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Always Room For Improvement

From: domainremoved <>
Date: Sat, 2 Aug 2014 19:47:18 -0400

Hi Ms. Nagaya,
 
Thank you for a timely and informative response to a number of concerns
over parking downtown, both in terms of availability and overtime parking
enforcement. That was very helpful. As there is always room for improvement,
as we each strive to find ways to enhance the quality of life, allow me to
list a few specific ideas. The goal is to help find ways that may result
in helping merchants downtown and at the same time enrich the consumer
experience.
 
Kindly let me know if one or more of the ideas below have sufficient merit
to warrant further consideration. Some items have previously been
discussed, so you're welcome to skip those and consider the remaining. I believe if
we keep thinking, if we keep the dialogue going and we continue to seek
help from others, quality solutions can be found.
 
With sincere appreciation.
 
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DOWNTOWN PARKING IN MENLO PARK
IDEAS TO CONSIDER
1. Garage
This idea has been considered for many years. It’s a solution many cities
have had to face, despite the high cost to construct. One person described
the situation in terms of “we are victims of our own success”.
2. Double Sided Signs
At the entry to each Parking Plaza is a sign indicating the two hour time
limit. It has been suggested that they be double sided signs so that
drivers when leaving the parking lot will be reminded of the time limit. This was
recently done along Santa Cruz Ave.
3. Additional Signs
Some of the Parking Plazas are very long. In this case, some cities
place an additional sign every 100’ or so reminding folks of the two hour time
limit. Menlo Park does the absolute minimum, with signs at the driveway
entrance only, an area where there is little time to read the sign as one
avoids pedestrians, bicycle riders, strollers etc. when pulling into the
driveway from a busy street.
4. Off Site Parking, with a Shuttle
Find a vacant lot within a short distance of downtown and shuttle folks to
the shopping area, at no charge. This avoids high cost garages and helps
employees, store owners and others still get back and forth in a convenient
way. Perhaps the vacant car lots on El Camino Real could serve this
purpose.
5. Provide Fuel Efficient Car Parking Places
This is being done for approx.. 15 cars at two Recreation Centers (off
Laurel St. and off Alma Street). Consider doing this downtown in selected
locations.
6. Provide Electric Recharging Stations
In the spirit of being green, provide electric recharging stations in
selected locations.
7. Parking Plaza 3 – Car Widths
In Parking Plaza 3, and perhaps others, the entire lot feels like compact
parking. Suggest a few less parking places and restripe the lot with
standard size widths.
8. Reduce Aggressive Enforcement
If the goal is to enhance the shopping experience, perhaps giving drivers
a larger “grace period” would encourage shopping downtown.
9. Repair Damaged Asphalt
Several lots have damaged asphalt. Although scheduled in the CIP budget,
find a way to expedite the repairs so they can be done sooner rather than
later.
10. Consider the Psychological Impact of Aggressive Ticketing
For some citizens, a parking ticket is the first ticket they have ever
received in their life. This may make ordinary citizens feel like a common
criminal. If this is an unexpected consequence, perhaps a way of softening the
blow can be considered.
11. Town Hall Meeting
Suggest that the mayor call a periodic Town Hall Meeting so that citizens
can express their ideas on this issue and others topics of concern to the
general public.
Public Comment #1 & 2 at a council meeting is a too formal of a setting
for some.
12. Council Members to Talk With the Meter Officers
The meter officers tell me that they have special insights as a result of
their job. Learning from their experience can be an invaluable source of
information, not necessarily available from any other source.
13. Place a Suggestion Box in each Parking Plaza
The meter officers could empty the boxes periodically and deliver the
ideas at the end of their shift. Encouraging feedback from the public may
provide helpful ideas.
14. Convene a Meeting of Past Mayors
Much can be learned from the collective thoughts of prior mayors on this,
and
perhaps a host of other topics. This may be an unmatched resource worthy
of
paying attention to.
15. Survey Merchants for Ideas
Once a year, or so, send a brief survey to local merchants soliciting
their ideas on this and related topics to help make the downtown area thrive.
16. Books on Downtown Parking
There is a book on this topic considered by many as required reading. I
think of it at the moment, but I’m sure the Transportation Department can
remind us.
17. Vacant Lot – 825 Oak Grove Ave.
What seems almost criminal, is a potentially very useful lot for excess
parking going empty. It is located behind the 825 Oak Grove Ave building,
next to Parking Plaza 3. Perhaps the property owner would lease it to the city
so as to make useful use of it.
18. Do Something Novel
A huge draw to the downtown area may be something quite novel, such as a
Horse and Buggie ride up and down Santa Cruz Avenue, or equivalent. We don’t
have cable cars, but we could have something novel, unique and would bring
people here.
19. Consultant’s Report
In April, an excellent presentation was made by a consultant on the status
of the Menlo Park downtown parking. Several recommendations were made. Are
they falling on deaf ears? Are they being ignored? Is anyone advocating
their ideas? Or is it just another highly paid report collecting dust on the
shelves, buried in the back room?
20. Churches
Considering leasing one or more of the downtown church parking lots, such
as MPPC or the Russian Orthodox Church on Crane Street (near Oak Grove). It
seems odd that their lots go empty during the day while City lots
overflow.
21. Friendship City – Galway, Ireland
Take advantage of our new established Friendship Agreement with Galway,
Ireland by asking them for ideas. It may be flattering to ask them in a
humble way for ideas, and who knows, they may reciprocate with a few questions
to Menlo Park.
22. One Week Experiment
Consider a well-publicized No Parking Enforcement program for one week –
as a grand experiment. Who knows, maybe all these rules and regulations
costing nearly $300,000 in expenses aren’t necessary. Merchants may
self-regulate in order to have parking available for customers.
23. Relaxed Parking – Year Round
During the Christmas Holidays, Menlo Park regularly offers relaxed
parking. It is my sense that it works well, and perhaps could be considered year
round.
24. Draeger’s Parking Lot
The privately owned Draeger’s parking lot is often under-utilized. Perhaps
the City can lease it from them and make it available to the general
public – or perhaps employee parking, as the fees may help to cover the cost.
 
 
  
____________________________________
 From: _nhnagaya_at_(domainremoved)
To: _jimlewis_at_(domainremoved)
_peterfcarpenter_at_(domainremoved)
CC: _jtquirion_at_(domainremoved)
_mkortega_at_(domainremoved)
_councilmail_at_(domainremoved)
Sent: 8/1/2014 3:38:31 P.M. Pacific Daylight Time
Subj: Nearly 100 IDEAS to solve the Downtown Parking Problems- For Your
Consideration
 
Hi Mr. Lewis and Mr. Carpenter,
Thank you for sharing the link to the Almanac News thread that raised
concerns and critiques of parking in downtown Menlo Park including
availability, signs/wayfinding, time restrictions, enforcement, etc. While some
comments highlighted that there is available parking in the downtown, and that the
 signs are straightforward, the following summarizes responses to the
critiques that were noted:
    1. Several commenters described support for parking structure;
including possibly an automated, underground structure to reclaim park and open
space at the ground level.
The City has outlined the potential future need for parking structures
through the Downtown Specific Plan (Chapter F, Circulation – section F.7
Parking, pages F17 – F30). As a first step, the Plan calls for ongoing
monitoring of downtown parking occupancy to evaluate the appropriate phasing and
funding for a structure. Additionally, the City led a Downtown Parking Study
in 2009-2011 to develop improvements to business owner and community
concerns about parking availability and time restrictions; modifications
identified in this study were implemented in 2011. The Transportation Division
completed a report to the City Council on April 29, 2014, which summarized
parking occupancy data collected before and after these modifications. The
presentation is available here (
http://menlopark.org/DocumentCenter/View/3835).
 
As described in the presentation, the percentage of occupied spaces were
evaluated both in public parking plazas and on-street, categorized by
whether time restrictions, if any are in place. This data shows that parking
occupancy for on-street spaces floats around 85% or less for time-restricted
spaces; meaning, at least 15% of on-street, time-restricted spaces are
typically available. The data also shows that at least 10 spaces are always
available in each public parking plaza; combined, the plazas only reach a
maximum of 81% occupancy.
Based on the current availability of parking spaces on-street and in the
plazas, a parking structure is not currently needed. Providing an oversupply
of parking can present challenges to creating a walkable and vibrant
Downtown, as well as expend limited City resources before they are needed. The
City will continue to monitor parking availability downtown. If warranted in
the future, the Specific Plan identifies potential funding sources for a
structure in Chapter G – Implementation – section G.4 Financing Methods for
Public Improvements, pages G17 – G25, including publically, privately, and
public-private partnership mechanisms.
    1. Commenters requested improved bike connectivity and additional
bike parking.
The City is pursuing efforts to install new bicycle parking through a
recently awarded Transportation Development Act (TDA) Article 3 grant. Staff
will bring proposed bicycle parking locations to the Bicycle Commission for
their input in the Fall for their considerations and feedback before
installation proceeds.
    1. Commenters requested increasing the time allowances to 2 hour limi
ts on-street and 3 hour limits in the plazas. Also requested the City
implement pricing system; especially, demand-sensitive pricing. Identified a
need to provide improved mechanism for employee downtown parking, perhaps
residential permit districts.
Recently in fall 2011, the City implemented a new parking management
program to better support the needs of local downtown business owners, customers
and residents. The purpose of the modifications was to provide more
flexibility and convenience for various trips downtown: (1) to retain and attract
customers making longer trips for appointments, meetings, or shopping; (2)
make short trips for quick errands and drop-offs more convenient; and (3)
improve employee parking options. As part of the program, parking time
limits were modified to include 15-minute, 1-hour and 2-hour spaces, and a
paid-parking option was added to allow the option to purchase time beyond 2
hours in Plazas 1 and 5, for a maximum of 9 hours. The first two hours of
parking remain free in all plazas.
Since these changes were adopted, the City has continued to evaluate the
program and solicit feedback from customers and businesses to ensure the
modifications are working as anticipated. The most frequent concerns raised
have included a desire for coin/cash options; difficulty locating paid-option
lots and the parking meters within each; and unclear posted instructions
for how long one can park in various areas and how to use the meters.
To continue to evolve the program to meet community needs, additional
modifications are being implemented to improve the use of the current system:
· Implementation of a mobile payment system for the metered
parking lots (includes a $0.35 per use transaction fee if users choose this
option for payment). This will allow a customer the ability to pay for
additional time using a cell phone, tablet, or laptop without interrupting an
appointment, meeting, lunch or a shopping trip. – We are in the process of
activating this system now.
· We have begun restriping all of the downtown parking plazas and
some of the on-street areas to improve visibility of the parking spaces.
· A run of the downtown parking maps have been printed and we are
in the process of distributing them to residents and businesses.
· We have developed a simplified versus of the downtown parking
map and placed it on a large road sign which will be installed at the
entrance to every parking plaza in the coming weeks.
· Staff has installed additional double sided 1-hour parking
signage throughout the existing 1-hour zones in downtown to improve visibility
of the signage and remove any confusion of the time restrictions.
    1. Commenters requested that enforcement be less aggressive (re: time
limits, on-the-line tickets, etc.).
We will continue to fairly enforce parking regulations to help our
businesses and residents.
Please feel free to contact me if you have further questions.
Best,
Nikki
 
Nicole H. Nagaya, P.E.
Interim Transportation Manager
City of Menlo Park
P: 650.330.6781
e: _nhnagaya_at_(domainremoved)
 
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From: Jim Lewis
 
Date:07/31/2014 3:35 PM (GMT-08:00)
 
To: _CCIN
 
Subject: Nearly 100 IDEAS to solve the Downtown Parking Problems- For Your
Consideration
 
 
Honorable Mayor Mueller and Council Members:
 
Kindly see the list of nearly 100 ideas that have been expressed in the
Almanac Town Square column that focus on the Menlo Park downtown parking
concerns voiced by many of our citizens. Several comments center around the
need for parking garages, much like Redwood City, Palo Alto, Mountain View
and others have.
 
Other ideas are on a variety of issues, perhaps worthy of consideration in
a City Council meeting this year. There has been nearly 1,800 "views" of
this thread. At the April 12, 2014 Study Session, the consultant made
several recommendations, as did Council Members, including, but not limited to
time limits and the issuance of overtime and over the white line parking
citations. If you feel there is room for improvements, perhaps this item can
be placed on the City Council agenda later this year. We need to find
ways to help the downtown businesses be successful. This may be one way to do
it.
 
 
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Downtown Parking - Call For Ideas
 
Original post made by What can be done to improve parking in downtown
Menlo Park? on Jul 13, 2014
 
What can be done to improve parking in the Menlo Park downtown area?
Certainly there are ways that can make the experience more pleasant. Quite
frankly, 1,000's of overtime parking citations may result in 100's of thousand
of dollars in fines for the city, but at the same time is it taking away
valued customers from local businesses? For many, two hours seems too short.
Over 800 tickets are issued each year for parking over the white line.
Should everyone carry a magnifying glass with them? There must be a better way.
Is the City of Menlo Park parking enforcement too aggressive? Suggestions
welcome.
 
Comments (85)
 
Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 13, 2014 at 10:33 am
 
Build a parking garage. The problem is not enough available parking.
 
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Posted by Mike Keenly, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford
Park
on Jul 14, 2014 at 1:22 pm
 
It's simple, read the signs and park within the lines. How difficult is
that?
 
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Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 14, 2014 at 1:31 pm
Peter Carpenter is a registered user.
 
I will repeat my earlier suggestion - transfer parking enforcement from
the Police Dept to Jim Cogan who is responsible for economic development.
Cogan's rules would be designed to maximize the use of the city's parking
rather than to generate fines.


And then build a parking structure which is beautifully designed and has
lots of landscaping.

Here what can be done with a bit of creativity:

_Web Link_
(http://www.outinthelandscape.com/blog/2013/09/brooklyns-automated-underground-parking-garage.html)

"downtown Brooklyn's plans to build an automated parking garage underneath
a public park. Willoughby Square Park is scheduled to open in 2016, built
upon 700 parking spaces that will be hidden from eyesight and 'reduce the
amount of exhaust pollution associated with idling in traditional parking
garages.'

The contractor, Automotion Parking Systems, will fit three times as many
vehicles in the same square footage of a traditional parking garage.

The system is outlined below:

How Automotion Works: Park. Swipe. Leave. It's that simple. Each customer
will follow the ramp beneath the park and drive into one of Automotion's 12
entry/exit rooms. Once they enter the large well-lit room, they will be
greeted by a large flat screen TV that aids them in properly placing their
car on a pallet in the middle of the room. Drivers park and lock their cars,
then swipe their credit card at an Automotion Kiosk to initiate the parking
process. Each vehicle is then transported automatically to its storage bay
while the customer is walking away. When returning, the customer swipes
the same credit card again and the car is returned back to the entry/exit
room in less than 2 minutes, ready to be driven away. Since no one has touched
the car, there is no risk of scratches, dents or dings, nor any chance of
theft of goods left inside of the car.

Full sized trees, gardens, and other typical park features will hide the
garage, and provide a space people can use.

- See more at: _Web Link_
(http://www.outinthelandscape.com/blog/2013/09/brooklyns-automated-underground-parking-garage.html#sthash.2exWwxuP.dpuf)
 
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Posted by Common Criminal, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jul 15, 2014 at 10:40 am
 
I guess the city prefers to make ordinary citizens, shoppers and consumers
into common criminals, issuing tickets right and left, and generated
hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines. Maybe a better approach would be to
find incentives to increase business, sales tax revenues and consumer
loyalty. The issue may be aggressive enforcement that discourages, instead of
encourages, shopping locally, going to restaurants and nearby stores for
leisurely visits lasting longer than two hours and building goodwill as a
favored destination. People have choices, with Stanford Shopping Center, Town and
Country Village and downtown Palo Alto not too far away.
 
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Posted by Dagwood, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jul 15, 2014 at 12:18 pm
 
I agree with the above: Build a parking garage and pay attention to the
signage.
What's stopping a parking garage are obstructionist downtown business and
property owners who continue to prevent MP from moving forward. Forget
about what should be their leadership in doing that.
 
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Posted by Tunbridge Wells, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied
Arts/Stanford Park
on Jul 15, 2014 at 12:20 pm
Tunbridge Wells is a registered user.
 
The most cost-effective way to improve the parking situation would be to
make it more appealing to ride your bike there. This town is basically flat,
the climate is mild, downtown is an easy destination. The problem is lots
of people find it intimidating to ride across El Camino Real, and there
isn't much visible bike parking downtown. Ride your bike, you don't have to
worry about a parking ticket. If more people did that, parking would not be a
 problem at all. What it would cost the city to make downtown more bikeable
 would cost a fraction of what it would cost to build a parking structure.
 
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Posted by Colin Jenkins, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jul 15, 2014 at 1:40 pm
 
The last proposal I heard for the cost of a parking garage was in the
neighborhood of $20K - $30K per parking space depending on the style of garage.
I may be fuzzy on the exact amount but that's the ballpark number I
remember. My recollection is that the city wasn't interested in paying for it but
the merchants via the property owners would be assessed. Speaking for
myself, if that happens here, I can say that we're probably out of business.

Ironically, I was told by a member of one of Menlo Park's long-time
property-owning families that the merchants purchased the property for the
current parking lots and gave them to the city some time in the 40's or 50's. I'm
not sure what the agreement was but I'm pretty sure that the intention
then was not to have future merchants pay again for a parking garage. Seems
like the city has been making a lot of money off of these lots and should use
that money to build parking garages.
 
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Posted by Roy Thiele-Sardiña, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo
Park
on Jul 15, 2014 at 3:14 pm
Roy Thiele-Sardiña is a registered user.
 
The parking situation in MPK is horrible. They issued .8 tickets per
resident last year. While my office is in MPK, I generally make lunch meetings
happen in Palo Alto because they have garages (with electric car chargers)
that can accommodate the traffic. Palo Alto subsequently gets my tax revenue.

We need garages here, I know that goes against the "village character"
moniker that many would imply of Menlo Park. But then again 20,000 plus
parking tickets doesn't sound like a quaint "friendly" village to me either.

Roy Thiele-Sardina
 
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Posted by Nikola T, a resident of another community
on Jul 15, 2014 at 3:33 pm
 
I got a real kick out of Mr. Sardiña's highly charged remarks.
 
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Posted by Mike Keenly, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford
Park
on Jul 15, 2014 at 3:48 pm
 
We shop and eat in downtown MP regularly and have *never* gotten a parking
 ticket. It's not hard to follow the simple parking rules.

Roy's 0.8 number is deceptive in that it doesn't indicate who is getting
these tickets (residents or others), and if a certain few are regularly
getting many more tickets than others.
 
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Posted by Spanky, a resident of another community
on Jul 15, 2014 at 6:06 pm
 
Get rid of the 200 shrinks that rent 25 offices.
 
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Posted by Marcy Magatelli, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jul 15, 2014 at 7:51 pm
 
I live and work in Downtown Menlo Park, but I still need a car...not
everything can be done on a bicycle, especially when you are as old as I am!
Because I need to make deliveries for my business, I pay a hefty $600. year
for a permit to park, not "anywhere" in dwntwn MP, but only in the one
designated lot, which is fine, but in the 3 years I have parked in my assigned
lot, I have received 1 of those "on-the-line" not over the line tickets, and
another for a spot w/no sign posted, but an almost totally worn-off white
sign, painted on the actual spot, which from the car, I did not see. I have
been friendly, and talked with the parking officers, and they know my car &
where I work, but that did make them want to knock on my back door and
tell me I was parked illegally, or give me a "warning" for first offense,
since I am a season ticket holder; nope! they just ticketed me, as though I was
a visitor from another town. However, since the last ticket, I have
noticed...no more eye contact, no more smiling waves??? Seems like someone knew
they could have used a gentler approach for a first offense. Bad form! That
is a buzz-kill for the small, home town feeling.
 
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Posted by Manlo Punk, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 16, 2014 at 8:14 am
 
No to be repetitive;
- Build a couple of parking garages, behind Flegels, Amicis, Posh Bagel,
between Draegers and Peets.
- I've never received a parking ticket downtown
- Ride bikes when possible/able
- STOP the ridiculous "look at my expensive car" shows that take up
parking spaces ON A WEEKEND, no less! (there have only been two to this point,
but that is enough). Let them find a place of their own and show off
somewhere else

None of this will happen of course, because more than on faction will pop
up to waste time arguing why one plan is better than the other. Stop
emulating Washington. There are too many smart people in Menlo Park, to have
Menlo Park suffer through this sort of nonsense!
 
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Posted by Mike Keenly, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford
Park
on Jul 16, 2014 at 11:17 am
 
For those who conveniently propose building parking structures downtown,
one question: Who are you assuming will pay for the construction and
maintenance of these structures?
 
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Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 16, 2014 at 11:59 am
 
The city should pay. Who pays for the structures in Palo Alto?
 
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Posted by Manlo Punk, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 16, 2014 at 12:03 pm
 
Governments always seem to find creative ways of finding money. (e.g.
taxes!) Ouch, no not advocating for that.

Not to get off topic, if we were talking about a sports complex the money
would be flowing in. But for a parking lot or two, a new school etc., it's
worse than pulling teeth.
 
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Posted by Joseph E. Davis, a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Jul 16, 2014 at 2:04 pm
 
When confronted with the need to allocate a limited resource, we should
first look to an extremely effective solution that was invented thousands of
years ago: the price system.

As an eminently practical example that Menlo Park could follow, I would
commend the Redwood City pay-by-space machines to your consideration. They
accept coins, bills, credit cards, and refilling the meter by text message.
Rates vary according by day and hour according to demand. The goal is to
have a few spaces available at all times to avoid congestion and pollution
from circling the lot looking for parking.

The only disadvantage might be that this system is probably too
solution-oriented, straightforward and simple to be accepted by Menlo Park.
 
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Posted by Norman, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 16, 2014 at 5:05 pm
 
What's the problem? Do some people have to walk a couple of blocks from
where they parked? I've never been shut out parking in downtown Menlo Park.
 
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Posted by Mike Keenly, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford
Park
on Jul 16, 2014 at 8:55 pm
 
_at_(domainremoved)
Districts or to Redwood City to develop parking solutions that don't require "the
City" (i.e. the taxpaying resident) to pay.

Here's a link to Redwood City's Downtown Parking Management Plan:

_Web Link_
(http://shoup.bol.ucla.edu/Downtown%20Redwood%20City%20Parking%20Plan.pdf)
 
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Posted by Concerned Citizen, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jul 16, 2014 at 9:36 pm
 
I'd like to see a Town Hall Meeting offered in a convenient location for
citizens to have an opportunity to voice their opinion on this and other
topics affecting the qualifty of life in Menlo Park. Perhaps at the MPPC
Social Auditorium located behind the Ace Hardware store would be a good
location. This could be a "Meet the Mayor" meeting. If the city doesn't offer it,
perhaps The Almanac newspaper would be interested in being the host. Much
can be learned by sharing ideas, expressing questions and hearing from the
decision makers.
 
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Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 17, 2014 at 7:12 am
 
Mike:

Menlo Park can take a lesson from Redwood City re. parking that is for
sure. Thanks for the link.
 
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Posted by Price Conscious, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jul 17, 2014 at 9:52 am
 
I wonder if the price of a ticket went up from $45.00 to say $500.00 if
virtually overtime parking tickets would decrease significantly.
 
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Posted by Roy Thiele-Sardiña, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo
Park
on Jul 17, 2014 at 11:05 am
Roy Thiele-Sardiña is a registered user.
 
_at_(domainremoved)

You are right the number of tickets wold go to ZERO, as would the number
of people that come to our town. This is a CLASSIC marginal utility
economics problem.

The real solution is to allow for payed extended parking and to build a
garage. It is in the Downtown Specific Plan, which will be inevitably delayed
by the initiative currently being considered.

Roy Thiele-Sardina
 
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Posted by dana Hendrickson, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 17, 2014 at 12:29 pm
 
I would "happily" pay extra $'s for extended parking beyond 2 hours.

So how would a 100-car underground parking structure REALLY cost to build
and maintain?
 
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Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 17, 2014 at 12:36 pm
 
according to the link Mike provided, Redwood City estimated subterranean
parking cost at $40,000 to $50,000 a space to construct. I would expect it
would be more toward the high end.
 
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Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 17, 2014 at 12:42 pm
Peter Carpenter is a registered user.
 
Here are the cost figures for the Brooklyn underground garage :
"Automotion's equipment costs roughly $25,000 a vehicle, which rises to
$50,000 to $60,000 a car when the excavation costs are included, Mr. Milstein
said. To build a conventional garage beneath Willoughby Square would run
closer to $90,000 for each car, he said."

And note that this public-private partnership is costing the city much
less than that per parking space:
_Web Link_
(http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/10/realestate/commercial/underground-garage-to-help-pay-for-new-park-in-brooklyn.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0)

What we need to do is think outside the box. Such a garage could go under
two or more adjacent city surface lots to further enhance the surface area
and lower the per space cost.
 
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Posted by Downtowner, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 17, 2014 at 1:04 pm
 
Parking structures are very expensive and can visually overwhelm areas
with lower building height limits. I prefer Redwood City's pay-per-space
system. It's easy and allows parking for as long as one needs, unlike the meter
systems in San Mateo & Burlingame. I don't have difficulty finding a
parking space within a block, or rarely 2, in Menlo.

It's been many years since I've gotten a ticket, but I don't need more
than 2 hours to meet friends for lunch. The restaurants which cater to the 2
drink lunch or afternoon cocktail crowd do wish for longer parking. I also
know which restaurants are habitually slow to serve their customers (I'm
looking at you, Left Bank) and avoid those in the daytime.

Parking availability is very tough on Sundays when Menlo Presbyterian
holds services, as well as during weddings, big funerals, etc. Pay-by-space
parking would help a lot.

Maybe it's time to create designated areas for huge vehicles? The maxi-vans
 & double cab long bed trucks don't fit into the spaces as they're
currently striped. And a gripe- the vehicles which actually obstruct lanes in lots
because they aren't pulled forward enough should be ticketed. The lot
behind the 600 block of Menlo Ave & behind Walgreens are especially tough to
negotiate because drivers leave 2-4 feet in front of their cars when they
park, thus badly narrowing the lanes. And do ticket cars which intentionally
take 2 spaces, apparently to protect from the possibility of risking a
scratch.
 
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Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 17, 2014 at 1:26 pm
Peter Carpenter is a registered user.
 
A key component of Redwood City's successful parking program is their very
large multi-level underground garage. Palo Alto also has a number of
underground parking garages.
 
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Posted by Easy Does It, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jul 17, 2014 at 1:52 pm
 
Hey--it ain't broke--don't fix it!
I've lived in the downtown for decades, and for the past several years at
least, have found it generally easy to park.
Parking just isn't the problem it was years back.
Rather, the current problem is the one-hour limit on street parking.
Los Altos has 2-hour street parking and 3-hr parking in lots.
We ought to give that a try before even considering the expense of parking
structures. People prefer street parking anyway.
And the city should never ticket people who parked on the line. That's
really pushing it.

One more thing: it seems as if the city has stopped using chalk marks on
wheels in the parking lots, and instead is making a record of everyone's
license plates. Now, if you move to another spot in the same lot, how will
they know? Or have they essentially numbered the parking spots? This should be
explained to people.
 
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Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 17, 2014 at 2:01 pm
Menlo Voter is a registered user.
 
If I'm not mistaken you can't just move your car to a different space in
the same lot. You have to move to a completely different lot. Very
inconvenient for anyone that needs to spend extended time downtown.

I use the pay lots in Redwood City when I go and they work quite well. It
would be worth trying here and if it doesn't work, then build a garage.
 
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Posted by Tunbridge Wells, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied
Arts/Stanford Park
on Jul 17, 2014 at 2:09 pm
Tunbridge Wells is a registered user.
 
The comments here are making it really clear that the city still has some
work to do making sure that people understand the parking setup downtown.
We do have pay lots. Two of them. You can park there and stay all day if you
like. The one hour parking limits on the streets are to encourage
turnover. You can stay for longer by paying for the time in one of the pay lots.
There is seriously no reason to get a parking ticket downtown as long as you
look at the signs and park in the right place (and pay for extra time if
that's what you need.)
 
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Posted by Manlo Punk, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 18, 2014 at 7:30 am
 
I've just realized this (slow on the uptake I guess), and I'm guilty of
this as well. There have been many complaints about the lack of businesses
and restaurants, etc., in downtown, yet everyone seems to have difficulty
with parking.

If there is such a lack of things to do downtown, then where are all the
people (taking up parking), going?

Just an observation, happy Friday, and everyone have a good time at the
event this weekend.
 
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Posted by Mike Keenly, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford
Park
on Jul 18, 2014 at 12:58 pm
 
At this point, a parking structure for downtown Menlo Park is a solution
looking for a problem. There are so many things we could be doing to improve
the current situation before we even begin to consider a structure.
 
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Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 18, 2014 at 2:10 pm
Peter Carpenter is a registered user.
 
This is not "a solution looking for a problem." The parking problem has
been carefully analyzed and a solution identified.

Figure D-6 and the associated language in the Specific Plan clearly
support the City intention to build multi-level parking garages.

"Parking Garages
Due to their size, above ground parking garages are highly
visible and affect the character of the surrounding area.
Guidelines for parking garages help minimize their visual
impact and integrate them into the surrounding area.
Standards
E.3.7.09 To promote the use of bicycles, secure bicycle
parking shall be provided at the street level of public parking
garages. Bicycle parking is also discussed in more detail in
Section F.5 "Bicycle Storage Standards and Guidelines."
Guidelines
E.3.7.10 Parking garages on downtown parking plazas
should avoid monolithic massing by employing change in
façade rhythm, materials and/or color.
E.3.7.11 To minimize or eliminate their visibility and impact
from the street and other signifi cant public spaces, parking
garages should be underground, wrapped by other uses
(i.e. parking podium within a development) and/or screened
from view through architectural and/or landscape treatment.
E.3.7.12 Whether free-standing or incorporated into overall
building design, garage façades should be designed with
a modulated system of vertical openings and pilasters,
with design attention to an overall building façade that fi ts
comfortably and compatibly into the pattern, articulation,
scale and massing of surrounding building character.
E.3.7.13 Shared parking is encouraged where feasible to
minimize space needs, and it is effectively codifi ed through
the plan's off-street parking standards and allowance for
shared parking studies.
E.3.7.14 A parking garage roof should be approached
as a usable surface and an opportunity for sustainable
strategies, such as installment of a green roof, solar panels
or other measures that minimize the heat island effect."


One wonders why so many posters seem not to have even read the Specific
Plan.
 
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Posted by David Roise, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford
Park
on Jul 18, 2014 at 5:15 pm
 
Anyone interested in this topic should read Donald Shoup's "The High Cost
of Free Parking":_Web Link_
(http://books.google.com/books/about/The_high_cost_of_free_parking.html?id=WBe3AAAAIAAJ) . As Shoup notes, parking should
be treated the same as any other product or service and should be priced
accordingly. We don't give away the gas for your car, so why should we give
away the space where you leave it.

As an example, I was in San Francisco for lunch on Wednesday and was able
to find plenty of street parking within a block of AT&T ballpark. Why?
Because San Francisco has parking meters that adjust their rates according to
the demand. I paid $12 for an hour and a half of parking and was happy to do
it, because I didn't need to spend more than 5 seconds looking for an
empty space.

Local requirements that mandate excessive free parking have destroyed the
charm and character of many towns and cities in the US. Paying $30K to $90K
per space to build underground parking that we then give away for free is
NUTS. The technology is available for demand-responsive parking rates. See
_Web Link_ (http://sfpark.org/) . Let's charge people what the market says
it's worth for street parking and then let them decide if it's still worth
using their car to get downtown. That's simple economics and will mean more
empty parking spaces for those of you who want to (or need to) park your
cars downtown.

By the way, these ideas are also described in Mr. Carpenter's beloved DSP
at page F29, which notes the success of similar strategies in Redwood City.
 
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Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 18, 2014 at 5:20 pm
Peter Carpenter is a registered user.
 
David - Thanks for the great references.

"Free parking" is not really free but rather a hidden tax of wasted time
and lost customers.
 
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Posted by Jim, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 19, 2014 at 4:52 am
 
Folks: No need to over think this, as it is really just straight math. MP
needs a garage and there of plenty of above ground, reasonable options in
nearby towns with vibrancy, such as PA and Burlingame. Lack of parking is an
impediment to growth and usage of our stores. Not enough parking, cars too
close together -- at the margin, people will go elsewhere. It will not
have a negative impact on the downtown look and feel -- it will enhance
downtown's vibrancy.




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Posted by Jim, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 20, 2014 at 9:51 am
 
David: The academic argument on parking is not fully useful in a civic
context when other elements, such as access for elderly and benefits (taxes
and otherwise) for the town. The theory you support would suggest that you
can have no local parking at all, just remote parking and bussing folks in --
math would suggest just that, as would the fact that charging $100 per
hour to park will leave all spaces empty and allow you to not build a garage.
All nice to talk about but not practical for Menlo Park. The potential
demand for services, and population of MP make the physical space inadequate
for those wishing to meet basic needs in our town. A garage is the only
answer, period. think local stores were happy that all the SF spaces were empty
when you went to park?
 
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Posted by Tunbridge Wells, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied
Arts/Stanford Park
on Jul 20, 2014 at 1:09 pm
Tunbridge Wells is a registered user.
 
I haven't seen anyone suggest charging $100 an hour to park. The
observation that free parking is not actually free is not just "academic." It
creates a tragedy of the commons kind of situation, where people feel entitled to
 something and then get deeply upset when asked to contribute a tiny
fraction of what it actually costs. Markets work for parking just like any other
resource- if you price it appropriately, people use the resource more
wisely.

I do wonder how many of the people who support building a parking garage
downtown also complain about excessive traffic on El Camino. Building
something to attract more cars to downtown Menlo Park will also attract more cars
to El Camino Real. If what people want is easier parking spaces and more
people shopping downtown, a lot of that can be accomplished without building
a garage.
 
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Posted by Jim, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 20, 2014 at 4:13 pm
 
Turnbridge: The $100 is to make a point about the notion of charging for
parking in the example provided. It is the wrong way to think about this
issue and you are just missing the point as it relates to MP.

In SF, the approach has nothing to do with smoothing out demand. It is
strictly revenue driven since city street meters were programmed for modest
fees compared to the heft parking charges at time of extremely heavy use,
such as ball games.

This is not a math exercise, it is about the current MP downtown. Right
now, here and now, today -- parking is not sufficient. Even without any new
building, as stores and restaurants become more appealing, then demand will
be higher. This dynamic will only increase, not decrease. A garage is
necessary, like it or not. And you know what, it is ok to have a garage! One
gets a headache around the over-thinking on things like parking garages, food
trucks, new gymnasium near the library, etc. Progress happens in stages and
you adjust and move on.
 
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Posted by Tunbridge Wells, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied
Arts/Stanford Park
on Jul 20, 2014 at 4:37 pm
Tunbridge Wells is a registered user.
 
In my personal experience, I have never, ever been unable to find parking
downtown. Sure, maybe I can't find parking within thirty feet of my
destination, but I have always been able to find parking within a block or two of
my destination. I saw the presentation city staff made to city council- at
any given time of day, there are spaces available in one or more of the
existing parking plazas. That is consistent with my own experience.

Assuming, arguendo, that a garage is really needed, who pays for it?
Taxpayers? That's an awfully big subsidy to the downtown merchants. And again,
if we create more car parking in downtown Menlo Park, it's only going to add
to the congestion we already experience on El Camino Real. If you build
it, they will come. More parking spaces = worse traffic.
 
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Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 20, 2014 at 5:42 pm
Menlo Voter is a registered user.
 
Mr. Wells:

so let's just let MP, Santa Cruz Ave turn into a ghost town shall we? More
traffic is coming on ECR whether we like it or not. I can be dealt with by
our city pulling it's collective heads out of the 50's and waking up to
the fact that truncating ECR from three lanes in each direction to two is a
large part of the traffic problem. One only need to drive from Mountain view
to Redwood City to see where the problem occurs.

I know a successful restaurateur from the south bay that has looked into
Menlo Park. He was scared away because it was "too dead." It will continue
to be too dead if we don't make it more attractive for not just residents,
but those from nearby communities. Redwood city and Palo Alto get a lot of
traffic from our residents for this reason. There's not much here and it's a
pain to park and stay if you do happen to come downtown.

Building a garage is the only answer to solving what now isn't a major
problem but in the near future will become a major problem.

How does it get paid for? How do Palo Alto and Redwood City pay for
theirs? Folks are happy to put a parcel tax on themselves for schools, perhaps
that is the answer here. It certainly wouldn't need to be anywhere near the
size as the ones approved for the schools.
 
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Posted by Norman, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 20, 2014 at 6:12 pm
 
Tunbridge Wells:

I'm with you as I always have found a place to park and I've been in West
Menlo for forty years. Even as they've reduced the parking. It seems that
the commentators are divided into two parts: Those that want to park for
more than the allotted time and those that are urban planners and/or
visionaries of what a parking garage can do for the businesses in MP.

The City shouldn't go ahead with a garage unless there complaints about
being able to park, having to leave the area to find places.

This issue is almost Kafkaesque and reminds me of our last auto related
go-round with slowing down traffic on Santa Cruz which didn't need slowing
down.
 
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Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 20, 2014 at 7:49 pm
Peter Carpenter is a registered user.
 
Here is another innovative parking program that we used last night - works
 great:
"Valet Parking in Downtown Redwood City
Nights of Operation Every Friday and Saturday
This program is the result of many Downtown businesses coming together in
a cooperative effort to address their customers' concerns with the
sometimes-impacted parking situation.

As Downtown Redwood City continues growing into one of THE great
destinations for entertainment in Silicon Valley, valet parking will help bring
parking relief, more convenience, and peace of mind, at a low cost, to anyone
looking for easy parking on those busy Friday and Saturday nights.

Look for this sign on Middlefield at Broadway (or on Theatre Way at
Middlefield/Winslow during the concert season) for easy, stress-free parking at a
great price.

Drop off your car, enjoy your evening at these participating businesses,
get validation, and get your car delivered right to where you left it."
 
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Posted by One Week Experiment, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jul 21, 2014 at 8:27 am
 
If some folks think that the city is overly aggressive with overtime
parking, how about trying a one week, or more, experiment with No Overtime
Parking enfordement at all. Why do I suggest this? One reason is during one of
the busiest times of the year, between Thanksgiving and Christmas, the City
offers a Relaxed Parking Program. With visits to the downtown area at an
all time high, business increases, as folks can shop, or dine, or both,
without fear of returning to their car and being greeted by a $45.00 ticket.
Merchants and othes may do self-poicing to free up spaces for consumers by
parking their car a few blocks away. Yes, downtown needs more parking places,
but does the city need to take nearly a million dollars a year from the
pockets of consumers rather than making these funds available to merchants? No
time limits seem to work at Town and Country Village and Stanford Shopping
Center. Maybe it can work in downtown Menlo Park too.
 
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Posted by Mike Keenly, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford
Park
on Jul 21, 2014 at 10:17 am
 
_at_(domainremoved)
the user of the parking space, and not the taxpayer, who may or may not make
use of the parking. And yes, I still believe that a parking structure at
this time is a solution looking for a problem, regardless of the language in
the Specific Plan about it.
 
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Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 21, 2014 at 10:35 am
Peter Carpenter is a registered user.
 
There is no reason why a parking structure, preferably underground with a
park on top, could not be self supporting. I suggest that the city prepare
an RFP and see what the free market proposes.
 
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Posted by Lydia, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jul 21, 2014 at 2:01 pm
 
In all the comments listed, no one mentioned the problem of finding
parking for the employees of businesses in the downtown area. At the moment many
of these employees park on streets that are not time restricted. Streets
between Menlo Avenue to Roble are impacted from 6:00 am to 5:00 pm with cars.
These same streets have no time limits. It is definitely frustrating for
the residents who live in this area. There should be a designated area for
these people to park.
 
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Posted by Richard, a resident of another community
on Jul 21, 2014 at 4:13 pm
 
"parking shortage" = "surplus of unused cars"
Work on both supply and demand, and try to increase the utilization of
cars to minimize the amount of time they are just sitting around demanding
parking places.
 
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Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 21, 2014 at 4:54 pm
Peter Carpenter is a registered user.
 
"the problem of finding parking for the employees of businesses in the
downtown area"

The only tried and true method of solving this problem is a residential
parking permit program in the neighborhoods contiguous with the downtown.
Palo Alto has been struggling with this for years and has not found any other
solution.
 
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Posted by Richard, a resident of another community
on Jul 21, 2014 at 5:10 pm
 
Peter, that doesn't solve the problem of parking for employees, it only
makes life less inconvenient for residents and more inconvenient for
employees.
 
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Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 21, 2014 at 5:16 pm
Peter Carpenter is a registered user.
 
" that doesn't solve the problem of parking for employees"

Parking for employees is handled by the existing permit program - which
could easily be expanded to meet the demand if a parking structure were
built.
 
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Posted by MOE, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 21, 2014 at 5:44 pm
 
An underground parking structure - costly as it may be - could ease the
problem of employee parking. It could also provide an exciting landscaped
open space serving many public activities. Yes, excessive ticketing is not an
incentive to come to MP and maybe some 3 hr zones may ease some of the
problem but whining about tickets for parking over the line??? If you're too
lazy to park correctly you deserve the ticket. If you're too stupid to
understand what the lines are for, or you just don't care to give others a fair
chance to find a space, then a few tickets may just be the lesson you need.
 
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Posted by Downtowner, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 22, 2014 at 9:56 am
 
Can anyone give an example of an underground parking structure which ".
.could also provide an exciting landscaped open space serving many public
activities" described above by Moe? Maybe build a parking garage under Burgess
Park?
San Mateo's main library has underground parking, for patrons only. I'm
not sure where the Burlingame parking garage is, Jim, except under City Hall
& limited to CH visitors. San Mateo has plenty of elevated parking which
isn't very attractive. Draegers SM has its own u'ground parking just as
Draegers MP has its own lot _at_(domainremoved)
more parking for its customers when they added a 2nd story. Part of that deal
required Draegers to pay to move the apartment bldg on that property to
east Menlo so no net rental housing would be lost.) Mtn View has a multi-story
garage near on Bryant, built at the same time that area was being
redeveloped.

Maybe build parking under Fremont Park? The public structures in both
downtown PA & Calif Ave aren't attractive at all except for the one on Ramona,
between University & Hamilton. Advocates of parking structures, please give
us examples of nice looking ones which "provide exciting open space."
 
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Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 22, 2014 at 10:10 am
Peter Carpenter is a registered user.
 
"Can anyone give an example of an underground parking structure which ".
.could also provide an exciting landscaped open space serving many public
activities" described above by Moe? "

Please read ALL of the above posts - I gave the real life example of
Brooklyn's plans to build an automated parking garage underneath a public park.
Willoughby Square Park is scheduled to open in 2016, built upon 700 parking
spaces that will be hidden from eyesight and 'reduce the amount of exhaust
pollution associated with idling in traditional parking garages.'
 
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Posted by Downtowner, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 22, 2014 at 10:47 am
 
Thanks anyway, Peter. I was hoping for something more local, perhaps even
on the Peninsula, as an example of something attractive & feasible for the
budget of a small town such as MP. Perhaps we have a smaller income pool
from which to draw.

And yes, I did read the previous posts. I remain unconvinced that $50-90k
per space in construction cost is within budget for either the resident
taxpayers or the small businesses which claim to be struggling.
 
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Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 22, 2014 at 11:27 am
Peter Carpenter is a registered user.
 
Redwood City and Palo Alto prove that underground parking is economically
feasible.
And the underground parking at PA City Hall has a plaza above it.

All it takes is a little bit of courage to seek interest from potential
operators.
 
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Posted by Observer, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jul 22, 2014 at 11:53 am
 
One example may be Union Square in San Francisco, with a beautiful, well
maintained park above, near a bustling business area. Menlo Park has a
wonderful opportunity to have the garage paid by developers by using funds
termed PUBLIC BENEFIT. This may apply to one or more of the projects earmarked
for El Camino Real, or other parts of the city, such as along Bayfront
Parkway. If merchant and employee parking could be redirected to such a
facility, 600 or more parking places would be freed up for consumers headed to
downtown restaurants, stores and shops. Hopefully City Council and staff are
also reading this column who have the responsibility of making these
decisions and providing these services.
 
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Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 22, 2014 at 12:12 pm
Peter Carpenter is a registered user.
 
SF's Union Sq garage is a great example of a public-private partnership.
In the 1930s, the Union Square Garage Corporation was formed and lobbied for
 permission to build the world's first underground parking structure.

"The idea of a private corporation leasing public land underneath a city
park was also new. Because of this, Union Square became a test case before
the California State Supreme Court, which ruled in City of San Francisco v.
Linares, that the City of San Francisco had the right to lease the
subsurface area to the Union Square Garage Corporation provided that the park
proper was not destroyed."

"After a California Supreme Court decision, permission was granted and
they broke ground on May 31, 1941."

If you look at the plaque at the Geary Street entrance to the garage you
will see the names of the businessmen who led the Union Square Garage
Corporation - I am proud that my grandfather, Russell Carpenter, was one of them.
 
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Posted by Downtown worker, a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on Jul 22, 2014 at 2:13 pm
 
Parking time limits suck. One side of a street is 1 hour the other side is
2 hours. The church takes up huge amounts of parking. On Good Friday the
parking patrol waited to ticket people as they sat in church. If someone is
having a business lunch 2 hours is not enough. If a person is in a salon
getting hair done, mani, pedi 2 hours is not enough time. Build a dang
garage, put in meters. $600 a year is crazy. Palo Alto is less. Menlo Park does
not want business. Take examples from RWC, PA and Los altos - booming with
business. Time to make Menlo user friendly.
 
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Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 22, 2014 at 2:25 pm
Peter Carpenter is a registered user.
 
Here is how the 700 space underground garage AND surface park in Brooklyn
were financed:

"After renewing efforts three years ago, the city has finally struck a
deal with the Willoughby Operating Company for the joint park and garage
project. The Willoughby Operating Company, an affiliate of the American
Development Group, will lease the city-owned land. It will use $6 million from city
capital, the city's Economic Development Corporation and private
contributions from surrounding developers to construct the park.

The Willoughby Operating Company has also agreed to pay for any cost
overruns and to finance the excavation and development of the garage. It hired
Automotion Parking Systems, which has a principal in common with the
American Development Group, to build and run the garage."


_Web Link_
(http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/10/realestate/commercial/underground-garage-to-help-pay-for-new-park-in-brooklyn.html?ref=nyregion&_r=0)

The only thing stopping Menlo Park from doing something equally attractive
and exciting is a lack of imagination.
 
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Posted by Tunbridge Wells, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied
Arts/Stanford Park
on Jul 22, 2014 at 2:29 pm
Tunbridge Wells is a registered user.
 
There are two lots where you can park and stay for up to nine hours
already. If two hours isn't enough, just go park in one of those lots. Yes, you
have to pay for the privilege, but it's cheaper than getting a ticket. This
is a fairly straightforward thing, so perhaps the city needs to improve
their signage explaining where you can park longer.
 
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Posted by Matt R, a resident of Woodside: Skywood/Skylonda
on Jul 22, 2014 at 2:35 pm
 
The Menlo Park "hassle" is what keeps me away unless I have very specific
needs. So, yes, current practices are impacting business in MP. But there
are trade offs here, unlimited, unrestricted access make the place a zoo.
Too much constriction chokes off access and drives people elsewhere.

Seems to me that this conflict will never be resolved. That said, there is
no reason why more innovative solutions can't be used. Other places have
implement different parking space management strategies that have shown to
increase access and flow, use these first to improve the utilization of what
spaces are currently available. But at some point, MP will have to address
pedestrian corridors, improved traffic flow, bike traffic and the
rest....., and it hasn't really yet. But if MP is to thrive, economic growth is a
fact, and having to deal with it is not optional.

PS for those that say "I can always park within a couple of blocks..."
that's fine if you are pretty mobile, but when we had babies in strollers, bad
parking was a real problem! There are lots of situations where distant
parking is hard to deal with. That's a fact too.

So MP will have to deal with this collage of conflicting needs and
perspectives, and none will be happy. But I think few doubt that things could be
better than they are with some optimization at the margin, whether or not a
parking garage is in the future....
 
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Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 22, 2014 at 2:57 pm
Peter Carpenter is a registered user.
 
IF you want to really understand the economics of parking here is a
beautifully written academic piece on the subject that focuses on university
campuses and notes that "big universities resemble small cities":

_Web Link_
(http://shoup.bol.ucla.edu/PoliticsAndEconomicsOfCampusParking.pdf)

It is fun reading but suitable for anyone just looking for quick answers.
 
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Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 22, 2014 at 3:08 pm
Peter Carpenter is a registered user.
 
Here is another automated underground garage:

_Web Link_
(http://www.roadtraffic-technology.com/projects/munich-automated-underground-parking/)

"Design of the facility started in January 2004 with construction starting
in October 2004. The construction was completed by February 2006
(roadworks took ten months and the entire project 16 months from the start of
construction). The investment for the project was €11.35m (45% on building, 30%
on the parking system and 25% on other costs).

The parking system provided is a combination of two Wöhr Multipark 740
Systems which will provide 284 parking places (150 plus 134). "

One would think that Menlo Park in Silicon Valley in 2014 could catch up
with what was done in Munich in 2004.
 
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Posted by Jonathan, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jul 22, 2014 at 8:42 pm
 
I find it interesting that not one of the above comments have been offered
by either the CITY COUNCIL or by CITY STAFF. What is their take? Are funds
 available to provide ways to add parking places? Are any of the ideas
feasible? Will this topic become an agenda item on either the Transportation
Commission meetings or on the City Council meeting? Words are helpful, but
action may be better. When the CAR LOTS and other vacant properties are built
 out, downtown parking may be worse than it already is. Planning ahead for
this inevitability may soften the impact. In fact, didn't the MENLO PARK
PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH at one time offer to help fund a parking garage? What
happen to that proposal?
 
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Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 22, 2014 at 8:48 pm
Peter Carpenter is a registered user.
 
"I find it interesting that not one of the above comments have been
offered by either the CITY COUNCIL or by CITY STAFF."

Due to the unmoderated nature of this Forum no elected or appointed
official (other than myself) is foolish enough to participate in this venue. Why
should they expose themselves to the attacks and ridicule which prevails in
this venue?
 
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Posted by Jonathan, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jul 22, 2014 at 9:50 pm
 
If you don't have thick skin and can take criticism that comes with the
territory, then I'd think one has no business being on the city council, city
 staff or for that matter participating in the political process. Our
system of government encourages debate, various points of view and at times
protesting for what you believe, including, but not limited to, issue about
downtown parking. Perhaps during the Public Comment section of a future
Bicycle Commission, Transportation Commission and/or a City Council meeting,
someone can share their thoughts in hopes that either low hanging fruit or more
 complex solutions can be considered.
 
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Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 22, 2014 at 9:55 pm
Peter Carpenter is a registered user.
 
"If you don't have thick skin and can take criticism that comes with the
territory, then I'd think one has no business being on the city council,
city staff or for that matter participating in the political process."

The behavior on this Forum exceeds the standards of " thick skin and can
take criticism ".
Based on my personal experience anyone else on as an elected official ,
appointed staff or for that matter participating in the political process is
wise to ignore this forum.
 
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Posted by Jonathan, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jul 22, 2014 at 10:54 pm
 
This thread appears to be exceptionally helpful, at least for the most
part. I agree that on some topics it can turn nasty and disrespectful. I for
one thank you for your active participation. You often bring reason, food
for thought and a helpful perspective. I noticed you forwarded this topic to
the City Council email log, despite your comments to the contrary above. As
it also goes to staff, some good may come of it.
 
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Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 23, 2014 at 7:16 am
Peter Carpenter is a registered user.
 
" I noticed you forwarded this topic to the City Council email log,
despite your comments to the contrary above."

I sent it to the MP Council because few, if any, elected officials bother
to read this unmoderated Forum due to the plethora of personal attacks.
This particular thread was a lost unique in its very civil and productive
discussion of an important local topic.
 
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Posted by Jonathan, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jul 23, 2014 at 10:41 am
 
If anyone wants to bend the ear of the MAYOR OF MENLO PARK, Ray Mueller,
on this or any other topic, he will be holding OFFICE HOURS this coming
SATURDAY, JULY 26, 2014 ALL DAY, as follows:

1) 11 am - Cafe Zoe,

2) 1 pm - Oasis,

3) 3 pm - Dutch Goose and

4) 5 pm at the Five Star Pizza.

Ray is an exceptional person who goes out of his way to reach out to the
general public. At the April 2014 Council meeting, he was very clear in
wanting to see improvements to the downtown parking and holds quarterly Small
Business Roundtable meetings to hear directly from anyone interested in the
topic.
 
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Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 23, 2014 at 10:57 am
Peter Carpenter is a registered user.
 
Jonathan - I agree; Mayor Mueller does more outreach and listens better
than any other local elected or appointed official I know.
 
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Posted by MOE, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 23, 2014 at 12:58 pm
 
Downtowner - one good, nearby example of underground parking with a
surface park above is Portsmouth Square in San Francisco. it is reasonably close
in area to some of our parking plazas. It is teaming with life at any day
of the week. Another, much larger example is the Civic Center Plaza in SF.
 
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Posted by Downtowner, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 23, 2014 at 6:53 pm
 
Moe - I'm familiar with Portsmouth Square & have parked there. I believe
that it's fairly massive compared to what downtown MP can handle,
particularly with the bridge pedestrian overpass. How many levels does it have?

I also remember the construction in Redwood City and how many years that
took, but RC had more alternate traffic routes to circumnavigate the
downtown area than Menlo does. If traffic is diverted away from Menlo Ave, Oak
Grove, University, Chestnut, or Crane for a lengthy construction project,
during which parking will be further reduced, there won't be much retail or
restaurant business left by the time the project is finished.

How about taking Draeger's lead? Buy a couple of old apartment buildings,
maybe on Evelyn or the cul-de-sacs west of Universtiy, move them to east
Menlo, and build parking structures there? That would preserve existing lots
& cause less traffic disruption. Then build a walkway over Menlo Ave or
University to connect the garage to downtown.
 
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Posted by Downtowner, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 23, 2014 at 6:56 pm
 
Oh, some of the Portsmouth Square daytime activity comes from the adjacent
 Chinatown subsidized housing projects too.
 
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Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 23, 2014 at 7:09 pm
Peter Carpenter is a registered user.
 
I suggest taking the two existing surface parking lots between Santa Cruz
and Menlo and Evelyn and Chestnut and building an underground garage
covering that entire area including under Crane. The entire surface area would be
repurposed as a pedestrian and bicycle park/plaza including an area for
activities like the farmers' market. An automated garage covering that area
could easily accommodate 5 times or more cars than the existing lots provid
e. The park/plaza would encourage existing Santa Cruz businesses to open out
to the park/plaza.

An RFP outlining the concept would, I predict, produce some exciting
development proposals that would minimize the cost to the city in exchange for a
lease to the subterranean rights.
 
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Posted by Amanda, a resident of another community
on Jul 24, 2014 at 1:44 am
 
I've worked in MP for 16 years. I am 30 years old now, so half my life has
had the pleasure of knowing MP parking tickets. Sharma and Dayharsh (
parking cops) are household names to the downtown employees. On average I had
been spending just around 600 dollars a year on parking tickets, but this
year I've managed to just get one. The reason is that I now park about a 15
minute walk down the road in front of somebody's house. I've avoided doing
this for years because I HATE doing that. These residents pay too much money
to live in this city as it is, just to have some retail employee take
their parking spot all day. What we used to do was move our car every two
hours, but the world of retail doesn't always make it possible to do that in
time. The " solution" that was suggested above for employee's ( the permit),
is laughable. Most of us who work on this street don't get paid anywhere
near the amount that would offer the luxury of a $600 permit. The number of
permits given out each year per lot is also limited. If I were to suggest
something simple, it would be that they extend the time limit in the parking
behind the stores to at least 3 hours. These poor ladies who get their hair
done at one of the many salons here don't need to be moving their cars with
perm solution and a head of curlers after 2 hours. That's just not very
customer friendly. I also would tell our parking cops to be a little less
aggressive in their enforcement.
 
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Posted by Jonathan, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jul 24, 2014 at 11:53 am
 
While I admire Mr. Carpenter's suggestions for a state of the art parking
garage and quite frankly feel that it has some merit, I'd like to see some
"low lying fruit" be implemented as soon as possible. Our downtown
merchants need all the help they can get, not only from downtown parking
improvements, but potentially in a variety of other ways. Some people feel the City
is chasing business away. Government is part of the problem. How so?
Consider the following:

1) Overly aggressive parking enforcement (or at least the perception of
it).

2) Refusal to implement certain further changes, even at the urging of the
Chamber of Commerce, and others.

3) Including the outlying streets in their study, where all day parking is
available in nearby residential streets, at the expense of the adjacent
home owners.

4) Hiring high priced consultants to conduct traffic studies, only to
place them on dusty shelves with many, many previous reports, some of which say
the very same thing.

We need sidewalks that are clean, trash/recycle containers that are clean
and some new trees not to directly block merchants signs, such as in front
of Village Stationers.

Many of the new programs downtown may be stimulating traffic, interest and
vitality, such as the Exotic Car Shows, upcoming Movie Nights, Fremont
Park Summer Concerts, etc. It is an excellent start. What more can be done?

Bottom line, the City Council, as policy makers and budget setters, need
to make more of a priority ways to help business, economic development and
foster growth. This column has offered many ideas.
 
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Posted by Roy Thiele-Sardiña, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo
Park
on Jul 24, 2014 at 2:43 pm
Roy Thiele-Sardiña is a registered user.
 
_at_(domainremoved)

While I respect your position. I find it IMPOSSIBLE to believe you can't
afford $.30 per hour to Park. This is two Starbucks a week, skip the coffee
and be a better citizen.

Roy
 
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Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 24, 2014 at 7:29 pm
Menlo Voter is a registered user.
 
Roy:

clearly you don't have a clear grasp on what someone working in retail
makes. My guess is around $10 per hour. That's $400 a week (if she works full
time) meaning that $600 parking permit is a week and a half's salary.
Sorry, but someone making $10 per hour is making a little more than $20,000 per
year. Could you live on that AND cough up $600 for parking? I don't think
so.
 
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Posted by Jonathan, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jul 25, 2014 at 4:54 pm
 
It appears that concerns over DOWNTOWN PARKING have been the subject of
this column for years, as shown, by way of example, by the Almanac article
dated in year 2011, and corresponding 78 comments. Certainly a problem that
goes on and on year after year, is deserving of further study and the active
pursuit of a solution. As they say, if not now, when, and if not by you,
whom? In this case, the City Council needs to tackle this problem.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Menlo parking a factor in closing of Boutique 4
by Jane Knoerle / Almanac

After five years in business in downtown Menlo Park, Boutique 4 has closed
at 809 Santa Cruz Ave., according to Tamara Michel, co-owner of the
boutique with her sister, Julie.

"Our lease was up and we were not comfortable signing up for another four
years, given the business conditions in Menlo Park," says Ms. Michel.

Another factor in closing, she says, was Menlo Park's extremely aggressive
parking enforcement. "We had many customers who refused to come downtown
to shop."

The Mitchel sisters continue to operate a second clothing shop at 279
Castro St. in Mountain View, where parking enforcement is more relaxed, she
says.

In 2010, Readers' Choice chose Boutique 4 as its favorite boutique for
selling "timeless and classic clothing for women; styles that never go out of
style." A sign on the door at 809 Santa Cruz Ave. says a Subway submarine
sandwich shop will be coming soon.

Comments

Posted by Kathy Schrenk, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Feb 3, 2011 at 10:35 am
Nice job Menlo Park! We really need to get rid of more of these unique,
locally owned (and affordable!) boutiques to make room for chain fast food
places.

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Posted by Thomas Paine IV, a resident of another community
on Feb 3, 2011 at 10:47 am
This is part of the Menlo Park City Council plan to improve the
environment. Look at the electricity we are saving by keeping the car dealerships
closed. Forcing small businesses out of downtown also reduces car trips
reducing pollution. Great work!

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Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 3, 2011 at 11:33 am
Nice job City Council. This was a predictable result of the tightening of
parking restrictions down town. This needs to be revisited.

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Posted by truth, a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Feb 3, 2011 at 11:53 am
When did the city council tighten restrictions? I can't seem to find the
meeting where that happened. I remember last fall when council approved
longer term parking that was supposed to be in effect last month, but I don't
recall more restrictions.

If you are serious, please direct me to that info. If you are just trying
to be nasty old timers, forget it, I could not care less.

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Posted by Daveo, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 3, 2011 at 12:11 pm
eechh?!
never been there.
never saw the place.
never even noticed it.
was it something someone needed?
I would guess that it just wasn't a viable business.
might(?)just be the natural progression of things..

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Posted by Colin Jenkins, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Feb 3, 2011 at 12:26 pm
Not sure what it means, but I find it interesting that there are so many
empty storefronts on Santa Cruz Ave - we counted 15 a while ago, not sure if
that is still the number - but if you drive down Middlefield Rd into
Redwood City/N Fair Oaks, you don't see one empty storefront.

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Posted by frustrated in west menlo, a resident of Menlo Park: Central
Menlo Park
on Feb 3, 2011 at 12:26 pm
Great job Menlo Park! City council and landlords as well. I walked
downtown yesterday and was appauled at the number of empty storefronts. The
parking is so confusing, noone wants to shop here. Let's make parking the same
all over town, with possibly one lot for extended parking. Also, we need a
place for shopowners to park. $600 per year for each permit is quite high.
The small shop owners can't afford it. People would rather shop at Stanford
or Town and Country in Palo Alto. What a shame!

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Posted by sometime shopper, a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Feb 3, 2011 at 12:44 pm
Okay, I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that I'm not sure what
people are complaining about. There is abundant *free* parking in downtown
Menlo, and most spaces are good for at least two hours. How many hours do
people need to park to go shopping?

I am sorry that Boutique 4 closed—it was a great shop!—but I'm not buying
the anecdotal evidence that parking was the problem. Try shopping
someplace like downtown San Mateo or Redwood City and you'll quickly realize how
good we have it.

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Posted by downtowner, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 3, 2011 at 12:47 pm
C'mon, this is nothing new. Menlo has had 2 hr parking for at least 30
yrs. This shop didn't attract much attention here & high rent is more likely
to be the culprit than lack of long-term parking. Other retailers face the
same time restriction & do well.

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Posted by Scholar, a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Feb 3, 2011 at 12:59 pm
How is it that there's no outcry here about a chain-franchise Subway
replacing an individual family shop, as compared to the recent loud outcry about
the chain-store BevMo opening on El Camino and supposedly helping to ruin
the character of the town?

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Posted by Annabelle, a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Feb 3, 2011 at 1:20 pm
I shop downtown Menlo Park all the time and never experience a difficult
time finding a place to park. In fact, I try never to shop downtown Palo
Alto or Mountain View because it is impossible to find a place to park.

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Posted by Daveo, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 3, 2011 at 2:08 pm
I want to second the more recent views. Rents are a far bigger problem.

There is plenty of parking !!! The ONLY way there isn't is if you want to
go there and spend more than two hours.

Please note the following: You can't go there to hit the cleaners, buy a
pair of shoes, eat lunch with a friend AND go to the post office. It can't
be done in less than two hours; so don't try it!
I do feel sorry for any elderly for who walking the two or three blocks
and running a couple errands can easily bring them close to the 2 hr. limit.
Maybe something can be done? Maybe an elderly parking sticker that absolves
them from the two-hour limit? Let's, the rest of us, leave the parking on
Santa Cruz avenue for the elderly, observe the speed limit AND stop making
those crazy U-turns.

Furthermore, the parking topic has become a Red Herring, constantly harped
on by some factions. Let's a) continue and strengthen our resolve to
continue to strenuously ignore them (it's worked well for the 30 years I've
lived here). AND try to convince them to stop harping on this topic. The last
thing Menlo Park needs right now is another $3-5M bond to pay off.

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Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 3, 2011 at 3:01 pm
Truth and others:

street parking time was cut to one hour as of the first of the year.

Web Link
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Posted by Steve, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 3, 2011 at 3:19 pm
I like it that street parking has been reduced to one hour. It's meant for
 shoppers like me who want to pop into Peets for a cuppa or into
Boulangerie for a quick lunch. When I have more serious shopping at TJs or Draegers I
go to the 2 hour lots.
I've been shopping in downtown Menlo Park at least weekly since 1985 and
have never gotten a parking ticket in all that time. Nor has my wife.
Anecdotal I know but it's another data point.
BTW - I also never noticed this little boutique that went out of business
- though neither I nor my wife are boutique types. Still - I do miss some
of the specialty shops that have closed. Most recently, the paperback
bookstore that closed for good after a fire. And Posh Bagel, though they say
they'll be back after remodeling.

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Posted by Hmmm, a resident of another community
on Feb 3, 2011 at 3:19 pm
Scholar, I think you're on to something. I bet a sub sandwich shop doesn't
cut into the coffers of another business run by a family-owned business
who loves to control and try to tell others what to do and think.

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Posted by Steve, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 3, 2011 at 3:36 pm
Just a thought about the Subway shop coming soon: I expect the sales tax
from this business will far exceed that of the boutique it is replacing.
I don't think a Subway adds much in terms of character to the downtown
but, on the positive side, it does fill a storefront and should help the city
revenue picture.

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Posted by Thomas, a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Feb 3, 2011 at 3:54 pm
Unlike Bev Mo or Staples, Subway is a franchise and for the most part
bought by individual owners who are sinking their own savings into the venture.
Unlike Staples or Bev Mo, they rarely are backed by any V.C. funding which
enables places like Staples and Bev Mo to operate even an
unprofitable location. Franchise operations,like the Chili's that went out
of business, may seem like part of a larger chain when in truth they are
small businesses with the same problems faced by stores such as Boutique 4.

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Posted by Robert Cronin, a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Feb 3, 2011 at 5:44 pm
Like others above, I suspect high rents had more to do with the closure of
the boutique and other stores in downtown. As for parking, I have a
foolproof system that lets me park any time, no limits and never more that thirty
feet from the store where I'm shopping. It's called a bicycle.

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Posted by Steve, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 3, 2011 at 5:44 pm
The more I think about it, the more convinced I am that parking was a real
problem for this boutique. Located across the street from Angelo Mio, this
shop had one of the least used parking lots at it's rear of any of the
lots in town. You can look at the satellite view in Google Maps and it shows
lots of parking available. It's apparently a mid-day view since the shadows
are not long and the lot across from Carpaccio's is full, as it usually is
around lunch time.
Her actual claim was that "We had many customers who refused to come
downtown to shop." Now maybe that's the excuse they used for not shopping there
or maybe a lot of folks do avoid the downtown because they tend to stay
longer than 2 hours and have been ticketed in the past. For me, it's never
been a problem.
Here's the link to the GoogleMap view. Web Link

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Posted by Steve, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 3, 2011 at 5:47 pm
I meant to say "The more I think about it, the more convinced I am that
parking was NOT a real problem for this boutique."
I need to proofread before hitting the send button!

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Posted by halle, a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Feb 3, 2011 at 5:48 pm
The plan that the Council.etc.supports will harm parking/walking to
businesses.

Would be great if Seniors were given more time, but would Seniors be
willing to advertise their ages.

I have gotten 3 parking tickets in Menlo and a ticket for not having my
new registration on my license even though I was just stopping to put it on!

Menlo has plenty or time and apparently money to give tickets, but not to
monitor drivers not stopping in marked pedestrian crossing areas to let
pedestrians cross! A law suit about an injured or killed pedestrian...hum,
what effect would that have on the powers to be in Menlo?

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Posted by Rarely Shop MP because of parking, a resident of another
community
on Feb 3, 2011 at 6:13 pm
I occasionally pop by Trader Joes for shopping, but after an hour of
grocery shopping, the remaining time is rarely enough to warrant window shopping
down Santa Cruz or even walking over to grab a bite to eat. By the time
you get there and calculate the time needed to get back, you rarely have more
than 15-20 minutes to spend in a store. And yes I am always calculating my
time when I go there, because they treat customers with contempt.

Try doing breakfast at Stacks and then some shopping downtown. There is
just not enough time with the 2 hour limit. I rarely shop Menlo Park for this
reason. I usually swing by just for a specific store, ie Trader Joes or
Penzeys Spices and I am out of there. I have never received a ticket, but I
am very aware that the leadership of the city see this policy as a revenue
generator instead of a loss leader for the store owners. The city leadership
can not deny the negative impact this policy has on shoppers. You only
have to look at the changes they make over the holiday season, ie increasing
the parking time to 3 hours, which should probably be a permanent policy.
Why do that over Christmas, if the current parking limit is not punitive? The
truth hurts.

I have no problem telling shop owners, and often do, that I am in a hurry
and don't have time to spend as long as I would like in their stores
because of the parking policy. You don't see any shop owners in this forum
defending this absurd and anti commercial parking rule. I am much more
comfortable shopping down town Palo Alto with their more relaxed parking enforcement
and rules.

I am not a senior, and not handicapped, and can move quickly. And that is
exactly what I do the few times I shop downtown Menlo Park. Get in and get
out, before the parking Nazis get their pound of flesh.

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Posted by Comparison Shopping, a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Feb 3, 2011 at 6:40 pm
I don't know if Mountain View has different parking enforcement, and in
any event, like Steve, I've never ever gotten a parking ticket in Menlo Park,
and I've shopped/dined there plenty. However, if I was comparing MV with
MP and thinking of reasons why Boutique 4 does better there, I'd note that
MV has:

- parking garages
- nice wide sidewalks on Castro sometimes turned into outdoor dining for
restaurants
- a decent number of buildings over 2 stories tall
- a lot more people nearby- offices and condos

Oh noes!!!! It sounds like Manhattan!!!!

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Posted by Daveo, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 3, 2011 at 7:34 pm
As 'Rarely Shop MP states' they get in and get out quickly and never get
tickets, but prefer Palo Alto. PA also has a two hr limits. But perhaps (?)
their enforcement is not as thorough. or as timely?

Sounds like a number of the complainers don't mind the two hour limit as
much as they mind getting caught when they exceed it.

Stop griping as it appears that in this case the Government has an
effective and efficient operation that is running like clock-work. Those of you
that chant that "government can't do anything right", really need to eat some
crow on this one, as it appears parking enforcement is a model operation.

Stop the greedy self-absorbed whining.

What is it $25, or $35. MP needs the money; whistle while you write the
check and seal it with a Kiss!

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Posted by Hmmm, a resident of another community
on Feb 3, 2011 at 8:31 pm
Well, Daveo, I gotta say - the parking enforcement in MP is not only
aggressive, the personnel are often rude. I was ticketed for not having updated
registration, which seems over & beyond their responsibility - rather
Orwellian. Also, at a place that's a loading zone, they would wrongly ticket
folks. I know this because I researched the law, how the sign should be worded
& the people ticketed successfully fought the ticket. The Parking Nazis
used to turn around in the middle of the street to follow me from lot to lot
before I had a parking permit - it was truly bizarre. I understand that
there has to be enforcement, but it should be polite & not insanely zealous.

I also agree that the MPPD, who do ticket a lot of vehicles in that area,
could greatly increase revenue by pulling over even more. As a pedestrian,
I was hit in downtown MP & I see near misses frequently. Also, places that
serve a lot of alcohol, such as Carpaccio, would be a great place to snag
drunk drivers.

Another thing I'd LOVE to see? That lame-o drivers who park w/their rear
hanging in the driving lane of the parking lot, so as to avoid getting their
front bumper hit. WTH is that about? It's way more dangerous for everyone
to dodge those stupid cars whose owners are too selfish to park correctly.
Now, I'd LOVE to see those cars ticketed. Maybe then they can finally
afford to have some of those nasty lots fixed - they are hazardous to walk in at
night.

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Posted by cha ching, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Feb 3, 2011 at 8:34 pm
the nice older guy parking enforcer who would cut you some slack if you
made nice with him about being just a bit over the 2 hr. limit, unfortunately
for Menlo Park shoppers, retired.
Replaced by some [portion removed] gal who seems out to make her quota.
Just my $.02. Rojas could care less. There's no leadership in this town.
Time for the Chamber of Commerce to have "come to Jesus" talk with default
mayor cline, we could just call him "De-Cline" for short given the ever
increasing retail vacancies downtown and on ECR. He's what you get when you
have a vaccuum of leadership
LOL~

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Posted by POGO, a resident of Woodside: other
on Feb 3, 2011 at 8:57 pm
Businesses fail all the time. It could be the store's selection of
merchandise, prices, service, or decor... who knows?

But why not take the store owner's comments at face value? If she said
some of her customers complained about the limited parking, why not accept it?
We've heard this complaint before... if there is some truth to it, it
would be nice to find out sooner than later.

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Posted by Dawn, a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Feb 4, 2011 at 11:15 am
Funny. I have a few preferred shops in downtown MP that I frequent because
they sell reasonably priced goods that I like to purchase. Capitalism at
its best. I have never managed to get a ticket for being over my two hour
limit. Perhaps I've just never needed two hours to do my tour of shops. To
whoever posted it - I did once get a ticket for sticking too far out - parking
 a car that was too long for its space. I sure miss that Toyota pickup with
its excess of 300K miles, but it was just too long for parking spaces in
MP. And on a side note - I for one think people label others as Nazis far
too often in this world. It should be retired from use, IMHO. I'll put my
soapbox box away for today.

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Posted by Menlo Shopper, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 4, 2011 at 11:55 am
Who "refuses to come downtown to shop?" I guess if your idea of "shopping"
is to come into town at 8 am, have breakfast, and spend the rest of the
day going in and out of stores, yeah, then you will have to park in a
residential neighborhood outside downtown and walk a few blocks. But most of us
come downtown to do a few errands (postoffice, drugstore, Trader Joe's, gift)
and all that can be pretty easily accompllished in the two-hour timeframe.
If parking times were longer, the spots would be taken by all-day shoppers
(or employees!) and those of us running a quick errands would not have a
place to park.

I go downtown all the time and I had never noticed or heard of this store.
Maybe the real issue was that the store didn't have the kind of
merchandise that appeals to residents, and instead of saying "your store depresses
me," people instead gave the owners the benign excuse about parking.

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Posted by Miss Use, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Feb 4, 2011 at 1:15 pm
I was parked in a 2 hour lot behind Walgreens for 45 minutes and came back
to find a $90 ticket.I verified the two places that I visited re the time
and still I got nowhere.The meter maids or whoever is responsible for this
blatant misuse of"time" altering the tickets is part of the problem as well
as the high rents.Menlo Park is a wonderful place and should not have the
people who visit ripped off.

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Posted by Daveo, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 4, 2011 at 1:40 pm
Bingo! the magic word "Parking Nazis". Say no More!

This confirms my suspicion that it's not the law the bothers some types of
people; it's getting caught when they break it.

In civilized societies you have enforcement; more urban areas have more
mechanized and officious enforcement.

You can always choose to be pleasant to the parking officers. They might
choose to be pleasant with you. But they shouldn't really be swayed to let
you off, just for being pleasant.

If you want to get a personal pass when you're caught in violation, you
may have to move to Mayberry.

I strongly second a previous opinion. I studied Nazis in history class;
they don't exist anymore. ('cept maybe parts of Idaho).

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Posted by get a grip, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Feb 4, 2011 at 2:02 pm
There is still plenty of 2 hour parking. It is simply untrue that all
turned to 1 hour. And it's simply untrue that there is a shortage.
If people are willing to walk a block or two, there is plenty. That is far
less distance than one would have to park in Palo Alto or almost anywhere
else around.
I got a ticket once for taking too long over lunch but I learned from it.
There is some personal accountability involved here

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Posted by Roy Thiele-Sardina, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 4, 2011 at 5:37 pm
I haven't seen last years numbers. But in previous years Menlo Park has
written as many as 22,000 (twenty-two THOUSAND) parking tickets. that is in a
town of less than 30,000 people.

In case you are wondering that is an ABSURD amount of tickets for this
size city.

You have to wonder why we need all those high priced police officers (see
the Daily Post story this morning about Menlo Park Salaries) with that kind
of parking revenue no criminal can afford to stop here long enough to
commit crimes....without getting a ticket.

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Posted by Rarely Shop MP because of parking, a resident of another
community
on Feb 4, 2011 at 5:47 pm
For all the Nazi experts, and Nazi haters, we should remember that the
Nazis had a lot of support in their time, as it appears the Meter Maids do on
this thread.

Shawn Blackburn, owner of Vizions Artwear & Salon at 644 Santa Cruz Ave.,
said "Most business customers are there for about two hours, on pins and
needles the whole time, and sometimes they don't make it in time," said Mr.
Blackburn. "It's hard to get customers, hard to keep customers, keep them
happy, and they're not happy when they spend $100 on their hair and then get
a parking ticket."

If you are going to come into town, have breakfast at Stacks and maybe pop
into one store briefly, you should have plenty of time. If you are not a
senior citizen who has lost a step or two, or a parent with young kids, or a
handicapped customer, or an injured shopper you should have no troubles at
all with the two hour limit which is enforced with Gestapo efficiency.

If you are a shopper who likes enjoy the company of friends with a meal,
or someone that likes to linger at the bookstore, or heaven forbid someone
that has to visit more than a store or two than perhaps you should go
elsewhere. And if you are a shop owner, in this case of Boutique 4, you should go
elsewhere, which they are doing. Which amazingly seems to offend some
folks that refuse to acknowledge that the current policy is bad for business.

Shop owners and common sense say customers should not be punished for
coming downtown to shop. Shopping areas with rigorous parking enforcement do
not thrive. There are just too many other alternatives in today's marketplace.

As I previously wrote, if there is nothing wrong with the 2 hour limit,
then why does the city extend the hours during Christmas? Why not leave the
extended Christmas hours for a year, and then review it. The only reason I
can see for not doing that is the loss of ticket revenue to the city, which
is a very short sighted view. You can bet that anyone that gets a ticket
for shopping over 2 hours in Menlo Park, will not be returning in the near
future if ever. This is bad for business, which is bad for stores, which is
bad for Menlo Park.


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Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 4, 2011 at 7:20 pm
It's clear to me that parking regulations and enforcement are revenue
generators for the city. Why not just be honest about it and put in parking
meters. They have them in many other cities. If you want more time you go feed
the meter. People have a chance of avoiding expensive tickets that way and
the city gets it's revenue. A win-win.

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Posted by Dawn, a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Feb 4, 2011 at 8:54 pm
I totally get the hair appointment problem. No way I'm in and out with my
haircut in under two hours. What does San Carlos do? I don't think I run
into problems in their public lot and they have a thriving downtown. Lets
just do what they do or put in those credit card parking meters redwood city
has.

I agree that if its just a revenue issue, let people pay for how much they
want to use the parking lot rather than just live off the unlucky few
(thousands) who get tickets. The good new seems be though that if they write
23,000 tickets a year in a town of 30,000 we are totally getting out of town
shoppers. Woohoo.

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Posted by Hmmm, a resident of another community
on Feb 4, 2011 at 9:24 pm
Daveo, you don't get it. The times I was followed by the Parking Nazi, I
wasn't doing anything wrong, so it was really weird. I was just moving my
car legally from one lot to another, or to on street parking. The times I
couldn't get away from the office, I literally paid the price, until we were
able to get parking permits. I'm certainly not against parking enforcement,
but I am against the personnel being total creeps by borderline harassing
drivers who are also city customers and patrons of local businesses. I
observed a fair amount of rudeness from the Parking Nazis, although I never
actually spoke w/them myself that I recall.

Oh, yeah, there still are Nazis - besides the parking enforcement in Menlo
& in other parts of the US, they're also in Europe.

There was a thread a few months back where a poster was physically
followed in Draeger's and tried to dodge the Parking Nazi. It was both funny &
bizarre.

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Posted by downtowner, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 5, 2011 at 12:25 am
Possible reasons for extending parking to 3 hrs at Christmas:

1) more purchases than other times of the year, due to gifts

2) restaurants are busier than normal with all the holiday lunches,
consequently wervice is a lot slower than normal.

2 hour parking is fine. Get over it, hmmm. Palo Alto has 2 hour parking
and that downtown is much bigger, with many more restaurants & shops.

I'm with those who think Boutique 4's closure is due to high rent &
factors that have nothing to do with parking. Mt. View has a very cifferent
daytime customer profile than Menlo does. There are huge apt. complexes, lots of
restaurants & bars, a big library, a LightRail-CalTrain transit hub and no
grocery stores. Ever notice that?

I don't miss Boutique 4. Never knew it was there. Whatever was in its
windows didn't draw my attention. I do shop downtown Menlo a lot, as well as
downtown Palo Alto & Los Altos. In & out in 2 hrs or less.

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Posted by Long time Menlo Man, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Feb 5, 2011 at 11:46 am
Parking hasn't changed. The economy has changed much more than parking
changes

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Posted by clothes horse, a resident of Portola Valley: other
on Feb 6, 2011 at 9:45 am
never heard of this boutique until it announced that it was closing !! I
shop in MP often & although parking is sometimes an issue, (not an excuse)
walking is always good exercise

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Posted by POGO, a resident of Woodside: other
on Feb 6, 2011 at 9:59 am
The bigger question is it more important for Menlo Park to be friendly to
its businesses (support them, make it easy to shop, encourage visitors,
etc.) or more important to augment city revenues by issuing nuisance parking
tickets.

There's no right or wrong answer. It's a political decision that reflects
the city's attitude.

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Posted by Menlo Shopper, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 6, 2011 at 10:17 am
POGO, that either/or suggests there are only two possibilities. Does it
occur to you that the city supports businesses by issuing tickets? If the
parking limits were not enforced, the spaces would fill early in the day and
anyone coming into town at noon to run errands would have a hard time finding
 a space. It is in the businesses' best interests for the city to make sure
 that the spaces turn over so that new shoppers can find parking.

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Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 6, 2011 at 10:28 am
Menlo Shopper states:"It is in the businesses' best interests for the city
to make sure that the spaces turn over so that new shoppers can find
parking."

The key issues here is the length of the allowed parking and the 'mission'
of the parking enforcement officers.

If the parking length it is 15 minutes then you get a very different type
of shopper than if it is three hours. And if it is all day then you would
probably drive out the short term parkers with the all day parkers. The City
needs to be innovative on the timing issue. Why not make some lots 3
hours, keep the others at 2 hours and keep the side streets one hour and then
see what happens?

The City also needs to make sure that the 'mission' for the parking
enforcement officers is clear. If the parking enforcement officers mission is to
maximize revenues they will behave very differently then if their mission
is to facilitate the best use of the parking spaces and to assist shoppers.
Don't blame the parking enforcement officers for doing what they are told
to do.

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Posted by truth, a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Feb 6, 2011 at 10:35 am
The city council voted to change parking last year. 3 and 2 and 1 hour
parking. Just read a little. Sheesh. And if I recall, all the old timer shop
owners complained again.

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Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 6, 2011 at 11:42 am
"The city council voted to change parking last year. 3 and 2 and 1 hour
parking."

1 - are the different areas clearly marked?

2 - has the city collected turnover data for the different time period
parking areas?

3 - what are the results?

Innovation and experiments without data are useless.

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Posted by truth, a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Feb 6, 2011 at 12:40 pm
Roll out is expected now -- I think even last month. This was a major
topic for us in Menlo Park and we all had a chance to voice our concerns and
support. [Portion deleted. Please discuss topic, don't attack other posters.]

Web Link

C'mon.

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Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 6, 2011 at 1:25 pm
How about you c'mon truth? In your post of Feb 3rd you weren't even aware
it had been changed. Now you act like you knew all along. Spare us your
vitriol.

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Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 6, 2011 at 2:08 pm
One person's mundane questions are the intelligent person's truth.
If you don't measure something then you cannot manage it.

How about transferring the parking enforcement officers to the business
development office? That might give a clearer mission statement.

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Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 6, 2011 at 4:37 pm
Another interesting data point would be a monthly listing of how many of
the full day ($10) and half day ($5) Temporary Parking permits have been
purchased by business to use for either their employees or their customers.

Even if offered at the business' cost it would be a much better deal than
a parking ticket. These temporary parking permits would also be a great way
for a business to show appreciate for some of their best customers.


Has any customer ever been offered such a permit by a business with whom
they were doing multi-hour business?

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Posted by Will, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 7, 2011 at 12:39 pm
Great job council on welcoming another chain store operation into Menlo.
Even if it is a franchise. Are the franchisees locals? I don't think so. So
maybe Boutique 4 wasn't a viable enterprise and went under for a number of
other reasons and just maybe the parking issue was one of the parts of the
equation. Either way, couldn't we (the council i mean) be a little choosier
on who we have come in to pay the exorbitant rents! Just wondering.

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Posted by Bob, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 7, 2011 at 1:00 pm
The parking problem - it's not the number of parking spots - it'speople
complaining about getting tickets for parking over the limit.
And it's all the fault of those pesky cell phones. Fewer and fewer people
wear watches, so that easy flick of a wrist to see the time is unavailable
to most folks.
Shoppers and diners are too lazy to search through their purses or reach
into a pocket to look at the time. And they're not smart enough to figure
out how to set the alarm on the cell phone to tell them when their time is up.
Stop griping folks and buy a cheap watch.

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Posted by downtowner, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 7, 2011 at 3:57 pm
Think about which lots are most congested & which businesses they serve.
The lot behind Walgreens serves Left Bank, Vida, SuHong, UnaMas & Starbucks
as well as the Mex. restaurant on Doyle, Menlo Ave & Doyle salons, the
600-698 Menlo Ave offices, & TJ & B of A overflow. The lot behind 800-898 Santa
Cruz fills at the Crane St end & usually has empty spaces about halfway to
University.

Really, how long does it take to walk an extra half block to the next lot?
Businesses with more than a certain # of employees should have to provide
parking permits for them as part of compensation. Keep street parking 1 hr
with permits for longer use available to residents of side streets, with
proof of address.

If the new Subway proprietor is able & willing to pay the requested rent,
welcome him. Would you rather have an empty shop? It will ease lunchtime
crowding (& leave more shopping time) to have another place to grab a quick
bite. Nice option too for the downtown workers who're on a timed break & a
budget.

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Posted by peninsula shopper, a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Feb 7, 2011 at 4:40 pm
As I shop both in downtown Menlo Park and downtown Burlingame (both
Burlingame Ave.area and Broadway), it seems to me that this parking issue is
something of a red herring. The parking in both downtown Burlingame streets is
not very much different from that available in downtown Menlo Park with
respect to length of stay in a parking spot, with the obvious exception of the
Burlingame parking meters. Having a two hour limit and having to pay for
parking has not seemed to hurt the downtown businesses in Burlingame.
Perhaps competition from other stores on Santa Cruz Ave. was more of a factor in
this boutique's closing.

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Posted by POGO, a resident of Woodside: other
on Feb 7, 2011 at 4:57 pm
downtowner asks: "Would you rather have an empty shop?"

I'm not sure we want to know that answer.

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Posted by Rarely Shop MP because of parking, a resident of another
community
on Feb 8, 2011 at 9:24 am
The store owners have clearly stated that they are leaving because of the
business conditions in downtown Menlo Park and the "extremely aggressive
parking enforcement".

The truthers and Holocaust deniers are free to express their opinions in
this country. The parking policy supporters have been equally free to
denigrate the business and cast doubt on the owners reasons for leaving.

But pesky facts keep getting in the way.

The owners have been here for 5 years. They are experienced retailers.
This was not a new store. They own another store in Mountain View (which is
very useful for comparison purposes). The store in Menlo Park was a Readers
Choice award winner for its category last year.

Many customers, myself included, have stated on this thread that the
Gestapo tactics of the Parking Police were deterring them from shopping Menlo
Park. The owners of this Boutique agree that the shopping area is not
customer friendly and they are voting with their feet, just like potential
customers and ticketed customers have been doing.

I don't know whether it is sad or hilarious that so many people remain
unconvinced that the parking policies and enforcement in downtown MENLO PARK
are anti-business. I guess they are taking their cue from the top, where our
current administration and the Big O are scratching their heads at this
economic debacle and wondering how they got a reputation for being
"anti-business". You reap what you sow. Welcome Subway, here's hoping for a Burger
King there in the near future.

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Posted by Menlo Shopper, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 8, 2011 at 10:59 am
The "pesky facts" are that many of us have lived and shopped in Menlo Park
for years without any problems at all. I don't care who is broadcasting
what propaganda -- I have never gotten a ticket, and it sounds as though most
of us who patronize downtown stores have had similarly unblemished
experiences. Parking in Menlo Park is infinitely easier than parking in Palo Alto
or Mountain View, where I often will have to drive around for blocks trying
to find a space. I don't recall that ever happening downtown.

At one time or another, I've visited just about every store on Santa Cruz
and on the side streets. I honestly don't ever remember even seeing this
particular store. Reading the reviews for it on Yelp, it sounds like a place
where I'd like to shop. Maybe they didn't do a very good job promoting
their business or merchandising their products? Maybe they should have taken a
lesson from their neighbor Sugar Shack -- everyone knows that store. You've
got to have more than good products/service to survive in retail -- you
have to reach out to your customers.

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Posted by Patty, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 8, 2011 at 11:31 am
The aggressive issuing of parking tickets in Menlo Park has had me heading
to Palo Alto for years, particularly for things like hair styling services
where they have provided parking to attract customers, shopping and
spending money for vendor services. It takes more than 2 hours to have my hair
cut and colored,in Menlo Park that would be an automatic parking ticket, so I
go to Palo Alto and while I am there I usually shop and dine, all without
ever having to think about moving my parked car to avoid a parking ticket.

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Posted by downtowner, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 8, 2011 at 12:35 pm
Y'all complain about parking tickets, but I'm there very frequently & get
a ticket maybe once every 4 years. My hair appts take less than 2 hrs.
Parking is much easier here than in Palo Alto or Los Altos. San Mateo,
Burlingame, & Redwood City all have meters & paid lots. I get ticketed in San Mateo
about every 5th visit.

Where are these aggressive meter cops? I don't see them. I wish there were
aggressive U-turn cops patrolling Santa Cruz Ave who'd also get the stop
sign runners at Doyle. Also wish big SUVs would pull all the way to the curb
on S Cruz because it's tough to see around those monsters & back out into
traffic.

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Posted by Bob, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 8, 2011 at 12:47 pm
downtowner
uturns are legal at intersections unless posted otherwise. If MPPD would
start giving tickets for non-use of turn signals the city could make some
real money. While there at it they could make some additional bucks by
ticketing al the cars with illegal tints on their windows.

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Posted by Bob, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 8, 2011 at 1:08 pm
Steve re sales tax revenues from Subway.
Sorry to disappoint but only the hot or toasted sandwiches at Subway are
taxable. Cold ones are tax free.
As to the general parking discussion - I've been parking in downtown MP
for 40 years and in all that time got one parking ticket - went in for a root
canal on Oak Grove and like an idiot didn't pay attention to the one hour
limit. My fault - who gets a root canal in less than an hour.

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Posted by downtowner, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 8, 2011 at 1:21 pm
Thanks, Bob. Didn't know that. What I see are 3-pointers at 3 way, or T
shaped intersections because cars can't make the turn in a smooth U. Some of
these drivers cause minor mayhem with their timing & for pedestrians when
they back into crosswalks to complete the turns.

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Posted by Homer Boucher, a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Feb 8, 2011 at 7:09 pm
Never knew Boutique 4.
Couldn't find parking.
That should sum it up.

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Posted by Hmmm, a resident of another community
on Feb 9, 2011 at 12:37 pm
I think the issue does have a lot to do w/how willing people are to walk
to their destination & how long they plan to be there. For a long
appointment or series of appointments, it's a hassle, as is debarking w/the elderly
or disabled. Some of the biggest parking scofflaws I've seen are on Crane,
double parking in front of the drycleaner because Heaven forbid they walk a
half block with their clean laundry.

When I'm there for just a few hours, parking downtown isn't that bad,
unless it's a specifically high traffic time, such as lunch. The issue then has
less to do w/finding parking then it does *negotiating* driving & parking
through the lousy lots, bad drivers & people who park horrendously, as I
mentioned in a previous post. When I received a lot of tickets, it was in
large part due to construction going on so that all day parking on the
outskirts was greatly reduced and even arriving well before 8:00am didn't do the
trick. It was truly awful because it was winter, bad weather, got dark early
& I really didn't feel safe walking far to my car alone at night, being
female. My lucky coworker who took the train enjoyed the experience and
working downtown - fewer homeless than in PA, way fewer creeps & she felt safe
walking to & from the train. There is a lot of good in downtown & I will
continue to frequent it as much as possible. Even though I'm closer to PA
shopping, it's really nice to spend $$ in my own county & former hometown.

I do wish Menlo had more of a variety of shops & businesses, though. It'd
be nice, imo, if it was a tad more downtown Mt. Viewish, which would
require a lot of Asian-oriented businesses moving in - more Asian food in MP is
not a bad idea. But I'll always remember the days when we could eavesdrop on
the conversations of FBI men when we were kids...oh, & I know the Parking
Nazi knows my vehicle - he still follows me when he sees me.

I truly don't mind walking as long as I have my sturdy shopping bags w/me
& don't get more gray hair negotiating some of the horrible parking lots.
Then, I'd have to get more hair color touch ups, but at least I drive to San
Carlos for that!

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Posted by Colleen, a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Feb 11, 2011 at 12:48 pm
THIS EMAIL WAS SENT TO MENLO PARK CITY COUNCIL.
I run a social group in Atherton called the Atherton Awristachatz. I am
sorry to say we will no longer be holding our lunches in Menlo Park due to
the parking problem. One of the times we had a lunch in Menlo Park and a
number of our members ended up with parking tickets. That's a shame, but I
can't due anything about it. Sorry I hope you look at making the parking 3
hours vs 2 hours. You are costing stores a lot of business. The good news is
your helping other towns promote there businesses. We would have never gone
to Thaibodia if it weren't for the parking in Menlo. I owe you a big thank
you, because I love the food.
Colleen

Begin forwarded message:

From: Colleen Anderson
Date: February 11, 2011 12:27:06 PM PST
To: Atherton lunch
Subject: [awristachatz] Putting together a lunch

Putting together another girls
lunch.
The place will be:
Thaibodia
910 Woodside Road
Redwood City, CA 94061
(650) 365-2288
thaibodia.com
Check out the website above

The food is so good here. I was very surprised when I went there with
a group of girl friends. We will not be having lunches in Menlo Park
due to the limited parking time. It's a shame because I love a number
of restaurants in town.

Colleen
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Posted by Colleen, a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Feb 11, 2011 at 1:37 pm
Just heard back from Kirsten Keith man is she on top of things. She urged
everyone to send in emails about how they feel about the parking. I think
this is something Menlo Park wants to look at. Here is the email to send
your feedback. city.council_at_(domainremoved)

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Posted by Howard D., a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Feb 13, 2011 at 11:28 am
This thread tells you something about the level of entitlement in this
area. It would never occur to me to complain about the police actually
enforcing the parking regulations. If you stay longer than 2 hours and get a
ticket, it shouldn't matter if it was 5 minutes or 50 minutes over- stop
complaining and pay up.

On the "2 hours versus 3 hours" question, Colleen and others should know
that the Council last year DID approve a modest set of changes that would
allow some lots to be used for longer parking. You'll have to pay for the
amount over 2 hours, but it should be reasonably priced. I think the delay in
implementation has been to get past the holiday season and to decide
whether the technology would be pay-by-space or individual meters or whatever. I
know that change got Pat White upset (what else is new), but all things
considered it seems pretty common sense.

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Posted by Parking?, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 14, 2011 at 12:06 pm
My wife and I did a very informal survey last Thursday night. We were
dining in Palo Alto, because they have much more variety with their restaurant
choices. I asked my wife, "wouldn't it be nice if MP had a little more
variety, or at least a few more choices where we could dine?" Neither one of us
want huge commercial spaces being built etc., we'd just like a more vibrant
 downtown. So, we decided to drive smack down the middle of University and
count the empty stores in Palo Alto, total tally: 1.(this was done from
Apple Store toward El Camino Real). Then we took a count in MP, from ECR down
Santa Cruz to the Menlo Presbyterian Church, total tally: 13. 13!!!! In a
downtown area 1/2 the size of Palo Alto! This is sad, very, very sad for us.
This means no tax revenue, depleted services, etc. There are a few reasons
for this, as stated above, however PARKING is #1. If there was additional,
premier parking available, we wouldn't have landlord problems etc. If you
build it, they will come, period. Again, my wife and I would not want huge
commercial spaces being redeveloped, but until we as citizens can
objectively discuss an additional parking space/garage, in our community, all of the
other downtown visionary stuff, is just stuff. There is NOTHING wrong with
a nice looking, hidden, tree lined, vine lined, plant lined, 3 story-1
underground, parking lot. I honestly believe this would solve most of our
problems, with the downtown. Period.

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Posted by new guy, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Feb 14, 2011 at 12:42 pm
So "Parking?"

You work or attend the church right? This is the only entity that desires
a parking garage. Funny how the garage is to be put at "the end" of the
santa cruz shopping area, and not the middle.

The church wants to build a huge "performing arts" center on University
and Santa Cruz.

Parking did not cause this store to close, the simple realities of running
a business did.

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Posted by Hmmm, a resident of another community
on Feb 14, 2011 at 1:04 pm
Colleen, is your group that got tickets the same group that Mrs. Baciocco
was part of? She wrote a letter when she & others in her group in MP got
parking tickets for overstaying.

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Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 14, 2011 at 1:11 pm
Note that any business that wants to can buy half day ($5) and full day
($10) parking passes and give or sell them to their customers.

Why not ask the places you go to for long lunches to extend you this
courtesy?

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Posted by Hmmm, a resident of another community
on Feb 14, 2011 at 1:14 pm
Peter, I agree. We did so at the business I used to manage in downtown MP.
But of course, that would mean people have to get the pass, fill it out &
put it on their car, then return to the restaurant. This is likely to be
way too taxing for some, so they'll pay the tax of overstaying their parking
time.

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Posted by Parking?, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 14, 2011 at 4:47 pm
"new guy", nope I do not work nor do I care about what Menlo Presbyterian
wants or is concerned about with respect to parking. Bottomline, we need
it, the stores complain about it, the shoppers complain about it, it's an
issue. 13 versus 1 vacant store tells me a lot about our town, and this is the
issue that keeps popping up. "simple realities to running a business'
tells me, the business man, that my patrons can't find a parking spot to do
business with me!
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Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 14, 2011 at 7:21 pm
Parking:

the problem is parking. It is also paying for a garage. The citizens don't
want to pay for it and none of the downtown property owners want to pay
for it. We went through this back in the late 90's early 2000's when they
wanted to shove a parking garage with low income housing above down our
throats. Bottom line is if the downtown merchants really want more parking they
are going to have to pay for it or the citizens of Menlo Park are going to
have to step up and pay for it. Parking garages cost money.

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Posted by Spanky, a resident of Portola Valley: Los Trancos Woods/Vista
Verde
on Feb 15, 2011 at 8:05 pm
I got an idea. Take your business elsewhere.

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Posted by POGO, a resident of Woodside: other
on Feb 15, 2011 at 8:56 pm
Spanky -

Judging from the number of vacant store fronts, I suspect it's already
happening.

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Posted by neighbor, a resident of another community
on Feb 16, 2011 at 4:41 pm
I shop Menlo several times each week. Parking is not a problem. The
stores, for the most part, are hardly empty. There are "Lots of Lots" to choose
from when you park.

This discussion IS a problem however. The rhetoric is outrageous and
irrational. For example, "For all the Nazi experts, and Nazi haters, we should
remember that the Nazis had a lot of support in their time, as it appears
the Meter Maids do on this thread."

Stop throwing around the epithet "Nazi" -- And, if you think parking is
difficult in Menlo Park, take a little trip to SF or LA or Santa Monica or
Berkeley or almost anywhere.

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Posted by POGO, a resident of Woodside: other
on Feb 16, 2011 at 9:55 pm
One thing is clear. There seem to be a lot of empty store fronts.

Could be the economy. Could be bad retailing. Could be parking. Could be
all three.

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Posted by Colleen Anderson, a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Feb 18, 2011 at 10:42 am
Posted by Hmmm, a resident of another community, on Feb 14, 2011 at 1:04
pm

Colleen, is your group that got tickets the same group that Mrs. Baciocco
was part of? She wrote a letter when she & others in her group in MP got
parking tickets for overstaying.

No Hmmmm. It is a different group. Good to know other groups are trying to
change things. Also good to know we are not the only group going some
where else. I love downtown Menlo, but until things change we need to go some
where else for lunch, our hair, etc. I think with enough people getting
involved, and taking the time to write the city things will change, and we can
support Menlo Park again.
One girlfriend told me she dropped off a script at Walgreens in Menlo
Park, went home for 3 hours then went back to have lunch at Del Sol & got a
ticket, because she parked in the same lot. She now eats in other cities.
Again we all love and want to support Menlo Park. Please write to the city. I
posted the link to email



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Posted by Fed up, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jul 28, 2014 at 9:09 am
 
There has to be a better way to encourage business in downtown Menlo Park
than the use of an over aggressive parking enforcement program. It seems
the city's desire for income is at the expense of local business trying to
earn a living and consumers wanting to shop, dine and stroll the downtown
area. No wonder there are so many, long standing, vacancies. The City Council
should place on their agenda the topic of PARKING RULES downtown, and
reconsider current policies. There must be a better way. Perhaps our neighbors
in Palo Alto, Mountain View and San Carlos knows something we don't. Maybe
more bicycle racks, areas specified for employee parking and three hour
parking zones will help. The present system seems doesn't work
 
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Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
3 hours ago
Peter Carpenter is a registered user.
 
Menlo Park only has to look next door to Redwood City to see how to use
pricing as a parking management tool:
Parking to cost more in downtown Redwood City

By Bonnie Eslinger
Daily News Staff Writer
Posted: 07/07/2014 09:44:55 PM PDT
Updated: 07/08/2014 12:38:09 AM PDT

It will cost more to park in downtown Redwood City starting Wednesday.
Currently 50 cents per hour, parking rates will double to $1 per hour in
the city core -- an area bordered by Marshall Street, Main Street,
Pennsylvania Avenue, Jefferson Avenue and Middlefield Road -- as well as in the
parking lot next to the Redwood City Caltrain station.
Meters in the downtown periphery will still cost a quarter per hour.
City officials say the new rates for the coveted downtown spaces will
encourage parking turnover. "

Oh, and while Menlo Park is looking at Redwood City they might ask how
come Redwood City, with a fully compliant National Fire Protection Code
sprinkler ordinance, is having a commercial building boom while Menlo Park, which
refuses to update its sprinkler ordinance, is blaming the Fire District
for stopping new construction because of the inadequate sprinkler code.

Does Menlo Park really want to have both difficult parking AND potentially
dangerous buildings as the hallmarks of its downtown?
 
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Posted by Jim Lewis, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
3 hours ago
 
An interesting article appeared as Front Page news on today's DAILY POST.
It's headline reads "Plan Hasn't Improved Downtown: While Other Cities Are
Thriving". Both Richard Cline, former mayor and current council member
along with Henry Riggs are extensively quoted. Upshot is, lots of great ideas -
but no progress. What else can be done remains a mystery. Suggestions
welcome.
 
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Received on Sat Aug 02 2014 - 16:44:07 PDT

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