It's always possible to find a parking spot in the city's open lots, making it convenient to drive downtown and easily get to any business. This is one of the big advantages over Palo Alto.
The current downtown plan is unrealistic and a waste of taxpayer money at a time of recession and tight budgets. Shrinking the number of parking spaces is counter to attracting people. I refuse to park in a parking garage. They feel threatening, particularly at night, and even more so as the crime rate rises.
A central plaza in the middle of Santa Cruz Avenue — the main access street — would be a huge obstacle for getting into the downtown area. Walk-ability is important, but most people get to town in a car, then walk.
According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, Menlo Park is already the eighth most successful walk-able suburb in the U.S. And there's a lovely little park near Draeger's for people to congregate. I find it unbelievable that this plan is still under consideration when so many business owners, who will lose customers like me, are against it.