Town Square

Tunnel Vision

Original post made by Carla, Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks, on Sep 30, 2008

Steve Schmidt's Guest Opinion (9/30) highlights, yet again, his vision for a tunnel, and his vision only. At the moment, there is little opposition to evaluating a tunnel at the Middle Ave. location. Finally, Schmidt's pet project isn't creating a stir, yet he is still unhappy. Wasn't the ultimate goal to provide better access to Burgess park and safer way to cross El Camino for children biking to school and/or cross town? Oh, I forgot. That's not it. The ultimate goal was to have better access to Sand Hill Rd. for the avid biking community, of which Schmidt is a member (thus the Willow/Cambridge connection Schmidt suggests).

I find it even more interesting that Schmidt is calling for more evaluation and research. Isn't that exactly what the Linfield Oaks neighborhood asked for, to begin with? The location Schmidt suggests is rife with problems, and our neighborhood continually asked to show research and data to support that location, yet received very little data in return. To review some of the issues with Willow/Cambridge:

~ Duplicative with the Alma St. Bridge (to Palo Alto and, yes, Sand Hill Rd.);
~ Would require eminent domain of private land between railroad tracks and El Camino;
~ Tunnel connects commercial to residential (most tunnels connect commercial to commercial, i.e. Homer, University, Ralston, etc..);
~ For bikers, the path would put you right onto El Camino where there are no bike paths;
~ In the past, the Stanford Park Hotel (main business affected) did not support the project;
~ Some residents were concerned with a steep increase in all-day parking on Alma (employees of El Camino businesses).

These are just a few highlights. To be clear, I do not speak for my neighborhood, but my personal opinion is that 1) in these times, do we have the money to even consider a tunnel when our school district is taking a loss (due to Lehman's collapse) from county funds, and I'm sure the trickle down effect will impact local funding of many projects/bonds/measures; and 2) if the money earmarked for this project (Measure A, I believe) is still intact, might that be reallocated to more needy items?; and 3) if economics truly bear out to move forward with this project, then a location that makes sense for the entire Menlo Park community, not just the biking community, is worthy of serious evaluation.

While Schmidt accuses the current council of only conducting a beauty contest so far, perhaps it's because it not worth considering putting lipstick on a pig.

Carla Posthauer
481 Claremont Way
Menlo Park