Town Square


Original post made by Concerned Citizen, Menlo Park: Downtown, on Oct 27, 2007

Did you ever park your car in downtown Menlo Park? If you have, you no doubt were in one of the Parking Plaza's that had a very limited and restrictive time frame, at one time or another. As a result, the parking maids are often times kept very busy generating tons of money for the city cauffers from those who exceed the time limit.

Is this entrapment? I don't know. Taking a closer look, one finds on ONE SIDE ONLY of the Parking Sign a message about a 2 Hour Time limit. What happens for some folks is the sign may not have been seen, or even noticed. Why? For some while doing their best to drive safely in order to dodge traffic, watching out for adults with baby carriages, bicycle riders and others the sign is missed altogether.

When you get out of your car, have you noticed that there is NO REMINDER. The back side of the sign could easily provide that reminder. Is it there? Of course not. Are there steel poles with reminders? None seen anywhere. Is this entrapment? You decide.

Looking to the south, we find that the City of Palo Alto has almost gone overboard in notifying drivers of the time limits. There are not only many signs, but they are often times COLOR CODED. Nice system if you ask me.

Looking to the north, we find that the City of Redwood City has signs all over the place. Are there similar signs in Menlo Park? Nope! At your convenience, take a look at San Carlos, San Mateo, Belmont and other cities. This makes for an interesting comparison to Menlo Park.

Is this entrapment? I don't know, but it seems in meeting some sort of MINIMUM standard for signage to satisfy State or Court requirements, they have left SHOPPERS, VISTORS, VENDORS and others with a big, fat, unwanted TICKET OR CITATION to help them remember was a swell time they had while coming to our DOWNTOWN area.

With the Holiday Season coming, can anything be done? I don't know. Your suggestions, comments and ideas are welcome. I suspect the downtown parking issue could use some feedback.


Like this comment
Posted by Concerned Citizen
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Nov 2, 2007 at 6:51 pm

Allow me to add one more observation about the Menlo Park downtown parking. The observation has to do with the ONE HOUR parking on the street in many, many locations. Does this seem a at all confining to anyone?

Many years ago, there was a overall plan for downtown parking. Over the years, some tweaking and fine tuning took place, now leaving a much different situation. Perhaps the downtown parking issue needs to be revisited.

With the Holidays fast approaching, it would be nice to be able to shop and have a relaxed meal that may take longer than a very short ONE HOUR. As some people say, "Time flies when you are having a good time" -- or spending money while shopping for Christmas gifts.

Some say that a Three Hour Limit should be considered. Interesting that at CITY HALL, there is a FOUR HOUR limit in some of the Civic Center parking lots. Why?

Some people have proposed PARKING METERS downtown. Would that help? It seems true in many, many other cities, but apparently has not been a popular notion in Menlo Park.

What is the Chamber of Commerce's position? What is the Downtown Merchant's position? What did the City Council have to say about this the last time they reviewed this issue? What is Staff's recommendation?

Lot's of questions. Perhaps with the new Downtown Visioning process underway an answer or two will be discussed. The question is, can this issue wait six months or more for the visioning process to occur?

Like this comment
Posted by Concerned Citizen
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Nov 12, 2007 at 9:37 pm

While we are at it, does anyone feel the "one" hour parking restriction downtown is fair? To me, an hour goes by very quickly. Whoever thought an hour helped the consumer was mistaken. It only helps the cops and the city raise potentially enormous amounts of money. Does an hour encourage Christmas shopping? Does an hour encourage a relaxed, leisurely lunch? Do business meetings only take an hour? How did this "one" hour thing every get started in the first place. To me it is unreasonable, and all one hour signs should be changed to at least two hours. Even two hours may be too restrictive for some, but as a compromise, I would think two hours works better than one hour. I wonder if statistics are available, that is 1) how many tickets are issued in one hour zones versus 2) the number of tickets issued in two hour zones. It's interesting to note that city hall takes care of itself with a "Four" hour time limit at the library. Maybe that is for people who are slow readers.

Like this comment
Posted by short term parker
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Nov 13, 2007 at 8:25 am

There are plenty of people who come downtown to pick up a prescription (with a sick child in the car, even) or pick up a few emergency grocery items who will go elsewhere if they can't find a spot.

If the parking spaces are a minimum 2 hours, they will increasingly be used by employees playing musical chairs, thereby leaving almost no space at all for shoppers. Not all of us have time for a leisurely lunch.