Town Square

Post a New Topic

Downtown Parking - Call For Ideas

Original post made by What can be done to improve parking in downtown Menlo Park? , Menlo Park: Downtown, on Jul 13, 2014

What can be done to improve parking in the Menlo Park downtown area? Certainly there are ways that can make the experience more pleasant. Quite frankly, 1,000's of overtime parking citations may result in 100's of thousand of dollars in fines for the city, but at the same time is it taking away valued customers from local businesses? For many, two hours seems too short. Over 800 tickets are issued each year for parking over the white line. Should everyone carry a magnifying glass with them? There must be a better way. Is the City of Menlo Park parking enforcement too aggressive? Suggestions welcome.

Comments (88)

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 13, 2014 at 10:33 am

Build a parking garage. The problem is not enough available parking.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mike Keenly
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jul 14, 2014 at 1:22 pm

It's simple, read the signs and park within the lines. How difficult is that?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 14, 2014 at 1:31 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

I will repeat my earlier suggestion - transfer parking enforcement from the Police Dept to Jim Cogan who is responsible for economic development. Cogan's rules would be designed to maximize the use of the city's parking rather than to generate fines.


And then build a parking structure which is beautifully designed and has lots of landscaping.

Here what can be done with a bit of creativity:

Web Link

"downtown Brooklyn's plans to build an automated parking garage underneath a public park. Willoughby Square Park is scheduled to open in 2016, built upon 700 parking spaces that will be hidden from eyesight and 'reduce the amount of exhaust pollution associated with idling in traditional parking garages.'

The contractor, Automotion Parking Systems, will fit three times as many vehicles in the same square footage of a traditional parking garage.

The system is outlined below:

How Automotion Works: Park. Swipe. Leave. It's that simple. Each customer will follow the ramp beneath the park and drive into one of Automotion's 12 entry/exit rooms. Once they enter the large well-lit room, they will be greeted by a large flat screen TV that aids them in properly placing their car on a pallet in the middle of the room. Drivers park and lock their cars, then swipe their credit card at an Automotion Kiosk to initiate the parking process. Each vehicle is then transported automatically to its storage bay while the customer is walking away. When returning, the customer swipes the same credit card again and the car is returned back to the entry/exit room in less than 2 minutes, ready to be driven away. Since no one has touched the car, there is no risk of scratches, dents or dings, nor any chance of theft of goods left inside of the car.

Full sized trees, gardens, and other typical park features will hide the garage, and provide a space people can use.

- See more at: Web Link


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Common Criminal
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jul 15, 2014 at 10:40 am

I guess the city prefers to make ordinary citizens, shoppers and consumers into common criminals, issuing tickets right and left, and generated hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines. Maybe a better approach would be to find incentives to increase business, sales tax revenues and consumer loyalty. The issue may be aggressive enforcement that discourages, instead of encourages, shopping locally, going to restaurants and nearby stores for leisurely visits lasting longer than two hours and building goodwill as a favored destination. People have choices, with Stanford Shopping Center, Town and Country Village and downtown Palo Alto not too far away.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Dagwood
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jul 15, 2014 at 12:18 pm

I agree with the above: Build a parking garage and pay attention to the signage.
What's stopping a parking garage are obstructionist downtown business and property owners who continue to prevent MP from moving forward. Forget about what should be their leadership in doing that.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Tunbridge Wells
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jul 15, 2014 at 12:20 pm

Tunbridge Wells is a registered user.

The most cost-effective way to improve the parking situation would be to make it more appealing to ride your bike there. This town is basically flat, the climate is mild, downtown is an easy destination. The problem is lots of people find it intimidating to ride across El Camino Real, and there isn't much visible bike parking downtown. Ride your bike, you don't have to worry about a parking ticket. If more people did that, parking would not be a problem at all. What it would cost the city to make downtown more bikeable would cost a fraction of what it would cost to build a parking structure.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Colin Jenkins
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jul 15, 2014 at 1:40 pm

The last proposal I heard for the cost of a parking garage was in the neighborhood of $20K - $30K per parking space depending on the style of garage. I may be fuzzy on the exact amount but that's the ballpark number I remember. My recollection is that the city wasn't interested in paying for it but the merchants via the property owners would be assessed. Speaking for myself, if that happens here, I can say that we're probably out of business.

Ironically, I was told by a member of one of Menlo Park's long-time property-owning families that the merchants purchased the property for the current parking lots and gave them to the city some time in the 40's or 50's. I'm not sure what the agreement was but I'm pretty sure that the intention then was not to have future merchants pay again for a parking garage. Seems like the city has been making a lot of money off of these lots and should use that money to build parking garages.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Roy Thiele-Sardiña
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 15, 2014 at 3:14 pm

Roy Thiele-Sardiña is a registered user.

The parking situation in MPK is horrible. They issued .8 tickets per resident last year. While my office is in MPK, I generally make lunch meetings happen in Palo Alto because they have garages (with electric car chargers) that can accommodate the traffic. Palo Alto subsequently gets my tax revenue.

We need garages here, I know that goes against the "village character" moniker that many would imply of Menlo Park. But then again 20,000 plus parking tickets doesn't sound like a quaint "friendly" village to me either.

Roy Thiele-Sardina


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Nikola T
a resident of another community
on Jul 15, 2014 at 3:33 pm

I got a real kick out of Mr. Sardiña's highly charged remarks.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mike Keenly
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jul 15, 2014 at 3:48 pm

We shop and eat in downtown MP regularly and have *never* gotten a parking ticket. It's not hard to follow the simple parking rules.

Roy's 0.8 number is deceptive in that it doesn't indicate who is getting these tickets (residents or others), and if a certain few are regularly getting many more tickets than others.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Spanky
a resident of another community
on Jul 15, 2014 at 6:06 pm

Get rid of the 200 shrinks that rent 25 offices.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Marcy Magatelli
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jul 15, 2014 at 7:51 pm

I live and work in Downtown Menlo Park, but I still need a car...not everything can be done on a bicycle, especially when you are as old as I am! Because I need to make deliveries for my business, I pay a hefty $600. year for a permit to park, not "anywhere" in dwntwn MP, but only in the one designated lot, which is fine, but in the 3 years I have parked in my assigned lot, I have received 1 of those "on-the-line" not over the line tickets, and another for a spot w/no sign posted, but an almost totally worn-off white sign, painted on the actual spot, which from the car, I did not see. I have been friendly, and talked with the parking officers, and they know my car & where I work, but that did make them want to knock on my back door and tell me I was parked illegally, or give me a "warning" for first offense, since I am a season ticket holder; nope! they just ticketed me, as though I was a visitor from another town. However, since the last ticket, I have noticed...no more eye contact, no more smiling waves??? Seems like someone knew they could have used a gentler approach for a first offense. Bad form! That is a buzz-kill for the small, home town feeling.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Manlo Punk
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 16, 2014 at 8:14 am

No to be repetitive;
- Build a couple of parking garages, behind Flegels, Amicis, Posh Bagel, between Draegers and Peets.
- I've never received a parking ticket downtown
- Ride bikes when possible/able
- STOP the ridiculous "look at my expensive car" shows that take up parking spaces ON A WEEKEND, no less! (there have only been two to this point, but that is enough). Let them find a place of their own and show off somewhere else

None of this will happen of course, because more than on faction will pop up to waste time arguing why one plan is better than the other. Stop emulating Washington. There are too many smart people in Menlo Park, to have Menlo Park suffer through this sort of nonsense!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mike Keenly
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jul 16, 2014 at 11:17 am

For those who conveniently propose building parking structures downtown, one question: Who are you assuming will pay for the construction and maintenance of these structures?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 16, 2014 at 11:59 am

The city should pay. Who pays for the structures in Palo Alto?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Manlo Punk
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 16, 2014 at 12:03 pm

Governments always seem to find creative ways of finding money. (e.g. taxes!) Ouch, no not advocating for that.

Not to get off topic, if we were talking about a sports complex the money would be flowing in. But for a parking lot or two, a new school etc., it's worse than pulling teeth.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Joseph E. Davis
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Jul 16, 2014 at 2:04 pm

When confronted with the need to allocate a limited resource, we should first look to an extremely effective solution that was invented thousands of years ago: the price system.

As an eminently practical example that Menlo Park could follow, I would commend the Redwood City pay-by-space machines to your consideration. They accept coins, bills, credit cards, and refilling the meter by text message. Rates vary according by day and hour according to demand. The goal is to have a few spaces available at all times to avoid congestion and pollution from circling the lot looking for parking.

The only disadvantage might be that this system is probably too solution-oriented, straightforward and simple to be accepted by Menlo Park.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Norman
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 16, 2014 at 5:05 pm

What's the problem? Do some people have to walk a couple of blocks from where they parked? I've never been shut out parking in downtown Menlo Park.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mike Keenly
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jul 16, 2014 at 8:55 pm

@Menlo Voter, we can look to Palo Alto and their Parking Assessment Districts or to Redwood City to develop parking solutions that don't require "the City" (i.e. the taxpaying resident) to pay.

Here's a link to Redwood City's Downtown Parking Management Plan:

Web Link


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Concerned Citizen
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jul 16, 2014 at 9:36 pm

I'd like to see a Town Hall Meeting offered in a convenient location for citizens to have an opportunity to voice their opinion on this and other topics affecting the qualifty of life in Menlo Park. Perhaps at the MPPC Social Auditorium located behind the Ace Hardware store would be a good location. This could be a "Meet the Mayor" meeting. If the city doesn't offer it, perhaps The Almanac newspaper would be interested in being the host. Much can be learned by sharing ideas, expressing questions and hearing from the decision makers.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 17, 2014 at 7:12 am

Mike:

Menlo Park can take a lesson from Redwood City re. parking that is for sure. Thanks for the link.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Price Conscious
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jul 17, 2014 at 9:52 am

I wonder if the price of a ticket went up from $45.00 to say $500.00 if virtually overtime parking tickets would decrease significantly.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Roy Thiele-Sardiña
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 17, 2014 at 11:05 am

Roy Thiele-Sardiña is a registered user.

@Price Conscious

You are right the number of tickets wold go to ZERO, as would the number of people that come to our town. This is a CLASSIC marginal utility economics problem.

The real solution is to allow for payed extended parking and to build a garage. It is in the Downtown Specific Plan, which will be inevitably delayed by the initiative currently being considered.

Roy Thiele-Sardina


 +   Like this comment
Posted by dana Hendrickson
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 17, 2014 at 12:29 pm

I would "happily" pay extra $'s for extended parking beyond 2 hours.

So how would a 100-car underground parking structure REALLY cost to build and maintain?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 17, 2014 at 12:36 pm

according to the link Mike provided, Redwood City estimated subterranean parking cost at $40,000 to $50,000 a space to construct. I would expect it would be more toward the high end.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 17, 2014 at 12:42 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Here are the cost figures for the Brooklyn underground garage :
"Automotion's equipment costs roughly $25,000 a vehicle, which rises to $50,000 to $60,000 a car when the excavation costs are included, Mr. Milstein said. To build a conventional garage beneath Willoughby Square would run closer to $90,000 for each car, he said."

And note that this public-private partnership is costing the city much less than that per parking space:
Web Link

What we need to do is think outside the box. Such a garage could go under two or more adjacent city surface lots to further enhance the surface area and lower the per space cost.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Downtowner
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 17, 2014 at 1:04 pm

Parking structures are very expensive and can visually overwhelm areas with lower building height limits. I prefer Redwood City's pay-per-space system. It's easy and allows parking for as long as one needs, unlike the meter systems in San Mateo & Burlingame. I don't have difficulty finding a parking space within a block, or rarely 2, in Menlo.

It's been many years since I've gotten a ticket, but I don't need more than 2 hours to meet friends for lunch. The restaurants which cater to the 2 drink lunch or afternoon cocktail crowd do wish for longer parking. I also know which restaurants are habitually slow to serve their customers (I'm looking at you, Left Bank) and avoid those in the daytime.

Parking availability is very tough on Sundays when Menlo Presbyterian holds services, as well as during weddings, big funerals, etc. Pay-by-space parking would help a lot.

Maybe it's time to create designated areas for huge vehicles? The maxi-vans & double cab long bed trucks don't fit into the spaces as they're currently striped. And a gripe- the vehicles which actually obstruct lanes in lots because they aren't pulled forward enough should be ticketed. The lot behind the 600 block of Menlo Ave & behind Walgreens are especially tough to negotiate because drivers leave 2-4 feet in front of their cars when they park, thus badly narrowing the lanes. And do ticket cars which intentionally take 2 spaces, apparently to protect from the possibility of risking a scratch.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 17, 2014 at 1:26 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

A key component of Redwood City's successful parking program is their very large multi-level underground garage. Palo Alto also has a number of underground parking garages.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Easy Does It
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jul 17, 2014 at 1:52 pm

Hey--it ain't broke--don't fix it!
I've lived in the downtown for decades, and for the past several years at least, have found it generally easy to park.
Parking just isn't the problem it was years back.
Rather, the current problem is the one-hour limit on street parking.
Los Altos has 2-hour street parking and 3-hr parking in lots.
We ought to give that a try before even considering the expense of parking structures. People prefer street parking anyway.
And the city should never ticket people who parked on the line. That's really pushing it.

One more thing: it seems as if the city has stopped using chalk marks on wheels in the parking lots, and instead is making a record of everyone's license plates. Now, if you move to another spot in the same lot, how will they know? Or have they essentially numbered the parking spots? This should be explained to people.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 17, 2014 at 2:01 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

If I'm not mistaken you can't just move your car to a different space in the same lot. You have to move to a completely different lot. Very inconvenient for anyone that needs to spend extended time downtown.

I use the pay lots in Redwood City when I go and they work quite well. It would be worth trying here and if it doesn't work, then build a garage.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Tunbridge Wells
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jul 17, 2014 at 2:09 pm

Tunbridge Wells is a registered user.

The comments here are making it really clear that the city still has some work to do making sure that people understand the parking setup downtown. We do have pay lots. Two of them. You can park there and stay all day if you like. The one hour parking limits on the streets are to encourage turnover. You can stay for longer by paying for the time in one of the pay lots. There is seriously no reason to get a parking ticket downtown as long as you look at the signs and park in the right place (and pay for extra time if that's what you need.)


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Manlo Punk
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 18, 2014 at 7:30 am

I've just realized this (slow on the uptake I guess), and I'm guilty of this as well. There have been many complaints about the lack of businesses and restaurants, etc., in downtown, yet everyone seems to have difficulty with parking.

If there is such a lack of things to do downtown, then where are all the people (taking up parking), going?

Just an observation, happy Friday, and everyone have a good time at the event this weekend.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mike Keenly
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jul 18, 2014 at 12:58 pm

At this point, a parking structure for downtown Menlo Park is a solution looking for a problem. There are so many things we could be doing to improve the current situation before we even begin to consider a structure.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 18, 2014 at 2:10 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

This is not "a solution looking for a problem." The parking problem has been carefully analyzed and a solution identified.

Figure D-6 and the associated language in the Specific Plan clearly support the City intention to build multi-level parking garages.

"Parking Garages
Due to their size, above ground parking garages are highly
visible and affect the character of the surrounding area.
Guidelines for parking garages help minimize their visual
impact and integrate them into the surrounding area.
Standards
E.3.7.09 To promote the use of bicycles, secure bicycle
parking shall be provided at the street level of public parking
garages. Bicycle parking is also discussed in more detail in
Section F.5 "Bicycle Storage Standards and Guidelines."
Guidelines
E.3.7.10 Parking garages on downtown parking plazas
should avoid monolithic massing by employing change in
façade rhythm, materials and/or color.
E.3.7.11 To minimize or eliminate their visibility and impact
from the street and other signifi cant public spaces, parking
garages should be underground, wrapped by other uses
(i.e. parking podium within a development) and/or screened
from view through architectural and/or landscape treatment.
E.3.7.12 Whether free-standing or incorporated into overall
building design, garage façades should be designed with
a modulated system of vertical openings and pilasters,
with design attention to an overall building façade that fi ts
comfortably and compatibly into the pattern, articulation,
scale and massing of surrounding building character.
E.3.7.13 Shared parking is encouraged where feasible to
minimize space needs, and it is effectively codifi ed through
the plan's off-street parking standards and allowance for
shared parking studies.
E.3.7.14 A parking garage roof should be approached
as a usable surface and an opportunity for sustainable
strategies, such as installment of a green roof, solar panels
or other measures that minimize the heat island effect."


One wonders why so many posters seem not to have even read the Specific Plan.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by David Roise
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jul 18, 2014 at 5:15 pm

Anyone interested in this topic should read Donald Shoup's "The High Cost of Free Parking": Web Link. As Shoup notes, parking should be treated the same as any other product or service and should be priced accordingly. We don't give away the gas for your car, so why should we give away the space where you leave it.

As an example, I was in San Francisco for lunch on Wednesday and was able to find plenty of street parking within a block of AT&T ballpark. Why? Because San Francisco has parking meters that adjust their rates according to the demand. I paid $12 for an hour and a half of parking and was happy to do it, because I didn't need to spend more than 5 seconds looking for an empty space.

Local requirements that mandate excessive free parking have destroyed the charm and character of many towns and cities in the US. Paying $30K to $90K per space to build underground parking that we then give away for free is NUTS. The technology is available for demand-responsive parking rates. See Web Link. Let's charge people what the market says it's worth for street parking and then let them decide if it's still worth using their car to get downtown. That's simple economics and will mean more empty parking spaces for those of you who want to (or need to) park your cars downtown.

By the way, these ideas are also described in Mr. Carpenter's beloved DSP at page F29, which notes the success of similar strategies in Redwood City.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 18, 2014 at 5:20 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

David - Thanks for the great references.

"Free parking" is not really free but rather a hidden tax of wasted time and lost customers.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jim
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 19, 2014 at 4:52 am

Folks: No need to over think this, as it is really just straight math. MP needs a garage and there of plenty of above ground, reasonable options in nearby towns with vibrancy, such as PA and Burlingame. Lack of parking is an impediment to growth and usage of our stores. Not enough parking, cars too close together -- at the margin, people will go elsewhere. It will not have a negative impact on the downtown look and feel -- it will enhance downtown's vibrancy.




 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jim
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 20, 2014 at 9:51 am

David: The academic argument on parking is not fully useful in a civic context when other elements, such as access for elderly and benefits (taxes and otherwise) for the town. The theory you support would suggest that you can have no local parking at all, just remote parking and bussing folks in -- math would suggest just that, as would the fact that charging $100 per hour to park will leave all spaces empty and allow you to not build a garage. All nice to talk about but not practical for Menlo Park. The potential demand for services, and population of MP make the physical space inadequate for those wishing to meet basic needs in our town. A garage is the only answer, period. think local stores were happy that all the SF spaces were empty when you went to park?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Tunbridge Wells
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jul 20, 2014 at 1:09 pm

Tunbridge Wells is a registered user.

I haven't seen anyone suggest charging $100 an hour to park. The observation that free parking is not actually free is not just "academic." It creates a tragedy of the commons kind of situation, where people feel entitled to something and then get deeply upset when asked to contribute a tiny fraction of what it actually costs. Markets work for parking just like any other resource- if you price it appropriately, people use the resource more wisely.

I do wonder how many of the people who support building a parking garage downtown also complain about excessive traffic on El Camino. Building something to attract more cars to downtown Menlo Park will also attract more cars to El Camino Real. If what people want is easier parking spaces and more people shopping downtown, a lot of that can be accomplished without building a garage.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jim
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 20, 2014 at 4:13 pm

Turnbridge: The $100 is to make a point about the notion of charging for parking in the example provided. It is the wrong way to think about this issue and you are just missing the point as it relates to MP.

In SF, the approach has nothing to do with smoothing out demand. It is strictly revenue driven since city street meters were programmed for modest fees compared to the heft parking charges at time of extremely heavy use, such as ball games.

This is not a math exercise, it is about the current MP downtown. Right now, here and now, today -- parking is not sufficient. Even without any new building, as stores and restaurants become more appealing, then demand will be higher. This dynamic will only increase, not decrease. A garage is necessary, like it or not. And you know what, it is ok to have a garage! One gets a headache around the over-thinking on things like parking garages, food trucks, new gymnasium near the library, etc. Progress happens in stages and you adjust and move on.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Tunbridge Wells
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jul 20, 2014 at 4:37 pm

Tunbridge Wells is a registered user.

In my personal experience, I have never, ever been unable to find parking downtown. Sure, maybe I can't find parking within thirty feet of my destination, but I have always been able to find parking within a block or two of my destination. I saw the presentation city staff made to city council- at any given time of day, there are spaces available in one or more of the existing parking plazas. That is consistent with my own experience.

Assuming, arguendo, that a garage is really needed, who pays for it? Taxpayers? That's an awfully big subsidy to the downtown merchants. And again, if we create more car parking in downtown Menlo Park, it's only going to add to the congestion we already experience on El Camino Real. If you build it, they will come. More parking spaces = worse traffic.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 20, 2014 at 5:42 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

Mr. Wells:

so let's just let MP, Santa Cruz Ave turn into a ghost town shall we? More traffic is coming on ECR whether we like it or not. I can be dealt with by our city pulling it's collective heads out of the 50's and waking up to the fact that truncating ECR from three lanes in each direction to two is a large part of the traffic problem. One only need to drive from Mountain view to Redwood City to see where the problem occurs.

I know a successful restaurateur from the south bay that has looked into Menlo Park. He was scared away because it was "too dead." It will continue to be too dead if we don't make it more attractive for not just residents, but those from nearby communities. Redwood city and Palo Alto get a lot of traffic from our residents for this reason. There's not much here and it's a pain to park and stay if you do happen to come downtown.

Building a garage is the only answer to solving what now isn't a major problem but in the near future will become a major problem.

How does it get paid for? How do Palo Alto and Redwood City pay for theirs? Folks are happy to put a parcel tax on themselves for schools, perhaps that is the answer here. It certainly wouldn't need to be anywhere near the size as the ones approved for the schools.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Norman
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 20, 2014 at 6:12 pm

Tunbridge Wells:

I'm with you as I always have found a place to park and I've been in West Menlo for forty years. Even as they've reduced the parking. It seems that the commentators are divided into two parts: Those that want to park for more than the allotted time and those that are urban planners and/or visionaries of what a parking garage can do for the businesses in MP.

The City shouldn't go ahead with a garage unless there complaints about being able to park, having to leave the area to find places.

This issue is almost Kafkaesque and reminds me of our last auto related go-round with slowing down traffic on Santa Cruz which didn't need slowing down.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 20, 2014 at 7:49 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Here is another innovative parking program that we used last night - works great:
"Valet Parking in Downtown Redwood City
Nights of Operation Every Friday and Saturday
This program is the result of many Downtown businesses coming together in a cooperative effort to address their customers' concerns with the sometimes-impacted parking situation.

As Downtown Redwood City continues growing into one of THE great destinations for entertainment in Silicon Valley, valet parking will help bring parking relief, more convenience, and peace of mind, at a low cost, to anyone looking for easy parking on those busy Friday and Saturday nights.

Look for this sign on Middlefield at Broadway (or on Theatre Way at Middlefield/Winslow during the concert season) for easy, stress-free parking at a great price.

Drop off your car, enjoy your evening at these participating businesses, get validation, and get your car delivered right to where you left it."


 +   Like this comment
Posted by One Week Experiment
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jul 21, 2014 at 8:27 am

If some folks think that the city is overly aggressive with overtime parking, how about trying a one week, or more, experiment with No Overtime Parking enfordement at all. Why do I suggest this? One reason is during one of the busiest times of the year, between Thanksgiving and Christmas, the City offers a Relaxed Parking Program. With visits to the downtown area at an all time high, business increases, as folks can shop, or dine, or both, without fear of returning to their car and being greeted by a $45.00 ticket. Merchants and othes may do self-poicing to free up spaces for consumers by parking their car a few blocks away. Yes, downtown needs more parking places, but does the city need to take nearly a million dollars a year from the pockets of consumers rather than making these funds available to merchants? No time limits seem to work at Town and Country Village and Stanford Shopping Center. Maybe it can work in downtown Menlo Park too.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mike Keenly
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jul 21, 2014 at 10:17 am

@David Roise, thank you for your post. Parking costs should be borne by the user of the parking space, and not the taxpayer, who may or may not make use of the parking. And yes, I still believe that a parking structure at this time is a solution looking for a problem, regardless of the language in the Specific Plan about it.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 21, 2014 at 10:35 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

There is no reason why a parking structure, preferably underground with a park on top, could not be self supporting. I suggest that the city prepare an RFP and see what the free market proposes.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Lydia
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jul 21, 2014 at 2:01 pm

In all the comments listed, no one mentioned the problem of finding parking for the employees of businesses in the downtown area. At the moment many of these employees park on streets that are not time restricted. Streets between Menlo Avenue to Roble are impacted from 6:00 am to 5:00 pm with cars. These same streets have no time limits. It is definitely frustrating for the residents who live in this area. There should be a designated area for these people to park.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Richard
a resident of another community
on Jul 21, 2014 at 4:13 pm

"parking shortage" = "surplus of unused cars"
Work on both supply and demand, and try to increase the utilization of cars to minimize the amount of time they are just sitting around demanding parking places.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 21, 2014 at 4:54 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"the problem of finding parking for the employees of businesses in the downtown area"

The only tried and true method of solving this problem is a residential parking permit program in the neighborhoods contiguous with the downtown. Palo Alto has been struggling with this for years and has not found any other solution.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Richard
a resident of another community
on Jul 21, 2014 at 5:10 pm

Peter, that doesn't solve the problem of parking for employees, it only makes life less inconvenient for residents and more inconvenient for employees.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 21, 2014 at 5:16 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" that doesn't solve the problem of parking for employees"

Parking for employees is handled by the existing permit program - which could easily be expanded to meet the demand if a parking structure were built.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by MOE
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 21, 2014 at 5:44 pm

An underground parking structure - costly as it may be - could ease the problem of employee parking. It could also provide an exciting landscaped open space serving many public activities. Yes, excessive ticketing is not an incentive to come to MP and maybe some 3 hr zones may ease some of the problem but whining about tickets for parking over the line??? If you're too lazy to park correctly you deserve the ticket. If you're too stupid to understand what the lines are for, or you just don't care to give others a fair chance to find a space, then a few tickets may just be the lesson you need.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Downtowner
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 22, 2014 at 9:56 am

Can anyone give an example of an underground parking structure which ". .could also provide an exciting landscaped open space serving many public activities" described above by Moe? Maybe build a parking garage under Burgess Park?
San Mateo's main library has underground parking, for patrons only. I'm not sure where the Burlingame parking garage is, Jim, except under City Hall & limited to CH visitors. San Mateo has plenty of elevated parking which isn't very attractive. Draegers SM has its own u'ground parking just as Draegers MP has its own lot @ Menlo & University (which it bought to provide more parking for its customers when they added a 2nd story. Part of that deal required Draegers to pay to move the apartment bldg on that property to east Menlo so no net rental housing would be lost.) Mtn View has a multi-story garage near on Bryant, built at the same time that area was being redeveloped.

Maybe build parking under Fremont Park? The public structures in both downtown PA & Calif Ave aren't attractive at all except for the one on Ramona, between University & Hamilton. Advocates of parking structures, please give us examples of nice looking ones which "provide exciting open space."


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 22, 2014 at 10:10 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Can anyone give an example of an underground parking structure which ". .could also provide an exciting landscaped open space serving many public activities" described above by Moe? "

Please read ALL of the above posts - I gave the real life example of Brooklyn's plans to build an automated parking garage underneath a public park. Willoughby Square Park is scheduled to open in 2016, built upon 700 parking spaces that will be hidden from eyesight and 'reduce the amount of exhaust pollution associated with idling in traditional parking garages.'


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Downtowner
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 22, 2014 at 10:47 am

Thanks anyway, Peter. I was hoping for something more local, perhaps even on the Peninsula, as an example of something attractive & feasible for the budget of a small town such as MP. Perhaps we have a smaller income pool from which to draw.

And yes, I did read the previous posts. I remain unconvinced that $50-90k per space in construction cost is within budget for either the resident taxpayers or the small businesses which claim to be struggling.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 22, 2014 at 11:27 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Redwood City and Palo Alto prove that underground parking is economically feasible.
And the underground parking at PA City Hall has a plaza above it.

All it takes is a little bit of courage to seek interest from potential operators.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Observer
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jul 22, 2014 at 11:53 am

One example may be Union Square in San Francisco, with a beautiful, well maintained park above, near a bustling business area. Menlo Park has a wonderful opportunity to have the garage paid by developers by using funds termed PUBLIC BENEFIT. This may apply to one or more of the projects earmarked for El Camino Real, or other parts of the city, such as along Bayfront Parkway. If merchant and employee parking could be redirected to such a facility, 600 or more parking places would be freed up for consumers headed to downtown restaurants, stores and shops. Hopefully City Council and staff are also reading this column who have the responsibility of making these decisions and providing these services.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 22, 2014 at 12:12 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

SF's Union Sq garage is a great example of a public-private partnership. In the 1930s, the Union Square Garage Corporation was formed and lobbied for permission to build the world's first underground parking structure.

"The idea of a private corporation leasing public land underneath a city park was also new. Because of this, Union Square became a test case before the California State Supreme Court, which ruled in City of San Francisco v. Linares, that the City of San Francisco had the right to lease the subsurface area to the Union Square Garage Corporation provided that the park proper was not destroyed."

"After a California Supreme Court decision, permission was granted and they broke ground on May 31, 1941."

If you look at the plaque at the Geary Street entrance to the garage you will see the names of the businessmen who led the Union Square Garage Corporation - I am proud that my grandfather, Russell Carpenter, was one of them.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Downtown worker
a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on Jul 22, 2014 at 2:13 pm

Parking time limits suck. One side of a street is 1 hour the other side is 2 hours. The church takes up huge amounts of parking. On Good Friday the parking patrol waited to ticket people as they sat in church. If someone is having a business lunch 2 hours is not enough. If a person is in a salon getting hair done, mani, pedi 2 hours is not enough time. Build a dang garage, put in meters. $600 a year is crazy. Palo Alto is less. Menlo Park does not want business. Take examples from RWC, PA and Los altos - booming with business. Time to make Menlo user friendly.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 22, 2014 at 2:25 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Here is how the 700 space underground garage AND surface park in Brooklyn were financed:

"After renewing efforts three years ago, the city has finally struck a deal with the Willoughby Operating Company for the joint park and garage project. The Willoughby Operating Company, an affiliate of the American Development Group, will lease the city-owned land. It will use $6 million from city capital, the city's Economic Development Corporation and private contributions from surrounding developers to construct the park.

The Willoughby Operating Company has also agreed to pay for any cost overruns and to finance the excavation and development of the garage. It hired Automotion Parking Systems, which has a principal in common with the American Development Group, to build and run the garage."


Web Link

The only thing stopping Menlo Park from doing something equally attractive and exciting is a lack of imagination.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Tunbridge Wells
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jul 22, 2014 at 2:29 pm

Tunbridge Wells is a registered user.

There are two lots where you can park and stay for up to nine hours already. If two hours isn't enough, just go park in one of those lots. Yes, you have to pay for the privilege, but it's cheaper than getting a ticket. This is a fairly straightforward thing, so perhaps the city needs to improve their signage explaining where you can park longer.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Matt R
a resident of Woodside: Skywood/Skylonda
on Jul 22, 2014 at 2:35 pm

The Menlo Park "hassle" is what keeps me away unless I have very specific needs. So, yes, current practices are impacting business in MP. But there are trade offs here, unlimited, unrestricted access make the place a zoo. Too much constriction chokes off access and drives people elsewhere.

Seems to me that this conflict will never be resolved. That said, there is no reason why more innovative solutions can't be used. Other places have implement different parking space management strategies that have shown to increase access and flow, use these first to improve the utilization of what spaces are currently available. But at some point, MP will have to address pedestrian corridors, improved traffic flow, bike traffic and the rest....., and it hasn't really yet. But if MP is to thrive, economic growth is a fact, and having to deal with it is not optional.

PS for those that say "I can always park within a couple of blocks..." that's fine if you are pretty mobile, but when we had babies in strollers, bad parking was a real problem! There are lots of situations where distant parking is hard to deal with. That's a fact too.

So MP will have to deal with this collage of conflicting needs and perspectives, and none will be happy. But I think few doubt that things could be better than they are with some optimization at the margin, whether or not a parking garage is in the future....


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 22, 2014 at 2:57 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

IF you want to really understand the economics of parking here is a beautifully written academic piece on the subject that focuses on university campuses and notes that "big universities resemble small cities":

Web Link

It is fun reading but suitable for anyone just looking for quick answers.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 22, 2014 at 3:08 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Here is another automated underground garage:

Web Link

"Design of the facility started in January 2004 with construction starting in October 2004. The construction was completed by February 2006 (roadworks took ten months and the entire project 16 months from the start of construction). The investment for the project was €11.35m (45% on building, 30% on the parking system and 25% on other costs).

The parking system provided is a combination of two Wöhr Multipark 740 Systems which will provide 284 parking places (150 plus 134). "

One would think that Menlo Park in Silicon Valley in 2014 could catch up with what was done in Munich in 2004.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jonathan
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jul 22, 2014 at 8:42 pm

I find it interesting that not one of the above comments have been offered by either the CITY COUNCIL or by CITY STAFF. What is their take? Are funds available to provide ways to add parking places? Are any of the ideas feasible? Will this topic become an agenda item on either the Transportation Commission meetings or on the City Council meeting? Words are helpful, but action may be better. When the CAR LOTS and other vacant properties are built out, downtown parking may be worse than it already is. Planning ahead for this inevitability may soften the impact. In fact, didn't the MENLO PARK PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH at one time offer to help fund a parking garage? What happen to that proposal?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 22, 2014 at 8:48 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"I find it interesting that not one of the above comments have been offered by either the CITY COUNCIL or by CITY STAFF."

Due to the unmoderated nature of this Forum no elected or appointed official (other than myself) is foolish enough to participate in this venue. Why should they expose themselves to the attacks and ridicule which prevails in this venue?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jonathan
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jul 22, 2014 at 9:50 pm

If you don't have thick skin and can take criticism that comes with the territory, then I'd think one has no business being on the city council, city staff or for that matter participating in the political process. Our system of government encourages debate, various points of view and at times protesting for what you believe, including, but not limited to, issue about downtown parking. Perhaps during the Public Comment section of a future Bicycle Commission, Transportation Commission and/or a City Council meeting, someone can share their thoughts in hopes that either low hanging fruit or more complex solutions can be considered.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 22, 2014 at 9:55 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"If you don't have thick skin and can take criticism that comes with the territory, then I'd think one has no business being on the city council, city staff or for that matter participating in the political process."

The behavior on this Forum exceeds the standards of " thick skin and can take criticism ".
Based on my personal experience anyone else on as an elected official , appointed staff or for that matter participating in the political process is wise to ignore this forum.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jonathan
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jul 22, 2014 at 10:54 pm

This thread appears to be exceptionally helpful, at least for the most part. I agree that on some topics it can turn nasty and disrespectful. I for one thank you for your active participation. You often bring reason, food for thought and a helpful perspective. I noticed you forwarded this topic to the City Council email log, despite your comments to the contrary above. As it also goes to staff, some good may come of it.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 23, 2014 at 7:16 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" I noticed you forwarded this topic to the City Council email log, despite your comments to the contrary above."

I sent it to the MP Council because few, if any, elected officials bother to read this unmoderated Forum due to the plethora of personal attacks. This particular thread was a lost unique in its very civil and productive discussion of an important local topic.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jonathan
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jul 23, 2014 at 10:41 am

If anyone wants to bend the ear of the MAYOR OF MENLO PARK, Ray Mueller, on this or any other topic, he will be holding OFFICE HOURS this coming SATURDAY, JULY 26, 2014 ALL DAY, as follows:

1) 11 am - Cafe Zoe,

2) 1 pm - Oasis,

3) 3 pm - Dutch Goose and

4) 5 pm at the Five Star Pizza.

Ray is an exceptional person who goes out of his way to reach out to the general public. At the April 2014 Council meeting, he was very clear in wanting to see improvements to the downtown parking and holds quarterly Small Business Roundtable meetings to hear directly from anyone interested in the topic.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 23, 2014 at 10:57 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Jonathan - I agree; Mayor Mueller does more outreach and listens better than any other local elected or appointed official I know.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by MOE
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 23, 2014 at 12:58 pm

Downtowner - one good, nearby example of underground parking with a surface park above is Portsmouth Square in San Francisco. it is reasonably close in area to some of our parking plazas. It is teaming with life at any day of the week. Another, much larger example is the Civic Center Plaza in SF.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Downtowner
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 23, 2014 at 6:53 pm

Moe - I'm familiar with Portsmouth Square & have parked there. I believe that it's fairly massive compared to what downtown MP can handle, particularly with the bridge pedestrian overpass. How many levels does it have?

I also remember the construction in Redwood City and how many years that took, but RC had more alternate traffic routes to circumnavigate the downtown area than Menlo does. If traffic is diverted away from Menlo Ave, Oak Grove, University, Chestnut, or Crane for a lengthy construction project, during which parking will be further reduced, there won't be much retail or restaurant business left by the time the project is finished.

How about taking Draeger's lead? Buy a couple of old apartment buildings, maybe on Evelyn or the cul-de-sacs west of Universtiy, move them to east Menlo, and build parking structures there? That would preserve existing lots & cause less traffic disruption. Then build a walkway over Menlo Ave or University to connect the garage to downtown.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Downtowner
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 23, 2014 at 6:56 pm

Oh, some of the Portsmouth Square daytime activity comes from the adjacent Chinatown subsidized housing projects too.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 23, 2014 at 7:09 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

I suggest taking the two existing surface parking lots between Santa Cruz and Menlo and Evelyn and Chestnut and building an underground garage covering that entire area including under Crane. The entire surface area would be repurposed as a pedestrian and bicycle park/plaza including an area for activities like the farmers' market. An automated garage covering that area could easily accommodate 5 times or more cars than the existing lots provide. The park/plaza would encourage existing Santa Cruz businesses to open out to the park/plaza.

An RFP outlining the concept would, I predict, produce some exciting development proposals that would minimize the cost to the city in exchange for a lease to the subterranean rights.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Amanda
a resident of another community
on Jul 24, 2014 at 1:44 am

I've worked in MP for 16 years. I am 30 years old now, so half my life has had the pleasure of knowing MP parking tickets. Sharma and Dayharsh ( parking cops) are household names to the downtown employees. On average I had been spending just around 600 dollars a year on parking tickets, but this year I've managed to just get one. The reason is that I now park about a 15 minute walk down the road in front of somebody's house. I've avoided doing this for years because I HATE doing that. These residents pay too much money to live in this city as it is, just to have some retail employee take their parking spot all day. What we used to do was move our car every two hours, but the world of retail doesn't always make it possible to do that in time. The " solution" that was suggested above for employee's ( the permit), is laughable. Most of us who work on this street don't get paid anywhere near the amount that would offer the luxury of a $600 permit. The number of permits given out each year per lot is also limited. If I were to suggest something simple, it would be that they extend the time limit in the parking behind the stores to at least 3 hours. These poor ladies who get their hair done at one of the many salons here don't need to be moving their cars with perm solution and a head of curlers after 2 hours. That's just not very customer friendly. I also would tell our parking cops to be a little less aggressive in their enforcement.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jonathan
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jul 24, 2014 at 11:53 am

While I admire Mr. Carpenter's suggestions for a state of the art parking garage and quite frankly feel that it has some merit, I'd like to see some "low lying fruit" be implemented as soon as possible. Our downtown merchants need all the help they can get, not only from downtown parking improvements, but potentially in a variety of other ways. Some people feel the City is chasing business away. Government is part of the problem. How so? Consider the following:

1) Overly aggressive parking enforcement (or at least the perception of it).

2) Refusal to implement certain further changes, even at the urging of the Chamber of Commerce, and others.

3) Including the outlying streets in their study, where all day parking is available in nearby residential streets, at the expense of the adjacent home owners.

4) Hiring high priced consultants to conduct traffic studies, only to place them on dusty shelves with many, many previous reports, some of which say the very same thing.

We need sidewalks that are clean, trash/recycle containers that are clean and some new trees not to directly block merchants signs, such as in front of Village Stationers.

Many of the new programs downtown may be stimulating traffic, interest and vitality, such as the Exotic Car Shows, upcoming Movie Nights, Fremont Park Summer Concerts, etc. It is an excellent start. What more can be done?

Bottom line, the City Council, as policy makers and budget setters, need to make more of a priority ways to help business, economic development and foster growth. This column has offered many ideas.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Roy Thiele-Sardiña
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 24, 2014 at 2:43 pm

Roy Thiele-Sardiña is a registered user.

@Amanda

While I respect your position. I find it IMPOSSIBLE to believe you can't afford $.30 per hour to Park. This is two Starbucks a week, skip the coffee and be a better citizen.

Roy


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 24, 2014 at 7:29 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

Roy:

clearly you don't have a clear grasp on what someone working in retail makes. My guess is around $10 per hour. That's $400 a week (if she works full time) meaning that $600 parking permit is a week and a half's salary. Sorry, but someone making $10 per hour is making a little more than $20,000 per year. Could you live on that AND cough up $600 for parking? I don't think so.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jonathan
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jul 25, 2014 at 4:54 pm

It appears that concerns over DOWNTOWN PARKING have been the subject of this column for years, as shown, by way of example, by the Almanac article dated in year 2011, and corresponding 78 comments. Certainly a problem that goes on and on year after year, is deserving of further study and the active pursuit of a solution. As they say, if not now, when, and if not by you, whom? In this case, the City Council needs to tackle this problem.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Menlo parking a factor in closing of Boutique 4
by Jane Knoerle / Almanac

After five years in business in downtown Menlo Park, Boutique 4 has closed at 809 Santa Cruz Ave., according to Tamara Michel, co-owner of the boutique with her sister, Julie.

"Our lease was up and we were not comfortable signing up for another four years, given the business conditions in Menlo Park," says Ms. Michel.

Another factor in closing, she says, was Menlo Park's extremely aggressive parking enforcement. "We had many customers who refused to come downtown to shop."

The Mitchel sisters continue to operate a second clothing shop at 279 Castro St. in Mountain View, where parking enforcement is more relaxed, she says.

In 2010, Readers' Choice chose Boutique 4 as its favorite boutique for selling "timeless and classic clothing for women; styles that never go out of style." A sign on the door at 809 Santa Cruz Ave. says a Subway submarine sandwich shop will be coming soon.

Comments

Posted by Kathy Schrenk, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Feb 3, 2011 at 10:35 am
Nice job Menlo Park! We really need to get rid of more of these unique, locally owned (and affordable!) boutiques to make room for chain fast food places.

Report Objectionable Content

Posted by Thomas Paine IV, a resident of another community
on Feb 3, 2011 at 10:47 am
This is part of the Menlo Park City Council plan to improve the environment. Look at the electricity we are saving by keeping the car dealerships closed. Forcing small businesses out of downtown also reduces car trips reducing pollution. Great work!

Report Objectionable Content

Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 3, 2011 at 11:33 am
Nice job City Council. This was a predictable result of the tightening of parking restrictions down town. This needs to be revisited.

Report Objectionable Content

Posted by truth, a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Feb 3, 2011 at 11:53 am
When did the city council tighten restrictions? I can't seem to find the meeting where that happened. I remember last fall when council approved longer term parking that was supposed to be in effect last month, but I don't recall more restrictions.

If you are serious, please direct me to that info. If you are just trying to be nasty old timers, forget it, I could not care less.

Report Objectionable Content

Posted by Daveo, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 3, 2011 at 12:11 pm
eechh?!
never been there.
never saw the place.
never even noticed it.
was it something someone needed?
I would guess that it just wasn't a viable business.
might(?)just be the natural progression of things..

Report Objectionable Content

Posted by Colin Jenkins, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Feb 3, 2011 at 12:26 pm
Not sure what it means, but I find it interesting that there are so many empty storefronts on Santa Cruz Ave - we counted 15 a while ago, not sure if that is still the number - but if you drive down Middlefield Rd into Redwood City/N Fair Oaks, you don't see one empty storefront.

Report Objectionable Content

Posted by frustrated in west menlo, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 3, 2011 at 12:26 pm
Great job Menlo Park! City council and landlords as well. I walked downtown yesterday and was appauled at the number of empty storefronts. The parking is so confusing, noone wants to shop here. Let's make parking the same all over town, with possibly one lot for extended parking. Also, we need a place for shopowners to park. $600 per year for each permit is quite high. The small shop owners can't afford it. People would rather shop at Stanford or Town and Country in Palo Alto. What a shame!

Report Objectionable Content

Posted by sometime shopper, a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Feb 3, 2011 at 12:44 pm
Okay, I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that I'm not sure what people are complaining about. There is abundant *free* parking in downtown Menlo, and most spaces are good for at least two hours. How many hours do people need to park to go shopping?

I am sorry that Boutique 4 closed—it was a great shop!—but I'm not buying the anecdotal evidence that parking was the problem. Try shopping someplace like downtown San Mateo or Redwood City and you'll quickly realize how good we have it.

Report Objectionable Content

Posted by downtowner, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 3, 2011 at 12:47 pm
C'mon, this is nothing new. Menlo has had 2 hr parking for at least 30 yrs. This shop didn't attract much attention here & high rent is more likely to be the culprit than lack of long-term parking. Other retailers face the same time restriction & do well.

Report Objectionable Content

Posted by Scholar, a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Feb 3, 2011 at 12:59 pm
How is it that there's no outcry here about a chain-franchise Subway replacing an individual family shop, as compared to the recent loud outcry about the chain-store BevMo opening on El Camino and supposedly helping to ruin the character of the town?

Report Objectionable Content

Posted by Annabelle, a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Feb 3, 2011 at 1:20 pm
I shop downtown Menlo Park all the time and never experience a difficult time finding a place to park. In fact, I try never to shop downtown Palo Alto or Mountain View because it is impossible to find a place to park.

Report Objectionable Content

Posted by Daveo, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 3, 2011 at 2:08 pm
I want to second the more recent views. Rents are a far bigger problem.

There is plenty of parking !!! The ONLY way there isn't is if you want to go there and spend more than two hours.

Please note the following: You can't go there to hit the cleaners, buy a pair of shoes, eat lunch with a friend AND go to the post office. It can't be done in less than two hours; so don't try it!
I do feel sorry for any elderly for who walking the two or three blocks and running a couple errands can easily bring them close to the 2 hr. limit. Maybe something can be done? Maybe an elderly parking sticker that absolves them from the two-hour limit? Let's, the rest of us, leave the parking on Santa Cruz avenue for the elderly, observe the speed limit AND stop making those crazy U-turns.

Furthermore, the parking topic has become a Red Herring, constantly harped on by some factions. Let's a) continue and strengthen our resolve to continue to strenuously ignore them (it's worked well for the 30 years I've lived here). AND try to convince them to stop harping on this topic. The last thing Menlo Park needs right now is another $3-5M bond to pay off.

Report Objectionable Content

Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 3, 2011 at 3:01 pm
Truth and others:

street parking time was cut to one hour as of the first of the year.

Web Link
Report Objectionable Content

Posted by Steve, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 3, 2011 at 3:19 pm
I like it that street parking has been reduced to one hour. It's meant for shoppers like me who want to pop into Peets for a cuppa or into Boulangerie for a quick lunch. When I have more serious shopping at TJs or Draegers I go to the 2 hour lots.
I've been shopping in downtown Menlo Park at least weekly since 1985 and have never gotten a parking ticket in all that time. Nor has my wife. Anecdotal I know but it's another data point.
BTW - I also never noticed this little boutique that went out of business - though neither I nor my wife are boutique types. Still - I do miss some of the specialty shops that have closed. Most recently, the paperback bookstore that closed for good after a fire. And Posh Bagel, though they say they'll be back after remodeling.

Report Objectionable Content

Posted by Hmmm, a resident of another community
on Feb 3, 2011 at 3:19 pm
Scholar, I think you're on to something. I bet a sub sandwich shop doesn't cut into the coffers of another business run by a family-owned business who loves to control and try to tell others what to do and think.

Report Objectionable Content

Posted by Steve, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 3, 2011 at 3:36 pm
Just a thought about the Subway shop coming soon: I expect the sales tax from this business will far exceed that of the boutique it is replacing.
I don't think a Subway adds much in terms of character to the downtown but, on the positive side, it does fill a storefront and should help the city revenue picture.

Report Objectionable Content

Posted by Thomas, a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Feb 3, 2011 at 3:54 pm
Unlike Bev Mo or Staples, Subway is a franchise and for the most part bought by individual owners who are sinking their own savings into the venture. Unlike Staples or Bev Mo, they rarely are backed by any V.C. funding which enables places like Staples and Bev Mo to operate even an
unprofitable location. Franchise operations,like the Chili's that went out of business, may seem like part of a larger chain when in truth they are small businesses with the same problems faced by stores such as Boutique 4.

Report Objectionable Content

Posted by Robert Cronin, a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Feb 3, 2011 at 5:44 pm
Like others above, I suspect high rents had more to do with the closure of the boutique and other stores in downtown. As for parking, I have a foolproof system that lets me park any time, no limits and never more that thirty feet from the store where I'm shopping. It's called a bicycle.

Report Objectionable Content

Posted by Steve, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 3, 2011 at 5:44 pm
The more I think about it, the more convinced I am that parking was a real problem for this boutique. Located across the street from Angelo Mio, this shop had one of the least used parking lots at it's rear of any of the lots in town. You can look at the satellite view in Google Maps and it shows lots of parking available. It's apparently a mid-day view since the shadows are not long and the lot across from Carpaccio's is full, as it usually is around lunch time.
Her actual claim was that "We had many customers who refused to come downtown to shop." Now maybe that's the excuse they used for not shopping there or maybe a lot of folks do avoid the downtown because they tend to stay longer than 2 hours and have been ticketed in the past. For me, it's never been a problem.
Here's the link to the GoogleMap view. Web Link

Report Objectionable Content

Posted by Steve, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 3, 2011 at 5:47 pm
I meant to say "The more I think about it, the more convinced I am that parking was NOT a real problem for this boutique."
I need to proofread before hitting the send button!

Report Objectionable Content

Posted by halle, a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Feb 3, 2011 at 5:48 pm
The plan that the Council.etc.supports will harm parking/walking to businesses.

Would be great if Seniors were given more time, but would Seniors be willing to advertise their ages.

I have gotten 3 parking tickets in Menlo and a ticket for not having my new registration on my license even though I was just stopping to put it on!

Menlo has plenty or time and apparently money to give tickets, but not to monitor drivers not stopping in marked pedestrian crossing areas to let pedestrians cross! A law suit about an injured or killed pedestrian...hum, what effect would that have on the powers to be in Menlo?

Report Objectionable Content

Posted by Rarely Shop MP because of parking, a resident of another community
on Feb 3, 2011 at 6:13 pm
I occasionally pop by Trader Joes for shopping, but after an hour of grocery shopping, the remaining time is rarely enough to warrant window shopping down Santa Cruz or even walking over to grab a bite to eat. By the time you get there and calculate the time needed to get back, you rarely have more than 15-20 minutes to spend in a store. And yes I am always calculating my time when I go there, because they treat customers with contempt.

Try doing breakfast at Stacks and then some shopping downtown. There is just not enough time with the 2 hour limit. I rarely shop Menlo Park for this reason. I usually swing by just for a specific store, ie Trader Joes or Penzeys Spices and I am out of there. I have never received a ticket, but I am very aware that the leadership of the city see this policy as a revenue generator instead of a loss leader for the store owners. The city leadership can not deny the negative impact this policy has on shoppers. You only have to look at the changes they make over the holiday season, ie increasing the parking time to 3 hours, which should probably be a permanent policy. Why do that over Christmas, if the current parking limit is not punitive? The truth hurts.

I have no problem telling shop owners, and often do, that I am in a hurry and don't have time to spend as long as I would like in their stores because of the parking policy. You don't see any shop owners in this forum defending this absurd and anti commercial parking rule. I am much more comfortable shopping down town Palo Alto with their more relaxed parking enforcement and rules.

I am not a senior, and not handicapped, and can move quickly. And that is exactly what I do the few times I shop downtown Menlo Park. Get in and get out, before the parking Nazis get their pound of flesh.

Report Objectionable Content

Posted by Comparison Shopping, a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Feb 3, 2011 at 6:40 pm
I don't know if Mountain View has different parking enforcement, and in any event, like Steve, I've never ever gotten a parking ticket in Menlo Park, and I've shopped/dined there plenty. However, if I was comparing MV with MP and thinking of reasons why Boutique 4 does better there, I'd note that MV has:

- parking garages
- nice wide sidewalks on Castro sometimes turned into outdoor dining for restaurants
- a decent number of buildings over 2 stories tall
- a lot more people nearby- offices and condos

Oh noes!!!! It sounds like Manhattan!!!!

Report Objectionable Content

Posted by Daveo, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 3, 2011 at 7:34 pm
As 'Rarely Shop MP states' they get in and get out quickly and never get tickets, but prefer Palo Alto. PA also has a two hr limits. But perhaps (?) their enforcement is not as thorough. or as timely?

Sounds like a number of the complainers don't mind the two hour limit as much as they mind getting caught when they exceed it.

Stop griping as it appears that in this case the Government has an effective and efficient operation that is running like clock-work. Those of you that chant that "government can't do anything right", really need to eat some crow on this one, as it appears parking enforcement is a model operation.

Stop the greedy self-absorbed whining.

What is it $25, or $35. MP needs the money; whistle while you write the check and seal it with a Kiss!

Report Objectionable Content

Posted by Hmmm, a resident of another community
on Feb 3, 2011 at 8:31 pm
Well, Daveo, I gotta say - the parking enforcement in MP is not only aggressive, the personnel are often rude. I was ticketed for not having updated registration, which seems over & beyond their responsibility - rather Orwellian. Also, at a place that's a loading zone, they would wrongly ticket folks. I know this because I researched the law, how the sign should be worded & the people ticketed successfully fought the ticket. The Parking Nazis used to turn around in the middle of the street to follow me from lot to lot before I had a parking permit - it was truly bizarre. I understand that there has to be enforcement, but it should be polite & not insanely zealous.

I also agree that the MPPD, who do ticket a lot of vehicles in that area, could greatly increase revenue by pulling over even more. As a pedestrian, I was hit in downtown MP & I see near misses frequently. Also, places that serve a lot of alcohol, such as Carpaccio, would be a great place to snag drunk drivers.

Another thing I'd LOVE to see? That lame-o drivers who park w/their rear hanging in the driving lane of the parking lot, so as to avoid getting their front bumper hit. WTH is that about? It's way more dangerous for everyone to dodge those stupid cars whose owners are too selfish to park correctly. Now, I'd LOVE to see those cars ticketed. Maybe then they can finally afford to have some of those nasty lots fixed - they are hazardous to walk in at night.

Report Objectionable Content

Posted by cha ching, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Feb 3, 2011 at 8:34 pm
the nice older guy parking enforcer who would cut you some slack if you made nice with him about being just a bit over the 2 hr. limit, unfortunately for Menlo Park shoppers, retired.
Replaced by some [portion removed] gal who seems out to make her quota.
Just my $.02. Rojas could care less. There's no leadership in this town. Time for the Chamber of Commerce to have "come to Jesus" talk with default mayor cline, we could just call him "De-Cline" for short given the ever increasing retail vacancies downtown and on ECR. He's what you get when you have a vaccuum of leadership
LOL~

Report Objectionable Content

Posted by POGO, a resident of Woodside: other
on Feb 3, 2011 at 8:57 pm
Businesses fail all the time. It could be the store's selection of merchandise, prices, service, or decor... who knows?

But why not take the store owner's comments at face value? If she said some of her customers complained about the limited parking, why not accept it? We've heard this complaint before... if there is some truth to it, it would be nice to find out sooner than later.

Report Objectionable Content

Posted by Dawn, a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Feb 4, 2011 at 11:15 am
Funny. I have a few preferred shops in downtown MP that I frequent because they sell reasonably priced goods that I like to purchase. Capitalism at its best. I have never managed to get a ticket for being over my two hour limit. Perhaps I've just never needed two hours to do my tour of shops. To whoever posted it - I did once get a ticket for sticking too far out - parking a car that was too long for its space. I sure miss that Toyota pickup with its excess of 300K miles, but it was just too long for parking spaces in MP. And on a side note - I for one think people label others as Nazis far too often in this world. It should be retired from use, IMHO. I'll put my soapbox box away for today.

Report Objectionable Content

Posted by Menlo Shopper, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 4, 2011 at 11:55 am
Who "refuses to come downtown to shop?" I guess if your idea of "shopping" is to come into town at 8 am, have breakfast, and spend the rest of the day going in and out of stores, yeah, then you will have to park in a residential neighborhood outside downtown and walk a few blocks. But most of us come downtown to do a few errands (postoffice, drugstore, Trader Joe's, gift) and all that can be pretty easily accompllished in the two-hour timeframe. If parking times were longer, the spots would be taken by all-day shoppers (or employees!) and those of us running a quick errands would not have a place to park.

I go downtown all the time and I had never noticed or heard of this store. Maybe the real issue was that the store didn't have the kind of merchandise that appeals to residents, and instead of saying "your store depresses me," people instead gave the owners the benign excuse about parking.

Report Objectionable Content

Posted by Miss Use, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Feb 4, 2011 at 1:15 pm
I was parked in a 2 hour lot behind Walgreens for 45 minutes and came back to find a $90 ticket.I verified the two places that I visited re the time and still I got nowhere.The meter maids or whoever is responsible for this blatant misuse of"time" altering the tickets is part of the problem as well as the high rents.Menlo Park is a wonderful place and should not have the people who visit ripped off.

Report Objectionable Content

Posted by Daveo, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 4, 2011 at 1:40 pm
Bingo! the magic word "Parking Nazis". Say no More!

This confirms my suspicion that it's not the law the bothers some types of people; it's getting caught when they break it.

In civilized societies you have enforcement; more urban areas have more mechanized and officious enforcement.

You can always choose to be pleasant to the parking officers. They might choose to be pleasant with you. But they shouldn't really be swayed to let you off, just for being pleasant.

If you want to get a personal pass when you're caught in violation, you may have to move to Mayberry.

I strongly second a previous opinion. I studied Nazis in history class; they don't exist anymore. ('cept maybe parts of Idaho).

Report Objectionable Content

Posted by get a grip, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Feb 4, 2011 at 2:02 pm
There is still plenty of 2 hour parking. It is simply untrue that all turned to 1 hour. And it's simply untrue that there is a shortage.
If people are willing to walk a block or two, there is plenty. That is far less distance than one would have to park in Palo Alto or almost anywhere else around.
I got a ticket once for taking too long over lunch but I learned from it. There is some personal accountability involved here

Report Objectionable Content

Posted by Roy Thiele-Sardina, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 4, 2011 at 5:37 pm
I haven't seen last years numbers. But in previous years Menlo Park has written as many as 22,000 (twenty-two THOUSAND) parking tickets. that is in a town of less than 30,000 people.

In case you are wondering that is an ABSURD amount of tickets for this size city.

You have to wonder why we need all those high priced police officers (see the Daily Post story this morning about Menlo Park Salaries) with that kind of parking revenue no criminal can afford to stop here long enough to commit crimes....without getting a ticket.

Report Objectionable Content

Posted by Rarely Shop MP because of parking, a resident of another community
on Feb 4, 2011 at 5:47 pm
For all the Nazi experts, and Nazi haters, we should remember that the Nazis had a lot of support in their time, as it appears the Meter Maids do on this thread.

Shawn Blackburn, owner of Vizions Artwear & Salon at 644 Santa Cruz Ave., said "Most business customers are there for about two hours, on pins and needles the whole time, and sometimes they don't make it in time," said Mr. Blackburn. "It's hard to get customers, hard to keep customers, keep them happy, and they're not happy when they spend $100 on their hair and then get a parking ticket."

If you are going to come into town, have breakfast at Stacks and maybe pop into one store briefly, you should have plenty of time. If you are not a senior citizen who has lost a step or two, or a parent with young kids, or a handicapped customer, or an injured shopper you should have no troubles at all with the two hour limit which is enforced with Gestapo efficiency.

If you are a shopper who likes enjoy the company of friends with a meal, or someone that likes to linger at the bookstore, or heaven forbid someone that has to visit more than a store or two than perhaps you should go elsewhere. And if you are a shop owner, in this case of Boutique 4, you should go elsewhere, which they are doing. Which amazingly seems to offend some folks that refuse to acknowledge that the current policy is bad for business.

Shop owners and common sense say customers should not be punished for coming downtown to shop. Shopping areas with rigorous parking enforcement do not thrive. There are just too many other alternatives in today's marketplace.

As I previously wrote, if there is nothing wrong with the 2 hour limit, then why does the city extend the hours during Christmas? Why not leave the extended Christmas hours for a year, and then review it. The only reason I can see for not doing that is the loss of ticket revenue to the city, which is a very short sighted view. You can bet that anyone that gets a ticket for shopping over 2 hours in Menlo Park, will not be returning in the near future if ever. This is bad for business, which is bad for stores, which is bad for Menlo Park.


Report Objectionable Content

Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 4, 2011 at 7:20 pm
It's clear to me that parking regulations and enforcement are revenue generators for the city. Why not just be honest about it and put in parking meters. They have them in many other cities. If you want more time you go feed the meter. People have a chance of avoiding expensive tickets that way and the city gets it's revenue. A win-win.

Report Objectionable Content

Posted by Dawn, a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Feb 4, 2011 at 8:54 pm
I totally get the hair appointment problem. No way I'm in and out with my haircut in under two hours. What does San Carlos do? I don't think I run into problems in their public lot and they have a thriving downtown. Lets just do what they do or put in those credit card parking meters redwood city has.

I agree that if its just a revenue issue, let people pay for how much they want to use the parking lot rather than just live off the unlucky few (thousands) who get tickets. The good new seems be though that if they write 23,000 tickets a year in a town of 30,000 we are totally getting out of town shoppers. Woohoo.

Report Objectionable Content

Posted by Hmmm, a resident of another community
on Feb 4, 2011 at 9:24 pm
Daveo, you don't get it. The times I was followed by the Parking Nazi, I wasn't doing anything wrong, so it was really weird. I was just moving my car legally from one lot to another, or to on street parking. The times I couldn't get away from the office, I literally paid the price, until we were able to get parking permits. I'm certainly not against parking enforcement, but I am against the personnel being total creeps by borderline harassing drivers who are also city customers and patrons of local businesses. I observed a fair amount of rudeness from the Parking Nazis, although I never actually spoke w/them myself that I recall.

Oh, yeah, there still are Nazis - besides the parking enforcement in Menlo & in other parts of the US, they're also in Europe.

There was a thread a few months back where a poster was physically followed in Draeger's and tried to dodge the Parking Nazi. It was both funny & bizarre.

Report Objectionable Content

Posted by downtowner, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 5, 2011 at 12:25 am
Possible reasons for extending parking to 3 hrs at Christmas:

1) more purchases than other times of the year, due to gifts

2) restaurants are busier than normal with all the holiday lunches, consequently wervice is a lot slower than normal.

2 hour parking is fine. Get over it, hmmm. Palo Alto has 2 hour parking and that downtown is much bigger, with many more restaurants & shops.

I'm with those who think Boutique 4's closure is due to high rent & factors that have nothing to do with parking. Mt. View has a very cifferent daytime customer profile than Menlo does. There are huge apt. complexes, lots of restaurants & bars, a big library, a LightRail-CalTrain transit hub and no grocery stores. Ever notice that?

I don't miss Boutique 4. Never knew it was there. Whatever was in its windows didn't draw my attention. I do shop downtown Menlo a lot, as well as downtown Palo Alto & Los Altos. In & out in 2 hrs or less.

Report Objectionable Content

Posted by Long time Menlo Man, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Feb 5, 2011 at 11:46 am
Parking hasn't changed. The economy has changed much more than parking changes

Report Objectionable Content

Posted by clothes horse, a resident of Portola Valley: other
on Feb 6, 2011 at 9:45 am
never heard of this boutique until it announced that it was closing !! I shop in MP often & although parking is sometimes an issue, (not an excuse) walking is always good exercise

Report Objectionable Content

Posted by POGO, a resident of Woodside: other
on Feb 6, 2011 at 9:59 am
The bigger question is it more important for Menlo Park to be friendly to its businesses (support them, make it easy to shop, encourage visitors, etc.) or more important to augment city revenues by issuing nuisance parking tickets.

There's no right or wrong answer. It's a political decision that reflects the city's attitude.

Report Objectionable Content

Posted by Menlo Shopper, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 6, 2011 at 10:17 am
POGO, that either/or suggests there are only two possibilities. Does it occur to you that the city supports businesses by issuing tickets? If the parking limits were not enforced, the spaces would fill early in the day and anyone coming into town at noon to run errands would have a hard time finding a space. It is in the businesses' best interests for the city to make sure that the spaces turn over so that new shoppers can find parking.

Report Objectionable Content

Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 6, 2011 at 10:28 am
Menlo Shopper states:"It is in the businesses' best interests for the city to make sure that the spaces turn over so that new shoppers can find parking."

The key issues here is the length of the allowed parking and the 'mission' of the parking enforcement officers.

If the parking length it is 15 minutes then you get a very different type of shopper than if it is three hours. And if it is all day then you would probably drive out the short term parkers with the all day parkers. The City needs to be innovative on the timing issue. Why not make some lots 3 hours, keep the others at 2 hours and keep the side streets one hour and then see what happens?

The City also needs to make sure that the 'mission' for the parking enforcement officers is clear. If the parking enforcement officers mission is to maximize revenues they will behave very differently then if their mission is to facilitate the best use of the parking spaces and to assist shoppers. Don't blame the parking enforcement officers for doing what they are told to do.

Report Objectionable Content

Posted by truth, a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Feb 6, 2011 at 10:35 am
The city council voted to change parking last year. 3 and 2 and 1 hour parking. Just read a little. Sheesh. And if I recall, all the old timer shop owners complained again.

Report Objectionable Content

Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 6, 2011 at 11:42 am
"The city council voted to change parking last year. 3 and 2 and 1 hour parking."

1 - are the different areas clearly marked?

2 - has the city collected turnover data for the different time period parking areas?

3 - what are the results?

Innovation and experiments without data are useless.

Report Objectionable Content

Posted by truth, a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Feb 6, 2011 at 12:40 pm
Roll out is expected now -- I think even last month. This was a major topic for us in Menlo Park and we all had a chance to voice our concerns and support. [Portion deleted. Please discuss topic, don't attack other posters.]

Web Link

C'mon.

Report Objectionable Content

Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 6, 2011 at 1:25 pm
How about you c'mon truth? In your post of Feb 3rd you weren't even aware it had been changed. Now you act like you knew all along. Spare us your vitriol.

Report Objectionable Content

Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 6, 2011 at 2:08 pm
One person's mundane questions are the intelligent person's truth.
If you don't measure something then you cannot manage it.

How about transferring the parking enforcement officers to the business development office? That might give a clearer mission statement.

Report Objectionable Content

Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 6, 2011 at 4:37 pm
Another interesting data point would be a monthly listing of how many of the full day ($10) and half day ($5) Temporary Parking permits have been purchased by business to use for either their employees or their customers.

Even if offered at the business' cost it would be a much better deal than a parking ticket. These temporary parking permits would also be a great way for a business to show appreciate for some of their best customers.


Has any customer ever been offered such a permit by a business with whom they were doing multi-hour business?

Report Objectionable Content

Posted by Will, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 7, 2011 at 12:39 pm
Great job council on welcoming another chain store operation into Menlo. Even if it is a franchise. Are the franchisees locals? I don't think so. So maybe Boutique 4 wasn't a viable enterprise and went under for a number of other reasons and just maybe the parking issue was one of the parts of the equation. Either way, couldn't we (the council i mean) be a little choosier on who we have come in to pay the exorbitant rents! Just wondering.

Report Objectionable Content

Posted by Bob, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 7, 2011 at 1:00 pm
The parking problem - it's not the number of parking spots - it'speople complaining about getting tickets for parking over the limit.
And it's all the fault of those pesky cell phones. Fewer and fewer people wear watches, so that easy flick of a wrist to see the time is unavailable to most folks.
Shoppers and diners are too lazy to search through their purses or reach into a pocket to look at the time. And they're not smart enough to figure out how to set the alarm on the cell phone to tell them when their time is up.
Stop griping folks and buy a cheap watch.

Report Objectionable Content

Posted by downtowner, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 7, 2011 at 3:57 pm
Think about which lots are most congested & which businesses they serve. The lot behind Walgreens serves Left Bank, Vida, SuHong, UnaMas & Starbucks as well as the Mex. restaurant on Doyle, Menlo Ave & Doyle salons, the 600-698 Menlo Ave offices, & TJ & B of A overflow. The lot behind 800-898 Santa Cruz fills at the Crane St end & usually has empty spaces about halfway to University.

Really, how long does it take to walk an extra half block to the next lot? Businesses with more than a certain # of employees should have to provide parking permits for them as part of compensation. Keep street parking 1 hr with permits for longer use available to residents of side streets, with proof of address.

If the new Subway proprietor is able & willing to pay the requested rent, welcome him. Would you rather have an empty shop? It will ease lunchtime crowding (& leave more shopping time) to have another place to grab a quick bite. Nice option too for the downtown workers who're on a timed break & a budget.

Report Objectionable Content

Posted by peninsula shopper, a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Feb 7, 2011 at 4:40 pm
As I shop both in downtown Menlo Park and downtown Burlingame (both Burlingame Ave.area and Broadway), it seems to me that this parking issue is something of a red herring. The parking in both downtown Burlingame streets is not very much different from that available in downtown Menlo Park with respect to length of stay in a parking spot, with the obvious exception of the Burlingame parking meters. Having a two hour limit and having to pay for parking has not seemed to hurt the downtown businesses in Burlingame. Perhaps competition from other stores on Santa Cruz Ave. was more of a factor in this boutique's closing.

Report Objectionable Content

Posted by POGO, a resident of Woodside: other
on Feb 7, 2011 at 4:57 pm
downtowner asks: "Would you rather have an empty shop?"

I'm not sure we want to know that answer.

Report Objectionable Content

Posted by Rarely Shop MP because of parking, a resident of another community
on Feb 8, 2011 at 9:24 am
The store owners have clearly stated that they are leaving because of the business conditions in downtown Menlo Park and the "extremely aggressive parking enforcement".

The truthers and Holocaust deniers are free to express their opinions in this country. The parking policy supporters have been equally free to denigrate the business and cast doubt on the owners reasons for leaving.

But pesky facts keep getting in the way.

The owners have been here for 5 years. They are experienced retailers. This was not a new store. They own another store in Mountain View (which is very useful for comparison purposes). The store in Menlo Park was a Readers Choice award winner for its category last year.

Many customers, myself included, have stated on this thread that the Gestapo tactics of the Parking Police were deterring them from shopping Menlo Park. The owners of this Boutique agree that the shopping area is not customer friendly and they are voting with their feet, just like potential customers and ticketed customers have been doing.

I don't know whether it is sad or hilarious that so many people remain unconvinced that the parking policies and enforcement in downtown MENLO PARK are anti-business. I guess they are taking their cue from the top, where our current administration and the Big O are scratching their heads at this economic debacle and wondering how they got a reputation for being "anti-business". You reap what you sow. Welcome Subway, here's hoping for a Burger King there in the near future.

Report Objectionable Content

Posted by Menlo Shopper, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 8, 2011 at 10:59 am
The "pesky facts" are that many of us have lived and shopped in Menlo Park for years without any problems at all. I don't care who is broadcasting what propaganda -- I have never gotten a ticket, and it sounds as though most of us who patronize downtown stores have had similarly unblemished experiences. Parking in Menlo Park is infinitely easier than parking in Palo Alto or Mountain View, where I often will have to drive around for blocks trying to find a space. I don't recall that ever happening downtown.

At one time or another, I've visited just about every store on Santa Cruz and on the side streets. I honestly don't ever remember even seeing this particular store. Reading the reviews for it on Yelp, it sounds like a place where I'd like to shop. Maybe they didn't do a very good job promoting their business or merchandising their products? Maybe they should have taken a lesson from their neighbor Sugar Shack -- everyone knows that store. You've got to have more than good products/service to survive in retail -- you have to reach out to your customers.

Report Objectionable Content

Posted by Patty, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 8, 2011 at 11:31 am
The aggressive issuing of parking tickets in Menlo Park has had me heading to Palo Alto for years, particularly for things like hair styling services where they have provided parking to attract customers, shopping and spending money for vendor services. It takes more than 2 hours to have my hair cut and colored,in Menlo Park that would be an automatic parking ticket, so I go to Palo Alto and while I am there I usually shop and dine, all without ever having to think about moving my parked car to avoid a parking ticket.

Report Objectionable Content

Posted by downtowner, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 8, 2011 at 12:35 pm
Y'all complain about parking tickets, but I'm there very frequently & get a ticket maybe once every 4 years. My hair appts take less than 2 hrs. Parking is much easier here than in Palo Alto or Los Altos. San Mateo, Burlingame, & Redwood City all have meters & paid lots. I get ticketed in San Mateo about every 5th visit.

Where are these aggressive meter cops? I don't see them. I wish there were aggressive U-turn cops patrolling Santa Cruz Ave who'd also get the stop sign runners at Doyle. Also wish big SUVs would pull all the way to the curb on S Cruz because it's tough to see around those monsters & back out into traffic.

Report Objectionable Content

Posted by Bob, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 8, 2011 at 12:47 pm
downtowner
uturns are legal at intersections unless posted otherwise. If MPPD would start giving tickets for non-use of turn signals the city could make some real money. While there at it they could make some additional bucks by ticketing al the cars with illegal tints on their windows.

Report Objectionable Content

Posted by Bob, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 8, 2011 at 1:08 pm
Steve re sales tax revenues from Subway.
Sorry to disappoint but only the hot or toasted sandwiches at Subway are taxable. Cold ones are tax free.
As to the general parking discussion - I've been parking in downtown MP for 40 years and in all that time got one parking ticket - went in for a root canal on Oak Grove and like an idiot didn't pay attention to the one hour limit. My fault - who gets a root canal in less than an hour.

Report Objectionable Content

Posted by downtowner, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 8, 2011 at 1:21 pm
Thanks, Bob. Didn't know that. What I see are 3-pointers at 3 way, or T shaped intersections because cars can't make the turn in a smooth U. Some of these drivers cause minor mayhem with their timing & for pedestrians when they back into crosswalks to complete the turns.

Report Objectionable Content

Posted by Homer Boucher, a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Feb 8, 2011 at 7:09 pm
Never knew Boutique 4.
Couldn't find parking.
That should sum it up.

Report Objectionable Content

Posted by Hmmm, a resident of another community
on Feb 9, 2011 at 12:37 pm
I think the issue does have a lot to do w/how willing people are to walk to their destination & how long they plan to be there. For a long appointment or series of appointments, it's a hassle, as is debarking w/the elderly or disabled. Some of the biggest parking scofflaws I've seen are on Crane, double parking in front of the drycleaner because Heaven forbid they walk a half block with their clean laundry.

When I'm there for just a few hours, parking downtown isn't that bad, unless it's a specifically high traffic time, such as lunch. The issue then has less to do w/finding parking then it does *negotiating* driving & parking through the lousy lots, bad drivers & people who park horrendously, as I mentioned in a previous post. When I received a lot of tickets, it was in large part due to construction going on so that all day parking on the outskirts was greatly reduced and even arriving well before 8:00am didn't do the trick. It was truly awful because it was winter, bad weather, got dark early & I really didn't feel safe walking far to my car alone at night, being female. My lucky coworker who took the train enjoyed the experience and working downtown - fewer homeless than in PA, way fewer creeps & she felt safe walking to & from the train. There is a lot of good in downtown & I will continue to frequent it as much as possible. Even though I'm closer to PA shopping, it's really nice to spend $$ in my own county & former hometown.

I do wish Menlo had more of a variety of shops & businesses, though. It'd be nice, imo, if it was a tad more downtown Mt. Viewish, which would require a lot of Asian-oriented businesses moving in - more Asian food in MP is not a bad idea. But I'll always remember the days when we could eavesdrop on the conversations of FBI men when we were kids...oh, & I know the Parking Nazi knows my vehicle - he still follows me when he sees me.

I truly don't mind walking as long as I have my sturdy shopping bags w/me & don't get more gray hair negotiating some of the horrible parking lots. Then, I'd have to get more hair color touch ups, but at least I drive to San Carlos for that!

Report Objectionable Content

Posted by Colleen, a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Feb 11, 2011 at 12:48 pm
THIS EMAIL WAS SENT TO MENLO PARK CITY COUNCIL.
I run a social group in Atherton called the Atherton Awristachatz. I am sorry to say we will no longer be holding our lunches in Menlo Park due to the parking problem. One of the times we had a lunch in Menlo Park and a number of our members ended up with parking tickets. That's a shame, but I can't due anything about it. Sorry I hope you look at making the parking 3 hours vs 2 hours. You are costing stores a lot of business. The good news is your helping other towns promote there businesses. We would have never gone to Thaibodia if it weren't for the parking in Menlo. I owe you a big thank you, because I love the food.
Colleen

Begin forwarded message:

From: Colleen Anderson
Date: February 11, 2011 12:27:06 PM PST
To: Atherton lunch
Subject: [awristachatz] Putting together a lunch

Putting together another girls
lunch.
The place will be:
Thaibodia
910 Woodside Road
Redwood City, CA 94061
(650) 365-2288
thaibodia.com
Check out the website above

The food is so good here. I was very surprised when I went there with
a group of girl friends. We will not be having lunches in Menlo Park
due to the limited parking time. It's a shame because I love a number
of restaurants in town.

Colleen
Report Objectionable Content

Posted by Colleen, a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Feb 11, 2011 at 1:37 pm
Just heard back from Kirsten Keith man is she on top of things. She urged everyone to send in emails about how they feel about the parking. I think this is something Menlo Park wants to look at. Here is the email to send your feedback. city.council@menlopark.org

Report Objectionable Content

Posted by Howard D., a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Feb 13, 2011 at 11:28 am
This thread tells you something about the level of entitlement in this area. It would never occur to me to complain about the police actually enforcing the parking regulations. If you stay longer than 2 hours and get a ticket, it shouldn't matter if it was 5 minutes or 50 minutes over- stop complaining and pay up.

On the "2 hours versus 3 hours" question, Colleen and others should know that the Council last year DID approve a modest set of changes that would allow some lots to be used for longer parking. You'll have to pay for the amount over 2 hours, but it should be reasonably priced. I think the delay in implementation has been to get past the holiday season and to decide whether the technology would be pay-by-space or individual meters or whatever. I know that change got Pat White upset (what else is new), but all things considered it seems pretty common sense.

Report Objectionable Content

Posted by Parking?, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 14, 2011 at 12:06 pm
My wife and I did a very informal survey last Thursday night. We were dining in Palo Alto, because they have much more variety with their restaurant choices. I asked my wife, "wouldn't it be nice if MP had a little more variety, or at least a few more choices where we could dine?" Neither one of us want huge commercial spaces being built etc., we'd just like a more vibrant downtown. So, we decided to drive smack down the middle of University and count the empty stores in Palo Alto, total tally: 1.(this was done from Apple Store toward El Camino Real). Then we took a count in MP, from ECR down Santa Cruz to the Menlo Presbyterian Church, total tally: 13. 13!!!! In a downtown area 1/2 the size of Palo Alto! This is sad, very, very sad for us. This means no tax revenue, depleted services, etc. There are a few reasons for this, as stated above, however PARKING is #1. If there was additional, premier parking available, we wouldn't have landlord problems etc. If you build it, they will come, period. Again, my wife and I would not want huge commercial spaces being redeveloped, but until we as citizens can objectively discuss an additional parking space/garage, in our community, all of the other downtown visionary stuff, is just stuff. There is NOTHING wrong with a nice looking, hidden, tree lined, vine lined, plant lined, 3 story-1 underground, parking lot. I honestly believe this would solve most of our problems, with the downtown. Period.

Report Objectionable Content

Posted by new guy, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Feb 14, 2011 at 12:42 pm
So "Parking?"

You work or attend the church right? This is the only entity that desires a parking garage. Funny how the garage is to be put at "the end" of the santa cruz shopping area, and not the middle.

The church wants to build a huge "performing arts" center on University and Santa Cruz.

Parking did not cause this store to close, the simple realities of running a business did.

Report Objectionable Content

Posted by Hmmm, a resident of another community
on Feb 14, 2011 at 1:04 pm
Colleen, is your group that got tickets the same group that Mrs. Baciocco was part of? She wrote a letter when she & others in her group in MP got parking tickets for overstaying.

Report Objectionable Content

Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 14, 2011 at 1:11 pm
Note that any business that wants to can buy half day ($5) and full day ($10) parking passes and give or sell them to their customers.

Why not ask the places you go to for long lunches to extend you this courtesy?

Report Objectionable Content

Posted by Hmmm, a resident of another community
on Feb 14, 2011 at 1:14 pm
Peter, I agree. We did so at the business I used to manage in downtown MP. But of course, that would mean people have to get the pass, fill it out & put it on their car, then return to the restaurant. This is likely to be way too taxing for some, so they'll pay the tax of overstaying their parking time.

Report Objectionable Content

Posted by Parking?, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 14, 2011 at 4:47 pm
"new guy", nope I do not work nor do I care about what Menlo Presbyterian wants or is concerned about with respect to parking. Bottomline, we need it, the stores complain about it, the shoppers complain about it, it's an issue. 13 versus 1 vacant store tells me a lot about our town, and this is the issue that keeps popping up. "simple realities to running a business' tells me, the business man, that my patrons can't find a parking spot to do business with me!
Report Objectionable Content

Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 14, 2011 at 7:21 pm
Parking:

the problem is parking. It is also paying for a garage. The citizens don't want to pay for it and none of the downtown property owners want to pay for it. We went through this back in the late 90's early 2000's when they wanted to shove a parking garage with low income housing above down our throats. Bottom line is if the downtown merchants really want more parking they are going to have to pay for it or the citizens of Menlo Park are going to have to step up and pay for it. Parking garages cost money.

Report Objectionable Content

Posted by Spanky, a resident of Portola Valley: Los Trancos Woods/Vista Verde
on Feb 15, 2011 at 8:05 pm
I got an idea. Take your business elsewhere.

Report Objectionable Content

Posted by POGO, a resident of Woodside: other
on Feb 15, 2011 at 8:56 pm
Spanky -

Judging from the number of vacant store fronts, I suspect it's already happening.

Report Objectionable Content

Posted by neighbor, a resident of another community
on Feb 16, 2011 at 4:41 pm
I shop Menlo several times each week. Parking is not a problem. The stores, for the most part, are hardly empty. There are "Lots of Lots" to choose from when you park.

This discussion IS a problem however. The rhetoric is outrageous and irrational. For example, "For all the Nazi experts, and Nazi haters, we should remember that the Nazis had a lot of support in their time, as it appears the Meter Maids do on this thread."

Stop throwing around the epithet "Nazi" -- And, if you think parking is difficult in Menlo Park, take a little trip to SF or LA or Santa Monica or Berkeley or almost anywhere.

Report Objectionable Content

Posted by POGO, a resident of Woodside: other
on Feb 16, 2011 at 9:55 pm
One thing is clear. There seem to be a lot of empty store fronts.

Could be the economy. Could be bad retailing. Could be parking. Could be all three.

Report Objectionable Content

Posted by Colleen Anderson, a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Feb 18, 2011 at 10:42 am
Posted by Hmmm, a resident of another community, on Feb 14, 2011 at 1:04 pm

Colleen, is your group that got tickets the same group that Mrs. Baciocco was part of? She wrote a letter when she & others in her group in MP got parking tickets for overstaying.

No Hmmmm. It is a different group. Good to know other groups are trying to change things. Also good to know we are not the only group going some where else. I love downtown Menlo, but until things change we need to go some where else for lunch, our hair, etc. I think with enough people getting involved, and taking the time to write the city things will change, and we can support Menlo Park again.
One girlfriend told me she dropped off a script at Walgreens in Menlo Park, went home for 3 hours then went back to have lunch at Del Sol & got a ticket, because she parked in the same lot. She now eats in other cities. Again we all love and want to support Menlo Park. Please write to the city. I posted the link to email



 +   Like this comment
Posted by Fed up
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jul 28, 2014 at 9:09 am

There has to be a better way to encourage business in downtown Menlo Park than the use of an over aggressive parking enforcement program. It seems the city's desire for income is at the expense of local business trying to earn a living and consumers wanting to shop, dine and stroll the downtown area. No wonder there are so many, long standing, vacancies. The City Council should place on their agenda the topic of PARKING RULES downtown, and reconsider current policies. There must be a better way. Perhaps our neighbors in Palo Alto, Mountain View and San Carlos knows something we don't. Maybe more bicycle racks, areas specified for employee parking and three hour parking zones will help. The present system seems doesn't work


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 31, 2014 at 11:25 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Menlo Park only has to look next door to Redwood City to see how to use pricing as a parking management tool:
Parking to cost more in downtown Redwood City

By Bonnie Eslinger
Daily News Staff Writer
Posted: 07/07/2014 09:44:55 PM PDT
Updated: 07/08/2014 12:38:09 AM PDT

It will cost more to park in downtown Redwood City starting Wednesday.
Currently 50 cents per hour, parking rates will double to $1 per hour in the city core -- an area bordered by Marshall Street, Main Street, Pennsylvania Avenue, Jefferson Avenue and Middlefield Road -- as well as in the parking lot next to the Redwood City Caltrain station.
Meters in the downtown periphery will still cost a quarter per hour.
City officials say the new rates for the coveted downtown spaces will encourage parking turnover. "

Oh, and while Menlo Park is looking at Redwood City they might ask how come Redwood City, with a fully compliant National Fire Protection Code sprinkler ordinance, is having a commercial building boom while Menlo Park, which refuses to update its sprinkler ordinance, is blaming the Fire District for stopping new construction because of the inadequate sprinkler code.

Does Menlo Park really want to have both difficult parking AND potentially dangerous buildings as the hallmarks of its downtown?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jim Lewis
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jul 31, 2014 at 11:37 am

An interesting article appeared as Front Page news on today's DAILY POST. It's headline reads "Plan Hasn't Improved Downtown: While Other Cities Are Thriving". Both Richard Cline, former mayor and current council member along with Henry Riggs are extensively quoted. Upshot is, lots of great ideas - but no progress. What else can be done remains a mystery. Suggestions welcome.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by George
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Aug 10, 2014 at 5:30 pm

One need only go to Palo Alto, Mountain View, Los Altos, San Carlos, etc. to see a world of difference. What are they doing that Menlo Park is not? Those cities appear to be doing well. What is their secret?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Aug 10, 2014 at 5:55 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" What are they doing that Menlo Park is not? Those cities appear to be doing well. What is their secret?"

Excellent parking programs and lots of nearby offices that provide the most important missing ingredient - customers.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by George
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Aug 13, 2014 at 9:41 pm

The issue ins't parking, as that is only a symptom. The larger issue is what it takes for downtown to flourish, thrive and prosper, for the benefit of consumers, merchants and others. Do current policies encourage or discourage business? What more can the city staff and council do to help downtown be a favored destination?


Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Email:


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

To Cambodia With Love
By Laura Stec | 4 comments | 3,429 views

Life in fast forward
By Jessica T | 3 comments | 1,668 views

Medical
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 1,623 views

My Morning Off
By Cheryl Bac | 0 comments | 1,178 views

It’s Not About The Officer Or The Mom—It’s About All Of Us
By Erin Glanville | 9 comments | 836 views