The Menlo Park Specific Plan approved in 2012 focuses on improving the vitality of commercial areas downtown and along El Camino. Vitality is a measure of how well these areas attract residents for a variety of reasons, e.g., shopping, dining, entertainment.
The content in Specific Plan can be divided into several primary categories.
- Visionary objectives.
- Examples and illustrations of desired private and public investments.
- Regulations that govern individual private investments and sets maximum limits on new commercial developments.
- A General Environmental Impact Report that evaluates the expected impacts of allowable commercial developments.
- A wishlist of potential civic investments that merit comprehensive evaluations, e.g., parking, bike improvements,
Mixed Progress In 2018
El Camino Vitality & Attractiveness. Ensure all new developments produce the maximum practical NET benefits for Menlo Park re: aesthetics, traffic impact, public benefits.
Progress – Grade A
- The Middle Plaza multi-use development which has a much improved design was approved. (El Camino)
- Construction of the Station 1300 multi-use development is underway. (El Camino)
- Construction of a 63-room boutique hotel at 1400 El Camino is underway.
- Construction of a small office building at 1020 Alma is underway.
Downtown Vitality and Attractiveness.
Progress – D minus
- A field trial of a small “park” on Crane was so poorly conceived and executed that residents and businesses forced its removal. (This was part of a three year field trial) (Grade: F)
- A study of a downtown parking structure is underway despite no formal justification, indication of likely funding sources nor the consideration of alternative parking solutions. (Grade: D)
- Given the robust local economy the overall progress in attracting a more appealing mix consumer businesses downtown is disappointing. (Grade: C)
Community Bike Network.
Progress – C Minus
- New bike lanes on University are beneficial; the value of ones on Oak Grove will likely offer only minor benefits. The current field trials are poorly defined.(Grade: C)
- Ravenswood Avenue is the most popular route for adult bicyclists crossing El Camino. Although a separate bike path could be built on City property between El Camino and Laurel and on SRI property between Laurel and Middlefield the City Council has refused to consider this major improvement. (Grade: F)
Traffic Management. Develop policy and programs that encourage alternatives to single passenger vehicle and mitigate neighborhood impacts.
- No apparent progress at the city level
- Greenheart will provide its residents Caltrain commuter passes.
- Stanford plans????
High-Speed Rail. Join other Peninsula cities in either preventing high-speed rail between San Jose and San Francisco OR ensuring it does not negatively impact our community.
Develop a grade separation plan for Ravenswood, Oak Grove, Glenwood and Encinal Avenues.
- Funds included in 2015/2016 Capital Improvement Budget.