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Letter to the editor: Closing Santa Cruz Avenue to make space for restaurants is a bad idea

To the Menlo Park City Council:

Today I had the occasion to speak with a couple of our Menlo Park merchants in regard to the idea you are researching to close Santa Cruz Avenue to anything but foot traffic. What in the world are you thinking? How is this going to improve life for your residents? It sounds to me as though the restaurants have the loudest and most important voice where you are concerned.

Believe me, most of us go to Menlo Park for the goods and services we need. The post office, FedEx, the cleaners, the hardware store, the grocery stores, the pharmacy, repair shop, bank ... The days when people strolled the main street in town, stopping into shops to browse, are over. Most places today’s busy people go are destinations to accomplish something in particular they need to do before moving on with their busy schedules.

Have you considered the success, or more correctly the lack of it, of the pop-up park? It became a hangout for homeless and for the junior high students and was in no way an attractive place to sit. Menlo Park has a history of constructing visions to try to make the city more vibrant. It hasn’t occurred to anyone that we can’t, and don’t need to be, everything for everyone. Menlo Park is just one part of a string of cities where residents go for various things. And that’s OK. We don’t have a nursery or an art store so we go to Redwood City. We don’t have (many) clothing stores so we go to Palo Alto. And that is fine. If I were you I would concentrate your efforts on how you are going to accommodate the hundreds and hundreds of cars and residents and commercial establishments that will bombard our city once the buildings in progress are done.

Barbra Wood

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Letter to the editor: Closing Santa Cruz Avenue to make space for restaurants is a bad idea

Uploaded: Sun, May 17, 2020, 6:38 am

To the Menlo Park City Council:

Today I had the occasion to speak with a couple of our Menlo Park merchants in regard to the idea you are researching to close Santa Cruz Avenue to anything but foot traffic. What in the world are you thinking? How is this going to improve life for your residents? It sounds to me as though the restaurants have the loudest and most important voice where you are concerned.

Believe me, most of us go to Menlo Park for the goods and services we need. The post office, FedEx, the cleaners, the hardware store, the grocery stores, the pharmacy, repair shop, bank ... The days when people strolled the main street in town, stopping into shops to browse, are over. Most places today’s busy people go are destinations to accomplish something in particular they need to do before moving on with their busy schedules.

Have you considered the success, or more correctly the lack of it, of the pop-up park? It became a hangout for homeless and for the junior high students and was in no way an attractive place to sit. Menlo Park has a history of constructing visions to try to make the city more vibrant. It hasn’t occurred to anyone that we can’t, and don’t need to be, everything for everyone. Menlo Park is just one part of a string of cities where residents go for various things. And that’s OK. We don’t have a nursery or an art store so we go to Redwood City. We don’t have (many) clothing stores so we go to Palo Alto. And that is fine. If I were you I would concentrate your efforts on how you are going to accommodate the hundreds and hundreds of cars and residents and commercial establishments that will bombard our city once the buildings in progress are done.

Barbra Wood

Felton Drive, Menlo Park

Comments

@Barbara
another community
on May 17, 2020 at 7:20 am
@Barbara, another community
on May 17, 2020 at 7:20 am
73 people like this

You don’t acknowledge the single biggest reason for closing streets, and that is to allow businesses to serve customers outside (outside dining), otherwise social distancing cuts their serving capacity in half.

It’s not about open strolls or prefect scenarios but the financial survival of the businesses downtown. Most people park in lots and side streets anyway.


MP Resident
Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 17, 2020 at 8:17 am
MP Resident, Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 17, 2020 at 8:17 am
58 people like this

The vast majority of downtown Menlo Park real estate is already given over to cars. If temporarily removing a tiny bit of real estate from cars and allowing businesses to use it means we actually have a viable downtown at the end of the pandemic, it seems a small price to pay.

Take a look at a satellite photo of downtown to see just how much really is devoted to cars. Web Link


Menlo Voter.
Menlo Park: other
on May 17, 2020 at 8:50 am
Menlo Voter., Menlo Park: other
on May 17, 2020 at 8:50 am
59 people like this

Every one of those items you mention doing are accessible from the parking plazas. You do not need to pull up in front of any of those locations. In fact, Fedex isn't even located on Santa Cruz Ave.

Sorry, closing Santa Cruz Ave. and turning it into a pedestrian mall is probably the one thing that might provide the needed impetus to revitalize our decrepit down town.


TGI Fridays on SC by 2023
Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 17, 2020 at 8:50 am
TGI Fridays on SC by 2023, Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 17, 2020 at 8:50 am
21 people like this

> but the financial survival of the businesses downtown.

This isn't a panacea for businesses, folks. If a business can't survive in their rented 'footprint', adding six tables won't save it.

Landlords will love it though. Once they cycle through the sole proprietors, they will be able to offer their space and the new bonus outdoor seating for premium prices to national chains. It's the only way to maintain an otherwise unsupportable rent.

Red Robin or TGI Fridays, anyone?

Now there's the hometown spirits we're looking for!


Temporary
Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 17, 2020 at 9:33 am
Temporary, Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 17, 2020 at 9:33 am
10 people like this

That seems nonsensical to me. Why would Red Robin be more inclined to move into a space with temporary space in the middle of street that will only exist during the pandemic?


PublicPolicy
Menlo Park: University Heights
on May 17, 2020 at 10:06 am
PublicPolicy, Menlo Park: University Heights
on May 17, 2020 at 10:06 am
25 people like this

I am concerned about providing taxpayer owned and maintained property (streets, sidewalks) to private parties. The restaurants operating on the sidewalks have been able to profit from the extra square footage from private property. I understand why the city may want to do this to recover their tax income, but there needs to be a sunset provision. In essence the landlords have been able to lease additional square feet without having to pay for it.


Temporary
Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 17, 2020 at 10:19 am
Temporary, Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 17, 2020 at 10:19 am
8 people like this

The City already said it’s temporary during the reopening phase of the shelter in place order during the pandemic.


MP Resident
Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 17, 2020 at 11:11 am
MP Resident, Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 17, 2020 at 11:11 am
24 people like this

Re "I am concerned about providing taxpayer owned and maintained property (streets, sidewalks) to private parties." - We already do that now, we provide huge amounts of space for taxpayer subsidized private car storage. If you're that worried about giveaways of taxpayer funded resources, your top priority should be parking charges that result in full cost recovery.


TGI Fridays on SC by 2023
Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 17, 2020 at 11:35 am
TGI Fridays on SC by 2023, Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 17, 2020 at 11:35 am
17 people like this

> The City said it’s temporary

Temporary like the opening of sidewalks and parking spaces that happened a decade ago?

Web Link

One underestimates the power of commercial property owners, and greed, in this town.


Nikki Sokol
Menlo Park: University Heights
on May 17, 2020 at 12:45 pm
Nikki Sokol, Menlo Park: University Heights
on May 17, 2020 at 12:45 pm
63 people like this

I support closing Santa Cruz Ave to cars. I grew up in Boulder, Colorado, where the pedestrian-only Pearl Street Mall is a community gem. It's a wonderful gathering place for people and families of all ages. It is also considered prime real estate for businesses. Doing so would only enhance downtown for residents and businesses.


Mansi Shah
Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 17, 2020 at 1:04 pm
Mansi Shah, Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 17, 2020 at 1:04 pm
51 people like this

As a resident of Downtown, with more kids out of school and families walking and biking on our streets, I fully support the Santa Cruz Ave. temporary closures for several reasons. First, there have been very few cases of outdoor coronavirus transmission. Outdoor dining, pickups, and other ideas on Santa Cruz Ave would allow Menlo Park to open and for its businesses to start seeing revenue again. Think about ordering a coffee on your phone and having it delivered to a table outside? You’re safer and so are the workers. Second, with heavier younger pedestrians and bicyclists, being able to take them to safe areas to run around or bike or walk is crucial. As a mom of two young children, there is nothing more I’d like than to do this with my kids maintaining masks and social distancing for safety. Third, cars have several paths in and out of the Downtown area. It would not severely hurt congestion, especially as more area businesses are guiding its employees to work from home for the rest of the calendar year and no indicators for school being resumed normally in the Fall. Fourth, this plan serves the community. The idea that only businesses benefit from outdoor seating is simply untrue. As a resident, I would derive a safer and more relaxed dining experience. Please let’s give this a try. I think even as we battle a pandemic - this will bring some semblance of normal back to our city and neighborhoods. We deserve it!


Curtis Mo
Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 17, 2020 at 1:57 pm
Curtis Mo, Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 17, 2020 at 1:57 pm
52 people like this

The overwhelming majority of Menlo Park residents are in support of closing downtown. Some as a temporary measure, many as a permanent transformation for the good of the community.

The letter to the editor paints a completely uninspiring "vision" of Menlo Park downtown as a utilitarian location for random stores and services complementing those in other towns. A few other commentators above focus on parking in front of stores as though that's going to save our downtown, or taxpayer subsidy of sidewalk space as though it's a burden to a tax base largely supported by businesses. It's easy to be a naysayer or simply ignore a problem, but it's harder to come up with solutions.

The letter author and the naysayers view downtown as a place to run errands and balance the city budget. They assume we will return to business as usual and it's not our collective problem. They ignore the new normal, at least for the foreseeable future. Restaurants will not survive with half their indoor seating. Stores cannot survive as a convenient errand. It will be tough enough to attract customers who have to wear face masks, stand in social distancing lines, and keep 6 feet apart on 6 feet of sidewalk - but buying into the "do-nothing" position will cripple downtown. For a view of the future, even a cursory drive downtown shows all the businesses closing or moving for good already. This is why many communities across the country are implementing downtown closures. Our downtown has never had curb appeal, but it needs urgent relief and we need to change with the times.

Summer is the perfect time to try this. I have never seen all the parking lots full, but that would be a great "problem" to have. Surely, parking in the ample lots behind stores, or a one-block detour to Valparaiso, Middle or the many streets in town, will not make a meaningful difference to the driver and are certainly worth saving our restaurants and stores. Beyond that, who knows? I don't understand why we wouldn't make the most of a neighborhood zoned for business. We have been given a unique opportunity to revitalize downtown and make it a great place to meet friends, hang out, shop, grab a bite and, yes, be business friendly. Why isn't that everyone's vision?


Judy
Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 17, 2020 at 2:10 pm
Judy, Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 17, 2020 at 2:10 pm
16 people like this

I think closing Santa Cruz to all but foot traffic is a good idea, but not during a pandemic when we're supposed to be social distancing. Why don't we wait till it's safe? Encouraging people to gather together right now doesn't seem the right thing to do. Also, if the city is considering closing the street to automobile traffic, how about beautifying it so it is more welcoming? Downtown Menlo Park is so dismal and decrepit, and not a pleasant place for outdoor dining.

Something that most people don't understand is how difficult it is for restaurant workers to be safe during the pandemic. Kitchens are not set up for social distancing and mask wearing. Try standing over a hot stove for several hours while wearing a mask. Try standing over a steaming hot commercial dishwasher while wearing a mask. Try not to get too close to your coworkers while rushing back and forth between tables and the kitchen. Try thinking beyond yourselves and consider the safety of the restaurant staff.


Erika
Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on May 17, 2020 at 2:10 pm
Erika, Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on May 17, 2020 at 2:10 pm
23 people like this

This is an excellent idea!! And yes summer is the perfect time to try it. I strongly agree.
Outdoors with open, well ventilated areas will be the best way to do any business without disease spread (plus masks when not eating and hand washing). To put tables socially distanced from each other would feel safe and also friendly/comfortable.
I strongly support. This may be the only way these stores survive. If we can do it safely, we should.


Katy Cummings
another community
on May 17, 2020 at 2:16 pm
Katy Cummings, another community
on May 17, 2020 at 2:16 pm
27 people like this

I support the closure of Santa Cruz Ave to car traffic.

I have lived most of my life in Menlo Park (though I currently life just on the other side of the San Fransquito). The block parties were a trial run of this closure- and I viewed them as a tremendous success. During the SIPO, my kids and I have walked into downtown Menlo Park every weekend for coffee. The quiet streets make it a very charming experience. We would definitely come for outside dinner if this were an option.

As with the block parties, the closure can always be temporary. There is no reason not to experiment. Creativity and iteration are the best ways to work through the challenges ahead.


whatever
Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 17, 2020 at 4:31 pm
whatever, Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 17, 2020 at 4:31 pm
10 people like this

Our Santa Cruz Ave restaurants already have outdoor eating which has removed needed parking and made sidewalk use more difficult for those with walkers and wheelchairs. It will also lessen the safe distance needed when walking. We pay our taxes to provide ample and safe parking and unimpeded safe sidewalks. Also removing more parking makes it more difficult for the disabled to shop. As it is the city has a shortage of handicapped parking. For those who park in the lots for the disabled many businesses only have entrances on Santa Cruz.
Giving special treatment to expensive eateries is not fair to the other downtown vendors who rely upon their clientele being able to find reasonable parking. This primarily helps those who have the disposable funds to eat at pricey eateries. Once again the city staff and council ignore the needs of the vast majority of its residents in order to help the wealthier minority


George Fisher
Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 17, 2020 at 4:58 pm
George Fisher, Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 17, 2020 at 4:58 pm
13 people like this

Sounds great for restaurants and pedestrians. However I recall when the City Closed Santa Cruz Ave for car shows, th service businesses, particularly on perpendicular streets suffered. Access was difficult. Nobody could pick up or drop off their needs or quickly stop by to run in for either a product or service. Some attention should be given too the benefits to restaurants compared to the harm to other businesses, including side streets to Santa Cruz. Maybe a diagram of businesses with estimates of how much helped or hurt.


Great idea
Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 17, 2020 at 5:11 pm
Great idea, Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 17, 2020 at 5:11 pm
23 people like this

Yes, Yes, Yes! I would LOVE IT if they closed downtown to vehicle traffic. I know I would go there MUCH more if they did that. It's a perfect street for strolls and outdoor eating. Besides, I almost always park in the back lots or side streets anyway. LETS DO THIS!


Astor T
Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 17, 2020 at 5:24 pm
Astor T, Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 17, 2020 at 5:24 pm
28 people like this

My family would love to see downtown Meno Park closed to vehicles. I think driving those few blocks from Peet’s to Left Bank is quite dangerous anyway. If you are driving you always need to be 5 miles per hour and really carful with people crossing streets and bikers. I hope the city on Menlo Park really considers this idea. I bet most of the residents of Menlo Park agree on this proposal.


Menlo Voter.
Menlo Park: other
on May 17, 2020 at 7:03 pm
Menlo Voter., Menlo Park: other
on May 17, 2020 at 7:03 pm
31 people like this

I agree with Nikki. A mall like the Pearl St. Mall in Boulder would be great for revitalizing the downtown. Not just for restaurants, but other businesses as well. It creates a lot of foot traffic which is what retail needs.

Don't let the usual naysayers, the "no birds", stop us from doing something unconventional. Doing the unconventional is what has made the bay area flourish.


Jennifer Knestrick
Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on May 17, 2020 at 7:35 pm
Jennifer Knestrick, Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on May 17, 2020 at 7:35 pm
10 people like this

The days when people strolled the downtown strip never were (in my memory, residing here from 1979-97 and 2016-present) because it is not particularly welcoming to foot traffic. There is a shocking lack of appealing shops downtown. Santa Cruz is also unappealing to drive down (Thankfully).It’s a driveway for a handful of parking spots. Which problem should we correct?

What we need is an increase in parking, and a walkable, vibrant downtown. Walkability brings customers which will bring shops. Yes, we need to replace the few dozen parking spots on Santa Cruz, and augment the overall parking capacity. But the idea of downtown Menlo Park as a quick errand spot is disheartening and out of date. Palo Alto and Redwood City are beating the pants off us with a more urban, walkable approach to downtown. Let’s take this moment to envision a better future for downtown!


Brian
Menlo Park: The Willows
on May 17, 2020 at 8:01 pm
Brian, Menlo Park: The Willows
on May 17, 2020 at 8:01 pm
16 people like this

I for one do not support closing Santa Cruz Avenue. It is a main street that many people use. Look what happened when the city closed other streets for the "Popup Parks" without a set end date. It turned into a problem. If space is needed for resturants temporarily then set aside some of the spots in the parking lots behind the restaurants for them to use for 3 months.


Bob
Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 17, 2020 at 8:19 pm
Bob, Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 17, 2020 at 8:19 pm
35 people like this

As someone who actually just next to downtown — not at the other end of Menlo Park, like the author of this letter — I fully support opening the streets up for businesses and pedestrians, instead of most of the space being devoted to a small number of vehicle storage spots. We usually walk downtown, and would do it much more often if it weren't such a car-filled, soul-lacking place. We need some bustle, and we need space to spread out.

I've waited years for Menlo Park to finally give its downtown a spark, and this seems like the perfect opportunity. Street space for all of us is such a better use that car storage. Especially there are literally 1,000s of other places to store a car within just 3 blocks. Even the Caltrain and Keplers lots are never full (and likely won't be for some time) and are just across the street!


TGI Fridays on SC by 2023
Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 18, 2020 at 5:55 am
TGI Fridays on SC by 2023, Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 18, 2020 at 5:55 am
1 person likes this

> stop us from doing something unconventional.

Yes, do something unconventional - address the business model, the actual numbers in the new reality, and the one that stands out is (drum roll) rent.

Add some tables outside, in an attempt to make up for the lost space inside, though it doesn't. Maybe it works, my guess is it doesn't until the new reality is reflected in rents.

What reality? More companies will tele-commute, reducing space demand, stressing high rent of office space. There will be a lot of empty store fronts through the double whammy of Amazon and the weak/failed US pandemic response. Same with restaurants - look at the GGRA survey yesterday (many admitted flaws but still eye-opening.)

Net: lower lower rents, eventually. Anyone who recently bought commercial space with pie-in-the-sky projections will suffer; most have owned for a long time, and while they will fight the new model, will survive reducing rents, as their costs are lower.

Short term for this thread: some restaurants survive, many don't. This creates room for chains (who actually got a lot of fed money, compared to our locals) to move in.

Do something unconventional - address the spreadsheet of local business at its core: ultra high rent.

Now, I desperately need a cuppa...

Next: take a look at how long, the plans for, and the costs for Boulder to create the present Pearl St. Tweren't no accident.


Jill O.
Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on May 18, 2020 at 9:23 am
Jill O., Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on May 18, 2020 at 9:23 am
5 people like this

I support the idea of expanding downtown restaurant space on Santa Cruz Avenue onto sidewalks and streets. A vibrant downtown with restaurants and stores is an advantage to all Menlo park residents. When we reopen, life will not be the same as it used to be before Covid-19. We must think differently and creatively going forward to face the new challenges that social distancing pose to our Resturant’s and retailers on Santa Cruz Avenue.


Menlo Voter.
Menlo Park: other
on May 18, 2020 at 9:27 am
Menlo Voter., Menlo Park: other
on May 18, 2020 at 9:27 am
9 people like this

The sky is falling. Chains will move in if we close Santa Cruz Ave. Chilis was a chain that pulled out of Menlo Park. What makes you think Menlo Park is any more appealing to chain restaurants now or if Santa Cruz Ave. gets closed?

I fully expect it will take years and a lot of "studies" to permanently close Santa Cruz Ave. like the Pearl St. Mall. Everything in this town that's unconventional or not what's always been, or not in keeping with our "village character" (never mind we're not a village and never have been), gets attacked by the no birds. So of course it takes a long time. Just like the DSP. But look at now. No more abandoned, weed choked, eye sore car lots on ECR.

And those new buildings on those old car lots will have people living in them in close, walking distance to Santa Cruz Ave., making it perfect for a walkable mall.


Time will tell, no plan required
Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on May 18, 2020 at 11:18 am
Time will tell, no plan required, Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on May 18, 2020 at 11:18 am
Like this comment

sounds like we'll know in a couple of years after the local failing businesses get flushed out, whether they get replaced by chains or not.


isaidso
Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 18, 2020 at 12:10 pm
isaidso, Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 18, 2020 at 12:10 pm
23 people like this

for the love of god come up with something.
everything in menlo park is always such a big deal.


Lawrence
Menlo Park: The Willows
on May 18, 2020 at 12:34 pm
Lawrence, Menlo Park: The Willows
on May 18, 2020 at 12:34 pm
26 people like this

The Pearl Street Mall in Boulder, Colorado is a great example of what we can do. When first proposed, the pedestrian-only mall faced fierce opposition; some called it the "Downtown Boulder Maul" and said it would ruin local businesses. From the time it opened, though, the mall has been the heart of the city and is now a highly popular destination with thriving businesses. An attractive public space with gardens, fountains, art works, and places for outdoor activities is what we need, to lift our spirits and to set as a community goal.


Will
Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 18, 2020 at 12:38 pm
Will, Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 18, 2020 at 12:38 pm
23 people like this

I’m all over the drama of people freaking out about a temporary closure of Santa Cruz ave. In the last two months the whole world has changed and y’all get a grip on the new reality.


Menlo parent
Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on May 18, 2020 at 12:44 pm
Menlo parent, Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on May 18, 2020 at 12:44 pm
18 people like this

Add me to the list of those who support closing Santa Cruz Avenue to car traffic. The surface area of downtown MP already devoted to car parking is enormous; removing the relatively few spaces along SC Ave is not going to be a major inconvenience. On the other hand, allowing restaurants to add more tables which maintain social distancing could be the difference between their survival and closing. Plus, creating a pedestrian mall will make for a much more pleasant and attractive environment for all of us.


C'mon
Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 18, 2020 at 1:04 pm
C'mon, Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 18, 2020 at 1:04 pm
6 people like this

It is all very testable -- pick several weekend days/evenings through the summer to close the street, allow restaurants to spread out, place more benches outside and encourage walking and sitting. It can b pulled up in the evening, which is extra work but does address the issues we had with the test of the downtown part.

It is low cost to test it but lets do it with full involvement of merchants and the city so we can measure how it is working, to inform any future plans.


ol' Homeboy
Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on May 18, 2020 at 1:25 pm
ol' Homeboy, Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on May 18, 2020 at 1:25 pm
27 people like this

Menlo Park will never be like Boulder. Boulder, Colorado is a University town. There are 108,000 full time residents and 30,000 University students, compared to Menlo park's 35,000 residents. Boulder constantly enjoys a steady influx of parents and families visiting their University students and Alums who return to Boulder for University Pac-12 sporting events. All these people and attractions are what makes Pearl Street thrive. In addition, Boulder has over 2500 hotel rooms to accommodate visitors. Plus the geographic are offers so much more, see for yourself at Web Link

Menlo Park has none of this. While Stanford University is a mere mile away, only places like the Dutch Goose and the late Oasis seem to lure people from a much-more-vibrant downtown Palo Alto. Menlo Park has always been a sleepy, Peninsula suburb. And now it's an outrageously expensive, sleepy Peninsula suburb. It will never be a Boulder, no matter how many streets are blocked to give restaurants outdoor seating.
Wake up people.


Downtowner
Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 18, 2020 at 1:25 pm
Downtowner, Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 18, 2020 at 1:25 pm
12 people like this

There's very little now non Santa Cruz Avenue worth strolling around to see.. Flegels windows? Hirzel windows? Gone. Does anyone care about walking around to seei B of A, Wells Fargo, Bank of the West, Walgreens? How do stores do "curbside pickup" if the street is closed to cars?

I fully support removing all parking on Santa Cruz. Backing out of a space when adjacent vehicles, some huge, block visibility off oncoming skaters, cyclists, & cars is dangerous. Get rid of the parking. Make a bike lane & have skaters & boarders use it too. Let cars drive in a straight line from El Camino to Orange Ave instead of zigzagging around side streets that don't evenly intersect across Santa Cruz. Keep the street open to cars but make it "no parking, anywhere."

I think retail shops make a far more pleasing pedestrian experience than sitting in the street to eat. Will my server be masked & how does he stay 6' away? Not all the restaurants on Santa Cruz are worth keeping. Take your coffee to the park, where there's shade & a tree canopy. We've all experienced the sweltering heat reflected from asphalt during the various festivals & fairs which regularly close Santa Cruz. It's bad, even with tents. Eat there & pretend it's dining? Fat chance.

You want "vibrance?" Offer incentives for retail & convince greedy landlords go along. If restaurants want more outdoor space, close the innermost lane of the parking lots. Pearl St & 3rd St Promenade are very different. Neither street was a direct or critical route to the residential part off town from the main drag or the train station. Try using Oak Grove or Menln Ave to points west of University. Choices are Middle or Valparaiso, neither of which offers smooth travel.


memberone
Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 18, 2020 at 1:27 pm
memberone, Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 18, 2020 at 1:27 pm
5 people like this

"The days when people strolled the main street in town, stopping into shops to browse, are over."
CORRECT. People stroll University Ave instead. Better restaurant choices, more vibrant and the strollers are, "ah hem," younger.

MP will never follow the PA example to lure customers as long as the council has no well thought out long term plan.
The outdoor eating space is terrific, but totally inadequate to accommodate the new normal.
Get with it council.
Accept Dylan, "The times they are a changin."


Virginia
Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on May 18, 2020 at 1:31 pm
Virginia, Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on May 18, 2020 at 1:31 pm
8 people like this

There is a handful of vocal Menlo Park residents who are against everything that may change their daily/weekly routine. I am reminded of the lawsuit Menlo Park filed against Stanford, et. al. to block the expansion of the Alpine Road/Sand Hill intersection about ten years ago, which until it was enlarged, stifled access in all four directions. The cost: 1 million taxpayer dollars. The city lost the lawsuit. Chastened? No! They filed an appeal and lost that too. The cost: a second 1 million taxpayer dollars. For those of us who abhor such vacuous leadership, be sure to copy,paste, and send to the city fathers your written interest in turning Menlo Park into a lively community destination.


Bike Menlo Park
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on May 18, 2020 at 1:42 pm
Bike Menlo Park, Menlo Park: Park Forest
on May 18, 2020 at 1:42 pm
4 people like this

Just did a quick search for Pearl Street Mall in Boulder and came across this video. It was clearly taken pre-pandemic, but shows what Santa Cruz Ave. could look like:

Web Link


Forever Menlo
Menlo Park: University Heights
on May 18, 2020 at 1:52 pm
Forever Menlo, Menlo Park: University Heights
on May 18, 2020 at 1:52 pm
7 people like this

Personally, I believe making Santa Cruz a bike/pedestrian only should be a long term solution. Close Santa Cruz from University to ECR and make current traffic lanes walking/biking paths. Make Menlo Ave and Oak Grove one way streets to improve efficient East/West traffic.
However, no matter what is done from a logistics perspective, without merchants and stores who can maintain a viable, reasonable profit, the results will be the same. The last time I went down Santa Cruz, there are now almost as many vacant storefronts as occupied stores. I have lived here 60 years and I have never seen downtown this deserted. Does anyone have definitive facts that explain this exodus from downtown? Does anyone have definitive facts that explain this exodus from downtown? This started last year and has continued to spiral downwards with Covid. Is it the rents? Are landlord too greedy? Are the landlords holding out to sell off buildings? Is it parking? Who has the facts to support any of these claims that have been posted on this forum. Always lots of speculation about downtown but there is never a root cause analysis done and publish to explain the WHY. On top of that, the City of Menlo Park spends millions of dollars on surveys and polls and never implements ANYTHING. What does the city council do??


City Council bashing
Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 18, 2020 at 2:02 pm
City Council bashing, Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 18, 2020 at 2:02 pm
3 people like this



This City makes City Council bashing look like a sport. Two Councilmembers have already proposed closing Santa Cruz Ave and the City is drawing up a plan.

Web Link

""Councilmember Mueller said he and another councilman began working on the idea on April 7th. Since then, he said they've collected community feedback, and are taking on guidance from experts.

The plan was introduced to City Council on Tuesday, and is scheduled to be heard again on May 26.

"There's something about this process, which means when we all come together in a safe way, we're also going to see each other, and we're going to be a community again," Mueller added. "At a safe, social distance.""


City Council bashing
Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 18, 2020 at 2:02 pm
City Council bashing, Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 18, 2020 at 2:02 pm
2 people like this

This City makes City Council bashing look like a sport. Two Councilmembers have already proposed closing Santa Cruz Ave and the City is drawing up a plan.

Web Link

""Councilmember Mueller said he and another councilman began working on the idea on April 7th. Since then, he said they've collected community feedback, and are taking on guidance from experts.

The plan was introduced to City Council on Tuesday, and is scheduled to be heard again on May 26.

"There's something about this process, which means when we all come together in a safe way, we're also going to see each other, and we're going to be a community again," Mueller added. "At a safe, social distance.""


Soccer mom
Menlo Park: other
on May 18, 2020 at 2:58 pm
Soccer mom, Menlo Park: other
on May 18, 2020 at 2:58 pm
11 people like this

I support closing Santa Cruz Avenue to vehicles. There is plenty of parking in the plazas and on the side streets. We need more hang-out places like they have in RWC and elsewhere. If foot traffic were stronger and it was a destination for all hours of the day (retail by day and food/pubs at night), we will attract the businesses. It doesn't happen overnight but we need to take steps to get there. Let Stanford Shopping Center have the chains and we can attract the small specialties.

I also support a hybrid scenario like what they have on Castro Street in Mountain View. You can drive on Castro but can't park; I think they have a few parallel spots here and there but for the most part, you park on the perpendicular streets and in the parking structures and plazas. The sidewalks are wide and inviting and many restaurants have outdoor seating. It is vibrant and fun.

I don't know what rents are in Menlo Park and what other limitations there are but curious to know how RWC and MV transformed their downtowns.


John
Woodside: Mountain Home Road
on May 18, 2020 at 3:52 pm
John, Woodside: Mountain Home Road
on May 18, 2020 at 3:52 pm
10 people like this

Wow some of these negative posts are apex NIMBY.

Folks, desperate times call for desperate measures! Or at least some creative thinking. Most experts agree that outdoor activities are far safer, especially in our area where there’s such perfect weather.

Closing Santa Cruz may not be enough to help these places survive, but it’s better than doing nothing. Give these businesses a chance!


Steve Taffee
Menlo Park: The Willows
on May 18, 2020 at 4:21 pm
Steve Taffee, Menlo Park: The Willows
on May 18, 2020 at 4:21 pm
13 people like this

I think this is a perfect opportunity to experiment with a closure IF the city is willing to think through some of the side-effects and jave a clear plan for evaluating success and tweaking the project as feedback comes in.

For example, with E-W traffic eliminated on Santa Cruz, this means more traffic to Menlo Ave and Oak Grove. Why not make these one-way streets to increase capacity for E-@ traffic, and eliminate parking on each of these streets on the lane furthest from Santa Cruz?

Next, put of some temporary barriers at the rear entrances of stores to hide the ugly trash bins and make these more attractive places to both park and enter the businesses closer to the parking lots.

Place more handicapped parking spaces close to businesses where people with limited mobility need access, prioritizing as banks and pharmacies. Create spots for businesses offering curb-side services in parking lots so they can safely service customers. Preserve neighborhood street parking for residents so that overflow from downtown does not impact them. Finally, increase parking density by offering free valet parking for patrons coming for lunch and dinner, reserving a portion of a lot for such use.

Overnight, make sure that Santa Cruz and its sidewalks is thoroughly cleaned of debris and sanitized, and trash receptacles are in A1 condition and emptied.

Coordinate outdoor ambient music so that various restaurants are not creating a cacophony of sounds that turn off visitors.

Downtown MP is hurting. Perhaps this is a way to try out some ideas to see what may help it revive.


Steve Taffee


BarbBQ
Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 18, 2020 at 4:21 pm
BarbBQ, Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 18, 2020 at 4:21 pm
7 people like this

I support closing Santa Cruz Avenue to motor vehicle traffic, at least in the initial phase(s) of reopening downtown after the COVID19 crisis. Our local restaurants have been challenged by the current restrictions, and I suspect that even when restrictions begin to be lifted, indoor seating will still be limited. It is hard for restaurants to make a profit without these sort of restrictions, and I support giving them a little help. I know I especially enjoy strolling downtown streets when they are shut down on some evenings in the summer, and I don't think I'm the only one. It is so pleasant to see families enjoying it as well. The issue can be revisited when all restrictions have been lifted. Let's do this for a newly vibrant downtown.


Allied Arts Resident
Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on May 18, 2020 at 4:39 pm
Allied Arts Resident, Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on May 18, 2020 at 4:39 pm
11 people like this

I would love to see a closing of the downtown area on a temporary basis and support the efforts to evaluate this. During these unusual times we need to be creative to find ways to stay safe but support our community. This might be a good way to connect with our neighbors, have a chance to be outside, and support our local businesses. Of course, we all still need to be responsible - wearing masks whenever feasible and following social distancing rules. But, within that we have the opportunity to create our own, pedestrian zone - at least during these warmer months.


John
Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 18, 2020 at 9:10 pm
John, Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 18, 2020 at 9:10 pm
15 people like this

Creating a downtown pedestrian mall is the right thing to do in a progressive society. The pedestrian mall will likely encourage more persons to walk or bike instead of drive, which is better for the person and the environment. An increase in persons walking or biking and being outside in downtown Menlo Park will help create a more social community (once the pandemic is over) that will make Menlo Park a more desirable place to live. It may also encourage people to hang around MP more than getting out of town and using gas!


Dawn1234
Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on May 19, 2020 at 10:09 am
Dawn1234, Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on May 19, 2020 at 10:09 am
13 people like this

I totally support giving over Santa Cruz to a pedestrian shopping street. I support it now, and I support it ongoing. I have been yelled at by drivers who are in a hurry to get past pedestrians, there are way too many stopsigns for it to be a good car corridor, and opening the entire street to pedestrians would alleviate the concern for folks who complain about the narrowness of sidewalks.
If the pandemic has shown us anything, it is that we all need to support each other. Our city needs those downtown businesses. The laundry list of what is on the chopping block right now is sad and disproportionally affects those of lesser means (closing child care centers, cutting library hours and materials, etc.). While I appreciate hearing from business owners, I would think that we also should listen to consumers - and I for one am not eager to start rubbing elbows with strangers in stores.

Let's use the space we have to create spaces that are safe for us to start supporting our local businesses.


Dawn1234
Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on May 19, 2020 at 10:10 am
Dawn1234, Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on May 19, 2020 at 10:10 am
8 people like this

I totally support giving over Santa Cruz to a pedestrian shopping street. I support it now, and I support it ongoing. I have been yelled at by drivers who are in a hurry to get past pedestrians, there are way too many stop signs for it to be a good car corridor, and opening the entire street to pedestrians would alleviate the concern for folks who complain about the narrowness of sidewalks.
If the pandemic has shown us anything, it is that we all need to support each other. Our city needs those downtown businesses. The laundry list of what is on the chopping block right now is sad and disproportionally affects those of lesser means (closing child care centers, cutting library hours and materials, etc.). While I appreciate hearing from business owners, I would think that we also should listen to consumers - and I for one am not eager to start rubbing elbows with strangers in stores.

Let's use the space we have to create spaces that are safe for us to start supporting our local businesses.


Invovement & Metrics, Please
Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 19, 2020 at 12:22 pm
Invovement & Metrics, Please, Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 19, 2020 at 12:22 pm
6 people like this

Barbara Wood raises some valid cautionary points. The popup park was a disaster. Also, the issue of curbside pick up for retailers would need to be addressed so that we don't cause problems for other businesses while trying to help restaurants.

Suggest that the City engage the local business community to solicit ideas and concerns and together come up with a plan that satisfies most. This is not something that should be done without the opportunity for involvement of all effected parties.

Also, it will be important to set out in advance specific criteria to evaluate the success or failure of the experiment, including dates to check in on status, and make adjustments. I'm sure there will be many opportunities to learn.


diesel
another community
on May 19, 2020 at 12:26 pm
diesel, another community
on May 19, 2020 at 12:26 pm
6 people like this

An idea worth trying. As well as safety/health benefits of dining outside, the city could host entertainment such as jugglers, musicians, magicians, who might stroll the length of the street to add to the pleasure of having a cup of coffee or lunch or just stop between errands.


Longtime Menlo Resident
Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 19, 2020 at 1:09 pm
Longtime Menlo Resident, Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 19, 2020 at 1:09 pm
7 people like this

CITY OFFICIALS:

If you close Santa Cruz Ave. to traffic, PLEASE MAKE SURE you put parameters in place so the restaurants don't turn the downtown into a JUNKY looking environment. At least one of the restaurants has done that last summer and I thought it looked like I was in the ghettos in the poorest area of India. OMG!

I've lived here over 30 years and it has really gone downhill in every way. Litter all over the streets, garbage dumped in the parking lots, weeds growing everywhere, etc. How incredibly embarrassing.

This is not some low class, poor city so I hope someone has some design sense about this potential project if it moves forward and that it will look like a quality, well thought-out project instead.

The downtown is already looking dumpy enough without it looking even more dumpy. In fact, maybe you should hire someone who has some design sense in the first place before proceeding.


Joan
Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 19, 2020 at 1:25 pm
Joan, Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 19, 2020 at 1:25 pm
14 people like this

Those in favor of closing Santa Cruz are forgetting that we have a large elderly population who will be denied access to downtown with this proposal. It seems very self-serving. The elderly and disabled often have mobility problems and won't be able to park blocks away. No one has addressed this issue. There is not "plenty of parking" in Menlo Park. In fact, it can be difficult to find a parking spot many days. Maybe think of others.


Soccer mom
Menlo Park: other
on May 19, 2020 at 2:13 pm
Soccer mom, Menlo Park: other
on May 19, 2020 at 2:13 pm
11 people like this

Cheers to Steve Taffee for thinking creatively. We need more of this. There is so much tunnel vision when everyone brings up parking as an obstacle. When one is looking for parking directly adjacent to the business one is going to, yes, there might be trouble finding parking. But at a high level, there is plenty of parking in Menlo Park. Maybe disabled parking could be the spots on the cross streets to make it easier to get to a business with minimal walking and wheeling. And let's carve out space for bike parking to encourage those who can to ride.

BTW, please stop using the pop-up parks' failures as a reason to not try this bigger idea; different objectives and implementations and not fair to hold as a model. I applaud Ray Mueller for trying to do something to improve Menlo Dark.


Downtowner
Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 19, 2020 at 3:00 pm
Downtowner, Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 19, 2020 at 3:00 pm
3 people like this

@ diesel -

Along with dubious "health benefits" of eating outside come some disadvantages, such as flies, bees (to which some people are highly allergic), and vermin. Sunburn, too. You think MP has money to "host" street jugglers, musicians & magicians? All masked & appropriately socially distanced, of course.
Try a Renaissance Fair instead. The knights can wear helmets with filters inside & the ladies did drape scarves over their faces.


ol' Homeboy
Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on May 19, 2020 at 3:04 pm
ol' Homeboy, Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on May 19, 2020 at 3:04 pm
5 people like this

Joan has brought up a very good point regarding our Senior residents. Suggesting biking and walking downtown is certainly aimed at a younger demographic. I don't think of myself as old, but at 68 years young, I am the senior demographic - even though I walk and ride my bike downtown regularly. I'm lucky, but many others my age and older are not so fortunate. Menlo Park City Council has not gotten many things right in the past 20 years (anyone remember the half-circle islands debacle on Santa Cruz Ave?). Personally, I think they would vote or at least ask for a study to close El Camino Real to automobiles (if it wasn't a highway). Heck, thev've practically squeezed it down to so few lanes that it's the only town on the Peninsula where it takes 10 - 15 minutes to drive from Palo Alto to Atherton.
I believe in progress and town evolvement, but not for just the precious few.
By the way, anyone peeked inside all of the MP restaurants pre-pandemic? Most are maybe half full, except the old Carpaccio (when Cia was there) and the Left Bank.


Reality check
Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 19, 2020 at 9:23 pm
Reality check, Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 19, 2020 at 9:23 pm
3 people like this

Lines around the block at Trader Joe’s where you can get a reasonably priced assortment of ready to cook/microwave/bbq selections.
No lines at Draegers with their ridiculous high prices for fatty premade foods...
You can buy and make a nice dinner with TJs or Costco.
Amici’s wants $25. For a pizza?
The proponent of this shutting down Santa Cruz for a couple of restaurants that don’t already have outside dining or takeout is well paid as a MA partner at big international law firm.
Menlo residents need to learn the we are in a depression with 30% unemployed projections and to not kowtow to long term city council poiiticians, which unlike the rest of us, have guaranty of lifetime medical coverage via their historic coziness with labor unions.


K
Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 20, 2020 at 3:38 pm
K, Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 20, 2020 at 3:38 pm
1 person likes this

I understand that many residents and/or neighbors of Menlo Park are in favor of closing downtown streets to cars to “support our local businesses during the local pandemic”.

I’m all for supporting local businesses, but in order to support them, people have to be able to access the entrance of the business. There is insufficient accessible parking in the parking plazas and on the streets downtown NOW- prohibiting vehicles on downtown streets won’t increase disabled access. It will, in fact, almost eliminate it. Minimizing access will also invite legal action for claims of discrimination. Think it doesn’t matter? Ask the former owner of The Guild theater.

Not everyone has the option to walk from the parking plazas to local businesses. We need more accessible parking and disabled access in Menlo Park, not less. This proposal is another plan by city government that favors the able bodied population. City Council - it’s time to find a plan that works for ALL of us, not just the people who enjoy the privilege of being able to walk upright.


Joe
Menlo Park: other
on May 20, 2020 at 4:47 pm
Joe, Menlo Park: other
on May 20, 2020 at 4:47 pm
2 people like this

Reflecting. It’s great to see the voices of democracy on this topic. I’m sure we will be heard if we engage with Council and Planning, Transportation and Biking Commissions. Good news is the pandemic economic downturn means Menlo Park can’t wait 15+ years to act, as we did on the former blighted car dealerships. We’re all in this together, and may I suggest we look at the solution from all constituents points of view, rather than just our own.


Menlo Voter.
Menlo Park: other
on May 20, 2020 at 7:42 pm
Menlo Voter., Menlo Park: other
on May 20, 2020 at 7:42 pm
10 people like this

K:

given that the Pearl St. Mall doesn't seem to have lawsuit problems and ADA access problems, so there must be a solution. Accessible parking can be increased in the parking plazas. This isn't rocket science. This objection is just more noise from the no birds that don't want anything to change. Ever.


Katharina Powers
Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 20, 2020 at 9:31 pm
Katharina Powers, Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 20, 2020 at 9:31 pm
9 people like this

This is the time to close downtown Menlo Park for cars, forever. They are massive polluters, and everybody should support local restaurants.
Other towns are doing the same, Menlo Park has to follow! We have lost stores before the pandemic, and this would make downtown an attractive place for new businesses.


Liz Bradley
Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on May 20, 2020 at 10:22 pm
Liz Bradley , Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on May 20, 2020 at 10:22 pm
9 people like this

I vote for keeping restaurants going and limiting cars. There’s no alternative that’s viable. Change is good. Let’s learn and flex as necessary.


Renee Barnstone
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on May 21, 2020 at 1:06 pm
Renee Barnstone, Menlo Park: Park Forest
on May 21, 2020 at 1:06 pm
6 people like this

I absolutely support the closure of Santa Cruz Ave to car traffic, even permanently. This will not limit access to retailers, but will only draw more people in. Every retailer already has a rear entrance close to parking. Regarding the concerns about taxpayer maintained sidewalks and streets, this will be more than offset by the otherwise lost tax revenue should restaurants and stores need to close. My only other comment/request would be consideration for more bicycle parking along Santa Cruz (perhaps in the center of with some park-like seating as well to enjoy the people-watching view) . Cheers.


Tom
Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on May 21, 2020 at 1:29 pm
Tom, Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on May 21, 2020 at 1:29 pm
5 people like this

I enthusiastically support closing off the downtown road to foot traffic and allow restaurants to open with tables outside. Makes all the sense in the world even if we didn't have this crisis to reject our car culture.

I dont understand why the push back to close off the main road. Parking is still available on the side roads and in the back parking lot. Step out and walk an extra 500 feet to get to the store is all that is being asked for the benefit of the restaurants and employees to continue to live and support their families. Not much of a sacrifice on our part. I wouldn't even define this as a sacrifice. I would love to convert the entire road for pedestrians only.

The one thing that makes this country great is the small sacrifices that we all make to benefit the society we live in.






Soccer mom
Menlo Park: other
on May 21, 2020 at 2:25 pm
Soccer mom, Menlo Park: other
on May 21, 2020 at 2:25 pm
3 people like this

I guess those of us who support closing off Santa Cruz Avenue to vehicles must overtly state that we of course would need to figure out optimal disabled parking. Detractors are making this out to be able-bodied versus disabled. No supporter is saying that. As recent posters have stated, the initiative should support everyone and everyone should try to meet in the middle to make MP better for all.


mkeenly
Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on May 21, 2020 at 2:52 pm
mkeenly, Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on May 21, 2020 at 2:52 pm
3 people like this

I think it's now time to reimagine downtown Santa Cruz Ave. and close it PERMANENTLY.

Let's let our restaurants take over the street. There's plenty of parking behind the buildings to serve this area.


Downtowner
Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 21, 2020 at 4:12 pm
Downtowner, Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 21, 2020 at 4:12 pm
3 people like this

I strongly prefer removing all parking from Santa Cruz Ave to closing the street to cars. Yes, I'm in the minority. Menlo Park is configured differently that most other downtowns, which have intersecting cross streets. Redwood City has multiple parking garages, nearly zero retail, and occasionally closes i block of Broadway, between the Fox Theater & the old Courthouse for a few hours of entertainment on Courthouse Square. They permanently closed the single block of Middlefield where the cinema entrance is. Menlo is very different.

If it's closed to traffic, will cars be able to cross Santa Cruz? None of the downtown "side" streets, even University, are aligned. Would residents (many elderly) on Evelyn & the cul de sacs southwest of University use Santa Cruz to get to University then down Oak Grove to get to the post office? Doyle to Maloney is another route used by many residents, in cars.

Not all retail stores do allow customers access directly from the parking lot. It's a known security issue. Village Stationers for one had problems with thefts & there are/were others too. Retailers would have to re-configure their spaces, not a huge sacrifice in these times, but might need to hire at added cost additional staff to patrol dual exits.

If restaurants are allowed to set up tables in the street, will they be only for patrons or will the unhoused be allowed to rest there as well? Will there be aesthetic standards for whatever arrangements the restaurants set up? There was one place in the 800 block which erected a hideous divider for it's sidewalk outpost, never bothering to paint the stained old boards they used. Zero standards did not improve the look of the street.

Over time, with careful municipal planning including reasonable traffic patterns including bike/skate/boarder/pedestrian safety areas MP can get a downtown mall. The mishmash proposed now is ill-considered & not all proprietors will bother to set up attractively. We already know who those will be.

If MP does do this, it must be temporary & have a defined end period. We've seen what happened with the parklet mess that dragged on long after it was clearly a failure. Without a well thought out design, nothing good will come of this for more than the short time which might let a couple of restaurants keep functioning. The ones that were struggling before mid-March won't survive anyway.


Greg K-C
Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 21, 2020 at 7:15 pm
Greg K-C, Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 21, 2020 at 7:15 pm
12 people like this

Hi, This is Greg Carmel, and I co-own Camper. I’ve poured every last nickel I have and the last 4 years of my life into trying to build a restaurant for as many of you as possible. I’ve worked vastly more days and hours than the average human would consider rational and we’ve done it all while fighting to build even the razor thinnest margin to keep the business alive. We EMPHATICALLY support closing Santa Cruz avenue so we can hopefully recover any modicum of business to keep my staff employed and our financials afloat. We are sympathetic to all sides of this discussion and we have also witnessed countless close calls with pedestrians and vehicles on our corner due to difficult signage and folks driving dangerously. We hope you will pres forward with this initiative, it will be the difference between us being in business or not. Thank you all for supporting us during this excruciating time and experience, we hope we can be here a great number of years more to show you our gratitude!

Greg


The $ stops at 701 Laurel St city hall
Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 21, 2020 at 8:03 pm
The $ stops at 701 Laurel St city hall, Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 21, 2020 at 8:03 pm
1 person likes this

Pre Covid downtown parking lots were always full and overzealous meter maids mass produced $40. Overtime and minor spacing parking tickets.
This combination discouraged diners and shoppers who roundly complained in forums that fell on deaf ears at council and Yet, clueless council said they would do yet another parking study. Diners and shoppers went to Redwood City, etc. with the downtown Cinemark complex and Courthouse mall area a real stressless draw. Main Street and Broadway in Redwood City were NEVER closed

All too greedy Clueless Menlo council, clueless as no council members actually spend entire workdays downtown and ,now, in political desperation, has created this “borderline restaurant viability” flailing effort with little serious thought about closing Santa Cruz and further discouraging serious “potential dining patrons” from mistrusting the city and avoiding downtown Menlo once the Phase 3 enabling directive from SM Co is enacted




The $ stops at 701 Laurel city hall
Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 21, 2020 at 8:36 pm
The $ stops at 701 Laurel city hall, Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 21, 2020 at 8:36 pm
2 people like this

Just in!
Council considering staff advise to eliminate police traffic patrolling and general patrolling!
In name of budgetary cuts
Speeders and criminals rejoice!
So, projected downtown Santa Cruz closed street diners and retailers sheepishly putting wares out on Santa Cruz with desperate homeless and crafty purse grabbers and shoplifters creating a criminal playground on closed “Santa Cruz mall”

Where is the bloated staff salary reduction , especially city managers office, to Maintain critical police traffic patrols and patrolling cops?

There is leadership vacuum at city hall.



,


City Council bashing
Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 21, 2020 at 9:18 pm
City Council bashing, Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 21, 2020 at 9:18 pm
2 people like this

Here comes the "trolls". The City isn't getting rid of patrol cops. It is getting rid of the traffic unit: the police officers on motorcycles. Exactly what the City did during the last recession. The world didn't come to an end then. It won't now. When was the last time you saw a police officer on a motorcyle in Menlo Park? Exactly. According to the news the police department is demanding raises even though there is a pandemic and economic collapse. When you compare raises they are demanding, they are more than the amount of salaries being cut in the traffic division....so whose fault is it the traffic unit is being cut?


Joe
Menlo Park: other
on May 21, 2020 at 9:37 pm
Joe, Menlo Park: other
on May 21, 2020 at 9:37 pm
5 people like this

To: The $ stops at 701 Laurel city hall

Your callous name calling does not belong in this community thread, and in my opinion, your thoughts aren't helping to make Menlo Park better. Those who care about our city, current and future, have no interest in your anonymously berating elected officials. Please be contributory and polite, or move (on).


John
Woodside: Mountain Home Road
on May 21, 2020 at 10:51 pm
John, Woodside: Mountain Home Road
on May 21, 2020 at 10:51 pm
7 people like this

Anyone still whining - sorry, questioning - whether we should try closing Santa Cruz should read Greg’s heartfelt posting carefully. Then read it again.

Businesses are dying. It’s not just restaurants. We need to take extreme measures to give them even a fighting chance to stay open and keep citizens employed. If that means parking a block or two away for a few months, so be it. It’s a minuscule sacrifice for the greater good.

Greg, thanks for your note. We will order takeout from Camper this weekend to show our support.


Downtowner
Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 22, 2020 at 12:11 pm
Downtowner, Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 22, 2020 at 12:11 pm
2 people like this

@ John-

Closing the Avenue for more restaurant table space seems to me to be the opposite of what's needed to boost retail proprietors. MP is choosing whether to support restaurants over retail. If I have to choose one over the other, retail comes first for me. (Offices are my least favorite tenants on SC Ave.)


John
Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 23, 2020 at 8:00 am
John, Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 23, 2020 at 8:00 am
4 people like this

The many upsides of creating a more interesting, walkable downtown outweigh the most apparent downside, which is more difficult access for drivers.

Menlo Park is not currently a “destination” downtown. A Santa Cruz promenade would help make it so. This would ultimately cause more people to walk and bike and “make an afternoon” or “make a day” out of hanging around Menlo Park, thereby helping to create a much-needed community among residents. This would bolster business too.

Further, with an attractive Santa Cruz Ave., many of those who would otherwise drive may be more inclined to bike or walk, to the benefit of everyone and the environment.

Those who cannot bike or walk have more options than they used to, given the increasing prevalence of delivery services and Uber-type services. These persons may bear some small additional expense in these situations, but it is hard to imagine the differential in any such expense over auto expenses would be significantly difficult for most Menlo Park residents.

Menlo Park should be at the vanguard of leading us away from the auto-centric culture. Creating a downtown promenade is a necessary step to doing so.


Soccer mom
Menlo Park: other
on May 24, 2020 at 9:38 am
Soccer mom, Menlo Park: other
on May 24, 2020 at 9:38 am
6 people like this

Again, I feel compelled to state to detractors of closing Santa Cruz to traffic or parking that supporters are not saying it's restaurants versus retail. Supporters want a vibrant downtown that includes retail, services, restaurants, and entertainment. All of these businesses comprise an ecosystem of offerings for consumers to meet most of their needs locally. If we can keep all of these businesses alive and well by finding ways to increase visits, hopefully we will attract additional businesses to build the destination downtown we all hope for.


West Menlo Resident
Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 10, 2020 at 9:21 am
West Menlo Resident, Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 10, 2020 at 9:21 am
1 person likes this

We must to all that we can to support our local businesses in this unprecedented epidemic. Closing Santa Crus Ave for the time will help our businesses.
Menlo Park has a long history of spending lots of money doing studies and doing little. We must think outside of the box and take immediate action. Worst case scenario, it doesn't end up serving the businesses and we reopen the street.


Peter Carpenter
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Jun 10, 2020 at 11:41 am
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Jun 10, 2020 at 11:41 am
7 people like this

Of course Menlo Park could wait and see how Palo Alto's speedy closure of California Ave works out and then MAYBE pick up a few customers by being late to the game and second best.

Why not do Santa Cruz as a national model of a Covid 19 design with frequent outdoor washing stations, one way pedestrian traffic patterns, close monitoring of social distancing table and service layouts, etc.

Be a leader - not a follower.


George Fisher
Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 12, 2020 at 8:22 pm
George Fisher, Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 12, 2020 at 8:22 pm
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A factor in iPet Place closing?


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