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Comments regarding the DEIR for the Facebook Expansion Project

From: domainremoved <Jim>
Date: Mon, 11 Jul 2016 16:17:46 -0700

July 11, 2016

SUBJECT: Facebook Expansion Project DEIR, State Clearinghouse No. 2015062056

Dear City of Menlo Park,

Please accept these comments regarding the DEIR for the Facebook
Expansion Project.

The Facebook campus expansion DEIR is inadequate because it fails to
adequately analyze and propose mitigation for the proposed
development’s impacts on local residential neighborhood streets. The
DEIR analyses and proposes mitigations for intersections on major
arterials surrounding residential neighborhoods, but not for the local
residential neighborhood intersections and streets.

The Facebook campus expansion will cause impacts to many local
residential neighborhood intersections and streets in Menlo Park, East
Palo Alto, Palo Alto, Redwood City and Atherton.

There are many local residential neighborhood streets impacted by
overflow cut-through traffic. The DEIR acknowledges that traffic now
seeks routes with the fastest travel times rather than staying on
congested arterials by utilizing mobile phone applications such as
WAZE or Google Maps. However, it fails to analyze and propose
mitigations for impacts on the many local residential neighborhood
streets caused by the combination of mobile phone traffic congestion
routing applications and the additional traffic generated by the
proposed Facebook campus expansion.

Two specific examples of this general problem are the Menlo Park
Willows and Palo Alto Crescent Park neighborhoods. The Menlo Park
Willows neighborhood is surrounded by 4 major arterials – traffic
already diverts onto Menlo Park Willows residential streets when
University Avenue & Willow Road become gridlocked. The Palo Alto
Crescent Park neighborhood is bisected by University Avenue arterials
– traffic already diverts onto Palo Alto Crescent Park residential
streets when University Avenue becomes gridlocked. The Menlo Park
Willows and Palo Alto Crescent Park neighborhoods experience more
impacts in the PM commute when DEIR intersection #57 is clearly
operating at absolute maximum capacity during the PM. Any additional
traffic congestion caused by the Facebook campus expansion will just
cause longer and longer backups onto these local residential
neighborhood streets.

The DEIR is inadequate because the maps and traffic analysis do not
account for the local residential streets in the Willows neighborhood
as being connected – however, they are connected and our local
residential streets are more and more being used to avoid gridlocked
arterials.

First example of impacts not analyzed, disclosed or mitigated: many
weekday PM peaks (when University Avenue toward Facebook is
gridlocked) mobile phone applications such as WAZE or Google Maps
suggest that traffic cut through residential neighborhood streets with
routes including Palo Alto Avenue or Guinda Street or Seneca Street or
Hale Street or Chaucer Street, crossing the Pope-Chaucer Bridge,
turning right onto Woodland Avenue in Menlo Park and then toward the
University Avenue – Woodland Avenue intersection (DEIR intersection
#57). When seasonal traffic is above the annual average, traffic then
backs up onto Woodland Avenue at the University Avenue – Woodland
Avenue intersection (DEIR intersection #57) for up to ½ mile, blocking
access to Menlo Park residents wishing to access their homes on
Woodland Ave., Oak Court and Emma Lane. This backup into Menlo Park
residential streets has been observed to last for over an hour on many
days. The DEIR is inadequate because it does not analyze, disclose or
mitigate the long backups have been reported on Woodland Avenue
towards University Avenue and DEIR intersection #57.

A second example of impacts not analyzed, disclosed or mitigated: many
weekday PM peaks (when University Avenue towards DEIR intersection #57
and Facebook is gridlocked) mobile phone applications such as WAZE or
Google Maps suggest that traffic cut through residential neighborhood
streets with routes including Guinda Street or Seneca Street or Hale
Street or Chaucer Street, onto residential Hamilton Avenue and then
via West Crescent or Center Drive or East Crescent Drive towards
University Avenue and the University Avenue – Woodland Avenue
intersection - DEIR intersection #57. The DEIR is inadequate because
it does not analyze, disclose or mitigate the long backups have been
reported on West Crescent or Center Drive or East Crescent Drive
towards University Avenue.

A third example of impacts not analyzed, disclosed or mitigated: many
weekday PM peaks (when University Avenue towards DEIR intersection #57
and Facebook is gridlocked) mobile phone applications such as WAZE or
Google Maps suggest that traffic cut through residential neighborhood
streets with routes including Guinda Street or Seneca Street or Hale
Street or Chaucer Street, onto residential Hamilton Avenue and then
via Southwood Drive or Island Drive or Newell Road, across the Newell
Street Bridge (which the DEIR does not acknowledge exists or point out
is schedule to be enlarged, making this route even more attractive)
then left onto Woodland Avenue in East Palo Alto towards University
Avenue and the University Avenue – Woodland Avenue intersection -
DEIR intersection #57. The DEIR is inadequate because it does not
analyze, disclose or mitigate the impacts of this residential
neighborhood cut-through traffic and the long backups in East Palo
Alto caused by traffic attracted by the widened Newell Street Bridge.

The three examples above are illustrative of the neighborhood
cut-through traffic and the long backups problems occurring in many
residential neighborhoods in Menlo Park, East Palo Alto, Palo Alto,
Redwood City and Atherton. The DEIR is inadequate because it does not
report the length of the traffic backups, which cause major impacts
and lack of local circulation for these neighborhoods.

The DEIR is inadequate because it does not appear to use traffic
counts from local residential neighborhood intersections and streets.
On Woodland Avenue between Menalto and Euclid, traffic counting
cameras have documented many days with over 400 cars per hour in peak
periods and over 600 vehicles per hour on particularly impacted days.
The traffic counts used in the DEIR for Woodland Avenue at
intersection #57, are significantly less than the counts documented on
Woodland Avenue between Menalto and Euclid. Since intersection #57
must also include the substantial traffic generated by the University
Circle offices and hotel, the baseline traffic counts used for
intersection #57 are highly questionable. Traffic counts for Woodland
Avenue between University and Manhattan were conducted by the City of
East Palo Alto this spring. Although counts on Woodland Avenue between
Menalto and Euclid prove that East Palo counts were not collected on a
heavy traffic week, these most recent official counts should be
incorporated.

I request the final EIR include full analysis and suggested
mitigations for cut through traffic in residential neighborhoods,
specifically the Willows and more even specifically local residential
neighborhood intersections and streets in Menlo Park, East Palo Alto,
Palo Alto, Redwood City and Atherton potentially used by vehicles to
save time by avoiding the congested arterials.

Warm regards,

Jim Wiley

1200 Woodland Ave
Menlo Park, CA 94025
Received on Mon Jul 11 2016 - 16:24:14 PDT

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