Menlo Park's Future

 

El Camino Real/Downtown Vision Plan: Outdated Already

Fellow Residents:

A lot has happened in the eighteen months since the present visioning process has been in the works.

·         Gasoline prices have doubled.

·         The economy started turning south.

·         Ridership on Caltrain has increased.

Have your own attitudes towards what you want to happen in our El Camino and Downtown area changed because of these macro-economic forces?

I think the changes we are experiencing create a moral imperative for us to help stimulate a resident population who live, walk around and shop in our downtown areas, independently of cars.  We need new communities of residents who will use and add on to our public transportation systems. 

I think the changes we are experiencing create a moral imperative to concentrate more activity downtown so that we build up our sales and property tax base.

I think the changes we are experiencing create a moral imperative for us to find ways, i.e. create grade separations, to lessen the environmental damage done by idling cars waiting at closed railroad crossings as added trains strain our already overburdened cross streets. Trellis-style railroad grade separations, with open space beneath, will increase bicycle and foot access to downtown from our east- of -the -railroad neighborhoods. 

We should consider denser housing near the train station and downtown areas, especially for singles and empty nesters that are most likely to use the train, and not likely to bring new children.  We should also realize that there is a growing need for dedicated senior housing, and plan for this.

We should realize that creating a more economically vibrant downtown is greatly aided by adding nearby residents who will shop and eat locally. Paying lip service to this concept by adding just a few housing units will not create a viable downtown live-in neighborhood.

I realize that change is scary to contemplate and uncomfortable to live through its creation, i.e., construction impacts; but I think our vision should service the future, not the past. What do you think?

Thanks.   Send comments to menlofuture@gmail.com

Lee