Initiative re downtown and ECR
Original post made by Andy Cohen, Menlo Park: Downtown, on May 21, 2014
Menlo Park is home to 40000 people, and $2M spent by the city creating the plan, turns out to be a waste of money if this matter is placed on the ballot in November. Some will insist the Derry compromise with $2M in public benefit (instead of $100K) was not a success, but in view of the relatively minor down-sizing that the project underwent, it is an example of how this council could (if so inclined) modify the agreement with guidance from the initiative and still accommodate the need for new infrastructure without sacrificing the unique community we have become. Traffic mitigation, housing, and retail were basic concerns throughout the process, and the initiative indicates a clear preference that city leaders (elected and hired) make the plan conform to the community's desires.
It simply will not suffice to invoke principles of compromise or pragmatism to rationalize a plan that has lost the support of the electorate and the community. Unlike the Derry referendum, this initiative is clear indication of dissatisfaction, and there is more at stake than just public benefit. Menlo Park must pace its growth to preserve the unique quality of life we enjoy, and at the same time create new senior and affordable housing while controlling traffic and office space and encouraging retail business.
Menlo Park is a diverse city with a healthy mix of income levels. Our downtown serves all ages and income levels, and allowing development as is being proposed would transform our city and unbalance many relationships with other needs (schools and housing to mention just two). Council can and should implement the thrust of this initiative with all deliberate speed.