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** Sidewalk to Nowhere...

From: <debbiegerow_at_(domain_name_was_removed)>
Date: Tue, 19 Oct 2010 21:36:06 +0000

This is the worst possible answer from Jennifer. 

I have an eyesore of a sidewalk that deadends on either side of my property.  Not only am I not allowed to take it out - it sounds like, inspite of the "High" ranking for installing sidewalks on my block of Princeton, the likelihood of that happening is lower than low.  The city is forcing me to keep a SIDEWALK TO NOWHERE - which is an absurdity.  It does not contribute to the safety or aesthetic of our otherwise bucolic neighborhood.  I would be happy to have a sidewalk which attached to everyone else's sidewalk, or I'd be happy to match the other houses on the street and NOT have a sidewalk - but the way this plan is being implemented in front of my house is nothing short of ridiculous.

I would appreciate having answers to questions that Jennifer did not answer below or which she did not answer from my second email to her:

How was this Master Plan communicated to the public?  (I am not the only neighbor who has recently landscaped at great cost and who is shocked to just now hear of this Sidewalk Master Plan.)

Which streets (other than Woodland) on the High ranking list have undergone sidewalk development in the last two years since the City adopted this plan in 2008?

How did Princeton get ranked as high - what is the breakdown?  As mentionned below, we do not have any destination traffic on our street.  Over 90% of the houses on Princeton and Yale do NOT have sidewalks.  The cost to put in so many new sidewalks would be high, not to mention a huge inconvenience to people who have not had a sidewalk in front of their homes in over 20 years, perhaps never. 

What is the setback for our block?  6 feet or 11 feet?

How will the city be enforcing this equitably?  Last week's paper covered articles on how landscaping walls were not being enforced in some cases, but is in my case....

Finally, I'd like to ask what recourse I and my neighbors have in appealing the plan to have sidewalks installed on Princeton?  We have a beautiful, close-knit neighborhood.   We've celebrated block parties in the street for 15 years now, our kids carpool or bicycle caravan to school together, we block our street off for Halloween to ensure the safety of hundreds of trick or treaters that flock to our street.  While I haven't spoken (yet) to each and every neighbor, I have spoken to many of my neighbors, and we all prefer to keep our neighborhood without a sidewalk.  How do we best convey this to the city, and appeal sidewalks for our street?


Debbie and Mark Gerow

138 Princeton Rd.

Hello Debbie,

Let me send you a link to the Citywide Sidewalk Master P lan Project.  The report was completed and accepted by the City Council in September, 2008.   The second link below is to the report that staff prepared to the City Council for this project.



In brief, the City hired a consultant to identify gaps within the City’s sidewalk infrastructure.  The streets were ranked high, medium, and low, based upon weighted criteria, as explained within the report.  Princeton Street is ranked as high, meaning that it is more likely than a medium ranking street to be considered for potential future City project funding, should such funding become available.   Even within the high category, with the number of streets named and limited funding available, it is likely to be many years before sidewalks are constructed even just to fulfill this category.

In the meantime, development projects are asked to construct sidewalks where appropriate to the level of development taking place.  Because we’ve identified a need for sidewalks along Princeton Avenue, we are not able to grant a permit to remove the sidewalk in front of your residence.  Eventually, as significant development takes place on your block, those homeowners in turn will be asked to construct sidewalk along their project frontage.

Currently, as a result of the Citywide Sidewalk Master P lan Project report, a City project is in progress to construct sidewalk on Woodland Avenue between Menalto and Euclid Avenues.

Your recourse for appealing my decision, is to contact the Engineering Services Manager, Chip Taylor, at 650-330-6740.


Jennifer Ng

Senior Civil Engineer

Public Works Department 

From: Debbie Gerow [mailto:debbiegerow_at_comcast.net] Sent: Monday, October 18, 2010 3:13 PM
To: Ng, Jennifer C; Scribner, Nathan V
Cc: Mark Gerow
Subject: Sidwalk Master Plan

Dear Jennifer,

I met with Nathan Scribner this morning to ask for a permit to remove the broken sidewalk in front of my house at 138 Princeton Road.  After conferring with you and denying my request, Nathan sent me a copy of the Menlo Park Sidewalk Master Plan.

What does this mean exactly?  Will homes on the high ranking list have sidewalks installed sometime in the near future?

How has this been communicated to the public?  In the process of asking to remove 1 of 3 sidewalks on the first block of Princeton, I was surprised to learn of it's existence as I don't recall reading of it in the Almanac (which I read regularly), nor do I recall receiving any notice by mail.  Since only 15% of my block has sidewalks, and since our block of Princeton is ranked high (implying change sooner rather than later), I would have thought that notification of the community would have been more thorough as it certainly impacts landscaping and building plans and may have a high cost impact to homeowners (who have grown mature plants, installed irrigation, or built on this area of their lot).

Do you have a list of which of the high ranked streets are currently undergoing sidewalk development?

Is it possible to get a breakdown of the how the ranking of 108 was reached for Princeton (between Creek and Cambridge)?

- We are not a direct route for any school, park, or downtown business.

How is this enforced equitably?  Recent reports in the paper have covered that you've allowed walls to be built on Cambridge in the city easement.  Won't these be impacted by your Sidewalk Master Plan?  Why is it okay for for one house to beg for forgiveness and not okay when one asks for permission.   New development has gone up and sidewalks have not been installed.

We have resided in Menlo Park at this residence for over 18 years.  For all of those 18 years, only three houses out of approx. 20 on our block have had a sidewalk.  With such sparcity, we have a sidewalk to nowhere, and it's lifting in areas and cracked in others.  It is an eyesore.  We are currently landscaping our front yard at not an insigificant cost.  When everything else is nicely done we'll still have this ridiculous-looking sidewalk that does not serve any purpose.  IF the city was going to implement the master plan, and IF our sidewalk would be connected to other sidewalks within the next 5 years, we'd understand how we fit into the plan.  But, if there is no funding, and no guarantee when and if this will be done, it seems unfair and unreasonable to require us to have this eyesore in our front yard.

Please let me know what options we have.


Debbie Gerow

138 Princeton Road

Menlo Park, CA  94025 Received on Tue Oct 19 2010 - 14:36:07 PDT

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