A beach entry, also known as a walk-in pool, has a very gradual slope of about 1 foot of decline every 10 feet of horizontal space, explained Chris Lamm, assistant public works director.
Johnson said that the feature would make the pool truly accessible for everyone, while other features aimed at accommodating those with disabilities, such as chair lifts, are not able to be used by everyone. About 1 in 10 people in the community have disabilities, she said, adding that anybody can become disabled at any time, and most people eventually will be.
"One problem I have, as you might be able to tell, is that projects in Menlo Park rarely consider accessibility for people with differences," Johnson said. "It is frustrating to not have that lens being looked through regularly. We are talking about equity in a number of different ways but I have yet to hear a discussion initiated by staff or council that places the need of people with all abilities as a priority.
"I understand that I don't get to decide if there's a beach entry or not," she continued. "That's not the big issue here. The big issue is that staff weren't considering ways to make these the most accessible to the most people."
Staff members said the new pool site is constrained due to the boundaries set by the new plans for the community center, set to be funded by Facebook. Beach entries take up a lot of space due to their very shallow slope, Lamm said.
In advance of the deadline, council members Cecilia Taylor, Ray Mueller and Vice Mayor Betsy Nash agreed to meet with Johnson to try to come up with a more accessible solution, and all council members agreed to hold another meeting later in the week to approve the current or revised pool proposal.
But it wasn't clear how feasible it would be for the city to redesign the pool within only a couple of days.
"When I say we need a decision ... it's a go (or) no-go to have a decision by Friday if we're going to be able to include a pool with Facebook's construction," City Manager Starla Jerome-Robinson told the council.
As of The Almanac's Wednesday press deadline, the follow-up meeting had not yet been scheduled. See the latest council meeting schedule at menlopark.org/agendacenter.
Santa Cruz Avenue closures to continue
The current street closures on Santa Cruz Avenue in downtown Menlo Park to allow outdoor dining space for Left Bank, Bistro Vida and Galata Bistro will remain in place until at least Feb. 23, despite some pressure from other downtown businesses to reopen the street.
Presented with the option to reopen the street in advance of the planned end of the program at the end of February, the City Council deliberated over what to do, given the surprise announcement earlier this week that San Mateo County was reverting to the purple tier under the state's coronavirus restrictions, allowing outdoor dining once again. When restaurants were only open for takeout, it made more sense to open up the road for vehicles, but when struggling restaurants reopen for outdoor dining, the question becomes more complicated, council members argued.
Councilwoman Jen Wolosin said she was ready to vote to reopen the street, given the input the city had received from business owners eager to see the street reopened, while Councilman Ray Mueller said he wasn't comfortable with doing so yet because some restaurants may not have weighed in yet, likely because they have been closed or worrying about other things. "We are at such a juncture in this pandemic," Mueller said. Allowing people to stay distanced while dining outdoors will remain important as the pandemic continues, he said.
The council tentatively rescheduled its discussion of reopening the street to Feb. 23, just before the closure is set to expire.
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