Tonight: Commission looks at Nativity School parking

City proposes eliminating street parking on portion of Laurel Street in Menlo Park

Whether to eliminate street parking along northbound Laurel Street between Oak Grove and Glenwood avenues will be taken up by the Menlo Park Transportation Commission on Wednesday, Nov. 13.

City staff is recommending that the commissioners sign off on the elimination, but parents with children attending the private K-8 Nativity School at 1250 Laurel St., as well as school administrators, are protesting the plan. While city staff suggests the removal will make bicycle travel along the street safer, Nativity parents say it will make dropping off and picking up their children more hazardous.

City staff is also proposing that the city make pedestrian crossing improvements at the intersection of Laurel Street and Oak Grove Avenue by restricting right turns on red and giving people more time to cross the street.

Click here to review the staff report. The meeting starts at 7 p.m. in the council chambers at the Civic Center at 701 Laurel St.


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Posted by Steve
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Nov 13, 2013 at 12:51 pm

"Nativity parents say it will make dropping off and picking up their children more hazardous."
I don't understand this. There's a 250-foot-long drop-off zone just off Laurel that can be used for dropping off kids in addition to the main drop-off point along Oak Grove that's also about 250-feet long. Dropping off should be just that, not getting out of the car and walking the kids to the classroom. If you need to do that, park in one of the parking lots.
Even if it's determined that on-street parking is needed for the school, it should be limited to just those hours when school starts & ends, which would greatly reduce the conflict with bikes. At other times of the day there should be no need for parking here as the school has parking lots inside the property on both the Laurel and Oak Grove sides.
I bike this stretch of Laurel daily and can attest to the hazard I feel whenever I have to go around a parked car along this stretch, fearing someone will suddenly open their car door on my right, and worried on my left about the cars coming from behind as I'm forced out of the bike lane and into traffic. This is definitely the most dangerous part of my bike commute.

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Posted by Adam
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Nov 14, 2013 at 9:30 am


The pull-in area on Laurel is for Staff parking only, it is not a drop-off area. Plus that section of Laurel is already NO PARKING during the morning drop off. This is all about extending the NO PARKING beyond the morning period to the entire 24-hr period.

And yes, many parents were asking for just including a parking allowance for the pickup period. This is mainly to allow KG parents the ability to park and then walk to the immediately adjacent KG to pick up their kids---and there is a policy of NOT allowing KG students to go to the drive-through pickup area ---they must be picked up at the KG class by a parent.

By eliminating parking, these KG students now need to likely cross over to the far side of Laurel -- not as dangerous as trying to cross a highway, but anyone with KG-age kids knows that they sometimes do things you'd rather not have them do -- like walk across an intersection before it's clear.

My main issue with the city's approach to this issue is that they are doing everything piecemeal. It's a very clear divide & conquer strategy that pits the whole MP community interested in bike lanes against a single block's residents. Why not deal with the WHOLE bike corridor at once? That way you'd at least get some consistency to the bike corridor and it would be a fairer, more inclusive process. And for the record, I'm actually FOR bike lanes. I just don't like the way their pushing it through.

Another issue I've had with the city's approach is they haven't even bothered with a trial of the PARKING restrictions. What the heck is wrong with the following approach?

1. Decide on bike corridor-long parking restriction changes to put in place.

2. Put up temporary parking restriction signs as have been decided on.

3. See if there is enough parking to accommodate the needs of the community along that bike corridor.

4. Adjust parking restrictions if needed.

Instead all we got was a staff report that estimates there won't be a problem accommodating the parking. This seems like a very lazy approach to transportation planning to me.

I wish the transportation commission would consider asking City Staff to change their process to make it more inclusive of the whole city, AND make City Staff actually do a thorough test of their proposed changes.

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Posted by Erin Glanville
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Nov 14, 2013 at 11:36 am

A clarification: I believe the Nativity parent community is advocating creating BOTH a dedicated east-side bike lane AND parking. The concern is that in eliminating parking on the east side of Laurel, we will be pushing parking and more traffic onto the Oak Grove (making a left into the carpool line wich will undoubtedly create back up traffic heading towards M-A) and onto Pine Street. Oak Grove is already very congested and dangerous to cross. Pine Street is tiny and can ill-afford more cars. Parents asked the City to look into grant funding in order to create carve outs on the east side of Laurel Street like there on Oak Grove.

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Posted by Huh?
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Nov 15, 2013 at 3:17 pm

The transportation commission met weds., the 12th. Could the Almanac please report how the commission voted rather than announce that meeting will be held? Or, take the article off the web site as it's not news, sheesh!

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Posted by Sandy Brundage, Almanac Staff Writer
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Nov 15, 2013 at 5:06 pm

The commission voted 6-0 to support the staff recommendation with some modifications. We will cover this in the Nov. 20 issue of the Almanac. Currently available on the city's website is the agenda for the upcoming bicycle commission meeting, which recaps the transportation commission recommendations.

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Posted by Parking onsite
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Nov 15, 2013 at 5:57 pm

From the staff report, the school worked with city staff and identified ways to reconfigure the parking on the school campus to accommodate 14 spaces onsite, replacing the spaces that will become unavailable if there is no parking in the bike lane. The Transportation Commission recommended deferring installation of the no stopping restrictions on the east side of Laurel Street until after the 2013-2014 school year, to enable the reconfiguration of the onsite parking.

Web Link

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Posted by Student
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Nov 15, 2013 at 8:28 pm

Eliminating that street parking is ridiculous. Not only is it vital for parents who pick up their students from that area, that stretch of street parking is often utilized by M-A students and their cars, when there is no room in the school parking lots. Getting rid of that parking would simply make a vast number of people's lives difficult

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Posted by Donald
a resident of another community
on Nov 16, 2013 at 9:32 pm

Nobody should have their safety compromised for the convenience of others. I doubt that this parking is "vital" to anyone. Yes, it might make some people's lives more difficult but that is less important than making other people's lives safer. Thank goodness the commissioners got this one right.

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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Nov 20, 2013 at 3:05 pm

OT but related - what's up w/people regularly parking illegally on Olive, near Santa Cruz, to pick up kids from school? Why aren't they getting tickets? It's 3-4 cars every day, morning & afternoon. How hard might it be for their kids to walk a few more house lengths down the street?

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

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