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A parking garage for Menlo Park? Talks begin again

Original post made on Jun 9, 2016

Building a parking structure in Menlo Park could cost from $4.6 million for a two-level garage to $9.3 million for a four-level garage, said commercial real estate consultants Alyce Rados and John Robbins during a City Council study session June 7.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, June 9, 2016, 1:05 PM

Comments (39)

6 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 9, 2016 at 2:37 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

The only way to meet all of the above expressed constraints is to go down, not up.

Redwood City and Palo Alto have underground parking - why not Menlo Park???


6 people like this
Posted by Mark L
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 9, 2016 at 3:01 pm

Has anyone considered building a parking structure where the existing CalTrain parking lots are instead? Assuming the tracks end up getting raised, this could make more sense. It could double as transit parking and day-long parking for downtown employees, and free up the regular ground spots along Santa Cruz for short-term customer parking. Maybe some of the funding could even come from the high-speed rail upgrade projects.


11 people like this
Posted by MPer
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 9, 2016 at 3:13 pm

Peter, going down is more expensive than building up. Also, the undergoing parking you are referring to are parts of larger project like the Palo Alto city hall. Both cities have build above ground parking structures in recent years,

The main issue here is that our city council members live in a fantasy land.

1) MP is NOT a village and currently does not have that feel. Sorry Councilman Peter Ohtaki, it doesn't. Downtown should have some taller building than 2 stores and the parking ramp should be 4 levels or why do it at all.
2) Ray Mueller, why does the parking garage need to be attached to an entertainment venue, why, why, why??? How about just a parking garage. Of course, Mr. Mueller doesn't know what type of entertainment, just something. k
3) Councilwoman Catherine Carlton, of great more bike parking (I have yet to see a bike parked in any of the new spots on SC, but make sure we got more! And yes, yawn, space for electric car parking. MP is already flooded with smug tesla owners, I don't think we need to keep giving these folks freebies.
4) Councilwoman Kirsten Keith, why not sell the land. And who are you leasing too? the city? how about selling 1 surface lot to develop Muller's "entertainment complex" and use the proceeds to build the ramp.


4 people like this
Posted by really?
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jun 9, 2016 at 3:59 pm

Parking and parking garages are real bullies' of the building world as they only work in certain ways. A double-loaded parking aisle is 65' for example- end of story. Ramps are only a certain pitch, etc. etc.

So this exercise mandates skipping to lofty ideas, political aspirations, or bigger questions, and needs the consultant to dive in and show us 'what fits.' Knowing that we need to keep access to all the shops along Santa Cruz from the back, that it would be nice to keep some trees, and that there is a proscribed size and height and length for each parking lot to work with.

Give then a map- they'll do it in an afternoon. Then we'll really see what we're getting ourselves into.


16 people like this
Posted by Downtown Dreamer
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jun 9, 2016 at 4:02 pm

Why might Ray Mueller be asking for an entertainment venue downtown? How about because Menlo Park downtown badly needs something for residents to do besides eat dinner and walk through boutiques and thrift shops.

Go get em Ray.


2 people like this
Posted by Apple
a resident of Atherton: other
on Jun 9, 2016 at 4:23 pm

I believe all property lots in downtown Menlo Park are required to have adequate onsite parking for redevelopment. Most lot sizes are not that big. Perhaps Menlo Park envisions building the parking structure. Then, when downtown property owners want to redevelop without onsite parking, they will pay the city to use the parking garage to meet the parking requirements.

Property owners are now more likely to redevelop to better utilize their lot size. The city is repaid for its parking structure costs and gets a more vibrant and newer downtown, which adds to the tax base and quality of life.


7 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 9, 2016 at 6:49 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

There are lots of examples of what Menlo Park COULD do if it has the will and the courage to think in terms of a long term solution.

First, SF's Union Sq garage is a great example of a public-private partnership. In the 1930s, the Union Square Garage Corporation was formed and lobbied for permission to build the world's first underground parking structure.

"The idea of a private corporation leasing public land underneath a city park was also new. Because of this, Union Square became a test case before the California State Supreme Court, which ruled in City of San Francisco v. Linares, that the City of San Francisco had the right to lease the subsurface area to the Union Square Garage Corporation provided that the park proper was not destroyed."

"After a California Supreme Court decision, permission was granted and they broke ground on May 31, 1941."

If you look at the plaque at the Geary Street entrance to the garage you will see the names of the businessmen who led the Union Square Garage Corporation - I am proud that my grandfather, Russell Carpenter, was one of them.

Second, here is another more recent and automated underground garage:

Web Link

"Design of the facility started in January 2004 with construction starting in October 2004. The construction was completed by February 2006 (roadworks took ten months and the entire project 16 months from the start of construction). The investment for the project was €11.35m (45% on building, 30% on the parking system and 25% on other costs).

The parking system provided is a combination of two Wöhr Multipark 740 Systems which will provide 284 parking places (150 plus 134). "

Third, here is a 700 space underground garage AND surface park in Brooklyn:

"After renewing efforts three years ago, the city has finally struck a deal with the Willoughby Operating Company for the joint park and garage project. The Willoughby Operating Company, an affiliate of the American Development Group, will lease the city-owned land. It will use $6 million from city capital, the city's Economic Development Corporation and private contributions from surrounding developers to construct the park.

The Willoughby Operating Company has also agreed to pay for any cost overruns and to finance the excavation and development of the garage. It hired Automotion Parking Systems, which has a principal in common with the American Development Group, to build and run the garage."


Web Link&

The only thing stopping Menlo Park from doing something equally attractive and exciting is a lack of imagination.

One would think that Menlo Park in Silicon Valley in 2014 could catch up with what was done in San Fransisco in 1941, Munich in 2004 and in 2013 in Brooklyn.


25 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jun 9, 2016 at 7:45 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

"One would think that Menlo Park in Silicon Valley in 2014 could catch up with what was done in San Fransisco in 1941, Munich in 2004 and in 2013 in Brooklyn."

One would think. But no, the "no birds" will be against it because it's not in keeping with our "village character." Never mind "village character" is nonsense and the majority of people in this city (yes, CITY) want to move it forward into the 21st century. (Measure M's defeat settled that.) And our leaders don't have the intestinal fortitude to tell the "no birds" to go pound sand.

It is clearly possible to get a garage built without it costing taxpayers a boat load of money. Will our leaders step up and go forward or remain frozen in the past?


10 people like this
Posted by Leave it to Beaver
a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on Jun 9, 2016 at 8:30 pm

Leave it to Beaver is a registered user.

Menlo Voter. I like your term "no birds". Why do they have so much influence? Most people I know would love to bring downtown out of the 1950's, but it seems every proposal gets shot down. If we can't bring Menlo into the 21st century it would be nice to at least bring it up to the 1980's or 90's.


8 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jun 10, 2016 at 7:22 am

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

Leave it to Beaver:

the "no birds" have so much influence because they yell the loudest. They mobilize to oppose any change and those in favor of change don't really do anything. In the case of Measure M, those in favor of moving our city out of the 50's were given a simple way of expressing that desire. They resoundingly defeated the measure.

Unfortunately, because the "no birds" yell the loudest, our city council listens to them. They either assume because they don't hear from those in favor of making our city better that the "no birds" are right and do things accordingly. Or, they don't have the intestinal fortitude to tell the "no birds" to buzz off. Thus acknowledging the loud message the voters sent them when they crushed Measure M. Personally, I think it's a bit of both.


14 people like this
Posted by Cmon
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 10, 2016 at 2:34 pm

Everyone is over-thinking this issue. A parking garage is an absolute necessity to support future growth and increased density. Reducing the pressure on the insufficient parking that exits today is critical or every other decision about downtown will slow down 'because of lack of parking'. Folks, it is just a garage. We need it and should find a prudent way to build -- sooner rather than later.


9 people like this
Posted by JudyC
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Jun 10, 2016 at 3:12 pm

To the poster who hasn't seen bikes at the new bike racks on Santa Cruz:
Today at 1pm when I was there, the rack outside of Starbucks was full full full! Two bikes attached to each rack, and one stand-alone with its own bike stand.
Yesterday, same thing, different time (later in the afternoon). Full bike racks.
Thank you MP for putting in these protected bike racks!


3 people like this
Posted by Robert Cronin
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Jun 10, 2016 at 10:33 pm

I may be wrong, but it seems to me that Menlo Park's downtown is not a major regional shopping destination, so I am always a little surprised and disappointed to see so many parked cars and motorists cruising slowly around looking for a parking place. I assume that most of these folks are Menlo Park residents who live less than three miles from downtown. Why not ride your bike? It's fun and good for your health and the health of the community. If more shoppers cycled to downtown, the demand for an expensive parking garage would absolutely go away.


1 person likes this
Posted by dana hendrickson
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 11, 2016 at 8:05 am

"Building a parking structure in Menlo Park could cost from $4.6 million for a two-level garage to $9.3 million for a four-level garage, said commercial real estate consultants Alyce Rados and John Robbins during a City Council study session June 7."

This statement is not useful without info about the number of ADDITIONAL new parking spaces that would be provided with either scenario. Also, what are the estimated annual operating and maintenance costs?

When a two-level garage is built on an existing parking plaza only ONE level of new parking is created and spaces are needed for ramps and stairways between parking levels. For example, the Specific Plan recommends a 250-space parking structure for Plaza 2 and this would add only NET 155 spaces to the downtown parking inventory because 95 existing spaces would be replaced. At an average cost of $35,000 a space the structure would cost about $8.8M or $56,000 per additional space.

Menlo Park needs to start by estimating how may downtown parking spaces it will be needed over the next 15 to 25 years for (a) worker daily permits and (b) short-term parking and then estimate the cost of alternative solutions including ones that DO NOT include a parking structure. Menlo park could add a significant number of short-term parking spaces WITHOUT building a parking structure and several alternatives are described on Re-Imagine Menlo Park at Web Link.

Other concerns: what sources of non-resident funding can REALISTICALLY be expected? What would be the parking fee strategy for permit and short term parking? The construction of a parking structure would be highly disruptive of downtown travel and businesses. So is this "cost" acceptable?

These BIG questions should be addressed BEFORE the CITY spends significant time and money on detailed project studies and planning for a downtown parking structure as neither the need nor economic viability has been established.


14 people like this
Posted by Cmon
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 11, 2016 at 7:19 pm

Classic overthinking. The facts are as follows:

1) downtown has lost it vibrancy and businesses generally avoid the Santa Cruz corridor. Demand would be there but our residents shop, and park, elsewhere.

2) Population will increase. Every house that gets demolished is replaced by one of twice the size -- larger families. Multi family on the rise as well. Condo Developments.

3) Businesses will evolve to serve the larger population but will be constrained by lack of parking.

4) It is just math and the math will get worse.

5) Yes, it is costly. but, there is absolutely no path forward other than to add a garage of some size. We are not all going to ride bikes, take shuttles, or ride in Elon Musk's hovercraft.

6) Spend the time considering the trade-offs that need to be managed with the assumption that the garage must be built.

7) It is reality, not theory.


3 people like this
Posted by dana henrickson
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 11, 2016 at 7:28 pm

Cmon.

Common sense =>

1. Establish needs => how many parking spaces are needed.
2. Determine if parking structure is best available alternative (there are several alternatives)
3. Identify the trade-offs.
3. Figure out which alternatives are affordable.
4. Pick the best one.

Over-thinking? No.

Just sound decision-making.

Are you willing to pay your share of the cost without knowing what it is?

Hmmm.....


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Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jun 11, 2016 at 7:50 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

Dana:

how about letting a for profit company put a garage in? They will determine if there is a need or other alternatives as a part of analyzing whether it would be a good investment. The city should examine issuing RFP's for a private garage. If it won't be profitable, for profit companies won't do it. I suspect there's a profit to be made there. Especially when you consider the number of people paying Duckys to wash there car for $30. Parking is inadequate now and will definitely be inadequate when the Stanford and other properties are built out. I'm in my 50's. I don't ride a bike and I'm not about to. In addition, many people that live here come to downtown as a part of other activities, ie running errands They don't do it on a bicycle. Lastly, if we want to attract folks from other cities they aren't going to come here on bicycles. They'll come in cars, IF there's adequate parking.


Like this comment
Posted by Cmon
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 11, 2016 at 9:09 pm


Dana: yes, analysis will need to be done to get to optimal size and you optimize cost as best possible. You can easily get to analysis paralysis. It is really just the math. Good executive decision making is to understand the basic need as it relates to the growth of the area. It WILL continue to grow Dan, sorry to say. In the interim, over analyzing exactly how many spaces puts other things on hold around planning the downtown. Take the garage as a necessity and go from there. Make the decision and make it good, rather than delay endlessly to try to make the perfect decision.


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Posted by dana hendrickson
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 12, 2016 at 9:14 am

Cmon, I agree with your point that there is no need to "over-analyze" the future need for more downtown parking spaces BUT the City Council should understand and communicate its options, recommendations and reasoning so residents can either support or reject them. This includes reasonable estimates for the need for more parking - 125 spaces? 300? Today, 57% of the 1200 downtown parking plaza spaces are used by daily permit holders so short term users compete for the remaining 515 "shopper" spaces with most of the "stress" occurring mid-day during the week. Also, permits fees cost about $2/day versus $5/day at the Caltrains parking lot. Does this situation make sense? Perhaps not.

I do not oppose a parking structure but want our community to know that all reasonable solutions have been considered. The City must show that a parking structure is both the most economically viable and desirable solution before I could support building one. Other potential partial solutions include (1) Reduce the number of daily parking permits to free-up short-term parking spaces, (2) INCENT workers to use alternative forms of transportation, (3) build a satellite permit parking lot on either public or leased private and provide a shuttle service funded either by users or the city.s. A combination of these options MIGHT be a viable alternative to investing in a parking structure, especially when forecasting future parking demand is so difficult.

Re: building a parking structure, residents need to know that the City can afford one with or without other sources of funds AND the likelihood that adequate funding from other sources is a realistic expectation. For example, a private partnership might require both higher parking fees to generate an adequate ROI and a change in downtown zoning regulations. And new business partner might need to provide parking to satisfy its own needs as well as what the City wants.

Cmon, I believe none of these concerns require year-long studies as a credible top-own proposal could be created within a few months, and once the City had gained resident trust and support it could proceed with detailed planning. A parking structure WILL be a controversial subject so the City Council needs to educate itself and residents so unnecessary delays are avoided. This means the decision-process must be transparent and trustworthy, and the Council must proactively engage our residents.


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Posted by MP Resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jun 12, 2016 at 9:22 am

We are already massively over-parked compared to more successful downtown type areas such as Palo Alto and San Carlos.

Why are these downtowns successful and we are not? It's not because they have more parking (they don't), it's because they have a much more interesting mix of retail. Lousy restaurants (at least if you're under 65) plus furniture stores do not make for a downtown destination.


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Posted by dana hendrickson
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 12, 2016 at 9:26 am

Menlo Voter, I agree the CITY should know what it would take to attract potential business partners. Simply gauging interest and identifying concerns, potential obstacles, and possible solutions should NOT take a great deal of time. If preliminary discussions were to uncover a strong interest in an attractive partnership then an RFP would be a natural step. And competitive bidding would be beneficial. Thanks for the comment.


2 people like this
Posted by Dana Hendrickson
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 12, 2016 at 9:43 am

MP Resident: I agree that a lot more "short term" parking is NOT the silver bullet re: improving the vitality of Downtown Menlo Park. The City must attract a more appealing mix of businesses AND make the Santa Cruz Avenue district more inviting for residents and visitors. The 2016 outdoor dining program is a good start. Potential retail businesses are mostly concerned about the lack of "foot traffic" (potential customers) and high rents.

A successful transformation of downtown would attract more pedestrians => more vehicle traffic => more demand for short term parking. So the lack of adequate and affordable parking could be become a major obstacle.

RE: "We are already massively over-parked compared to more successful downtown type areas such as Palo Alto and San Carlos." I do not know what you mean nor why it might be a credible view.


6 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 12, 2016 at 12:33 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.
I suggest taking the two existing surface parking lots between Santa Cruz and Menlo and Evelyn and Chestnut and building an underground garage covering that entire area including under Crane. The entire surface area would be repurposed as a pedestrian and bicycle park/plaza including an area for activities like the farmers' market. An automated garage covering that area could easily accommodate 5 times or more cars than the existing lots provide. The park/plaza would encourage existing Santa Cruz businesses to open out to the park/plaza.

An RFP outlining the concept would, I predict, produce some exciting development proposals that would minimize the cost to the city in exchange for a lease to the subterranean rights.


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Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jun 12, 2016 at 1:27 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

Dana:

you're right. the city doesn't need to do much to figure out how to attract people downtown. Parking is a big piece of that. We don't have enough parking now. If we are to attract vibrant businesses and the additional people that come with them, we need more parking.


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Posted by Apple
a resident of Atherton: other
on Jun 12, 2016 at 1:37 pm

I'm sure business owners want a more vibrant downtown. Have they provided input on what the city could do to help?

Im sure MP would entertain ideas that are reasonable, especially if the city could recoup their investment through higher property and sales taxes.


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Posted by dana hendrickson
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 12, 2016 at 5:56 pm

Peter, you might be right but the City would likely need to change its downtown zoning.

Scenario 1: Additional short term public parking + increase parking fees = potential acceptable partner ROI => unknown impact on demand for parking spaces. Required parking fees might reduce MP competitiveness.

Scenario 2: Additional short term public parking + Additional partner parking => acceptable ROI BUT multi-level parking and office buildings. Would the city accept 4-6 story buildings? (Note: underground parking is much more expensive than surface parking.


2 people like this
Posted by Alice Baker
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jun 12, 2016 at 7:00 pm

A parking garage would have been a great idea in the 1960s, and probably could have been understandable even up through the 90s, but in 2016? Every single trend is working against this retro concept! Millennials are the lowest car-using generation in recent times, climate change is making us rethink how much transportation contributes in greenhouse gases, Uber is changing mobility in the short-term and driverless cars have the potential to change it drastically in the coming decades, and most immediately- congestion is already terrible in this area!

If the Council wants to spur downtown development, maybe they could let property owners pay into a fund that helps subsidize transit passes for employees? At a minimum, if they're going to build a parking garage, make sure it's something that could be converted into another use in 2030...


2 people like this
Posted by Robert Cronin
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Jun 12, 2016 at 9:24 pm

Menlo Voter: I'm in my 70s, and I never drive to downtown. I do my shopping and errands on my bike. It's easy and fun. You're missing out if you think that you have to drive a car. Of course, if you are disabled, I understand. The bicycle travel mode share in these parts is estimated at somewhere around 3-5 %. Does this mean that 95 % of the adult population is simply unable to pedal a bike? That is pathetic.


2 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jun 13, 2016 at 7:23 am

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

Robert:

I generally run all of my errands in one day. the things I have to do are scattered all over, but happen to include downtown, so a bike isn't practical. It's also not practical when you're trying to attract people from outside Menlo Park. Look to Palo Alto and Redwood City for the vitality of there down town areas. Then realize the reason they are that way is because of adequate parking. If we want MP to be anything but some sleepy little town where the sidewalks roll up at five, then we need to add parking.


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Posted by Long view
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 13, 2016 at 9:48 am

We need to take the long view of Menlo Parks future and regional growth. It is highly unlikely Menlo Park will be. Regional shopping center, but it does have a very important role to serve the residents of our community. We need restaurants, stores, personal services, places to exercise. With regional congestion, it will be increasongky difficult to get around so we should make sure these things are still available locally. Weve lost a lot already - park theater, roger Reynolds, beltramos, laundromats, restaurants, dry cleaners, dance studio.

We have entertainment now called the Guild movie theater. Can we save and enhance that?

Carpenter has interesting big ideas. Now is a great time to pursue them. Interest rates are very low. Europe undergrounds trains and parking and opens up areas for walking, biking, skating, sitting. We cater to cars too much.

@MV and LITB - cant you promote your points of view wihout calling others names, especially when you dont even know who might take what position?


3 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jun 13, 2016 at 11:27 am

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

Long view:

I only call the "no birds" the title they've earned. I've lived here over 22 years and have watched over and over and over again as the "no birds" object to every proposed change that has come down the pike simply because it is change. If they don't like the title maybe they ought to look in the mirror.


2 people like this
Posted by dana hendrickson
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 13, 2016 at 11:34 am

Long View: I agree with your belief that downtown Menlo Park will never be a regional shopping center and instead primarily focus on serving the interests of its residents. Instead, Menlo Park is a bedroom community that should aggressively strive to transform downtown into a vital center for shopping, dining and social activities.

I believe the key elements include (1) a better mix of dining and shopping experiences, (2) an attractive environment that invites residents to not only shop but sit, stroll, relax and "people watch" e.g., a permanent and beautiful well-designed parklet on Curtis instead of the unappealing temporary one, (3) outdoor dining, (4) regular small-scale entertainment events during the dry season, (5) improved bike access to popular downtown destinations, and (6) affordable, convenient parking. Together these could dramatically improve our downtown within three years and none require huge city expenditures.

Menlo Park should not try to compete with Palo Alto, Redwood City, Mountain View, Palo Alto Town & Country, and the Stanford Shopping Center by duplicating their offerings. Instead, our city should understand and acknowledge its fundamental advantages and disadvantages and develop its own unique identity. There is nothing discouraging about residents traveling to nearby cities to enjoy their offerings as these are part of the rich experience of living in Menlo Park. That said, Menlo Park could and should offer many more inviting options.


2 people like this
Posted by really?
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jun 13, 2016 at 1:57 pm

Again folks, this is really straight-forward if you look at this pragmatically. There are two parking lots with very specific property boundaries that are sites for this structure. They're both only so big, and a parking structure will fit only two ways at the most on both lots. That will quickly render a net of say 100 new spaces if only two story (up or down).

So the debate could quickly move on to 'what's the justification for x new spaces for X millions of dollars,' rather than do we need one and what's the future of Menlo Park (where we go around in circles for ages).


6 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 13, 2016 at 2:14 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"a parking structure will fit only two ways at the most on both lots. That will quickly render a net of say 100 new spaces if only two story (up or down)."

Actually if potential developers are allowed to bid on this project they may well find it economical to build 2 or 3 levels underground in order to accommodate a very profitable 2 story above ground office/retail/housing project. And if they automate the parking structure it could accommodate many more cars than the existing surface lots.

The value of putting this out as a RFP is that somebody else will pay to do the analysis and multiple bidders will be competing to present the best proposal. It is crazy to keep spending city staff time on this project when potential developers will do the economic viability work for free.


2 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jun 13, 2016 at 5:23 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

"The value of putting this out as a RFP is that somebody else will pay to do the analysis and multiple bidders will be competing to present the best proposal. It is crazy to keep spending city staff time on this project when potential developers will do the economic viability work for free."

My point exactly only you stated better than me.


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Posted by dana hendrickson
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 13, 2016 at 5:55 pm

Just some additional info: digging underground parking is of course possible BUT it becomes more expensive the deeper one goes and the risk of costly over-runs increases sharply. Why? Because geology and water table problems can increase in importance. One-level is likely NOT a problem. Additional ones can encounter them..


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Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jun 13, 2016 at 6:57 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

Dana:

you are correct, except that prior to doing a dig subsurface examination is made by geologists via test borings. Those borings will usually indicate whether or not there is subsurface water and at what level it is. They also provide information as to soil conditions that are likely to be encountered. If water is too shallow and the costs to dewater don't make the project profitable it won't be done. Subsurface water does add costs, but doesn't necessarily end a project. San Francisco has many subterranean structures that are below the water table. It just requires proper waterproofing. In my experience, this part of Menlo Park doesn't have a shallow water table.


2 people like this
Posted by dana hendrickson
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 14, 2016 at 1:11 pm

Menlo Voter: Thanks for pointing out the importance of testing subsurface conditions before a project is approved. I have requested a copy of the recent consultant report which included cost estimates for parking structures. I want to see what assumptions were made about significant considerations like subsurface environmental conditions and the architectural design of a visually appealing parking structure. I will share what I learn.


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Posted by Michael Levinson
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jun 16, 2016 at 6:13 am

Michael Levinson is a registered user.

I would *love* to see us a significant increase in the amount of downtown parking to encourage vibrancy:
- Yes to RFP! Let's tap the minds of creative developers. No one is forcing us to accept their proposals, but let's see them!
- Yes to four levels. Downtown MP is...downtown. There is absolutely no reason to limit the height to two levels just because that's the status quo
- Yes to traffic mitigation like subsidized transit passes—IN ADDITION to more parking and higher limits
- We should pair this with *eliminating* parking spots on Santa Cruz to enable much prettier pedestrian sidewalks and more outdoor seating for restaurants


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