Community gives mixed response to sidewalk plans for Sharon Road


An existing plan to install sidewalks on Sharon Road between Alameda de las Pulgas and Altschul Avenue over the next several years faced criticism from some of the street's residents at the Menlo Park City Council's Feb. 27 meeting, several of whom said the proposal caught them by surprise.

Roughly 15 residents spoke about the issue during a public comment period on the council's 2019 work plan. Council members did not respond to comments, but they are expected to discuss the work plan at their March 5 meeting.

Marcy Coggins said she felt "blindsided" by the proposal and said she had not been notified. Kids have grown up and navigated the lack of sidewalks without incident, she argued, and questioned what data source found safety to be a problem there, and whether sidewalks would help with safety.

Karen Reis, a middle school teacher, said she opposed the sidewalks because she was not aware of any accidents due to their absence. She noted that adding sidewalks would impact parking on the street and make the road less bike-friendly. Also, she added, other schools in residential areas don't have sidewalks.

Other comments, mainly from a number of parents of La Entrada students, as well as students themselves, expressed support for the sidewalk plan.

Linda Barman, who wore a La Entrada T-shirt to the meeting, said she and her 9-year-old daughter walk to the school daily and must navigate puddles, blind spots that require stepping into the street, and vehicles driven by parents less comfortable walking their children to school.

La Entrada seventh-grader Nina Barman told the council she is "glad to see Menlo Park is a city looking toward the future (and) looking to care for its children."

Ethan Edwards, a La Entrada student, told the council that while Sharon Road isn't the busiest street he's seen, the volume of parked cars on the road can keep drivers from seeing students walking to school. "I think a sidewalk would make things a lot safer," he said.

In June 2018, the council agreed to put $935,000 in surplus funding toward plans to install the sidewalks. Mayor Ray Mueller at the time said he had helped canvass residents to see if there was support for the project. "The community's ready for it," he said then.

Councilwoman Catherine Carlton has also expressed support for the sidewalk plan, and has encouraged staff to pair sidewalk construction with a robust Safe Routes to School program.

Sidewalk design work is expected to begin in the second half of the year, Mueller said. The process will involve public outreach to residents, he added.


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26 people like this
Posted by Spot the NIMBY
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 1, 2019 at 1:38 pm

So, was there anyone opposed to this who doesn't live on the street?
Seems like a VERY good idea for the betterment of the community with only some vocal NIMBY people opposed to it.
Let's not cow-tow to these few at the expense of the rest of the community

23 people like this
Posted by Cayo
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 1, 2019 at 2:32 pm

In passing this area when children are walking to school I have noticed some going into the street in front of cars, someone in a motorized wheelchair having issues navigating the curve, along with bicycles and cars all at the same time. Is this not a recipe for an accident?

12 people like this
Posted by Altschuler
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Mar 1, 2019 at 9:15 pm

It’s a treacherous street. In addition to the students, who often lack judgment about their proximity to traffic, there are a number of pedestrians on this street at night who are minimally visible, and any parked cars add more danger. As a driver in the area I am always worried about people not being seen on this stretch of road. I am so grateful that sidewalks are planned and I hope they proceed.

11 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Las Lomitas School
on Mar 1, 2019 at 11:52 pm

I bike this one block stretch of road nearly every day of the week. I'd love sidewalks! I'm always claiming the entire lane anyways (the only safe way to ride), it isn't going to make life more difficult for anyone. Adding sidewalks is only going to help the people who matter most.

2 people like this
Posted by Tunbridge Wells
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Mar 2, 2019 at 11:14 am

Tunbridge Wells is a registered user.

Why is the city undertaking this project before doing a Safe Routes to School study? How do we know this is the best use of city resources? There are many, many places in the city that are dangerous for kids to walk and bike, and a lot of those places are in Belle Haven. Spending $$$ on sidewalks on Sharon Road before doing a Safe Routes study is a bad look when needier parts of town go without the basics.

The areas around all the Menlo Park City schools have limited parking during pick up and drop off hours. It seems like a cheaper and easier approach would be to limit parking on Sharon Road at those times.

10 people like this
Posted by Breaking news
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Mar 2, 2019 at 1:09 pm

Just came home from Supervisor Horsley and Mayor Mueller’s Office Hours. Huge support and enthusiasm for sidewalks on Sharon now!

9 people like this
Posted by Menlo Parkian
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Mar 3, 2019 at 9:11 pm

I was at the meeting. There really wasn't a "mixed response".

The response was largely in favor of sidewalks (public comment was ~3:1 in favor of sidewalks).

The only dissenters were several residents on Sharon. The dissenters seemed to prioritize street parking and protecting their use of city land over allowing the community's children a safe passage to school.

Like this comment
Posted by Calypso41
a resident of another community
on Mar 7, 2019 at 5:37 pm

Calypso41 is a registered user.

In response to Resident, Unless you are from Canada, it’s ANYWAY.

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

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