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Menlo Park City Council Goal-Setting 2020

From: domainremoved <Adina>
Date: Wed, 29 Jan 2020 05:53:07 -0800

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Honorable Council Members,

Menlo Together is a group of Menlo Park and Peninsula residents who envision a city that is integrated and diverse, multi-generational, and environmentally sustainable.

Following are comments regarding the City Council Goal-Setting meeting on January 30 with recommendations for goals for the city.

1) Downtown Housing especially Affordable Housing

We are glad to see the recommendation from the Council Subcommittee on Planning and Zoning to advance consideration of housing in the downtown area, since the downtown area can help further these goals for Menlo Park:

  * Adding more housing at a variety of income levels to address the housing crisis

  * Improving jobs/housing balance and fit for Menlo Park

  * Reducing solo driving while making downtown easier to access

In particular, we would like to see:

  * Density increased to enable more housing. With shortly forthcoming Caltrain electrification, and the rich set of services within walking distance, the downtown will be an even better place to accommodate and welcome new residents with less traffic and environmental impact

  * Dedication of publicly owned downtown sites to affordable housing before the end of 2020

  * Making zero displacement a priority in new development

2) Residents’ safety and mobility on Willow and in the Belle Haven/Bayside area

Menlo Park’s streets reveal the history of disparities in our community. Belle Haven, with a history of redlining, has highways and major arterials cutting through that reduce air quality and create hazardous conditions for local residents especially children.

Menlo Together wants to see investments to greatly improve safety on Willow Road and in the Belle Haven community, especially for people walking, and especially for the benefit of children and seniors. We want to see plans for the Gateway Family Apartments and the new Library and Community Center to include major safety improvements that are designed with robust input from local community members.

And we want to see a level of staffing that allows us to move Belle Haven safety improvements forward while completing long-planned safety improvements on El Camino Real, which are needed to address long-standing hazards and support the new residents and workers soon to join the city..

3) Climate Action at the level of the Climate Emergency

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change calls for rapid, far reaching and unprecedented action to address the climate crisis, moving off of fossil fuels and dramatically reducing emissions by 2030.

Menlo Together supports the recommendation of the Environmental Quality Commission for City Council to adopt a new reduction target of carbon neutral (zero emissions) by 2030. Because transportation is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions, we would like to support the EQC recommendations to have EQC work with Complete Streets and City Staff to create more climate measures relating to mobility. And we do not want to see this initiative take away from the short-term goals of improving our streets for walking and bicycling and public transportation which immediately contribute to GHG emissions reductions.

4) City government focus on racial equity

The city government should operationalize an intentional focus on racial equity, as defined by the Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE): “Achieving racial equity means outcomes cannot be predicted based on race and are improved for all people.”

GARE is a national network of government working to achieve racial equity and advance opportunities for all. Over the last two years, four Menlo Park city staff people have attended GARE conferences which provide local governments with training on how to improve racial equity. Other GARE members (cities, counties, etc) report that putting together inter-departmental teams to advance racial equity builds collaboration among staff and improves operations and outcomes overall.

It is easy for Menlo Park to join GARE. We recommend that the city join GARE and actively pursue racial equity within the scope of the city’s activities.

Thank you very much for your consideration,

Adina Levin

Diane Bailey

Jen Wolosin

Julie Shanson

Karen Grove

Karen Camacho

Michelle Tate

Pamela Jones

Rachel Horst

Menlo Together

Received on Wed Jan 29 2020 - 05:57:00 PST

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