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Sidewalks on Santa Cruz Avenue

From: domainremoved <Jym>
Date: Fri, 20 Feb 2015 17:19:02 -0800

Dear City Council Members:

I have lived on the corner of Santa Cruz Avenue and Windsor Drive since
1979, so I've had plenty of opportunities to observe how unfunctional
the existing sidewalks are, and where there are no sidewalks how unsafe
it is for most people including school children who must walk in the
street.

I have been an advocate for sidewalks on Santa Cruz Avenue--IF DONE
PROPERLY--since at least 2008. Some of this involvement is documented at
https://sites.google.com/site/jclenhome/home/sidewalks . For me a proper
design must be functional, aesthetically appealing and properly
engineered (not so easily done). The existing sidewalk on the south side
of Santa Cruz Avenue between Johnson and Windsor is not functional.

Concerning the alternatives in the Staff Report of Feb 5, 2015, prepared
for the Bicycle Commission Meeting of February 16th, I have the
following comments:

1. There was apparently no attempt to survey the opinions of residents
who might use the sidewalks other than the property owners along Santa
Cruz Avenue itself. Why not? I recall there were some general surveys
done 15 or 20 years ago in which many Central Menlo Park residents
indicated they would more often walk to downtown Santa Cruz Avenue if
there were adequate sidewalks.

2. Seven alternatives are presented in the Staff Report. I understand
Alternative 3 is currently the favorite of the Bicycle/Transportation
Commission. This alternative is ok in my opinion, except I wouldn't
actually put in a 10.5' sidewalk anywhere. Why not a 5' (or maybe 6')
sidewalk plus a planting area. When not skirting an obstacle like a
heritage tree, the width of the planting area (but not the sidewalk) can
be decreased. I note that this alternative probably cannot be utilized
north of Windsor Drive because it eliminates most of the parking.

3. A design that replaces the center lane with a limited number of
discrete turn lanes was apparently not considered. It has a number of
advantages, including retaining parking on both sides, provision for a
landscape strip on both sides and no need to remove heritage trees or
relocate utility poles. On Aug 20, 2014, I sent the attached proposal
for such a design to each of you. I have enclosed it in this email as
well. I note that this alternative should work for the entire length of
Santa Cruz Avenue between Johnson and Olive.

4. Given the poor history in recent years of "improvements" to Santa
Cruz Avenue, I am worried by the lack of detail in the staff report as
well as any indication of how engineering details will be handled. Some
examples of engineering details to be considered: 1) the high crown
along most of the street, which complicates relocation of the gutter in
some alternatives (including my proposal here); 2) driveway cutouts
(unless there is a landscape strip); 3) various obstacles in the now
unused RoW, such as heritage trees and utility poles.

5. I also understand that there is consideration of undergrounding the
utilities on Santa Cruz Avenue. Undergrounding would solve a lot of
problems and greatly improve the esthetics of "the entrance to downtown
Menlo Park," but I suspect such a project would take several years to
prepare (I hope I'm wrong about this). If undergrounding is indeed
feasible in the future, one could go ahead with alternative 3 (or my
alternative), with the sidewalk skirting the present utility poles, but
then after the undergrounding is complete, the sections of sidewalk that
skirted the poles could be replaced with straight sections--the curb and
gutter would not need to be altered.

Sincerely,
Jym Clendenin
1075 Windsor Drive
Menlo Park, CA 94025
(650) 321-5789

Received on Fri Feb 20 2015 - 17:14:15 PST

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