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Tonight's Menlo Park council meeting: parking, bike lanes and more

The Menlo Park City Council will meet tonight, Dec. 6, for its second-to-last meeting in 2016, and, as may be expected, has a lot of projects to wrap up and follow up with.

Two of the main items to be discussed are whether the council should maintain the extended parking limits that were implemented in January, and whether it should implement a one-year trial of bike lanes on Oak Grove Avenue, Crane Street and University Drive.

Parking

In January, parking limits in off street parking plazas were extended to three hours, from two, and on-street parking was extended to 90 minutes, from one hour, as part of a pilot program. Plaza 4, near Draeger's, was kept at a 2-hour parking limit. The council is scheduled to decide at its Dec. 6 meeting whether to keep the program.

The changes did have costs. The on street parking extensions resulted in a 11 percent decrease in citations for overtime parking on Santa Cruz Avenue, or a decrease of about $1,560 in revenue, according to a staff report.

The number of daily temporary parking permits sold in the period from January to June in 2016 dropped 34 percent compared with the same months in 2015. The result: a decrease in revenue of about $18,560.

Of 47 participating business or property owners who returned surveys, about 55 percent expressed satisfaction with the extended parking limits.

Oak Grove bike route

The bike route under discussion will cover a distance of about 1.5 miles along Oak Grove Avenue, Crane Street and University Drive. If implemented, the painted bike lanes could give a designated cycling route for students traveling to Hillview Middle School, Nativity School and Menlo-Atherton High School.

The route would also be for local bike commuters to use. According to a staff report, 8 percent of Menlo Park residents bike to work, which is 13 times higher than the national rate.

According to the staff report, some sections of roadway will need changes to be converted for bike lanes, and will likely require the removal of street parking on Oak Grove, both east and west of El Camino Real, and University Drive. Oak Grove west of El Camino would only have parking removed on the north side. One section that will not, as proposed, have parking removed is Crane Street and Live Oak Avenue. That stretch would have "sharrows," or markings painted on the road to remind drivers to share the road with cyclists.

If approved, a final design plan would be prepared, a construction contract awarded and construction completed as soon as May 2017. The project is expected to cost about $236,200.

Consent calendar

The council also has, on its "consent calendar" – meaning approval could happen without a discussion – the following items, among others:

• Pay $60,000 for "retail recruitment" consultant services over the next year.

• Enter an agreement with the San Mateo County Transit District to get bus shelters installed in Belle Haven.

• Finalize approval of an ordinance to require landlords of certain kinds of housing to give tenants the option of a 12-month lease. The ordinance will not take effect for another 90 days after the approval is finalized.

Read the agenda here, watch the meeting online, or attend the meeting in person at 7 p.m. at the Menlo Park City Council chambers, located at 701 Laurel St. in the Menlo Park Civic Center.

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