Tonight: Menlo downtown specific plan

Planning Commission holds third review

The Menlo Park Planning Commission meets tonight (July 28) to study the downtown portion of the proposed specific plan.

The downtown zone remains the most controversial part of the specific plan, judging by public comment. Suggested design features include widening sidewalks along Santa Cruz Avenue, creating a permanent farmers' market, and building two parking garages.

Staff will present an overview of the plan at 6 p.m. The commissioners will then begin their review at 7 p.m. The meeting will be held in the council chambers at the Civic Center at 701 Laurel St.

The next -- and potentially last -- session of the Planning Commission's review is scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 4.

Go here to review the specific plan.

We can't do it without you.
Support local journalism.


Like this comment
Posted by Keith Wollenberg
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Jul 28, 2011 at 1:37 pm

I hope the Menlo Council comes to its senses and abandons this expensive white elephant of an uneconomic plan which threatens the continued success of the Menlo Farmers' Market. Sadly, I have no confidence that the town will realize in time what a profound error this is, and that the size of the population will NOT support their planned market.

And any urban planner can tell you that convenient parking close to a Farmer's Market is critical for its health. A parking garage several blocks away is not a substitute suburban California shoppers will find acceptable.

I would like to remind the Planning Commission and the Council that no matter how much money they have invested in planning to this point, those sunk costs are GONE. Be careful, give this plan a fresh look and realize how counter-productive taking this course would be.

If you want new high-density development, and a new hotel, look to the abandoned car dealerships on El Camino, much closer to the CalTrain Station.

But there is nothing so uncommon as common sense, is there? I'll continue to shop at the Farmers Market, with stops at Trader Joe's and Draegers', as long as it works. Then I'll have to go elsewhere, I guess.

Like this comment
Posted by Miss Miller
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Jul 28, 2011 at 3:19 pm

Remember the boondoggle on Santa Cruz Avenue a few years back? No foresight and poorly planned ending in having to rip it all up -- a complete waste of money. What is with Menlo Park's Planning Commission and City Council? It always seems they have the cart in front of the horse, and a very expensive one at that.

Like this comment
Posted by Henry Riggs
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Jul 28, 2011 at 3:40 pm

I hope those who are eager to criticize the four-year planning effort, that has included several well advertised public workshops, will take the time to look at the specific plan (available at the library) and to watch the planning commission hearing tonight - it will stream live on the city web site. Better yet, come to the hearing at council chambers starting at 6 pm - I think you will find the plan lays the foundation for a vibrant downtown that adheres to our village character. But, the commission intends to identify improvements tonight to avoid such problems as posted above. Thats what the commission - and the public process - is for.

Henry Riggs
planning commission member

Like this comment
Posted by Rick
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jul 28, 2011 at 4:27 pm

To Mr. Riggs and others of like mind, I grant you that the plans are beautiful... on paper. Listen to the business owners that "live" in the downtown area day in and day out. There are just too many flaws. Los Altos is going through a sidewalk widening right now and the papers are reporting how badly THAT has hurt the downtown area. Yes, many of the improvements would be GREAT (wider sidewalks in front of the restaurants like Left Bank, for instance) but NOT at the expense of the parking that actually gets people into the downtown area so they can patronize these businesses.

Like this comment
Posted by Gunther Steinberg
a resident of Portola Valley: Ladera
on Jul 28, 2011 at 5:05 pm

In the 50 odd years I have lived in Menlo Park and Ladera, every time the city has made a major change it has been a minor disaster and quite expensive. Whether it is parking arrangements, removing trees, planting new ones, making pedestrian crossings on Santa Cruz that had to be removed, it was never well thought out and executed.
The latest plans seem to be more of the same. Park on a lot behind the stores? OK. In a parking garage for a 15 minute visit to a store? - I don't think so. We will go elsewhere.

Like this comment
Posted by Barb Slaton
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 28, 2011 at 10:27 pm

This plan is absurd in both it's expense and the extent of it's folly!
Nobody will come to Downtown Menlo if they must park in a garage and walk two blocks to arrive at a shop or restaurant. How do you take Grandma or Mom to dinner if you cannot drop her at the door? Everyone will go elsewhere -- Flemings, PF Chang, California Cafe, or anywhere else that enables them to park conveniently and without hassle. Shoppers, too, will not tolerate walking several blocks with their packages or groceries.
Who will go to a "pocket park" except for the purse dog that must relieve himself? Most of us prefer an actual Park -- check out Wednesday nights at Fremont Park. People love this space, the greenery and convenient parking.
This plan is just plain DUMB!

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Don't be the last to know

Get the latest headlines sent straight to your inbox every day.

Simply Sandwiches shutters in Palo Alto
By Elena Kadvany | 10 comments | 3,297 views

More Stupid Plastic Food Things
By Laura Stec | 11 comments | 1,811 views

Operation Varsity Blues
By John Raftrey and Lori McCormick | 8 comments | 1,463 views

El Camino Is Rapidly Becoming The Bright New Face of Menlo Park
By Dana Hendrickson | 7 comments | 1,354 views

Couples: Write a Personal Ad . . . to Your Partner . . .
By Chandrama Anderson | 1 comment | 1,338 views