Eight years ago, the City Council chose to make installing sidewalks along Santa Cruz Avenue between Olive and Johnson streets a priority, or as much of a priority as the vagaries of funding allow. On Tuesday, March 10, the current council will decide, finally, what design option to study further.
Santa Cruz Avenue handles about 15,300 vehicle trips on a weekday, with many people using it to travel to and from Hillview Middle School, according to the city's transportation staff. A slew of recent emails to the city indicated that residents consider the sidewalks a sorely needed safety feature. Some have had close calls with cars pulling out of driveways, or while walking along the roadway's shoulder to reach a crosswalk.
But the improvement plan comes with a catch: Homeowners along Santa Cruz Avenue have extended landscaping and fencing into the city's right-of-way. Menlo Park would have to reclaim at least part of its property to create the sidewalks.
The transportation and bicycle commissions in February and March unanimously recommended the installation of 6- to 8-foot-wide sidewalks, maintaining bike lanes and preserving heritage trees where feasible. Some on-street parking may be sacrificed in exchange.
The city's preferred choice tweaks that option a bit; the staff recommends a 5-foot-wide sidewalk, and making the existing bike lanes wider by 2 feet. Street parking would be eliminated to help mitigate the impact on property owners and maximize preservation of heritage trees, according to the staff report.
Completing the design of the chosen option, expected to take up to 12 months, and starting construction would use the remaining $600,000 in the project's budget. Staff would then ask the council for more funding during the 2015-16 budget approval process.
For more information, review the staff report.
The March 10 council meeting will start at 4 p.m. with a closed session for the city manager's annual review as well as labor negotiations. A study session on Menlo Gateway is scheduled for 6:30 p.m., followed by the regular meeting.
The meeting will be held in the council chambers at the Civic Center at 701 Laurel St. and streamed live online.