Letter: Frequent shuttle could help Menlo merchantsAs part of the review of the Facebook project at the Planning Commission, I am raising the potential benefit of frequent shuttle service to downtown Menlo Park. I made similar comments on the review of Menlo Gateway.
One key to our city benefiting from the presence of Facebook is connectivity to our established retail center. While the presence of Burgess facilities for mid-day and after-work recreation are a draw, generally Facebook employees are closer to Palo Alto's University Avenue and have a history of going into Palo Alto from their previous location near Midtown. The ready availability of easy transport to our city center can make us more attractive.
In general, shuttles can serve peak demand only (this is most common) or be "ready for the customer." The latter would mean that you don't have to check a schedule to see if you can get to Stacks or Borrone, you just go, and more importantly, can get back quickly as needed. This frequency is the tipping point at which the shuttle would become dependable, and popular. A side benefit is boosted transit for neighborhoods en route. And, of course, shuttles replace single occupancy autos, i.e. "traffic."
I suggest that the City Council ask members of the transportation staff to determine the tipping point for attractive shuttle service that will bring a significant portion of the projected 9,400 Facebook workers into our retail center.
The writer is a member of the Menlo Park Planning Commission. The letter was first submitted to the City Council.