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RE: Almanac - Town Square re Downtown Parking

From: domainremoved <Sam>
Date: Mon, 15 Dec 2014 17:22:16 -0800

I have been gently pushing the parking garages since the election Jim.

 

With the specific plan firmly in place now is the time.

 

Sam Sinnott

Sinnott logo withtext

558A Santa Cruz Avenue

Menlo Park, California 94025

(650) 325-5560 x 801

(650) 325-0138 (fax)

sam_at_(domainremoved)

http://www.sinnottandco.com <http://www.sinnottandco.com/>

 

From: JimLewis_at_(domainremoved)
Sent: Monday, December 15, 2014 5:14 PM
To: city.council_at_(domainremoved)
Cc: petercarpenter_at_(domainremoved)
Subject: Almanac - Town Square re Downtown Parking

 

Hi,

 

I'm so pleased the Almanac decided to open up the Downtown Parking - Town Square posting.

Allow me to express my heartfelt thanks.

 

Many new postings have since been made, fortunately in a civil and thoughtful way, with nearly 1,100 viewers, and counting.

 

I hope the City Staff and City Council are paying attention. Three postings were made already to the City Council email log, which is encouraging. I suspect there will be more following the first of the year.

 

With this type of community conversation, potential projects can be thoughtfully considered that best meets both the needs of the merchants and the community.

 

Happy Holidays


  _____


From: webmaster_at_(domainremoved)
Sent: 12/15/2014 4:51:57 P.M. Pacific Standard Time
Subj: New comment in Town Square

 

http://almanacnews.com/square/index.php?i=3 <http://almanacnews.com/square/index.php?i=3&t=10787> &t=10787

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

 


Downtown Parking - More Needs To Be Done


Original post made by Christmas Shopper, Menlo Park: Downtown, on Dec 1, 2014

Nearly daily, one hears about what OTHER cities are doing about parking. For instance, in today's paper an article appeared about an innovative type parking garage proposed in the city of San Mateo. Both Palo Alto to the south and Redwood City to the north are actively reviewing alternatives.

What is Menlo Park doing? If I recall, three years ago, in 2011, the topic was considered and then it was STUDIED again early this year.

In the meantime, ticket after ticket is being issued, both for overnight parking in one and two hour zones along with being 6" or more over a white line.

Can anything else be done, such as 1) building a parking garage, much like just about everyone else has done(except for Menlo Park), extending the two hour parking to THREE HOUR parking (much like we now have during the RELAXED holiday season parking period, and so on.

It seems like we have more questions than answers. Perhaps the 2015 City Council will take a look at this and if not, well..... life goes on.

Comments (36)

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Posted by 2015 City Council
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Dec 1, 2014 at 9:23 pm

With Cat Carlton's leadership as Mayor we will be in good hands.

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Posted by Downtown Shopper
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Dec 4, 2014 at 12:24 pm

I love the three hour parking in effect during the holidays. Any chance the city would consider this year round?

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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Dec 5, 2014 at 9:10 am
Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

There are lots of examples of what Menlo Park COULD do if it has the will and the courage to think in terms of a long term solution.

First, 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.

Second, here is another more recent and automated underground garage:

 <http://www.roadtraffic-technology.com/projects/munich-automated-underground-parking/> Web Link

"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). "

Third, here is a 700 space underground garage AND surface park in Brooklyn:

"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."


 <http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/10/realestate/commercial/underground-garage-to-help-pay-for-new-park-in-brooklyn.html?ref=nyregion&_r=1> Web Link&

The only thing stopping Menlo Park from doing something equally attractive and exciting is a lack of imagination.

One would think that Menlo Park in Silicon Valley in 2014 could catch up with what was done in San Fransisco in 1941, Munich in 2004 and in 2013 in Brooklyn.

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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Dec 5, 2014 at 9:15 am
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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 provide. 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 dana hendrickson
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Dec 5, 2014 at 12:41 pm

Great idea, Peter. More parking PLUS a beautifully landscaped central park available for multiple uses like the farmer's market, outside concerts and plays, "off-street" fairs, and evening strolls would be wonderful additions. A park with plenty of convenient nearby parking could become a centerpiece that would generate a great deal of pride in downtown Menlo Park. Let's get started!

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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Dec 5, 2014 at 12:58 pm
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" Let's get started!"

Just like the SF business leaders in the 1930's created a private entity to build the Union Square Garage we should create a similar entity for Menlo Park.

How about MPDB = More Parking Down Below.

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Posted by Downtown Shopper
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Dec 5, 2014 at 1:30 pm

Keep in mind that Menlo Park

1) Does not have a Downtown Merchants Association,

2) Does not have a Business Improvement District (BID), and

3) Does not have a City Staff committed to building a garage.

Just what it will take to provide more parking downtown is a mystery. Without someone eagerly carrying the ball and following through until its fruition makes this entire thread entertaining, but not going anywhere.

Being realistic, downtown parking is now nearly at capacity. With the construcdtion of new properties on El Camino Real and other locations in town, will only exacerbate the problem. Planning ahead is essential.

"If we build it, they will come".

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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Dec 5, 2014 at 1:34 pm
Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

The ONLY thing stopping an underground parking project in Menlo Park is the lack of courage.

Here is how the SF Union Square garage "happened":

"THE UNION SQUARE GARAGE

The idea of a garage under Union Square was first proposed in 1910 by W P, Fennimore, president and founder of the Downtown Association. Such a scheme was quite novel, and in 1922 and 1928, charter amendments to permit sub-surface use of public parks for automobile parking were defeated by the electorate. But in 1930, an amendment was finally passed.16

Because of downtown development and the increasing use of automobiles, the streets surrounding Union Square were becoming greatly congested, and there was an acute parking shortage. By 1940, for example, within the city's "Triangle District," an area between Market and Sutter streets, there were concentrated 17 large retail stores, 11 office buildings, 88 hotels, 15 clubs, and 7 theaters. The capacity of nearby garages could scarcely serve the patrons of a single store. Local merchants became concerned that they would lose business to outlying suburbs if something were not done about the parking problem.

Thus the Union Square Garage Corporation was formed in 1938 for the purpose of building an underground garage in Union Square. Such a feat had never been undertaken before, and three years of research were required before construction could begin.

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.

Work then proceeded with Timothy Pfleuger as architect and McDonald and Kahn as general contractors. No public funds were used, rather, financing was by stock subscription amounting to $850,000, mostly from local property owners and a Reconstruction Finance Corporation loan of $650,000.

Ground was broken on March 31, 1941, and the entire block bounded by Geary, Stockton, Post, and Powell streets was soon excavated to an average depth of 48 feet. Steel piles were driven into the ground for bulkheading and 160 massive columns were put in place to support four levels, including the garage roof surface.

The Dewey Monument, which weighed 350 tons, demanded special treatment, not only to move it to make way for construction and excavation, but to strengthen it against further earthquakes. The monument's granite cylinders, which were slightly askew from the earthquake of 1906, were hollowed out and fitted over a core of reinforced concrete that extends all the way down to the foundation of the garage.19

At full capacity, the garage housed 1,700 automobiles. Additionally, most of the space on the top floor was reserved for waiting rooms, restrooms, offices, a sales room for accessories, and an area for servicing cars. The garage became an immediate success and 766,000 automobiles were parked there in the first year of operation.

Fortunately, the garage was never used for another purpose for which it was designed: as a bomb shelter. The garage was well under way when on December 7, 1941 Pearl Harbor was attacked, and the United States entered the Second World War. It was only because of its alternate use as a bomb shelter or as an emergency hospital that special materials were released for the building's completion.

By the summer of 1942, the world's first multilevel underground garage was finished. Mayor Angelo Rossi presided over the dedication ceremonies on September 12, 1942. The Dewey Monument was also rededicated on October 25, 1942 as part of the San Francisco Navy Day celebration.

THE ROOFTOP PARK

In conjunction with the garage's architect, Timothy Pfleuger, a landscape plan for the garage rooftop was designed by the Division of Engineering and Landscape Design of the City of San Francisco, whose superintendent was John McLaren. The park was the first in the world situated above a multi-level garage. A preliminary design completed in 1940 called for a large central pill-shaped plaza to contain the Dewey Monument. Two paths would run north-south, skirting the main garage entry, and on the east and west ends of the Square paths would connect to the street corners and run at mid-block. Along each path were to be several grassy areas. The central plaza was to be surrounded by planter boxes containing Irish yew trees."
******
Why not here, why not now?

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Posted by Downtown Shopper
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Dec 5, 2014 at 1:46 pm

Let's leave a lack of courage to fairy tales, such as the Wizard of Oz (remember the lion)?

Peter, what we need is leadership, tenacity, passion and committment. Years ago local downtown property owner and former President of the Chamber of Commerce, Albert Giannotti, a well respected "elder" in the community, wise and successful, tried his level best to get a garage built. He obtained bids, plans and a great deal of support, but in the end - zippo.

My hunch is, the city's plan is to hope that an El Camino Real developer will come along and offer to build a Downtown Garage at little or no expense to the city as a "public benefit" in exchange for an additional floor, or more apartment or condo units or some other concession.

What this does magically, is eliminate the bickering between store owners on who pays for what in a fair and impartial way and presto, it's done. No bond, no loans, funding is provided by others.

What we can't do for ourselves, due to lack of "courage" or other characteristics, is RESCUED by an outsider. This approach has worked in other cities.

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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Dec 5, 2014 at 2:08 pm
Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"My hunch is, the city's plan is to hope that an El Camino Real developer will come along and offer to build a Downtown Garage at little or no expense to the city as a "public benefit" in exchange for an additional floor, or more apartment or condo units or some other concession"

That won't happen- there is no Santa Claus on Santa Cruz and the ECR projects would not benefit from a downtown garage.

Downtown Shopper can wring his/her hands all they want but hand wringing is not a solution.

All that is lacking is the courage to make it happen - SF CITIZENS made it happen at Union Square over 70 years ago. What is stopping the CITIZENS of Menlo Park from doing the same?

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Posted by member
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Dec 5, 2014 at 4:23 pm

Since the real issue is improving access to the downtown area, instead of focusing on just expanding parking an alternative approach could be to focus on putting together some sort of improved mass transit system. Properly implemented, this would have the added benefit of reducing traffic in the region (which was a major recent discussion surrounding proposition M).

While I am not a traffic engineer, I would expect the city could purchase and operate a large number of shuttles for significantly less than the cost of building an underground garage.

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Posted by Bob McGrew
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Dec 5, 2014 at 5:25 pm

It does seem like downtown parking is at capacity. In other places, I'd be sympathetic to improving mass transit, but downtown Menlo just doesn't get enough visitors to make mass transit feasible. I would support a parking garage, although I would think a two-story garage would have a lot of benefit at a very modest cost compared to an underground garage.

I would very much like to see a more lively downtown, with more restaurants and shops, and some housing up above. A lot of the spaces seem to be perpetually vacant - probably because the whole area is so sleepy and doesn't get any foot traffic from offices or housing.

What would it take to make that happen?

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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Dec 5, 2014 at 7:51 pm
Menlo Voter is a registered user.

We seem to consistently vote in bond issues for a lot more money for schools. A bond issue for a parking garage, even subterranean, would be modest in comparison.

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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Dec 5, 2014 at 9:43 pm
Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Please read the prior postings - an underground garage built and leased by a private company would cost the City of Menlo Park very little. Let's do some creative thinking rather than just more negativity.

here is a 700 space underground garage AND surface park in Brooklyn:

"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."

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Posted by Downtown Shopper
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Dec 6, 2014 at 4:55 pm

Peter, save your breath. The City is not listening. City STAFF have told me that they are not going to spend good money on a problem that doesn't exist. CITY COUNCIL members have told me that they don't read this column - as there are too many off the wall, bazaar comments. This may be a good column to vent, but change occurs in other ways.

Where are the decisions made? Who makes them? How does one get this topic center stage and on the agenda? Who pays for the solution? If not now, when?

The MAYOR likes low hanging fruit that can be implimented quick and easily. This may help short term problems but doesn't hold a candle to a long term solution.

I suspect if more people spoke during a City Council meeting directly to the decision and policy makers during PUBLIC COMMENT NO 1 OR NO 2, the topic may get some attention. In the meantime, go ahead and vent if it makes you feel better.

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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Dec 6, 2014 at 5:10 pm
Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

I continue to share my views with each of the Council members and with a carefully selected circle of influential citizens.

The critical issue is do enough citizens care?

If not, then the neglect and decay will continue. That is both the strength and weakness of a democracy.

So if no one speaks out then nothing will happen.

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Posted by Downtowner
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Dec 6, 2014 at 7:40 pm

[part removed.]
This is all politics now. Try to create a constant stream of negativity on anything. No support to back it up. No ideas. Just criticism. Ignore the improvements to Downtown. Ignore the City Council just went through an election completely focused on the long term of downtown. downtown shopper thinks somehow at the same time the council should have floated a bond for parking garages? Really? I don't think so. I think the criticism is actually a charade to must criticize and it's the only thing they can come up. Pathetic.

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Posted by Downtowner
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Dec 6, 2014 at 8:06 pm

Downtown Shopper, explain how you think it was possible for any member of the City Council to float a parking garage bond last year, just after two school districts floated bonds, while the high school district was floating a bond, and while in the middle of fighting off Measure M.

The low hanging fruit comment is laughable. Everyone who paid attention watched multiple long standing issues addressed in the City last year.

You obviously have a political agenda behind your comments. Whether it be to criticize the Mayor and Council or just to complain to get your way, mischaracterizing the past in order to do so doesn't fool anyone.

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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Dec 7, 2014 at 11:49 am
Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

My proposed solution would NOT require a city bond measure. Note that both the Union Square and Willoughby Park underground parking structures were built by private corporations who leased the subterranean rights from the city.

This is a win-win. The city leases the subterranean rights and gets a huge capacity parking garage for free and then still has the surface rights for a park/pedestrian mall, farmers' market etc.

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Posted by mkeenly
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Dec 7, 2014 at 12:32 pm
mkeenly is a registered user.

This is a solution looking for a problem. Creative parking management schemes are inexpensive and can maintain parking availability.

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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Dec 7, 2014 at 2:41 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."

Some posters seem not to have read the Specific Plan.

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Posted by Downtown Shopper
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Dec 10, 2014 at 5:08 pm

The idea of providing parking in downtown Menlo Park that Peter Carpenter has suggested has a lot of merit and may be worth taking a serious look at. Leasing the land to an experienced company that has built parking garages for other cities, may make a lot of sense locally. There may not be any cost to the city, and in fact, they may be able to charge rent to lease the land, thus making money. At the same time, additional parking places would be available to merchants, their employees, office building tenants and perhaps most importantly, shoppers, consumers, restaurant patrons and others making downtown Menlo Park a destination, as opposed to the 1,000 of cars that simply pass through on their way to somewhere else, such as Stanford Shopping Center, Town and Country Shopping Center and downtown Palo Alto.

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Posted by Sam Sinnott
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Dec 11, 2014 at 1:22 pm

Last night I addressed the Transportation Commission on this very subject as a public comment. How do we build all three of the parking garages identified in the specific plan on the public lots? My goal is to try to get the TC to take the lead in planning these projects. The traffic downtown is a serious safety problem created mostly by the street parking.

Without the construction of these garages street parking cannot be reduced.

The specific plan incorporates a vision of the downtown that is bicycle and pedestrian friendly with wider sidewalks. This vision will never be realized without the parking garages and elimination of most of the street parking.

The Pearl Street Mall in Boulder, Co. is now a destination walking street that was once a tired old downtown. The retailers there now do incredibly well. Santa Cruz Avenue does not need to remove through traffic, just most of the street parking to also experience a Renaissance.

Pearl Street has 5 parking garages within two blocks of the walking mall.

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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Dec 11, 2014 at 2:54 pm
Menlo Voter is a registered user.

Pearl Street Mall is a great example of what came happen with some visionary thinking and some creativity in funding. Of course, the Pearl Street Mall doesn't really have a "village character," so I'm sure a bunch a folks would be up in arms if we try it here. Having a private company build and operate parking garages would be a boon for MP and would allow the elimination of street parking as Sam notes. Of course the city would probably lose a sizable chunk of income due to decreased parking fines, but I'm sure they can stick a few more red light cameras in to make up for it.

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Posted by Ernst Meisner
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Dec 11, 2014 at 7:22 pm

_at_(domainremoved)
1)
I agree with Sam's goal of having a commission take the lead in creating the three garages. I hope that the City Council will commit to getting this accomplished as a matter of policy and by charging the TC or, if more practical, an entirely new, special body with the task. This group would find financing options, research legal issues, determine aesthetics, and physical details and a host of other issues surfacing along the way. I would also hope that Peter Carpenters suggestion of underground solutions would be seriously considered.
Menlo Park demonstrated before that determination, commitment and leadership can have positive results when it created the downtown group to transform Santa Cruz Ave into a more attractive experience.
2)
I would like to modify Sam's idea of keeping Santa Cruz Ave open to through traffic. It should only be accessible as needed for emergecny vehicles and any deliveries should be restricted to nighttime hours. Daytime uses should be pedestrian oriented.

During my trip to Germany this September I drove 3.500 KM visiting towns and cities of ALL sizes. Practically all had found ways to preserve a core, usually historically significant area, into a market place / shopping district / pedestrian zone. These Zones have an abundance of flowers, landscaping and comfortable street furniture and are within short distance of public parking. This parking may be in form of open parking lots or structures of many types. Some of them having very sophisticated systems of indicating at entry how many open spaces available and in each aisle where the open spaces are.

Nobody seems to think twice about walking a couple of blocks and we may need to adjust our expectations of parking right in front of our various destinations.

Let us create a pedestrian friendly, human scale, downtown Character with attractive architecture. Forget the village label



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Posted by Colin Jenkins
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Dec 12, 2014 at 12:38 pm

I own Occasions, etc on SCA. The last I heard, maybe in 2006 or so, there was an idea of building a parking garage behind Flegel's. MPPC was offering to pay a portion in order that they be allowed to use it. The remainder was to be paid for by assessing the merchants. My recollection is that it would cost somewhere between $20K and $30K per parking space depending on what was built. At the time, after doing some quick math, I concluded that we would be out of business if the assessments were what I calculated them to be. This particular idea died on the vine much to my relief. I don't think many merchants here could survive the cost of paying for a parking garage

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Posted by Robert Cronin
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Dec 12, 2014 at 1:05 pm

Does anybody who doesn't live in Menlo Park, shop in Menlo Park? Menlo Park is tiny. No resident lives more than three miles from downtown. If you think parking is a problem, get on your bike. That's what I do. It's easy. You can do it.

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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Dec 12, 2014 at 1:37 pm
Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

What downtown merchants need is more customers not more assessments.

We need to find a way to build an exciting and dramatic parking facility that pays for itself. Other communities have done this, there is no reason that Menlo park can't do the same.

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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Dec 12, 2014 at 1:47 pm
Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Here is an update on the Willoughby Square Park and Robot Parking Garage:

 <http://buildabetterburb.org/willoughby-square-park-above-parking-below/> Web Link

They have done all the hard work of thinking this through and running the numbers - why not ask them how and why they are doing this?

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Posted by (The original) Downtowner
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Dec 12, 2014 at 5:49 pm

I'm puzzled - how many more restaurants does downtown MP need? Every block has at least 1; some have 3 or more. For retail, how big a draw are rug shops? How many people come to town just to visit a spice store? I buy my spices at a grocery store. When MPPC raised the rent prohibitively on the family-run hardware store which had served the community well for 40 years, we were left without a much needed local source. Much later, another proprietor thankfully stepped in to rent a very small space to fill the most pressing needs.

Not everyone can bike 3 miles to town. Not all of us find what we want or need when we get there. The economic base of this town has changed greatly. People who buy 3-4 million dollars for homes now usually hire designers to furnish them instead of buying a new sofa at the local furniture store. How many people actually want to develop film now? We don't go downtown to buy new refrigerators as we did 30 years ago. Burlingame Ave has an Apple store, J Crew, etc. Menlo has prided itself on not having "chain" stores but people who come to town for those stores actually patronize other establishments too.

Maybe we don't need more parking or nail salons. How about a determined effort to attract a popular retailer not already represented at Stanford Shopping Center? Then additional parking will be needed.

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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Dec 12, 2014 at 6:07 pm
Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"How about a determined effort to attract a popular retailer not already represented at Stanford Shopping Center? "

They will demand customers - no customers then no new businesses.

The Specific Plan provides for a big increase in customers for the downtown via the now vacant ECR sites.

And customers will demand better parking.

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Posted by Nikki Stitt Sokol
a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on Dec 14, 2014 at 4:39 pm

I am delighted to see people here bringing up the Pearl Street Mall in Boulder. I grew up in Boulder but have lived here for almost 10 years. Menlo Park would be vastly improved by closing Santa Cruz Ave to cars and creating a pedestrian mall area similar to Boulder's. Foot traffic would increase as the area became an attractive place for gathering. Many families would support attractive, preferably underground parking garages in order to have a pedestrian area that would be filled with better shops, cafés, and restaurants. Menlo Park needs a great vision - and this is one. Let's do it!

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Posted by Sam Sinnott
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
1 hour ago

Good comments all. In response to Colin Jenkins - you are right. Different parking garage plans and funding options have been around for years. Most using an assessment district concept based on the assumption that the property owners benefiting most from the structures should pay for them. Due to the scale of these projects the burden quickly gets enormous on the few downtown property owners. 30 years ago an assessment district for the garages actually went to a vote and was defeated.

The best approach, in my humble opinion, is a city wide municipal bond for all 3 structures. Of course I have zero experience in such matters but conceptually it seems best to pool the cost city wide since we will all benefit.

Once the garages are built and the cars are off the street we will have many design options from slow through traffic to walking streets to create the downtown renaissance Menlo Park deserves.

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Posted by Adina Levin
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
14 minutes ago

One of the secrets to the success of Boulder Pearl Street parking district - they charged for parking, and they used the money to fund transit passes, shuttles, and other services to help reduce the need for even more parking.

To Downtowner - true, not *everyone* can bicycle two or three miles. But many people can. Improvements to bike safety and low-cost bike parking can help more people make the trips by bike, and save he car parking for people who need it.

Our downtown is pretty small, and there is plenty of car traffic - it would be great if we could more help people get downtown without driving - so the parking spaces would be available for people who really need it!

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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
11 minutes ago
Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"One of the secrets to the success of Boulder Pearl Street parking district - they charged for parking, and they used the money to fund transit passes, shuttles, and other services to help reduce the need for even more parking. "

That is exactly what Stanford has been doing for over 25 years - and it works. Not a penny of General Fund educational dollars is spent on building parking structures, bike paths and running the shuttle service.

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Posted by Tunbridge Wells
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
5 minutes ago
Tunbridge Wells is a registered user.

It is entirely appropriate that the costs of parking are borne by the party in the best position to avoid that cost. There is no free lunch, and there is no such thing as free parking. Everyone pays for it, even the people who don't use it. I suspect that if Menlo Park, Palo Alto, Mountain View, Redwood City and Los Altos all started charging similar rates for public parking, a lot more people would figure out how to get to their downtowns without driving alone in their cars.



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Received on Mon Dec 15 2014 - 17:16:37 PST

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