Menlo Park puts 'pop-up park' downtown on Chestnut


Menlo Park's latest public park will be around for only six weeks, but during that time the "pop-up park" on Chestnut Street between Santa Cruz and Menlo avenues will host a plethora of events.

Free family movies will be shown in the park on Friday nights in September.

The first screening, "Guardians of the Galaxy," is set for 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 4.The park will have chairs for lounging, and there will be a changing roster of activities.

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33 people like this
Posted by Location, location, location
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 25, 2015 at 12:18 pm

The pop-up park is an interesting idea for our community. The location is poor. Santa Cruz and Chestnut was one of the few intersections with a 4-way stop where vehicles could safely cross Santa Cruz Avenue.

Either a different location should be chosen (maybe Crane Street?) or stop signs should be added to Crane Street for the duration of the pilot so there is a 4-way stop where cars can safely enter Santa Cruz Avenue.

6 people like this
Posted by anonymous
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Aug 25, 2015 at 2:19 pm

Typical Menlo Park. Deny any parking issues, put up parks and more outdoor seating. Who wants to eat outside with the smell of cars surrounding you? Pollution people!
Dumb, dumb, dumb.

8 people like this
Posted by 28 Year Resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Aug 25, 2015 at 3:35 pm

I agree with the comments from Location above. Additionally, the loss of the signs further confuses locals as well as visitors, regarding which intersections have stop sign control. Even worse is the taste of the personnel who selected the artificial turf and the cheap plastic chairs. The turf even curls up at the edges and looks tacky and terribly “artificial”. One would think that a simple call to the Allied Arts Guild would have provided guidance on more natural and classy looking turf…they have done a nice job with it. Even the uneven stuff at Hillview looks far better.

17 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Aug 25, 2015 at 3:41 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

This is a great experiment and experiments are, by definition, opportunities to try new things and to learn.

Press on !!

9 people like this
Posted by Kayleen Seiter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 25, 2015 at 6:10 pm

I WISH Santa Cruz Avenue had so much traffic that you had to worry about cross-traffic, but that place is a ghost town. It is really easy to pull out from any side street and go any direction you choose. The hard part is having a destination you want to go to in that area! This park is hopefully the first step in changing that. We can put in more stop signs later if needed. In the meantime, if you find driving in downtown Menlo Park too challenging, that's probably a sign you should stop driving altogether.

What's more- the always-entertaining Pat White has weighed in on the Carmageddon front:
Web Link
"The BARBER NEEDS ACCESS BACK." Don't ever change, Pat!! Love how you include your work info with these emails- you're definitely someone I want to entrust my money with. Who do I contact at CONCERT Wealth Management Inc to let them know how you're using your work resources?

8 people like this
Posted by Kristin S.
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Aug 25, 2015 at 6:30 pm

I applaud the effort, City of Menlo Park! One of the strategic goals of the Downtown Vision Plan is to "Protect and ENHANCE pedestrian amenities on Santa Cruz Avenue."

I work on Chestnut Street and have noticed the lawn chairs occupied and enjoyed regularly by working adults, students and teens, and parents as they watch their little ones run and tumble on the "grass."

This experiment is a worthwhile one!

15 people like this
Posted by flawed design
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 25, 2015 at 6:53 pm

The experiment has a flawed design -- it is very important to have a stop sign that enables turns onto Santa Cruz.
If this pocket park is adopted, then the city must provide another stop sign at a different intersection one block east or west of Chestnut. Cars and bicyclists need it. I speak as someone who uses our downtown a lot.

16 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 25, 2015 at 7:37 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

Let's just do it right. Close Santa Cruz Ave and make it a pedestrian mall like Pearl Street in Boulder, CO. These half measures just serve to irritate people, especially since there was no notification of this. Unless I missed it, which is possible.

Make Santa Cruz Ave a pedestrian mall and watch what happens.

17 people like this
Posted by Safety First
a resident of Atherton: West of Alameda
on Aug 25, 2015 at 9:52 pm

Despite Kayleen's suggestion that I stop driving, I'm interested in having stop signs for more safely turning onto Santa Cruz Avenue.

Need a little park? Put it elsewhere, so it doesn't disrupt the traffic pattern.

I'm not a fan of this location for a parklet.

12 people like this
Posted by Innovation > cars
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Aug 26, 2015 at 3:07 pm

I am a fan of something actually HAPPENING in downtown Menlo Park, instead of the same old rug shops, businesses that close at 6pm, and empty store fronts. Why not experiment with new ideas? It's not like this is really going to deter people from wanting to live in Menlo Park, and I have strong doubts that this will negatively impact business.

Where can we access traffic data on downtown Menlo Park? Surely assessments have been done by the town in the past.

4 people like this
Posted by Joey
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Aug 26, 2015 at 6:18 pm

I absolutely support such a cute and fun idea to bring people into downtown!

4 people like this
Posted by flawed design
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 26, 2015 at 6:44 pm

We can do better than this.

I like Menlo Voter's idea of closing off Santa Cruz. That would be really exciting.

Menlo Park needs more park space. Real park space. With more playing fields. We keep adding people and allowing thousands more housing units but nothing adds more playing fields and real parks and real open space not fake stuff like this.

8 people like this
Posted by whatever
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 27, 2015 at 4:53 am

Agree with Location.

As long as this is about downtown - when oh when is the city going to redo the parking lot in the block behind Walgreen? It's the downtown's busiest and it's a disaster. It's always a crap-shoot though when you ask the city to do anything - someone in planning probably would use it as an opportunity to make the spaces and lanes even tighter.

2 people like this
Posted by Aaron
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Aug 27, 2015 at 9:06 pm

Aaron is a registered user.

I agree with Menlo Voter. I grew up in Vermont, where Burlington closed down Church street to make it a pedestrian mall, and it completely reinvigorated the city. Palo Alto should do this with University Ave., and Menlo Park should do it with Santa Cruz.

2 people like this
Posted by P
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Aug 28, 2015 at 1:09 pm

The park has clearly become a conversation piece which the brings the community together and creates new ideas. We should be applauded for trying something new and if it doesn't work... let's try something else! :)

3 people like this
Posted by Location, location, location
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 28, 2015 at 1:24 pm

Excellent! The city has placed temporary stop signs on Santa Cruz Avenue at Crane Street creating a 4-way stop to replace the one removed with the pop-up park at Chestnut.

4 people like this
Posted by flawed design
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 31, 2015 at 5:50 am

So, if this is an experiment, how will feedback be obtained? What are the decision criteria for keeping, closing, modifying this experiment? Where is this information available?

14 people like this
Posted by Remember Fremont Park
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 31, 2015 at 12:30 pm

I'm confused. Why do we need a pop-up park that confuses traffic when Fremont Park -- with real grass and trees for shade -- is just up the street? I've seen a handful of people at a time in the pop-up park, which is about the same number that are usually at Fremont.

Why not put the creativity, time and dollars devoted to the pop-up park towards making Fremont Park more attractive to visitors? Maybe we need to remind people that it's there. Or consider adding benches and tables so its easier to eat there? Or add a swing set to entice kids and their parents?

I'd love to see some creative energy put towards making what already exists in downtown more vibrant and inviting, rather than what seems like a silly idea of rolling out artificial turf and placing plastic chairs in the scorching sun, and closing off a street.


Like this comment
Posted by Colin Jenkins
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Aug 31, 2015 at 2:30 pm

Let's try the parklet out and see how it turns out. I'm glad to see the City trying something. As for the new stop signs, I have one word: AWESOME! Crossing at Crane has always been pretty scary. Now at least I can make eye contact with a driver while they're stopped to make sure they see me.

4 people like this
Posted by Downtowner
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Aug 31, 2015 at 3:57 pm

I agree about enhancing Fremont park just a few blocks west. Right now it is very uninviting consisting of dried grass and wood chips. Why not put the artificial grass there and add more comfortable chairs and some play equipment other than the fallen tree.

It is my understanding that a woman tripped and fell at the pop-up park and an ambulance was called. I don't feel that the middle of downtown is an appropriate place for this.

2 people like this
Posted by Elizabeth Ouren
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Sep 15, 2015 at 3:56 pm

I LOVE the park at Chestnut! I work right next to the park and see people of all ages there at various times during the day and on weekends enjoying it! Is there anyway to keep it? I do not want it to go away. I am very sad to hear that the test period is over and it will be dismantled on Monday. For people who usually drive down Chestnut it does not seem like much of an inconvenience to drive one more block. There are only a a very small number of parking spaces that are no longer available with the park there.

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

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