Almanac

News - August 28, 2013

Briefs: City schedules review of downtown plan

Those demanding that Menlo Park review the downtown/El Camino Real specific plan can take heart. The Planning Commission has scheduled a review for Sept. 9.

The review "is intended to ensure that the Plan is functioning as intended, as well as to consider the policy-related implications of various Plan aspects," according to the public hearing notice. "Depending on the results of the initial review, potential modifications may be formally presented for Planning Commission recommendation and City Council action at subsequent meetings."

The specific plan, approved in 2012, has come under fire for allowing Stanford University and developer John Arrillaga to propose building an eight-acre mixed-use complex along the city's main corridor. The latest design for that complex would replace mostly vacant car lots along 300 to 500 El Camino Real with 199,500 square feet of office space, 10,000 square feet of retail and up to 170 apartments.

There would be a public plaza at Middle Avenue with two car lanes, along with a pedestrian and bicycle path at Middle Avenue and El Camino Real to a future railroad track undercrossing.

Two appointed to

transportation panel

Bicycle commissioner Michael Meyer has now joined the Menlo Park Transportation Commission, and incumbent Penelope Huang has been reappointed, following the Aug. 20 council meeting.

Two vacancies had opened up this summer with the resignation of Charlie Bourne and the expiration of Ms. Huang's term.

The appointments did not pass without public comment. Menlo Park resident Barbara Hunter asked that Ms. Huang not return to the commission, citing antagonism toward her constituents and valuing self-interest over the community.

"It's kind of hard to follow that," Ms. Huang said as she stepped up to the lectern to advocate for her re-appointment following the critical comments, noting her attendance record at commission meetings and encouragement from her peer group to re-apply.

Camille Gonzales Kennedy and Jennifer Pollock rounded out the pool of applicants.

Public hearing on

SamTrans bus fares

SamTrans wants to know what you think lowering the price of bus day passes.

- The transit agency will hold a public hearing Sept. 4 to get feedback on a proposal to cut the price of a day pass from three times the one-way cash fare to two-and-a-half times the one-way cash fare for up to 18 months.

It's also proposing to create an annual pass for businesses and housing complexes with a minimum participation of 100 users. The pass would cost $115 in 2014 and $125 in 2015 per eligible user.

Finally, SamTrans may implement a 20 percent discount for groups of 25 or more people who pre-purchase fares.

The hearing will start at 2 p.m. at the San Mateo County Transit District headquarters at 1250 San Carlos Ave. in San Carlos.

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