Menlo Park's Future


Spend, Study and Ignore

Fellow Residents,

After watching much of the 7 ½ hour City Council meeting on September 9, this is what I learned about the future of sidewalks in Menlo Park:

·         The consulting firm, Dowling Associates prepared a 116 page “Sidewalk Study Master Plan” which cost us $100,000 (this includes staff time to date).

·         The ranking criteria for sidewalks were approved by the City Council on February 12, 2008.  The plan was modified and approved by the Transportation Commission in June.

·         The highest-ranking potential sidewalks (not including Santa Cruz Avenue and El Camino Real) as offered in the staff report of 9/9/08  are as follows:

1.       Bay Road (from Willow Road to Van Buren Road)

2.       Valparaiso Avenue (from Lee Drive to University Drive)

3.       Oakdell Drive (from Santa Cruz Avenue to Stanford Avenue)

4.       Woodland Avenue (from Euclid Avenue to Menalto Avenue)

5.       University Avenue (from Middle Avenue to College Avenue)

So how did a segment of Gilbert Avenue, which was ranked circa 185th in this commissioned study, get voted on to the highest priority list by 4 members of our Council?

·         According to two council members at the 9/9/08 City Council meeting, the volume of communication from people on this street determined the Gilbert Avenue selection.

·          It is important to note that this “volume” claim is NOT supported by any mail received on the City Council email site. 

(View the discussion at

So I ask, why pay for a $100,000 study, or any studies for that matter, if the majority of council members ignore them.  This is especially wasteful in this case considering that only $220,000 has been allocated to spend on sidewalks— which supports one or possibly two of these projects. 

This is neither a mature nor a responsible way to do the people’s business.   And, considering the fact that our City budget is being balanced by dipping into our dwindling reserves, this is not good fiscal management as well.  I wish all the dollars had been devoted to supporting an actual project like Santa Cruz Ave sidewalks instead of dangling hope for projects that won’t take place.

As always, I welcome your comments at:

If you would like to read any of my past emails, you can go to:

Thanks, Lee Duboc