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RE: Ravenswood Crossing Tragedy

From: Mueller, Raymond <"Mueller,>
Date: Thu, 26 Feb 2015 06:58:28 -0800

Hi Steve,

Words can't express how horrible the accident was that took Ms. Jayhun's life.

I have been sick about it since I learned about it Monday night at City Hall, shortly after the accident occurred. It is no consolation that the City recently received a grant from the San Mateo County Transportation Authority to finalize the design for the Ravenswood crossing, and that once those designs are competed, action is planned to separate the tracks from traffic.

With respect to your recitation of the history of past Council's decisions, while I am certain those actions will be much debated and discussed in future days, I would rather focus my thoughts on making the intersection safer in the future.

I look forward to voting on the matter at my first opportunity and my prayers are with Ms. Jayhun's family during this terrible time.

With best regards,
Ray Mueller
From: Steve Schmidt [menloparksteve_at_(domainremoved)
Sent: Wednesday, February 25, 2015 11:21 AM
Subject: Ravenswood Crossing Tragedy

I mourn the tragic death of the motorist who on Monday night found herself on the CalTrain tracks at Ravenswood. I am not judging this driverís decision that led to her being on the tracks without space to move forward as the train barreled towards her. The City is negligent to have allowed this dangerous situation to persist.

In 2000 the Council secured a $200,000 Grant from the Transportation Authority to study grade separations in Menlo Park. In 2003 the next council spent the Grant money on a study that resulted in no action. 12 years later, Menlo Park mourns the death of a young woman whose life should not have ended this way. The Almanac blog has many postings calling for answers, solutions and ideas on how to fix this problem. None of them is different from the ideas put forth 12 or even 20 years ago. What is missing is action.

The solutions are buried in funding issues, the Specific Plan, pending development plans on Alma street across from the station, the High Speed Rail, the electrification of CalTrain and the ever changing political emotions of our city. Elevating the tracks as San Carlos did over 10 years ago would create an intersection that allows east/west travel independent of train speed or frequency. Elevated tracks at Ravenswood would allow for grade separations at Oak Grove, Glenwood and Encinal and make for less costly pedestrian/bicycle undercrossings.

Elevated tracks have been rejected by the City Council as being unattractive, a visual offense, and an act of dividing the city in two. In light of Mondayís tragedy, these sentiments ring hollow. What is offensive and a visual nightmare are the images of the deceasedís automobile crushed with the crossing gates wrapped around it. Does our city want to be known for preferring superficial aesthetics over public safety?

I commend the posters on the Almanac Blog for their concern for safety and willingness to look for solutions. Where is our mayor at this time? In any other city, the mayor would have immediately held a press conference and an full explanation of the Cityís position on grade separations would be described. What is this councilís plan to redesign this dangerous intersection? Residents want to hear from their elected officials. Waiting years for an issue such as this to be placed on the agenda and discussed at a council meeting is not good enough. With the exception of Council Member Ray Mueller, our council says as little as he or she can possibly say about any issue. Stilted comments and silence are what we have come to expect.

Speak up and do it soon. Rather than trips to India, China and Ireland, stay home, pay attention and be present. Tell Menlo Park residents how this intersection will be improved so that another tragedy does not occur on your watch.

Steve Schmidt

Former Menlo Park Council
Received on Thu Feb 26 2015 - 06:53:16 PST

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