Almanac

Viewpoint - June 15, 2011

Letter: Council correct in halting Willows traffic plan

Thanks to the Menlo Park City Council for euthanizing the Willows Area-Wide Traffic Study.

It was obvious to all except the city transportation staff and the handful of neighborhood traffic activists (for whom the plan was designed) that it "didn't stand a snowball's chance in hell" of gaining the support of the neighborhood. It benefited too few (Chester Street and Woodland Avenue) to the detriment of too many (almost everyone else).

Much of the $120,000 that has been spent already would have been saved by insisting, from the start, that the activists put forward goals backed by a supermajority of residences and businesses. Instead, this requirement of the Neighborhood Traffic Management Program was waived to benefit the activists.

This enabled the activists to ignore the reality that their goal of blocking access to two major streets would damage most of the neighborhood. And staff members, as usual, seemed to believe their glib assertions that the few dozen residents (out of a total population of 6,000) who participated in the planning meetings "represented the neighborhood."

In stopping the "study" now, the council did the right thing. They saved the additional $400,000 and priceless neighborhood good will at risk of being wasted on this doomed project. In future Willows projects, the city should insist on compliance with the Neighborhood Traffic Management Plan from the start, as they have for all other projects under the plan.

Eric Doyle, Laurel Avenue, Menlo Park

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