Tarlton will be expected to provide amenities to the community in exchange for permission to construct such a large building, but he hasn't yet proposed what those amenities might be.
Parking and transportation
Chief among commissioners' concerns is a proposed parking garage to accompany the building. Commissioners expressed concern that it would create more parking spaces than needed, thereby encouraging too many people to drive to work, and that it wouldn't be up to snuff aesthetically.
"This is a project that really is a parking garage with a building next to it," said Commissioner John Onken. "Parking garages are notorious for bullying a site because they have to be a certain size and shape to work."
Commissioner Katherine Strehl stated, as she has in the past, that she was concerned first and foremost about the traffic the new building could generate, acutely in eastern Menlo Park and indirectly throughout the city. When the city in late 2016 was rezoned to allow more intense development in that area, "I really felt we needed to have a plan for infrastructure," she said. "But I'm just standing on my soapbox."
Tarlton argued that the parking garage could be used by other building tenants, and said he expected demand to decrease in the years to come, as further transportation options beyond driving solo take firmer root. He said he supports efforts to rebuild the Dumbarton rail line — currently being led by a partnership between Facebook, SamTrans and the Plenary Group — but also favors more immediate traffic relief.
"We're working on a nearer-term solution: the adaptation of the Dumbarton Bridge for bus rapid transit," he said, noting he is having talks with consultants from Kimley-Horn on how Caltrans could adapt the current Dumbarton bridge.
In addition, Tarlton, an avid cyclist, told the commission he'll encourage people to use modes other than driving to get to work, and to take the stairs — the elevators are in different areas of the proposed building, Onken pointed out, which means people could be liable to getting stuck waiting for a lift up.
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