News

Tonight: Carriage house, bike lanes on Menlo council agenda

 

The Menlo Park City Council is scheduled to discuss and perhaps answer tonight a number of questions:

● Should the city take responsibility to relocate the Roger Reynolds carriage house, and prevent its demolition?

The carriage house, which has been on the site of the former Roger Reynolds Nursery, was offered by the property's current developer, Hunter Properties, which plans to build condominiums on the site.

The carriage house was analyzed by an architectural historian, who determined that it is not historically significant. It would need to be moved within the next 30 days in order to save it. If the city chooses not to move it, the developer will be responsible for demolition and/or repurposing.

Previous conversations about the carriage house with the City Council raised questions about whether the Menlo Park Historical Association would be interested in converting the space into a museum. According to Jym Clendenin, the association's president, the building would not be much bigger than its current cramped headquarters in the Menlo Park Library basement, and the association doesn't have a location for the carriage house. Plus, he said, "it's not particularly historic and would take a fortune to bring up to code."

City staff also recommends not taking on the project. "Although the idea of the relocating the Carriage House has some merits in terms of preserving a part of Menlo Park's history, it does not appear to be a feasible project given all of the unknowns and uncertainties," the staff report says.

Jim Lewis, who is with the Menlo Park Historical Association, and Betty Meissner, said they favor taking more time to consider options for its preservation.

● Should the city reject bids to build pedestrian and bike infrastructure on Valparaiso Avenue?

Both of the two bids on the project came back higher than estimated and at more than the budget of $564,007 that the city has set aside in grant and city money. City staff recommends that the council reject those bids and scale back the plans by postponing the proposed green bike lane markings along Valparaiso Avenue, Glenwood Avenue and Middlefield Avenue and changing the lighted crosswalk system to what are called "rectangular rapid flash beacons."

Those are signals that have flashing lights on both sides of the street, rather than flashing lights in the middle of the street. The signals are more effective and have lower maintenance costs, said Kevin Chen, assistant transportation engineer.

The green bike lane markings would be scheduled to be installed later during the the "Citywide Bicycle and Pedestrian Visibility Project."

The city would then plan to solicit bids again so construction could take place over the summer, before schools start up again in the fall.

Other business

The council will hear a presentation by the Bicycle Commission about the proposed Oak Grove bicycle boulevard and could vote to approve a comment letter by the mayor on the California High Speed Rail Authority's business plan.

The meeting is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 12, in the council chambers at 701 Laurel St. in the Menlo Park Civic Center. Watch the meeting online or see the agenda.

Comments

3 people like this
Posted by Biking and Walking
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 12, 2016 at 12:40 pm

The Oak Grove bicycle boulevard proposal is a simple and effective means to encourage safe bicycling, especially for students biking to school. It is an important step in creating a safe cycling infrastructure in Menlo Park, which will help reduce congestion and encourage people to leave cars at home, creating a healthier, more connected, and more human scale Menlo Park community. Everyone will benefit by reducing the number of cars on the road.

Please support this proposal --- come to the council meeting tonight and send letters to city council urging their support (city.council@menlopark.org).


Like this comment
Posted by dana hendrickson
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 12, 2016 at 12:59 pm

The reasons to delay this project are not well presented. If the bids are higher than expected then how much more would Menlo Park need to pay? If a signal change is recommended and lowers project costs then why not simply adjust the current bids. Constructions costs only go up in the current economic environment so how will delays likely impact the project costs. In general, residents have waited way too long for improvements to our community bike network and it is critical that this the ONLY east-west bike corridor we have be build soon.


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Posted by Jim Lewis
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Apr 12, 2016 at 1:10 pm

Whether to move or to tear down the Carriage House (formerly known as Edy's Ice Cream) needs more time to sort out. Placing it on the Consent Calendar does not provide a forum for the community to chime in. As a decision does not need to be made until at least July 1, 2016, continuing this agenda item certainly has merit. One suggestion is to refer it to one of the City's Commissions, which will give interested parties an opportunity to express their thoughts. A decision does not need to be made tonight. Being more respectful to a building with many memories deserves the dignity of more time. We hope the staff and the City Council concurs.


3 people like this
Posted by really?
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 12, 2016 at 1:55 pm

Memories is all that makes the Carriage house worthwhile. Other than that, it's a very ordinary shed with a few strips of fancy fretwork. No reason for a penny of our City's cash to be spent on this.

Don't allow mis-placed preservationism to make junk more valuable than it is.


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

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