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What are we doing to make downtown Menlo vibrant?

From: domainremoved <Michael>
Date: Sun, 2 Aug 2015 13:54:09 -0700

Dear Planning Commission,

I have read several recent letters from residents regarding the General
Plan, including those of Patti Frye, George Fisher, and others. Lost in the
process questions and technicalities is the main point, which is in my
opinion is this:

Why don't we have a vibrant downtown? And what are we doing about it?

My personal opinion is that *we need density*. Density of residential to
support nightlife and weekends, and density of office to support the lunch
hour and weekday shopping.

The Downtown Specific Plan envisioned two and three story buildings with
housing and office over retail on Santa Cruz. But none have been developed
or even proposed. Why not? Townhouses and upstairs apartments attract young
professionals and downsizing empty nesters, both of whom would take
advantage of downtown without taxing the schools. And increasingly, such
residents take Caltrain, Uber and bicycles, which means we can afford to
relax our outdated "two parking spaces per unit" requirements.

Some fear office buildings will bring traffic, but SurveyMonkey and other
recent nearby developments show that our old assumptions about driving
habits are woefully outdated. We can add offices without dramatically
increasing car trips—and doing so would bring dramatic benefits to our
downtown.

All that said, I'm sure there are other root causes and other strategies to
address them. I would love to see the Planning Commission elevate the issue
of Santa Cruz Ave vibrancy—and specifically increasing density downtown—as
an explicit city goal.

Thank you for all your efforts.

Michael Levinson
Resident, Allied Arts
Received on Sun Aug 02 2015 - 13:52:15 PDT

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