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Incorporating changes to Downtown Specific Plan

From: Adina Levin <aldeivnian_at_(domain_name_was_removed)>
Date: Tue, 13 Dec 2011 13:06:13 -0800

Dear City Council Members,

I am writing with regard to the proposed additional consultant work to address the substantial community comments and Council proposed revisions to the Downtown Specific Plan.

I am thankful that the Council has taken the time to listen to community concerns and to incorporate many those concerns into modifications to the Draft Plan. The initial Draft Plan was too much modest with regard to bicycle access for a 20-30 year time frame, and the changes by Council, building on recommendations by the Bicycle and Planning Commissions, made beneficial improvements.

It is reasonable to have Fehr and Peers assess the feasibility of the recommended bicycle improvements, to create an updated plan that the city can implement over time. As Patty Fry noted in her comment, it would have been much better if the Draft Plan had been more aggressive to begin with, but where we are, it is reasonable to proceed with the analysis to create an actionable plan.

Unfortunately, the results of the review process left the recommendations of Council regarding El Camino Circulation in an unstable state.  Pedestrian curb extensions were removed, in part due to misunderstanding about potential conflict with bicycles. An option to expand El Camino to 6 lanes of traffic was added, although this conflicts with the goals for maintaining and improving village character.

It will be beneficial to get accurate information about the safety benefits of curb extensions, and their impact (or lack thereof) on bicycle access.  It will be good to have a clear picture about the benefits and drawbacks of 6-lane El Camino. What will be the drawbacks in terms of reduced pedestrian and bicycle safety and usage, and the character of new El Camino development? Will there be benefits in improved traffic speed, or will any additional capacity get quickly used up by pulling drivers away from 101 and 280 to do more travel on El Camino? The study should look at these topics in order to give Council the information needed to make a good decision.

It is important to be responsible in spending. Given the fact that there was substantial community input in favor of bike and pedestrian access;  and that the Council recommendations regarding these issues have some good ideas and some inconsistencies, it will be valuable to have good information to enable Council to make a good final decisions on these issues.

Adina Levin
Menlo Park Received on Tue Dec 13 2011 - 13:06:44 PST

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