Railroad Grade Separations

Project Description
This project evaluates the engineering feasibility of replacing the existing grade crossings of the Caltrain tracks by building grade separations of the roadways from the tracks at Ravenswood, Oak Grove, Glenwood, and Encinal avenues.

On July 10, 2001, the City Council authorized application for a San Mateo County Transportation Authority (SMTA) grant to conduct the subject feasibility study. Following authorization of $188,000 for the study, on July 16, 2002, the City Council awarded a study contract to BKF Engineers of Redwood City. Findings of the study were presented in a general public session on September 10, 2002, to a joint meeting of the city Planning and Transportation commissions on April 9, 2003, and at a City Council Work Session on June 10, 2003. On September 9, 2003, the council affirmed the concept of split-level grade separations, with tracks partially elevated and roadways partially depressed, as the preferred design. The council also requested that an alternative of deep undercrossings at Ravenswood and Oak Grove avenues only be kept under consideration. On October 19, 2004, City Council recommended meeting with neighboring cities and other community members to find alternative solutions and to discuss any concerns pertaining to this project.

Current Status
Caltrain has funding available to complete another study of grade separation along the peninsula corridor, including Burlingame and Redwood City to Menlo Park. The study will include a dedicated section for Menlo Park that includes coordination with adjacent communities. In order for Caltrain to continue its study in Menlo Park, several key assumptions are necessary. These assumptions can affect the impact to areas influenced by the rail line and grade separation. The two main assumptions that need to be confirmed for this study are the number of future tracks and the station configuration.

Next Steps
  • Caltrain needs to finalize whether a 4-track or a 2-track section will be incorporated and station platform configuration.
  • Caltrain will evaluate train service operations to determine assumptions necessary for the grade separation study.
  • City staff will then bring the scope of work for the study to the City Council for consideration and to direct staff and provide input to Caltrain regarding the scope of the study.