's actions on rail-related matters, was last updated in May 2015 so the city could consider elevated rail options in the Ravenswood railroad crossing study, according to staff.
Caltrain's business plan is not expected to be adopted until 2020, but there are elements of the plan that could affect Menlo Park, staff say. For instance, Caltrain wants to run trains more frequently, which would likely mean that trains would halt traffic across town more often. More frequent trains could also require additional infrastructure like passing tracks, grade separations and improvements to rail crossings.
Meanwhile, work is moving ahead with the feasibility study underway by Cross Bay Transit Partners, a partnership between Facebook and the Plenary Group, a private infrastructure company, to work with SamTrans to potentially reactivate the Dumbarton rail line by creating a transbay rail route from Redwood City to Union City. According to the group's ambitious timeline, the plan is to complete environmental analyses, feasibility studies and financial analyses in mid-to-late 2020, pursue environmental certification for the project in 2021 and begin construction in 2022. This project could also impact Menlo Park: Questions about where transit stops would be located; what kind of transit service would be provided; how frequently the trains would run; how loud or how much vibration they could cause; and whether to install grade separations or implement other changes to railroad crossings should be addressed.
Following the rail subcommittee's discussion, its recommendations will be presented to the Complete Streets Committee -- which is tentatively scheduled to receive the recommendations at its May 8 meeting -- before returning to the subcommittee. The plan is to bring the draft recommendations to the full City Council for potential approval in July or August.
The subcommittee is scheduled to meet at 5 p.m. in the first floor conference room at City Hall, 701 Laurel St. in the Menlo Park Civic Center. Access the meeting agenda here.