Menlo Park to keep downtown streets closed for outdoor dining | March 10, 2023 | Almanac | Almanac Online |


News - March 10, 2023

Menlo Park to keep downtown streets closed for outdoor dining

by Cameron Rebosio

Menlo Park's "streetaries" program, which closed streets to traffic to make room for outdoor dining areas, will continue despite the official end of the COVID-19 state of emergency.

Santa Cruz Avenue is currently closed from Curtis Street to Doyle Street. The closure has allowed for three businesses to expand and create "parklets" in the road, where there are dining areas for residents who wish to reduce their chances of COVID-19 exposure by sitting outdoors.

Residents who spoke at a Feb. 28 City Council meeting were largely in favor of the continued closure of portions of Santa Cruz Avenue.

"Let's support our local businesses," resident James Pistorino said. "We should all want them to succeed and don't fix what isn't broken."

The closure of Ryans Lane was also up for discussion at the Menlo Park City Council meeting. Sandra Ferer, owner of Carpaccio, said that her restaurant received permission to extend business into Ryans Lane later than other downtown eateries, and was asking for an extended closure to continue using the parklet for outdoor dining.

"Please don't forget us," Ferer said.

She said Carpaccio's dining area was designed with movable components, like planter boxes on wheels, to adjust for neighboring businesses. "Our outside space was built with the previous and the future building owners from across the alley in mind."

Ferer also said that Ryans Lane, an alley off of Crane Street, is a dangerous intersection for pedestrians and bicyclists.

"Delivery vehicles would go through that alley, up onto Crane Street and blast cross that sidewalk," Ferer said. There's very little visibility, there was a real safety concern there."

City Council members were largely supportive of maintaining the closures, particularly in order to create space for the community and small businesses to thrive following the pandemic.

"It has created that additional sort of gathering spot in the downtown area that a lot of people in our community have gravitated to," Council member Drew Combs said. " I see it as a success, and and I want to do everything I can to encourage this."

The City Council directed staff to maintain the closures at both Santa Cruz Avenue and Ryans Lane, and plan to add a bike lane through the Santa Cruz Avenue closure area.

Email Staff Writer Cameron Rebosio at [email protected]


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