The topic of whether to build a downtown parking garage is back on Menlo Park's priorities list. To gather feedback on the details of what locals want in a potential downtown parking structure, the city of Menlo Park will host a community meeting tonight (Monday, April 16) from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the city council chambers at 701 Laurel St. at the Menlo Park Civic Center.
Topics scheduled for discussion include whether to pursue a stand-alone parking structure or a mixed-use development; if affordable housing should be a use considered there; what the size and number of parking spaces should be; and how the structure might compare with structures in other cities. According to the city website, a 2010 downtown Menlo Park parking study found that 80 percent of parking spaces were in use during peak hours in the downtown area.
A 2015 Almanac story pointed out that the topic has been discussed extensively for many years. "Four-level parking garage downtown?" was an Almanac headline from 2005; "Parking garages near top of city priority list" from 2004; and "Menlo Park takes new look at parking garages" from 2003. There were also innumerable discussions during the five-year specific plan process.
Most recently, in December, a group of Menlo Park business owners and supporters presented the City Council with a petition voicing support for a parking structure. The council added the topic to their top priorities list in January.