News

Modified downtown street closures to last through February

A pilot program launched this summer to close some areas of Santa Cruz Avenue and allow restaurants and retailers to spread onto the sidewalks and parking areas has been extended through the end of February, per a Sept. 8 City Council decision.

The council opted to reopen the north side of Santa Cruz Avenue and continue the existing closures on the sections of the road heading toward El Camino Real that are already shut down.

The downtown street closures have received mixed support since they started, and the council already modified the original proposal once to allow more vehicle access in some sections. While some restaurateurs have reported that the closures have helped enable more outdoor seating with indoor dining shut down, a number of retailers have been less enthusiastic about the program, saying that the closures have reduced the number of visitors who come into their shops.

"We have four locations in the Bay Area, three of which are recovering from the business impact of the pandemic with revenues around 85% of normal, while our Menlo Park location is generating less than half the usual revenue. I attribute this loss of revenue to the street closure," said Karsten Iwers, owner of Harvest Furniture on Santa Cruz Avenue in a Sept. 15 email.

The city has so far spent about $30,000 to install barricades and trees. The Menlo Park Fire Protection District and Facebook also provided some materials, according to a staff report.

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At least two people wrote to the council in support of leaving the downtown street closures intact. Resident Petrice Espinosa noted that September through November usually has good weather to enable outdoor dining. "Let's give these businesses a chance to continue to coax people downtown to enjoy a meal out and (shop)," she wrote.

With some restaurants expanded into the street, the council decided to permit bikes to pass through the barricades, but only on weekdays. On weekends, cyclists are expected to follow marked detours.

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Modified downtown street closures to last through February

by / Almanac

Uploaded: Fri, Sep 18, 2020, 9:21 am

A pilot program launched this summer to close some areas of Santa Cruz Avenue and allow restaurants and retailers to spread onto the sidewalks and parking areas has been extended through the end of February, per a Sept. 8 City Council decision.

The council opted to reopen the north side of Santa Cruz Avenue and continue the existing closures on the sections of the road heading toward El Camino Real that are already shut down.

The downtown street closures have received mixed support since they started, and the council already modified the original proposal once to allow more vehicle access in some sections. While some restaurateurs have reported that the closures have helped enable more outdoor seating with indoor dining shut down, a number of retailers have been less enthusiastic about the program, saying that the closures have reduced the number of visitors who come into their shops.

"We have four locations in the Bay Area, three of which are recovering from the business impact of the pandemic with revenues around 85% of normal, while our Menlo Park location is generating less than half the usual revenue. I attribute this loss of revenue to the street closure," said Karsten Iwers, owner of Harvest Furniture on Santa Cruz Avenue in a Sept. 15 email.

The city has so far spent about $30,000 to install barricades and trees. The Menlo Park Fire Protection District and Facebook also provided some materials, according to a staff report.

At least two people wrote to the council in support of leaving the downtown street closures intact. Resident Petrice Espinosa noted that September through November usually has good weather to enable outdoor dining. "Let's give these businesses a chance to continue to coax people downtown to enjoy a meal out and (shop)," she wrote.

With some restaurants expanded into the street, the council decided to permit bikes to pass through the barricades, but only on weekdays. On weekends, cyclists are expected to follow marked detours.

Comments

Karen
Registered user
Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Sep 18, 2020 at 1:24 pm
Karen, Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
Registered user
on Sep 18, 2020 at 1:24 pm
5 people like this

The street closure makes it very difficult to get through town. You end up having to use the parking lots behind the businesses as roadways. I doubt if people will want to eat outside
come November. We don't want the shops to go out of business. I think that depending on the
weather this Fall, we should open up Santa Cruz Ave. the end of October.


Menlo Voter.
Registered user
Menlo Park: other
on Sep 18, 2020 at 7:29 pm
Menlo Voter., Menlo Park: other
Registered user
on Sep 18, 2020 at 7:29 pm
2 people like this

Keep it closed. You can get between University and ECR by using Oak Grove or Menlo. It's no big deal. Tents and propane heaters will take care of November.


pearl
Registered user
another community
on Sep 18, 2020 at 7:55 pm
pearl, another community
Registered user
on Sep 18, 2020 at 7:55 pm
Like this comment

Outdoor Dining FAQ: Web Link

"... tents may be used provided they only have one (1) side flap."


Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Sep 18, 2020 at 9:41 pm
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
Registered user
on Sep 18, 2020 at 9:41 pm
1 person likes this

We expect our local government to have a clear policy and to adhere to that policy.

Decide was is the best and then stick to it!!!!


Sara T
Registered user
Menlo Park: other
on Sep 24, 2020 at 1:44 pm
Sara T, Menlo Park: other
Registered user
on Sep 24, 2020 at 1:44 pm
2 people like this

I went to Santa Cruz Avenue today (9/24) to eat and shop. There were, as usual, several people, perhaps homeless, on the benches and sidewalks. None had on a mask. Can the city please hand out masks to them and request that the masks be used? I would not feel comfortable doing it myself, I'm afraid.


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