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About this blog: I have lived in Belle Haven since 1997, and work as an interpreter in the emergency department of a county hospital. My main interest is to help improve society by way of giving families the support and information they need to ra...  (More)

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Think Willow?s Traffic is Mayhem? Remember Menlo Gateway

Uploaded: Dec 12, 2013
Actually, make that Willow Rd, Marsh Rd and University Ave too; the 3 arteries leading to the Dumbarton Bridge.
Next time you hear the Bohannons promoting the virtues of their Menlo Gateway project, think about how much more that behemoth would worsen traffic congestion. Especially, but not only, in Belle Haven.
For the last few months, trying to get home in the late afternoon, and even in the evening, has become a trying exercise.The line to get off from 101 North, is close to a mile long at peak hour.
At Willow and Bay, there is always a long procession of cars moving at snail pace as they enter Willow, a few of them at each cycle of the stoplight.
I used to cut across the Willows' neighborhood, to get on Willow Road. But now Willow Road is stop-n-go traffic for hours. And the poor souls that are there, hoping to one day reach Frontage Road, are not very willing to let you get in front of them from one of the side streets.
I also used to get off at University Ave, and cut across East Palo Alto, but it's gotten harder to do it, and still save more than a few minutes.
I used to go do errands after work to avoid the brunt of the congestion, even if I had to go home a little later. It doesn't make sense to do it anymore. The other night, at 7:30pm, the lines of cars were as long as they usually are around 5pm.
Lately, I had discovered that if I drove north, past my Willow Road exit, I could get off at Marsh Road, loop into Constitution Drive, and head home through Belle Haven's back door. But when I tried this yesterday, the line of cars at Marsh Road was longer. And another line of cars at the stop sign on Hamilton and Chilco, was so long, that the end of it was on the other side of the train tracks.
The Menlo Gateway project would be a complex of buildings 1-million-square-foot big at the corner of Marsh and Frontage Roads.
I can't visualize what 1million square feet of a combination of hotel/offices looks like. But I can tell you it represents many, many more cars converging around this area. And given what I am seeing when its construction hasn't even started, it can't be a good thing.
Project Gateway was put on the ballot in 2010 as Measure T, and approved by a big majority.
I voted against it because I never liked the idea of having such an intrusive project right across from Bayfront Park.
But I also voted against it as a matter of principle. This Measure was peddled to my neighbors by giving away hamburgers at a local church. And that is not an honest way to promote informed consent.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Remember what, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park,
on Dec 13, 2013 at 8:33 am

Menlo Gateway will get built. At the time it was approved, Bohannon said that he was not planning to do anything for five years. Why he needed approval then was a mystery, but there was nothing honest about the process. Yes, there was a vote, but all it showed was that if you have enough money, you can produce flashy campaign materials (and provide free hamburgers) that lull the average voter into approving your project.

The current Menlo Park council has yet to meet a project it doesn't like. Wait until all the Arrillaga projects have been completed, including the one on El Camino in Menlo Park. Some unfortunate residents may not even be able to get out of their driveways during rush hour. I often wonder if the council members ever have to drive on Willow or El Camino during these peak hours. I guess not, or they wouldn't be so eager to give the thumbs up to every billionaire developer.

 +  Like this comment
Posted by Feel your pain, a resident of another community,
on Dec 13, 2013 at 9:59 pm

Late afternoon Traffic to the Dumbarton does seem to have gotten much worse in the past several months, don't know if it's all the Facebook employees, or the 10,000 Stanford staff employees, or some other source. Until tech companies start to locate in the east bay, most of the jobs will be on the Peninsula and most of the workers will come from the east bay. #eastbayneedsmorecachet

 +  Like this comment
Posted by Reality Check, a resident of another community,
on Dec 17, 2013 at 11:21 am

It's a shame Menlo Park naysayers and short-sighted BART-to-SJ-skewed funding priorities at MTC have repeatedly de-funded and indefinitely delayed implementation of the Dumbarton Rail (which would link Union City BART and the Caltrain corridor with commuter rail trains running over the restored Dumbarton rail bridge parallel to the Hwy 84 Dumbarton Bridge with a few intermediate stations such as at Facebook @ Willow and Bayfront Expy.)


Web Link
Web Link
Web Link

Or just Google "Dumbarton Rail" for more background.

 +  Like this comment
Posted by Martin Lamarque, a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven,
on Dec 17, 2013 at 8:03 pm

@ Reality Check.

Thanks for the links.
Given that there is no way to widen either University Avenue, or Willow Road, sooner or later we will have to figure out how to get those trains running. But that will only be the beginning. There will have to be a continuation of public transportaion to take train riders from the deboarding stops to their final destinations.

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