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SS1-20190507-Willow-Village-CC - 07 May 2019 Menlo Park City Council Comments

From: domainremoved <Romain>
Date: Tue, 7 May 2019 04:28:36 +0000 (UTC)

Dear City Council Members and developer,

Nearby Kavanaugh East Palo Alto residents will benefit butalso be affected by the new Willow Village FaceBook Campus and we thank you forthe opportunity to provide some feedback on the latest development proposal.

From a design/planning perspective,

A.     Residents would like to have as much localgreenery and as many community park amenities as possible since we do not haveaccess to any public open space at present in the Kavanaugh East Palo Altoarea. Therefore, we would like to have the O’Brien Park much bigger than thecurrent planned size.

B.     The redevelopment of Hetch Hetchy right of wayshould be included in the project to increase greenery and connect the proposedsouth park crescent between Ivy/Willow and O’Brien Parks. The developer of thisproject should work with relevant parties such as the city, nearby otherlandowners, and the SFPUC, to increase park/playground options on Hetch Hetchysuch as secured children/toddlers areas andtennis/basketball/football/soccer/bocce courts, etc... This would create anadditional south paseo and increase community park amenities serving bothfuture employees and local residents.

C.     The bigger Ivy/Willow park/open space is plannednext to the busy Willow Road and should be reconsidered more into the WillowVillage/O’Brien side.

D.     The Ivy/Willow park/open space should not belimited as a sport’s/multi use field which will be only used by 1 or 2 leaguesbut should be planned as a full amenity community park such as the “awesomespot playground” (Modesto) or the “magical bridge playground” (Palo Alto) andinclude a community center next to it.

E.      Include and allow rooftop accessible mixed usebusiness/retail spaces such as bars/restaurants.

F.      Allow options to include and connect a futureDumbarton transit/commuting center to the Willow Village Campus.

With Menlo Park's current city ordinance prohibiting nearby overnight parking andwith the Willow Campus parking on the eastern side and the O’Brien/Willow connection nextto the East Palo Alto Kavanaugh/Gloria neighborhood, residents haveexpressed concerns about increasing parking issues, speed/safety and nonresidentialcut-through traffic between University, Willow and Bay corridors which need tobe addressed now before construction begins. Therefore,
G.    Nearby East Palo Alto city streets (Kavanaugh,Gloria, University, etc…) must be included in all current/future studies andsome of the impact fees should go towards the city of East Palo Alto for safetyand traffic mitigation measures such as:
        1. To implement 2 new stop signs onKavanaugh Drive at Gloria Way and Clarence Court.
                2. To install radar speed limitsigns on Kavanaugh Drive and Gloria Way.

        3. To perform an asphalt streetresurfacing/reconstruction on Kavanaugh Drive with larger concrete sidewalks and rebuiltADA compliant crosswalks/curbs/ramps, bury all overhead utility lines andinstall more lamp posts on all the electrical poles on Kavanaugh Drive, GloriaWay and all adjacent streets and courts to increase safety (Kirkwood,Clarence, Gertrude, Hazelwood, Farrington, Emmett, Ursula, Grace).
        4. To conduct an engineeringevaluation and implement the most appropriate and effective streettraffic/speed calming devices (e.g. speed bumps, traffic circles atintersections, etc…) on Kavanaugh Drive (between O'Brien Dr and University Ave)and on Gloria Way (between Bay Rd and Kavanaugh Dr).
        5. To include Notre Dame Ave /Kavanaugh Dr as a bike lane in the Bicycle Transportation Master Plan whichwould be a bicycle improvement/alternative to the busy Bay Rd / Newbridge Stbike route to Willow Road.
        6. To install lighting on UniversityAvenue between Kavanaugh Drive and Bay Road either on the street side that hasthe sidewalk or on the median, lighting both side of the road like on the restof University Avenue to increase safety (currently the side of the road thathas lighting on this street portion is the one where there is no sidewalk).
        7. To implement an all-red trafficlight interval at the University/Kavanaugh/Notre Dame traffic light intersections.
        8. To strengthen control andenforcement of speed/traffic/parking regulations.
H.     To limit vehicle traffic, the Willow/O’Brien/Universityarea should be redeveloped with pedestrian/bicycle traffic in mind. As such,sidewalks with ADA compliant crosswalks/curbs/ramps, which at present aremostly nonexistent, should be constructed on both sides all along O’Brien Drive(as a continuation and similarly to what has been done at 1035 O'Brien Drive forexample when it was rebuilt) and Kavanaugh Way in Menlo Park. Better lightingshould be installed and bicycle lanes should be also developed on O’BrienDrive.

I.       Paseos and streets in the Willow Campus shouldbetter connect to O’Brien Drive. As such, we would like the developer to workwith other nearby landowners and specifically CSBio (Kelly Court) and 1105-1165O'Brien Drive which are currently redeveloping their properties and finalizingtheir designs. This would allow the possibility of new connections with O’Brienand the new Willow campus street/paseo grid proposal (for example utilizing thecurrent drainage channel between 1075 and 1105 O'Brien Drive and the previous fencedoff connection between 20 Kelly Court and 960/1350 Hamilton).

J.       Other more direct bus/street connections from Willow/Universityto Willow Village should be considered to limit residential traffic and avoidO'Brien Drive/Kavanaugh Drive.

K.     To mitigate traffic issues on the Willow Road/O’BrienDrive corridor, please also find down below some additional feedback/improvements(#1 to #11) that should be implemented as soon as possible in coordination withthe appropriate agencies (Caltrans, AC Transit, etc…)  in advance of the Willow FaceBook campus:
        1. No parking request in front of965-985 O'Brien Drive, Menlo Park to ease the flow of vehicles to Willow Road.This would allow vehicles on O'Brien to be in 2 lines, up to the traffic light(right now the 2 lines, no parking zone is not even barely from 965 O'Brien tothe light but just a few feet from the corner Willow/O'Brien intersection).Vehicles that are parked on the street around 965-985 O'Brien make thecongestion even worse and the 2hr parking zone is not even enforced in thisarea. This should be very easy and fast to implement (just relocating theexisting "no parking here to curb" further down the street andextending the painting strip to divide the lane further).
        2. Installation of a new sign onthe far right of the large overhang Newbridge traffic light mast arm comingfrom US101 towards O'Brien Drive with "lane ends - through traffic mergeleft" would ease the traffic for locals who make a right on Willow Road toAlberni Street and O'Brien Drive. At present, through traffic on Willow Roadstay on the very right lane from US101 overpass to O'Brien Drive, blocking thelane for local traffic turning right. Having a "warning" earlyposted sign ahead of time will help vehicles merge ahead of time instead ofseeing the signs too late and blocking the lanes where local residents need toexit/enter.
        3. The Willow Road and side streettraffic light synchronization needs to account and take place also East of US101right away, not just West of US101. Vehicle counts and traffic patterns onO'Brien/Ivy/Hamilton should be done/included on the on-going synchronization(also on side streets such as Kavanaugh Way (Menlo Park) and Kavanaugh Drive(East Palo Alto) in anticipation of the FaceBook Willow Campus planning).
        4. As a complement to #2, goingEast on CA 114 towards the Dumbarton bridge, the sign next to the sidewalkindicating that Willow through traffic must merge left near the intersection ofWillow Road and O'Brien Drive is too close to the intersection/traffic light.It does not give cars enough distance to move to the left if going straight.This gives the impression that there are 3 lanes instead of 2 and at peakcommute hour creates a bottle neck for people who want to turn right on O’BrienDrive. The “Through traffic must merge left” sign should be moved beforeAlberni Street EPA to give enough time for drivers to get off the right laneand not block it. Again, having a "warning" early posted sign aheadof time will help vehicles merge ahead of time instead of seeing the signs toolate and blocking the lanes where local residents need to exit/enter. Someadditional “Right arrows” should also be painted just after Alberni Street EPAon the right lane to reinforce the message.
        5. Similarly to #2, a new sign canbe installed on the far right of the horizontal large overhang Newbridgetraffic light mast arm coming from O'Brien Drive towards US101 "Right lanemust turn right - US101 North SF only" (this will be useful once the farright lane re-opens for US101 north entrance after the construction ends onthat portion).
        6. As a complement to #5, goingWest on CA 114 towards US 101, the new Willow configuration at/after Newbridgeis a very nice improvement (except for the Dumbarton express bus stopfootprint/location, see #7). However, the signs on the right side indicatingthat through traffic must merge left and that the right lane is for SanFrancisco US 101 are not really well placed and from a driver perspectivecannot be seen very well (maybe OK if you see them from a pedestrian’sperspective or inspect the intersection on foot, but they are partially hiddenby traffic light/trees if you see them from a driver’s perspective on the rightor middle lane before the traffic light). May be the placement of the varioussidewalk signs between Newbridge and US 101 can be revisited after the Willowoverpass construction is completed and also some “Right arrows” can be paintedjust before or after the “SF North” white road marking on the right lane.
        7. Going West on CA 114 towards US101, the Dumbarton Express bus stop on Willow Road, right at the corner ofNewbridge MP is badly posted and very dangerous. Unlike the bus stop on theother Willow/Newbridge EPA side going East, and despite the new large sidewalkjust been redone, no footprint/easement was accommodated for the bus to pullout of the "turn right 101 North Only" lane. Therefore, driversfollowing the bus on Willow and who are unaware of the bus stop cornerlocation, get stuck in the middle of the Willow/Newbridge intersection untilthe bus moves out. Some drivers will then try to get out by partially moving inthe middle lane by sharing lanes with cars currently on the middle lane and getinto near accidents. At the same time there are also vehicles trying to make a right turn (on red) on Willow from Newbridge MP which makes the situation worse. The bus stopsign should be relocated in a more visible location and a pull out space shouldbe accommodated on the large sidewalk to make a real bus stop aside from troughtraffic. Relocating it before the Willow/Newbridge traffic light on the side ofMi Tierra Linda would be best. There is more space and it would be almost atthe same location of the other bus stop on the opposite direction/side of thestreet. This is not simply a problem of responsible drivers but really a poorlocation of the current bus stop location.
        8. In addition to the alreadydifficult situation described on #7, and to avoid people coming from NewbridgeMP from blocking Pierce Road and also creating accident situations with driverscoming from Newbridge EPA or Willow Road, there should be a “do not turn righton red” for the light at Newbridge MP. Cars should be forced to stop beforePierce Road and wait for the green light to turn right on Willow Road West.
        9. Maintenance wise, several lightbulbs are burned off at the O'Brien/Ivy traffic lights and many round shapelight covers are missing at several location which makes some lights hard tosee depending on the sun exposure. The "Do not block theintersection" sign facing O'Brien Drive at Willow Road fell of the middletraffic light and is now missing. Also the island traffic light to make a lefton O'Brien from Willow has been missing and not replaced for several months.
        10. Implementation of an all-redinterval for vehicle clearance and traffic safety at all the Willowintersections traffic lights between US101 and Bayfront expressway (Newbridge,O'Brien, Ivy, Hamilton) to increase safety and prevent such dangerous/accidentprone situations that happened previously on Kavanaugh/University andWillow/O'Brien (see examples here:
https://vimeo.com/231583682 )
        11. Repainting of all missing/faded directional doted lines at all the Willow intersections between US101 and Bayfront expressway (Newbridge, O'Brien, Ivy, Hamilton) to guide the vehicles turning.
 Overall, we are very excited about this mixed used project with public access and amenities east of US101. We are looking forward for the city of Menlo Park, the planning commission and the developer to working together with the relevant stakeholders (e.g. the city of East Palo Alto, SFPUC, CSBio, etc...) to incorporate and implement these improvements so that this live/work/play development transforms the O’Brien business park area in a more lively community district integrated in the surrounding city neighborhoods and ultimately benefits everyone.
Thank you very much for your consideration.
Romain Taniere

East Palo Alto, Kavanaugh neighborhood resident.
Received on Mon May 06 2019 - 21:28:36 PDT

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