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Pandemic recovery, housing and climate among Menlo Park City Council's top 2021 goals

Original post made on Feb 3, 2021

The Menlo Park City Council met Saturday for its annual goal-setting meeting, ironing out its top priorities for the year ahead and letting the community air its grievances and recommend which new priorities should be adopted.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, February 3, 2021, 11:51 AM

Comments (7)

Posted by Nikki Stitt Sokol
a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on Feb 3, 2021 at 12:46 pm

Nikki Stitt Sokol is a registered user.

Disappointing to not see downtown revitalization as a priority for the City. Our downtown is run down and does not serve the needs of the community. Downtown should be a top priority, including planning for a long-term redesign of the hardscaping and landscaping. It was already dated and tired when we moved here 15 years ago. If residents were polled, I'm confident downtown revitalization would be a top priority.

Posted by Alex Beltramo
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Feb 3, 2021 at 1:09 pm

Alex Beltramo is a registered user.

Quiet Zones would be major improvement to Menlo Park.

I live next to the tracks. The train horns interrupt the sleep we need to stay well. And every time the horn blares, we are denied the ability to concentrate or communicate. (The sound of the train itself is tolerable - the horn is not.)

At the meeting there was a chorus of residents pleading for train quiet zones, making up well over half the public comments. I hope that the City gives this matter the priority it deserves.

Posted by CyberVoter
a resident of Atherton: other
on Feb 3, 2021 at 2:50 pm

CyberVoter is a registered user.

I suggest that the role of local Gov't is to "Do Good", vs, "Feel Good". Of these topics, I'd focus on:
1) Getting the small, locally owned businesses in the area back to as normal as possible.
- Help them to ensure that their customers are safe & cut out the red tape
- They pay the taxes that keep the MP Gov't afloat
2) Caltrain "Quiet Area":
- Follow Atherton's lead ASAP
- If you think it is bad now - wait for the construction & High Speed Rail
- Use your political influence to finally stop the HSR & use the $ for local transit issues

Posted by Lynn
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Feb 3, 2021 at 3:41 pm

Lynn is a registered user.

I'm also disappointed that revitalizing our very tired Menlo Park (ie retail and restaurant, etc) is ONCE AGAIN, not on their agenda. The problem is only getting worse and there are more frequent discussions out there, on Nextdoor and beyond, suggesting that our Menlo Park City Council is not doing right by our community by ignoring this very important initiative. I am not sure what we need to do to get our City Council to focus on this. @Drew, Betsy, Jen, Ray, Cecilia?????

Posted by Val
a resident of Oak Knoll School
on Feb 4, 2021 at 9:15 am

Val is a registered user.

Really disappointed to see the list of "goals" for City Council. Not one member really focusing on the downtown area. It's depressing. Why isn't revealing downtown a top priority. The Council needs to ensure that the owners of empty buildings place businesses in their properties at reasonable rents. As for housing, that was the priority and now we have nothing but housing along El Camino Real and other streets. As D. Combs said -- perhaps Council isn't addressing the issues that the people of MP want addressed. Would like to see C. Taylor put the energy into downtown that she has in her own neighborhood -- then it would improve. When do we vote on the Council?

Posted by kbehroozi
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Feb 4, 2021 at 10:37 am

kbehroozi is a registered user.

1) Just because something doesn't make the goals list doesn't mean it isn't happening–e.g. there's apparently an economic development consultant working on downtown issues.

2) A ton of what our staff (and council) do is not discretionary, but mandated and/or essential. We can't just phone in the housing element. It would be malpractice to avoid dealing with implications of sea level rise. Streets need to be resurfaced, potholes filled, development permits reviewed, etc.

3) Council isn't all-powerful. They have certain levers at their disposal (e.g. zoning, parking minimum requirements, hardscape investments, etc.) but they can't just dictate to private property owners what they should charge in rent or which tenants to accept.

4) A lot of the most pressing needs of our community don't get expressed in public forums like goal setting. Folks who are just trying to get by, feed and educate their kids, pay the rent, etc. are under-represented. But they're out there. And for them, a revitalized downtown probably doesn't make it onto the top 10 list. Council represents them too.

5) Goal setting every year reminds me of trips to see Santa at the mall. It's totally normal for kids to ask Santa for a pony, and of course Santa feels some degree of pressure to make that wish come true. But for most families, a pony is not a realistic addition. Maybe they don't have space. Maybe they don't have the money. Maybe they know that their kid *thinks* a pony would be the best present but what they actually would benefit from is a bike. If kids had perfect insight into their parents' constraints and concerns, they might make more informed/reasonable asks. Lacking that understanding, they are likely to ask for the moon and be disappointed.

I recommend that citizens who are disappointed in this year's goals commit to spending the next year attending council meetings, reading budget and planning documents, etc. It will be grounding and eye-opening.

Posted by Teresa B
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Feb 5, 2021 at 7:33 pm

Teresa B is a registered user.

I agree with all the others in strongly supporting these two priorities:

1. Making the downtown a more pleasant place to shop and dine.

2. Adding train Quiet Zones through Menlo Park.

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