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Caltrain accident

From: Mike O'Donnell <"Mike>
Date: Tue, 24 Feb 2015 16:23:24 +0000

Dear Menlo Park City Council:

I was greatly disturbed to hear the news of yesterday's tragic Caltrain accident. We returned to living in Menlo Park recently
after living in a neighboring town for many years. Our home near Burgess Park requires us to cross the railroad tracks
at Ravenswood many times a day, and the potential for this type of accident there is something that we have often
discussed. I didn't speak up about the risks at that intersection because I always presumed that the dangers there were
so obvious that the City must be working on a solution.

Pedestrians legally walking in crosswalks at the intersection of Alma and Ravenswood cause vehicles to back up on the
railroad tracks every day. The most cautious, experienced and able driver can suddenly find himself in a literal box, without
any safe exit.

I have given considerable thought to improvement to the intersection. The only expeditious solution, which can be achieved
unilaterally by the City of Menlo Park, is a change in the placement of pedestrian crosswalks. While vehicle traffic very
occasionally backs up to Alma from the Laurel/Ravenswood intersection, almost all backups at the tracks are caused
by pedestrian crossings. My opinion is that the crosswalk parallel to the tracks linking both sides of Ravenswood at Alma
should be immediately removed, and barriers/signage placed on both sides of the street to prevent future pedestrian
crossings there. And the crosswalk on the south side of Ravenswood linking both sides of Alma should be moved further
south, near the library auto entrance, with signage and barriers to prevent future pedestrian crossing there. These changes
would not alter the walking distance to work/train for most of the users of the intersection. Finally, a 24 hour prohibition
on left turns for vehicles traveling east on Ravenswood at Alma should be enacted. Because there is a slight curve of the
road at that intersection with the tracks, it is difficult for cars crossing the tracks to anticipate cars that decide to turn
left there.

I am approaching you with these thoughts because I can say with great certainty that today, one day after a fatality at
this crossing, there are other cars that will be stopped on the Caltrain tracks there. And every weekday thereafter. I believe
that emergency direction from the City Council to change this intersection is necessary to prevent another accident, until
a permanent solution can be further studied and implemented.

Mike O'Donnell
Received on Tue Feb 24 2015 - 08:19:06 PST

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