At the moment, there is little opposition to evaluating a tunnel at the Middle Avenue location. Finally, Mr. Schmidt's pet project isn't creating a stir, yet he is still unhappy. Wasn't the ultimate goal to provide better access to Burgess Park and a safer way to cross El Camino for children biking to school and/or cross town?
Oh, I forgot. That's not it. The ultimate goal was to have better access to Sand Hill Road for the avid biking community, of which Mr. Schmidt is a member (thus the Willow/Cambridge connection he suggests).
I find it even more interesting that the former mayor is calling for more evaluation and research. Isn't that exactly what the Linfield Oaks neighborhood asked for, to begin with? The location Mr. Schmidt suggests is rife with problems, and our neighborhood continually asked to show research and data to support that location, yet received very little data in return. To review some of the issues with Willow/Cambridge:
• Duplicative with the Alma Street Bridge to Palo Alto and, yes, Sand Hill Road;
• Would require eminent domain of private land between railroad tracks and El Camino;
• Tunnel connects commercial to residential, when most tunnels connect commercial to commercial. For example, Homer and University in Palo Alto;
• For bikers, the path would put you right onto El Camino where there are no bike paths;
• In the past, the Stanford Park Hotel (main business affected) did not support the project;
• Some residents were concerned with a steep increase in all-day parking on Alma by employees of El Camino businesses.
These are just a few highlights. To be clear, I do not speak for my neighborhood, but my personal opinion is that in these times, do we have the money to even consider a tunnel when our school district is taking a loss (due to Lehman's collapse) from county funds? And I'm sure the trickle-down effect will impact local funding of many projects, bonds and other measures.
Also, if the money earmarked for this project is still intact, might it be reallocated to more needy items?
And, if economics truly bear out to move forward with this project, then a location that makes sense for the entire Menlo Park community, not just the biking community, is worthy of serious evaluation.
While Mr. Schmidt accuses the current council of only conducting a beauty contest so far, perhaps it is because it is not worth considering putting lipstick on a pig.
Carla Posthauer lives on Claremont Way in Menlo Park.