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By Martin Lamarque

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.