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Re: My Menlo (Now and Next Generation)

From: domainremoved <Kirsten>
Date: Fri, 2 Sep 2016 17:05:49 -0700

Hi Erin,

Thank you for your email. There is a lot going on in Menlo Park. One way to
engage is to check out the different types of commissions and meetings
going on and see what you are interested in. I look forward to meeting you.

Best regards,

On Friday, September 2, 2016, Erin Cooke <erinmcooke_at_(domainremoved)

> Good afternoon esteemed Council Members and our City Manager -
> I'm writing to share both complements of your staff/our City but also a
> few questions on how to get better engaged to help usher in a new, greater
> Menlo that I see pieces, but impermanence, of in our community.
> Our family was lucky enough to find/buy a (wildly tiny) home in your
> community (Allied Arts) last year. We've been busy with minor upgrades
> since welcoming our 2nd kiddo so haven't engaged a great deal with the City
> just yet. Our recent trips to City Hall (planning department - garage
> demolition), visits from Code Enforcement (redwood tree - Eleanor by the
> way, amazing!), and/or trips to the library make us ever so grateful to
> have landed here for the long term (I'm convinced our 700 sq.ft. house will
> be *perfect* for retirement). Your staff have been friendly, helpful,
> courteous and all around great representatives for our City and I'm a firm
> believer in sharing accolades vs. critiques, as they deserve just as much
> time/emphasis.
> We live across the street from teamLab and it's so wildly cool. When we
> first moved into town, from SF by way of Palo Alto and Boston, we were so
> disappointed by the "gateway" to our community via this "grand boulevard"
> that seems more route 66ish circa 1960 in Menlo. It's such a disconnect -
> this arterial being so maintained by Palo Alto, and even modestly in
> Redwood City. You cross our boundary and it's abandoned car dealerships,
> restaurants that may never open (Chum Ya what? BBC has literally be under
> construction our entire time here). For me it's a reflection of our civic
> pride - how can "this" be our "welcome" sign? With investment in our
> downtown, adorable little parklets popping up, is there no "take back"
> strategy for our main drag?
> I recognize that these parcels are owned by unique developers who have
> likely been delayed due to funding post-recession and now, via folks in the
> community conflicted by change. Traffic, congestion, burdens on our
> schools all roadblocks, referenced by some, for evolving our community.
> But I am confident that we have amazing visionary leadership and planners
> that can help with this transformation - as I'm seeing with teamLab - let's
> try more pop-ups, more greenery, more parks, greater active mobility
> options that can mitigate traffic, technology solutions that let civil
> society interface with these options - let them design, choose, ideate -
> let's not let the university town neighbor beat us here. We are just as
> good as Palo Alto but for some reason we don't have the infrastructure,
> aesthetic, businesses to prove it.
> So how do we do better? You tell me - how can we engage? We the current
> generation of Menlo-ians (so new I don't even know what to call "us" yet)
> want more from our town and we know that requires us to get involved. I'm
> a working mama with two kiddos so make it easy for me so that the
> collective "voice" of our city isn't the same 7 people that show up to
> council meetings.Our town is a composition of so many, retirees, families,
> youth. Menlo is about families, about quality of life, about
> opportunities, about more for our kiddos, and hopefully a little bit of fun
> (please, please more than 1 bar downtown!). I don't want to shop in Palo
> Alto, I don't want to eat in Palo Alto - I want my Friday night bike ride
> to be to a restaurant in Menlo that's not a Left Bank, where my kids can
> roam free, where I can be less buttoned up after a long day, and ride home
> safely via our "grand boulevard" that screams - welcome to Menlo isn't this
> place awesome!
> I'm a government gal myself, so I'm not looking for a long-winded answer,
> despite this long- winded email :) - please save your staff time. Just tell
> me what meetings to attend or where to send my words. I will show up, but I
> can't always before my 3yo goes to bed (can you help with that too?). I'm
> most interested in our downtown and el camino's transition to something
> great. Got the M-2 postcard and am hopeful that can be a reflection of what
> folks living adjacent to FB want for that area (but also maybe some
> community benefits funding to ensure that we're putting in great bikeways
> to/from that areas and corridors that connect with downtown to get them to
> these services/$ - maybe a shuttle?).
> Thank you for reading and considering these comments and for all you to to
> build a better Menlo - I see it - it's emergent - and I'm hopeful it will
> become our new normal!
> Erin Cooke
> Cambridge Avenue
Received on Fri Sep 02 2016 - 17:11:51 PDT

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