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** Menlo Park City Sidewalk Master Plan

From: Julie Gaston <jagtom_at_(domain_name_was_removed)>
Date: Tue, 26 Oct 2010 01:24:35 -0400


To Whom It May Concern,
I am writing this letter to state my opposition to installing sidewalks in the area which I live. I live at 125 Princeton Rd. On the 100 block of Princeton, there are only three properties which have sidewalks and they are not contiguous. One of these three properties belongs to our neighbors, Mark and Debbie Gerow, who are currently requesting to remove their stretch of sidewalk since it leads to nowhere. My husband and I totally support this request, and hope the city approves it.

We do not believe that the city should install sidewalks on our street. We do not have a lot of traffic on our street, nor are we a main thoroughfare or an integral part of a bike safety route to and from local schools. Our neighborhood residents signed a petition over 13 years ago asking that the street be resurfaced for safety reasons. We were told that our street was not a high priority for resurfacing because it isn't an often-traveled road. However, according to your Menlo Park Sidewalk Master Plan, we were ranked as a high priority for the installation of sidewalks in our neighborhood. I can't follow your logic. I read the plan and understand the criteria used to determine the ranking number. I would like to see a detailed calculation of how our block ended up with a ranking of 108. If safety is the city's concern, why not start with enforcing the law that people who live on corners must have their bushes/landscaping at a low height so that drivers and pedestrians can safely see around the corner. Also, how about resurfacing streets that have numerous potholes and cracks and make sure that the trees are kept trimmed, not only to clear the electrical wires, but trimmed enough so that the light from the street lights can illuminate a larger portion of the street, again for safety reasons.

Installing sidewalks would change the character of our neighborhood. We have always been aware that there is a 6 ft set back from the street which is property that belongs to the city. In front of our house, the city planted two Magnolia trees. It is my understanding that if the city installs a sidewalk on our property, it would create a 5 ft. sidewalk, for a total of the city having 11 ft. from the curb. It is also my understanding that any sidewalk installed on our property would be installed by the city, but the home owners would be responsible for its upkeep and also liable for any harm that may be caused from an unsafe sidewalk. Being that the city planted Magnolia trees in front of our house, our portion of sidewalk would quickly become a hazard due to the large roots from the tree which would cause a sidewalk surface which would not be level. As is, when the city came out to pour a new curb in front of our house, they couldn't pour a straight one due to the Magnolia roots. We now have a curvy front curb as a result. Another consequence might be that the trees which line our street might end up dying due to the roots being cut in order to install sidewalks. We all treasure the look of our tree-lined street and the shade the trees provide. In addition, the majority of the residents on this street would have to remove walls, arbors, irrigation, landscaping, etc. if the city demands that sidewalks be installed. Can you please explain why some streets in our neighborhood have sidewalks within a foot or two of the curb, whereas, the few sidewalks on our block are as described above for a total of 11 ft . from the curb? Also, were residents made aware of the city's Sidewalk Master Plan? I believe that if they were, many would not have landscaped in the manner in which they did. I'm assuming that most people that bought a house in this neighborhood did not expect that their front yards would be dramatically changed due to a new city plan. We have existed many years without sidewalks and we all seem happy without them.

I urge the city to alter its Sidewalk Master Plan and NOT install sidewalks on the 100 block of Princeton Rd.

Respectfully submitted,
Julie Gaston
125 Princeton Rd.
Menlo Park, CA 94025
650-324-2422     Received on Mon Oct 25 2010 - 22:24:45 PDT


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