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About this blog: I have lived in Belle Haven since 1997, and work as an interpreter in the emergency department of a county hospital. My main interest is to help improve society by way of giving families the support and information they need to ra...  (More)

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Menlo Gateway Rears its Head

Uploaded: Jan 12, 2015
Today, it took me 20 minutes to drive from the VA Hospital to Newbridge Avenue, as I tried to get home after a long day at work.
By the time I reached Willow Road at the hospital, I had traveled from San Jose on 280, exited at Page Mill, went down Stanford Avenue to El Camino, cut across Palo Alto through Embarcadero, Alma Street, Channing Street, Chaucer, Menlo, O'Connor and finally, Willow Road.
All this trouble just to avoid having to take the Willow Road exit that on a normal day has a line of cars about a mile long. Taking University Avenue and cutting through East Palo Alto is not much better. The other day, I tried going past my exit to Marsh Road, but it was so bad, that I ended up having to go all the way to Woodside Road, and then drove back on the east side of the freeway.
I bet none of those who tout the virtues of Menlo Gateway live on this side of the City. For if they did, I am sure they would have a very different take on the threat that it represents to the already diminished quality of life we have to endure.
Given the recent experience with Measure M, I am afraid we currently have a City Council that will not take into consideration the disadvantages this project represents to Belle Haven residents, and as a result, will not try to find ways to ameliorate its effects..
If they didn't show any restraint in tacitly endorsing Greenheart's rigging of our last election, (in spite of the fact that the main opposition to the developer came from affluent residents), one would be naive to believe the interests of Belle Haven residents-- a majority of whom are working class with no political nor organizational power--will be in the minds of our Council members as Mr. Bohannon approaches them for permission to tweak his plans.
I have been waiting for the DA to give its take on our City's Manager hiring of the consultant to help sway public opinion. In the meantime, I got a hold of the second batch of campaign finance reports.
We already know that in the 3 incumbents' first pre-campaign reports, contributions they received by Greenheart's raised eyebrows.
On the second part, it was Mr.' Bohannon's big contributions to those same incumbents that caught my attention.
In view of this, if those Council members would like to show some sense of decency, they should recuse themselves from having anything to do with deciding on Menlo Gateway.

I know, I am being extremely naive here. But you never know, people might little by little wake up and demand to finally be the ones represented by their elected officials.
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Comments

 +   3 people like this
Posted by move on, a resident of Menlo Park: other,
on Jan 13, 2015 at 12:09 am

Martin, if you are truly upset about contributions in the last election, please know that you have been misinformed. Your previous posts on this issues are not accurate.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by MenloShopper, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown,
on Jan 13, 2015 at 2:56 pm

Menlo Gateway has nothing to do with Measure M nor our current city manager, it was approved --- by city vote --- several years ago. That doesn't make the traffic better, it is terrible on Marsh and will get worse. So we have to come up with solutions and especially funding. I use Marsh myself, and Willow, so know how bad they have become. Much, maybe 80%, of that traffic is 'through traffic', meaning cars which have to go through Menlo Park to get to their final destination. So while we can do much to limit our contribution, we still have to deal with the overwhelming traffic that's going to be in our community no matter what we do. Tragedy of the commons is what that's called, when we all nibble away without bounds at the shared commons which is our Peninsula roadway system.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood,
on Jan 15, 2015 at 12:00 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Menlo Gateway is just one more example of where the City of Menlo Park, acting as the lead agency, conveniently forgot about the impact of this project on the Fire District. As lead agency the city is required by law to represent the interest of non-lead agencies - that did not happen. Instead the City Council insisted on more flowers at Menlo Gateway rather than a dime for fire services.

What Menlo Park evidently wants to do is have the Fire District reduce its service levels to Belle Haven in order to serve Menlo Gateway. As the recent fire in East Palo Alto shows that is playing a dangerous game with public safety. Fire engines from west of 101 had to use University Ave in Palo Alto to respond to the East Palo Alto fire.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Martin Lamarque, a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven,
on Jan 15, 2015 at 9:16 pm

@move on:

I am just using information I saw in the campaign finance reports available at the City's Clerk website.

If you are so sure about the numbers being wrong, please let the City Clerk know as soon as possible.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Martin Lamarque, a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven,
on Jan 15, 2015 at 9:21 pm

@ Peter Carpenter.

Thanks for adding that important detail about how Gateway's will negatively impact such an important service for residents of Belle Haven.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood,
on Jan 16, 2015 at 11:14 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

This motion is on the Fire Board's agenda on 20 Jan:

"The Fire District will not support and will oppose all actions regarding the proposed M2 upzoning until and unless the City of Menlo Park can provide binding guarantees that ensure the funding for the additional Fire District facilities, equipment and staffing necessary to provide for the expanded fire services to serve this additional demand.

The Fire District will not approve any new construction in the M 2 zone until and unless the City of Menlo Park can provide binding guarantees that ensure the funding for the additional Fire District facilities, equipment and staffing necessary to provide for the expanded fire services to serve this additional demand.

Until the City of Menlo Park can provide binding guarantees that ensure the funding for the additional Fire District facilities, equipment and staffing necessary to provide for the expanded fire services to serve the proposed new M 2 zoning any new construction approved in the M 2 zone by the City of Menlo Park should note that the Fire District is unable to ensure fire protection for such construction."

Hopefully Belle Haven residents whose fire protection the city wants to divert to the M 2 area will attend to express their concerns.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood,
on Jan 17, 2015 at 2:47 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Here are more details from the Fire Chief on the response to the fire in East Palo Alto:

"The fire was at 2217 Pulgas Avenue in East Palo Alto on January 12, 2015



It was reported as a house fire and dispatched at 18.08 with Engine 2 (East Palo Alto) on-scene at 18.11 confirming they had a working fire with smoke coming from the front door and garage door. Engine 77 (East Menlo) arrived at 18.15 and backed up Engine 2 so they could make entry into the building to fight the fire per the OSHA 2 firefighters inside and 2 outside rule for safety and rescue. Great response times from our east side units but they can only do so much with 6 people on a fire because they need to fight the fire, provide a backup rescue team on standby, get a supply line from the hydrant, search and possibly rescue people then do advanced paramedic intervention, protect exposure structures, ventilate the building and conduct salvage if possible and everything goes right. That takes about 15 people to do it right, which is a first alarm assignment. When it goes wrong we call more alarms from further away and that takes even more time, that's why we strive to be there fast and hit a fire hard so it doesn't get away from us.



Engine 6 (Downtown Menlo) arrived at 18.19.13, they took University Avenue from Middlefield, so through Palo Alto, and beat Station 1 units (Middlefield Road) Engine, Truck and Battalion 1, who had radioed that they were stuck on Willow in grid lock traffic. E-1 arrived at 18.19.23, Truck at 18.20.09, Battalion Commander at 18.19.55.



Engine 5 (North Fairoaks) arrived at 18.20, so here is one of my points, traffic is dramatically affecting our response times at certain times of the day which has an impact on travel times, performance and safety. We strive to have all units on scene for a fire in 8 minutes (sooner if possible), for this fire it took 12 minutes. If something bad happens we may not have enough people on scene to either properly address it or keep it from getting worse and I worry about that.



Engine 5 went over the Marsh Road overpass, down Bayfront to University to the call and almost beat the Station 1 crews who are closer but used Willow Road. Engine 6, also further away, heard the station 1 crews were locked up on Willow and went through another jurisdiction, Palo Alto, which is not what I prefer they do, but they exercised good initiative and it worked to beat the Station 1 crews as well. I notified the Palo Alto Fire Chief and this will be a topic on our next meeting agenda.



Here's my point, Willow Roads design makes it hard to navigate and for people to move out of our way. We use traffic pre-emption but when traffic is grid-locked it doesn't help. We often go slowly against traffic to be able to move at all. Marsh and University through Palo Alto are better options at times because they are wider and have room for vehicles to yield to large pieces of emergency equipment but they are still heavily congested.. We realize all this traffic is a sign of a robust economy, that's great news for everyone, we also realize that Marsh, Willow and University are feeders to the Dumbarton Bridge and our east side residents are harder to serve and under served at certain times of the day depending upon traffic and the volume of calls for service we receive in those areas."

*******************
And here is my opinion:
In my opinion the City of Menlo Park continues to ignore the needs of its citizens for timely emergency response and the proposed M 2 up zoning, without providing for appropriate increases in emergency response resources and capabilities, is simply playing with lives.


 +  Like this comment
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