Local Blogs

On a Roll

By Paul Bendix

E-mail Paul Bendix

About this blog: A 32-year resident of Menlo Park, I regularly make my way around downtown in a wheelchair. This gives me an unusual perspective on a town in which I have spent almost half of my life. I was educated at UC Berkeley, and permanentl...  (More)

View all posts from Paul Bendix

Downtown's Collision

Uploaded: May 31, 2014
Aside from leafy streets and property values, can't our fair suburb have some verve?

Downtown's next small experiment – widening spaces for sidewalk cafés – seems like a splendid move. Santa Cruz Avenue is just too sleepy. Let's see what happens when parking gives way to café patrons. Menlo Park's vaunted "village character" needn't be deadly for retailers. We could even have some nightlife.

"Village character" does collide with one inescapable fact: downtown is bisected by a six-lane state highway. El Camino Real's future seems entirely urban. This is the place where people should work, shop and live in density. It's also the place where people could comfortably walk...to nearby jobs, entertainment, retailers...and public transportation.

Unfortunately, the smart growth advocated by groups like the Sierra Club collides with pressures for no growth. In Menlo Park, these forces achieve a perfect storm. We fear increased automobile traffic...yet we oppose modernizing our commuter rail line. We'd like more housing...but not in walking distance of offices (of which we want very few).

El Camino and Santa Cruz Avenue should pleasantly intersect. Something more urban in one direction, more villagey in the other. Instead, both are stagnating. What's really intersecting is the past and future. In the end, the future always wins.

Comments

There are no comments yet for this post

Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields

Mixx, Scott's Seafood replacement, opens in Mountain View
By Elena Kadvany | 4 comments | 2,589 views

Ten Steps to Get Started with Financial Aid
By John Raftrey and Lori McCormick | 3 comments | 1,732 views

All Parking Permits Should Have a Fee
By Steve Levy | 23 comments | 1,549 views

Repeating and “You” Sentences
By Chandrama Anderson | 4 comments | 951 views

It’s Not About The Officer Or The Mom—It’s About All Of Us
By Erin Glanville | 6 comments | 396 views