Transportation master plan inches forward


Following a lengthy late-stage discussion over what the goals of the Transportation Master Plan should be, the Menlo Park City Council on March 26 unanimously adopted a new goal for the plan: managing traffic congestion.

The new goal states that the plan will aim to manage traffic congestion, reduce travel times on city streets, and minimize cut-through traffic on neighborhood streets, in conjunction with the other goals of improving safety, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and promoting transportation-mode options for people of all ability levels.

Development of the Transportation Master Plan began in June 2017 after the council approved new zoning allowances for growth on the Bay side of Menlo Park. So far, the plan-development process has identified more than 170 desired transportation-related projects throughout the city. Which should be prioritized, however, is an ongoing question that the plan's oversight and outreach committee says warrants more community discussion.

Staff had proposed a point-based rubric for weighting the list of the plan's proposed projects based on each project's ability to improve safety, reduce greenhouse gases, promote alternatives to driving, and improve access to schools, among other factors, but not all council members agreed with the strategy.

Councilman Drew Combs argued that the method should be more "holistic," and regarded as a "political decision" rather than relying on a scoring mechanism.

The council agreed to refer the matter to the plan's oversight and outreach committee to be hashed out further.

Under the master plan the city will put in place a transportation impact fee that a developer will be charged to compensate for the added toll on the city's infrastructure a new development would generate.


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