Viewpoint - May 25, 2011

Letter: Parts of downtown plan conflict with Farmers' Market

Following publication of the environmental impact report, I am writing to express my continued concern with specific aspects of Menlo Park's downtown plan.

As a member of the Menlo Park Live Oaks Lions Club and a longtime supporter and volunteer at the Sunday Farmers' Market, I wish to make the following comments.

I fear that the proposed partial closure of Chestnut Street along with a 4,000-square-foot marketplace structure will disrupt traffic and make access to and from the Sunday market a problem, both for the farmers' vehicles and the general public.

Developments on this scale are bound to negatively affect the smooth running of this very successful market and could in the long term put the market at risk.

It puzzles me as to why the plan still wants to introduce more retailers, through the covered market, when we have vacant sites on Santa Cruz Avenue.

On the question of a general increase in traffic, forecast under the present downtown plan, I have serious concerns regarding the proposal to reduce the through lanes on El Camino Real from two to one at the Santa Cruz crossing.

I regularly use El Camino to visit downtown or to travel to Palo Alto from Loyola Avenue and it is already a bottleneck at certain times of the day. With the increase in traffic and a reduction to one lane, I dread to think what it will be like trying to drive through Menlo Park. Please reconsider this plan.

Finally, the recommendation of the EIR to make changes on a temporary basis is a good one, as this will allow both the public and the city to assess their effectiveness before changes become permanent.

John Hickson, Loyola Avenue, Menlo Park


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