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Aggressive Downtown Parking Enforcement

Original post made by X-Downtown Shopper, Menlo Park: Downtown, on Jul 24, 2017

With declining sales, and over 100 parking places being eliminated in the Menlo Park Downtown area, why oh why, does the city continue with a program of aggressive parking enforcement? Instead of being considered the friendly town welcoming guests, visitors, shoppers, merchants, employees and so on, they seem to be going out of their way to discourage visitors. DON'T PAY ATTENTION TO THE CITY'S WORDS, instead, "Actions Speak Louder Than Words".

Let's review and take a look at the City's recent actions, including 1) eliminating parking in their temporary paseo on Curtis Street, 2) eliminating parking for the 6-7 restaurants now using the street for customers and 3) catering to the bicyclist by converting parking to a bike lane- a lane that may seldom be used.

Consider for a moment, if "warning signs" were issued to vehicles parking over the time limit within say 15 minutes. As they say, kindness may go further than punishment. There are a number of ways that the city could HELP consumers be mindful of parking limits, but unlike many of their neighboring cities, they've chosen NOT to do it. For instance, more signs reminding people of the time limit within the Parking Plazas may be helpful, vs. a single sign at the driveway entrance. Following through by building an attractive parking garage would help.

Parking MACHINES are hard to read, hard to understand, basically confusing to many. Can they be made to be more consumer friendly? Afterall, one can drive a short distance to Stanford Shopping Center or Town and Country Village and park for FREE.

Why are there so many types of parking areas indicating 1 hour, 90 minute, 2 hour and 3 hour parking areas? This too may be confusing to some drivers.

Bottom line, wanting to encourage (and not discourage) folks coming to Menlo Park ought to be the priority. What more can be done? Perhaps ask the shop keepers. Perhaps ask the consumers. It doesn't appear to me that the city alone has all the answers.

Comments (3)

Posted by Dana Hendrickson
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 24, 2017 at 10:35 am

Excellent Post. While I believe the exchange of a small number of Santa Cruz Avenue parking spaces for street dining areas was a great trade-off and city decision, the other two moves are questionable. The closing of Curtis would make sense if this area was a beautiful and functional space with STRONG appeal for residents, but it is clearly NOT, and the city appears to have no plans to transform it into a POSITIVE community asset. I also doubt that the permanent loss of street parking on Oak Grove will be worth the inconvenience imposed on motorists, businesses, apartment owners and renters. At a minimum, motorists should be allowed to park for short periods of time during daylight hours and perhaps longer after dark. Service providers should be exempted and street parking should be allowed for the Nativity School during approved events. Hopefully the City Council will consider changing the planned parking restrictions once the bike field trial on Oak Grove is underway.

Posted by Sara
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 24, 2017 at 12:38 pm

I agree that the blockage of Curtis St. serves no good purpose.

Posted by Downtown Shopper
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jul 27, 2017 at 11:03 am

There is a certain charm about downtown Menlo Park that keeps me coming back. I like the new US flags decorating the street, the variety of shops, restaurants, banks and others. Yes, parking is a problem, but with a little patience there always seems to be a spot available. I do use the STOP WATCH function on my cell phone to help me remember when it is time to move the car. Thus, it is possible to avoid parking citiations, where it becomes a non-issue. No doubt having a parking garage would be helpful, perhaps more to permanent store owners and their employees along with office building tenants, thus, freeing up the parking lots for shoppers, consumers and others.

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