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Menlo Park City Council tables plan to remove parking on Middle Avenue

Original post made on Oct 24, 2022

Residents at the Menlo Park City Council meeting Oct.19 spoke out about the city's plan to remove parking on both sides of Middle Avenue, with some residents saying it was the first they'd heard of it.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, October 24, 2022, 9:13 AM

Comments (33)

Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Oct 24, 2022 at 1:01 pm

Brian is a registered user.

I find it funny that removing parking for bicycles on Middle Avenue is even being discussed, didn't the city council turn Oak Grove in to the bicycle thoroughfare a few years ago, removing parking from the street and widening bike lanes. Are we now set on turning every east-west road into a no parking bicycle route?


Posted by Menlo Cyclist
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 24, 2022 at 1:49 pm

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I don't know why Peter Olson, CEO for Peninsula Volunteers, which runs Little House at 800 Middle Ave. would even comment on the issue of parking being removed on Middle. There is a large parking lot immediately adjacent to Little House that all seniors or anyone visiting Little House, the park, playground or tennis courts, for that matter, should park in. I'm all for removing all of the parking on Middle not only from a cyclist and safety standpoint but aesthetically as well. Cars parked alongside the park playground have to back out into traffic to depart the area. Let's get rid of that parking too since it just makes the city look dumpy and is a safety problem as well. There is plenty of parking in the large lot directly adjacent to Little House and the ball park. The playground and tennis courts facing Middle are just a "stone's throw" from the parking lot too with a very nice paved sidewalk leading to both from the parking lot. Lets clean up Menlo Park and make the city look neater and safer.


Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Oct 24, 2022 at 2:36 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

As long as the council tries to nibble away at this issue one block at a time it will fail to make bicycle travel in Menlo Park a more attractive model than driving.

Almost 50 years ago Stanford attacked this problem from the top down by first articulating "a parking and transportation policy giving first priority in planning, design, regulations, and expenditures to facilitation of pedestrian and bicycle travel; second priority to group transit and the lowest priority to private motor vehicle travel." Once Stanford adopted that basic policy its investment in bike paths, the exclusion of motor vehicles from the central campus and the operation of the Marguerite and many other innovations easily followed.

Menlo Park would be well advised to learn from Stanford's almost half century of progress on this issue.


Posted by Stuart Soffer
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Oct 24, 2022 at 2:36 pm

Stuart Soffer is a registered user.

Good for Drew Combs. I walked that neighborhood with Peter Ohtaki yesterday, and sometimes have to drive over a ad-hoc street hump - the sharp one.

We don't need acolytes on the council.




Posted by Observer
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 24, 2022 at 2:59 pm

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With a new stop sign at San Mateo Dr let's make sure the police make sure every bicyclist who runs it is ticketed and with the same penalties as a car driver.


Posted by Dawn1234
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Oct 24, 2022 at 3:30 pm

Dawn1234 is a registered user.

Such a disappointing outcome.


Posted by kbehroozi
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Oct 24, 2022 at 3:37 pm

kbehroozi is a registered user.

@Stu, Peter Ohtaki expressly championed the idea of Middle Avenue bike lanes during his last State of the City speech in 2018.

Since then, staff and council members have done an almost unprecedented amount of outreach for this project – a 600-person survey, including 60 responses from Middle Ave residents – multiple on-site and Zoom outreach events that were well-attended – and yes, meetings with staff at both New Community Church and Little House.

It's too bad that a city notification oversight resulted in this project being delayed. And this delay will cost us. My understanding is that Stanford would have been on the hook for not just paying but also constructing all the changes between ECR and University (as part of their development agreement). Now Stanford will pay the construction costs but our staff will need to design and implement the plans, which will in turn pull them away from other vital projects. What a missed opportunity.

I do agree that we need a real solution for the 5-12 Middle Ave apartment dwellers who currently depend on on-street parking permits.

But when it comes to the single-family homes, I'd be curious about how many of them are using their garages (mandated by the city) for cars. I have noticed that many residents with garages still seem store their personal vehicles in their driveways and depend on on-street parking for guests and gardeners – often at the expense of people walking and biking. If residents started storing the contents of their garages (weightlifting equipment, ski gear, etc.) in the public right-of-way – or having curb-side band practices, requiring pedestrians and cyclists to swerve into traffic at sporadic intervals, folks would complain. But in effect the impact is the same. The city requires off-street covered parking spaces for a reason. If people choose to disregard the city's planning for personal vehicular storage, that's fine. But I don't think they should be granted veto power over bike lanes and sidewalks.


Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Oct 24, 2022 at 4:55 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

A publicly owned right of way should be used ONLY as a public right of way. Any road or sidewalk built and maintained by the city should be reserved for public use and each exception such as for outdoor dining should be as a result of a council approved permit after public hearing.The public should not be providing private parking spaces located in the public right of way.


Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Oct 24, 2022 at 9:36 pm

Brian is a registered user.

Street parking is a necessity for many. If you have guests where should they park. How about you need a plumber to fix a problem or some other service, do you expect them to park several blocks away and haul their equipment? Kink of a ridiculous ask. Imagine if there was no street parking around you, how would you deal with it? Now ask if it is fair to stop the residents on Middle from having parking on their street?


Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Oct 24, 2022 at 9:41 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Now ask if it is fair to stop the residents on Middle from having parking on their street?"


It is not their street, it is a public right of way. If they are not moving then they have no right to be on that public right of way. It is not a public parking way.


Posted by Observer
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 24, 2022 at 10:41 pm

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Peter by your thinking every street everywhere is a public right of way which should not allow any parking or parklets. Thus all street parking permits for high density housing and legit disabled parking should be prohibited. All retail street parking should be prohibited too per your interpretation of streets. Thus all street parking and stopping should be prohibited on Stonepine, Forest and Buckthorne. No parking for plumbers, pool maintenance, Ubers, gardeners, food delivery, USPS, FedEx UPS, grandchildren, caregivers or crotchety senior citizens. What a lonely and stifling world you propose.


Posted by kbehroozi
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Oct 24, 2022 at 10:49 pm

kbehroozi is a registered user.

"Street parking is a necessity for many. If you have guests where should they park. How about you need a plumber to fix a problem or some other service, do you expect them to park several blocks away and haul their equipment?"

This is why we have driveways. Every single house on that street has one with at least two spaces. Many have 3-4 spaces in their driveways.


Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Oct 24, 2022 at 10:55 pm

Brian is a registered user.

Sorry, there are times when the driveway is not enough. Imagine you need to have a delivery of an appliance (maybe you were forced to convert gas to electric). Trucks don't fit in the driveway, so you tell the delivery people they can't park on the street? So much for that delivery. Listen to the residents on Middle. If the council thinks this is such a great idea maybe they should propose removing all street parking in Menlo Park and see how that goes over.


Posted by Observer
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 25, 2022 at 1:14 am

Observer is a registered user.

Kbehroozi
Check out 16.72.020 R district uses for parking. Houses are required to have two parking spaces only one of which is required to be in a garage. So if you only have 2 spaces for parking one of which is your garage and you have two cars owned by two work at homers where do expect everyone to park? At your place?


Posted by Stuart Soffer
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Oct 25, 2022 at 3:04 am

Stuart Soffer is a registered user.

Katie, Do you have a reference for this?

"how many of them are using their garages (mandated by the city) for cars"


Posted by Stuart Soffer
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Oct 25, 2022 at 3:06 am

Stuart Soffer is a registered user.

Katie...
I recall the rule is that there is no 'overnight street parking', but that's not the same as mandating using garages.


Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 25, 2022 at 7:19 am

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

Here we go again. The save the world folks are going to screw up parking for people on Middle because they want to "encourage" bicycle use. How about this? How about we let people MAKE THEIR OWN DAMN DECISION as to whether they want to ride a bike or not? If they want to ride a bike they do, if not they don't. If you think eliminating cars from Middle is going to somehow encourage people to use Middle for bicycling, you should think again.

As someone already mentioned, the city zoning requirements may require two spaces per home, but one is in a garage and one in the driveway. Two people at home, both cars on the property, where do their visitors park? Where do deliveries, repair people and a thousand other people that may need to park on the street to service the homes that already have two vehicles parked on site park?

This whole thing reeks of San Francisco's obnoxious "war on cars". Everyone is "supposed to" ride bikes, walk or use public transit. It doesn't work there and they have ten times the density and a much better public transit system. How do you folks trying to save the world honestly think it's going to work here?


Posted by Dagwood
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 25, 2022 at 10:38 am

Dagwood is a registered user.

On Middle biking - Bay Laurel and Oak are close to Middle and a preferred route to / from Oak Knoll, and the entire area north of Olive and east of Middle, all the way to ECR. It’s hard to justify taking away all the parking on the east side. In addition, no Middle Ave parking Sunday for the New Community Church sends ~50 cars (city count) to Allied Arts. Why is that a good idea? The city was alerted to the NCC parking situation in March but did not check it out until recent weeks, and there still is no plan.


Posted by kbehroozi
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Oct 25, 2022 at 10:54 am

kbehroozi is a registered user.

No Stu, I don't think people are required to park in their garages, but they are required to have them, and those garages are meant to be the first line of defense for home vehicle storage. It takes a certain level of chutzpah to decide that because your garage has been turned into a rec room for your kids and their nanny needs to park SOMEWHERE, you should block reliable bike and ped infrastructure for other people's kids on public streets. That was my point.

I think removing two sides of parking may be too ambitious, given some of the contraints around the church and the apartments. That said, staff did a driveway/garage inventory and concluded that there was sufficient off-street parking on much of Middle. 60 Middle Ave residents voted in the survey and a majority agreed that removing at least one side of parking would be a reasonable trade-off. And we've done versions of this on Santa Cruz, Oak Grove, Laurel, Willow, etc. and the Menlo Park gates are still standing.

re: preferred routes to various schools, there's a much larger use case for bike lanes and sidewalks on arterials/collector streets. Stanford housing will soon open up and a lot of those junior faculty are likely to bike to work using Middle Ave up to San Mateo. When the undercrossing opens, it gives kids from the Willows and Vintage Oaks and Linfield Oaks and other areas an alternative route to the tennis courts at Nealon, as well as Hillview. (and vice versa – people from Allied Arts and Stanford Oaks have an alternative route to the Burgess Complex.)


Posted by JH
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 25, 2022 at 3:04 pm

JH is a registered user.

I think it's fair to pause if indeed residents on Middle had little or no notice. When it is reconsidered, I'd strongly recommend considering the more narrow option of no parking during school transit hours -- morning and afternoon.
That is less of an imposition and will surely help to mitigate the risks when kids riding bikes and drivers are rushing to/from school and work are on the road at the same time. If you spend time on Middle during these hours, you know what I mean. I believe that should be discussed soon, as a separate matter from the broader proposal to limit parking altogether.


Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Oct 25, 2022 at 5:06 pm

Brian is a registered user.

Stu,

It sounds like what they are saying is that you are not allowed to have friends or associates if you don't have parking in your driveway for them. I guess if you want to have friends or associates or get services of any sort you really need to buy a bigger house with more parking on your property. Maybe we should tell the residents of Middle that instead of having a front yard they should pave it over and paint parking spots? Let's take this lunacy a little farther.

"It is not their street, it is a public right of way. If they are not moving then they have no right to be on that public right of way. It is not a public parking way."

Well that would mean that residents have no right to put garage cans out on the curb since they are not moving. Let's make sure that is illegal as well. Also city vehicles doing things like Tree trimming should also be banned from stopping on the street, they would be blocking the right of way after all. And if they think doing this to Middle Ave. is OK then why not do it for every street in the city? No one in Menlo Park needs to have any guests or allow service or delivery vehicles to stop on the street, right? I am sure none of the people pushing for this have people come by and park on the street to visit, right?

Can someone with the mentality that this is OK explain to me why it is also OK to block the "Public right of way" with pop-up parks and restaurant dining areas on Santa Cruz Ave. and other streets that are publicly owned?


Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Oct 25, 2022 at 5:11 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.



"Can someone with the mentality that this is OK explain to me why it is also OK to block the "Public right of way" with pop-up parks and restaurant dining areas on Santa Cruz Ave. and other streets that are publicly owned?"

Explained above - please read what I posted:
Any road or sidewalk built and maintained by the city should be reserved for public use and each exception such as for outdoor dining should be as a result of a council approved permit after public hearing.


Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 25, 2022 at 5:53 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

Peter:

The city street is available for public parking. As are most streets in MP. That is a public use, whether you live on the street or not.


Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Oct 26, 2022 at 3:50 pm

Brian is a registered user.

Menlo Voter,

Exactly. Street parking is not reserved for the home owners that happens to reside at that address, it is public parking for any resident or non-resident to use as they need. The argument to not allow any parking on the street is idiotic at best and the consequences of such would be ridiculous, as I stated above. Again I challenge the city council to propose making street parking illegal on all Menlo Park streets in the way they want to do over the objections of those on Middle Ave. If it is good for Middle, why not the rest of the city. Then we can watch the mayhem ensue.


Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Oct 27, 2022 at 12:44 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Having reflected on the comments posted above I have changed my position.

Every MP Public Right of Way/Road should give equal access to pedestrians. bicyclists and motorists and no one use should impede any of the others. This would mean no car/truck parking that blocked sidewalks or bike lanes - otherwise they can park wherever they want.


Posted by Dawn1234
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Oct 28, 2022 at 2:41 pm

Dawn1234 is a registered user.

As a pretty daily user of Middle Ave for bike commuting, I was very disappointed in the inaction taken by council. I participated in several community outreach events, so I know they happened, and that they were advertised.
Public right of way gets to be used in the best way the community who funds it decides it needs to be used. The pushback on making a major safe route to school actually safe is a bit astounding.
I'm a long time resident of MP and I live on a street with no street parking. Amazon gets my packages to me no problem. Washer/Dryer? No problem. We've all seen that they park with their hazards on, do what they need to do and leave. No unpredictable door opening, not parked there all day. So, that silly issue is done.
Also, we are in a climate crisis, so if you aren't trying to help, you're doing it wrong. Our young people are suffering from climate anxiety because it seems previous generations have left them a world on fire. No one is making you do anything, except telling you that the public right of way is going to change to accommodate increasing numbers of bikers. We would have more bikers if we hade safer roads.
The believe that your parking needs entitle you to a publicly funded space heavily used by kids on bikes is, well, entitled. I've seen efforts to compromise from bike safety advocates. I've not seen nearly as much effort from the folks hoarding public right of way for sporadic parking.

And sporadic parking means kids have to ride out in the road with traffic again and again and again. Each time an opportunity for a problem.

I'm super disappointed that a town with so many smart people are so entrenched in nothing changing for them, regardless of who it hurts. Middle Ave can easily give up one side of the street for parking in order for safer bike lanes. It is what reasonable people might choose to compromise on.


Posted by Robert Cronin
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Oct 31, 2022 at 4:54 pm

Robert Cronin is a registered user.

According to the vehicle code, CVC 21202 allows cyclists to use the entire lane when that lane is of substandard width, that is, too narrow for cars and bikes to share side by side. With parking allowed, Middle Ave is of substandard width. It should have shared lane markings (also known as "sharrows"), and parking advocates should not be allowed to complain if their speedy progress is impeded by cyclists exercising their legal right to use the road.


Posted by Michael
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Nov 2, 2022 at 8:06 pm

Michael is a registered user.

@MenloVoter There is a concept called induced demand. The more infrastructure you build for a given mode encourages that mode. If you make the desired mode the most convenient choice it reinforces itself. Everyone driving a stupid car in North America is the bill of goods we’ve been programmed for, like Stockholm Syndrome. I have 3 cars, a motorcycle and 3 bikes. I’ve happily joined the #waroncars, come join us ;)


Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 3, 2022 at 7:34 am

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

Michael:

not a chance. There are many of us that need a car or truck for work. Not to mention I actually like driving. Never have liked riding a bike.

Your claim of induced demand would only have meaning if they were talking about increasing parking on Middle, not simply maintaining what's there.


Posted by kbehroozi
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Nov 3, 2022 at 9:23 am

kbehroozi is a registered user.

I would pay money to see Menlo Voter riding around on whatever the bike equivalent of a contractor's truck is. It might actually need to be a trike.

More seriously, I agree that not everyone can ride a bike (and not everyone wants to). But not everyone can drive, and some of those people walk and bike to get around. And there are other people who *would* bike if they had dedicated facilities, and those folks currently drive. Rededicating parking space to vehicular throughput on Middle Avenue (by essentially ADDING a lane on each side) is a good idea. We just need to ensure that there are decent alternatives for people who don't have a choice about driving and/or don't have off-street parking.


Posted by Michael
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Nov 3, 2022 at 10:40 am

Michael is a registered user.

@MenloVoter, to quote the great Jerry Reed “Well if the Lord that made the moon and stars Would have meant for me and you to have cars He'd have seen that we was all born With a parking space”. There is more than enough dedicated space for cars, we can give some up for bicycles and other modes ;) #thewaroncars


Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Nov 3, 2022 at 10:41 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Don't knock trikes - I just traded in my Tesla for an electric trike. Works well and I am discovering which parts of Menlo Park are bike friendly and which are not (like ECR).

Number 1 problem - cars parked in bike lanes!!
Number 2 problem - unprotected left turns from bike lanes - only solution is to take over the car turn lane.


Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 3, 2022 at 11:41 am

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

Michael:

nope


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