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Exaggerated traffic claims against Measure T -- NO!

Original post made by Morris Brown, Menlo Park: Park Forest, on Oct 20, 2010

In today's Almanac (10/20/2010) is a letter from Planning Commissioner Katie FerricK:

It reads:

-------------
Exaggerated traffic claims against Measure T

Editor:

There has been a lot of talk about the expected traffic increase caused by Measure T (allowing Bohannon to build office-hotel complex). The opposition is exaggerating when referring to traffic.

What they don't tell you is that U.S. 101 and Highway 84, not service streets, will handle 90 percent of traffic related to this project. According to the draft environmental impact report, after this project is built and before mitigation is implemented, the amount of time you will wait at major intersections during peak hours will increase by only a few seconds.

To mitigate the traffic caused by this project, improvements will be made to seven intersections, including additional traffic signals, right-turn lanes, left-turn lanes, and merge lanes. The Bohannon Development Company will be paying $2.5 million to make these improvements.

The development company has also established a transportation demand management (TDM) program which includes shuttle services to Caltrain, a vanpool program, subsidized public transit passes, and bike lockers and showers for employees.

Now that you know the truth about traffic, you need to know the truth about the benefits. When built, this project is projected to generate $1.67 million in net annual revenue for our city, and create 1,900 temporary jobs and 2,500 quality permanent jobs with many having first priority hiring preference for Menlo Park residents. This is a huge opportunity for our city and will put fellow Menlo Park residents back to work. To me, that is worth waiting a few extra seconds at an intersection

Please vote "Yes" on Measure T.

Katie Ferrick Planning Commissioner Bay Road, Menlo Park
--------------
I wish to respond

Quite frankly, I respect Katie Ferrick, but her letter is anything but telling the truth about traffic. I copy below what took place in a discussion about the TDM measures and their effectiveness: Katie was at that planning commission meeting, but apparently has forgotten the true situation on traffic.

The Planning Commission voted 4:3 to approve the project, but the approval was sent to the council with a number of conditions. One of these conditions was the PC wanted a 50% reduction in traffic. What they ended up with was really only a 7% reduction.

You just can't ignore a five fold increase in traffic at an intersection, which even today gets congested. To meet the CEQA requirements the Council had to approve Findings of Overriding Consideration because these impacts are unmitigated, and can't be mitigated to insignificant levels.

Even Mayor Cline, a big supporter of the project said "101 will be a Gawd Awful Mess"

As for Katie's other points:

1. revenue: No money in the near future that's for sure. 8 to 10 years away at best. With the equivalent of 15 Empire State Buildings vacant in Silicon Valley, this project is going nowhere fast, yet the City can't first study and do a planning process for the area that makes sense. Pray tell, where is all the housing going to go.

2. Jobs. Again far far into the future.

Vote No on T. see:

www.FactsNotHype.org

which has much more factual information.

morris brown
Menlo Park

-------------
Planning commission exchange:

Please read this exchange between Planning Commissioner Kadvany and the EIR traffic consultant.

KADVANY: ... That is probably EIR protocol, but basically the EIR says it's unlikely that the TDM would reduce impacts both, you know, below significant levels. So can we take those as equivalent and, you know, should I -- should I -- I mean, it's one thing to say I'm being conservative. It's another thing to say I don't expect -- you know, given the nature of what we understand of this program --

MR. SPENCER: Let me see if I can clarify.

COMMISSIONER KADVANY: You understand what I'm saying.

MR. SPENCER: I understand. I get that question quite a bit.

A TDM program, Transportation Demand Management program sets out a series of activities by providing things such as bicycle lockers, by contributing towards employees' shuttle passes, transit passes, perhaps contributing to the existing shuttle, for Caltrain, providing pedestrian amenities. It could be a number of different things. Anything that reduces the number of trips coming to a site, encouraging carpooling, vanpooling, transit, walking, biking and so forth.

As a transportation professional, all of these are extremely important and very, very worthwhile things to do. One of the issues that we have in our industry as traffic professionals is that it's very hard to come up with a very quantitative[,]for sure[,] analysis that says if I implement measures A, B, C and D, I know for sure I'm going to reduce the number of trips by X percent, and across --the more mixed use you have, the more opportunity you have to be successful.

This project is mixed use. It does have a good chance of having a success -- a successful TDM program. But realistically, we can't quantify it with some level of certainty that could withstand a challenge under a CEQA document. So while we encourage these measures and we say these are good to do, we don't know for sure if the level of reduction in trips would be enough to reduce the -- the impact to that less than significant level.

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Comments (54)

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Posted by interesting
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 20, 2010 at 4:22 pm

Morris, excuse me, but jobs and revenue in 8 or 10 years may be where we all disagree. Some of us are younger and we see that as not too far off. If we do as you say and vote it down, and you provide nothing else but fear and rejection, there will be no revenue down the road. There will be no jobs down the road.

It seems as if you could care less about our future because your "today" is more important.

That does not work for me.

This is the same argument used in the specific plan. Fear and worry with no solution, just kill it. Again, younger families see a future with more empty lots. You are not solving that, just rejecting what others have brought forth.

I remember when you and others told us expanding Sand Hill Road would create so much traffic we would lose our quality of life.

You were wrong.

I mean no disrespect here. I just think we disagree on priorities.


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Posted by Morris Brown
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Oct 20, 2010 at 5:05 pm

The posting here was meant to reply to the meat of Katie's article, that being traffic and her assertion it was no big deal.

She also threw in revenue and jobs, so my response was short and not complete.

Just to be clear. This is a bad deal for Menlo Park. A very bad deal. Our group sat through hours of planning commission and council meetings and looked hard at the issues. We certainly don't want our position to be discredited by statements that are not reality.

To this point, readers who want to know more, I direct you to the videos from the Media Center:

Patti Fry (former planning commissioner)

Web Link

Paul Collacchi (former Mayor)

Web Link

and finally again to our website

www.FactsNotHype.org


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Posted by Joan Solari
a resident of Atherton: other
on Oct 20, 2010 at 7:52 pm

As another person who respects Katie Ferrick, I have to disagree with her, as well. Please read the EIR for yourself. The traffic (which is already very bad) will get much worse in the neighborhoods near 101 & Middlefield between Marsh & Willow. As traffic increases in these areas, the overflow will adversely affect all surrounding areas.

I urge you to vote No on T.

Joan Solari
Atherton Transportation Commission


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Posted by Katie Ferrick
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Oct 20, 2010 at 7:58 pm

Hello!
I would like to add more information to my letter to the editor and let any readers know how I arrived at supporting the project.

First, I want to say that I have the utmost respect for Morris, Patti, Paul, and all who have taken the time to speak out on this or any project. I often find myself agreeing with their points and they have undoubtedly, along with others, ensured better projects and helped our city have more quality projects. They truly care about our city.

This project is no exception. I am certain it is better now than originally proposed in no small part to several concerned residents.

Specific traffic impacts cited in the EIR include impacts at the following key intersections:
1) 13 seconds at Bay at Marsh
2) 8 seconds at Bay and Willow
3) 24 seconds at Middlefield and Marsh

Depending on your viewpoint, those numbers could sound concerning, but please note that these numbers are projected only if there were no traffic mitigations at all and after the project is built out and occupied.

There will be mitigation measures, including improvements at 7 key intersections so the above numbers should not come to fruition. I don't know where Morris got the 7% mitigation figure from, but I could not find it in the EIR or in any of the documentation I have. Additionally, I cannot locate anywhere except at the project site itself, that will see a five fold increase in traffic, even after project completion. (Constitution, Chrysler, Haven Avenues)

There are meeting clips of members of the public commenting to heavy traffic impacts, but they used data gathered independently that did not reflect what the traffic engineers who produced the environmental impact report. There are also many meeting clips of commissioners and council members questioning this project and coming up with "asks" and alternatives, which is what should happen over the course of this type of project presentation, but clips don't tell the whole story.

My support of this project came only after months of study and information gathering that reflects the very high bar set for any development in Menlo Park, but particularly a development of this size. Yes, I found that there are some unavoidable impacts, of course, but there are many benefits that outweigh them. These include much more than traffic mitigation measures. The job creation with Menlo Park resident hiring preference through Job Train, the BMR Housing fee agreement of $8.5 million, the donation to Bedwell Bayfront Park, the neighborhood improvements in Belle Haven, and the $600,000 annual projected income to the local High School district. I really like that there will be quality job creation in town with a healthy building for workers to go to for years to come. They are going to build at LEED Gold standards for the office buildings and LEED Silver for the hotel. (They cannot know if they will have earned the designation until after completion, but they will be judged at the standards at the time of building, not 2009 standards as some were stating. In any case, they have retained a green building expert who has helped design this project to be a very healthy, low energy use place.)

So, although I came to a different conclusion than Morris has, I know that it is a better project as a result of all his and others input. I have only thanks and gratitude for members of the public for engaging on this and any land use issue.

There has to be a point where a land owner can achieve approval and I believe it has been reached in this case.




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Posted by Transportation Commissioners Rebut Katie Ferrick
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 20, 2010 at 8:16 pm

Menlo Park Transportation Commissioners Rebut Planning Commissioner Traffic Letter

---------------
"Opponents" of Menlo Park Measure T are not exaggerating traffic
impacts, but our good friend Planning Commissioner Katie Ferrick is
denying them. She's pretending that impacts legally classified as
"significant, unmitigated" are insignificant and mitigated. Not
true. The terms "significant, unmitigated" are legal terms used in
Environmental Impact Reports as required by State law. "Significance"
is based on objective community standards.

Opponents have correctly stated EIR findings for traffic: nine
"significant", "unmitigated" impacts for delay and volume, one for
traffic-related noise on nearby neighborhoods. These impacts are
severe enough that State Law required Menlo Park to make a special
set of legal findings just to approve them. This is the State's way
of asking, "Are you sure?"

Katie says that "most" project traffic uses 101 and SR 84, causing
only a "few seconds" of delay. Those "few" seconds of delay are inflicted on each of tens of thousands of rush hour trips on US 101, resulting in hours of total delay.

And project traffic isn't just magically plunked down onto 101 by
helicopter. It uses local streets, Marsh and Willow, already
clogged, to get access to and between Dumbarton(SR84) and 101.
Intersections surrounding the project from Marsh at Middlefield to
Bayfront south of University, and on two locations on Willow Road
will experience delays.

Those among us who know the law and do the math, advise Menlo Park
not to approve these impacts. Vote No on Measure T.


Charlie Bourne
Martin Engel
Transportation Commissioners
City of Menlo Park


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Posted by Paul Collacchi
a resident of another community
on Oct 20, 2010 at 8:51 pm

I respect and like Katie, but Charlie and Martin are correct.

The official and full document of "significant, unmitigated" impacts is listed in a document called the "Statement of Overriding Considerations" here Web Link

There are *NINE*, "significant, UNMITIGATED" impacts for traffic, and one for traffic related noise.

The document is the legal disclosure document required by law, so that the city tells you honestly, and completely what the impacts are so they don't tend to minimize with happy talk during elections.

The real debate is how much hotel revenue is "significant", "unmitigated" congestion worth to you? The false debate is to deny the "significance" and pretend it is mitigated.

And Katie doesn't seem to realize how congestion works. If you add a trip to an already congested US 101 then you are inflicting a small bit of delay on EVERY car already on the road, not just the added trip. The volume for 101 is about 165,000 vpd. Peak hour is 10% or about 16,500 vph. Now add "a few" seconds of delay to peak hour traffic. Its add up to hours quickly. Each additional car makes it worse, because it adds a slightly larger delay to a greater number of existing cars and so the queuing theory curve looks like a hockey stick.

That's why the word "significance" has important legal meaning. It's like a sobriety check for decision makers. State law requires the city to blow into the breath-o-later before it approves such an impact. You are exhausting the capacity of the street system and therefore degrading performance for EVERYBODY.

Volume related congestion on US 101 and SR84 are only TWO of the NINE impacts. The other SEVEN are all the intersections surrounding the project area from Marsh/Middlefield to Marsh/Bayfront to Bayfront South of University. There are two more on Willow.

Katie, why don't read the document and tell us what the impacts are.

We don't think the benefits are worth the impacts, and we think there are other less impactful ways to develop the M-2 area of the city to generate revenue. We'd like the city to complete its M-2 plan first, since this project can't be built anyway. There's plenty of time to wait for this project.


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Posted by Paul Collacchi
a resident of another community
on Oct 20, 2010 at 8:53 pm

Impact #1

B. NOISE
Impact NO-1: The Project would result in a substantial increase in the exposure ofpeople to noise in excess of City noise standards.

Mitigation Measure: No mitigation measures are available to reduce this significant and unavoidable impact.


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Posted by Paul Collacchi
a resident of another community
on Oct 20, 2010 at 8:59 pm

TRANSPORTATON
Impact TR-1: Increases in traffic associated with the Project under the Near Term plus Project Conditions would result in increased delays at several intersections during peak hours. Specifically, traffic associated with the Project would result in increased delays at the following intersections:

• Independence Drive/Constitution Drive
• Willow Road/Newbridge Street
• Bayfront Expressway/Willow Road
• Bayfront Expressway/Chilco Street
• Bayfront Expressway/Chrysler Street
• Bayfront Expressway/Haven Avenue


Findings. Based upon the EIR and the entire record before the Planning Commission and City Council, this City Council finds that:
1. Effects of Mitigation: Implementation of the mitigation measures above would not reduce the potentially significant traffic impacts to a less-than-significant level.

2. Remaining Impacts: The Project-specific impacts to congestion at the foregoing intersections would remain significant and unavoidable.


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Posted by Paul Collacchi
a resident of another community
on Oct 20, 2010 at 9:01 pm

Impact TR-2: Increases in traffic associated with the Project under the Near Term plus Project Conditions would result in increased volumes on the following study area roadway segments during peak hours:
A. Marsh Road (Bohannon Drive to Bay Road)
B. Constitution Drive (Independence Drive to Chilco Street)
C. Constitution Drive (Chrysler Drive to Chilco Street)
D. Independence Drive (Constitution Drive to Chrysler Drive)
Menlo Gateway Project CEQA Findings Page 8 of 37
E. Chrysler Drive (Bayfront Expressway to Constitution Drive)
F. Chrysler Drive (Constitution Drive to Jefferson Drive)
G. Chilco Street (Constitution Drive to Hamilton Avenue)

Mitigation Measure: No mitigation measures are available to reduce this significant and unavoidable impact.
Findings. Based upon the EIR and the entire record before the Planning Commission and City Council, this City Council finds that:
1. Effects of Mitigation: There are no feasible mitigation measures to reduce Impact TR-2 (A)-(F) and (H) to less than significant levels.

Thus, the impacts to the roadway segments cannot be mitigated to less-than significant levels.
2. Remaining Impacts: The Project-specific impacts to congestion at the foregoing roadway segments would remain significant and unavoidable.


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Posted by Paul Collacchi
a resident of another community
on Oct 20, 2010 at 9:04 pm

Impact TR-3: Increases in traffic associated with the Project under Near Term plus Project Conditions would result in significant impacts on the following Routes of Regional Significance:
A. SR 84 East of University Avenue
B. US 101 South of Willow Road

Mitigation Measure: No mitigation measures are available to reduce this significant and unavoidable impact.

Findings: Based upon the EIR and the entire record before the Planning Commission and City Council, this City Council finds that:

1. Effects of Mitigation: There are no feasible mitigation measures to reduce Impact TR-3 (A) and (B) to less than significant levels.
2. Remaining Impacts: The Project-specific impacts to congestion at theforegoing Routes of Regional Significance would remain significant and unavoidable.


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Posted by Paul Collacchi
a resident of another community
on Oct 20, 2010 at 9:07 pm

Impact TR-1CM: Increase in traffic associated with the proposed project under Long Term plus Project Conditions would result in increased delays at ten study intersections causing a significant cumulative impact to the operation of these intersections:
• Marsh Road/Bohannon Drive—PM Peak
• Bayfront Expressway/Willow Road—PM Peak
• Bayfront Expressway/University Avenue—PM Peak
• Bayfront Expressway/Chilco Street—AM/PM Peak
• Bayfront Expressway/Chrysler Drive—PM Peak
• Bayfront Expressway/Haven Avenue—AM/PM Peak
• Marsh Road/Middlefield Road (Atherton)—AM Peak
• Independence Drive/Constitution Drive—AM Peak
• Constitution Drive/Chrysler Drive—PM Peak


1. Effects of Mitigation: Implementation of the mitigation measures above would not reduce the potentially significant traffic impacts to a less-than-significant level.

2. Remaining Impacts: The cumulative impacts to congestion at the foregoing intersections would remain significant and unavoidable.


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Posted by Paul Collacchi
a resident of another community
on Oct 20, 2010 at 9:13 pm

There's still more impacts. I'm tired of listing them. I object to minimizing them. If you think $1.67M is worth the impacts, then say so. But the impacts are real, and we are not exaggerating.


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 20, 2010 at 9:46 pm

don't be foolish and line a developer's pockets at our expense. Vote NO on T!


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Posted by Boxer signs say "Jobs", T signs say "Jobs" and "Revenue"
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 20, 2010 at 10:26 pm

On the bubble, incumbent Democrats get it.
"It's the Economy, Stupid"
City coffers running short.
Voters will vote their pocketbook on a chance the city coffers will have a chance of being enriched by Bohannon's redevelopment.
Traffic on 101/Marsh, long term increased service costs for policing, fire, housing demand when Belle Haven and EPA are hungry for tenants/homeowners, What else is new?
It's not in the majority of voters' backyard, it's the other side of 101, so what's the problem?
It can't be as bad as the opponents cast it, 'cause it will bring some hope when ECR vacancies are making Menlo Park less the "City that Makes It Happen" to the "City that Makes Excuses for it Not to Happen".


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Posted by The Facts on the Record
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 20, 2010 at 11:01 pm

Katie Ferrick's letter was right on.

Menlo Park residents will NOT be misled by the distortions and scare tactics of a small group of opponents in their recent mailer. All the issues — traffic, revenue, jobs, public benefits, school/housing impacts and more — were thoroughly examined during the lengthy public review process.

As a result of this deliberative process, the Planning Commission and City Council approved Menlo Gateway subject to a public vote on Measure T.

For example:
Traffic: "Gridlock" scenarios have been grossly exaggerated by the opposition. The vast majority of car trips will happen away from residential neighborhoods. The two most impacted intersections are on Bayfront Expressway, on the east side of Highway 101. Car trips will be distributed throughout the day, primarily on the Highway 101 and 84 corridors. And the developer is required to pay more than $2.5 million for intersection improvements to improve traffic flow. Also, the city imposed the most stringent trip reduction requirements ever for a Menlo Park project. These include frequent shuttles to two Caltrain stations paired with free transit passes and car/van pool incentives – all designed to reduce car trips, with monetary penalties to ensure trip limits are met.
(See Draft Environmental Impact Report: Figure 3.11-18 Trip Distribution Percentages (page 3.11-26), and June 15 Staff Report, Attachment I, Draft Ordinance approving the Development Agreement, including the Development Agreement.)

New Revenue for Menlo Park. The opponents say that Menlo Gateway will provide "No Immediate Revenue." This project will take a number of years to build, so of course revenue won't be immediate…but it will be significant and provide a long-term NET revenue stream of $1.67 million every year for the city's General Fund. Net means new revenue after factoring in costs. But voting No on T means no new revenue for the city.
(See "Fiscal Impact Analysis of Proposed Development on Constitution and Independence Sites" Final Report, March 2010, prepared by Bay Area Economics for the City of Menlo Park, page 46, Table 30, Project column.)

New Jobs. Again, opponents say job creation won't be immediate. Is that a serious reason to vote against Menlo Gateway? Once underway, Menlo Gateway will create jobs and lots of them: approximately 1,800 local jobs during construction, and more than 2,500 new, permanent jobs once the project is built—many with hiring preference for Menlo Park residents, focused on Belle Haven's JobTrain program. A no vote means none of these jobs—ever.
(See: "Fiscal Impact Analysis of Bohannon Mixed Use Project for Constitution and Independence Sites," Working Draft (June 2007) prepared by Brion & Associates for the Bohannon Development Organization, page 33, Table 8, bottom of Proposed Mixed Use Project column. (The BAE Report did not include construction job estimates).)

Housing Demand. More tall tales! Opponents imply that Menlo Gateway will trigger a demand for 1,779 new homes in Menlo Park. The real story is that Menlo Gateway would create demand for only 76 new housing units in our city when the project is complete. And the project would provide $8 million for the city's Below Market Rate (BMR) housing fund.
(See "Fiscal Impact Analysis of Proposed Development on Constitution and Independence Sites," Final Report, March 2010 prepared by Bay Area Economics for the City of Menlo Park, page 56, Table 34.)

Revenue for Schools. Opponents say that Measure T would hurt the Menlo Park schools and the Fire District. Another distortion! Opponents used wildly improbable scenarios to calculate the impact of new housing units in each potentially affected school district. In reality, Menlo Gateway will generate $1.8 million in property taxes per year that will go to local schools, including those in the Sequoia Union High School district (which includes Menlo-Atherton High School) and San Mateo Community College district, serving thousands of students from Menlo Park.
(See: Fiscal Impact Analysis of Proposed Development on Constitution and Independence Sites" Final Report (March 2010) prepared by Bay Area Economics (BAE) for the City of Menlo Park, page 28, Table 16, Project column.)

And City Council candidate and Fire District Board President Peter Ohtaki has endorsed Menlo Gateway and Yes on Measure T!

Right Size, Right Location. Menlo Gateway will be located on an ideal site for this type of project, right off two highways and away from most residential neighborhoods. It will replace outdated industrial buildings on the east side of Highway 101 with an environmentally sustainable hotel/health club/office complex that sets the standard for innovative green multi-use buildings on the Peninsula.

A Good Deal for Menlo Park. Opponents say this is a "Sweetheart Deal" written by the developer. The fact is that Menlo Gateway went through four years of city-controlled process and was ultimately approved by the Planning Commission and City Council after they required the developer to accept many modifications. The benefits to Menlo Park are numerous and worthwhile—otherwise there would not be the broad coalition of supporters endorsing Measure T.

All facts are publicly available: Details can be found on the Menlo Park City website at Web Link. Financial information, traffic information, city benefits and more are all detailed on the website. Look for yourself and then decide.

The small group of opponents hasn't wanted this project from the beginning. Nothing will satisfy them. They just want to defeat T and pass up on this rare opportunity.

Voters should indeed focus on the facts and then they will join with the hundreds of Menlo Park residents and groups who are voting Yes on Measure T.

I have faith that people will not get distracted by the distortions of the naysayers. They do what's best for Menlo Park.

Vote YES on Measure T.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Not in My Backyard, Literally
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 21, 2010 at 8:38 am

Gateway workers will live in the new Saltworks development, drive their Prius or take a shuttle to the office, hustle over to the new High Speed Rail station at RWC and whoosh down to So Cal. for meetings on a Bullet Train.
Ya think?


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Posted by Patti Fry
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 21, 2010 at 12:37 pm

To "The Facts are in the record" - You continue to mislead the public.

The Planning Commission on a split 4:3 vote, recommended approval of the project, but WITH a number of conditions. Two key ones were rejected by the developer - to reduce the traffic by 50% and impose an in lieu fee if the massive office buildings did not produce a minimum amount of business-to-business sales tax. The latter would have increased city revenue by about $1 million or 70% more than Bohannon's claims, and five times the minimum revenue commitment of $225,000 starting 3 years after the hotel finally opens.

The new housing demand generated regionally by the project is, per city documents, 1799. The issue is that there is NO housing provided anywhere by the project. Bohannon, one of Menlo Park's largest property owners, isn't providing any land for it either. City consultants estimated 10% would live in Menlo Park; the rest would be commuters.

You repeat correct information that schools regionally (NONE in Menlo Park) are expected to get a large amount of property tax revenue, but you fail to deduct the related COSTS in the very same report or the deductions of state funding for Revenue Limit districts. The truth is that the NET to regional schools is about 1/3 of what is claimed and that every new student in Menlo Park will add to our school district's costs without any accompanying revenue. The estimated negative impacts on Menlo Park schools comes straight from the consultant's report. These are not wild claims, but facts from the same report you cite.

Please be honest enough to disclose who you are.

We think Menlo Park deserves a better deal, with fewer impacts. Vote No on T


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Posted by Ano Nymous
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 21, 2010 at 1:12 pm

[Post removed; personal attack.]


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Posted by Dharma
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 21, 2010 at 2:29 pm

There is a simple solution to the traffic related to economic activity. Reduce it! We can improve our wait at Marsh and Willow traffic lights by requiring the cessation of 20% of all economic activity (what is left of it, with vacant office buildings and R&D buildings dominating the M2 area). To be fair, we could require the same 20% of all landlord's buildings.

Also, this would be a self sustaining city policy, sicne no-one in their right mind would invest another penny in Menlo Park and traffic would be forever restrained.

You self appointed shadow city planners should have thought of this your selves. Pshaw!


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 21, 2010 at 2:48 pm

And the Fire District, which would be required to serve this enormous project, would receive NO compensation from the developer.

Something is very wrong with the 'deal' which. Menlo Park struck with the developer.


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Posted by Ano Nymous
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 21, 2010 at 3:08 pm

[Post removed. Unsubstantiated attack. Please stick to discussing issues.]


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Posted by retired teacher
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Oct 21, 2010 at 4:21 pm

Not all economic activity increases traffic five fold like the Gateway Project is expected to do. With the increase in traffic comes noise, pollution, and safety concerns. There are three schools in the area where traffic is expected to significantly increase - on or near Middlefield via Marsh Road. I believe there are one or two Ravenswood District Schools that also will see traffic pick up significantly - one in Belle Haven and one on Willow Road.


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Posted by Ano Nymous
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 21, 2010 at 8:36 pm

A key issue is why the measure was passed on to voters in the first place. [Portion removed; stick to the issue.]


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Posted by Morris Brown
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Oct 21, 2010 at 10:46 pm

Katie above wrote:

"I don't know where Morris got the 7% mitigation figure from, but I could not find it in the EIR or in any of the documentation "

The 7% mitigation reduction claimed for TDM number came from Kent in response to a question.

The video is posted on YouTube at:

Web Link

so you can hear the 7% number.


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Posted by false trade-off
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Oct 22, 2010 at 7:47 am

it isn't necessary to have this much traffic and the revenue this project provides.

Most of the traffic comes from the office Neither the 4 Seasons Hotel nor the Rosewood Hotel had nearly as much office space relative to the size of the hotel.

Some other scenarios: Since about 85% of the Gateway project is projected to produce scan sales tax revenue but produces most of the traffic, reduce the size of the offices or limit the amount of office space that would go to uses (like law firms) that don't produce much revenue to the city. Bohannon rejected current limits on office uses as well as an in lieu fee recommended by the Planning Commission to provide an incentive for sales-tax-producing office uses.

Yet another scenario - fund improvements to allow pedestrians and bikers to safely cross 101, to help get people out of cars.

I'm sure there are more scenarios. It is simplistic to assert and offensive to the intelligence of Menlo Park voters that this amount of traffic is required for this amount of revenue. And it's wrong.


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Posted by Paul
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Oct 22, 2010 at 11:59 pm

Remember all the claims Steve Schmidt, etc. made about the extension of Sand Hill Road to El Camino -- how El Camino would become gridlocked with cars? Menlo Park's main argument against the extension of Sand Hill and expansion of the shopping center was traffic. Now, 10 years later, traffic flows better than it ever did in that area. All of Menlo Park's traffic consultants, professional planners and politicians were wrong.

I'd keep that in mind when talking about the Gateway project.


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Posted by false trade-off
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Oct 23, 2010 at 12:07 pm

"Paul" - You must live in a bubble. Obviously you don't have to contend with all the additional cut-through traffic on Oak, the long delays on Sand Hill Rd., the much-worsened traffic on Santa Cruz, the extra delays at the light to turn left onto Alma from south-bound El Camino, the extra delays at El Camino and Cambridge while car after car does a u-turn because Sand Hill and Alma don't connect.
And all this is happening in a down economy, before some of Stanford's major projects have even begun.
Willow traffic is already horrific - right now - from Middlefield to 101, and so is Marsh from Middlefield to 101 to Bayfront. This new suto-centric project will make an already bad situation much worse.


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Posted by Field of Dreams
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Oct 23, 2010 at 2:29 pm

"Build it and they shall come".-- in single occupant cars. They will saturate our neighborhood like a plague of locusts and we will be locked like prisoners in our own modest homes, not being able to venture outside during commute hours. Measure T is a sucker's bet. Please vote no on T.


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Posted by Double talk from Morris
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Oct 24, 2010 at 12:38 am

Morris writes:
"1. revenue: No money in the near future that's for sure. 8 to 10 years away at best. With the equivalent of 15 Empire State Buildings vacant in Silicon Valley, this project is going nowhere fast, yet the City can't first study and do a planning process for the area that makes sense. Pray tell, where is all the housing going to go.

2. Jobs. Again far far into the future. "

Then... why all the worry about traffic? How will traffic be an issue if Bohannon isn't really going to build?

You can't have it both ways, Morris. The people with the jobs ARE the traffic. No jobs, no traffic.


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 24, 2010 at 8:46 am

When it is built there will be huge traffic impacts. I think Mr. Morris' point is since it won't be built for 8 to 10 years, what's the rush to approve the project without proper review AND mitigation of the impacts? The general plan for the city is completely out of date and needs to be brought up to date. That can be done and include the Gateway project so the entire city is taken into account. Bohannon doesn't want to do this. Why? Why the rush to rezone something he won't build for 8 to 10 years? Because he knows in a down economy the best chance he has of shafting the citizens of Menlo Park is now, with the promise of jobs.

Vote NO on T


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Posted by truth
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Oct 24, 2010 at 9:35 am

The Post, The Daily News, The Almanac, the Planning Commission, the City Council, the Sierra Club and third party consultants all agree that the city is better off with Menlo Gateway.

The same old no birds, don't agree. And they voted against Rosewood, the Kepler's building, the new gymnasium, the Derry Project, the widening of Sand Hill Road, etc. etc.

After we vote for Measure T, someone send a memo to Paul Collacchi that we no longer need his "services"...

The more outside sources review this, the more they all agree that we should vote yes on Measure T.


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 24, 2010 at 9:43 am

Truth:

if it's so great, what's the rush?


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Posted by truth
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Oct 24, 2010 at 11:32 am

So now it is rushed? Is that the next challenge? Is that like the downtown oldies saying the three year specific plan needs to be slowed down?

Bohannon came to this city some eight years ago with a plan that was rejected by Paul and the gang. He returns three years ago, and you want more time? More time for what? To ask for a profit share? You wrote the signs that say "no revenue or jobs any time soon", then you say "too much traffic", then you say you want more time?

What the heck do you want?

We all know. It killed.

Don't pretend to be objective or logical. You are running purely on fear and emotion.


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Posted by serial voter
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 24, 2010 at 12:21 pm

truth, sounds as though you've imbibed the Bo koolaid. Bohannon came to the council with a proposal that was twice the size of his (previous) rejected proposal. It was clear to me that this was his starting point and he expected that he'd get less after negotiation. Our city has lousy negotiators. Surprise!

Understanding this topic takes some time and thought. To pick out pieces of the argument and call them illogical without considering them in the context of the whole is a cheap tactic that is beneath someone named truth.

If/when Measure T wins, it won't be a nuclear blast. It's more of a frog-in-pot thing. Twenty years from now, the quality of life in this city will be far worse as a direct result of this project.

And before you cite the supporters, check out how much money Bohannon has given each in the form of ads. A half million is a big enough war chest to do some serious damage. But we're smarter than that, aren't we?


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Posted by truth
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Oct 24, 2010 at 12:28 pm

So you are saying that in 20 years this project will evaporate our current level of quality of life? But I have a piece of literature from the opponents telling me to vote no because it won't be built for 20 years.

It is not that I don't get it, I do. You are worried about cumulative impacts of development. That is a admirable position. The problem I have is that over the last 20 years I have yet to see any of the "opponents" admit they were wrong, even when it is so obvious they were.

Rosewood? This is a big success and you know it. But I have many pieces of information from opponents about how bad it would be.

Derry? It is dead. And no one admits that they held a private meeting to kill the project.

Sand Hill Road? Where is that cut through barrage Paul argued would happen so violently many years ago?

I don't blame you for being worried, but I question the integrity of anyone who does not reflect honestly on past positions and learn from them.

You all have not. And I find it increasingly disappointing.


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 24, 2010 at 5:02 pm

I, for one, thought the Derry project was a good one. I also think the project at the old Cadilac dealership is a good one. I am not anti-growth. I AM against getting shafted by Bohannon. There are huge unmittigated impacts with this project. I don't have a problem with the Gateway project per se. I do have a problem with its impacts being left unmittigated. If it isn't going to be built for 8 to 10 years what's the rush to pass the approvals for it? Again I say, it's because Bohannon knows that "it will bring jobs" in a down economy will bring votes and he will be able to build his project and to hell with the unmittigated impacts. Let the citizens that will be left to deal with them handle it. I'll be making my $40 million a year. To hell with them.


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Posted by Morris Brown
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Oct 24, 2010 at 5:58 pm

Truth:

Please quit spewing lies.

I led the Derry referendum, which stopped the project as approved.

There then ensued a negotiation to reduce the size of the project, add more commercial and get a $2 million public benefit to the City from entitling the developer to build to such a high density.

The revised project was approved by the Planning commission and was going to council for what was hoped approval when the developer decided to stop the process.

That is where it is now, except that there was a public announcement that indicated they might be ready to move forward again.

What killed the project from going ahead was a technical issue between the O'Brien group and the Derry Family, and the crash of the housing market. There may also now be an influence about worrying about the High Speed Rail project.

Please quit saying we killed the project. And yes we had many private meetings with the developer, created a development agreement and spent many hours in working out this compromise. Our group did not ask for any benefits to the group and the developer never offered any such. City Attorney McClure was present at crucial meetings. There was no hanky-panky which some members of the public seem to think was going on.

We did not oppose the Rosewood Hotel. We did not oppose the Beltromo development. We did not oppose the 1300 El Camino project.

Measured Growth for Menlo Park does indeed oppose the Bohannon project. I am a member of that group. It is simply a lousy deal for the City with huge impacts. Our literature does not say it won't be built for 20 years. It says it MAY not be built for 20 years, yet the City will have granted these entitlements and for 20 years and cannot revoke them.

In the meantime no revenue for the City. The developer even refused to agree to a re-appraisal of the land, which will rise in value considerably and would have meant more property tax income to the City.

Our literature does say that they have lied about the benefits to the Menlo Park Schools. There will simply be no funding for the increased students expected in the K-8 schools in Menlo Park. That is the TRUTH, truth.

And pray tell, where is the expected need regionally for 1800 new homes going to be placed. Bohannon would not even agree to identify any land where at least some of these could be built.

So Bohannon has now allocated $475,000 to promote passage of Measure T. He has issued gutter based, anti-Bernstein literature, because Chuck opposes his project.

morris brown
stone pine lane




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Posted by Morris Brown
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Oct 24, 2010 at 6:01 pm

And Truth, I should have added.

Go to:

www.FactsNotHype.org

to learn about Measure T

Vote No on Measure T.


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Posted by Keep it up
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 24, 2010 at 7:38 pm

More than anything, I love seeing Morris, Paul, Patti, and their dwindling pack of no-nos playing defense. This project is actually probably significantly bigger than if you had actually come to the table and tried to work through what really mattered. Instead, you focused on a total 'kill' and thought you could always lead a referendum if the Council didn't bend, but Bohannon flipped it up on you and totally took the momentum.

Keep up the usual tactics. You're doing great.


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Posted by truth
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Oct 25, 2010 at 8:39 am

You read it as well I am sure, Chuck's exact quote opposing the Rosewood Hotel using the EXACT same argument he uses now. The hotel was built and it saved our butts.

This is your guy, your candidate, expressing your values, so please don't insult our intelligence. Andy voted against Rosewood and Chuck opposed it too. These are your guys, Morris.

I can research more if you want to further prove the objection of your group on Rosewood and Derry and Sand Hill Road and the Kepler's Building.

Please don't think we are all confused, your group is another rebrand of Menlo Park Tomorrow, etc.

Someone should make a legal request of all transactions during your "negotiation" so we can see who took money. You and your merry band of project opponents should never be in a negotiation on behalf of the city, in any case. We did not elect you for anything. And to my knowledge you have never put yourself out there to take the abuse that real candidates take.

We never saw $2 million Morris. Your referendum delayed this project into a bad economy so we have lost way more than the $2 million for which you try to get credit.

My final point, you and your group are using the same game plan to oppose Gateway that you did for others. You will also do it on the downtown plan.

You did opposed Rosewood and you did oppose the Kepler's building and you did oppose Sand Hill road widening and you did oppose housing at 1300. To say otherwise is a blatant lie and I can find facts to prove it.

Your integrity is lost on me and many who see your new branded group as an angry fringe group who takes advantage of people who don't know all the facts. You scare them into thinking traffic will ruin their neighborhoods and when the studies don't support it, you say the consultant is fraudulent. Same game plan over and over and over.

Paul can make up all the manipulation he wants and you all can parrot it all day, it makes no difference.


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Posted by narnia
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Oct 25, 2010 at 9:08 am

The project would indeed provide jobs immediately (construction) and jobs afterwards specially much needed jobs for east Menlors and some high paying jobs as well. There will be some traffic increase, of course, but there will also be some traffic increase when our teenagers get licenses and cars and I suppose we should curtail those as well-after all they can take public transportation to MAHS. Menlo Park needs those jobs, Menlo Park needs the money and Menlo Park cannot leave in the past. Sure, some people are going to be more affected than others, but the increase in traffic for all of us will be really minimal and insignificant. Mostly, we would just be sacrificing a lot for the good of the few who use the roads more than others.
Build the complex. Vote yes on the measure. We need it.


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Posted by narnia
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Oct 25, 2010 at 9:11 am

The project would indeed provide jobs immediately (construction) and jobs afterwards and Menlo Park cannot leave in the past.
sorry, I meant"
Menlo Park cannot leave the future unattended in the pursuit of the past.


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Posted by Steve
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 25, 2010 at 10:33 am

Truth -
You make a lot of charges against Morris, Patti, and others but provide no evidence. You say you can find the facts to prove your charges. Please do so or stop using that moniker.


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 25, 2010 at 10:35 am

Narnia:

You are missing the point. Those "jobs" won't exist for at least another 8 to 10 years when it is unlikely they will be needed. That's why Bohannon is pushing so hard on this now, because you and others like you think "jobs" means "jobs now." It doesn't.


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Posted by truth
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Oct 25, 2010 at 11:42 am

Let's review my charges:

1 - Morris led a private negotiation with the developer of the proposed Derry site with no minutes and no public review. Morris denies there was any monetary exchange, I would like proof.

2 - Chuck opposed Rosewood and spoke publicly to council saying the hotel was a scam for office development. Rosewood was a huge win for MP. We all know it.

3 - Morris and his older mates opposed the Kepler building -- and if I have to pull microfiche to prove it, I can. This is THE gathering spot for MP youth and families.

4 - 1300 came to council in 2007 and I quote Morris to the Almanac "if you are going to put housing on top of commercial, you are going to get opposition."

5 - On Sept 23rd, 1998 (in the almanac) Paul C. wrote a letter rejecting the proposed widening of Sand Hill Road. He claimed it would increase cut through traffic and reduce our quality of life. Not quite, Paul.

What else do I need to put here to prove a point we all know?

Making a hobby out of project opposition is exactly what Morris and Chuck and his mates do.

Opposing A project here and there is fine. Opposing all of them is ridiculous.


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Posted by morris brown
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Oct 25, 2010 at 12:06 pm

Truth:

As proof of no money exchange, write or call City Attorney Bill McClure.

Please produce your accusation that I opposed the Kepler building.
Simply not true.

1300 El Camino. I opposed housing on top --- that did not happen -- the developer didn't want housing --- Kelly Fergusson did. Did not oppose the project as approved.

I am not going to respond to your un-founded accusations any further. As an anonymous poster, you really don't deserve any response.

On Sand Hill road, what Paul predicted has indeed taken place. Wait until the hospital expansion occurs, then the real explosion happens.
Ask Heyward Robinson about cut through traffic or Rich Rollins.


Morris Brown
Stone Pine Lane


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Posted by Dear Mr Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 25, 2010 at 12:37 pm

The President of the Fire District - Peter Ohtaki - supports this project.

The Fire District was at the table and there was indeed money directed to them in the final deal.

Get your facts straight. You weren't there. We who live in Menlo Park WERE.


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Posted by narnia
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Oct 25, 2010 at 12:57 pm

menlo voter says"Those "jobs" won't exist for at least another 8 to 10 years when it is unlikely they will be needed. "

Not needed? How do you go about having fewer people needing jobs?

In any case, construction and maintenance will provide a lot of jobs, maybe not for you or your social circle....

And Sand Hill rd? fine, just fine. What do people want? A good hospital, but nobody actually driving to it. Jobs galore but no knew construction. Great schools, but low taxes..Great everything, but no inconvenience or change at all for "some" only some...
Grow up.


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Posted by truth
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Oct 25, 2010 at 1:22 pm

Morris, relax. I am asking questions that I have heard more than a few people bring up.

The city attorney brokered your negotiations as you say, then who paid for the city attorney's time? Did you? You see my logic here right? I mean if you held a private negotiation with a developer with private citizens and used the city's attorney at taxpayer expense, I think we have a problem. Don't you?

Chuck Bernstein shouts down closed sessions in union negotiations, a practice that has been done for years and years and, while it may be time to change that, it is not like the folks in that closed session weren't elected officials.

In your case, who authorized the city attorney time? You? Or did the council? I don't know, so please take this as a real question.

You will get mad at me I am sure, but I hear Peter Carpenter chasing down people over random Brown Act items yet no one asks about this private negotiation.

I will research that Kepler's building and get you a list of names.

Rejecting projects is common place in towns like ours. I just want to show that I think you guys make a sport out of it.

And I guarantee all readers that Morris will unite with the downtown birds to try to get the specific plan rejected too.

And my list will grow longer.


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 25, 2010 at 3:36 pm

Narnia:

you go about having fewer people needing jobs when there is growth in the economy and unemployment comes down. Remember the dot com bubble? 1% unemployment? I do, I was trying to build and it was hell trying to find trades people. I suggest you grow up.


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Posted by narnia
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Oct 25, 2010 at 5:49 pm

Menlo voter
"you go about having fewer people needing jobs when there is growth in the economy and unemployment comes down"

jobs are created and it's not that you have a day in which suddenly you have more jobs than workers. Until then ( and it's a long time) people need jobs and we need them to have jobs.
During my decades on earth I certainly have seen a lot of see-sawing of job cycles, but since there is a population increase rate we can be sure that jobs are and will be needed. Another certainty is that trying to stop tides is both pointless and not very smart.


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Posted by false trade-off
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Oct 25, 2010 at 5:50 pm

This thread is supposed to be about the traffic related to the Bohannon project. I am tired of reading ad hominem attacks. It would be soooo very much more productive to discuss issues, not individuals.

The city's Environmental Impact Report concludes that there are a number of intersections that will incur Significant Unavoidable Impacts that cannot be mitigated.
This project is oriented toward use of autos. It provides no new ways for residents to walk or bicycle from home to the site. It could.
This project has disproportionately more office space than other recent new hotel/office projects. It will draw commuters through and to Menlo Park. The offices could be smaller, making the traffic impacts less. This was studied in the EIR.


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 25, 2010 at 7:42 pm

Narnia:

I too have seen decades of seesawing jobs. Growth for the sake of "jobs" without recognition of the impacts is simply stupid.


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Posted by narnia
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Oct 26, 2010 at 8:33 am


Lack of jobs impact people. Lack of jobs impacts prosperity. Perhaps not people of your social circle, but nevertheless people. Menlo Park is not Utopia stuck in time. The fact that it affects a few cannot deter a project that will benefit most.


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