Menlo Park: Concept plans released for Bedwell Bayfront Park | News | Almanac Online |


Menlo Park: Concept plans released for Bedwell Bayfront Park

Feedback sought via online survey and community meeting Aug. 10

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A 2-acre dog park, a non-motorized boat launch, a playground, an amphitheater, outdoor fitness facilities, and wheelchair-accessible trails are among ideas for changes being considered for Bedwell Bayfront Park in Menlo Park.

The city recently launched a process to update the park's master plan, which lays out goals for the park over the next 25 years. The 160-acre park located at the bayside terminus of Marsh Road was once the site of a dump; it was converted into a park in the 1980s.

A community meeting to get feedback on alternative plans for the park will be held from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 10, at the Menlo Park Senior Center, 110 Terminal Ave. People who wish to comment on the concept plans can fill out an online survey before Aug. 10.

The park's operational funding source is set to run out in about three years, city staff say. Operational funds come from a dwindling pool of money that built up when the park was a dump, where people paid to get rid of their waste.

The pool of funds has been shrinking since the park was created. To stretch the existing funds farther, the park's ranger position was eliminated in 2011.

Finding a way to fund the park is a major concern, and a wide range of options are being considered – including adopting parking fees, staff say.

Park plan concepts

Concept plan A has an emphasis on accessibility, according to documents produced by consultant Callander Associates Landscape Architecture. There are plans for a 2-acre dog park, a fitness course, a small nature play area and amphitheater, and a non-motorized boat launch. Trails would add up to 5 miles: 4 miles of asphalt and a 1-mile "treated" trail, designed to not degrade in poor weather. This plan would provide a space where hand- and radio-controlled gliders and model airplanes could be flown.

Concept plan B has an emphasis on education, with plans for geocaching and orienteering features, a large amphitheater and "destination" nature play area. There would be about 4.4 miles of trails, with 3.8 miles paved with asphalt and 0.6 of a mile of "treated" trails.

Both plans would involve paving portions of the Bay Trail with asphalt, planting trees to screen the sewage facility onsite, renovating the Great Spirit Path (a guided reflection path at the park), making at least one big "summit" hill accessible for wheelchairs and restoring habitats.

Preliminary cost estimates for both concept plans indicates a range of $10 to $15 million.

The final park plan will have to address the risk of sea level rise and how it might impact the park, said Derek Schweigart, Menlo Park's assistant community services director.

The concept plans are an early step in a process that is still very much in the community feedback phase, he said.

"People could say no" to the ideas proposed, he said.

Both plans are designed to reflect different concepts of "passive" recreation, he noted, but added: "You can ask 10 different people and get 10 different answers on what they think is passive recreation."

In 2007, voters overwhelmingly passed an advisory measure restricting the park's use to "passive recreation."

In August 2016, the City Council voted to ban people from flying drones, hand-powered gliders and model airplanes in the park, but left the ban open for reconsideration when the park's master plan is updated.


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15 people like this
Posted by whatever
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 6, 2017 at 8:28 am

No drones, no motorized model planes, no motorized model boats. No parking fees.

Where do they expect folks to park if increased use is desired?

Needed - more benches along paths for elderly and handicapped.

48 people like this
Posted by MP needs fields!
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Aug 6, 2017 at 11:04 am

All good yet lacks the greatest activity area of need for children in our community - field space.

28 people like this
Posted by the Voice
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Aug 6, 2017 at 12:16 pm

Why spend so much money. Fix the trails, fix the parking lot and put trash cans in the park and be done. People like walking as it is. Otherwise this will be just another overbuilt park in an over built city.

50 people like this
Posted by Alan
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Aug 6, 2017 at 1:18 pm

I know a lot of people were very much in favor of adding sports fields - but these appear in neither of the options. I'm OK with that - I wouldn't personally use them - but I wonder - given the wide support for it I saw in the comments of previous articles - why that was dropped altogether. Was it because support really wasn't as strong as it appeared? Or that there were practical reasons why it couldn't be added? Or did the city just quietly decide not to go that route?

Like this comment
Posted by Alan
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Aug 6, 2017 at 1:19 pm

... maybe it was the 2007 vote; but I thought it was still being considered.

19 people like this
Posted by Nancy
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 6, 2017 at 4:26 pm

Perhaps it was because 2 sports fields were going to cost $15-17 million or because Menlo Park voters overwhelmingly defeated Measure J (to build fields there) or because you can't willy-nilly uncover. level and build on acres of old refrigerators and aging nasty trash still emitting methane. Leave the park alone except for minor maintenance and city code enforcement. The Voice has it right.

Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown

on Aug 7, 2017 at 10:04 am

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?

17 people like this
Posted by Honore
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Aug 7, 2017 at 12:57 pm

I agree with whatever about the need for more places to sit for people who like to get out but can't walk too far (and can't sit on the ground because getting up again is well-nigh impossible). Bedwell is a nice place to go because it is so natural.

20 people like this
Posted by MP Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 7, 2017 at 1:11 pm

Sports fields are for urban parks, not for an open space park that is supposed to be wild and open. If the city needs more sports fields, I support them being built at the parks that are dedicated to sports. There are fewer and fewer natural open space parks.

14 people like this
Posted by Zippy
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Aug 7, 2017 at 1:23 pm

I'd be happy with repaved trails and people picking up their dog crap.

30 people like this
Posted by kapi
a resident of Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
on Aug 7, 2017 at 1:43 pm

Bayfront Park is a treasure. I remember going to the dump there as a child. I walk there now with my dog, several times a week, and I marvel at the beauty and serenity of the place, the transformation from dump to wild space that is host to animals and people alike. I hope more Menlo Parkers can appreciate how incredibly valuable it is for our kids to have easily accessible spaces where there play is not scripted by playgrounds or sports fields, where they can ride their bikes or fly kites or just run around with the wind on their faces. In my experience, most dog walkers there *DO* clean up after their dogs, and the park is a wonderful meeting place for all sorts of community members. Keeping the park as "wild" as possible is a lovely way to resist the encroachment of our over-planned lives here in Silicon Valley.

8 people like this
Posted by 123
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Aug 7, 2017 at 3:57 pm

The park is not being built for old time residents. They are being pushed out so that more of a "Facebook Crowd" can take over the community. Another thing, it has already been decided on how/what they are going to do. It is the way this society has always worked. Good luck with trying to make residents think they have a choice. You are not fooling any one! Might as well show us the plans after the fact, which is what the City always does. Has to make the community available for their children who can no longer afford to live on the West Side.

15 people like this
Posted by Bedwell Park Lover
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Aug 7, 2017 at 4:33 pm

I love this park for its wild and natural beauty. It's a place that you can walk on the hills and feel you're totally on your own. Its untamed beauty is what makes it so special. I don't like the idea of sports fields (why can't Burgess park be used for that or the fields in the community center in Belle Haven?). Please let's leave this space alone and not over-pave, over-build, concretize it...At the most, I like the idea that the flat walking trails be reinforced to not get waterlogged in the rains, but other than that, the trails and the paths on the hills should be left wild. Not my favorite but an example of a park that has a clear focus is the Stanford Dish. It's clear in its purpose--walking and running. But they don't have a sports field or an amphitheater, BBQs or confusing amenities or trying to do everything.

What's the purpose of Bedwell Park--to enjoy nature in the wild? The idea of having overbuilt concrete structures like an amphitheater will disrupt the fragile ecosystem of birds, flowers, and animals. We have already lost a lot in the ramp work off 101--old trees and shrubs, birds are gone etc. I would like to not see this happen at Bedwell Park.

That being said, I prefer a scaled back version of Plan B only because of its emphasis on education. Minus dog park and amphitheater: not sure why dogs need a dog park in the middle of a beautiful wild area? In any case, people like to let their dogs off leash in the wilderness and on leash when approaching people. Isn't that the whole point of having a wild place to let go and run wild?

48 people like this
Posted by Joanne
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Aug 7, 2017 at 8:38 pm

Using less than 5% of an old dump site for a couple fields is the least we can do for the children of our community.

We have the greatest trails all over the peninsula - all along skyline and the bay.

5% isn't much.

12 people like this
Posted by Be careful what you wish for
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Aug 8, 2017 at 11:25 am

Both plans are flawed since they do not include benches for sitting along the trails or receptacles for dog poop, which are the most obvious improvements needed.

The education plan has other flaws. How can the same 100 parking spots support a large play area, amphitheater for 60 and large group picnic tables? How often do the planners see these facilities being used for educational purposes versus general recreation?

I vote to improve the park for people who visit to enjoy the quiet, natural environment and trails, and not for large, noisy gatherings like family picnics and birthday parties, which would use the playgroup and picnic areas. I'm not against these activities, but they would detract from the peacefulness of the park, and consume parking spots that should be available for those enjoying the park's primary purpose.

32 people like this
Posted by henry fox
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Aug 8, 2017 at 11:50 am

thousands of young adults will be moving into the bedwell park area. Think about their needs, eg their love of soccer. These new residents will be living in apts. and will probably not have pets. Think!

12 people like this
Posted by The voice
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Aug 8, 2017 at 1:46 pm

Very much right about Facebook. This is a natural park and should stay that way. Everything else is not what the vision for this park. There are closed fields at Flood Part. How bout the county get off ther butts and fix it

Better maintenance of trails, garbage cans and better parking. And people are right benches for those that have trouble walking

Like this comment
Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Aug 8, 2017 at 2:50 pm

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

A revenue producing golf course would support all the other functions.

14 people like this
Posted by chris
a resident of another community
on Aug 8, 2017 at 3:58 pm

Let's keep this park as open space. People love to walk trails, bring their kids to safely ride bikes, walk their dogs. Yes, we need more benches, better organized parking, a ranger to oversee and enforce regulations while also helping tell visitors something about what they are seeing around them. No, we do not need sections set aside for specific activities such as dog park, or playground, or boat launch. More and more native wildlife is settling in to the park, delighting many park users. Flood Slough is a place where one can see winter ducks and shorebirds from a closer vantage point than at any other nearby site (except the Palo Alto duckpond). An accessible platform for viewing the birds at the slough would be a great addition (bench, interpretive sign would be great to have), but a boat launch adding kayak and canoe traffic in the slough would very likely drive birds away, or deeper into the hidden corners of the marsh.

18 people like this
Posted by MP Resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Aug 9, 2017 at 11:42 am

Bedwell Bayfront is not a "treasure", it's a former dump turned into some pretty marginal walking trails.

How about we see what the taxpayers of the city want (e.g. sports fields, educational options, a boat launch, or maybe even somewhere to safely fly drones), build it, and charge reasonable usage fees (e.g. charge for parking)/

Like this comment
Posted by Dawn
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Aug 11, 2017 at 10:56 am

Bedwell Bayfront park does not need fields and the heavy use it currently gets would indicate that the current space already provides enough community value. There is a soccer field at Kelly Park and Facebook has its own artificial turf soccer area. As a very local user of the park, I can see some changes that will improve the overall community benefit (educational programs about the importance of our wild baylands will serve our community well in the future; as a park right on the bay, it might also serve as a way to let the next generation "see" sea level rise). I also think there are some easy areas of the park to modify to make it family picnic friendly - not corporate picnic friendly. And all those young people living in apartments will enjoy the easy access to wild space, which they don't get enough of. It is not super easy to get to those great hiking trails on skyline. Have you seen our traffic?

Like this comment
Posted by Source of Funding
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Aug 11, 2017 at 1:49 pm

If the goal is to maintain and keep the park as a passive area, coupled with the need to raise funds, then the City might consider setting aside part of the park as a CEMETERY. That would guarantee that area of the park being passive, and at the same time, bring in badly needed funds. Afterall, people are dying today that never died before. In this way, Holy Cross Cemetery would be available to some on the west side of town and the Bedwell-Bayfront Park cemetery could serve others wishing a scenic scene of the San Francisco Bay.

18 people like this
Posted by Vill
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Aug 12, 2017 at 9:53 pm

>There is a soccer field at Kelly Park and Facebook has its own artificial turf soccer area.

Call MP and try to get Kelly after school starts thru November. Good luck. Sold out. Or in spring.

Facebook is letting kids take over their feild?!?

That's awesome news! Did anyone tell FB?

Like this comment
Posted by Sky Dragon
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 29, 2017 at 6:03 am

This message directly to the poster name "whatever" who wrote "No drones, no motorized model planes, no motorized model boats. No parking fees.". There is no reason not to allow quiet plane that does not make any noise. They should allow at least and hand launch glider which is none moterized and is quiet. Also a electric glider is quite because once it is up in the air, the RC pilot shut the motor off and ride on the thermal hot air to keep the plane afloat in the air. That being said, I hope they will allow a limited use of RC planes in Bayfront Park just like how the Rancho San Antonio Park ban noisy airplane and only allow quiet plane in the park which they updated the rules three or four years ago.

1 person likes this
Posted by kapi
a resident of Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
on Sep 14, 2017 at 1:04 pm

@MP Resident: Well, if you don't appreciate the wild beauty of Bayfront Park, perhaps you haven't been there recently. Or maybe the knowledge that it used to be a dump is impacting your view. In that case, there would be no point to reclaiming any of the Peninsula's overdeveloped spots--the salt marshes, other parts of the baylands, or even many of our neighborhoods.

I too am a taxpaying resident, as are many others who appreciate the open space of the park. It is one of the few places that one can get to easily where dogs are allowed to walk with their owners, or where one can get some relative quiet to clear one's mind. We could keep adding more and more scripted (and loud) facilities (for drones, sports fields, or golf), but many of us believe that such a move would make it a far LESS desirable place to visit, not to mention making this area a far less desirable place to live.

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Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Sep 14, 2017 at 2:25 pm

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

Kapi, golf is a quiet activity, and Bedwell Park is ideally suited for such an integrated use of the land.

Like this comment
Posted by Trujillo
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Sep 14, 2017 at 8:28 pm

Oh Jack... A golf course is silly, a gross underutilization of the space. Heck, you and I have a course down the street that is never near capacity.

Trails and a couple ball fields slipped into the corner is far more useful to the community at large.

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