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Re: My Menlo (Now and Next Generation)

From: domainremoved <Erin>
Date: Fri, 9 Sep 2016 07:46:38 -0700

Thank you for taking the time to respond. I assumed this much, and will try, when time permits to peruse the council/commission agendas that relate to smart growth and its aims to achieve a better quality of life and mitigated environmental impacts via dense transit-oriented development - a critical pathway for (re)designing our arterials like el Camino.

I am certainly Quite passionate about expanding active (and safe) transportation options in our city and am encouraged by the work of our bike and transportation committees. Hopeful the Council will consider dedicating a position to this. Palo Alto is achieving massive results/engagement/traffic mitigations through their safe routes coordination team, as is Cupertino, sadly after tragedy struck their city following the loss of a teenage bike commuter on his way to school.

Thanks again for all you do in service and support to our shared community! - Erin

Sent from my iPhone

> On Sep 2, 2016, at 5:05 PM, Kirsten Keith <kkeith_at_(domainremoved)
>
> 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,
> Kirsten
>
>> 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 09 2016 - 07:52:30 PDT

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