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Parking in Downtown Menlo Park

From: Anita & Bruce Ochieano <"Anita>
Date: Fri, 2 Dec 2016 07:45:56 -0800

Dear City Council,
     Yesterday in downtown, City crews were installing artificial Christmas
trees on 'The Playa' while other crews were laying rebar for several new
outdoor dining bulb-outs. Has the City counted the number of parking spaces
lost to these projects and to the parking bans on Santa Cruz west of
University and the yet-to-be-implemented parking bans on Oak Grove?
Yesterday I walked downtown, but when I needed to drive on Tuesday, it was
difficult finding a place to park to make purchases at Walgreen's, Trader
Joe's, and Penzeys.

     My next stop after seeing the activity on 'The Playa' and in the
bulb-outs was Madame Collette's where a member of the Bicycle Commission
and a member of the Transportation Commission at the next table were
discussing how to stay on the City Council's agenda. After eavesdropping a
bit, I interrupted them to ask that in their commission roles they also
consider the merchants and drivers, not just bicyclists. The commissioners
were very nice women, but converting more people to bicycles seemed to be a
main priority for them. One summarized the situation by saying that Menlo
Park has an excess demand for parking. I feel that that instead we have a
serious under-supply of parking spaces.

    The City Council should appoint Transportation Commissioners who have
realistic views of the needs of Menlo Park residents, workers, and
visitors. Most people are busy and still need their cars to run errands.
Biking does not fit into everyone's schedules or abilities. I agree that at
certain hours there are too many cars on our streets, but doing away with
parking is not the solution. Here are a few suggestions:

   - Design 'The Playa' and bulb-outs so they can be returned to parking
   during the cooler months when parking needs of shoppers are highest and
   fewer people eat outside. Late spring to early fall these spaces can be
   used by restaurants and whoever uses 'The Playa.'

   - Restore parking to Santa Cruz Avenue west of University. City
   vehicles often park in these no-parking zones. Let others use this parking
   too. The area around Saint Raymond's is especially short on parking. On
   week days when the school uses the parking lot, older parishioners must
   park far down Fremont Street to attend funerals.

   - Work with the Menlo Park City School District to restore school buses.
   The school start and stop times are the worst times for traffic, and
   parents are hesitant to put their children on SamTrans.

   - Work with Hillview School to educate students on how to use safer
   Middle Avenue to bike across town, how to always hold onto the handlebars,
   how to make sure motorists see their eyes before crossing in front of them,
   and how to ride single file. The commissioners said some of this was in
   the works although they said Middle Avenue was not a bike route (For many
   years it has had bike striping and signs designating it as a school bike
   route. It is much preferable for biking to Santa Cruz or Oak Grove.)

    I ask the Council to remember that not everyone wants or can to attend
Tuesday Council meetings, but these non-attendees still need to be
considered in your decisions. I also propose the City have a Automobile
and Parking Commission in addition to a Bicycle Commission and a
bicycle-oriented Transportation Commission. This new commission would
consider how to best get cars through Menlo Park and get shoppers into
Menlo Park stores. The Council should also recognize that the streets and
parking spaces belong to everyone. For example, when residents of a street
like Willow Road ask that their street be changed from a traditional
traffic artery to a one lane road, the Council should consider what streets
the cars driving on that street will move to.

Thank you for your consideration,

Anita Ochieano
1795 Stanford Avenue
Menlo Park
650.325.9698 <(650)%20325-9698>
Received on Fri Dec 02 2016 - 07:50:32 PST

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